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Farewell to Our Majestic Copper Beech 

 

Our majestic copper beech tree has been a  symbol of the library for decades. Since the Oliver Wolcott Library moved to its current location in July of 1967, the beautiful Copper Beech Tree by the main entrance has welcomed visitors. With its wide branches, stunning copper leaves, and enormous trunk, it has delighted and enchanted library patrons for decades. 

Unfortunately the tree has been declining for more than ten years, and by last summer, was declared completely dead when not one new leaf emerged. It is slated to come down in late May or early June.

Dead trees have many uses and can be stunning in their own right. However, being a public building with about 250 visitors a day, we cannot accept the threat that a dead tree could pose to our patrons. As a result, after much careful deliberation and thought, the library’s Beech Tree Committee concluded that the tree should be removed. 

The library did everything it could to keep it strong including using a skilled arborist to assist with the best practice for the care and nurturing of big trees. But, ultimately, like all things in life, the tree finally reached the end of its life.

The library formed a Beech Tree Committee appointed by the Board President to decide what should be done. The Committee includes local artisan and owner of Northwest Corner Woodworks John LaGattuta; Litchfield Garden Club past President and Litchfield Land Trust board member Drew Harlow; Litchfield Garden Club member Jane Hinkel; Litchfield Garden Club member Marla Patterson; Vice President of Chapman Lumber and library trustee Stuart Chapman; Founder of Zero Odor and library trustee Jim Huffstetler; White Memorial trustee and library trustee Susan Spencer; and Library Director Ann Marie White.

After careful review and deliberation, the Committee decided that if the tree was sound upon removal, they would work with three local artisans, Richard Heys, John LaGattuta and Jim Nash of Nash-Winn Milling, who will craft specially-made items from the beech tree that the library can own and proudly display as a way to honor and memorialize the tree. 

Additional plans include saving a couple of slabs of the tree, if sound, to use as an educational tool that will highlight significant historical events matched to the tree rings of that same year. 

Also see the Children’s Program and Contest on the Children & Teen Events page, which we hope to use to educate and honor our Beech Tree. 

The Committee also plans to replant either in the fall of 2014 or spring of 2015, depending on the tree selected and availability.

While the Oliver Wolcott Library is saddened to see its friend, the magnificent Copper Beech go, we look forward to memorializing it with local artisans, using the opportunity to educate young patrons on how to identify and appreciate trees, and planting a new tree.
 

 

Attention Book Clubs! Oliver Wolcott Library offers great services to area book clubs 

 

Book clubs continue to be popular and the Oliver Wolcott Library offers great services to area book clubs including assistance in securing selected titles and discussion guides that get conversation rolling. “We’re fortunate that in our area so many people enjoy coming together for regular book club meetings” said Cameron Bove, Book Club Liaison at the Oliver Wolcott Library. “We love to see people reading and discussing books so we wanted to do everything we could to encourage and support these groups” said Ann Marie White, Library Director.

The Oliver Wolcott Library provides book clubs a quick and easy way to distribute selected titles. To get started, the book club needs to designate their “point person” and provide the library with their selected title and author at least four weeks before the books are needed. The Library requests multiple copies of the book, including any special formats like large print or audio versions, from other libraries. The books are delivered right to the Oliver Wolcott Library for easy check-out and return by book club members. Every member checks out the book on their own card. “Through our shared network of libraries, we are able to satisfy virtually every book club selection. It’s best if the selected titles have been in print for at least six months as some libraries won’t lend brand-new books” reported Bove.

Another new and popular feature is the library’s book discussion guides. The guides were created by Patricia Moore, a part-time librarian at OWL who is temporarily on maternity leave. “The guides were a way to add even more value and assistance to book clubs” said White, noting that Moore created more than a dozen guides before going on leave and will be adding more in early 2014. Each guide includes a description of the book, information about the author, discussion questions, and recommended reading. The recommended reading section is particularly helpful for readers who loved the book and need help on what to read next. The questions help club members get conversation and discussion going at a meeting. “Best of all our new guides can be used by both book clubs and non-club members. The guides are a wonderful way to enhance your reading whether you plan on holding on a club meeting or not” said Bove. Current book discussion guides include Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin, The Language of Flowers by Vanesse Diffenbaugh, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, and several more. 

Bove reports that she services more than ten book clubs on a regular basis but always welcomes more. “We know there are more book clubs out there and we would love to provide this service to them” said Bove adding, “if patrons ever need help selecting a title for their club, the dedicated OWL staff is always happy to offer suggestions too!”

To register your book club or to download a discussion guide, visit the library’s website at www.owlibrary.org then select Book Clubs/Book Guides & Services or contact OWL’s Book Club Liaison Cameron Bove at 860-567-8030. The Oliver Wolcott Library is located on 160 South Street in Litchfield and is open seven days a week including three nights and online 24/7.  

 

The Oliver Wolcott Library Announces New Signature Library Cards for all Ages 

 

The Oliver Wolcott Library's new signature library cards give you access to the endless world of books and online resources but now with a shiny new look. Residents and taxpayers to the towns of Litchfield, Bantam, Milton, and Northfield are invited to update their old cards or get their very first library card at the OWL circulation desk.  Patrons of all ages have the freedom to choose from OWL's two new designs; one is an elegant contemporary card featuring the library’s architecture and the other is a fun card featuring an adorable owl reading a book.  Activation of OWL's new signature library cards is free, immediate, and includes a four year expiration date. Current cardholders can continue to check out materials in library and online without interruption.

“One of our core values is to creatively communicate and remain relevant. Another is to manage our funds efficiently. Our new cards cost the same but we replaced the plain white card with the fresh new look,” said Ann Marie White, Library Director. 

“The kids are especially excited about the new card,” said Children’s Librarian Lisa Shaia. “So many children have wanted library cards! On my first visit to the Litchfield Center School in June to promote our Summer Reading Program, all of the children wanted cards when they saw designs.” Great news is both children and adults love OWL’s fresh new signature library cards.

To get your new Oliver Wolcott Library card, stop by the circulation desk during regular hours of operation at 160 South Street in Litchfield. OWL is open 7 days a week including three nights until 9 PM. For more information, visit www.owlibrary.org or call
860-567-8030.
  

They’re reading in Litchfield! 

 

The Oliver Wolcott Library reports another banner-year in book circulation for adults and children. Anyone who thinks that children and adults don’t like to read physical books has not visited the Oliver Wolcott Library lately. This past year, the Oliver Wolcott Library circulated more than 145,000 items of which 87,640 were physical books or magazines. Total print circulation for all ages increased by 5% or over 4,000 more books this past year.

It isn’t only the adults that have increased their demand for the physical book. Adult print book circulation increased by 4.5% from the prior year while children’s print book circulation increased by 7%.

“Nothing beats a physical book. The focused tactile experience of a printed book in your hand brings educational immersion to its peak. As librarians, our job is to keep the community reading and excited about books. I am thrilled to see that our team effort to provide a welcoming environment, varied and interesting collection, and exciting literacy-based programs continues to pay off,” said Library Director Ann Marie White.

White attributes the increase to a number of factors including their innovative programs, current and attractive collection, and the continued appeal of the traditional art form of the printed book.

“Our programs are designed to spark an interest in reading and education,” said White. Recent programs at the library include their monthly author series that has attracted noted authors like Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner, Former Style Editor and Producer of Martha Stewart Television Suzanne McGrath, NYT wine critic Eric Asimov, and many more; after-school book clubs for grade school children that include Children’s Librarian Lisa Shaia’s reading-aloud book program, and services provided to area book clubs.

“Everyone likes to be read to and sadly, many parents stop reading to their children just as they begin to enter independent reading. This is unfortunate because listening to a book increases focus, expands vocabulary, and makes reading a communal activity. Family read-alouds were once a common occurrence in households. We have taken on that tradition by offering our after-school book clubs during the winter months that combine the read-aloud element, discussion with the group, and independent reading,” said Shaia.

Another way that the Oliver Wolcott Library encourages reading in the community is through their service to area book clubs. “Our community is alive with book clubs. We wanted to cultivate and support these endeavors by offering service to any and all of them. All they have to do is provide us with the title of their selection and designate a contact person and we secure multiple copies of the selected title for them. Each member checks out their own book and that visit to the library often leads members to discover their next book project,” said Book Club Liaison Cameron Bove.

Having a top-notch collection is another key to success. “Our whole team, including the Board of Trustees, understands the value of investing in our collection, ensuring that it is current, and promoting it to the community,” said White.  The library employs a number of techniques to promote the collection including Wowbrary, a weekly computer-generated service that highlights new selections; the staff blog, and having prominent and attractive places in the library to feature new books. The library’s knowledgeable staff is also ready to help patrons find that next great book to read. “In fact, we love doing that!” said Audra MacLaren, Adult Services Librarian.

“Physical books continue to have great appeal. After staring at a screen all day at work or school, many seek refuge in a real book. Additionally, many have reported that they sleep better after reading a physical book in contrast to the computer screen that often disrupts their ability to relax. There is something magical and everlasting about the physical book. You can touch it. You can look ahead to see how many pages before the chapter ends. It focuses you and absorbs you completely in the narrative dream,” said White. Oliver Wolcott Library’s circulation numbers are a testimony to the continued popularity of print books.  “They’re reading in Litchfield and we’re all very happy about that!” 

 

Morningstar is now available 24/7 at the Oliver Wolcott Library 

 

Everything you love about Morningstar investments is now at the Oliver Wolcott Library and from home!  Whether you are a seasoned user or new to market investments, Morningstar online has all the tools you need to make informed investment decisions and more.

At the Oliver Wolcott Library, free access to Morningstar’s real-time analysis on thousands of investments, mutual funds, stocks, and EFT’s are available to everyone on the OWL’s public computers, and available 24/7 from home by OWL card holders!

