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Connecticut Libraries

VIEWS: 117 PAGES: 12

									DECEMBER 2008

Connecticut Libraries

Just One Book
CLA Board Members Recommend . . .

The Ten-Cent Plague: The great comic-book scare and how it changed America by David Hadju. In the mid-1950s, students and teachers in communities across America ceremoniously burned comic books. They believed that children were being corrupted by the violence and sexually suggestive content of the popular entertainment. Even the Hartford Courant published a series of articles in 1954 entitled, "Depravity of Children—10 Cents a Copy!" Hajdu traces the rise of the scare, especially as it affected Bill Gaines, who founded Mad Magazine. Fascinating. Peter Chase

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the riveting first person narrative by a Muslim woman from Somalia who travels throughout Africa as a refugee, finally seeking asylum in the Netherlands, where she is elected to the Dutch parliament. There she collaborates on a movie criticizing Islam, which results in death threats for her and the assassination of her friend Theo Van Gogh. Ali’s voice is strong and engaging; her story tells you from the inside what harm traditional Islam can wreak on the young, especially women. Chris Bradley Blandings Castle by P.G. Wodehouse. The greatest comic writer ever to tickle the typewriter keys, Wodehouse produced heaps of hilarious volumes, but the Blandings Castle series represents perhaps the most perfect expression of comic English pastoral. Here’s Lord Emsworth, the current incumbent, musing on his feckless younger son, Freddie Threepwood: “Unlike the male codfish, which, suddenly finding itself the parent of three million five hundred thousand little codfish, cheerfully resolves to love them all, the British aristocracy is apt to look with a somewhat jaundiced eye on its younger sons.” How can you read that and not want to jump immediately into the scrumptious delights of the Blandings Castle tales? Julian Aiken

his annual compilation of book recommendations from members of the CLA Executive Board represents, as always, the wonderful diversity of reading preferences. From comic books to haiku, from adventure to romance, from investing to child rearing, from history to fantasy, it’s all here. The list is a perfect example of two of S. R. Ranganathan’s Laws of Library Science: “Every reader his [or her] book” and “Every book its reader.” You’re sure to find a book here that you want to read, and perhaps you will find one that you want to share with someone else. My thanks to everyone who contributed a recommendation (and sometimes more). Browse the list, then head for your local public library or the nearest bookstore. David Kapp, Editor


Adventures in Gentle Discipline: A parent-to-parent guide by Hilary Flower. A goal that I share with my wife is to do the best we can as parents. This book is one of several I read upon the arrival of our first child. A very readable collection of other parents’ experiences, written in their own words, it is both insightful and encouraging, especially for newer parents, who definitely will relate to many of the experiences described. Bruce Johnston Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. Thunderstruck reads like fiction but is drawn from fact, has a plot that cleverly joins the greats of early 20th century physics, Marconi and the invention of wireless telegraphy, details about the popularization of homeopathic medicine, and the particulars of one of the most sensational murder cases of the time. By the author of the popular Devil in the White City, this book ranges from Italian villas, to London, Quebec, and the shores of Cape Cod, and is very hard to put down. William Uricchio 50/50: Secrets I learned running 50 marathons in 50 days by Dean Karnazes. This book chronicles Karnazes’s unbelievable achievement: 50 marathons in 50 states on 50 consecutive days. Ultracontinued on page 4

The Last Campaign by Thurston Clarke. Clarke takes us back to March 17, 1968 when RFK announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President. It’s all here, including LBJ’s announcement on March 31 and Bobby’s whirlwind campaign through the Midwest and West to pick up votes for the upcoming primaries. It culminates in that kitchen in LA on June 4. We all lost that night, and wonder “What if….” Peter Ciparelli Grantville Gazette III, 1632 Series by Eric Flint. Grantville, WV is flung back into the heart of the Thirty Years’ War in Germany. Dealing with marauding Catholic and Protestant armies, upgrading 17th century technologies to 21st century life, and loosing family and friends uptime, this small community becomes a force to be reckoned with. Twelve published volumes with an active online fan community and its own ezine. A great discovery for sci-fi fans. Hal Bright





And time yet for a hundred indecisions, and for a hundred visions and revisions, before the taking of toast and tea. T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by Julian Aiken

CLA Executive Board
Meeting of November 6, 2008 Southington Public Library ACLB The 8th Annual Leadership Conference attracted 134 participants. Stan Siegel CASL Shannon McNiece of Nutmeg made a historical presentation at the CASL Awards Dinner, October 15. The presentation was in honor of the Nutmeg Award’s 15th anniversary. Gayle Bogel CLC InfoAnytime rates have been lowered and a marketing campaign has been launched. The CLC 2009 keyboard calendar will be ready for distribution soon. Chris Bradley College/University The committee’s fall program on Pod casts and videos made a profit of $117. John Leonetti Conference 2009 The board discussed the following proposed registration rates for the annual conference: One- and two-day registration-reduced by $10 per day to $85 and $160 respectively. Three-day registration--reduced by $25 to $225 for CLA members. BCALA and CASL members will pay the same rate as CLA members. Registration will not include lunch but will include parking. Every fourth registration from an institution will be free. Motion passed unanimously. Alice Knapp CSL Two out of three referendums on public library building projects were approved during the November elections: Farmington and East Hartford passed, Madison did not. pass. ALA is trying to have money for a national database included in a stimulus package. The Big Read may be on its way out; librarians are encouraged to submit applications while the money is still available. Stan Siegel noted that the Norwalk Public Library received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for their Big Read Program. Ken Wiggin Customer Service The New Haven Register praised the newly renovated Guilford Free Library, calling it a “jewel.” Jan Day Emerging Leaders CLA will nominate one candidate for this ALA program in 2009: Jaime Hammond from Naugatuck Valley Community College. Next year there will be an application process to review and choose candidates. Chris Bradley Friends The Friends of CT Libraries is preparing a survey to be posted on-line and distributed as needed to Friends groups throughout the state. Carl Nawrocki

