Thursday, April 27, 2017

Celebrating Volunteers

April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week, and we have a lot of talented and generous people to thank for their volunteer service to the Ridgefield Library.  Their involvement ranges from one-time help with a special event like Love your Library Day to a multi-year commitment as a member of our Board of Directors. They come to us as individuals, families, students and groups like National Charity League, Boy and Girl Scouts, Lionsheart and the Boys and Girls Club.  They are young people, retirees and people of all ages doing community service.

One very special group of volunteers is the Friends of the Ridgefield Library, who organize popular used book sales, the proceeds of which support many favorite Library services and collections.  Their spring sale is coming up May 5-7 (children’s books only) and May 12-15.  Don’t miss it!

Teens going into grades 6-12 in the fall are invited to apply before June 5th to volunteer with the Summer Reading Program, assisting younger children with logging their reading and claiming their prizes.  Pick up an application in the Ellis Family Teen Center or print one from our website. 


Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped us during the past year!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Financial Literacy and Money Smart Week

Financial literacy is the combined knowledge and skills that allow you to manage your personal finances effectively and to make personal financial decisions confidently.

Money Smart Week (April 22-29) is a national initiative among the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and other organizations including the American Library Association to provide financial education programs for consumers.

Libraries play an important role in the education of their community and financial literacy is one of several literacies that libraries strive to support. The Ridgefield Library’s role in Money Smart Week will be to host three financial education programs:Women and Money Roundtable - Retiring Successfully on Tuesday, April 25 from 1:00-2:00 PM; Save Money on Electricity on Thursday, April 27 from 12:00-1:00 PM; First Time Homebuyers on Thursday, April 27 from 6:30-7:30 PM

Please register online at www.ridgefieldlibrary.org or by calling 203-438-2282 x12004.


We also encourage you to browse, either in person or online, our comprehensive collection of personal finance books, magazines, and newspapers. On the Library’s Business & Finance webpage (found by clicking on Research & Reference from the homepage at www.ridgefieldlibrary.org) you may access Value Line and Morningstar online investment resources and find a list of trusted financial websites. 

Contributed by Adult Services Librarian Christie Mitchell

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Libraries Transform during National Library Week

In the words of the American Library Association’s theme for National Library Week 2017 (April 9-15), “Libraries Transform.”  While not as easy to quantify as numbers of items borrowed or attendance at programs, individual transformative experiences are at the heart of what libraries today do. And while many of these interactions take place between staff and patrons, libraries are also places where we can all come together to share with and learn from each other. Here are just a few examples observed recently at the Ridgefield Library.

·         An elderly gentleman living alone breaks into a big grin when he encounters an enthusiastic 4-year-old passing through the Bossidy Commons on his way to storytime.

·         Two young mothers, both new to Ridgefield and to parenthood, linger after Baby & Me to exchange contact information and tips about kid-friendly restaurants, shopping bargains and other resources.

·         An experienced computer user at the Library’s Public Access Computers offers timely advice to a nearby neophyte struggling with formatting a business letter in Word.


·         A line forms at the Circulation Desk after Books & Breakfast, as attendees seek out the books their fellow readers have recommended at this popular monthly sharing of what people have been reading.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Introducing our New Children's Librarian

If you have been in the Lodewick Children’s Library in the last few weeks, you may have noticed a new face at the desk and facilitating some programs.  Shay Glass, our new Children’s Librarian, is originally from Georgia, but moved to Boston to get his masters degrees in library science and children's literature at Simmons College. After several years working at libraries in the mountains of North Carolina and in Portland, Oregon, he is excited to be back in New England and settled in one place. In addition to providing reference assistance and reading recommendations, Shay will be purchasing materials for the juvenile fiction (“chapter book”) collection and bringing his experience and fresh ideas to many of our programs, especially STEAM activities such as Lego Challenge, robotics, Maker Crafts and more. Shay  fills the position formerly held by Mary Beth Rassulo, who is now assistant Director at the Easton Public Library.


“I'm thrilled to be here,” Shay says. ”Some of my favorite things include reading children's books and talking about them, so I'd love hear about all the books you're reading and how you feel about them!” We invite you to stop by soon and welcome him to Ridgefield.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New Microfilm Scanner Now Available

Good news for historians and genealogists! The Ridgefield Library has acquired a new ST ViewScan III microfilm scanner to provide improved access to the Ridgefield Press from 1875 to 2003 as well as other microform content needed for research and genealogy. The high-resolution camera allows users to see details more clearly and to digitally zoom in and out. Microfilm content will be scanned into a digital format of your choice such as PDF, JPEG, TIFF or PNG.  You can crop an article, section, or entire page and then enhance and adjust the content further for the best possible quality. 

