Friday, December 21, 2007

New Circulation Staff Introduced

You may recall that several months ago we introduced Trevor Gladwin as the Library’s new Circulation Assistant. Trevor has since been promoted to Circulation Supervisor and has several new Circulation Clerks he would like to introduce. They bring an impressive mix of backgrounds and skills to the team and are all dedicated to making your library experience pleasurable and fruitful.

Sashi Chakravarti was born in Bangalore, India, where she received a Bachelors degree with Honors in electrical and electronics engineering before re-locating to Illinois in 1994. Married and mother of an active eight-year-old, she moved to Ridgefield a year ago. She has worked as a computer programmer/analyst with Philips India, Computer Sciences Corporation and T-Mobile USA. Her hobbies include keeping up with news from around the world, listening to music and experimenting with new recipes.

Mary Louise Cardosa is a mother of two and a voracious reader who has patronized the Library regularly since moving to town from New York 12 years ago. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a double major in psychology and religious studies, Mary Louise has had a life long commitment to individuals with special educational needs. She has worked in executive search and placement, real estate sales, and as the operator of a home-based business selling handmade crafts.

Fritz Mundorff has recently retired after a long career as a project manager, principally with IBM. A Ridgefield resident since 1996, he is pleased to be able to devote his talents to helping out the Library where he has spent many happy hours as a patron.

Finally, we bid thanks and farewell to George Lohman, who is retiring after nearly 14 years of service at the Circulation Desk. Many of you will recall fondly his recommendations in his favorite areas of science fiction literature and jazz music and will join us in wishing him all the best.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Getting Teens Reading

Teen Services Librarian/Head of Children's Services Geri Diorio contributed the following, adapted from material prepared by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association.

The National Endowment for the Arts released data recently showing that Americans—and teenagers in particular—are reading less than they did just a few years ago. The Ridgefield Library would like you to remember that good reading habits start at home and at your library. As you ponder your New Year’s resolutions, here are some suggestions to help get and keep your teens reading.

· Make sure your teens have regular transportation to the library and plenty of time to find items that interest them.

· The more books, magazines and other reading material you keep around the house, the more likely your teens are to pick up the habit. Visit the library to stock up.

· Planning to spend a lot of time in your car? Pick out an audiobook to listen to with your teens. Tech-savvy parents can fill their teens’ mp3 players with audiobooks from the library. Not feeling tech savvy? Your librarian can help.

· Give your teens books, magazine subscriptions, graphic novels, audiobooks or gift certificates to bookstores as presents.

· Give your teens the freedom to choose materials that interest them and speak to their interests and hobbies. Teens read a lot of heavy material in school—let them pick up something light or fun to keep them interested in reading.

· Make sure your teens know you set aside time to read every day and that you visit the library often. If they see that this is important to you, they’ll make it important to them. Our Adult Summer Reading Program is one great way to be a reading role model to your teens.

· And finally, have fun reading! If your teens see you enjoying reading as a hobby, they will realize that reading is fun and a hobby worth pursuing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Library Annual Appeal Underway

“A gift to the Library is a gift that opens minds.” That is the theme of this year’s Library Annual Appeal. As you may know, the Ridgefield Library is an association library, an independently incorporated 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves as the public library for the town of Ridgefield. The town provides roughly 75% of our operating budget each year, and the remaining percentage is raised privately by the Library. The lion’s share of this money comes from the generosity of Ridgefield residents who respond to our annual appeal letter.

Your support makes it possible for the Library to purchase the new books and other materials you desire, offer a panoply of informative and entertaining programs for all ages and provide excellent personal service to those seeking information, reading recommendations or help using our resources.

As the end of the year approaches, we urge you to return the reply card you received in the mail with as generous a contribution as you can. New this year is the option to become a Library Sustainer by pledging a certain amount to be charged automatically to a credit card each month. For some, this makes it possible to increase the size of their gift while managing their cash flow responsibly.

The Library is also able to accept gifts of stock and charitable distributions from IRAs. This last opportunity is based on a provision of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2007, so consult your financial advisor right away if you wish to take advantage of this option.

If you did not receive an appeal letter in the mail or wish any further information about any of these ways of supporting the Ridgefield Library, please feel free to contact me or visit our website at

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Volunteers Record for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Ridgefield Library

Here is a follow-up to last week's article about the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, contributed by Gretchen Bishop, an active volunteer with CVSBH and the Friends of the Library and a 2007 recipient of the Phyllis Paccadolmi Award for dedicated service to the Ridgefield Library.

“This book has been recorded at the Ridgefield Library Audio-book Production Unit…” With these words Ridgefield narrators introduce every book they record for the Connecticut Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. In all, sixteen Ridgefield volunteers help transfer the written word to spoken word so that books can be enjoyed by those who cannot readily see to read.

Recordings take place in a basement room of the library that few realize exists. A narrator sits in a sound proof booth facing a window. On the other side, a monitor operates the computerized recording system. All material, which is copyrighted, must be word perfect. If a narrator says “this” rather than “that,” it must be corrected. A separate reviewer's job is to check recordings against the text, noting errors to be corrected at the next recording session.

Sandy Corday, the current Ridgefield coordinator, was herself disqualified as a narrator because of what she laughingly calls her “New Yawk” accent. Unflappable, she trains new volunteers on the equipment and trouble shoots as needed. She is also Ridgefield’s liaison to the statewide program, known as Connecticut Volunteer Services for the Blind and Handicapped.

Some books take over a year to complete. A few pose unique challenges. The graphs and charts in “Stone Walls of Connecticut” had to be read in a way that was comprehensible to a blind person. Other titles range from “Two Towns of Provence” by M.F.K. Fisher to “Shalamazoo”, a children's book read by author Joe Shaboo. The Ridgefield unit has also recorded Connecticut Magazine for CRIS, the Connecticut Radio Information System, the state's "talking newsstand for the blind and print handicapped."

One of five production units in the state, the Ridgefield studio has been in operation since 1978, and new volunteers are always welcome. To audition to be part of a narrator-monitor team or to offer other assistance, leave a message at the Library for Sandy Corday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Free Materials for the Blind and Physically Impaired

Here's some information provided by Adult Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski, who recently attended a workshop on this topic hosted by the Connecticut State Library.

