Why is RML Closed? (and other FAQ)

RML closed its doors to the public on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020.

How can I get books out of the library?

We are officially offering Porchside Pick-up! Contact us at 453-4471, russellmemlibrary@gmail.com, or here to tell us what books you’d like (or to request a librarian’s recommendation). Then come pick things up from our porch during open hours on Thurs from 4-7 and Sat from 9-12 noon. See here for the full details on how things work.

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Librarians Recommend: The Well

Deb Recommends: The Well
by Mildred Taylor

During a drought, the Logan family shares their well water with all their neighbors, black and white alike. But David and Hammer find it hard to share with Charlie Simms, who torments them because they are black. Hammer’s pride and Charlie’s meanness are a dangerous mixture, and tensions build and build.

The Well packs a lot of story into a small YA book of 98 pages. Meet the hard working Logan family, black property owners who share the sweet water of their well with White and Black neighbors alike. Some of the White people think the Logans are uppity, even as they queue up a wagon loaded with barrels to fill with water. Taylor writes powerful stories and her vivid characters are revealed in each of her books about the Logans.

Check out the hardcopy at RML.

BLM Feature: Black Fiber Artists

When people talk about the knitting stereotype, they generally think of little old ladies with their baskets of yarn and clicking needles. But knitting and crochet and other fiber arts are more than just little white ladies.

There are hundreds of fiber artists out there of all different genders, races, and backgrounds. Many showcase their work online, proud of their achievements and wanting to inspire and help others learn their craft. Check out these awesome Black artists teaching the world about fiber art.

Heavenly Bresser has a fantastic website and blog talking all about processing fiber, spinning, knitting, weaving, and her independent yarn business. A certified teacher, published author, and generally amazing fiber artist, she also leads online workshops and spin-alongs, like this year’s Tour du Fleece.

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Genre Feature: Spooky Summer Reads

In the States, most people associate spooky reads with the fall, but have you ever noticed how many horror stories take place during the sticky heat of summer?

That in mind, here are some scary summer reads for teens and adults:

by Gretchen McNeil

Ten teens. Three days. One killer.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie are looking forward to two days of boys, booze, and fun-filled luxury. But what starts out as fun turns twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. And things only get worse from there.

With a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the outside world . . . so when a mysterious killer begins picking them off one by one, there’s no escape. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on one another, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Available as an ebook, in hardcopy @ RML

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Recently this website has been featuring a lot of Black authors, readers, videographers, podcasters, and more. But some may wonder why this tiny country library is promoting diverse authors in a community that is extremely white. So, here are some answers to questions you may be asking.

Who’s writing these blog posts?

I’m a bit camera shy. Have a pic of me reading with my cat.

I, the author of 99% of the non-book summary content on this website, am the Assistant Librarian at RML. You may know me as Jim and Penny’s daughter. You may know me as the librarian who isn’t Deb. You may know me as the nerdy one that’s always crocheting or playing games in the library.

Why are you writing these blog posts?

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A Magical Summer

We have decided to go public with our library’s access to Tom Verner and Le Fleur’s delightful Magician School. That’s right–you no longer need to register with us. Instead, just go check out our Summer Reading Program Homepage to start learning.

Or you could click here. That works too.

If we didn’t grab your attention with the whole learn-to-do-magic thing here are a couple more reasons to check out the program:

It’s taught by world-class professional VERMONTERS.

The people teaching this class? They live in Lincoln. As in–a part of the same school district as us. They are also world-traveling magicians who bring joy to kids from all sorts of different countries.

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Genre Feature: Indigenous Authors

You may have heard some of the protests from Indigenous communities. Indigenous is a big umbrella term that covers the native peoples of every continent and country, including Native Americans and the First Nations people of Canada. As the Black Lives Matter protests continue, groups of Indigenous People have also been finding traction at long last in their movements to abolish racist team names, to get help in their under-served communities, and to have White communities finally recognize some of the difficulties they face.

With that in mind, here are some books you can read to educate yourself about Indigenous peoples, all by Indigenous authors of a variety of communities.

There, There by Tommy Orange

This novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American–grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.

ebookaudiobook – hardcopy @ RML

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Librarians’ Recommend: The Watsons Go to Birmingham

Kat Recommends: The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis

Available in Hardcopy at RML, as an Overdrive ebook, and as an Overdrive audiobook (Read by LeVar Burton!!!).

Enter the hilarious world of ten-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. There’s Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron, who’s thirteen and an “official juvenile delinquent.” When Momma and Dad decide it’s time for a visit to Grandma, Dad comes home with the amazing Ultra-Glide, and the Watsons set out on a trip like no other.

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BLM Genre Feature: Memoir

Yes, of course we have books by Oprah and the Obamas, but there are more than just rich folk out there writing memoir. Here are some lesser-known memoir by Black folk available through Overdrive and/or at RML.

The Last Black Unicorn
by Tiffany Haddish

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend. None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

available as an ebook, audiobook, and hardcopy at RML

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BLM Podcast Feature: American History

History has a reputation for being boring. It doesn’t have to be that way. Check out some of these engaging podcasts that show how important history can be–especially Black history.


Four hundred years ago, a ship carrying enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. A new audio series from the New York Times examines the long shadow of that fateful moment.

If you the kind of person who hated your history classes, try this podcast. It’s a lot more thoughtful and lyrical than those history classes you suffered through in school.

Also, this podcast is only six episodes long. The average audiobook is longer. Give this a listen–you won’t regret it.

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Librarians Recommend: Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Deb Recommends: Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

This books is available in hard copy at the library, as well as in ebook and audiobook format on Overdrive.

This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—

Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Wiping out.
Braving up.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
Making jokes.
Lotioning up.
Finding comfort.
But mostly, too busy walking home.

This collection of short stories can be read as a whole or each story may stand alone. A group of friends work together to understand and share hope and find solutions to help one another in solving life problems. School culture, bullying, death, cancer, and more are experiences which the characters face together. Caring relationships drive the young people to bond as they negotiate through the difficulty of growing up. This hopeful and loving story stays with the reader long after they finish it.