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AT THE LIBRARY: Céad míle fáilte, a hundred thousand welcomes

May is Gaelic Nova Scotia Month and a time to reflect upon our community’s settler roots. 
The Office of Gaelic Affairs in Nova Scotia invites us to join in and celebrate the culture of the Gaels of Nova Scotia. This year’s theme is “The Power of Our Songs.” The songs, tunes and rhythms of the music from Gaelic Nova Scotia are deeply tied to the Gaelic language. Gaelic song traditionally accompanied every work activity, special occasion and function with song, all day, every day. Gaelic culture also enjoys a rich Bardic tradition, with compositions unique to our region, reaching back through our lines to Scotland. This ancient language song culture is still vibrant and evolving in the 21st century.
Throughout the month of May, the library will have a display from Gaelic Affairs N.S. at the New Glasgow and Antigonish libraries, and a touring display at our smaller libraries (Pictou from May 1 to 8, Westville from May 9 to 15, Stellarton from May 16 to May 22, River John from May 23 to May 29, and Trenton from May 30 to June 6).
In addition, the library is delighted to be able to host three upcoming programs or workshops with Cape Breton based award-winning musician, singer/songwriter and instrumentalist – Robyn Carrigan. To begin the month, on the right note – Robyn will be offering an afternoon program on Nova Scotia Gaelic Songs at the Pictou Library on Wednesday May 1, at 3:30 p.m. She invites us to, “Get your Gaelic on!” 
During the presentation you will also have the opportunity to learn a few easy songs from our beautiful Gaelic language. No experience with Gaelic or singing required! Robyn is a very gentle, experienced song leader of absolute beginners. Learn a little about Gaelic song and take home some information. All are welcome, and it wouldn’t be a proper gathering, without tea and cookies served too.   
The following evening, Ms. Carrigan will lead us through a presentation about a Nova Scotian Milling Frolic, at the New Glasgow library on Thursday May 1, starting at 7 p.m. All are invited to come enjoy the songs, rhythms and social life of a Milling Frolic. Wondering what a Milling Frolic is? Cloth from a loom needed to shrink and tighten (fulling) before being usable, and traditionally this was accomplished by soaking the cloth, beating it on a table top by a party of singers, raising their voices to the ‘milling songs’, accompanied by a sip of tea or other refreshments to sustain the action. Milling the cloth is an important social occasion in Gaelic culture. Come join Bean an Taighe, Robyn Carrigan, at the table. Instruction is provided. No experience with Gaelic or singing required! All are welcome to participate with a simple chorus, present a song or just observe. And tea and cookies will be served too.  
Robyn will be offering another Milling Frolic presentation later in the month at the Antigonish Town and County Library on Saturday May 18, at 2 p.m.
April showers bring May flowers, and gardening programs too! Carey Allen is hosting a series of gardening programs at the New Glasgow Library, on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. The upcoming programs are “Nutrient Deficiencies and Soil Testing” on May 1 and “Edible Landscaping” on May 8 at 6:30 p.m. (sounds yummy!). Angie vanKessel is hosting an information session on “Companion Gardening” at the Pictou library on Wednesday, May 15 at 1 p.m.
 For more information on upcoming library programs, special events and services, please 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 and Trenton public libraries

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