Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keep Coding, Ridgefield!

Computer Science Education Week is over, but we are still coding!  Our Hour of Code initiative kicked off with an array of technology programs in conjunction with the global movement reaching tens of millions of learners in 180+ countries. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics, from age 4 to 104.

In addition to events at the Library, the Ridgefield Public Schools introduced all elementary and middle schoolers to the Hour of Code last week.  With the support of the school district, the Ridgefield Education Foundation and the Friends of the Library, we are extending this effort to allow both youngsters and others to keep coding at the Library or on their own through the end of January.  During the school vacation break, the Library will host additional programs and open lab time, so students will be able to finish up the projects they started in school and explore further.  The project will wrap up on February 7th with a day of celebration, with prizes, demonstrations and much more.

To get started, go to and select a project for your age group.  You can also follow the links to log your lines or hours of code as you go and earn one raffle ticket for each hour completed.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Getting to Project Gutenberg

Have you heard about Project Gutenberg? It is the oldest provider of eBooks, founded in 1971 by Michael Hart, who wanted to be able to store, search and retrieve what was in a public library. He began digitizing public domain texts and making them easily searchable. At this time, Project Gutenberg offers more than 46,000 books, for free, to anyone who has access to a computer or tablet or ereader. These books are from bona fide publishers, and they have been digitized and proof read by a corps of volunteers. Because all the books offered are in the public domain, they tend to be older titles. “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn” and “Moby Dick” are examples of the most popular books on the site.

Ridgefield Library users now have an easier time searching for these classics since Project Gutenberg ebooks are now included in our catalog. For example, when searching for Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” the Library catalog now shows that book is available in print, as a downloadable ebook from Overdrive, and as a downloadable ebook from Project Gutenberg.  Gutenberg books are not limited in how many people can check them out at the same time, so these titles, often found on high school reading lists, are available to as many patrons as want them in ebook format.  Just stop by the Adult Service Desk if you need help downloading them onto your device of choice.

Contributed by Teen Services Librarian Geri Dioro.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Introducing the New Head of Children's Services

The Ridgefield Library recently welcomed Gayle Pulley as Head of Children’s Services. Ms. Pulley will be responsible for the daily management of the dynamic and busy Lodewick Children’s Library. Her experience includes 16 years as an elementary and high school librarian. Before coming to the Ridgefield Library, Ms. Pulley was the district librarian at the Eldred (NY) School District. Ms. Pulley received a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and earned her graduate degree in Library Science and a teaching certification from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She recently relocated to Stamford with her husband David, Assistant Superintendent at Southern Westchester BOCES. They share 5 children and are proud grandparents of their three granddaughters. She enjoys traveling, researching family genealogy, and reading a wide range of genres. Ms. Pulley is excited to be part of Ridgefield’s vibrant library and to provide enriching experiences where children come to the Library to discover and choose books they want to read. She feels fortunate to have the opportunity to share in nurturing a child’s love of reading and developing literacy skills. She will work closely with long-time Children’s Library staffers Mary Beth Rassulo, Diane Antezzo, Christine Miller, Kathy Cherniavsky and Ann Victor.

Contributed by Head of Children's Services Gayle Pulley

Monday, November 24, 2014

Teen Trivia Comes to the Library

Do you know who the Lt. Governor of Connecticut is? Or what the boiling point of water is?

If you are (or know) a teen aged 13+ who knows the answers to these questions, then sign up now at for our first ever Teen Trivia Contest. The date is Saturday, December 13th, from 2:00 to 3:30 PM at the Library. Field your own team of 3 to 5 people or register individually to be placed on a team. Questions will be general interest, so it helps to put together a team of people who have varied interests and knowledge.  There will be snacks and drinks and the chance to win prizes such as NY Yankees tickets and gift cards for area restaurants and shops.  There is no charge to enter, thanks to local businesses and others who are sponsoring the teams (contact Laureen Bubniak at or 203-438-2282 x1029 if you would like to sponsor a team). Older and younger family members and friends – come along to cheer on your teen – and maybe learn a little something!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shop Local and Support your Library at the Same Time

You can be part of the effort to Shop Small by shopping locally with the annual Ridgefield Library Days at Books on the Common during the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Just show your Ridgefield Library card at the register, and 15% of the proceeds of your purchase will be donated to the Library. To make your holiday shopping even easier, the bookstore will be open Friday the 28th from 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday the 29th from 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM and Sunday the 30th from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

The 29th is also Small Business Saturday, when shoppers get a rebate on purchases made with an American Express card at participating small retailers including Books on the Common. As a special incentive that day, the bookstore will be participating in IndiesFirst, a program in which authors take a turn at being booksellers at their local independent bookstore – drop by and Lauren Tarshis, Roz Chast, Peter Spiegelman and Mark Slouka will be on hand to serve you!

