Thursday, October 5, 2017

Learning at the Library

School has started, and our young people are embarked on an exciting journey of exploration and discovery. Don’t let them have all the fun of gaining new knowledge and mastering new skills.  The Ridgefield Library is your center for lifelong learning.  Here are a few ways you can take advantage of this resource.

Learn a language.  Our new online language learning program Pronunciator makes it easy for you to go from beginner to advanced proficiency in over 80 languages, from Italian to Icelandic.

Learn at your own speed. offers thousands of online video tutorials covering business and computer skill topics.  Take a full course or just search for the answer to a specific question about how to do something in Excel or WordPress.

Learn from the best.  Our Great Courses collection includes audio (and some video) lecture series by highly rated professors who are experts and excellent educators on everything from astronomy to French literature.

Learn from each other. Book discussions, our Adult Maker Group and other interactive programs offer wonderful opportunities for participants to share their own insights and knowledge, enriching the learning experience for the whole group. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Get Caught Reading a Banned Book

This year’s Banned Books Week celebration of the freedom to read, organized since 1982 by a coalition including the American Library Association (ALA), the American Booksellers Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, is September 24-30. This event highlights the need for free access to information and ideas without censorship regardless of personal views. From “A Brave New World” to “Harry Potter” to the Bible, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom reports the books are challenged, censored and banned every year.

To raise awareness of the effects of censorship on communities, the Ridgefield Library is featuring an interactive “Get Caught Reading a Banned Book” display. Patrons may take a selfie, or pose for a photo in front of a “mugshot” backdrop with a favorite challenged or banned book. Check our displays or browse banned book lists at our service desk to help make a selection – you may be surprised at some of the titles on the list. The Library encourages patrons and visitors to share their images on social media with the hashtags: #rebelreader and #ireadbannedbooks.

Contributed by Kristina Lareau, Head of Children's Services

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Game On!

Our annual RidgeCon pop culture celebration has become so popular that we have decided to continue the fun throughout the year. The first RidgeCon “spin-off” will be the launch in September of two recurring gaming programs. 

We Got Games is a tabletop gaming meet-up for adults and teens on the 2nd Tuesday evening of the month. Family Game Day will meet on the fourth Saturday of each month and is an afternoon drop-in program for families with children aged 4 and up.  

What does playing Apples to Apples or the Settlers of Cataan have to do with libraries? Experts in many disciplines now recognize the importance of play in childhood development, in aiding the retention of mental acuity in later years and in fostering collaboration and teamwork for all ages. Not only do tabletop games offer friendly competition, but many require strategy, planning, critical analysis, storytelling and creative thinking. Playing games with children can help their social development, literacy skills and better recognition of cause-and-effect. These skills are many of the same ones libraries introduce and reinforce in storytimes, book discussions and other programs, as well as through tools such as Kindle Fires for kids and and other online tutorials for adults. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Transforming the Lodewick Children's Library

The Library staff is always seeking better ways to help our patrons find what they need, whether it is a satisfying leisure read or information to fulfill a homework assignment. In the Children’s Library, for example, collections are divided into separate sections for different ages, reading levels or purposes, such as the Holiday collection and the Early Reader section, further divided into 3 subgroups to correspond to level ranking used in the schools.

Over the summer, we have been making a number of additional changes. When complete, one of the most noticeable will be the creation of a separate location for “Chapter Books,” previously mixed in Juvenile Fiction right next to the huge volumes by J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan.  These are books geared to those just moving beyond Early Readers, such as the Magic Tree House and other popular series.

To help folks become familiar with where things are now located in the Lodewick Children’s Library, we are hosting a Back-to-School Scavenger Hunt the week after Labor Day. Kids in Kindergarten through Grade 5 are invited to drop in any time the Library is open on September 5-9 and pick up a scavenger hunt form.  All who complete the hunt will receive a small prize.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

See You in September

Congratulations to all who participated in the 2017 Build a Better World Summer Reading Program.  Teen and adult programs have wrapped up, but children through grade 6 can continue to log their reading and collect prizes until August 31st (the day before school starts). A very special thank you to our long-time Summer Reading sponsors:  the Friends of the Ridgefield Library, Books on the Common, Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe and The Toy Chest.  We couldn’t do it without them!

After the excitement of RidgeCon and the Solar Eclipse, our staff will be taking a brief break to catch their breaths before fall activities start up.  The Library will be open on Saturday, September 2nd from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM but closed on Sunday and Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

Good news for students, commuters and others who have difficulty getting to the Library during the week!  Sunday hours from 1:00 to 5:00 PM start up again on September 10th.

The coming of fall will also see our Love your Library Day events (including mini-golf in the stacks!) on September 15th and 16th, the launch of a season-long series of events devoted to Jane Austen, and much more.  Check for details. See you in September!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Learning a Language Just Got Easier

Pronunciator, an online language learning product that provides instruction for all ages in over 80 languages, is now available to Library cardholders.  With its wide range of features, Pronunciator replaces Mango, our previous online offering, and is made possible by the Friends of the Library.

Pronunciator provides instruction for learners ranging from beginners to those seeking advanced conversational skills. For structured learning, Pronunciator includes eight-week interactive courses at all levels that offer five days of study each week consisting of one to two 30-minute sessions per day.  For those who prefer to customize their own learning, Pronunciator makes it easy to select areas of focus such as core vocabulary, essential verbs or conversational practice along with the flexibility of mastering a language by topics of interest.  When using a microphone-enabled device, feedback on pronunciation skills is available.

Also included are units specifically geared toward both early learners (3 to 6-year-olds) and young learners (7 to 12-year-olds) and for those seeking to master vocabulary targeted toward travel, workplace or English as a second language.   Download lessons with apps for Apple and Android phones and tablets for access on the go.  Pronunciator also offers a wide range of special features such as movies, music and poetry to enhance study.  

Contributed by Dorothy Pawlowski, Head of Adult Services

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Why One at a Time?

Your family has taken out lots of books for Summer Reading, and now it is time to return them to the Library. You station yourself at the return slot, and the sign instructs you to drop in one item at a time and wait for the green light before proceeding.  What’s up with that, you sigh, as you look at the huge stack of items in your tote bag?

All materials sent through the slot go on to a conveyor belt and are checked in electronically using a Radio Frequency Identification tag, then sorted automatically by category. This system helps us to get items back on the shelves for the next user quickly with the least amount of handling by staff.
 It can only process one thing at a time, which is why each item should be sent through separately. Jumbles of multiple items put through the slot together cannot be distinguished and are passed to the end of the belt, where they must be handled manually.

Please note: The new Kindle Fires for kids must be returned directly to the Children’s Services desk.  We ask also that certain oversize volumes be brought to the Circulation Desk, as they can jam and be damaged in the sorting mechanism (you will find special instructions located on the cover).