All posts by Jeff Hartman

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Library Service Update – March 20

The library building will be staffed, but closed to the public until further notice

Our staff is available to offer support over the phone, via email, and online chat. We can help with questions about ebooks and streaming services, reading suggestions, your library account, and general reference inquiries!

Our hours for the time being are as follows:

Monday through Thursday: 9:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Sunday: Closed

You can also use the library WiFi at any time from the library grounds and parking lot anytime!

Online Programs

We will be having Facebook Live storytimes and singalongs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:00 am! We’re also looking to add virtual book discussions soon as well. Follow us on social media for more news about these programs! Past library programs, including lectures, workshops, music, and more, are available through Chelmsford Telemedia’s website:

Curbside Pickup Has Ended

We were thrilled to be able to offer this service while it was still feasible, but updated guidelines from the Board of Health and the announcement of Chelmsford’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 convinced us that the practice was too risky. For now, the best source for library resources is through our e-content page which offers access to online books, audiobooks, music, movies, magazines, and more, including newspapers and research databases.

No Need To Renew Items

All due dates will be extended until the library reopens – no need to call and renew! Patrons are asked to stay home and keep their library materials until we reopen, however, the drop-box in the parking lot is available for anyone who must return their items at this time. Since there is no delivery between libraries, any items people have requested are currently suspended and will be reactivated once we reopen.

Donations Suspended

We are currently unable to accept donations of books or other materials. Please hold these donations until things get back to normal and the Friends can plan for the next book sale.

Tax Appointments and Other Programs

All programs, including tax help appointments, are suspended. The AARP is planning to honor existing appointments as best they can at a later date, but do not know when this will happen. However, the IRS has extended the tax filing deadline to July 15.

What’s Next?

At this time, we do not know when we are going to reopen for normal services. The situation continues to evolve, and we will continue to provide updates through our website, social media, and email newsletter. Please sign up for the newsletter to stay informed at

What if I have other questions?

Call us: 978-256-5521
Email us:
Facebook Message:
Chat: Click “Ask a Question” in the bottom right of our website

This is the plan for now! We will provide updated information as it becomes available. Thanks for your patience! Follow us on social media for online activities and opportunities in the meantime.

Get Creative While You’re Home!

Need to get started on a new project so you don’t go stir crazy? Want to have fun and try something while you collaborate with friends online? Check out Creativebug to learn a new skill or hobby with 1,000+ award-winning art & craft video classes, taught by recognized design experts and artists. You can also see a list of project videos before logging in with your library card.

Each project is a video-based tutorial, led by an expert, providing step-by-step instructions. Each lesson also provides a complete materials list and list of necessary tools. Videos can be watched and rewatched as many time as you like.

Some of the included topics are Art & Design, Sewing, Quilting, Paper, Knitting, Crochet, Food & Home, Jewelry, Holiday & Party, and projects for Kids. Each of these areas are further broken down by category, or you can search by keyword. Besides the classes, Creativebug also offers a pattern library, with free downloads of knitting and crocheting patterns.

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to draw, work with leather, make a dreamcatcher, sew a kid’s apron – or hundreds of other skills – check out Creativebug!

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COVID-19 Update – March 18

The library building will be staffed, but closed to the public until further notice.

Update: Curbside pickup ending — Given the announcement by the Board of Health that there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 here in Chelmsford, we are going to discontinue our curbside pickup program for the safety of employees and the public. Wednesday night by 9:00 pm will be the last chance to check out library material for the foreseeable future. Call us with any requests! As always, we appreciate your patience during this difficult time.

Digital resources are available at

What if I have other questions?

Call us: (978) 256-5521
Email us:
Facebook Message:
Chat: Click “Ask a Question” in the bottom right of our website

This is the plan for now! We will provide updated information as it becomes available. Thanks for your patience! Follow us on social media for online activities and opportunities in the meantime.

Lucy Knisley Soap and Water Graphic

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Dear Library Patrons,

Lucy Knisley Soap and Water GraphicRESPONSE UPDATE 2 – March 16:

Due to updated federal and state guidelines, all town buildings, including the library, will be closed to the public beginning Monday. Watch our website and FB posts as we update you on services that you can access from home. Delivery of library materials has also been suspended by the state- we will catch you up on more details soon! Stay healthy and stay safe!

RESPONSE UPDATE – March 13: Events Canceled

After discussion with Town Manager Paul Cohen, the library has suspended all library programs and children’s activities and all outside use of the meeting rooms. This suspension will continue through the end of March when we will re-evaluate based on updates about the virus. This is a fluid situation – please check back for updates as the situation evolves.

