Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Women Who Drew My Childhood

Nicole Guerra-Coon is the Assistant Children’s Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her column in the December 26, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.


When I was about three or four years old, my parents took me to my first movie in a theater - Disney’s “Snow White.” They weren’t sure if I would be able to sit still, or if I would be overwhelmed by the darkness or the sound. But I sat there, completely entranced, for the entire film.  Only when it ended and the lights came up, did I start to sob.  My parents were startled, and as they ushered me out of the theater, they kept reassuring me, “It was just a movie! The witch isn’t real!” But as I sobbed through the parking lot, the adults within earshot burst into laughter as I choked out “I…just...didn’t want it...to end!”


This is a memory that has stayed with me, and I have always thought about it through the lense of storytelling and its universal power.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Year in Reading

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the December 12, 2019 edition of the Transcript and Bulletin. 


I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. I find them a little depressing, knowing I’ll likely never keep them.  I don’t know what it is about the word “resolution” but it has such a negative connotation for me that I always avoid them. I prefer to set goals. Having goals sounds way more positive to me than making resolutions. Goals are things you can work toward, resolutions are things you have to keep.

I am a member of GoodReads, a social media centered around books and reading. When I first joined, I primarily used GoodReads as a way to keep track of the books I’ve read and the titles I wanted to read. But several years ago, GoodReads start challenging it users to a yearly reading goal in January of the new year. Participants can set the number of books they wish to finish reading by the end of December and a member’s homepage will track their progress toward their goal. I’ve set a goal every year since this feature was introduced and mostly met them. This year, I was very ambitious and hoped to read 25 books. I might fall a few short of that goal as I’ve only read 22 and December is halfway over!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Florida's Carl Hiaasen

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the December 5, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.

Carl Hiassen wrote the little book, Assume the Worst (2018), as the "graduation speech you'll never hear." He wrote it to his son, Quinn, upon his commencement from high school that year.  The advice as far as Hiaasen is concerned is meant for anyone. It might be a bit too honest, and perhaps a tad pessimistic, for many of us. Hiaasen argues against some of the favorite adages we hear all the time, like "Live Each Day As If It's Your Last" and "If You Set Your Mind to It, You Can Be Anything You Want to Be."  His conflict with these sentiments? If you lived every day like it was your last, you'd undoubtedly be broke, irrelevant, and possibly in prison. And can you really be the next Willy Mays or Bill Gates? Probably not. Hiassen's adage? "Self-delusion is no virtue."


Hiaasen proclaims that it's more important to "figure out what you're good at and get better at it." Or, more simplistically and realistically, "live each day as if your rent is due tomorrow."

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Who's Right About Rights?

Lydia Sampson is the Assistant Director/Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the November 28, 2019 issue of the Transcript & Bulletin.


Imagine working at your job, at the library, police station or Town Hall, for instance, and seeing a few strangers walk in with video cameras and iPhones pointed at you. They don’t identify themselves, but ask for your name and title. They speak calmly, but decline to answer when you ask for their names and the nature of their business. In fact, they inform you that they do not need to answer, and that they have the right to film you, a public employee, and the building, a public space.

How do you react? Do you debate their rights and yours, or the Constitution itself? Do you demand that they stop filming, or kick them out, or threaten to call security? Do you smile or scowl? Think carefully, because all of this footage may appear on YouTube and go viral.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Ties That Bond

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the November 21, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


I never thought I’d end up marrying my former best friend’s husband. 

In their Halloween class picture, our preschoolers are standing side-by-side dressed as Batman and a ballerina. I have photos of their son giving my youngest a bottle, and of our six kids hanging out in the hot tub at Sugarloaf while the guys played golf. Over the years my friend and I logged countless hours confiding in and commiserating with each other. When both our marriages went south, I found myself looking at Batman’s dad in a whole new light. And, evidently, vice versa.


But how to break the news to someone with whom you’ve shared everything from babies to book groups that you’re about to take sharing to a whole new level? I knew she had moved on romantically so there was no residual torch-holding, but still.

Heart pounding, I finally just blurted it out over the phone and braced for the backlash.

“That’s great, I’m so happy for you! I always thought you and Brad would be good together.” Whoa.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Living the College Dream

Nancy Ling is the Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read Nancy’s column in the November 14, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.

Open any website, turn on any television, and you will see the latest updates regarding the SAT scandal, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” According to an article by Natalie Hope McDonald, “About 50 people (including more than 30 parents) have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney in what could become the biggest bribery scandal in college history.”  The story is hard to ignore because of the involvement of Hollywood stars like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin but, as a mother of two teenagers, I find it upsetting on many levels.

For example, a slew of questions come to mind:
How much pressure have we put on our kids these days? How unfair is the college admission process, economically and racially? What must students accomplish in order to get into college?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Food for the Soul from the Biggest Little Farm

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the November 7, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.