The Library will be closed on Thursday the 27th and Friday the 28th, so be sure to come in before then if you don’t have a card. Stop by the Circulation Desk today; all you need is proof of Ridgefield residence. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November Is Picture Book Month

November is a time for thanksgiving!  So what better opportunity to give thanks for children’s picture books? November has been designated as Picture Book Month, and we are celebrating this special genre with a display of time honored contributors – Margaret Wise Brown, Eric Carle, Bernard Waber, and Dr. Seuss – to mention just a few!  The America Library Association defines a picture book as one which “provides the child with a visual experience” and has a “collective unity of story-line, theme or concept.”  Beatrix Potter’s “Tale of Peter Rabbit” from 1902 is one of the first picture books and is still popular today! Picture books are a unique balance between story and illustration – in the best ones the story line and the picture complement each other. Since 1938, the Caldecott Medal has been given annually to the artist of the “most distinguished American picture book for children published by an American publisher.” In the Lodewick Children’s Library, we keep the Caldecott winners together in one shelving location so they are easy to find. Please drop by and explore our Caldecott collection or visit our special picture book display and introduce your children to some of your old favorites!

Contributed by Acting Head of Children's Services Kathy Cherniavsky

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New Partnership Serves Businesses

The Ridgefield Library, in partnership with the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and the Western Connecticut chapter of SCORE, is pleased to announce a new initiative to help small businesses, home-based professionals and entrepreneurs not only survive but thrive.
Under the heading of “Skillsbox: Tools for Business Success,” the centerpiece of the effort will be a series of programs on a wide range of practical topics, from social media to writing a business plan.  Regular offerings will feature the expertise of our reference librarians, experienced trainers from SCORE and talented practitioners from the Chamber membership. Formal training sessions will be supplemented by networking opportunities galore, with refreshments provided by sponsors such as Fairfield County Bank.

The initiative will take advantage of the hands-on training capabilities of the Library’s new Donofrio Family Technology Center as well as its meeting and program facilities. Library print and digital resources for businesses will be highlighted, including our new Small Business Reference Center database from EBSCO, along with the many other ways the Library can support business creation and development.  Find out more at or  We welcome suggestions for trainings, presentations and other activities to help your business thrive.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reading Together Workshops

“Conversational Reading” is the theme for new parent-child reading together workshops at the Ridgefield Library.  Conversational Reading is about finding meaning in a story by asking questions and talking about the stories children are reading.  Families with children in Kindergarten through 4th grade can learn skills to create thought provoking conversations about books they read together with their children.  Parents can learn how to help their children express themselves and their reactions to literature. Questions that require speculation, pondering and prediction enhance children’s understanding of the story and their ability to relate their own experiences.  

The workshops, the first set of which are scheduled for November and December, begin with a delicious pizza dinner for all, followed by an engaging book discussion. Library staff will share techniques for creating thoughtful questions.  Attendees will receive a favorite picture or chapter book to read and discuss at home, together with “Reading Together,” a book by Diane Frankenstein which is a wonderful resource for creating discussions about children’s literature.   Space is limited in the workshops. Participants need to register on the library’s online program calendar, where you can find more details about each workshop.

Contributed by Children's Program Coordinator Diane Antezzo

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Holidays Are for Reading

Halloween is only weeks away and a slew of holidays are right behind it.  So it’s no surprise that every fall the publishers herald a new generation of holiday literature! Holiday books are a special way to celebrate the traditions and atmosphere that we associate with all the festivities. They can enhance your children’s enjoyment and appreciation as they eagerly count the days to their favorite celebration.  In the Lodewick Children’s Library, our holiday books are kept in their own aisle year round, each major holiday shelved in a separate section.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are obviously well represented but we also have Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Groundhog Day and many more! Children’s holiday DVD’s are also in the same aisle, shelved together for easy access and quick browsing. The nonfiction books can add a new recipe to a feast or a craft to boost the decorations. In an effort to preserve the quality of book selection for as long as possible, we do limit the holiday books that may be checked out to three per family. So come comb the shelves for old classics, like Clement Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and Eric Kimmel’s “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” or, better yet, discover some new family favorites! 