hen the weather turns nippy, when wild winds start to blow, when frost whitens the boughs in the darkening woods, the thoughts of your average warm-blooded, sensible American tend to turn immediately to their boilers. Throughout the nation, frantic conversations take place concerning whose job it was to renew the maintenance contract last Spring, whether it was really all that clever to switch from oil to solar-powered heating, and — in extreme hardship cases — who gets to sleep closer to the dog until the pipes are fixed. How my wife must regret her all too hasty decision to marry a native of the British Isles. As the first snowflakes fall from leaden skies, and people all over Connecticut begin warming their cockles and toes next to roaring log fires, precision-engineered radiators, or Willie the Weiner, poor Kathryn finds her pleas for winter warmth met with incredulity and the loan of a woolly jumper (Brit-speak for sweater.) The thing is, Brits simply don’t do central heating. We like our beer warm, our soup tepid, and our dwellings cold. The only room in the house to which this rule does not apply is the bedroom, which we prefer to be absolutely bl**dy freezing. In the arctic extremes of January, as birds drop frozen from the branches, you can spot Julian Aiken is head of access services the British in your neighborat Wallingford hood: we’re the ones unfastenPublic Library. ing the shutters and flinging open our windows to let in a bit of air in the wee small hours. We’ll be the ones complaining that it was a bit stuffy last night. In the early 20th century, when the good citizens of the States were discovering the delights of steaming hot water pipes, the British were still relying for warmth upon the tried and trusted method of eating toast. We first snubbed our noses at the ridiculous affectations of radiant heat when the Romans attempted to introduce under-floor warming systems to that newly-conquered but rather chilly bit of empire: Britannica. (We were equally
Connecticut Libraries


rude about their aqueducts, roads, sanitation, irrigation, medicine, gelatos and Vespas, but that’s another story.) And look where it got us. The Roman Empire, built as it was upon organized climate control, was teetering on the abyss of excess, collapse and ruin. Whereas the British, huddled together around their meager campfires toasting slices of white bread, were preparing to build the largest empire in history. Whilst it might be an exaggeration to suggest that the collapse of the British Empire coincided almost exactly with the widespread adoption of the electric toaster, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the toasting fork to our history. Nor has literature been slow to recognize the pivotal importance of sliced bread browned by exposure to dry heat. In his brilliant novel, The Liar, Stephen Fry evokes the school days of many an English child, “Tea was a very special institution, revolving as it did around the ceremony and worship of Toast. In a place where alcohol, tobacco and drugs were forbidden, it was essential that something should take their place as a powerful and public totem of virility and cool. Toast…was the substance chosen.” Toast takes on a significance of nearmythical proportions in Jasper Fforde’s hilarious series of Thursday Next novels. In his alternative society, the government’s Toast Marketing Board is dedicated to the promotion, distribution and consumption of toast. (Sample quotes: “Strength-Joy-Nutrition--Have You Eaten Your Toast today?” “Failure to meet mandatory toast-eating requirements is an offence.”). Fforde, not coincidentally, a British author, is so enamored of toast that a nicely browned slice features on the cover of his fourth novel, Something Rotten. But it is to one of the greatest British food writers, Nigel Slater, we must turn for the last word on toast. Not only does he have a recipe for making perfect toast (and yes, you do need a toasting fork and open flame), he has written a book entitled Toast, a deliciously evocative story of a childhood. Warm and comforting, it’s perfect for settling into your armchair with a mug of tea, as the weather outside turns inclement. Just like a lovely slice of buttery toast, really.


Legislative The proposed legislative agenda for 2009-2010 was accepted with one abstention. The board discussed draft copy for a legislative marketing brochure, “Why Libraries? Why Now?” to be used with legislators and municipalities. The proposed text was withdrawn for revision. Carl Antonucci LTA Community College will offer three courses beginning January 2009: cataloging, reference, and computers in libraries. Karen DeLoatch Membership The committee has discussed and will propose a variety of ideas for increasing membership. Stan Siegel NELA The association made $1,500 on its silent auction at its annual conference in Manchester, NH. Next year’s conference will be in Hartford. Mary Etter PEG Four applications for support to attend the next New England Library Leadership Symposium have been received. Peter Ciparelli President The University of Connecticut Foundation acknowledged CLA’s $500 donation to the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair. The redesigned newsletter will debut in December. The USPS has ruled that CLA is not eligible for non-profit mailing rates because it is not a 501c3 (educational) organization. Kathy Leeds Procedures The board needs to adopt a policy for selling the membership list. Sandy Brooks will prepare a proposal for discussion at the next meeting. Sandy Brooks Publicity Information and forms for the annual Publicity Awards Contest are on the CLA website. The committee is coordinating the photo exhibit at the Legislative Office Building in April. They will be contacting libraries that require an updated photograph. Linda Avellar Region V WTNH visited Clinton’s Henry Carter Hull Library to do a story on the library’s national ranking and the value of libraries. Portland Library’s Teen Advisory Board is presenting their first program, “Twilight.” Maribeth Breen Treasurer The Finance Committee will meet with CLA’s accountant on November 17. Alison Wang WCSU An event featuring Jhumpa Lahiri, sponsored by Danbury Public Schools, WCSU, and Danbury Public Library, attracted 700 attendees. Ed 0’Hara

