Blog: Month: April 2020

Creativity in Challenging Times: Making Masks

With the CDC’s new guidelines , and the outbreak intensifying; many cities and towns are instituting ordinances that require mask use in public places. This means demand for ready made masks has often out stripped the supply. So now is a good time to learn how to create a basic face covering that will help keep you and your neighbors safe. And the library has access to some helpful resources to get you started.

 Getting Started with Creativebug

There are many options but most require a basic knowledge of sewing, or at least a crafty friend willing to help you out. So, if you are wondering how to start sewing your first mask or you would like to remind yourself of the finer points of your sewing machine then the Creativebug database provided by the Malden Public Library is a good place to start.

Creativebug offers a helpful video format that guides viewers through step by step lessons. You can learn how to hand sew, thread a sewing machine, sew seams, or make complicated patterns and even clothing! And while it doesn’t provide specific mask making instructions, the videos will help you feel more confident navigating the techniques needed to make one.  And once you have tested out the sewing tutorials, there are a number of other craft lessons and inspirations to help you keep busy. There is even a helpful pattern section for more advanced crafters looking to take on new challenges.

Mask Making Basics

If you have tried to look up mask information in the past, there are a number of suggestions for the best shape and materials for face coverings. The CDC provided a FAQ to help introduce the concept with the do’s and don’ts of facemasks. But there are also many other options provided by hospitals and designers that have features that may meet your long-term needs. With the rapid change in expectations and the use of masks as a new social normal, being able to choose and create your own mask is a viable and necessary skill. And sorting through all the information is certainly a difficult task. So here is provided a few reliable options and some information that will help you get started on a mask for wearing in public.

If you are now interested in making your own mask there are a lot of options based on your skill level and materials available. Most masks will work as long as they are a design that is comfortable for you to wear and that fit your face properly. The CDC recommends that the mask should fit over the bridge of the nose and down to the underside of the chin. This is essential to prevent the spread of disease.


Fabric type in important to the mask’s filtering capabilities. The most commonly suggested fabric is cotton for its wicking properties and for its tight weave. A recent study in ACS Nano and available on NCBI provides information on the effectiveness of different materials and layers. And with the addition of a filter and a wire nose piece many of the patterns filter very effectively. Most patterns recommend two layers of fabric (sometimes more or with a filter pocket) to help increase filtration.

Once the mask is completed you can attach it with either elastic behind the ears or ties around the head. This will help make sure your mask fits appropriately and that it will not be uncomfortable when you are out running errands and cannot adjust the fit. So when deciding on a pattern, take into account your comfort and the types of materials you have access to and can reasonably assemble.

The CDC recommends the following for how to wear a cloth face mask. The mask should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape


In making your mask there are a number of things to consider. Form will definitely help with function and there many options to choose from for your construction. Here are some of the most common patterns available for home and institutional use. The patterns range in complexity from no sew to novice level technique. Most of these masks can be hand sewn if needed but ideally are designed for a sewing machine. The CDC website offers several patterns for simple masks that require little or no sewing. But there are also several patterns here created by hospitals and professionals that require various levels of skill. Ultimately choose a mask that will fit and is possible to make with the skill and materials available.


No Sew Facemask–CDC

Additional Resources

Hand Sewn–New York Times

Hand Sewn with Reusable Grocery Bag–Popular Science

Basic Surgical Mask with Ties–Johns Hopkins

Deaconess Mask Instructions

Simple Curved Mask– Instructables

Curved Mask with Ties–Craft Passion

Free-Sewing Curved Mask

Video Curved Mask–Youtube video

Original Olson Mask PDF–Unity Point Health

Olson Mask in Multiple Sizes–Instructables

Unity Point Instruction Video Olson Mask–Youtube

Surgical Mask with Filter Pocket- Youtube Video

Step by Step Surgical Mask with Filter Pocket–Instructables

Gather Here with Elastic Loop Through

Need a Mask but Can’t Craft?

Should making your own mask seem too much of an undertaking, Malden Neighbors Helping Neighbors has a Facebook page where you can ask for assistance whether you need help finding a mask or need resources like shopping assistance or food. They also have a website where you can apply for help or look for ways to volunteer. They are a great resource for anything Covid-19 assistance related and they are strictly volunteer.

Want to Help Out?

But if you are excited to take on the new challenge of sewing and think you might want to volunteer your new mask making services the best way to help is to sign up with an organization like Malden Neighbors Helping Neighbors or the Boston Area Mask Initiative. They will have all the information on what is needed, who needs it, and how to get involved. They also have great tips and tricks that can help you make the most of your volunteering. So check them out.

Explore World Cuisine from the Comfort of Your Own Kitchen, No Passport Required!  

Are you staying put thanks to the COVID-19 emergency? Take the opportunity to check out these global cookbooks and travel the world one dish at a time. OverDrive is a free service offered by the Malden Public Library that lets you borrow digital content (like ebooks and audiobooks) anytime, anywhere.

Don’t have a library card yet? Click HERE, fill out the form and please include Name, Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and cell phone provider and we will email you back your library card information. We will be here to serve you as best we can.  For information and assistance, contact us at or by phone at (781) 333-0640.

