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 365 columns since 2009.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

the Bravest Character I Know

Nancy Ling is an Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Nancy Ling's column in the May 19, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I thought I would take this opportunity to let someone else’s words speak to our library readers. This year the topic for our annual essay contest was “The Bravest Character I know.” We had over 100 entries and while the decision to choose winners from the various age groups is never easy, the best writing seems to rise to the top.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Big Blue

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the May 12, 2016 issue of the Norwood Transcript Bulletin.

I paced the mini-mart attached to the former Mobil station on Nahatan Street, anxious why it was taking so long. My recent inspection had resulted in a big red rejection sticker, so this was the last hurrah. The door to the garage finally opened. The verdict was in.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Player Piano

Sam Simas is a Technology Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library this winter and spring. Read Sam's column in the May 5, 2016 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

           Alice cleans up when people move, or leave, or need to cut the clutter of their never-organized closets.  And she finds, between the discarded lamps, yellow curtains, creaking bed frames, rusted bicycles, and cracked tile floors, the remnants of family holidays, birthdays, and many, many, abandoned pianos.

Most people don’t come into the possession of pianos by chance.  Some don’t even come into the possession of pianos on purpose.  They’re hard to move, to sell, to learn to play if one didn’t have the luck of being born a child prodigy.  Pianos are not for the faint of heart.  After seeing a few upright and baby grand pianos passed me by, not even my second-floor apartment would stop me from shouting an emphatic, “Yes!” when Alice asked if I wanted an old out-of-tune spinet piano--a perfectly apartment-sized piano.

            “Alright,” she said, “but you’re going to have to move it.”

            I had a mover on the phone that night.  The next day he arrived with his tape to measure the walls and staircase and doorways.  He left, letting me know that he’d be back in a week with a team of movers and the spinet piano in his truck.

            During the days before the four movers shimmied the piano up the narrow staircase of my building, I amused myself with the potential for entertaining people with the piano skills I had yet to acquire.  I imagined Jay Gatsby styled parties in the summer with swanky people (I would also need to meet some swanky people) sipping boxed-wine and taking turns playing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” or a New Year’s Eve spent singing “Auld Lang Syne.”  I hoped people would stroll by the building on sunny days, hear melodies drifting out of the windows, and stop to listen.  But, as I had yet to learn the difference between one key and another, I had a long way to go.

            After the movers wiped the sweat from their foreheads and rolled their dolly back into the moving van, I admired the cobwebs and sheen of dust over the maple wood.  I cleaned the keys, the legs, the Baldwin logo, and then sat on the bench.  I jabbed randomly at the white keys and then the black ones, trying to piece together a coherent melody.  A mouse, running away from a cat across the keys, would have sounded better than my awkward playing.  And, with each note, I shrunk with guilt and embarrassment, knowing that my neighbors could hear (and probably were already digging through their drawers for ear-plugs), and that the fleeting dreams I had of entertaining would be just that, dreams.

The next day, I went to work at the Morrill Memorial Library, and I my co-workers asked me about the piano.  How did the move go?  Can you play?  Yes, it went well.  No, I can’t play, I responded.  Patty asked me: Well, are you going to learn?  Irene played light piano jazz from her computer while we tapped at our keyboards as motivation.  I weighed the enormous task of teaching myself piano while working and juggling the torrential downpour of schoolwork from my graduate studies.  Maybe I would, I thought, and I had the entire library at my fingertips to help me.

During my break, I clicked through the catalog looking for books on playing piano.  It didn’t take long for me to find books like “Piano” by Gillian Shepheard and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Piano” (which I desperately needed).  I requested them and waited a day or two, keeping myself preoccupied with the books I plucked from the 786s in the Morrill’s stacks. 

Books propped on the piano, I am not creeping through the scales and the tones and the notes of the keyboard.  I have stumbled from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to “Auld Lang Syne,” but still haven’t reached “Piano Man.”  The progress has been slow, but with the library’s resources, I’m sure I might one day be able to entertain at my apartment.  Maybe not a swanky party like in The Great Gastby.  Maybe just a cookout.  And, maybe, someone will walk by the apartment, hear the music, and think, “Well, it’s not that bad.”

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Library Without Walls - Kids on the Move

Read Jean Todesca's column in the April 28, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Jean is the Head of Children's Services at the Morrill Memorial Library.

            We’re so excited!  The MBLC Preschool STEAM Grant has given the Children’s Department the chance to flex its creative muscles.  STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.  Since November, we have provided many opportunities to examine these subjects.  Now nature is our upcoming point of interest!

            Our next adventure is three storytimes to be held at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon.  We are taking our programming outside the library walls!  On Wednesday, May 11, 18 and 25, our young patrons ages 3-6 will have the opportunity to learn about frogs, butterflies, and songbirds.  Patti Austin will guide through the activity. 

