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The Public Library: Where All Your Resolutions Are Met

new-years-day-goalsOne of my favorite childhood memories is spending New Year’s Eve with my grandparents. They lived in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire, a spot overlooking Mt Shaw and surrounded by pine trees and heaps of snow in the winter. During this time, I remember a fire in the fireplace and the smell of Nana’s homemade fish chowder. Sometimes my family would stay up to watch the ball drop in New York City but more often we’d gather in the living room where each person would share what they were grateful for in the past year. It was a peaceful, reflective time.

Needless to say the calm often disappeared the next day when the mad scribblings of New Year’s resolutions began. Even now the difference between a goal and a resolution confound me. However, I found the clearest distinction between these two words on author Gretchen Rubin’s blog. She says: “You hit a goal, you achieve a goal. You keep a resolution.” In other words, if healthy living is your resolution, Pilates might be your goal.

After many, many years of struggling with my annual list of resolutions, I’ve come to a wonderful conclusion. This is big news, so listen up! All of your goals and resolutions can be met by the public library. “What’s that?” you say. “Did you go heavy on the eggnog?” “How can the library possibly help me fulfill my goals in 2017?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. Let us count the ways together.

1.    Perhaps you’ve been meaning to help others in your community but you aren’t sure where to begin. Did you know the Morrill Memorial Library has one of the twelve Literacy Affiliate programs in the State of Massachusetts? If you have the time and desire to help adult learners improve their literacy skills, the library has an opportunity for you. Likewise, our Outreach department has volunteers who deliver books and resources to patrons who are physically unable to get to the library.

2.    Are you hoping to read more this year? Well, how about that? The library happens to have books galore. But let’s get specific. Not only do we circulate the latest Best Sellers, but should you be too busy to enter our doors, we have a solution for you too. You can borrow books using OverDrive and Hoopla on your cellphone or tablet with your library card. And, if you don’t want to read alone, we have a variety of book clubs available for you to join.

3.    Need to shape up? Ah, that fateful word—exercise. I believe I heard a community sigh echo across the room. But let’s think about it in the broad sense of becoming healthier this year. You can accomplish this goal at your public library as well. We have exercise DVDs for the young, the mature and the restless. Everything from Kick Starting Your Metabolism to Cardio Kickboxing. We also have Pilates and Yoga, for the gentler souls.

4.    Then again, you may prefer to revamp your diet rather than twist your body into a variety of yoga contortions. We have a bevy of cookbooks for the occasion. My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl “follows the change of seasons as Reichl heals through the simple pleasures of cooking after the abrupt closing of Gourmet magazine.” Or try Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown. “If you’re living on a tight budget, Brown shows you how to maximize every ingredient and gives you tips on economical cooking methods; shopping and kitchen equipment; and much more.” And you can’t go wrong with Ree Drummond. Her book entitled The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime: Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper answers the question “What’s for Dinner?” with 125 simple recipes for the whole family.

5.    Want to stay in touch with family and friends but your social networking skills are a bit rusty? While we offer a variety of structured classes, you are welcome to sign up for individual technology assistance with our fabulous gurus. Some of the topics covered are help purchasing new technology, using a mobile device tablet, or Facebook and Twitter guidance.

6.    Who doesn’t want to add “Seeing the World” as a resolution for this year? The library has a whole travel section on our second floor. You can prepare for your trip ahead of time, without purchasing every single guide. And, speaking of travel, does your passport need updating? The Morrill Memorial Library is now an authorized US Passport Acceptance Facility. Several staff members have been trained to process passport applications. Book an appointment online, bring all your required paperwork and payment, and soon you will be all set to jet.

7.    Maybe you’d like to learn something new! We have workshops and lectures ready and waiting for you. Our Reference and Children’s departments create wonderful programs for all ages, including movie nights (with movie theater popcorn), expert speakers, and Learn to Knit classes. Maybe your child/grandchild can introduce you to a new board game (which you can now check out from the library) or to Queen Elsa when she visits.

8.    But wait! There’s more! Have you been meaning to find some of those relatives who may have fallen off of your family tree? We have several databases that could help you trace your roots. American Ancestors and Ancestry Library must be used at the library but Heritage Quest may be searched from home or a device with your library card. Also, Joe Petrie is our volunteer genealogist. You may schedule a one on one appointment with him for two hours and he will assist with your research using the online databases.
Isn’t that amazing? So many of your New Year’s resolutions can be found under the roof of your public library. In the words of Ray Bradbury, “Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” What are you waiting for? Come check us out!

Nancy Ling is an Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read her article in the January 5, 2017 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


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