The Ridgefield Library aims to provide all our patrons with access to a wealth of reading material and information. For those unable to use standard hardcover or paperback book formats, we offer a large print collection of over 2,400 titles, audiobooks on cassette and CD, and downloadable audiobooks.

However, many Connecticut residents may also meet the criteria to receive materials through the Library for the Blind and Physically Impaired, part of the Connecticut State Library system. This federally supported program provides free Braille and recorded materials for those unable to read or use standard printed materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations.

The offerings of recorded material include over 60,000 titles and over 40 magazines. The user can request specific titles or designate categories of interest and receive books matching their reading preferences. Playback equipment, which is specially designed for ease of use for the blind or visually impaired, is provided at no charge for as long as the service is required. Adaptive features are available to make the player functional for those who have other physical challenges.

Recorded or Braille materials are mailed directly to the user’s home for a loan period of 60 days and can be returned postage free in the packaging provided. For recorded magazines, a non-returnable cassette is mailed for each issue.

A simple form is required to establish eligibility and to certify the applicant is unable to read or use standard printed material. Copies of this form are available at the Ridgefield Library, or it can be downloaded from the website of the Library for the Blind and Physically Impaired at

For more information about the full range of Braille and recorded materials available, visit the above website or speak to Ridgefield Library’s Adult Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday Gift Ideas from the Library

Looking for great gift ideas? Visit the Friends of the Ridgefield Library’s Holiday Book Boutique, to be held in the festively decorated Sculpture Room at the Library on Friday, November 30 from 10 AM to 5 PM, Saturday, December 1 from 9 AM to 5 PM, and Sunday, December 2 from 1 to 5 PM. Among the offerings will be “almost new” current bestsellers, adults and children’s books for all ages, and never-used videos, CDs and audiobooks, most still in their plastic wrappings. Great quality, a wide selection and low prices make the Holiday Book Boutique a perfect shopping opportunity for youngsters shopping for their parents or any one wanting to stretch their giving budget.

Too busy with other holiday activities or perhaps stuck at home by the weather? You can still shop with the Friends by visiting their online stores. Internet book sales have become an important additional source of revenue for the Friends, and all proceeds add to the support the Friends give to the Library each year for programs, collections and special equipment. You can shop any time of day or night from the comfort of your home or office at: or on e-Bay at Seller ID ridgefieldfriends.

Once you have bought all those books, what better way to package them than in one of our new Ridgefield Library tote bags? Originally made available as a special gift to families participating in this year’s Summer Reading Program, these roomy green and black bags feature long handles, a zipper top and a handy pocket on the outside for your library card. At only $10 each, you can buy one for everyone on your holiday list – and show your support for the Library at the same time. Stop at the Circulation Desk and purchase yours today – while supplies last!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lifelong Learning through Audio Courses

“Lifelong learning” is one of the hottest buzzwords in the library world today. Basically, this means that libraries such as ours play a pivotal role in the pursuit by individuals and groups of new knowledge and fresh learning experiences past the time of traditional schooling. Among the most popular lifelong learning tools available at the Ridgefield Library are audio recordings of lecture courses by respected and popular professors from top colleges and universities. Recognizing this popularity, we are working to make these unique materials more accessible for Ridgefield adults (and even teens pursuing topics of interest for school courses).

The Library’s collection includes offerings from two series: “The Modern Scholar: Great Professors Teaching You!” from Recorded Books and “The Great Courses: Teaching that Engages the Mind” from The Teaching Company. Each “course” consists of multiple lectures on topics ranging from classical mythology to 20th century astronomy. Accompanying course guides help the listener tackle the material as one might in a traditional classroom, with lecture notes, suggested reading and websites and additional material. Delve into “The Symphonies of Beethoven” with Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music or “Behold the Mighty Dinosaur” presented by Wheaton College’s John Kricher or explore one of scores of other subjects.

To keep up with voracious learners, we now receive new Modern Scholar titles on CD each month, thanks to the Friends of the Library. To accommodate this growing collection and make browsing easier, we have set up a separate shelving area for all the CD and cassette versions. Here you can also find the latest information on the dozens of Modern Scholar titles available for download to a computer or mp3 player. Stop by the Fiction Room to pick up a brochure listing available titles or to find out more about using our downloadable audiobook service to pursue your lifelong learning interests.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ridgefield Library Days at Books on the Common

The Ridgefield Library will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd and Friday the 23rd in celebration of Thanksgiving. But we will be back for the rest of the holiday weekend, with open hours from 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and 1 to 5 PM on Sunday.

Thanksgiving weekend also marks the third annual “Ridgefield Library Days” at Books on the Common. Get your holiday shopping done, support a local business that is such an asset to our community, and benefit the Library - all at the same time. Show your library card at the cash register, and Books on the Common will donate 15% of the price of most of your purchases to the Library. This offer applies to all books (including hardcovers and paperbacks) and audiobooks. In business since 1984, the independent bookseller is located at 109 Danbury Road, in Copps Hill Common, and will be open for “Ridgefield Library Days” on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th from 9 AM to 6:30 PM and Sunday the 25th from 10 AM to 4 PM. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are happy to share their recommendations and to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Don’t have a library card, or can’t find yours? Stop by the Circulation Desk to register for one today, or use our handy online application at The only requirement is proof of Ridgefield residence, such as a driver’s license or a recent utility bill or similar correspondence received at a Ridgefield street address. Those 17 and under also need the signature of a parent or guardian. The replacement fee for lost cards still in the system is just $1.00 – a small price to pay so you can help Books on the Common support the Ridgefield Library!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What's in a Name?

Who uses libraries? Here in Ridgefield, we know that it is males and females, children and seniors, the techno-savvy and the traditionalist – in fact, every kind of person living in our community. But what should they be called? This is a matter of ongoing discussion in the profession, as libraries’ roles and relationships are redefined in a changing universe.

In Ridgefield, as in many locations, we have traditionally used the term “patron” for someone who partakes of library services. This has a gracious, almost old-fashioned sound – but it also creates some confusion, as it is in widespread use in other areas with other connotations, such as “patron of the arts.”

In an effort to be more modern, some libraries have opted for the word “user.” But for others this conjures up off-putting images of “love ‘em and leave ‘em” manipulators or even denizens of the drug underworld. “Customer” is another new trend, but others reject this term because of its implication of a commercial relationship.