I stumbled upon this year's must-see documentary, The Biggest Little Farm. Perhaps it was a teaser trailer online or a review I read somewhere.  I'm a documentary enthusiast, so I was more than thrilled to find the award-winning gem.
          I instantly fell for the story of Apricot Lane Farm. The documentary begins with hand-drawn animation - John and Molly and their marriage, hopes and dreams that actually revolved around their annoying yet loveable blue-eyed dog, Todd. Their love of Todd, a rescue who would not stop barking when he was left alone, reminded me of the love I've had for my own dogs. It didn't surprise me at all, as the documentary starts, that John and Molly chose to move away from Los Angeles and purchase a farm so that Todd could be with them all day long.
          John and Molly found a 213-acre farm only 40 miles north of LA for sale and purchased it with help from a family investor. Initial video footage in the documentary reveals a dry and barren wasteland with abandoned beehives, unproductive land, and fruitless and dying trees. With the advice of a farming mentor, the miracle of nature, and their absolute perseverance, Molly and John built Apricot Lane Farm into a thriving, biodynamic business. The film's cinematography takes your breath away. The captivating animals break or sooth your heart. Yet it's the documentary's clear messages –  heed Mother Nature and work with the land and be patient – that will inspire everyone.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Books Norwood Can’t Wait to Recommend

Liz Reed is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz’s column in the October 31, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.


Here in New England, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 3, 2019. Before we turn in for the evening on Saturday, November 2, we will set our clocks back by one hour to “fall back.” While this will gain us some extra daylight in the morning, soon we’ll all likely be leaving our workday and walking out into nighttime. And while we’re still likely to get a few more warm sunny days, for most of us this is the time of year we start doing more indoor activities. Many of us bookworms look forward to cozying up with a pile of good books through the chill dark nights ahead.

As such, I thought this turning point in the year would be a perfect time to offer some recommendations for good books. But you don’t have to take my word for it: these recommendations come straight from other Norwood readers.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Food Fight with a Poltergeist

Brian DeFelice is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read his column in the October 24, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.


My friends and I were all sitting at a rustic old table, drinking Guinness, and listening to the band that was playing at the Charlemont Inn’s restaurant stage. The Inn was located in Charlemont, Mass., a quaint little town of just around 1,000+ residents or so. The Inn was built in 1787, and had allegedly housed some distinguished guests like Mark Twain and President Calvin Coolidge. The place was packed that night, not only because of the good food and music, but also because many tourists stayed at the inn to recharge from a day of hiking, biking, and sightseeing along the Mohawk trail. My friends and I, well, we were doing a different, more unusual type of sight seeing…

Thursday, October 17, 2019

An Evening with Spirits

Norma Logan is the Literacy Coordinator at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Norma Logan's column in the October 17, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


For Mothers’ Day this year, my daughter invited me to go with her and her girlfriend to see the local well known psychic medium, Maureen Hancock, later in May.   I had never been to a psychic medium, but my daughter had been a few times and was quite taken with Maureen.  I was skeptical of the powers that mediums profess to have, but it sounded like a fun evening.


My daughter suggested that I read Maureen’s autobiography, “The Medium Next Door: Adventures of a Real Life Ghost Whisperer”, and I did read most of it before the evening of the performance.    Maureen is from Massachusetts and continues to live here.  The references to Boston area locales were familiar and interesting.   The story of her life is intriguing but often sad from birth on.  She certainly has had challenges in her lifetime including a severe childhood illness and a near fatal car accident.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Unimaginable

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the October 10, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.

           This week on October 9, it is the thirty-eighth anniversary of my daughter's death. I recognize that it can be an unsettling sentence to read. It is shocking for me to write, as well.

           Coleen was my firstborn, a daughter born early due to a congenital heart condition that no one suspected until just weeks before her birth. At the time, my ex-husband and I lived outside San Francisco. Two days after New Year's Day, I was rushed to the University of California-SF Medical Center to await an unknown future. It was new territory for all of us - her father, and I, and our baby. Coleen was born on January 21, 1980, five weeks earlier than her due date.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Friends Forever: In Life and In Picture Books

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the October 3, 2019 edition of the Transcript and Bulletin. 


At this busy time in my life, I’m starting to realize the true importance of friendship even though I have never had less time to devote to it. My closest group of friends are three women who I’ve known since I was six years old. We’re fortunate enough to have weathered many storms together, even though we’ve been physically separated for over 20 years. After we left our beloved Catholic K-8 school, we all attended different high schools and colleges. I moved away from my hometown in New York to permanently settle here in suburban Boston. Another woman in our group moved to Pennsylvania. Yet thanks to modern technology and social media, we’ve kept in touch and are closer than ever as support one another on the journey of motherhood.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Lydia Sampson is the Assistant Director/Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the September 26, 2019 issue of the Transcript & Bulletin.


