Thursday, December 27, 2018

Grumps, Cranks, and Misanthropes

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the December 27, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. 

Can you stand to read books or watch television programs or movies with unlikable protagonists? It certainly is challenging to connect with characters who do, say or believe things that breach cultural norms,  don't meet our standards of courteousness or are just plain wrong! It’s easy to distance ourselves as readers when we encounter characters who clearly take delight in hurting others and call them villains. But what about characters who are unlikable in the middle of very sympathetic situations, like navigating difficult life circumstances?  It’s more difficult to forgive missteps as a reader when complicated characters don’t meet our expectations, even when they are trying their best.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

An Unlikely Advocate of Aromatherapy

Brian DeFelice is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read his column in the December 20, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript &Bulletin.

Aromatherapy became an interest of mine, oddly enough, after attending a technology conference. A few years back, I was lucky enough to attend the “Computers in Libraries” conference in Virginia. As an Information Technology librarian, I have always loved attending this conference. It’s very exciting to see what other libraries around the country (and beyond!) are doing with technology to better serve their communities.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

War in December

Norma Logan is the Literacy Coordinator at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Norma Logan's column in the December 13, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

December 7, 2018   marks the 77th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which led to the United States’ entry into World War II.   The US involvement started in 1941 and lasted until the end of the war in 1945. According to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 496,777 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive in 2018.  We are losing 372 veterans per day.
My 96 year old father-in-law, Bill, is one of the surviving 496,777 WW II veterans.  Although he now sometimes forgets little things, he does remember Pearl Harbor and D-Day vividly.  He was not in the military at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but he had a vital part in D-Day (June 6, 1944), the day when allied forces invaded northern France by means of beach landings in Normandy.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Star is Born - One More Look

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the December 6, 2018 edition of the Norwood 
Transcript and Bulletin.

 Aashiqui 2 is the 2013 Bollywood version of A Star is Born. With subtitles in English, the musical is a lovely remake. It stars exceptionally handsome Aditya Roy Kapur - and the even more beautiful Shraddha Kapoor. The music is enchanting, and both conventional Bollywood cinematography and delightful chemistry between the two actors received much critical praise upon its release. Translated to the English "love makes one live," the Hindi Indian film matches the 1976 musical closely – it is the intense and tragic story of two musicians, Rahul Jaykar (or R.J.) and Aarohi Keshav Shirke.

When Bradley Cooper took over the project as director, he hoped his fresh version of A Star is Born - of rising and descending stars – would be a box office success. Although Clint Eastwood had envisioned American songwriter and singer BeyoncĂ© as the leading lady of the next remake, it was upon listening to pop singer Lady Gaga at a benefit concert that Cooper knew that he had found his star in Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s real name.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Book Nutrition: Different Ways to Feed the Brain

Kate Tigue is a children’s librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Kate’s column in the November 29, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
Recently, the staff in the Children’s Room has been noticing a trend in children’s and young adult literature: lots of adults take out and read books traditionally written for young people. This is certainly because literature for kids is now being marketed more widely than ever before. Film producers and directors are mining the rich landscape of books aimed at children to find their next big hit on the silver screen. Some books almost seem to be written with the potential optioning of movie rights in mind. It’s no wonder with all that exposure that our collections in the Children’s room have received more adult attention.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Giving Thanks to Our Library (and My Job)

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the November 22, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

This Thanksgiving, as per usual, I give thanks to my family, friends, health, the abundance of food on the table, and so on. Coming up on my one year anniversary working at the Morrill Memorial Library though, I feel particularly grateful for my new job. Not only have I come to adore my colleagues and thoroughly enjoy entering our majestic historic building every day, but the shift to public librarianship has rekindled my faith in the future of the beloved free public library in American culture.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Talent Search

Nancy Ling is the Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Nancy’s column in the November 15, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

We all have a variety of skills and talents. Perhaps we have worked hard to develop these abilities over time or perhaps we were lucky enough to be born with a gift or two. For example when I’m asked to write an article for the weekly library column, I feel equipped to do so. I’m comfortable writing children’s books or poetry.  Crafting words is a skill I’ve developed over time. Likewise, I enjoy entertaining. I become a whirling dervish beforehand, but hosting a family gathering or holiday party is definitely my cup of tea.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Norwood: A Home Town

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the November 8, 2018 edition of the Norwood 
Transcript and Bulletin.

When we moved to Norwood in 2012, I was excited about owning a historic home that was within walking distance to both my work at the library and the town’s center. I wondered how many families had placed their hands on the sturdy wooden banister leading from the second floor. I imagined other women lovingly serving meals for family and guests in the spacious dining room. I was curious about the children and adults who might have peeked out the windows to watch passersby or wait for Halloween trick-or-treaters to knock on the distinctive double doors.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

On Your Marks, Get Set, ... Bake!

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the November 1, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript Bulletin.

