standing Westerly Library

On a recent morning  I was looking out my kitchen window while doing the dishes when I spotted a barred owl sitting atop the stump of a tree. What a thrill to see him sitting peacefully in the early morning … until two red-tailed hawks started dive-bombing him! I sat at the window with my cup of coffee watching the battle unfold until the red-tailed hawks flew away, leaving the victorious owl still perched on his stump. I took it as a good sign and hoped that he would return on subsequent mornings despite the rude welcome from the hawks.

When I came to work to see what an owl appearing symbolized in the book “Birds: Myth, Lore, & Legend” by Rachel Warren Chadd and Marianne Taylor, it did not bode well. Apparently in many cultures owls are an omen for impending doom and/or death. Other cultures believe they embody prosperity and wisdom. Since I’m an optimist, let’s go with that meaning.

An unexpected friendship is the subject of Martin Windrow’s “The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar: Living with a Tawny Owl.” According to Windrow, when he saw Mumbles the owl, it was love at first sight. Interspersed with anecdotes about their relationship and how they both adapted to living with each other’s quirks is a little bit of owl history. This is just a charming tale of love and friendship.

I love nature photos and “The Enigma of the Owl: An illustrated Natural History” by Mike Unwin and David Tipling does not disappoint. Beautiful photos of owls from all over the world are featured. They are most majestic when the photographer manages to capture them hunting, but amazingly, the photos also capture their personalities, with some of them looking quizzical, annoyed, hungry, and sometimes just downright cute. Almost cute enough to snuggle with those talons, though it would probably not be a great idea.

In an interview with the New York Times in 2017, Unwin, author of the aforementioned book, said something that captured exactly what I felt that morning. He said “When you see an owl, even if you have no interest in birds, you feel that you’ve seen something special, almost secret.” It’s a good reminder to look up to see what’s around you, because you never know the wonders you might see!

Top-requested books

1. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama 

2. “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty 

3. “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

4. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

5. “The Reckoning” by John Grisham

6. “The 18th Abduction” by James Patterson

7. “Run Away” by Harlan Coben

8. “The Chef” by James Patterson 

9. “The First Lady” by James Patterson

10. “Kingdom of the Blind” by Louise Penny

Top-requested movies

1. “Bohemian Rhapsody” 

2. “A Star is Born”

3. “Green Book”

4. “The Wife”

5. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

6. “Mary Poppins Returns”

7. “Vice”

8. “The Favourite”

9. “Fantastic Beasts-the crimes of Grindelwald”

10. “Widows”

Top billing

For All Ages

MONDAY — The library will be closed for the Presidents Day holiday.

TUESDAY — 10-10:45 a.m., Family storytime for all ages; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Group! – a friendly knitting, crochet, needlework, and yarn craft club. Open to adults who have some experience with knitting; 6-7:45 p.m., Quilters Corner – all are welcome to this quilting club; 6:30-7:30 p.m., Early Westerly, 1660-1720 – Meg Barclay, a direct descendant of Tobias Saunders who was an incorporator of the Town of Westerly, will reprise her earlier well-received program on the early history of Westerly.

WEDNESDAY — 10-10:45 a.m., Storytime for ages 1-3; 4:30-7:30 p.m., Shoreline Robotics Practice – For teens grades 7-12 interested in STEM and Robotics; 5:30-7 p.m., Conversation Class – for English Language Learners.

THURSDAY — 10-11:30 a.m., Conversation Class – A free conversation class for English Language Learners; 10-10:45 a.m., Storytime for ages 3-5; 3:30-5 p.m., Game Bonanza – Join us playing board games and card games in the teen space! We have everything from the Game of Life to Cribbage. Snacks provided; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome, no sign-up required; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Homework Help/Tutoring (for grades K-8) – homework help and then tutoring in individual subjects, done by teens;  6-7:30 p.m., Cribbage Night! – open to all ages, no registration needed, we have boards but please bring one if you have one.

FRIDAY — 9 a.m.-1:15 p.m., My American Story: Stories of Vietnam Veterans – a special opportunity to talk with local veterans, hear stories from American soldiers, and gain a historical perspective on modern events; 4-5:45 p.m., Shoreline Robotics Practice – For teens interested in STEM and Robotics; 3:30-5:30, Teen Trivia: Dead Presidents and Pop Icons – In honor of president’s day, we will quiz you on past presidents, their wives, and other passed on souls. Prizes for the winner, snacks for everyone. 

SATURDAY — 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tax Prep Help with AARP! First come, first served, space is limited. SIGN-UP BEGINS AT 9 AM; 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Make & Take Crafts for children! 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Adult Writers Workshop – A group-led prose writing workshop; 1-2:30 p.m., Dungeons and Dragons (Teen Led Program) – No prior experience with the game is necessary—registration is required.

Caroline Badowski is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.

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