In three days I depart for Ghana, bound for a rural village with no running water or internet access, to work on a construction project for two weeks. I acquired my mosquito net, anti-malaria meds, and a large packet of pre-departure materials. This is how I plan to spend my annual “vacation,” and right now I’m questioning my sanity.


The first time I ever left North America, I ventured to Duran, Ecuador on a high school volunteering trip. My Catholic school had a partnership there and groups visited annually to help out in schools and a soup kitchen, and embed themselves in the local community. In retrospect, we didn’t accomplish much of anything, but the value lay in exposure to the reality of life and hardship in a developing country. As a teenager, it opened my eyes to water and electricity shortages, unsanitary conditions, infant mortality, and other struggles experienced by the warm and welcoming people we met. Perhaps the experience sparked my interest in travel to off-the-beaten-track regions, and service abroad.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Crochet Craze

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 September 19, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.


I remember, years ago, watching my mother and aunt crochet the infamous “Ripple Afghan.” My mother’s was a range of dark purple and magenta colors. I was fascinated, watching it unfold.  She would watch her “stories” after finishing her housework for the morning and then crochet. I was about 8 or 9 and was always interested in all things crafty. I had made “Jeannie in a Bottle” using a Palmolive bottle and a miniature doll after having seen one at my neighbor’s house.  I collected my sister’s and brother’s old baby socks to use as “stuffing” for my sock pets, which were more tied than sewed.  Seeing my interest, Mum patiently took some of her scrap yarn and a G hook and taught me how to crochet. I was, as the saying goes, hooked!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

We Were Stardust. We Were Golden.

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the September 12, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.
          I was a rising high school senior in the summer of 1969. Far away from Bethel, NY, on the coast of California, I never even knew Woodstock was on the horizon. We all read newspapers and magazines and watched the nightly news. So we knew that something momentous happened on a muddy farm 3,000 miles to the east. Something terrifyingly huge, slightly obscene, and wickedly defiant had ignited while I lived my mini-skirted, innocent, bleach-blonded summer among the dry grasses of Northern California.

           Woodstock, like most unexpected events, might not have occurred, had the stars not aligned. Two young guys, 24-year old Michael Lang, and 26-year old Artie Kornfeld had an idea for a Studio-in-the Woods north of New York City. Kornfeld was already a vice-president at Capitol Records, but he and Lang needed financial backing. Enter two other young guys in their mid-twenties, entrepreneurs Joel Rosenman and John Roberts. Roberts was an heir to the Polident/Poli-grip fortune, and Rosenman was Roberts' good friend with a musical background. They had met on a golf course and were apartment mates in New York City. The two described themselves as "young men with unlimited capital."

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Here. Now.

Kirstie David is a Literacy and Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her article in the September 5, 2019 edition of the Transcript and Bulletin.


When you’re in the reading game, you get recommendations for all types about books you just HAVE to read.  Sometimes books are suggested to me because people know that I am interested in a certain subject, genre or author. More often, the people doing the recommending are overwhelmed by how a particular book made them feel and they want to pass along the experience. I have learned to adjust my expectations accordingly. I try to weigh what I know about someone’s personality and reading preferences against my own before racing out to get a copy of the book. This can be problematic, since I work in a library and regularly get recommendations from people I don’t know at all.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Do-It-Yourself Education

Nicole Guerra-Coon is the Assistant Children’s Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her column in the August 29, 2019 edition of the Transcript and Bulletin.


When I was a kid, reading a book was the surest way to get information on any subject. Television like PBS and the History Channel were informative, but you couldn’t exactly just call up a channel for information on a particular subject you wanted to learn about.  But, as we all know, the internet has removed many of the barriers in self education. You just need the motivation, access and time. 


Today, for instance, I needed to patch a few holes in some drywall. Did I know the first thing about that? Nope. Usually for anything home maintenance related, I call my dad as he knows how to fix just about anything. But today I was feeling guilty that a grown woman was waiting for her dad to come visit just to fix something for her. So I decided I could do it. I know how to adult - I have all of the internet at my fingertips! So I watched a few videos on YouTube, figured out what would work, and went to the hardware store. I got the supplies and I patched those holes!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Long and Short of It

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the August 22, 2019 edition of the Transcript and Bulletin. 


When I first started in my career as a librarian, I secretly judged people who asked me about the number of pages in a book before they were even curious about its plot. I used my “concern” about dwindling reading habits of America’s youth as a thin disguise for my own smug attitude concerning my love for long, meandering novels. At one time, I could read three or four books simultaneously and couldn’t understand why the length of a book mattered. If a book is interesting and well-written, why would anyone care about the length? I couldn’t fathom a different answer than my own. 