Or at the Brits say, bike. And we’re not talking cycling. I just finished drooling over the first four seasons of the Great British Baking Show, for the second time, and can’t wait for Season 5. My latest TV addition, GBBS is thoroughly entertaining without being treacly. Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood preside over brigades of British bakers who go “dough to dough” over the course of ten weeks to try to bring home the blue ribbon. Once I tuned it, it was love at first bite. In an enormous white tent set in the English countryside, 12 amateur bakers chosen from thousands compete in three weekly challenges—the signature bake, the technical, and the showstopper. With one unlucky soul voted off each week, it’s like Survivor but with spatulas.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

My Nuclear Vacation

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the October 25, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

I recently returned from the trip of a lifetime and checked one of the top items off of my “bucket list.” London? Paris? Venice? No. At long last, I traveled to the Ukraine, to Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history.
In 1986, during the Cold War when the Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, launching radioactive material far and wide, contaminating most of the Ukraine and neighboring Belarus, and extending throughout Europe and the USSR, and beyond. In the immediate aftermath, finger-pointing, political agendas, and secrecy delayed evacuation, exposing local residents to severe radiation. Finally, buses carried thousands of residents off, assuring them they’d come home in a few days. They never returned, and the town of Chernobyl and neighboring city of Pripyat, constructed specifically for the power plant builders and employees, became ghost towns.

The Ukraine designated an exclusion zone surrounding the entire region with barbed wire fences, checkpoints and armed guards. This forbidden territory became my dream destination. As an avid adventure traveler and “urban explorer,” ghost towns, abandoned buildings, and post-disaster locales fascinate me. For years I knew of Pripyat, a city frozen in time, full of empty schools and homes, and even an amusement park set up for a May Day celebration that never happened.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

You Are NOT Getting Sleepy ...

Kirstie David is a Literacy and Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her article in the October 18, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

I am a librarian, and like many in my profession I am innately curious. If you are in the business of ferreting out information, being naturally curious comes in handy. When I’m not at the library putting my curiosity to work for others, I like to learn about learning and behavior – or why we do what we do, and how we can do things better. As such, I am an avid watcher of TED talks, those treasure troves of “ideas worth spreading,” and the related TEDx events organized in communities around the globe.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Make it Sous Vide!

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the October 18, 2018 edition of the Norwood 
Transcript and Bulletin.

Believe it or not, I’ve sometimes afraid of new technology. My ex-husband worked for one of Microsoft’s competitors in the late 1970s and 1980s and his company created one of the first word processing programs for the PC. Yet, in the early 1990s I still insisted on writing my graduate school papers on a word-processing typewriter. Because we had several computers in the house, my inability to embrace the PC drove him crazy – among a zillion other things, of course!

It’s not that I am distrustful of technology – I’ve actually been an early-adopter of many gadgets and devices but I must fully understand them first. I hate reading boring instruction manuals and that often trips me up. I’m a hands-on learner and my confidence level often has wild rides of highs and lows when learning how to use a new appliance or gadget.

That said, once I am a firm-believer, I drive everyone a bit looney when I insist on singing, and re-singing, the praises of each of my new gadgets and appliances.  Gerry and I bore our friends with wondrous tales of inventions like the steam cleaner, vacuum sealer, spiralizer, espresso maker and milk frother.

This is especially true in the kitchen where I spend much of my time on the weekends. In my early marriage years, I heartily adopted the Cuisinart food processor, the KitchenAid stand mixer, and the automatic bread and pasta machines. Sometimes these machines hum in the kitchen for weeks, and other times they lie silent for months or years. Still some are part of my everyday repertoire.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Audio Failure

Nicole Guerra-Coon is the Assistant Children’s Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her column in the October 4, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript.

Though I have always loved stories, I never listened to audio books growing up. It wasn’t that I disliked them, it just never occurred to me to listen to them. My parents didn’t listen to them, and although I sort of knew that there was “talk radio” out there, I thought it was something on “AM” and that they only talked about news, sports or traffic. I suppose my grandparents had listened to “stories” on the radio, but it was not something anyone ever talked about that I can remember. The only real reference I had from that era was when my mother referred to my grandparents as ‘The Bickersons,” and I had to ask her what she meant.

I loved reading books and watching television and movies. The first movie I ever saw in a theater, Snow White, was a revelation to me. I was only about three, and my parents were unsure if I was too young to bring to the theater, or if I would be scared by the witch. But I sat, wide-eyed, and absorbed every detail. When it ended, I burst into tears and was inconsolable. My parents apologized and told me the witch wasn’t real. But all I could get out was, “I…never…wanted it…to end!”

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Don't Read That!

Liz Reed is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz’s column in the September 27, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As Americans, we take a lot of our freedoms for granted. Other than yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, we don’t even think twice about our right to say what we want when we want. We trust that law enforcement cannot enter our homes without a warrant, and we know that the freedom of religion is an ideal on which our country was founded.

But imagine a reality in which we couldn’t read what we wanted. The freedom to write books of varying opinions and subject matter is protected by the First Amendment, under the freedom of speech. Have you considered that this extends to protect your freedom to read? Protecting everyone’s freedom to read what they want is a bedrock of librarianship, and it’s more of a constant concern than you might expect. There are frequent calls to censor books people don’t agree with or find objectionable in some way. If the move to censor a book is successful, it may be pulled from the shelves of schools, public libraries, and even booksellers.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fall Flavors ... Sans Pumpkin Spice

Alli Palmgren is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Alli’s column in the September 20, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. This is Alli's last column as she leaves to become Assistant Director at the Weston Public Library on September 21, 2018. Good luck, Alli! Watch for Brian DeFelice's first column this fall as he takes over the reins as Techology and Information Librarian on October 9.

