We are proud to report that on May 4, 2015 the Morrill Memorial Library's submission to the Massachusetts Library Association 2013-2014 Public Relations Awards won first place in the News category. A representative 24 columns from 2013 and 2014 were submitted. They were written by Marg Corjay, Shelby Warner, Nancy Ling, Diane Phillips, Brian Samek, Bonnie Wyler, Marie Lydon, Norma Logan, Allison Palmgren, April Cushing, Liz Reed, Kate Tigue, Jillian Goss, and Charlotte Canelli. Library staff have written over 345 columns since 2009.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Picture Book is Worth a Thousand Words

Read Alli Palmgren's column in the February 4, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Alli is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

In the past few months, I have begun reading books that I would not normally read. While I am still tearing through my usual mysteries and non-fiction best sellers, I have added a number of books with very unconventional plots to my “read” list.

In fact, most of the books I have been reading recently are about animals that talk, or in one or two cases, type.  If I am not reading about chatty llamas or a bird trying to locate his mother, I am seeing the world through the eyes of some truly amazing fictional heroines, namely Ladybug Girl, Little Sal, and Trixie (who experiences a near tragedy when she almost loses her friend, Knuffle Bunny). If these characters sound familiar, you are likely a parent.

Several months ago, my twin sister called and told me that I would become an aunt in late winter. I was over the moon. I immediately bought the only onesie I could find that had “a librarian loves me” printed across the front and started adjusting my reading accordingly. While I had studied children’s literature in grad school and I regularly enjoy reading books for older kids and young adults, my picture book game was a little rusty. So I sought the help of some of my favorite people in the library- the Children’s Librarians. This crazy bunch of ladies excitedly listed the modern must-reads that I had more or less ignored for the past 25 or so years. With my list in hand, I dug in.

I began by reading my way through classics that I remembered from my childhood, like H.A. Rey’s Curious George series, Robert’s McCloskey’s “Blueberries for Sal,” and “Make Way for Ducklings,” and Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Memories of my mother giving each character a different voice while reading P.D. Eastman’s “Are You My Mother” came flooding back. I couldn’t help but read the book to myself just the way she had, giving the cow a lazy, sing-song voice and the hen a clipped, high tone.

Thoroughly enjoying myself, I moved on to some of the newer books that my colleagues had recommended. The first one I picked up was “Ladybug Girl” by David Soman and Jacky Davis. I was floored. I got more enjoyment reading about the adventures of an imaginative preschooler and her dog Bingo than I had from the last adult fiction book I head finished. I was equally impressed by several other modern classics like Mo Willems’ “Knuffle Bunny” and Anna Dewdney’s “Llama Llama Red Pajama”.

Armed with a new-found knowledge of what to look for in a good picture book, I headed to a local book store to start building my niece’s personal library. I grabbed all the books I had recently read and loved and then I started to explore. In my wanderings, I found several books that I would recommend to anyone, young or not so young.

My first unassisted selection might be my favorite.  It is called “Mother Bruce.” This one had me truly laughing out loud.  It is the story of a black bear named Bruce who inadvertently becomes “mom” to a gaggle of goslings when his breakfast plans go awry and his recipe hatches. Like most picture books, this book is only a few dozen pages long. What it lacks in length, it makes up for in outstanding illustrations. A picture is truly worth a thousand words.

The same is certainly true for my other selections, “Ball” by Mary Sullivan, “Sloth Slept On” by Frann Preston-Gannon, “Mustache Baby Meets His Match” by Bridget Heos, “Click, Clack, Moo” by Doreen Cronin, and “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site” by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld.

While not all of these books are award winners, each one is already special to me because I selected them hoping that they will help foster a love of reading  that will continue long after she has outgrown picture books. With a little luck, my niece might walk into her local library in 30 years’ time and stumble across one of these titles and laugh to herself as she remembers how her family read to her when she was small. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rappin' with Alexander Hamilton

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the January 28, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

The name Hamilton is nearly a household word. One of my daughters lives one of the many Hamilton avenue, streets, and boulevards in our country. At least 28 of our 50 states boasts a city or town named Hamilton. Hamilton College is the third oldest college in New York. It was chartered in 1812 and is one of the oldest colleges in the United States.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Empty Nest - Full Basement

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the January 21, 2016 issue of the Norwood Transcript Bulletin.

You can tell a lot about a person by her basement. I’ve spent more time than usual below street-level lately, between putting away Christmas accoutrements and re-homing clutter in preparation for a proper house-cleaning. My basement has been filling up faster than a debutante’s dance card. As I made my way through the maze it struck me how much of the stuff belongs to my kids. I’m not talking about the remnants from childhood. I’m referring to the clothing, kitchenware, artwork, books, bikes, bedding, wedding miscellany and giant golf mat they left behind when they took off. And there’s the rub: I don’t mind having their belongings under my roof; I’d just rather have them.