As you may well have heard, Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency due to developing concerns surrounding the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The Chelmsford Public Library is responding to guidelines recommended by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and our own Board of Health.

We encourage any concerned patrons, especially those in high-risk populations, to stay home if they are feeling ill or are simply concerned about potential exposure. We will continue to offer a wide array of digital resources, including books, audiobooks, music, streaming movies and television, and digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines at

We are monitoring the situation carefully and will adjust our programming accordingly. Some events may be canceled on short notice at the discretion of either the library or presenters. Please check the library calendar and follow us on social media for updates.

  • Our One Book Chelmsford Author Visit with Anne Hood will be postponed until Sunday, September 13 at 2 pm
  • Dads and Donuts and Weekday Storytimes are canceled
  • The Friday Lecture on Global Sex Trafficking on March 13 has been canceled
  • Genealogy Club Interest Group meetings have been canceled
  • The Board of Health lecture on the Facts and Dangers of Vaping scheduled for Tues, March 24 has been canceled
  • Why We Haven’t Cured Cancer,  scheduled for Weds, March 25, has been canceled
  • The Bread Making Workshop scheduled for Thurs, March 26 has been postponed
  • The Springfest Plotluck and Putt Putt event scheduled for April 4 and 5 has been postponed

We have put safety measures in place that hopefully will help to stop the spread of viruses in the library and in the community:

  • Posted signage about proper hygiene and handwashing procedures
  • Hand sanitizer at desks and touchless wall sanitizers around the building

Our custodial staff is applying EPA approved disinfectant every six hours (as recommended by the CDC) to:

  • Table tops, chair backs, door knobs, crash bars, bathroom latches and doors, elevator buttons and stair railings
  • Service desks, computer keyboards and mice, and phones
  • Kitchen spaces, refrigerators, sinks, microwaves, and coffee pots

In the children’s room:

  • The toys in the play area are now in storage until further notice.
  • Headphones have been disinfected and are now stored behind the desk.
  • iPads have been disinfected and will be disinfected after each use.
  • Theme-related cloth backpacks with toys and book/media collections have been temporarily removed from circulation.
  • Toys/instruments/board books used for programming will be disinfected at the end of each program.

Per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the library is not currently disinfecting borrowed library books or other media when they are checked in nor as they are browsed or used in the building.

Please ask us if you have any questions and in the meantime, please stay healthy and safe!

Becky Herrmann, Library Director, and the Staff of the Chelmsford Public Library

MVLC Boycotts New eBooks from Macmillan Publishing

There are almost 780,000 patrons in the towns served by the 36 libraries in the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC). Beginning in November, the Macmillan publishing company announced that it would sell only ONE copy of every newly released eBook to each library system across the country. In response, MVLC has followed the lead of the Massachusetts Library Association and the American Library Association and will be boycotting these titles, refusing to purchase a single copy that the vast majority of our patrons would be unable to access.

The move by Macmillan is designed to frustrate library users and force them to purchase eBooks that they have in the past been able to borrow from us. Libraries nationwide have refused to accept this attempt to limit our readers’ access to the books they love and will continue to fight attempts to undermine the whole concept of the free public library. We’ll continue to acquire new titles from other publishers, and this boycott has no impact on print books, audio CDs, and digital audiobooks.

The Chelmsford Public Library continues to offer access to over 50,000 digital titles and over 5 million physical items through MVLC. We appreciate how much you love and support us and we promise that as we use your tax dollars to make purchases from book publishers, we will make sure that we are all treated fairly.

You can read the complete statement from MVLC here. If you would like to contact Macmillan directly, you can email them at, or consider signing the “eBooks for All” petition found here:

2020 Oscars Film

2020 Oscar Nominated Films

From Little Women and Les Miserables to The Irishman and Joker, it was a big year for books at the Academy Awards! Did Greta Gerwig get snubbed? Did Joker really deserve all those nominations? Get your reservations in for the movies (or the books that they’re based on!) from the Chelmsford Public Library! Some titles (like 1917, Bombshell, Little Women, and Marriage Story) are not yet available, but look for them later in the year.

Local Author Fair, 2019

Just in time for the gift-giving season, and in honor of National Novel Writing month, we’re bringing together a wonderful crowd of local authors ready to provide you with your next great read. Don’t miss out!

