Friday, December 27, 2013

The Gift of the Short Story

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the December 27, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

On December 19, six days before Christmas, Nancy Ling (Outreach Librarian) hosted a Reader’s Theater in the Cushing Reading Room.  Surrounded by the glow of Christmas tree lights and fresh poinsettia flowers, Beth Goldman (Norwood High School librarian) was accompanied by one of her students, Luke Andrews. They sat in front of our magnificent fireplace and treated an audience of several dozen to holiday stories, all read in dramatic voice. The well-known “The Gift of the Magi” was one of them.
Before she began reading, Ms. Goldman shared a bit about the most famous story of the evening, “The Gift of the Magi” written by O. Henry.
While some of us might think of O. Henry as a delicious chocolate candy bar (the Oh Henry! chocolate bar invented in Kansas in 1920 was reported to be in tribute to the author), others certainly know that O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter.  Porter was born in 1862 and had a rather interesting life that included careers as a bank teller, pharmacist, journalist and, of course, writer.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Eating Out of the Box

Read Diane Phillips' column in the December 20, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As fall turns into winter and the crisp, bright days turn cold and grow shorter, many people find comfort and joy in the holidays by embracing traditions in their celebrations as well as in the food they share with their families.  I’m inclined to want to do the exact opposite.  For some reason, I think of this season as a time to break away from tradition and to try new things.  Not everyone is comfortable with this line of thinking, as I’m finding out, when I try to introduce such an idea to my family, particularly in the area of holiday meals.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Best of Staff Reading 2013

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the December 13, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

At the close of each year, the media seems to report on the very best of everything every opportunity they get: 100 best books, 50 best movies, 25 significant events.

This week, the New York Times published their 100 Notable Books of 2013. The same day, National Public Radio announced their Book Concierge – or Your Guide to 2013’s Great Reads (an interactive online tool to finding the best book out of more than 200).  Huffington Post,, Barnes and Noble and Entertainment Weekly have their own lists as 2013 nears to a close.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Grandparenting: Sprinkling a Little Stardust

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the December 6, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As a young child, I was blessed to have two grandmothers in my life. Although we moved to another coast when I was the tender age of six, my grandmothers' unconditional love followed me across the country.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Picture Book Holiday

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the November 29th edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

In the summer of 2012, the Canelli family moved into a lovely 1870 home in Norwood. It is an interesting house with a magical mixture of eclectic modernism and Victorian embellishment. A long brick walkway leads from the sidewalk to wooden French doors and twin front porches and gingerbread trim add to its charm.  Warm Christmas tree light twinkles softly onto the snowy front lawn. The side porch is roomy enough for an extra Christmas tree to greet holiday guests.  It certainly conjures visions of sugarplums with white icing trim and at the time we bought it we felt that it was a perfect Christmas house.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Day Never Forgotten

Read Jean Todesca's column in the November 22, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Jean is Children's Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

           November 22, 1963, I clearly remember how ecstatic my 3rd grade classmates and I were when our teacher announced that class was dismissed.  Boy that dates me back to the era when children could just be released from school.

            As we skipped and cheered at our new found freedom, passing Debbie’s house, her mother scolded us, “You should be ashamed of yourselves on such a sad day!

Friday, November 15, 2013

What's In Name?

Read Marie Lydon's column in the November 15, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Marie is a Reference Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

When our daughter called and asked me to pick up some books on baby names, I was shocked at the weight and thickness of the newer ones.  Just out of curiosity, I checked to compare our oldest books on the subject, “What to Name the Baby (A Treasury of Names) 15,000 Names to Choose From” by Evelyn Wells (1953), at 326 pages and “Naming Your Baby: Rules to Follow When You Name Your Baby” by Elsdon C. Smith (1970), 94 pages. Compare these to “The Complete Book of Baby Names: The Most Names  (100,001+), Most Lists, Most Help to Find the Best Name” by Lesley Bolton, checking in at 675 pages and labeled “#1 Bestselling Baby Names Book!” or “60,001+ Best Baby Names” by Diane Stafford (2011) coming in at 588 pages. It’s hard enough to decide among the books, let alone deciding on a name.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Love Books

Shelby Warner is a Reference Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Shelby's column in the November 8th edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

My husband and I were talking about my next article for this column when he started reminding me of his own “reading  journey”.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Red Sox Nation Revisited!

Gerry Canelli kindly pointed out my error in this week's column! Unfortunately, I think it went to press with the mistake.

