Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sundays: 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Closed Saturdays July 1 through Labor Day
Closed Sundays from Memorial Day - Columbus Day Weekend

Other Works...

by this amazing librarian

Author Archives:Liz Reed


Shooting for the Moon: Part II

In addition to the many anniversaries I mentioned last week, the Space Shuttle program has two this year: the 35th anniversary of the first American woman in space, Sally Ride on Challenger STS-7, and the first African-American in space, Guion Bluford, two months later on Challenger STS-8. As with last week’s column, all titles mentioned are available through the Minuteman Library Network.

The first Space Shuttle flight with astronauts was in 1982 on Columbia. The final flight of the Space Shuttle program was in 2011. Unlike earlier spacecraft, the shuttle was designed for reuse. The program had 135 flights with all but two, the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Columbia explosion in 2003, returning safely. Spacelab was flown on the Space Shuttle until its decommissioning in 1998. Shuttle crew constructed portions of the International Space Station and launched the Hubble space telescope.

The 1978 astronaut selection group included the first six American women astronauts and the first African-Americans who would go into space, three men. Sally Ride’s first flight was twenty years after Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. Frederick Gregory’s first spaceflight in 1985 made him the first African-American shuttle pilot on Challenger STS-51B. Mae Jemison (selected in 1987) was the first African American woman in space in 1992 on Endeavor STS-47. Eileen Collins (selected in 1990) was the first female shuttle pilot on Discovery STS-63 in 1995 and first female commander on Columbia STS-93 in 1999.

Margaret Lazarus Dean’s 2015 book Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight is my favorite of the adult books mentioned this week or last. Although the book is primarily about the end of the space shuttle era, it includes quite a bit of NASA history. Dean writes about traveling to Florida for the final launch of each of the remaining three shuttles and the friends she makes during her visits, including NASA employees and other fans of space flight.

Space Shuttle: the First 20 Years includes essays and interview excerpts from many shuttle astronauts, as well as photos from training, launches, space flight, and landings. Scott Kelly is one of the few widely known recent astronauts. In 2015 he spent almost a year on the International Space Station. His memoir Endurance: a Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery describes that experience. Leland Melvin was an engineer mission specialist after being drafted by Detroit Lions and having to leave the NFL due to injury. His memoir is Chasing Space: an Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace and Second Chances.

There are some wonderful children’s books written by astronauts. Buzz Aldrin’s book Look to the Stars is illustrated with beautiful paintings and provides an overview of significant events in the history of flight and American space exploration. Michael Collins’ book, Flying to the Moon and Other Strange Places, is about his early career, training for space, and the first lunar landing. To the Stars!: First American Woman to Walk in Space, by Carmella van Vleet and Kathy Sullivan is about Kathy Sullivan’s first spacewalk. Mae Jemison wrote a biography for YA audiences, Find where the Wind Goes.

Of course there are lots of children’s books about space not written by astronauts. Two about female astronauts are: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream, by Tanya Lee Stone, and Mae among the Stars, by Roha Ahmed. Not surprisingly there are several about Apollo 11 including One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh, and Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon, by Catherine Thimmesh. In Race to the Moon: an Interactive History Adventure, by Allison Lassieur, readers can choose to be a scientist working on rocket technology, a reporter covering the space story, or a member of Mission Control for Apollo 11. If your child is interested in what it takes to be an astronaut, you should check out Go for Liftoff!: How to Train like an Astronaut, by Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti. Ready, Jet, Go is a PBS kids show about our solar system. Season one is available on Hoopla. There are also books about the moon, the sun, the solar system, and space.

I suspect anyone who has been to a space-themed museum with elementary or middle school age children has seen the freeze dried ice cream for sale at the gift shop. Many may have given into the pleas to purchase it. My parents did. I hated it. Turns out astronauts did too. According to The Astronaut’s Cookbook: Tales, Recipes, and More, by Charles T. Bourland and Gregory L. Vogt, it only flew on Apollo 7. This cookbook is somewhat like an Alton Brown cooking show with information about the science of food including the moisture content of various foods and how that impacts the foods’ suitability for space flight. Tortillas are better than bread because they don’t make crumbs, and it turns out food packaged for vending machines is also good for going into space.

