Eastern Shore Public Library

Library Updates

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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Imagine Your Story – 2020 Summer Reading Program and Challenge

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This summer, join the virtual fun at Eastern Shore Public Library as we explore the worlds of fantasy, fairy tales, and folklore, as well as other literary dream worlds, in a virtual way. Take part in our Summer Reading Program, “Imagine Your Story” and participate in an easy-to-access online reading challenge.

Together, all four Eastern Shore of Virginia public libraries are offering online reading challenges to readers of all ages, through Beanstack, our new interactive online platform. You can register with Beanstack as an individual or as a family. Readers record time spent reading, participate in challenges, and share book reviews. As you log your reading and activities, you also earn digital badges redeemable for cool incentives. There is a convenient mobile app to make logging your reading and activities even easier.

New this summer is “Read to Bead,” an incentive program where young readers earn their necklace and add beads and brag-tags all summer long by reading and participating in fun activities. They can also get all of their library fines waived for completing their summer reading challenge. Library staff will collect the rewards in personalized bags for our young readers and notify them when they can drop by and pick them up from their library.

Adult readers can participate by reading books of their choice and optionally writing reviews for some or all of them. Adults who participate will have chances to win various prizes in multiple random drawings throughout the summer.

Our summer program began in early June and ends on August 15, 2020. Registration for using Beanstack and taking the Imagine Your Story Summer Reading Challenge can be done online at espl.beanstack.org. The free mobile app Beanstack Tracker is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Questions and requests for help should be directed to the Youth Services Librarian, Janice Felker, at youthservices@espl.org or by calling the Eastern Shore Public Library at (757) 787-3400.

Support and/or prizes are provided by the generous donations of area groups and families and the Library of Virginia. Financial and volunteer support also comes from the Friends groups of Cape Charles, Nassawadox, and Accomac libraries and the large group of volunteers at the Chincoteague library.

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The Frances Bibbins Latimer Collection Available Online

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The Frances Bibbins Latimer Collection Available Online

Eastern Shore of Virginia history recently became more accessible thanks to the digitization of Frances Bibbins Latimer’s archives. Mrs. Latimer was a local history researcher and collector, with much of her activities focused on African American history. The Eastern Shore Public Library was the recipient of her collections when she passed away. Virginia Humanities, the statewide foundation that supports humanities research and education, awarded a grant to digitize the collections. George Latimer, her husband, continued the funding with a personal donation to ensure the project is completed. It is expected that all items will be digitized by August 2020, however, the public can search online what is available now for free through the library’s website.

Digitization involves the scanning of documents into a computer and then organizing the records These digital images are then made available and searchable on the Internet. Cataloging is the more time-consuming task of the process as each image must be individually identified, subject terms and descriptions entered into the catalog software, and then connected to the scanned image. A team of volunteers have been scanning the images. The grant funding is paying for the trained staff to catalog.

Scanning documents preserves the image, as papers and photographs deteriorate over time. Scanned documents are not very useful, however, unless you can find them, which is what the cataloging accomplishes.

The digitization project is not only about preserving images of valuable historical records. A Latimer Project Committee also meets to plan how the collections can be used to improve access to African American history. Programs and outreach activities are planned to educate the public as to the value of African American history and the resources available. It is hoped that this digitized collection will inspire others to take up where Frances Bibbins Latimer left off. New books need to be written about Eastern Shore of Virginia history. Historical documents need to be preserved. Genealogies need to be researched.

When the new Eastern Shore of Virginia Heritage Center is operational, new equipment will be available to train the public how to digitize their own family collections. The recent National Endowment for the Humanities grant award will support the purchase of this equipment. Other ESPL collections might be digitized as well. To search the Frances Bibbins Latimer digitized collection, go to www.espl.org, click on the “Genealogy” tab. The link is found under “Digital Collections” then “Eastern Shore Public Library Digital Archives.”