Contributed by Kathy Cherniavsky, Acting Head of Children's Services

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Celebrating your Friends

What perfect timing!  October 19 through 25 is National Friends of Libraries Week and also happens to be the week of the annual fall used book sale held by the Friends of Ridgefield Library. Taking place for the first time on the Lower Level of the new Ridgefield Library, the sale begins on Friday the 24th and runs through Monday the 27th, with thousands of attractively priced titles in all categories, from children’s favorites to cookbooks.

Proceeds from book sales allow the Friends to sponsor some of the Library’s most popular activities. During Friends of Libraries Week these include the monthly Poetry Discussion (focusing this month on World War I era poet Wilfred Owen) and the seasonal intergenerational program Reading is a Family Affair.  Children in grades 3 - 5 together with an adult are invited to a very special book discussion following a pizza dinner.  Register at the Children's Services desk and receive a free copy of the book “Because of Winn Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo, courtesy of the Friends. 

Details of the book sale and more about the Friends can be found at  Take a look, come to the sale, and thank a Friend during their special week!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Celebrating Arts and Humanities this Month

National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM) is a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America, organized by Americans for the Arts and taking place this year in October. It is designed to encourage all Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives, and to begin a lifelong habit of active participation in the arts.

The Ridgefield Library is here to help you with your journey, whether you are an elementary school student who wants to share your love of all things magical in our Harry Potter Club or a senior citizen who wants to learn more about Wilfred Owen or T.S. Eliot with our monthly poetry discussions. To start, The Big Read this month and next offers an exciting line-up of arts and humanities events at the Library and other venues around town. We also have a full schedule of author talks, art exhibits, writers’ networking groups, book discussions, concerts and more. You can browse the special new reading rooms for Literature and the Fine & Performing Arts or take advantage of thematic displays and booklists prepared by our staff to add context and background to events being hosted by Ridgefield’s many fine cultural organizations.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Big Read Is Here!

If you are like most Americans, you probably read “The Great Gatsby” in high school or saw one of the star-studded Hollywood movies that have been based on Fitzgerald’s tale of the pursuit of the American Dream. Here’s your opportunity to gain a new appreciation for this masterwork by participating in Ridgefield’s Big Read this fall. The kick-off of the project will be a swinging performance by the Cab Calloway Orchestra at the Ridgefield Playhouse on October 10th, followed by a keynote lecture on the 19th at the Library with Maureen Corrigan, NPR book critic and author of the newly released “So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures.”  Through October and November, some two dozen local organizations and businesses will be presenting related events that will give Ridgefielders an opportunity to immerse themselves in the literature, art, politics, fashion, entertainment and social movements of the 1920s.  And, of course, everyone is encouraged to read the book and come to one of numerous discussions at the Library and elsewhere.

Pick up a brochure at numerous venues around town or check the updated schedule of events at, where you can see a full list of sponsors and partners.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Banned Books Week

Throughout the country, teachers are sending out their lists of required readings, and parents are beginning to gather books. In some cases, classics like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Catcher in the Rye," and "To Kill a Mocking Bird," may not be included in curriculum or available in the school library due to challenges made against them.
Since 1990, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children.  Challenges are not simply an expression of a point of view, they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best—their parents!

In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, the ALA and the Ridgefield Library are recognizing Banned Books Week this week. It is an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. Why not take part? Read an old favorite or a new banned book this week. Stop by the Ridgefield Library to learn more and check out a banned book!

Contributed by Teen Services Librarian Geri Diorio

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Get “Outside the Lines” with the Ridgefield Library

“Outside the Lines” is a national initiative taking place September 14-20 to get people thinking – and talking - about libraries in a whole new way.  In recent years, libraries have changed into dynamic centers for engagement to accommodate the growing needs of their local communities.  Nowhere is this more true than here in Ridgefield.

To start with, we have our marvelous new building.  But that is only the beginning.  Throughout the week we will be highlighting on site and online the many ways the Ridgefield Library contributes to creativity, culture and curiosity in Ridgefield.