Morningstar online offers a plethora of investment tools and resources for beginners and experts. Morningstar’s easy-to-use interface provides a glossary of terms, tutorials, articles and videos, portfolio management tools, and independent analysis research help you to understand your investment options to successfully manage your portfolio. 

To access from home, visit the Library’s website at www.owlibrary.org and click on the Morningstar quick link located on the home page. Be sure to have your OWL card ready. To access at the Library, visit the Library located at 160 South Street in Litchfield. The OWL is open 7 days a week including three nights until 9 PM. For more information, stop by the OWL or call 860-567-8030.

 

Great Holiday Gift:
Oliver Wolcott Library announces Add a Book Program

 

A book is a gift you can open again and again. The Oliver Wolcott Library announces a new program called Add a Book. Add a Book is a perfect holiday gift for anyone on your list. Fully tax deductible donations begin at $25 and include a beautiful gift card that makes the perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift for the holiday season.  All Add a Book donations support the Library’s book budget. Books are carefully selected by staff to add to the collection. “Our community is reading and using the Oliver Wolcott Library more than ever. Add a Book is a wonderful way to give back to OWL while also giving to your friends and relatives.  It truly is a gift that can be opened again and again” said Ann Marie White, Library Director.  Last year, total circulation increased by 4% with 145,155 items being borrowed and visits increased by 3% with an average of about 250 people visiting each day. To purchase, stop in the Oliver Wolcott Library located on 160 South Street in Litchfield, or order online at www.owlibrary.org then select Support OWL/Add a Book.

 

OWL Welcomes New Officers and Trustees

 

The Oliver Wolcott Library welcomes two new trustees and a new slate of officers elected at its annual meeting and subsequent board meeting. Trustees share many responsibilities and play a vital role in ensuring the Oliver Wolcott Library remains a vibrant cultural and educational center that enlightens, entertains and informs. The Board provides strategic vision, oversees its financial needs and responsibilities including fundraising, advocates for the library.

The 2012- 2013 Board includes new officers John Boyd as President, Alan Cohen as Vice President, Patrick Boland as Treasurer and Lynne Sherman as Secretary, as well as Margret Delves Broughton, Kathryn Milano, James Rindos, Susan Spencer, Mary Ellen Spiegel, and James Stedronsky. Completing the twelve board members are two newly elected trustees Emily Dalton and James Huffstetler.

Emily Dalton is the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Jack Black, a premium line of men’s grooming products. Jack Black is the fastest growing prestige men’s grooming brand in the U.S. and is ranked as a top prestige brand in the U.S. She earned her M.B.A. from the University of Texas.  Emily has served on OWL’s annual Festival of Trees for more than five years, and since 2011 has served as the Chair of the Festival. Under her leadership, last year’s Festival had record-breaking attendance and revenue. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Susan B. Anthony Project and chairs the Development Committee.  Recently, she was one of only six women selected by Litchfield Magazine as local “shakers: leaders in business and fashion”. She was also selected to be a featured speaker for the upcoming WOW Forum Conference. Emily lives in Litchfield with her husband and their two daughters.

Jim Huffstetler is the one of the founders of Zero Odor LLC, a company that markets and distributes a ling of breakthrough odor control products under the Zero Odor brand name. Zero Odor is based in Litchfield. He is also a founder and partner in Free Enterprise LLC, an advertising agency that is honored to work with clients such as Select Comfort, maker of the Sleep Number Bed, and HealthGrades. Free Enterprise is based in Connectcticut and New York. Prior to his entrepreneurship, Jim worked for a number of years in the marketing and advertising industry. He has served on the Festival of Trees since 2011, and this year is the Chair of the Program Ads Committee for the Festival. He was instrumental in achieving a significant growth in ad revenue for the Festival program. Jim lives in Litchfield with his wife Trish O’Reilly and their two sons.

New OWL Board President John Boyd recently retired from the Connecticut Junior Republic where he served as the Executive Director. The Connecticut Junior Republic provides residential, education, in-home and community-based services for at-risk and special needs young people at ten locations in Connecticut. He is past President of the Children’s League of CT, served on the CT Judicial Selection Commission and been active in state and national children’s advocacy organizations. John received a B.S. from Bradley University and a M.S. in Community Mental Health from Northern Illinois University. He and his wife Colette have lived in Litchfield for 35 years.

Alan Cohen is a retired Toyota executive and corporate lawyer. While with Toyota he served in various positions including Vice President General Counsel of Toyota Financial Services, Vice President Law and Public Policy in Toyota’s Washington D.C. office and with Toyota’s holding company for U.S. manufacturing and sales. Alan is an adjunct professor at the graduate and undergraduate level at Sacred Heart University and Albertus Magnus College, and continues to consult with a Toyota group automobile supplier on various legal and business issues. Alan was a director and the secretary of the not-for-profit Litchfield Hills Food Systems, Inc. He is a graduate of UCLA Graduate School of Management Executive Program, and obtained his J.D. Southwestern School of Law, a B.A. from California State University Los Angeles. Alan and his wife, Martha Green, have been Litchfield residents since 2002.

OWL Board Treasurer Patrick J. Boland is a resident of Litchfield and is a retired Managing Director of Credit Suisse First Boston. He is also the Board President of the Connecticut Junior Republic. He was the chairman of the First National Bank of Litchfield until the bank was sold to Union Savings Bank in April of 2010, and is currently the chairman of the Union Savings Bank Foundation. Pat holds a BS degree from the State University of NY at Buffalo and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He worked for over 30 years as a banker in New York City. Mr. Boland began his banking career in 1974 with J.P. Morgan and Company.

OWL Board Secretary Lynne C. Sherman, has been a member of the Library's Board of Trustees since 2009 and was co-chair of the Festival of Trees from 2005-2010. Since 2011, Lynne has served as the Chair of the Library’s Annual Fund Drive. Lynne attended Elmira College for Secondary Education, Central Connecticut College for Special Education and taught for several years in both Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Lynne is a member of the Litchfield Garden Club and lives in Litchfield with her husband, Alan. They have two children and three granddaughters. 

 

WOWbrary Comes to OWL

 

Oliver Wolcott Library introduces a new service: “Wowbrary.” Wowbrary is a unique service that sends out an email or RSS feed alerting patrons of the Library’s newest items each week.  Wowbrary showcases the “top” items for each week, but patrons can also click on the sidebar which categorizes items by their genre.  This new feature allows the Library to keep patrons informed of their latest purchases.  “Wowbrary is wonderful because it helps the Library offer a great service while allowing us to be more efficient” said Ann Marie White, Library Director for the Oliver Wolcott Library. “The Library has seen significant growth in use of all of our services but our staff has remained small.  In order to meet the growing need for essential library services, we need to always look for ways to be more efficient.  Previously, we had to use a good deal of staff time to manually produce a list of our new acquisitions. Our patrons want to see our new lists but it was time-consuming.  Wowbrary allows us to not only offer this service but actually enhances the experience while simultaneously requiring almost no staff time at all” says Ann Marie.

Adult Services Librarian Audra MacLaren added that “another great feature of Wowbrary is the summary that they give about each highlighted item, including a picture of it. The listed items are linked directly to the Library’s catalog, making it easy to reserve or request the item by clicking on the “borrow” link next to it.”

Patrons can also find the latest additions to the e-books collection that the Library offers through Overdrive.

With this new service, patrons can stay up to date on what is new at OWL each week. Sign up at OWL’s website at www.owlibrary.org and stay informed about the exciting new books and DVD’s added to OWL’s collection!

 

Oliver Wolcott Library Helps with Tracing Family Trees

Internet resources let you discover your roots in the library or from home

 

The Oliver Wolcott Library has new resources that use technology to make tracing family trees easier. HeritageQuest Online and Ancestry Library Edition will allow you to start exploring your roots. 

The library is responding to a growing interest in family history that’s captured not only in Litchfield but America as a whole. A new nationwide survey shows 73% of Americans want to learn more about their roots, up from 60% in 2000. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed became interested after searching for a family surname online, pointing to the increasing popularity of Internet-based genealogy. 

“More and more of our patrons want to explore their past and these resources make it easy and convenient,” said Audra MacLaren, Adult Services Librarian.

Logging on to HeritageQuest Online at home (or in the library if you choose) you’ll find several paths to information – the U.S. Federal Census collection, over 20,000 family and local history books, an index to nearly 2 million magazine articles with genealogical information, or a database of Revolutionary War era records. Select a path and enter a name to be searched. HeritageQuest Online instantly searches for matches and returns the results. Click on a name and an image of the matching record appears. For example, when a name is searched in the census collection, the particular page from the census where the name is listed will be displayed on the screen. 

Ancestry Library Edition is available on the library’s public computers located in the Oliver Wolcott Library. Once connected to Ancestry Library Edition, you’ll find a friendly opening screen that asks for the name of the person to be searched. Key in the name, click on “Search” and Ancestry Library Edition scans its vast selection of U.S. census data, birth, marriage, and death records, World War I draft registration information, Social Security death records, and immigration lists. It also includes an extensive collection of information from the U.K., including images from English and Welsh census records, and civil registrations. Additionally probate records dating back to the 1500s are included from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. 

Whether you’re using HeritageQuest Online or Ancestry Library Edition, the information you find are pieces of a puzzle that you’ll assemble. Records have “clues” to the past – places where ancestors lived, names of relatives, birth or death dates, etc. – that lead to more information. Names can be added to form the “tree” or searched to find more clues. 

“Genealogy is a wonderful hobby for anyone who wants to know more about where they came from,” says Ann Marie White, Library Director, “and we’re delighted to provide resources that are simple enough for beginners, yet provide deep and broad content sets that will help veteran genealogists advance their research.”