            “Touch & Feel” of specimens, stories, and a nature walk will round out the programs.  We are hoping to see some frogs!  The sanctuary provides natural items for the children to examine.  We ask the adults to expand the child’s experience by using the K-W-L Strategy.  Before you arrive, ask the child-“What do you know about frogs?”  After they respond, ask-“What do you want to learn about frogs?”  Finally, after the event, ask-“What did you learn about frogs?’  These conversations will enhance the child’s observation skills as well as create a fun family discussion and shared experience. 

            Our Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary programs will illustrate that reading and learning can expand outside of the brick and mortar buildings.  The library isn’t just for books anymore!

            If you and your preschooler would like to join us, email norchild@minlib.net.  Space is limited and you must provide your own transportation.  We are planning on beautiful weather, but as New Englanders we never know.  So, dress for the weather. 

            The Children’s Department is happy to provide these unique experiences.  So, see you there!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Writing Life

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the April 21, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I started writing newspaper columns in 2001when I was a librarian at the Peterborough Town Library in New Hampshire. All four professional librarians on staff there shared the writing task and I was assigned every third week of the month. I joyfully wrote about children’s books and programs that we offered to the youth of Peterborough. Sometimes, I volunteered for an additional week because it was the part of my job that I loved best.

In January 2009, shortly after I came to Norwood as library director, I asked the Norwood Bulletin if I could write a weekly column. They were happy to oblige and the From the Library column began. Within a few months, I realized I was burning out quickly by writing every week, especially when I was too busy to write but still had a deadline to meet.

And so, Morrill Memorial librarians: April Cushing, Marie Lydon, Margot Sullivan, Tina Blood and Shelby Warner agreed to produce 1000 words or less once or twice a year. Their topics, style and humor kept our From the Library column varied and lively. A year later, others on staff joined in.

In the past seven years, 30 of us on staff - librarians, library assistants, and Simmons College interns - have contributed to the From the Library weekly column, never missing a deadline. Jean Todesca, Diane Phillips, Norma Logan and Bonnie Wyler and others have all covered areas of librarianship, including reading and library services, and have enlightened all of our readers.

In the fall of 2014 when I began a yearlong graduate certificate which required five master’s courses in public administration. I realized I would only be able to write twice a month at the most. I rearranged the rotation and some of our newer staff agreed to write at least four or five times a year – Liz Reed, Allison Palmgren, Nancy Ling and Kate Tigue. I hope you’ve enjoyed their point of view, their humor, and their knowledge. Recently, two of our newest staff members, Technology Assistant Sam Simas and Senior Circulation Assistant Jeff Hartman were added to the rotation. The staff of our library has collectively written over 375 columns. At a conservative estimate, we’ve written about 300,000 words or 3 or 4 novels.

You can imagine we were quite proud when the Massachusetts Library Association awarded our library the 2015 Public Relations award in the News/Journalism category.

What I’ve learning since writing columns for the past fifteen years is that writing takes discipline, deadlines and continual attention. I’ve listened to published authors speak on the subject of writing and they all have one thing in common: to produce writing you need to set aside a time and stick to it. You need to write every day. That was a habit I had to learn when I wrote weekly. I found that as soon as I finished one column, I was thinking of the next. I jotted down notes, collected book titles or articles, and spent a few minutes each day organizing my thoughts about the upcoming column.

The problem now that I don’t write as regularly is that I find myself a bit brain-dead. I often give in to the habit of procrastination. It’s becoming harder and harder to write a column simply because I am not actually writing or thinking about it on a daily basis.  I used keep a list of column ideas and I gathered information all week in a skeleton “idea” document. I’ve conveniently given up the habit as my deadlines become farther and farther apart.

I’ve heard many authors speak and they almost always suggest that a writer set aside a part of his/her day to write. Although most of us working full time don’t think we have that luxury, I’ve always been amazed by writers of non-fiction, surgeon Atul Gawande or pediatrician Perri Klass and a multitude of college professors who manage to write book after book. It seems they must set a part of their day aside and discipline themselves to write.

Stephen King states that he writes 2,000 words a day, “and only under dire circumstances do I allow myself to shut down before I get my 2,000 words.” In his book “On Writing” (2000), he advises that “you have three months [to write the] first draft of a book. Even a long [book] – should take no more” than the length of a season.

In 1924, twenty-two year old Arnold Samuelson spent a year with writer Ernest Hemingway hoping to learn how to become a better writer. He documented that journey in “With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba” which was discovered and published after Samuelson’s death in 1981. Hemingway, Samuelson wrote, advised him that rewriting is the key and it should be done every day. Hemingway professed that he rewrote “A Farewell to Arms” 50 times. “The better you write, the harder it is because every story has to be better than the last one.”

E.B. White wrote that “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.”

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Etymologist by Night

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz's column in the April 14, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

    The library building may be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, but being a librarian involves a set of skills that aren’t always easy to switch off. When I’m not being a librarian in the workplace, I find that I’m most often engaged as an etymologist for friends and family. In other words, I’m the go-to person when someone wants to know the history of a word beyond the simple definition. Luckily for them, I find etymology, or the history of words, fascinating.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Beyond My Job Description

Samuel Simas is the technology assistant at the Morrill Memorial library; he is a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. Read Sam's column in the April 7, 2016 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When I worked at the Washanuck Library there was a wasp-nest humming in its eaves; a football sized wasp-nest that discharged angry bullets (or were they wasps?), which, if they could have spoken, would have said, Stay away from our hive.”