I’m struggling with the fact that three of my four daughters now live far away, and probably getting farther. My youngest, in New York City, plans to study overseas, my 30-year-old recently moved back to London, and the newlyweds just drove 3,000 miles in the opposite direction to begin married life in San Francisco. I’m grateful to have one child who promises to stay put. The peripatetic nature of my progeny is particularly difficult for this Norwood resident whose neighbors all seem to live within shouting distance of their kin. Sure, I’m envious.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Inspiration at a Midwinter Meeting

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the January 14, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. I belong to several professional organizations for librarians, and the largest of these is the American Library Association. ALA has been holding annual conferences in June since 1876. In fact, it held one of its first summer conferences right here in Boston in 1879 with its largest participation in its then five-year history – 162 members.

The numbers have grown, and currently, there are less than ten cities large* enough to host the annual ALA conference (held in June) with the highest number of attendees nearly 30,000 (Washington, DC in 2007). Other annual conferences destinations are Anaheim, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Chicago. (*Large conference cities are those who can house the attendees to area hotels and shuttle them back and forth between the event venues.)

In January of each year, the ALA holds its Midwinter Meeting, which is just a small conference that focuses on committee meetings and awards announcements such as the Caldecott, the Newbery, and the Carnegie medals. It also has lower attendance (around 10,000 – 13,000). Every decade or so, the ALA Midwinter Meeting is held in our “hometown,” Boston. Nearly the highest number ever of American Library Association members attended the Midwinter Meeting in Boston in 2005 – nearly 14,000. Some of the other winter destinations are Denver, Philadelphia, and Seattle.

By now, you might be wondering. Why do librarians travel to the hottest cities in summer and the coldest in the winter? Well, we are, by nature, frugal. Conferences prices are the driving factor. What conference goer wants to trek between hotels, restaurants, and events while sweating through the heat? Or pack boots and thick winter coats, enduring flight changes, and cancelations due to snow and ice? A penny-counting librarian, that’s who!

This year’s ALA Midwinter Meeting was once again held in Boston with nearly 13,000 attending. Librarians flocked to Boston from all over the country to attend over 2,400 meetings, workshops, and presentations during the five days. Events were held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) on the waterfront. (The BCEC is the largest conference center in the Northeast and opened in 2004.) More beautiful, new hotels have opened all around Boston. The Westin Waterfront, adjacent to the BCEC (and accessible by a covered walkway), has nearly 800 rooms. The other dozen hotel venues around the city, such as the Park Plaza and the Omni Parker House, sleep thousands of more attendees and are served by fleets of shuttle buses that run every fifteen minutes.

My favorite events at the national conferences (American Library Association and its affiliate, the Public Library Association, which holds its conference every other year in late March) are the early morning breakfasts offered by the publishers of adult books - Simon and Schuster, Perseus, Penguin/Random House, Harper-Collins among them. Panels of editors, authors, and marketing directors introduce us to hundreds of books slated for publication in the months ahead. Librarians are essentially kids in a candy store at these events, and we leave with handfuls of ARCs – or advanced reading copies.

Other events I always attend are the main keynote speakers who are scheduled each day. The presenters are not librarians but are inspirational and interesting Americans. (Senator Barack Obama was the keynote speaker at the June 2005 annual conference.) This year at ALA Midwinter in Boston, speakers were anti-bullying activist Lizzie Velasquez; United States Senator Cory Booker; filmmaker, Ken Burns; fashion guru Isaac Mizrahi; and vice-chairman of the Clinton Foundation, author Chelsea Clinton.

Full disclosure: these speakers have usually published books (or are scheduled to publish) within a year of the conference. Librarians are, after all, a key reading audience.

I was lucky enough this year to catch Ms. Clinton, Ms. Velásquez, and Senator Booker in the BCEC’s main ballrooms that seat thousands. On Sunday, I was incredibly amazed by Senator Cory Booker, once mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He is passionate, charismatic and articulate. He shared stories of his family, his work, and his dream for America. His book, United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good, will be published in March.

On Monday, I was equally impressed with Chelsea Clinton. Her eloquence, her ease on stage, and her passion were immediately obvious the moment she walked on stage. Her book for young adults, It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! hit the bookshelves last September. Clinton answered many questions about her current work and childhood, both of which she speaks lovingly about. After her appearance, Ms. Clinton welcomed hundreds of librarians and autographed a complimentary copy of the book for each and every one of them who could stand in line. She also asked them for recommendations for children’s books to read to her daughter, Charlotte.

