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Author Archives:Liz Reed


Love Around the World Film Series: “Eat Pray Love”

Eat-pray-love-movie-posterMonday, February 13th, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Fall in love with the movies during our Love Around the World Film Series, featuring romantic travel movies. The series kicks off with “Eat Pray Love,” starring Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, and James Franco, and based on the bestselling book by the same title. “Eat Pray Love” (2010) is rated PG-13 and runs 2 hours 13 minutes. The following movies and times will be:

Thursday February 23: “Midnight in Paris,” 2011, Rated PG-13, 1 hour 34 minutes
Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Kathy Bates.

Wednesday March 1:“Under the Tuscan Sun,” 2003, Rated PG-13, 1 hour 53 minutes
Starring Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, and Sandra Oh

Thursday March 9: “P.S. I Love You,” 2007, Rated PG-13, 2 hours 6 minutes
Starring Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, and Harry Connick Jr.

All films will begin at 6:30 pm and popcorn will be provided by Regal Cinemas in Bellingham. To sign up for this film or for all the films in this series, fill out the form below, call 781-769-0200 x110, or visit the Reference or Information Desk.


Holiday Ornaments

ornamentornament_backHoliday ornaments are once again for sale from the Friends of the Library. This iconic ceramic ornament features an image of the Morrill Memorial Library on one side, and a little historical information on the other. These ornaments make great gifts, and can be purchased at the first floor Circulation Desk for $15.


The Spice of Life

Pumpkin-spice-latte-with-pumpkinsWell, it’s that time of year again. We’ve all seen the ads and we’ve all heard the commercials. Some of us can’t stop talking about the elephant in the room, some bemoan that it seems to creep earlier and earlier every cycle, and some just wish it were over. Whether you anticipate or dread it, none of us can deny that now, in late-October 2016, we are smack-dab in the middle of – pumpkin spice season.

Yes, that’s right, pumpkin spice. Basically the best and most comforting flavor ever to grace a dessert table. Or latte. Or beer. Or candle, soap, you name it. I am unabashedly and firmly in the pro-pumpkin spice camp. Pumpkin spice has come to be a hallmark of Autumn in the United States, though I wouldn’t mind pumpkin spice being on the menu all year round. If you’re of the same mind, you should know that the Dedham Square Coffee House has Pumpkin Spice Latte’s on the menu all year, and they’re as fabulous in April as they are in October.

Some however, claim that the pumpkin spice phenomenon has gone too far. After all, pumpkin spice has spread far beyond the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pies of yore, and has infiltrated nearly every aspect of Fall in the US. You can find pumpkin spice lattes, chips, granola bars, tea, beer, muffins, cream cheese, and much more.

A strong argument can be made that Starbucks is chiefly responsibility for the current pumpkin spice explosion.. The coffeehouse giant developed the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2004 to capitalize on the Fall season, having already had great success with seasonal winter beverages such as Peppermint Mocha and Eggnog Lattes. The recipe was an instant sensation, and more and more companies have been jumping on the pumpkin spice band wagon ever since. For further discussion and interesting tidbits about all things pumpkin spice, visit the Pumpkin Spice Blog hosted by the University of Oregon.

Pumpkin spice naysayers are also quick to point out that there’s not actually real pumpkin in pumpkin spice products, and that you’re really just tasting cinnamon and other spices. In fact the iconic Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte does now include a small amount of pureed pumpkin, though, and the ingredient labels for many other products do claim the inclusion of real pumpkin. Regardless, and I assume I speak for many pumpkin spice lovers, we don’t care. Cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and ginger are traditional pairings for pumpkin, as I maintain the name “pumpkin spice” clearly implies. We’re after the pumpkin pie flavor, and these products don’t disappoint.

Modern Americans are not alone: apparently, no one has ever enjoyed the flavor of plain unadulterated pumpkin. Even the earliest recorded recipes for pumpkin advise the addition of savory or sweet ingredients. According to the book “Vegetables: A Biography,” pumpkins and other squash were among the first crops cultivated by humans. Prized in some cultures for their seeds and in others for their flesh, squash have been an important part of the global diet for about as long as we’ve been preparing food.

Given the late harvest for pumpkins and the fact that they overwinter so well, they were an important staple in Colonial America. A 1672 recipe for stewed pumpkin, originally recorded by John Josselyn, is reprinted in the book, “Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie.” Pumpkin pie as we think of it today was probably not served at the first Thanksgiving feast however, since the ovens necessary for baking pie crusts were not available in the colonies at that time. According to the What’s Cooking America website, the first recorded “modern” pumpkin pie recipe appeared in a cookbook by famous French chef Francois Pierre la Varenne in 1651, “The True French Cook.”

We all have different tastes, and I don’t expect to make any converts with this brief article. However, pumpkins and their spices have always been part of our cultural diet, and our heritage. You could choose to see pumpkin spice as a symptom of aggressive marketing in a consumerist culture – or you could see it as a tasty act of patriotism.

Liz Reed is an Adult Services and Information Librarian. Find her column in the October 27th edition of the Norwood Transcript.


