At Westerly Library & Wilcox Park: Resources for your most trivial pursuits | Guest Columns

I’m not one of those librarians who wins “Jeopardy!”

I’m not a first- (or fourth-) round pick among my friends for trivia night. Yesterday my 3-year-old asked me “What is under rocks?” and I broke into a cold sweat, trying to remember anything about the layers of the earth. I am, however, very good at finding answers. Perhaps that’s what led me towards librarianship … perhaps I became a skilled researcher at a young age purely as a defense mechanism to compensate for my poor recall. But I digress. If you too have an appalling memory for general knowledge, I have some great books to help you out.

“A Walk Around the Block: Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous Squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (And Know Nothing About)” by Spike Carlsen is more than an indulgently long title. It’s a treasure trove of unusual information that will not only give you something to talk about at parties, but will help you find deeper appreciation in the world around you. “Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things” by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant is based on the duo’s hugely popular podcast of the same name, which will prove to you that there is something interesting about nearly everything. Finally, for something a bit more scholarly, Kenneth C. Davis has a whole series of “Don’t Know Much About” books that cover topics like mythology, US presidents, and even the Bible. They’re all available through the library!

If you have curious young minds at home, I highly recommend the National Geographic Little Kids Series. “Little Kids First Big Book of Why” by Amy Shields has become a vade mecum in my house (a term that I just learned while writing this column, and will likely forget in an hour). It taught me invaluable information such as why donuts have holes and why spiders don’t stick to their own webs, and my daughter enjoys quoting the chapter on “Why Do We Use a Toilet?” to everyone she meets. There are numerous other books in the series, as well! For more child-friendly fun, try “Gross as a Snot Otter” by Jess Keating and “How to Swallow a Pig” by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Parents and caregivers may also benefit from “Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions From Tiny Mortals About Death” by Caitlin Doughty to help answer the sinister questions that kids love to come up with.

If books and research aren’t your thing, that’s OK. Our staff is made up of uniquely talented individuals who have a great deal of collective knowledge. In short: while you won’t see me on Jeopardy anytime soon, I and others at the library will happily do our best to answer any strange question that you come up with!

Top requested books

1. “The Paris Apartment” by Lucy Foley

2. “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles

3. “The Maid” by Nita Prose

4. “The Match” by Harlan Coben

5. “Run Rose Run” by James Patterson

6. “What Happened to the Bennetts” by Lisa Scottoline

7. “Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult

8. “One Step Too Far” by Lisa Gardner

9. “22 Seconds” by James Patterson

10. “Dream Town” by David Baldacci

Top requested DVDs

1. “Belfast”

2. “House of Gucci”

3. “Charm”

4. “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

5. “Sing 2”

6. “The Beatles: Get Back”

7. “All Creatures Great and Small: Season 2”

8. “Nightmare Alley”

9. “West Side Story”

10. “Matrix Resurrections”

this week

TUESDAY — 10-10:30 am, Family Storytime – Join us on Tuesdays in the Terrace Room for a family storytime! The program will be geared towards ages birth through 11 years when accompanied by a caregiver; 1-4 pm, Community Resource Advocate – Our volunteer Community Resource Advocate is available via email to help connect you with local services/resources. Contact her at advocate@westerlylibrary.org; 2-3:30 pm, Virtual Tech Social – We meet on Zoom every Tuesday to address your tech questions. Preregistration is required; 5:30-7:30 pm, Knit and Crochet Club – The Knit and Crochet Group is meeting on the 2nd floor of the library. Masks are highly recommended; 6-7 pm, Begin Vegetable Gardening with Master Gardener William Baddeley – Join us on Zoom for this free presentation that will help you grow a bountiful vegetable harvest this season. Please register online at www.westerlylibrary.org.

WEDNESDAY— 6-7 pm, Singing Everlastingly with Everlasting Joy – This pre-concert lecture and preview of the Chorus of Westerly’s spring concert will explore the lives of Johannes Brahms and Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. It will also include recorded samples of recent performances courtesy of the Chorus of Westerly. The lecture will take place in the library Auditorium.

THURSDAY— 5:30-6:30 pm, Zumba in the Park and Library | Turn It Up and Tone – Please join us for a free Zumba class with Yvonne Brown and Tina Pagliusi; 5:30-7:30 pm, Chess Club – Want a chance to hone your skills against a variety of players, including two state champions? Drop by the library’s Old Main Reading Room for our weekly Chess Club. Players of all skill levels are welcome; 6-7 pm, Author Talk with Marie Benedict | Her de ella Hidden Genius – Join us on Zoom for a discussion and Q & A with bestselling author Marie Benedict about her book de ella “Her Hidden Genius”! Please register on our website. We’ve partnered with the Friends of the library and Savoy Bookshop. To purchase a signed copy of her book from her, visit Savoy online or in person.

SATURDAY — 9am-4pm, Kits Take and Make | Paper Plate Jellyfish – On the first Saturday of each month, grab a bag of supplies from the ‘Kids’ tote in the Children’s room. One per child, please, while supplies last; 9am-4pm, Teen Take & Make | Garden Seed Kit – Come grab a craft from the teen space! Supplies are limited, one per teen please. Check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch us complete the craft; 10:30-11:30 am, Zumba in the Park and Library – Try out Zumba for a fun workout! Classes are FREE and will be held on the grassy area near the gazebo (weather permitting) or in the 3rd floor Terrace Room (in undesirable weather).

Cassie Skobrak is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library & Wilcox Park.

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