“Friend” has a nice cordial feel to it. But in Ridgefield, as in many other towns, a “Friend” is specifically a member of a volunteer group organized in support of the library.

The word “member” brings a feeling of belonging, but it can give people the false impression that they have to pay to join and have access to what are actually free services.

“Borrower” and “cardholder” are other favorites. But these terms don’t recognize the fact that more and more people come to the library to do things other than check out books. “Visitor” seems to leave out the many individuals who access library resources online without coming into the building. How about “guest,” as Walt Disney hoped to call those who came to his new theme parks?

Whatever we call you, we are pleased to have so many take advantage of what we have to offer, each and every day.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Director of Adult Programs Lesley Lambton supplied the following:

The Ridgefield Library was the scene of much laughter, and a few tears, on Saturday mornings during September, as a group of aspiring writers took part in a memoir writing workshop. At each of the four sessions, English professor and author Joanne Dobson led participants deep into their past to reveal stories that more than proved Mark Twain’s observation that, “There was never yet an uninteresting life… Inside the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy.”

The group enjoyed the experience so much they decided to continue meeting and working together. The Memoir Writing Group now convenes on the first Saturday of each month from 10 to noon in the Library’s beautiful History Room. Each session includes writing prompts with twenty minutes of writing time, sharing and critique. If you are interested in joining, call 438-2282 (x1013) for more information, or just show up with a notebook and an open heart on Saturday, November 3.

In addition to the Memoir Writing Group the Library also hosts the Ridgefield Writers Guild, a networking group that meets on the third Tuesday evening of each month at 7 p.m. This group also welcomes new members keen on improving their craft and increasing the chances of seeing their work in print. The Guild recently had a very successful reading at Starbucks where members read from a diverse range of material including excerpts from hot-off-the-press novels to polished poems and passages of non-fiction. Their next meeting takes place in the History Room on Tuesday, November 20. Call Ellen at 438-1432 for more information.

Look for more writing workshops throughout 2008 as the Library celebrates the town’s 300th anniversary with a number of exciting programs fulfilling our mission to provide a place for Ridgefielders to “exchange ideas and grow.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't Leave Any Child Behind!

As fall storytimes continue, we thought it was time for a reminder about our policies regarding leaving children alone in the Ridgefield Library.

For Mother Goose and Terrific Twos, the answer is easy- these programs are intended for the child and adult to participate together. However, we cannot accommodate siblings who don’t meet the age guidelines for any given program, so appropriate arrangements must be made for older or younger children.

Storytimes for 3 to 6 year olds are designed for the child alone, but we require that an adult remain in Children’s Services throughout the session. Youngsters often experience sudden problems requiring adult attention, from a need to use the restroom to a simple attack of shyness. Library staff cannot abandon a room full of children to attend to one who needs special care or has to leave the room. It is important for the safety and happiness of all concerned that an adult caregiver for each participating child be near at hand. Waiting adults may explore the handy parenting collection, use public computers in Children’s Services featuring the Internet, take advantage of our building-wide wireless access, chat with other parents or caregivers, or use this brief child-free period to consult with a librarian to find books about potty training, starting school, or the many other challenges of childhood.

Library policy prohibits leaving any child under 6 in the building unattended at any time. Library staff have many duties to perform and cannot be expected to watch out for a particular child. Responsibility for a child’s safety and well-being rests with the parent or caregiver. As a matter of fact, state regulation deems it a crime to “abandon” a child under age 12 in any public place. We hope that all parents and caregivers will exercise good judgment to ensure that the library experience remains a positive one for their children.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Parents Back to School Tour

Do you remember doing homework back when you were in grade school? If you have a school-aged youngster, you know that the landscape has changed considerably. What you may not know is all the ways the Ridgefield Library can help your child succeed in school. Parents of students in grades 3 through 8 are invited to come to the Library on Monday, October 22nd from 2:00 to 2:30 PM for a “Parents Back to School” tour.

· Remember the endless shelves of reference books like the Reader’s Guide to Periodicals, which required painstaking searching of the index in every volume to uncover information on a topic? At the Ridgefield Library, most of these have been replaced by electronic databases that search multiple indexes at once, search on keywords as well as esoteric approved subject headings and even offer full text of most articles.

· You probably relied on pen and lined paper, supplemented occasionally by poster board covered with photos cut out of old National Geographic magazines. Now kids are expected to submit their assignments neatly word processed or even organized into a PowerPoint presentation – easy to accomplish at the Library, where many available computers are equipped with Microsoft Office software and access to the Internet for pictures of that elusive mammal or celebrated author.

· In the old days, you could only get help from a reference librarian by going into your library during limited hours. Today, your children can get assistance from trained professionals on the phone, via e-mail and by logging onto InfoAnytime, a 24/7 virtual reference service – and, of course, they can spend time in person with our helpful staff 58 hours a week, including Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

Contact Children’s Services at 438-2282 x2002 or at to sign up for this informative session - we promise to have you out in time to meet the bus!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

LOL @ your Library during Teen Read Week

Here's a posting from Teen Services Librarian Geri Diorio.

We hope that local teens will be laughing and reading as the Ridgefield Library celebrates the tenth annual Teen Read Week (TM)
, October 14 – 20, 2007. We’ll join thousands of other libraries, schools and bookstores across the country who are encouraging teens to celebrate this year’s theme, "LOL @ your library®." Teen Read Week (TM) is the national adolescent literacy initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest growing division of the American Library Association. This year’s theme encourages teens to read humorous books and graphic novels just for the fun of it. (For those who aren’t up on the jargon, LOL is text message shorthand for “laugh out loud.”)

Today’s teens seem to have less and less free time, and there are increasingly more activities for them to take part in during what little leisure time they do have. That is why it’s important to encourage teens to set aside some time to read. Studies show a regular reading habit increases reading proficiency, and one of the most important ways teens acquire the habit is by watching adults they respect.

Parents of teens are encouraged to celebrate Teen Read Week (TM) at home. You might give books or magazine subscriptions to your teen as a gift. You could share your favorite books with your teen. Perhaps you could set aside time each week for the family to read together. Teens are encouraged to come to the Ridgefield Library during Teen Read Week to check out the humorous books we’ll have on display, attend the laugh out loud Will Ferrell figure skating film screening on Friday, October 19 at 4 PM, or stop in any time during the week to tell Teen Services Librarian Geri a clean joke and thus “earn” a piece of candy. One joke per person per day, please! We always look forward to seeing Ridgefield teens at the Library, and we hope to see them all during Teen Read Week (TM).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Returning Media

Sometimes the smallest things can make a difference in our lives. Here’s one little change the Ridgefield Library has made that will save time and money for many of our patrons.

