Once again on May 23, 2017, the Morrill Memorial Library's submission to the Massachusetts Library Association 2015-2016 Public Relations Awards won first place in the News category. A representative 25 columns were submitted. They were written by Charlotte Canelli, Nancy Ling, April Cushing, Allison Palmgren, Kate Tigue, Liz Reed, Bonnie Wyler, Diane Phillips, Norma Logan, Jeff Hartman, Sam Simas, Nicole Guerra-Coon, and Meredith Ruhl

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 435 columns since 2009.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Saving Time with Audiobooks

Sam Simas is a Technology Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library this winter and spring. Read Sam's column in the October 12, 2017 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.



I might be the only person neurotic enough to worry that I will die without having read enough books. Some books, like Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia or Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (no offense?), will probably not create an existential void if I never crack them open. But others contain stories and worlds so well wrought that they could change my life, and perhaps make me even more neurotic (i.e., What if the last book I read was the best one and I’ll never read anything better?). In order to cram as much story as I can into my life, I’ve identified areas that produce stress, like a commute around the Boston area or listening to the news, and have replaced them or supplemented them with audiobooks.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Total Eclipse of the Sun!

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the October 5, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


            As a child and teenager growing up in 1960s California, I should have witnessed a handful of eclipses of the sun. I don’t remember much about them, though. I have a vague memory of watching the sun disappear while viewing it through a pinhole box as a teenager.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Margaret Atwood's Prisons

Jeff Hartman is the Senior Circulation Assistant, Paging Supervisor, and Graphics Designer at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Jeff's column in the September 28, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


The most common of library problems is requesting one thing and getting something else by mistake.  Recently there’s been a recurring issue with patrons finding themselves in possession of a mediocre film adaptation from 1990 rather than a recent hit show.  

The Handmaid’s Tale is in the public eye at the moment, becoming a successful series on Hulu this year and winning eight Emmys, including those for best drama, best actress, best supporting actress, best writer, and best director. With a prominent career stretching back over fifty years, Margaret Atwood is one of Canada’s best and most-recognized authors.  She has won the Man Booker Prize for the best novel published in the British Commonwealth (The Blind Assassin, 2000) and has been shortlisted for four other novels.  She has earned the Canadian Governor’s General Prize for Poetry (The Circle Game, 1966) and Fiction (The Handmaid’s Tale, 1985) and has been a finalist on seven other occasions. In addition to accolades in literary society, Atwood is also a major figure in modern science fiction (or speculative fiction, as she prefers to call it) and fantasy, winning the Arthur C. Clarke Award for The Handmaid’s Tale, which was also nominated for the Nebula award in the US, and receiving accolades for Oryx and Crake (2003), The Penelopiad (2005), and The Heart Goes Last (2015).

             The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those rare events in film and television that matches or maybe even improves upon the original book.  The story envisions a near future where birth rates have fallen dramatically and an extremist religious group takes control of America, forcing fertile women into service for the families of the group’s leaders.  Elizabeth Moss portrays one of these women, Ofglen, who has been taken from her husband and daughter and made into a “handmaid” under the threat of torture, expected to provide a child for her master and his barren wife.  Atwood and the showrunners explore both the fear and paranoia of the handmaids, who are always under observation, and the bitterness and resentment of the wives, who support this conditional adultery but want the children for themselves.

            Both the book and the television show respond to contemporary trends in American (and Canadian) politics that threaten women’s rights to their own bodies.  The “Republic of Gilead” takes this to a totalitarian extreme, making it illegal for women to read or write, or to move about the streets of the Boston suburbs unescorted.  This imprisonment and imposition of power is central to several of Atwood’s other works as well.  Alias Grace (1996) arrives on television in November and looks to the past rather than the future for its titular prisoner.  Grace Marks was an Irish immigrant who became a house servant and was then convicted of the murder of her employer in the 1840s.  The fictionalized account of her life as told to a psychologist interviewing her reflects on the constraints and pressures that she felt as a working class woman with no legal recourse to protect her from either abuse or poverty.

