Thursday, December 5, 2019

Florida's Carl Hiaasen

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the December 5, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.

Carl Hiassen wrote the little book, Assume the Worst (2018), as the "graduation speech you'll never hear." He wrote it to his son, Quinn, upon his commencement from high school that year.  The advice as far as Hiaasen is concerned is meant for anyone. It might be a bit too honest, and perhaps a tad pessimistic, for many of us. Hiaasen argues against some of the favorite adages we hear all the time, like "Live Each Day As If It's Your Last" and "If You Set Your Mind to It, You Can Be Anything You Want to Be."  His conflict with these sentiments? If you lived every day like it was your last, you'd undoubtedly be broke, irrelevant, and possibly in prison. And can you really be the next Willy Mays or Bill Gates? Probably not. Hiassen's adage? "Self-delusion is no virtue."

Hiaasen proclaims that it's more important to "figure out what you're good at and get better at it." Or, more simplistically and realistically, "live each day as if your rent is due tomorrow."

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Who's Right About Rights?

Lydia Sampson is the Assistant Director/Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the November 28, 2019 issue of the Transcript & Bulletin.

Imagine working at your job, at the library, police station or Town Hall, for instance, and seeing a few strangers walk in with video cameras and iPhones pointed at you. They don’t identify themselves, but ask for your name and title. They speak calmly, but decline to answer when you ask for their names and the nature of their business. In fact, they inform you that they do not need to answer, and that they have the right to film you, a public employee, and the building, a public space.

How do you react? Do you debate their rights and yours, or the Constitution itself? Do you demand that they stop filming, or kick them out, or threaten to call security? Do you smile or scowl? Think carefully, because all of this footage may appear on YouTube and go viral.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Ties That Bond

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the November 21, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

I never thought I’d end up marrying my former best friend’s husband. 

In their Halloween class picture, our preschoolers are standing side-by-side dressed as Batman and a ballerina. I have photos of their son giving my youngest a bottle, and of our six kids hanging out in the hot tub at Sugarloaf while the guys played golf. Over the years my friend and I logged countless hours confiding in and commiserating with each other. When both our marriages went south, I found myself looking at Batman’s dad in a whole new light. And, evidently, vice versa.

But how to break the news to someone with whom you’ve shared everything from babies to book groups that you’re about to take sharing to a whole new level? I knew she had moved on romantically so there was no residual torch-holding, but still.

Heart pounding, I finally just blurted it out over the phone and braced for the backlash.

“That’s great, I’m so happy for you! I always thought you and Brad would be good together.” Whoa.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Living the College Dream

Nancy Ling is the Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read Nancy’s column in the November 14, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.

Open any website, turn on any television, and you will see the latest updates regarding the SAT scandal, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” According to an article by Natalie Hope McDonald, “About 50 people (including more than 30 parents) have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney in what could become the biggest bribery scandal in college history.”  The story is hard to ignore because of the involvement of Hollywood stars like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin but, as a mother of two teenagers, I find it upsetting on many levels.

For example, a slew of questions come to mind:
How much pressure have we put on our kids these days? How unfair is the college admission process, economically and racially? What must students accomplish in order to get into college?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Food for the Soul from the Biggest Little Farm

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the November 7, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.

I stumbled upon this year's must-see documentary, The Biggest Little Farm. Perhaps it was a teaser trailer online or a review I read somewhere.  I'm a documentary enthusiast, so I was more than thrilled to find the award-winning gem.
          I instantly fell for the story of Apricot Lane Farm. The documentary begins with hand-drawn animation - John and Molly and their marriage, hopes and dreams that actually revolved around their annoying yet loveable blue-eyed dog, Todd. Their love of Todd, a rescue who would not stop barking when he was left alone, reminded me of the love I've had for my own dogs. It didn't surprise me at all, as the documentary starts, that John and Molly chose to move away from Los Angeles and purchase a farm so that Todd could be with them all day long.
          John and Molly found a 213-acre farm only 40 miles north of LA for sale and purchased it with help from a family investor. Initial video footage in the documentary reveals a dry and barren wasteland with abandoned beehives, unproductive land, and fruitless and dying trees. With the advice of a farming mentor, the miracle of nature, and their absolute perseverance, Molly and John built Apricot Lane Farm into a thriving, biodynamic business. The film's cinematography takes your breath away. The captivating animals break or sooth your heart. Yet it's the documentary's clear messages –  heed Mother Nature and work with the land and be patient – that will inspire everyone.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Books Norwood Can’t Wait to Recommend

Liz Reed is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz’s column in the October 31, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.