We’ll go “outside the lines” of traditional print with International eBook Day and Teen Tech Thursdays.  We’ll explore the creative arts with a Ridgefield Folk concert and an opening reception for the new watercolor exhibit in The Gallery. We’ll go around the world with Fulbright scholar Eva Lee’s account of her research in Tibet and travel in time as author Todd Brewster talks about his new book on Abraham Lincoln. We’ll create common ground locally with Project Resilience, the Ridgefield Playhouse, RVNA and other partners.

Stop by or tune in on social media to go “outside the lines” with us, this week and throughout the year.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Celebrating eBooks

Thursday, September 18th has been designated the first International Read an eBook Day.  According to Pew Research, the popularity of eBooks is increasing, and in 2013, 28 percent of adults 18 and older read at least one.  
In recognition of this celebration, the Library will be hosting an open house in the Donofrio Family Technology Center to help Ridgefield Library cardholders get started with OverDrive, the Library’s eBook platform.   Whether you’ve never tried downloading an eBook or haven’t done so in a while, drop-in anytime between 1 and 4 PM when staff members will be waiting to answer your questions and offer assistance.

OverDrive eBooks can be accessed and read on a computer and on most smartphones, eReaders and tablets.  OverDrive has added many new user friendly features including OverDrive Read offering the option to easily download and save an eBook in a browser or “see book, read book.”   The Kids Collection and Teens Collections enable easy searching for age appropriate selections for every member of the family.   And, as more publishers make their eBooks available, the selection of titles continues to grow. 

If you can’t make it on September 18th, our staff is always ready to answer your eBook questions.

Contributed by Dorothy Pawlowski, Head of Adult Services

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Passport to Connecticut Libraries

From September 2nd through September 30th, the Ridgefield Library will be participating in the first Passport to Connecticut Libraries program.  Sponsored by the Connecticut Library Association in support of Library Card Sign Up Month, the program is modeled on the state’s popular Wine Trail Passport Program.

Here’s how it works.  Anytime, on or after September 2, ask for a passport at one of the Library’s service desks.  You’ll also receive a list of the over 80 participating libraries.  Visit any one and show a valid library card to have your passport stamped and to receive a small gift.   At the end of the month, hand in your passport at any participating library to be entered in two drawings, one for Most Libraries Visited and a Random Drawing for all participants.   The drawings will be for two adult prizes of $150.00 and two children’s prizes (for those under 18) of $100.00.

Your Ridgefield Library card can be used to check out items in any of these libraries, plus you’ll have a chance to explore the unique treasures each has to offer.  Any items checked out at another library can be returned to the Ridgefield Library.   For more information visit Happy exploring!

Contributed by Dorothy Pawlowski, Head of Adult Services

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Teen Advances Environmental Education @ the Library

Thanks to Ridgefield teen Samantha Holmes, the Library has recently enhanced its resources for children in the area of nature and the environment.  Headed off this fall to Duke University, Samantha was the recipient of a Keep America Beautiful grant from the Wrigley Foundation, which she dedicated to purchasing educational materials and recycling supplies for schools and libraries.  With the funds she donated to the Ridgefield Library, we were able to purchase 37 books and DVDs for children and teens, which are currently on display in the Lodewick Children’s Library. A hand-out listing the titles for future reference is available in print and on the Library’s website.

Among the books Samantha researched and recommended are “Children of the Earth: Remember” by Schim Schimmel, “Compost Stew: An Z to Z Recipe for the Earth” by Mary McKenna Siddals, “Composting: Nature’s Recyclers” by Robin Koontz and “Where Does the Garbage Go” by Paul Showers.  Geared to young people in elementary and middle school, other titles deal with nature-based crafts, climate change and global warming, recycling techniques and America’s national parks.

A message from Samantha in the front of each book says “We hope you find this book inspiring” – apt words from a young woman who is herself an inspiration.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Finding Fine Arts @ the Ridgefield Library

On the newly re-configured upper level of the Library, there are several rooms in the Morris Memorial wing that are dedicated to particular segments of our adult book collection.  One of these is the Sara and Rudy Ruggles, Jr. Reading Room, which houses books on art, photography, music, theater, dance, film, television and radio.  Specially designed extra-deep shelving accommodates the large portion of oversized books that are typical in these subject areas, and waist-high countertops provide a convenient place to browse through a bulky coffeetable format volume.  A study table and several wingback chairs complement the traditional elegance of this restored section of the original 1903 building.