No matter how well-concealed, this is not a good attitude for anyone in a position to recommend books, especially to kids. Age and experience have thankfully intervened to eliminate the uninformed judgements of my youth. The past fourteen years as a youth services professional in public library has taught me all the reasons book length is such an important factor for many readers. Kids definitely judge books by their covers, and by extension, they factor in how difficult a book might be simply by looking at it. While many kids do love massive tomes like J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series or Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson novels, some see a large book and immediately worry they can’t finish it. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Ghost Orchid - Mystery of the Swamp

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the August 15,2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.


Seeing the Ghost Orchid was not on the Charlotte Canelli bucket list. I actually don't have an official bucket list, although I've been known to mentally check things off a list-of-sorts. I am hard-pressed to adopt any I-must-do-this-before-I-die obsessions. Spending a night in a Russian monastery was a happy consequence of a purposeful trip to the Soviet Union. Sipping mead in an Irish castle, viewing fields of Texas bluebonnets in the spring, and observing a Santeria ceremony in Cuba were the rewards of other whimsical adventures. My life has been a chaotic mixture of loss, love, joy, and pain, and I've happened upon many serendipitous experiences along the way.

           How I came to trod over a mile into southwestern Florida's Corkscrew Swamp to view the elusive Super-Ghost Orchid is no mystery to me. I simply awoke one sunny and hot July morning in Fort Myers, Florida, and placed it on top of my must-do-today list.

           The Ghost Orchid (or Dendrophylax lindenii in horticultural parlance) is one of the rarest flowers in the world. It is an epiphyte – or a plant that grows on air. The Ghost Orchid and other epiphytes are not parasites, but like bromeliads, mosses, etc., they derive their nutrients from the water, air, and the detritus of their host plants. Ghost Orchids are native to the Everglades of Florida and Cuba – in the moist and warm environments that make their lives possible.

           The Ghost Orchid flowers in an 85-day blooming phase, mainly between June and August. The Ghost Orchid got its name because it is a master at camouflage - it is challenging to make out from its background - the trunk of a tree. Its thin, pale-white petals and curling tendrils form what looks like the hind legs of a frog, and it is also called the white frog orchid.

          When Charles Darwin became fascinated by orchids later in his life, he suggested that a particular pollinator would be found for each specific orchid. In Chasing Ghosts in the Everglades (Forbes Magazine, July 19, 2019), the story is told of a team of three photographers who braved Florida swamps filled with alligator, panthers, snakes and bears. Armed with high-powered cameras, they were on a mission to photograph, at last, the ghost orchid's mysterious pollinator.*

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Sport with No Season

Lydia Sampson is the Assistant Director and Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the August 8, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels
I hesitate to admit it, having lived in the Boston area for my entire life, but I don’t follow the Red Sox. Or the Celtics. Or Bruins. Not even the Patriots. Don’t hate me! I’ve never been much of a jock, and don’t understand the finer points of team sports, but the main reason I neglect these undisputed best teams on the planet involves my commitment to super-fandom of another athletic endeavor – one that consumes so much spectator time and energy that it leaves little opportunity for interest in any other. “My” sport is called mixed martial arts, and it has no season. 

On any given Saturday you’ll find me online making my picks, scouring mixed martial arts (MMA) websites, and solidifying my predictions for the evening’s bouts. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Ruddy Good Writer

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the August 1, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript Bulletin.


     “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…” I’d heard these words, of course, but never realized they originated from Rudyard Kipling. “If--” is consistently voted the most popular poem in Britain, and all too frequently quoted, according to its author. Despite being woefully unfamiliar with his other works, I was thrilled to be invited to spend a weekend at Naulakha, the Kiplings’ home in Dummerston, Vermont during their four years in America.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Your Family Tree

Nancy Ling is the Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read Nancy’s column in the July 25, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.



I grew up with an awkward middle name. Lincoln. It wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of cool and hip. As a young child in the ‘70s when most of my friends had middle names like Ann and Marie and Jean, I was well-aware that Lincoln was not a name to be shared out loud if I could help it. The only folks who knew this secret information were the local bank teller and the pediatrician.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

We've Come a Long Way Baby - In Women's Sports

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the July 18, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin. 


I am, perhaps, one of the most uncoordinated women on earth.  Oh, yes, I had the distinction of managing my seventh-grade softball team, but, in retrospect, I suspect my team gave me the job as a manager because voting me the position of manager kept me from either guarding a base or handling a bat. 

I have somehow accomplished a few sports during my lifetime. I learned to ice skate at the tender age of five on a meandering city park pond in the heart of Worcester. I managed to straighten my buckling ankles and have lovely childhood memories of taking care of my gorgeous pair of lace-up, white skates. I continued to skate for fun after we moved to the West Coast and into my preteens on the public indoor ice close to my neighborhood in Berkeley, CA. The San Francisco Bay Area was also where I learned to swim and play tennis in free summer camps.