A Menu for Success
by Kathy Leeds


ibrary workers in Connecticut are blessed with a wealth of opportunities for professional development. Workshops, roundtables, and seminars aimed at keeping us up to speed and ahead of the curve abound. Already this year, I have attended a State Library orientation session for new directors, a seminar sponsored by the Connecticut Library Consortium on security and dealing with mentally disturbed customers, the Association of Connecticut Library Board’s annual leadership conference for directors and trustees, a presentation on personnel issues hosted by the Fairfield Libraries Administrators Group, and our Support Staff Section’s day-long conference. But Connecticut’s biggest and bestattended library gathering of the year is the Connecticut Library Association’s annual conference. (And, incidentally, it’s also one of the largest state conferences in the nation.) Providing professional development opportunities for those who work in our libraries is one of CLA’s major objectives, and planning for the 2009 conference is well underway. Conference chairs Janet Woycik, director of Newtown’s C.H.Booth Library, and Alice Knapp, director of the New Canaan Library, have been hard at work for months with the Conference Steering Committee and section chairs. Suggestions for programs have come in from all over the state following last year’s extremely well received conference in Mystic, and we are striving to put together an outstanding lineup of topics, presenters, and vendors to make the 118th conference the best ever! Scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, April 29 to May 1, the 2009 CLA Conference will take place at the Omni New Haven Hotel, site of our most successful 2005 conference. Located in the heart of downtown New Haven, the Omni is a richly appointed four-diamond hotel, just steps from the historic campus of Yale University, the New Haven Town Green, a wide selection of world-class museums, the Shubert and Yale Repertory theaters, and sophisticated boutique shopping. New Haven is easy to reach from all corners of the state, by car and public

transport. This year your registration will include complimentary parking, and we’ll provide a map of nearby parking lots for your convenience. Included with your registration, as well, will be a map with recommendations for local restaurants; you will want to sample some of the terrific dining options within steps of the Omni--and beyond. The theme of the 2009 conference is Menu for Success, and our offerings are rich and exciting. We’ll give you a peek at both the speakers and their topics in the months ahead. To make it easier for attendees to get to the sessions that interest them, the programs have been organized in interest area tracks that minimize direct competition between topics and speakers. A host of vendors will be on hand in the exhibit hall all three days of the conference. In addition to daily programs and keynote speakers, we are planning special author presentations at breakfasts and lunches. And we’re looking into “desserts” that make the most of the New Haven venue, including optional theater, art, and university outings. As an added incentive, we’ll provide discounted room rates for those who choose to stay overnight at the Omni. Be sure to watch this newsletter and for the most recent updates to our plans throughout the winter months. Registration for the conference, special Kathy Leeds lunches, “dessert” destinais executive director tions, and rooms will be taken of the Wilton Library. online and by mail, starting in February. This promises to be a challenging year for those of us who provide community services. The 2009 CLA Conference will be just the ticket to refresh, renew and reenergize us all. Mark your calendar now and join us in New Haven at the end of April. Your CLA membership is the appetizer for our Menu for Success in the form of significant discounts on registration. Not a member? Drop me a note at and I’ll send you a form!

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season and always tastes best when shared with friends. Paging through his book, it’s tough not to think, “These recipes look easy. I want to try them all of.” Betty Anne Reiter The Murder of Bindy MacKenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty. Perfect student Bindy has a 4.0 GPA but no friends. Assigned to a personal development class with people she despises, Bindy is in despair. Can people you loathe save you from yourself...and from someone who is trying to kill you? Touching, funny and even scary, this is a great book for any teen with a sense of humor and in need of a little confidence. Michele Jacobson A Load of Old Bones and Bones in the Belfrey by Suzette A. Hall. Set in Surrey in the 1950s, these delightful mysteries feature the antics of the Rev. Francis Oughterard, vicar of Molehill, his rambunctious dog and cynical cat. The vicar entangles himself in bizarre circumstances, murder and stolen art, while weaving a web of deception as he dodges villagers, the local constables and a bishop who favors his cocktails. Bumbling along, he often needs rescuing by his pets. These very amusing stories, with their cast of eccentric characters, will make you laugh out loud and eager for a sequel. Jan Day Minders of Make Believe by Leonard Marcus. I didn't expect to be enthralled with Marcus's latest, but it quickly became a page-turner. He delves into the parallels between the history of the United States and the children's book publishing field. From the controversy over Stuart Little, to the place of comics, to the Stratemeyer Syndicate, it's all there, and so were we. Connecticut librarians can be particularly proud of Hartford Public Library’s Caroline Hewins, who in 1878 at the age of 32, became head of the library and established one of the world’s first circulating collections of children’s books. Maxine Bleiweis The Haiku Anthology edited by Cor Van Den Heuvel is a perennial favorite and a book that I love to share. Haiku is a unique form of poetry in that it combines form, content, and language in a meaningful, yet compact form. This anthology, in its third edition, is a collection of some of the most graceful and beautiful haiku poetry written. The attraction for me is the intensity of haiku, so visual yet only three short lines, as in this example by Gary Hotham: “distant thunder/the dog’s toenails click/ against the linoleum.” Maribeth Breen

marathoner Karnazes enjoys “the hypnotic cycle of my breathing, the rhythmic contractions or my muscles, and the splendor of the day.” He found the running much easier than endless press interviews and bus rides. Endurance athletes and multi-sport enthusiasts will appreciate his fuel and gear tips and be invigorated by his enthusiasm. Douglas Lord Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin. Mortensen got lost climbing down Pakistan’s K2 in 1993. When the impoverished people of Karakoram rescued him, he learned of the plight of their school: there wasn’t one. Classes were held outside, year round. He promised the town to come back and build a school. He did, and it led to his crusade to build more schools. This book is a testament to how one man can help change the world and promote peace. Kimberly Farrington Give one book? Impossible! I am a librarian and a bibliophile. For preschoolers, try the fuzzy feline escapades of Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton. For beginning readers, you can't go wrong with Mo Willems's “Elephant and Piggie” books. Elementary age children will enjoy Inkdeath, the final book in Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy (soon to be on the big screen). And for teens enraptured with Twilight and needing further fodder, why not recommend Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare? Caitlin Augusta Walking the Gobi: A 1600-mile trek across a desert of hope and despair by Helen Thayer. The author, 63, and her husband Bill, 74, and two camels spent 80 days trekking across the Gobi Desert in the company of snakes, scorpions and wolves. They experienced blinding dust storms, searched for water in 120-degree heat and, at one point, were arrested and questioned by border guards. Along the way, they stayed with nomadic families, and shared their food and culture. Despite the trials and tribulations of their journey, quitting was never an option. Barbara Bailey Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Not a book about a serial killer, but instead a hilarious commentary on how even small punctuation problems can lead to serious miscommunication. Would you guess, for example, that “eats, shoots & leaves” is an innocent description of a panda’s diet? Loaded with ridiculous examples that will make you laugh out loud, this title has spawned multi-media and children’s versions so the whole family can enjoy it in a number of formats. William Uricchio A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes by David Tanis. Head chef at Chez Panisse, Tanis offers recipes featuring his philosophy that good food can be prepared simply when it is in
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Fifty and Counting
Celebrating CL’s Anniversary with a New Look
by David Kapp and William Uricchio

