A Gift of Flowers

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This year we were very fortunate to have Myra Knight of Chester Basin create exquisite floral arrangements for the tables at our Garden Party. Each of these arrangements was carefully crafted in an empty cat food tin and were so popular that all were sold at the end of the party and taken home by people who attended. This was a beautiful and thoughtful donation to our summer celebration and very much appreciated by all who saw them. Thank you Myra!


Myra Knight

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Library Garden Party – 2017

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Inside Tent 1

On a beautiful August Wednesday afternoon, the Zoé Vallé Memorial Library held its annual Garden Party. This year it was a fundraiser for the restoration of the Library exterior and due to generous donations, the event raised over $ 11,000.

Just as important as the total raised are the contributions from individuals and businesses toward the success of the event:


Various food plates from members of the community

Jamal Pizza, Subway, Independent, Foodland and A touch of Heather Catering

Party Contributors (Cash for Supplies)

Mdina/Sales Beacon, The Fo’c’sle, Nancy Grove

Silent Auction Items

Pat Christiansen, The Rope Loft, Amicus Gallery, Going Coastal, Chester Garden Club, Linens For Life, Chez Glass Lass, The Village Emporium, Black Market By The Sea, Oceanview Garden Centre and Home Hardwware

Other Contributors

St. Stephen’s Anglican Church (tables), Flowers, Flowers, Flowers (flowers), Myra Knight (flowers), Chester Municipal Heritage Society (tables and tents) and tent providers who wish to remain anonymous

First Donations to kick off the campaign:

Jim and Kathryn Shaw

Mike and Sue Barnes

Thanks also go out to Sue LeBlanc and the Friends of the Zoé Vallé Library.


Here are more pictures of the event:

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Silent Auction 2017

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Painting of the Library Club Room that was donated to the silent auction by Pat Christiansen





2017 Annual Newsletter Now Available

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Our annual newsletter for this year is now available here.

The newsletter includes an invitation to our Garden Party fundraiser:

Library Garden Party

The Smell of Books

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In addition to new donations, our Library has many old books on its shelves. Books from every decade that it has been in existence for the past 89 years and some even older. Some people, when they enter the Library for the first time, make a comment on the unmistakable smell of books. When I have been away from the Library overnight, I can detect the scent as well, even though I’ve grown used to it, having lived in the building for 22 years. Recently, I discovered there is a reason why we love the smell of old books. Below is some interesting information from ebookfriendly.com:

“Five years ago, a team of researchers tested over 70 books. The smell is a mix of hundreds of ingredients, so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air from the paper. Some of the compounds were common to all the tested books: acetic acid, benzaldehyde, butanol, furfural, or methoxyphenyl oxime, to name a few.

To describe it in a more accessible way, the study’s lead researcher, Matija Strlic said:

    A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.

There is something more about the book smell than just a balanced blend of pleasing scents. It’s memories. Blame the nose for that. The nose is more sensitive than you think and is tied right into the limbic system responsible for our emotions.  It is one of the strongest ways to trigger memories. Your favorite smell is probably tied to a memory, most likely from your childhood. The smell of books is tied to the celebration of reading and can bring back happy moments.

You’ll be surprised to discover how many home and beauty products recreate the book smell in its finest glory. Perfumes, sprays, and candles collected below can’t replace the sensation of reading a real book. What they can do, however, is to invite the book smell into a home library, a bedroom, or just anywhere we go.”


A Radiant Gift

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From its earliest days in 1928, the Library has been fortunate to receive donations of historical interest related to the community. Zoé’s sister, Isabel, left some of Zoé’s personal items that could be used in a library, such as tables, art, bookcases and books. Others have donated special books, paintings of Chester and photographs of people associated with the Library.


Recently, the Library has received the gift of a beautiful lamp that originally used oil or kerosene, but has been converted to use electricity. It had long been in the family of Chester resident Joan Chandler and she felt it would find a good home in the Club Room of the Library, where it could be seen and appreciated by visitors.

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The new lamp provides a bright yet cozy light in this section of the Library Club Room

Indeed, it is a wonderful and appropriate addition to the décor and function of the corner of the Club Room that holds the biography collection, as well as the cabinet housing some books from the earliest days of the Library and the cups and saucers that were used by the Women’s Institute of Nova Scotia, Chester Branch, when they met each month in the Club Room of the Library from 1928 until 1978.


For years, it has been our goal to create in the Library a look and feeling of what the house may have looked like around the 1920s when it stopped being Zoé’s summer cottage and became a free community library in her memory. A special thank you to Norm and Joan Chandler for helping us make this happen with their beautiful gift.

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A closer look at the lamp showing the beuatiful hand-painted glass shade and detailed metalwork.

Beautiful Bookplates

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One of the more pleasant things about working in an old library is discovering a variety of wonderful bookplates in some of the books in the Library collection and in some of the books donated from personal collections. A bookplate is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner.  The name of the owner usually follows an inscription such as “from the books of…” or “from the library of…”, or in Latin, ex libris…. Bookplates are important evidence for the provenance of books.

Bookplates are still popular today and there are even people who collect them, like a gallery of small artworks. Below are some found in books recently donated to our Library. To see more, simply put ‘bookplates’ in Google image search and see a wonderful assortment of various styles!











Library Christmas Treasures

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While the Library has an assortment of newer books with a Christmas theme, it is the old Christmas books that have been in the Library for many years I would like to feature in this post. These books are no longer in circulation and are a part of the Library’s collection of books that relate to its heritage…beautiful objects from another time.

A Christmas Carol

This copy of the Dickens classic is bound in a suede leather and was printed by the Roycroft shop in East Aurora, New York. Roycroft was a reformist community of craft workers and artists which formed part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States. The work and philosophy of the group, often referred to as the Roycroft movement, had a strong influence on the development of American architecture and design in the early 20th century. It is a fine book that features a likeness of Charles Dickens.




Four Old Christmas Carols

This book was donated to the Library as part of the Hibben Memorial Collection by the writer and Chester summer resident Margaret L. Law. Printed in 1903, it features Christmas carols reprinted from early manuscripts.




The First Christmas Tree

This is a story published in 1897 and set in Europe in the year 722 which features several illustrations by Howard Pyle, an American illustrator and author, primarily of books for young people.




Under The Christmas Stars

This book from 1913, written by American romance novelist Grace Smith Richmond, also has a leather cover and features lovely illustrations by the American painter and engraver, Alice Barber Stephens.






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