Blind Date With Books

During the month of February, the library hosted a blind date with a book display. There were personal ad type clues on each title to give a hint of who the “mystery date” might be. On Friday, February 28th at noon, we selected three lucky winners by picking out three Blind Date Evaluation forms at random. The first prize winner, Jessica Perry, got a gift certificate for $75 at Biagio.

We want to thank Biagio for giving us two additional 20 dollar gift cards at no additional charge. The manager told me that he loves to support the Waltham Public Library.

Circulation staff member Bela Kaul and Laura Bernheim, Head Reference Librarian, get ready to select the winners!

Circulation staff members Jeanette Curnyn and Bela Kaul select a winner!

Louise Goldstein, Head Circulation Librarian, calls the lucky winners.

Library Director Kate Tranquada offers first prize gift card to Jessica Perry

Head Reference Librarian Laura Bernheim gives Biagio gift card to prize winner Susan Walsh.

Library staff member Pat O’Leary presents Biagio gift card to second prize winner Athena Allen.
submitted by: Louise

Remembering Mary Gorman

The library staff sadly lost another colleague on Monday, February 17 when the former head of the Audio Visual Department, Mary Gorman, passed away. We all remember Mary as being exceedingly kind and extraordinarily funny and extend our deepest sympathies to her family.

“Mary Gorman worked with us and made us laugh for 30 years. Mary built the library’s cutting edge VHS collection back in the days when it was a controversial thing to do, and became our first Audio Visual Librarian. Lucky for us, after an early retirement, Mary has been a regular substitute in the Children’s Room. Bright, energetic, and funny as hell, she will be dearly missed.” Kate Tranquada, Library Director

“How we will miss Mary! Any time one was with her the day was brighter. She had such a wonderful sense of humor, such warmth and joy. She brought a smile to everyone’s face with her stories of everyday life.
I remember how the late John Kilderry ( long time library volunteer) enjoyed Mary and Sharyn (another library employee). He called them “Mary-Sharyn and Sharyn-Mary” as they both made his day with their funny experiences. We and the Waltham Public Library have lost a wonderful friend and co-worker.” Marjorie Hartman

“Mary was just ‘retiring’ as I was starting at the library so I didn’t get to know her before she was gone! When Mary came back as a sub I got to know her better. She greeted everyday with a smile, which made it a pleasure to work with her. There’s a saying: ‘Many hands make light work’. In Mary’s case, that smile did the trick! I’ll think of her often and try to keep up the ‘Smiling’ tradition she brought with her to WPL, every day!” Jeanette Curnyn

“I loved talking with Mary in the library staff room. She always had a nice word, and she never failed to make me laugh. Every time she greeted me, she would say, “Are you sure you’re old enough to work here? You look 12!” Later she would change that to, “Have you had your 13th birthday yet?” Once I was leaving work, shortly after applying some lipstick. Mary observed me leaving, and said, “You’re wearing makeup! And a huge grin! You have a date, don’t you?” Sheepishly, I admitted that, yes, I did. “Good! Because you’re adorable!” I couldn’t tell you how the date worked out, but I always loved that Mary considered me adorable. After all, it takes one to know one! Laura Bernheim

“Mary was one of the librarians when my family frequented the North branch library as a child. I don’t have distinct memories of her then, but I know she contributed to my becoming a librarian through providing reading adventures. My memories of her as an adult are both personal and professional. I enjoyed listening to her talk about her children and grandchildren who she loved dearly, but who were also the subject of some of her dry wit. I also appreciated her practical wisdom on issues such as leadership and collection development. This past year I was her “person” for a departmental birthday gift swap. She bought me festive hostess platters because she knew I like to bake cookies. Whenever I use these platters I will think of the type of person she was, inspiring people to go a bit beyond what they were doing already. I am truly glad to have known Mary.” Lisa Aucoin

“I have worked with Mary for more than 27 years and although she was very funny she was very serious about her kids and spent a lot of time supporting them. We both had school age kids in the early years and her son was almost the same age as my daughter. She would work with her son every night with his homework making sure everything was right. Of course he would leave work to the end like most kids but she would stay up and help him finish the paper, making sure his grammar and spelling were right. She was also very helpful with her daughters, helping with weddings and kids when they came. Our kids were around the same ages so we had the same kind of problems coming up and I was always impressed with how supportive she was. We would commiserate but no matter what, she was there for them. I loved her for that.” Susan Weddig

“Mary had a great sense of humor, and was a joy to work with. I had the pleasure of working directly with Mary when she became a sub for circulation. I enjoyed listening to her stories. It was clear how proud she was of her children and grandchildren. She was a treasure. I will remember her fondly.” Doreen Buchinski

