Thursday, June 13, 2019

Chicken Chat

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the June 13, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

A few years ago I moved into a house in the country (well, Holliston), with a bit of land, fenced in garden, and… a chicken coop. Mercifully, the previous owners did not leave chickens behind, and I convinced my husband that knowing NOTHING about raising poultry, we’d best wait a bit before starting a flock. As a librarian, I committed to doing my research before diving into a new endeavor caring for living creatures.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Glass-Blowers

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 June 6,  2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

After a recent jaunt to Sandwich, I reflected back on my first trip to “Cape Cod’s Oldest Town” where I visited the famous Glass Museum.  There is a large collection of both blown and pressed glass pieces, as well as many artifacts found in the grounds long after the factory was closed.  The Museum makes for an interesting few hours, especially if you are a history buff, interested in Cape history, or blown glass, both the history of it and as an art form.  The museum also puts on live glass blowing demonstrations, and these alone are well worth the trip.  In fact, on Friday, July 19th, the Sandwich Glass Museum will be participating in the 2019 “Free Fun Fridays.”  Admission is free for everyone!  Check out their website at for more information.  

I had first seen glass blown at the Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, in the 1980’s.  That was a wonderful first introduction to glass blowing.  The artist first heated the glass up to a temperature of about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, where it turned into molten (basically liquid) glass.  To make the process even trickier, the glass blower had to work fairly quickly, as the glass needed to remain at a temperature of at least 1400 degrees Fahrenheit in order to remain pliable.  I was soon lost in the swirl of glass colors, deft movements, and the excitement (Will he drop it?  Will he burn himself?).  I was truly fascinated by the entire experience.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Bells Will Be Ringing

Victoria Andrilenas is a reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the May 30, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

One of the many things I didn’t realize about Norwood before moving here is that we have the Walter F. Tilton Memorial Carillon at Town Hall.  My undergraduate alma mater also has a carillon which I always enjoyed hearing so I was excited the first time I heard bells here.  I don’t remember the specifics but I suspect I was stopped at the light on Nahatan and Washington and figured the tower was at one of the churches on the Norwood Common since municipal carillons are not very common in the United States.  Eventually I discovered it’s in Town Hall and try to listen for at least a few minutes whenever I hear the bells.
Town of Norwood  Walter F. Tilton Memorial Carillon

Our current Town Carillonneur, Lee Leach, is a frequent library user and at some point the topic of Norwood’s carillon came up in conversation.  I told him how much I enjoy hearing the bells and that I am always reminded of my college days.  The carillon world is fairly small; there are fewer than a dozen carillons in Massachusetts so Leach knows the current carillonneur at my alma mater.  Not only does she usually participate in the summer concert series, she also brings students to play at Norwood a few times a year.  Earlier this winter I was lucky enough to go up in the tower and see/hear some Wellesley College students practicing.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Cause for Celebration?

Kirstie David is a Literacy and Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her article in the May 23, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

I was listening to the radio a while back when the DJ mentioned National Pizza Day. “Malarkey!” I said (or something like that.) Sure enough, when I did a Google search for national days, I found National Pizza Day listed on This is not to be confused with National Pizza Party Day (May 17.) Of course a little overlap is to be expected on a site that’s now tracking 1,500 national days, and where anyone can fill out a form to register a special day for annual recognition. I was relieved to see that the site doesn’t declare national days for individuals, since that literally requires an act of Congress.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Frida Kahlo - Constructing a Life

Nicole Guerra-Coon is the Assistant Children’s Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her column in the May 16, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript.

This past weekend was Mother’s Day, or as it is known in our house, the one day of the year my family has to accompany me to an art museum. I chose to go to the Museum of Fine Art (MFA) in Boston, which is showing an exhibit through June 16th entitled “Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular(the ‘Arte Popular’ refers to traditional Mexican folk art, which Kahlo collected and surrounded herself with.)  The exhibit combines Kahlo’s own art with the arte popular that she loved, and asks viewers to consider how these objects impacted her art and aesthetic.

