Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Sports at the Library

Jenna Hecker is the Technology/Reference Library at the Morrill Memorial Library. She is a guest contributor to the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Read all past columns which are archived here.
I made the mistake of dating a winter sports enthusiast. I am an indoor sort of person, especially in winter. I had always pictured skiing as sitting in a lodge with a hot cup of cocoa. I have never been interested in careening down a mountain and had hoped, if asked to do so, I could skip right to the relaxing-and-warming by a fire part. I buy winter weather gear to stay warm, and never think about snot-wipe functionality, the way my boyfriend does. So when I found myself agreeing to skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing this winter, I knew I was in over my head.

Until I agreed to embark on a season of outdoor activities, I had very little information on what winter sports were actually like. I decided to start slow – Snowshoeing can be done at your own pace because it is essentially walking on snow. I bundled up to near immobility, layering myself with underwear of various sorts, pants that were wicking, pants that were waterproof, and, inexplicably, two different hats. The snowshoes, though bulky and inconvenient to walk around one’s apartment in, allow you to pleasantly float above snow instead of sinking into it. I soon found myself shedding layers, and enjoying the snowy forest world around me. Snowshoeing felt easier to me than regular hiking – I wasn’t obliged to move any faster than I liked, and was able to carry a thermos of hot cocoa rather than a pack of water. By the end of our snowshoe adventure, I had shed several layers, and had gotten a bit of a workout. Plus I had seen the quiet serene winter woods. I am thoroughly sedentary, so if I can survive an afternoon of snowshoeing, anyone can. If you are interested in snowshoeing I suggest checking out Snowshoe Routes New England: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine by Diane Bair and Pamela Wright for some ideas of places to go. For more information for beginner snowshoers check out The Snowshoe Experience: A Beginner's Guide to Gearing Up & Enjoying Winter Fitness by Claire Walters.

I knew I would have to get more information before I tried downhill skiing. I decided to head to the sports section of the library to ease my fears, and help me at least learn the terminology and etiquette before I hit any slopes. Downhill skiing has me the most nervous, so I started my search with The Essential Guide to Skiing : 201 Things Every Skier Must Know by Ron LeMaster. The books is informative for novices and experts alike, guiding me how to walk in my ski-boots and going over the ins and outs of renting equipment, and how to attach a set of skis to a car roof. The book is less of a how-to-ski technique guide and more of an encyclopedia of skiing. To try to learn some of the basic technique (while sitting comfortably in my chair) I took out The New Guide to Skiing by Martin Heckleman. Though there is a world of ski-instruction books out there, I found Heckleman’s guide to be easy to follow because of the stop-action photography that accompanies his written instruction. For fireside ski-chatter I decided to read The Story of Modern Skiing by John Fry about the evolution of the sport. If I survive my first ski attempt I have added The Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast : 50 Classic Ski Tours in New England and New York by David Goodman to my list. Goodman’s guide lists lots of little-known ski areas around the Northeast, and includes topographic maps, and lots of other great references to help you plan your trip to fabulous and remote ski destinations.

The third leg of my tour of wintertime sports is a trip to a cross-country ski lodge in Northampton, Mass. Until recently, my only experience with cross-country skiing was angering nearby skiers by tromping over theirs tracks while snowshoeing. I knew that thankfully, cross-country skiing did not involve a mountain or fast speeds, so I delved into my research of it with a bit more confidence. I began with Cross-Country Skiing : Building Skills for Fun and Fitness by Steven Hindman. I chose Hindman’s guide because it gives you techniques you can use anywhere – from a city park to a backcountry trail. The snowshoe lodge I found in Western, Mass. is a lovely no-frills style place. Meals are included; you bring your own linens and pay extra for ski rental. No instruction is available, so I hope my guidebooks do their job. If you are looking to find a lodge for some rest and exercise, I suggest checking Cross-Country Ski Vacations: A Guide to the Best Resorts, Lodges, and Groomed Trails in North America by Jonathan Weisel. Though the guide is a bit older, it is a great guide for finding a lodge that is the right fit for you – from a cozy B&B to a major cross-country ski center.

In the new year, I am resolving to keep an open mind about new experiences, and to get out and adventure more. If these are your goals too, I suggest you check out all of the great resources we have at the library to turn you into a winter wilderness adventurer.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

'Tis a Brand New Way of Reading

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

‘Twas the night after Christmas and my goodness, come look!
It’s an Amazon Kindle and a Barnes and Noble Nook.
The stockings are hung by the bookcase nearby.
But the library’s busy and I’m telling you why.
You’ve been given an eReader and you haven’t a clue.
My goodness, oh my and what do you do?

So, you’ve been surprised, or not so much, by the gift of an eReader this year. Believe me, the library world has been surprised along with you.

Several months ago we held a Technology Petting Zoo at the library and over thirty of you showed up to learn a bit about the gadgets that we shared. Among them were the Apple products, the iPad, iPod, iTouch and iPhone. We also demonstrated a few GPS navigational devices such as the Magellan, Garmin and Tom-Tom.

By far the most popular devices that night, however, were several generations of the Amazon Kindle, the Sony eReader and the Barnes and Noble Nook.

Many of us who work at the library own and use some of these devices regularly so that we are able to share ours with you.

Only some of us, however, are reading eBooks on devices that include the iPhone and Kindle, the Nook and the Sony eReader. Less of us are downloading free e-audiobooks and e-books.

Part of the reason for this is personal preference and immediate availability of the book. Part of it too has been some of the difficulty and confusion that have been inherent in this new technology. Much like the VHS/Beta struggles in the birth of the videocassette there have been some differences in equipment and media. Unlike the videocassette battle, however, there have been many more than two devices and many, many ways to be confounded by them.

And the choices this holiday season have been mindboggling.

We’ve been trying to play catch up at the library and the companies that are supplying our downloadable eBooks and audiobooks have been anxious to help. They have produced cheat-sheets and FAQs pages. Not fast enough for us, I might add. Each month more and more devices are added to the compatibility lists and more and more downloadables are produced in various formats. It’s been enough to make our heads spin at the library.

OverDrive audiobooks and e-books are supplied through our membership in the Minuteman Library Network. We are thrilled to offer this new media at no cost to you. Both Minuteman and your library have been investing as we all make the leap into the future and more and more materials are available in various formats.

The Morrill Memorial Library has had a subscription to Recorded Books audiobooks and eBooks in conjunction with NetLibrary for several years. These free downloadables are now available for iPod and iPhone users and titles for most formats are added monthly.

These services are costly and licenses from OverDrive and Recorded Books require that our downloadables are available only to Norwood residents and to those of our patrons who work in Norwood. Check our website for instructions on setting up accounts for both of these free services.

The Morrill Memorial Library has a brand-new website found at the same URL, norwoodlibrary.org. We’ve placed links to both of our downloadable collections, OverDrive and Recorded Books Connect, Click and Listen! (They are the same links you would have found on our old website.) You can also find these links on the menu under Readers Page below our library graphic that will link you to information and FAQs to help you find the information you need.

New Apple-products users (iPad, iPhone, iTouch and iPods) can be assisted at no cost at the “Genius Bar” in the Apple store at Legacy Place and other locations. The fastest way to get help is to make an appointment with them online through apple.com. My husband, Gerry, and I have bellied up to the Genius Bar at least a half-dozen times and have left the store completely satisfied.

Barnes and Noble stores are patiently assisting patrons with their product, the Nook. Many of the OverDrive books are compatible for use on the Nook. The Morrill Memorial Library has purchased a Nook and will be able to demonstrate how to download an e-book or audiobook at an information session at the library in January. We want to be able to help you with free downloadable audiobooks and e-books from your library.

Amazon’s Kindle at present is not compatible with any free downloadables through any library. Some libraries do own Kindles loaded with library-purchased e-books for use by their patrons. Our library does not own a Kindle or circulate one at this time.