“When I came to work at the library 20+ years ago, Mary Gorman was the Head of the Audio Visual Dept. She was compassionate and caring towards her co- workers and the library patrons as well. She knew her patrons and their preferences and would be sure to let each of them know when a new audio book was available. Looking back now I realize that Mary was a true Reader’s Advisory person. She never seemed to run out of suggestions of what a particular patron might like to try for his wife who was homebound. By connecting with such patrons Mary taught us the meaning of true customer service. Mary also kept us entertained with stories about events in her life. These stories were always accompanied by expressive hand gestures. I can still picture Mary reenacting a story about her son, Alex, struggling into his suit pants to get dressed for a wedding with no time to spare. Obviously something happened to the pants that were inexplicably too tight and too short. Mary desperate to fix the pants thought she could let out a seam to fix the problem until she discovered the tag…Talbot’s petite!! The cleaners had put her pants with his suit jacket. This episode was just one of many that demonstrated Mary’s wonderful sense of humor that left us laughing on numerous occasions. Mary was a wonderful boss and friend to many people, always ready to listen and offer suggestions, we will miss her smiling face and her thoughtful suggestions but most of all we will just miss Mary. ‘Good friends are like stars…. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there’. Confucius quotes” Maureen McEneaney

“I first met Mary about 25 years ago when I brought my youngest son to the library for Story Time. Mary was one of the Children’s librarians. When she wasn’t reading the story or doing crafts with the children, we would spend the hour chatting about our families, the beach and Regis, where Mary and my oldest daughter were students. In no time we became friends and I looked forward to my weekly trips to the library. A few years later I applied for a job at the library and was thrilled when I was hired for the Audio Visual Department and discovered that Mary would be my boss. Mary was easy to work for and with. She treated her staff with respect and fairness. She trusted our judgment and abilities and made coming to work a pleasure. One of my favorite Mary stories is the morning I noticed that she was wearing two different shoes! When I pointed it out, we had a good laugh and the day continued as usual. A few minutes later she
returned to the desk laughing even harder and remarked, not only did she have on two different shoes, but the heels were two different heights and that explained why she was walking funny! There is a quote that is a favorite of mine, ‘Friends are the Flowers in the Garden of Life’. Mary you made my garden exquisite! I will miss you. I know you will be keeping an eye on your family, whom you loved dearly, I hope you will do the same for your ‘Library Family’. Rest in Peace dear friend, until we meet again.” Gerry Chiasson

“I always looked forward to dinner with Mary during our Monday night dinner hour. She had wonderful stories to tell about her family and Cape Cod. Mary was witty, smart, energetic and a fantastic librarian!” Paula Cerrato

“Oh how I will miss my dear friend Mary! Recently we have worked many Sundays together at the Children’s desk. We were both reminded of all of the fun we used to have working side by side at the North Branch Library…doing storytimes and programs and becoming friends with so many of the patrons there. We were sidekicks so often both at work and out. We held each other up during the sad times and our joy was doubled when we shared the happy times. The sound of her laughter and the wonderful way she told a story will remain with me forever. No one will ever fill the ‘Mary shaped’ hole she has left in the library and also in my life. I know her family, whom she loved so passionately, will miss her desperately and I keep them in my prayers. The hole in their lives is unimaginable to me. I hope that wherever you are Mary, there is a well stocked library, a comfy beach chair and some nice summery cocktails.
Farewell my dear, dear friend. PS…Say hi to Don for me :-)” Sharyn McGannn

“I had the good fortune to have Mary as my boss when I came to work at the library nights and weekends because my son was little. She was so much fun to be around and had such a great way of telling stories…coming to work was like a girl’s night out for me! Mary was someone you could trust to give you good advice and she could always make you smile! She was a wonderful person and I feel blessed to have known her.” Seana Rabbito

“It’s so hard to believe Mary isn’t here anymore. She has left a hole in my heart. She was so full of life, always telling great stories of family and friends with such wit. She could always make you feel better even if you weren’t having a great day. Mary, you made my life brighter by being in it. May you rest in peace dear friend.” Nancy Womboldt

Shirley Temple Black 1928 - 2014

I was so sad to hear about the death of Shirley Temple. As a little girl with very curly hair, I found a kindred spirit in Shirley Temple. In third grade, I sang (poorly) a rendition of “On the Good Ship, Lollipop” complete with a large lollipop and a red and white sun suit emblazoned with a little anchor. I knew about ambassadorships mainly because Shirley Temple Black was one. (She was ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 until 1992). My mother still holds on to her little Shirley Temple blue pitcher from her childhood. An entire generation of girls got through their childhoods with their Shirley Temple dolls. Celebrate the life of Shirley Temple Black with these movies, books, and other resources from the library

posted by Laura

Blind Date With A Book

The Waltham Public Library is now offering a literary version of©. Your “mystery date” is wrapped up and waiting to be “checked out.” That’s right! We are offering you a blind date with a book! There is no need to dress up and you don’t have to spend a dime. Your date may be a hopeless romantic, a pet lover, a brilliant scholar, a single parent, a genius, an historical figure, a foodie, or a fabulous wit. The possibilities are almost endless.

