WEST PARIS — At the West Paris Public Library, people come not just for the books but also to connect individual pursuits with others in the community.

This week the library launched a new 8-week Women’s Winter Writing Circle program for women to gather for introspection and support in their writing. It is facilitated by Stephanie Frykholm, who recently relocated to Oxford Hills from Colorado. Frykholm has participated in and led women’s circles for more than 30 years.

As she acclimated to her new community, Frykholm decided the time was right to facilitate a new women’s circle – one focused on writing.

After visiting the library several times and making becoming acquainted with Library Director Brenda Gould, Frykhom was pleased when Gould suggested that her organization sponsor it.

“In the fall we attended a reading and discussion group at the library, sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council,” Frykholm said. “The books were all Maine authors. We met Brenda and would stop in for books.

“When I felt ready to offer this ring, she was very welcoming of the idea. We are so grateful for her support, and the support of the library. It’s been wonderful.”


The West Paris Public Library is sponsoring a Women’s Writing Circle for eight weeks, facilitated by Stephanie Frykholm (left) of West Paris. Also pictured, Library Director Brenda Gould. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

The West Paris Library hosts several other events, and it is not just about reading the works of diverse Maine authors from Edna St. Vincent Millay to E.B. White to Carolyn Chute.

One recent concert featured Low Commotion, an ensemble tuba band. Another was an interactive performance of Drums of West Africa with Namory Ketia, an event where members of the audience are invited to try their hand at different instruments.

Gould says the community is welcome to its regular programs as well as registering for its group activities.

“For kids we do a weekly story time,” Gould said. “For adults, we hold a monthly poetry discussion group with Rodney Abbott, a retired teacher who has been involved with the library for decades now.

“He discusses poetry, history and connects it to current events. It’s a well-rounded group. He provides context of the time when a poem was written and will connect the threads to things happening in the present.”

“One of the things I’ve been impressed when I’ve stopped by is the after-school activities for kids,” Frykholm said. “They do art and read books. They get tutoring and do their homework and get snacks.”


“We also have STEAM kits for the kids, engineering kits, and different kinds of art supplies and paints,” Gould said. “Sometimes we’ll have a mob in here and sometimes it is more quiet.”

“As a newcomer coming in the door, I had scouted around,” Frykholm said. ‘When I come into a community I check out coffee shops, and the library. I came in and got this beautiful, warm, welcoming smile. I knew that this library could be home.”

The Women’s Winter Writing Circle will be held Monday evenings through April 3. The library’s Drop-in Storytime happens every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and its Poetry and History Discussion with Rodney Abbott takes place on the third Wednesday of each month.

Gould said she is currently working on summer reading and event schedules, which will be posted on the library’s website (www.westparislibrary.org) in the future. People wanting to learn more about its programs should call 207-674-2004 or email librarian@westparislibrary.org.


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