Frida Kahlo is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century.  She has joined the ranks of Van Gogh and Picasso among others, who are so ubiquitous you don’t even have to know much about art to know who they are.  Her work is on a $10 poster in some kid’s dorm room, as well as t-shirts, handbags, toys, and even lipstick. She is no longer just a famous artist - she is pop culture.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Secrets and Lies in Silicon Valley

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the May 9, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

The saga of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, her revolutionary (but failed) blood testing company, is a captivating one. While you may have read about it on the Internet, or in news reports last summer, you should read the exposé, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou and published last fall. It is rich with the full account as it was revealed. Carreyrou was (and is) a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He was hungry for his next new journalistic journey, and a tip about Theranos was just the ticket.

The story of Theranos begins with Elizabeth at 19 – a college dropout – and a concept that depended on all the stars aligning and the pieces of the puzzle falling into place. Most importantly, however, science was required to work.
Detractors have declared that the science was never there to begin with.  That it was an absurd quest. Others question if more years and engineering may develop the product that Elizabeth promised -  a piece of medical equipment that can deliver accurate results of over 1000 separate tests using only a fingerprick and one drop of blood. Theranos bombed miserably, but not before duping investors and the public.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Borrow a Karaoke Kit or a Companion Cat

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the May 2, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

When people think of the public library, I’m fairly certain that books come to mind before all else. Of course libraries have lots of programs and events, and lend a multitude of other materials such as movies, museum passes, and even video games. Nowadays tech-savvy folks also take advantage of “virtual” collections of e-books, audiobooks and streaming video. Over the years the Morrill Memorial Library started thinking outside the box and lending puzzles, knitting needles, cake pans and electronics including Wi-Fi hotspots and GoPro video cameras. Whether we realized it or not at the time, we created, in library parlance, a “Library of Things.”

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Mystery of the Standing Stones

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the April 25, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript Bulletin.

     What sounds like the title of a Nancy Drew novel is actually my most recent fascination. In Britain they call them stones but they’re really rocks—big ones. I’m referring to the roughly 1300 Neolithic monuments found throughout the U.K. known as stone circles and standing stones.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Dear Beloved Reader

Nancy Ling is the Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read Nancy’s column in the April 18, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Annette Webber's Books
In many ways the 21st century public library and its role have been reimagined. In this digital age the library has become much more than a repository for great books. Libraries are promoters of community as well. Take a look at the Morrill Memorial Library events happening in the month of April alone. We have everything from Musical Sundays to talks on Stone Carvers of Old, from Beginning Yoga to The Secret Lives of Owls.

Part of our shifting role includes providing information on the run. As mentioned by the Brookings Institute, “This “go-to” role has influenced library programming and events, with libraries providing advice and connections to health, housing, literacy, and other areas.” Or, in author Neil Gaiman’s words, the library is “a community space. It’s a place of safety, a haven from the world.”

And yes, I could not agree more. In this digital world the library serves as a connector, providing access to information through workshops and speakers and more. At the heart of it all though, the library returns to two essential ingredients 1) free access to information and 2) our beloved readers.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Public

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the April 11, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

   In the 1986 film "The Breakfast Club," Andrew Clark and four odd rebels are restricted to the high school library in an all-day Saturday detention.  23-year old actor Emilio Estevez performs the part of clean-cut Andrew, the state wrestling champion. Estevez’ character feels out of place in detention; he is the jock in his letter jacket, confined with what he considers as misfits. He begins this long day annoyed that he is punished for a cruel prank that his father made him do.

    The day in detention is spent with bad behavior, rude pranks, bitter tears and heartless insults, and, finally, with sincere confessions and friendship. While "The Breakfast Club" is a story of civil disobedience against what might seem ridiculous and unfair rules, it is, most of all, a lesson about the bonding and relationships that can arise when social barriers are broken down amid tension and emotional honesty.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

I Failed Immediately. Then, I Succeeded.

Liz Reed is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz’s column in the April 4, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Swoosh. Swish. Chatter. Crunch. Silence. Swoosh. Chatter. Crash.

