St. Lawrence County libraries offer book

recommendations through Beanstack


Beanstack is a free reader’s advisory service that curates and recommends children’s books available within the North Country Library System. For many kids, figuring out what to read can be intimidating, especially since we have over 75,000 different juvenile titles within our sixty-five libraries!

Beanstack is easy to use - parents and caregivers create an online account and register children as participants. Although the program requires some adult contact information, children can be identified simply by a nickname and age.

In order to provide book suggestions, participants are asked to input their reading level and select up to three subjects, three genres, and three types of characters they enjoy reading about. Then, Beanstack’s algorithms select and suggest books that match the child’s preferences. Clicking on a title brings the reader to the North Country Library System’s online catalog where parents and kids can view more information, locate the book in a specific library, or request the item through interlibrary loan.

Kids can maintain a log of books read and earn badges as they reach incremental goals. Users can opt-in to receive weekly or bi-weekly book recommendations via email, and can change their preferences as children grow and interests change. Other features include a wish list of books to read, book list recommendations, and educational apps for Android and iOS devices.

In addition, there are over seventy-five themed guides covering a wide range of topics: seasons, animals, geography, history, culture, and many more. Themed guides typically include an extensive book list, activities, craft projects, and ideas to integrate reading with other forms of experiential learning.

Beanstack may be used in the library, at home, or on a mobile device. Beanstack is available and free to everyone with additional features unlocked for library card holders. To access Beanstack, go to the North Country Library System website at and click on the Beanstack graphic on the right-hand side of the page.

Explore Beanstack’s juvenile book suggestions and visit your local library… there’s sure to be something of interest, so check us out!

Michelle McLagan is the Director of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon. She enjoys recommending books to young readers, and her favorite picture book is “We Are in a Book!” by Mo Willems.

“Check Us Out…” is a column about our St. Lawrence County public libraries. Support your local library!

Hepburn Library of Lisbon lends 10,000 items in 2016


The Hepburn Library of Lisbon has been serving the community for ninety-six years and is committed to providing quality service to those who visit and partake in its programs and services.

In 2016, the library hosted 9,230 visitors who borrowed library materials, accessed the internet, participated in a library-sponsored programs, attended an event in the community room, or sought a quiet place to read, study, or visit with friends.

The library offered 84 programs to the community for all ages with an attendance of over 1,000 individuals. Library programs included story times, movie nights, craft days, nutrition classes, makerspace projects, fitness classes, informational lectures, and painting classes. The library participated in Halloween Trick or Treat, Train Day at the Museum, Homecoming Weekend, and the regional Battle of the Books competition.

The library hosted 87 community and private groups who used the community room for meetings, birthday parties, baby showers, and other social activities. The library routinely hosts meetings for the Lions, Trappers, and Sportsmen groups.

The library collaborated with the Lisbon Beach and Campground by providing paperback books to campers, the museum by reading books aloud to kids, the Lights on the River organization by providing a holiday display, and the school by actively participating in and promoting the FROGS program for young readers.

The library provided computer access for 1,200 individuals, many of whom filled out job applications, typed and printed resumes, and worked on homework assignments. Over 600 people accessed the wireless network with laptops and other mobile devices.

The library circulated 6,000 books, 2,000 DVDs, 900 magazines, 200 miscellaneous items, and 1,100 electronic materials for a grand total of 10,221 items. Circulation was evenly split between items geared toward children and adults.

The library houses 19,000 physical items that may be borrowed with a library card, plus 6,300 downloadable ebooks accessible through the North Country Library System’s Overdrive collection.

The Hepburn Library of Lisbon is open twenty-five hours per week: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Wednesday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The library’s Board of Trustees includes Barbara Shoemaker, David Walker, Angela Martin, Maria Rockhill, and Carroll Roy. The Board meets most months on the second Monday at 6:00 pm.

Michelle McLagan is the Director of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon. She began working at the library in 2009 and has been the the Director since 2010. Other staff include Malcolm Casselman as the library assistant and Scott Skiff as the building and grounds caretaker.

“Check Us Out…” is a column about our St. Lawrence County public libraries. Support your local library!