For those who want to visit some of the places where space history happened, there are several great options. MLN collections include travel guides to the general geographic areas where these sites are located. Alan Shepard’s Mercury Spacecraft can be seen in Boston at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Kennedy Space Center in Florida is about a one hour drive from Orlando and well worth the trip. All of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle launches took place there. In addition to the original Mission Control, visitors can also see the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft, an unused Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which made the final flight of the shuttle program. Space Center Houston, Texas, site of Mission Control since Project Gemini, is also the site of astronaut training and the Lunar Receiving Laboratory where astronauts were quarantined after going to the moon. The Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, Virginia, is about a half hour drive from Colonial Williamsburg. In addition to being where the women of Hidden Figures worked, the museum has Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft on exhibit. At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City visitors can see the Space Shuttle Discovery. The USS Intrepid served as a recovery ship for some Mercury and Gemini missions. At the California Science Center in Los Angeles visitors can see the Space Shuttle Endeavor. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois has Mercury and Apollo spacecraft on exhibit. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama is also the home of Space Camp which has programs for children, families, and adults. The Smithsonian has two aerospace museums, one on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and a newer building at Dulles Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. The Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly has the Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise on exhibit, as well as a Gemini capsule. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC has Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, the Apollo 11 Command Module, and an unused Lunar Module on exhibit. Over the next 18 months the Apollo 11 Command Module will be traveling around the country as part of the traveling exhibit “Destination Moon: the Apollo 11 Mission.” So if your travels take you to the Saint Louis Science Center in Missouri, the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, or The Museum of Flight in Seattle, maybe you can see it on tour. If you have European travel plans, you can see the Apollo 10 Command Module at the Science Museum in London, England.

Victoria Andrilenas is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Mass. Look for Victoria’s column in the April 12th edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


Sastavickas Scholarship 2018

Viola Sastavickas Scholarship

The family of Viola Sastavickas made a donation to the Morrill Memorial Library in 2007 in order to create a permanent scholarship in the amount of $500.  This scholarship was to be awarded annually to a current or former library employee or library volunteer for one of the following purposes: undergraduate or graduate school, a formal course of study, or an enrichment opportunity (continuing education).

This scholarship has been awarded ten times since 2007: (Elizabeth Porter, 2007; Lauren Bailey, 2008; Carolyn Bradley, 2009;  Jillian Goss, 2010;  Samantha Sherburne, 2011; Odhran O’Carroll, 2012; Laura Hogan, 2013;  Hallie Miller, 2014; Maureen Riordan;  Chloe Belanger, 2016; and Jyotika Tandan, 2017.)   The scholarship will once again be awarded in 2018 thanks to continued generosity by the Sastavickas Family.

Viola Sastavickas was a life-long resident of Norwood and used the library frequently.  According to her daughter Kathy the scholarship is “a fitting tribute to our beautiful mother and to the library and staff who treated her with great respect and affection.”

A brief application form is available here. Please contact Charlotte Canelli at 781-769-0200, ext 101. Applications are due by May 15, 2018 and they must be submitted electronically to the director: The scholarship will be awarded by June 30, 2018.

Reserve February and March Best Sellers and Sneak Peeks

Want to get a preview of some of the new releases coming out next month?

Download or view the February Fiction and February Non-Fiction lists to see if anything interests you. Click on the links for the complete list with titles (in blue) linked to the Minuteman Library catalog.  Log into your account and place a reserve. You may also pick up a complete list in the library and ask librarians to request them for you.


Memories of Ireland

While you might not remember how to pronounce it, you probably do remember what havoc the Iceland volcano named Eyjafjallajökull created in the early spring of 2010. Gerry and I were scheduled to visit my youngest daughter who was living in Dublin, Ireland completing a graduate degree.  Nasty volcanic ash spewed forth from Eyjafjallajökull and cancelled our trip. Chaos ensued for the entire week when our plans for a lovely Irish vacation were finally permanently shelved. Gerry’s disappointment was further complicated by my sadness that I wouldn’t be seeing my daughter who had left the previous fall for Dublin.

In 1983 I was lucky enough to live in Ireland for one full calendar year. My now-ex-husband and one-year old daughter and I arrived in the southern city of Cork just after Christmas in 1982. During our year, we spent many weekends driving back roads and touring practically every village, castle and sacred spot across the Republic. Our youngest daughter, Ciara, was born that summer in Cork which is the second largest city in Ireland with a population just over 125,000.

