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.
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 AccuWeather.com. That’s a pretty big difference, especially after what seemed like a prolonged winter.
I’m fully aware that we don’t deal with nearly the temperature extremes experienced by other parts of the United States or the world. For instance, according to Weather.com the city of Quriyat in Oman in the Middle East just broke a world record for the highest low temperature in a 24-hour period, a whopping 108.7F. However, New England is quite humid, and therefore we tend to “feel” temperatures more acutely. In the course of a year, our weather changes from -40F to over 100F, with some areas of our region experiencing temperatures more extreme in either direction. From freezing pipes and frost heaves to the baking sun and high humidity, our roads and buildings have to stand up to a lot.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself if I’m seriously writing an article about the weather (in May she wrote about statistics and algorithms in dating apps, and this month it’s the weather? Does this lady even get out?). Fooled you! I’m actually writing about how to keep cool and comfy in the summer without air conditioning at home. On some level we’re all getting used to air conditioning in public buildings, but as long as you don’t have a health condition that necessitates cool temps, do you need to invest in air conditioning at home in the Northeast?
There are some good reasons to go without AC if you can help it. Lowering your electric bill is a good motivation, since once you turn on the AC unit there’s a strong temptation to leave it running for most of the day. The cost of an air conditioner can also be prohibitive, as well as the hassle of properly installing the unit. Also, there’s a lot of joy in hearing birdsong and other sounds of summer coming through the window, which is drowned out by the chugging of an air conditioner. Plus, there’s the principle of the matter - there’s something perverse about turning on an air conditioner for a small amount of comfort when human activity is responsible for rising global temperatures in the first place.
Passive cooling measures are easier than you think, they just take a little bit of planning; it’s an awful feeling to get to work and realize a storm is heading your way on a day you decided to leave some windows open to catch the breeze. A few easy tips include: close the shades during the day, especially on the sides of your house that catch the sun; close the windows on the sunny sides of your house, though you may decide to leave windows cracked on the shady sides of your house if cool air is blowing in; as soon as the evening temperature drops lower than the temperature inside your house, open those windows and enjoy the night breeze; use window fans to draw in extra cool night air if the day has been especially hot, making sure to crack another window to help the fan work as efficiently as possible; avoid stove or oven cooking if you can help it, and instead eat cold foods like salad or use a slow cooker to keep from heating up your kitchen. For even more practical tips for keeping cool and conserving energy, especially if you’re planning a remodel project, check out these books from the library: “The Carbon Buster’s Home Energy Handbook” by Godo Stoyke, “The Energy Wise Home” by Jeff Dondero, “True Green Home” by Kim McKay, and “This Cold House” by Colin Smith.
We have lots of cookbooks with slow cooker recipes. Browse our cookbook section on the Mezzanine level next time you’re in, and keep an eye out for titles like “The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook,” “The Slow Cooker Revolution,” and “The Chef and the Slow Cooker.”
Swim, wear loose fitting clothing, eat ice cream - and when we hit a streak of 90+ degree weather and all else fails - come to the library. We have free air conditioning, and lots of books and great programs all summer long.
Once again on May 23, 2017, the Morrill Memorial Library's submission to the Massachusetts Library Association 2015-2016 Public Relations Awards won first place in the News category. A representative 25 columns were submitted. They were written by Charlotte Canelli, Nancy Ling, April Cushing, Allison Palmgren, Kate Tigue, Liz Reed, Bonnie Wyler, Diane Phillips, Norma Logan, Jeff Hartman, Sam Simas, Nicole Guerra-Coon, and Meredith Ruhl
On May 4, 2015 the Morrill Memorial Library's submission to the Massachusetts Library Association 2013-2014 Public Relations Awards won first place in the News category. A representative 24 columns from 2013 and 2014 were submitted. They were written by Marg Corjay, Shelby Warner, Nancy Ling, Diane Phillips, Brian Samek, Bonnie Wyler, Marie Lydon, Norma Logan, Allison Palmgren, April Cushing, Liz Reed, Kate Tigue, Jillian Goss, and Charlotte Canelli.
Library staff have written over 492 columns since 2009.
Contributors to the Morrill Memorial Library "From the Library" Column
Library Director, Charlotte Canelli began writing columns for the Peterborough Transcript in 2001 when she was the Youth Services Librarian at the Peterborough Town Library, 2001-2005. Soon after becoming the director of the Morrill Memorial Library, she began to write weekly columns for the Norwood Bulletin and Transcript. Since February 2009 other Morrill Memorial librarians have written many other columns. They include: April Cushing, Vicki Andrilenas and Liz Reed, Adult and Information Services Librarians; Jean Todesca, Kate Tigue, Nicole Guerra-Coon, Children's Librarians; Allison Palmgren, Technology Librarian; Sam Simas, Web Designer; Bonnie Warner, Literacy and Outreach Librarian; Diane Phillips, Technical Services Librarian; Norma Logan, Literacy Coordinator; Nancy Ling, Outreach Librarian; Cynthia Rudolph, Graphic Artist and Circulation Assistant; Jeff Hartman, Sr. Circulation Assistant; Margaret Corjay, Circulation and Outreach Assistant; Patricia Bailey, Circulation Assistant; retired librarians Hope Anderson, Marie Lydon, Shelby Warner, Margot Sullivan and Tina Blood; previous MML librarians, Beth Goldman, Kelly Unsworth, Brian Samek and Jenna Hecker; and library interns Kirstie David, Meredith Ruhl, Samantha Sherburne, Melissa Theroux and Khara Whitney-Marsh.