For more information, visit the Oliver Wolcott Library at 160 South Street in Litchfield, call 860-567-8030 or log onto www.owlibrary.org.  The library is open seven days a week including three nights. 

 

OWL Awarded Litchfield Education Foundation Grant

 

The Oliver Wolcott Library has been awarded a grant to fund a Lego Club from the Litchfield Education Foundation.  

The Lego Club participants will listen to a story that will inspire them to be creative for the Lego Challenge. Children will be asked to build an item each club meeting. Challenges will range from a mode of transportation or a type of building to something that lives in outer space or an object that relates to the next upcoming holiday. There will be time for show-and-tell before the program commences.  

Children’s Librarian, Lisa Shaia, is excited about the upcoming program. “I can’t wait to get started!” she said. “I’m always looking to engage children in different ways to become lifelong readers and this is definitely a unique way. I’m so thankful for LEF’s continued support for our children’s programs.” She noted that the skills learned in the Lego Club will help children reinforce literacy skills by increasing their attention span, memory, creativity, and vocabulary skills.  

The Oliver Wolcott Library hasn’t set dates for The Lego Club but expects it to begin in the fall. Check owlibrary.org for more details. More information about the Litchfield Education Foundation can be found at their website: litchfieldeducationfoundation.org.
 


Oliver Wolcott Library Awarded Heritage Grant to Fund Series of Three Twain Lectures

 

The Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield has been awarded a $1000 Heritage Grant by the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut and the Connecticut Humanities Council  to fund a series of three book discussions. The series will discuss three of Mark Twain’s novels beginning September 5th with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, then October 3rd with Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and concluding on November 7th with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

The discussions will be led by Twain scholar, Dr. Kerry Driscoll. Driscoll is a professor of English and department chair at St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford. She is the recipient of two Fulbright awards to the University of Heidelberg, Germany and, in 2007, was awarded a yearlong Faculty Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her book manuscript in progress, Mark Twain Among the Indians. She is the author of numerous essays about Twain, and is the contributing editor of the Mark Twain Annual (the official publication of the Mark Twain Circle of America) where she served as the Circle’s Executive Coordinator from 2005 through 2010. During the summer of 2011, she directed a National Endowment for the Humanities Institute on “Mark Twain and the Culture of Progress.” :

"Mark Twain is a leading voice of America's literacy heritage, and played a pivotal role in shaping our own heritage here in Connecticut. With the publication of Twain's autobiography, we've seen a renewed interest in Mark Twain. This series will allow our community to more deeply explore three of his novels, all written while living in Connecticut, with one of the leading Twain scholars Dr. Kerry Driscoll. We are so grateful to the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut and the Connecticut Humanities Council for funding this series"  Library Director Ann Marie White said.

The Oliver Wolcott Library will have additional copies of each title available to borrow prior to the discussions. For more details about the series, contact the Library at 860-567-8030 or visit their website at www.owlibrary.org and select Programs/Adult.

 

Free Just Got Better! 

 

Free just got better with the addition of free downloads of eBooks available through the Oliver Wolcott Library (OWL) in Litchfield. Since 1862, OWL has been providing the community with books and then later, music CDs and DVDs, to borrow for free with a public library card. Now, OWL expands its free downloadable options that included audio books to cover eBooks! Bestsellers like Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith and Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich are all at your one-click fingertips!

“OWL is excited to reach out to eBook users with our new service that provides free downloads of bestselling eBooks to our patrons and friends. We currently have more than 2000 titles in circulation and we’re adding more all the time!” said Ann Marie White, Library Director for OWL.

White added, “This is in addition to the new print arrivals we receive every week. With more than 60,000 print books in our collection and now more than 2000 eBooks, we’ve got everyone covered whether they like reading digitally or with a hardcover book in their hand.”

Anyone with a valid Connecticut public library card has access to the free eBooks through the OWL website by accessing Overdrive, but, OWL cardholders get an extra benefit. Through a program called Overdrive Advantage, OWL cardholders have a shorter wait for popular titles and an increased access to selections.

“Our OWL eBooks are compatible with Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, iPad, iPhone, Android, a PC, or Macintosh computer!” said Audra MacLaren, Adult Services Librarian at OWL, “And, if you’re new to using one of these devices and need help, we also provide a service called Book a Librarian where we provide a half hour one-on-one session on a basic technology subject like learning how to use your new eReader to download eBooks”.

And, yes, Book a Librarian is free too. Free did get a whole lot better at the Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield!

 

WOWbrary Comes to OWL

 

Oliver Wolcott Library introduces a new service: “Wowbrary.”   Wowbrary is a unique service that sends out an email or RSS feed alerting patrons of the Library’s newest items each week. Wowbrary showcases the “top” items for each week, but patrons can also click on the sidebar which categorizes items by their genre. This new feature allows the Library to keep patrons informed of their latest purchases. “Wowbrary is wonderful because it helps the Library offer a great service while allowing us to be more efficient” said Ann Marie White, Library Director for the Oliver Wolcott Library.  “The Library has seen significant growth in use of all of our services but our staff has remained small. In order to meet the growing need for essential library services, we need to always look for ways to be more efficient. Previously, we had to use a good deal of staff time to manually produce a list of our new acquisitions. Our patrons want to see our new lists but it was time-consuming. Wowbrary allows us to not only offer this service but actually enhances the experience while simultaneously requiring almost no staff time at all” says Ann Marie.

Adult Services Librarian Audra MacLaren added that “another great feature of Wowbrary is the summary that they give about each highlighted item, including a picture of it. The listed items are linked directly to the Library’s catalog, making it easy to reserve or request the item by clicking on the “borrow” link next to it.” Patrons can also find the latest additions to the e-books collection that the Library offers through Overdrive. With this new service, patrons can stay up to date on what is new at OWL each week. Sign up at OWL’s website at www.owlibrary.org and click on Programs; Wowbrary will appear on the sidebar. The easy and fast sign-up keeps you informed about the exciting new materials added to OWL’s collection!

 

Thank You!
 

At last week’s 21st annual Oliver Wolcott Library Festival of Trees fundraiser, a very festive and generous group of Library patrons, friends, sponsors and businesses - supported by an extraordinary team of volunteers and Library staff - contributed a record amount of dollars to our Town’s principal public library. Dollars that will be a critical component to funding OWL’s operating budget. And dollars that will help our Library continue to thrive. 

This year, OWL’s annual operating budget is derived from 53% fundraising and fees, and 47% from our Town’s tax dollars. We continue to see tremendous growth in the use of our services by all members of our community from babies to our elders; and in a tough economy, the need for our services has grown rapidly. Our Library uses innovative and strategic thinking to ensure that its services remain relevant to the community and that our dollars are spent well. We continue to focus on improving everyday and OWL is now ranked in the top 13% of all Connecticut libraries for efficiency.

Organizing an event like the Festival of Trees takes tremendous energy and dedication. Thanks is not enough for the efforts of our exceptional Festival leadership team including this year’s Festival Chair, Emily Dalton, and her Planning Committee led by Chair’s: Frankie Winter (Invitation and Program Design), Mary Ellen Spiegel (Silent Auction), Eileen Manela (Program Sales), Doreen Tango Hampton (Decorations), Jessica Travelstead and Suki Kraut (Trees and Wreaths), Susan Pasquariello (Greeters), Kathy Murray (Food and Beverage), Rob Hartnett (Lighting) and Jim Rindos (Bar and Facilities). In addition to all of the many committee members!  

Success for Festival also takes a great base of sponsorship. We are exceptionally thankful to this year’s Festival sponsors, including Diamond Sponsor, Arethusa Farm Dairy; Gold Sponsors, Bantam Fuel, Emily Dalton and Matthew Karpas, E.J. Murphy Realty, Fahey Associates Realtors, Litchfield Bancorp, Joseph Montebello & Ron Leal, Declan & Deborah Murphy, O&G Industries, Rod Oneglia, Chip & Susan Spencer, Mary Ellen Spiegel & Mitchell S. Fishman, and Union Savings Bank; Silver Sponsors Martha & Robert Bernstein, Armand & Lauren Della Monica, Linda & Mark Greenberg, Bob & Jan Petricone, Betsy & John Schmid, Alan & Lynne Sherman, George & Ann Taylor, Peter Tillou, Frank Vanoni, and Agnes Wilkie & Scott Rogge. Our Festival also greatly benefited from the enticing raffle items provided by Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelers and Bikers Edge.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I offer our sincere gratitude for the tireless effort, passion, creativity, dollars and gift of time given by OWL’s volunteers and our generous supporters who joined with us in celebrating the opening of the holiday season.  You made OWL’s Festival of Trees a remarkable success.  Thank you!

Sincerely,

Matthew P. Karpas
President, Board of Trustees
Oliver Wolcott Library
 

 

OWL Welcomes New Officers and Trustees
 

The Oliver Wolcott Library welcomes three new trustees and a new slate of officers elected at its annual meeting and subsequent board meeting. Trustees share many responsibilities and play a vital role in insuring the Library remains a vibrant cultural center by sustaining effective Library leadership, advocating for the Library and serving on the cultural, development, finance, audit, trustee or executive committees.

The 2011-2012 Board includes new officers Matthew Karpas as President, John Boyd as Vice President, Patrick Boland as Treasurer and Lynne Sherman as Secretary, as well as Margret Delves Broughton, L. Cleveland Fuessenich, Kathryn Milano, James Rindos, and Susan Spencer. Completing the twelve board members are three newly elected trustees Alan Cohen, Mary Ellen Spiegel and James Stedronsky.

