We are proud to report that 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" categories. 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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hearing the Call

Nancy Ling is an Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Nancy Ling's column in the July 30, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When my oldest daughter was four year’s old she informed us that she wanted to be an ornithologist when she grew up. I’m not sure where she learned that word, probably from her favorite television show at the time, Blue’s Clues, but I do know that she loved birds from early on. Soon her little sister caught the passion too. Rather than collecting American Girl or Barbie dolls, it was the Audubon toy birds that filled our house.
You’ve probably seen these stuffed birds in a variety of stores. My girls loved to squeeze each bird’s belly to hear its individual song. As parents, we never minded the girls saving their funds in order to add the next bird to add to their collection. At least they were learning about nature while playing. More than this, the reward came when walking outdoors together. When we heard a sound like birdie birdie birdie, our girls would turn their heads, invariably one of them saying “Mama, there’s the Cardinal.”
Thinking about it, this love of birds runs deep in our family. In my own childhood, I remember regular walks with my Auntie Babe on a farm in Connecticut. With our mucks on and binoculars in hand, we’d stop in the middle of the field, and wait. Often Auntie Babe would place her hand on my shoulder, and place her finger on her lips for quiet. I have a distinct memory of catching sight of a Gray Jay, instead of the run of the mill Blue Jay. The date of that sighting is marked in my aunt’s Bird Guide by Chester A. Reed that I still own.  One of my saddest memories is the day that we moved my aunt into a nursing home. Her dementia had been progressing and yet, when I peeked inside her field guide, I saw a question mark above the Summer Tanager. She had marked it several months before this transition in her life. When I visited her at the home, I’d always find her in the parlor, looking out at the bird feeder. Once a birder, always a birder.
And that brings the question to mind. . .Who is a birder? Certainly, my aunt fit the definition but, as it turns out, you might be considered a birder too? According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2006 survey, there were 48 million birdwatchers or birders, 16 years of age and older, in the United States—about 21 percent of the population. Holy crow! That’s a lot of birders. As the survey states: “To be counted as a birder, an individual must have either taken a trip one mile or more from home for the primary purpose of observing birds and/or closely observed or tried to identify birds around the home. Thus, people who happened to notice birds while they were mowing the lawn or picnicking at the beach were not counted as birders. Trips to zoos and observing captive birds also did not count.” Turns out there’s a whole lot of birding going on.
What is it about our fine feathered friends that can make our heart beat faster, or the movement of wings that stops us in our tracks? For some it’s the sheer fascination with creation, for others it’s the love of the “hunt” or the search for the next bird on the list. Recently I was at my in-law’s home in San Francisco. I’ve always been fascinated by the backyard which abuts the guest room window where I stay. Previously this was a well-loved yard. While the property is no bigger than a postage stamp, the older man who lived there was meticulous at pruning his fruit trees, and tending his rose bushes. Even now, if the wind blows just right, I can catch the intoxicating aroma of his white roses and yet, the man is long gone. Instead the yard is unkempt and the grass is as dry as straw. Still, when I looked into his yard this summer, I caught sight of a chartreuse-colored hummingbird with a grayish underpining. Upon returning home, I took out our library’s handy book Hummingbirds: a Life-size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor and Sheri L. Williamson (foreward by Pete Dunne). After flipping through the pages, I discovered the more common Anna’s Hummingbird was the very creature I’d caught sight of in that rundown yard.
I also discovered some helpful websites regarding hummingbirds and birds in general. http://www.hummingbirds.net is a good resource, but if you want to join a group of like-minded observers, the bird forum (http://www.birdforum.net) provides blogs and gallery and a forum. It’s the net’s largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and it’s free. To view more fantastic photographs online, check out 10,000 Birds (http://10000birds.com). On this site, you can view other people’s lists of bird sightings, plus there’s a fabulous category called “Trips” where you can browse to see vacation plans for bird lovers. Likewise, don’t forget www.birds.cornell.edu for photos and detailed descriptions of birds and their habitats.
When I checked out the section in our library for birding (598), I was pleasantly surprised as well. There isn’t any shortage on books regarding this subject. Of course we have the classics like Birds of North American by Kenn Kaufman and David Allen Sibley’s resource called Sibley’s Birding Basics. However, there are some different takes on the topic as well. For example, if you don’t think that you will be traveling much but you still want to observe bird life, a great resource is a book called the Audubon North American Birdfeeder Guide. As the book flap says this is “the perfect companion for all enthusiastic home birdwatchers.” While profiles of many birds are included, there are also practical tips for having backyard success, like which type of food and plant works best for attracting the type of bird that you’re hoping to spy in your area.
Then again, if this whole birding thing seems a bit overwhelming, How to Be a (Bad) Birdwatcher by Simon Barnes may be your cup of tea. Told in a funny and irreverent way, Barnes details his early failings as a novice birdwatcher. He says “That’s the trouble with birds: they very rarely stand still while you count their feathers and thumb through your field guide.” Isn’t that the truth! And, as he points out, “You get resentful. What business have these birds in being so ludicrously numerous? Why are there so many different species? What’s the point, other than to confuse people who want to become bad birdwatchers?” On the positive side, Barnes reassures the reader, if you can tell the difference between a swan and a duck, you are off to a good start.