Last fall, I was unpacking the groceries from a trip to the market. My husband popped into the kitchen to “help” put the food away, a.k.a. survey my selections so he can plan what I refer to as his “snack-tivities” for the week.

After a few minutes of cupboards opening, I heard him exclaim, “Ugh! Why would anyone buy this?!” I turned around, expecting him to be holding one of the weird veggies I buy without knowing what I’ll do with them, but nope, he’s holding a box of pumpkin spice Cheerios. I thought they looked good, but my husband thought I was trying to poison him. This was the moment that I learned that my husband hates almost all pumpkin spice flavored things.

He always ate my squash pie at Thanksgiving dinner, which has the same flavoring as pumpkin spice, so why this sudden hatred for this popular fall flavor? Apparently, the problem is over-exposure. Dunkin’s introduced a pumpkin muffin a few years ago, which I thought was a good fit. New Englanders have been eating spiced pumpkin bread for centuries, so why not make it muffin shaped? But the pumpkin spicing didn’t stop there. Now there are pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin spice tea, and pumpkin spice Peeps. Even I draw the line at pumpkin-y marshmallow chicks.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Influenza and Inequality

The Black Death (or Bubonic or Great Plague) was a four-year epidemic that affected 30-60% of the European population. It was critical to the history of the Middle Ages that we studied.  The Great Plague is believed to have begun in Central Asia in the early 1330s where it was carried by rats on ships across and throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. It is believed to have killed up to 200 million people across Europe from 1347-1351 and it may have taken 200 years before the world’s population recovered from the loss of life from the epidemic.

Many of us remember studying the Middle Ages and its Black Death in school. What we might not have learned was that there were many plagues throughout history.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Podcast - Not the Same Old Radio Show

Charlotte Canelli is the Director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the September 6, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
Audio blogging, or podcasting, began in the 1980s. It wasn’t until the advent of broadband, mobile applications, and wide use of the Internet, though, that audiobloggers found a niche. Today there are 250,000 podcasts with one billion subscribers on iTunes. In 2004 the word podcast was invented – the word is a blend of the words iPod and broadcast. Podcast is both a noun and a verb. Defined, it is a digital audio file uploaded to the Internet.
I became a podcaster in 2006 after taking a class and uploading my first podcast to Podbean, a free podcast hosting site. My first podcast was a simply a one-episode thing and it was merely an assignment for a workshop I took through our regional library system. A few years later, I began reading and uploading audio versions of our library columns to another hosting service, SoundCloud. It became far too time-consuming and I abandoned the practice, leaving the digital files somewhere in the digital heavens.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cook the Book: Falling Back in Love with Cookbooks

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Read Kate’s column in the August 30, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Once upon a time, I was an organized home cook. I planned our weekly menus for our meals at home, shopped for only fresh ingredients weekly, and did all my prep work in the mornings before work. Then I had a baby and all of my careful, well-honed organization went out the window. Gone were the days when I had time to flip through my cookbooks at a leisurely pace. I tried to make meal plans but then a baby wouldn’t stop crying and something would burn or a toddler interrupted me a thousand times before I could dice a shallot. Food shopping became a marathon exercise of half-remembered lists and saying “No, put that down; we don’t need that!”

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Binging in British Baking and Russian Pastry

Charlotte Canelli is the Director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the August 23, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Gerry and I binge-watched at least four seasons of the Great British Baking Show this summer. It had been recommended and once I started binging and proselytizing about my new-found crush, I realized that, as with most other hit series, I was years late to the party. Especially this British one.

During one particular B-A-A-A-A-K-E which happened to be pastries, I thought of the favorite savory pastry that had captured my fancy over 25 years ago. It was the kulebiaka (or coulibiac) – a time-consuming Russian first course. The kulebiaka boasts a flaky, buttery pastry that envelopes a filling of either cabbage and chopped hardboiled eggs or salmon, rice and dill. My finished kulebiaka’s crust is garnished with leaves and a rope closure and rises and bakes to golden perfection.

Once sliced and served with sour cream, it is always met with ooohs and aaaahs across the room. Anton Chekhov wrote in his short story The Siren that “the kulebiaka must make your mouth water; it must lie there before you, a shameless temptation! You cut off a sizable slice and let your fingers play over it. When you bite into it, the butter drips from it like tears.”

I fantasized, recently of course, that Paul Hollywood would have swooned over one of my masterpieces, the kulebiaka. I might have had a handshake.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Anne of Green Gables: A Short Bit about Adopting an Older Child

Carla Howard is the Senior Circulation Assistant/Marketing and Media Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Read Carla’s column in the August 16th issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables while in college. I never read the books in high school, dismissing them because of the romance-y looking covers. I quickly realized my mistake and have read the series several times. I have visited Anne’s beloved Prince Edward Island, Canada.  I attended the Anne play in Charlottetown, and was in heaven as I sat with my fellow Anne-fans, finishing up with a raspberry cordial at a nearby restaurant.