For more information about how to sign up for a library card, please call the library at (757) 787-3400 or go to the ShoreCat homepage and sign up online. The Eastern Shore Public Library System has four libraries in Accomac, Cape Charles, Chincoteague and Nassawadox. Your ESPL library card can be used at any of the four libraries. To learn about the regional library building project and ESVA Heritage Center in Parksley, opening in 2020, or to donate, visit www.shorelibrary.com. For more information about your library services, library hours of operation, or your library account, visit www.espl.org, “like” us on Facebook and Twitter, or call the library at (757) 787-3400.

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Ancestry Library Edition available for home use to ESPL patrons until September 30!

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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ProQuest has extended its offer of home access to Ancestry Library Edition to all Eastern Shore Public Library patrons until December 30!

Simply go to this page on our website: https://espl.org/ancestrylibrary/

The password is the first 5 digits of your library card number. If you have any trouble with access, call us at 757-787-3400, or email espl@espl.org.

Besides some limitation of records, one of the main differences between Ancestry and Ancestry Library Edition is that with Library you cannot create a tree. It functions strictly as a record database.  But there are billions of records to search! Family history is a great way to teach history to kids as you research what life may have been like for your ancestors. It’s personalized history!

Some hints for basic searches on Ancestry can be found here: https://support.ancestry.com/s/artic…/How-to-Search-Ancestry

Just getting started with genealogy? Great tips can be found here: https://www.americanancestors.org/…/le…/read/getting-started

Happy searching!

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Make history come alive with local resources

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Local history exploration is a fun way to spend time with children.  Studies show that children who know stories about the relatives who came before them show higher levels of emotional well-being (Emory University, 2010).  Stories about family and their homeplace provide children with a sense of identity and of their place in the world.

From home, families can learn more about local history with the help of ESPL’s online family history resources.

Make history come alive with photos, maps and stories.

  • Browse the Countryside Transformed online archive. Hundreds of historic photos of Accomack and Northampton county people, places and events from several ESVA museums, all in one place depict life from the coming of the railroad to the Great Depression.  Historic maps show how the Shore looked in the past and buildings and roads that no longer exist.  Search by town, or use the interactive map and discover some place names you may never have heard of!
  • Read the Peninsula Enterprise newspaper. Though ESPL owns microfilm of all Eastern Shore newspapers from 1881 to the present, the Peninsula Enterprise from 1881-1922 is the only one that is digitized and searchable.  Search for your town or family names and see what was happening on the Shore 100 years ago.
  • Research your family on the MilesFiles genealogical database. With over 90,000 names from the Eastern Shore of Virginia (including a few from the rest of the Delmarva Peninsula), most ESVA surnames are represented.
  • Listen to oral histories. ESPL has recordings from the Cape Charles Rosenwald School Initiative and Chincoteague oral histories.

Want to get out of the house, while still practicing social distancing? 

  • Visit a cemetery. If you have family buried nearby, especially ancestors that passed away before your children were born, this is a good way to “introduce” them. Share pictures and stories before going or on the drive there.  Be sure to coach them on cemetery etiquette and safety. Graves should be respected, tombstones are not for climbing and graveside plantings and mementoes should not be disturbed. ESPL has cemetery/tombstone guides available but you can also find them here http://easternshorestuff.com/cemeteryproject/cemintro.htm  and on Find a Grave https://www.findagrave.com/.
  • Take a driving tour. ESPL has collected online driving and walking tours for Eastern Shore locations on our website here: https://espl.org/genealogy/walking-driving-tours/

But perhaps the best thing that you can do is record your stories. 

Tell stories with family artifacts: letters and photos of course, but also things like sports trophies, military medals, artwork or quilts.    As part of the study mentioned above, researchers asked children a list of 20 questions about their parents and grandparents lives.  You can find the original list of 20 questions here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-stories-our-lives/201611/the-do-you-know-20-questions-about-family-stories

So ask those 20 questions, and record the answers on your smart phone or write them down.

To read about the Emory study on the value of family stories, visit https://ncph.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/The-power-of-family-history-in-adolescent-identity.pdf

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