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JANUARY 30, 2009
And the winner is...

This week was a big week for both children and young adult books. On Monday the Newbery and Caldecott award winners were announced at 2009 American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting.

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

This year's winner was The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

Here is part of the description from Amazon, "In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman has created a charming allegory of childhood. Although the book opens with a scary scene--a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” --the story quickly moves into more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack--an 18-month-old baby--escapes his crib and his house, and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb.  The story follows Bod's progress as he grows from baby to teen, learning life’s lessons amid a cadre of the long-dead, ghouls, witches, intermittent human interlopers. "

I haven't read it yet, but sounds tempting, and seems to have real YA appeal. I am curious to hear more about this pick because not to long ago there was an article in School Library Journal called, Has the Newbery Lost Its Way? Snubbed by kids, disappointing to librarians, the recent winners have few fans. As you can probably tell from the title, the article points out the lack of excitement among both kids and librarians over most recent winners. The article suggested that many feel the most recent picks were books that the committee felt kids should read, not necessarily books that they would WANT to read. To read the entire School Library Journal article, copy and paste this link into your browser:

The Newbery Honor books were, The Underneath, by Kathi Appelt, The Surrender, Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle, Savvy, by Ingrid Law, and After Tupac & D Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson .


Savvy just happens to be our Book Club book this month – I didn't really like it all that much, but I can imagine the kids liking it. I'll be sure to post their comments after our meeting in February.

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

This years winner is The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes.

Beth Krommes illustrations are made by creating scratchboard illustrations and then adding color with watercolors. The illustrations are mostly black and white with touches of yellow, its a different look and really is beautiful.

The Caldecott Honor books include: A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee, How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz, and A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant.


We own all these new winners and honor books, so come check them out for yourself!

PLUS...on February 1st we will be able to announce the 2010 Nutmeg Teen and Intermediate Nominees, so stay tuned!!

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Megan Q.


JANUARY 26, 2009
Best Kept Secret

For over 13 years my husband and I have kept a secret. We're reluctant to share it as the more people who know about it, the more popular it will become, making it harder and harder for us to find a seat. Shhh, listen carefully...The United States Coast Guard Band Concerts. The concerts are held in New London, in Leamy Hall, several times a year (see the schedule at So why am I letting you in on the best kept secret today you might ask. It seems a shame not to share, given the economy where more and more people are looking for reasonable, local, entertainment.  Not only are the concerts performed by some of the finest musicians, they are highly entertaining, educational, and they are free. The United States Coast Guard Band was organized in March 1925 and is presently directed by CDR Kenneth W. Megan.

My absolute favorite concert and a crowd pleasing tradition is Movie Madness. Today, Movie Madness XIII included:

  • Suite from Silverado Bruce Broughton
  • Colonel Bogey March Kenneth J. Alford
  • The Rievers John Williams
  • The Adventures of Mutt from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the  Crystal Skull John Williams
  • Highlights from Beauty and the Beast Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

Another highlight of this concert is the showing of a silent film, sometimes one featuring Buster Keaton or often, as today, a Laurel and Hardy flick (Two Tars) with the band providing music and sound effects  just like in days of old. This usually produces lots of laughs and resounding applause. Today was no exception.

So there you have it, the secret is a secret no more. If you plan to go, get there early as the concerts are always filled to capacity. The next concert will take place February 15th in celebration of Valentine's Day and is aptly titled "Love".  Leamy Hall on the Coast Guard Campus, New London 2 PM.

If you'd like to listen to some music made popular by films, check out our cd soundtrack and movie collection. Here's a few compilations in our collection that are among my favorites...

Moviola ~ Music composed and conducted by John Barry
Over the Rainbow Songs from the Movies
Warner Brothers 75 years of film music

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JANUARY 23, 2009
Let it snow...

Actually, don't let it snow. I'll echo Su's recent post where she doesn't want any more snow unless it qualifies as a “serious glazing of the world that would allow for sleeping in, hot cups of tea, blankets and a good book.” I'm already sick of the snowfalls that only require me to get up earlier to clean off my car.

Last night we 'let it snow' in the library as kids streamed in to make tube sock snowmen! It was a really simple and fun project. The kids brought in their own sock, and soon even the youngest of crafters were busy stuffing and shaping their snowmen bodies. The snowmen donned baby socks as hats, and then the kids went to town decorating their creations with goggily eyes, buttons, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, yarn, ribbon, markers, and more.