<>All materials, including media formats such as DVDs and CDs, may now be returned in the outside book drop near the main entrance to the Library. In the past, we did not allow borrowers to put these more fragile items in this slot because of the risk of expensive damage. The cost of repair or replacement of such items has steadily decreased, and we no longer feel it is necessary to require this special treatment. We do, however, ask that you secure the cases of DVDs, music recordings and books on CD and cassette with rubber bands or wrap them in a plastic grocery bag before dropping in the return slot, to reduce the likelihood of cases popping open and spewing discs hither and yon. <>

This change means that you no longer have to make a separate trip during Library hours or park the car to come into the building to return these items. We hope this will give you more scheduling flexibility and eliminate late fees if you can’t get here when we are open. <>

By the way, did you know that all items returned in the outside book drop are considered returned the previous day up until the time we open? So, something due on September 15th and put in the return slot at 8 AM on the 16th will not incur a fine. <>


Fall storytimes and after school programs start this week, and the pace of homework assignments has picked up as well. This results in an increased population of children using the Library at all hours of the day, including in the darkening hours at the end of the day. Please moderate your speed as you drive into and through our parking lot and be especially alert to youngsters who may be partially hidden behind parked cars or preoccupied with friends, backpacks or skateboards. Thanks for your cooperation!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Banned Books Week 2007

Here's a contribution from Adutl Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski:

From September 29th through October 7th, the Ridgefield Library will join with other libraries and bookstores throughout the country in observing the 26th annual Banned Books Week, which celebrates one of our most precious rights, the freedom to read.

<>During 2006 alone, a staggering 546 titles were challenged in this country, and the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom estimates that for each formal challenge, four or five go unreported. This year’s list of the “Top Ten” Most Challenged Books includes Beloved by Toni Morrison, Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, while titles in the Harry Potter series lay claim to being the most challenged books of the 21st century. <>

We invite you to explore displays throughout the library of books that have been challenged or banned, and hope you’ll elect to read one. For anyone who is curious about why a particular title by authors such as John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, or Mark Twain has been challenged, visit the Fiction Room for a look at the publication Banned Books, which spells out the exact nature of a request for a book’s removal. A resource list of publications on Intellectual Freedom is also available. And while supplies last, pick up a bookmark commemorating this year’s theme: “Get Hooked on a Banned Book.” <>

While not every book is intended for every reader, Banned Books Week celebrates our right to decide for ourselves what to read. So come to the Ridgefield Library and join us in celebrating this freedom. As the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, said, "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

Hello, Columbus

Library Lines come to you this week from Columbus, OH, where I have had the opportunity to visit the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), one of the most-used library systems in the country. Here are a few interesting things I observed.

<>CML uses a self-serve circulation model for almost all transactions, allowing patrons to check out their own items and even pick up reserves, without waiting for staff assistance. The traditional circulation desk is lined with self-check stations facing the public, but there is plenty of staff right at hand, where they are working on other tasks when not needed to help resolve issues of overdue or lost books or new card registrations.

<>“All adults must be accompanied by a child” reads the sign at the entrance to a special area in the children’s library outfitted with colorful, small-scale furnishings, toys, “games computers,” and picture books for the pre-school set and their parents. <>

The adult non-fiction collection does not run in straight sequential order by Dewey Decimal number. Instead, it is broken up into thematic groupings, such as “Fine Arts and Humanities” and “Genealogy, History and Travel.” In the fiction stacks, the alphabetical sequence is indicated by signs featuring pictures and quotations from authors whose last name situates their books in that row. <>

Self-contained computer “pods” on wheels allow reference librarians to move to high traffic areas as needed, concentrating service in the teen area after school or in the large print section when the senior van arrives. <>

A large lobby features not only a gift and used book store run by the Friends but also a coffee stand and even an ATM. <>

Not everything I saw at Columbus would be appropriate or desirable at the Ridgefield Library, and thankfully we have no need of the “No Weapons” signs displayed at their entrance. But I did gather some interesting food for thought.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to School

It’s back to school time in Ridgefield! Is your family ready to take advantage of everything the Library offers to help you meet your educational goals this year?

Library cards are now needed to use the Library’s computers as well as check out books, so make sure every student in your household has one handy and up-to-date. To make this easier, we are offering streamlined registration procedures and free replacement cards during National Library Card Sign-Up Month in September. Every person who signs up for a new card or renews an expired card during the month will be entered in a drawing for a Ridgefield Library book bag full of goodies. Parent signature is required for applicants under 17, so pick up a form today and get your young scholar off to a good start.

Bookmark the Library’s website ( on your home computers. Of particular interest to students will be our list of remotely accessible research databases arranged by topic and InfoAnytime, a 24/7 virtual reference service.

Reference works are now interfiled with regular non-fiction books in Children’s Services, so all the materials on a subject are easy to peruse in one spot.

Large print and audio versions of many contemporary and classic novels can be of assistance to reluctant or transitional readers. This includes nearly 2,000 titles downloadable for playing on a PC or mp3 player (sorry, not compatible with Apple or iPod).

Come to one of our Parents Back to School tours, on Saturday, October 6th from 10 to 10:30 AM or Monday, October 22nd from 2 to 2:30 PM. Children’s and Teen Services staff will give you a personal introduction to these and many other resources that may come in handy when those tricky homework assignments start to appear. Call 438-2282 x1024 or e-mail to sign up.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Magazines Now More Accessible

It was recently suggested to us that the Ridgefield Library could do more to make magazines available to readers in our community. Subscription prices continually increase, and not everyone wants to spend such exorbitant amounts on something as ephemeral as a newsweekly or lifestyle monthly. In response, we have made all back issues of periodicals, from Adoptive Families to Zoobooks, available for borrowing. Previously, numerous publications were restricted solely for use in the Library. With the advent of full-text online versions, we no longer need to keep the hard copies for reference in order to be able to access the important information they contain.

