In The Library by Charles Simic

In The Library

for Octavio


There’s a book called

A Dictionary of Angels.

No one had opened it in fifty years,

I know, because when I did,

The covers creaked, the pages

Crumbled.  There I discovered


The angels were once as plentiful

As species of flies.

The sky at dusk

Used to be thick with them.

You had to wave both arms

Just to keep them away.


Now the sun is shining

through the tall windows.

The library is a quiet place.

Angels and gods huddled

In dark unopened books.

The great secret lies

On some shelf Miss Jones

Passes every day on her rounds.


She’s very tall, so she keeps

Her head tipped as if listening.

The books are whispering.

I hear nothing, but she does.


More about Charles Simic

A photo of Mr. Simic. The only correction I have to the poem is that he should have called the librarian Ms. Jones!

Reserve the book here

posted by Louise

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — June 7, 2015

Here are the best seller lists for the week of June 7, 2015.

Chinese New Year, Snakes, and Hearts

Chinese New Year begins on Sunday February 10th in 2013. It is a 15 day celebration to mark the beginning of the spring season. Check out our books about Chinese New Year. 2013 is the year of the snake.

Generally, people don’t think of snakes as friendly sorts of creatures. If you wanted to give a friend a gift, a snake probably wouldn’t be your first choice. If you do like snakes, we have books about them at j597.96.

If you wanted to celebrate your friendship with someone on Valentine’s Day you might give them a friendship bracelet. You could also read a book about Valentine’s Day together.

On February 9th our drop-in craft from 10:30am-11:15am will feature snake crafts and a heart jewelery craft.

posted by Lisa

A Healthy New Year

Visit any gym in January and you will see that many adults have made getting healthier their New Year’s resolution. Let the Children’s Room help you get your young family members on the right path to a lifetime of healthy habits. You can find books for those just learning about health and nutrition in our E Nonfiction section. Located in Row 12 under our display area, this section is separated into different categories appealing to the very young. The books about food, nutrition, and the body have a brown star. The books about sports have a white star.  There is also a Health section in our Parent/Teacher Corner.

Older readers will find books on health and the body in Row 3 at j612 and books about sports and activities in Row 5 at j796. You can also select from our list of recommended children’s books on food and nutrition.

On Saturday, January 19th our drop-in craft session from 10:30am-11:15am will feature two healthy foods crafts.

posted by Lisa

Winter Creations

When I recently babysat my nephew and niece there was just enough snow for them to make snow angels.  They were so proud of what they made.  One of the reasons I enjoy doing the drop-in crafts is because the kids often have a similar reaction with their artistic creations.

In the winter, the weather often makes kids need to make things inside.  Several areas of the nonfiction section provide instruction for activities to meets kids’ various interests.  At j507 you can find books on science projects.  Children who like to cook can find simple books on that topic at j641.5.   The books on Lego creations are at j688.72.   We also have a bunch of books about arts and crafts in the j740s.

Our next drop-in craft will take place on Saturday, December 15th from 10:30am-11:15am.  We will be making various winter crafts.  Click here to find books about winter.

posted by Lisa

Waltham City Directories Online

Great news! We now have the Waltham City Directories available online. They are in Internet Archive, a non-profit digitizing and archiving venture. Check out
The collection currently includes 1925-1990 but will have earlier volumes added eventually. It also includes most suburban directories covering Wayland, Weston, Lincoln and Cochituate from 1906-1926.

This is actually just the first stage of the library’s involvement in Digital Commonwealth, a cooperative effort to digitize and make readily available collections from Massachusetts libraries of all types. Over time we will also be contributing historic Waltham maps, high school yearbooks, voter listings and other items. Stay tuned!

posted by Jan

Turkey Talk

Do you whether it is a male or female turkey that makes the noise “gobble” (hint: it’s not both…the other says “cluck”)?  Did you know that wild turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour?  Did you know that turkeys have about 3500 feathers?  Test your turkey knowledge and find out more fun facts here.

