Thursday, October 30, 2014

Who’s Who in the Library: Meet Sue Ford

Sue Ford, Children's Services Librarian
If you grew up in New Milford or have a young child now, you know Mrs. Ford, NMPL’s extra-special Children’s Librarian. Sue started working part-time at the library in 1980 and then became Head of Tech Services three years later. In 1986, she became Head of Children’s Services and has been in this position ever since. After 28 years (and counting!), Sue still loves her job. What is wonderful for Sue these days is that she gets to witness the cycle of life: new moms who used to be in story time when they were little are now bringing their children. It makes Sue happy to know that the magic of reading is being passed on to the next generation.

The oldest of three children, Sue grew up on the south fork of Long Island in Amagansett and lived there until she was 15. She went to school with the same 17 kids from kindergarten through eighth grade, at the same school her mother had attended. Sue met her husband Michael when she was 17 while she was doing a play in college. She has been married to Michael for 41 years and has a son, Matthew, 37 and raised her niece Lainey, 25. Sue earned a MLS while working and being a mom. Since her childhood was spent near the water, Sue needs to visit the ocean or Long Island Sound often.

Sue has many interests besides reading, of course. She enjoys creating stained glass, glass fusion, mosaics and beadwork, as well as knitting, crocheting, and felting. She has been playing the mountain dulcimer for 30 years. She first heard its sweet sound at a Bethel fair.

Sue’s philosophy is to be kind and treat people the way you want to be treated. Make the world a better place, and smile more often than you frown. Be sure to come to the library and visit Mrs. Ford, who smiles a lot and definitely makes New Milford a better place to live!

Sue’s book recommendations are Alexander McCall Smith’s cozy mysteries and the Mitford series. She likes to reread The Chronicles of Narnia books, Mary Poppins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, too.

Amy Berkun
Children’s Services Associate
Reference/Information Services Associate

Monday, October 27, 2014

"And Now for Something Completely Different" - Monty Python turns 45

October 2014 marks the 45th anniversary of the first episode of the "Monty Python's Flying Circus" TV series in England. Using a theme song that came without a copyright and therefore wouldn't cost the BBC anything (it was John Philip Sousa's "The Liberty Bell," which ever since has been much better known as the Monty Python Theme), and with opening animated credits that ended with a giant foot stomping the TV show's title, what followed was unlike anything British (and later, thanks to U.S. PBS stations, American) TV viewers had ever seen. "And now for something completely different" could mean anything from a dead parrot being returned to a pet store, whose owner insisted it was simply tired after a long squawk, to a man trying to get a grant from the Ministry of Silly Walks to further develop his own rather un-silly walk. In-between came some of the most highly original, silliest and/or most intellectual comedy bits ever broadcast. The New Milford Public Library now owns all 45 unedited and uncensored episodes of the four seasons of this ground-breaking and still hugely popular TV series on DVD, as well as other Python movies and books. So if you haven't seen any episodes for a while, or have never seen them, check out a DVD or two to find out why the Oxford English Dictionary added the adjective "Pythonesque" a few years ago.
(l. to r.) Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin,
John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam
Mark P. Hasskarl
Library Director

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