Alan Cohen is a retired Toyota executive and corporate lawyer. While with Toyota he served in various positions including Vice President General Counsel of Toyota Financial Services, Vice President Law and Public Policy in Toyota’s Washington D.C. office and with Toyota’s holding company for U.S. manufacturing and sales. Alan is an adjunct professor at the graduate and undergraduate level at Sacred Heart University and Albertus Magnus College, and continues to consult with a Toyota group automobile supplier on various legal and business issues. Cohen was a director and the secretary of the not-for-profit Litchfield Hills Food Systems, Inc. Alan is a graduate of UCLA Graduate School of Management Executive Program, and obtained his J.D. Southwestern School of Law, a B.A. from California State University Los Angeles. Alan and his wife, Martha Green, have been Litchfield residents since 2002.

Mary Ellen Spiegel, a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, has over twenty years of experience as a professional fund-raiser for NYC charitable and not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Spiegel founded her independent financial advisory firm, FISCAL PLUS™, in 1995. She received her MBA degree from The Columbia University Graduate School of Business and holds a Certificate in Financial Planning (CFP®) from New York University. Currently Ms. Spiegel is Program Chair for The Litchfield Aid’s Annual Open House Day. A past member of numerous NYC organizations’ Boards, Ms. Spiegel was inducted into the YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers in 1996. She and her husband, Mitchell Fishman, reside in Litchfield.

James Stedronsky resides in Litchfield with his son, Michael, and daughter, Sasha, who both attend college. Attorney Stedronsky is a partner of the law firm, Stedronsky and D’Andrea, LLC and has practiced law in Connecticut since 1976. He received his law degree from New York University School of law, and his BA from Williams College.  Attorney Stedronsky is a member of the First Congregational Church of Litchfield and enjoys music, traveling, writing and practicing his profession.

New OWL Board President Matthew Karpas is Managing Member of Karpas Strategies, LLC, an investment management firm founded in 1994 with offices in New York and Connecticut.  Karpas Strategies manages assets for high net worth individuals, families, foundations, trusts, and small businesses, highly customized to meet the specific goals and objectives of each client.  Matthew holds a BS degree in International Business and Finance from the University of Colorado.  Prior to founding Karpas Strategies, Matthew worked at J.P. Morgan in New York City and Tokyo. He has been a member of the Library's Board of Trustees since 2006 and it’s Treasurer for the past 5 years. In addition to serving on the Board of our Library, Matthew also serves on the Board's of the Connecticut Junior Republic Association and the Washington Montessori School. Matthew lives in Litchfield with his wife, Emily, and their two daughters. 

OWL Board Vice President John Boyd is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Junior Republic which provides residential, education, in-home and community-based services for at-risk and special needs young people at 10 locations in CT. He is past President of the Children’s League of CT, served on the CT Judicial Selection Commission and been active in state and national children’s advocacy organizations. John received a BS from Bradley University and a M.S. in Community Mental Health from Northern Illinois University. He and his wife Colette have lived in Litchfield for 35 years.

OWL Board Treasurer Patrick J. Boland is a resident of Litchfield and is a retired Managing Director of Credit Suisse First Boston. Mr. Boland is also a director of the Connecticut Junior Republic and the Warner Theater. He was a director of the First National Bank of Litchfield until the bank was sold to Union Savings Bank in April of 2010. Mr. Boland holds a BS degree from the State University of NY at Buffalo and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He worked for over 30 years as a banker in New York City. Mr. Boland began his banking career in 1974 with J.P. Morgan and Company.

OWL Board Secretary Lynne C. Sherman, has been a member of the Library's Board of Trustees since 2009 and was co-chair of the Festival of Trees from 2005-2010. Lynne attended Elmira College for Secondary Education, Central Connecticut College for Special Education and taught for several years in both Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Lynne is a member of the Litchfield Garden Club and lives in Litchfield with her husband, Alan. They have two children and three granddaughters.

 

OWL Acquires New Eric Carle Museum Pass

 

Oliver Wolcott Library is excited to announce a new Library pass for the Eric Carle Museum in Massachusetts! The pass allows for free admission for two adults and four children.

The Eric Carle Museum, located in Amherst Massachusetts, is the first full-scale museum in the country to be devoted to national and international picture book art. The museum houses three rotating galleries featuring picture book art from around the world, a hands-on Art Studio, an auditorium for performances, films and lectures, a library for reading or storytelling, and a Café and Museum Gift Shop. Currently on display in the west gallery is an exhibit of Eric Carle’s work revolving around the theme of friendship. The exhibit is in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the publication of Carle’s book Do You Want To Be My Friend? and features illustrations from this book as well as several other of his books with the friendship theme, such as The Tiny Seed and The Lamb and Butterfly.

Oliver Wolcott Library passes are available to Litchfield residents and tax payers, and can be borrowed for a period of three days. Passes cannot be reserved and are on a first-come, first-serve basis. To learn more about the other great passes the Library owns visit their website www.owlibrary.org and click on Programs, or stop by the Library today and ask at the circulation desk.

 

Oliver Wolcott Library Receives Three Grants

 

The Oliver Wolcott Library recently received three grants to support its programming. The Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut and the Connecticut Humanities Council awarded the Library a $575 grant to host a lecture on the History of Railroads in Northwest Connecticut with a focus on the railroad history of the Town of Litchfield. The program will be presented by Laura Katz Smith who is the Curator for the Business, Railroad and Labor Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center of the University of Connecticut in Storrs and will be offered to the community in October of this year.  

The Junior Women’s Club of Litchfield Hills awarded OWL a $250 grant to purchase phonics books to help support beginning readers. Phonics is the foundation of learning to read and is absolutely necessary when teaching reading because it allows the child to hear, see and apply their knowledge of letters and words.  

The Litchfield Education Foundation awarded OWL a $989.60 grant to fund a special summer reading program entitled “The Eric Berlin Lunch Bunch”. The program will be for children in grades fourth through sixth and is a summer-long program focusing on the work of popular children’s author Eric Berlin. The weekly “Lunch Bunch” will gather to enjoy a pizza lunch while discussing books by Berlin. The program will also feature a special visit by the author himself. 

 

Festival of Trees Fundraising Gala

 

Kick off the holiday season by attending the Oliver Wolcott Library’s Annual Festival of Trees on Saturday, November 27th from 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. It’s the perfect way to see friends and neighbors, enjoy great food, do your holiday shopping, and support the Library.

A new feature this year is a raffle! A $10 raffle ticket gets you a chance to win the first prize choice of either an antique ring or a sterling silver antique silver Tiffany Bowl (both have an estimated value of more than $3000) or a second prize choice of either a Cannondale RZ Twenty 4 Mountain Bike or a Cannondale Synapse Carbon G Performance Road Bike. You can enter as many times as you like and do not need to be present to win. The Raffle Drawing will happen at 7:45 PM at the Festival of Trees. Tickets can be purchased at the Oliver Wolcott Library, at the Litchfield Farmer’s Market on November 13 and November 20, and at the Festival of Trees Gala Event.

The Festival’s Silent Auction will feature a number of one-of-a-kind gifts and experiences. Some featured items include an NFL game ball signed by football legend Jerry Rice, a festive Irish Pub night hosted by renowned authors Frank Delaney and Diane Meier, dinner for two at the world famous Le Cirque restaurant plus a night's stay in New York, an evening of racing and dinner for 10 people at Grand Prix New York, and so much more!

While you are bidding on our silent auction, browse the popular trees and wreaths section to bid on beautifully designed greenery for the holiday season designed by professionals and friends. This is the perfect way to decorate your home and support the Library.

We’ve added a group of Designer Wreaths. This new special collection features ten wreaths created by local designers including Chris Giftos, Florence de Dampierre and Carolyne Roehm. There will be a celebrity judge to choose the winning wreath. The designer wreaths will be available for purchase.

The Festival also offers sumptuous hors d’oeuvres prepared by Rob Augdahl and served by young people from the community. Feast on asparagus with proscuitto, shrimp cocktail, chicken and beef satay, olive tapanade with goat cheese, chicken curry wrapped in phyllo dough, mini chocolate mousse tarts, Christmas cookies and so much more!  Then, be sure to enjoy mouth-watering eggnog prepared by Arethusa Farm Dairy. And of course, there will be two fully stocked bars, tended by local gentlemen. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday night.

The Oliver Wolcott Library relies on this event and its annual fund drive to raise more than half of its operating budget. In the last six months, the Library has seen unprecedented growth in use of all its services including 16% increases in borrowing of materials and 8% increases in visits to the Library. The Library is also committed to energy efficiency and reduced its oil usage by 40% and its electrical usage by 25% in the last five years. In this past year alone, we reduced our oil usage by 14%.

The Oliver Wolcott Library acknowledges the generosity of all of its donors and particularly this year’s Festival Platinum Sponsor Arethusa Farm Dairy; Festival Gold Sponsors: Bantam Fuel, E.J. Murphy Realty, Fahey Associates Realtors, Litchfield Bancorp, O & G Industries, Rod Oneglia, Joseph Montebello and Ron Leal, Alan and Lynne Sherman, Susan and Chip Spencer, Union Savings Bank; and its Silver Sponors: Emily Dalton and Matthew Karpas, Deborah and Declan Murphy, Bob and Jan Petricone, John and Betsy Schmid, Peter Tillou, and Frank Vanoni. 

Tickets are priced at $60 per person if purchased by November 24th. Afterwards, it is $65 per person. Tickets may be purchased on the Library’s website at www.owlibrary.org, at the Library’s front desk, or at the door on the night of the event. Everyone is welcome so don’t miss it!

