SAXTON B. LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
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NOVEMBER 28, 2008
Thanks for Frank
Between celebrating Thanksgiving and reading Su's most recent blog post, I've been reminded to reflect on the things I have been most thankful for this year. There are truly many, many things for me to be thankful for, including all of the things that Su listed in her top 50 list! But one of the most recent things for me to be thankful for is my new dog, Frank.
I decided to adopt a dog last spring and started looking right away. I knew I wanted a big dog and I knew I wanted to go through a shelter or rescue organization. After about 4 months of looking I was sure that it would be easier to adopt a child then a puppy. But, then I found Frank. He was big. He was at the Norwich pound. And he only had a few days left before they were going to....
Now, when I say 'found' I mean found pictures of him online. I was on vacation in California, and I didn't actually meet him. But, like I said, he only had a few days left, so we (my boyfriend and I) ended up adopting him long distance over the telephone while my boyfriend's mom went and picked him up for us.
I was nervous. He was going to be my first dog. I had never met him. I really wasn't on the market for a puppy (I wanted a dog at least a few years old) - and Frank was only 6 months old. Plus, he was big, really big, an Akita, Shepherd, St. Bernard mix. Of course, once I saw him I was in love - he's been a wonderful, super, fantastic pet! Because of Frank, I've been to more Connecticut state parks this fall then I have ever been to in my life, and now I always feel safe when I am home alone. My family and friends have all fallen for Frank - he's been a little bit of pet therapy for everyone I know. My grandfather passed away this September, but during his last few weeks I would visit him with Frank. He loved dogs too, and Frank got him up and talking like I had never seen before.
So this year, among lots of other things, I am thankful for Frank. And I like to think he's thankful for us too.
For those fellow dog lovers out there we have a TON of great books on our canine friends. Including these new ones:
Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival, by Kirby Larson
Brand new, this is one of the most touching children's books I have ever read. Plus, I think the dog looks EXACTLY like Frank.
Before You Were Mine, by Maribeth Boelts
Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech
And some old favorites:
Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo
Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls
Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Have a favorite dog (or animal) book or a great pet story of your own? Share it with us by commenting on this post!
NOVEMBER 26, 2008
50 Reasons To Be Thankful For Our Library
NOVEMBER 24, 2008
Vote for Your Favorite Comedy Movie
What's your favorite funny film of all-time? Yes, we'd like to know and we're conducting a survey to find out. If you just want to vote, and skip the rest of the post, just scroll down the page and click on the link to take the survey. Tow questions; it's fast, it's easy, it's free and it's fun!
I did a power search for the best comedy film included in the National Film Registry from 1960 to the present and came up with this list.
NOVEMBER 21, 2008
The Thanksgiving Story...
It's almost Thanksgiving. That means that in many schools and libraries out come the Pilgrim and Indian books, the costumes, and sometimes the Pilgrim and Indian plays or re-enactments. STILL. Still in 2008 parents and teachers are telling the Pilgrim and Indian story, with picture books that portray Native people in stereotypical, inaccurate ways, often as 'savages' or worse.
Last November I attended a conference held by Cornucopia of Rhode Island who's mission is to serve the library community of color. The topic was American Indians in children's literature. It is important to me that the books we put on display during Thanksgiving are not filled with stereotypes and mis-information. I learned a lot that day, and came back to the Saxton B. to evaluate what Thanksgiving books we had, what needed to go, and how we could build a better collection. I came home from the Cornucopia conference with titles by Native writers that I was excited to order, as well as a recommendation to buy the book, A Broken Flute; The Native Experience in books for Children, which has served as a valuable resource for me when evaluating and purchasing books, but is also available for check out.