Really, that’s the beauty of birding. One can begin at any point, even while having a lunch outside on a park bench. Like my now-teenaged daughters, you, too, may have heard the call, and caught the bug. After all it’s next to impossible to remain indifferent to a bird song. Wouldn’t you agree?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Monkey Bars and Rope Swings Just Got Real

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz's column in the 24, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

“Ah-roo!” “Ah-roo!” This is the call-and-response chant of modern day Spartans, as heard by yours truly several weeks ago in Barre, MA.  I accompanied my boyfriend to his first-ever Spartan race on a farm in Barre where he scaled greased walls, carried boulders, crawled under barbed wire, and ran about 8 miles with over 2,100 other racers. About 5,000 Spartans raced in Barre over the course of the weekend.
            Spartan Race is one form of Obstacle Course Race (OCR). Other popular OCR events include: Tough Mudder, and other mud runs; BattleFrog; CrossFit Games; Ironman; Ultraman; Peak Races; Death Race; and weekend warriors. The sport is growing in popularity so quickly that by the end of this summer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see new forms of OCR springing up. According to journalist Erin Beresini in her book about her immersion in the world of endurance racing, “Off Course: Inside the Mad, Muddy World of Obstacle Course Racing”: “Obstacle course racing is the fastest-growing sport in U.S. history. Every week, thousands of marathoners, CrossFitters, and casual weekend warriors shell out money to run through mud and fire, crawl under barbed wire, scramble over ten-foot walls, and dodge baton-wielding gladiators. They are a new wave of athlete for whom running thirteen or twenty-six miles just isn’t enough. They crave a primal challenge…”  The USA Obstacle Racing Association (www.obstacleusa.com) estimates that over 400 obstacle racing events are produced in the United States, and almost half that number are produced in other countries.
            OCR appeals to many different people on many different levels. For one thing, not all OCR events are technically races. Many mud runs, for instance, are not timed events, so there is no competitive pressure to finish as fast as you can. You can instead take the course at your own pace, meaning that more people of varying abilities can take part, and you don’t necessarily need to train for months and months to make it through. Spartan Race, although it’s a timed race, offers different levels of racing depending on your preference. The Spartan Sprint is 3+ miles with 20+ obstacles, the Spartan Super is 8+ miles with 25+ obstacles, the Spartan Beast is 13+ miles with 30+ miles, and the Spartan Ultra Beast is 26+ miles and 60+ obstacles. Joe De Sena, co-founder of Spartan Race, includes a disclaimer in the front of his book, “Spartan Up! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life,” that “living a Spartan lifestyle, although rewarding, can be dangerous and should be considered carefully.” As someone who lived with a Spartan-in-training for months, I can attest that those training for a Spartan race work and train extremely hard. In the end, the Spartan experience is worth all the pain, but the work to get there can be grueling.
            As Beresi points out, OCR also has great appeal as a way to reject organized sports as we know them. While OCR courses do have some rules, there is not a large governing body in place to regulate everything about the sport in the same way as in professional basketball or soccer, for instance. Psychologists also theorize that OCR attracts thrill-seekers and risk-takers, people who crave novelty and variety.
            In addition, OCR tends to attract military types, and not without good reason. Sponsorship of OCR has become big business, with the US armed forces spending millions of dollars on sponsorships annually, according to Beresi. OCR satisfies racers’ curiosity about military life, providing an environment of camaraderie and extreme athleticism similar to that of the military, but without the dangers of the battlefield; BattleFrog courses are even designed by current and former Navy SEALs. Meanwhile, sponsorship gives armed forces recruiters direct connections with potential recruits.
Camaraderie may be one of the strongest draws for some participants in OCR. Unlike traditional racing, you’re not in it alone. People can and often do compete as a team, helping each other through and over obstacles. Strangers stop to help each other and shout encouragement. One the day my boyfriend raced in Barre, a team of coworkers and friends were racing with a man in a wheelchair. This team carried their friend on their shoulders through mud pits, over walls, and across water obstacles. As De Sena writes, “Spartans help each other, and no Spartan gets left behind.”

