The Hancock Town Library, Jaffrey Public Library, and Peterborough Town Library announce the collaborative Big Community Read: Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. Soul of an Octopus was a National Book Award Finalist in 2015 for Montgomery, a Hancock author.
Copies of the book will be available at each library beginning March 1 and distributed in the community.
The Big Community Read offers book discussions and other fun events to residents from Peterborough, Jaffrey, and Hancock, all connected to the book's themes of animal consciousness, environmentalism, naturalism, empathy for animals, and more. “We are so lucky to have wonderful writers like Sy Montgomery in our region,” says Corinne Chronopoulos, Peterborough Library Director. “We wanted to draw attention to the wealth of talent in our region and give our communities a fun literacy-based celebration.”
Librarians in each town have planned programs for both adults and children. From craft projects to visits from live animals, from talks to book discussions, “people of all ages will find something fascinating to engage them,” says Jaffrey Public Library Director Libby Feil. “Everyone is invited!”
Amy Markus, Hancock Town Library Director, chimes in, "We’re very excited about this collaborative community event featuring Hancock's own Sy Montgomery, and encourage people from all over the region to attend these engaging programs!"
The Big Community Read’s grand finale will be a visit from Sy Montgomery on Earth Day, April 22, at 7:30 pm at the Peterborough Town House. Montgomery will give a presentation and be available for a book signing afterward. For a full list of details, please visit PeterboroughTownLibrary.org/BigRead.
Hancock Town Library Programs:
- Create Sea Creature Puppets with artist Melody Russell (for grades 1-4)—Wednesday, March 30, 3:30–5:00 pm
- Book Discussion with Henry Walters—Wednesday, March 30, 7:00 pm
- The Web of Marine Life in the Gulf of Maine with researcher Barbara Beblowski—Thursday, March 31, 7:00 pm
- The Rocky Shore from the UNH Sea Grant Program – Learn about and touch these fascinating creatures from the rocky shore!—Thursday, April 14, 3:30 pm (grades 1-4))
- Recent Discoveries in the Deep Ocean with Jon Manley—Thursday, April 14, 7:00 pm
- Book Discussion with Henry Walters—Tuesday, April 19, 2:00 pm
- Meadows Under the Sea: The Ecology and Conservation of Eelgrass in New England with Keene State College professor Cynthia Hayes, PhD—Tuesday April 19th at 7:00 pm
Jaffrey Public Library Programs:
- Book Discussion with the Junior Book Club (grades 2 and up)—Wednesday, March 30, 3:30 pm
- Shiny, Shimmery Seas: Bioluminescence with the UNH Marine Docents Program’s Skip Small—Thursday, March 31, 6:00 pm, at the Jaffrey Civic Center. Animals aglow in the ocean—how? Why? In the depths of the ocean where sun light does not penetrate, most organisms produce their own light to communicate. See photos and videos of animals from bacteria to whales using bioluminescence for offense, defense, and mating. For teens and adults.
- Marine Animal Adaptations: Live! with a naturalist from the Seacoast Science Center—Tuesday, April 5, 3:30 pm. Learn about how sea animals are adapted to ocean life, and get up close and personal with tide pool creatures! Preregistration is required, 532-7301; limit of 30 children, toddler through elementary school.
- Book Discussion with the Adult Book Club—Monday, April 11, 2:00 pm
- A Conversation about Soul of an Octopus and Its Themes with Rae Barnhisel, PhD, former New England Aquarium instructor—Tuesday, April 12, 6:00 pm. Talk about Soul of an Octopus and learn more about aquatic life from an expert—the amazing sophistication of fish, their plummeting populations, their crazy sex lives, and more! For older teens and adults.
Peterborough Town Library Programs:
- Reptiles on the Move—Wednesday, March 9, 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm, at the Peterborough Town Library. Do reptiles have souls too? Sessions will have registration–60 people per session. Registration will open March 1.
- Book Discussion—Tuesday, March 22, 7:00 pm
- Book Discussion—Friday, March 25, 11:00 am
- Climate Change Lecture with Mary Catherine Bateson—Thursday, April 7, 3:00 pm, at the Peterborough Town Library
- Becoming Animal, presented by the Harris Center for Conservation Education—Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 pm, at the Peterborough Town Library. A discussion on our connection to the animals in our world and how that inspires us to stewardship and conservation.
- New England Aquarium Tidepool Alive Program—Wednesday, April 20, at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 2:30 pm at the Peterborough Town Library. Children will meet live animals such as sea stars, hermit crabs, snails, clams, mussels, and a live horseshoe crab. Each session will guide children through an imaginary tidepool trip. Sessions will have registration—30 people per session. Registration will open April 1.
- Book Discussion with the Friday Book Club—Friday, April 29, 11:00 am
The Big Community Read is made possible by generous support from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
For more information on these events, please contact the participating libraries:
- Jaffrey Public Library, (603) 532-7301, facebook.com/JaffreyLibrary
- Hancock Town Library, (603) 525-4411, http://hancocktownlibrary.blogspot.com/
- Peterborough Town Library, (603) 924-8040, PeterboroughTownLibrary.org/BigRead