This year our Thanksgiving books are out on display for our patrons. I displayed silly books about turkey, books about food, and books on saying 'thank you.' The books we have that address the Thanksgiving story and Native people include books such as :
1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, Bruchac, Margaret M. (Abenaki)
Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition, Peters, Russell M. (Wampanoag)
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message, Swamp, Jake (Mohawk)
Check out this blog entry by Debbie Resse for one perspective on what makes a 'good' Thanksgiving book for children. She currently teaches in UIUC's American Indian Studies program, and is tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo in northern New Mexico
Here are some additional books recommended by Broken Flute, Oyate (Oyate is a Native organization that works to provide critical evaluation of books and curricula with Indian themes - see link at the bottom of this post), AND written by Native writers, that we have on display for American Indian Heritage Month:
(Side Note: Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite authors EVER- read his books!)
NOVEMBER 19, 2008
A Wrong Tool For Every Job
No matter how mechanically inept you consider yourself, would you try to pound in a nail with a saw? Undo a screw with a hammer? Cut wood with a butter knife? I think not.
Yet, every year I’ve heard things like – we don’t need books, we have the Internet. The Post Office is going to close because now we have e-mail. I don’t need to learn math, I have a calculator.
It’s true our current state of gadgetry is phenomenal and much of it is helpful. But….
It seems to me that people forget, the cell phone, the blackberry, the Internet, the palm pilot, the laptop, even the Wii are still just tools. Electronic tools at that. Most simplistically, what do you do when the power goes out?
But there is more to it than that. Cell phones are great, but not when driving. The Internet has as much false information as factual and can be harder to distinguish. Wii's are now causing health problems, such as stress injuries, because people consider it a 'game' rather than movement.
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. I go through withdrawal when I’m away from the computer and e-mail… but that doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned the Post Office, pencils and paper.
The technology we have today is wonderful – but not infallible. It is a supplement, new tools, but not a replacement. All technology can break. Pens run out of ink, power lines go down, satellites get misaligned. The key is not to abandon any tools, but to learn the best ways to use them.
I read an article this week pointing out that due primarily to security issues, former Presidents of the United States have not used e-mail. Period. Not even for personal conversation. Is this reasonable? I’m not sure. But I am sure that anyone who believes that there is only one tool, is going to have a great deal of trouble building their world.
NOVEMBER 17, 2008
An Eagle Has Landed
A few weeks back I was complaining about the leaves falling off the trees. However, one direct advantage of bare trees is that you can more readily spot our beautiful birds and their nests. Last Friday, driving on Route 6 towards Andover, my eagle eyes spotted, well, a bald eagle. He/she was sitting high in a barren tree on the corner of the road that leads to Asto Wamah. I made my husband turn around and back we went for a second look. After a few moments this majestic bird flew off in all its glory. A truly beautiful sight to behold. I've only seen an eagle in Columbia one other time so feel quite fortunate to have spotted this one. According the DEP's fact sheet the eagle was placed on our first official Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species List in 1992. This was also the first year year that the state documented its first successful nesting of bald eagles since the 1950s, when a pair raised two young in Litchfield County.
You can find the the DEP Fact Sheet about Eagles at:
A call to the Franklin DEP garnered this information. In the January 2008 Midwinter Bald Eagle survey, no eagles were spotted in Columbia. Of course, that is just a one day snapshot and doesn't mean there aren't any eagles in Columbia. The Dep has received information of sighting of a single eagle flying between Andover and Columbia lakes for the past several years. The 2009 Midwinter Eagle Survey resulted in sightings of 32 Immature and 49 Adult Eagles for a total of 81 in the state. This seems a healthy number but the bald eagle remains on Connecticut's Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species List.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service reports “On August 9, 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. After nearly disappearing from most of the United States decades ago, the bald eagle is now flourishing across the nation and no longer needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act.”
If you'd like to read more about eagles try these books located @Saxton B.
Return of the eagle : how America saved its national symbol Greg Breining 598.942 BREINING PBK
Conversations with an eagle : the story of a remarkable relationship Brenda Cox. 598.943 COX PBK
The great seal of the United States Norman Pearl J 929.9 PEARL
The bald eagle Patricia Ryon Quiri. J 598.943 QUIRI
If you've seen an eagle in Columbia, let us know!
