Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Library Week!

Kelly Unsworth is head of Children's Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin this week.
You might be a passionate library user if:
Every now and then, I meet a young person who seems destined to become a librarian. She might love technology, or he might enjoy reading and recommending books to patrons. These youngsters frequent the library, volunteer their services and utilize all that the library has to offer. But what truly sets them apart from the other library users is a passion for everything book related: new books, book clubs, movies from books, author visits, new technology, and the library in general.
Most often, I will suggest to these students that they might consider a career in Library Science, and I answer the slew of questions that are likely to follow. Although I realize that only a few of these children will enter the field of librarianship, many others will go on to become what I like to refer to as “passionate public library users.” Librarians know who these patrons are; they are in the library almost daily, they schedule their days around library visits, they bring their children to the library, they bring other people’s children to the library, they frequent library events, are aware of the technology available to them, they know how to place a reserve on a book that has not yet been published, and they are on a first name basis with the library staff. As librarians, it is our goal to create passionate library users and to satisfy the needs of these users. Many of you reading this article may recognize yourself in my description, but if you need more convincing, feel free to read the following list:
“You Might be a Passionate Library User if…
You come in to the library for a quick visit and you leave…4 hours later.
The first place you visit on vacation is the local library.
The number for Museum Passes is in your speed dial.
You would never, ever, consider joining Netflix: why pay money for movies when you can get them free at the library?
You peruse the shelves at Barnes & Noble, then head for the library to find the books.
You know the warmest/coldest/ loudest/quietest spots in the library.
You feel a jolt of excitement when the library e-news arrives.
You consider Movie Night at the library a “Date Night Out.”
You daydream about retiring and volunteering in the library.
You cancel your newspaper and magazine subscriptions because you can read them at the library.
You compulsively straighten bookshelves, at other people’s houses.
You approach your child’s research project as an exciting challenge.
You have your library card number and PIN committed to memory.
You don’t have to ask if Lucy the R.E.A.D. Dog is a real animal.
You are a stalker at the Speed Read shelf.
And lastly, you bring baked goods to the library staff during the holiday seasons!
So, in honor of National Library Week, the staff at your public library would like to extend a thank you to all of the “passionate public library users.” Keep coming in, and bring a few of your friends.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Free Parking! Go With the Pass!

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her column each week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I love to save money. Years ago I never grocery shopped without coupons. These days I can’t seem to keep them organized unless I cut them from the Sunday papers and run immediately with them to the local grocery stores or pharmacies. My husband is a big fan of Big Y’s savings coins and he’s never prouder than when he presents me with bouquets of flowers he’s purchased at a third of the cost. Several vases often overflow in our kitchen and he basks in the smell of huge savings while I pretend that he is being purely romantic.

I scour the Internet for online coupons for purchases from my favorite catalogs. My proudest moments are those when I manage free shipping and more than 75% discounts from some of my favorite clothing catalogs like Coldwater Creek and Chico’s. Whatever I’m buying, I always Google online discounts and more than half the time I find some kind of discount or free shipping offer.

More often, though, I like to save when we eat out at restaurants at least one night a week. I’ve become a huge fan of Groupon and Open Table and other online websites that offer 50% or more discounts at some of my favorite local restaurants. The catch is that you pay upfront and you must remember to use the savings coupons. Recently, Gerry and I got a check that was so low that we thought the server had made a mistake because it included our initial online payment.

Library passes are one of the best-kept secrets for savings. These library passes are often funded by Friends of the library groups or other groups in the community and they offer huge savings for those who reserve them.

The Morrill Memorial Library has discounted passes to museums and parks in the area and these include the Museum of Science, the Boston Aquarium, the Museum of Fine Arts and seven others such as the Franklin Park Zoo. Parents and grandparents often book these passes weeks in advance to save big for their families.

One of my favorite passes is the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Parks Pass which provides free parking at many of the local state parks. These passes can save the borrower anywhere from $2 to $9 at the ocean beaches. Let’s face it, parking costs are usually annoying and there is nothing better on a family outing than to avoid grumbling. The passes provide unlimited day-use parking at any of the parks that charge a fee. The ParksPass is a plastic tag that hangs from your rearview window and it is good year-round. It can be checked out for the entire weekend so be sure to reserve it early.

There are state parks that charge parking in eastern Massachusetts and most of them, obviously, are the state’s beaches. If you travel north you might find Nantasket beach a welcome relief on a summer’s day. This destination has been a favorite for over a century and a half and it is home of the historic Paragon Carousel. A bit further up you’ll find the Lynn Shore and Nahant Beach Reservation where there are periodic interpretive programs including some in marine biology and natural history. Even further north is Salisbury Beach near the New Hampshire border.

Myles Standish State Forest is a local treasure. It stretches across parts of Plymouth and Carver and it is the “largest publicly-owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts.” It boasts miles of paved biking trails, equestrian trials and hiking trails through pine forests. There are sixteen ponds and several camping areas. The DCR pass is good for free parking at College Pond. There are interpretive walks along the ponds and cranberry bogs in the summer.