Connecticut librarians competed in a game of Trivial Pursuit against colleagues from other New England states at NELA’s annual conference in October. Unfortunately, the vendors’ team came out ahead. Mary Etter and Mary Engels organized the competition, and David Boudinot served as the game piece who was moved around a giant game board. The team (left to right): Front row—Kris Jacobi, Sue Smayda, David Boudinot; Back row—Carol Reichardt, Karen Patterson, Dani Mc Grath, Sharon Brettschneider, Louise Champagne, Betsy Bray and Dawn Higginson

The CT Coalition for Human Rights, of which CLA is a member, is sponsoring a conference at Quinnipiac University on December 6 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. U.S. Representative John Conyers will give the keynote address. Details and registration information are available at Libraries are encouraged to mount displays in December about the Declaration, the United Nations and Eleanor Roosevelt’s role in this achievement.

Kids got their pumpkins ready for Halloween at Stamford’s Ferguson Library. Photo: Linda Avellar

ome of you may have been around long enough to know that the Connecticut Library Association’s newsletter has more than 50 years of mileage on it. There were a number of early versions; people sometimes just have to start and restart things before they decide how best to move forward. The modern string of titles began in January 1952. That first Connecticut Libraries, produced in conjunction with the CT State Department of Education’s Bureau of Libraries, was printed on cheap, letter-sized paper and was stuffed with news items and give-aways, not unlike today’s ConnTech listserv. It didn’t last long. The CLA News Bulletin succeeded it in August 1954, with new voluming. The Bulletin looked pretty much the same as its predecessor—printed letterhead and typewriter font—and contained much the same content. Just a month later, CLA News and Views premiered with, you guessed it, a voluming restart. Following a break of a few months at the end of its run, News and Views gave way to the first issue of the current Connecticut Libraries in January 1959, beginning once more with Volume 1. This issue completes 50 uninterrupted years of that publication. Newsletter production in those pre-computer days was laborious; a lot of time expired between the submission of content and the arrival of CL in members’ snail-mail boxes. To remedy this, the association created the CLA Memo as a supplement to CL. Produced by staff at member libraries, Memo was produced cheaply and quickly (and looked it), delivering current news and information at the speed of mimeograph instead of printing press. It flourished in the late 60s and early 70s. Some things do get better with age. As the years have rolled by, Connecticut Libraries has evolved from a library version of the town crier into a publication with substantive content. Readers can now expect to find current Association news; thoughtful articles from members of the Connecticut library community; regular features on the state’s library heritage, distinguished colleagues, and important collections; book reviews and tips on the latest library technology; and lively opinion columns. CL’s production values have also improved as it has matured. Paper quality has ranged from something that appeared to be recycled newspaper to stylish matte finishes to today’s coated white stock, perfect for crisp text and sharp photographs. Color has added a new dimension and liveliness to the page. And we are marking our 50th anniversary with a fresh new look for the newsletter, created by graphic designer Jennifer Weinland. Ultimately, of course, the success of Connecticut Libraries depends entirely on the people who help to create it—CLA members who send in articles, news and images, and especially, CL’s Editorial Team: Carol Abatelli, Julian Aiken, Maxine Bleiweis, Steve Cauffman, Sharon Clapp Michele Jacobson, Bruce Johnston, Vince Juliano, David Kapp, Kirsten Kilbourn, Kathy Leeds, Douglas Lord, Pam Najarian, Tom Newman, Kate Sheehan, and William Uricchio. And we would be remiss if we failed to mention Liz Kohanski at Association Resources, who has laid out each issue for a decade or so. It’s a great pleasure to put Connecticut Libraries together month after month. We hope you like the new look and continue to find the newsletter both valuable and enjoyable to read. William Uricchio directs the Trecker Library on UConn’s Greater Hartford Campus and is a long-time contributor to Connecticut Libraries. David Kapp has been the editor of Connecticut Libraries for an even longer time.