A mother and daughter were seated next to us, and the girl, probably about 14, was making it quite obvious that she didn’t want to be there and that the whole thing was “stupid.” Her poor mother finally had her moment when Anne’s beloved adopted guardian Matthew died suddenly of a heart attack. Soon, there were sniffles all around, and the young girl, ready to roast her mother, looked around, and sat back, quietly. I think she must have finally realized that hey, my mom’s not crazy. This is a thing; this Anne of Green Gables.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

It Takes a Stretch

Nancy Ling is the Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Nancy’s column in the August 9th issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
You must have a favorite author. Someone you turn to when the rest of the world seems in chaos. Someone who is as comfortable to be with as your warm fuzzy slippers and a chair beside the fireplace. Perhaps it is Jamie Ford or Susan Meissner (two of my favorites) whose lyrical stories carry you back in time and make you fall in love with their characters. Or maybe you are addicted to Mary Higgins Clark or Louise Penny, and you cannot wait to settle down with their latest creations in your hands. 
While there is something magical and wonderful about those treasured authors, there is also something to be said for those books that you never ever thought you would read, and suddenly you do. Perhaps you’ve been astonished when your world expands after being stretched by a story or concept that greeted you when you dared to open a book that wasn’t part of your regular repertoire.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Polos, Picnics and People Watching

April Cushing is the Adult and Information Services Supervisor at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Mass. Read April’s column in the August 2nd edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.
Pop quiz: Where can you show off your favorite sundress–or shorts, sip champagne–or soda, and stroll around an enormous field tamping down divots while kids cavort alongside canines, just over an hour away? (Hint: horses are involved.) Answer… at the Newport International Polo grounds in Portsmouth, RI. When friends invited us to join their party for an evening of polo this past Saturday I was all in, especially when I found out my four-footed companion was also welcome.
For over 130 years, polo matches have been among Newport’s grandest and most popular traditions–a legacy from the Gilded Age. I’m not the only Morrill Memorial Library staff member, it appears, to experience its charms. Hearing that I was going to watch USA take on Ireland the following day, Lydia, who oversees the excellent Technical Services Dept. in the fourth floor “stucco tower,” said “You’ll love it!” and suggested I bring along the library’s brand new picnic basket.
Among the Norwood Library’s circulating collection

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Chill Out, New England

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the June 26, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

We all know that one of the great benefits of living in New England is that we get to experience all the seasons. Our iconic foliage draws busloads of tourists every Autumn, we usually get to have a white winter holiday season, and our landscape becomes furiously and gloriously alive every Spring. As a result, our New England summers can feel all too brief, and many residents look forward to summer all the rest of the year.

 While we’re busy bundling up for the other seasons though, we can sometimes forget just how hot and humid our New England summers can be. Heat waves seem to surprise us because they don’t happen very often in the course of a year - remember that stretch of 90+ degree heat a few weeks ago? Brutal, right? And no wonder we feel this way: in the course of June 2018 we went from chilly Spring temperatures in the 40s to blazing 92F, according to That’s a pretty big difference, especially after what seemed like a prolonged winter.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

First, You Take a Swamp Tour

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the July 19, 2018 edition of the Norwood 
Transcript and Bulletin.

In The World on a Plate (2014), Mina Holland describes 40 world cuisines and the “stories behind them.” Reading her book, you travel across Europe and down through the Middle East, east to Asia and south to Africa. She ends the book with the “melting pots” of the Americas: the Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese influences in South America and the French, Polish, Germany, African and Asian inspirations to the north.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

City Girl, Country Girl

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services Department Head at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the July 12, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As a kid I dreamed of living in the Big City. On weekends my mom and I drove into Boston from the suburbs to go shopping at the iconic Filene’s Basement. I got such a thrill out of walking through the scary “Combat Zone,” past shops and restaurants in Chinatown, and arriving at “The Basement,” where we shielded each other and tried on clothes in the aisles, and I learned math by figuring out the “automatic markdowns.” The variety of different people in the city fascinated me and I longed to live among them some day.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

YA Books - Are They Really for Teens or Adults?

Kate Tigue is a children’s librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Kate’s column in the July 5, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

One of my favorite responsibilities as a youth services librarian is choosing new young adult books to purchase for the library’s expanding collection.  Young adult books (or YA as we say in the library world) is one of the most well-known and fastest growing literary genres in this decade.  Most people learn about young adult books through the popular trend of adapting their plots for the silver screen. Recent films like Ready Player One, The Hunger Games trilogy, and The Fault in Our Stars have turned public interest to the books these movies are based and sparked adult interest in books intended for adolescents.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Making Radio Waves

Alli Palmgren is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Alli’s column in the June 28, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

A few weeks ago, I found myself dashing into the house yelling “Alexa, play NPR!” As my smart speakers all came to life simultaneously, my husband and I pulled up chairs on the deck to enjoy one of our favorite radio programs, “Live From Here” (formerly “Prairie Home Companion”). While my husband and I enjoy listening to audiobooks and podcasts on our own, we are one of those rare households that still crowd around the radio at appointed times every week to hear our favorite NPR hosts introduce us to new music, keep us updated on current events, share stories, or give us hilarius car repair advice.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Light and Darkness of Anthony Bourdain

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the June 21, 2018 edition of the Norwood 
Transcript and Bulletin.