Local Author Fair 2019

Authors Include:

Joanne Carota lives outside the Boston area with her husband, Mark, nearby her adult children. She’s a lifelong Massachusetts resident, in part because it has the best seafood in the world. She currently teaches writing at UMass Lowell (2008-present) and holds an MFA from Solstice and an MA in Writing and Literature from Rivier University. In past lives, she worked at M.I.T./Lincoln Lab, Lockheed Martin, and Textron.  The Docks is her debut novel.
The Docks by Joanne Carota By day, Kameryn James works as a psychotherapist named Alison. About three years ago, she finally made a childhood dream come true and published a few short horror stories in some anthologies under her pen name (Voices from the Gloom, Vol. 1 and Dead Guns Press Book 2: Undead War.) She has also appeared twice in Sirens Call Publications online  magazine. She also helps coordinate the Chelmsford Library Writers’ Group.
Rick Conti has written a dozen screenplays, a hundred or so sketches and short plays, and a handful of short stories. A Slippery Land was his first novel and he published A Song in the Storm in 2017.  Rick’s love for Haiti began on a 10-day mission trip there in 2000. Suffering from a classic case of “reverse homesickness”, he has returned several times. For eight years, he served as Director of Communications for a nonprofit that helps Haitian women create and maintain their own businesses.
Glenn Davison is a kite designer, kite builder, workshop leader, author, and flyer.  Glenn has been an invited guest for worldwide kite events in the USA, Canada, India, Taiwan, Colombia, and the Virgin Islands. Glenn is the past chairman of the Kite Education committee for the American Kitefliers Association.  He is President of the club called Kites Over New England and he has appeared in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV. His book gives a visual explanation of the physics of kites in flight with 125 pictures and illustrations and 65 experiments.
You Know What by Carol Gordon Ekster Carol Gordon Ekster has a Masters degree in reading and language, and has participated in many literature related workshops and courses.  She used picture books for years to read to students to help them understand a new concept or reinforce something they studied, whether it was math, health, social studies, or science.  She didn’t even realize that she was doing the prep work to becoming an author…which is to read, read, and read some more.
Laura Fedolfi grew up in Chichester, NH. She attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Wesleyan University and then went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She has lived for the last 18 years in Chelmsford, MA where she has raised two children. Her series, Revealing Hannah: The Greek Myths, follows the adventures of Hannah Summers as she navigates her first years after college. Imagine trying to sort out work, life and love with the added complication of having your fate entwined with the Greek gods.
Convergence of Valor by Guntis Goncarvos Guntis Goncarovs is an analytical chemist by education and a  historian by interest and   storyteller by passion. Born in Seneca Falls, New York, to Latvian immigrants, Goncarovs spent his early years listening to his parents’ and grandparents’ stories of the old country. He continued a study of Latvia and family  history for over twenty years, and returned to his homeland on several occasions to explore the land which so consumed his attention. Telmenu Saimnieks was Goncarovs’ first published novel, derived from a compilation of the family stories and historical study. He has followed his historical interest with Convergence of Valor and Havana’s Secret.
Letter from a Dead Man by Sharon Healy-Yang In addition to writing,  Sharon Healy-Yang recently retired from her day job as a teacher in the English Department at Worcester State University. She’s a huge fan of films  and books created during the 1930s-50s, with their blend of sharp wit, humor, and dark suspense. That passion inspired her to write Bait and Switch and Letter from a Dead Man, a mystery/romance set in the 1940s and published by Touchpoint Press.
Parsi Cuisine by Rita Kapadia Since 1999, Rita Kapadia has been inspired by old traditional Parsi cookbooks and her mother’s cooking. She has cooked for family and friends, meticulously writing recipes and taking photographs over the years. The English Parsi Cuisine Cookbook series is a labor of love. The cookbooks began in an effort to maintain our recipes and traditions for the next generation, many of whom have been raised in India.
Mrs. Amazing and the Seed by Julie Lavender Julie Lavender is a heart-winning storyteller, artist, professional musician, and host of a nationally syndicated Jazz radio program, DreamFarm Radio. Her family inhabits a pre-revolutionary era farmhouse in New England that bustles with big personalities and creative energy. In 2019, Lavender released Mrs. Amazing and The Seed, the first in a series of mysterious, witty, fiction – fantasy – science adventures for ages 10-100.
Now We Have Nothing by Andy Mascola Andy Mascola is the author of the novels Kissing Oblivion, Animal Control, Paper Bag Revolver, and Who’s Afraid of the Virgin Wolves? among others. He is also a Senior Writer for the music blog Surviving the Golden Age and the host of the PEOPLE ARE THE ENEMY podcast. His most recent book, Now We Have Nothing,  follows the unusual siblings Catherine and Max Howe over hundreds of years into the present-day as they struggle independently for survival and a sense of identity in a world where their secrets could cost them their lives.
A lifelong runner and sailor, K.D. Mason lives on the New Hampshire seacoast with his wife and his cats, Molly and Jasper. He has two grown children, a son who lives in Las Vegas and a daughter, who has recently moved to California. A lifetime of working in the restaurant business, sailing in the Caribbean and New England as well as hanging out with an active running community has given him a wealth of story ideas.
Wisdom Whisperer by Kathy Murphy Kathleen Murphy grew up in Lexington, MA and graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Journalism, and has been published in Advancing Women, AskTheExpert, The Huffington Post, i4Business, Money, Readers Digest, Recruiter, and Thrive Global. As founder and CEO of Market Me Too, Murphy is known for radiating enthusiasm, positive energy and her highly creative problem solving and entrepreneurial approach to growing companies. Her marketing career has spanned more than 20 years, and has been focused on technology and start-up companies in a variety of industries.
A Better Life by Norma Murphy Norma Murphy was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband. They also own a home in Newbury, New Hampshire, where she does much of her writing. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in English and her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at UMass Lowell, Norma was a teacher for 18 years. The last eight years of her teaching career included teaching the power and joy of writing to middle school students. A Better Life is Norma’s debut novel.
The Witch at Rivermouth by Stephen O'Connor Stephen O’Connor is a native of Lowell,     Massachusetts, where much of his writing is set. He is the author of Smokestack Lightning, a collection of short stories, and two novels. The first, The Spy in the City of Books is historical   fiction set in Lowell, Mass, and in WWII France. It is based in part on interviews with a former OSS operative who served in Occupied France. The second, The Witch at Rivermouth, has been described as “a cerebral mystery.” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lucinda Franks called it, “rich, eerie and intriguing.”
Anna Portillo is a self-taught musician and singer who has been writing songs, short stories, and poetry since childhood. She wrote her first novel, The Realms of Oneira, in 2013.  Anna spent decades exploring different  genres, learning new instruments, creating choral arrangements with multiple harmonies and even dabbled with word games, crosswords, and jingles.  Her style of music is a fusion that can only be    described as original, memorable, and heartfelt. Her books and songs  take melodic twists and turns that will capture your imagination.
Zachary Watson is a 27 year old math teacher who recently wrote his first book, Ideas Over Coffee. He’s spoken at a TEDx Conference, and loves speaking to students, peers and youth about the philosophies that have allowed him to love the life that he has. He loves sharing his life experience to show students that he doesn’t have it all figured out. He loves speaking about subjects he feels are not covered enough in everyday conversation. He shares videos on YouTube that feature his students, that offer origami tutorials, and that share some of his poetry for the world to judge.