The Red Sox have won seven World Series – unfortunately none of them in the last 72 years of the 20th century. They won in 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918 before breaking the “curse” and triumphing once again in 2004 and 2007.

Only a rookie baseball fan would have made that error!

Red Sox Nation

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the November 1, 2013 edition of The Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Note: There is a typo in this column that has been corrected. The Red Sox won the 2007 World Series, not the 2008 World Series.

Comedian Jimmy Fallon is credited with having said this of fans of the Red Sox: “If you root for something that loses for 86 years, you’re a pretty good fan. You don’t have to win everything to be a fan of something.”

This seems to be at the heart of Red Sox fan devotion. New Englanders adore their sports teams, notably their Sox. And they don’t always have to win. By the time you read this on Friday, November 1, the Red Sox will have won or lost the 2013 World Series contest against the St. Louis Cardinals. Whether the Sox win or lose, most of their fans will remain just that. Loyal fans.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Yes, No, Maybe

Read Shelby Warner's column in the October 25 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

So, here’s my story.  I am sentimental.  I keep things.  My closets, drawers, and cellar shelves are filled with stuff  I can’t part with.  What kind of stuff you may ask?? 
Well, I have the dresses I wore to the weddings of my four children.  They don’t fit any more, they’re out of style, I will never wear them again, but when I try to put them in the donation bag, I just can’t.  I also have every greeting card ever given me by my children and a few that amused me from friends.  My grandmother kept all her cards, too, but was smart enough to neatly organize them in scrapbooks.  Then there are the four bins of piano music, two bins of fabric which are for the quilts I intend to make someday and have intended for the last 20 years.  Oh, yes there is one bin, about 8 small containers, and 3 scrapbooks of baseball cards I once collected.  Are you getting the picture??  I have the blouse I wore on my first date with my husband which he especially liked and a cummerbund that once fit around my waist and now I might be able to wear around my thigh.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Secret Garden

Read Marie Lydon's column in the October 18, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I generally like to confine my amateur gardening to the backyard, assuming that no one can see me there to judge the fruits of my labor. I know this isn’t really true because, in spite of a stockade fence, any of the neighbors can look from upstairs windows and see my disorganized way of doing things: smelling the lilacs, taking pictures of the butterflies, pouncing on every dandelion I see to wrestle it out, and smelling the lilies of the valley that don’t quite smell like my favorite colognes of yesteryear.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Breaking New Ground on Television

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the October 11, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Note: Spoiler Alert. If you don't haven't watched the last episode of Breaking Bad, don't read any further.

Last week the Albuquerque Journal published the obituary of Walter White who died “after a long battle with cancer.” And, of course, “a gunshot wound.”

Many of us knew Walter White quite well. In fact, over 10.3 million people knew Walter White so well that they began mourning him months ago, knowing for certain that the AMC television show (Breaking Bad) that made him a household name would not end well. At least not for Walter.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Landscape of Industry: The Blackstone Valley

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the October 4, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Part of the wonder of living in New England is the history that surrounds our everyday life. At times we take it for granted.  Often it becomes a critical a piece of our family lore, but we forget to step back and examine it closely.

My family story was woven with the threads of the history of the Blackstone River Valley. Most of my extensive family members (with surnames of Taft, Bruce, Allen, and Higgins) were born only steps and miles from the actual banks of the Blackstone River that winds from Worcester to Providence and into the Narragansett Bay.

Friday, September 27, 2013

What I Would Say

Nancy Ling is an Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Nancy Ling's column in the September 27, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

The problem was it happened in a split second, as these things do. I was late and dashing out the door for book club at the Senior Center, when I glanced to my right. A young girl was standing near the Circulation Desk by the announcement of Essay Contest Winners. She was there with a woman I presumed to be her mother. In that split second as I’d rushed past my first thought had been, “I wonder if she’s one of the winners?” Now as I climbed into my car I realized the truth—the young girl had been crying.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sailing Through Life

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the September 20, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Over 25 years ago, dear friends became intrigued by sailing, and within a few years they acquired their first 34 foot Catalina. In those earliest years of their maritime discoveries, I was lucky enough to sail a few times off the North Shore where they have moored their boat at Hawthorne Cove in Salem, just steps from the House of Seven Gables. I observed them maneuver around the decks working the lines, I bobbed my head when they altered course with the main sail, and loafed on the bow in awe of the sea and wind.

