Big Read starts September 9, Station Eleven

What is the Big Read? According to the NEA website, “A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book.” The title inspiring this year’s calendar of events is Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, described as, ” ‘Equal parts page-turner and poem’ (Entertainment Weekly), the novel is set 20 years after a devastating flu pandemic destroys civilization as we know it. A woman moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians until they encounter a violent prophet who threatens the tiny band’s existence. “Possibly the most captivating and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic novel you will ever read”(The Independent London).”

Help the city celebrate it’s 11th Big Read on Saturday, September 9th, from 1-4pm in the Balfour Riverwalk Park and next door at the Attleboro Free Public Library. It’s International Literacy Day and we have a lot to celebrate! In addition to handing out FREE copies of Station Eleven, we’ll also have the event calendar listing dozens of programs happening throughout the fall. These events will take place at a variety of locations around Attleboro and will focus on different themes in the book. Programs will include talks, walks, performances and an art exhibit.

Attendees at Saturday’s launch are encouraged to bring a lunch and “join us for a family-friendly, fun-filled afternoon,” says Rusty D’Arconte, NEA Big Read/Attleboro’s 1ABC co-chairman. If it rains, all activities will be held in the Library- a lunch free zone in order to maximize space for the programming.

Playing off the themes in this year’s read, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, there will be story times, a description of survival skills and plenty of classical music. “Station Eleven” is about our world 20 years after a pandemic that destroys nearly all of Earth’s population. In the story, Mandel incorporates a graphic novel storyline, Shakespearean plays, classical music, a traveling settlement with “Survival is Insufficient” as its philosophy, plus love, friendship, a desire to create history and culture  and, when necessary, the basic means of survival.

The author herself will be in Attleboro for a program on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Thacher Elementary School.  Registration is required. Go to or call the Attleboro Public Library at (508) 222-0157.

The September 9 launch coincides with the celebration of International Literacy Day.  From 1-3pm, activities include: a reflection of the device-free world of Station Eleven,” storyteller Bernadine Veiga will read about two kids experiencing technical difficulties in two separate stories. Listeners will learn how both characters learn to have fun with no gadgets or TV in the stories “Penny Lee and Her TV” and “TEK The Modern Cave Boy.” Children will also complete a craft to bring home.  Registration for this event is encouraged but not required. Go to or call the Attleboro Public Library at (508) 222-0157.   With survival a key component of the world in this novel, there will be a program of interactive skills by Mu Han Martial Arts.  On the music side, The Unlikely Strummers, a ukulele jam band, will play upbeat family-friendly songs and some classical music. The Literary Center will re-enact the airport scene in the book, sharing words of welcome in the many beautiful languages of the students at the Center.


At 3pm on Sept. 9th, a musical event with veteran classical guitarist Mychal Gendron will take place in the Marble Lobby of the Attleboro Public Library. Gendron has toured Brazil as a soloist with Partners of the Americas, performing in music festivals and on television in that country, and also performed in chamber music recitals in France and has presented solo guitar recitals throughout the United States.

Regionally, he has performed concertos with the Vermont Symphony, the Cape Ann Symphony, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Community Orchestra, the Ocean State Chamber Orchestra and the Fall River Symphony.  Registration for this musical event can be found at www., or by calling the Library at (508) 222-0157.

Behind the Scenes at the Annual Book Sale

When my children and I arrived, the Community Room looked empty, except for the wooden signs we had assembled and the tables.

Meanwhile, upstairs in the Friends’ organizational lair, the room was really, really full.

But the boxes the books were sorted in were labeled, so we just had to load carts,

take the elevator downstairs (My 6 year-old appreciated getting to ride up to the 4th floor; it takes a special key.  She even got a tour of the technical services office.), and then put the book boxes on the sale tables.

We had to re-arrange the signs on the tables to reflect the number of books we had in each category.

By the time we left, the upstairs room looked almost empty.

And the downstairs room looked filled-to-overflowing.

My kids and I felt very happy to be contributing to the Friends. We slept well that night from all the exercise. But best of all, we got to pick out our purchases before the other shoppers arrived.

What do the Friends do with your donated books?

When donations come in, they are taken up to the fourth floor to the sorting room, where they are sorted into labeled boxes by genre.

The newest, seasonally-appropriate books are immediately put on display for sale in the Book Nook.

Duplicate books are sent to Better World Books, who in turn pay a flat rate to the Friends of Attleboro Public Library. The rest of the books are sold at the Friends’ Annual Book Sale.

What do the Friends do with the funds?

Support and fund the Attleboro Public Library.


How to donate books to the Friends of APL

Good for you! We should all sort through our bookshelves regularly, and donate the weeded books to the Friends of Attleboro Public Library.  Donations earn money to support and fund the Attleboro Public Library.

This one is easy: Bring those book donations to the Circulation Desk at the library. Volunteers will bring them upstairs to the “organizational lair” where they will be sorted for the Book Nook and the Annual Book Sale.


Donating to the Friends Through Amazon Smile

Amazon is willing to donate up to 0.5% of your purchases to a charity of your choice.  Here’s how to choose Friends of Attleboro Public Library:

When you are shopping, go to, instead of Sign in and shop as usual.  If your purchase is ineligible (for instance a subscription), you will be alerted, and you can switch back to regular

In the lower right corner, you can type Friends of Attleboro Public Library in the search box labeled “Or pick your own charitable organization:”

Once you hit enter, you will have a choice of Friends of Attleboro Public Library, choose that yellow box.

And that’s all there is to it!  Thank you for supporting The Friends of Attleboro Public Library.

Staff Spotlight: Amy Rhilinger


In September 2013, Library employee Amy Rhilinger took on the role of Assistant Director at the Attleboro Public Library. Even though she has worked at the Library for 12 years (a lifetime for some patrons she sees each week), she says she is still learning something new every single day.

While serving as the Assistant Children’s Librarian and Coordinator of Young Adult Services, Amy created craft programs, writing workshops and book clubs for middle school students. As Assistant Director, Amy strives to bring her creative approach and focus on customer service to library visitors of all ages. This also means that there are more opportunities for her to get out of the building and to sing the praises of the library and its staff and resources to people who may not yet know about all our Library has to offer.

Amy is currently working on the Community Languages grant awarded to the Library in the fall. She is partnering with Spanish, Cambodian, Portuguese and Arabic speaking members of our community to bring even better services to non-native English speakers. Amy’s greatest wish is for people to realize that our city’s library truly is for EVERYONE.