We continue to reserve the current issue of all magazines for use on the premises, to make sure that as many people as possible can enjoy it while it is “hot.” Once the next issue arrives, however, this and all older issues can be taken out and brought home to browse at your leisure. We retain up to 3 years worth of back issues, so you will have plenty of gardening advice, cooking tips, book reviews, learned articles and home decor ideas at your fingertips.

All in all, the Library subscribes to some 250 magazines in print format for all ages and tastes, from Sesame Street to Electronic Gaming Monthly to Kiplinger’s Retirement Report. In addition, online indexes provide access to the full text of over 1700 periodicals, including many that are too specialized or expensive for a modest-sized public library to purchase independently. This not only expands the scope of publications we can offer, but sophisticated searching capabilities help find that elusive article read once upon a time but only partially remembered. So whether you are doing scholarly research or just searching for a recipe, you can look to the Ridgefield Library’s magazine offerings for free and fast assistance.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

As you get ready to turn your calendar to September, be sure to mark down these dates and tips from the Ridgefield Library.

· Labor Day closing. We will be closed on Monday, September 3rd for the Labor Day holiday.

· Sunday hours. Starting on September 9th, we will resume Sunday open hours, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.

· Storytime registration. Sign-up for the fall session of pre-school storytimes and after school programs will take place September 4th through 10th. Familiar favorites such as Terrific Twos will be joined by some exciting new offerings, so be sure to drop by Children’s Services to register and pick up a full calendar of events. Programs will begin the week of October 2nd.

· Fall adult programs. September will see the return of Ridgefield Folk, more AuthorTalks, a new Pen to Paper memoir-writing workshop, a photography workshop with Don Bruen, the first of a new line-up of Portraits in Motion living history dramatic performances, and the latest in our World Views series featuring filmmaker Sas Carey. Add our usual films, book discussions and art exhibits, and there will be plenty to keep everyone busy through the fall. Check for details.

· E-newsletters. We will be starting up a special edition of our e-mail newsletter especially for members of area book clubs. Sign up on our website or at any desk for this occasional update of new releases, additions to our Book Club Corner collection and news of author events (you can also choose from a number of other topical newsletters, focusing on children’s events, music, movies and more).

· E-mail notification. Get in gear for the busy fall by signing up now to receive via e-mail overdue notices and notification of reserve books ready for pick up. You get more timely information about these transactions, and the Library saves time and money on mailings. Check at the Circulation Desk for details.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The 2007 Summer Reading Program is “in the books.” A grand total of 1,018 youngsters, 185 teens and 241 adults completed 32,819 books in just six short weeks. Grade schoolers were the most voracious, going through an average of 27.75 books each; teens weren’t far behind at 22.44 average. Even with the new Harry Potter counting as multiple books due to its 700+ page length, that’s a lot of reading! While adults on average read far fewer books each, the number of participants nearly doubled in just the third year of Adult Summer Reading.

And all those youngsters were anxious to talk about what they had read, logging in 2,890 visits to the Children’s Summer Reading table, for an average of 102 visits per day (up 23% over last year). Scores of volunteers young and old listened to all those reports and dispensed 776 posters, 605 certificates for ice cream sundaes at Deborah Ann’s, 332 book bags and 269 Toy Chest gift certificates at various reading levels. A whopping 448 passport photos on display in the stairwell recognized those who truly got into the spirit of our “Read Around the World” theme.

Teens and adults submitted hundreds of reviews to share with fellow readers, many taking advantage of the new online review/entry form. Teens also earned prizes from Piccolo Pizza, the Ridgefield Playhouse and Deborah Ann’s, along with chances on weekly raffles. Adult participants were entered in weekly drawings for beautiful themed baskets created by librarian Lesley-Anne Read, with contributed goodies from Stop & Shop, Trader Joe’s, Venice Restaurant, Parma Market, Wild Ginger, Southwest Café, Chez Lenard, Thai Pearl and Ridgefield Hardware.

As always, the Friends of the Ridgefield Library provided the primary support for our entire Summer Reading Program, underwriting printing costs, some incentives and the many special performances and other events that kept the Library hopping day and night. Thanks to all who made Summer Reading Program 2007 such a huge success!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

This week we introduce the 2nd new person who has joined the Ridgefield Library Board of Directors this summer. Beverley Rogers moved to Ridgefield in 1993 and fell in love with our town. Ridgefield was so very different from Brooklyn, New York, where Bev grew up. Bev is an attorney with offices in Ridgefield and White Plains, New York. She graduated from Pace University School of Law in 1998 and was admitted to practice law in Connecticut and New York. “My first job out of law school was working for an attorney in Stamford. I worked for him for almost two years and decided I’d be happier working for myself. I was right.”

When Attorney Rogers considered whether to open her practice of law in White Plains or Ridgefield, her decision was fairly easy. “I loved living in Ridgefield. I thought that since Ridgefield was a great place to live, it would probably be a great place to work. I was active in the community and having my own practice gave me flexibility in my daily schedule. I am co-president of the Ridgefield Discovery Center, a nature and historical organization in Ridgefield, and I am also on the Board of Directors of the Ridgefield VNA.

“I am very pleased to have been appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the Ridgefield Library. I look forward to working with the library’s director, Chris Nolan, my colleagues on the board, and the library staff as we focus on how best to meet the needs of our patrons in the future. I hope everyone in town will help support the library as we expand our facilities. The library is one of Ridgefield’s treasures, and I look forward to helping preserve it and its importance to our community in the future.”

Monday, July 30, 2007

Each June, the Ridgefield Library Association’s Board of Directors gets an infusion of fresh energy, when new directors are elected to this group of talented and dedicated volunteers who provide governance to the organization. We are pleased to introduce our two newest Board members, the first of which is profiled this week.

Eileen Walker has a long history of professional and volunteer leadership which will be an important asset to the Library. She has already shown her commitment to the organization through her service for the past year on our capital campaign steering committee and will bring valuable professional human resources experience to the personnel committee. “My support and interest in community, literacy and education make this opportunity a natural fit for me,” Eileen notes.

After graduating from Cornell University with an AB in Industrial Psychology and an MBA concentrating on Organizational Theory, Eileen began an 18-year career with IBM in Human Resources. In 1994 Eileen left IBM and shifted her energy to local activities.

Eileen has served on the Boards of many area organizations, including the Ridgefield Community Kindergarten and The Harvey School in Katonah, NY. When the Branchville Elementary School re-opened, she became Co-President of the Branchville PTA and served in that capacity for two years.