Demarest Lloyd State Park in Dartmouth is unknown to many Massachusetts residents. A perfect family spot, there is an 1800-foot beach with warm summer temperatures. Whether it is walking, bird watching, wave-splashing or picnicking, this beach is a great destination for families and is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. You’ll save the $7 parking fee with the pass.

Other beaches included in the DCR ParksPass are the South Cape Beach in Mashpee, Scusset Beach in Sandwich, Horseneck Beach in Westport Point and Watson Pond State Park in Taunton.

If it's nature you’re after instead of ocean or pond waters, there are many other state parks to explore. Hopkinton State Park and Cochituate are close by. Bradley Palmer and Pearl Hill state parks are further afield but great family outings for a day. Walden Pond and Great Brook Farm are closer by in Concord and Carlisle. They are wonderful historical trips through Massachusetts history. In the summer you can swim in Walden Pond or walk the trails that inspired Henry David Thoreau. At Great Brook Farm in Carlisle there are over 20 miles of trails for walker, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders and these become cross-country skiing trails in the winter.

There are many more parks in Massachusetts that offer free parking with the pass in the nearby Blackstone Valley or further west along the Mohawk Trail, Connecticut River Valley and in the Quabbin District. Visit the DCR site or the Museum Pass link on the library’s website,, for more information and be sure to explore a park in our wonderful state. Please visit the Morrill Memorial Library in person or call the Information Desk for help with placing a request for the Massachusetts State ParksPass or any library pass to local museums, zoos and parks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring is in the Air

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her column each week in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Spring is in the air.

At our house we can tell because the snow has melted from even the snowiest, shadiest spots in the yard. We’ve dusted off our bikes and pumped the tires waiting for an early morning above 50 degrees. The snow shovels are stored optimistically high but pessimistically at an easy reach.

Spring is in the air. In our house we can tell because The Masters was on TV.

If you had told me years ago that I would spend a late spring afternoon keeping watch on a small white ball as it soars through the air and lands on the televised grass I would have told you that you were crazy. That was, of course, before I married a golfer.

And The Golf did not disappoint this latest spring weekend. The Masters, played in beautiful Augusta, Georgia with its zillions of amazing azaleas, was incredibly exciting. Within an hour of the end of the match, as shadows grew long and some golfers grew tired, the outcome was far from certain. It was a spectacular ride watching little-known South African Charl Schwartzel come from behind and win the tournament. It was sports at its unpredictable best.

Yes spring is in the air. And new sports books are flying into the library.

“True Boo: Gator Catchin', Orangutan Boxin', and My Wild Ride to the PGA Tour” by Boo Weekley is one book that arrived and quickly left the shelf. Weekley became obsessed with winning a PGA tournament and did so in 2007. He's earned his living on golf for a number of years and shares his crazy and honest tales in the book.

“Four Days in July: Tom Watson, the 2009 Open Championship and a Tournament for the Ages” by Jim Huber will be published this May. Watson was yet another golfer who mesmerized the sports world for a weekend two years ago. In professional golf, the Open is the oldest of the four major championships and it is played in Scotland or England. Tom Watson surprised the crowd as he very nearly won the match at the age of ‘very close to sixty’. It was a match that he had won five times before (the last twenty-six years before as a much-younger man.)

It isn’t just golf that is being written about.

ESPN, or the Entertainment Sports Programming Network, wasn’t always a household word. Back in 1979 some people thought the founders were crazy to launch a 24-hour television network devoted to sports and nothing but sports. Now ESPN dominates sports news along with all of its personalities. James Andrew Miller is the author of “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN”, a book that will also be on the library shelf in May.

And spring wouldn’t be spring without baseball. (Thankfully, Red Sox fans have had some good news this past week.) There is a plethora of new baseball books just out or close to hitting the shelves.

“Baseball in the Garden of Eden: Secret History of the Early Game” by John Thorn reveals that while the beginnings of American baseball can be found in Pittsfield, Massachusetts as far back as 1791, baseball’s real history dates to ancient Egypt.

Zach Hample has written “The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals and Secrets Beneath the Stitches”. Answers to many questions about the ball and the sport can be found here. Hample himself has an incredible collection of baseballs all snagged at various major league games, 4,700 of them since 1990. (He now catches them for charity and offers advice on how to snag your own in the book and on his blog.)

In “Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball’s Longest Game”, New York Times columnist Dan Barry shares the story of a minor league baseball game played between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981. The game, which began mid-evening on a Saturday evening in Pawtucket did not end until just before dawn on the next morning, Easter. Among the players were Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken. (Bill Littlefield of NPR’s Only a Game has a wonderful podcast about the book which aired just this past month.) Rules for a curfew had been mysteriously omitted from the rule book that year and the game lasted eight long and grueling hours.

“The House that Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship and the Redemption of 1923” is written by Slate sports columnist Robert Weintraub. Weintraub’s story describes Ruth’s “bashing” style and “scientific baseball” favored by others and highlights the construction of the Yankee stadium and the 1923 World Series.