            Two other recent books by Atwood also focus on prisons and the choices people make over the course of their lives that voluntarily limit their options.  The Heart Goes Last follows a couple who trade their personal privacy and freedom of movement for the safety and security of a prison compound.  An odd romance begins to tear their relationship apart as their constrained lives start to wear on them.  Hag-Seed (2017), Atwood’s newest novel, approaches these ideas from the direction of a modern crime story.  A failed theater director begins teaching classes at a remote prison and sees his new actors as a means to revenge on those who forced him from the stage.  The twist is that the play he is producing as well as the book itself are both modern adaptations of Shakespeare’s The Tempest about the wizard Prospero in exile on a remote island.  This is part of a series of books planned by Random House to adapt Shakespearean stories into modern novels of different genres, including Anne Tyler, reimagining The Taming of the Shrew in Vinegar Girl, as well as forthcoming books by Tracy Chevalier, Gillian Flynn, and Jo Nesbø, who will take on Othello, Hamlet, and Macbeth.

            Despite the grim nature of some of these descriptions, The Handmaid’s Tale series is an excellent example of how hope and even some humor can be found in even the most desperate situations.  Despite the setting of each book, Atwood takes an unflinching look at some of the worst aspects of modern life and then creates characters that can adapt and persist in the face of adversity.  As her protagonist Ofglen repeats at her darkest moments, nolite te bastardes carborundorum (“don’t let the bastards grind you down”).

As a refreshing conclusion, Atwood has also recently published the Wandering Wenda series of children’s books about the adventures of a woman and her woodchuck companion and Angel Catbird, a tongue-in-cheek graphic novel featuring a superhero scientist who is part feline and part owl.  All of Atwood’s books are available through the library and The Handmaid’s Tale should be out on DVD in the spring.

[Photo options:
Picture of Margaret Atwood - © 2015 Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Handmaid’s Tale cover design, Fred Marcellino, 1987.]

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Surviving the Crazy Time

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the September 21, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


While I became officially divorced just ten months into the 21st century, I received the news that my marriage was over at the end of the 20th.  I faced Y2K and The Millennium as a divorcee. The implications of the end of the world as we knew it, and the promises of a new start, were both frightening and unfamiliar.

I’d had my suspicions about a possible breakup for several years before that summer in 1999, but I was still blindsided when it ended. And while I was not shocked when my ex-husband began dating (and eventually married) one of my then-closest friends, it was a staggering conclusion.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mrs. Rabbitt and the Little Nearsighted Girl

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the September 7, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


This past August, I attended a professional institute with 50 other library professionals at a beautiful Maine mountain resort. We enjoyed meals and participated in workshops for two full days, facilitated by RIPL, the Research Institute for Public Libraries.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

All the Books I've Never Read

Kate Tigue is the Assistant Children's Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the August 31, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


After contributing to this column for over three years, I should learn to take my own advice. I’ve written several articles on strategies to cultivate and diversify your reading interests and on tools to help you find your next book.  For all of the knowledge I dispense on a daily basis about finding the right book for the right person, I can’t find one for me!  That’s right, I’m admitting it out loud (or in print):  My name is Kate, and I’m a librarian who can’t find a good book to read.  I’m floating in a state of non-reading, a place filled with aimless internet surfing and too many piles of unread books on my nightstand.  Instead of reading, I spend my time watching YouTube videos (gasp!) and musing about various Instagram memes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Reading through My Privilege

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the August 24, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. complete reading list that accompanies this article is in PDF brochure format and is available at the library (and is linked to this and the Library's online version of the newspaper article.)


On my eighth birthday, my mother gave me a butterfly party. My dress was pale pink polished cotton. The fabric was printed with the most beautiful winged creatures across the fitted bodice and full skirt. Mom created my cake using The Baker’s Cut-Up Cake Party Book. Colored shredded coconut and jelly beans made it the most yummy, lovely butterfly I’ve ever eaten. I remember the day as delicious and very, very special.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sisterhood of the Traveling Twins

Read Alli Palmgren's column in the August 17, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Alli is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.


I worked a lot my freshman year of college. I saved every penny I made from my work study job in the library and I took on extra shifts in the tool department at our local Sears whenever I was back in my hometown. Similarly, my sister didn’t spend a dime of her megre ROTC stipend and stocked fruit at the grocery store down the street until she couldn’t look at another banana.

Eventually, all of our hard work paid off and by mid-spring, Jessi and I had socked away enough money for something we’d been dreaming about for ages: an epic European backpacking trip. Ignoring our parents’ protests (“You’ll be kidnapped!” exclaimed my father), we applied for passports and booked our plane tickets. This was exciting stuff for two New Hampshire kids that had never crossed the Mississippi River, nevermind the Atlantic.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Doing the Right Thing or What Would You Do?

