Librarians do the coolest stuff.
A team of said bibliophiles from the Monadnock region is taking readers of all ages on a literary and scientific adventure. Their vehicle for the journey is Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness.
During the “Big Community Read,” a whole lineup of events is exploring the themes and issues raised in a book written by a renowned New Hampshire science and nature writer.
Montgomery lives in Hancock, The Soul of an Octopus was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award.
“We are so lucky to have wonderful writers like Sy Montgomery in our region,” said Corinne Chronopoulos, Peterborough Town Library Director. “We wanted to draw attention to the wealth of talent in our region and give our communities a fun literacy-based celebration.”
The Charitable Foundation’s Erland and Hazel N. Goyette Memorial Fund and Ruth and James Ewing Fund for the Monadnock Region are making the literary and scientific adventure possible.
Grants to the Peterborough, Hancock and Jaffrey libraries, which are collaborating on the event, have paid for multiple copies of books for each community – including kids’ version, The Octopus Scientists – speakers’ fees and costs for activities.
Similar programs at larger city libraries around the country have been enormously successful.
“They do really well at bringing the whole community together,” Chronopoulos said, around issues and themes raised by a piece of literature. “There’s immediate impact, but then down the line there are other impacts,” when members of a community can find commonalities through literature.
“To be able to offer that type of program in our little community is really huge.”
There are plenty of book discussion at each library, of course. And: Tide-pool creatures will visit with naturalists from the Seacoast Science Center and the New England Aquarium. Local artist Melody Russell helped kids make sea creature puppets. The Harris Center for Conservation Education will lead a discussion about how connection to the animals in our world inspires stewardship and conservation. A local writer and anthropologist will discuss climate change. And more.
The programs culminate on Earth Day, April 22, with a presentation by Montgomery at the Peterborough Town House.
Get a full list of the details here. And watch this video of Montgomery talking about the amazing octopus, filmed at the New England Aquarium. Did you know that octopuses taste with their skin? Cool.