How the School Reading list Became My Must Reads

I didn’t think I liked YA fiction. I took a class on it in library school and didn’t like many of the books we read. However, the library recently ordered over 100 digital items (downloadable electronic books and audiobooks) from the high school’s Summer Reading lists. These items become available to Waltham patrons through our digital catalog the day after they are purchased. However, we also enter them into our entire catalog so that people can know their different options (print, audiobook, downloadable e-book, and/or downloadable audiobook) when they search for a title. This has been my job for the summer reading items. My reaction to the descriptions of multiple of the realistic fiction titles has been “Ooh, I might have to read that.” Even though my teens were half my lifetime ago, the experiences of and challenges faced by the protagonists in these stories speak to issues I have faced and/or continue to face. I have already stayed up too late reading a couple of them.

If you want to try these or other items from our digital collection you will need to sign in with your card number and PIN number. If you don’t have a PIN already you can set it up through the Minuteman catalog or ask a staff member to assist you. **Note: It is best to sign in right when you enter the digital catalog because many of the items on the list are only available to Waltham patrons and you will not see them listed until you sign in.

Posted by Lisa

This Week’s Best Seller Lists

Here are the links to the best seller lists for the week of May 18, 2014.

2 for $1 MOVIES on Thursdays

Did you know the library offers a deal for movies on Thursdays?? It’s 2 for $1 day! It’s good in both the Children’s Room and the AV room so take some of each.

Spread the word! The best deal in town got even better on Thursdays.


Fiction with Local Flavor

Members of the library staff have been spending the last year reading books relating to various genres, so that we can help suggest the perfect books for you to read! This last month, we read novels that take place in New England. Here is a sampling:

Boston Marathon Bombing — One Year Later

(Michael Dwyer/AP Photo, image from

One year ago today, I was at the Red Sox game with my father and my good friend getting very excited about a walk off win. My father and I, still ecstatic about the game, walked over to Kenmore Square to cheer on the Marathon runners. Suddenly I saw police officers run towards Commonwealth Avenue, which was followed by a mysterious text from my friend (who had left the area after the game), asking, “You didn’t go to the finish line, did you?” When I answered that I was on the marathon route in Kenmore, she said, “Good. Did you hear about the explosion? Be safe!” Eventually, the race was stopped in the Kenmore area, and we were evacuated, instructed by emergency personnel and National Guard to walk away, not towards Downtown, and to stay away from Beacon Street in Brookline for several blocks. Walking through Brookline, we heard different stories about explosions, then bombs in Copley Square, a fire at the John F Kennedy Library in Dorchester, and various threats in the city (thus the evacuation of parts of Beacon Street). It wasn’t until I got home, that I heard the actual facts, there had been two bombs at the finish line, and that the other stories were either not related or not credible. As mildly confusing as my day had been, I could not (and still can’t) imagine the horror of those directly impacted and what they must be going through today. If you are reflecting on the first anniversary, here are some relevant resources.

posted by Laura

New Digital Books Available!

Browsing for something to download from the Digital Media Catalog? Log in first - at the beginning of your browsing session - instead of when you’re ready to check out.

The Minuteman Library Network offers many titles for all library users to access. And, individual libraries can also add titles just for the residents of their city or town, called Advantage titles. The Digital Media Catalog only shows titles that you, the browser, can access, so logging in opens up all those residents-only Advantage titles!

And a new big batch of Advantage titles was added today! After you log in, click on the New Titles link under Featured Collections. You’ll see what’s been added to the site most recently.

Someone beat you to something that looks good? Place a hold and get an email when it’s ready for you. Don’t be intimidated by a list that looks long, place that hold – it alerts library staff that there’s demand among our Waltham patrons! And, since Advantage titles are only available to Waltham residents, that list often isn’t as long as it looks!

Need something today? Place a hold for something to arrive soon, but then click the button to see Available Now. That’ll save you the roller coaster of selecting a title only to find out someone else is using it now. Narrow it down to eBook or eAudiobooks, whichever your preference, and now you have a more manageable batch to browse.