The resulting files can be emailed quickly and easily or printed in the Library, saved to a USB flash drive, or distributed to Google Drive, Dropbox, or FamilySearch.  

Thanks to the Rotary Club of Ridgefield for a challenge grant to get us started on raising the full purchase price of this much-needed upgrade. Additional donations of any amount are now being accepted and can be made through the Library Wish List on our website at www.ridgefieldlibrary.org.


To learn more about this wonderful new resource, join us on Saturday, April 8 at 10:00 AM or 3:00 PM for a demonstration or contact the Adult Services Desk for an individual appointment.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Save these Spring Dates

Old Man Winter is giving up the ghost very reluctantly this year, but we are confident that Spring is on the way, and we have been planning some outdoor activities to take advantage of the coming warm weather. Make a note of these dates and stay tuned for more details as the snow melts!

April 29. Battle of Ridgefield 240th anniversary commemoration and battle re-enactment.  Stop by the Library to learn more about the history of the battle and the era, including performances by period musicians.

May 5-6. Spring Stroll. Enjoy chalk art and other activities up and down Main Street, including a family concert on the lawn by Ray and Jay, the Friends of the Library children’s book sale, and previews of coming attractions.

May 14. We’ll see you at the Run Like a Mother 5K Race with information about our Noreen L. Papa: Mothers Live your Life programs and resources focused on health and wellness for women and others, funded by race sponsorships.


May 29.  Watch for our contingent in the annual Memorial Day Parade. We haven’t picked our theme yet, but it is sure to be festive!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Finding your Next Read

Our librarians are always looking for ways to enhance our readers’ advisory services.  The Ridgefield Library online catalog now draws from NoveList, a trusted source of expert recommendations for help in finding that next good read.   

Click on the entry for any title to find read-alikes with an explanation of why the match has been chosen.  Find suggestions for other authors based on your reading interests.  Want to know the order of books in a favorite series?  Click on the entry for any series’ title, and all the books will be displayed in the proper order.   Do you like James Patterson novels because of their fast-paced quality or Paula McClain’s character-driven writing style?  You’ll find lists of other authors who capture these elements in their books.  This enhanced catalog content is available for children’s, teen, and adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as for audiobooks.

To explore the full content of NoveList, visit the Readers’ Resources page on our website. Here you’ll find book suggestions for all interests and all ages along with lists of award winners and discussion guides.


Finally, don’t hesitate to ask our staff for reading recommendations.  It’s what we love to do.

Contributed by Head of Adult Services Dorothy Pawlowski

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Sharing Across Generations

The Library is one of the few locations in town where residents of all ages come together in the same space, and we have created several programs to encourage positive intergenerational exchange.

On March 11th, our Teen Advisory Group will be on hand from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM to help adults and senior citizens with their technology needs.  Just bring in the gadgets that drive you crazy such as cell phones, laptops and digital cameras and let our teens unlock their secret power! 

Several times a year, we host Reading Is a Family Affair, in which elementary school children and their parents read a selected title together, then come to the Library as a family to talk about it over a pizza dinner, courtesy of the Friends of the Library.


2017 is the 4th year of our Books Building Bridges intergenerational literature program with Ridgefield High School.  A book is selected from the English curriculum, adults and students both read it, then come together for discussions led by some of the students.  The different generational perspectives make for very interesting conversation! In November we will be reading “Pride and Prejudice” together as part of an extended commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Caring for Library Media

Regular borrowers of DVDs and audiobooks on CD know that from time to time they encounter a disc that doesn’t play properly. We have a special machine for polishing and cleaning discs, but we do not subject them to this treatment unless there is a reported problem, as the process shortens the useful life of the item. The effect is similar to what happens to fine china if it is run repeatedly through the harsh elements of hot water and strong detergent in a dishwasher – over time important surface elements are worn away.