Anthony Bourdain describes himself as a child being irresistibly drawn to the headiness of fresh, raw oysters in France. As a young man he was lured to the restaurant kitchen to the love of food and the thrills of the unsavory truths of working in food service. Throughout Kitchen Confidential, he admits his attraction to the dark and risky, to the drugs and drinking, and to a life spent in restaurants and at bar tables. In that memoir, Anthony Bourdain invited us on a ride through “the culinary underbelly” of the kitchens, freezers, and back alleys of New York City restaurants.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Diving Into a Good Book

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

We all love to find a book that we can dive into. If that book changes our outlook or carries us away to a whole new world, all the better.

“If I Could Dive Into the World of Any Book” was the very topic of our essay contest this year for the younger participants. Thanks to the Andrew and Ernest Boch Memorial Fund, the Outreach department ran this event for the 7th year in a row. Not surprisingly, the books chosen and the worlds disclosed were as varied as our own town’s population.

Before going any further, however, this might be a good place to announce the names of our essay contest winners:

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Navigating Retirement and the Social Security Maze

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the June 7, 2018 edition of the Norwood 
Transcript and Bulletin.

Everyone who knows me, particularly my family, realizes how much I love my job. Ancient philosopher Confucius is attributed with saying something like this: “Choose a job that you love and you never work a day in your life.”

Certainly, in my profession that is very true. Most librarians are insatiably curious about knowledge and they love to give that knowledge away. It makes us a strange breed of generous know-it-alls who live that passion 24 hours a day.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

True Crime War Crimes Edition

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services Department Head at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the May 31, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Long Walk to Freedom -
The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
I already admitted to my true crime addiction in my May 3rd column/confession. The genre generally refers to murders, assaults, kidnappings and the stuff of Investigation Discovery programs. Although it’s hard to imagine worse crimes than these, victims throughout history have experienced such horrors on a grand scale: genocides, torture, ethnic cleansing. Grim as it may sound, my non-fiction leanings extend into the realm of some of the most disturbing events in modern history. A book that impacted me deeply, for example, bears the shockingly candid title, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Love @ First Click

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the May 24, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou internet Romeo? Buckle in and hang on to your hats, folks, we’re about to take a ride through the exciting, data-driven world of online dating. If you don’t agree that something data-driven can be exciting, then we probably wouldn’t be a good match. Swipe left.

You may have heard the phrases “swipe left” or “swipe right” bandied about in recent conversations or on weeknight sitcoms. These phrases have become part of our modern lexicon thanks to “swiping apps” where you swipe right to “like” a photo, or swipe left to “dislike” a photo. One of the earliest swiping apps was Tinder, a location-based dating service that launched in 2012 and that is still going strong today. When you open the app, you only see potential  matches within a certain distance of your location who are also using Tinder, and all you see are a person’s photo and some brief bio information.  Everyone swipes left or right through their potential matches, and when you and Mr./Ms. Dreamboat both swipe right, demonstrating interest, the app lets you start chatting. Location-based  efficiency of meeting someone is Tinder’s big strength, and therefore the app has a reputation as a “hook-up” app, yet many people who meet on Tinder end up in long-term relationships or even marriage.

The Day the Fugitive Stopped Running

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the May 24, 2018 edition of the Norwood 
Transcript and Bulletin.

I was eleven when I moved from the city to the suburbs in the East Bay Area west of San Francisco. I left all the city streets behind – in the 1880s Berkeley had been designed as a grid that easily and efficiently moved from the Bay waters to the golden hills above. Those foothills rose across to the Sierra in the distance.

Moving as a pre-teen, I also abandoned all of my elementary school friends and started afresh in a town where the valleys and grassy rolling hills were situated next to the freeway that headed to Sacramento and Nevada.

There were three or four floor plans in the houses of this post-World War II development of Pinole Valley Estates. Houses were lined up on the streets that were tucked among the ravines. The outside paint color and landscaping distinguished one home from another, but the interiors were eerily similar. Spending the night in a classmate’s home was always a bit surreal when the pink or green porcelain sink in the twin, back-to-bath baths matched those in my own home. Each kitchen had the modern miracle of a dishwasher; each garage was built for two cars.  One was usually a station wagon. The small, manicured yards were fenced and lines with wild, red berried pyracantha and tall, resilient oleander bushes.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Surprise Royal Watcher

Victoria Andrilenas is a reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the May 10, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

After my one column about space turned into two I did not think I would be writing more anytime soon. However, when I discovered my colleagues did not share my level of excitement over the upcoming royal nuptials I knew I had found something else to write about. For those of you who attended our “Real Hollywood Royalty” film series featuring Grace Kelly (m. Prince Rainier III of Monaco) and Rita Hayworth (m. Prince Aly Kahn), I hope you enjoyed my attempt to build excitement for when American actress Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry on May 19.