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murals, crumbling art deco facades, and old neon signs artfully document the remnants of mid-20th century Main Streets across America. Carol Abatelli Free For All: Oddballs, geeks, and gangstas in the public library by Don Borchert. A friend gave this book to me, and I can’t do better than the Publishers Weekly review: “Borchert shares witty dispatches from the suburban L.A. library system in this charming tell all…. From patrons who rack up hundreds of dollars in fines to missing pet rats and fist-fighting mothers, Borchert has seen it all, and his account gives a human interest spin to this undervalued profession.” Anyone in the library discipline, upon reading this book, might say, “I could have written this,” or at least, “I’m sure Borchert was writing about my library." Stan Siegel Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25 and the search for the American dream by Adam Shepard. An inspiring story about one young man’s quest to find out if the American Dream can become a reality. After graduation from college, Shepard sets out with $25 to find his place in the world. He begins by living among the homeless, keeping a journal of his failures and his successes. Adam Shepard is an incredibly stirring speaker, especially to high school and college students. Cynde Lahey Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. Marr introduces the reader to the dark side of the fairy world. Aislinn, a teen, struggles with her true fate as a fairy when she would rather continue her human life. She can see fairies but has been taught not to interact with them because only evil can come from a relationship with a fairy. Aislinn knows she has a special connection with fairies, and the reader discovers why the fairies are determined to make her their own. Will she give in to their temptations? Does she have a choice? Marr keeps the reader on the edge of his seat with this exciting and fun YA fantasy. Jennifer Vernali Calder in Connecticut by Eric M. Zafran. Produced in conjunction with a Wadsworth Atheneum exhibit in 2000, this book documents the years 1933 onward that Calder spent in his Roxbury, Connecticut home. Lavishly illustrated, with text from the show's curator, the volume contains an introductory essay by Calder's grandson and an afterword from his neighbor, Arthur Miller. In addition to numerous color photos of the mobiles, jewelry, and toys Calder created, I particularly appreciate the intimate black and white photos of Calder in
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Run by Ann Patchett. I was predisposed to like this novel, having adored her Bel Canto years ago, but Patchett exceeded my high expectations. What a beautiful tale of the meaning of family, the power of politics, and the beauty and strength of love and the human spirit. Patchett's message is delivered in elegant prose with not a word or sentiment wasted. The carefully scripted plot takes only 24 hours to unfold, but it will hold you in its grasp for years. I heartily recommend the book as an individual, book group, or community-wide read. Kathy Leeds Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The rise and fall of Phil Spector by Mick Brown. A producer/songwriter who made his mark in the 1960s, Spector developed a signature recording style known as the “Wall of Sound.” He worked with such notable groups as the Ronettes, the Beatles, and the Ramones. His early story is a well-researched look into the world of popular music, but also a disturbing psychological look at a troubled man. His later story includes the death of actress Lana Clarkson, for which he was arrested in 2003. A fascinating biography for those interested in music, the 1960s, or unusual people. Sandy Brooks Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is about everything and nothing. It takes place during the course of one day, fleshed out by flashbacks that are poignant and illuminating. Maggie and Ira Moran, a middle class couple trying to make ends meet, lead an unexceptional life. Son Jesse, a high school dropout who dreamed of becoming a rock star, is estranged from his ex-wife and young daughter. Their daughter Daisy can’t wait to leave for college. Tyler infuses her story with insight and humor; you’ll laugh out loud. A wonderful book about marriage, family, love and hope, and the ties that bind. Linda Avellar The Odyssey by Homer. Of course it helps to have read The Iliad first, two books, one saga. Robert Fitzgerald’s translation worked well for me because of Ralph Hexter’s commentary. Reading Homer can be a defining moment in one's life as a reader. It's the ultimate in so many ways, the yardstick for everything else and a very moving story. While it is mainly about men, there are many important female characters as well. Homer has definite notions about right and wrong-enduring truths that I found uplifting and in harmony with my Catholic worldview. Dana Lucisano Vanishing America: The end of Main Street Photography by Michael Eastman, introduction by Douglas Brinkley and text by William H. Glass. Most American Main Streets are no longer the economic hubs of their communities, and many are in decay. Eastman’s elegant color images of peeling
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Deborah Fleet
by Carol Abatelli

hen Deborah Fleet an, copying audioapplied for work at the tapes of sermons, Voluntown Public Library in performing inventoApril 2000, she was disheartries, and teaching ened when the only position herself book repair. offered was that of library She laughingly page. She had just relocated recalls that when to Connecticut from someone donated a Pennsylvania with her huscomputer to the band, Ron, and their two library in the late sons. In Pennsylvania, she 1980s, no one quite had been responsible for cirknew what to do culation, ordering, and with it! assisting with bookkeeping Deborah Fleet brings an unusually creThe Fleets moved and cataloging at the Moon ative background in textile and fiber arts, back to New England Township Public Library. 1991, where painting, Biblical studies, writing and in Despite her disappoint- home schooling to her position as director Deborah became ment, Deborah accepted the of the Voluntown Public Library. involved with her art Voluntown position. This again and took classturned out to be the right move. When es at the Rhode Island School of Design. the librarian left the following In 1993, she gave birth to the couple’s September, Deborah succeeded her second son, Daniel. In 1996, the couple and, in 2002, she became director. To her relocated to Pennsylvania so Ron could new position Deborah brought four work full-time as a minister, and years of library experience, and also an Deborah went to work at the Moon unusually creative background in textile Township Library. Deborah was home and fiber arts, painting, Biblical studies, schooling her sons and she became the writing and home education. library’s liaison to patrons who were Growing up in New Bedford, home schoolers, working with the referMassachusetts, Deborah learned knit- ence librarian to create a home schoolting, crochet, embroidery, and sewing ing bibliography. In February 2000, Ron from both her Portuguese and French accepted a position as minister of the Canadian grandmothers, which led to Sterling Church of Christ, and the Fleet her life-long interest in textiles and family moved once more—this time to crafts. In 1977, she graduated magna Voluntown, Connecticut. cum laude from UMass/Dartmouth with After becoming librarian at a BFA in textile design. Following gradu- Voluntown, Deborah made another lifeation, Deborah received several free- changing decision—she decided to purlance commissions and established her sue her MLS at the University of Rhode own craft business. Island. Working a 40-hour week at the In 1985 Deborah, now married, library with only two assistants to help moved to Louisiana so Ron could study with nights and Saturdays made this for the ministry. She took classes at the quite a challenge, but she began at URI same school and at another institution, in September 2003 and graduated in earning her MA in Bible in 1987. They December 2005. At URI, Deborah conremained in the South for several years centrated her coursework on public and adopted a son, Michael. Deborah library service and children’s and YA literhad worked in the school’s library while ature. She also took an internship in she was a student and continued to archives and special collections with Joy work there as an assistant to the librari Emory. The project she worked on involved digitizing materials from a