Eileen is also very involved with the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association, joining its Development Committee in April 2006 and its Board of Directors and Business Development Committee in October 2006. In July 2007, Eileen became President of the Board of the newly formed Western Connecticut Youth Ballet Company, which promotes excellence in dance for young people who want to pursue a professional career in ballet.

Eileen stays involved with Cornell University, serving on numerous alumni and advisory councils and as the current President of the Class of 1976.

Eileen is married to Jay Walker, and they have two grown children. They have lived in Ridgefield since 1990.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Numbers Tell a Story

Visits to the Ridgefield Library during the last fiscal year (7/1/06-6/30/07) were up 3.4% to a record high of 392,223 people, bearing out locally the findings of a nationwide study released by the American Library Association in April. According to the ALA survey, public library use continues to grow, increasing overall by 61% from 1994 to 2004 - the same period during which the World Wide Web and Google were becoming household words.

In Ridgefield, this translated to 1,150 visitors per open day last year, or an average of 16.26 annual visits by each man, woman and child in Ridgefield. And just what did those people do here?

· Borrowed an average 16.5 items per capita, nearly double the state average. At the same time, due to lack of space, our collection size stayed nearly unchanged, at 135,673 items of all types. During the year, we discarded 17,577 items to make room for 17,051 new releases and patron requests – the perfect example of a “capped collection!”

· Logged onto our wireless connection 3,245 times. This is an impressive total for our first full year of this service, even taking into account May 17th (the day after the Big Storm), when we tallied 153 log-ins, including at one point 27 people at the same time.

· Attended book discussions, concerts, lectures and other programs. Driven by the popularity of our Seriously Shakespeare program, the new Sense of Place series created with the Ridgefield Design Council and myriad other activities, adult program attendance rose 10.8% to an impressive 5,664 people enjoying 230 events.

· Asked 17,411 reference and readers advisory questions. Despite easy access to the Internet, Ridgefielders remain eager to consult our expert librarians, whether they are looking for a source of reliable health information, a read-alike for P.D. James or help finding details of life in Ancient Egypt.

Stop by soon and become one of this year’s statistics!

Report on Emerging Leaders participation

Here's a report from Geri Diorio, our Teen Services Librarian and Children's Services head, on an extraodinary opportunity she has had this past year.

For the past 6 months, I have been participating in the first American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders program, created to enable young and new-to-the-profession librarians to get on the fast track to professional leadership. The program accepted only 100 librarians for this first session. Those selected were required to attend two conferences for leadership training, complete a group project, and serve on an ALA committee for two years.

The group met for the first time at the ALA Midwinter conference in Seattle in January 2007, where the focus was on leadership and team dynamics within the association and in the workplace. Presenters and mentors were drawn from the ranks of the profession’s most experienced and inspiring consultants and practitioners.

We were divided into smaller groups of three or four to work on a project for the next six months. Communicating through conference calls and e-mails, my group chose to explore “what technologies will most affect libraries in the next five years?” And instead of making up a static list, we decided to use the more dynamic tool of a wiki, where we’d link to articles on new technologies that are impacting libraries as well as established technologies that are being used in new ways. Our wiki is called “Tech Casting” and can be found at

In June at the ALA Annual conference, the entire group once again took part in leadership seminars, this time on principles and practices in three important areas: collaboration, conflict and ethics. We also presented a “poster session,” attended by hundreds of conference participants, which explained our group work and showed off the wiki in real time on two laptops.

My service portion of the program will be fulfilled by serving for the next two years as the intern for the ALA Awards committee, which is responsible, among others, for the Newbery and Caldecott prizes.

I’d like to express my gratitude to the library staff and the Friends of the Ridgefield Library for their support of my participation in this program.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

In late June, the General Assembly finally passed and the governor signed a state budget for the coming year. Why should Ridgefield Library users care?

Several key services offered by the Connecticut State Library and related agencies received level or increased funding, ensuring access by Ridgefielders and all state residents to some very useful resources without having to pay for them on a local basis.

Connecticard is the core reciprocal borrowing and Inter-Library Loan delivery service that makes it possible for a Ridgefield library card holder to access free-of-charge materials from virtually every other public library on the state –and have them brought directly to your local library’s door for your convenient pick-up. Support for Connecticard was increased substantially for a second year, helping to better align funding with actual operating costs.

Funding for iCONN, the Connecticut Digital Library, was increased to cover ongoing operation and subscriptions to its dozens of online databases and other resources, all available to every Connecticut library card holder. Among other things, the increase will allow iCONN to continue access to the Hartford Courant Historical archive database, a project that was implemented this past year with contributions from many individual libraries, including the Ridgefield Library.

Have you tried InfoAnytime, the 24/7 virtual reference service that was initiated last year by a group of several dozen libraries (including Ridgefield)? If you have benefited from this superlative source of information and research assistance, you will be pleased to know that the General Assembly added a new budget line specifically for this service and funded it in the amount of $150,000. If you haven’t tried it yet, visit our website at and see what creative public/private collaboration can make possible.

If you value any of these services, be sure to tell Governor Rell, State Senator Judith Freedman and State Representative John Frey how much you appreciate their support of Connecticut libraries – including your own.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Have you ever considered having lunch at the Library? No, we haven’t opened a café or invited Chez Lenard to set up shop on the lawn. And normally we do not allow food and drink to be brought into the Library. But this summer we are offering several lunchtime programs that combine two favorite activities – eating and reading!

Nutmeg Nibblers is a long-standing summer offering for children going into grades 4 through 6. From now through July 31st, voracious young readers can satisfy their cravings for good food and good books, as they meet each Tuesday from 1:00 to 2:00 PM to discuss books nominated for the 2008 Nutmeg Intermediate Book Awards. Bring a lunch and any other books you want to share, and join us in the Children’s Program Room for chat, crafts and chow! Nutmeg Nibblers is a great way to get a jump start on reading all 10 of the Nutmeg-nominated titles, which will be voted on in January. Stop by Children’s Services to register and to pick up a copy of the selected book for the week.

