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 400 columns since 2009.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

D-Day in a Day

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the April 27 issue of the Norwood Transcript Bulletin.

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you… We will accept nothing less than full victory!”  Yikes. Talk about pressure.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Standing Beside Our Bill of Rights

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the April 20, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Unlike the Ten Commandments that I memorized in Sunday School, I admit that I haven’t been quite as painstakingly thorough with the first ten amendments of our Bill of Rights. I can readily refer to the First Amendment (freedom or religion, speech, press, assembly and petition) and the Second (right to bear arms).  Yet, the other eight get a little vague as I search around in my memory for them.

The Bill of Rights, we all learned in grade school, is the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. It was created to protect American public against tyranny from the government they were creating. Simply put, it’s the ten promises that our government has for every one of us from birth to death.

While the Constitution, and all of its 27 amendments, can be a bit wordy at nearly 8,000 words, the Bill of Rights is much shorter at only 452 words. I seems quite easy … yet, so complicated.

The Bill of Rights was written by James Madison in 1789. Several states were a bit worried about individual freedoms and wanted greater protections for them written into the Constitution. Madison proposed 19 amendments on the floor of Congress in June of 1789.  Two months later, in September, twelve of the nineteen amendments were approved and sent to the 13 fledgling states for ratification. Madison fought on and debated these changes for two years and finally, on December 15, 1791, Virginia became the last state to ratify the first ten amendments and they became known as the Bill of Rights.

Two of Madison’s approved amendments did not become law - they needed to be ratified by 10 states and they were not. Interestingly, the first was proposed to establish how members of the House of Representatives would be apportioned to the states. While the amendment failed, Article 1 of the Constitution addresses this same topic and by federal statute sets the total members of the House at 435. Interestingly, the second amendment to fail forbade Congress from giving itself a pay raise. This sounds a bit harsher than it is; the sitting Congress could vote a raise but it was only applied to the next Congress. This amendment actually became the 27th amendment to the Constitution in 1992.

Although the Bill of Rights is relatively short, The Bill of Rights Primer (2013) by Amar and Adams is about 400 pages. It’s a thorough book and it explains the concepts of political freedom from the original documents of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, from the Federalist Papers, and from the guarantees that the American colonies adopted from England. Over half of this stubby guidebook is bibliographical profiles, notes and index, but it is filled with explanations, background, and description of our first ten amendments or freedoms.

In The Know Your Bill of Rights Book (2013) by Sean Patrick, you will read the Preamble to the Bill of Rights. I explains the need for these freedoms. “The Conventions of a number of the States … expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.” It’s a relatively thin paperback, but it includes a glossary and the full wording of each amendment, and an explanation and background of the most controversial ones. The simplest, like the Third Amendment (“No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”) need little explanation but the First Amendment needs several dozen paragraphs.

The Bill of Rights – the Fight to Secure America’s Liberties (2015) is the second book about the history of the Constitution by Carol Berkin. Another of her books, A Brilliant Solution (2002) focuses on the entire Constitution. This latest book focuses only on the men who battled over the Bill of Rights. It’s a story of ego, argument, and compromise. Berkin’s book contains over 65 pages of brief biographies of the members of the First Federal Congress.

How to Read the Constitution by Paul B. Skousen (2016) includes explanations of all of the amendments, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. It includes memory tricks and small tests, so if you are determined to be the expert at your family dinner table, this is the book for you.

All parents and grandparents can learn more about the Bill of Rights by encouraging small children to begin reading about the Bill of Rights at an early age. There are many books about the entire Constitution, but these focus on the Bill of Rights: America’s Bill of Rights by Kathleen Krull; Scholastic’s The Bill of Rights of Christine Taylor-Butler; and the Fact-Finders series, The Bill of Rights in Translation – What it Really Means by Amie Jane Leavitt.  The last two are just the right size for a comfy half-hour conversation on the couch.

Last year, the National Archives commemorated the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights by offering a pop-up kiosk exhibit for local libraries and museums. The deal was that a library would hold a scholar-led discussion or a panel on the bill of rights which was funded by a small $500 grant from the Mass Humanities organization. Many small libraries in Massachusetts participated in this program. We did not apply to be one of them. Why? Because we simply couldn’t decide where the kiosk display would go at the Morrill Memorial Library!

