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!”