Wednesday, October 22, 2014

12 Angry Men

On Wednesday, October 29, at 6:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall, we’ll present 12 Angry Men, the second movie in our new free series, “Reel Justice: Great Courtroom Dramas.”

At a time when Technicolor and lavish productions were all the rage, the small, black-and-white movie (the only film that star Henry Fonda produced during his long career) earned critical praise but was not a box office hit. It earned three Oscar nominations – Best Picture, Director (it was Sidney Lumet’s directorial debut) and Adapted Screenplay – but lost in all three categories to the big winner that year, David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai.

            Except for a brief opening scene and an even briefer final scene, the entire movie takes place in a small Manhattan courtroom on what one juror calls “the hottest day of the year,” as twelve men decide the fate of a young man charged with murdering his father. (Until 1963, first-degree murder carried a mandatory death sentence in New York.) As Roger Ebert noted, “In form, ’12 Angry Men’ is a courtroom drama. In purpose, it’s a crash course in those passages of the Constitution that promise defendants a fair trial and the presumption of innocence.” The film’s primary focus is on the concept of reasonable doubt. Even Juror #8 (Fonda) is not convinced of the defendant’s guilt, but he has so many questions and sees inconsistencies – in other words, reasonable doubt – that he feels they should spend at least one hour discussing the case instead of rushing to judgment in a few minutes. Co-starring with Fonda are Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, E. G. Marshall, Jack Warden and Martin Balsam.

            Come see this gripping drama, and enjoy the refreshments and discussion that come with it.

Mark P. Hasskarl
Library Director

Friday, October 17, 2014

Massive Open Online Courses

As a naturally curious person, I am always excited to find new opportunities to learn. Massive open online courses (MOOCS) are  free higher education courses that have unlimited enrollment. They were developed with the belief that everyone deserves access to quality education, and they became part of the mainstream in 2012 when the New York Times declared it was The Year of the MOOC.
There is something for every amateur, part-time, or aspiring scholar out there, and here are a few places to start:, edX, FutureLearn, and Universal Class (free with your New Milford Library Card).

Erin Johnson
Digital Literacy Associate

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Discs on the move!

Anyone who has checked out CDs and DVDs from our collections of those discs knows that those shelves were very crowded. It was often hard to easily browse for a movie to watch or for music to listen to because the discs were so tightly packed.

As of last Friday, October 10th, that overcrowding is a thing of the past. Because we removed several empty microfilm and microfiche cabinets from under the ramp that leads to the adult nonfiction mezzanine, we were able to add four new shelving units to house the foreign DVDs (shown at right). Their former home was behind the CD shelving units; and because there wasn't enough space there, more than 200 foreign films were kept in storage at any one time. Now the entire -- and really very, very good! - collection of foreign films is available for checking out as a result of the new shelves -- and the feature film collection is now spread out to fill many of the shelving units that formerly held the foreign films. So there's now more space for all of our DVDs and Blu-rays, foreign and feature films alike.

Also as of last Friday, our CD collection has more room, thanks to a free-standing CD spinner unit (shown at left). This new unit now holds three categories of our CD collection: Jazz, Soundtracks/Broadway and Religious. The rest of the collection has been spread out to give each section a little more space, so that you no longer have to pick up the entire group of jewel boxes to see what's there; that was often necessary because the sections were so tight that you couldn't flip through them to see the covers.

We hope you enjoy the new ease with which you can browse our discs, and don't forget to ask for help if you can't find a title. If we own it, we'll put it on hold for you; and if we don't own it, we'll get it from another library or consider purchasing it.

Mark P. Hasskarl
Library Director


Monday, October 6, 2014

What Color is Your Aura? or, Contributions Wanted for "The Aura"

"The Aura" Coat of Arms
In June, 2011, the New Milford Public Library Creative Writing Club published its first teen literary magazine titled The Aura.  We are getting ready to publish our next issue and would like to invite anyone in grades 5 through 12 to submit original writing, fiction or nonfiction, as well as original artwork to Ms. Fisher. You can email your submissions to her at or bring them to her in the Children’s Library. All submissions are welcome.

For those of you who have never read The Aura, I thought you might enjoy a bit of the magazine’s history.  The Aura is a combination of several different kinds of literature and artwork submitted by students in grades 5 through 12.

Our cover design is always unique, created by one of the club members.   The cover always includes the Club’s Coat of Arms, designed in 2011 in a joint effort by the Creative Writing Club.  In the medieval ages, one represented the kingdom that he fought for with a Coat of Arms.  The first quadrant was meant to represent yourself, the second represents your history, the third depicts a skill you possess, and the final is representative of where you live.