On Saturday, I was simply moved to tears by Lizzie Velásquez, who has written three books (for adults and children) since 2012. Be Beautiful, Be You (2012), Choosing Happiness (2014), and Lizzie Beautiful (2010), co-written with her mother, Rita. The DVD, the A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velásquez Story, was released last year and can be viewed on Hoopla! (A free streaming service available through our library here in Norwood). Lizzie, who suffers from a genetic disorder that does not allow her to gain weight (thereby disfiguring her body and facial features) was bullied mercilessly as a young woman and called the “ugliest woman in the world” on the Internet. Lizzie’s pride, her strength, and her courage, while exemplified in her writing and her life story (on DVD), were a gift that I received in person.

I’m so fortunate to be a part of several professional organizations for librarians. These annual conferences never cease to inspire and exhaust me. I invariably leave reinvigorated, and I can’t wait to share the knowledge from workshops and courses, the stories from books that have been highlighted, and the enthusiasm of the keynote speakers.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Selfish Knitter

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz's column in the January 7, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Early January is a time to pause and take a breath. The holidays are over, the hustle and bustle of the past month has slowed, and winter is just getting started. As I recently mentioned to some friends, winter is the knitter’s natural habitat, especially if you’re a knitter who enjoys working with wool. I’ll go a step further here and say that if winter is the knitter’s natural habitat, January is our nesting time, the time when we can settle in, hunker down, and focus on projects that we want to do for ourselves.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thanks During the Holidays - For a Job Well Done

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the December 31, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

    Most pre- and elementary school teachers and children’s librarians receive bags of treats or handmade gifts from families who visit the classrooms or library's children’s room on a nearly daily basis. I still have some of those gifts and holiday cards from my days as the youth services librarian in Peterborough, New Hampshire. I have sweet memories of the care and gratitude that the families had for me just for doing my job: simply by helping to instill a love of reading and the library.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cats and Christmas

Read Marg Corjay's column in the December 24, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Marg is an Outreach and Circulation Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library and a voracious reader.

"Deck the Halls with Catnip Mousies, FaLaLaLa LaLaLaLa, Wreck the Tree and Blame the Doggies." The Christmas season naturally lends itself to thoughts of warm, fuzzy things like sweaters, fireplaces, family, and cuddling with a cat. I am a covered-in-fur longtime cat enthusiast, as most people quickly find out because of my cat clothes, jewelry, reading habits, and home decor. I even dress as a cat for Halloween, complete with whiskers and a long fuzzy tail, so I'm the obvious person to write on this subject. Presently I only am owned by one cat, Nefertiti Isabella, but this year I am especially grateful because she just successfully came through a major health crisis. Christmas always brings back memories of the year that a neighbor "gifted" me a kitten.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Meet Me in St. Louis This Christmas

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the December 17, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Apparently, the French are the only people who pronounce St. Louis without an s. Consider, for instance, the Louis kings of France. You most likely think Louis with a French accent. The folks who settled St. Louis in 1764, Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, may have assumed that the city (named after Louis IX) would have always kept its proper pronunciation.

Missourians, however, identify you as an outsider if you leave off the s in the name of their beloved St. Louis. It's St. Louis (“lou-is”), and that’s that.

Regrettably for me, I've visited St. Louis once only (other than the airport). That was over thirty years ago, yet the impression the city made on me has endured as if it were yesterday.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Brave New World: TV Without Cable

Read Kate Tigue's column in the December 10, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Kate is a Children's Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

This may shock you:  librarians do more than read!  Or, at least, this librarian does. Reading is still my first love but visual media is becoming a close second! As I see it, America is in the Golden Age of television.  TV shows are beginning to rival films in terms of high quality acting and storytelling.  There’s almost a cinematic quality to many cable TV programs that is even trickling down to network-produced shows. Programs like AMC’s Mad Men and HBO’s The Wire have demonstrated that TV audiences are interested in following programs with extremely intricate plots over multiple seasons. Similarly, attitudes about TV acting have changed within the industry as well.  Actors considered television work to be decidedly less prestigious than movie roles.  Not so today!  Many movie stars like Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, and Diane Kruger  are now taking on high-profile roles on TV shows.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Fun with NYRA

Read Jean Todesca's column in the December 3, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Jean is the Head of Children's Services at the Morrill Memorial Library.