It had been well over a decade since I’d sailed with them on their boat, but Gerry and I were lucky enough to spend a delightful September Saturday on the water. The mild day started out overcast and still. Sometime after lunch in their roomy cockpit, we dodged the clouds by motoring past the Miseries and Cat Island. We reached sunshine and a pleasant wind somewhere off Marblehead Light and turned off the engines, relying only on both sails. Our hosts were gracious enough to give Gerry his first chance at the helm of a ‘real’ sailboat, and we achieved up to 6 knots all the way across Salem Harbor following the breeze that only practiced sailors know how to do.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

At Home with the Alcotts

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the September 13, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

One of the things I love to do is tour Massachusetts with my out-of-state friends.  I had this honor in the last weeks of the summer with two of my oldest friends.  By oldest, I do mean my girlfriends who grew up with me bosom buddies in the suburbs of San Francisco.

I was transplanted from the Blackstone River towns of Massachusetts as a very young child.  I only rediscovered my New England roots as an adult, traveling past mills that stand proud (renovated or not), historic homes that held generations of families, and graveyards that tell the stories of amazing lives.

Last week, I was delighted to share part of the Massachusetts legacy of author Louisa May Alcott with friends when we visited the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts. Fruitlands is just under an hour’s drive from Norwood.   On a gently rolling hillside overlooking woods and walking trails, one can view (on a clear day) Mt. Wachusett in Princeton, MA and Mt. Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH in the distance.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Bonnie Wyler is a Literacy/Outreach Librarian at the library.  Read Bonnie's column in the September 6, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. 

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a book that I recently enjoyed immensely.  I was drawn to this title because I’ve always seen myself as an introvert, but didn’t know much about what that meant, and I thought of it as a failing.  I belong to a book group with only three people because I know from experience that I don’t talk in a larger group.  I feel awkward introducing myself in a group, even if I know most of the people there.  Like many introverts, I tend to feel bad about myself when I react this way.  In reading Quiet, I came to realize that these traits are a normal part of an introverted temperament, and that, in fact, there are distinct advantages to this undervalued personality type.  Interesting chapter headings in Quiet give the reader an idea of what lies ahead:
            “The Extrovert Ideal,”
            “Your Biology, Your Self? – Is Temperament Destiny?”
            “The Communication Gap: How to Talk to Members of the Opposite Type.”  
From the first page, I was drawn in by this beautifully written book, filled with interesting individual profiles and the latest research.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sharks and Other Fish in the Sea

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the August 30, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Every year sometime in August, most of become aware of Shark Week.  The Discovery Channel started this sensation over 25 years ago. They started it a way to raise awareness about sharks, the fish that terrified at least one generation of swimmers who viewed the 1975 thriller movie, Jaws.  It’s no surprise that in 1987 marine biologists and the Discovery Channel concluded that the shark needed a more wholesome biography!

Shark Week resumes each year as a television spectacle complete with charming marine biologists, plenty of gimmicks, and loads of awesomeness of close-in shots of the fish we love to hate. Some viewers around the world obsess about the weeklong adventure like tennis fans tune in to Wimbledon. About twice as many as those who watch Wimbledon, to be exact.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Now Read This!

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the August 23, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

If you are anything like me, as soon as you enter another person’s home or office, your eyes are drawn to their bookshelves. I mentally take note of the books that we have in common – or those titles that I have admired but that I don’t own.  I nearly always notice how they are arranged.  Are they are haphazardly stacked between framed photographs or trophies or are they neatly organized by author?

That is why I loved thumbing through “My Ideal Bookshelf” edited by Thessaly La Force (2012). One hundred writers are featured in the book. James Patterson, Dave Eggers, Stephenie Meyer and Chuck Klosterman are among them. Each two-page spread includes spine art created by Jane Mount; they could be frame able art in itself.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Little Free Library

Read Kelly Unsworth's column in the August 16, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Kelly is a children's librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. 

This summer in the library, the Jr. Friends have been working on one of my favorite volunteer projects of the season, the Morrill Memorial Library’s version of “little free libraries”; those gnome-like creations that have been springing up for years across the country, and more recently in the Boston area.  As far as I know, and I would love to be proven wrong about this, there are none in Norwood.  Or shall I say, none “yet”.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Books: They're for the Birds

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the August 9, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Time was that I did not know the difference between a grackle and a crow.  Or a crow and a raven, for that matter. However, these days I can spot that crow on a telephone wire or treetop or that grackle underneath our bird feeder.  I don’t profess to ever having seen a raven, yet I know that they are the biggest of the three.