Among the volumes to be found in the Ruggles Reading Room are the newest acquisitions made possible by a generous gift arranged some years ago by a donor in memory of Theodore Barnes, Jr.  Each year, our librarians are invited to select several dozen books from the latest catalog of the Yale University Press, known for its exceptional offerings in many scholarly areas, including the fine arts. Recent selections include “Vermeer and Music” by Marjorie E. Wieseman; “Van Gogh at Work” by Marije Vellekoop; and “The impressionist Line from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec” edited by Jay A. Clarke.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Graphically Speaking @ The Ridgefield Library

Do you enjoy a good mystery? Maybe your favorite thing to read is a biography. Do you like to go on a hero's journey sort of tale? The new Graphic Novel collection at the Ridgefield Library has all of these genres and more. Titles range from Roz Chast's new memoir “Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” to a new biography of Andre the Giant, to Brian Azzarello’s “100 Bullets” a crime thriller, to many superhero tales. Graphic novels are a format, not a genre, thus the Library has mysteries, thrillers, fantasy tales, and non-fiction all featuring sequential art. If you are interested in learning about the origins of “The Guardians of the Galaxy”, Ridgefield Library has a graphic novel you can read. Do you watch “The Walking Dead”? You might want to check out Robert Kirkman’s stunningly bleak print version of the zombie apocalypse. Would you like to read an award-winning historical tale of the Chinese Boxer Rebellion? Stop in for Gene Luen Yang’s “Boxers & Saints”, a National Book Award finalist. The Graphic Novel collection is located directly across from the Reference Desk on the upper level of the Library; stop by and check it out.

Contributed by Teen Services Librarian Geri Diorio

Friday, August 8, 2014

Digital Magazines Now Availalble

The Ridgefield library is pleased to announce the availability of Zinio, a new online resource.  Now Library cardholders can read complete full color, interactive digital magazines on computers or on a range of mobile devices.

Getting started with Zinio is easy.  Just go to our website to browse our Zinio for Libraries collection and follow the instructions for setting up your Zinio account with a username and password. Select from 46 magazines covering a wide range of interests including Newsweek, O the Oprah Magazine, Eating Well, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.   Current issues are released simultaneously with print versions and available for instant browser streaming and app-driven offline viewing.  Check out as many issues as you want and keep them in your account as long as you wish with no need to worry about due dates.  Recent back issues are also available for most titles.

Zinio’s stunning interface recreates a magazine page for page, including full color pictures, intuitive navigation, and key word searches for articles.  Some titles such as National Geographic also offer enhanced elements such as audio and video that bring the content to life.   

The Library’s Adult Services Staff is happy to provide assistance in getting started with this convenient new way to access your favorite magazines.

Contributed by Head of Adult Services Dorothy Pawlowski

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nonfiction Summer Fun

What is the Who Was... series?  It’s a series put out by Penguin Publishers that has our youth coming to the Lodewick Children’s Library and combing our Biography section looking for titles they haven’t read yet.  Of our 82 copies of Who Was… titles, 41 were checked out on the day this article was written.  We have two young patrons with a rivalry going to see who can go home with a new title first! Our readers are not the only ones who have discovered this series. The website,, had a contest to see who would be the topic of the 100th book, due out in 2015. There were over 67,000 votes tallied. And the winner is… Steve Irwin! Fans may want to come in and discover the series’ new line of books on events in history: What Was… titles. New titles now have their own display shelf in our New Nonfiction area.

The genre of easy chapter book fiction has some wonderful new series too! These are for our readers taking the giant leap from easy readers to chapter books.  Some of the new series are Captain Awesome, Heidi Heckelbeck, Violet Mackerel, and Doreen Cronin’s The Chicken Squad.

All hot series for some fun summer reading!

Contributed by Kathy Cherniavsky, Acting Head of Children's Services

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Sale Shelf Is Back

Thanks to the Friends of the Library, our stock of ongoing books for sale is back, located next to the elevator in the Bossidy Commons. Offerings for all ages are selected by the Friends from used book donations, and all proceeds go directly to support the Library.  Prices are modest, and you can pay at the Circulation Desk.  Stop here for goodies to take along on vacation or to the beach!