St. Lawrence County libraries offer free
access to


 Did you know your public library offers access to at no charge? Ancestry’s Library Edition is a budget-friendly way to access most of’s collections and databases from within your local library.

Ancestry includes census, vital, church, court, military, and immigration records along with family histories, photos, and maps from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and other areas of the world. The collection contains thousands of databases, over 30,000 record collections, millions of historical photos, and over 11 billion names - all searchable with the click of a mouse. Record collections date all the way back to the 1500’s and include narratives, oral histories, indexes, and abstracts to other online and print resources.

The U.S. collection delivers hundreds of millions of names from sources such as census, birth, death, and marriage records, plus the Social Security Death Index, U.S. border crossing, and trans-ocean ship records. The Military collection provides over 150 million records containing information often not found elsewhere, from the colonial to the modern era. A search of the Multimedia collection produces millions of files ranging from family and gravestone photos to postcards and newsreels.

Ancestry has become a valuable resource in our public libraries for patrons just starting to research family history, or for those looking to expand existing family trees. Stop by any library in the North Country Library System to access our subscription.

The world of genealogical records library patrons can access at no charge is well worth checking out!

Michelle McLagan is the Director of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon. Her ancestors sailed on the Ship Patience from Germany in the early 1800’s and settled in Western Maryland, where many of them continue to live today.

“Check Us Out…” is a column about our St. Lawrence County public libraries. Support your local library!

St. Lawrence County libraries offer
over 500 continuing education classes


Did you know that your library card gives you access to over 500 Continuing Education classes at no charge? Classes are available online and cover a wide variety of topics to enhance your personal life, expand job-related skills, or boost academic knowledge.

Universal Classes are self-directed with lessons, assignments, exams, discussion boards, and an instructor to help you master the content. Students receive actual grades and, upon successful completion of the course, a certificate and CEUs (Continuing Education Units). Most courses are worth 1.0 to 2.0 CEUs and require ten to twenty hours to complete.

Class offerings for parents, families, and individuals cover a wide spectrum. There are classes on parenting skills, wellness, home improvement, gardening, nutrition, hobbies, and caring for aging parents.

Business owners and employees can benefit from classes on life coaching, bookkeeping, internet marketing, business management, resolving workplace conflicts, and writing effective policy manuals.

Are you heading back to school and need to brush up on forgotten topics? There are classes on math, history, science, writing, and GED test preparation.

With a catalog of over 500 classes, there’s something for almost everyone. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn, for free, in the comfort of your home. If you don’t have an internet connection, no problem - every public library has computers and internet access available at no charge.

Classes are available to anyone with a library card and may be accessed online at - just look for the Universal Class banner on the right hand side of the page. You’ll need to register using your the barcode on the back of your library card. If you don’t have a card, just stop by your local library and sign up - library cards are free and may be used at all public libraries in St. Lawrence County and the rest of the North Country Library System.

Michelle McLagan is the Director of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon. She’s currently enrolled in Soap Making 101 and looking forward to taking a class on SEO Copywriting.

“Check Us Out…” is a column about our St. Lawrence County public libraries. Support your local library!

St. Lawrence County libraries offer
almost 30,000 DVDs to patrons


 Libraries have been lending movies and television episodes for many years and our collections have been growing steadily. Overall, we have 29,840 DVD and Blu-Ray discs available in our St. Lawrence County libraries, plus an additional 40,000 available through interlibrary loan from other libraries in the North Country Library System.

In many libraries, DVDs are very popular - last year NCLS libraries circulated over 178,000 DVD titles to North Country residents. Within St. Lawrence County, our largest collections are in Potsdam, Ogdensburg, Massena, Colton, Canton, and Lisbon.

Our catalog spans the entire history of filmmaking from classic black & white movies all the way up to this week’s newest releases. For adults, we have almost every genre available including comedy, horror, drama, action, thriller, and anime. We have family-friendly theatrical releases along with a wide variety of television characters from Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, and more. Many of our libraries offer documentary, self-help, exercise, how-to, and other educational titles. We also own many popular television shows including Game of Thrones, NCIS, and Breaking Bad.

If you prefer the Blu-Ray format over DVD, our libraries are expanding our collections to include more titles in high-definition. Lisbon and Ogdensburg have the two largest selections of Blu-Ray discs in St. Lawrence County.