When I married my husband, Gerry, I was annoyed that he would interrupt my conversation in the car, or at the breakfast table, to point out a hawk high above the highway or a bluebird flitting about its house in the backyard.  I thought it quite rude that he was not paying the proper attention to my conversation that it deserved.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Classics: The Whole Story

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the August 2, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I’m always sad when I find that one of my favorite children’s books has gone out of print.  Several of some lesser-known children’s authors have published amazing picture books and they've never have published a second. The first edition isn’t reprinted; when supplies dwindle (or when remainder piles are snapped up in discount book stores) the book becomes impossible to find.

Sadly, one of my favorite series of books for children and teens is out of print.  It is the Whole Story series of extraordinary unabridged classics. There are fifteen in the set and they were published by Viking Press between 1994 and 2002.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Creating and Remembering Secure Passwords

Read Brian Samek's column in the July 26, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Officially, I’m the Technology and Information Resources Librarian. Unofficially, to both staff and patrons, I’m “the computer guy.” One patron brought in his broken VCR and asked me if I knew what was wrong with it.

One of the most common questions I get is about computer security. A staff member received a phone call at home from a scammer who claimed that her computer would break irrevocably if she did not immediately follow his instructions. A patron was being stalked on Facebook. Patrons whose email or social media accounts have been hacked ask about how to make a password strong enough so that it can’t be guessed. And our website has been subject to a variety of attacks

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Musicals on the Silver Screen

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the July 19, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. 

Saturdays spent at double and triple-features were not, unfortunately, part of my happy childhood.  My family didn’t go to movies very often, if at all.  By the time my mother deemed me old enough to go alone with friends I’d moved to the suburbs and the downtown theaters were no longer close by.

I actually can’t recall one memory of going to the theater as a young child although I must have seen some movies on the big screen such as101 Dalmatians or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Little Library Tale

Patty Bailey is a Circulation Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Patty's column in the July12, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. 

As a little girl growing up in South Norwood, I was fortunate to have two library sources in my neighborhood.  One was in the Balch Elementary school; the second was the little South Norwood branch of the Morrill Memorial Library.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thankfully Filling Another Mother's Shoes

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the July 5, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I’d like to believe that my great days always outnumber the bad.  I’m far from a Pollyanna who sees the world through the rosiest of glasses, but I like to think I am a positivist.  Once in a while, I tumble out of the wrong side of the bed but I’m ordinarily thankful I have a comfy one to slumber in. Every so often I have a bee in my bonnet about my husband’s quirks or kick up a fuss about one of my lovely daughter's latest antics but every day I am more than grateful to have them in my life.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Finally Growing Up with Zeppelin

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the June 28, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Led Zeppelin is the greatest band of all time.  Or so some would say.

When I was growing up in the 60s, their music just seemed to hurt my ears and my brain. I was more of a Simon and Garfunkel fan. In the early 70s, I preferred the mellower music of Cat Stevens and Carly Simon.

Even though I wasn't a Zeppelin fan, full disclosure is the fact that I was married to a Led Zeppelin fan.  There was no way but to listen, sort of, to all eight of the Zeppelin albums.  Dazed and confused, however, I think I simply tuned them out. Led Zeppelin never really got this 60s girl rockin’ beyond their most famous song, Stairway to Heaven.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Welcome to My Party, Pal

April Cushing is the Adult Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin on June 21, 2013.

My youngest got the green light to graduate over Memorial Day weekend, having returned the last of her overdue library books. I got to shiver on the sidewalk for three hours hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse of her as the Class of 2013 cavorted down College Street in cap and gown. Meanwhile, my sister and her husband were holed up in the warmth of their hotel room until lunchtime. Life was good. There was just one little problem.

Friday, June 14, 2013

There and Back Again: Random Thoughts Traveling To and From Boston

Margot Sullivan is a part-time reader's advisory and reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column as published in the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin on June 14, 2013.

    For approximately 8 months I used public transportation to travel to hospitals in Boston and Cambridge.  My primary routes involved leaving from Norwood Central via commuter rail and disembarking at Copley Square to then catch the Heath Street trolley green line to Brigham and Women’s or disembarking at South Station to catch the red line trolley to Harvard Square in Cambridge for Spaulding Hospital.  Always held close my “Charlie” card and senior commuter rail pass made traveling into Boston very reasonable and easy.  I began to treat my travels as adventures: observing and listening to people.