None of us are experts, but the library wants to help direct you to find the information you need for your new devices this holiday season. Information can be found on the links I’ve mentioned above. Please check the library’s calendar for a date and time for our information session or call the library directly.

If you have questions about this library column, please call the library or send me an email. For help searching in the Minuteman catalog or for placing requests for downloadable e-books and audiobooks visit the Morrill Memorial Library or call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200.) Visit the Minuteman Library Catalog, the OverDrive Digital Media catalog or the Recorded Books Connect, Click and Listen! on our website, www.norwoodlibrary.org.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Walking the Cookie Walk

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Years ago I belonged to not one, but two cookie swap groups. Each November or December I baked up to twenty dozen cookies to share at events in two different homes. I spent several nights of the holiday season well past midnight and into the wee hours of morning yawning and packaging sweets while the saner members of my family slept.

Eventually traditions changed, as they sometimes do. My children left for college and I focused on my career. I was burned out, so to speak, on holiday baking. However, I’ve felt a bit guilty without any homemade cookies to give away or serve at home during the holiday season.

When I heard about the Cookie Walk at the First Baptist Church of Medfield they had me at “sugar cookie.” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I was assured that all I had to do was show up at with some cash on the second Saturday morning in December. In return I was guaranteed to leave with a box full of home-baked holiday cookies. It was a Holiday Win-Win. A fundraiser and a timesaver.

Never one to be late, I showed up right before 9 a.m. that first year. The brick path leading to the church hall was empty and silent in the early morning chill and congratulated myself on my early arrival.

It came as an utter shock when I opened to door to a bustling, anxious, ready-to-cookie-walk crowd. I was directed to the end of a line that snaked through the parish hall that led through several church classrooms and that circled around the interior of each room. The line seemed never to end and before I stopped I must have squeezed by over one hundred people.

Oh, this was serious cookie stuff. This crowd knew to arrive as early at 7:45 a.m. I worried that there would be only a few broken and forlorn cookies left for me. I admit I felt a little better when other naïve latecomers sheepishly crept by.

I quickly learned the rules which were displayed for our reading pleasure on the walls of the hallways. I must first pay for an empty bakery box or two, don vinyl gloves and follow cookie etiquette. No samples, no shoving, no hoarding. No greedy lingering around the frosted Santa faces or the sugar-coated reindeer. I must simply move around the outer edge of a large square configuration of tables, filling my box short of the rim. In the end the top must close flat and be taped shut by an official Cookie Walk volunteer.

I’m happy to report that when I reached the front of the line that first year there were still plenty of cookies left for me and for the people behind me because there were endless containers of cookies in the center of the room. While the crowd was cookie-walking the church volunteers were constantly refilling the fifty-odd platters with a fresh supply of thousands of cookies.

These good ladies of the First Baptist Church of Medfield’s Women’s Society knew what they were doing. They had been meeting for weeks baking and decorating as a team. I marveled at the coordination and organization. And I left with some seriously delicious Christmas cookies that looked like nothing I could have created myself.

This past weekend I woke up early on a frigid Saturday morning and headed out well before 8 am. I waited in line with a friend for well over an hour sharing war stories of past years with others around me. In the end we filled our boxes with beautiful, familiar cookies to share with family and friends. As usual, the cookies were sold out within about 90 minutes.

I found out through some research that thousands of churches, school and libraries organize cookie walks as fundraisers all over the country. There’s even an out-of-print book by the Cookie Cooks of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Waterboro, Maine, “When Cookies Walk.” I apparently came late to the Cookie Walk party but I’ll be going back year after year as it becomes a part of my new holiday traditions.

If you’d rather get a jump on baking holiday treats next year there are some great books at the library. “Christmas Cookies from the Whimsical Bakehouse” was written by bakery-owners and mother and daughter team, Kaye and Liv Hansen.

Another mother and daughter couple, Margie and Abbie Greenberg, followed their first book, “The Flour Pot Cookie Book” with a new one in 2009. “The Flour Pot Christmas Cookie Book: Creating Edible Works of Art for the Holidays” includes many fondant and icing recipes which are essential to decorating cookies that are both delicious to eat and lovely to look at.

“Cookie Craft Christmas: Dozens of Decorating Ideas for a Sweet Holiday” by Valerie Peterson has close-up photographs of each cookie. For year-round cookie baking sure to impress with over 150 colorful cookies check out “Cookie Craft: From Baking to Luster Dust, Designs and Techniques for Creative Cookie Occasions” by Janice Fryer and Valerie Peterson.

If you’ve been invited to join a group read “Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year” by Julie Unger or a new addition just this fall, “Cookie Swap!” by Lauren Chattman. If you are really in the mood for serious cookie-baking, “Good Housekeeping: The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook: 60 Large-Batch Recipes to Bake and Share."

For help searching in the Minuteman catalog or for placing requests, visit the Morrill Memorial Library, call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200) or visit the Minuteman Library Catalog on our website, www.norwoodlibrary.org.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Stories Showing Up on the Shelves

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, actually, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas a few months back.

Librarians receive lists and catalogs of books to be published in future months. Around July and August of each year seasonal books with holiday titles begin to appear. I don’t think it is my imagination but these lists seem to grow in length every year. This year we’ve put at least twenty-five new Christmas-related stories on the “new adult fiction” and speed-read bookshelves.

Popular fiction author, Debbie Macomber, added Christmas stories to her repertoire beginning in 1966 with her title “Can This Be Christmas?” This year Ms. Macomber’s latest addition to the holiday genre is “Call Me Mrs. Miracle.” Mrs. Miracle was introduced to us in 1996 and she returns in this story which is full of holiday match-making and plenty of merrymaking. This newest book was made into a Hallmark Channel movie which aired right after this year’s Thanksgiving.

“A Christmas Odyssey” is Anne Perry’s eighth Christmas novella. Perry has been writing detective novels since 1979. In 2003 she cleverly combined suspense with holiday happenings in “A Christmas Journey” and has written a Christmas novel each year since.

M.C. Beaton set her favorite sleuth, Agatha Raisin, in the 2007 Christmas story, “Kissing Christmas Goodbye.” This year, with the author’s 21st Agatha book, Beaton returns Agatha to the holiday story genre in “The Busy Body.” Often bad -tempered and irritable, Agatha Raisin is not normally associated with feel-good holiday cheer. Yet, she is always endearing and Beaton is able to imbue her Agatha character with enough holiday spirit to solve the death of the one man everyone in town would have liked to have killed.

Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s sixteenth book in her Joe Grey cat series slips neatly onto our list this year. Her latest Christmas classic includes a lonely prison cat added to her regular trio of feline sleuths. The four of them solve yet another murder in “Cat Coming Home.”

“A Christmas Mourning,” is set in rural North Carolina and it is Margaret Maron’s first book in the holiday story genre. As you might guess by the title, tragedy has struck this southern county during the Christmas season and yet another murder needs to be solved in order to save the holiday from more of them.

You might want to leave the milk and cookies off the fireplace this year. At least those of gingerbread flavor. Popular writer Joanne Fluke is the author of a table full of yummy-dessert-related murders. This year she compiles three cookie-related mysteries with recipes in a tasty collection called “The Gingerbread Cookie Murder.” The two other stories in the book are “The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies” by Laura Levine and “Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots” by Leslie Meier.

Another collection, this one of shorter stories, is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by prolific romance writer Fern Michaels. The four stories, Comfort and Joy, The Christmas Stocking, a Bright Red Ribbon and Merry, Merry, include plenty of holiday romance and mistletoe.

Just when you might be thinking that the holiday stories are women’s territory only, I’m here to tell you that it is certainly not so. The New York Times bestselling author of “The Christmas Box” (1995), Richard Paul Evans, has written another holiday novel in “Promise Me.”

Miracles belong to the holiday season, of course, and they almost always show up in the Mississippi town of Second Creek. Mississippian and loyal Piggly Wiggly customer Rob Dalby continues those Piggy Wiggly stories in his holiday version, “A Piggly Wiggly Christmas.”

