Thursday, September 23, 2010

Banned Books Week @ the Library

Do you remember the story of Ferdinand the Bull, who liked to just sit and smell the flowers? What about “Where the Wild Things Are”? These are among the favorites enjoyed last Saturday at our special Banned Books Week Storytime.

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event organized by the American Library Association and others to celebrate the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted challenges to books across the United States.

Our BBW celebration this year focuses on John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” (the subject of our townwide Big Read), which remains one of the top most challenged books over the decades, for its “vulgar” language and its unfavorable portrayal of organized religion, big business and other powerful institutions. We invite you to ponder this response as you read this American classic this fall.

In case you were wondering: Ferdinand’s peace-loving nature was condemned by the right wing as promoting pacifism during the Spanish Civil War, and Sendak’s classic has drawn ire for being too scary, for portraying unacceptable behavior by a child and for a variety of supposed dark psychological undertones.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Big Read Is about More than Books

While reading and discussing our chosen title of “The Grapes of Wrath” is at the heart of The Big Read, Ridgefield’s celebration of this initiative is not just about books and reading. We have worked to put together a varied schedule of programs in other disciplines and media that will bring our community together to explore the themes that are key to Steinbeck’s book and the times in which it is set. For example, there are art exhibits at the Library and at The Aldrich and concerts presented by the Library and the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. One special event is taking place on Thursday, September 30th at 7:30 PM at the Ridgefield Playhouse, when actor/singer/scholar Will Kaufman will present a multi-media presentation entitled “Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travellin’”. To encourage attendance at this unusual and inspiring Big Read event, the Playhouse is offering exclusive $10 ticket pricing for anyone who shows their Library card and a “Grapes of Wrath” wine-tasting at 6:30 PM compliments of Mélangé Fine Wines and Spirits. This event is hosted by The Playhouse and The Acoustic Celebration, and a portion of the proceeds will go to The Woody Guthrie Foundation. See you there!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September is Library Card Sign-up Month

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month! Why should you get or renew your Ridgefield Library card?

• You need it for the quickest, most secure and most accurate service at the Circulation Desk.

• You need it to use our handy self-serve check-out stations.

• You need it for check-out whenever our circulation system is offline and we can’t look you up.

• You need it access myriad databases, periodicals and other subscription-based online resources that require user authentication, including those paid for by the Ridgefield Library and those in the Connecticut Digital Library, paid for by the state.

• You need it for the most convenient access to Library Internet computers, including printing.

• You need it for building-wide wireless access.

• You need it to access downloadable audiobooks for playing on your computer or portable audio player.

• You need it to take advantage of resource-sharing privileges at other public libraries around the state of Connecticut.

This month, there’s a bonus. Get a new card or renew an expired one, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free personal copy of “The Grapes of Wrath,” Ridgefield’s Big Read selection. Do it today!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Computer System Upgrade September 16-18 Will Cause Some Service Disruptions

Please be aware that we will be experiencing some service disruptions on September 16, 17 and 18 due to an upgrade to our computer systems.  Here is what you can expect.

  • A current, unexpired library card will be necessary for all check-outs, and a limit of 4 items per family will be in effect. We will not be able to do name look-ups, renew items, pay off fines, issue new cards or renew expired ones, and self-check will not be working.

  • Our catalog (both in the Library and online) will be unavailable.  Ask staff for assistance.

  • You will not be able to access “My Account” online to renew or reserve items.

  • Reminder, overdue and hold notices from the Library and from ELF will not be sent.

  • We will not be able to check anything in, but all items returned those days will be recorded as coming in on the 19th and no fines will accrue for that period.

  • Wireless and Internet should be available, as well as most databases in the Library only (no remote access).

Most of the system improvements are technical in nature and won’t be very noticeable to our patrons, but they will enhance our ability to serve you.   Thanks for your patience!