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Get a (social) life: Volunteering is good for your health

As National Volunteer Week was observed across the U.S.A. April 15-21, research continues to show that people who volunteer — especially seniors — have a dramatically increased ability to maintain cognitive function. The findings invariably show that interacting with others through work, social events or volunteerism keeps seniors engaged – emotionally and neurologically – and also helps them live longer.

Here are three new examples: A 15-year Swedish study of older people showed that having multiple social networks helps lower dementia risks. Subjects in a University of Michigan study did better on tests of short-term memory after just 10 minutes of conversation with another person. And the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s tracking of 1,000 seniors found that those who participated in social activities — like lunching with friends, volunteering or going to church — were 50 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

In their bestselling book “Younger Next Year,” authors Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry S. Lodge point out that hundreds of studies confirm that isolation hurts us and connection heals us through the same basic, physical mechanisms as exercise and diet. More connected people have younger cardiovascular systems, healthier stress hormone blood profiles and fewer colds than those who are more isolated. Another advantage to being a volunteer is that nonprofits tend to attract volunteers spanning a broad age range. Clearly, connection and commitment are good for your health.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we say a heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers who do so much to enhance life in our community — with special gratitude to the 35 volunteers, 15 of them seasonal, who work at your library. We’re glad to know their contributions to all of us also benefit their personal health. To become a library volunteer, contact Jackie Welch, director, at 264-2208.

Early literacy open house tomorrow

Young children and their families or caregivers are invited to check out our new early literacy activities in the meeting room tomorrow (Friday, April 27) from 9 a.m.–noon. Try a free activity or two. Cookies will be served.

Free adult events

There is one more computer session this month, to hone your technology skills, taught by Cody Yantis, our new technology services librarian: “Email Basics” this afternoon (Thursday,. April 26) from 1–3 p.m.

There is a two-part Lifelong Learning lecture: “What IS a Healthy Diet?,” a two-part session this evening (Thursday, April 26) and Thursday, May 3, from 4–7 p.m. when local nutritionist Zoe Groulx shows you how to improve your diet by the food you eat and its preparation.

There is one more movie this month — “North by Northwest” starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, tomorrow (Friday, April 27) at 1 p.m.


If you are not aware of how to access the free e-book opportunities available for our patrons through your library, please go to or you can pick up a paper copy at the library.


Fiction: “Love Blooms in Winter” by Lori Copeland is part of the Dakota Diaries series. “The Surrender” by Gilbert Morris is a love story set during the Civil War. “Loving” by Karen Kingsbury is the fourth and final book in the Bailey Flanigan series featuring members of the Baxter family.

Nonfiction: “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation” by Elaine Pagels explores the surprising history of the most controversial book of the Bible. “The Book of Mormon: A Biography” by Paul C. Gutjahr traces the origins and resultant power of the founding text of the Mormon religion.

Mysteries and thrillers

“Stay Close” by Harlan Coben follows three people living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that threaten to ruin lives. “All the Pretty Hearses” by Mary Daheim is the latest in the Bed and Breakfast series featuring amateur sleuth Judith McMonigle Flynn. “The Detachment” by Barry Eisler is the latest in the thriller series featuring charismatic assassin John Rain. “Force of Nature” by C.J. Box is the latest in the mystery series featuring Joe Pickett. “So Pretty” by Kate White is the latest in the mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Bailey Wiggins. “The Gods of Gotham” by Lyndsay Faye is a police story set in 19th century New York City. “An American Spy” by Olen Steinhauer is an espionage thriller featuring CIA-trained assassins. “The Book of Lost Fragrances” by M.J. Rose focuses on the powers of a mysterious scent from Cleopatra’s time.

“Running the Maze” by Gunnery Sgt. Jack Coughlin, USMC (Ret.) is a thriller in the sniper series, this story set in Pakistan. “Sail of Stone” by Ake Edwardson is a police story set in Scotland and the Swedish coast in winter. “Fall from Grace” by Richard North Patterson follows the mysterious death of a prominent New England patriarch. “The Devotion of Suspect X” by Keigo Higashino is a murder mystery set in Tokyo. “The Good Father” by Noah Hawley is a thriller that defines the responsibilities and limitations of being a parent. “Phantom” by Ted Bell is the latest in the series featuring counterspy Alex Hawke. “The Blind Spy” by Alex Dryden is an international thriller featuring superspy Anna Resnikov. “Before the Poison” by Peter Robinson follows a man’s obsession with a decades-old crime.

Fantasy and sci-fi

“Rising Thunder” by David Weber is the latest in the science fiction series featuring Honor Harrington. “Leviathan Wakes” by James S.A. Corey is a mystery involving the Earth government, Outer Planet revolutionaries and secretive corporations. “Apocalypse” is the finale of the epic “Star Wars Fate of the Jedi” series by Troy Denning. “Fair Game” by Patricia Briggs follows a pack of werewolves asked to help the FBI solve a serial killer case.

Other new novels

“Once Upon A Time, There Was You” by Elizabeth Berg is about a long-divorced couple who rediscover the power of love and family. “American Dervish” by Ayad Akhtar follows the life of a young Pakistani in America growing up Muslim in America. “The Company of the Dead” by David J. Kowalski is an alternate history beginning in 1912 that blends military science fiction with conspiracy theory. “The Dressmaker” by Kate Alcott follows the life of a woman who survived the Titanic’s doomed voyage. “A Searing Wind” by W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear is the third installment of the Contact: Battle for America saga. ’


“Her Majesty: Queen Elizabeth II and her Court” by Robert Hardman tells of the queen, her family and advisers and was published in honor of her diamond jubilee. “Ayn Ran Nation” by Gary Weiss explores the people and institutions — like Glenn Beck and Alan Greenspan to the Tea Party — that remain under the spell of the Russian-born novelist. “Eisenhower in War and Peace” by Jean Edward Smith is a new biography of the nation’s 34th president.

Thanks to our donors

For books and materials this week, we thank Peg Cooper, Bamma Laizure and Shirley Sprague.


For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at

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