Greg Kincaid, a lawyer by profession, has returned to writing with “Christmas with Tucker.” It is another wonderful tale of man’s, or one boy’s, best friend. His first book, “A Dog Named Christmas” in 2008 was such a huge hit that it was also made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.

If you can fit cozily between film noir and sentimentality, we have the holiday book for you. Kenneth Harmon’s debut book, “The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir,” combines hard-boiled crime fiction with the warmth of Christmas traditions.

Otto Penzler is the owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City and for the past 17 years he has paid leading mystery writers (including Mary Higgins Clark, Thomas Cook, Ed McBain) to create a Christmas story that includes mystery, crime or suspense. An additional catch? Some of the story must take place in his bookshop. This year he has collected all the stories into one book, “Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop.”

Painter Thomas Kinkade switches his medium from paint on canvas to ink on paper when he writes the Cape Light novels with Katherine Spencer. This year he has co-authored the seventh holiday story in the series, “On Christmas Eve.”

We’ve combined these titles and other 2010 holiday stories on our website with links right to the library catalog. Or pick up the flyer in the library. For help searching in the Minuteman catalog or for placing requests, visit the Morrill Memorial Library, call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200) or visit the Minuteman Library Catalog on our website, www.norwoodlibrary.org

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sock Crazy

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I seem to have been born with needles in my hands. This might sound a bit creepy like Edward Scissorhands so please let me explain.

As a very young child I remember my mother teaching me how to cross stitch on gingham fabric. Gingham is a checkerboard fabric not in use as much today but it’s those patterned squares that make sewing small x-shaped stitches, or cross stitching, easy. The two of us churned out Christmas presents of potholders and aprons for a number of aunts and cousins, all the cross stitching done by me.

My most memorable Christmas ever was the year when I was eight. My mother presented me with a box of scraps of fabric, tiny snaps, hooks and eyes, little buttons and assorted lengths of trim from the William Wright Company. This was the 1960s and most Depression-Era mothers were amazing creatures who pinched pennies and stretched them even further. Therefore, many of the scraps of fabric and rickrack and lace were from relatives and family friends, contributed from their own handiwork caches.

Within months, I learned to turn the contents of this wondrous box into sheaths and blouses for my blonde, tiny-hipped and bubble-haired Barbie doll.

A few years later I was making my entire school wardrobe. In 1973 I designed and handcrafted my own wedding dress using that same1951 Featherweight Singer sewing machine I had learned to sew on.

My mother had lovingly taught me a skill that I would use again and again over the years. It was one of my mother’s friends who taught me how to make my first knitting stitches. Years later in my teens my grandmother taught me to crochet. With these two skills I made sweaters and afghans for family members and blankets for babies.

Later I took up Bargello, needlepoint and counted cross stitch and when I was raising my children I spent years practicing the art of quilting. I lived by the motto of some anonymous author: “I cannot count my day complete 'til needle, thread and fabric meet.”

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or the eyesight these days to enjoy much needlework. I am, however, one of those lucky librarians who order the new handcrafting books for the library. I wistfully watch those fresh new books come into the library and then, with amazing speed, leave in the hands of some lucky knitter or quilter.

It seems, in my years of absence from the art, that the world of knitting has gotten crazy about socks. I’m here to tell you that it has and we have at least a dozen new books to prove it.

Socks are colorful. Socks are comfortable. And they make great gifts. “The Sock Knitter's Workshop: Everything Knitters Need to Knit Socks Beautifully” by Ewa Jostes is filled with hundreds of illustrations and instructions for beginners and experts. Betsy McCarthy, the author of “Knit Socks!: 17 Classic Patterns for Cozy Feet” might claim that your very first knitting project could be socks.

A great thing about socks as knitting projects is the transportability. Have sock patterns, wool and needles? You will travel. “Around the World in Knitted Socks: 26 Inspired Designs” is by German knitter, Stephanie van der Linden. The best parts of this book are the designs and techniques from Turkey, Japan, Belgium, Scotland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Austria AND America. It is truly a colorful around-the-world tour but it might not be for the novice knitter. Turning a heel, as they say in the sock-knitting circles, is not always easy.

For the more expert sock knitters who like to think as they knit there is “Knit. Sock. Love.” by Laura Kicey who teaches “intense design workshops. The book is filled with complex patterns of “mind-boggling columns, tessellations and diagonals.” “Think Outside the Sox: 60+ Winning Designs from the Knitter's Magazine Contest” by Elaine Rowley has instructions for mind-boggling socks with cables and braids.

“Toe-Up Socks for Every Body: Adventurous Lace, Cables, and Colorwork from Wendy Knits” by Wendy D. Johnson includes patterns for turning your favorite ankle length socks to knee highs or thigh highs while “Country Weekend Socks: 25 Classic Patterns to Knit” by Madeline Weston can teach to you to knit “long socks, short socks and those for every occasion.”

Does one sock fit all? Not necessarily in every case, of course and most sock patterns, in general, are written for one size. “Sock Club: Join the Knitting Adventure” by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott includes a large, important section on the different ways to adjust the sock patterns for size.

One sock takes very little yarn. Two takes only twice that. Yarns can be mixed and matched. “Socks a la Carte: Pick and Choose patterns to Knit Socks Your Way” by Jonelle Raffino helps you experiment with patterns and all different types of yarn.

And what if you’ve gone a little sock crazy and find too much yarn on your hands? “Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Patterns That Go Way Beyond Socks” edited by Judith Durant. Turn that yarn into mittens, baby knits or dog clothes.

What’s not to love about socks? They’re colorful, creative, fashionable and fun. What’s not to love about your library? We’ve got the books to prove it!

For help searching for these titles visit the Morrill Memorial Library, call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200) or visit the Minuteman Library Catalog on our website, www.norwoodlibrary.org.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Countless Ways to Give Thanks

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in this week's Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Full text:

Early this year I began an unusual personal project. I committed to writing 365 thank you notes in 365 days. My self-imposed rule dictated that each of these thank yous had to be written in 365 words or less.

Additionally (my rule, again) the notes of appreciation had to be snail-mailed. Yes, each with a signature, envelope, and return address and stamp.

Sadly, this ambitious project ended very far from its goal. Too quickly I was bogged down by a lack of time and I abandoned my whimsical project after the first 30 days.

Let me explain my failure.

First, gratitude comes from a deep place within and heartfelt writing takes time to construct. I found that I just didn’t have the time each and every day to spend on the process.

Simply put, reflection got in the way. It sometimes took more than a day to recover from the feelings conjured up by past memories brought about by my gratitude.

Second, early in the project I realized that many of the people I wanted to thank are now entirely gone. All of my grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles have passed on. My girlhood teachers, the parents of most of my childhood friends and many of my mentors are also no longer with us.

Others who had deeply affected my life have retired and moved away. Even with Google and other online resources some people were nearly impossible to find. I found myself spending time I didn't have to search the Internet for a college professor, one of my daughter’s teachers and an elementary school principal.

Happily, however, I can report that on the flipside my futile endeavor was an achievement for many reasons.

I did actually manage to find several handfuls of people from my past and some rather interesting people from the present. Delightfully, some actually wrote back to me to thank me for thanking them. They were pleasantly surprised and touched by my gratitude.

The 365-word length rule was purely a fanciful challenge. Some letters had to be cut to the bone with much left unsaid. This was frustrating for me but was also a wonderful exercise. This is called “tight writing” or “taking the out the fat.” I practiced this process of tight writing and learned immensely from it.

Each Monday I wondered who I would thank that week. I often added one, two, three or sometimes ten new people to my list. Crossing them off the list once I had written the thank you was incredibly satisfying. More gratifying, however, was knowing there were so many people who had touched my life over many years.

Now that the project has been abandoned my new goal is to try to thank at least one person a day in an email, a phone call or in person. Just two simple words. Thank you.

And so, in this column to be published on Thanksgiving Day 2010, it seems particularly appropriate to thank some of the people important to our library.

