Eastern Shore Public Library

Library Updates

Memorial to Wyllie Thornton, former bookmobile librarian, by Dr. Miles Barnes

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Wyllie Thornton, retired bookmobile librarian at the Eastern Shore Public Library, passed away recently. For a decade, I joined Miss Wyllie on her Wednesday bookmobile routes. I soon learned that she possessed an admirable work ethic, paid attention to detail, and considered service to the bookmobile’s patrons her first responsibility. She knew the reading interests of the clientele and, a reader herself, took pains to select books that they were likely to enjoy. Having formerly driven a school bus, she was comfortable behind the wheel of the bookmobile and understood the vehicle’s needs and crochets.

I relished my days bookmobiling with Miss Wyllie. We shared a similar attitude toward patron service and a similar sense of humor. We enjoyed traveling the Eastern Shore’s back roads and stopping in its small towns. We looked forward to greeting and talking with fellow readers. Our conversations while on the road or over lunch were punctuated by laughter. She was kind and generous, calm and philosophical. I hope that I never forget the time I spent with her.

After her retirement from the library, Miss Wyllie deepened her commitment to her church and to her community. She even served a term as mayor of Wachapreague. She maintained friendships with library patrons and staff. She was especially close to Colette Nelson, who also worked alongside her on the bookmobile. Colette and I and others who loved her mourn her passing.

Wyllie Thornton’s obituary is here: https://www.doughtyfuneralhome.com/obituary/wyllie-thornton

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Eastern Shore Public Library’s Ebooks and Audiobooks Have Moved from RBdigital to Libby Reading App

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Eastern Shore of Virginia residents can browse, borrow and enjoy even more ebooks and digital audiobooks from Eastern Shore Public Library through the award-winning Libby reading app. Digital books previously available through the RBdigital app have been moved to the library’s OverDrive service and are available through Libby. OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide and creator of the Libby app, recently acquired RBdigital.

Patrons already enjoying the Libby app will experience no change, other than they may notice even more great titles available through Eastern Shore Public Library’s digital collection. With a valid library card, members of the community can borrow from the library’s digital collection by visiting espl.org or downloading Libby.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, readers have turned to ebooks and audiobooks with many using them for the first time.  It is wonderful that we can provide the more user-friendly OverDrive platform for our patrons to access these resources,” said Cara Burton, System Director of Eastern Shore Public Library.  “In addition to our Freading ebook collection which is financially supported by the Friends of ESPL, patrons have good options to meet their reading needs.  And remember, these ebooks are available at no charge when you borrow through the library!”

Libby seamlessly connects first-time users and experienced readers with ESPL’s digital collection. This tailored collection offers ebooks, audiobooks and magazines including bestsellers and new releases in a variety of topics. Readers of all ages can select from virtually every subject ranging from mystery, romance, children’s, business and more.

Readers may browse ESPL’s digital collection, instantly borrow titles and start reading or listening for free with a valid library card. This service is compatible with all major computers and devices, iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets and Chromebook™. Through Libby, readers can also “send to Kindle®”.  All titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period and there are no late fees. Readers can also download titles onto Libby for offline use.

Get started here.


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Peterson’s Career Prep, one of ESPL’s latest e-Resources

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ESPL circulation staff meet once a month to discuss circulation desk issues and training recommendations to better serve ESPL patrons. This month they were asked to learn how to use our newest e-Resource Peterson’s Career Prep, made available by the Library of Virginia for ESPL’s library card holders. Peterson’s Career Prep provides the tools necessary for you to create a resume, cover letter and curriculum vitae. There are tutorials that explain the difference between these three items and professional examples are provided. A resume can be uploaded from a computer or flash drive and updated in this program.  You can also create a resume, cover letter and curriculum vitae from start to finish within the software program. These items can be saved online and downloaded in Microsoft Word or PDF format. The end result is a very professional formatted document, which will assist anyone trying to find a job or start a new career.

Try it out here!

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Youth Services Librarian Janice Felker retires

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I suppose that whenever one sees the end of something in sight , it is only natural to start thinking about the journey that rests in the past and all the people that were a part of that journey. As I look forward to my retirement from my job as Youth Services Librarian at Eastern Shore Public Library , I am cherishing so many wonderful memories. Here are just a few of them:  playing follow the leader with my Storytime children, watching children enjoy the great meals provided by our Summer Food Program, attending Grandparents’ Day at Pungoteague Elementary School and many other school events, meeting with the great teens on our Teen Advisory Board, attending library conferences with wonderful co-workers, going through countless numbers of children’s and young adult books donated to the library by a wonderful volunteer and patron, enjoying delicious celebrations in the library break room, working with some wonderful teen interns and teen volunteers, getting my picture taken with Clifford the Big Red Dog and Dog Man, helping the Friends of the Eastern Shore Public Library with their annual “Visit with Santa,” dressing up for Halloween with my fellow witch and coworker, “Celebrating Us” in the parking lot of the soon to be new library in Parksley, and so many more.

Thank you everyone, for all of these priceless memories, for every hug, for all of your support, and for your friendship. I can only hope you know how much it all means to me.