NOVEMBER 14, 2008
Listen @ your library!
One of my very favorite musicians is playing at the Webster Theater in Hartford this Monday the 24th – Ani Difranco. Maybe you've heard of her...she is pretty popular, or maybe not...you're not going to find her on MTV, she started her own label, Righteous Babe Records, in the early 90's to release her music on her own terms. She's a self described 'little folksinger,' but she's really more than that, she's a poet, an activist, a business woman, a feminist icon, an artist. I've seen her at least ten times now, but I can't help myself, I'll probably go on Monday night and make it eleven. We don't have much Ani here at the library, but we have a TON of great music for all tastes, from classical, to soundtracks, to country, to rock. Some of my other favorite women singers that we do own include:
Gotta love Joni!
Cat Power - one of our new YA CD's!
Regina Spektor - another one of our new CD's in our YA section.
And last, but not least, here is a new book we own on some ladies that rock - I'd love to read it, but I can't get my hands on it! It has been very popular, every time it comes back it gets checked right out!
Girls like us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon - and the journey of a generation, by Sheila Weller
Everyone knows we have books, DVD's, computers, newspapers, but I think sometimes people forget all the great music we have here at the library. Next time you're in browse our CD collection - you wont be disappointed!
NOVEMBER 12, 2008
Thank you Bruce Campbell
Most of the time, I think my weekends are pretty dull. However, this past weekend I was delighted to have the unique experience of seeing one of my favorite actors in person: Bruce Campbell.
His work is characterized by anachronism, horror spoofs and self depreciating humor. Therefore, he is known mostly for bit parts and quirky, B sci fi/horror films. In writing this, I tried to think what one might recognize him from if they were not fans of the obscure.... Maybe as Autolycus in Xena Warrior Princess or as Brisco County Jr (both television shows). Mr. Campbell can also be seen playing secondary characters in a number of “feature films” – Sky High, Spider Man 1 & 3, Love Bug among others and he is currently in the cable series Burn Notice. However, he is perhaps most well known for his portrayal of the character of Ash in Evil Dead I, II and Army of Darkness.
It is also probably not surprising that Mr. Campbell has a following of die hard fans – many of whom stereotypically work in the areas of technology, and know the schedule of dragon con, comic con, etc. One such fan, my sister-in-law, e-mailed that Mr. Campbell would be attending the tour of his current film in Hartford. We had to go.
So this weekend at Bow Tie Cinema’s in Hartford (formerly known as Cinema City) in a standing room only theater, I watched the horror/comedy My Name is Bruce. In this film, Mr. Campbell, playing himself, is kidnapped by a die hard fan who unintentionally unleashed an ancient Chinese war god, who is now killing off his small town. It is hoped that Bruce, with his vast experience at such things will save the town and… Well, you’ll have to see the movie your self. Still, following this horror/comedy spoof of Mr. Campbell’s career, Mr. Campbell himself appeared for a Q&A.
Unfortunately, no great insight came from this process, though I did find Mr. Campbell is a very gracious individual. I wish him the fame and fortune he deserves. Many of his fans however… in the genre’s immortal words of William Shatner, need to “Get a life!”
If you’re not familiar with Bruce Campbell or are also a die hard fan, check out:
Bubba Ho Tep
Bruce plays an elderly Elvis, who must save the world from his nursing home.
Army of Darkness
Contemporary S-mart employee gets stuck in 1300 AD where he must save the girl, the world and himself to get home, even though his chainsaw is running out of gas.