For adults, we are pleased to welcome back Professor Joanne Dobson, who will be reprising last summer’s popular Mystery Lovers’ Brown Bag Lunch gatherings. With this year’s theme of “Adults Read around the World,” the focus will be on contemporary international mystery writers. The first discussion on July 13th will focus on Northern authors, and the second on July 27th will concentrate on authors from Southern climes. There is no need to register or to read anything before the discussions; just come along and share some of your own favorite international mystery authors. Sessions run from noon to 2:00 PM in the Dayton Program Room. Bring your lunch, and the Library will provide lemonade and cookies!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

School’s out, and where are you going to go? The Library, of course, but beyond that we recommend the great institutions included in our museum pass program, sponsored by the Friends of the Ridgefield Library. Excited by the recent movie “Night at the Museum,” youngsters are looking at these educational institutions with different eyes. We can’t get you in after hours, but with the Library’s museum pass program, your family can take advantage of free or discounted admission to many destinations in Connecticut that promise a terrific experience for all ages. Particularly popular with kids are the Beardsley Zoo, the Discovery Museum, the Institute for American Indian Studies, the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, the Children’s Museum in West Hartford, Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium, the Mystic Aquarium, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Roaring Brook Nature Center and Stepping Stones Museum for Children. The newest offering is made available as part of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s “No Child Left Inside” initiative and is good for free admission to any state park or forest and to any museums located in a state park.

Attractions at these institutions include dinosaurs, dolphins, archeological sites, nature trails, planetarium shows and scores of cool interactive exhibits and activities. Pick up a Museum Pass brochure at the Library for more details and web addresses that will get you to listings of current special exhibitions and events. <>

Passes for all of these locales can be found in Children’s Services, may be borrowed for three days and can even be reserved up to 7 days in advance. Ask at the Information Desk for passes to the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford and Ridgefield’s own Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. Pass privileges vary, and some seasonal restrictions and other limitations apply, so be sure to read the small print before loading everyone in the car.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cell phones – they are ubiquitous, they are obnoxious and, for some people, they are indispensable. What is a “quiet” place like the Library to do in the face of this explosion of constant communication?

Realizing that many people do need to be reachable for work or family purposes, we have designated two locations in the Library, one on each floor, where cell phone use will be permitted. These are the lobby on the second floor at the top of the stairs (between Children’s Services and the Fiction Room) and the lobby of the Dayton Program Room (when it is not being used for a program). And, of course, there is always the great outdoors, at least in good weather!

We ask that all cell phone users turn their phones off or to silent mode prior to entering the Library. This will avoid an unexpected ring tone disturbing those who are trying to concentrate. If you do receive a call, or need to make one, please restrict your conversation to the designated areas. Not only will this spare those around you from having to listen to the details of your personal life, it will protect your privacy as well.

With so much activity crammed every which way into our building, it is very difficult to separate loud and quiet activities. Seventy percent of respondents to our recent “Library Listens” survey agreed that better “zoning” for noise control would improve the library experience. This is just one of the issues the Library staff and Board are hoping to address as we continue work on the design of our proposed building expansion. In the meantime, please help us by following the new cell phone guidelines. Thank you for your cooperation!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The following comes from the Library's Adult Services Librarian, Dorothy Pawlowski.

June marks the annual celebration of Audiobook Month at the Ridgefield Library, a way to acknowledge the added dimension listening to books brings to our busy lives.

<>The world of audiobook listening continues to evolve. Sadly for some, books on cassette are being phased out, so that we can no longer purchase many new selections in this format. Books on CD are now the primary way that audiobooks are offered by vendors. Since at any time over 70% of the books on CD owned by the library are checked out, we will continue to focus on growing this collection. For popular new audiobooks, we suggest placing a reserve, since many of these titles are checked out within hours of when they reach the library shelves. Our staff will be happy to assist in placing a hold, or you can do so by accessing our catalog online. <>
<>Any audiobook aficionado knows the narrator can make or break the listening experience. Pick up a copy of our list of “Golden Voices,” narrators who have been chosen for their achievements in spoken-word recordings, and please let us know if you’ve particularly enjoyed an audiobook performance so we can share recommendations.
Consider trying a downloadable audiobook, the newest format for listening. Over 1,600 titles are always available to Ridgefield Library cardholders to download from our website. Intimidated by trying another new format or frustrated by an initial attempt to use this service? We’d like to get you hooked on this exciting new way to listen to audiobooks. Adult Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski would be happy to set-up a one-on-one tutorial, or arrange for the loan of an MP3 player pre-loaded with an audiobook of your choice.
<>During the month, the Ridgefield Library will be featuring a display of the various formats for audiobook listening. Stop by, we’d love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Summer is coming, and so are summer hours at the Ridgefield Library. June 10th will be the final Sunday we are open until Labor Day. Our schedule will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 AM to 9 PM and Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM. And, of course, our “virtual library” remains open 24/7 for your convenience at Check your account, ask a reference question at InfoAnytime, reserve a book or research almost any topic – any time of day or night, all year long.

What else will summer bring to the Library? First and foremost will be our Summer Reading Programs for children, teens and adults, which all begin on June 25th and run through August 4th. This year’s theme is “Read around the World,” and there are many special programs with a multicultural flavor planned for all ages. There are plenty of fun incentives for the youngest participants and great raffle prizes for teens and adults, so you’ll want to stock up on good books (or audiobooks or magazines) and start reading right away. Stop by the Library or visit our website for all the details.

To help you get your reading journey off to a fast start, the Friends of the Library will be holding a special Summer Reading Book Sale during the first week of the program. Visit them under the tent on the Library lawn June 28th through 30th for your pick from thousands of children’s books and “pocket” paperbacks – perfect for the beach or to tuck into a suitcase.

Many of our other popular ongoing programs will continue through the season, in air-conditioned comfort. Join us for monthly book discussions, matinee and evening movie screenings, drop-in Saturday story times, and much more.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Are you just wild about Harry (Potter, that is)? Then you not alone! Advance orders for the 7th and final volume in J.K. Rowling’s series have already reached 1.5 million copies on Amazon alone. Locally, Books on the Common has 300 books on order and has scheduled a special late night party leading up to the official release at 12:00 AM on July 21st, and the Library has purchased a record 40 copies.

