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Archive for Category: Reading Room
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MP3 Audiobooks Available

   Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

MP3 downloadable audiobook announcementStarting on Dec. 1st, 2008, Chelmsford patrons can now download audiobooks in MP3 format.

For over a year, the Library has offered downloadable audiobooks through our Overdrive subscription, which we share with other MVLC libraries. However, until now, these audiobooks were only available to people with Windows-based computers, and they could not be played on iPods.

But now, we're very happy to offer audiobooks in MP3 format, which is compatible with iPods and many other popular MP3 players and cell phones. Also, Overdrive has released a new version of the Media Console that runs on Mac computers.

Searching for and downloading the new MP3 format audiobooks is the same as the previous formats, so if you've used Overdrive before you should have no problem. The format of the audiobook is displayed in each audiobook's search record (displayed below), along with what kind of devices on which that audiobook can be played.

Overdrive search listing

If you'd like more information about using the new MP3 audiobooks, check out the Dec. 2008 issue of the MVLC newsletter [pdf]. If you have questions about MP3 audiobooks or need assistance using Overdrive, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Books, Overdrive, Reading Room | No Comments »

Books for Parents of Teenagers

   Thursday, July 10th, 2008 - by: Becky Herrmann, Library Director

When I couldn't see the apple on the picnic table, I knew I was in trouble. I was twelve. It was the school-wide eye exams. The tests involved looking through a device somewhat like the old Kenner toy projectors - the ones with the removable slides. As you gazed, the nurse would ask, "Is the apple on the picnic table or is it off? On, off, I could barely see the apple - never mind its placement. Four Eyes - I thought dispiritedly, they are going to call me Four Eyes. I needed glasses and I was not looking forward to it.

Some of us remember when Jan Brady got her glasses. Marcia may have had to wear the braces, but she still got Davy Jones and her date for the dance turned out to have braces too -- it was Jan who we really worried about. The path from clear-eyed to bespectacled can be rough. Adolescence can be a road filled with bumps where self-image is a sensitive issue.

Navigating your child's course through these years can be challenging. Many parents have turned to books like Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher, and Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michal Thompson. These two books came out in the 90's but are still relevant and helpful today. Another updated and popular title is How to Talk so Teens Will Listen - and Listen so Teens Will Talk by Adele Faber - its original version was directed at younger kids and came out in the eighties.

If you are mystified as to why your child went from being a chatterbox to responding in monosyllables, then Not Much, Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers by Linda Perlstein might give some insight. And if you want to hear what kids really think - in their own words - try Real Boys' Voices by William S. Pollack or Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler. Both feature the unfiltered voices of adolescents talking about their struggles and passions.

Books to hand to your teens directly include Am I Weird or Is This Normal? - a girl's 411 on what happens to your body, feelings and relationships during adolescence by Marlin S. Potash or The Teenage Guy's Survival Guide by Jeremy Daldry - a humorous but practical guide on everything from shaving to peer pressure and why girls make guys crazy.

For fictional titles that deal with self-esteem and self-image in these formative years, some oldies but goodies include One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte and The Goats by Brock Cole. More recent titles include: What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen and Peter Cameron's Someday this Pain Will be Useful to You. These titles and others are all available at the Chelmsford Public Library. Check out our website at www.chelmsfordlibrary.org for a complete list.

   Posted in Books, Column, Reading Room | No Comments »

Teen Reads for Summer

   Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 - by: Becky Herrmann, Library Director

"I don't have anything to wear!" The pink shirt is too babyish - the tank top is too tacky. The black jeans are too "emo." "Mom - I can't wear skinny with baggy, don't you know anything!" The list goes on.

Too tight, too wide, too tall, too small - my daughter is like Goldilocks when she dresses each morning. If only I could make everything just right - but these days I am not the Mom who can kiss the boo-boo and make it better. That is so last year - I am the mother of an almost 13-year old whose favorite retort (with an eye roll) is "I know..." Far be it for me to offer any kind of advice - although, that doesn't stop me from trying.

