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.