Beresini’s and De Sena’s books are great places to start to learn more about Spartan Race and OCR in general. “Learning to Breath Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness” by J.C. Herz is a good overview of the history and current state of CrossFit. On our website, type “obstacle course racing” or “Spartan race” into the Search the Catalog box. Click on the Articles and Reviews tab to find articles and even videos related to OCR. According to my very own Spartan, http://www.spartan.com/ and http://obstacleracingmedia.com/ are very useful websites. Ah-roo!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tackling the Appalachian Trail

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the July 16, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

 This past weekend, an ultra-marathoner (41-year old Scott Jurek of Boulder, Colorado) finished “hiking” all 2,189 miles of the Appalachian Trail. His journey ended at Mount Katahdin in Baxter, State Park, Maine. Katahdin.

What makes his hike unusual is the fact that he finished in the fastest time ever – 46 days, 8 hours, and 8 minutes. He averaged 50 miles per day, beginning on Springer Mountain in Georgia on a day in mid-spring, May 27. Katahdin means “the greatest mountain” and the hike ends in Maine in what is called the One Hundred Mile Wilderness.

 I once fancied hiking the Appalachian Trail – an entirely unrealistic journey for me. It was fun dreaming, though, and I took books out of the library and briefly charted a course until I remembered that I didn’t really like to hike.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hot and Steamy Reader's Advisory

Read Kate Tigue's column in the July 9, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Kate is a Children's Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

After a long and dreary winter, the hot weather we thought would never arrive is here!  It’s July and that means the dog days of summer are right around the corner.  And whether (get it?!?) or not we realize it, many of us change our reading habits with the change in weather (ha, I can’t stop!).  Some of us eschew heavier tomes and gravitate towards light beach reads.  Others (like myself) use the summer to catch up on books we’ve wanted to read, the ones we never seem to get to during the rest of the year.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First Place Ribbon!

We are proud to report that 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" categories. 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.

Little Golden Books Old and New Again

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the July 2, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As a former children’s librarian, a mother to three daughters, and a grandmother to a brood of grandchildren, I can’t imagine life without shelves of books for children. Hundreds of picture books are published every year, and libraries have the challenge of fitting them on the shelves of their children’s rooms. In libraries like ours in Norwood, we often have to defer to a one-in, one-out policy which means “weeding out” the worn and unread books to fit the new. It sometimes breaks our hearts to withdraw a lovely book that hasn’t acquired the following that some of the newest books have.