Here in New England, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 3, 2019. Before we turn in for the evening on Saturday, November 2, we will set our clocks back by one hour to “fall back.” While this will gain us some extra daylight in the morning, soon we’ll all likely be leaving our workday and walking out into nighttime. And while we’re still likely to get a few more warm sunny days, for most of us this is the time of year we start doing more indoor activities. Many of us bookworms look forward to cozying up with a pile of good books through the chill dark nights ahead.

As such, I thought this turning point in the year would be a perfect time to offer some recommendations for good books. But you don’t have to take my word for it: these recommendations come straight from other Norwood readers.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Food Fight with a Poltergeist

Brian DeFelice is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read his column in the October 24, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.

My friends and I were all sitting at a rustic old table, drinking Guinness, and listening to the band that was playing at the Charlemont Inn’s restaurant stage. The Inn was located in Charlemont, Mass., a quaint little town of just around 1,000+ residents or so. The Inn was built in 1787, and had allegedly housed some distinguished guests like Mark Twain and President Calvin Coolidge. The place was packed that night, not only because of the good food and music, but also because many tourists stayed at the inn to recharge from a day of hiking, biking, and sightseeing along the Mohawk trail. My friends and I, well, we were doing a different, more unusual type of sight seeing…

Thursday, October 17, 2019

An Evening with Spirits

Norma Logan is the Literacy Coordinator at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Norma Logan's column in the October 17, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

For Mothers’ Day this year, my daughter invited me to go with her and her girlfriend to see the local well known psychic medium, Maureen Hancock, later in May.   I had never been to a psychic medium, but my daughter had been a few times and was quite taken with Maureen.  I was skeptical of the powers that mediums profess to have, but it sounded like a fun evening.

My daughter suggested that I read Maureen’s autobiography, “The Medium Next Door: Adventures of a Real Life Ghost Whisperer”, and I did read most of it before the evening of the performance.    Maureen is from Massachusetts and continues to live here.  The references to Boston area locales were familiar and interesting.   The story of her life is intriguing but often sad from birth on.  She certainly has had challenges in her lifetime including a severe childhood illness and a near fatal car accident.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Unimaginable

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the October 10, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.

           This week on October 9, it is the thirty-eighth anniversary of my daughter's death. I recognize that it can be an unsettling sentence to read. It is shocking for me to write, as well.

           Coleen was my firstborn, a daughter born early due to a congenital heart condition that no one suspected until just weeks before her birth. At the time, my ex-husband and I lived outside San Francisco. Two days after New Year's Day, I was rushed to the University of California-SF Medical Center to await an unknown future. It was new territory for all of us - her father, and I, and our baby. Coleen was born on January 21, 1980, five weeks earlier than her due date.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Friends Forever: In Life and In Picture Books

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the October 3, 2019 edition of the Transcript and Bulletin. 

At this busy time in my life, I’m starting to realize the true importance of friendship even though I have never had less time to devote to it. My closest group of friends are three women who I’ve known since I was six years old. We’re fortunate enough to have weathered many storms together, even though we’ve been physically separated for over 20 years. After we left our beloved Catholic K-8 school, we all attended different high schools and colleges. I moved away from my hometown in New York to permanently settle here in suburban Boston. Another woman in our group moved to Pennsylvania. Yet thanks to modern technology and social media, we’ve kept in touch and are closer than ever as support one another on the journey of motherhood.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Lydia Sampson is the Assistant Director/Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the September 26, 2019 issue of the Transcript & Bulletin.

In three days I depart for Ghana, bound for a rural village with no running water or internet access, to work on a construction project for two weeks. I acquired my mosquito net, anti-malaria meds, and a large packet of pre-departure materials. This is how I plan to spend my annual “vacation,” and right now I’m questioning my sanity.

