Nashua Library celebrates reading with edible book contest
NASHUA — For Anastacia Rousseau, 7, the best part of baking a multi-layered tribute cake to Lewis Carroll and his much-loved masterpiece, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was working with the fondant, the marshmallow icing perfect for sculpting.
Rousseau and her mom, Cedi, spent about a week creating their Wonderland cake for Nashua Public Library's second annual Edible Book Contest, a kickoff event for the city's celebration of National Library Week.
"You have people who create characters, or puns, or copies of book covers," said Linda Walker, assistant director of the library's Music, Art and Media department, and the organizer of the contest.
"I heard about a group that was doing it and I thought it was a great idea and we have to do it here," she said.
Although most of the entries were different types of cakes, one contestant created a white whale chasing a boat through a dish of what looked like deep blue Jello.
For Walker, and other members of the staff, the contest and the week-long celebration of libraries is a chance to remind residents of endless resources and opportunities available through the library.
"Libraries are about a lot more than just borrowing books," said Carol Luers Eyman, head of outreach and community relations.
Films, music, magazines, museum passes, puppets, a telescope, the Nashua Public Library has all sorts of things families can borrow and enjoy.
National Library Week is one way to shine a spotlight on some of the things that are available.
"And it's nice to have a time when the community and the whole country are celebrating libraries," added Eyman.
As for a contest that involves individuals and families whipping up edible versions of "The Hunger Games," "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Anne of Green Gables, "Walker said it's a way for the library to show there's also a lot of fun among the stacks.
"It's a chance to be creative," she said. "The library is about education but there's also a lot of entertainment here."
But for Walker, who helps people find some of the 650,000 to 700,000 books, CDs, videos and other library resources that residents borrow each year, the edible book contest underscores the role the library plays in Nashua.
Many groups and organizations use the library as a home base for meetings, exhibits, lectures and performances. And many people use the library as a place to meet and socialize.
"The library is one of the most important parts of the city," said Walker. "It's the center of the community."