Episode 8 Rochester Public Library - Rochester VT

Published on 18 June 2024 at 12:27

On Episode 8 I talk with Maya Newroot, the Library Director at the Rochester Public Library in Rochester, Vermont. Most librarians in small libraries where several hats and Maya is both the Children's Librarian and the Library Director. She shared the special history of the Rochester Public Library and the building. The Rochester Public Library building was built in 1849 by the Universalist Church Society to be a church and still has beautiful stained glass windows. As Maya talked, I imagined myself reading a book on the second floor, sitting on one of their comfy couches, with light from a stained glass window streaming in beside me.


Maya also shared some of the programs and services offered by the library. The Rochester Public Library's Summer Reading Program starts this week on June 20th and they host "Stories in the Park" at the local farmer's market every Friday from 3:30 - 4:30. Kids will also have an opportunity to "Learn How at the Library" thanks to a grant from the Winnie Belle Learned Fund.  Kids will be able to choose a book that comes with supplies to learn a new skill.


The Rochester Public Library has a special place on the website for patron book reviews, a new idea that is just starting to take off. Calling all library patrons in Rochester, VT. Let Maya know why you liked or didn't like that book you're returning and she'll put your comments on the website. I think this is a great community service, and who doesn't want to know what books their neighbor recommends?


You may notice a trend while listening to WTBAnow. Most libraries have a Library of Things collection and these are expanding as community members make suggestions for items to share. The Rochester Public Library has one of the largest collections that I've heard of, featuring things like a walker, wheelchair, cake pans, outdoor games, power tools, a kayak and much more!


We didn't forget to talk about books and Maya and I share a fondness for quirky books. She starts us off with two books that are quirky and wonderful.  The first is Kraken by China Mieville (2010) and is about a scientist who works in a natural history museum. One of his main areas of study is a preserved giant squid. On one particular day the squid is gone. Seemingly vanished without a trace. Maya said this mystery not only had her guessing but had her saying, "Whoa..."


Maya's second book is Chlorine by Jade Song (2023). This book is about the pressures of competitive sports. The main character is a 17 year old girl who is on a swim team. It's about that, according to Maya, and also about mermaids. It's told in a unique way with a sense of mythology.


I have three books to recommend. I was reticent to read my first book, The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan (2023). I've been shying away from books that are dark, but a librarian friend of mine gave me a gentle nudge and I trust her recommendations. Donal Ryan is an Irish author and this was the first book of his that I read. The story is about a family of several generations of Irish women living in present day County Tipperary.  The main characters are Eileen, her mother in law Nana, and her daughter Saoirse, and Saoirse’s daughter Pearl. The story opens with a tragedy and follows the aftermath of this tragedy through the four generations of women in this story. 


At first I didn’t think I’d like the structure of this novel. Each chapter is only two or three pages, but once I read a few chapters, I was hooked on both the format and the story which is filled with joy, heartbreak, humor, and love. And it wasn't too dark for me at all.


I know I recommended a book by Colleen Oakley in a previous episode, but I’m going to recommend The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise (2023), because I’m hoping that word of mouth gets this to a screenwriter who will adapt this book for a movie. If you like road trip books, you’ll love this book.  Tanner Quimby was a college soccer star but dropped out of college after a soccer injury. She’s hanging around her parents house, playing video games and feeling sorry for herself. When her mother hears that an elderly neighbor needs a caregiver, she not so gently nudges Tanner to apply for the job. This starts a funny, touching, twisty, road trip adventure. There’s some great snarky banter between Tanner and Louise. I thought I figured out the ending, then the book took another unexpected turn. Please, someone make this a movie!


My final recommendation is both and author and book recommendation. I wish more people would discover Phaedra Patrick.  The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (2016) was her first novel and if you enjoyed books like, A Man Called Ove, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, or Eleanor Oliphant, I know you’ll want to read more of her work. 


This novel peeks in on the life of widower Arthur Pepper.  On the one year anniversary of his wife's death, Arthur finds a gold charm bracelet that he’s never seen before. There is a phone number on one of the charms and this starts an unexpected adventure as Arthur decides to track down the mystery of the charm bracelet.I loved watching Arthur try new things and meet new people. But along with the mystery of the gold charms, what kept me reading was Arthur’s personality. A delightful read.


Here are some other Phaedra Patrick books:

Rise and Shine Benedict Stone (2017)
The Library of Lost of Found (2019)
The Secrets Of Love Story Bridge (2021)
Messy Lives of Book People (2022)
Little Italian Hotel (2023)
The Year of What If (June 2024)


All 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, 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 this website or send a Facebook message.


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