I also roller-skated everywhere as a young girl, traveling on expandable metal roller skates with the skates’ key dangling from a piece of ribbon around my neck. Moving to the hilly suburbs, however, put a damper on that activity when, used to flat, city streets, the brakes were applied to my skating when I fell and broke my left arm for the third time.

As a high schooler, I learned to ski in the Sierra Mountains near Lake Tahoe. I continued for years, leading my young daughters down New England slopes. Yet, I soon lost my ski partners when they abandoned me to the double black diamonds on the slopes in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. I bought myself cross-country skis instead. I fell in love with the solitude of whispering pines and quieter, slower trails, but gave it up when falling became too threatening for 60-year old bones.

I had the distinction of earning a high school Varsity letter at the Senior Sports Banquet in June 1970. I received the honor because I had spent the season expertly, and proudly, handling my football statistician’s clipboard, while managing to send beaming smiles to my handsome Varsity team boyfriend.

Coincidentally, in the wake of a star-struck nation obsessed with the Women’s World Cup win, I was suddenly struck by the fact that none of my high school girlfriends had been members of a high school sports team, let alone a soccer team.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Happy Moving Day!

Liz Reed is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz’s column in the July 11, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.


Have you ever had the experience of finding the exact right book at the exact wrong moment? And I don’t mean those times when you’re sure you put the book down somewhere where you knew you definitely wouldn’t forget it, and you know you’ll find it eventually but you’ve looked EVERYWHERE and have given it up for lost, so you finally pay the late fee at the library and get back in your car only to find it under the front seat.

Instead,  I mean those occasions when you don’t even know you should be looking for a book and the universe intervenes to drop into your hands the book that perfectly fits your situation...only about two days after it would have been really useful.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Now You're Playing with Power

Brian DeFelice is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read his column in the July 3, 2019 edition of the Transcript & Bulletin.


My parents had just picked me up from my friend’s house that warm September night in 1989. When we got home and walked through the door, my parents told me I should go right to my room. “Huh?” I had thought to myseIf, “I didn't do anything bad (well...this time anyway). However being a six year old, and exhausted from a day of playing with my friend, I didn’t think too much about their request and headed up the staircase to my room.  When I opened the door, both of my brothers were smiling at me, and that's when I saw it...

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Caw-Caw-Caw-Caw-Coodle-Yah!

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the June 27, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


A few years ago, when our eldest granddaughter was mimicking sounds and words, I delighted both of us by teaching her to “caw-caw” like a crow. Being an ardent birder, my husband Gerry taught her to sing “fee-bee” just like an Eastern Phoebe that shares her name. Sitting outdoors in the fresh morning air, we pointed out sequences of Osprey chirps and the sing-song lyrics of an Eastern Towhee (“drink-drink your tea!”)

I’m an amateur birder, absorbing just enough to detect a cardinal flitting over the yard or an eagle’s nest high over the highway. When I had some time recently to listen to an episode of one of my beloved podcasts (Ologies with science-writer Alie Ward), I chose Corvid Thanatology. In –other-words, the study of crow funerals.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Anti Beach Read

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the June 20, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. 



Summer is finally here and now is the time of year when every book-related website publishes its own spin on the beloved “beach read”. Many readers start to look for stories that aren’t too weighty or serious but still keep their attention. The plots are usually fast-moving and the ends are often happy.  These books are meant to satisfy and relax but not ruin the good vibes of your vacation.  In theory, this is a wonderful idea. In practice, I’m terrible at finding good beach reads.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Chicken Chat

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the June 13, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

A few years ago I moved into a house in the country (well, Holliston), with a bit of land, fenced in garden, and… a chicken coop. Mercifully, the previous owners did not leave chickens behind, and I convinced my husband that knowing NOTHING about raising poultry, we’d best wait a bit before starting a flock. As a librarian, I committed to doing my research before diving into a new endeavor caring for living creatures.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Glass-Blowers

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 June 6,  2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


After a recent jaunt to Sandwich, I reflected back on my first trip to “Cape Cod’s Oldest Town” where I visited the famous Glass Museum.  There is a large collection of both blown and pressed glass pieces, as well as many artifacts found in the grounds long after the factory was closed.  The Museum makes for an interesting few hours, especially if you are a history buff, interested in Cape history, or blown glass, both the history of it and as an art form.  The museum also puts on live glass blowing demonstrations, and these alone are well worth the trip.  In fact, on Friday, July 19th, the Sandwich Glass Museum will be participating in the 2019 “Free Fun Fridays.”  Admission is free for everyone!  Check out their website at sandwichglassmuseum.org for more information.  


