Episode 7 Pettee Memorial Library - Wilmington, VT

Published on 3 June 2024 at 07:00

In Episode 7 of the WTBAnow podcast, I visit with Kyrra Howard, Library Director at the Pettee Memorial Library in Wilmington, VT.  Kyrra talks about the long history of the library and Mr Lyman Pettee who funded the construction of the first library building in Wilmington in 1906 in memory of his parents Dr Anson and Lucy Pettee.

The Pettee Memorial Library is a cozy library with lots going on. They are one of the few libraries in Vermont that is open on Sundays for part of the day! Kyrra talked about some of the programs at the library, including the monthly cookbook club, where one night everyone learned how to make pasta. The library also has a monthly poetry group and a writer's group, and of course, storytime for children, a Lego Club and more.


Kyrra and I chatted about the  new popularity of "Silent Book Groups/Clubs" in Vermont. The Pettee Library offers this at a local B&B. Imagine sitting with a small group of people in a comfy chair by a fireplace reading books. The group isn't totally silent, everyone chats about the book they brought to read and why they like it, but it's a brief chat, the focus is on reading together silently. It's an introvert's dream program. My town library recently started one as well and they meet around town at different locations. You can learn more about Silent Book Clubs at this website. If you want one in your community, just stop by your library and ask the staff. 


The Pettee Library also has a brand new telescope courtesy of their Friends of the Library Group. Any library patron can come and check out the telescope. This is a great family activity and Wilmington has some great viewing locations. Wilmington, Vermont is located in the southern part of the state, about halfway between Brattleboro and Bennington.

Kyrra and I talked about four books in this episode and found out that we like many of the same authors. I started with non-fiction book about the women of the American west, Brave Hearted: The Women of the American West (2022) by Katie Hicks.   This books focuses on women's stories of their lives in the West which reveal a much different story than the one we've been told by popular culture and men's accounts which were often boastful and a marketing of life in the West. In particular Katie Hicks finds stories from women of color and Native women. Using their diaries, letters, and other contemporary accounts, Hicks paints a compelling historical account of life in the American west. It's a page turner. (Another book I had to purchase after I returned it to the library.  I've read it twice already.)


My second choice is Finding Margaret Fuller (2024) by Allison Pataki, a  a fictional biography of the brilliant, beautiful, feisty, transcendentalist writer Margaret Fuller who lived during the first half of the 1800s. This story is a tribute to a historic adventurer who refused to live by the roles assigned to her by her society and whose story has largely been forgotten. I love historical fiction that makes me want to seek out and read more about that period in history.


Kyrra's first pick has a title that made us both shy away from the book, but a coworker convinces Kyrra to try it and she jumped in. You really need to hear her recommendation of the novel, Shark Heart, A Love Story (2023) by Emily Habeck.  It's a story about newlyweds and the husband gets a rare diagnosis that his body will start to turn into a great white shark, but he will retain his memories. The author uses this to show the kinds of transitions families face when dealing with something like a cancer diagnosis. Kyrra says, don't be put off by the title, it is a sweet and heartwarming story where people find joy within their grief.


Her second book is Other Birds (2023) a novel by Sarah Addison Allen. Kyrra and I discovered that we both love her magical worlds and we try to read all of her books. This one is about found family and is set in South Carolina. If you like Alice Hoffman, Karen Hawkins, or Isabel Allende, I think you'll like Sarah Addison Allen.


All of the books we talked about on this and all episodes are available at your local library - either on the shelves or through interlibrary loan. If you find a book you just need to own, I’ve included links on the covers to Bookshop.org an where every purchase helps support your local independent bookstore.

That’s all for this episode. Thanks for listening and for visiting the WTBAnow site.If you would like your Vermont library to be featured on an episode of WTBAnow, please use the contact information on the website or send a Facebook message.


Read On!

Add comment


There are no comments yet.