The Library: Striking a Chord

Ukulele-pictureWhen I was child I spent so much time at the library it felt like a second home. As the years passed, other pursuits such as afterschool activities and part-time jobs began to monopolize the free time I had happily spent lost in books. During high school and college the library became relegated to a more utilitarian role – a place to study in peace or conduct research. After graduating, I found my way back to using the library for fun. Yet throughout my life and wherever I go the library has always been a resource I am aware of and a place I feel welcome. I was surprised to learn that this is not a universal experience. When a friend bemoaned that she was going broke buying DVDs for her young children, I asked why she didn’t just go to the library. She said she didn’t have the time or patience to hunt for them. My recommendation that she search the online catalog and simply place holds was a revelation. Yet in all the time I was singing the praises of the library, it never occurred to me to set my sights on becoming a librarian. Luckily, I finally had a revelation of my own and enrolled in Simmons’ School of Library and Information Science.

The library has gone through a metamorphosis since I was a kid. It is now a beautiful hybrid that encompasses the traditional books of my childhood together with a host of online resources and new technology. This suits me just fine. Although I’m as likely as anyone to use Google and other internet resources, I’m a tactile person who will always love the feel of a book in my hand. I also like the idea of going to the library, browsing, and finding something I didn’t know I needed. Online tutorials are great, but for me they work in conjunction with the books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines I can find at the library. I have used these materials to research vacations, brush up on my high school Spanish, acquire computer skills, try new recipes and learn about everything from improving my writing and making jewelry to the psychology of why we do what we do, and how we can do things better. Whenever I get the yen to try something new, I include the library in my search for information.

This year my husband, who usually gets me flowers for our anniversary, surprised me with a ukulele. I laughed when I recalled how we’d been watching a TV show weeks before, and one of the characters greeted his long-lost daughter at the airport strumming a ukulele and singing a modified version of the Who’s “Teenage Wasteland.” At the time, I’d waxed philosophic about the inimitable voice of the little instrument, and how fun it would be to just pick up said instrument and put my feelings to song. I admit that by the time we’d moved on to the next episode, I’d all but forgotten my desire to improvise little ditties about the day. Now, holding the tiny body in my hands and running my fingers over its diminutive strings I loved the idea of the ukulele even more, but wondered about actually getting a proper tune out of it. Yet the longer I held it, the more it was like that puppy at the pound that you spend too much time adoring; before long you know you’re done for. So it was settled: learning the ukulele was my latest yen.

Although I identify as a self-directed learner, this particular thing seemed a bit outside my grasp. So I did what any librarian-in-training would do, and went into research mode. First, I Googled “learn ukulele” which returned an avalanche of results. Who knew? Clicking on the first link, I discovered that the site’s creator, a musician and member of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (again, who knew?) had authored a book on the subject, so my next step was to search for it in the library’s online catalog. A library in the Minuteman Network owned a copy. I then searched the catalog for just “ukulele” which revealed an array of items from Ukulele for Dummies to Ukulele: A Visual History. I found CDs, DVDs, and even a ukulele kit. I also explored the Commonwealth Catalog – which allows patrons to search outside the Minuteman Network for items in libraries across Massachusetts. More resources greeted me there, including additional ukulele kits. While I’m no stranger to the interesting items one can borrow from the library – such as Morrill’s knitting needles, cake pans, microscopes, and even Wi-Fi hotspots – I was surprised by the ukulele kits out there. Curious to learn what might prompt a library to offer a ukulele, I decided to inquire. I called one of the libraries and found that a local music store had donated it. When asked if it was popular, I learned that it gets borrowed “occasionally.” Although that library hasn’t yet offered any related programs, they would consider it if patrons showed an interest. I find it encouraging that libraries in general are broadening their scope. Now we just have to spread the word and cultivate a wider audience.

I ended up placing holds on a couple books, a DVD, and a CD from my search, which I plan to supplement with online tutorials. My penultimate semester of library school might seem a strange time to pick up a new hobby, given the hectic schedule – but I actually think it makes sense. Whenever I need a short break from my studies, I pick up the uke and strum. Who knows? I may yet master my own improvised version of “Teenage Wasteland.” Perhaps I’ll even launch a ukulele program at a library, some day. It turns out we can tackle even the things that seem a bit beyond our reach. The library waits, now as ever, to provide the resources we need.

Kirstie David is a graduate intern at Morrill Memorial Library, currently enrolled in the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science. Read Kirstie’s column in the October 20th issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Fall 2016 Musical Sundays Concert Series

Musical Sundays Concert Series are held every Spring and Fall at the Morrill Memorial Library, thanks to the Library Endowment Fund. All concerts begin at 3:00 pm and are held in the handicapped-accessible Simoni Room. The line up for our latest series is listed below. Please remember to sign up by calling 781-769-0200 x110 or 222, emailing, or visiting the Reference or Information Desk. Enjoy!

Women-in-world-jazz-band-photoOctober 16th, 2016: Women in World Jazz



Photo-of-Swing-Fever-Trio-bandOctober 30th, 2016: Swing Fever Trio




Jolly-Rogues-Irish-bandNovember 6th, 2016: The Jolly Rogues

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