Get Real. Ideas and Tips for Your Home

Got weekend plans to work around the house?  HGTV Magazine is about real life at home.  In every issue you’ll find money-saving mini makeovers, simple ways to conquer clutter, smart DIY solutions, time-saving cleaning tricks, and so much more. Plus—see how the HGTV experts really live! Check out free issues of HGTV and other popular magazines on the Malden Public LIbrary’s free RBdigital app:

Find Your Library at Your Place

National Library Week (April 19- 25, 2020) is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. The theme for National Library Week 2020, “Find Your Place at the Library’ was chosen some time ago, before any of us could imagine the emergence of a global pandemic that would force our library to temporarily close..  But you can still “Find Your Library at Your Place” because libraries are open for business online, providing the virtual services and digital content communities need now more than ever. You can access ebooks, movies, music, video games, virtual storytimes and activities, and so much more — all from the the comfort of your home.

Don’t have a library card yet? Click HERE, fill out the form and please include Name, Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and cell phone provider and we will email you back your library card information.  We will be here to serve you as best we can.  For information and assistance, contact us at or by phone at (781) 333-0640.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and observed in libraries across the country each April.

Love Letters to Libraries for National Library Week

National Library Week 2020 has arrived at a difficult time for libraries across the U.S., many of which have been forced to close their doors in the face of the global pandemic. While we are feeling the loss of these spaces, we dedicate this week to celebrating libraries and the many ways they have inspired us.

Love Letters to Libraries for National Library Week

Virtual Read-Aloud ~ My Side of the Mountain

Join Us for a Virtual Read- Aloud on Tuesday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m.  This week, Library Director Dora St Martin will continue to read from a book that inspired her own life of travel – My Side of the Mountain – by Jean Craighead George.  Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going–all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival.  Jean Craighead George is the author of more than 80 children’s books, including the Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves.  Recommended ages 9 to 12 – and all adults with a bit of wanderlust.  You can join our Story Room by clicking on the program title “Virtual Read Aloud” on the MPL website’s front page (under upcoming events):  The instructions and password to enter the zoom story room will appear 10 minutes before the program begins.  If you have issues connecting, please call the Library Information number at 781-324-0218.  The program is free and no Zoom account or any special software is needed.

Hoopla Online Book Club: The Mountains Sing

Join Author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on Tuesday, June 16th at 7 pm EDT for hoopla Book Club LIVE! Join the conversation on Instagram with @hoopladigital.

Hoopla’s digital collection is available instantly with no holds and no waiting, including this month’s Book Club Spotlight Selection, The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai. The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. Readers can choose to borrow The Mountains Sing in eBook or audiobook format.  Click on Hoopla Book Club Hub site HERE to see online resources, exclusive Q&A with the author, and a detailed discussion guide; as well as eight additional recommended reads.

Download now and get in on the conversation!

Reviews for The Mountain Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai:
“[An] absorbing, stirring novel . . . that, in more than one sense, remedies history.”
— New York Times Book Review

“The Mountains Sing is an epic account of Việt Nam’s painful 20th century history, both vast in scope and intimate in its telling.”
— Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, Pulitzer Prize winner

Virtual Patriot’s Day Events and Resources

Virtual offerings

After this exceptionally long month of March it is hard to believe we are already halfway through April.  And because it is the middle of April, we celebrate the early steps toward our Nation’s founding, with Patriot’s Day. Many cities and towns hold parades, re-enactments, and activities for families and history lovers to celebrate the beginning of our move toward nationhood. However, this year is a little different with a need for stay-at-home advisories and social distancing. So, the community of Lexington and the National Parks have taken Patriot’s day virtual!

The full list of activities are on the Lexington Historical Society’s website. And the National Parks have additional activities on their Minute Man National Historical page and on their Facebook page.  Some of the Minuteman National Park events will be streaming on Facebook live. Events begin on April 18th and run through the 24th. So, there are plenty of opportunities to observe and participate from the comfort of home. These are great supplemental activities for anyone learning from home and a fun way to learn about local history from dedicated historians and re-enactors.


Malden Local History

Malden was also a major participant in our early nation building. Parts of the Malden Declaration were used in the Declaration of Independence. You can check out our copy of the original and information on Malden’s role on the library website. Or check out more information on the City of Malden page. And this re-enactment held at the Library on July 3rd, 2018  posted below and on Youtube.

For further reading we suggest: the contribution of Everett (then still a part of South Malden) to the battles on April 19th 1775 and the shots that started our journey to independence. You can also read an article by local resident and historian, Frank F. Russell, about Washington’s visit to Malden in 1789. Washington George in Malden Hist Soc 2017 (1),

Even though we cannot participate in this year’s events publically, Patriot’s day events are still available in new and inventive ways. Take this long weekend as an opportunity to explore your local history and get to know our nation in a new way.

Universal Class offers 500 Courses – including Parenting Skills

Good parenting skills are something we learn, not something we are born with. Universal Class offers over 500 online continuing education courses, including parenting skills such as basic parenting, behavior management, positive parenting techniques, early childhood development, and many more.  Check out Universal Class at

Beyoncé Live ! Watch Free Concerts on RBDigital’s Quello

This landmark release from R&B diva Beyoncé Knowles captures a live performance recorded in Las Vegas featuring over 30 tracks, including “Single Ladies,” “Crazy in Love,” “Halo,” and more. Stream Beyoncé’s live concert film I Am… Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas—from the RBdigital menu, find Concerts under Entertainment.  Watch free concerts from artists like Madonna, Maroon 5, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kenny Chesney on Quello at