 I grew incredibly tired of “noise” everywhere especially cell phone conversations on the streets, in subway cars, in coffee shops, in the bathrooms EVERYWHERE. Conversations were never stopped or interrupted while crossing intersections, getting on trains, elevators, escalators, and meetings. My traveling companion Tina and I were reprimanded twice for not knowing we were on the commuter rail quiet car but we were only trying to catch up and establish the day’s agenda.  The quiet car is very nice! HOW DID WE EVER COMMUNICATE BEFORE CELL PHONES? People have no problem bearing their inner most secrets and problems out in public!  Street musicians often play music which is not pleasant and in the subway stations way too loud.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Boston: Our Fair City

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the June 7, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Although I grew up in California, I was always proud to announce that I was born in Boston.  Not exactly Boston, of course, but within an hour’s drive to the Boston Common or Cape Cod.  My mother never lost her Boston accent and our mother said things like “pahty” and “cah”.   We suppered on baked beans every Saturday night and feasted on Boston Cream pie for special occasions.  Growing up on the west coast, our family loved our semi-exotic flair and reputation.

Of course, in the 50s and 60s, Boston was a long airplane ride from San Francisco.  We talked to our faraway relatives on the telephone only a few times a year and letter writing was a standard ritual in our house.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Walking the Woods with Thoreau

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the May 31, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When I decided to become a librarian, I had already spent the first half of my life raising my family of daughters.  I had just turned 47 when I returned to graduate school in library science.  It was a natural reinvention of my life after having spent years reading to my children and volunteering in their school libraries.  After homeschooling one of my daughters, and serving as home librarian, I slipped effortlessly into the role of children’s librarianship.

I was wise to subscribe to these words attributed to Confucius (551-479 BC): Find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. (A friend of mine left his career as a certified public accountant because he wanted to love his job as much as I loved mine. He is a librarian today, working as a public library director in New York State.)

A few of my favorite books published during the years I worked as a children’s librarian were the unusually illustrated picture books known as the Henry Books by D.B. Johnson. In them, Johnson whimsically make sense of some of the complicated, yet paradoxically simple philosophies of New England’s Henry David Thoreau.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Living Off The Land

Diane Phillips is the Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read the published version of her column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin on May 24, 2013.

I’m about to embark on a new venture.  I just purchased a share in a community farm.  In my opinion, there’s nothing better than sitting down to a meal prepared with fresh, locally grown vegetables.  It reminds me of my childhood.  My grandmother used to have the best garden that yielded bushels of green beans, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, and so on.  From the early summer to early fall, my family had homegrown vegetables.  I’ve tried my hand at gardening in the past, and I learned that I don’t have the knack for it.  I forget to water it and weed it.  I don’t provide adequate protection to keep out our resident rabbit and neighborhood woodchuck.  Because of my ineptitude at living off my land, I made do with the offerings at the local grocery store.  I’ve tried to make sure to buy organically grown fruits and vegetables to avoid the genetically engineered or pesticide-laden products.  It just wasn’t the same as that fresh-picked taste that I remember from my grandmother’s garden.  I figured I’d have to make do with what I could buy since I clearly didn’t get the gardening gene from my gram.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Sweetness of Memory, or the Icing on the Cake

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the May 17, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As my 61st birthday raced past me this year, I was reminded of the occasion of my 8th birthday. That spring, my mother planned a butterfly birthday for me. This special day, as all my birthdays were, included a handmade dress. Colorful butterflies adorned the yellow polished cotton. The dress had a sash that was tied crisply at the back of the waist and its short-sleeves were perfect the California weather in May. That day, I most certainly wore turned-down lace-trimmed socks and my black, patent-leather Mary Janes.

Living in the college town of Berkeley, California was one of my childhood’s treasured experiences. School friends from my local public elementary school were comprised from nationalities across the world. Some were daughters of graduate students or professors. Others had parents who were missionaries and scientists. More were from families like mine with fathers in blue-color jobs and mothers who stayed at home. In short, my friends that year were as varied as the multicolored butterflies on that birthday dress.

In addition to my dress, there were gifts wrapped in butterfly paper, butterfly decorations and an unforgettable homemade birthday cake.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mothers Across the Ages - by Norma Logan

Norma Logan is the Literacy Coordinator at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Norma's column in the May 10, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner with the promise of flowers, warm sunny days and the time to reflect on the state of being that the holiday celebrates.  In reality, motherhood is a rollercoaster ride of joy, fear, hope, anticipation, energy and weariness.   

American society and culture have changed over the years, and life has, in many ways, become more complicated.  However, the basic emotional ties of mothers to their sons and daughter,s I believe, are ageless.