I had first seen glass blown at the Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, in the 1980’s.  That was a wonderful first introduction to glass blowing.  The artist first heated the glass up to a temperature of about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, where it turned into molten (basically liquid) glass.  To make the process even trickier, the glass blower had to work fairly quickly, as the glass needed to remain at a temperature of at least 1400 degrees Fahrenheit in order to remain pliable.  I was soon lost in the swirl of glass colors, deft movements, and the excitement (Will he drop it?  Will he burn himself?).  I was truly fascinated by the entire experience.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Bells Will Be Ringing

Victoria Andrilenas is a reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the May 30, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

One of the many things I didn’t realize about Norwood before moving here is that we have the Walter F. Tilton Memorial Carillon at Town Hall.  My undergraduate alma mater also has a carillon which I always enjoyed hearing so I was excited the first time I heard bells here.  I don’t remember the specifics but I suspect I was stopped at the light on Nahatan and Washington and figured the tower was at one of the churches on the Norwood Common since municipal carillons are not very common in the United States.  Eventually I discovered it’s in Town Hall and try to listen for at least a few minutes whenever I hear the bells.
Town of Norwood  Walter F. Tilton Memorial Carillon


Our current Town Carillonneur, Lee Leach, is a frequent library user and at some point the topic of Norwood’s carillon came up in conversation.  I told him how much I enjoy hearing the bells and that I am always reminded of my college days.  The carillon world is fairly small; there are fewer than a dozen carillons in Massachusetts so Leach knows the current carillonneur at my alma mater.  Not only does she usually participate in the summer concert series, she also brings students to play at Norwood a few times a year.  Earlier this winter I was lucky enough to go up in the tower and see/hear some Wellesley College students practicing.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Cause for Celebration?

Kirstie David is a Literacy and Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her article in the May 23, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.



I was listening to the radio a while back when the DJ mentioned National Pizza Day. “Malarkey!” I said (or something like that.) Sure enough, when I did a Google search for national days, I found National Pizza Day listed on nationaldaycalendar.com. This is not to be confused with National Pizza Party Day (May 17.) Of course a little overlap is to be expected on a site that’s now tracking 1,500 national days, and where anyone can fill out a form to register a special day for annual recognition. I was relieved to see that the site doesn’t declare national days for individuals, since that literally requires an act of Congress.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Frida Kahlo - Constructing a Life

Nicole Guerra-Coon is the Assistant Children’s Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her column in the May 16, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript.


This past weekend was Mother’s Day, or as it is known in our house, the one day of the year my family has to accompany me to an art museum. I chose to go to the Museum of Fine Art (MFA) in Boston, which is showing an exhibit through June 16th entitled “Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular(the ‘Arte Popular’ refers to traditional Mexican folk art, which Kahlo collected and surrounded herself with.)  The exhibit combines Kahlo’s own art with the arte popular that she loved, and asks viewers to consider how these objects impacted her art and aesthetic.

Frida Kahlo is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century.  She has joined the ranks of Van Gogh and Picasso among others, who are so ubiquitous you don’t even have to know much about art to know who they are.  Her work is on a $10 poster in some kid’s dorm room, as well as t-shirts, handbags, toys, and even lipstick. She is no longer just a famous artist - she is pop culture.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Secrets and Lies in Silicon Valley

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the May 9, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


The saga of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, her revolutionary (but failed) blood testing company, is a captivating one. While you may have read about it on the Internet, or in news reports last summer, you should read the exposé, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou and published last fall. It is rich with the full account as it was revealed. Carreyrou was (and is) a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He was hungry for his next new journalistic journey, and a tip about Theranos was just the ticket.

The story of Theranos begins with Elizabeth at 19 – a college dropout – and a concept that depended on all the stars aligning and the pieces of the puzzle falling into place. Most importantly, however, science was required to work.
Detractors have declared that the science was never there to begin with.  That it was an absurd quest. Others question if more years and engineering may develop the product that Elizabeth promised -  a piece of medical equipment that can deliver accurate results of over 1000 separate tests using only a fingerprick and one drop of blood. Theranos bombed miserably, but not before duping investors and the public.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Borrow a Karaoke Kit or a Companion Cat

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the May 2, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

When people think of the public library, I’m fairly certain that books come to mind before all else. Of course libraries have lots of programs and events, and lend a multitude of other materials such as movies, museum passes, and even video games. Nowadays tech-savvy folks also take advantage of “virtual” collections of e-books, audiobooks and streaming video. Over the years the Morrill Memorial Library started thinking outside the box and lending puzzles, knitting needles, cake pans and electronics including Wi-Fi hotspots and GoPro video cameras. Whether we realized it or not at the time, we created, in library parlance, a “Library of Things.”

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Mystery of the Standing Stones

Librarian April Cushing is head of Adult and Information Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column published in the April 25, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript Bulletin.

