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AT THE LIBRARY: Treasures await when we decide to read local

Reading local. What exactly does that mean?

Is it reading about local events, reading books by local authors, or could it be a bit of both?

Thankfully, we are blessed with both – curious local authors, who have amazing stories to tell – and often the truth is stranger than fiction!

Whether a local resident, a summer visitor just travelling through, a local resident, or someone returning home for a family gathering, there is always something new to discover about your neighbourhood.

For history buffs, we have the many offerings of local author, and journalist, Monica Graham. Monica has written about the iconic Bluenose, and Alexander Graham Bell. She’s delved into the psyche of Pictou County and surrounding areas by exploring the genesis of Pictou County nicknames (a true artform), researching the adventures of the great – and notorious – Maritime detective Peachie Carroll and the mysterious Fire Spook of Caledonia Mills. She’s chronicled the 200-plus years of Pictou Academy, and crafted thoughtful historical texts about Pictou County, and each of its local towns – Pictou, New Glasgow, Stellarton, Westville and Trenton.

John Ashton is a local historian and graphic designer, who writes about the area’s first settlers and communities that once existed. He uncovers the deserted villages around the region paying special attention to the details of such places, including the French pioneer settlement called Raymondville. There is also his collection collection of stories in “Past times: historical stories of Pictou County: the unknowns, the unexplained, the unfortunate and the lucky.” John has assisted many rural communities with the design and content of beautiful historical kiosks that may be discovered in travels about the county.

Clyde F. Macdonald, retired judge and local historian, shares stories of Pictou County’s past with an emphasis on his legal experience. He explores the more sensational historical court cases, and the cast of characters involved, while examining other notable events, people and places of the times. His latest book, “Nova Scotians in and out of Court” will be launched Saturday, Aug. 11 at the New Glasgow Library, 2 to 4 p.m.

Then there are the cookbooks. Often when discovering a culture and heritage of place, and its people, the best way is through cuisine. The library has a wealth of local cookbooks right up to the national classics, such as “The Great Canadian Bread Book” and “Nova Scotia down-home cooking” by Janice Murray Gill. Janice has left a legacy of local knowledge, too, with her “River John Reader: an anthology of writings concerning the village of River John and its people,” available to buy at River John library.

All these books are available at the library, and many can be bought in local bookstores such as COLES-New Glasgow, the gift shop at the Museum of Industry in Stellarton, the McCulloch House Museum & Genealogy Centre in Pictou, and Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery in River John.

The library also has many historical documents and photos available online, through www.NovaStory.ca , and each library has a small local historical collection. The New Glasgow Library is also home to the Heritage Room, and the Pictou County Roots Society.

For more information on upcoming library programs, special events and services, drop by your local library branch, follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook, or visit us online at www.parl.ns.ca.

Trecia Schell is Community Services Librarian, and Branch Librarian, Books-by-Mail, River John, Stellarton & Trenton Public Libraries.

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