Since my daughter became a mother four years ago, I have watched her and my grandson, remembering some things and not remembering others.  I have been careful about giving her advice except, as always the educator, to tell her that it is never too early to read to him. I look for books that I can recommend to her from the professionals, much like I gravitated to the Dr. Spock books in the 70’s.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Pattern in My Family's Glass

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the May 3, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When I was a very young child, my mother whisked my brother and me from Massachusetts to a brand-new life on the Northern California coast. About a month later, a moving van deposited our family’s modest trove of clothing, pastimes and treasures into our new home in Berkeley. As a little girl, I was much more absorbed in my own sorely-missed belongings and I hardly noticed my mother unwrapping her own treasures, tucking them into cabinets and closets.

Nevertheless, over the years, I became keenly acquainted with most of these family heirlooms. The Taft Family Revolutionary War sword and the Bruce Family Civil War medals were displayed with much pride. My great-grandmother’s hand-sewn quilt lay in a chest wrapped in tissue. Six antique glass goblets and a matching pitcher sat front and center in a china cabinet, rarely used.

I admit those glasses never impressed me much. They were stout and thick and bore lines up the stems. Stored in a cabinet, the sunlight never emphasized the fine honeycomb pattern that covered their bowls.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Gifts of Philanthropy

Read the published version of Charlotte Canelli's column in the April 26, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

 Today everything seems to be big business. Music, sports, the film industry, beauty and even education (with its online colleges and professional degrees) are some of today’s big businesses.  And let’s not forget health care, one of the fastest-growing businesses today.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

And That's the Way It Is, April 19, 2013

Read the published version of Charlotte Canelli's column in the April 19, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

It was less than four months ago when the tragedy in Newtown left me wordless.  That weekend before Christmas 2012, I idly sat in front of my computers, both in my office and at home. Shocked and saddened,  I contemplated the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Very slowly that day, the column I was writing materialized.  I wrote about Fred Rogers and Rabbi Harold Kushner and listed their books and others that might help readers find their way to understanding this terrible event.  I added that 2013 would be the 20th anniversary of the Random Acts of Kindness movement, and I urged readers to continue spreading compassion across the world on a daily basis.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Recognize Spring

Nancy Ling is an Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Nancy Ling's column in the April 12, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Yes, it’s official! Spring is here. The daffodils are peeking out from the soil. The robins are flying in the heavy way that they do. Even the neighbors are lingering longer outside to talk about the Red Sox or the garden they are beginning to plot.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Road Trip to the National Parks

Read the published version of Charlotte Canelli's column in the April 5, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Nearly a half century ago my family of six took one of our rare vacations and traveled for a month across the United States. This was no easy ride from Berkeley, California to Boston and back again … with four children between the ages of 1 and 15 in the car.

Now I simply can’t imagine how my mother packed all of our clothes and toiletries for the journey, let alone stowed away all the suitcases in the trunk. (Remember, though that a 1960s Oldsmobile possessed a giant trunk.) I am further awed that my mother and step-father organized the trip without the Internet. Nevertheless, AAA was amazingly helpful before the inventions of the GPS and the Google map. These were also the days before handheld devices, iPods and portable DVD players. We amused ourselves with transistor radios, books, maps, writing pads and a plethora of tolerance and patience.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Following My Mother's Scent

Read the published version of Charlotte Canelli's column in the March 29, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

In 1960, I was 8 years old I had my first love affair with perfume. An older family friend had an impressive blue bottle of Evening in Paris on her dresser top. I’m not sure if my infatuation was with the lusty shape or the deep cobalt blue of the bottle. When these friends moved away to Paris months later, I was presented with the near-empty bottle. I hoarded that treasure for years.

When I was 12 years old, I walked the half-mile to the neighborhood drugstore and spent my complete month’s allowance on a bottle of the year’s popular cologne. It was an excessive but poignant Christmas present for my mother and I purchased it weeks in advance, painstakingly carrying it home and leaving it wrapped and unattended on a bookshelf. I impatiently anticipated the holiday.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Children's Bibliotherapy

Jean Todesca is a children's librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the March 22, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Do you have any Children’s books about death?”  This is one of the many challenging questions Children’s librarians are faced with.  Bibliotherapy also known as Reading Therapy is the use of books to help guide children through life’s difficult experiences.  Bibliotherapy is designed to provide information and insight, stimulate discussion and offer realistic solutions to problems.  Children learn that there are other people who share similar problems.

