Rmlblog's Weblog

October 25, 2017

November is Literacy Month

Filed under: Children's books,Reading life,Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 7:49 pm

This month’s blog is brought to you by Miss Eunice. We are celebrating Literacy Month in November (and, really, every month.) The library will have packets for you to take home with suggestions for sharing books, stories, history and memories as a family. We will also be hosting a discussion of some wonderful historical fiction picture books on Wednesday evening, Nov. 15, at 7 pm. Please check out our titles and share your thoughts during this community event.

Here are just a few suggestions of “sophisticated picture books” to share in families having members five years old and older.  These are great discussion starters, showing ways to:

  1. learn little bits of history that make us realize that “history” is not merely some thank you palaccioremote timeline to be learned, but rather the story of real people just like us
  2. see and hear that art and language can help us explore and expand what we thought we knew
  3. share our own stories with those we know because we each count!

Some of these books are sad, serious and seem far beyond the interests of the “picture book” crowd. This is true. However, all of these titles provide informative, insightful, hopeful, uplifting places from which to begin exploring the world together with your family.

 

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September 27, 2017

A Voice from the Past

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 12:38 am

It started out with a phone call.

“Do you have any Richards Family memorabilia?” The woman had a soft Southern accent and a quiet voice.

My immediate thought was that this was a parent looking for help with a child’s local history project. I told her we didn’t really have anything, but we did have the pictures of E. Ira and Lucy Richards.

“I think I’m related to the Richards Family,” the quiet voice explained. Bells went off in my head and I remembered a genealogy book we had on the Richards Family in our local history collection.

“Hold on. We have a genealogical book about the Richards.”

When I came back, the woman started giving me names and I browsed the book. Then she said her father was Michael Richards and there in front of me was a picture of Michael and Anne Richards. And next to that, a picture of their three children.

“You’re in this book!”

The woman, Renee Richards Grace, went on to explain to me about her grandparents E. Ira and Grace Richards. The book, An Informal History of Several Families by R. Draper Richards, had pictures of both, and an obituary for Grace.

Renee was thrilled and said she would stop by to look.

renee and tim graceLittle did I know that Renee and her husband Timothy Grace live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They were on a trip to find out more about her family. Originally this fall her family holds a reunion in South Carolina, but due to her mother’s health and Hurricane Irma, they decided to cancel.

Renee’s father was Michael Richards, 2nd son of Ira and Grace (Meurer) Richards, grandson of Ira and Lydia (Reynard) Richards and great-grandson of Josiah and Harriet (Draper) Richards. This library is a memorial to Edmund Ira and Lucy (Morse) Richards and Josiah was E. Ira’s brother. Their father seems to have been the first Ira Richards.

Wednesday afternoon, after I had left early, Renee and Tim stopped by. Marjorie Johnson showed them what we had in the local history room and found a copy of the original deed for the library, and the Selectman’s thank you letter. She printed out a copy of Elizabeth Mansfield’s A Centennial Celebration 1894-1994.” Marjorie suggested the Blackinton Inn as a B&B, and Meredith O’Malley suggested our two local restaurants, Table at 10 and Portobello, for dinner.

Renee and Tim also visited the old Richards House, now the Council on Aging building on Elm Street. There they found more papers from the family.

On Thursday when they stopped by, we shared the R. Draper Richards book with them as well as some memorabilia left to the library by Lucy “Bonnie” Richards Tweedy, the last of “our” Richards family. We found a copy of the Informal History book as well a copy of a Richards Genealogy book, Genealogical Register of the Descendants of Several Ancient Puritans by Abner Morse for sale on Abebooks.com so that they could have their own copy.

Frank Ward, the director, took Renee and Tim over to the Mount Hope Cemetery to show them the Richards grave.

Renee was full of stories about her family, even though she said her father, Michael, did not like to talk about his family. He was a rebel against the strict upper class upbringing of his father, Ira, who as a stockbroker had rebuilt the family fortunes. Once at dinner Michael mentioned Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his father punched him. Michael had a checkered school career, but ended up as professor of Shakespeare at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Renee related one of his eccentricities: if he didn’t like a paper that a student produced, he’d stick it to a tree and shoot a hole in it. Despite this, or maybe because of it, he was named an Outstanding Professor while he was there.

