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The Manchester Community Library was packed for a mahjong tournament on Sept. 21.

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In this New Year, I’m taking time to express gratitude for those unexpected moments of joy in this beautiful town that we are lucky enough to call home.

While our dramatic setting between two beautiful mountain ranges never ceases to amaze me, in reflecting on my most intense and most unexpected moments of joy throughout this past year, so many of them have happened inside — in our library.

These include watching my son Ryder’s utter amazement at the largest map he’s ever seen — Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Giant Map that was on display this November, my own surprise at the truth behind the peeled grapes in the Halloween party spooky texture boxes, seeing my daughter Ella’s sense of pride when Deb Hansen, the librarian, asked her for her genuine opinion on new a book series for the youth center, and most recently watching my 5-year-old, Grant, confidently play someone twice his age at the afternoon Check Mates chess club meeting.

When considering how integral the library is to our family, I am flooded with gratitude — not only for one of the most beautiful and functional indoor spaces one could imagine, but also for the numerous friendly faces (Arielle, Emily, Paige and Ed) and thoughtful community-based programming that make it feel like home — and a very joyful one at that.

Leah Parks



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