Celebrate National Library Week!

April is a very special month for libraries! First and foremost, the second week of the month is National Library Week! Not only that though, April is also School Library Month and it contains National Library Workers Day, National Bookmobile Day, and Support Teen Literature Day! [All of which happen during National Library Week.] PLUS both America’s first dictionary Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), and Peter Roget’s Thesaurus (1852) were first published in April as well! 

(Personally speaking, I find it rather cool that The Bard himself was born in April too! Keep an eye out for our up-coming blog!)

What/When is National Library Week?

National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the United States each April, typically the second full week.

Why do we have National Library Week?

National Library Week is an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities. 

So… How did National Library week start?

According to the American Library Association, in the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less money on books and more on radios, TVs, and musical instruments. In 1954, concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers Council formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee. The committee’s goals were ambitious. They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing strong and happy family life.” 

In 1957 the National Book Committee recommended the establishment of a National Library Week, hoping that it would motivate people to read and to support libraries. The first National Library Week was observed May 16-22, 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!” National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship. The 60th anniversary of National Library Week was celebrated in 2018.

[Metered mail provided a great vehicle for promoting by the ALA.]

Now, the National Book Committee were not the first ones to either suggest, or hold, a library appreciation week, though! In fact, the first time it was officially suggested was in 1922 at the Detroit Conference of the American Library Association by the Publicity Committee of the American Library Association. The recommendation of the Publicity Committee was prompted by other organizations/locations’ success. Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, California, and even Hawaii were all states that celebrated a Library Appreciation Week prior to the current national version.

Each year the week follows a certain theme. For example: the theme of the first sponsored week in 1958 was “Wake Up and Read!” In 2008, the week’s 50th anniversary the theme was “Join the circle of knowledge at your library,” and this year, 2022, the theme is “Connect with your library!

You can view a list of all the past themes here: https://www.ala.org/aboutala/1958/national-library-week-history#themes


For more information:






Happy St. Patrick’s Day

It’s March 17th! You know what that means, right?

Happy Maewyn Succat Day!

Wait… What? Don’t know who in the world Maewyn Succat is? Well then, let us explain!

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, no matter the day of the week. This day was chosen for the holiday because it is the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death. This year, St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday, March 17, 2022.

The history of St Patrick, the apostle of Ireland, who was born in the second half of the 4th century, is incredibly, and perhaps inevitably, vague. There has always been controversy over his place of origin, his birthname, and his ancestry (English, Welsh, or Scottish). Even the years of his birth and death are still matters of speculation. What little we do know of Patrick’s early life comes from his own pen in two surviving documents: “Confessio” (Confession, a spiritual autobiography) and his much shorter “Epistola to Coroticus”(Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.)

You can read these two works in English here:

A little caveat:

According to Edward O’Donnell (Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College) contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick was not the first Christian missionary in Ireland. Some evidence exists of missionaries traveling through Ireland by the late fourth century A.D., but they seemed to have enjoyed little success. The best-known missionary before Patrick was Palladius, sent by Pope Celestine to minister to “the Irish who believe in Christ.” Many scholars believe that at least some of the deeds and accomplishments later attributed to St Patrick were more likely those of Palladius. Some scholars believe that Palladius and Patrick are one and the same individual, while most believe Palladius was unsuccessful (possibly martyred) and Patrick was sent in his place.

(Confessio of St Patrick, edited by Sir James Ware, 1656.)

Saint Patrick’s real name was probably Maewyn Succat, pronounced as My Win. (“Magonus Succetus” in Latin.) It is uncertain exactly when Maewyn (henceforth Patrick) was born, but it is believed to have been between 385-390 A.D., in the village of Bannaven of Taberniae. Which was somewhere along the north-west coast of the Roman province of Britannia. The actual location of “Bannaven of Taberniae.” has never been securely identified.

Patrick’s father, Calpornius (or Calphurnius, or Calpurnius), was a Roman-British army officer and a decurio (deacon) from a Roman family of high social standing. Patrick’s grandfather, Pontius, was also a member of the clergy, and according to legend, his mother was Conchessa, a niece of the famous St. Martin of Tours (316-397 CE).

For more information on St. Martin of Tours please visit: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Martin-of-Tours

Surprisingly, despite his family’s connection to the church, Patrick himself was not raised with a strong emphasis on religion, nor education apparently. In his “Confessio”, Patrick describes his youth as “not very religious and not very studious“. Later in life, this would become a source of embarrassment for him, he would write “That is why, today, I blush and am afraid to expose my lack of experience, because I can’t express myself with the brief words I would like in my heart and soul.

