All posts by Lisa Francine

October’s Friday Fiction Book Group

With these crisp fall days leading into more frigid temperatures we had several book picks at our LIVE Friday Fiction book group in October  that are long-listed and/or finalists for awards.

2018 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction and Young People’s Literature

2018 Man Booker Finalist & 2019 Andrew Carnegie Award Shortlist for Fiction

In addition Jessica  gave an overview of our REACT Grant:  Read, Engage, And Come Together work this coming year.  November and December will focus on the topic of Poverty and Food Insecurity.  Several of our book picks last month also engage the issues that will be explored with our REACT Grant:

Our best wishes for moments of peace and gratitude during the upcoming autumnal holiday season.

Lisa and Jessica

Who Was the Mother of Environmentalism?

If John Muir was the father of the conservation movement in our country, who was the mother of the environmental and sustainability movement?

Here are a few hints:

  • She was born in 1907, and grew up in with no indoor plumbing or heating in Pennsylvania.
  • From a very young age, she wanted to be a writer and had her first story published at the age of 10.
  • Nature and the outdoors was an ongoing “classroom” when she was growing up, which was modeled by her mother, an educated woman who insisted her youngest daughter would attend college.
  • She loved books, being a student, and observing the natural world.
  • In college she majored in English, but surprised herself when she changed it to Biology.
  • Her first job after college was with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
  • During her lifetime, DDT (a synthetic pesticide) was initially considered a medical miracle in preventing diseases such as typhus and malaria.
  • With her years of scientific research and observation she determined that pesticides were not safe for the environment or for humans, and advised using caution before using them.
  • She wrote a seminal book, published in 1962, that kick started the environmental movement, and in turn the sustainability movement.

If you would like to learn more about Rachel Carson, please join us for the next Moveable Feast Book Group at Tequila’s Grill & Cantina, in North Chelmsford, on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

  • From 2pm – 3pm we will be discussing William Souder’s On a Farther Shore:  The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson (you can pick up copies of this biography at our Circulation Desk).
  • From 3pm – 4pm we will be discussing possible nonfiction titles, perhaps with another theme (this past year was Women and Science), e.g., biographies, social justice, animals and/or nature to read starting in Fall of 2018.
  • If you have suggestions please bring them along to our last meeting of the 2017-2018 year.

If you do not have time to read the book, consider watching the PBS documentary American Experience: Rachel Carson, and joining us for our discussion.  Here’s the beginning of the documentary to pique your interest!

Go Sally, Go!

“The stars don’t look bigger, but they do look brighter.”  –Sally Ride

News reporter Lynn Sherr became friends with Sally Ride during her years of coverage of NASA and the space program.  This friendship continued for thirty years.  Her biography Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space will be our next Moveable Feast book group selection at Nobo Restaurant (18 Boston Road) in Chelmsford on Saturday, March 17th from 2pm – 4pm.

In a short video from (Hi5tory in Five), Lynn Sherr shares five facts about Sally:

  1. Sally originally wanted to be a professional tennis player, not an astronaut.
  2. Sally was the first American woman in space, but not the first woman in space.  This distinction goes to Valentina Tereshkova, who on June 16, 1963, became the first woman, from Russia, to fly in space.
  3. At the age of 32, Sally became the youngest American astronaut (of both men and women), when she embarked on her first 7 day flight on June 18, 1983.
  4. Sally was an extremely private person, and compartmentalized many aspects of her life.  She preferred small gatherings of one or two people, rather than a large gathering.  Her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy, was never discussed, which may be attributed to NASA’s bigotry/homophobia during that time in history.  Sally was protecting her career, and maintaining her long term relationship with Tam.
  5. Sally was an inspiring educator, and wanted middle school girls to get excited about science, particularly math and engineering.  She co-founded Sally Ride Science (SRS) which is now affiliated with the University of California, San Diego.  SRS’s mission was “to support and sustain girls’ natural interests in science and technology, and to catalyze a change in cultural perceptions of girls and women in these endeavors.”

Please consider joining us at Nobo Restaurant to continue our discussion of Sally’s biography, and to enjoy the restaurant’s relaxing dining room.  For any additional questions email Lisa at:

Our next book The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel  will be on Saturday April 12th with our location still to be determined.

Saturday Afternoon Book Group:
The Moveable Feast

How attached are you to your smartphone?  Have you noticed that your face-to-face conversations have been curtailed or diminished with the advent of this robust technology? Or do you espouse that your smartphone has enabled you to better keep up with your friends and family?

Join us on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 2pm to 4pm at The Java Room (14 Littleton Road, Chelmsford, Ma.) for our next Moveable Feast book discussion of  Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.  Turkle, an MIT professor, clinical psychologist, and sociologist has been studying the effects of technology on our relationships for over 30 years.  Her 2012 TED Talk, “Connected, but alone” has been viewed 4.2 million times, and was related to her previous book Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.  To borrow a copy of Reclaiming Conversation ask a staff member at our Circulation Desk.  See you soon for a vibrant discussion!

New: Puzzle Swap Collection at Chelmsford Public Library

Are you looking for something to do with family or friends this holiday season, and beyond? Do you need a little alone time to recharge your batteries during this busy time of year? Well, consider swinging by the library for a free puzzle!

Our new Puzzle Swap collection is located in the Fireplace Room in the built in bookcase to the right of the fireplace. We envision the collection growing over time, and would ask you to consider donating to the collection if you are able, or so inclined.




Here are the guidelines for borrowing or donating puzzles.

  • Swap puzzles have been donated by library patrons and/or library staff.
  • Donated puzzles may be dropped off at the Circulation or Information Desk.
  • Puzzles may be borrowed, but do not need to be checked out.
  • Please discard a puzzle if you find any missing pieces.
  • Please do not return puzzles to the book drop.

Any additional questions?

Contact Lisa at: or call: (978) 256-5521 x1107

From the entire staff at Chelmsford Public Library, wishes, to you and your family, for a joyous and relaxing holiday season!

Join our Newest Book Group: The Moveable Feast!

If you haven’t been able to join one of our book groups Monday through Friday, then please consider joining us on Saturday, December 9th, 2017 from 2pm – 4pm at The Java Room (14 Littleton Road, Chelmsford, Ma.) and our new Moveable Feast Book Group.   We will be discussing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  This bestseller published in 2010 took science journalist Skloot ten years to research and to write.  Over the years, she interviewed family members multiple times, including Henrietta’s youngest daughter, Deborah, who was instrumental in sharing  her life experiences, and telling the story of her mother.

Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman (1920-1951) who died from cervical cancer.  While being treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital her cells were harvested, grown, and shared around the country and around the world for research.  The shorthand for Henrietta’s cells became known as HeLa.  During the time of Henrietta’s illness and subsequent death, she and her family were unaware that her “immortal cells” were being used for scientific research, and have never received monetary compensation from Johns Hopkins. We have all benefited from HeLa cells which have been used for decades in combating polio, different forms of cancer, and AIDS. In April 2017 Oprah Winfrey starred in the HBO movie adaptation of the book.

For additional information on the nonprofit foundation established by Rebecca Skloot in 2010:  The Henrietta Lacks Foundation

Reserve your book today, and join us for the discussion!