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.