The Woods Hole Public Library is continually thinking of new ways to engage community members, especially during this time of COVID. Most of the ideas involve people working on their own, either at home or outside, and “coming together” in online ways. The library is calling attention to the natural world and pairing it with human creativity in many of the projects.

Last week the library instituted a “Question of the Week” aimed particularly at children, who can come to the library lower level porch, find the question on a chalkboard, figure out the answer, write it on the piece of paper provided, and place it into the adjacent Answer Box. Each week a new animal-themed riddle will be posted by the book drop.

The library recently started a Scavenger Hunt, aimed at all ages. People will find the list on the lower door and may take a copy and go forth in search of all items on the list. Most but not all items on the list are in the natural world. To answer the search, people must either draw or photograph the object as proof that they have found them. The library is hoping to encourage people to explore, look carefully, and create a beautiful compendium of drawings or photographs.

When people have completed their list they should share it with the librarians either by stopping by at the pick-up window or emailing it to whpl_mail@clamsnet.org. Those who find everything on the list will be entered into a drawing for a Woods Hole Public Library T-shirt. Each month through March, there will be a new list of items to find both indoors and outdoors.

In a move to encourage communication in another way than online, the Woods Hole Public Library is also embarking on a new community-building project this winter: “Woods Hole Words.” The librarians have created community journals on a variety of topics for patrons to check out from the library, add their words or artwork, and then return to the library, where the journal will sit in quarantine, then return to the library collection to be checked out by someone else. Topics include books, movies, TV shows, recipes and kitchen lore, nature, and life stories. Once the journals are filled, the library will add them to the permanent collection for all to read and enjoy.

Community members of all ages are encouraged to stop by the library and check out a journal. While each journal is organized around a topic, the librarians encourage journal writers to be as creative as they want to be. For example, the journal about books does not just need to include a review of a recently read book. The reader can choose to share a story about a book which was read 20 years ago, or draw a picture of a favorite character or scene. In the journal about life stories, people may choose to share an anecdote about a recent small act of kindness, or even an epic tale about an adventure of the past.

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