Weekly Updates

September 15, 2023

  • The Fowler Branch Library has resumed Saturday hours. The Main Library will reopen on Sundays starting October 1. [View All Hours]
  • In this issue: The Library's 150th Celebration - After Hours @ the Library -Adult Programs - Virtual Films at Fowler - Climate Prep Week - Makerspace Programs - Children's Programs -Highlights from Special Collections

Celebrate with Us: The Concord Free Public Library's 150th Birthday 

On Sunday, October 1, 2023, the Concord Free Public Library will celebrate its 150th birthday!

Join us for the BIG celebration on this special day -

Kick-Off of the Celebration

Sunday, October 1, 2:00 -4:00 p.m.

Town House and Main Library

Come to the Town House at 2:00 p.m. to hear local and state officials commemorate this historic day and hear special guest “Ralph Waldo Emerson” re-enact excerpts from his original Library Dedication speech on October 1, 1873. Immediately following, the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School Pep Band will kick off a parade to the Main Library’s Front Lawn, where the celebration will continue with special guests, music, cake, activities, and giveaways for all ages.

Visit here to learn more about the big celebration.

After Hours @ the Library: a Special Fundraising Event

After-Hours @ the Library

Saturday, October 14, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Main Library

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Concord Free Public Library with an evening of food & drink & merriment for patrons 21+.

The Main Library will come alive after-hours with a mix of music, art, puppetry, theater, and storytelling. Groove to tunes by local singer/songwriters Sawyer Lawson and Britt Connors and the Lori Zuroff Jazz Trio. Expect the unexpected from the Concord Players and puppet master Harry LaCoste. Get creative with Art for All and appreciate real-life stories told live with Fugitive Productions.

Your ticket includes food (apps and sweets) and drink (open bar) from local purveyors including Saltbox Kitchen, 80 Thoreau, Nosh, Karma, Verrill Farm, Crosby’s, and West Concord Liquors. Dressy casual attire is encouraged.

This event is a collaboration between the Concord Free Public Library Corporation and the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library.

Your ticket ($75 suggested donation) includes all food, drink, and entertainment. Your donation will benefit the new makerspace the Workshop of the Library. Tickets are sold online only. Click here to purchase tickets.

Adult Programs

Shakespeare on the Lawn - The World's a Stage Players Present Richard II

Saturdays & Sundays, September 16 & 17, 5:00 p.m.

Main Library Lawn (Rain Location: 51 Walden St.)

The troupe will begin an ongoing relationship with the plays of Shakespeare's Henriad by presenting Richard II. This lesser known, but beautifully poetic play, written around the same time as A Midsummer Night's Dream, follows the deposition of Richard by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) and begins an inherently dramatic series of events that covers 185 years of English history and eight Shakespeare plays. Directed by Michael Haddad. No registration required.

Signs of Wellbeing

Tuesday, September 19, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Meeting Room, Fowler Branch

Make mini-murals with Art for All - Join us to repurpose campaign yard signs and paint them with the theme of Art for Wellbeing. Raise awareness of mental health needs and the power of art to contribute to wellbeing. [Register]


Wednesday, September 20, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Fowler Branch

Join Madeline from Fowler on the 3rd Wednesday of each month to discuss a range of mysteries, from thrillers to whodunnits. This month we will be discussing Jesse Q. Sutanto's Vera Wong's unsolicited advice for murderers. Copies are available at Fowler. [Register]

Virtual Group Meditation with Be Well Be Here

Thursday, September 21, 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.


Join Be Well Be Here for a 30-minute morning meditation practice with the Library, and start your day with a moment of ease. Discover mindful tools that center the body, settle the mind, and open the door to wellbeing. [Register for Zoom Link]

Virtual Writing Workshop

Thursday, September 21, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.


