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Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Kindness Rocks!

Tuesday, April 17th
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
All families welcome
Drop-in program

The library is collaborating with the Parks and Recreation Department and the Norwood Council on Aging to participate in the Kindness Rocks movement this spring! Kids and adults can paint rocks with inspirational quotes and affirmations. We’ll seal them and bring them to Norwood’s first Concert on the Common on June 15th to be distributed around Norwood. Spread some kindness and create your rock today!


It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

Funny thing! My Dad told me this a lot growing up: “Go ahead! It never hurts to ask!” As a shy child, I wasn’t so sure. Secretly I hoped things would work out on their own so I wouldn’t need to say a word. Requesting information, like “how much does that movie cost,” or “where do you shelve the toilet paper,” took a monumental dose of bravery on my part. I am the model child for Susan Cain’s book Quiet.

Whether we like it or not, life provides opportunities to stretch ourselves, even on a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t stick my head into books all the time as a librarian. I am called to be social and help our patrons. Likewise a big part of my day is spent answering patrons’ questions, which means asking a few of my own. And, as I’ve discovered, asking the right question at the right time can sometimes bring surprising results.

Case in point, several years ago I asked a question that changed my life. For years I’d submitted my poetry to June Cotner’s anthologies. When several of my poems first appeared in Baby Blessings, I was over the moon. After that first acceptance, June and I began corresponding regularly and she soon became my mentor in so many ways.

Then in the summer of 2012 I discovered I’d be heading from Boston to Seattle for a writers’ retreat. At last June and I were to meet in person! Before my trip June happened to mention that she was overwhelmed with work because her assistant had recently moved away. Without hesitation, I asked the simplest of questions: “June, is there any little thing I can do to help you from the East Coast?” I thought I might assist her by reading a few of the many submissions she receives regularly.

I was completely shocked by her answer. “Well Nancy, how would you like to coauthor a book together?” I don’t think anything could have knocked my socks off more. I could barely reply with a “Wow!” and a “Really?” and yet my travels to Seattle began a new phase in our relationship. We were becoming coauthors! Of course, that initial question was followed by many more. What project should we work on first? How should I gather entries to our anthology? Who would we submit our proposal to?

As it turns out, Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion was our first book together. June graciously walked me through every step of the way. While I’d written poetry and children’s books before, this was a whole new experience for me. I had so much to learn. What am I talking about? I am still learning.

This New Year’s Day we signed a contract with Andrews McMeel for our second co-authored book entitled Family Celebrationsand thanks to the fabulous work of our agent, Anne Marie O’Farrell (Marcil-O’Farrell Literary LLC), we are excited to say our first children’s anthology, For Every Little Thing, has been accepted by Eerdman’s Publishing. On top of that, we have co-authored a children’s manuscript called Be Creative that my agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette (Erin Murphy Literary Agency) is shopping around.

Yes, I have to say, I find that I am pinching myself on a regular basis these days. Could this all be real? It is hard to believe this long and winding road to publication is part of this shy girl’s journey. To think it all began with a question, or maybe two or three. What do you think about that? 

Come check out the books mentioned in this article at our library, including Quiet by Susan Cain.

And here are a few other titles that you can find in our library. They may help if you are thinking about writing or publishing a book of your own in various genres:

Fiction, the Art and Craft of Writing and Getting Published by Michael Seidman

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein

The New Writer’s Handbook: A Practical Anthology of Best Advice for Your Craft and Career, edited by Philip Martin.

Steering the Craft: A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, by Ursula K. Le Guin

The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg

Nancy Ling is the Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read Nancy’s column in the March 22nd issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Her Truth is Marching On

Happy National Women’s History Month! I’m writing this article on March 8, which is celebrated by men and women around the world as International Women’s Day, or IWD. March has been officially designated as National Women’s History Month since 1987 in the United States, but IWD has been celebrated since 1911 and can trace its roots back to political action by women in New York in 1908. According to, “International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.” IWD is not as well-known in the United States. However, it is an official holiday in other countries, with men and boys honoring their wives, mothers, sisters, colleagues, etc. with flowers and small gifts. In some places, the day is treated as the equivalent to Mother’s Day.