Many non-profit organizations could not make exist without private donations and volunteers and the Morrill Memorial Library is no exception. I want to thank each and every donor, each and every Friend and library volunteer.

The Friends of the Morrill Memorial Library work tirelessly to give every penny they raise back to the library community in some way. The Friends provide funds for the programming that the library offers on a weekly basis. The Friends provide the funds to purchase equipment, furnishings, museum passes and audiovisual materials for the library.

Where there is a need, our Friends answer it. Thank you, Friends.

They shall remain nameless here but there are many library volunteers who come to the library on a regular schedule to perform some of the most critical but repetitive tasks for us. Many shelve books. Some simply adhere stickers to DVDs, books and other materials. Some rearrange and tidy our bookshelves.

Others are young people who give many hours to the children’s librarians to free their time to do other things. Still others are wonderful volunteers who deliver books for our Outreach Department. Many more become trained tutors in our Literacy Department.

Thousands of hours per year are spent by loyal volunteers. Thank you, volunteers.

The library receives both anonymous and targeted donations every day. We use these funds to purchase materials and supplies. Thank you, donors.

Visit our website, www.norwoodlibrary.org, or call the director to learn about volunteer opportunities. While many of our opportunities are filled at the moment, we will be more than happy to speak to you about how you might help us in the future. Please consider joining the Friends of the Library. Your financial support or your help with the Book Sale and other Friends’ events helps the library in countless ways.

Thank you, Norwood, for your support in all ways of the Morrill Memorial Library.

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Forever Fifty and Other Stories

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in this week's Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

It’s been a week since my stepdaughter’s wedding (the first of two daughters' weddings this year.) We’ve been instantly and amazingly blessed with hundreds of photographs of the beautiful event. Many of these digital memories focus on the bridal couple. Many more chronicle the smiles and tears of the rest of us.

Here is digital proof of the exact placement of the bride’s delicate pearls, those handed down by her late mother. There is her father who cherished every poignant moment of walking his daughter down the aisle.

What an amazing world we live in to see these memories instantly posted by Smartphones or uploaded within hours of the event. These photographs are posted on blogs and on Facebook and they broadcast through email links. A delicate touch here. A loving glance there.

A wrinkle, a crease.


Yes, among the pixel-by-pixel perfect smiles are a few flaws that exist in real time. These are my middle-aged moments captured in all their glory.

I feel bad about my neck.

I should feel worse, though, about the fact that I’ve just stolen that line from Nora Ephron who actually wrote the book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” several years ago.

Ephron is the writer and producer of hilarious romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” and other more wonderful films such as “Julie and Julia” and “Silkwood.”

She was married once to Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame and wrote about that ill-fated marriage in “Heartburn.” It was followed by the popular movie of the same title. Ephron was brilliant in “Heartburn.” Her ex-husband Bernstein had had an affair with their mutual friend. Ah, the power of a woman scorned.

But back to my neck. I first read one of the fifteen essays in Ephron’s book in my hair salon. Apparently one wise woman gave everyone she knew copies of the book for Christmas in 2006 right after the book was published and my stylist was one of them. I brought that book with me that day through color, wash, cut and dry and chuckled for several hours.

It seemed the appropriate place to read this book, after all. Where else do we spend many hours looking into very big mirrors under harsh bright lights noticing our aging necks? In fact, where else do we allow others to see us look so bad in order to look good?

Ephron’s books, like all of her films, are pointed and poignant. The short essays in “I Feel Bad About My Neck” chronicle her slow acceptance of aging. She shares the humor in her worsening eyesight, deepening facial creases, a bikini-allergic body and some brand new teeth. The laughter is enough to make one cry.

And now Ephron has written one more.

“I Remember Nothing and other Reflections” was published just this month. It is another cry-as-you-read book of very-close-to-home essays filled with many more “senior moments” to laugh about. One chapter lists the things Ephron doesn’t care enough about to learn more about. “Tweeting,” Mojitos, soccer and the Kardashians made her list. More honestly, she admits that she can always Google them if she needs to pretend that she knows.

Humorous writing by women is not new, of course. Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns and many books for my mother’s generation. Erma wrote until her death in 1996. She was paid $3 for each of her first weekly columns in the local Kettering-Oakwood Times. Those columns were the basis for her first book, “The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank” published in 1976. Her fifth book, “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits” brought a million-dollar publishing contract. Erma, literally, was laughing all the way to the bank and brought us along for the ride. One of Bombeck’s last books was “When You Look Like Your Passport Photo It’s Time to Go Home.” Oh, my.

Elizabeth Berg wrote “The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted and Other Small Acts of Liberation” in 2008. Her collection of stories offers authentic situations that all women face. Her book might be called comfort food for many of us.

Judith Viorst is the writer of the popular children’s books “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and the “Tenth Good Thing About Barney.” She also began chronicling her life’s comedies and tragedies through poetry for adults in 1968. “It's Hard to Be Hip Over 30 & Other Tragedies of Married Life” has been followed up every decade with another book. “I’m Too Young to Be Seventy and Other Delusions” was written when she was nearing 75. Her latest, “Unexpectedly Eighty and Other Adaptations” was published last month right before she turns eighty years old next year.

Erma Bombeck said that “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” That’s very true for most of us who are being brought into the Golden Years kicking and screaming. We need to find the laughter among the pain, the comedic moments among the hurt.

Another great screenwriter and producer, Mel Brooks, wrote “Humor is just another defense against the universe.” For help searching for some of these titles to get you through life, visit the Morrill Memorial Library, call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200) or visit the Minuteman Library Catalog on our website, www.norwoodlibrary.org.

Friday, November 12, 2010

1960 Plus 50

Margot Sullivan is a retired Adult Services Librarian who still works part-time as a Reference Librarian and leads two popular book discussion groups.

Read Margot Sullivan's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


I just had my Needham High School 50th class reunion and it was a whirlwind evening with everyone trying to recognize many classmates they had not seen for fifty years! For all of us those high school years came flooding back. What is it about High School? – the bonds many of us make and the strong memories we have of teachers, proms, Thanksgiving football games, root beer floats at Brigham’s, the “Twist” with Chubby Checker, “The Catcher in the Rye” , Elvis, Jimmy Dean, Ike and so much more! We were the young teens of the “fifties”! We just received in the mail an amazing photo of 109 of us looking up at the photographer who was on a balcony landing. Even with a magnifying glass I honestly could not recognize some of the faces in spite of checking in my rather musty 1960 yearbook! Already several people have asked for a “crib sheet”. The evening was memorable, nostalgic, and fun!

Monday, November 1, 2010

This Old House

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


I purchased many homes during the several decades my family and I moved around the United States. One of them was ground-up construction and I made hundreds of agonizing choices. I spent months sweating over the details – the style of roof, paint colors, faucets and fireplace brick.

A few years later as a single woman I became the hardy owner of an “old house”. It was a post-Civil War home perched on a mill pond in a picturesque New Hampshire town. There I battled frost-heaved brick staircases. weather-beaten paint and crooked wall and floors.

Surviving that experience I thought that I had become an expert on finding contractors and navigating electrical and plumbing vocabulary. When I moved from New Hampshire to Massachusetts I bravely purchased a forlorn and neglected Victorian home. I laughed the pundits off. Of course I hadn’t made a mistake!

The joke, it seemed, was on me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The High Price of Privilege

Shelby Warner is a Reference Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


When I drop my ballot into the box on election day, I will remember Alice Paul. Who is Alice Paul? This is a good question since only recently have history books begun to cover in detail the crusade to which she devoted her life.