     What sounds like the title of a Nancy Drew novel is actually my most recent fascination. In Britain they call them stones but they’re really rocks—big ones. I’m referring to the roughly 1300 Neolithic monuments found throughout the U.K. known as stone circles and standing stones.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Dear Beloved Reader

Nancy Ling is the Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read Nancy’s column in the April 18, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


Annette Webber's Books
In many ways the 21st century public library and its role have been reimagined. In this digital age the library has become much more than a repository for great books. Libraries are promoters of community as well. Take a look at the Morrill Memorial Library events happening in the month of April alone. We have everything from Musical Sundays to talks on Stone Carvers of Old, from Beginning Yoga to The Secret Lives of Owls.

Part of our shifting role includes providing information on the run. As mentioned by the Brookings Institute, “This “go-to” role has influenced library programming and events, with libraries providing advice and connections to health, housing, literacy, and other areas.” Or, in author Neil Gaiman’s words, the library is “a community space. It’s a place of safety, a haven from the world.”

And yes, I could not agree more. In this digital world the library serves as a connector, providing access to information through workshops and speakers and more. At the heart of it all though, the library returns to two essential ingredients 1) free access to information and 2) our beloved readers.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Public

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the April 11, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

   In the 1986 film "The Breakfast Club," Andrew Clark and four odd rebels are restricted to the high school library in an all-day Saturday detention.  23-year old actor Emilio Estevez performs the part of clean-cut Andrew, the state wrestling champion. Estevez’ character feels out of place in detention; he is the jock in his letter jacket, confined with what he considers as misfits. He begins this long day annoyed that he is punished for a cruel prank that his father made him do.

    The day in detention is spent with bad behavior, rude pranks, bitter tears and heartless insults, and, finally, with sincere confessions and friendship. While "The Breakfast Club" is a story of civil disobedience against what might seem ridiculous and unfair rules, it is, most of all, a lesson about the bonding and relationships that can arise when social barriers are broken down amid tension and emotional honesty.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

I Failed Immediately. Then, I Succeeded.

Liz Reed is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz’s column in the April 4, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


Swoosh. Swish. Chatter. Crunch. Silence. Swoosh. Chatter. Crash.

The sound of me learning to ski, just a few weeks ago at the end of the ski season at Killington Vermont. Even though I grew up in the frozen north, I never learned to downhill ski. My mother had me on ice skates almost as soon as I could walk, and we had weeks of snowshoe and cross-country ski units in gym class. But the downhill skiing never took.

I recall one school trip as a young child to Ski Big Tupper. I don’t remember now what prompted them to take us on a skiing field trip over an hour away, but I do remember that I didn’t like it. Not one bit. I fell over, got cold and wet, couldn’t get back up, and the other kids laughed at me. I tried something new, probably under duress, failed immediately and vowed never to ski again.

Cut to winter 2019, and someone has convinced me that although I had a bad experience trying to ski as a child, maybe I should try it again as an adult who is not under duress to learn, and who at the very least could enjoy the benefits of apres ski. It would also help to use better equipment (I don’t even think we had ski poles or real ski boots in Tupper, let alone goggles) and take an actual instruction class for adult novice skiers.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

How to be a Good Reader

Kate Tigue is the Head of Youth Services at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the March 28, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. 


If you’re reading this, you can definitely read!  Congratulations! So why do you need advice on how to be a good reader? Reading aloud, especially to children, is skill that looks deceptively easy but requires a great deal of finesse to do well. We are in the age of the “guest” or “mystery” reader.  It’s quite common now for relatives to be invited into a classroom setting to read aloud. In the Children’s Room, I field many questions from terrified grown-ups about what books they should read to their child’s or grandchild’s class.


Recent studies show strong evidence that reading aloud to children of all ages is critical to maintain literacy skills, even for children who are independent readers. Many adults forget the joy of being read to and stop reading aloud to children once they can read themselves. As parents,we are all crunched for time but making time for bedtime stories is important for several reasons. Reading provides a wonderful bonding time between parents and children that older children still crave.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Children Who Fall Far from the Tree

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the March 21, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


            When Alice fell down the rabbit hole in her Adventures in Wonderland, she was chasing the White Rabbit. When I fall down into a rabbit hole, it, too, means that my own White Rabbit, or curiosity, has gotten the best of me. I’ve been known to lose significant chunks of time only to reappear to meet my demands in life. As a college student, this happened in the library - either in the drawers of extensive card catalogs or in the endless mazes of the book stacks. Sometimes, I surrounded myself with so many massive volumes of the Reader’s Guide(s) to Periodical Literature that I was not only figuratively, but literally, lost among them.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kick, Punch - It's All in the Mind

Brian DeFelice is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read his column in the March 14, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


The Secrets of Tae Kwon DoThe sparring gear I was wearing made my body feel twenty times hotter than the dojang that I was sparring in. I was fighting a guy who was slightly older than me in terms of age, but light years ahead of me in terms of skill. I wasn’t just sweating because of the heat; adrenaline was pumping through my veins, my mind was in high alert, and sparring is nothing like doing drills. With drills, you are kicking pads or punching into the air at your reflection in the mirror or at some phantom opponent in your mind. In sparring, you are simulating a real fight, with a real person, who can really hurt you, which is simultaneously exciting and nerve wracking.