Here are some of the crafters at work:


A few of the finished products:

The snowman fun doesn't end here people. A few weeks ago I did a snowman themed Story Time where I read:


Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn Buehner, is probably my favorite snow story, it explains why your snowman might look a little droopy and melted the day after you build him!

In Snowballs, by Lois Ehlert, she uses collage style artwork to show the building of a snow-family. The kids have a great time identifying what all the different snow people (and snow pets) are made of.

During that Story Time, much to the parents delight I am sure, I squirted big blobs of shaving cream on the table for the kids to 'build' snowmen with. If you're ever looking for a cheap way to entertain kids for hours – try this.

Other easy kid friendly projects include making snowmen out of cotton balls, marshmallows, or paper plates.

Do you have a favorite winter or snow story? Any crafty snowmen ideas? Please share!





Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Megan Q.


JANUARY 21, 2009
It Drives Me Crazy

In fact, there are a lot of things that drive me crazy, but the one that I am thinking about this week is errors in books. Having taken a few days off at the end of last week, I curled up with cat, blanket, tea, and a very unliterary paperback romance novel. 

The novel had been sent to me by the publisher to read, and soon I should be receiving an e-mail survey about the book. So, I HAD to read it, right?
With this good excuse in hand, I settled in for a predictable story about a strapping young cowboy who rescues the local strong willed woman. Half way through, I stopped, having to re-read the sentence again. There were words in it that didn’t belong. 
This was not an advanced, unedited reader’s copy. I scowled at the missed editing and chastised myself for it. There have been a million times I’ve missed a word, misspelled something simple, added an extra a, an or the. There are probably 100 cases in this blog you can point to. I decided I was being silly.
But then… just as our heroine had been kidnapped by the nasty sheriff, Lee, her life in danger as he held the gun to her temple and told her he was really the son of the local banker who had been trying to steal her land, because of bad investments! She calls out, pleading with him, “Don’t do this Reed!” 
Reed? Wait a minute. Reed is our hero. The lovable ex-cop turned cowboy, who is there because his mother just had a stroke and he doesn't trust his father, but that is becuase as it turns out, it's not his father.  Reed is actually the illegitimate son of said banker.  But since his mother has now told this secret...well, you get the idea.
Although I knew, of course what she was trying to say. It was most distracting. Worse, it happened again in the 10 pages or so before the book was concluded.
I finished the book and wonder what my survey will ask. I hope to get the opportunity to tell them proof reading is important!

Add a comment  (4 comments) posted by Su


JANUARY 19, 2009
What's on My Shelf

If you've been following our blog since the beginning, you'll know that I shared a few of the books residing on my personal bookshelves in an early post. I promised I'd visit those shelves again. Today is the day. Besides talking about a  book or two, I'll also tie my bountiful library to a book suggested by a blog reader who commented on my December 29th entry, One Man's Trash.

As you can clearly see from the picture I have lots of books. These are books I can't bear to part with even though I'm a librarian and could probably find half of them in our town library or a library nearby. So why do I hang on to them? Here's where the book Sharon, our reader, suggested comes into play. I interlibrary loaned It's all too much: An easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff, by Peter Walsh. It's a pretty good starting point for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed with life's accumulation of stuff. The first sentence in the introduction reads “SOMEHING IS AFOOT.” For many of us that may also be something is underfoot, overhead and underneath. The author does a nice job of explaining the psychological and emotional ties we have to our stuff and gives us some great tips to rid our lives of clutter. The chapter that covered books and magazines seemed to be calling out to me. Peter Walsh says “Your Space Dictates How Many Books You Can Have.” He quotes from the Dickens novel David Copperfield, “annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” Walsh goes on to say “When it comes down to it, there is only one simple rule when dealing with books: If they don't fit on your shelves, they shouldn't be in your home.” Now I'm not certain I'm miserable exactly, but my bookshelves do seem a bit too full. I could move some to other book cases in my home except those are a bit full too. Ok, so tell me what to do Mr. Walsh? Carol, he says “If you have shelving space for 100 books and you have 99 books, you don't have a problem (the Dickens lesson). If on the other hand you, you have shelving space for 100 books and you own 102, you have a problem. You should have no more than the number of books that fit comfortably on your bookshelves.” He does not suggest getting more shelving so it's simple. Some books must go.

Actually, before I took the picture of my shelves today, I already packed up 10 books to donate to our Friends book sale. Not enough. So sometime this week, I'll take another look and see what other books I can bear to part with.  I just need to keep repeating, I can borrow this from the library, I can borrow this from the library. And maybe with fewer left, I'll actaully be able to see the titles and  read a few.