The first time I ever left North America, I ventured to Duran, Ecuador on a high school volunteering trip. My Catholic school had a partnership there and groups visited annually to help out in schools and a soup kitchen, and embed themselves in the local community. In retrospect, we didn’t accomplish much of anything, but the value lay in exposure to the reality of life and hardship in a developing country. As a teenager, it opened my eyes to water and electricity shortages, unsanitary conditions, infant mortality, and other struggles experienced by the warm and welcoming people we met. Perhaps the experience sparked my interest in travel to off-the-beaten-track regions, and service abroad.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Crochet Craze

Carla Howard is the Senior Circulation Assistant/Marketing and Media Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Read Carla’s column in the September 19, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.

I remember, years ago, watching my mother and aunt crochet the infamous “Ripple Afghan.” My mother’s was a range of dark purple and magenta colors. I was fascinated, watching it unfold.  She would watch her “stories” after finishing her housework for the morning and then crochet. I was about 8 or 9 and was always interested in all things crafty. I had made “Jeannie in a Bottle” using a Palmolive bottle and a miniature doll after having seen one at my neighbor’s house.  I collected my sister’s and brother’s old baby socks to use as “stuffing” for my sock pets, which were more tied than sewed.  Seeing my interest, Mum patiently took some of her scrap yarn and a G hook and taught me how to crochet. I was, as the saying goes, hooked!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

We Were Stardust. We Were Golden.

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the September 12, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.
          I was a rising high school senior in the summer of 1969. Far away from Bethel, NY, on the coast of California, I never even knew Woodstock was on the horizon. We all read newspapers and magazines and watched the nightly news. So we knew that something momentous happened on a muddy farm 3,000 miles to the east. Something terrifyingly huge, slightly obscene, and wickedly defiant had ignited while I lived my mini-skirted, innocent, bleach-blonded summer among the dry grasses of Northern California.

           Woodstock, like most unexpected events, might not have occurred, had the stars not aligned. Two young guys, 24-year old Michael Lang, and 26-year old Artie Kornfeld had an idea for a Studio-in-the Woods north of New York City. Kornfeld was already a vice-president at Capitol Records, but he and Lang needed financial backing. Enter two other young guys in their mid-twenties, entrepreneurs Joel Rosenman and John Roberts. Roberts was an heir to the Polident/Poli-grip fortune, and Rosenman was Roberts' good friend with a musical background. They had met on a golf course and were apartment mates in New York City. The two described themselves as "young men with unlimited capital."

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Here. Now.

Kirstie David is a Literacy and Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her article in the September 5, 2019 edition of the Transcript and Bulletin.

When you’re in the reading game, you get recommendations for all types about books you just HAVE to read.  Sometimes books are suggested to me because people know that I am interested in a certain subject, genre or author. More often, the people doing the recommending are overwhelmed by how a particular book made them feel and they want to pass along the experience. I have learned to adjust my expectations accordingly. I try to weigh what I know about someone’s personality and reading preferences against my own before racing out to get a copy of the book. This can be problematic, since I work in a library and regularly get recommendations from people I don’t know at all.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Do-It-Yourself Education

Nicole Guerra-Coon is the Assistant Children’s Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her column in the August 29, 2019 edition of the Transcript and Bulletin.

When I was a kid, reading a book was the surest way to get information on any subject. Television like PBS and the History Channel were informative, but you couldn’t exactly just call up a channel for information on a particular subject you wanted to learn about.  But, as we all know, the internet has removed many of the barriers in self education. You just need the motivation, access and time. 

Today, for instance, I needed to patch a few holes in some drywall. Did I know the first thing about that? Nope. Usually for anything home maintenance related, I call my dad as he knows how to fix just about anything. But today I was feeling guilty that a grown woman was waiting for her dad to come visit just to fix something for her. So I decided I could do it. I know how to adult - I have all of the internet at my fingertips! So I watched a few videos on YouTube, figured out what would work, and went to the hardware store. I got the supplies and I patched those holes!