If you are interested in learning more turkeys you can find books about them at the call number j598.6.  There is also now a new database at the library to look up animals.  Among the databases the library provides that are suitable for children is the Marshall Cavendish International Wildlife database.  This trustworthy source provides information on many animals.  One nice feature of this database is the option to change the language in which the information is provided.  In addition to allowing you to view information in a language that is most familiar to you, this option also lets you switch back and forth to practice a new language.  Waltham residents can access this database from home using their library card barcode.

If you want to gobble up more turkey fun join us in the storytime room during our drop-in craft from 10:30am-11:15am on Saturday, November 17th.  We will be making turkey headbands.

Posted by Lisa

Election 2012! Don’t Forget to Vote November 6.

Unless you have been completely avoiding television, radio, the Internet, or interactions with any other living human being, you are probably very aware that there is a Presidential election on November 6. Here is some (non-partisan) information that will help you tackle this election, as well as some more lighthearted stuff to help you laugh throughout the election season.

Valuable Information: Where Do I Vote; Who and What are on My Ballot and other Key Information

  • If you would like to participate in the November 6 election, you must be registered by October 17. You can register to vote in person at the City of Waltham City Clerk’s office at City Hall on 610 Main St.
  • Can’t make it to city hall? You can also register to vote by mail. Pick up a mail in registration form in either English or Spanish at either the reference desk or in the community room at the library.
  • You can also download one from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website.
  • You can also download a form in Spanish or in Chinese. (Formulario de inscripción de votante por correo oficial de Massachusetts; 麻州官方 選民郵寄登記表)

  • Planning on going out of town during the election? Download the form to request an absentee ballot. You can also participate in absentee voting at the Waltham City Clerk’s office.
  • It’s not only candidates for President who are running. You will be voting for a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Representative, a state Senator, a state Representative, and other candidates for offices.
  • There are three ballot questions that voters must decide upon. Click upon the questions to get more information as well as arguments on either side.
    • Question 1 is concerned with the Availability of Motor Vehicle Repair Information.
    • Question 2 proposes allowing a “a physician licensed in Massachusetts to prescribe medication, at a terminally ill patient’s request, to end that patient’s life.”
    • Question 3 is concerned with eliminating, “state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients.”
  • Find out where you vote and view a copy of your ballot including names of all of the candidates in your area.
  • Want to try to get the background behind what the candidates are saying? Check out the non-partisan Tampa Bay Times PolitiFact‘s Truth-O-Meter.

Some Fun Stuff this Election Season

  • Re-live old campaign commercials dating back to 1952 with The Living Room Candidate
  • Check out this old Popeye cartoon, satirizing the political process, with Olive Oyl running for President. (Keep in mind that while a lot of it is still relevant, it’s also very dated.)
  • Follow Saturday Night Live’s complete election coverage with its “SNL Election Central” page.
  • Had enough of this election? Watch Saturday Night Live skits featuring former Presidents and Presidential candidates.
  • Relive this classic sketch featuring a spoof of debate between Vice President Al Gore and then Governor George W. Bush.

posted by Laura

Mother Goose on the Loose

Mother Goose on the Loose is an interactive program that uses stories, music, and movement.  This program is designed to use a fun experience to stimulate young children’s learning.  This fall the Children’s Room will be offering Mother Goose on the Loose as a drop-in program at 10:00am on Saturday mornings from October 13th to November 3rd.  The program is intended for children aged 18-36 months and their caretakers.

On October 13th, following Mother Goose on the Loose, our drop-in craft program from 10:30am-11:15am will feature a Humpty Dumpty craft suitable for children of various ages.

Posted by Lisa

Children’s Books Galore at Bargain Prices

If you’re interested in buying children’s books for $1 or less: Come on down!

There are many shelves of children’s books to choose from at the Friends of the Waltham Public Library‘s annual Book Sale. We’re open during library hours (closing 30 minutes early) until Wednesday, October 3.

Half Price Sale: Sunday, September 30, 1 – 4:30 pm
$5/box Sale: Monday – Wednesday, October 1 – 3, 9am – 8:30pm

See you there!

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