Maybe it was because of the onset of seasonal depression, or the lack of sunlight in the month of February (and January and December), but Cassie and I decided we really needed a field trip. We racked our brains trying to come up with a suitable location, something that would be of interest to Concord readers, but also somewhere fun - a mini-vacation of sorts. (Very mini - we'd have to squeeze it into an eight-hour workday.) We tossed around some ideas and then gave up when we couldn't think of any place that didn't involve airlines and a tropical island.
That's when we realized our field trip would have to take place a little closer to home. We looked at the towns that border Concord and settled on Bow. After all, that's where the highest concentration of readers who want to receive an Insider in their paper resides. In many ways, this a shout out to you, Bow readers. You are near and dear to our hearts, and we want you to know that.
But where to start? To be completely honest, we didn't know much about the town. We tried driving around one day, but we kept ending up in Concord or Hooksett. Shaking our fists in frustration, we shouted "No, we want to stay in Bow!" It was no use. We turned around and went back to the office.
We finally smartened up and contacted the Baker Free Library, where director Lori Fisher answered our plea for help. We now consider Lori the gateway to Bow, because she was able to fill us in on all sorts of interesting things.
Lori started working at the library about a year ago. While she resides in Weare, she says she loves the town of Bow and the people in it. For one thing, Bow has one of the best funded libraries in the state for a town of its size. Those funds are put to good use for the library's 6,000 card holders (the town has about 8,000 residents).
The library itself was built in 1914, thanks to Congressman Henry Baker, who donated the land and funds. He also donated his personal collection of books, which are still on display at the library. The important thing to note in the library's name is the word "free." Back in Baker's time, libraries generally collected a subscription fee from patrons to borrow books. Baker was a bit of a revolutionary for proclaiming that Bow's library would be free and open to anyone.
The library has undergone two expansions since it was built, one in 1967 and another in 2002, but the original building has been preserved. There are plenty of quiet nooks to read in and an even a sunny window seat.
The library offers a wide variety of programs for the community to enjoy, which you can read more about on page 15. But another reason you might want to swing by the library is the perpetual book sale, located in the library basement. Any time the library is open, you can browse a selection of books that have been donated or taken out of circulation from the library.
The sale is run by the Friends of the Library and the funds go right back to the library for programming and the like. There's certainly plenty to choose from - the books take up a pretty big section of the basement. (Don't worry, it's not a creepy basement, but it is a little chilly down there right now.) And, since the library welcomes books from any genre (even textbooks), you'll find a variety of subject matter, too. Lori said they have several used book sellers who peruse the sale now, and it's popular with homeschoolers.
We would have taken a look at the sale ourselves, but we had bigger fish to fry. This was only the beginning of our field trip, after all, and Lori had given us plenty of contacts to follow up with. We wish we could have gotten in touch with everyone, but we are a bit limited to the two pages here.
But don't worry, this won't be the last your hear about Bow in The Insider.