As a child I was fascinated by Queen Victoria because we shared a first name. She was my go to option for any assignment on a historical figure where she could be made to fit the requirements. Given that interest in the British royal family, the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 was very exciting for nine year old me. It came as no surprise, to my mother at least, that I wanted to get up early enough to not only see the 11:20 am BST ceremony (6:20 am EDT) but also the procession to St. Paul’s and guests entering the Cathedral. Fortunately it was summer so I didn’t need to worry about missing school, but I never voluntarily got up that early! Like many young girls I was taken with Princess Diana’s seemingly fairy tale marriage and so impressed by the spectacle that I decided I would require female guests to wear hats when I got married. I outgrew that fascination before I got married, much to the relief of my female relatives and friends, though not until after I graduated from college.

Of course I was excited to read about the births of Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984. The 1996 divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales four years after their separation made it clear the marriage was not a fairy tale. 4 am EDT was too early for me to watch the entire thing live but I did get up early to watch part of the funeral of Princess Diana after her tragic death in 1997. The 2006 film The Queen depicts the royal family’s response to this event.
When Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew in 1986 I was a teenager and we had a VCR so I had my dad record it and watched it at a more reasonable time of day. I had not been at my first professional job for very long when Prince Edward got married, and for some reason wasn’t very interested anyway.

When the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton was announced in 2010, my previous workplace had some lunchtime conversations about reusing an engagement ring from a wedding that ended so unhappily. The general consensus was that we’d be happy to have to such a beautiful piece of jewelry, but not as an engagement ring. In the months leading up to the wedding, whenever I was in a waiting room I devoured PeopleUs Weekly, and the like for photos of the couple and information about their wedding plans. I took the day of the wedding off so I could watch it on TV. 

Although I watched the repeat broadcast rather than the live version, I was up early making British scones and cakes to eat with my friend who came to watch it with me. I was not alone in having a wedding watching party. In fact, serious royals fans would consider me an amateur since I didn’t watch it live and we didn’t dress up or wear hats. I did get some awesome swag though: a commemorative tea tin and china mug. The births of their children has also been exciting and I eagerly awaited the arrival and naming of Prince Louis last month.

While I’m sure there are many people who will find it easier to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on a Saturday, I would prefer a workday since my family would be busy at school and work leaving the TV, and my time, free for binge watching the wedding. My understanding is the British would have preferred a work day as well so they could get a Bank Holiday. Unfortunately my friend who watched the 2011 wedding with me will be working, and my other potential watching partners live elsewhere, so I probably won’t spend much time creating a special menu just for me.
I was too young to pore over gossip magazines when Princes Charles and Andrew got married and am not a committed reader of them now, but if you are, Morrill Memorial Library’s Flipster app gives you access to several of them. I prefer to look at a few blogs that follow the royal family. My favorite is written by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Each week they do a “Royals Round-Up” with links to articles about and photos of European royals from the preceding week. When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel, the site often has daily posts with photos from the trip. The two also wrote book The Royal We about an American who goes to college in England where she falls in love with the heir to the British throne. What Kate Wore has fashion coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge and an offshoot called What Kate’s Kids Wore has information about what the young princes and princess wear. Meghan’s Mirror covers Ms. Markle’s style including an entire page about her handbags (a weakness of mine).

I know some of my coworkers were surprised to learn just how interested I am in the British royals.  I am clearly not a slave to fashion, do not watch reality TV shows, and generally have very little interest in celebrities. The truth is I love some of the fashion worn by the Duchess of Cambridge and Miss Markle but my practical nature means that even their off the rack styles aren’t likely to be found in my closet since my lifestyle doesn’t call for cocktail dresses or high heels. But now you know I’ll be glued to the TV next Saturday morning!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Being Mom Versus Being a Librarian

Kate Tigue is a children’s librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Kate’s column in the April 26, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
Everyone assumes that if you work with children professionally, you’ll be a natural in the parenting department. There definitely are some overlaps that help with the adjustment to family life, but some things are harder to translate.

Working as a children’s librarian has kept me abreast of current issues in the parenting world and in particular, in the world of early literacy. I know all the stages and signs of pre-literacy and how to build to a good foundation for lifelong readers. I encourage and advise parents about this topic regularly as part of my job at the library.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Little Green Mountain Men

Alli Palmgren is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Alli’s column in the April 19, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

A few months ago, my husband and I were having dinner at my sister’s house when my sister floated the idea of buying a family vacation property. We gave her some grief about buying a Kennedy-esque compound on Nantucket Sound so we could “summer,” until she said, “No, I’m serious. Let’s buy that Vermont house you always wanted. Life’s too short, let’s do it.”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Shooting for the Moon: Part II

Victoria Andrilenas is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Mass. Look for Victoria’s column in the April 12th edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

In addition to the many anniversaries I mentioned last week, the Space Shuttle program has two this year: the 35th anniversary of the first American woman in space, Sally Ride on Challenger STS-7, and the first African-American in space, Guion Bluford, two months later on Challenger STS-8. As with last week’s column, all titles mentioned are available through the Minuteman Library Network.