No single organization is responsible for overseeing IWD celebrations and activities, but instead groups in different countries coordinate their efforts to push for similar causes. Political action and popularity of IWD has waxed and waned with the feminist movement, and is currently seeing a resurgence in activity, most likely influenced by the recent Women’s March and #MeToo movements.

What has put women’s history on my mind? Calendar of global and national events aside, I was recently asked to be a reader and reviewer for a prestigious award for local authors, the Julia Ward Howe Award. Awards are given in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction (the category for which I’m reading), Poetry, and Young Readers, by the Boston Authors Club. The award is named for the club’s first president.

The Boston Authors Club was unique in its time in that both women and men were members. In 1886, a group of men authors in Boston discussed forming such a club, but were unable to agree about the inclusion of women, and efforts to form the club dissolved. In 1899, several women authors met to discuss the idea of an author’s club in Boston. They agreed that it was a splendid plan and approached some of their male colleagues to join them. Soon, the Boston Authors Club was formed and Julia Ward Howe was elected the first president.

You almost certainly know of Julia Ward Howe’s work, even if you didn’t realize it. She wrote the poem, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which was then set to the music of “John Brown’s Body” composed by William Steffe. The song “John Brown’s Body” was popularized as the Union Army’s marching song in the American Civil War, and today “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is a national anthem, of sorts. Her publication of “Battle Hymn” in 1861 brought her immediate celebrity, and she became one of the most famous women in 19th century America.

Howe was a writer of fiction, travel and children’s books, poetry, plays, essays, and articles. She was born to privilege in New York City in 1819 and married young. A series of poor business decisions by her husband and male family members lost most of her wealth, though, and as a widow she worked to earn a meager living. Howe had seven children and was instrumental in the creation of Mother’s Day.

The women’s suffrage movement was Howe’s biggest consideration, and she worked tirelessly writing, lobbying, and editing  journals and magazines to spread information and promote her causes. She was also an abolitionist  and social and human rights activist, worked to promote world peace, and was at the forefront of gender and sexual politics. In short, Julia Ward Howe was a strong feminist activist before feminism was even a widely used term.

Howe was an ambitious, outspoken, fiery poet, but was ahead of her time in the 1800s. Her husband was autocratic and patriarchal, and was dismayed to find he hadn’t married a demure, decorous wife. He threatened to leave Julia and take their children after she anonymously published a volume of poems called “Passion Flowers” which alluded to intimate personal details of their married life. Julia continued her activist work but scaled back certain aspects, and today is best remembered for “Battle Hymn”

Boston has always been a literary firebrand of a city, and we can proudly claim Julia Ward Howe as one of our foremothers. To learn more about Howe’s fascinating life and work, visit the library to check out “The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe,” by Elaine Showalter, or “The Vintage Book of American Women Writers,” edited by Elaine Showalter.

Liz Reed is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz’s column in the March 15, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


Flip Turn the Page

Woman-in-pool-flipping-hairThere’s something about jumping into cold pool water early in the morning. I love the sensation of pushing off the wall as I make my turn. I enjoy the soreness in muscles the day after a hard workout. I am even beginning to like the smell of chlorine on my skin. It reminds me that I earned my breakfast. All that said, there are days when I can’t stop counting down the minutes until I can hit the showers. Invariably, those are days when I run out of battery.

I began swimming again when injury prevented me from cycling over a year ago. I saw it as a last-resort activity; something to hold me over until I could get back on the bike. So I signed up for a pool membership over at Westwood High School and forced myself into the water every morning before work. While my body slowly remembered proper freestyle form and how to make a decent flip turn between lengths of backstroke, I couldn’t shake the boredom.

My complaints must have been more vociferous than I realized, because I found a very tiny box under the Christmas tree that year with explicit instructions to use while swimming. My sister and brother-in-law (both swimmers) had given me a waterproof iPod shuffle that clips to a swimmer’s goggle straps.