For a larger selection of summer reading, don’t miss the Friends mini-sale on Saturday the 19th during Summerfest.  Look for these dedicated volunteers and their wares on the wall along Main Street in front of the Library.

Used book donations for the big fall sale are currently being accepted at the Library during open hours.  Collection carts for donated items are located at the Circulation Desk and also in the Lower Level Lobby outside the Friends sorting room.  Please check the donation guidelines on the Friends section of the Library webpage before loading up your car.

Did you know that the Friends also run a very active online sales operation at - a great destination for special book purchases in between the semi-annual onsite sales?

Thanks, Friends!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July Is Swinging @ the Library

There’s a lot going on at the Ridgefield Library.  Not only is our Summer Reading Program in full swing - we are also collaborating with several groups on special events to make the summer even more fun.

Friday, July 11 will see the first Songs at Six presentation by the Ridgefield Music and Arts Center on the Library front lawn.  RMAC musicians have performed these informal concerts at various locations in town in past years, and this summer they have elected to celebrate the new Library by bringing their talents to 472 Main Street.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Summerfest is coming up on July 18 and 19, with a fun theme this year of Ridgefield Rewinds to ’64.  The Library will be participating with 50th birthday celebrations for Maurice Sendak’s Wild Thing, an I Spy-style treasure hunt in the Lodewick Children’s Library, a mini book sale and more.

“Where’s Waldo in Ridgefield?” continues until the end of the month.  The Library is pleased to be one of the 25 locations around town where seekers can find Waldo and mark their passports to qualify for prizes.  Thanks to Books on the Common for bringing this fun family activity to Ridgefield for a third year!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Teens Invited to Maker Camp @ the Library

This summer, the Ridgefield Library is fortunate to have been selected as an affiliate for the Maker Camp program. Sponsored by Make Magazine and Google, this program encourages teens to “do it themselves” and get creative by, well, making things! Although the Maker Space movement is often associated with 3D printers and computer controllers, in reality, anyone who creates something with their brains and hands is a maker. As part of the Maker Camp program, the Library encourages teens to make things (build a birdhouse, knit a scarf, grow a flower, sew a shirt, code a computer program, paint a picture, digitally edit a photo) and share their creations on Google+.  The Library is on that social network as +Ridgefieldlibrary. From July 7 through August 15, we’ll use Google+ to share things we’ve created, and we want to see what Ridgefield teens come up with! Also, each Friday during those six weeks, there will be a “virtual field trip” at 2pm. Stop in to the Teen Center and we’ll watch on TV as we “visit” the Jim Henson Creature Shop, the Lego factory in Denmark, the cartoon Network studios, and other fun places to inspire teens to make things.

Contributed by Teen Services Librarian Geri Diorio

Thursday, June 26, 2014

“Grover” Streamlines Library Operations

Meet Grover.  Actually, the official designation is Bibliotheca SmartSort 100 5-Bin AMH001072-000-US, but we think the moniker of the Sesame Street monster is an apt nickname for our new automated materials handling system – a little intimidating at first glance but ultimately helpful and lovable!  This new technology allows all library materials to be checked in and sorted for re-shelving automatically, without staff having to handle each item. Special sensors read Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags inside each item as it travels down a conveyor belt – no more finding and scanning elusive barcodes. Digital signals then direct each item into one of several bins destined for different areas of the Library.

To gain the maximum accuracy, productivity and efficiency benefits from our investment, we ask that all borrowers follow these simple guidelines when returning items:  
  • Return all borrowed items of all kinds in the special return slots in the lobby or on the outside of the building near the parking lot entrance.
  • Insert one item at a time, bottom edge first.
  • Wait for the green light before inserting the next item.
  • The curious can then watch Grover at work through the windows to the right of the slot.

Thanks for your cooperation!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Look for LeapPads @ the Library

The Ridgefield Library has introduced a new way to amuse and educate our younger patrons! Thanks to the Friends of the Ridgefield Library, a number of LeapPad2 handheld computers have been purchased and may be borrowed from the Children’s Services desk for an hour at time. Children ages 3 to 9 will enjoy exploring all they have to offer, from taking baby’s photo with the camera feature to listening to the educational music. Young budding artists may dabble with the art studio or create their own pet with the PetPad. And, yes, we did manage to make sure there was a fun game to play as well! The LeapFrog company takes pride in producing educational toys with kid-proof durability. In the future, we will be buying some additional cartridges to enhance the enjoyment and educational value.

