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Category Archives: From the Library – A Weekly Column
Liz Reed is the Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Liz’s column in the January 7th, 2016 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
Early January is a time to pause and take a breath. The holidays are over, the hustle and bustle of the past month has slowed, and winter is just getting started. As I recently mentioned to some friends, winter is the knitter’s natural habitat, especially if you’re a knitter who enjoys working with wool. I’ll go a step further here and say that if winter is the knitter’s natural habitat, January is our nesting time, the time when we can settle in, hunker down, and focus on projects that we want to do for ourselves. (more…)
Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the December 31st 2015 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
Most pre- and elementary school teachers and children’s librarians receive bags of treats or handmade gifts from families who visit the classrooms or library’s children’s room on a nearly daily basis. I still have some of those gifts and holiday cards from my days as the youth services librarian in Peterborough, New Hampshire. I have sweet memories of the care and gratitude that the families had for me just for doing my job: simply by helping to instill a love of reading and the library.
Of course, I get that kind of gratitude. I made many gifts and many batches of cookies for teachers, custodians, principals, and librarians in the schools my daughters attended. I entrusted my children to their care every day and the relationships between teachers, children, and families can be very special.
Something has, however, always surprised me as long as I’ve been working in a library. As public workers, we are paid through our New England towns, and we work hard to provide excellent service. It often includes a fine balance, of course, between taking care of our books and other library materials, making sure they get back to the library in a timely fashion and going above and beyond with smiles and attention. Those two goals are sometimes in conflict, but at the very heart of our jobs in the library is the desire to be there for our community.
And so, I’m surprised every holiday season by the generosity and gratitude shown to us – just for doing our jobs. For library users from all over the area (even residents of other towns love Norwood’s library!) this seems to be naturally a time when we deserve an extra pat on the back above and beyond what we get paid. Many times a day, leading up to Christmas, library patrons arrive at one of our library desks with sweets of every kind. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, those of us on staff receive emails from one of the library departments that there are “is a large box of chocolates at the front desk from Mr. X!” or there is a large order of Guarino’s pastries from the Y Family in the staff room!”
And it’s not only during the holidays that our library fans think of us. Several times a month we might receive rolls and spiced butter from someone who has visited the Texas Roadhouse or a coffee cake or cookies from someone who loves to bake for us.
It’s obvious that we are cared for and appreciated, and I guess I have to admit I’ve never quite understood it. We are, after all, just doing our jobs.
I’ve never quite understood that kind of gratitude for public servants until last week.
We had a medical emergency on a rainy night at our weekend home in the small town of Marion just before Christmas Eve. It was frightening and scary and not quite as much of an emergency in the end as it appeared to be. However, the severity of the situation didn’t matter much to the fabulous EMT team of the Marion Fire Department and the Marion police officer who arrived first on the scene. Their first job was to serve us, calm us, keep us healthy and safe and that was all that mattered. Their professionalism, care, and concern were exemplary.
I’ll admit that it was I who was the center of the attention; it was a terrifying bout of severe adult croup brought on by a sudden cold (and perhaps a bit of fatigue). Not being able to breathe is an experience I never want to experience again. Woken from his sleep by my distress, my cool-witted husband called 911 and help arrived within minutes. An ambulance ride and emergency room visit eased us through the tough situation. I was none the worse for wear the next day, Christmas Eve, with the exception of the worst of the cold and being a bit shaky from it all.
Of course, our thoughts of gratitude to the public service that our little town provided were immense. One of the first things we did that next day was write some thank you cards, track down some name and purchase some boxes of chocolates, delivering them to the Marion Fire and Police departments. That night before, when other mothers and fathers were getting their sleep in preparation for holiday festivities, Marion’s police force and professional and volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel were awake and waiting for my husband’s call. They were simply doing their jobs.
There are numerous books in the library that we can read about gratitude and thankfulness. There are ways to write thank you notes and the correct grammar to use. We can smile or cry through the Chicken Soup for the Soul stories, those with happy endings, and some without. Life is full of kind moments from friends, family members, and strangers.
This was the year I totally came to understand the simplistic gratitude of townspeople who are grateful that we just do our job. They want us to know that we are doing it well. This is the year that we started our tradition – Gerry and I – to thank annually the men and women of two departments of our weekend town for just doing their job so well.
Marg Corjay is an Outreach and Circulation Assistant at the Morrill Memorial Library and a voracious reader. Read Marg’s column in the December 24th, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
“Deck the Halls with Catnip Mousies, FaLaLaLa LaLaLaLa, Wreck the Tree and Blame the Doggies.” The Christmas season naturally lends itself to thoughts of warm, fuzzy things like sweaters, fireplaces, family, and cuddling with a cat. I am a covered-in-fur longtime cat enthusiast, as most people quickly find out because of my cat clothes, jewelry, reading habits, and home decor. I even dress as a cat for Halloween, complete with whiskers and a long fuzzy tail, so I’m the obvious person to write on this subject. Presently I only am owned by one cat, Nefertiti Isabella, but this year I am especially grateful because she just successfully came through a major health crisis. Christmas always brings back memories of the year that a neighbor “gifted” me a kitten. (more…)
Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the December 17th 2015 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.
Apparently, the French are the only people who pronounce St. Louis without an s. Consider, for instance, the Louis kings of France. You most likely think Louis with a French accent. The folks who settled St. Louis in 1764, Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, may have assumed that the city (named after Louis IX) would have always kept its proper pronunciation.
Missourians, however, identify you as an outsider if you leave off the s in the name of their beloved St. Louis. It’s St. Louis (“lou-is”), and that’s that. (more…)