October Newsletter

Books Worth Another Look

Guest review by Hilda Partridge

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

August Shroeder is a burned out science teacher. He has been on the road every summer and had planned to travel to Yellowstone with his son. Now he is making the trip with his son’s ashes. August ends up with twelve- and seven-year-old boys as passengers due to their Dad going to jail.
An awesome book as I did not want to see it end. I look forward to reading more of Catherine’s books.

P.s. from Ook: We read this one too — a quiet, moving story about families and ‘found family’ that spans a number of years.

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Library events

Guitar Club:
The guitar club for children and teens is carrying on with Krista at the helm. We meet on the first Saturday of every month from 2 to 3 pm. If you’re learning the guitar (or some other instrument) and would like to hang out with a group, or if you don’t have a guitar but are interested in learning, come and join us! We hope soon to be adding some more instruments to our collection for in-library use — including a piano! Maybe we’ll have to change our name … The Library Saturday Music Club … or maybe Ook’s Noise (that’s a Shakespeare joke)!

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Learn to Draw!

Kids ages 6 to 10 are invited to a four-week art program at the Dorchester Memorial Public Library.

Join Josh Henry every Saturday afternoon in October
(October 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th)
from 1 to 2 p.m.
Have fun learning new drawing skills!
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Sandpipers at the Library!
A talk by Kerry Lee Morris-Cormier, Manager of the Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre at Johnson’s Mills.

Dorchester Memorial Public Library
6:30 to 8 pm
Thursday, October 4th

Refreshments will be served.

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Library Garden Club
The Library Garden Club is continuing to meet at 6:30 pm on the last Thursday of the month. We’ll have meetings in October and November, but will be skipping December.
Come talk gardens with your fellow plant-enthusiasts!

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September Newsletter

Garden Club
In September the Library Garden Club will be begin meeting again at 6:30 on the last Thursday of every month. Hope to see you there!

Guitar Club
We’re going to be resuming the guitar (& ukulele, & apparently banjo!) sessions for this fall, so children or teens who are interested can contact the library to find out more details. We’ll also be having a children’s art club. If you’re interested, leave your name and phone number with library staff and we’ll get in touch once our plans are confirmed.

“First Nations Communities Read” Bookclub (for adults)
We’re planning an adult book club built around the 2018/2019 First Nations Communities Read booklists. If you’re interested, please leave your name and phone number with library staff and we’ll contact you with details. This will be a monthly club, and rather than everyone reading the same book, each meeting someone will present a book they’ve chosen and read from either of the two lists.

Books Worth Another Look
Guest Review by Hilda Partridge
Lunenberg by Keith Baker
Annie Welles is a Halifax Regional Police Officer in the Robbery and Violent Crimes Unit. She is recently divorced and does not have custody of her two young sons. Annie’s career seems to be stalling until two murders happen within 48 hours of each other. She hopes to prove herself by taking the risk of following her intuition to solve the murders. Another excellent read for adults and I found it difficult to figure out “who done it.”

August Newsletter

Books Worth Another Look

Book Uncle and Me, by Uma Krishnaswami

Every day on her way home from school in an unnamed city in India, nine-year-old Yasmin gets a new book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who runs a free lending library on the corner. The right book for the right person on the right day, he says. One day, though, she finds him packing up his crates of books. The municipal government has said that he needs a permit, and he can’t afford this. When Yasmin investigates, she hears a rumour that someone wrote a letter complaining about the library. Puzzling over a folktale of a flock of netted doves escaping from a hunter, Yasmin realizes that the story holds a message for her. The small and weak, working together, can be powerful. A mayoral election is under way and she begins a letter-writing campaign to save Book Uncle’s library. Discovery of the current mayor’s lack of ethics — he wanted the street tidied up for his daughter’s wedding — gives added force to her efforts, with the whole neighbourhood getting involved. At the same time, we get glimpses of both the good things and the difficult that she and her friends and neighbours are dealing with, making this short novel not merely a story about the importance and power of community involvement, but a slice of local life with universal applicability. The book is suitable for early chapter book readers but will be enjoyed by older people as well.

Summer Reading Club

The Summer Reading Club will continue at the library throughout August. The Day Camp from L’il Sand Peeps comes every Thursday afternoon around 3 pm, but you don’t have to be in the day camp to join in. We’re reading Pugs of the Frozen North, by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, doing art projects, and keeping track of how many books the kids of Dorchester can read this summer. (Watch out for the movie based on Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet, a somewhat darker tale for teens and older children, coming this fall! Or check out Reeve’s books Mortal Engines, Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain from the library to be ready!)

Stop Motion Animation

Thursday evenings, teens and tweens can join our volunteer Yahya for Stop Motion Animation and who knows, we make take on some other creative projects too.

Jigsaw Puzzles at the Library

Did you know you can now borrow jigsaw puzzles from the library? We have a number of puzzles you can sign out, ranging in difficulty from simple ones for young children to 500 and 1000 piece ones to keep the whole family busy on a rainy weekend.

Upcoming Garden Tour

Anyone interested in the library Garden Club’s upcoming garden tour is asked to drop by the library to sign up with their name and phone number so that we can get in touch about the date. (If you signed up at the last Garden Club meeting in the spring, you’re already on the list.) Thanks!