If you haven’t been able to visit the Lodewick Children’s Library yet, we would like you to know that it also has a wonderful selection of puzzles, blocks and wooden toys on wheels (like a giraffe and a fire truck), encouraging learning and creativity through tactile as well as digital tools. We look forward to seeing you and your family soon!

Contributed by Kathy Cherniavsky, Acting Head of Children's Services

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Digital Media Survey Underway

Do you use the Library's OverDrive downloadable audiobook and eBook service?  Have you come to one of our Tech Topics sessions on e-readers?  Do you stream music or video you find on the Internet? The environment for content creators and consumers is in a constant state of change, with new delivery systems and devices coming on the market almost daily. Here’s an opportunity for you to help shape the future of digital content at the Ridgefield Library.

We are fortunate to have been chosen as the site for a research project on digital media use in libraries, undertaken by graduate student Dawn Zimmerer, who is completing her Masters in Library Science at Southern Connecticut State University.  We invite you to participate in the brief survey she has put together and look forward to learning the responses of our patrons on this very timely topic.

Thank you for considering this request.  To participate, you may pick up a paper copy of the survey at the Library or take the survey online at Average completion time is less than 15 minutes. The deadline is June 18th, so do it today. Thank you for your input.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Welcome Back to the Neighborhood!

While we enjoyed our stay on Governor Street, it is nice to get back to our traditional home at 472 Main Street and to renew relationships with our neighbors.  Several nearby establishments are offering special promotions in the coming weeks to welcome us home.

Dimitri's Diner welcomes Library patrons back to the neighborhood with a special promotion to support Library operations. Now through June 9th, pick up a special coupon at any Library service desk and present it at the diner when ordering. 10% of the cost of your purchases will be donated by Dimitri's to the Library.

 It’s Guest Bartender Night with the Library at Gallo Ristorante on June 4th from 6:00 - 9:00 PM. Enjoy the libation of your choice while supporting the Library!  Library Director Chris Nolan, Board members Peter Coffin, Shane Casey and Rob Ellis, and advisor Nick Donofrio will be behind the bar at the Library's Guest Bartender Night at Gallo Ristorante, 5 Grove Street. Bartenders keep all their tips as a donation to the Library, and Gallo will contribute 10% of the evening's liquor bill as well.

Thanks to our good neighbors!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Congratulations and Thanks to Paccadolmi Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Paccadolmi Awards, given out at the Library’s dedication ceremony on May 9th.  For generations of Ridgefielders, Phyllis Paccadolmi personified the Ridgefield Library, and this award honors those whose commitment to the Library exemplifies her spirit and dedication.  This year’s honorees are Philip & Christine Lodewick for leadership and the Friends of the Ridgefield Library for volunteer service.

Philip Lodewick, aided by his wife Christine, served as Chair of the Campaign for the New Ridgefield Library. He coined the slogan Do It Once, Do it Right, Do It Now, and then made it happen just that way.  It is due to his leadership that the Library was able to raise over $15 million privately and to secure bond funding of $5 million from the town at referendum.

The Friends of the Ridgefield Library's commitment of $100,000 in 2006 was virtually the first pledge received for the project, and their further commitment in 2013 was the gift that pushed us well along towards our fundraising goal.  Along the way, they helped out in every possible way.  With total giving of over $300,000 and countless hours of volunteer service, the Friends have been indispensable and inspirational.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Power of Partnership

Even before Opening Weekend, the Library staff has been busy talking to groups around town who are excited about the possibilities the new building will offer for community events and joint programs.  Before we start welcoming them as our guests, however, we want to take a moment to thank the organizations that have played host to Library activities during our construction period.

For children’s programs, we are indebted to the Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and especially to Parks & Recreation, the Ridgefield Playhouse and Woodcock Nature Center, who also co-sponsored some wonderful family performances and other events.
Key partners and hosts for adult programs included the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Keeler Tavern Museum, the Prospector, Ridgefield Guild of Artists, the Ridgefield Playhouse and the Watershed Gallery. Together we have been able to keep up a lively stream of educational and cultural activities.  Thanks also to the Community Center/Lounsbury House, the First Congregational Church and the Ridgefield Historical Society/Scott House for providing space for various Library events.

We look forward to continued fruitful partnerships with the many wonderful organizations that serve the Ridgefield community.