To represent the Club, Emily Mullis drew a dragon doing battle with a phoenix.  The creatures represent the creative side of writing while the fighting represents the turmoil of writing in every story’s conflict and climax and in every author’s churning mind.

The history quadrant is a picture of our town’s sign depicting John and Sarah Noble, founders of our town, with the founding date of 1707.  This sign represents the history of not only our writer’s club, but also of the entire town of New Milford.

The quill pen represents our talent.  Some of the best writing has come from feather pens.  All of the members of our club are very talented and eager to write and publish their work.

Lastly, the picture of the New Milford Public Library is where the club meets twice a month.  The library is a symbol of wisdom to the club.

The writing across the Coat of Arms says “ad finum temporum.”  The club chose these Latin words which translate into “until the end of time.”  And isn’t that what writing is all about?

Come pick up your free copy of The Aura at the end of October and enjoy the work of all of our talented artists.

Val Fisher
Young Adult Librarian

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dirty discs done dirt cheap

Are you having trouble viewing or listening to CD, DVD, Blu-ray or game console discs due to scratches?  We have the solution for you here at the New Milford Public Library (with apologies to Emma Lazarus and Lady Liberty): Give us your tired, your poor, your dirty discs yearning to be clean.
Through a generous donation from the FRIENDS of the New Milford Public Library, our Technical Services Department offers a disc-cleaning service to patrons for the low, low rate of only 50¢ per disc.
The state-of-the-art cleaner’s advanced technology ensures a superior repair on all types of discs, including Blu-ray, by accelerating the natural effect of water and abrasive on a disc’s surface. Discs are smooth and ready to use as soon as they come out of the machine. Since there are 184 layers before the data is reached on any disc, your discs are safely cleaned using this process. We have successfully cleaned thousands of discs from our own and our patron’s collections.

We gladly accept all discs for cleaning during our normal hours of operation.  Cleanings will be done within three days, with most completed the same day.  Again, the cost to our patrons for this service is just 50¢ per disc.  Disc resurfacing will save you money by extending the life of your media discs and by eliminating the cost to replace them, so come in and take advantage of this great disc-saving service.

Maryann Jackson & Leslie Schlemmer
Technical Services Assistants

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Who's Who in the Library: Meet Sally Tornow

Sally Tornow, NMPL’s Public Services Librarian, grew up in New Canaan with a sister six years older than she is. She majored in art history at Mount Holyoke, considering museum curator as a career. She moved to New Jersey with her husband, had two children, and moved to New Milford in 1983. Then in 1985, the family moved to Hong Kong, where she worked in her children’s school library. Sally loved the international city experience. They moved back to New Milford for one year and then to Illinois for three years, where she found living  more difficult to get used to than living in Hong Kong! She was happy to move back to Connecticut and has lived here ever since. Her son lives in New Milford with his wife and daughter, and her daughter lives in Bantam with her husband and two sons. When each grandchild turns seven, Sally takes him or her on a trip. So far, the choices have been Washington, D.C. and New York City – wonder where the third one will go?

Sally loves to travel, and her most recent trips have included Gettysburg, San Francisco, and Colorado Springs. Her love of history and museums is calling her to the Clark Museum in Williamstown, MA next. Another hobby is collecting vintage copies of two children’s series from the early 1950s, the Cherry Ames books and the Little Maid books. She is very excited when she finds one online that she doesn’t own; so if you have a lead on one, let her know!

Sally has worked in a library at each place she has lived. She began volunteering in 1994 at NMPL, then became the Reference Librarian in 2007; and since 2009, she has held her current position. She supervises a staff of 14 and develops the adult print fiction, DVD, audiobook, and digital material collections. She also coordinates all the adult programming. Her favorite part of the job is the “surprise and deep appreciation patrons have for a good book, good service, or a good program.” Her philosophy is to do the best you can, be compassionate, and stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Sally is always here to help you in any way she can at NMPL!
Sally recommends the book Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and the movie “Yesterday,” which she will be showing in November at the library.
Amy Berkun
Children's Services Associate
Reference/Information Services Associate

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September (this year, it's between September 21 and 27), it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The American Library Association keeps records of challenges to books in schools and libraries across the country. The 10 most challenged books of 2013 were:
  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
The top 25 from the ALA's 100 most frequently challenged books between 2000 and 2009:

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan

Among the other notable books on the list:
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

During Banned Books Week, we're displaying books that have been banned and challenged at the end of the new book shelves, just inside the Main Street entrance. Celebrate your freedom to read by reading one of the books on display or from the lists above.
Mark P. Hasskarl
Library Director