There seems to be a mystery about the death of Josiah Richards. According to the Informal History and the Attleboro newspaper report of July 10, 1890, Josiah and his grandson Ira were coming back from a shooting expedition designed to amuse the 10 year old Ira. The guns were in the front of the carriage with the muzzle under the armpit of Josiah. Unfortunately the gun was still loaded. Somehow the gun went off and Josiah was shot just below the arm. He eventually bled to death after the first doctor said there was nothing he could do and left to catch the train. A 2nd doctor on the scene arrived to pronounce him dead. Renee explained that the family had passed down a slightly different version in which young Ira’s toes had become caught in the rifle and accidentally fired the gun. This same Ira is the one who “had no use for work and spent his life successfully spending his inheritance.”

This whole episode was a wonderful experience for everyone.

March 29, 2017

What Would Your Idiosyncrasy Be?

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 6:16 pm

I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries lately and the main characters all seem to have something special about them that is mentioned in every book. Think Columbo and his cigar, raincoat, car and dog. On detective liked dark chocolate Kit Kats — that’s my kind of guy!

What would my idiosyncrasy be if I were the main character in a mystery? It would have to be a cozy mystery — probably involving a library or a bookstore. I read (a lot), knit, sing in a church choir, have cats, collect Clue games, and do Sudoku. I think my character would need to get a little more specific. Maybe I’d only be Miss Scarlet when I played Clue. Or sang tenor. Or had a strange cat (but that’s been done before.)

What would your idiosyncrasy be?

Can you recognize these characters by their idiosyncrasies?

  1. Always doing crosswords and listening to opera
  2. Drinks Laphroaig and listens to opera and folk music
  3. Rows to clear her head
  4. Smells of Roses and Sandalwood
  5. Has a strange dog and a wild cat as pets
  6. Always uses an iron skillet and tells us how to season it.
  7. This pair watches Final Jeopardy every case.
  8. Won’t get a cellphone.
  9.  Always talks about the local water problem.

Answers in the next post.

February 21, 2017

Town-Wide Read: Animals Make Us Human

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 8:52 pm

animals-make-us-humanThe Town-Wide Read is back. This year the book is Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin. North Attleboro loves its animals as we can tell from the popular Strut Your Pet events. We also have been inundated with wildlife throughout the years — remember the bear that came through the area?

Some copies of the book will be available at the library starting in February for check-out, but they can also be ordered through the SAILS system.

For a complete list of the programs we’ve planned check out our website, http://www.rmlonline.org/town-wide-read-animals-make-us-human-temple-grandin

We would like reservations for programs so we can put out enough chairs, but you can drop in.

Here are the highlights:

  • Book Discussions for adults and children (who will read The One and Only by Katherine Applegate.)
  • Caleigh Brown talks about her training to be part of a Therapy Dog team with her dog, March 9, at 4 pm. For children and young adults.
  • Movie showing of Temple Grandin movie on March 9, at 6 pm
  • Kristina O’Keefe of the NA Animal Shelter will give a talk “All about Pet Adoptions” on March 11, at 11 am.
  • Rob Adamski of the NE Wildlife Center will talk about NE Wildlife on March 15, at 7 pm
  • Leah Snow will demonstrate Clicker Training on March 18, at 11 am
  • Cathy Symons will discuss Visually Impaired Dogs on March 20, at 7 pm.

Don’t expect to know how animals make us human by the time you finish Temple Grandin’s book. More to the point of her work is that humans are animals with many of the same needs. Our whole world would be better if we helped our animals live better and our fellow humans.

September 27, 2016

What is a Classic?

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 10:10 pm

As part of the reorganization of space at the Library, we have created a bookshelf of Classic books. The shelf can only hold about 75 books so choosing which books are “classic” will be a challenge.

Some authors are easy choices: Twain, Hemingway, Hawthorne, Melville, Fitzgerald, Austen, Dickens, Hardy. But what about Tolkein? or Gabriel García Márquez? Graham Greene? Arthur Conan Doyle?