The final outcome of the saga of Harry, Ron, Hermione and company is being kept a closely-guarded secret. Libraries and booksellers have to sign a confidentiality agreement before we can even order copies. But you can get out your quill pen or fire up your computer and tell the world what you think will happen by entering the Library’s Harry Potter Creative Writing Contest. In one to three pages, write what you think the final scene will be and turn it in, with a completed entry form, to the Library by 6 PM on June 18th. Our distinguished panel of judges includes Children’s and Teen Services Librarian Geri Diorio, Ellen Burns from Books on the Common, Celia Frost from the Ridgefield High School English department, Claire Carlson (a former Library staffer and aspiring children’s book author) and Beth Duff (a free-lance writer who also works at the Library). One winner will be picked based on creativity, grammar, style and originality in each of three levels: Elementary, Middle School and High School. Prizes are a free copy of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” from Books on the Common. Winners will be announced at the Library’s Farewell Harry Potter Party at 1 PM on June 28th, where we will also have trivia contests, magic tricks and much more fun for those in Grade 3 and up. Don’t miss all the fun as the clock ticks down to the “witching hour!”

Thursday, May 17, 2007

May 17th was one of those days when the Ridgefield Library was truly a refuge from the storm for over 1,800 people who came here seeking all manner of assistance following the previous day’s severe weather. With nearly half the town still without power, the Library was packed to the rafters with folks using library computers, accessing our wireless network, doing homework and seeking entertainment. We helped people look up phone numbers they had stored only in inaccessible computer files, suggested books to read in the absence of television and videogames, and provided somewhere to work for scores of students whose classrooms were closed. Library staff held impromptu story times, made arrangements to expand computer access, rearranged the furniture, and did everything else they could to accommodate the overflow crowd. While it was sheer luck that the Library avoided many of the headaches others experienced (loss of electricity, blocked driveways, etc.), we are doubly glad that we were able to be here to help others in the community. If you were at the Library last Thursday, we’re glad we could be of service. If you weren’t, stop by soon to see what you are missing!
Many thanks to all the Ridgefield residents who took the time to complete our recent “Library Listens” survey. Nearly 600 people responded, about one-third filling out paper surveys and the rest taking advantage of the online version on our webpage. We have begun the process of analyzing the data, and these results will provide important input to our ongoing process of planning for the Ridgefield Library of the future. Also very interesting but harder to quantify are the extensive comments that many people added. The Library board and staff will be reading these notes carefully as well, and we appreciate the time and thought that went into these detailed responses.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

We are very pleased to introduce the newest member of the Ridgefield Library staff, Trevor Gladwin, who has taken on the position of full-time Library Assistant in the circulation department. Actually Trevor is not truly new to the Library, having served as a shelver since fall 2004, but has been promoted to fill the opening left by the departure of Martin Blasco. He joins a dedicated and very busy department including supervisor Kate Turner and assistants Phyllis Campbell, Beth Duff, Jane Ernst, George Lohman and Florita Nickel.

British by birth, Trevor moved to the United States in April 2001. He is thrilled to be living in “the home of country music,” one of his greatest passions. The other loves of his life include his daughters, Kayley (21) and Emma (18), cooking, and libraries. “My library card is my next most important possession, next to my passport,” proclaims Trevor, and he is an avid user of library services, in Ridgefield and elsewhere in Connecticut.

Trevor brings to his new job a background as a business analyst in the computer industry. While Trevor’s facility with technology, familiarity with library systems, great customer service attitude and attention to detail are obvious assets, the Library is still trying to figure out how to take best advantage of his other skills, from landscaping and golf course maintenance to Asian cookery!

Trevor is an avid reader and consumer of popular culture, who ranks Oriah Mountain Dreamer as his favorite author and poet and “Frida” as his favorite movie. Those who get to know him understand why his favorite song is Tim McGraw’s “The Cowboy in Me!” We invite all Ridgefielders to stop by the Library’s Circulation Desk and greet Trevor soon.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

While my last post focused on technology in libraries, now we will look at the behavior of people in libraries. Earlier this month, several Ridgefield Library staff attended the Connecticut Library Association’s annual conference, where this year’s theme was “Your Library: The Third Place.” The concept of “third places,” a phrase coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg, has become a major focus of thinking about libraries in our communities. By definition locations where we congregate apart from home and school/work (the first and second places), third places encourage and accommodate gathering together, formally or informally, to interact freely and openly as members of the community for civic discourse and social exchange.

In the Ridgefield Library, this can be the young parents who swap childrearing tips while waiting for their youngsters to emerge from story time, or older adults who frequent our several monthly book discussion groups. It also encompasses a broad range of serendipitous conversations between staff and patrons, townspeople who catch up on local news, fellow readers sharing favorite books, seasoned computer users giving a helping hand to an Internet neophyte, art appreciators meeting and talking over the latest exhibit in the Dayton Program Room. From the casual conversation of neighbors who run into each other in the stacks to panel discussions on topics like immigration and global warming, the Library does indeed provide an important and vibrant venue for community discourse. While “Library 2.0” focuses on ways we can join cyberspace conversations in a virtual library, the CLA conference provided many examples of ways to enhance person-to-person communication in a physical community center as part of our mission to be a place that “encourages all to read, to discover, to question, to exchange ideas, to grow.” In the 21st century, libraries and their patrons will learn to thrive in both spheres – join us for the journey!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

While many Ridgefielders were away on vacation last week, some of the Ridgefield Library staff also went out–of-town, but for continuing education opportunities rather than vacation. This week and next we’ll share a little of what we learned.

A couple of us went to a conference entitled Computers and Libraries, where the theme was Beyond Library 2.0: Building Communities, Connections and Strategies. Library 2.0 is the application of the phenomenon known as Web 2.0 to the library setting. Web 2.0 is the catch phrase describing new methods of online communication and information delivery that encourage interactivity, user participation and collaborative creation of content. Wikipedia and Amazon’s reader reviews are two well-known examples, but the possibilities for the use of the myriad new technologies in libraries as well are extensive and exciting.

Would you like to be able to add your reviews and ratings to items in our online library catalog?

Or get an e-mail reminder BEFORE your books are due, helping you to get them back on time?

How about a blog where members of any book group that has read a particular title can post their impressions and discussion questions for other groups to share?

Or perhaps podcasts of author talks or YouTube videos of story times for those who can’t get to the Library for one reason or another?

Welcome to the New Library Lines Blog

Welcome to the first edition of the new Library Lines blog. Here you will find the same articles that you read each week in the Ridgefield Press, but now they will be archived and you will be able to search them by author, topic and date. You can also respond or suggest topics by posting your own comments. Let us know what you think!