Alice Paul played a major role in the drama that unfolded from 1913-1920 in this country. She relentlessly pursued one goal - to change President Woodrow Wilson’s mind about women’s right to vote. She knew the proposed amendment which would grant this right would never pass without his support. While others had begun the battle and many worked beside her, she was definitely the leader of this final charge for victory. Alice was committed to the cause and willing to put her body on the line.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Norwood Folklore

Kelly Unsworth is head of Children's Services at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in this week's Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


A couple of weeks ago, as I was looking through the Wicked Local web site for photos from a children’s program that had been offered at the library, I came across the following question posed in the blogs section: “So, ever since I came on board as the reporter for the Transcript I’ve been hearing that Norwood is in Guinness World Records for the most number of people who are born in a town dying here. Is this true? If this is true, can you tell me where to find it?” The quote is from Chloe Gotsis, a new reporter for the Transcript. First, I would like to welcome Chloe to Norwood. Secondly, I would like to address her question.
Chloe, I noticed in your blog that on your first day on the job, you walked to Guarino’s Bakery for a pastry, and then on to Perks for a coffee. I must say, you have excellent taste, but if you had turned onto Walpole Street you would have found the Morrill Memorial Library, which, to answer part of your question, is the place where you can find the answer to your question. The library has access to a wealth of information: books, electronic, historical, and cultural. The staff, however, is one of the richest resources, and this is where I began my search.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Company of a Book: Grieving a Loss

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in this week's Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I write this column this week on the anniversary of the death of my own child 29 years ago. Coleen was a beautiful, deeply intelligent toddler nearing her second birthday when a congenital heart condition wrested her from our loving family. Simply put, it was one of life’s tragedies that I’ll always struggle with and one that has caused me to cherish her younger sisters all the more.

The experience of the death of a child has also formed an indelible bond between my second husband, Gerry, who suffered the same loss as I did not very many years ago, but before we met. Our daughters, in fact, share a birthday week with their birthdates only one day apart.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Biking Boston's Neighborhoods

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Read past columns that are indexed and archived here.


My husband and I have recently rediscovered the joys of old-fashioned, two-wheeled, human-propelled biking. Both of us learned to ride clunky one-speed Schwinns over a half-century ago. We eventually moved on to the newer ten-speeds in our teens and abandoned them for decades.

This summer we smartly invested in newfangled 21st century machines. These bikes, called hybrids, have lots of complicated gears, comfortable seats, sturdy tires, safe handbrakes and front-end shock absorbers. They are relatively inexpensive and are truly enjoyable.

I wrote recently about the wonderful off-road rail trails in New England that we’ve discovered on our weekend jaunts. Our biking excursions have grown in length; some of our now-favorite rail trails are 25 miles round trip. So we energetically took a leap on September 26th and joined over 4000 other bicyclists at one of Boston’s favorite events, Hub on Wheels.

You have until the morning of the ride to choose between three different loops – ten, thirty or fifty miles.

We chose what you might call the Mama Bear route. Not too short, not too long – just right. Delightfully, my eldest daughter, a triathlete who had recommended the biking event to us, shaved the additional twenty miles off her normal ride to join us.

No matter what town or city we were from, we were all Bostonians that day. All along our ride, volunteers and bystanders stood in all these local enclaves cheering us on and pointing us in the right direction. Several times I was met by a smiling face at the top of a hill assuring me that I was halfway there or that I only had ten more miles to go. It was one of the most delightful three-hour tours of Boston I will ever experience.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banned Books Week

Jenna Hecker is the Technology/Reference Librarian at the library. Read her column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week. Read past columns that are indexed and archived here.


The first public library to ban Huckleberry Finn was the Concord Free Public Library, who in 1885 accused Twain’s then year-old work of containing coarse, inelegant language. The book has continued to be a source of tension and controversy – sometimes it was challenged or banned for portraying interracial friendships and taking an anti-slavery stance, other times modern challengers objected to its use of the ‘n’-word and its generally racially-charged language. All of these controversies have made the book one of the most-banned books of all time.
Each year, in the last week of September, the American Library Association and libraries nationwide host events and displays celebrating literature that has been challenged or banned in libraries and schools. Banned Books Week highlights the most frequently challenged books of the previous year and tries to give people a history of book challenges.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Tour of Norwood Through Local Authors

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Read past columns that are indexed and archived here.


One of my favorite passages of the first chapter of “Mapping Norwood” is one in which Charles, his brother and mother ride the bus from their home to downtown Norwood. On this ride “down Walpole Street … I wave at my home away from home, the town’s public library.” Later on in the book Charles Fanning spends pages on his childhood spent reading, on one of his favorite books and on a place near and dear to both of our hearts, the Morrill Memorial Library.

The tour in Dr. Fanning’s book does not stop at just the library, however. Chapters are devoted to his family’s history, both Yankee and Irish-American, in Norwood and in a young America. It is a memoir rich with memories of small-town America, the sociology of ethnic groups ‘bumping’ against each other and the history of a family.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Delightful Three-Hour Tour

Charlotte Canelli is the Library Director in Norwood. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Read past columns that are indexed and archived here.


Once considered the dirtiest harbor in the world, the Boston Harbor is now one that sparkles after a serious cleanup and revitalization project in the late 20th century. In that harbor the thirty-four Boston Harbor Islands are all part of the National Park Area, each unique and each with a rich history.

This past summer Marguerite Krupp shared her love of the Boston Harbor Islands during two evening programs at our library. Her first program was so popular that we quickly scheduled another and both were given to rapt audiences.

I quickly decided on the whimsical idea to try one of the many Boston Harbor Islands cruises. I purchased tickets for a sunset cruise to Long Island through the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands (FBHI.org.) The sunset cruise to Long Island happened to conveniently be given on one the nights that our 12-year grandson was on vacation with relatives.

Of course, whimsy at its best involves spontaneous planning but I know better when travel, tickets or food are involved.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The To-Do or Not-to-Do List

Charlotte Canelli is the Library Director in Norwood. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week. Read past columns that are indexed and archived here.


Sometime last year I read an article about the Not-To-Do List and decided to make a mental list. My Not-To-Do List this year included items such as do not procrastinate, do not buy any more books, do not avoid exercise and do not wake up at 4:00 am and worry. I’ve made little progress on some of those and adequate progress on others so I think it might just have worked.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

On the Trail of Tolstoy

Shelby Warner is a retired librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Read past columns that are indexed and archived here.

The library is a treasure trove of information and the reference staff can help you find the key to your particular question.

Recently, I used this process for myself. Having just seen “The Last Station,” a film about the last year in the life of Leo Tolstoy, I had whetted my appetite to know more about this famous Russian author. I wondered what brought him to his sad end, what he was doing in Astapovo where he died, why his wife wasn’t allowed to see him until he was already in a coma and how his life made such an impact on the world.

These questions were just the tip of the iceberg, for I did not yet know much about Tolstoy. But I did know that within the walls of the library I could satisfy my curiosity. So, I launched myself on the trail of Tolstoy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Confucius and Career Change

Charlotte Canelli is the Library Director in Norwood. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


Change has been no stranger to my life. Before the age of seven I had moved four times and across the country from Boston to San Francisco. In over fifty years I have called more than two countries, five states and twenty towns my home.

Adapting has been fairly easy most of the time but sometimes more difficult. I never did fall in love with Texas, or Connecticut for that matter. The notable fact is, however, that I have survived all of it and have come out stronger on the other side.

Pulled kicking and screaming as teenagers my children have since told me that moving them during those delicate formative years was one of the best things that happened to them.

Attributed to no one in particular is this quote: “If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Exercising Made Easier

April Cushing is the Adult Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read April's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Full text:

I started this exercise program purely by accident. I was happily pursing my sedentary lifestyle, browsing at the shop where my daughter works in Westwood, when hard-bodied Brenda walked in and invited me to join her workout class. I’m not sure if it was the fact that a) it was free; b) I get winded climbing the single flight of stairs to my comfy chair at the Norwood Library Reference Desk; or c) I’m really bad at saying no, but I agreed. Reluctantly.

At 6 p.m., the temperature a balmy 91, I arrived at the high school track with a pair of weights and a water bottle. I didn’t know quite where to go so I approached a group of fit looking females and asked if they were waiting for Brenda. Nope. I assumed class was probably cancelled due to the heat when I saw her speeding around the track. Darn.