To help us maintain these items in the best condition possible, we rely on borrowers to let us know of problems, so we can address these specific situations by cleaning, polishing or replacing discs as needed.  To make this easier, we are now inserting a form into the cases of DVDs and audiobooks to allow users to report problems when they return the item, without having to come to the Circulation Desk in person.  Just indicate on the form which disc(s) did not work properly and describe the nature of the problem (skipping, sticking, garbled sound, whatever). We’ll take it from there!  Thanks for your help.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

WSJ Article from Home with your Library Card

Did you miss the Wall Street Journal coverage of the Super Bowl?  Want to read Gear & Gadgets reviews or just curious about a WSJ article you heard about?

Did you know that you have free access to full text Wall Street Journal articles?  The Wall Street Journal from ProQuest is a research resource available on Library computers, from the Library’s website, ridgefieldlibrary.org and from researchitct.org.  It covers the Wall Street Journal Eastern edition from 1984 through current, and includes same day coverage.

This Wall Street Journal research product is different from the wsj.com online product in that photographs and illustrations are excluded, but the complete text of each article is available and it is printable and free.

To find the Wall Street Journal link on the Ridgefield Library website click on Research & Reference and then on Magazines & Newspapers or on Databases A-Z to find WSJ listed alphabetically. You will need to enter your Connecticut library barcode number. To help find your articles, we recommend doing an “Advanced Search” to search by keywords, subject headings, names of companies and people, and by publication date or a range of dates.


We hope you make use of this Wall Street Journal resource!

Contributed by Adult Services Librarian Christie Mitchell

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wall Street Journal Articles Available from Home

Did you miss the Wall Street Journal coverage of the Super Bowl?  Want to read Gear & Gadgets reviews or just curious about a WSJ article you heard about?

Did you know that you have free access to full text Wall Street Journal articles?  The Wall Street Journal from ProQuest is a research resource available on Library computers, from the Library’s website, ridgefieldlibrary.org and from researchITct.org.  It covers the Wall Street Journal Eastern edition from 1984 through current, and includes same day coverage.

This Wall Street Journal research product is different from the wsj.com online product in that photographs and illustrations are excluded, but the complete text of each article is available and it is printable and free.

To find the Wall Street Journal link on the Ridgefield Library website click on Research & Reference and then on Magazines & Newspapers or on Databases A-Z to find WSJ listed alphabetically. You will need to enter your Connecticut library barcode number. To help find your articles, we recommend doing an “Advanced Search” to search by keywords, subject headings, names of companies and people, and by publication date or a range of dates.


We hope you make use of this Wall Street Journal resource!

Contributed by Adult Services Librarian Christie Mitchell

Friday, February 10, 2017

Tax Help Is Here!

The income tax filing season is upon us, and the Ridgefield Library can help!  We now have copies of the most common IRS and Connecticut state forms and instruction booklets available on the Upper Level near the Adult Services Desk.  If you are looking for less common forms or ones for other states, we can help you find and print out what you need.  The Government and Legal Reference page on our website also includes links to many useful resources.

On Thursday mornings through April 13, IRS trained and certified volunteers from the AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program will be available in the Library’s Dayton Program Room to offer free, individualized help to low and moderate income taxpayers, especially those 60 and older.  Income tax assistance is available by appointment only; call 203-438-4288 for an appointment and a list of all the documents you will need to bring with you.


Don’t forget to make a copy of your completed return for your files – we have copiers on the Upper Level and in the Commons on the Main Level, with the very modest charge of 20 cents per page. And if you experience “sticker shock” once you have finished your return, check out one of our many books that outline tax strategies for the self-employed, those planning for retirement and more!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Take your Child to the Library Day Is February 4th

Take your Child to the Library Day is a national library promotion that was started a few years ago right here in Connecticut.  We are pleased to participate again this year on February 4th, when our new Library Director Brenda McKinley will be the guest reader at Drop-In Storytime at 10:30 AM. Stay for cider and cookies and a chance to chat with Brenda after storytime. 

While you are here, sign up for a library card for every member of your family, even the youngest child.  We have several fun designs to choose from.  All you need is proof of Ridgefield residence. And you can make a library card holder craft throughout the day in the Lodewick Family Children’s Library.

The Friends of the Library will be holding a pop-up children’s book sale as well so you can build up your own home library. Check our website for exact sale times.

Also on tap on the 4th is our hard Drive Smash recycling event from 1:00 – 4:00 PM and an opening reception from 4:00 – 6:00 for “Flowers Grow,” artist Pamela Stoddart’s new exhibit of flower-themed mixed media and paintings.