Annual Apple Pie Contest: Nov. 3rd, 2019

The leaves have turned, the smell of woodsmoke is in the air, and there’s a pleasant chill in the evening. It all means that it’s time for pie!

The Annual Apple Pie Contest was held on Sunday, November 3rd, from 1 – 4 PM!
15 beautiful pies were submitted and the competition was stiff. Thank you to all who participated and congratulations to all the winners! A special thanks to the Friends of the Library who host this every year!

2019 First Place Winner Scott Dreher First Place
Scott Dreher2019 First Place Recipe
2019 Second Place winner, Erin Cox Second Place
Erin Cox2019 Second Place Recipe
2019 Third Place Winner Jill Candlen Third Place
Jill Candlen2019 Third Place Recipe
2019 People's Choice award winner, Tony Blank People’s Choice Award
Tony Blank2019 Peoples Choice Recipe

Here are the rules:
Pies are to be homemade, with that famous homemade double crust. Filling is to be just apples (no raisins, cranberries, etc.) and the recipe must include the type of apple(s) used a.k.a. your winning combination! Contestants must pre-register online and prepare a printed copy of your recipe to submit with the pie, or submit your recipe in advance via email to Jessica at Pies must be brought to the library on the day of the contest (Sunday November 3) by 1:30 pm for judging.

The Judges & The Prize
We’ll have some top-notch judges on hand to really dig in and evaluate these tasty treats:

  • Chris Morris is the Boston Globe’s Food and Travel Editor
  • Sarah Ludwig runs Humble Crumb Bakery
  • Lisa Daigle is a Library Trustee and writes for Local Food Journal and about small craft breweries
  • Becky Herrmann is the library director who never passes up a chance to eat or bake pie – whether it is at a Pie Institute at Smoke Signals Bakery in North Carolina or baking artisan pies with the folks at the King Arthur Baking School

Read all about last years’ winners to get some tips on what might please our discerning judges! At stake is a $50 gift card for Kitchen Oufitters in Acton!

Public Welcome!
Pie lovers are welcome to come and feast on the hard work of others (plus donuts and cider) once the judging is complete, beginning around 2:30 pm! Visit for a full contest schedule and details.