I carried overdue books, a backpack, and a water-bottle up to the front door where I didn’t notice the yellow fiend, dart side pointed skyward, who had positioned itself on the door-handle.  The eaves weren’t enough; the hive wanted the whole building, the books and their vanilla scented pages, the crisp air-conditioning, the new computers and DVDs.  I imagined the queen sitting in her glob of honey, rubbing her prickly feelers, humming,

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Coming to Light

Nancy Ling is an Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Nancy Ling's column in the March 31, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As a mother raising two teenage girls, I find myself thinking about role models quite a bit. These days who do our girls have to admire? I’m grateful for the fact that strong women are out there inventing technologies, running companies, and changing the world. While there are still fences to be climbed and boundaries to be pushed, my daughters’ generation has a growing confidence that they can do anything they put their minds to.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Exploring Mortality with Atul Gawande

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the March 24, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

In 1967 when the Beatles released the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album, I was finishing my freshman year in high school. That historic album included the hit song written by Beatle Paul McCartney that most of us know all the words to sing along: When I’m Sixty-Four.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ziggy Played Guitar .. And Read A Lot, Too

Read Kate Tigue's column in the March 17, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Kate is a Children's Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

It’s been over two months since legendary rock star David Bowie passed away at the early age of sixty-nine after a near two year battle with cancer. Fans around the world were devastated and shocked as the notoriously private musician didn’t share much about his personal life with the media and his death proved to be no exception. Bowie was so reclusive that it is not even known what type of cancer he had. We do know one thing for sure from Bowie’s public statements and interviews: his love of music was only paralleled by his love of reading. Yup, the world’s biggest rock star was also an obsessive bibliophile. In 1998, Vanity Fair magazine published Bowie’s answers to the infamous Proust Questionnaire. The first question asks “What is your idea of perfect happiness?” Bowie responded simply, “Reading”.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Librarian’s Approach to Marathon Training

Meredith Ruhl is an intern at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. She is currently in her last semester in the Simmons College Graduate School of Library Science. Read Meredith's column in the March 10, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

If you drive along Commonwealth Ave. in Newton on a weekend morning in the late winter or early spring, you will likely see hundreds, if not thousands, of people running in the carriage lane next to the main road. Often braving not only the steep terrain of Heartbreak Hill but also subzero temperatures, snow, and ice, these intrepid runners are training for the Boston Marathon. Many are tackling their very first marathon and doing so to raise money for local charities, as I am this year.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Just One Bite, or the Mantra of a Mother of a Picky Eater

Diane Phillips is the Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.  Read Diane's  column in the March 3, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I've been thinking a lot about food lately.  It's not due to any diet plans or anything fun like planning for a party.  I’m finding that I'm becoming obsessed with food choices, calorie counts, nutritional values and meal plans because I live with a "picky eater.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dealing with Canasta

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the February 25, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Weather everywhere can be unpredictable, and Florida is no exception. Freezing temperatures in the winter have killed orange crops as far south as Miami. Oppressive heat in the summer scares off most tourists all over the southernmost state.

Our recent vacation on the Floridian west coast last month was planned with only relaxation in mind. Oh, yes, of course we hoped to leave the frigid temperatures behind. However, we longed to visit with friends even more. They had recently moved to the Cape after living in Norwood for more than 40 years. As retired New Englanders often do, our friends now “snowbird” in Florida for the winter months.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New Technology Comes to the Library

Bonnie Wyler is a Literacy/Outreach Librarian at the library. Read Bonnie's column in the February 18, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

In early January, the power-adjusted table arrived at the library.  Within a week, it had been assembled and placed in the Reference Department, awaiting the remaining hardware and software that will make it a dedicated accessible workstation.   When the workstation is complete, it will provide the most up-to-date assistive technology available for library patrons who have vision loss or other disabilities.  Because we know that age-related eye diseases are a leading cause of vision impairment, meeting the needs of older patrons and others with vision loss is a growing priority for the library.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Man in the Wilderness: Hugh Glass

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the February 11, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Each year I promise myself that I will see most of the Oscar-nominated films. My hope is always simply that I can watch the presentation program with enough meaningful attention to the awards to ignore all the bad jokes. Unfortunately, that quest hasn’t been exactly fruitful lately. I actually don’t believe I’ve tuned into the Academy Awards telecast for the past several years.

This year, though, I’ve totally surprised myself. Or let’s say, my husband, Gerry, has surprised me.  And he’s surprised himself. He’s not a go-to-the-movies kind of guy, but this year he made it his goal to make me one happy wife.  Over the holiday vacation and beyond, we’ve managed to see eight of the top 2015 movies together.  Add to that the three I managed to see on my own. I’ve topped every goal I could hope for.

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, Meredith Ruhl, Samantha Sherburne, Melissa Theroux and Khara Whitney-Marsh.