When Patrick was 16 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates. They brought him to Ireland where he was sold into slavery in Dalriada. He was sold to a man named Milchu (or Miluic, or Miliue), who was a high priest of Druidism, a Pagan sect that held major religious influence over the country at the time. Patrick worked as a shepherd on Slemish Mountain located in County Antrim. [There is some speculation that Patrick spent his confinement in County Mayo near Killala.]

~~ I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others. We deserved this, because we had gone away from God, and did not keep his commandments. We would not listen to our priests, who advised us about how we could be saved. ~~

During his years of captivity Patrick came to view his enslavement as God’s punishment for his lack of faith, and he became deeply devoted to Christianity through constant prayer. “I prayed frequently during the day. More and more the love of God increased, and my sense of awe before God. Faith grew, and my spirit was moved, so that in one day I would pray up to one hundred times, and at night perhaps the same. ” (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the pagan Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

Around 408 A.D., after more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick received a sign that it was time for him to return to his family. Patrick wrote in the Confessio that an angel appeared in a dream and told him, “You have fasted well. Very soon you will return to your native country.” The angel told him of a Scottish ship leaving Ireland, “I heard a someone saying to me: ’Look – your ship is ready.’”

(Pat Nicolle)

Patrick re-counts that upon waking from the dream, he immediately set out on foot toward the coast. The young man walked across 200 miles of peat bogs and forests before arriving at a port. He then tried booking passage on a merchant ship heading to Britain but was refused. However, after he was turned away, he prayed for help, and the captain of the ship sent for him to come on board. Three days later they landed on the shores of Britain. Eventually, he was reunited with his family.

Patrick’s family was over-joyed to have him home. “They welcomed me as a son, and they pleaded with me that, after all the many tribulations I had undergone, I should never leave them again.” So, there he remained, at the home of his parents, until another visionary dream moved him to leave. The people of Ireland were calling him back to minister to them about God. However, not feeling prepared for such a mighty task, Patrick sought higher training.

~~ I saw, in a vision in the night, a man whose name was Victoricus coming as it were from Ireland with so many letters they could not be counted. He gave me one of these, and I read the beginning of the letter, the voice of the Irish people. They called out as it were with one voice: “We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us.” This touched my heart deeply, and I could not read any further; I woke up then.~~

St Patrick being taught by St Germanus

Patrick went to Autissiodurum, Gaul (modern day Auxerre, France) where he studied and entered the priesthood under the guidance of the missionary Saint Germanus (Germain in French.) After a period of religious training, he was ordained a deacon around 418 A.D. and in 432 A.D. he was ordained and consecrated as a bishop to Ireland with the name Patricius, which became Patrick.

Upon his arrival in Ireland, Patrick was initially met with resistance, but his knowledge of Ireland’s language and customs facilitated his work in converting Druid priests, chieftains and aristocrats by the thousands. Patrick managed to spread Christian teachings far and wide (along with other missionaries) through preaching, writing and performing countless baptisms.

Throughout his missionary work, Patrick traveled around Ireland supporting church officials, creating councils, and founding/establishing churches, monasteries and schools. By the time of his death, believed to be March 17, 461 (or 493, depending on which scholars you side with), he had organized Ireland into dioceses and left an ordered Christian church in Ireland as his legacy.

After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick passed in Saul, where he had built his first church. It is generally accepted (but not proven) that Saint Patrick is buried at Saul Roman Catholic Churchyard Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. His grave was marked in 1990 with a carved memorial stone of Mourne Mountain Granite.

And so, every March 17 this is why Ireland, the Irish around the world, and those who love the Irish spirit, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Happy Maewyn Succat Day!





All Things Browntail-Moth Awareness

The Maine Forest Service has announced that February 2022 has been recognized as Browntail Moth Awareness Month in Maine to encourage people to take advantage of the dormant season of the insect and join together to reduce impacts from Browntail-moth.

Let’s take some time to learn about these annoying creepy-crawlies.

What is the Browntail-moth and how did it get here?
The Browntail-moth (Euproctis Chrysorrhoea) is a species of moth that was accidentally brought to Massachusetts from its native Europe in 1897. Browntail-moths are now found living in all New England states in addition to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Why are Browntail-moths an issue?
There are 2 main issues when it comes to Browntail-moth: feeding and hairs.

The larval, or caterpillar, stage of the Browntail-moth feed on the greenery of hardwood trees and shrubs. Common host trees and shrubs include (but are not limited to): Oak, apple, crabapple, cherry, hawthorn, shadbush, service berry, and rugosa rose. These feeding habits can cause a decrease in plant growth, branch dieback, and in some cases death for the tree/shrub.