I remember trying to get in a few roundhouse kicks to to his chest, and at one point even tried to land a crescent kick to his head, but he was FAST, and was using the best weapons in his arsenal to combat me: his mind and his experience. It seems as if he could read my every move before I even made it. I kept trying to land blows, but it was to no avail, until I saw an opening! I  had dodged one of his back kicks, which I thought was a mistake on his part, which left his back exposed for a moment so I went in with a front kick to land a blow.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Sunbathing in Haiti, Surfing in Nicaragua

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read her column in the March 7, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


It was the summer of 2010 - one of my all-time favorite travel memories. A small rowboat carried me and my friend to a pristine beach cove, as beautiful as any postcard from a tropical paradise anywhere in the world. We had the entire palm-lined shore to ourselves, to sunbathe, look for shells, and swim in calm tepid water. At some point a man with a sack of fresh mangos rowed up to the cove and sold some to us for about ten cents each, then rowed along to his next stop. The day couldn’t have been more perfect after an exhausting week of hard work and heartbreak. I should mention, we were in Haiti, six months after the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Revisiting the Monkees. Remembering Peter Tork

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the February 28,  2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


Just days after learning that Monkees were on a national tour this past week, I heard the news about Peter Tork’s death.  I questioned how a national Monkees tour could occur without Davy Jones, who passed away nearly seven years ago. Apparently, it wasn’t happening without Peter Tork, either, who had been ill and fighting cancer for the past ten years, but most specifically since 2018.

Tork was diagnosed with a slow-growing cancer of the head and neck in 2009. After surgery and during radiation treatment, Peter continued to play music on tour. For nearly a decade, he documented his struggle with adenoid cystic carcinoma on his Facebook page. In an interview with the Washington Post: Voices, Peter Tork’s Cancer, In His Own Words, published in July 2009, Tork described the scary words of his diagnosis, the harsh radiation treatment, and his commitment to continuing to perform.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Lessons Learned from Gluten-Free Baking

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 February 21, 2019 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


After struggling with GI issues for many years, I recently have decided to take my diet in hand.  I had previously gone “Dairy-Free” for the same reason and experienced some success, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be, gastrointestinal-ly speaking.  Gluten, a storage protein in wheat that gives baked goods that elasticity and lightness, has long been touted as a contributor to aforesaid GI issues.  My sister had already gone gluten-free for the same reason.  There was only one thing standing in my way:  my undying and uncompromising love for baked goods.  I didn’t see how I could ever give them up and experience a satisfied diet.  So, I went in search of gluten-free alternatives.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Fierce Kind of Love

Kirstie David is a Literacy and Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her article in the February 14, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

I was running errands at some point around the holidays when I happened to tune in to a radio segment about tarantulas. This is not a subject I’ve ever had any interest in, and I would normally have changed the station at once, but the topic wasn’t immediately clear to me. A woman was describing a furry creature with delicate, pink-tipped feet. I tried to guess the animal, factoring in her obvious admiration. I was hindered by the detail of her holding it in her palm. When one of the hosts of the show expressed his disbelief that a tarantula could be charming, I actually recoiled. My hand, which had been hovering near the radio buttons, yanked back as if a huge spider might suddenly appear there. Who was this lunatic? In short order, I learned that the woman speaking was naturalist and author Sy Montgomery, who has been described by The Boston Globe as, “Part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson.”

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Where Are All The Ladies At

Nicole Guerra-Coon is the Assistant Children’s Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her column in the February 7, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript.


One day, while I was at home working on a painting, I decided to try to learn through osmosis and put a documentary on. I usually listen to music or have the TV on while I paint or draw, and I don’t really pay close attention since I am focused on my work.  But instead of absentmindedly trying to figure out who the real murderer was on some British mystery, I thought - maybe I could learn something! I always mean to watch more documentaries or read more about the topics I am interested in, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  So I picked a topic, Female artists, and selected a documentary on someone I’d never heard of.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Bottoms Up - Beer in New England

Brian DeFelice is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read his column in the January 31, 2019 edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

When I saw the writing on the crate, I remember getting this rush of excitement. It was an old wooden crate on the floor of my mother-in-law’s cottage in New Hampshire, which was being used as a container for all sorts of miscellaneous newspapers and magazines that had been collected by myself and the family during our many summer visits to the cottage over the years. The sturdy but aged wooden crate was clearly an antique, but to me it had always just been a fixture of the cottage; something that was always there, but never actually warranted a closer look or any further inspection. It was just, to me, an old box with some old papers in it.