Is it age that decides a classic? Or whether it is taught in school? classics-bookshelf

It may come down to space. Many of the “H” authors can be considered classics which is lucky because it is often hard to “weed” that section. It would be wonderful if more “S” authors were classics because that is another crowded section.

The P’s stuffed with books by James Patterson and Jodi Picoult do not have many authors that are classic in the usual sense. However, Terry Pratchett is certainly a classic fantasy author.

Stop by the bookshelf — along the wall where the glass cabinets used to be — to see what’s there and what’s missing. What would you call a classic?

September 20, 2016

Backing up Your Pictures and Files

Filed under: Uncategorized,Using the web — rmlblog @ 10:10 pm

One of my friends recently had the “blue screen of death” on his computer. All of the files he used for our music ministry were potentially gone (luckily someone could get his computer working again.) I realized again how important it is to have computer files saved in more than one place.

While taking a course on the Android phone through Lynda.comgoogle choices, I learned about Google Photos. It turns out if you have a Google account, you can set up your phone to save your pictures to this “cloud” storage. Then when you need more storage on your phone you can delete older pictures knowing they are saved somewhere else. I can then get my photos from a computer to upload to Facebook.

For my work and home files, I use Dropbox, a free service that you install on your computer. Certain files I store permanently there so I can access them from whatever computer I am using. I have even stored my travel information there and share it with my family in case of emergencies. There is a limit of how much you can store for free, but I haven’t run out yet.

Google also has Google Drive which allows you to save files that you can Google docswork on from different computers or share with different people. Great for family event planning.

I’m sure there are other methods: external hard drives, usb “thumb” drives, and other services. And then getting rid of old files is another project.

Consider backing up your files so you won’t lose your precious photos and memories.

June 29, 2016

Enjoy these Audio Readers This Summer

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 6:36 pm

A good audio reader can make even a “okay” book sound wonderful; and a bad reader can make a good book awful. And a good book makes a long ride go quickly for everyone.

Audiofiles has a list of “Golden Voices” that highlight award-winning audio readers. All of these readers are available on cds of the books; if there is an * next to the reader’s name, then you can also download some of their books through OverDrive. In Enterprise, you can limit your search to Audiobooks and Author and plug in the name of the reader.

My personal favorites are Jim Dale * who did the Harry Potter series, Ralph Cosham* who did the first ten of Louise Penny’s mysteries, Carolyn McCormick* who did the Hunger Game series, Anna Fields* who was the voice for Susan Elizabeth Phillips for many years and Patrick Tull who did the Patrick O’Brian series.

Alyssa Bresnahan
Scott Brick* (does nonfiction as well as fiction)guidell
Barbara Caruso (primarily women writers)
David Case* (classics and literary fiction)
Jim Dale* (young adult fantasy and more)
Gerard Doyle (mysteries and thrillers)
Grover Gardner* (some of everything)
Dion Graham (thrillers and more)
George Guidall* (one of the all time best! Really good with mystery and suspense)
Edward Herrmann* (lots of nonfiction as well as children’s)
Dick Hill* (Michael Connolly and Lee Child!)
Derek Jacobi* (a wonderful actor who does a number of historical fiction titles)
Martin Jarvis* (Wodehouse, Christie, and Dick Francis, oh my!)
Simon Jones* (children’s and adult both)
Garrison Keillor (You know his voice from Prairie Home Companion)
Katherine Kellgren* (historical fiction and women’s lives books)
John Lee* (some of everything — including Ken Follett)
Miriam Margolyes (children’s and young adult)
Wanda McCaddon* (nonfiction history)
John McDonough (nonfiction, children’s and adult fiction)
Robin Miles* (mostly books by women authors, both fiction and nonfiction)
Frank Muller* (Great voice — all older books including John Grisham. He died in a tragic accident several years ago.)
Davina Porter (lots of mysteries)
Simon Prebble (does some of everything)
Barbara Rosenblat (THE voice for many women mystery writers)
Stefan Rudnicki* (nonfiction and science fiction)
Jay O. Sanders* (Danielle Steel, Tony Hillerman, James Patterson and others)
Lynne Thigpen (You know her from Law and Order.)
Simon Vance* (reads everything)

 

March 29, 2016

From Garden To Table

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 12:39 am

garden vegetables

Now is the time to start planning your vegetable garden, if you haven’t already. There is nothing quite like fresh vegetables in the summer and there are now many resources to help you decide what to cook with your results.