However, when libraries across Massachusetts offered to recycle the kiosk-type exhibits made of cardboard, we hopped on the bandwagon. Or rather, we drove right over to East Bridgewater to pick up their display.  That lovely kiosk now sits in front of the Cushing Reading Room fireplace and will during the months of March and April. We think it looks lovely and it reminds us each day that it’s up to us to make the change we need to see as citizens of the United States. It also reminds us how lucky we are to stand behind and beside our 225-year old Bill of Rights. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

More Than Little Green Men and Faeries

Read Alli Palmgren's column in the April 23, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Alli is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

I am a very eclectic reader. There is hardly a genre that won’t grace my to-read pile. For that reason, I really enjoy the Reader’s Bingo competition that the library holds periodically (OK, so everyone else thinks that it is a game, but I can make anything into a blood sport).

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Stories of S-Town

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the April 6, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Season One of the astonishingly-popular Serial podcast had a profound effect on an entire world of listeners. When the 12-episode podcast ended on December 18, 2014, there had been 40 million downloads but I was not one of them. I discovered it sometime later, in the spring of 2015, and I binge-listened to every single minute, totally addicted.

Last fall, when I wrote “Life after the Serial Podcast” which was published in the library’s September 16, 2016 newspaper column, it was long after any spoiler-alerts needed to be issued. Most interested people were familiar with the story. They has listened to it, had read about it, or had endured their friends discussing it, ad nauseam. The library had a listening program for all twelve-episodes in the fall of 2016. Rabia Chaudry’s book about the story of two Baltimore star-crossed lovers, Adnan’s Story, was already on the book store and library shelves.

The first season of Serial popularized all podcasts. Podcast listenership grew by 23% between 2015 and 2016 and popularity of the medium continues to explode. I have about three-dozen podcasts in my feed at any one time and I listen to podcasts daily. Among my favorites are Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing, the New Yorker Radio Hour and Ted Radio Hour. I was briefly addicted this past winter to a five-episode shocker, Missing Richard Simmons. I never miss a segment of WBUR’s collaboration with the New York Times’ called Modern Love. I even have a podcast I listen to when I can’t sleep. Sleep With Me is purposely dull and meandering and practically guaranteed to bore you into dreamland.

Serial, seasons one and two, were produced by Sarah Koenig, a spin-off of the public radio broadcast This American Life. When we podcast junkies heard that Sarah Koenig (Serial) and Ira Glass (This American Life) were producing yet another possibly-mesmerizing series, we waited eagerly for it to be released this past week. When S-Town hit the Internet on March 28, all seven episodes were available at once.

I’d hit another podcast-binge jackpot.

There are no spoilers in this column other than to encourage you to bravely listen to S-Town. This story of clockmaker, gardener, chemist, and savant, John B. McLemore will mesmerize you. S-Town, like Serial, is a spectacularly well-produced podcast but it is not for the faint of heart. There is shocking language, more than enough sadness, multiple twists and turns, and dozens of opportunities to travel down online rabbit holes in a search of answers.

Within just the first few listening hours, podcast junkies were searching Google maps and posting answers to many of the questions the podcast was leaving to our own devices. Pun intended. I was one of those drawn to Google maps and the strange, wooded terrain of Woodstock, Alabama. There’s a hedge maze, a 300-foot long rose garden, and an old Southern homestead. And a workshop full of lots of clocks. What intrigued me more, however, were three literary references made near the middle of the first episode of S-Town. It is host and narrator Brian Reed’s first visit to Woodstock, Alabama to the home of John B. McLemore. McLemore assigned Brian Reed three short stories to read that first night: William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”, Shirley Jackson’s “The Renegade”, and Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” (also known as “The Diamond Necklace.”)

Many of us read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” in high school or college. It is a creepy story, like many of Jackson’s writings. She is the author of one the best ghost stories ever written, The Haunting of Hill House (1959), which was made into an even creepier movie in 1963 (an another in 1999.)

“The Renegade” is included in a Shirley Jackson collection just published in 2016 in The Lottery and Other Stories. That book can also be found on audio in our streaming service, Hoopla! I easily downloaded it and enjoyed listening to the dramatic reading. The “renegade”, I found out, is the family dog who has been chasing and killing chickens in the neighborhood. The Renegade is eerily similar to Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery”. Her protagonist in “The Renegade” is Mrs. Walpole who finds that her family and neighbors have little sympathy for a chicken-killing dog.

Guy de Maupassant’s story “The Necklace” reminded me of The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry. The sacrifices made in the name of love – or envy – are very similar; however, there is no sweetness and no sympathy for selfish characters in The Necklace. The story can be found in Selected Tales of Guy de Maupassant which is available in print version in our library. You can also download the story on Hoopla! in the e-book The Necklace and Other Short Stories. “The Necklace” is a tale of a middle-class wife who yearns for a better one and the price she pays for her desire. When given the chance to attend a spectacular social event, she demands a proper, yet prohibitively expensive dress, and covets the diamonds that will accompany it.

Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner is available as an e-book through the Minuteman Library Network. A Rose of Emily is on many college reading lists and if you spend some time, you can find it online. Hoopla! has a study guide, Short Stories for Students, entirely devoted to “A Rose for Emily”, the story of a lonely Southern spinster in an even lonelier home. Each episode of S-Town ends with a song sung by the English rock band, the Zombies, “A Rose for Emily.” “The summer is here at last, the sky is overcast, and no one brings a rose for Emily.”

The stories John B. McLemore gives as reading assignments add one more dimension to haunting story of a man whose life was enriched by the smell and beauty of a 300-foot long hedge of roses he has planted on his beloved land in the town he hates, Woodstock, Alabama.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Make It Work

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz's column in the March 30, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

“Everything old is new again.” We’ve all heard variations of this famous line, usually applied to fashion. We’re supposed to change our wardrobes seasonally, and seasonal staples change from year to year. All fans of Project Runway know that the fashion world moves quickly; as Heidi Klum says, “In fashion, one day you’re in, the next day – you’re out.”

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Who Loves Opera

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the March 23, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Gerry and I were listening to Sirius’s The 70s channel on a long turnpike ride home from our New Jersey children. There’s nothing better than a Sunday afternoon riding shotgun, my knitting in my lap, while I occasionally look up to notice the landscapes of New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island slide by. Knowing most of the words to the songs on the radio is a bonus.  Gerry and I often switch to the 60s so that we know ALL the words to the songs. We were simply Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon.

As we were singing along to The Pinball Wizard, the Who’s rock opera Tommy came to mind that afternoon.  Images from the 1975 musical and Roger Daltrey’s luscious golden curls apparently entered my consciousness from that area of my hard-driven brain that stores my young adulthood memories.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Creative Potential of Freckles

Sam Simas is a Technology Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library this winter and spring. Read Sam's column in the March 16, 2017 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As a child, when I still drank grape-flavored juice-boxes and stared into the sky, my friend Emily sat with me at a splintered picnic table under Camp Y--’s pavilion and taught me that my freckles had creative potential; that I could use pens or permanent markers or lip-stick and do what she did: connect one dot to the other, make a diamond, or a sailboat, or a horse (she had a lot of freckles).  But my freckles have always been too linear; I could come up with a line, or at best a slanting Orien’s Belt.  Otherwise, I let myself become dejected by the inferior quantity of my skin abnormalities.  For this, I need someone to blame, and so I blamed the sun.

            In defiance of my mother and father, I abandoned all SPF and counted the hours of direct sunlight I could catch on my arms.  Sometimes, in school, I would sit in the window and roll my sleeves back, hoping for a freckle or two.  This, as you may imagine, did not work.  After many years of bright pink sunburn at Camp Y--, no more freckles had appeared on my arms, and I stopped trying to keep up with Emily and her horse-shaped freckle constellations.

I’d learned a lot from trying to fry my skin, more perhaps than a kid should have known; that the sun’s rays were once measured with a Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder (think of a magnifying glass for frying ants, but adult-sized), and fascination with the power of weather lead to me to explore other weather phenomena: tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rediscover James Michener

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the March 9, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When I was a young teenager in the mid-1960s, the young adult genre of books was a mish-mash of Nancy Drew, Sue Barton, The Hardy Boys, Little Women, Treasure Island and David Copperfield. Once we teens had devoured all of those books, including Black Stallion, Johnny Tremain and I Capture the Castle, we seemed to move quickly and deliberately into books written for adults. We read John Steinbeck’s Mice and Men, Conrad Richter’s A Light in the Forest, and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. We carried dog-eared copies of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pearl Buck’s Good Earth, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

There were many of us who wanted something more meaningful than the romance, science fiction, and adventure written in the 40s and 50s for teenagers. Bestselling author Steve Berry writes that “what we now know as the young adult genre [in the early 60s] had yet to be invented”. Steven King’s Carrie was a decade away and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was more than 30 years from being published.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Discovering an Old Spirit

Diane Phillips is the Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.  Read Diane's  column in the March 2, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I took my first sip of bourbon at Thanksgiving.  A few friends gathered for a Friendsgiving celebration and I was bringing dessert.  I didn't want to bring a traditional pie or cake.  That was boring to me.  I remembered seeing a book in our collection that had caught my eye – "Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients" by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  The cover of the book is well done and inviting but it was the layout that really captured my attention and got me to look into it further.  Each chapter of recipes is organized by the authors' favorite ingredients that are found in many popular dessert staples such as peanut butter, caramel, cinnamon and chocolate.  Chapter four is what got me curious - Booze.  I knew that spirits are used in both cooking and baking but I hadn't tried adding any to desserts that I've made in the past, so I was intrigued. The first recipe listed in the Booze chapter is Bourbon, Vanilla, and Chocolate Milk Shakes.  That sounded, and looked, really good and super easy to do.  I had my dessert! 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fireside Reads