Our small family lived in the tiny village of Glounthaune, 7 kilometers east of Cork at the estuary of the River Lee. Not all houses in Ireland are named, of course, and not all years are spent magically, but ours was. Our rented home was surrounded by high stone walls. Near the wooden door opening to the entry was a plaque with the simple name: The Garden House. Our home was situated along a winding road leading north and overlooked an 18th century country house hotel and the Cork Harbour beyond.

We left Ireland just before the next Christmas to return to the United States, as was planned. What I hadn’t planned was my profound sadness leaving what had become a home in my heart.

I’ve returned as a tourist to Ireland twice since 1984. I took my daughters back to celebrate Ciara’s 10th birthday. I visited again in 2004 before I met my husband Gerry. After our marriage in 2007, I wanted to share some of my favorite places, moments and memories with Gerry. In April 2010, Eyjafjallajökull foiled those plans and many others. The weddings of all four of our children and the births of our six youngest grandchildren have kept us from remaking plans since to travel to Ireland.

My Christmas gift for Gerry this year was to surprise him with a long-awaited trip. Given the busy-ness of our lives, I’ve planned only five days and nights away. Norwegian Airlines recently added direct flights from Providence to Cork. We’ll depart on an overnight Monday flight – a perfect idea for a short vacation and arrive before breakfast. Our Saturday return, given the time change, gets us back home early in the evening.

Making air reservations is only the first step in travel. On a short trip, there is not the luxury of whiling away any time. Rambling and exploring have to be left for those fanciful and extravagant trips of more than a few weeks. That’s why I need to explore the travel guides well in advance of our trip planning an itinerary that will make the most of our five days. I’ve learned that driving around looking for overnight accommodations is never a good plan and advance reservations for convenient, centrally-located hotels and inns are next on my list.

This first visit will include arrival and departure from Cork, travel to Killarney to the west, to Kilkenny midway to Dublin, and to Dublin on the east coast. We learned the hard way on a trip to Italy a few years ago that a good up-to-date map is a must. Relying on Google maps can use up an entire allotment of data and can end up being a very expensive mistake. Cell service is often spotty in the least expected places, road blocks and detours can become hellish diversions to nowhere, and wrong turns waste an extraordinary amount of time. For that reason, I’ve invested in a recent edition of a Collins Roadmap of Ireland even though there are maps provided in any reputable guidebook. This way we can fold it this way and that and forget about having to replace a guidebook when we want to return it to the library.

Fodor’s Essential Ireland is published annually and I’ll be using it to search for up-to-date information on hotels in Killarney, Kilkenny and Dublin. While the Internet is a terrific resource, I want the straight-talk from locals and professionals before booking online. I’ll take a look at Frommer’s Ireland, Rick Steve’s Best of Ireland, and Lonely Planet Ireland which are all terrific overviews. Along with my own knowledge, the guidebooks will remind me of the best sites in the towns and cities we will visit. Both Lonely Planet and Frommer’s are also available on Hoopla, the library’s streaming and downloading service.

I’ll plan two nights in Dublin – feasting on the city where over half of Ireland’s population lives. Trips to the Guinness Brewery and Jameson Distillery are top on Gerry’s list and I’ll order advance tickets that I’m sure to read about in the guidebooks. We always take in a bus tour of every city we visit – we find it gives our feet a rest and the added audio or personal commentary is helpful.

I’ll have to be very careful choosing just the right places during our Dublin visit and so first I’ll consult 20 Things to Do in Dublin Before You Go for a Feckin’ Pint by Colin Murphy and Donal O’Dea!  Next I’ll read both 111 Places in Dublin that You Shouldn’t Miss by Frank McNally and Secret Dublin: An Unusual Guide by Pól Ó Conghaile.

There are so many regions of Ireland that are distinct – from western Cork to Galway and Sligo just south of the Northern Ireland border to the mountains south of Dublin where St. Kevin’s tower nestles in Glendalough. We’ll have to save those for another trip which I’m sure will happen once Gerry has his first taste of Ireland. That’s when we’ll take Scenic Walks in Killarney by Jim Ryan and Dublin Strolls: Exploring Dublin’s Architectural Treasures by Gregory and Audrey Bracken.