These three will stay, however:

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
Bought this one at a flea market because we'll be discussing it at our May 26th non-fiction book discussion. I will have one less book to interlibrary loan. It's the interwoven story of two men, Hawley Crippen, a murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi. I have read three of Erik Larson books and have enjoyed them all.


Gangster by Lorenzo Carcaterra
Another book sale find. Love, violence, destiny. Fiction about the life of a New York mobster. Carcaterra's novels are fast, action packed reads and I'm saving this one for a day I want to read this type of book.

Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Mos

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JANUARY 15, 2009
2, 4, 6, 8....Who do you appreciate?

Does everyone remember Talk like a Pirate Day?? I blogged about it back in September...I'm asking because you should really only continue reading if you are ready to learn about another useless day to celebrate.

Tomorrow, January 16th, is in fact, Appreciate a Dragon Day.

I found out about it in the January issue of Library Sparks, a monthly magazine that always includes a calendar of odd days, activities, and facts. Just in case you wanted to know, next Wednesday is Squirrel Appreciation Day... and I'm not kidding.

Back to dragons. As a Children's Librarian, I feel I have plenty to say about dragons. Dragons are everywhere in fairy tales, picture books, and young adult fiction. I only had to think for about .5 seconds to decide on my favorite children's book that features a dragon – The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch.

Over the past few years a number of Junior Fiction and Young Adult series about dragons have become very popular. The Eragon books are constantly checked out, so are the books in the Chris D'Lacey's series (see below), and even some of the Harry Potter books featured dragons. When you do a search for 'dragon' in our catalog you get 135 results. People just can't get enough of 'em.



I googled 'Appreciate a Dragon Day,' to find out exactly how one should celebrate if they were so inclined, and I am happy to report that checking out dragon books at your local library was one of the top suggestions!

Next week also happens to be the start of Chinese New Year, where the 'Dragon Dance' is done during parades for good luck in the new year. To learn even more, check out one of these books about celebrating the Chinese New Year:


So, don't forget to appreciate a dragon tomorrow, and if you have a favorite dragon book, let me know about it!


Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by Megan Q.


JANUARY 15, 2009
Happy Birthday Martin Luther King

While the world will have next Monday off for Martin Luther King day,  today, January 15, is actually his birthday.   Had he lived, he would be 80 years old.

He was 26 when he received his Ph.D. from Boston University.

He was 34 when he delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech and became the first Black American to be honored as Time's Man of the Year.

A year later he won the  the Nobel Peace Prize.

Four years after that, he was assisinated in  Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of  39. 

When I think of MLK, I am  struck at the changes that have taken place in our world in what to me feels like a short time and I am hopeful.


If you would like to learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King stop by the Library.



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JANUARY 12, 2009
Be My Guest!

Have you ever gotten a crazy idea, one that makes you laugh with glee, that gets better and sillier the more you play with it? Last week, my husband, Paul, was reading The Hartford Courant travel section. An article about the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise Ship caught his eye. This ultra-luxury liner, due to hit the seas sometime this year, has a passenger capacity of 5,400. Can you imagine? That's the size of a small town. That's the approximate population of Columbia. Now comes the crazy idea.

Wouldn't it be great if I could charter the Oasis and invite the whole town of Columbia to come along. Every man, woman, and child. Be my guest! Though pure fantasy the scenario gave me pleasure and lots of vivid pictures in my mind.

I may not truly be able to take all of Columbia's residents on a cruise but I can invite you to visit the library for a bit of armchair travel. We've got some great books to take you away without ever leaving home.

Start  your journey with this bibliography of reading suggestions from other lands:
The Traveler's reading guide : ready-made reading lists for the armchair traveler / Maggy Simony, editor. 025.54 TRAVELER'S PBK

The 100 best worldwide vacations ot enrich your life Pam Grout 910.20 PBK 2008
Vacations that can change your life : adventures, retreats, and workshops for the mind, body, and spirit / Ellen Lederman. 910.202 GROUT PBK 2008

Two funny books about traveling:
Cruise confidential : a hit below the waterline / Brian David Bruns. 910.45 BRUNS PBK 2008
Dear American Airlines / Jonathan Miles. F MILES