Many smiles always, Janice.

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Imagine your story with e-resources from ESPL

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As you “Imagine Your Story” and dive into your Summer Reading Challenge, check out our webpage where we have many e-resources and helpful links. Here are a few of our favorites that will help our summer readers find some great reading resources. All of these resources are free to use for our patrons and can be found under the e-resources tab of our website. Some require a library card. Remember, if you need a card, you can apply online through our ShoreCat catalog system.

  • Freading provides thousands of e-books for children and teens, both fiction and nonfiction. Freading has something for every age and interest.
  • RBdigital allows for the download of e-audiobooks, e-magazines, and e-books directly to iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, or Color Nook devices. Juvenile fiction and nonfiction categories offer a large collection for children and teens. Look for the digital version of Highlights for Children in the magazine section.
  • Tumblebooks is available free until at least August 31, 2020. Its flagship product, TumbleBooklibrary is a collection of animated talking picture-books, read-along books, e-books, quizzes, lesson plans, and educational games. Try out Tumblebooks for Kids, Tumble Math, Teen BookCloud, and AudioBookCloud.
  • NoveList K-8 Plus and NoveList Plus provide reading recommendations on fiction and nonfiction books and help you pick out that “just right” book for your next read.
  • EBSCO eBooks K-8 collection gives access to electronic books for children in kindergarten to eighth grade.
  • EBSCO eBooks High School collection provides electronic books for teens in ninth to twelfth grade.
  • EBSCO eBooks Cricket Media collection is a great source of electronic books for children and adults.

At the library, we miss seeing all of you. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to adjust our services to meet the needs of our community while prioritizing the health and safety of Shore residents!


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Looking for your next great read?

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The dog days of summer are the perfect time to dive into a great book! When it’s too hot and humid to do much other than sit still, reading is the ideal way to stay cool. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to read next, so we have put together a selection of tools that can help you find the perfect book. Pour yourself a glass of iced tea, prop your feet up, and check out these excellent reading resources.


Searching ShoreCat, the ESPL library catalog, for a title or author that you have enjoyed in the past can provide excellent read-alike suggestions. Simply visit espl.org and enter an author or title in the search bar found in the upper right corner of the screen. Click on the title of your choice in the list of search results and then scroll down. Below the details about the title you selected you will find more books written by the author in question, other books in the same series (if applicable), and the “You may also like” section (the best part!). Here you will see the Top Picks of suggested titles as well as Similar Authors. This is a wonderful way to find a curated list of new books and authors that is tailored to your individual reading interests. Plus, while using ShoreCat, you can easily request items that you’d like to read by logging into your library account with your library card number and PIN.

Upcoming Bestsellers List

Every other month, the ESPL releases a list of upcoming bestsellers, which can be found in print form at all four Shore libraries, on espl.org, and on the library’s Facebook page. This list includes books that are getting a lot of pre-publication buzz in the book world, as well as upcoming releases by authors that are long-standing favorites of ESPL readers. The Upcoming Bestsellers list is a fantastic way to stay up to date on things you’ll want to read, and is an easy way to build your future reading lists. In addition, by requesting these titles in advance of their publication dates when logged into your account on ShoreCat, you’ll be able to claim your spot on the waiting lists and be one of the first to read them! You can find the list for books that will be published in July through October 2020 at espl.org under the “Upcoming Bestsellers” button on the Finding Materials tab, and if you’d like to see previous lists, just scroll down for more.

Novelist Plus

Novelist Plus offers recommendations and information to help find “Books for every Reader”. With read-alike suggestions for title, author, and series, this reading resource can help you find the right book to match your reading style. In addition to the traditional ways of searching by title, author, or keyword, Novelist Plus also provides suggested books based on genres (like horror and gothic fiction), time period (18th century), location (American South), and mood (menacing and creepy). You can really dial in the search filters to a very specific set of book characteristics, or combine multiple moods and genres to explore a wider selection of possible reads. Novelist Plus can be found at espl.org under the Reading Resources button under the eResources tab.

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Social Security Disability Online Workshops

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The Eastern Shore Public Library (ESPL) will host two online Social Security Administration workshops in August. Matt Baxter, Social Security’s public affairs specialist for Delaware, Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, will serve as the presenter. The 90-minute minute workshops are free and open to the public. Participants can participate using Zoom or by phone.

Social Security Disability 101 — Tuesday, August 18, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

This comprehensive 90 minute presentation covers the application and appeal process for Social Security and SSI disability benefits, the eligibility criteria to receive those benefits, fraud prevention tips, and an overview of the online services available on Social Security’s website. You will also be given an opportunity to ask questions. This presentation is best suited for individuals not yet receiving disability benefits from Social Security, who are curious about the application process.

Social Security Disability 102 — Thursday, August 20, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. 

This 90 minute workshop covers the work incentive programs available to individuals seeking to reenter the workforce after they start receiving benefits. As with the “101” session, fraud prevention tips and an overview of the online services available on Social Security’s website will be provided. Questions may be asked at the conclusion of the workshop. All individuals, either already receiving disability benefits from Social Security or who are interested in applying, are encouraged to attend.