Margot Sullivan is a part-time reader's advisory and reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column as published in the February 23, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow”Henry David Thoreau
“If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish”Charles Dickens
“Thoughts come clearly while one walks”Thomas Mann

      Walking has become a part of my daily routine – not just around the house but outside in my neighborhood or with friends whenever I can. The joys of walking are multitude.  I greet neighbors walking their dogs.  I am not a dog person (cats are my favorite) but have met some nice friendly well-behaved dogs. There is one orange and white cat who rules the street on my route and I delight seeing him roll in front of me on “his” street.  I might hear or see a bird or two (and remember how much my husband enjoyed bird-watching) or check the local pond for ducks! I watch for hawks sitting high up in the trees or in the sky.  I occasionally see our postman who has family on an island in Maine so, of course, I check in with him as I have a house on a Maine island. While walking last week a neighbor said “I have just read the best book – ‘News of the World’ by Paulette Jiles”.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Forget Monopoly! Let's Play Eurogames

Jeff Hartman is the Senior Circulation Assistant, Paging Supervisor, and Graphics Designer at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Jeff's column in the February 16, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Growing up, everyone has a favorite board game. Mine was Scrabble.  I memorized all the two- letter words and most of the three-letter words. I knew that in a pinch, you could get rid of a pesky Q by playing QAT or QI and that great parallel plays depended on ridiculous Scrabble-only “words” like AA, OE, or UT. But there were other games that I liked less.  Sometimes a lot less. Monopoly was probably my least favorite.

At least my family and friends didn’t have the habit of stealing money from the bank. But the game would always start with miserable inequality and get worse from there – one person would get Baltic and Connecticut Avenues, another would get Park Place and Boardwalk, and a third would somehow end up with all the railroads. Hours would pass as players were slowly forced into debt and mortgages, to be strung along by Chance or Community Chest or Free Parking, but still agonizingly moving towards defeat for all but one.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Love Letters for the Library

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the February 9, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

 It’s no secret that many of you love the Morrill Memorial Library. We receive compliments each day – at all the desks of the library – from many of you.

Often, we hear it on Norwood’s community Facebook page, Norwood Now. You praise us for the print books and magazines we have in the library. You love the streaming and downloading services we offer 24/7. You are thrilled that we now offer appointments for passport and notary services.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Mindfulness is Everywhere

Bonnie Wyler is a Literacy/Outreach Librarian at the library. Read Bonnie's column in the February 2, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When I was in my teens and twenties, it seemed to me that my parents worried about everything.  I was determined that I would never worry like they did when I grew older.  I would be calm and relaxed and take all of life’s ups and downs in stride.  Now I know better.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that worry and stress are my constant companions.  The challenges of work, parenting adult children, and aging, not to mention worrying about the state of the world, cause me stress from which I find it difficult to escape.  It appears I’m not the only one struggling with the stresses of 21st century living.  One researcher reported that 7 in 10 Americans suffer from physical symptoms due to stress, and 67% reported high levels of daily stress.  Given that ongoing daily stresses can contribute to serious health problems, as well as taking away from enjoyment of life, what can we do to manage our stress?  One answer is mindfulness.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Bird Brain

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the January 26, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Over a decade of birdwatching has taught me that “if you feed them, they will come.” This works with teenagers and a multitude of other creatures, too. Let me explain.

            I became a novice birder when I married my husband, Gerry, who has been watching birds most of his life. His backyards have always boasted bird feeders and bird houses and he’s been known to grandfather dozens of nest of bluebirds in the spring. His bookshelves were full of bird books when I met him, and they’ve become fuller since he married me.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Missing Paul

Read Jean Todesca's column in the January 19, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Jean is the Head of Children's Services at the Morrill Memorial Library.
It had only been a month since my two year old brother Paul had died as I padded down the stairs for my daily evening cry in my parents arms. Paul and I were best buddies. Since I was the big girl of the family, a fourth grader, I was often given the responsibility of watching him. We would hang out on my parent’s bed. Paul would giggle in hysterics as I bounced the bed below him. Paul was born with disabilities. He was two years and hadn’t learned how to sit up. Often he would have seizures that frightened me and my siblings. Having four germy older brothers and sisters would unfortunately cause the pneumonia that took his life.

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; Sam Simas, Web Designer; 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; Jeff Hartman, Sr. 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 Kirstie David, Meredith Ruhl, Samantha Sherburne, Melissa Theroux and Khara Whitney-Marsh.