According to Allison Kanoti, the state entomologist for Maine, Browntail-moth-caterpillar hairs are barbed and hollow. And inside that hollow tube, there’s a reservoir of a toxin. The tiny (0.15mm) barbed hairs shed by the caterpillars can cause severe rashes, similar to poison ivy (which results from both a chemical reaction to the toxin in the hairs and a physical irritation as the barbed hairs become embedded in the skin.), headaches, eye irritation, and respiratory problems which can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks.

These microscopic hairs settle on line-drying clothing, backyard picnic tables, patio furniture and the ground beneath infested trees. The hairs can easily be stirred up by wind, outdoor chores such as mowing, raking, gardening, sweeping, and outdoor activities such as hiking/walking, biking, fishing, etc., and the hairs remain toxic for 1-3 years!

What do they look like?
Browntail-moths are most likely to be seen and recognized in their caterpillar and moth stages.

Caterpillar stage: Browntail-moth caterpillars grow to about 1.5 inches in length. They are dark brown with broken white stripes running along either side of their bodies. They have two obvious red/orange dots on their back and are covered in small hairs.

Moth stage: Adult Browntail-moths have a wingspan that is about 1.5 inches. They have snow white wings/bodies, with tufts of brown hair on the tips of their abdomens.

Don’t be fooled by these innocent Browntail-moth look-alikes!:


While they may have some features in common with the Browntail-moth, these caterpillars do not pose the same threats as Browntail-moths do.

Browntail-moth life-cycle

Browntail-moths produce one generation per year and have four life stages: egg, larval, pupal, and adult.

As the diagram above shows Browntail-moth caterpillars become active in the spring, leaving their overwintering webs to feed on newly emerged leaves of their host plant until they are fully grown, usually around the end of June, and then form their cocoons (these are often found between leaves on trees, under eaves, picnic tables, decks, etc.). Adult moths emerge in late July and August, and female moths begin their oviposition (the egg-laying process.) They can produce between 200-400 eggs, which they protect by covering them with brown hairs from their body. When the eggs hatch towards the end of August, colonies of caterpillars build winter webs on the tips of branches. These webs, made of white silk tightly woven around a leaf or small number of leaves, can be 2-5 inches long, and can house anywhere from 25 to 400 caterpillars.

How to limit your exposure to Browntail-moth

  • Avoid places heavily infested with caterpillars
  • Keep car and house windows closed. Airborne hairs can settle onto indoor surfaces in high-risk areas.
  • When performing activities outdoors choose damp days or wet the areas you are working in. Moisture helps keep the hairs from becoming airborne.
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, and a hat and tightly secure clothing around the neck, wrists, and ankles.
  • In areas of high infestation consider wearing goggles and a respirator or cloth mask, especially if you are prone to respiratory issues.
  • Dry laundry inside during June and July to avoid hairs embedding into clothing.

What to do if exposed to Browntail-moth caterpillar hairs

  • Before going indoors, use duct tape or a sticky-type lint roller to remove any hairs that may be embedded in your skin.
  • Immediately wash exposed clothing (alone) in hot water and dry in the dryer.  
  • Take a cool 10–15-minute shower. Exposed skin can be gently scrubbed with a rough cloth to help remove embedded hairs.

Management/Removing of webs

The Maine Forest Service recommends clipping webs between October and mid-April before caterpillars emerge from winter webs and begin feeding on new leaves. This task is more easily accomplished when there are no leaves on the trees as the webs are more visible. Keep in mind that only the section of the branches that hold webs need to be removed. Equipment that can be used includes a pair of hand snips, hand saw, and/or pole pruner (which you can borrow from our lovely library!), eye protection, clothing to cover skin and gloves. Collect nests and burn or soak in soapy water 3-5 days then throw them away.

Pesticides can be used to control caterpillars if done before the end of May. The Maine Forest Service recommends contracting with a licensed pesticide applicator to control Browntail-moth. Products must be labeled for the site of treatment. A list of contractors willing to do Browntail-moth work can be found here: www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/invasive_threats/browntail_moth_info.htm

Want more information? Check out these sources!

-Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation & Forestry brochure: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/documents/browntail_moth_brochure.pdf


-University of Maine: Cooperative Extension: https://extension.umaine.edu/home-and-garden-ipm/fact-sheets/common-name-listing/brown-tail-moth/


Here’s the complete presentation from the February 2022 informational session and demonstration on how to remove browntail moths from trees with Maine Forest Service Entomologist Colleen Teerling