 

OWL Announces New Board Trustees

Oliver Wolcott Library is happy to welcome four new trustees to its Board. Joining the team will be Margret Delves-Broughton, James Rindos, Kathryn Milano and Patrick Boland. Trustees play a vital role in determining the Library’s future, helping to ensure that it continues to be a vibrant cultural center in the community. Members share many duties and responsibilities in advocating for the Library, and each trustee brings a different area of expertise. All trustees are elected for three year terms that may be renewed once.

Margret Delves-Broughton will be bringing her experience in the art world to her new position on the Board. Prior to moving to Litchfield, she was a specialist in American Paintings at Christie’s in New York and has lived in Paris, Boston and New York. She holds a B.A. in History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband and two sons in Litchfield.

James Rindos lives with his wife and two daughters in Litchfield, where he has been a resident since 1973. He is the proprietor of Berkshire PPM, Inc., a dealer of packing and processing machinery for the beverage and food manufacturing industries. James brings the small business perspective to the Board.

Kathryn Milano is an eight year resident of Litchfield and she brings her twenty-five years of business experience with an emphasis in Marketing and Advertising to her position at OWL. She began her career in Chicago at The Leo Burnett Company and most recently was Vice President of Marketing for AOL in New York, a position which she held for seven years. She holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a M.B.A. from The University of Chicago.

Patrick Boland has served on the Board of Director’s for First National Bank of Litchfield, Connecticut Junior Republic and the Warner Theatre. He has extensive work experience in both financial and business fields, and started his career at JP Morgan & Co. in New York. He retired in 2004 from Credit Suisse First Boston, in New York where he was Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Global Credit Risk and Management Department. In addition to his vast financial and non-profit board experience, he is also fluent in Spanish.  

 

OWL Box Installed at the Big Value in Bantam

Move over Red Box, here comes the OWL Box! Last Friday, the Oliver Wolcott Library installed “The OWL Box,” essentially a vending machine filled with books, audio books, and DVDs. Library card holders from any town in Connecticut may borrow items free of charge from the OWL Box.

“We are the first library in Connecticut to offer this new innovative service. We are very excited about this opportunity to reach out to the residents of Bantam as well as others who may find it hard to get to the Oliver Wolcott Library during normal business hours,” said Ann Marie White, Library Director for the Oliver Wolcott Library.

Grants from the Praxair Foundation and the Seherr-Thoss Foundations made the purchase possible. The OWL Box provides increased access to bestsellers like Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Game Change by John Heilemann, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson; DVDs like Alice in Wonderland, Avatar, Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin, The Italian Job, High Plains Drifter, and so much more.

”Every time you visit, you will be surprised and delighted by the selections which are always changing,” said Audra MacLaren, Adult Services Librarian at the Oliver Wolcott Library who rotates materials at least three times a week.

The Big Value in Bantam is an ideal location because of its ample parking, welcoming environment, convenient hours, and easy access for seniors, working adults, busy families, teens and children. “There are many families living in that neighborhood. Now they can have access to library materials even if their parents are unable to drive them to the OWL. The senior bus routinely takes seniors to Big Value for grocery shopping. Now these seniors who may have limited mobility can access library materials,” said MacLaren.

The OWL Box acts like a vending machine where patrons from any town insert their library card, make selections, and then the item drops down for patrons to take home. Any patron in good standing with a valid Connecticut public library card may use the machine. There is no charge for this service and does not require any purchases. DVDs circulate for 7 days, audio books for 14 days, and books for 21 days. Items may be renewed online at www.owlibrary.org then select My Account or by calling the OWL at 860-567-8030. Renewing is fast and easy. Materials checked out from the OWL Box may be returned in the drop box located outside the Big Value or at any public library in the State.

If you don’t have a library card, that’s easy to fix. To apply for a library card, visit your hometown library. Your hometown library is the library in the town that you live in. Library cards are free to residents of any age, and typically only need to be renewed every four years.

“The OWL Box responds to the busy life of working adults and families. Libraries are essential and this allows even more residents that full and free access to essential information that entertains, enlightens and informs,” said White.

 

OWL Collaborates with Local Preschools
for Kindergarten Readiness


Studies have shown that students who enter kindergarten unprepared struggle to catch up to their classmates. If these students don’t catch up by the third grade, it’s likely that they never will. Now more than ever children need encouragement to enjoy reading.

“Reading and understanding language is the most important factor for success in school and in life. If a child enters kindergarten and has never heard the words in a story before, they will be unable to comprehend and quickly left behind. Everyone needs to read to have success in life,” said Ann Marie White, Library Director for the Oliver Wolcott Library.

Oliver Wolcott Library’s Children’s Librarian, Lisa Shaia, provides an outreach program at local Litchfield preschools, visiting both the three-year-old and four-year-old classes at Litchfield Headstart, Litchfield Center School, School on the Green, and Room to Grow throughout the school year. Shaia helps support the preschool curriculum by bringing a correlated themed storytime. The half-hour long storytime includes new and classic picture books, flannelboard stories, fingerplays, musical instruments and a puppet friend. For example, Shaia will begin in September with concept books exploring the ABC’s with matching activities and various fingerplays.

“Outreach is so important because I help reinforce skills that the preschoolers are already learning,” said Shaia. “Being able to sit, follow directions, and understand stories are not things that children learn to do overnight. Storytime helps with these emergent literacy skills which is vital when they enter kindergarten.”

The collaboration also introduces families to the library, according to Shaia.

“I’ve had parents come into OWL for the first time because their son or daughter has asked them to read a book they heard in storytime,” laughed Shaia. “Before I know it that family is checking out stacks of books every week and joining our summer reading program.”

In addition to outreach programs, the Oliver Wolcott Library also offers three weekly storytimes at the Library for children from birth to five years of age.

 

OWL awarded $36,500 in grants for outreach to Bantam
 

The Oliver Wolcott Library was awarded a $25,000 Praxair Foundations grant and a $11,500 Seherr-Thoss Foundations grant for their project called “OWL Box”, an outreach lending machine which is essentially a vending machine filled with books, audio books, and DVDs.

“We will be the first library in Connecticut to offer this new innovative service. We are very excited about this opportunity to reach out to the residents of Bantam as well as others who may find it hard to get to the OWL during normal business hours” said Ann Marie White, Library Director.

The grants will allow the OWL to purchase the machine, the book/DVD box drop that will be placed next to it, the maintenance agreement, and a one-time infusion of funds to purchase the additional materials needed to fill the OWL Box.

“We expect the OWL Box to be installed sometime in the month of September. We thank the Praxair Foundation and Seherr-Thoss Foundations for believing in this dynamic new service and funding it. We are also very grateful to Mr. Canciani, the owner of the Big Value of Bantam, who has agreed to allow us to place the OWL Box at the Big Value” said White.

“Big Value was our first and ideal choice for locating the OWL Box because it offers access to seniors, working adults, busy families, teens, and children. There are many families that live within walking or bike riding distance from Big Value. Now they can have access to library materials even if their parents are unable to drive them to the OWL. The senior bus routinely takes seniors to Big Value for grocery shopping. Now these seniors who have limited mobility can also have access to library materials” said Audra MacLaren, Adult Services Librarian.

The OWL Box will provide increased access to books, audio books, and DVDs. The OWL Box acts like a vending machine where patrons from any town may insert their library card, make selections, and the item drops down for patrons to take home. Any patron in good standing with a valid library card may use the machine. Items will be rotated at least once a week, and selections will be fine-tuned based on what circulates the most.

“The OWL Box responds to the busy life of working adults and families. If it’s 7 a.m. and you’re heading to New York City, you can stop at the OWL Box to pick up an audio book for the drive. If it’s 7pm on Sunday and you suddenly have a sick child at home, you can stop by for a DVD or a picture book for bedtime” White said. “It also responds by allowing us to extend our service without building a new building or adding staff. It’s a way to offer more services and the services our community needs. Libraries are essential and this allows even more residents that full and free access to the essential information they need.” 

 

OWL Introduces “E-Lounge”
 

Get ready for an all new book discussion experience. Oliver Wolcott Library (OWL) introduces their new “E-Lounge,” an online book discussion forum where members can add comments and thoughts to posted discussion questions.
The OWL staff is always looking for ways to be innovative and expand their services to meet the growing needs of the community. The OWL currently hosts three traditional monthly book discussion groups. Library Assistant Cameron Bove found that many patrons would love to participate in a book club but simply do not have the time. “In today’s busy world, so many people are pressed for time and feel stressed about squeezing one more thing in their schedules. They find it difficult to read a book in one month and come to a discussion at a designated time. Previously, these patrons had no other option. They were shut out of the discussion process” said Bove. With these comments in mind, OWL’s E-Lounge online book discussion was born!

With the online E-Lounge patrons have a two month period to read the book and post comments at their leisure. Two discussion questions will be posted on Thursday of each week for the eight week period. Members can post comments and thoughts under each discussion topic. Adult Services Librarian, Audra MacLaren says with enthusiasm that, “it is a fabulous venue for individuals that cannot get to the library for the book clubs, like busy moms, working adults, and homebound individuals. It gives members the freedom to log in at the time they choose to participate. The online book discussion will be open 24/7 so patrons can log on whenever they please and visit as frequently as they want."

Both Bove and MacLaren will facilitate the E-lounge. The website is a private, for members only discussion. “We designed the E-lounge for privacy. We felt this was another important need expressed by our patrons. They want to discuss, post, and comment, but they don’t necessarily want the whole world to see their thoughts. The E-lounge is designed so that only members of the E-lounge see your comments. It is not accessible or viewable by the casual online browser. We hope that these added privacy measures encourage more patrons to join and actively participate.” Discussion will be moderated by Bove and MacLaren who said that, “off topic, rude and other similar posts will not be accepted”. To become a member, submit your e-mail to Audra at amaclaren@owlibrary.org. To read more about the E-lounge, visit the OWL’s website at www.owlibrary.org then click on the E-lounge tab on the front page or by clicking on the Book Clubs/E-lounge Online Club tab. The E-lounge will launch on July 1st with the summer selection, The Help by Katheryn Stockett.