The first Space Shuttle flight with astronauts was in 1982 on Columbia. The final flight of the Space Shuttle program was in 2011. Unlike earlier spacecraft, the shuttle was designed for reuse. The program had 135 flights with all but two, the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Columbia explosion in 2003, returning safely. Spacelab was flown on the Space Shuttle until its decommissioning in 1998. Shuttle crew constructed portions of the International Space Station and launched the Hubble space telescope.
The 1978 astronaut selection group included the first six American women astronauts and the first African-Americans who would go into space, three men. Sally Ride’s first flight was twenty years after Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. Frederick Gregory’s first spaceflight in 1985 made him the first African-American shuttle pilot on Challenger STS-51B. Mae Jemison (selected in 1987) was the first African American woman in space in 1992 on Endeavor STS-47. Eileen Collins (selected in 1990) was the first female shuttle pilot on Discovery STS-63 in 1995 and first female commander on Columbia STS-93 in 1999.
Margaret Lazarus Dean’s 2015 book Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight is my favorite of the adult books mentioned this week or last. Although the book is primarily about the end of the space shuttle era, it includes quite a bit of NASA history. Dean writes about traveling to Florida for the final launch of each of the remaining three shuttles and the friends she makes during her visits, including NASA employees and other fans of space flight.
Space Shuttle: the First 20 Years includes essays and interview excerpts from many shuttle astronauts, as well as photos from training, launches, space flight, and landings. Scott Kelly is one of the few widely known recent astronauts. In 2015 he spent almost a year on the International Space Station. His memoir Endurance: a Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery describes that experience. Leland Melvin was an engineer mission specialist after being drafted by Detroit Lions and having to leave the NFL due to injury. His memoir is Chasing Space: an Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace and Second Chances.
There are some wonderful children’s books written by astronauts. Buzz Aldrin’s book Look to the Stars is illustrated with beautiful paintings and provides an overview of significant events in the history of flight and American space exploration. Michael Collins’ book, Flying to the Moon and Other Strange Places, is about his early career, training for space, and the first lunar landing. To the Stars!: First American Woman to Walk in Space, by Carmella van Vleet and Kathy Sullivan is about Kathy Sullivan’s first spacewalk. Mae Jemison wrote a biography for YA audiences, Find where the Wind Goes.
Of course there are lots of children’s books about space not written by astronauts. Two about female astronauts are: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream, by Tanya Lee Stone, and Mae among the Stars, by Roha Ahmed. Not surprisingly there are several about Apollo 11 including One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh, and Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon, by Catherine Thimmesh. In Race to the Moon: an Interactive History Adventure, by Allison Lassieur, readers can choose to be a scientist working on rocket technology, a reporter covering the space story, or a member of Mission Control for Apollo 11. If your child is interested in what it takes to be an astronaut, you should check out Go for Liftoff!: How to Train like an Astronaut, by Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti. Ready, Jet, Go is a PBS kids show about our solar system. Season one is available on Hoopla. There are also books about the moon, the sun, the solar system, and space.
I suspect anyone who has been to a space-themed museum with elementary or middle school age children has seen the freeze dried ice cream for sale at the gift shop. Many may have given into the pleas to purchase it. My parents did. I hated it. Turns out astronauts did too. According to The Astronaut’s Cookbook: Tales, Recipes, and More, by Charles T. Bourland and Gregory L. Vogt, it only flew on Apollo 7. This cookbook is somewhat like an Alton Brown cooking show with information about the science of food including the moisture content of various foods and how that impacts the foods’ suitability for space flight. Tortillas are better than bread because they don’t make crumbs, and it turns out food packaged for vending machines is also good for going into space.
For those who want to visit some of the places where space history happened, there are several great options. MLN collections include travel guides to the general geographic areas where these sites are located. Alan Shepard’s Mercury Spacecraft can be seen in Boston at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Kennedy Space Center in Florida is about a one hour drive from Orlando and well worth the trip. All of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle launches took place there. In addition to the original Mission Control, visitors can also see the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft, an unused Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which made the final flight of the shuttle program. Space Center Houston, Texas, site of Mission Control since Project Gemini, is also the site of astronaut training and the Lunar Receiving Laboratory where astronauts were quarantined after going to the moon. The Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, Virginia, is about a half hour drive from Colonial Williamsburg. In addition to being where the women of Hidden Figures worked, the museum has Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft on exhibit. At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City visitors can see the Space Shuttle Discovery. The USS Intrepid served as a recovery ship for some Mercury and Gemini missions. At the California Science Center in Los Angeles visitors can see the Space Shuttle Endeavor. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois has Mercury and Apollo spacecraft on exhibit. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama is also the home of Space Camp which has programs for children, families, and adults. The Smithsonian has two aerospace museums, one on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and a newer building at Dulles Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. The Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly has the Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise on exhibit, as well as a Gemini capsule. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC has Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, the Apollo 11 Command Module, and an unused Lunar Module on exhibit. Over the next 18 months the Apollo 11 Command Module will be traveling around the country as part of the traveling exhibit “Destination Moon: the Apollo 11 Mission.” So if your travels take you to the Saint Louis Science Center in Missouri, the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, or The Museum of Flight in Seattle, maybe you can see it on tour. If you have European travel plans, you can see the Apollo 10 Command Module at the Science Museum in London, England.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Shooting for the Moon: Part 1

Victoria Andrilenas is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Mass. Victoria’s column in the April 5th edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

