Category Archives: Readers Page

The Big Ditch: the Cape Cod Canal – by Charlotte Canelli

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read Charlotte’s column in the August 7, 2014 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

The Panama Canal and the Cape Cod Canal both opened the same year – 1914.  The Cape Cod Canal, 7 miles long, opened to some traffic on July 29 just one day after the start of World War One (or the Great War) on July 28.  The Panama Canal, 48 miles long, opened two weeks later on August 15. These amazing feats of engineering may have started years before by entrepreneurial investors, but both were completed as American ventures.

The centennial of these two principal waterways were celebrated this summer.  The Panama Canal has, of course, world significance as it provides a water route between the two oceans, or more accurately from the Caribbean Sea through the Isthmus of Panama to the Gulf of Panama at the Atlantic Ocean. Noted author David McCullough wrote “The Path Between the Seas” (2001), the story of the 400 years of blood, sweat and tears and the eventual successful building of the Panama Canal. The canal’s rich history includes its ownership by several countries and partnerships, its triumphant completion by the United States government, and its final control by the Panamanian government in 1999. (more…)

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To App or Not to App: What’s Best for My Baby’s Brain – by Jean Todesca

Read Jean Todesca’s column in the July 31, 2014 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Jean is the Head of Children’s Services at the Morrill Memorial Library.

As children’s librarians, we are often faced with the screen time question.  What is too much?  Should babies and young children be allowed screen time?  We are often challenged over the use of iPad and computers.  We are currently developing a storytime that incorporates the use of iPad and apps.  As we move forward, we understand some parents will have concerns.

Dr. Dimtri Christakis, Director of Child Health Behavior & Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute states “Screens are purely a delivery mechanism.  What parents should be focused on is content”.  He feels former statements by the American Academy of Pediatrics are out of date.  I agree.

Apps and games need to be interactive not passive to stimulate and develop the child’s brain.  Recently, I participated in a class where app reviews were a requirement.  I compared the “Pop-Up Peter Rabbit” storytime app to “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” app.  The pop-up version promoted exploration within the app while the other version was flat with no interaction.  Often when a parent has a young child who does not want to sit and be read to, I suggest interactive books.  Interactive books will draw the child into the story through the use of flaps, pop-up, touch & feel or repetitive verse.  They are all vehicles to involve the child in the reading process.  Apps are the same approach, but a different mode of delivery.  The child will explore and grow with activities that call for their response or touch/swipe to control the activity.  Young children can improve eye/hand coordination, speech & language and conceptual thinking.  The library has recently added iPads for young children’s use.  One of the apps that was loaded on to the iPads is Color Zen Kids.  It’s a great example of design to develop conceptual thinking.

Parents as well as teachers and librarians must make thoughtful app choices.  Some of the best sites for app reviews are Common Sense Media, Graphite and Google Play for Education.

Like any other technology or activity, moderation is the key.  Screen time can be fun, entertaining and educational, but only screen time is too much for anyone whether an adult or child.

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Do You Scream for Ice Cream? – by Charlotte Canelli

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts.  Read Charlotte’s column in the July 24, 2014 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association’s website, President Ronald Reagan selected the third Sunday of the month of July as National Ice Cream Day.  At the same time, he chose July as National Ice Cream Month.

Now, that’s a celebration I can get behind. Of course, most New Englanders understand the importance of summer in our lives and in what way ice cream plays into it.  Some of us even know the exact date our local ice cream stand will open.  We also mourn the day that it closes for the season. -

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Home Remedies: Turning a House into a Home – by Alli Palmgren

Read Alli Palmgren’s column in the July 17, 2014 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Alli is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

For the past few years, my husband and I lived in a rented house located in his hometown.  The location was great and the rent was beyond cheap, but it would be kind to call the house a fixer-upper. The roof leaked, the ceiling in the master bedroom was so low that my husband once put his head through it while putting on a pair of pants, we used one of the bathrooms as a closet because the plumbing was not functional, and so many critters found their way in that we could have started a wildlife sanctuary. In short, the house was a dump. (more…)

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