Friday, March 15, 2013

After Breaking Bad

Read the published version of Charlotte Canelli's column in the March 15, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I’ve written before that I don’t watch much television. I’m afraid it has something to do with my attention span. If something doesn’t grab me within the first ten minutes, I lose interest and have trouble trying it again.

I have what I might define as a distinctive taste in movies with a penchant for the quirky romance or a dark comedic drama. One of my favorite movies is Lars and the Real Girl starring Ryan Gosling (2007) and another is Very Bad Things with Cameron Diaz and Christian Slater (1998.) If you know those films, you’ll get my strange viewing habits.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sweet on Syrup

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the March 8, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

At the first signs of the spring thaw, sometimes as early as late February, the maple sap harvesting begins. Buckets and tubing begin to show up along muddy back road. March is the month when maple sugar festivals occur across the country in states like Oregon, Michigan and Massachusetts. It’s during this time that we hope we’re in for another sweet year.

Days must be warm and nights drop to freezing or below in order for the sap to flow. Most people know that it takes a lot of juice to make maple syrup – somewhere between 35-40 gallons of sap for one gallon of syrup. What might not be so well-known is that it takes about as many years (35-40) for a maple tree to be mature enough to be tapped.

One March Sunday over a decade ago I went with a friend on a quest. We were rambling across northern Vermont very early that morning, winding over back roads wet with melting snow and hills dotted with small farms, cows and sheep. We watched as one plume of thick, billowing white smoke followed another on the horizon. We veered off our asphalt trail onto a dirt one leading into the woods. That road narrowed and became rutted and ended when we cut the engine in front of a working sugar house.

Friday, March 1, 2013

On Square With Faulkner

Read Shelby Warner's column in the March 1, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I went to Oxford, Mississippi to find William Faulkner or, more accurately, the statue erected in his honor by the town fathers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birthday.

It was a cold and blustery day when I arrived. Flags were flapping and tourists scurried from store to store with upturned collars and hats held firmly on their heads. Most of them would end up at The Square Book Shop knowing they would find a warm welcome and a hot cup of coffee upstairs. I, however, was looking for something else.

I have a deep appreciation for the work of William Faulkner and had come to his home town hoping to better understand his writing and to soak up some of the images he had absorbed on the square. For those of you who are not familiar with Faulkner let me just say that he is one of the pre-eminent southern writers whose stories I had come to love and whose writings still speak to my literary soul.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Food on Wheels

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the February 22, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

This fall we discovered a great little bakery on the southern Massachusetts coast where the Acushnet River flows into Buzzard’s Bay. The town of Fairhaven shares a harbor with what was once the most-famous whaling-era seaport, New Bedford. The south coast is a hidden gem of Massachusetts that our family is learning more and more about all the time.

The Flour Girls Baking Company just opened shop in Fairhaven, having moved from a start-up in-home bakery in another local town. The website for the bakery and café admits that the Flour Girls (with an s) is a misnomer. The bakery is really only managed by ‘one girl’, Jill Houck, who hails from Vermont. Ms. Houck took up baking for profit, having learned her skills from her parents who loved to bake themselves. One of the delightful things about the Flour Girl’s business is that Houck also owns a The Flour Girls Baking Company sweet truck that travels on demand throughout eastern Massachusetts.

If you haven’t heard, the recent phenomenon of food trucks is sweeping the state of Massachusetts (particularly in Boston) and the entire country from coast to coasts. From early morning through evening residents and visitors of big cities across the country see these mobile kitchens, or food trucks, parked along busy streets, in intersections or parking lots.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hidden Resources @ the Library

Read Marie Lydon's column in the February 15, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

The New Year saw changes in publishing that made me realize more than ever that the times definitely are changing. Newsweek, a magazine I had subscribed to since college and beyond, ceased publication altogether in December. It had altered a lot in the last few years and definitely slimmed down but I was still sad to see it go. Around the same time that Newsweek made its announcement Morningstar sent notice that after its December issue, it would no longer publish a paper edition of Morningstar Mutual Funds, which the library had been subscribing to for years. So, when a couple came into the library recently and sat down with the investment notebook, they were surprised to learn that it is now available only online as Morningstar Investment Research Center.

Friday, February 8, 2013

We're Sweet on Our Library Volunteers

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the February 8, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Note: This column was written before the 2nd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Tea. The event was postponed until Valentine's Day, February 14, 2013. All sweets and appreciation will be the same as 'advertised.'

