We are enormously lucky to be part of NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange). As many of you know, the NOBLE network allows you, our beloved patrons, to borrow books from the other libraries around us–including academic libraries at North Shore Community College and Salem State University–and utilize the programs and resources at our fellow NOBLE libraries. It’s a fantastic system that we all value enormously.
So this year, we thought it might be fun to invite the other NOBLE libraries and staff members to join us in our end-of-the-year celebrations! This week, we bring you Beverly Library’s list of the Best Books of 2017.
The Beverly Library (located at 32 Essex Street in Beverly) was established in 1855, three years after the Massachusetts Legislature became the first in the nation to authorize cities and towns to expend tax funds to support free public libraries. The institution was originally known as the Social Library, a private subscription library which traced its founding to a collection of books seized by Beverly privateers from a British merchantman during the Revolutionary War (I think that might be one of the coolest starts a library has ever had). Elizabeth P. Sohier, a trustee of the Beverly Public Library, led the fight to establish the first state library agency in the country, and served as the State Library Commission’s first secretary. The Essex Street site was opened in 1913, and was designed by architect Cass Gilbert, who was also the architect of the Minnesota State Capitol, the Woolworth Building in New York City and the United States Supreme Court. The building was subsequently enlarged in 1993.
In addition to its stunning Essex Street location, the Beverly Library also has a branch in Beverly Farms (located at 24 Vine Street, Beverly) and a Bookmobile! On average, the Beverly Library loans over 280,000 items annually to almost 27,000 regular borrowers. The Main Library collection consists of over 125,000 books and the Beverly Farms Branch of 22,000 books. They also have regular programs, displays, and book clubs–you can learn more about them by checking out their Events Calendar.
So why not drop by one of these days and take part in Beverly’s sensational events and their terrific selection of books and media! If you’re looking for a place to begin, here’s a few selections from Beverly’s super-terrific Best of 2018 List (you can click on the title or this link to see the full list)!
The Poet X: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. In order to protect herself and her growing body and stretching mind, she uses her fists and her fierceness to face down the world. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.
Where the Crawdads Sing: Delia Owens’ work is another brilliant book about a fascinating woman who has gone overlooked and misunderstood by the world around her. For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens. An exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World: Oh, and speaking of remarkable women! French cartoonist Pénélope Bagieu has provided us with a series of gorgeously-illustrated biographies of women who changed their world, and who can inspire us to change the world around us. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison, and from pioneering gynecologist Agnodice (who practiced in Athens around 350 BCE) to Christine Jorgensen, one of the first people from the United States to receive gender reassignment surgery, from Liberian social worker Leymah Gbowee to Syrian activist Naziq al-Abid, this book represents women from a broad range of experiences, nationalities, ages, and experiences, along with fascinating details of their unforgettable lives.
Thanks for sharing your super list, Beverly! Happy New Year to each of your delightful staff members!