To the beat of the boombox we squatted, kicked, lunged, and tore up and down the bleachers, leaving no muscle group unmolested. Then the C-word reared its ugly head. You know, the core, which I didn’t even know I had 10 years ago. Just when I figured it couldn’t get any worse I heard the three words that have pierced the hearts of mankind for millennia: take a lap. I thought I felt raindrops—yes!!—but it was only sweat. Whose, I’m not sure.

But back to Brenda. My 20-year-old has adopted her friend’s maternal parent as her other mother. I used to feel funny about this because shouldn’t Belle be cooking with me, even though I don’t technically, um, cook? I mean, I like to read cookbooks and drool over the pictures… Brenda has not only born five offspring but still wears skinny jeans, which she sometimes passes on to Belle. The only genes my daughter and I share are the ones I gave her at birth. But Brenda’s impressive wardrobe and workout ethic aside, she’s really quite nice. Plus she got me off my butt and back on (the) track, which is even more remarkable.

Meanwhile, back at boot camp, I was lumbering around the football field for the third time when I heard a youth coach yell “Crunches! 10s-20s-30s! Use your abs, not your hips!” I have no clue what that means but any exercise you can do lying down can’t be all bad. I actually enjoy breaking a good sweat--after the fact. Then I can almost justify splurging on a hot fudge sundae at The Ice Jack or The Sugar Cone.

To prolong my endorphin surge--and since my car was in the shop--I trudged the two miles home after class. You, however, can experience this vicariously and with a lot less effort simply by checking out The Long Walk Home by Will North at your local library.

I also do hot (Bikram) yoga once a week, or more often when my 10-pack of pre-paid discounted classes is due to expire. If struggling to keep your sweaty palms from slipping in 100-degree heat doing downward-facing dog or trying to tune out the guy snoring on the next mat during corpse pose doesn’t do it for you, try yoga at home with one of these DVDs: Biggest Loser: the Workout, Weight Loss Yoga, Yoga to the Rescue: for Back Pain, or Get Moving, to name a few. And if duck walking with a stretchy band around your ankles in public isn’t your bag either, you can look as silly as you please in the privacy of your own abode with Safe and Fit: Total Body Workout.

Luckily we have plenty of books on the subject if you’re more of an armchair exerciser. You know who you are. Yoga for Pain Relief, Yoga for Stuttering, Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause, Yoga for Computer Users, Yoga for Arthritis: there’s something for everyone. Fear and Yoga in New Jersey, a collection of humorous stories by Debra Galant, is particularly painless, and you don’t even need to live in the Garden State to enjoy it.

A well-meaning 24-year-old gave me this unsolicited bit of advice recently: Frowning at my derriere encased in a modest black bathing suit, she said, “You could, um, lift those up by doing half an hour on the Stairmaster a few times a week, you know, Mom.”

Why, thanks hon. I have a perfectly good set of stairs I could pound if I was serious about minimizing the gluteus maximus. Or I could just check out another classic DVD, Great Buns & Thighs: Step Workout.

I haven’t had the pleasure myself, but a few of the library staff swear by kettlebells. A kettlebell resembles a large grapefruit with a handle and provides a total body aerobic workout, unlike traditional weight lifting which targets specific areas. The Norwood Library, coincidentally, has three such DVDs you can borrow on your way to becoming cut, jacked or ripped. The minute I’m ready to move beyond mountain pose or my personal favorite, child pose, I plan to preview Kettlebell Goddess Workout just to see what happens.

With all these fabulous fitness resources at our fingertips, and with a healthy dose of discipline, we can all look and feel like a million bucks. So swing by the library soon for some serious inspiration.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Facing the Future with Facebook

Charlotte Canelli is the Library Director in Norwood. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin next week.

Every so often I stumble across my personal “archives.” Translated that means, of course, the cartons of “stuff” that I’ve been moving from home to home over last half century.

Inside one worn cardboard box, under the high school term paper on Jonathan Swift and tucked behind a scrapbook or two, you’ll find a diary. The year was 1965 and I was in the eighth grade.

The first entry was written around the first of January 1965 and I had just seen the Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night” (released in 1964.)

“I LOVE Paul!” I was 13 and I had fallen hard for the cutest of the four Beatles.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Light from Within

Charlotte Canelli is the Library Director in Norwood. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin next week.


Each day diffuse and perfect light enters these gracious rooms through those amazing windows. They are reminders to us that public institutions such as libraries begin as testaments to the strength and character of the community that builds them. Germaine Greer wrote that “libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit; reminders of order, calm and continuity.” Norwood’s strength and character can be found in its gorgeous and uplifting public library with its architectural splendors of both grace, order and continuity.

Read more of the Handbook of the new Boston Public Library compiled by Herbert Small, Curtis and Company, Boston, MA, 1895.

Find out more about the Arts and Crafts Movement at Wikipedia.

Read more about printers' marks in the booklet
Printers' Marks: A Chapter in the History of Typography
by William Robert, George Bell and Sons, 1893.

Read a brief description of the Morrill Memorial Library on the library website.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2001: A Calligraphic Odyssey

Cindy Rudolph is a circulation assistant at Morrill Memorial Library. She also does graphic design and hand-lettered signage for the library. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


When I became interested in calligraphy around 1980, the first place I went to find out about it was the Norwood library. I found a few books on the subject and began practicing the Italic, Uncial, and Gothic alphabets. I learned about broad-tipped pens, pen angles and permanent inks. I soon realized I could add calligraphy to my offerings as a freelance artist, so I started addressing envelopes for brides, lettering personal poems, retirement citations and whatever else I was commissioned to do. I began teaching calligraphy and exhibiting my work with Masscribes, a calligraphers’guild, and with the Norwood Art Association. I’ve made friends with many other calligraphers, who inspire me and share so much of their knowledge. The art of calligraphy still intrigues me and there’s always something new going on in the field.

You can also read a great article about Steve Rudolph, Cindy's husband.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fun of Two Wheelin'

Charlotte Canelli is the Library Director in Norwood. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


We vacationed on Cape Cod for a week in late June and early July. We had incredible weather and every lovely morning the fragrant breezes rustled our gauzy curtains in the two-story ocean-side home we rented.

Sunshine poured through them each morning at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. I’ve written before about my morning personality. When I’m on vacation I love to get up even earlier than normal to enjoy every minute of a beautiful place. I never want to miss a sunrise or a sunset.

Fortunately, we had rented bicycles for our entire week at the Cape. Everyone in the USA knows that this sandy, sunny strip of New England is a perfect place to take a bike ride.

My enthusiasm for early morning bike rides won over a few of my companions. Each day we were out riding shortly after the sun had risen a foot off the horizon.

We caught the biking bug on vacation and after we arrived home, we did some minimal research and decided to purchase simple, new road bikes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Summer of Summer Reading

Marie Lydon is head of Reference at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


I spent most of my younger summers sprawled on our screened-in porch reading Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew books. Then my mother promoted me to Gene Stratton-Porter’s “Girl of the Limberlost” and “The Five Little Peppers” series, not to mention “Maida” books which no one seems to remember reading but me, although I just Googled it and there is a website devoted to it. I don’t remember much after that until I was selecting my own books and reading things like “Marjorie Morningstar” and “Advise and Consent.”

Once I switched majors I had to read from a summer reading list, which most English majors had been doing since the summer after freshman year, containing such titles as “War and Peace,” “Crime and Punishment,” “My Antonia,” “Vanity Fair” and “David Copperfield,” to name a few.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Not-So-Lost Art of Conversation

Margot Sullivan is a retired Adult Services Librarian who still works part-time as a Reference Librarian and leads two popular book discussion groups.

Read Margot Sullivan's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


As you can tell I am a people person. I must say it bothers me when I see people come to the library for hours and surf the net some with very valid reasons and others???? Who knows? But when one is sitting at a computer or on their phone or “friending” someone in Facebook there is no real “conversation” as we used to know it. At a recent event with many young teenagers I was sad to see how often the young people would interrupt the dancing to run back to their tables to check their cell phones! Why I ask! On our return boat ride from a brief vacation on a sunny day to savor a gentleman in front of me was on his cell phone for ten or fifteen minutes! Once I saw two couples hiking on a wooded trail one member of each couple was on their cell phone – for all I know they were talking to each other!