To become a member of the OWL E-Lounge, e-mail Audra at amaclaren@owlibrary.org or go to owlselounge.shutterfly.com
 

UNICO donates $500 to Oliver Wolcott Library
 

The Torrington Chapter of UNICO delivered a check for $500 to the Oliver Wolcott Library to purchase books, CDs, and films on Italian language, culture and travel.

People travel extensively for work and pleasure. In today’s global world, people of all ages increasingly need to expand and enhance their ability to speak and read in a foreign language so that they can communicate and operate effectively. This includes students, teachers, adults, and seniors. For work and pleasure, people travel to Italy and require current materials for travel information. “Our foreign language learning tools are in high demand with our patrons. All of the Library’s Italian learning tools were available in cassette format only. With this funding, we have now been able to replace the cassettes with CDs for Italian language instruction,” said Ann Marie White, Library Director of the Oliver Wolcott Library. “Additionally, UNICO’s generosity provides us with the ability to meet the growing need for information on Italy for travelers, business people, and students.”

 

In the last five years, the Library has seen significant growth in circulation of its materials with last year experiencing a 20% increase. In the last six months, this trend has continued to climb with every expectation and indication that demands for library materials and services will continue to grow. Mrs. White concluded, “We are truly thankful to the Torrington Chapter of UNICO. The community needs to have current information. Because of UNICO’s generosity, we are going to able to meet that need.”

 

UNICO is an Italian American Service Club that seeks to provide fellowship among its members and to perform charitable, educational, and patriotic deeds for its fellow citizens, community and country. The Torrington Chapter is the second oldest and one of the largest chapters in the nation. Their website is ctunico.org/torrington.html 

 

Podcasting comes to OWL
 

In recent years, advances in technology along with an interest in online and downloadable programs have increased significantly. People now watch documentaries and film clips or listen to audio books on the internet. Oliver Wolcott Library recently implemented podcasting for their monthly Author’s at OWL Series. Podcasts are audio files taped from a live event, allowing patrons to relive an author talk they attended at OWL or listen for the first time if they missed the live event.
Ann Marie White, OWL Director, said, “Our author events bring fascinating authors to the Library to discuss their work. With podcasting, we can now preserve these insightful events and share them with a wider audience.” It may sound complicated, but a podcast is basically a series of digital media files, either audio or visual, that are released regularly and downloaded through an online forum.
Adults lead busy lives and often cannot attend a program. “What is unique and valuable to patrons is that they can now have access to the audio files of past programs online,” states Audra MacLaren, OWL Adult Services Librarian. “Often patrons really wanted to come to one of our programs but were unable to because of their schedule or mobility issues. With the podcast’s, they can now go online to our website and listen to that author!” MacLaren also notes that it not only benefits those who are unable to attend some of the programs, but for those who want to re-visit the conversation or lecture. “They might have missed something the first time around or forgot to write down a certain name or title they wanted. Now with a couple clicks of the mouse they can listen to the podcast as much as they like, even sharing it with others who couldn’t come.” To listen to an OWL original podcast, visit their website at www.owlibrary.org and click on the link to “Podcasts at OWL” found on the lower left-hand side of the front page. This will direct you to a listing of the podcast selections on the website and is updated regularly with new additions. 

 

Oliver Wolcott Library Introduces
“Travel Suitcase To Go Kits”


Get your child ready to travel with Oliver Wolcott Library’s new Travel Suitcase To Go Kits, perfect for families that like to plan and learn together. Similar to the Storytime To Go Kits, the suitcases all have a theme revolving around their specific destination. The suitcases highlight ten popular destinations including: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty, and Maine. Each is packed with picture books, board books and a CD about or relating to the location. Some suitcases also include maps and sightseeing information for specific locations. All suitcases contain materials suitable for preschoolers through third graders. This project was generously funded by a grant from the Litchfield Education Foundation. Stop by the Library today and “get packing!”
 

 

Babies Bouncing
at the Oliver Wolcott Library

 

Babies giggling as they use shakers to keep rhythm with the song; babies fixated on the turn of a page; and babies roaring along with the lion finger puppet – these are just a few of the scenes you’ll experience if you attend the ever-popular Bouncing Babies at Oliver Wolcott Library every Tuesday morning. Bouncing Babies, a weekly emergent literacy program for little ones from birth to 24 months and their caregivers, incorporates concept and rhyming books, finger plays, and interactive engagement with the spoken word to foster imagination, vocabulary development, and social skills. It also strengthens the bonds between parent and child. 

New participants receive a complimentary “Baby Bag” when they attend their first Bouncing Babies program. The 100% recycled tote bag contains a board book, information on the importance of reading to babies, and other little goodies. Many families use their bag to carry books back and forth from the Library.

“Bouncing Babies is a great way to begin making the library part of a family’s routine. This is critical for success in school and life because reading is the most important tool in our information society. No matter what you plan to do with your life, reading is vital to success,” said Mrs. Ann MarieWhite, Library Director for the Oliver Wolcott Library.

At each Bouncing Babies session, Mrs. Shaia, Children’s Librarian, starts with a song, then a finger play, and ends with a sing-along story. Interactive playtime completes the program.

”Many of the babies who attend are first-borns and they haven’t been exposed to other children yet,” said Mrs. Shaia, “So I foster games such as roly-poly to get the children sharing and interacting with their parent. It’s also beneficial to parents by modeling behavior. Many first-time mothers and fathers are hesitant to act and be silly, as well as how important it is to talk to your baby. I help them realize that not only is this okay but your baby will love every crazy, silly moment of it! Babies are a big sponge and even if they don’t appear to be responding, they are learning.”

Due to its popularity, Bouncing Babies has expanded to two sessions. You can attend Bouncing Babies every Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. and now at 11:30 a.m. No registration is required but parents and babies should only come to one session.
 

Connecticut Old State House Museum Pass at
Oliver Wolcott Library

Oliver Wolcott Library announces the addition of the Connecticut Old State House Museum to their library pass collection! The Connecticut Old State House is one of the oldest remaining state houses in the nation. Tour the newly restored legislative chambers, the executive branch offices and the courtroom, either on your own or with one of the guided tours. When there, check out the Mortensen Gallery or Joseph Stewart Museum of Curiosities. Currently on display in the Mortensen Gallery is an interactive multi-media exhibit highlighting over 300 years of Connecticut history. The Joseph Stewart Museum of Curiosities is a re-creation of the original Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities which was a part of the building in 1798.

The Old State House Library pass has a two-day loan period and grants free admission for up to two adults and two children. The pass is available free of charge to Oliver Wolcott Library card holders. When you check the pass out, you will also get a binder containing information and fun facts about the Connecticut Old State House, directions and hours, activities and a list of “what to read” before you go for both children and adults. Stop by the Library to check out the Old State House Library pass, or one of our other great passes and start exploring! 
 

 

Snapshot: One Day in the Life of Connecticut Libraries
February 18, 2010

Libraries all over Connecticut will be taking a ‘snapshot’ - collecting information to capture the impact that Connecticut libraries have on their communities on a typical day. Tell us what you love about the OWL and why it’s important. 

Please help us record how important the OWL is to the community. Your comments may be used to support Connecticut libraries in the upcoming legislative session.  Tell us all the reasons why you use the library.

Why is the library important to you?

Share your thoughts, take our survey. (CLICK HERE)
 

Book A Librarian

In today’s world, technology is an integral part of our lives. Many residents, especially older adults, were previously shut-out of this world or left trying to afford expensive classes on subjects that often didn’t address their skill or specific need. Audra MacLaren, the Oliver Wolcott Library’s Adult Services Librarian, recognized this need and with Ann Marie White, Library Director, implemented a program they call “Book-a-Librarian”.

Book-a-Librarian offers library users a personalized one-on-one half-hour instructional session on any technology topic. Ms. MacLaren notes that she has covered any number of technology topics including how to use a mouse, access itunes and use an ipod, web searching, e-mail, online job searching, wireless technology and access, and downloading and uploading photographs digitally. Since its inception in September of 2008, Audra MacLaren has offered more than 162 sessions.

 

“Many people use this service more than once which we welcome. Others only need my assistance to understand how to use their new laptop wirelessly then they are all set. All of them are so very thankful for this service that we offer freely to anyone in need” says Audra MacLaren.

 

Previously, the Library offered classes on a topic for up to ten students at a time. Ann Marie White, Library Director, reflected that, “We discovered that the classroom environment did not work for this particular need. Patrons who need basic technology assistance typically have a very specific topic and have extremely divergent skill levels. Both of these factors make the classroom environment a disaster where the instructor ultimately helps no one. With the personalized service, we are able to help each and every patron we serve because we can go at their pace and cover the exact topic they need to understand.” On average, the Oliver Wolcott Library “books” 10sessions a month. “By removing the classroom environment and substituting it with the personalized Book-a-Librarian instruction, we help more people but remain efficient. We removed what didn’t work and replaced it with what does. This way we remain efficient with staff time while simultaneously improving our service”. Continuous improvement and staff efficiency are core values of the Oliver Wolcott Library, and the staff constantly stay focused on that goal.

 

Booking a Book-a-Librarian session is easy. Interested people only need to call the Oliver Wolcott Library at 860-567-8030, or stop in at the Library located on 160 South Street in Litchfield to reserve a time to meet with the Adult Services Librarian, Audra MacLaren. Sessions are available in the morning and evening.


 

 AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS at OWL!

GRADES K - 3

Space Cadets!