Tell us how your date went by filling out one of our blind date evaluation forms and dropping it in our raffle box. The raffle prize is dinner for two at a local restaurant. We will pick a lucky winner on Friday, February 28th at noon.

Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman @ the Library

The acting world lost a talented actor, yesterday, when Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment in Greenwich Village, yesterday. He was only 46 years old. Celebrate his work by checking out one of his movies at the library.

Remembering Pete Seeger

When I was a little girl, my mother played LPs of Pete Seeger on our stereo system. My mother loved folk music and Pete Seeger was one of her favorites. She also loved The Weavers. The Weavers were formed in November 1948 by Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Pete Seeger.

The Weavers popularized such songs as “Goodnight Irene”, “If I Had a Hammer”, and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.”

Click Here to see Pete Seeger singing

Click Here to see the Pete Seeger related materials that the Waltham Public Library owns.

posted by Louise

Tax Season

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year — tax filing season! The Waltham Public Library has hard copies of some of the IRS forms, including the 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ. The reference staff can also print out up to 2 copies of the federal forms from the IRS website or the state forms from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website. If you request this service, you must know the exact number of the form that you need. Patrons can print out their own forms using any of the public computers in the library.
Here are a list of resources to get you through tax season, including contact information for the Internal Revenue Service and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, as well as services which provide free tax help. Good luck!

Free Tax Help

  • Waltham Council on Aging
    488 Main Street; Waltham, MA 02452
    Service Provided: Tax help for senior citizens. Must call to make an appointment
    Times Available: Monday - Friday, 9:00 - 11:00 am; February 3 - April 15.
  • Bentley University Students
    Morrison Hall, Room 101; Waltham, MA 02452
    Service Provided: Tax Help for those who are eligible for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
    Times Available: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm; Saturdays, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm; February 15 - April 10; There will be no tax assistance on March 8 and 15.
  • Charles River Public Internet Center
    154 Moody Street; Waltham, MA 02453 781-891-9559, x206
    Service Provided: Tax Help for those who are eligible for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Please call to make an appointment.
    Times Available: Thursdays, 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm; Fridays, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Saturdays, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Service will start on January 31.
  • Taxpayer Assistance Center
    JFK Federal Building; 15 New Sudbury Street; Boston, MA 02203
    Service Provided: Provides some federal tax help. May refer inquiries to local volunteer tax services.
    Times Available: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.

Enjoying the Nutcracker!

Behind the scenes of the Nutcracker by Simmons College Radio.

I had the pleasure of seeing Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker over the weekend. Every time I see the ballet, I always find something new to appreciate. As a little girl, I was dazzled by the large sets, the beautiful costumes, the large Christmas tree, and the nutcracker itself. After I first saw the ballet, I announced to my relatives that I was changing my name to Clara. (The only one who indulged me was my maternal grandfather, though the phase didn’t last long). As an adult, I appreciate the grace and poise of the dancers and am in complete awe of what they are capable of doing. And yes, there is still a small part of me who wants to be Clara dancing around with her nutcracker and dreaming about visiting the Sugar Plum Fairy. (I could do without giant mice invading my living room, though).
The Nutcracker ballet has a long history, which you can explore with the help of the library.

