Wilmington Library Announces “Revive Civility” Events For September, Highlights Summer Offerings

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Memorial Library Director Tina Stewart was recently in front of the Selectmen to discuss the library’s popular summer reading program and the upcoming “Revive Civility” series of programs.

Summer Reading Program Highlights

“The Youth Services staff at the library has done another outstanding job of coming up with great ideas and incentives to keep kids reading all summer long,” announced Stewart. “So far, over 1,000 kids and teens have signed up for the program to date, and read over 1,848 hours.”

“One of the incentives this summer is a beaded necklace — for every hour the child reads, they can add a bead to their neckless,” added Stewart. “These have been very popular. We’re running out of beads, so that’s a good sign.”

Stewart discussed the benefits of summer reading, noting national research that finds students who participate in a public library summer reading program score higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those who do not participate.

Stewart reminded residents that the library has purchased multiple copies of the books on required summer reading lists for Wilmington Public Schools. Copies are available in both print and digital format.

The library’s 3rd Annual End of Summer Bash will take place this Thursday, August 9, from 5pm to 7:30pm, on the Swain Green. Stewart said residents can expect a good time — two food trucks with affordable menus, desserts for sale, and children’s games and entertainment, plus live music from a band.

The library’s 1st Annual Summer Movies on the Swain series will take place on the first four Fridays in August. Stewart invites residents to come enjoy outdoor movies on a big screen at the Swain Green. Films include Coco (August 3), Pitch Perfect (August 10), Sing (August 17), and Grease (August 24). The series is in collaboration with the Wilmington Rotary Club.

The library has also begun working with the Wilmington Police Department to hold “Coffee with a Cop” events on the third Wednesday morning of the month. The library invites residents to come to the library to meet and chat with a Wilmington officer in a very relaxed and informal setting, in case they have any questions or concerns.

Stewart offered thanks to the Friends of the Wilmington Memorial Library, noting the library couldn’t offer the robust programming it’s known for without their financial support. Stewart also thanked the Selectmen and Town Administration for their support.

Revive Civility Initiative 

“Due to the acknowledged decline in civil discourse, the library plans to host a series of events on theme – revive civility — this September,” announced Stewart. “We hope this initiative will raise awareness of the importance in engaging in civil conversations between people of different viewpoints and remind people of all ages of the importance of respect, empathy, consideration and tolerance.”

Stewart highlighted several events, including the kickoff on Thursday, September 6 at 6:30pm with keynote speaker Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of the National Institute of Civil Discourse.  The library will also host several discussion sessions on heated topics with opposing viewpoints in a civil manner, including the NFL Anthem Protest (September 11), Gun Control and the Right To Bear Arms (September 18), and Wilmington’s Future (September 25, the Town’s 288th Birthday, moderated by Town Moderator Rob Peterson).

Stewart noted there will also be events for children and teens focused on kindness and tolerance.

The complete Revive Civility brochure can be viewed online HERE. A bookmark for the series will be included with the August Wilmington water bill.

Stewart thanked the series sponsors — Friends of the Library, the James Banda Memorial Fund, the Wilmington Community Fund, We’re One Wilmington, and the Law Offices of Toukantonis & Reynolds.

Selectmen React

“I have continued praise for your creativity and really transforming the library into a community center and so much more than just a warehouse of books. You’re a thought leader in this community,” Selectman Jonathan Eaton told Stewart.

“You and your staff do a phenomenal job. It’s just not 4 walls with books. It’s a community center,” said Selectman Ed Loud. “Your Friends of the Library is such a great group of people that help you and your staff out.”

“There’s a lot going on at the library. Thank you to you and your staff for all that you do,” said Selectman Greg Bendel. “I want to give a shout out and encourage all our students and children in our community to take advantage of the initiatives with the beads.”

“You and your staff do a fantastic, wonderful job at the library. I’m looking forward to the August 9 event and the food trucks,” said Selectman Mike McCoy.

“What can you say? You just do wonderful work at the library, day in and day out,” said Selectmen Chair Kevin Caira.

“No question that Tina and her staff really look push the envelope in terms of what libraries can be. She’s particularly attentive of the trends in library service… Kudos to the library staff,” added Town Manager Jeff Hull.

The Board of Selectmen will officially proclaim September as “Revive Civility Month” in Wilmington at its next meeting in August.

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