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the August 10, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


            A few years ago, when our grandson was still in high school, he worked at the local Dunkin’ Donuts in the center of Norwood. This work location was perfect because he could walk to work after school and he could walk to our Norwood home in the evening or on weekends if we weren’t around to give him a ride.

            He was 16 when he got the job and one afternoon on one of his first trips home from work he found two twenty dollar bills folded up lying in the crosswalk. He picked the cash up but told us about it when he got home, asking what he should do with it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Lost Art of Listening

Kate Tigue is the Assistant Children's Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the August 3, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


Screen time.  It’s the new buzzword in parental anxiety. Parents are constantly bombarded with advice and warnings regarding how much time their kids spend in front of the TV, computer, tablet, and phone.  To be sure, our lives definitely revolve around screens.  Even adults spend most of our working lives and leisure time (and all those “in between” times like waiting in line or at a doctor’s office) are spent in front of screens.

I think we can all appeal to common sense when it comes to limiting screen time.  Rather than giving into hysteria or the latest trend, let’s acknowledge we all live in the 21st century and technology is deeply enmeshed in our individual lives and society at large.  But we all know when enough is enough.  Kids who are staring blankly at a TV or phone like zombies or refuse to go outside on a sunny day need a break.  Adults who are constantly posting on social media or teens who can’t let go of the phone at the dinner table need a break. Even just feeling anxious can be a sign that a digital detox is a must.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wedding Bells Blue and Bliss

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the July 27, 2017 issue of the Norwood Transcript Bulletin.



Now that it’s summer--the traditional wedding season--I find myself wondering each weekend about all the brave souls who’ll be tying the proverbial knot, for better or worse. I always hope the sun will shine, literally and figuratively, on these happy couples whom I don’t even know.

Of course if I do know them I’m even more invested in the weather, especially if I’m going to their wedding. Sure, I hope their special day is superlative, but a small part of me longs for just a touch of drama to add to the happily-ever-after ambiance. The sole exception to this sentiment is if either the bride or groom shares my DNA.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Chicago: My Kind of Town

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the July 13, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


Frank Sinatra sang My Kind of Town in the 1964 Rat Pack film (Robin and the 7 Hoods), he was joined by the crowds on the street as he walked out of the court house a free man. Mobster Robbo (played by Sinatra) had been framed and he was a grateful man that day and he was cheered on by onlokers. The song was nominated for an Academy award, but it lost out that year to another joyous tune, Chim-Chim-Chere-ee from the 1964 musical Mary Poppins.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lobster Phone and Melting Clocks

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz's column in the July 6, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Imagine a Florida vacation: calm sandy beaches on the Gulf, fruity drinks, theme parks, exotic wildlife, and long evenings spent with friends might all come to mind. Many people don’t necessarily count museum visits among their top tropical vacation things-to-do, and far fewer would list lobster phones and melting clocks. On a recent trip to St. Petersburg Florida, though, I knew that one of the things I absolutely did not want to miss was the Salvador Dali Museum.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat!

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the June 29, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

It was one year after the release of the Steven Spielberg horror/thriller Jaws that Universal Studios Hollywood created their Jaws ride on their Studio or Backlot Tour. In that pre-digital age, the awesome special effects of the Jaws exhibit were animatronic Jaws, some foamy water and bright red blood, and a terrorizing tram ride along the shores of Amityville. Hardy riders watched the demise of a replication of the notorious boat, The Orca.

For four decades the ride scared, thrilled and mesmerized millions of visitors, especially those who had seen the movie. And who hadn’t seen the movie? The Jaws sensation was perfected and redesigned at Universal Studios Florida and at Universal Studios Japan.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Word for Potatoes

Sam Simas is a Technology Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library this winter and spring. Read Sam's column in the June 22, 2017 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
Much of my family history has been washed away on the river behind the soap mills in Rhode Island.  That is where my grandparents worked, lived, and abandoned speaking Portuguese for English, and where they hoped that their children would learn English, too, but with a Rhode Island accent that misplaced “r’s”.  They hoped that their children would learn math from strict nuns-turned-schoolteachers; that their children would one day have jobs better than their own.  What my great grandparents had hoped for when they left the Azores was something better, but not for them.

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.