commercial pattern archive, tying librarianship into her life-long interest in textile arts. As director, Deborah has worked to professionalize Voluntown’s library’s services while keeping a finger on the pulse of the community. She loves being able to provide patrons with the materials they want and is committed to making service responsive to their needs. For example, she found that parents don’t actually want story time every week; they prefer every other week, and they don’t want story times too close to Christmas. She instituted a policy of allowing renewals by phone and has offered popular classes in selling on eBay and basic computer skills. Under Deborah’s leadership, circulation has more than tripled, which she attributes in part to her having signed up for CLC’s DVD swap. When Deborah began at Voluntown, the library had two old computers that accessed the Internet via slow dial-up connection. Today the library has four computers offering broadband Internet service. Deborah received Gates Foundation Technology Liaison certification in 2005 and completed the 75-hour technology certificate offered through the Connecticut State Library last year. She uses her technical expertise to maintain library computers and to assist patrons. Naturally, Deborah offers craft courses at the library. Noticing that her teen volunteers would help conduct craft programs for young children but would not get involved in the crafts themselves, she initiated craft programs just for teens, Carol Abatelli which have been a great is head of collections success. The library also & electronic services at hosts a writers group about ECSU’s Smith Library. once a month, as well as a young writers group, led by a library page who is enrolled in the Three Rivers Community College LTA program. Luckily for her patrons, the Fleets appear to have settled in Connecticut. Ron has retired from full-time ministry, and Deborah has set up her loom with plans to do some serious weaving. Somehow, in addition to everything else she does, she still finds time to paint, write, and crochet!

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CT People

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sister. He describes his and his two dogs' wo rk wit h hospice. Guaranteed to make you believe that dogs are spiritual beings and to inspire good will. Claudia E. Cayne The Perfect Scent: A year inside the perfume industry in Paris and New York by Chandler Burr. The perfume industry is at the intersection of fashion, science and business. With access to all stages of development and production, Burr takes the reader through the introduction of two new perfumes, contrasting the French and American approaches to the process. Burr’s writing is fresh and engaging, and his discussion of the technical aspects of production is easy to understand. I was especially drawn to the chapter on marketing and in-store promotions. I’ll never walk through Macy’s the same way again. Maura Deedy Hiding Hand: Nova sapiens book II by Lee Denning. The Connecticut father-daughter author team continues its series on the next step in human evolution. Her superior abilities masked by youth, Eva is the first “Nova sapiens.” Teenage brother Joshua protects her with his computer-like mind and advanced combat skills. Governments seek to control the incipient Novas, as a false prophet plots to turn Joshua into his tool for world conquest. Joshua finds time for romance with beautiful Elia, who understands humanity's future better than anyone. Vince Juliano Harvest Moon by Lydia Main. East Lyme Public Library's Lydia Main has written a collection of 355 haiku poems, each one a “snapshot in time.” She explains that haiku awakened in her the ability to see clearly a single moment and describe it succinctly in 17 syllables. -It is her hope that her readers “will delight to see with your inward eye the thoughts, feelings and sights that I saw.” Vince Juliano Pompeii by Robert Harris In this well crafted page-turner, the fictional protagonist finds himself caught up in an unfolding historic event—expertly described—along with a fascinating cast of historical and fictional characters. You know from the title that Vesuvius will erupt and the lava will swallow up the city, but what of the characters you have come to know so well? Ken Wiggin The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the vanishing backstreets of a city transformed by Michael Meyer. Journalist Michael Meyer documents life in Beijing’s oldest neighborhood, the hutong, an ancient maze of back lanes that has been home
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his workshop, with his wife Louisa in their home, and with family and friends. Steve Cauffman In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Pollan explains his passion for “real food” in this highly engaging manifesto. Exploring the slow food movement, the impact of the processed food industry, and America’s disconnect with what we put in our mouth, Pollan relates abstract and complicated ideas to the items we place on our plates. Highly enjoyable and empowering for anyone who eats. Jaime Hammond Cottage for Sale…Must Be Moved: A woman moves a house to make a home by Kate Whouley. If you’d lived and worked happily in a tiny, threeroom house on Cape Cod for over 10 years and became aware of an even tinier cottage available for just $3,000, would you go for it? Kate Whouley did, and documented the year that followed: family reactions, relationships with trades people, local hoops to be jumped, the engineering challenges of moving a building 28 miles and attaching it to a house whose site never included a plan for “adding on.” A wonderful memoir of the risks involved in reading those quirky classifieds in weekly shoppers. Mary Etter Warren Buffet and the Interpretation of Financial Statements: The search for the company with a durable competitive advantage by Mary Buffet & David Clark. Do you want to invest like Warren Buffet does? You can’t just copy what Buffet does; you don’t have that kind of cash. But you can read this book to find a company with a durable competitive advantage, and you’ll learn when to buy and sell by reading the company’s financial statements. It’s a small book, useful to anyone who wants to know how to invest. Xiaomei Gong Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar. Want to get happy? Reportedly, 20% of all Harvard graduates have attended lectures in positive psychology taught by this author. Based on his popular lecture series, the book combines scientific research, common sense and broad themes of self-help. He presents happiness in thought provoking definitions and in applied contexts of work and personal life. The last section of seven meditations he dedicates to creating a “society-wide abundance of happiness,” attainable through focusing on happiness as the “ultimate currency.” Gayle Bogel Izzy & Lenore: Two dogs, an unexpected journey, and me by Jon Katz. For ten years, Katz has chronicled his doginspired journey from suburban writer to farmer and now to photographer and hospice volunteer. In this book, Katz confronts his inner demons, past wounds and reconciles with his
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to Beijing’s working class for centuries. He shares the stories of residents who faced dislocation and distintegration of their way of life as the city prepared for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Meyer lived in the community and bonded with the residents; his is a fascinating story of people and place. Cynde Bloom Lahey 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die by Tom Moon. A great gift for the music lover on your list or for people who consistently listen to one genre of music but want to branch out. The author lists the best recordings (in his opinion) that everyone should hear and appreciate to have a well-rounded knowledge of modern and classical music. The lists are alphabetical, not by genre, to encourage readers to discover artists other than those they usually choose. Jacqueline Toce On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad. Set in Stony Creek and New Haven, here is a riveting foray into two disparate worlds—those of stone quarries and Yale University—as seen through the eyes of a remarkably delineated young female protagonist. A finalist for the 2008 Connecticut Book Award for Fiction, this first novel melds careful research into the social currents of 1930s America with a fascinating plot and meaningful subplots. A memorable read for mature YAs and up, and a book for giving …and keeping. Kat Lyons City of Refuge by Tom Piazza. This may one of the best works of modern fiction I’ve ever come across. Stunning language about two families coping with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Maxine Bleiweis The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci. Jane's parents move from her beloved city into the suburbs following a 9/11-like attack. Culture and art-loving Jane thinks her life is over. But forming a club with three other Janes gives her a new sense of purpose and resolve. Can a plain town be transformed by "art attacks"? Can friendship save a soul? Give this graphic to your favorite artist teen to show you support their efforts. Michele Jacobson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson has it all—an instantly intriguing mystery, engaging characters, and a bit of a love story, all staged
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between Stockholm and an island off the northern coast of Sweden. Disaffected, but brilliant, young hipster meets disaffected, but morally upright, middle aged journalist; they team up to solve a 30-year-old mystery about the disappearance of a Swedish industrialist’s teenage niece. It isn’t over until an even more grisly crime is discovered, and justice prevails in the outing of a corrupt Swedish international financier. Chris Bradley Breath by Tim Winton. Winton combines exquisite prose with a great sense of humanity, making me want to slow my page-turning pace to savor characters, setting and message. The LA Times called him “a one-man band of genius,” and Breath is a perfect example of the music he can make—a coming-of-age story about two boys growing up on the wild western coast of Australia. I recommend it as Winton’s best novel to date! Kathy Leeds The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (Lisa Brown, Illustrator) and The Lump of Coal (Brett Helquist, Illustrator) by Lemony Snicket. Tired of the relentless cheer of the holiday season? Trust Lemony Snicket to beam the candle glow in new directions. His Latke has much in common with the Gingerbread Boy, but laced with exasperation at being mistaken as some off-kilter part of that other, bigger holiday. The Lump of Coal has career ambitions that do not include punishing naughty children, and that do need a miracle to come true. Both characters have spunk and a streak of irascibility. Mary Etter Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Rosenthal has taken her average, happy childhood and maturity and alphabetized and encyclopediacized it and made it funny and fascinating. You don't read th is boo k; you dip into it. And then read it to your friends. A gift for memoir readers who believe their lives don't measure up. "A" is for Amy and Average and...ALL of us. Michele Jacobson
Caroline Ward, youth services coordinator for Stamford's Ferguson Library, is one of three distinguished panelists selected to choose the NYT Book Review's "Ten Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2008." The list has been published every year since 1952. Ward is past president of the Association for Library Service to Children and was awarded that organization’s 2007 Distinguished Service Award. She is a reviewer for School Library Journal and a past chair of the John Newbery Committee. She also chaired the first Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader Award Committee in 2005, and was the recipient of ALA's 2005 Grolier Award for Outstanding Service to Youth.