  • The Nutcracker was first produced as a ballet, with music written by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg in Russia in 1892. It was largely based on the story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by the German writer, ETA Hoffman (or Hoffmann, depending on the source). Hoffmann’s protagonist, Marie, turned into Clara in the original ballet, though some later versions of the ballet reverted back to Marie. According to the article, “Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker” by Tamara Eidelman in Russian Life, the name, Clara, was dropped from Russian productions and changed to Masha, during World War I, so as not to appear pro-German. Her brother, Fritz’s name was changed to Misha. Incidentally, Clara was the name of Marie’s doll in Hoffmann’s original story. (You can read the whole article by visiting our subscription database page, selecting the database, World History in Context and typing in “nutcracker tamara eidelman” as keywords.)
  • George Balanchine, choreographed a version for the New York City Ballet starting in 1954. A film version was released in 1993 (starring Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone fame as the Nutcracker prince!) The Library of Congress has a picture of the New York City Ballet performing the Waltz of the Snowflakes in 1962. Our library owns a copy of Balanchine’s modern ballet, Jewels which also features a documentary about the famed choreographer.
  • You can read reviews of various performances of The Nutcracker using our online databases, including early performances from the New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet. Whet your appetite by reading this review of the original George Balanchine production in New York.
  • Author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, designed costumes for the 1983 Pacific Northwest Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker. A film version was released in 1986. In 1984, Sendak beautifully illustrated ETA Hoffmann’s story.
  • In most versions of The Nutcracker, the female principal dancer is the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Clara is a young girl. This is the version that the Boston Ballet dances. Even though Clara is not the principal dancer, the auditions are intense, as evidenced in Jared Bowen’s article in Boston Common. In some versions of the ballet, though, Clara is an adult and is the principal dancer, performing to the famous “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”. In the American Ballet Theater production, choreographed by and starring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Clara is an adult, played by Gelsey Kirkland.
  • If you or your children are seeing The Nutcracker for the first time, there are a lot of ways to bring you up to speed. We have several books about the ballet, including The Illustrated Book of Ballet Stories and The Harlem Nutcracker based on a production featuring an African-American family in Harlem. The Boston Ballet has a special section on their website called “Just for Kids” which gives the synopsis of the ballet, as well as fun facts. (For instance, according to them, the Sugar Plum Fairy wears out her toe shoes during one performance!)

posted by Laura

Crossword Puzzles since December 21, 1913

Did you know that tomorrow (December 21) is the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle? According to Chase’s Calendar of Events, the first crossword puzzle was created by Arthur Wynne, and was published in The New York World. (The New York World is famous in that it was once run by Joseph Pulitzer, who funded the Pulitzer Prizes, and that it was also the workplace of reporter, Nellie Bly, who went around the world in 72 days).
According to our subscription database, Pop Culture Universe (which you can access from home), a version first appeared in Italy in 1890. Wynne’s crosswords were such a hit, that they were published every week, and in 1924, Simon & Schuster published a collection in book form. If you’re curious about how the puzzle has changed, Presidential Historian, Michael Beschloss, tweeted a picture of the December 21, 1913 version.
If you’re a crossword puzzle fanatic, the library is a great place to serve your passion. Did you know that some of our most popular questions that we get at the reference desk involve crossword puzzle clues?

  • Photo copy crossword puzzles from major newspapers, such as The Boston Globe and The New York Times. We keep the Sunday copy of the The New York Times Magazine at the reference desk, so be sure and come to the desk to ask for the copy, there. After you make a copy and complete it, you have my permission to come back to the desk and brag if you finished it in pen. If you’re more my speed, you can also photo copy the crossword puzzles from People and TV Guide magazines.
  • Log in to our subscription database to access historical archives for The Boston Globe and The New York Times and challenge yourself to decades of crossword puzzles. Just type in “crossword puzzle” as a keyword and you will have thousands to choose. Before doing your search, challenge yourself now with the Boston Globe crossword puzzles from April 8, 1917 and January 1, 1970.
  • Check out the documentary, Wordplay, about the 28th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament founded by New York Times puzzle master, Will Shortz. Interspersed throughout the documentary are interviews with a variety of celebrities (circa 2006) and their crossword puzzle habits. FYI, former New York Yankees pitcher, former Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees does the Sunday Times crossword in pen! Even this staunch Red Sox fan has to like any (former) Yankees player with intelligence and chutzpah to achieve that accomplishment!
  • Check out the new book, On Crosswords: Thoughts, Studies, Facts, and Snark about a 100-year Old Pastime by T. Campbell
  • Check out the Puzzle Lady mysteries by Parnell Hall, starting with A Clue for the Puzzle Lady
  • Request the CD, Sunday Puzzles, featuring Will Shortz on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition. While this contains all sorts of puzzles, not necessarily crossword puzzles, it will definitely make you think.

posted by Laura

50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy Assassination

Talk to anyone who is 55 years old or older, and he or she can tell you exactly where she was when President John F. Kennedy was shot, and where she was when Kennedy was announced dead. Even for those of us who were not yet born on November 22, 1963, the Kennedy assassination continues to haunt us. Iconic images of John F. Kennedy, JR saluting his father’s casket, or Lyndon Johnson taking the oath of office, flanked by Mrs. Kennedy still wearing her blood stained suit are seared into our minds.

There are many ways to honor the 50th anniversary of this tragic event and the life of John F. Kennedy.

posted by Laura

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