July Newsletter

We apologize for this post showing up later than it should have; it seems the ‘publish on’ function wasn’t functioning!

Summer Reading Club
The library’s Summer Reading Club activities for children will be held on Thursday afternoons in July and August. For more information, including the times, or if you’re interested in registering your young readers, please contact the library. If you can’t make it to the weekly activities, your children can still be registered and can take part by tracking their reading in our logbooks. Even pre-schoolers and babies can be registered; books you read aloud to your children count too!

Sandpiper Book Sale
Our used book sale will be held the week of the Sandpiper Festival. Come by the library during our regular open hours, July 26-28, to pick up some new-to-you summer reading and hunt for unexpected treasures.

Silent Cake Auction
The library board’s ever-popular Silent Cake Auction will be held on Saturday, July 28th. Bidding starts at 1 pm; final bids by 3 pm. Funds raised go to support the library.

Books Worth Another Look
Guest Review by Hilda Partridge

Disposable Souls, by Phonse Jessome

Cam Neville is a city cop with a dead wife, PTSD and a haunted past. TV preacher Pastor Sandy Gardner’s body is found near a Halifax container pier. Neville, a former biker and war hero, is in searching for the killer. Blair Christmas, Neville’s partner, is a Mi’kmaw Mountie who helps him solve the case.

Yes, Phonse Jessome used to be a reporter on the local news in Halifax. He brings realistic detail to this story. An excellent read by an Atlantic Canadian author for adults.

Ook’s Worm Bin: Final Report on the Vermicomposting Project

In the beginning:

The worm bin was started in the library in April 2017 with a handful of worms. Over the course of a year the worms increased and we harvested the compost several times. They were given mostly banana peels, apple cores, teabags, and old peppers and tomatoes. We used damp, shredded newspaper for bedding. The fruit and vegetable matter was always frozen for a few days first to make sure we didn’t get fruit flies in the bin. They were also given eggshells. Compost was harvested every couple of months, but the bin was never entirely cleared out; we just did partial harvests.

Worms were taken out to start four other bins for the 4-H group.

Problems we had:

We had a lot of mites in the worm bin, especially when it was wetter. Once the worms all tried to flee the bin, because we gave them crumbled-up old cake and it grew a lot of blue mould. Worms are supposed not to mind some mould, but obviously they do!

Another time the worms were given too many leftover green peas from the restaurant. A week later, the bin smelt like a pig-sty! (Have you ever smelt a pig-sty? Pig manure is very high in ammonia. It stinks!)

Solutions we tried:

In the fall of 2017 we put some dry leaves on top of the compost in the bin. We noticed that the population of mites seemed to drop. The leaves stayed dry on top while the compost underneath was moist. In the winter we started using newspaper again, and the mites reappeared.

When the worms all tried to crawl out, we picked out the mouldy cake and gave them a lot of new damp-newspaper bedding.

When we ended up with a stinky bin because of too many cooked green peas, we had to take out the peas and a lot of the newspaper, prepare new bedding and food, and air out the worm bin and the library.

The worms go home:

In April of 2018 the worm bin was taken to the library manager’s house, because the library gets very hot on sunny days in the summer. In her cellar the temperature is about 12 to 15 degrees Celsius all year round. The worms seemed happy in the cellar and didn’t try to crawl out. They were fed only about once a week, with fruit waste (frozen), eggshells, and vegetable peelings. There were still mites in the bin.

In May, after harvesting some compost, the library manager put a lot of dead leaves (mostly maple) in as bedding.

In June, the library manager noticed that there seem to be no mites in the worm bin, although underneath the surface leaves the compost is quite moist. Since last time that happened was when she put leaves in when the bin was at the library, where it is warmer, it seems likely that using dry leaves as bedding is what reduces the mite population, not the temperature or the moisture content.

There was also a small spider living in the bin, and a few sowbugs. (It’s likely that the sowbug came in with the leaves, since the cellar is fairly dry. The spider could not have eaten all the mites.)

Observations and Conclusions:

Dry leaves may be better worm bin bedding than shredded newspaper. However, if someone was going to start a worm bin from scratch, they would probably want to put a layer of damp, shredded newspaper in to get started, with some dead leaves on top. We know that good compost needs to contain a mixture of ‘brown’ and ‘green’ things — sources of carbon and sources of nitrogen. It’s possible that the newspaper doesn’t work as well for the ‘brown’, carbon-containing material as autumn leaves. Kitchen waste is mostly ‘green’ — high in nitrogen. That is why it smells bad when you get too much of it.

It does seem like the way to control mites is to use dry leaves in the bin. This would be easy to do year round if you are able to keep some bagged leaves in your garage or woodshed. If you lived in an apartment, this would be trickier. We don’t know why the leaves help with mites. The bin is quite moist underneath, so it doesn’t seem to be dampness. Perhaps the leaves change the pH and make it an environment that mites don’t do well in.

Harvesting the compost takes a long time and is very labour-intensive. The worms don’t like light but they don’t burrow far into the compost, so even when you just scrape a handful off the surface you have to pick worms and cocoons out of it.

The worm bin doesn’t produce a lot of compost; however, it is very rich. We used some as a top-dressing on the library plants and the geraniums all bloomed very well. The hibiscus began to bloom as well. We also got apple trees and tomato plants germinating in some of the library flower pots!