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's No Mystery

Charlotte Canelli is the Library Director in Norwood. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.

Every year the library remains closed the first or second Friday in June. Our staff development day is very important for us. During it, our facilities crew shampoos rugs, repairs plumbing and paints ceilings. One of the most cumbersome tasks is setting up staging to replace light bulbs in ceiling fixtures. Closing during this week day is important to us.

So are you thinking that the rest of the library staff is sitting by a pool? That they are out shopping at the local outlets? Of course not! The staff is, in fact, hard at work offsite at another library.

In 2009 we spent the day nearby at the Norfolk Public Library. In 2010 we spent our day at the Morse Institute, the public library in Natick. The beauty of public libraries is that there is wonderful free meeting room space available and we, like you, take advantage of it.

This year’s staff development day included some great events. One was a panel discussion by five local New England mystery authors, all members of Sisters in Crime – New England.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Stories For All Ages

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

The reality is that I live in a world of book lust, one in which I get to read a very small percentage of what I read about or purchase for the library.

I confess that I read fiction only when it captures my interest or imagination. I’ve read, of course, quite a bit of classical and contemporary fiction over the last half century. However, I am often jealous of my colleagues, family and friends who have a much longer fiction-reading list that I have.

My personal passion for reading lies in non-fiction. When I’m asked for my favorite book or a recommendation I always think first of titles within the non-fiction genres, whether they are serious historical or scientific accounts or quirky travelogues or memoirs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Read a Good Book With Your Ears

Jenna Hecker is the Technology/Reference Librarian at the library. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


Growing up, I had a voracious appetite for books. I was constantly bothering my parents to please read one more story.

Bored with the always-predictable ending to the “Frog and Toad” stories, their voices hoarse, my parents finally invested in books on tape. I quickly realized that the professional readers on my tapes were much more animated than my parents, and never demanded that I go to bed. The books on tape became my preferred method of getting my literary fix.

When I learned to read to myself, I abandoned my beloved tapes. Chapter books couldn’t be absorbed in a single night the way picture books could, and it felt much more grown-up to walk around with my nose in a book than to wear headphones.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our Newest Four-Legged Best Friend

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


When Gerry married me I came with some baggage, some of it my 2-year-old toddler-puppy and a few of her leftover medical bills. I’ll spare you the details, but I rescued her from sure-euthanasia when for nearly a year she suffered from life-threatening Boxer colitis.

A homemade diet of sweet potatoes, barley, ground beef and scrambled eggs saved her life and that concoction, along with a hearty dose of loving family life, keeps her amazingly healthy today.

Most amazingly, of course, is that Gerry accepted us, the complicated librarian and her sickly dog and crazy dog diet plus all of our bad habits. He’s had only a few raised eyebrows and had minimal reservations to date.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wedding Season

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


This coming 12 months we have not one, but two daughters getting married. Each is the eldest daughter – both my husband’s and mine. This is a different century, however, and our independent daughters are full of their own plans and organizational skills. These creative and resourceful young women have needed little help.

I’ve had an amazing romp with my own daughter through the bridal shop scene. Both Gerry (my husband) and I have had the tasty experience of trying wedding-day menus and the teary-eyed ones viewing engagement photos. Yet, all of it has been totally organized by the brides and their soon-to-be-spouses.

Friday, May 28, 2010

There's Something for Everyone at Norwood's Library

Read Bonnie Wyler's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

" When I began working at the Morrill Memorial Library in 2001, I was struck by the unusual breadth and depth of the programs offered here.

Like many libraries, Norwood offers wonderful programs for children and adults in the community. In addition to these basic services, our library has two outstanding programs: Literacy and outreach, which address the needs of underserved populations in town.

The outreach program delivers library materials to residents of nursing homes and senior housing facilities, as well as to anyone unable to come to the library because of illness or disability.

The literacy program provides free tutoring to non-English speakers and people who wish to improve their language skills."

Bonnie Wyler is the outreach and reference librarian at Morrill Memorial Library.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Never Too Late to Learn

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When my mother passed away from cancer at the very young age of 49, she left her youngest son at the tender age of sixteen. It was a particularly devastating time for my brother, Michael, although he did manage to finish high school and served in the US Army. Returning home in the mid 1980s to a poor economy with few life skills, he floundered for many years, abusing drugs and alcohol, and losing touch with his young son. In the 1990s he ended up homeless in the San Francisco East Bay for over five years. Repeated advice from social workers and law enforcement warned us that only he could rise up from the ashes of his life, so to speak, and help had to come from within.

After a painful visit with me in 2000, he promised me that he would get his life together.

Amazingly, he did just that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Saving the World and Other Backyard Projects

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I was stung on the eyelid by a nasty yellow jacket as a young child. It was, as you might guess, a very traumatic experience. I remember lots of adults fussing about me and having to take blue medicine by the spoonful and I’ve been terrified ever since.
As a young(er) adult I avoided bees and wasps at all costs, actually nearly breaking my back on a fireplace pit as I stepped away in panic. Bees, as you might guess, wouldn’t be my choice of pet, companion or live-in guest. Or neighbor.
So, how exactly has this librarian become a beekeeper? Or perhaps, the wife of a beekeeper who happens to keep honeybees in OUR yard?
My beekeeping days began as a total skeptic. For one, I figured that my hobbyist husband would give up on his rather strange interest in raising honeybees. Golf, birds, photography, gardening – did he really need another obsession? Secondly, I figured that his wife (me) would never actually OK the idea. However, given time and knowledge, and my insatiable desire to feed my family’s reading needs and support their causes, here we are ... saving the world.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Use the Library to End the Day Happily

Jean Todesca is a Youth Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read Jean's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


The hectic day is finally winding down.

It’s 9:30, the pizza boxes are piled in the trash. Your 4- and 6-year-old children are finally bathed and in bed after a late Little League game, preceded by a Cub Scout meeting and a quick stop at the school art fair. You’ve just put your feet up when you hear a loud wail coming from your 9-year-old son who is working on his homework. “I need six facts about New Mexico!” he exclaims.

Your first thought is the library, but it’s already closed. You’re just too tired for a random Internet search. If you could only get to an almanac, encyclopedia or fact book, but you can’t!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Volcanic Interruption

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.

It seems woefully apropos to quote Robert Burns this week. In “To a Mouse”, Scotland’s national poet wrote this in 1785:

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, oft go awry, an’ leave us nothing by grief and pain, for promis’d joy!" I am left wondering, perchance, if Poet Burns was ever disappointed by an Icelandic volcano named Eyjafjallajökull

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hooked on Scrabble!

April Cushing is the Adult Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read April's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

The cry of “bingo!” resounded through the 2nd floor Simoni Room as it does nearly every Tuesday night at the Norwood Library. A dozen or so adults of all ages and abilities meet weekly to match wits and pursue a passion for Scrabble.

For those unfamiliar with the lingo, a bingo occurs when a player uses all seven of his or her tiles simultaneously to form a word on the board, earning a 50-point bonus.

And, at the Morrill Memorial Library, usually a round of applause as well.

These folks take their Scrabble seriously.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Margot Sullivan is a retired Adult Services Librarian who still works part-time as a Reference Librarian and leads two popular book discussion groups.
Read Margot Sullivan's entire column this week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


Yes, birdwatchers are curious creatures aware of birds but often oblivious to the rest of the world around them. We had a friend who lived on the island who had taken a shower and walked naked through her living room not realizing the picture window shades were open. Did the birders notice or even bat an eyelash? Nope – they were obviously watching for some elusive gnatcatcher, or warbler, or wren in the bushes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Poetry and Hums

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.