So… how does one borrow from this massive collection? It’s easy! You need a library card from one of the libraries in the North Country Library System. If you don’t have a current library card, just stop by your local library and sign up - library cards are free!

Libraries generally loan DVDs and Blu-Rays for one week, and many libraries lend them at no charge to the patron. Most titles can be shipped through interlibrary loan with an arrival time of a few days to a week. Each library has its own policies regarding DVD loans, so be sure to inquire for details the first time you borrow a disc.

The next time you’re looking for a movie for date night, or something to entertain the kids for a few hours, stop by your local library and browse our video collection. Or, go online to and plug in your search terms - you can search your local library’s collection or see what’s available in all sixty-five libraries in the North Country Library System.

Check out our video collection…you’re sure to find something of interest!

Michelle McLagan is the Director of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon. Lisbon has 377 Blu-Rays and 1,580 DVDs, including 8 new titles added just this week.

“Check Us Out…” is a column about our St. Lawrence County public libraries. Support your local library!

St. Lawrence County libraries are gearing up
for the annual Battle of the Books competition!


Battle of the Books is a quiz-style program for young readers in grades 4 through 6. Each team of four children reads twenty books, studies, practices, and competes against other teams to answer questions in a “In what book did…?” format.

Titles are selected annually by a committee of library staff who reads the books and writes questions focusing on the who, what, and where of each book’s story and characters. By the time we are finished, we’ve written over 1,000 questions in preparation for our local and regional battles.

This year, our reading list contains books that focus on all types of interesting people, animals, cultures, and circumstances. We have books about chickens, dogs, foxes, robots, and twins who play sports, go to school, explore new frontiers, make new friends, and deal with family relationships all while coping with loss, growing up, and facing challenges with dyslexia, autism, and discrimination. Whew! That’s a lot of detail to remember, which is why it’s important for everyone to work together as a team to read and study each book prior to the competition.

Kids who are interested should contact their local public library for more information and to sign up. Individual libraries hold local battles (usually late April to early May), and then send their winning team to the regional battle to compete against other libraries from St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, and Oswego counties. This year, the regional battle will be Saturday, May 20 in Gouverneur.

Visit the North Country Library System’s Battle of the Books page at for the 2017 title list and coaches guide. The books for this year’s battle are available on the shelf at many libraries, through interlibrary loan, or downloadable from our Overdrive collection - grab your library card and check one out today!

Michelle McLagan is the Director of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon. She’s a member of the Battle of the Books committee and is currently reading her seventh title for this year’s competition.

“Check Us Out…” is a column about our St. Lawrence County public libraries. Support your local library!


St. Lawrence County Libraries
Offer Downloadable eBooks for Free


 Did you know that your local library has almost 6,000 eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines available for download at no cost? All you need is a library card, internet access (also available at the library), and a device capable of accessing the downloadable files.

 Our public libraries share an expansive collection of electronic media that can be accessed via the North Country Library System website or OverDrive app on your smartphone or tablet. We have a wide array of books that appeal to all ages, including mysteries, romances, westerns, cookbooks, self-help books, biographies, and more. New titles are added monthly.

We also have a variety of electronic magazines including popular titles such as Better Homes & Gardens, Discover, and Newsweek.

The OverDrive app is available for Android, Apple, and Windows devices. Various file formats are also available for download and used in conjunction with not only your smartphone or tablet, but stand-alone eReaders such as the Nook, Kobo Reader, or Kindle. Audiobooks can play directly from your device through the bluetooth speakers in your car, making for an entertaining commute to and from work or school.

Did you receive a new tablet or Kindle as a holiday gift? Not sure how to get started with eBooks? It’s easy! If you have a library card, you can access our digital catalog at You just need your library card and PIN numbers to sign in and check out titles for downloading.

 If you don’t have a library card, visit your local library and register for a free card - all you need is photo identification and proof of address. While you’re there, check out all your library has to offer - you’re sure to find something new!

 Michelle McLagan is the Director of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon. She’s an avid reader, and has been known to read an eBook on her iPad, while at the same time listening to an audiobook on her smartphone.

“Check Us Out…” is a column about our St. Lawrence County public libraries. Support your local library!