Thursday, January 28, 2010

Storytime via Skype

Libraries often stand at a crossing point in modern life, bringing together old-fashioned traditions and cutting edge technology. Activities as seemingly disparate as storytime and accessing the Internet can come together in unexpectedly creative and meaningful ways. A story from one of our frequent patrons illustrates this in a charming and personal manner.

A Ridgefield resident with a young grandson living far away, our patron regularly comes in and takes out stacks of picture books. She chooses titles she knows her grandson has available to him. Then she goes home and signs on to Skype, the free Internet-based phone application. Using this very 21st century communications tool, she reads the words aloud to the youngster, while he turns the pages of his own copies to view the illustrations. Despite the distance, they are able to share the precious act of parent (or grandparent) and child reading together.

Instead of avoiding technologies that might be intimidating to some older people, our patron has embraced them to help her enjoy one of the most ancient of human interactions – the sharing of stories between generations. We are pleased to play our part in this worthwhile effort!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Text a Librarian

Now you can Text a Librarian! This is the newest way the Ridgefield Library invites you to send us your reference questions. Wherever you are, you can use your cell phone to ask all the same questions you might by phone, email or in person. Send your text to 66746. Start the body of your message with ASKRDG, then a space, followed by your question. Press send, and stay tuned for our answer!

During the Library’s open hours, our librarians will be monitoring and responding promptly to incoming text messages. At other times, you can send a message but it will not be answered until our librarians are next on duty.

Teens are known for relying on texting for virtually all communications, and we look forward to hearing from them. But we urge anyone on the go with a cell phone handy to give it a try.

The first time you use the service, you will receive a message with an advertising pitch from Mosio, the company that provides this service to libraries. After that, you should only receive responses from our staff. Please note that Text a Librarian messages will incur whatever charges are customary under your phone plan.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vote in the Nutmeg Book Award and Get your Free T-Shirt

It’s that time again – time to vote for the Nutmeg Book Awards, Connecticut’s prize for children’s literature, voted on by youngsters all over the state. Over the past year, Intermediate level readers in grades 4 through 6 and Teen level readers in grades 7 and 8 have been reading the nominated titles (ten at each level). They shared their impressions with friends and classmates in Nutmeg Nibblers and Nutmeg Teen book groups.  Thanks to a generous grant from HSBC Bank, N.A., they had the opportunity to meet many of the nominated authors and ask them questions about their books and their lives as writers. Now the time has come to choose!

Ballots are available in Children’s Services and at elementary and middle school media centers. Please vote only once – at school or at the Library.  You do not need to read all ten titles in a category to vote – pick your favorite of those you have read. Ballots must be submitted by January 31st.  Results will be announced in February. This year, all Ridgefield voters will receive a coupon entitling them to a special Nutmeg Voter T-shirt, courtesy of HSBC (coupons redeemable at the Library).  Vote today and wear your shirt proudly!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Museum Passes Available

The Danbury Railway Museum is the latest addition to the Library’s Museum Pass Program. This pass, made possible by the generosity of the Friends of the Library, is good for free general admission to the museum for two adults and up to four children. The Museum, located in the historic station and rail yard in downtown Danbury, offers railroad history, tours, train rides, a collection of original and restored rolling stock and opportunities for hands-on railroad work at "12 inches to the foot" scale. You can find out more about this local treasure at

We also now have available a limited number of passes worth 20% off general admission for up to four people at the new Connecticut Science Center in Hartford. The Connecticut Science Center opened in June and is the hottest new thing in fun, interactive science education for the whole family. Thanks to the Science Center for providing this opportunity for Connecticut residents to get acquainted with their exciting programs. Find out more at

Ask in Children's Services about borrowing these and passes to many other great area cultural and educational institutions.

Midterm Study Sessions Set for High Schoolers

What constitutes a good study environment? A comfortable chair and plenty of table space? Easy access to the Internet so you can use Moodle or log on to databases? Plenty of coffee, water and snacks on-hand to refuel your energy reserves? If any of these are on your list, the Ridgefield Library has you covered. We know that high school midterm exams are just around the corner, and we want to help students do their best. The Library will turn over the entire Dayton Program Room to high schoolers who are studying for midterms on Saturday, January 23 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Sunday, January 24 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. We will set up tables and chairs so students can study in groups, or alone. We will provide drinks and snacks for energy. Students can access the Library’s free wifi should they want to use their laptops. The entire time, a librarian will be on duty to lend a hand with reference queries. We know that quiet space is at a premium and working at home with younger siblings may not lead to the most productive study time, so we are happy to help out.

Contributed by Teen Services Librarian Geri Diorio.