Everyone (at Kendal) Reading

by KaH Residents Pat Fowler & Joan Piccolo

The library at Kendal at Hanover is a lively resource which helps define this actively aging community. Almost from opening day 25+ years ago, it’s been resident-funded, volunteer staffed, a thoughtfully managed center of the K@H cultural life.

Kendal at Hanover Library
Kendal at Hanover Library

In winter 2019, the library committee decided to try a multi-faceted community program. K@H’s volunteer librarian noticed that the Town of Hanover’s Howe Library’s annual town-wide reading project had selected The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, by Anne-Marie O’Connor. Would Kendal residents enjoy such an offering here on campus during the cold, confining days of our New England winter? The Howe Library was willing to loan 30 copies of the title, and so began the ”The Kendal Library invites you to join Everyone (at Kendal) Reading…” program.

More than 70 residents checked out the book, and about 35 gathered in February to discuss it with their neighbors. This was the first of three programs, including an illustrated lecture by a Dartmouth professor, and ending with the showing in the Gathering Room of Woman In Gold, a feature film starring Helen Mirren and based on the book we had read. An audience of almost 100 residents attended each event.

Despite severely cold weather and several cases of the flu, K@H residents had a lively winter. The book was read in print, on Kindle and as an audiobook, and The Lady in Gold woven into dinner table conversations.

As one resident commented,

“Equally important was bringing our community together. People whom you see in passing but perhaps don’t know shared their thoughts with you about the book.”

Now the buzz on campus is: What will we enjoy reading together next winter?