 

Explore the wonderful world of science with real experiments. We’ll learn how meteoroids and comets affect the earth, how solar power works, and more!

Mondays from 3:45 - 4:30 p.m.
September 21, 28, October 5 & 19

Register Online

 

GRADES 4 - 6

Tweens vs. Wild

 

Build your own “survival” kit and learn skills to survive in the wild. Learn how to make a compass, create a fishing pole, a barometer, and more. We’ll also discuss tales of adventure by Gary Paulsen, Jean Craighead, George and Will Hobbs.

Wednesdays from 3:45 - 4:30 p.m.
September 23 - October 21

Register Online

 

 

LIBRARY CLOSED

Saturday Sept 5, Sunday Sept 6 & Monday September 7

As a result of a mandatory computer upgrade of our shared network consortium of more than 40 libraries, we will be closed on Saturday September 5, Sunday September 6 and Monday September 7. This upgrade will bring improved connectivity and speed to all of our computer-based systems including internet connections, catalog, and checking in/out of materials.

Our website will continue to be available and function (except the My Account feature).

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday September 8 when we re-open!  

OWL LAUNCHES TEEN SUMMER READING PROGRAM

With funding from the Litchfield Education Foundation, the Oliver Wolcott Library launched their first Teen Summer Reading Program. The program features both a reading challenge component as well as events scheduled every Wednesday evening in the month of July. The current culture is all about personalizing and Lisa Shaia, Children’s Librarian at OWL, said that they want to honor that approach. “Today’s teens are used to customizing. They want to set their own goals and choose their own events. Our program does all that. Teens can pick and choose. They can participate in everything or just do some parts”.

By using a three-question survey, teens can determine what should be their reading goal. Whether they think reading is “totally cool” or they tend to read only after listening to music and playing video games, the teen reading component welcomes all and encourages participation. “We recognize that not all teens are going to be avid readers. Some are and we obviously love seeing that! But there are also kids who read less frequently or who fall in-between. The beauty of this program is that it welcomes all teens to engage in reading whether they set a goal of 400 minutes for the summer or 500 pages”.

The event component of the program continues with customizing and has a new and different program each Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. for the month of July. Ann Marie White, Library Director, noted that, “the most important goal for us this summer is to make teens feel that the Library is their place. We want them to feel comfortable here. The more you are around books and people talking ideas, the more you will begin to engage your own mind. That’s our mission: engage minds.” To reach this goal, Shaia selected four events that would challenge, enlighten, and entertain teens in an environment free from the pressure of exams, tests, and peer pressure. “Our events bring five outstanding professionals in their field to OWL to focus on various areas of creativity including creative writing, photography, poetry, and cartooning.”

Husband and wife team Jim and Nikko McGoldrick will kick off the series on July 1st with their workshop on Creative Writing. “They say that we all have a story to tell, and we believe teens have a lot more than one story in them! As students progress in school, they have fewer and fewer opportunities to delve into the world of their imaginations and to exercise those storytelling skills we’re all born with. This program will give teens that opportunity.” The McGoldricks have published more than twenty-seven books under various pseudonyms.

Jim Kelleher, a published poet with an M.F.A. in Poetry, will be leading the Poetry Workshop, the third event in the series, on July 15. “People who read use their brains” said Jim, “Their brains build muscles (ideas and vocabulary) and then these readers get better grades in school, earn more money at work, and usually (but not always) figure out who they are and what is best for them. People who just sit and watch videos are receiving information; it is fun but always passive. You can let someone think for you, and let them entertain you with their ideas, or you can become independent and think for yourself.”

Additional events include a cartooning workshop on July 8, a photography workshop on July 22, and a reception open to everyone for teens to showcase the work they’ve created during the summer scheduled for August 5. Teens can continue to register for the reading component through July 13. For more details and to register for all or some of the program, visit the Oliver Wolcott Library on 160 South Street or go to their website at www.owlibrary.org and select Programs/Children & Teen Programs. 

 

OWL Blog Explodes With Hits!


The Oliver Wolcott Library’s innovative blog is now averaging 188 visits per day or approximately 1,300 visits each week! The blog originally started in February of 2007 with the idea to create a new, inventive way to communicate with patrons and help them to establish a personal connection with the Librarians at OWL. It was to give a behind the scenes look into the Library. Topics and subjects range greatly and depend on the writers, but it always relates back to OWL’s collection and services. Currently, there are five blog writers: Ann Marie White, Audra MacLaren, Jesse Lee Harmon, Lisa Shaia and Sarai Druan. Each of the writers brings new and exciting ideas to the blog as well as highlighting the Library’s treasures. The blog is both personal as well as informative; you might learn, for instance, how to plant a garden by the moon phases, while other entries may describe interests, hobbies, favorites and even childhood memories. What is both surprising and pleasing is the amount of people who do read the blog. Director Ann Marie White says: “When I’m out and about in the community it’s great to hear people come up to me and say they are reading the blog and enjoying it very much. I feel that we are truly adding value to what we do and helping people to get excited about our collection.” If you aren’t reading the blog yet, find out what your friends and neighbors are talking about. New blogs are posted every Friday on the Library’s website, or subscribe to the Library’s e-newsletter where the link the newest blog is posted each Saturday morning on the left-hand side of the e-newsletter. Log on to www.owlibrary.org to check out the latest blogs, or browse through the blog archives to catch some of the ones you may have missed. To subscribe to the newsletter, log into the website, enter your e-mail address into the “Join e-list” box. You will learn a lot about your Librarians, and you may even learn something new, but most importantly you can get an inside look at the wonderful items that inhabit the shelves at OWL. 

 

Oliver Wolcott Library is Awarded 3 Grants!

 

Oliver Wolcott Library receives three grants to support its youth services programs. Because of a grant from Litchfield Education Foundation, Oliver Wolcott Library will launch a Teen Summer Reading program. Children’s Librarian Lisa Shaia stresses the importance of such a program, stating: “there were no programs tailored to their age group to encourage their literary experiences throughout the summer months. With the Litchfield Education Foundation’s support, the Library can now offer the first Summer Reading Program to teens in 7-12 grades.” The theme of the program, Express Yourself, will pair reading with creative activities like photography, music and writing and will culminate in a reception. Litchfield Education Foundation’s mission is to promote excellence and innovation in public education throughout the entire community.

A second grant, from the Connecticut Community Foundation, will make two performances for pre-school aged children possible. Children ages 2-6 will dance, sing, laugh and listen to stories in a story-song performance, and a program of interactive music and movement designed to facilitate language development, reading readiness and literacy! These programs are a vital part of children’s growth and literacy skills. The mission of the Connecticut Community Foundation is to engage the community to address its needs by connecting charitable resources to sustainable programs in human services, education, the environment, health care and the arts.

The third grant that Oliver Wolcott Library received is from Civic Family Services. With this grant, OWL can now replenish their collection of children’s audio books on cassette with new ones on CD! Shaia notes that “read-alongs are essential to a preschooler’s kindergarten readiness and love of reading that will encourage them to keep coming back to the Library.” The rest of the money will go towards high-quality educational software for the children’s computers. The older software will be replaced by new games that encourage children’s development in many areas! These new additions are all possible because of Civic Family Services, a non-profit organization that is based in Bantam, CT.

It is through wonderful organizations like these that provide grants to non-profit organizations that make so much possible at the Library. With these grants, the Oliver Wolcott Library will be able to offer a wonderful Teen Summer Reading Program as well as two programs for pre-school children, and to extend their collection of children’s books with CD’s and education software.
 

OWL’s Award-Winning Website!

 

Oliver Wolcott Library is proud to announce that it has won the Best Website Award for a small/medium size library from the Connecticut Library Association! The website was designed by Doug Gatanis of Gigantic, Inc. of NYC. After interviewing a number of website designers, OWL felt that Doug understood what they wanted, communicated well, and they liked his prior projects. The upkeep of the website is done in-house by the staff. The primary website master is Norm Collins, Technology Coordinator. Audra MacLaren, Adult Services Librarian, also assists with some pages, and Caroline King, Library Assistant, takes care of the Events Calendar. The website was redesigned on March 2008. During the 2008 calendar year, 34,249 visits to the Library’s website were logged using Google analytics. Compared to the 18,650 visits in 2007 there was an increase of 84%. Patrons use the website for news, information, research and account information. The website is an extension of the Oliver Wolcott Library and provides a wealth of information quickly with just a couple clicks. Additionally, the Library sees the website as a “living document,” adding features or removing those that they feel are not presented well or are not used.
Oliver Wolcott Library is proud to have won the Connecticut Library Associations Award for Best Website and will continue to add and improve the website as needed in order to serve patrons to the best of their ability.
 


Oliver Wolcott Library sees surge in usage

 

In these troubled economic times, use of the Oliver Wolcott Library has soared and the library has seen record-breaking increases. In the past four months, circulation jumped by 32% and visits increased by almost 10%. Every day, an average of 250 people walk through the library’s doors with higher usage of every service offered - from computer usage, program attendance, meeting room reservations, book-a-librarian services, and the website, as well as books, DVDs and music CDs.

“People are realizing the need to cut-back and curb their spending, and are finding that many of Oliver Wolcott Library’s services are just the way to save money without compromising their educational, cultural and career needs. We’ve been seeing dramatic increases in usage for the last 5 years but now our usage is climbing with double-digit increases month after month” says director Ann Marie White. This increase in library visits is happening not only during the week but on weekends, too. Since opening on Sundays this past September, White says that she has seen many new faces and heard nothing but positive feedback. “The majority of people using the library on Sundays are people who had previously been unable to come to the library because of work or other personal obligations. They now have access to all of OWL’s services and they are very thankful. We have repeatedly heard many heartfelt words of gratitude from our new Sunday patrons, and visits to OWL on Sundays have continued to rise.”