A few travel narratives:
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Elizabeth Gilbert PBK 910.4 GILBERT
A year in the world : journeys of a passionate traveller / Frances Mayes. 914.04 MAYES
In a sunburned country / by Bill Bryson. 919.404 BRYSON
Summer of my Greek Taverna 914.95 STONE PBK
Granny D Walking Across America in My 90th Year Doris Haddock 917.304929 HADDOCK
River of Doubt Candice Millard 918.11 MILLARD PBK

A nice series with great stories of other lands and cultures:
Traveler's Literary Companion
Japan 915.204 GUEST PBK
Italy 914.5 ITALY PBK
South-east Asia 915.904 SOUTH-EAST PBK
Australia 919.404CHAMBERS PBK
Alaska 917.980451 ALASKA PBK
South & Central America 918.04 WILSON PBK
Eastern & Central Europe 914.704 EASTERN PBK

Lots more travel books in our stacks 910-919






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JANUARY 9, 2009
Books for the birds

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was a new bird feeder. I moved in November and left all my bird feeders hanging at my old house in the hopes that whoever moved in would keep filling them and feeding the birds that had become accustomed to stopping by for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In fact, that's how I got interested in 'birdwatching' (as in watching them from my couch) in the first place, the bird feeders were left for us by the old residents.

Soon after acquiring my feeders at the old house I received Birds of Connecticut: Field Guide, by Stan Tekiela, and started to really pay attention to what kinds of birds we had visiting our feeders. I saw cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, black capped chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice, robins, and woodpeckers, just to name a few. I never would have thought I would have enjoyed watching the birds as much as I do!

I guess the reason I'm sitting here thinking about birds and my new feeder is because this week at Story Time I read the kids bird books, and we made our own feeders. There are a ton of great bird picture books for kids, and this week I read:


The Pigeon series by Mo Willems is hilarious, and the kids can really interact with the story. While reading Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, each time the pigeon asked to drive, the kids told him a stern 'NO!'

How to Heal a Broken Wing, by Bob Graham is a brand new book with a sweet and hopeful message.

Hurry Hurry, by Eve Bunting shows a chicken rounding up all the animals in the barnyard to watch a new chick hatch.

Just yesterday we got another bird book in for children, that I just have to mention. Its called Pale Male, Citizen Hawk of New York City, by Janet Schulman. The description from Barnes and Noble is as follows, "Pale Male and his mate built their nest near the top of one of Fifth Avenue’s swankiest apartment buildings. Nine years and 23 chicks later, Pale Male’s fame had grown so large that a CBS newsman named him Father of the Year! But Pale Male was less beloved by the residents of the building, and in 2004 the owners suddenly removed the nest–setting off an international outcry on behalf of the birds." 

Now these are just a few of our many children's books on birds, we also have a HUGE selection of bird books and field guides for adults, including the Birds of Connecticut Guide that I use at home.

As I mentioned, at Story Time this week I had the kids make their own bird feeders, fruit loops on yarn to hang from trees, (can't get too complicated here - they're only 2 and 3 years old). But in my search for easy to make bird feeders I found a few different interesting ideas. Click on the link below to try some at home.




Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Megan Q.


JANUARY 7, 2009
Clash of Optimism

Anyone who has crossed my path in the last 24 hours knows, I wanted a snow day today. I wanted a serious glazing of the world that would allow for sleeping in, hot cups of tea, blankets and a good book. 

 It didn’t happen.
There is a part of me that is convinced Old Man Winter and Mother Nature did not comply because I jinxed myself by announcing my wishes.
Heavy Sigh.
Today, though has reminded me of a book…
A Brief History of the Dead  
by Kevin Brockmeier
As with many books, when it first appeared I was attracted to the odd cover, then the title, and I picked up, read the bleep. As they all appeared interesting, I decided to take the journey.    The story is set in part in the City, a realm of the dead and in part with a woman, Laura Byrd stranded in Antarctica. The City seemed like a really nice place… Antarctica, not so much. As the book progresses, people in the City start to disappear and the true nature of their relationships is illuminated.
Upon finishing the book,...
I hated it. However, it has stayed with me. I’ll probably remember it, given my strong reaction and it has given me things to think about.
So why did this day remind me? Well, they were both cold and dismal settings. My grave disappointment at rain this afternoon will probably keep this day memorable, but in the end, it wasn’t a bad day.
More than any of this though, is that clash of optimism. That point where what you think or hope for gives way to a forgone conclusion and then what do you do? Keep reading the book? Call in sick?
I’m glad I finished the book. I’m glad I came to work. Of course I still wish, the book had been more enjoyable to me and that we had been overly iced, but… that’s okay.
If anyone else has read this book, I’d love to hear your comments!
 And you can find out more about this book @ 
The Library!

