Libraries in the Woods selects farming memoir for fourth community read

  • Author Kristin Kimball, pictured with a pair of horses, wrote a memoir on her experience moving from New York City to a farm near Lake Champlain. Contributed Photo

  • Author Kristin Kimball, pictured, wrote a memoir on her experience moving from New York City to a farm near Lake Champlain. Contributed Photo

  • Author Kristin Kimball, pictured, wrote a memoir on her experience moving from New York City to a farm new Lake Champlain. Contributed Photo

  • “The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love”

For the Recorder
Published: 3/30/2022 3:45:10 PM
Modified: 3/30/2022 3:44:14 PM

Entering its fourth year of offering a community read, Libraries in the Woods, a collaborative entity made up of 27 local libraries, hoped to settle on a book that Franklin County residents could relate to.

Involved librarians found just that in “The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love” by Kristin Kimball, who writes about her experience moving from New York City to a farm near Lake Champlain. Participating libraries will carry multiple copies of the book for readers to borrow, and will offer both in-person and virtual programming starting April 12 centered on the book and its themes.

“The programming is wonderful and it really speaks to this area,” said Karen Stinchfield, director of Cushman Library in Bernardston.

“This is a big farming area and has been for generations,” said Misha Storm, director of Northfield’s Dickinson Memorial Library. “I moved here a few years ago from Houston, Texas, and the most incredible thing has been how easy it is to get local food.”

Mary Anne Antonellis, director of the M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury, explained Libraries in the Woods “grew out of a small group of library directors across seven towns who shared ideas and questions and brainstormed together.” This sparked excitement among other libraries, too. The program, Libraries in the Woods, got its name in 2018 and expanded from there.

The first community read — through which patrons from across the 27 libraries read the same book and engage in related programming — was held in 2019.

In selecting a book for this year’s community read, one factor was finding one that could be accessed in physical, e-book and audiobook form.

“We looked for book titles that were available in as many mediums as possible,” Stinchfield said.

From there, the libraries set to work organizing activities, talks and workshops related to the book throughout April and May. In this case, much of the programming focuses on farming and gardening. The author will also lead a virtual question and answer session, hosted by Dickinson Memorial Library.

“The events are surrounding this certain book, but you can come even if you don’t want to read the book,” Storm clarified. “There are many events that are just book-adjacent so people can come and just join the topic of what’s going on in the county. I encourage people to come, whether or not they’re readers.”

Stinchfield noted she has organized programs with seven local farms that are either female-owned or female-driven. She’s enjoyed putting female farmers in touch with each other, and said that the women she’s collaborated with have shown great excitement about this opportunity to build community.

“I have the opportunity to introduce our patrons to these wonderful local farms,” Stinchfield said.

She shared particular excitement for the program on backyard chickens hosted by the Wendell Free Library on May 7 and the sustainable gardening workshop hosted by the M.N. Spear Memorial Library on April 24.

“Someone who’s at all interested in this programming could find something to do a few times a week,” Stinchfield said.

“I’m a big gardener,” said Storm, “so I’m excited for the events about biodiversity, native plants, and bees and flowers.” The biodiversity and native plants workshop will be hosted by the Pelham Public Library on May 21.

Stinchfield said that in the last couple years of the pandemic, the Libraries in the Woods virtual community has been particularly important to keeping library staff and local readers connected.

“We have all kept each other sane,” Stinchfield said. “I don’t know what I would have done without Libraries in the Woods. I have some friendships now with people who, many of whom I still haven’t met in person.”

The full schedule of Libraries in the Woods events is listed below. Contact the hosting libraries for more information and registration details. Libraries in the Woods will be posting updates to Facebook.

Programs

■April 12, 7 p.m. (online) by Montague Public Libraries — “Gardening for Birds”

■April 20, 7:30 p.m. by Pelham Public Library — Book discussion

■April 21, 6:30 p.m. by Tilton Library in South Deerfield — Book discussion

■April 22, 11 a.m. by Cushman Library in Bernardston — Tour of Upinngil Farm

■April 22, 1 p.m. by Carnegie Library in Turners Falls — “Seed Starting for Children”

■April 24, 2 p.m. by M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury — “Sustainable Gardening”

■April 26, 1 p.m. by Cushman Library in Bernardston — Tour of Coyote Hill Farm

■April 26, 6 p.m. by Pelham Public Library — “Gardening Design 101 with Mary Jo Maffei”

■April 29, 6:30 p.m. by Arms Library in Shelburne Falls — Book discussion

■May 7, 10 a.m. by Wendell Free Library — “Intro to Backyard Chickens for Families”

■May 7, 1 p.m. by New Salem Public Library — Composting workshop

■May 11, 6 p.m. (hybrid) by Sunderland Public Library — Book discussion

■May 12, 4 p.m. by Cushman Library in Bernardston — Tour of Picadilly Farm in Winchester, New Hampshire

■May 12, 6:30 p.m. by Belding Memorial Library in Ashfield — Container gardening workshop

■May 15, 10 a.m. by Wendell Free Library — “Grow Your Own Sunflower”

■May 16, 6:30 p.m. by Cushman Library in Bernardston — Book discussion

■May 16, 7 p.m. by New Salem Public Library (online) — Book discussion

■May 17, 1 to 4 p.m. by Cushman Library in Bernardston — Open house at Couch Brook Farm

■May 17, 4:30 p.m. by Belding Memorial Library in Ashfield — Pollinator workshop

■May 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by New Salem Public Library, Orange Public Libraries, Warwick Free Public Library and Wendell Free Library — Library Day at Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op

■May 19, 4 p.m. by Leverett Library — “The Buzz About Bees and Flowers with Lynn Adler”

■May 20, 1 to 4 p.m. by Cushman Library in Bernardston — Open house at Cat’s Croft

■May 20, 7 p.m. by Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield and Erving Public Library — Book discussion

■May 21: 11 a.m. by Tilton Library in South Deerfield — “CISA Senior Farm Share and Healthy Incentives Program”

■May 21, 11 a.m. by Tilton Library in South Deerfield — “Visit with the Goats from Firefly Fields Farm”

■May 21, 11 a.m. by Carnegie Library in Turners Falls — “Heart-Shaped Seed Paper and Bombs”

■May 21, 11 a.m. by Pelham Public Library — “Biodiversity in the Garden: Garden Design with Native Plants”

■May 22, 2 p.m. by M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury — “Growing a Summer Salad”

■May 24, 3 p.m. by Cushman Library in Bernardston — Tour of Cheshire Garden in Winchester, New Hampshire

■May 24, 6 p.m. by Hatfield Public Library — Book discussion

■May 25, 5:30 p.m. by Field Memorial Library in Conway — Virtual tour of Natural Roots

■May 26, 6:30 p.m. (online) by Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield — Q&A with Author Kristin Kimball

■May 28, 9 a.m. (outside) by Tilton Library in South Deerfield — “Mindful Gardening with Sweet Roots Gardens”

■May 28, 3 p.m. by Cushman Library in Bernardston — Tour at RootsStone&Bones

■May 30, 10 a.m. by Belding Memorial Library in Ashfield — Morning at Red Gate Farm

■May 30, 10 a.m. to noon by Pelham Public Library — Children’s seed planting

■TBD: Wendell Free Library — Book discussion

■TBD: Montague Public Libraries — Bee presentation

■TBD: Arms Library in Shelburne Falls — Seed saving workshop

■TBD: S. White Dickinson Memorial Library, Whately — Tractor show

■TBD: S. White Dickinson Memorial Library, Whately — Lecture on tobacco farming


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy