My favorite seven-letter word: amnesty! All Island libraries are offering their annual amnesty on books, tapes, and DVDs now through Dec. 31. Librarians always like a fresh start for the new year.

Speaking of books, don’t miss the Vineyard Haven library’s evening lecture series which begins on Wednesday, Jan. 9 and runs through Feb. 22. Nine Wednesdays will be devoted to the studies of Under the Burqa, led by Dr. Jim Norton. Jim received his degree from the University of Madras. His text, Global Studies: India and South Asia, has recently gone through its eighth edition. The course will use Jim’s text as well as A Thousand Splendid Suns by Kahled Hosseini and Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Films will also be viewed, including the new release, Persepolis. The course is free and all books used are on hold at the library now for you. Visit the library or call to sign up.

Our library staff wants you to know that all young adult and children’s programs are on hiatus until Jan. 3.

On a personal note from our busy library staff, Betty Burton’s mom, Jo Burton, has arrived from Naples, Fla., and will be visiting for three weeks.

Since reading is my favorite subject, I’m also giving you news from the Bunch of Grapes. First of all, join us tonight at the bookstore at 7:30 for the annual Main street caroling tradition, followed by hot chocolate. Tomorrow at 2 p.m. on the second floor, Dillon Bustin and Susan Foltz will present their new book, Thirty Dirty Sailors and the Little Girl Who Went A-Whaling. This is based on a true account of an Island girl of the 19th century who went out on her daddy’s whale ship and kept a journal. Dillon will sing and play the songs he wrote to accompany the book. Grown-ups will enjoy book signings by Island authors from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., also on Saturday at the bookstore.

I can think of no greater loss to this island than the passing of Rose Anthony last weekend. Now there was a reader. Rose mothered nine children and their friends, was a devoted wife, an educator, a writer, a reading teacher, and a dear friend to all. Our condolences to her family. Be assured she will never be forgotten.

The birthday bandwagon pulls along Cathy Weiss today. Tomorrow is a party for Stephen Dunham, Monica Radoszewski, Sally Benson and John Giles. Dec. 24 honors Stephen Perry, Emily Chappell and Leo Kelley. Dec. 25 is special for Kelly dos Reis. On Dec. 27, Rene Moncada takes the cake.

And on Tuesday morning, in your homes, in your hearts, and under your trees, may you all find peace.