In spite of everything, there is still one area I seem to have some sway - books. She eagerly sorts through the piles I bring home and curls up with a book every night before bed. So, here are a few teen titles to try this summer:

For those who never feel like they fit in, try reading or listening to the confessions of Georgia Nicolson in Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. (We have both print and audio-book versions of this series.) The laugh-out-loud antics of Georgia, a 14 year-old British girl who is trying to reduce the size of her nose, tame her wild cat and romance a popular boy at school make this a popular selection for vacation time. (And as there are multiple titles in the series, reading about Georgia could last all summer long...) Another title to try is Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. I think the title says it all.

For the girl who enjoys school settings and the social scene, a light summer read would be the L.B.D. books by Grace Dent - a series about "Les Bambinos Dangereuses" - three fast friends who put on a rock concert at their school. Lily Archer's Poison Apples about a trio of unlikely friends who meet at boarding school and all have evil step-mothers would also be a good choice.

For Harry Potter fans who enjoyed the romance between Ginny and Harry, try the romantic and comic novels of Sarah Mlynowski. The series begins with Bras and Broomsticks and continues with Frogs and French Kisses and Sleeping Bags and Spells.

For those who liked the darker side of Harry Potter, try the Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney. The first title is Revenge of the Witch and it follows one young man, Thomas Ward, who must fill the shoes of an aging Spook who has protected the local villages from evil. Twenty-nine apprentices have failed, only Thomas is left. As there are 4 books in the series, you can guess he is successful, but there are some genuinely gruesome and heart-stopping adventures along the way. Also, in a similar vein is Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landry in which a young girl inherits her odd uncle's estate -and at the reading of the will she is joined by a walking, talking skeleton who persuades her to join forces with him to save the world.

For the paranormal romance fan, Stephenie Meyer's vampire/werewolf series has been hugely popular with teens. The first in the series is Twilight - the 4th book Breaking Dawn will be published on August 2nd - just in time for a summer read. If your teen can't wait till then, try The Silver Kiss or Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause or Owl in Love by Patricia Kindl.

For those who contemplate the unknown, try Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, a remarkable envisioning of what happens when you die. It focuses on the sudden death of a 15 year old girl in a car accident, imagining her reactions to her own death. Also of interest might be Gossamer by Newbery-award-winning author Lois Lowry in which she creates a fantasy back-story for how and why some folks have pleasant dreams versus nightmares.

For those in search of a mystery, try the light-hearted Lulu Dark books by Bennett Madison. The series begins with Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls and continues with Lulu Dark and the Summer of the Fox - Lulu is a reluctant sleuth with a satirical wit and the books are fast-paced, smart and funny. Speaking of reluctant - if you are trying to coax your computer-oriented child into reading, try Cathy's Book: If found, call (650)-266-8233 by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman. This fast-paced mystery includes telephone numbers that readers can call and an interactive website to visit to help solve the mystery.

And as far as I am concerned, you never get too old to be read to. A book for parents and teens to read aloud together is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. This coming of age tale set in Brooklyn at the turn of the century still holds up. And hey, if you can't get them to sit with you at home, try popping the story into your car stereo at the beginning of your vacation trip. Happy summer reading and listening!

To see a listing of all the books mentioned here, see the Library's Reading Room webpage.

   Posted in Books, Column, Reading Room | No Comments »

Dig In At The Library!

   Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 - by: Becky Herrmann, Library Director

Chelmsford Library Educational GardenLast night my daughter shared a list that she wrote when she was five. (She is closing in on 13 now...) It was a list of the things she loved best about her mother. She loved that her mom gave her lots of hugs and kisses. She loved that her mom made her good dinners. She loved that her mom laughed at the movies with her. Ok, I said to myself; that all sounds positive - She thinks that I'm a pretty good mother!