Excerpt:That simple poem of mine was a celebration of pride, of sibling love and was an example of the pure delight in the miracles around me. A decade later, however, my poetry was full of girlhood angst and suggested an adolescence that was overflowing with the turmoil of the 1960s.
That po etry, nevertheless, helped to get me admitted to the best university in my universe, Cal Berkeley. It was the era just past Beatnik, halfway through the hippie-movement and full swing into California sun worship, college rioting and the Vietnam War. A poet’s heaven.
I’m grateful that my teachers and my family encouraged me to write poetry. In the years that followed, college papers and other communication replaced my poetic impulses. I often miss that rare extravagance of my childhood.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Living in a Foreign Language

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


Several weeks ago, my eldest daughter had one of the most important interviews of her life. For 12 hours I stayed at the acceptable mother-distance (while somehow managing to hold my breath at the same time). When I couldn’t stand the suspense any longer, in my I’m-a-digital-not-overbearing-Mom kinda way, I sent her a simple text.
How’d it go, I asked.
Her reply? One word: “Meh.”
Meh? What did “meh” mean? Could it mean “my ego hyperventilates” or “Mom, enough hysteria?” I’ve been struggling with 21st Century acronyms for some time now. I’ve always thought I was tech-savvy. However, I found out that I was an undereducated digital immigrant over a decade ago when I thought LOL meant lots of love. I was finally told LOL meant laughing out loud by my youngest daughter who was, appropriately, laughing out loud.

So, what is meh, I asked my husband. Fortunately, he knew enough to consult the online Urban Dictionary to calm my fears and assuage my ego. Meh, he explained, is a verbal shrug of the shoulders which also means “eh, who cares?” Oh, okay, that explains it. Not.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reading Dr. Seuss

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


On March 2 of every year the NEA plans its Read Across America day and asks “every child to be reading in the company of a caring adult” at some point in the day. (The NEA hopes to create a nation of readers through that program it created in 1997. Read Across America is now in its thirteenth year and it is a year-round program that focuses on motivating children and teens to read.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Writing Makes Memories Come Alive

Shelby Warner is a retired librarian who works part-time as a Reference Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

Read Shelby Warner's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.

Another of my Dad’s stories was of a baby brother I never knew. “Your Mama and me hit a man up Athens way one Saturday. Didn’t hurt his car hardly atall, but we were young and didn’t know any better. He said we had to pay five dollars a month ‘til we had paid enough. When your brother, Billy, died...he was just three months old, we missed a payment. When the man came to get his money, we were living in a little one room house. He came in and saw us standing by the kitchen table. On it was Billy’s coffin, littlest wood coffin I ever saw. Well, the man, after looking at us and down at our little boy who looked just like he was asleep, never came again for his money.”

They lived through times of sorrow and it is good for children to know you can live through grief and survive.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

From Printed Page to Silver Screen

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.

This year two movies nominated for an Academy Award were just such movies. Bright Star is a film based on the last three years of the live of poet John Keats. The film Sherlock Holmes was, of course, a mystery romp with the character of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, both invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Searching For the Right Word

Kelly Unsworth is Head of Children's Services at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.

"As a children’s librarian, I always encourage families to create their own stories, which will eventually become their own family folklore. I would also like to suggest that families create and take note of their own “family words.” Every family has them; in our house “Boomala” was the place to go when my parents didn’t want to tell us where we where headed. It might be because the location would generate such excitement that they wanted to keep it a surprise for as long as possible to save their sanity. But it could also be a place that they didn’t want to mention because it was so detestable to the young at heart that they would never get us in the car."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Bite of the Big Apple

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.

This week we are spending the school vacation in New York and have brought along another 11 year old, a classmate of Colin’s. These sixth-grade boys aren’t going to be impressed with any high society tearoom, any amount of high-stepping dancers or any well-pressed and spotless cloth napkin at the Plaza Hotel. More up their alley are one of the biggest ToysRUs in the USA, the NYC Hard Rock Café and the impressive Museum of Natural History. With four days in New York I needed to find more suggestions geared to pre-teen boys.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Valentine For YOU

Read Marie Lydon's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


As this is Valentine’s week, I thought it would be nice to spotlight some of the people and things we love about working here. One is the job itself, which contrasts with the Jan. 5 news report in USA Today that “only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work, the lowest level ever recorded in 22 years of surveys.”

This is depressing news and makes me think how unfulfilling it would be to go to a job every day that you did not enjoy or find interesting. The other is the people we meet, which brings home to me why many of us have been here much longer than we ever thought possible.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Plain English

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Bulletin and Transcript this week.


The staff here at the library tolerates me. I toss down a publication or make webpage edits and my careless errors are scattered throughout. I humbly accept and make the suggested changes and vow time and time again that I will learn to be less careless. There are, however, always errors that get through and there are moments of regret. Sometimes I chuckle, but more often I cringe.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dewey and the Kitchen Companion

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Bulletin and Transcript this week.

Today I would never have to cook if I didn’t want to and for the past few years I’ve spent very little time doing that. However, our kitchen renovation was completed this past December and you might say I’ve been reborn and have been rediscovering the joy. Long-forgotten recipes and specialty pans and utensils have come out of retirement and some interesting ingredients have been filling our pantry and refrigerator.
Part of the fun of a newly designed kitchen is having the space to cook together and that’s just what we’ve done. My household chef and husband was happily helping me chop various vegetables for a seafood bisque last weekend. Imagine my surprise, then, when I curiously inspected the cutting board and found tough, crunchy and bitter leek tops in with the tender dicings of onions and garlic. What could he have been thinking?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let the Library Be Your Lifeline

Read Jenna Hecker's entire column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.


"I am not a person who flourishes in an environment of uncertainty. I am not good at being unemployed. I went from having a hectic schedule to no schedule at all. I spent my first few days camping, traveling, and visiting historical homes, but soon panic set in, and obsessive job searching began.
In order to cope with the loneliness and frustration of job searching, I vowed to get out of the house every day. I packed up my laptop and headed to the library to work on job searching for a few hours each morning. I set up a professional email address (myname@gmail.com), I signed up for e-mail updates from professional associations, and I started following library job tweeters on twitter."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You Say You Want a Resolution

Read Charlotte Canelli's entire column in the Norwood Bulletin and Transcript this week.


I’ve never really been one for New Year resolutions. Oh, there have been years when I’ve made one or two and then merely forgotten about it within hours, days, or weeks. I actually believe more in what I might call the “gradual process resolution” or one that slowly transforms over the year from a good intention to something that might be called change for the better.
My own resolve seems to be in the form of change in a more spontaneous way. Bridget Jones (in Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding) more aptly states “I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.” My sentiments exactly.

Most studies prove that merely 12 percent of New Year resolutions actually become habit over the course of the year … and that number is lower in the course of actual change over many years. Oscar Wilde wrote, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”

Yet, it is the trying that is the heart of this matter. And studies also prove that sharing your resolution with others gets better results.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The ABCs of DVDs

Read April Cushing's entire article in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


"After a grueling day on the Reference Desk my ideal evening goes something like this. Duffy and I trot down to the park for our daily constitutional, then I hunker down in front of my new flat screen TV and indulge in the ultimate R&R: D&D, aka dinner and a DVD, with my significant other, Brad.

We’re closing in on 175 movies since we started keeping track in 2006. There are the classics like Rear Window, The African Queen, On the Waterfront, Casablanca, The Sting, Schindler’s List, and the Hangover. Ok, so maybe that last one isn’t technically a classic.

I put an asterisk next to Citizen Kane since I fell asleep before the end. There seem to be several starred titles on the list. If you’re really serious about seeing the credits, I wouldn’t recommend getting horizontal on a comfy couch, especially not after 9 p.m.

Then there are the feel-good films, besides the one renowned for the line “I’ll have what she’s having.” Love Actually, On Golden Pond, Hoosiers, Something’s Gotta Give, and Young at Heart come to mind. Oh, and Chocolat, with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, which my 21-year-old daughter and I watched last night, a bottle of wine and a box of truffles between us.