The sound of me learning to ski, just a few weeks ago at the end of the ski season at Killington Vermont. Even though I grew up in the frozen north, I never learned to downhill ski. My mother had me on ice skates almost as soon as I could walk, and we had weeks of snowshoe and cross-country ski units in gym class. But the downhill skiing never took.

I recall one school trip as a young child to Ski Big Tupper. I don’t remember now what prompted them to take us on a skiing field trip over an hour away, but I do remember that I didn’t like it. Not one bit. I fell over, got cold and wet, couldn’t get back up, and the other kids laughed at me. I tried something new, probably under duress, failed immediately and vowed never to ski again.

Cut to winter 2019, and someone has convinced me that although I had a bad experience trying to ski as a child, maybe I should try it again as an adult who is not under duress to learn, and who at the very least could enjoy the benefits of apres ski. It would also help to use better equipment (I don’t even think we had ski poles or real ski boots in Tupper, let alone goggles) and take an actual instruction class for adult novice skiers.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

How to be a Good Reader

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the March 28, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. 

If you’re reading this, you can definitely read!  Congratulations! So why do you need advice on how to be a good reader? Reading aloud, especially to children, is skill that looks deceptively easy but requires a great deal of finesse to do well. We are in the age of the “guest” or “mystery” reader.  It’s quite common now for relatives to be invited into a classroom setting to read aloud. In the Children’s Room, I field many questions from terrified grown-ups about what books they should read to their child’s or grandchild’s class.

Recent studies show strong evidence that reading aloud to children of all ages is critical to maintain literacy skills, even for children who are independent readers. Many adults forget the joy of being read to and stop reading aloud to children once they can read themselves. As parents,we are all crunched for time but making time for bedtime stories is important for several reasons. Reading provides a wonderful bonding time between parents and children that older children still crave.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Children Who Fall Far from the Tree

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the March 21, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

            When Alice fell down the rabbit hole in her Adventures in Wonderland, she was chasing the White Rabbit. When I fall down into a rabbit hole, it, too, means that my own White Rabbit, or curiosity, has gotten the best of me. I’ve been known to lose significant chunks of time only to reappear to meet my demands in life. As a college student, this happened in the library - either in the drawers of extensive card catalogs or in the endless mazes of the book stacks. Sometimes, I surrounded myself with so many massive volumes of the Reader’s Guide(s) to Periodical Literature that I was not only figuratively, but literally, lost among them.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kick, Punch - It's All in the Mind

Brian DeFelice is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read his column in the March 14, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

The Secrets of Tae Kwon DoThe sparring gear I was wearing made my body feel twenty times hotter than the dojang that I was sparring in. I was fighting a guy who was slightly older than me in terms of age, but light years ahead of me in terms of skill. I wasn’t just sweating because of the heat; adrenaline was pumping through my veins, my mind was in high alert, and sparring is nothing like doing drills. With drills, you are kicking pads or punching into the air at your reflection in the mirror or at some phantom opponent in your mind. In sparring, you are simulating a real fight, with a real person, who can really hurt you, which is simultaneously exciting and nerve wracking.

I remember trying to get in a few roundhouse kicks to to his chest, and at one point even tried to land a crescent kick to his head, but he was FAST, and was using the best weapons in his arsenal to combat me: his mind and his experience. It seems as if he could read my every move before I even made it. I kept trying to land blows, but it was to no avail, until I saw an opening! I  had dodged one of his back kicks, which I thought was a mistake on his part, which left his back exposed for a moment so I went in with a front kick to land a blow.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Sunbathing in Haiti, Surfing in Nicaragua

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the March 7, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

It was the summer of 2010 - one of my all-time favorite travel memories. A small rowboat carried me and my friend to a pristine beach cove, as beautiful as any postcard from a tropical paradise anywhere in the world. We had the entire palm-lined shore to ourselves, to sunbathe, look for shells, and swim in calm tepid water. At some point a man with a sack of fresh mangos rowed up to the cove and sold some to us for about ten cents each, then rowed along to his next stop. The day couldn’t have been more perfect after an exhausting week of hard work and heartbreak. I should mention, we were in Haiti, six months after the devastating earthquake of 2010.