But number one on her list was that she loved that her mom had a green thumb. I read it again. A green thumb - not a black one. "Iris" - I said, "Are you sure this is your handwriting? Do you still think I have a green thumb?" She began to laugh -"Um, no Mom, you kill the hanging plants on the porch every year." "Then why did you say it when you were five?" "Oh," she said, "I'm sure all the other kids were saying it about their moms and it sounded good at the time..."

Hmmph. While it may be true that plastic plants have a better chance of surviving under my not so watchful watering eye - it is not that I don't appreciate the art of growing beautiful plants. And as an enthusiastic cook, I especially appreciate the art of growing edible plants. I just don't happen to have a talent for growing things.

But fortunately at the library we have a group of people who do have that talent. On a recent Saturday, the Country Lane Garden Club, along with family and friends, gathered to dedicate the Heritage Garden in front of the Adams section of the library building.

You may have noticed it... it is the beautiful garden that embraces our flag pole (see photos of the Garden). We think of it as our circle of generosity. The garden was first started with seed money from the Country Lane Garden Club and the Friends of the Chelmsford Public Library. The Friends also donated the big granite sign. The flagpole was donated by the Rotary Club of Chelmsford and the granite benches encircling the garden were donated by friends and family in memory of Steve Maloney, our library trustee who passed away in 2006. Our thanks to all who gave to make the Heritage Garden possible!

This organic garden was designed by Chelmsford resident Sue Spicer, a landscape design specialist and it is lovingly taken care of by the Country Lane Garden Club. It features native New England plants that were growing at the time the Adams Library was built in 1894. While it is a 19th century-style garden, it combines historic character with an eye to the contemporary advantages of sustainability. Plants were chosen that were low maintenance and the old-fashioned method used to plant the garden - preserving the sod and building a new garden's soil up in soil layers - is especially beneficial to the environment.

I invite you to drop by, pick out a book, and go read it on one of the benches outside while you breathe in the scent of thyme and chives. Perhaps these culinary herbs will entice you to read something like Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs, a humorous novel about a celebrity chef turning fifty and not loving it. Or the serenity of the spot might inspire you to pick up a copy of Stanley Kunitz's The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden or The Gardens of Emily Dickinson by Judith Farr. You could also puzzle your way through a gardening mystery - check out titles by Janis Harrison and Ann Ripley.

The beautifully layered composition of the garden might inspire you to dig a few holes and put in a few plants yourself. (On your own land, not the library's...) You might want to check out one of the recent gardening books we added in honor of the garden. Try Lasagna Gardening with Herbs : Enjoy Fresh flavor, Fragrance, and Beauty with No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! by Patricia Lanz or Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation by Leopold Donald Joseph. For a list of these and other garden-inspired titles, check out our website at www.chelmsfordlibrary.org. Happy reading and sowing!

   Posted in Events, Library Information, Reading Room | No Comments »

Proper Care & Feeding of Books

   Friday, May 16th, 2008 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

BookWe love our books,
And we know you do too.
We’re sure you want to
take good care of them –
here’s what to do:


  • Take a paperback to the beach (hardcovers don’t like the sand)
  • Use a thin, flat bookmark, like a checkout receipt, phone message, love note or bill, or even one of our bookmarks; everything else – like paperclips, straws, crackers, pens or even those pretty beaded or ribbon bookmarks you get at the bookstore - can damage the pages or binding
  • Make notes in your diary, blog or on scrap paper (but please, not in the book)
  • Keep books dry (even a little bit of moisture can make a lot of mold)
  • Enjoy a snack or drink while reading (but be careful not to spill)
  • Make copies or scans of a page or two, if you need it (don’t cut or rip the page out)
  • Renew it, or bring it back on time (so someone else can love it, too)

Sorry, here’s one DON’T:

  • DON’T fold the corner down to mark your page, even once – eventually the corner will fall off, even if it was only folded down once.

These DOs and a DON’T will ensure that we can all love our books for years to come.

These guidelines, along with the Proper Care & Feeding of DVDs, are also available for printing as a bookmark [pdf, 90kb].

   Posted in Books, Reading Room | No Comments »

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