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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Help this library turn over a new leaf


When one of her students tells her he or she doesn’t like to read, Webster Elementary School librarian Rebecca Domin says, “When you find that book that catches you, you become a reader. You just haven’t found the right book yet.”

But finding the right book isn’t so easy in Webster’s 1970s-era library, with shelving that disrupts traffic flow, and doesn’t allow for the large group lessons required by modern media specialists. In fact, it’s the same shelving, furniture and carpet from my days as a Webster Wildcat in the 1980s.

It’s like stepping into a time capsule, but everything’s a lot older, worn and tired. Just like me.

“The new layout is so much more simplified,” Domin said of the $70,000 renovation plans that will, among other things, allow for color-coded shelves to make finding the appropriate book easier for early readers. If aldermen make the final approval, the city will dedicate about $48,000 to the project. That means Domin and the Webster community need to raise the rest.

“The library is so important to me. I’m very passionate,” said Domin. And it shows. She’s spent the school year applying for grants and soliciting donations in exchange for a name on a “giving tree” that will be permanently installed in the renovated library. But they’ve only raised $800 to date.

The Webster families are already tasked with raising money for much of the student programs and school technology. And it’s hard to get outside donors to fund a library renovation when there are more pressing issues like the opioid crisis plaguing our city. But Domin and some dedicated colleagues have come up with a very smart way to get the wider Manchester community to pay attention and get involved.

A huge community yard sale to benefit the library renovation project will be held at the school on Saturday, May 6, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The indoor/outdoor sale will be held rain or shine.

Participants won’t just be giving, they’ll be getting — getting rid of unwanted stuff by donating to the yard sale, getting some money by selling their own items, and getting some new treasures by shopping at the sale.

Just in time for your spring cleaning, donations of unwanted items can be dropped off at Webster School from Wednesday, May 3, to Friday, May 5, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. People who want to sell their own items can reserve a 10-foot by 10-foot space. It’s $35 for an indoor spot, and $25 for an outdoor spot.

Domin is one of the most engaged educators I have ever come across. I truly believe she would raise every penny of the renovation herself if she had to. But she shouldn’t have to, and I hope our city will come out and support this yard sale and her other fundraising efforts. For more information, or to reserve a table, visit webster.mansd.org/library.

CASA cares

Many neglected and abused Manchester children rely on CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to help them through the legal system when their future is at stake, but the nonprofit can’t provide the services without its signature annual fundraiser — CASA Cares.

This year it is on Friday, May 5, at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham (yeah, it’s a hike, but worth it for Manchester’s kids). The evening features dinner, a mystery wine grab, and a set by hysterical comedian Bob Marley. There are also amazing auction items including trips, jewelry and a dinner prepared by some of the Manchester Fire Department’s most talented cooks.

The evening runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and tickets are $100. Visit www.casanh.org/casacares for more information.

Mill Falls meal

Southern New Hampshire University’s men’s basketball coach Stan Spirou will talk about the importance of bringing diversity into our lives and greater community at Mill Falls Charter School’s annual Leadership Breakfast on Tuesday, May 2.

Spirou came to Manchester as an immigrant from Greece, and entered Manchester public schools without speaking English. His entertaining talk will describe the links behind his personal experiences and professional choices.

Mill Falls, which rents space from Union Leader Corp., is New Hampshire’s first public charter Montessori school. It receives less than half the funding of most traditional public schools. The Leadership Breakfast, which will be held at the Puritan event center at 8 a.m., is one of its largest annual fundraisers.

If you would like to attend the breakfast to learn more about the school and make a financial contribution, email foundation@millfalls.org or call 232-5176.

NewHampshire.Com Event of the Week

The Manchester Choral Society is performing Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” with a full orchestra this Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, at Saint Anselm College’s Dana Center.

“Candide” is Voltaire’s satirical story in which the characters, regardless of social or financial status, suffer unimaginable adversity, with a message about striving to overcome challenges. Saturday’s performance is at 7 p.m. and Sunday’s is at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 or $20 for seniors.

For more information on this and other events that will add some culture to your lives, visit the NH365 calendar on www.NewHampshire.com.

If you have an interesting item for The Scene, email scene@unionleader.com.


Eric Church
Saturday, 8 p.m.

Discover Wild NH Day
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Kathy Griffin
Saturday, 7 p.m.

Peter Wolf
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Motor Booty Affair
Saturday, 8 p.m.