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the December 28, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


Never too Late to Change

Funny. I had another article in mind to write for this week, and then it hit me. Garfield. Do you remember the craze around that persnickety cartoon cat by Jim Davis? When I was a teenager I loved following the comic strip. Actually, I loved everything cats (before I realized my allergies stemmed from my own cat, Oreo). I decorated my room with the Kliban Cat, the one who wore red sneakers. And every Sunday I couldn’t wait to sit down, newspaper in hand, to read Hägar the Horrible and Garfield.

So it was really no surprise when a stuffed animal version of Garfield appeared in our family Yankee Swap one year that I had my eye on him. I’d picked a good number too, or so I thought. The only problem? My eight-year old cousin had decided to enter the “grab.” Her mother had assured everyone that she knew the rules and we shouldn’t treat her any differently. When she opened the box that held Garfield, she had a look of sheer delight. But wait? I thought. She doesn’t follow the comics like I do. She doesn’t appreciate the humor between Garfield and his owner, Jim. Not to mention, like I said, I had the higher number. So when it was my turn, I went in for the kill. I swept Garfield in a flash and deposited whatever hand knit coat hanger or crocheted soda can hat I’d opened instead.

I should have been ready for the tears, but I wasn’t. The right thing to do would have been to put myself in her place. Instead, I reassured myself I was playing the family game fairly. After all my cousin had said she wanted to be a part of the “adult” swap. Wasn’t I justified in taking the gift from her? The terrible thing was I didn’t feel so great after I took it. Not to mention the adults looked at me like I was the Grinch. Suddenly Garfield didn’t feel so warm and snuggly in my arms.

As it turned out I didn’t have the best number. Number 1 belonged to my Uncle Norman. He was the loveliest great uncle. He did things that other uncles wouldn’t typically do. He loved to bake (I still make his Quiche Lorraine). He kept finches in his tiny apartment. He crafted hats for ladies on Newbury Street and he could whip up a dress or skirt for my grandmother in no time. He also had heart of gold. I don’t remember what he said to me when he came over, but I know he folded Garfield in his arms and handed him to my tearful cousin.

That was one night when my personality didn’t shine, but I’d like to think my character has changed over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I still love unwrapping presents at the holidays. However, I’ve matured enough to know that it’s not the “things” in life that matter. At this time of year especially I’m reminded of Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. Who doesn’t love to read Charles Dickens’ story or watch the movie? Who can forget Scrooge’s dramatic change of heart? Perhaps Dickens’ story has stood the test of time because there is a bit of Scrooge in all of us. The night I took the stuffed animal away from my cousin, I was young and driven by the selfish desire to own Garfield. The good news is people do change.

Recently I read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and I fell in love with a bookseller named A.J. Fikry. He was a character whom I could relate to because he becomes a better person. In the beginning of the book, he is a young curmudgeon. His life is not going according to his plan. Not only has his wife died unexpectedly, but he has been left in charge of a desolate bookstore on the island of Alice. His misery consumes him and the only pleasure he finds is in his books, especially a rare one that he owns by Edgar Allan Poe.

And then, as with all good stories, something unexpected happens. Someone steals A. J.’s precious book, Tamerlane. Around the same time something, or should I say someone, arrives in his bookstore that turns his life around. I don’t want to give too much away but, like Scrooge, these events move A.J.’s soul like nothing has done before. In the process, his bookstore begins to become a center of community, like a well-run library.

Granted The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry and A Christmas Carol are works of fiction, and yet fiction reveals truth, too. We might not meet with Marley’s Ghost in the middle of the night, but it’s nice to know that we have the ability to change our outlook on life. We can choose to become more caring and less self-absorbed. Maybe it’s as easy as bringing some figgy pudding to a friend’s door or shoveling the walkway for a neighbor. We only need to be open to that stirring.

Today I will be delivering a pink hoodie and bracelets to a young girl whose father is incarcerated in a local prison for the Angel Tree. As I write, I wonder if she likes cats. If I could find one, I’d like to wrap up Garfield to go with the other packages. That might be a good sign that I’ve come full circle. Still I know I have “miles to go before I sleep.” Either way, I’ve learned the same lesson as Scrooge and A.J. Fikry: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Here’s wishing you a very happy holiday!

Nancy Ling is an Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Nancy Ling’s column in the December 21, 2017 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
Translate »