As a very young child, my family treasured reading and books. I don’t remember my own experiences reading many picture books, though. Besides our well-worn copy of Make Way for Ducklings (published in 1941), and my mother’s own copies of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, not many children’s books made our family’s cross-country move with in the late 1950s.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Don't Use Your Face as a Brake Pad

Read Alli Palmgren's column in the June 25, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Alli is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

Bicycles are my thing. For years, I raced almost every weekend from April to January in whatever discipline that season offered: road, cyclocross, XC mountain biking, and track. Racing has given me my friends, my health, my identity, and my husband (we met at a bike industry Christmas party, but that is a story for another day).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sun Tzu and the Art of War

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the June 18, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I love lists. I’m always drawn to lists like “The Ten Best Movies for a Rainy Afternoon” or “A Hundred Things to Organize Before You Retire.” I especially like lists of books because, well, mainly because I’m a librarian, and that’s my job. I’ve always been curious about a title that appears on most lists of “books you must not miss.” I read many classics as a child and college student, but I was never required to read, or never was introduced to, the military classic of all time. The Art of War, by military general and philosopher, Sun Tzu was written sometime around 522-496 B.C. I must confess, I managed to avoid reading The Art of War until this past year until it was assigned reading for a master’s of public administration course in strategic leadership.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Little House in the Woods

Diane Phillips is the Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.  Read Diane's  column in the June 11, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

 A few months ago, on a chilly spring night, my family and I were looking for something interesting to watch on TV. We stumbled across Treehouse Masters with Pete Nelson and his crew. We’d never seen an episode before but were intrigued by the premise of a professional treehouse builder and curious to see what he’d build. After watching a few episodes, we were all having the same idea: we need a treehouse in our backyard!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

50 Years Plus of Beatlemania

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the June 4, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

One day, a few years ago, I found my diary from 1965 and I chuckled at the entry from a day in late summer. “Went to the movies and saw Help!  I LOVE Paul” it read. That Paul, of course, was Paul McCartney, the cutest Beatle, in my opinion.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Volunteers Make a Difference

Norma Logan is the Literacy Coordinator at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Norma Logan's column in the May 28, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Most people think of volunteerism in conjunction with hospitals, the Red Cross, animal shelters, or overseas agencies.  There are many more volunteer opportunities than these and varied reasons for people who seek them out.  I am interested in volunteerism because I train and work with literacy volunteers in the Literacy Volunteer Program at the Norwood Library, and I, myself, was once a volunteer tutor.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's All in the News

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the May 21, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Most weekdays, I wake up to local, national and international news on the radio, specifically NPR.  It doesn’t take long to get an assessment of the state of the world if it’s changed overnight.  I don’t get a morning newspaper anymore. To be honest, I get most of my news from logging onto my tablet or phone.  From there, social media, blogs, posts and alerts update me throughout the day. The occasional times I am unplugged or out of range, it only takes an instant to figure out the state of things when I tune back in.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

You Are My Sunshine

Margot Sullivan is a part-time reader's advisory and reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column as published in the May 14, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

My three and a third year old granddaughter is a joy.  She has an infectious laugh but when she is telling a joke and thinks she is pretty funny – the laughter changes and her Dad says “oh boy here we go again”! There are not enough words to describe her – loving,  independent, curious, stubborn, imaginative, bossy, caring, exuberant, fearless, and more.  Never did I think how wonderful it would be to watch this child grow ever so quickly.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Library Needs YOU!

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the May 7, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

 How are we doing? What could we do better? Those are the simple questions that the Morrill Memorial Library needs answers to and there are several ways you can let us know.  A quick and painless method is by completing the online survey.  It's available on our website at this easy URL: www.norwoodlibrary.org/survey. (You'll also be receiving this link to the survey in your Norwood Light bill this month.) Another way is to fill out a paper survey that is available at the library and several other places in Norwood. This month, we hope to get answers from over a thousand library users.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Number of Days Since Last Move: Zero

Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz's column in the April 30, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Since leaving my childhood home to attend college, I’ve never lived in a single location longer than 20 months. Sure, I’ve lived in Boston for three years, but in that time I’ve occupied three different apartments. In fact, I’ve moved a whopping 18 times since 2006. Ouch. Our current lease will be up at the end of August; we’ve chosen not to renew, bringing my grand total of single abode living to two years. Now it’s time to start the search process all over again.

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 and Kate Tigue, Children's Librarians; Allison Palmgren, Technology Librarian; 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; 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, Samantha Sherburne, Melissa Theroux and Khara Whitney-Marsh.