The Library's Writer-In-Residence, George Jreije, invites you to join him for a virtual writing session. Participants can spend the time working on their own writing, asking questions, and engaging in friendly conversation. Get advice and insights on the writing process from George and other writers in your community. This event is open to writers of all ages, and will take place weekly on Thursdays through October 12th. Registration is required for each date you wish to attend. Registered participants will receive the Google Meet link on the day of the event. [Register]

Fowler Afternoon Tea Book Club

Friday, September 22, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Fowler Backyard or Meeting Room

On the fourth Friday of each month, enjoy a selection of teas and discuss a blend of historical and contemporary fiction. Copies of the selected book, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley, are available at Fowler. Weather permitting, we will meet outside in Fowler's backyard. Otherwise, we will meet in the Fowler Meeting Room. Please feel free to bring in food related to the recipe theme. [Register]

Virtual Films at Fowler Fall Series

Virtual Films at Fowler for the Fall of 2023 presents these six classic movies. Finding Family will continue as the theme for the season. The movies are in some way about the many pleasures and problems of belonging to a family, whether conventional or unconventional. Please watch the films on Kanopy and participate in discussions on Zoom.

Ghost World (2001)

Wednesday, September 20, 7:00 p.m. (Discussion Date on Zoom)

In this cult comedy, two teenage outsiders (Thora Birch & Scarlett Johansson) face a rift in their relationship when one of them becomes interested in a shy older man. 

Please watch the film on Kanopy before the discussion. To register for the discussion and receive a Zoom link, send an email to the host of the program Randall Warniers at [email protected].

This series is sponsored by the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library.

[View Fall 2023 Virtual Film at Fowler Schedule]

Climate Preparedness Week 2023

September 24 – 30, 2023 is Climate Preparedness Week. This year's theme is Intersection of Climate Change and the Broader Social Justice Movement

Climate Preparedness Week is held every year at the end of September to raise awareness and provide educational programs to help prepare communities for extreme weather events.

The Concord Free Public Library, in partnership with the Massachusetts Library System and the Blue Marble Librarians, joined in this initiative of Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) in 2019. This is the Concord Free Public Library’s fifth year participating in Climate Preparedness Week.

[View the Library's Climate Prep Week Events]

Family Nature Walk: Concord Land Conservation Trust’s Nashawtuc Hill: Observe Birds & Native Plants (A Climate Prep Week Event)

Saturday, September 23, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Frenchman's Meadow (just after the Sudbury River Bridge on Nashawtuc Road)

Join Peter Alden as he guides us on a family nature walk of the Egg Rock and Nashawtuc Hill Circuit - As an outdoor event, the weather may impact the date. Sponsored by the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library. [Learn More and Register]

Makerspace Workshop Programs

Girls Who Code 2023-24 Info Sessions

Wednesdays, September 20 & 27, 5:00 p.m.

The Workshop, Main Library

Learn to code, make friends, and make a difference in the Library's long-running Girls Who Code club. Participants (ages 10 to 14) meet weekly on Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. from October to May to learn programming languages from local women working in STEM fields, work together to design and complete community-oriented projects that matter to them, and have fun. Browse past projects and learn more. [Register]

Craft Our Parade

Saturday, September 23, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The Workshop, Main Library

Drop in to make banners and flags for the Library's 150th birthday parade on October 1st. All ages welcome. No registration required.

Autumn Paper Wreaths

Monday, September 25, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

The Workshop, Main Library

Cut and assemble your own seasonal wreath using the workshop's Cricut machines. Registration required. Recommended for ages 10+. [Register]

For more Makerspace Fall programs, visit here.

Children's Programs at the Main Library

Musical Monday: Alan Goodrich

Monday, September 18, 10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Goodwin Forum, Main Library

Start your week off right by dancing, singing, and having some fun at Musical Monday - Enjoy music and stories with Alan Goodrich. Alan is a guitarist and singer-songwriter/solo performer who presents live music concerts "for kids of all ages" including classic and current children's songs and original songs. Sponsored by the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library. No registration required.

Baby Snugglebugs Storytime

Wednesday, September 20, 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Children's Activity Room, Main Library

Join us for an opportunity to meet other parents and caregivers of infants and pre-walking babies in this introduction to the world of early literacy. Share parenting experiences with one another and bond with your baby through lap bounces, nursery rhymes, songs, and, of course, books. Recommended for infants and pre-walking babies. No registration necessary.

Yoga and Movement Storytime

Saturday, September 23, 10:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Children's Activity Room, Main Library

Calling kids ages 2-6 and their parents - join us for some stories and stretching to get your weekend off to a great start. Bring a stuffed animal to join in the fun. No registration required.

