Catalog Your Account

Despite rising virus cases in our area, the library staff is committed to stay open this holiday season.  If you know exactly what you want to check out please use curbside service or the self-serve cubbies.  Simply call us or place a hold through Minerva.  All books from interlibrary loan and/or on hold will be put in the cubbies.  If you prefer curbside call us when you get here.

The holidays will bring an increased number of travelers to Castine. It is mandated that all out-of-state travelers coming into Maine, as well as Maine residents returning to Maine, complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival or have received a negative coronavirus test up to 72 hours prior to arrival.  If you have entered from out of state and have not quarantined or received a negative test result, PLEASE DO NOT ENTER THE LIBRARY even if you feel well.

The book sale room is available by appointment only.  It will be staffed on Saturdays from 10-3.  We are still accepting book donations (thank you in advance).  If you are donating books please leave them inside the ground floor entrance by the cubbies.  If you need help unloading your car please call us.

Patrons may enter the library using the main doors and request books at the library desk.  Those patrons who wish to browse the permanent adult collection of fiction, nonfiction, books on CD and DVDs may do so by appointment, one patron or family at a time. Very often immediate walk-in access is available. Masks are required and patrons are asked to practice social distancing when in the building.

The Children’s Room remains closed to the Public; however you may browse by appointment.  Patrons may request an unlimited number of books, DVDs, and magazines, by title, genre, and age.  Please contact Youth Services librarian Irene Hall for assistance.

Any changes to our existing schedule will be a result of Executive Order or local conditions in consultation with library board of directors and the Town Manager. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Witherle Words

Witherle Words is a regular column in the Castine Patriot with contributions from the library staff, volunteers and community.

November 2020

Leaves and leavings

by Keith Hagel, Friends of the Library

While you’re crunching through, and raking, autumn’s gifts, in the book room at the Witherle Memorial Library, we look at leaves differently.

Because what Friends of the Witherle Library volunteers Margaret Shaw Chernosky, Johanna Sweet and I examine are the leaves, commonly known as pages, of books that are donated to the library.

A used book dealer friend in Colorado Springs taught me to fan quickly through the pages of every book that comes through the door. First, of course, we inspect for mildew, mold and various genres of creepy, crawly creatures. Since they can spread damage to other volumes, books with such issues exit, quickly.

Next, we prospect for money that may have been stashed in books. A few C-notes would be lovely. They would promptly go to the Friends’ treasury; we might take a finder’s fee of a couple of cups of coffee. So far, I think we have found $1.

Most of what we remove are store bookmarks and other placeholders. I could fill a book  with grocery lists we have found. Sadly, many of the bookstores are long gone. I keep the bookmarks,  hope to find the time to do a montage. The best bookmark that has turned up so far is one from the Witherle Library’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1988.The bookmark, which we intend to reproduce, features an ode to the library by the late Louise Wheeler, a longtime Castine resident and bibliophile.

Then, we find notes. If they relate to the book (e.g., in a sports book a  yellowed newspaper clip of Jackie Robinson stealing home or Mary Lou Retton scoring a perfect 10 in a gymnastics routine), we usually leave it. Such material, known as ephemera, has a following among book collectors.

We also sometimes find love epistles: Dear Poopsie/Rocky, you are my true love…if the date, is close to when the book was donated, you can surmise the relationship probaly pooped out and crashed on the rocks.

Ah, the loves and the leaves of our lives.

Now Available: Games and Puzzles for Holiday Family Fun!

Just in time for quiet days over the holidays, the library has dozens of high-quality games and puzzles for all ages. Coming soon are craft kits with instructions and/or how-to books from the collection. The kits will include some supplies to get you started.  See a complete list.  To reserve, call the library or email Irene Hall.  Enjoy!