CT Treasures

ith America’s long history of maritime commerce and adventure, it is not surprising that a research center dedicated to the nation’s relationship with the sea and inland waterways would be of interest to researchers around the world. And it’s not surprising to find this research center at Mystic Seaport, the nation’s premier maritime museum. What is surprising, however, is to find a research center where everything maritime, from manuscripts to fine art, exists together in one location. The Mystic Seaport Collections Research Center is not just a library, or an archive, or a museum, it is all of these things. Housed in new quarters in a renovated velvet mill, the center boasts a variety of maritime collections, many available for research and study in the center’s reading room. Visitors include students, researchers, genealogists, hobbyists, historians, boat owners, ship builders, and many others. Those who cannot visit in person can find extensive


Mystic Seaport Collections Research Center
by Tom Newman

“Crossing the Line” from A Picturesque Voyage to India: by the Way of China, by Thomas Daniell, 1810. Photo courtesy of Mystic Seaport

resources online, including catalogs of books, manuscripts and art. Online databases list crews, seaman’s protection certificates (similar to a passport for sailors), and yacht registers. In addition to catalogs and databases, the staff has digitized about a half million items from the more popular collections, and this work continues daily. No wonder, then, that the center attracts so much interest from researchers all around the globe. The Manuscript Collection consists
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of “ships’ logs and journals, ledgers, diaries and documents from the whaling, fishing and shipping industries, and various business and personal papers of yacht clubs and naval architects.” Manuscripts, many dating to the 18th century, provide researchers with valuable insights into the experiences of individual men and women at sea. Ships’ logs give a more official glimpse of the day-to-day life of sailors. Of interest to genealogists, historians, and model builders, ships’ registers include information on owners, captains, and the seaworthiness of thousands of ships on the seas in 19th century America. Many ships’ logs and journals list the race, gender, and ethnicity of sailors, and in recent years, scholars working with these primary research materials have sought information about the ethnicity of sailors, the experience of women at sea, and the early labor activity of sailors. The Book and Periodical Collection specializes in American maritime history. The G.W. Blunt White Library, with approximately 75,000 volumes, includes 3,000 rare books and 700 periodical titles. Subjects include “ships (passenger ships, merchant marine, ocean liners, Coast Guard, naval and pleasure), immigration, yachting, voyages, women at sea, crew lists, whaling, exploration, and discovery.” Of particular note is a full run of The Rudder, a famous yachting and boating magazine that was first published in the late 19th century. The Ships’ Plans Collection holds more than 125,000 sheets of plans for ships traveling by wind, steam and gas. There are plans of both existing and historic ships and boats, merchant vessels and private yachts, rowboats and naval vessels. Of particular interest to boat and ship builders and to hobbyists are the plans, correspondence, and design drawings of L. Francis Herreshoff, a famous ship designer and author. The collection is invaluable for the study of shipbuilding architecture, the shipbuilding industry,