Man with the Screaming Brain
NOVEMBER 11, 2008
636.598 HOWARD ~ The Goose from Scarsdale
If you read yesterday's blog entry you're here today for the revealing of the great book I found hidden on our shelves. While “shelf reading”, I came across the most delightful book, The Goose from Scarsdale by Clive Howard, published 1974. It's only 96 pages, can be read in one quick sitting, and is truly a gem of a read. It's the strange, but true story of George Reichart, Vice President of Advertising for the General Cigar Company. He was the guy responsible for television commercials for cigars, particularly Tiparillos, White Owls, Tijuana Smalls; quite the job in its day. To take this promotion, George moved his family; wife, Jane, daughter, Jan, and bassett hound, Ichabod from Oakland, California to Scarsdale, New York. Scarsdale was just twenty-five miles from the heart of “the city”, but was like living in another world. George's backyard sloped uphill to a border of woods. “It was like living in a forest. His initial awe and wonder at seeing four pheasants in his yard soon leads to the feeding and nurturing of a whole gaggle of birds and other visiting creatures. This care and feeding stirs controversy in the neighborhood and begins “The Battle of the Backyard” as not everyone is happy with George's sanctuary. Neighbors soon resort to owning cats as a means to keep the growing population of pigeons, skunks, squirrels and other critters at bay. George is beside himself as his fine feathered friends are picked off by these four footed furry felines. He retaliates by bringing in a goose who patrols the premises and sends the cats screeching home. The story that follows is captivating. Told with humor, warmth and a sprinkling of drawings by George and Jane, The Goose from Scarsdale was a chance discovery. It could have easily been weeded as it hasn't circulated much these past few years. So do yourself a favor, read the book, save the goose.
636.598 HOWARD ~ you'll find it right where it belongs on our shelves!
NOVEMBER 10, 2008
Most people think working in a library is a cushy job. After all, all we do is sit around and read all day. Nothing could farther from the truth, the reading all day part, at least. There's lots to do that the public never sees. One necessary, but mundane task, is keeping the shelves in order. The Dewey Decimal System was introduced by Melville Dewey in 1876 as a method for placing books on library shelves in a specific and repeatable order that makes it easier to find any specific book or to return it to its proper place. Who knows how books get out of place, but they do. Nothing will drive we librarians more crazy than books that are not where they belong. In a push to bring the wayward books back to their proper place, each staff member agreed to spend an hour each day “shelf reading”.Reading shelves is not reading in the true sense and is nothing like reading a book. Frankly, it can be downright boring, eye straining, back breaking and mind boggling. Mr. Dewey, which comes first, 311.0942 or 311.07 or 311.09142? Yet, there's a certain sense of satisfaction in knowing that all the books are where they belong, neatly lined up, in proper shelf order.
This mundane task can also yield its own rewards. Hidden gems can be uncovered. Lucky me; the 630's yielded one such unexpected find.
Tune in tomorrow to hear about my discovery!
NOVEMBER 7, 2008
What are you doing this weekend??
I was listening to WNPR on my way into work this morning and found out that this weekend was the 3rd annual International Film Festival in Hartford. Hmmm, sounds interesting I thought...I've blogged about films before, but as I mentioned in that blog, I'm really no movie junkie, it's only in the past few years that I have become more of a movie-watcher. On the program they were talking about the Festival this weekend and some of the featured films. The woman being interviewed (I cant remember her name – I was driving, be happy I wasn't taking notes : ) mentioned how many of the films being shown were documentaries. In fact I think she said something along the lines of this being the “year of the documentary.” The opening film of the festival is a documentary on Hurricane Katrina called Trouble The Water, here is the description from the HIFF website:
This award-winning documentary feature tells the story of an aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband, trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, who survive Hurricane Katrina and then seize a chance for a new beginning. It's a redemptive tale of self-described street hustlers who become heroes that takes you inside Hurricane Katrina in a way never before seen on screen. This film is not just about New Orleans. It's about America.