Come enjoy the Ridgefield Library every day, but especially on February 4th!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Paccadolmi Honors Awarded

The 2016 Paccadolmi Awards were given out on December 4th during a special holiday gathering of Library supporters and friends. The awards are named in honor of Phyllis Paccadolmi, Miss P to the generations of Ridgefielders she knew during more than 5 decades with the Ridgefield Library. This year’s honorees are Ellen Burns and Darwin Ellis, owners of Books on the Common, and Theresa Miller and Julie Yaun.

Ellen and Darwin support our many author talks with book sales, promotion, and a true love of contemporary books and authors.  They have donated an untold number of gift certificates and Grand Prize Shopping Sprees for our Summer Reading Programs for all ages and have been active participants in several community-wide reading initiatives.  Since 2005 they have hosted Library Days at Books on the Common during Thanksgiving weekend, engaging local shoppers and library users in a campaign to earn donations from the store for the Ridgefield Library. 


For the 3 years since our first Great Expectations gala, Julie and Theresa have been the backbone of this major fundraising effort, gracefully yet firmly organizing a multitude of logistics, from table lay-out to valet parking. Thanks to Theresa and Julie and their committee, these events are uniquely entertaining, smooth running and financially successful.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Introducing our New Library Director

Hello! I am Brenda McKinley, the new Library Director at the Ridgefield Library. I am honored to be entrusted with this position and thank Chris Nolan for her wonderful legacy. I come to Ridgefield from nearby Newtown, where I live with my husband and our four children. Most recently I served as the Cyrenius H. Booth Library Director in Newtown.

I have been a Librarian for over twenty years and passionately believe in the resources, support, and strength a library brings to the community it serves. The strong ties the Library enjoys with the Ridgefield community are testament that this belief is widely shared and is a big reason why I’m thrilled to be starting this new role.

I look forward to working with the stellar staff as we continue to provide excellent library service for our patrons and our town. It might take me a bit of time to learn all the new names, but I hope to meet you soon.

Please bring your little ones for “Take Your Child to the Library Day” on Saturday, February 4th at 10:30 AM. I’ll be guest reader at Drop-In Storytime and we’ll enjoy some cookies and conversation. I hope to see you then!

Contributed by Library Director Brenda McKinley

Monday, January 23, 2017

Keeping Those New Year's Resolutions

2017 New Year’s Resolution #1: Get everyone in your family their own Ridgefield Library card and use it to take advantage of so many resources at the Library (details available at www.ridgefieldlibrary.org).

·         Try JobNow for online help with resume writing, interviewing, and job search; career assessments; and live online coaching and feedback.

·         Sharpen your work and personal productivity skills with hands-on classes such as LinkedIn 101 and Introduction to 3D Printing. Try lynda.com online video tutorials for dozens of additional business and computer applications.

·         Learn or brush-up one of 72 languages with Mango online language learning programs for use on a computer or on the go.

·         Seeking to be a better parent? Our Parenting the Selfie Generation: Instilling Resilience series offers lectures and discussions on topics from teen social media behavior to breaking free of the overparenting trap.

·         Been thinking of finally turning that great idea into an actual business? Check out our SkillsBox workshops, including the upcoming 5-part Simple Steps for Starting a Small Business series beginning in February.


·         Take a deep breath and relax with Yoga workshops, adult coloring, musical performances and more activities to promote a calmer approach to life.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New for the New Year

Children’s programs that start in February will be open for registration online beginning January 3rd.  We have several new arts and craft offerings, plus some new formats for our popular Lego and robotics classes, so visit www.ridgefieldlibrary.org soon.

Get tech for the holidays? Look for drop-in help sessions with our Library staff to get you going with that new device or gadget.  Ask also about tutorials through Lynda.com on just about every tech topic imaginable.

Addiction will be the theme of our 2017 Learn Through Film series beginning January 18th.  Join us for three evenings and on social media for difficult and great films along with moderated, civil discussion about this national – and local - epidemic.

Save the date for some upcoming special events: Take your Child to the Library Day on February 4th, Dr. Seuss’s Birthday Party on March 4th, our Great Expectations Gala on April 22nd and the Battle of Ridgefield re-enactment on April 29th. Much more to come about these and the many other activities we offer each week.


And, of course, our new Library Director Brenda McKinley begins work on January 3rd.  We are organizing many opportunities for members of the community to meet her, so stay tuned.