Monday, April 28, 2014

It’s an Adventure, But Hardly a Vacation

Several people have asked what staff members are going to do on their “vacation” the next few weeks while the Library is closed.  While we may not be checking out books, conducting storytimes or answering computer questions, we will be plenty busy as we move and get established in the new library space.

We have to pack up all of our offices and work areas, then settle into new quarters, many in very different configurations from what we have been accustomed to.  We have to learn how to use new security, phone and public address systems.  There are new technologies such as print and time management, interactive whiteboards and assistive listening systems to master.  Collections need to be organized on the shelves, and program supplies unpacked.

We will be learning how to program and use environmental controls to maintain the building at comfortable and efficient levels of heating, cooling and lighting. We will be practicing procedures for opening the building for the day, closing it at night and evacuating it in case of emergency. And, for good measure, we even need to make the transition from Windows XP to Windows 7 – a task many of you can relate to!

See you on May 9th for the start of Opening Weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Libraries Change Lives: Declaration for the Right to Libraries

In celebration of National Library Week May 13-19, we offer the following summary of the Declaration for the Right to Libraries introduced by the American Library Association.  A full version and a link to add your signature to the Declaration may be found at

“In the spirit of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe that libraries are essential to a democratic society. Every day, in countless communities across our nation and the world, millions of children, students and adults use libraries to learn, grow and achieve their dreams. In addition to a vast array of books, computers and other resources, library users benefit from the expert teaching and guidance of librarians and library staff to help expand their minds and open new worlds. We declare and affirm our right to quality libraries -public, school, academic, and special – and urge you to show your support by signing your name to this Declaration for the Right to Libraries.

·         Libraries empower the individual.
·         Libraries support literacy and lifelong learning.
·         Libraries strengthen families.
·         Libraries are the great equalizer.
·         Libraries build communities.
·         Libraries protect our right to know.
·         Libraries strengthen our nation.
·         Libraries advance research and scholarship.
·         Libraries help us to better understand each other.
·         Libraries preserve our nation’s cultural heritage.”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Is Nutmeg Book Award Time

It’s April, and that means it is time for the children of Connecticut to vote for the Nutmeg Book Award winners! Connecticut’s own book award encourages children in grades 4-12 to read quality literature and to choose their favorite from a list of nominated titles.  Traditionally the Ridgefield Library invites Ridgefield students to stop in at the Library and vote for their favorite Nutmeg nominee. But since we will be closing down for several weeks to move into our new building, and we don’t want students to miss the opportunity to vote, we have a new way for you to participate. The Ridgefield Library has put Nutmeg Award ballots online. You can see a link to them on our webpage, if you stop by our Facebook page, or if you follow us on Twitter.  Students who are not voting at school are encouraged to vote online using our ballot. Please only vote once, either at school OR online. The winning books will be announced on May 15. Also happening in mid-May will be the introduction of a new Nutmeg Book Award level. The Elementary level offers books for the youngest readers, students in grades 2 through 4. Spring is Nutmeg Book Award time!

Contribute by Geri Diorio, Teen Services Librarian and Head of Children's Services

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April Celebrations - and Remembrances

April is the time for some of our favorite occasions – National Library Week, National Volunteer Week and National Poetry Month.  To celebrate all three at once, we offer the following poem, which was composed by Ann Jepson, Ridgefield Library friend and Friend extraordinaire who passed away last week.

Elegy on the Obsolescence of Libraries

This morning
I was reminded of that smartest
and most social of farm animals,
the pig --
how in the days of the family farm
a little before feeding time
they would line up at the trough
in anticipation of the feast to come,
boars, sows, piglets
all waiting for the gate to open
and the morsels to flow,
rinds, peels, breakfast’s wake-up grounds,
noon’s lunch, last night’s dinner,
a sleepless night’s snack, celebration’s sweets,
all the rewards of man’s abundant repasts.

So when I went to the library
ten minutes before opening time
and saw that smartest and most social of the primates,
the human --
man, woman, child
waiting in anticipation for the doors to open
to peruse or check out
cd’s, dvd’s biographies, memoirs, fiction,
nonfiction, poetry, newspapers, magazines,
travel books, computer programs,
all the rewards of the race’s reveries,

I thought - Naysayers,
we will be here,
waiting at the trough,
for some time to come.