The Festival will end on Friday with another documentary called Diamonds in the Rough, again here is the description from the HIFF website:
A documentary feature that explores the emergence of hip hop in Uganda as a tool for social change in Uganda and beyond. Narrated by Michael Franti, it tells a gripping story of the way that Ugandan rappers risk political reprisals by creating rhymes that tell the stories of the victims of the bloody civil war and the long, corrupt reign of Uganda's political leaders.
I'm pretty intrigued. I actually just moved last weekend (uggg) and REALLY need to unpack and organize. BUT, now I am very tempted to run off and hide from my work at the Hartford Film Festival this weekend. I think the documentary is such a powerful form of media, seeing a great documentary can really make you think, question, and discuss, what you thought you knew about the particular topic and what you know now. The broadcast also got me thinking about some of my favorite documentaries, and documentaries that we have here at the library.
My recent favorites include:
God Grew Tired of Us - The journey of three of the 'Lost Boys' of Sudan as they relocate to America.
An Unreasonable Man - A look at the career of consumer advocate Ralph Nader.
Spellbound - Follows eight children competing in the National Spelling Bee.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon - Tracks John's career from a member of The Beatles to a rallying anti-war activist, to his assassination.
Jesus Camp - A documentary about kids attending a Christian summer camp.
We also had the privilege of hosting the only East of the River premiere of the documentary “ Hollywood Librarian” last fall. In fact it was only a week or so after I started that we premiered the movie at the Beckish Senior Center– what a great intro to my new found profession! The movie still has not been released in DVD, but when it is I'm sure we'll have a copy of it!
We own some of the ones I mentioned above, and browsing our shelves before writing this post I found a number of other ones I would love to see, including:
Grizzly Man When the Levees Broke Manufactured Landscapes
Come check out a documentary this weekend and get your learning on! Or, make your way into Hartford for the Film Fest, you might just see me there, avoiding my long to-do list, and hiding out in the theater!
For more info on the Hartford International Film Fest THIS WEEKEND, here is the link to their website:
NOVEMBER 5, 2008
As I previously mentioned, Halloween is one of my more favorite holidays. I particularly enjoy seeing the pre-school set dressed up and being very serious about it. So I was very happy that this year that Halloween fell on a Friday when we do Story Time.
Around 1:30 pm, the Library was transformed to a magical land of fairy princesses, a white furry animal, a few warriors and a ghost buster! It was a special Story Time, with story, craft and snack.
However, it was also a special day in the Library. Behind the desk we had a witch, a doctor and two Librarian princess/goddesses….
I know not everyone shares my personal desire to ‘dress up’. So I would like to take this public opportunity to say –
THANK YOU to the wonderful staff here at the Saxton B. Little Free Library who indulged me in dressing up, did so with flair and humor and not one grumble.
Thank you to Carol, Megan and Sue !!!
NOVEMBER 3, 2008
Three Seasons ~ That's the Life for Me!
I'm a three season kind of woman; spring, summer, fall. I bask in the sun and warm weather and shiver in the cold. I could never bond with Princess Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall of Howdy Doody fame. The winter months are not for me! I try not to think about the cold season coming but start complaining about it around late August. You have to drag me kicking and screaming from October into November. I'm even tempted to tear the pages for December, January and February from my calendars. For now, things aren't too bad but they're getting there. I refuse to don my winter coat and gloves, even though the temperatures have been dipping into the 30's this past week. I hate to give into the cold even though I'm already freezing. For the past month I've enjoyed the view of Tuttle's fields when I leave work. The leaves on his trees have been brilliantly red and orange but now are brown and on the ground. They haven't lost all their leaves but when they do I'll look not. I won't be able to see them anyway as the dark and dreary is creeping up on me like a thief, stealing the light of day. I get up in the dark and go home in the dark. I even had to put my headlights on at 4:15 today. The clocks are changed; fall back they say. Gain an hour, lose more daylight! The story goes "You can't fool Mother Nature" and in this case, they're right. Winter will win.
Snow In August by Pete Hamill
or any of the myriad of other books that feature cold, cruel, winter weather!