and the sheer artistry of creating ships and boats. In addition to its printed and written materials, the center holds extensive non-print collections. Images in the Photography Collection record “more than 150 years of commercial and recreational activity and onboard, shipyard, and waterfront scenes; portraits of shipmasters and other mariners; and Inuit life and culTom Newman ture.” state data coordinator The Film and for the Connecticut Video Collection State Library “covers a broad range of subjects, including storm scenes, boating, ocean passages, yachting, various ports and cities, boat building and restoration, lighthouses, whaling, rowing, Gold Cup races, sail making, ice boating and fishing.” The Sound Archives consists of oral histories and recorded lectures and events on maritime activity. As noted above, the center is much more than a library or archives; it also houses an Art and Objects Collection, which “includes American marine art, ephemera, nautical instruments, ship models, scrimshaw, industrial fishing gear, furniture, whaling implements and myriad tools from the various maritime trades.” All these collections, from nautical folk art to the logbooks of the Charles W. Morgan are found under one roof and are made available for study by the staff of the Collections Research Center, who provide research and copy services. Before visiting Mystic, researchers are advised to look first at the extensive resources available online at Digitized materials can also be found at Connecticut History Online, The Mystic Seaport Collections Research Center is located at 75 Greenmanville Avenue in Mystic, a stone’s throw from the Seaport Museum.



A Winning Team
Silas Bronson’s Children’s Services Division
he Children’s Services Division of Waterbury’s Silas Bronson Library, winners of the Faith Hektoen Award for their “Outstanding and Creative Program” at the 2008 CLA Conference, have garnered still more honors. In September, for the second year in a row, they took first place in Quassy Amusement Park’s 2008 “Ready to Read This Summer” program.” And in October, the Waterbury Neighborhood Council, at its annual dinner, presented this award-winning team with the City Service Government Award. Official citations from the Office of the Mayor and from the Connecticut General Assembly accompanied the award. A few statistics illustrate the success of the library’s program. The 2008 Summer Reading Club saw its fifth consecutive record-breaking year for enrollment (1,536 children from infants through eighth graders), estimated hours of reading (15,500), books circulated (24,824), and donations received for incentives and prizes ($90,000+). Paul Bisnette, head of children’s services, acknowledges the active involvement of all children’s division staff plus the support of other library divisions and the local schools in contributing to the spectacular rise in the literacy and numeracy participation of Waterbury youth in the pro- The award-winning Silas Bronson Children’s Division includes (l. to r.) Paul Bisnette, Irene Neville, Margaret Keating, Juleigh Paradise, Clivel Charlton. gram.

T President Kathy Leeds VP/President-Elect Randi Ashton-Pritting Past President Carl Antonucci Secretary/Treasurer Allison Wang Region 1 Representative Tracy Ralston Region 2 Representative Hal Bright Region 3 Representative Siobhan Grogan Region 4 Representative Cynde Bloom Lahey Region 5 Representative Siobhan Grogan Region 6 Representative Theresa Conley ALA Chapter Councilor Jay Johnston NELA Representative Mary Etter Subscriptions $45 in North America; $50 elsewhere. ISSN 0010-616X Connecticut Libraries is published 11 times each year. Editor David Kapp 860-647-0697 Editorial Committee Tom Newman, Chair, Carol Abatelli, Syvia

Stratford Library dedicated their new Carol Pieper Memorial Book Nook in the children's room on November 9. Carol Pieper was a former librarian and Stamford resident who died in 2003. Her son, Dr. Louis B. Pieper, Jr., (shown here cutting the ribbon to the new book nook) made a significant donation in his mother’s memory for the design and construction of the book nook and to sponsor related programs. In making his contribution Dr. Pieper said, “My mother instilled in all her children — both her own and all who came under her tutelage — that books and the written word will open your life and the world to its greatest potential.”

Boyd, Sharon Clapp, Chris Bradley, Bruce Johnston, Vince Juliano, David Kapp, Kirsten Kilbourn, Pam Najarian, Kate Sheehan Webmaster Kirsten Kilbourn CLA Office Pam Najarian, Coordinator 860-346-2444 (v) 860-344-9199 (f) PO Box 75, Middletown, CT 06457

Enter your best examples of print and electronic PR created during the 2008 calendar year in the CLA Publicity Awards Contest. Entries are due by January 15, 2009. See for details.
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Connecticut Libraries
December 2008 -- Volume 50, Number 11

Our annual list of book recommendations starts on page 1. Julian Aiken documents the significance of toast, page 2. Kathy Leeds shares the “menu” for CLA’s annual conference, page 3. CL celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new look, page 5. Carol Abatelli interviews Voluntown’s Deborah Fleet, page 7. Tom Newman describes the treasures of the Mystic Center Collections Research Library, page 9.

BCALA-CT Celebrates Tenth Anniversary
anuary 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association–Connecticut Affiliate (BCALA-CT). We want to thank the many people who have supported our mission and goals, and we look forward to even more success to come. Programs and events are being planned for 2009; please visit for more information. BCALA-CT will once again participate in the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Yale’s Peabody Museum, on January 19. We are seeking donations of new or gently used children’s and fiction books by or about African-Americans to distribute at this event. If you wish to help, please contact Debra Williams at Donations are needed by January 12. We are also pleased to announce a new scholarship in honor of Dr. Spencer G. Shaw, a retired public librarian, educator and worldrenowned expert on storytelling and library services for children. In 1941, Dr. Shaw became the first African American librarian ever to be hired by the Hartford Public Library. The $500 Shaw Scholarship will be awarded at the CLA Annual Conference in April to an African-American resident of Connecticut who has been accepted in an ALA-accredited MLIS degree program. Deadline for submissions is March 30. Visit our website for more information. Phara Bayonne is president of BCALA-CT.

Join Me @ CLA


by Phara Bayonne

Why am I a member of CLA? Because the Connecticut Library Association provides resources, educational opportunities, and workshops on issues that are especially relevant to librarians in Connecticut. Connecting with my colleagues to share ideas about library programming makes my membership in CLA totally worth it. David Boudinot Adult Programming Librarian Henry Carter Hull Library, Clinton

Dr. Spencer G. Shaw


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