The National Air and Space Administration, commonly known as NASA, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The first orbit of the moon was Apollo 8’s December 1968 mission, the 50th anniversary of that this December marks the first of a series of significant Apollo mission anniversaries for NASA. 2018 also marks the 20th anniversary of Mercury Astronaut John Glenn’s return to space at the age of 77 on Shuttle Discovery, STS-95. The shuttle flight made Glenn both the first man to orbit the earth and the oldest person in space. Although I am a child of the Space Shuttle era, I find the earlier space programs Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo equally, if not more, interesting. I also find the stories of those who did the engineering and design work of getting man into space fascinating.
The Mercury Program ran from 1958-1963 and its purpose was manned orbit of Earth. Alan Shepard’s May 1961 flight (Mercury-Redstone 3 / Freedom7) as the first American in space and John Glenn orbiting Earth in February 1962 (Mercury-Atlas 6 / Friendship 7) are probably its most memorable missions. The Gemini Program, 1961-1966, had two man crews and its goal was to get the American Space program ready for the Apollo Program, including Gemini 4 in 1965 with the first spacewalk. The purpose of Apollo missions, 1967-1972, was manned lunar landing. The tragedy of Apollo 1 when Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee were killed in a launchpad fire, the first orbit of the moon in December 1968 (Apollo 8), the first man on the moon in July 1969 (Apollo 11) and Apollo 13 in April 1970 are probably its most memorable missions.
MLN collections have plenty of films and books about the America’s early exploration of space. There are popular movies based on true books and documentaries depending on your preference. In addition to the many books written about the space program, there are also several books written by early astronauts. There are also books about less well-known aspects of America’s early space efforts. An article I found online from Computer Weekly’s 2009 40th anniversary coverage of the Apollo 11 mission provides a technical explanation of the often heard comment about today’s smartphones being more powerful than the computers that powered the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spaceships. It’s a sobering thought that crosses my mind often as I read about or watch films about that era.
For the truly early years of America’s space program, Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff (1979) starts with Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in 1947 and covers the Mercury missions. The book and movie of the same name are both in the Morrill Memorial Library collection. Although the film did not do well at the box office it received several Oscar nominations and in 2013 it was selected to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry. The Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by astronauts Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger, and the 1995 movie Apollo 13, which was based on their memoir, are also both in the Morrill Memorial Library collection. Watching this movie today shows the difference in technology between 1970 and 2018 far more than when I saw it in the theatre and most people didn’t even have flip phones. An interesting bit of trivia regarding the two movies is Ed Harris plays astronaut John Glenn in The Right Stuff and Gene Kranz Flight Director for Gemini and Apollo missions in Apollo 13. If documentaries are more your speed three from 2008 include interviews with astronauts and NASA employees: When We Left Earth: the NASA MissionsIn the Shadow of the Moon: Remember When the World Looked Up, and the HBO miniseries From Earth to the Moon.
When the first groups of astronauts were selected being a military test pilot was a prerequisite, this requirement eliminated racial minorities and women from the candidate group since in 1959 military test pilots were all white men. There were women and African-Americans who applied to be astronauts before the requirement was lifted in 1965 but it was not until the Space Shuttle era that America had female and non-white astronauts. They had a Dream: the Story of African-American Astronauts, by J. Alfred Phelps (1994), has chapters about six African-American astronauts including Edward J. Dwight, Jr., Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., Guion S. Bluford, Jr., and Ronald E. McNair. Dwight applied to the aerospace pilot research course at Edwards Air Force base in 1962 and was accepted in 1963. However he was not selected for an astronaut group. Lawrence was selected to an astronaut group in 1967 but died the same year in a plane crash. Bluford and McNair were both Space Shuttle astronauts. Two books from 2003 tell the experience of female pilots who underwent astronaut testing and training at the same the time Mercury astronauts did: Promised the Moon: the Untold Story of the First Women in Space, by Stephanie Nolan, and The Mercury 13: the Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight, by Martha Ackermann.
Margot Lee Shetterly’s 2016 book, Hidden Figures: the American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, and the 2017 movie based on her book, bring the critical role African-American women played in the space race to a public audience. Both the book and the film are available in the Morrill Memorial Library Collection. Watching the women use slide rules for calculations and teach themselves how IBM punch cards worked was moments when the technology limitations of the time struck home.
Another more recent book that gives us insight into the wives and families of the early astronauts is Lily Koppel’s 2013 book, The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story. The author conducted extensive interviews with “astrowives” and children. The book provides a different perspective on what Americans read in the 1959-1963 Life magazine coverage of the astronauts. Many of the women were no longer married to their astronaut husbands who at home were often not the heroes they were to the American public. It also makes the women real people who had interests and skills outside of the homemaker role shown in earlier books. For example, Trudy Cooper, wife of Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper was an accomplished pilot herself. There was also a 2015 TV series with the same title based on the book.
If astronaut memoirs are more to your liking, memoirs by Mercury 7 astronauts include Moon Shot: the Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon, by Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton, and Leap of Faith: an Astronaut’s Journey into the Unknown, by Gordon Cooper. Eugene Cernan was the last man on the moon during Apollo 17. His book, The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America’s Race in Space, is also a documentary.  For a non-astronaut account of the era, Gene Kranz’s book, Failure is not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond, is an excellent option.
Check back next week for books about the Space Shuttle, children’s books about astronauts and information about some tourist sites that allow visitors to see this history in person.