Haven’t tried digital books yet? eBooks and eAudiobooks are super versatile and completely portable. Check out a few of these guides for getting started!

How to Enjoy eBooks on your Smartphone or Tablet and on your eReader

How to Enjoy eBooks on Kindle devices Free Kindle Apps and Kindle Fire

Getting Started with Android

Getting started with iOS (iPad, iPhone & iPod touch)

Once you’ve got the one-time set-up stuff done, visit the Digital Media Catalog over and over for new books any time!

Happy Downloading, Everyone!


Point/Counterpoint Oscar Fashion

Welcome to the library’s annual tradition featuring reference librarians, Marialice Wade and Laura Bernheim, giving their brutally honest opinions about the fashions at this year’s Academy Awards. Click on the links to get a birds eye view of the fashion, request a related book, read a related article, or request the film.
Agree with us? Want to tell us we’re crazy? Sound off in the comments section.
Read about Oscar coverage as far back as 1929 by exploring our database featuring historic Boston Globe and New York Times articles.

Marialice’s Turn
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly—again

Once again, I find myself watching the Academy Awards just to make snarky remarks about the fashion or lack thereof.
This year the hair was better but I really miss necklaces on those bony sternums, especially the diamond variety. Charlize Theron had a gorgeous necklace, but a dress with weird nude colored straps.
Sometimes, I just don’t understand how an actress can sort through the many dresses thrown at her by all the great designers, pull one on, gaze into the mirror and say “yes” to the dress.

  • Like Julia Roberts. She is not known for her fashion sense, but who steered her to this peplum look? Oh yes.
  • And Anna Kendrick. Even her shoes were bad.
  • You would think after all those nominations, Meryl Streep would make better choices.
  • Who would ever think, even with the best arm candy around, that Angelina Jolie could go wrong. I did not like the placement of those sparkles.
  • Amy Adams had bad hair and an uninspired navy dress.
  • Poor Kerry Washington looked like she wrapped a sheet around her baby bump and it didn’t quite reach around. The only pregnant woman I thought who looked good was Olivia Wilde.
  • And why was the beautiful Portia De Rossi wearing a tablecloth. She must have known her wife was ordering take out.
  • Dishonorable mention also goes to Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli, and Kristin Chenoweth.
  • I know everyone loved Lupita Nyong’o and her blue dress and headband, but I would have preferred this dress on a fuller figure.
  • Naomi Watts had a great simple look without that plunging neckline so many of the dresses had.
  • Even though Jennifer Lawrence may not have the best balance, she had a great scarlet dress and another backwards necklace!
  • This Year I think I will award the first best and worst for men:

Laura’s Turn
Aw, I thought Kerry Washington looked great in her dress. I think she handled the baby bump well, and I admire any Hollywood woman who enthusiastically asks for a piece of pizza. (And did she ever get her pizza? My fellow Oscar watchers and I were yelling at the television, “Give the pregnant lady her pizza!” Never fear, she got some gluten free pizza in the green room.). Elsa Pataky’s dress, on the other hand, was not my cup of tea. (Her accessory on her arm, however — aka husband Chris Hemsworth was not too shabby) As for the rest, here are my picks for best and worst dressed:

Best Dressed

  • I thought Lupita Nyong’o looked stunning. Not everyone can wear a headband to an awards show and pull it off, but she does. And I thought the dress was flattering to her figure. I also appreciated her lovely speech in which she mentioned that “so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.” Much more sincere than the sentiments expressed by James Cameron 16 years ago during his acceptance speech for best director? (Remember when he asked everyone to take a moment of silence for the victims of the Titanic sinking and then seconds later screamed, “I’m King of the World?” Stay classy, James!) Nyong’o’s best accessory was her date, her brother, Peter, who looked very handsome and also wins a lot of points for getting in on the Ellen Degeneres self portrait. Heck, he got a better spot in the picture than his sister!
  • Sandra Bullock looked great. Her figure handles the strapless dress well, and she gets away with wearing her hair down. The color of the dress and her hair color complement each other perfectly.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith is a knockout. Surprisingly, though I was a bit disappointed with her husband, Will Smith. Normally, he’s one of the few men to make my best dressed list, but I’m not keen on his look, this year. He doesn’t actually look bad and is far from being one of the worst dressed, just that because he normally is one of the male standouts (in a good way), I have higher expectations for him.
  • Meryl Streep looks great and always manages to look classy. I like the bracelets though I’m not sure what I think of the belt. She also gets bonus points for taking two pieces of pizza! (I think one may have been for her husband, but still…)
  • June Squibb’s outfit was very flattering on her. It’s maybe a half inch too long, but otherwise it looks great. Her hair and makeup is also perfect. And kudos to her for graciously laughing at Ellen’s old age joke.
  • Channing Tatum may be my new Will Smith in terms of best dressed male. The tuxedo is a perfect fit. I’m not sure how I feel about the hair, however. Leonardo DiCaprio looked smashing, but he loses points for perpetuating the stereotype that Hollywood stars don’t eat and refusing a piece of pizza. Bradley Cooper also looked nice for the men. Jamie Foxx was handsome, as always, and his daughter, Corinne, also gorgeous, was not afraid to admit she eats by devouring her pizza. (So there, Leo!)
  • Ellen Degeneres gets honorable mention for the Glinda outfit. Judy Garland’s children seemed to enjoy it as well.

Worst Dressed

  • Agh!!! Anne Hathaway tried to blind me. Seriously, I needed sunglasses when she presented.
  • One of my fellow Oscar watchers mentioned that it looked as if Whoopi Goldberg suddenly decided that she didn’t want to wear a strapless gown and hurriedly threw on a blouse underneath it. I had missed the Golden Globes so I didn’t even realize that Julia Roberts apparently also had buyer’s remorse there about wearing a strapless gown, until Marialice pointed out to me. To debate on who wore it better would be the same as saying someone actually wore it well, which they didn’t.
  • And speaking of Julia Roberts, I kept hoping that someone would hand her a pair of scissors to cut off the piece of fabric peeking behind her right sleeve. (Though that was the least of her fashion problems)
  • Marialice may not have been happy with Liza Minnelli’s outfit, but I was less happy with Liza’s sister, Lorna Luft. Liza’s outfit actually could have been quite pretty if the blue wasn’t super duper shiny. I don’t know what would have happened to my retinas if she and Anne Hathaway were in the same shot. But, back to Lorna Luft. What on earth was going on with that red lacy stuff on top? Was she wearing red because she wanted to wear the same color as the famed ruby slippers? The elusive Joey Luft definitely wins the best dressed award among Judy Garland’s children. I noticed though that he was wearing red, as well. So did he and Lorna wear red for the ruby slippers, and Liza wore blue in honor of Dorothy’s blue and white checked gingham dress? Have I just seen The Wizard of Oz too many times?
  • I can’t believe how many people put Charlize Theron and Kate Hudson on their best dressed lists. I just kept hoping that Kate Hudson had invested in a lot of double stick tape, and I felt that Charlize Theron’s top looked too much like an unfinished bra. I agree with Marialice that the necklace looked nice, though.
  • I really want to like Chrissy Teigen’s dress, but it just doesn’t work. If I saw that on the rack somewhere, I would think it was really cute, but would realize it was not meant to be once I wore it. Truthfully, she pulls this off better than I would, but it’s just too long. If it was a cocktail dress, it would be adorable (though not really Oscar worthy, I suppose)
  • I was not a fan of Jared Leto’s look (especially the bow tie). However, unlike Leonardo DiCaprio who lost points, Leto gains points for his beautiful tribute to his mother and brother (who were also his dates), plus passing around the Oscar to all of the journalists during his press conference. You’ve come a long way, Jordan Catalano!

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

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