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JANUARY 6, 2009
New Year's resolutions for Readers!

I said I wasn't going to make any resolutions but hey, who can resist anything that has to do with reading. Take a moment to read these resolutions as presented by David Wright on Shelf Talk, Seattle's Blog.

Read the list and feel free to comment! Do you have any reading resolutions of your own?


Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by ckubala


JANUARY 4, 2009
Bargain hunting!

I wasn't positive what I was going to write about today. More blogs than I can count are talking about new years resolutions and frankly, not even one week into the new year, I'm already tired of that. Hey, I bet , you, like me, know what we have to do in this new year to reach our goals and really don't need a resolution to get there.

So instead of making resolutions, I decided to go shopping. Not go to the mall shopping but online shopping. I had some Christmas money to spend and decided to see if I could find a nice mp3 player and some new warm sweatshirts. I checked around several online stores for the mp3 player before visiting ebay. I had narrowed my search down to a Creative Zen V Plus and was still debating between a 4 and 8 gb. Ebay had a bunch to offer, some new, some refurbished, running between $69 and $80 for the 4gb. I wanted to pay less than that so started looking for a new player with free shipping in either a buy it now or best offer category. I came up with one that looked promising and made an offer. No go, offered a few dollars more, still no go and finally offered 2 dollars more. No, no, no. I waited a few days and tried again. I found a different seller, offered $5 less than their asking price. This was accepted within the hour. Along with free shipping I felt like a got a fairly decent deal. The Zen arrived yesterday and I couldn't be happier.

The sweatshirts were much easier to find. One seller had 3 of the shirts I wanted, all my size, with various prices, running from $12 to $15. (originally $30-$40). One had free shipping, the others were $4.50 to ship. I offered to buy all three at $9 each with free shipping. Offer accepted and the shirts arrived within the week. Oh, how I love a bargain.

How are you stretching your budget these days? Before I continue, I'd like to invite you to share any strategies you're using to make the dollar go further. Share your favorite money saving tips, bargains, websites, what have you, with our readers.

Given the economy I've been trying to watch my spending habits. I'm seeing where I can save a few dollars. I'm back to religiously cutting and using coupons and watching the ads to see what grocery store has the best food prices. I particularly like the websites that allow me to comparison shop grocery store ads as a whole or for certain products. One such is
I pick up printable coupons at If you have a favorite, please share. I laugh a bit at this as sometimes I'm penny wise and pound foolish as I'll save .50 here and there with coupons and then go out for a cup of coffee I could just as easily make at home. But I go out for coffee less and feel I deserve the outing now and then. One place I decided I could lower costs was ditching the pre-packaged salad mix. I eat several salads each week, at least one a day. I usually buy between 2 and 3 bags of pre-washed salad. I thought I was doing well by choosing a mix with the most weight. The brand I usually buy varies from 6oz. per bag to 10oz. Luckily I like the 10oz. bag mix as the 6oz. and 10oz. cost the same price. Beats me how, but they do. Still, they were getting more and more expensive and coupons are far and few between, so back to regular salad I went. I'm able to buy a nice head of boston lettuce, red lettuce or romaine for about 1/3 of the price of the bagged variety. I dragged out my salad spinner, washed my own lettuce and feel quite smug!

One good way to save money is to visit your library. We've got lots of books, both the read with your eyes kinds and those to listen too, cd's, dvd's and magazines; all for the borrowing. Watch our announcements as we will soon be offering downloadable audio (why I wanted a Zen) with a

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JANUARY 1, 2009
January 1, 2009!

From all of us at Saxton B., we wish you a happy, healthy year filled with lots of good reading.

To help in the healthy department we'd like to point  you to  the excellent wellness resources available to all Connecticut residents at Once you reach the site, you can either log in using your 14 digit barcode number or visit as a guest. Choose the "Select the Iconn Resources button", and then click the Health & Science box to search the health and wellness resource center, the science reference center and medline. You could use each of these databases separately or access Connecticut Physician Profiles, CT Consume Health Information, or the 211 Community Resources Directory. Poke around a bit, there's lots of information here.

When you need health information throughout the year, the iconn databses are a good place to start.  If you need help using the site or need a library card, stop by during our regular library hours. We'll be happy to help!

Monday, Friday, Saturday 10 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10 AM - 8 PM'
Closed Saturdays during July & August


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