In “Knuckler: My Life with Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch”, Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield describes the ball that “floats in slow motion” mystifying batters and spectators.

Other newly-published (or soon to be) baseball books to check out this spring and summer are “The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 MPH” by Major League All-Star Shawn Green, “Uppity: My Untold Story about the Games People Play” by Bill White, “Nobody’s Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History” by Armando Galarrag, “the Greatest Game Ever Pitched: Juan Marichal, Warran Spahn, and the Pitching Duel of the Century” by Jim Kaplin, “Campy: The Two Lives of Roy Campenalla: by Neil Lanctot, “1961: The Inside Story of the Maris-Mantle Home Run Chase” by Phil Pepe and “Stan Musial and American Life” by George Vecsey.

And as life would have it, spring will give way to summer and summer to fall. “Play Like You Mean it: Passion, Laughs and Leadership in the World’s Most Beautiful Game” by Rex Ryan will get you ready for another season … and yet another ball, the football.

For help searching in the Minuteman catalog for these titles or for placing requests for all library materials please visit the Morrill Memorial Library, call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200) or visit the Minuteman Library Catalog on our website,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April is the Cruelest Month

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

“April is the cruelest month,” as T. S. Eliot once wrote in his famous poem “The Waste Land.” Not to most of us who live in this part of the country. In this area, there is so much to look forward to and celebrate in April and books to lift the spirits after a long cruel winter. April is National Poetry month and at the library we have numerous books of “Pocket Poets” on subjects such as motherhood, friendship, fatherhood, love and marriage that are easy to carry with you when you need a poetry jolt. We also have “The Poets Laureate Anthology” edited by Elizabeth Schmidt as well as collections by our current Library of Congress Poet Laureate, W. S. Merwin, and current Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout, a new collection by Caroline Kennedy entitled “She Walks in Beauty: a Woman’s Journey through Poems,” as well as many other collections by old and new poets, most found in the 811 section of the library.

If sports and not poetry is your interest we have the opening of the Red Sox home season against the Yankees this weekend and many current and older books about our team and players to get you in the spirit when you are not watching the games. Among them are “Knuckler: My Life with Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch” by Tim Wakefield with Tony Masarotti, “78: the Boston Red Sox, a Historic Game and a Divided City” by Bill Reynolds, and “Born to Play: My Life in the Game” by Dustin Pedroia with Edward Delaney.

If participatory rather than spectator sports are your thing, we have the excitement of the Boston Marathon next weekend and books about preparing and running in a Marathon if you are up to it. Among them are “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Marathon Training” by David Levine, “Boston Marathon: How to Qualify” by Jeff Galloway and “26 Miles to Boston” by Michael Connelly. You can also pick up a copy of “Runner’s World” magazine in the Reading Room. None of this will help, however, unless you are really determined or challenged to do it, which I can admire but would never attempt. We have watched from the sidelines often, usually in Natick, as our neighbor has run for years and a cousin came up from New Orleans one year to run. It was on our daughter’s “bucket list” and we were very proud of her when she accomplished her goal last year but she hasn’t mentioned it this year, content to do shorter fun road races.

Moving on, we celebrate the beginning of the Revolutionary War in Lexington and Concord with a state holiday. There are numerous books about the war and “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Fischer in the 973.3 section of the library. If you want to relive this event, you can get up very early on April 18th, as my husband, son and his friend did many years ago, and drive to Lexington to watch the annual reenactment. You have to be a history buff, which they were, to want to do this but it was memorable for the three of them and they still talk about it. My husband tells me that Maine also celebrates this holiday, as Maine was once part of Massachusetts. After checking this out in “Chase’s Calendar of Annual Events” I find that he is correct. You can also read about previous reenactments by checking it out on the recently acquired library database “Historical Boston Globe, 1872-1979” where you learn that at the April 20, 1894 commemoration, the speakers were hoping to make this a national holiday. This useful database can be found by going to and clicking on “Databases in the Library” where the databases are listed alphabetically. There you will find all sorts of interesting historical tidbits about long ago Marathons, baseball games, and even Norwood events and personalities.

In April we have our local elections and if you are a newly elected Town Meeting member we hope that you will come to the library to borrow a copy of the “Town Meeting Time: a Handbook of Parliamentary Law” to help you find your way. As we read in Shelby Warner’s column several months ago, there was a time in the early days of the town when women could only vote for the School Committee, using “tinted ballots.” Thank goodness we have come a long way from that. Congratulations to all!

And, last but not least, we at the library can celebrate the end of tax season, even if you cannot. We have instructions to use in the library, forms to take home or photocopy, or forms we can google for you if you don’t have a computer or printer at home and are still working on your taxes.

And then there is gardening, too many beautiful helpful books to mention. Visit the library, in person or online, for materials and programs. If the books you are looking for are not on the shelf, reserve them in person, online, or by calling the library. Forget about the winter, if you can, and have a great spring!