All posts by Jeff Hartman

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.

Suitcase Stories

Suitcase Stories

Suitcase StoriesJoin Cheryl Hamilton of the International Institute of New England for a 2-part storytelling workshop. Part 1 will help you to select a story from your own life and begin to craft that story. Part 2 will ask you to bring your finished story, ready to polish into a compelling monologue for performance. On Friday September 27, participants will be invited to share their stories with a live local audience.
This program is an offshoot of the larger Suitcase Stories series which features professional storytellers sharing their own experiences as refugees and immigrants to this country. Find out more about that project here.

August Concerts at MacKay

Summer Concert SeriesJoin us this August for classic rock, blues, folk music, an jazz on the lawn at MacKay. Bring your chairs or a blanket! Rain location: Chelmsford Senior Center, 75 Groton Rd., N. Chelmsford.  Drop in for ages 8 to 108!

August 7 – Knock on Wood with Howie Newman play Classic rock covers and original tunes on a warm summer evening.

August 15 – A Family Affair with Pete and Yamica Peterson bring a mix of blues and rock and roll, covering the classics and performing original music too. You won’t want to miss this electric show!

August 22 – Women in World Jazz celebrate the diversity and power of creativity, presenting vocal and instrumental music from different eras, cultures, and styles. Audience participation is encouraged!

Finished Game of Thrones? Binge your next literary TV show with us!

History, romance, thrillers, and fantasy! The golden age of TV has given us some amazing adaptions of some of our favorite novels. Check these titles out from the library as we give you access to them both on the page and on the screen! Can’t find the latest season? Just put in a request and we’ll get it for you as soon as it’s available.

Big Little Lies (by Liane Moriarty, coming back to HBO for season two this weekend): Friendship and lies, marriage and murder, rumors abound among the families in beachside Monterey, California. While the first season followed the plot of the bestselling novel, no one knows where it goes from here. After winning major awards, the second installment brings in Meryl Streep to join Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Zoe Kravitz.
The Handmaid’s Tale (by Margaret Atwood, returning for season three on Hulu in June): Long since it has abandoned and updated the plot of the 1985 novel, this show continues to be emotionally devastating as it critiques the politics, religion, and gender relations of the real world. With more thoroughly developed characters than the original presented, it’s even inspired Atwood to write a sequel, out in September. Starring the Emmy-winning Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, and Yvonne Strahovski.
Queen Sugar (by Natalie Baszile, season four comes to Prime in June): A Louisiana family reunites after a tragedy and has to deal with the challenges of their changing relationships while running a sugarcane farm. Produced by Oprah Winfrey and directed by Ava DuVernay, the show has won Best TV Drama from the African-American Film Critics Association for three years running.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (by Kerry Greenwood, all three seasons available on DVD): The Honorable Phryne Fisher is a glamourous, gun-toting detective in 1920s Australia, solving crimes and charming the blokes. Full of style, humor, an extensive cast of entertaining characters, the books and the show will thrill traditional and new mystery lovers.
Poldark (by Winston Graham, four seasons on DVD with a fifth coming to PBS later this year): Dark, romantic, and moody, a British veteran of the American Revolutionary War returns to Cornwall at the end of the 18th century and needs to rebuild his life and family. The show has been a surprise hit, adapting books that were originally written in the 1940s and were already adapted for television once before in the 1970s.
Outlander (by Diana Gabaldon, four seasons available with at least two more to follow on Starz): Perhaps the closest in scale to Game of Thrones, Gabaldon has written eight huge novels with more on the way, along with spinoffs focusing on recurring characters. The stories take place as World War II nurse Claire Randall accidentally travels back in time to Scotland in the 1740s where she becomes embroiled in the struggles between the highlanders and England, and later events leading up to the American Revolution.


Bonus content! Get in on the ground floor by reading the books before these brand new adaptations come out:

Catch-22 (by Joseph Heller, now on Hulu): You probably read it in high school, but maybe you need George Clooney to really help you appreciate the absurdity of war and the military?

His Dark Materials (by Phillip Pullman, coming soon to BBC/HBO): After an unsuccessful film adaptation 10 years ago, this dark YA fantasy trilogy drew lots of comparisons to Harry Potter, but with a more philosophical bent. The new version stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Good Omens (by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, coming soon to Prime): Two British masters of fantasy and humor combine for the story of the anti-Christ, destined to bring about the end of the world, but accidentally switched at birth so that he lives a happy and idyllic childhood in the English countryside and would rather NOT usher in the apocalypse.

NOS4A2 (by Joe Hill, coming in June to AMC): Stephen King’s son has turned out to be a master of horror in his own right, particularly in this story of a woman’s lifelong battle against a supernatural child predator.