On Friday, February 8 we are celebrating our volunteers at the Morrill Memorial Library. We’ve invited them to the 2nd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Tea where they will spend time with us between 10 am and 2 pm in the library’s Simoni Room.

Our first annual tea was such a success in 2012. It was also oh, so delicious. Library staff and trustees baked a plethora of sweets. There was a catch to the task, however. The recipe had to be from a cookbook available on our library shelves or through the Minuteman Library Network. Each dessert was featured with the name of the cookbook, the recipe and the baker. Library staff was on hand throughout the day to greet and thank our volunteers personally.

Last year’s desserts included everything from cheesecake to macarons. (Yes, that’s macarons which are different from the traditional macaroons.)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Memoirs of Inspiration

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the February 1, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I am a reader of memoirs. Many times I read them to see the world through another lens. Sometimes I read them to experience a life I’ve never lived. Most of them I find compelling and intriguing.

I’m certainly not the only one reading memoirs. The memoir genre has been increasing in popularity in the past twenty years. “Angela’s Ashes” (Frank McCourt 1996), “Under the Tuscan Sun” (Frances Mayes 1996), “A Walk in the Woods” (Bill Bryson, 1998), “Eat, Pray, Love” (Elizabeth Gilbert 2006) and “Three Cups of Tea” (Greg Mortenson 2006) are just a few of the blockbuster memoirs that still sell in hardcover and paperback and are checked out from libraries across the country.

This week four memoirs appeared on the nonfiction hardcover bestseller lists in the New York Times – “My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor, “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen, “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and “My Share of the Task” by Stanley McChrystal. In addition, “Proof of Heaven”, a memoir about a neurosurgeon’s near-death experience, tops the paperback non-fiction list this week. There are still hundreds of requests in the Minuteman Library System for the hardcover edition of “Proof of Heaven” and it was published months ago.

Friday, January 25, 2013

56 Years and Still Growing Up

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the January 25, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

In 1964, a young Canadian director created a documentary for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Director Paul Almond assembled fourteen seven-year olds from differing socio-economic backgrounds from across England and created a forty-minute television program that aired on British television in 1964. In Seven Up!, Almond examined the lives and personalities of fourteen children, ten boys and four girls. The narrator states: “Why do we bring these children together? Because we want to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000.” The mission, it seemed, was to prove the Jesuit adage “Give me a child when he is seven and I will give you the man.”

It was the beginning of a fascinating sociological study that has now spanned nearly half a century. Seven Up! was followed in 1971 by 7 Plus 7. Subsequent episodes, filmed every seven years, were titled 21, 28, 35, 42, 49 and 56 Up.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Reading Challenge

Read Marg Corjay's column in the January 18, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Marg is an Outreach and Circulation Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library and a voracious reader.

Do you feel like a kid in a candy store when you come into your town library, everything looks so tempting, you want to sample it all, and you can’t decide which one to choose?  If you love to read as much as I do, it is not unusual for me to read two or three books a week, I find that my favorite authors cannot keep up with my cravings for new material.  Now imagine you work there, surrounded everyday by all this unexplored reading material!!!!  Every time new books come in, I want to take them all home that night to read. My love of reading goes back almost fifty years to elementary school and the summer reading club at my local library. It was for third- through sixth-graders, you would try to read as many as you could in the eight weeks of July and August from a selection that was chosen by the librarians. You could take out two at a time, and after you read it, the children’s librarian would ask you questions about it.  I would go almost every day, take out my two books, return, report, and take out two more, and by the end of summer, I would have read at least seventy-five books.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Les Misérables

Read Charlotte Canelli's column in the January 11, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Victor Hugo was born in 1802 of a French military officer and a royalist mother. In his younger years, perhaps due to his privileged birth and upbringing, Hugo was not a denigrator of the French throne and the Church. Hugo’s early literary fame actually came from his poetry and other dramatic works. He wrote his first full-length novel, Notre-Dame de Paris, or the Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831, over thirty years before his second most-famous novel, Les Misérables.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Leaving Your Mark in the Children's Room

Read Kelly Unsworth's column in the January 14, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Kelly is a children's librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

A number of years ago, I designed a program in the library known as the Jr. Friends of the Library. The idea was to give students in grades 6 and older a chance to volunteer in the children’s department on a weekly basis, doing simple tasks that would match their interests and skills. At the time, I had no concept of how quickly the program would take off, or what a large impact it would have; on the children’s room, on the participants of the program, or on the library staff.