Out & About: Sharon library invites people to show off

By LIZ SAUCHELLI

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 07-16-2023 6:12 AM

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shana Hickman started a virtual “Show-Off Show” where people shared what they’d been up to when they were stuck at home.

“I had a lot of knitting and sewing things,” said Hickman, the library director at Baxter Memorial Library in Sharon. Among them were a girl who showed off her finger-knitting skills and someone who made greeting cards.

The Show-Off Show was successful, and it gave community members an opportunity to share skills they might not be able to elsewhere. This Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m., the Show-Off Show will return — only this time it will be in person at the library, located at 5114 Route 14. The event is open to all Upper Valley residents and snacks will be provided. More information can be found online at sharonvtlibrary.com.

“I imagine it will mostly be children, but anyone is welcome to come and show off any special talent they have or just something cool that they found or anything that sparks them,” Hickman said during a Thursday phone interview.

The activity is part of the annual summer reading program and fits into the American Library Association’s theme of “All Together Now.” Many libraries throughout the country — including quite a few in the Upper Valley — plan activities around the theme throughout the summer.

“After these rains, librarians around the state have really been tapping into the theme this year,” Hickman said.

Parents regularly bring their children to the library for weekly scavenger hunts. “Even on sunny days like this one, I’ve got around 10 kids here playing Magic: The Gathering, and several parents just hanging out and talking while they do it,” she said.

The Show-Off Show is meant to build community in a low-key way. Earlier this summer, the library hosted an open mic night that asked participants to sign up ahead of time. While a handful of people attended and a good time was had by all, it didn’t quite turn out how Hickman expected.

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“It wasn’t the turnout I was hoping for and I think it was a just a little bit intimidating,” Hickman said.

She started to think about the Show-Off Show from 2020 and how to recreate it.

Participants do not need to sign up ahead of time for the event and share a variety of skills like “someone with a cool rock they found or someone who’s just learned to whistle,” Hickman said.

The idea is to celebrate the little things in a supportive environment.

Hickman hopes “that everybody has a good time and enjoys watching each other,” she said. “It’s just a way to get community together really.”

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.