          What is it?  NYRA is the Norwood Young Readers Awards.  Every year 4th and 5th grade students in the Norwood Public Schools participate in this reading event.  From November 1st until the end of January, students are encouraged to read from a list of preselected by the public school librarians.  There are twelve titles to choose from.  Each student who reads four books has the opportunity to vote for the book that they felt was the best.  The winning title is awarded the Norwood Young Reader’s Award.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Michael Tougias - A Passion for Writing

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the November 26, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Michael Tougias is the third author to visit the Morrill Memorial Library this fall (as part of the Stuart Plumer Author Night Series). He is a local author and his book, The Finest Hours (coauthored with Casey Sherman in 2009) is the basis for a Disney film that will be released in theaters in January of 2016. Casey Affleck, Chris Pine, Holliday Grainger and Ben Foster star in the movie that portrays a daring and harrowing rescue off the coast of Cape Cod. The movie has had several planned release dates over the past few years – one as early as this October and the other as late as the spring of 2016.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Saving the Children: Riders on the Orphan Trains

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the November 19, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

 One-hundred and seventy-five years ago, social workers and philanthropists in Boston in 1840 began the "Boston Plan". Orphaned or homeless children were “placed out” in the hope that they would be adopted by families who wanted them. Children from Massachusetts were sent to what they hoped would be new homes in states as close as Vermont or as far-flung as the farms and prairies across the American Midwest in the Westward Expansion.

Some of the children had lost both parents; others had lost only one, but the surviving parent could not care for them. One of the largest criticisms of the Boston Plan was that it allowed some children to become indentured servants to families who wanted extra hands on the tracts of land they were settling or the land they were farming. Now considered illegal or cruel, the organization sponsoring this plan sincerely believed they were taking these orphaned children from the mean streets of the city and giving them a second chance at a wholesome life in the country.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Handmade Crafting

Read Alli Palmgren's column in the November 12, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Alli is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

I really look forward to the first Thursday of each month. I work the late shift on Thursdays, so my mornings are generally free. This is when I make most of my appointments, run errands, and once a month, head to the Norwood Senior Center to do crafts. Now, I know that I’m closer in age to the seniors that spend their days at 245 Nichols Street than to the seniors that spend time at 275 Prospect Street, but several months ago I was actually invited to lead a monthly craft class, I jumped at the opportunity.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Race to Be First: Subways and More

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the November 5, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

We can be proud of many things in Massachusetts, especially those attributed to our fair city Boston. In Boston Firsts (2006), author Lynda Morgenroth describes forty of the “feats or innovation and invention that happened in first in Boston and helped make America great.”

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Help! Writer's Block

Margot Sullivan is a part-time reader's advisory and reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column as published in the October 29, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

     This past summer I vowed to begin writing a story that has been swirling around in my head for years!  I was on my favorite Maine island where creativity abounds with artists, writers, poets, and craft persons.  Since I just cannot seem to get going I asked some friends “when do you write?” and received a variety of answers. One poet starts her day with her coffee and just jots down anything that comes to mind. A children’s author sets aside some time each day but also admitted to having a book idea hanging around for years.  I even went to one session of a creative writing course in the library.    I actually started the story and reviewed some of the letters, photos, and clippings I might use! I did not write a whole lot but liked what I wrote. It is fiction, maybe a mystery, and takes place in Maine! But I have come to a complete halt.  I have not figured out how to go forward!

Contributors to the Morrill Memorial Library "From the Library" Column

Library Director, Charlotte Canelli began writing columns for the Peterborough Transcript in 2001 when she was the Youth Services Librarian at the Peterborough Town Library, 2001-2005. Soon after becoming the director of the Morrill Memorial Library, she began to write weekly columns for the Norwood Bulletin and Transcript. Since February 2009 other Morrill Memorial librarians have written many other columns. They include: April Cushing, Vicki Andrilenas and Liz Reed, Adult and Information Services Librarians; Jean Todesca, Kate Tigue, Nicole Guerra-Coon, Children's Librarians; Allison Palmgren, Technology Librarian; Bonnie Warner, Literacy and Outreach Librarian; Diane Phillips, Technical Services Librarian; Norma Logan, Literacy Coordinator; Nancy Ling, Outreach Librarian; Cynthia Rudolph, Graphic Artist and Circulation Assistant; Margaret Corjay, Circulation and Outreach Assistant; Patricia Bailey, Circulation Assistant; retired librarians Hope Anderson, Marie Lydon, Shelby Warner, Margot Sullivan and Tina Blood; previous MML librarians, Beth Goldman, Kelly Unsworth, Brian Samek and Jenna Hecker; and library interns, Samantha Sherburne, Melissa Theroux and Khara Whitney-Marsh.