Here’s a website that might be helpful (and doesn’t have ads!):  https://ag.umass.edu/home-lawn-garden/fact-sheets/vegetables

I have also made a list of books you might find helpful.

 

 

December 28, 2015

Winter’s Coming: Read Aloud for Family Fun

Filed under: Children's books,Favorite Books,Reading life,Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 11:43 pm
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When I was a teacher, one of my favorite times was after recess when we would gather the kids around and read longer chapter books to them. One former student still remembers The Book of Three as the book that turned him on to reading. When I was in grade school, I remember the librarian reading long books to us — Johnny Tremain, comes to mind — and how much we looked forward to it each week.

This fun doesn’t have to be limited to teachers or librarians. Reading aloud  is a wonderful experience. And there are some great books out there that adults and older children would enjoy. Just imagine sometime this winter, turning off the television, sipping hot cocoa or cider, and listening to an adventure that takes you away from the cold, the wars, the terrorism and off to another world. Books can do that, you know.

Here’s a list of books that Eunice recommends for reading aloud:

Good Read Alouds

September 28, 2015

Gems in the 300s

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmlblog @ 9:24 am

I have been clearing out books that don’t circulate (weeding) in order to make more room for mysteries, large print books and dvds. As I was going through the books with call numbers in the 300s, I was surprised at how many good books there were that hadn’t gone out recently. The sheer number of books in the 300s — it took up the whole of the eastern wall in the nonfiction area — means that it is hard to find wheat among the chaff. So for a display in October, I will feature some of these hidden gems.

The Dewey Decimal 300 Classification is called Social Sciences. That means anything that involves people interacting with each other.

80dates300-307: This is the section that covers anthropology, cultures, and communities. Some good books in this section include Larry King’s How to Talk to Anyone, Aviva Chmsky’s They Take Our Jobs and 20 Other Myths about Immigration, and Around the World in 80 Dates by Jennifer Cox.

320-328: Political Science includes government, politics, civil rights, and migration. You might like to read The Candidate: What it takes to Win by Samuel Popkin or Deception : the Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today by Edward Lucas.

330-339 is Economics of all kinds. Certainly this topic affects us in many ways. Some of the gems include: Private Empire-coal riverExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll; Coal River by Michael Shnayerson about mining; The American Way of Eating : Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table by Tracy McMillan,

340-348 is Law. This is where you would find books about legal forms, court cases, the Constitution, economic law and labor law. There are a lot of books about individual amendments. One of the newer books is Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom by Leila Schneps. There is also But they Didn’t Read Me My Rights by Michael Cicchini.

350-359 is primarily Military Science. You might like the book The Generals by Thomas Ricks.

360-369 contains books about Social Problems and Social Services. Books about addiction, crime, prisons, law enforcement, general clubs and associations can be found there. You can read Answering 911 in which Caroline Burau explains about the kinds of calls 911 operators receive. Last Call by Daniel Okrent tells the story of Prohibition. In Ghost in the Wires Kevin Mitnick tells about his experiences hacking and how he became a security consultant.

drama high370-379 is Education. While there are plenty of books for teachers and parents, there are also some really good books about the integration of schools (Turn Away Thy Son by Elizabeth Jacoway ), the experiences of teachers (Drama High by Michael Sokolove about the power of theater in saving a school.)

380-389 is most Transportation. This is where there are books about the development of planes, trains and cars, the history of canals and lighthouses, and communication systems. Check out Global Girlfriends by Stacey Edgar and Wedding of the Waters: the Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation by Peter Bernstein.

390-399 is a hodge-podge category: Customs, Etiquette & Folklore. This is where the books on fashion, funerals, domestic life and folk tales of different cultures can be found. This includes the books America Eats: On the Road with the WPA by Pat Willard, The Sari by Mukulika Banerjee and New Rules @ Work by Peggy Post.

Even if you normally read fiction, you might be surprised by how easy it is to read good nonfiction. A good writer can make anything interesting!

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