My brother-in-law explained that bad pop music was the only thing that got him through hours of Ironman training and that my time in the water was about to improve dramatically. After an afternoon of selecting the perfect playlist and downloading an audiobook from Overdrive, I excitedly put in my earbuds and began my swim. I started with my audiobook…and quickly became very confused. Unbeknownst to me, I had selected “shuffle” mode, so my book was jumping all over the place. One moment, the protagonist was a small child and then two minutes later she was a grandmother, and then there would be a musical interlude featuring Lady Gaga. This was not working.

Once I figured out my mistake, I re-evaluated the content on this miniature MP3 player, determining that music and single track spoken audio is best. Podcasts and upbeat music became the order of the day. I am always excited to load new content and can’t wait to get into the pool to explore a new album or episode. Here are some of my recent favorites:

Ogogo by Mike Gordon is the newest offering from the Phish bassist. My husband has loved Phish for longer than he has loved me, but I’m barely a casual fan. The jams are too long and the music, though skillful, is too weird at times. This album is not that. It is synth-heavy pop that just makes you want to get moving.

Speaking of beats that keep you going long after others might have let you quit, I just can’t get enough of William Onyeabor. This master of Nigerian funk was a big deal in Nigeria in the late 1970’s but has only recently come onto my radar. I just ordered the album World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor for the library, so make sure to get yourself on the list. Start with the songs Atomic Bomb and Fantastic Man and you won’t be disappointed.

If I just need a few songs to get me through the last 1000 yards, I go straight to my “That’s My Jam” playlist. It starts with Redbone by Childish Gambino, Dirt off Your Shoulder by Jay-Z, and Power by Kanye West. Then I go full on pop-goddess with just about anything from Halsey, Sia, and Lady Gaga. I finish up with some old rock staples like Everlong and The Pretender by the Foo Fighters and my longtime favorite, Eminence Front by The Who.

Sometimes I want something that isn’t music. This is where podcasts fit in. I pick podcasts with episodes that are roughly the same length as a typical workout, so while I love longer podcasts like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, I am definitely not staying in the pool for 5 hours learning all about the demise of the Celts or Alexander the Great. Those are for cleaning the basement.

My ultimate favorite is Radiolab. This podcast explores a variety of topics related to science and culture. At about 40 minutes long, Radiolab is the perfect length for a before work swim. It lets my brain warm up for the day, while I do the same with my body.

If I need something funnier, Two Dope Queens is my go-to. I am in love with the hosts, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. These comedians leave no topic untouched, sharing stories about relationships, city living, pop culture, current events, fashion, and just about everything in between.

As people who know me well will tell you, I live for sports. If it involves a ball, a racquet, throwing myself down a mountain, or any other fun way to use my body, I will be first in line to give it a shot, so I couldn’t write about podcasts without including one of my favorite sports themed series. EPSN’s 30for30 podcasts are amazing. They delve in depth into a variety of sports stories. Some are inspirational, others explore the dirty underbelly of sport. There aren’t many of them, but they are worth waiting for.

Very long story short, my brother-in-law was right, what’s playing in my ears totally changed how I feel about my workout. As I learned, it can be tricky to get digital content onto your device to fuel your workout. Even if you think my music taste is rubbish, I would be happy to help you load your favorite tunes and podcasts onto your device. If you can’t find me at the library, check the Westwood pool. I’ll be the one dancing at the wall between sets.

Alli Palmgren is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Alli’s column in the March 8, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Books ‘n’ Bites April 2018

Saturday, April 7th
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
7th grade – 12th grade
No registration required!

We chat. We snack.  We craft.  During March, we’re reading The House of Furies by Madeleine Roux and we’ll meet on the first Saturday in April to discuss it. It’s a mysterious, supernatural thriller featuring a boarding house where the guests can find anything BUT eternal rest.  Copies are available for check out at the Children’s Room Desk!  Email Kate Tigue ( or call the library at 781-769-0200 x225 for more info.



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