For more Children's programs at the Main Library, visit here.

Fowler Branch Children's Programs

Fowler Storytime (Ages 5 and under)

Tuesday, September 19, 10:00 a.m. & 11:00 a.m.

Labyrinth Garden at West Concord Union Church or the

Fowler Branch (Rain location)

Join us at Fowler for storytime - We will share stories, songs, and rhymes and do a simple hands-on activity. No registration required.

Read to a Dog at Fowler

Thursday, September 21, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Backyard or Meeting Room, Fowler Branch

Are you looking to improve your reading? Join Samantha, a young golden retriever, on the 3rd Thursday of the month for a 10-15 minute reading session. No advance registration required. When you arrive, sign up and choose a book to read, and we will do our best to accommodate all interested participants! This program is designed for developing readers of all ages. 

For more Children's programs at Fowler, visit here. 

Highlights from Special Collections: More About the Library History: First Librarian Ellen Whitney 

Knowing that preparations for stocking and organizing the new Library would need to be started before the opening, the Library Committee and Corporation worked to find a suitable Librarian. The Library Committee unanimously recommended Ellen Whitney (as shown in picture) as the Librarian at a joint meeting with the Corporation on April 11, 1873. Whitney accepted the following week.

Born in Concord on March 21, 1843, Whitney was a resident of the town her entire life. She graduated from Framingham Normal School and taught in Concord.

During opening ceremonies on October 1, 1873, Frederic Hudson, Chairman of the Library Committee, read a report detailing what it entailed to move the Town Library collection into the new building. Including the cataloging and physical preparation of books for circulation, the increase of the Town Library collection through gift and purchase, the generosity of specific donors of money, books, manuscripts, and artwork, and the hiring of professional librarian Ellen Frances Whitney, "a lady of this town who combines admirable executive ability with untiring energy and industry."

As part of her duties, Whitney created an accession catalog with the titles and authors of each work, and information on how it was acquired. Before opening, Whitney had to "cleanly cover" each title, and carefully label and arrange each book according to the rules set forth by the Corporation. She created a card catalog and shelflist and maintained a "perfect" record of all books loaned and returned.

Ellen Whitney performed these and many other duties for over twenty years primarily on her own. She received only two raises in her twenty-six-year career, one at five years of service and another at twenty years. In 1878, the Library Committee recognized that the rapid rate of growth in the Library had "made the labors of the Librarian very burdensome," suggesting the need to hire an assistant soon. However, Whitney's "remarkable efficiency" pushed that date to 1896. 

Whitney resigned on October 1, 1899. In the Corporation's Annual Report for 1899, a joint meeting of the Corporation and Library Committee created a resolution to honor her and named her Librarian Emeritus. "Voted, that we receive with great regret the announcement of the resignation of Ellen Frances Whitney of the office of Librarian, and we hereby express our high appreciation of her ability and skill in keeping in touch with the progress of library science, making the Concord Library a model in its organization and methods. We also recognize the valuable services she has rendered to the people of the town in her personal relations with them as Librarian for more than a quarter of a century."

Ellen Frances Whitney remained in Concord, living with her niece Helen Whitney Kelley, who replaced her as Librarian. All three Librarians, Ellen Whitney, Helen Kelley, and Sarah Bartlett, were at the 50th anniversary of the Library in 1923. Whitney died in Concord in late 1933.

Seats are available -

Register for the Film Premiere: Ralph Waldo Emerson: Give All to Love – A New Film by Michael Maglaras, Saturday, September 30, 2:00 - 4:30 p.m. at the Umbrella Arts Center, followed by a reception with the filmmaker in the Concord Free Public Library Rotunda.

Please note - The screening has been moved from the Library to the Umbrella Arts Center, across the street at 40 Stow Street, to accommodate seat demand. [Register]

An excerpt from the film can be found here.

Quick Links

Library Home Page

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Wall Street Journal Digital Home Access for Concord (MA) Residents

September Art Exhibit in Commons: An Artist Journey: Paintings by Ivan Orlinsky

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Celebrating Library's 150th Anniversary

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