Register for this free event online here or call the library at (757) 787-3400 and ask for Cara Burton. This will be a Zoom slideshow presentation. Those who do not have access to a computer, or would prefer not to participate by computer, will be provided a phone number and meeting code through which they may participate.

For more information, call Cara Burton, Library Director, at Eastern Shore Public Library at (757) 787-3400.

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Rightfully Hers Exhibit at ESPL

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Eastern Shore Public Library in Accomac will host a new pop-up exhibition from the National Archives, Rightfully Hers, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Rightfully Hers contains simple messages exploring the history of the ratification of the 19th amendment, women’s voting rights before and after the 19th, and its impact today. Despite decades of marches, petitions, and public debate to enshrine a woman’s right to vote in the constitution, the 19th Amendment – while an enormous milestone – did not grant voting rights for all. The challenges of its passage reverberate to the ongoing fight for gender equity today.

Rightfully Hers co-curator Jennifer N. Johnson states: “The ratification of the 19th Amendment was a landmark moment in American history that dramatically changed the electorate, and although it enshrined in the U.S. Constitution fuller citizenship for women many remained unable to vote.”

If you are unable to make it to the library, NARA has an online exhibit available here.  Read more about the creation of the exhibit here.

Rightfully Hers is organized by the National Archives and Records Administration. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the National Archives has launched a nationwide initiative and major exhibition that explores the generations-long fight for universal woman suffrage. The exhibition is presented in part by the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Unilever, Pivotal Ventures, Carl M. Freeman Foundation in honor of Virginia Allen Freeman, AARP, and Denise Gwyn Ferguson.

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Looking for eBooks or eAudio? You’ve got options!

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Thanks to a donation from the Friends of Eastern Shore Public Library and the support of Library of Virginia, ESPL is able to offer a variety of eBook and eAudio collections for readers and listeners of all ages and interests. Here are some highlights of our two largest collections, RB Digital and Freading, to help you choose where to begin:

RB Digital

  • Features bestselling fiction and nonfiction eBooks (with many new titles added recently!)
  • Thousands of eAudiobooks for adults, children and teens!
  • All items check out for 10 days and can be renewed for another 7 days
  • Checkout up to 10 items at a time, and build wish lists of items for future reading
  • Holds can be placed on the most popular items, and you will be notified when a copy becomes available
  • RB Digital also includes over 70 digital magazine titles available for unlimited checkout with no returns needed
  • The RB Digital app is available for download for Apple and Android products and Kindle Fire
  • For general help with getting started, try https://esplva.rbdigital.com/help. For more specific questions, email or call the library. If library staff are unavailable to help you, RB Digital has an excellent support team at 877-772-8346 or yoursupport@recordedbooks.com


  • Over 130,000 eBooks!
  • Features a wide variety of nonfiction titles, graphic novels, and children’s and teen eBooks
  • The fiction collection is quite extensive, and includes not only new bestsellers, but also a huge selection of “under the radar” titles just waiting to be discovered
  • Everything is available to download at any time with no waiting
  • Freading eBooks are checked out for a 2 week period, can be renewed once, and return automatically
  • Check out up to 3 items each week, or roll your unused checkouts over to the next week (to a maximum of 6)
  • Compatible with computers or laptops running Windows or Mac operating systems, Nooks, iPads and iPhones, Kindle Fire, Android based devices, Kobo eReaders, and Vox tablets
  • To get started, download the Freading app and Adobe Digital Editions. With your library card number and a PIN, you’ll be ready to read
  • Need help? Freading offers an excellent help section for getting started: https://esplva.freading.com/questions/index For more specific questions, email or call the library

Find Freading and RB Digital at espl.org under the eResources tab. There’s no need to try just one, as your library card provides access to all of the library’s collections simultaneously. Questions? Need to set up or reset your PIN? You can reach us at (757)787-3400 or espl@espl.org.

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StoryTrail at Northampton Free Library

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Eastern Shore Public Library recently installed our first StoryTrail at our branch library site in Nassawadox, the Northampton Free Library. Part of our Steps to Well-Being initiative, the StoryTrail provides a healthy family, social-distancing outdoor activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Families are welcome during daylight hours to take a walk along the shady trail on the library’s property while having the pleasure of reading a picture book together.

The StoryTrail begins at the front of the building with the simple instructions to follow the numbered signs, read the story, and enjoy the walk. Our first StoryTrail features the book Bird Count, written by Susan Edwards Richmond and illustrated by Stephanie Fizzer Coleman. It is a great story about a favorite Eastern Shore pastime, bird watching. The illustrations are bright and colorful and the amount of text on each page, as well as the page size, make it a great choice for a StoryTrail book. We plan to create more StoryTrails in the future at other locations and to partner with other local organizations to create a StoryTrail “trail” on the Eastern Shore.  In addition to promoting wellness, the trails help build a Culture of Reading, one of the Eastern Shore Public Library’s Library2020 initiatives. Visit soon and enjoy the walk! We welcome your feedback about your StoryTrail experience.

If your organization would like to install a StoryTrail or if you have questions, call the library at (757) 787-3400 for more information or visit the library’s website, www.espl.org

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