It is clear that people need the library now more than ever. Children’s programming, for example has seen an incredible increase of 250% during the last four months. White states, “Our popular children’s story times and after-school programs are even busier as more parents are reaching out for educational enjoyable programs that have the benefit of being both high quality and free. Many parents who have previously paid for their children’s classes are now finding the library a wonderful alternative.”

But all age groups are coming to the library in increasing numbers. Teens, adults, seniors and children are coming to borrow from OWL’s impressive selection of bestselling and classic books, DVD’s, music CD’s, magazines and audiobooks. It’s a great way to have fun without paying for a movie ticket or DVD rental. The library’s book clubs and adult programs, including discussions with various authors, are additional ways that adults can reach out to find educational and cultural experiences without a hefty price tag. “In the last four months, OWL witnessed a 32% increase in circulation of materials. We only expect this trend to rise.” Board President F. Robert Petricone noted, “In 2008, OWL lent 110,760 items. In dollar terms, we provided an equivalent of $2 million worth of materials. That’s what people would have paid if they had to buy them on their own.”

White also noted a marked increase in meeting room usage. “Since November, we’ve been seeing a 50% increase in use of our meeting room by community organizations. In addition to being free to not-for-profit organizations and available to businesses for a reasonable fee, our meeting room is wireless and holds more than 75 people comfortably, and we’ve made the process for reserving the room as easy as possible with our form available online at our website www.owlibrary.org. We also have an LCD projector that individuals, organizations and businesses can rent for a reasonable fee. This is especially helpful for individuals who need to make a business presentation but cannot afford the expense of buying an LCD projector themselves.”

OWL continues to be a great place for research and work. “People recognize that the library offers all the tools they need in a quiet yet stimulating environment to work, prepare for a job interview, or learn tips on how to develop new business opportunities.” White notes that she is always looking for additional ways the Library can assist the community with job searching and economic opportunities and has planned two new events for this spring. The first event is a workshop on how to start a home-based business and will be held on May 19th at 7:00 p.m. This event is co-sponsored with the Litchfield Planning and Zoning, SCORE and the Litchfield Economic Development Commission. The second program will teach participants how to utilize QuickBooks for their own bookkeeping and is scheduled for May 13th at 6:30 p.m. It is co-sponsored by the First National Bank of Litchfield and the Library.

Even though usage has gone up dramatically, OWL has been able to make significant cost reductions over the past three years. Electrical usage has gone down by 24% and oil costs are down 30%. Petricone added that the library is determined to make further savings in energy usage in 2009-2010.

Another way that they have kept costs down by continuously improving their efficiency.  OWL’s efficiency is 32% better than the statewide average, as measured by annual circulation per full-time employee, the standard metric for evaluating library efficiency.

Everyone, including the Library, is being affected by the economy. Recently, the Library’s budget proposal was reduced in a round of cuts proposed by the Litchfield Board of Selectmen. Petricone says, “We’re disappointed and troubled by the situation primarily because we are managing significant increases in our usage with these difficult economic times. We hope in the final analysis the town will budget its share of funds to support the taxpayers’ skyrocketing use of the library. We have some documentation here about the library’s performance and the demand for library services, which we presented to the Board of Selectman and can provide to anyone else who is interested.” The town of Litchfield funds about half of the library’s operating budget and the Library relies on private fundraising for the remaining operating expenses.

 
 

Grant Funded “Story Time To-Go Kits” at
Oliver Wolcott Library

 

Thanks to a grant from the Litchfield Education Foundation, Oliver Wolcott Library now offers ten unique “Story Time To-Go Kits!” The kits can be used for bedtime storytime, slumber party activities and weekend trips. They’re perfect for families on-the-go, weekend visits with grandchildren, or simply a fun time. Each of the kits has a different theme and contains a variety of exciting materials, including a hardcover book, a music CD, DVD, a puppet, and/or an educational game. Children’s Librarian, Lisa Shaia, specifically selected all of the material inside each kit for its appeal to children and educational value. They are an excellent educational tool for families to use together, while offering a variety of activities and themes that promote learning and reading. Most kits are for children from 12 months to 8 years of age but each kit also has recommended age levels so you know which one will be best suited for your child. The kit comes in a handy, easy-to-transport container and can be checked out of the Library for a period of 1 week.

The mission of the Litchfield Education Foundation is to promote excellence and innovation in public education throughout the entire community. Oliver Wolcott Library is very grateful to the Foundation for the grant that allowed these kits to be possible. Come to the Library and check one out today!

 

Know what’s happening in Washington and how to respond with Congressional Quarterly Weekly now available at the Oliver Wolcott Library

 

With the changing economic climate, more than ever citizens need to know what is happening in Washington, what their representatives are doing or not doing, and how to react. To respond to this need, the Oliver Wolcott Library has now added Congressional Quarterly Weekly to its collection. Congressional Quarterly Weekly (CQ Weekly) offers easy access to information on upcoming and current bills, how individual representatives are voting on current and past bills, detailed analysis of everything “Washington” including Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House. Access CQ Weekly anytime from the OWL or if you have an OWL library card, then you can also access it from home.

Features of CQ Weekly include: Vantage Point a quick-read analysis of emerging trends in government, commerce and politics, In Focus an in-depth coverage of public policy developments across the governmental spectrum, from Congress to the White House to the Supreme Court, Cover Story a weekly news reporting on major issues unfolding on Capital Hill, Columns an insider’s insight on public-policy implications of national issues, and the Weekly Report a detailed report on bills, amendments and votes. You can access CQ Weekly Online from home with your OWL library card, or come into the Library to use it on our computers if you don’t have a card with us.
Join Adult Services Librarian Audra MacLaren and The League of Women Voter’s Kerry O’Toole on January 21st from 7:00-8:00 p.m. as they introduce CQ Weekly. Kerry has worked as Legislative Aide in the Senate from 1994-1999. She will explain how a bill is a living and changing entity and insight into the legislative process. Audra will guide you through using CQ Week. This fun, informative session is open to everyone and will help patrons learn about all of the wonderful features offered with CQ Weekly. To register for this program, contact the OWL at 860-567-8030 or click on Programs then Adult Programs link above.

 

Children’s Room Renovations

 

In 2008- 09, the Children’s Room at the Oliver Wolcott Library will be undergoing renovations. The first phase of the renovation is to greatly improve the lighting in the Children’s Room by replacing the ineffective forty-year old lighting fixtures with improved lighting that has the added bonus of being energy-efficient. The current lighting is very dim and inhibits reading, working on homework and browsing materials. In addition to vastly improving the lighting in the Room, this project will allow the Library to replace the lights with energy efficient ones, helping to further reduce our overall electrical usage. These improvements will be highly beneficial to the patrons who come to use the room.

The Children’s area has seen significant growth with a 22% increase in circulation of children’s materials in three years. The Library averages 240 patrons each day and we expect this to only increase. During our 2008 Summer Reading Program, we averaged 297 patrons each day visiting the Library. The room is a very busy part of the Library; young children and their caregivers use it throughout the day for browsing materials, reading quietly, studying and doing homework. It is a safe and inviting place for many children to come to after school.

Oliver Wolcott Library is excited to be improving the Children’s Room to further our commitment to offering the best services and helping to reduce our energy costs.

Please note that the Library will be closed on Sunday December 21st for the renovation of the lights, and will be open on Monday December 22nd but with no children’s services.

 

OLIVER WOLCOTT LIBRARY FESTIVAL OF TREES 2008

Kick off the holiday season by attending the Oliver Wolcott Library’s Annual Festival of Trees fundraising gala on Saturday, November 29th from 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. It’s festive and the perfect way to see friends and neighbors, have some great food, do your holiday shopping, and support the Library.

The Festival’s silent auction theme is “Gifts to Enjoy Together”. Featured are fabulous vacation getaways for couples, amazing dinner parties to buy with friends and family, plus generous gift certificates to local restaurants and shops. In addition there will be an assortment of spa treatments, gorgeous estate jewelry, and more.

This year, the popular trees and wreaths section will be part of the competitive silent auction process. So, come early and get that bidding started! Gift baskets will have their usual set prices, and the category has been expanded to include even more unique and innovative collections than ever before.

The Festival will feature an array of sumptuous hors d’oeuvres prepared by Rob Augdahl and served by young people from the community. Feast on beef satay, smoked salmon & Boursin cheese pinwheels, porcini mushroom risotto balls, yellow fin tuna cubes, duck spring rolls, and much more. There will be a table of fabulous desserts that will be hard to resist, including, lemon squares, brownies, and caramel pecan bars. And of course, there will be two fully stocked bars, tended by local gentlemen. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday night.

The Library relies on this event and the annual fund drive to raise more than half of its operating budget. Oliver Wolcott Library’s services and programs are constantly evolving to meet the community’s needs. This year, the Library responded to the community’s need for expanded weekend hours and is now open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Circulation of library materials and visits to the Library continues to increase. The Library now averages about 240 people visiting each day. The Library offers many services including a collection of bestsellers, DVDs, music CDs, and downloadable audio books, a variety of children and adult programs, computer classes including a new service of one-on-one personalized instruction called Book-a-Librarian, and much more.

The Oliver Wolcott Library acknowledges the generosity of all of its donors and particularly this year’s Festival sponsors: Coldwell Banking Residential Brokerage, E.J. Murphy Realty, Fahey Associates, First National Bank of Litchfield, Litchfield Bancorp, O & G Industries, Joseph Montebello and Ron Leal, and Alan and Lynne Sherman.

The Festival of Trees is a fun-filled rewarding way to catch up with friends, meet new ones, buy gifts for others (and yourself), and support the Oliver Wolcott Library.

Tickets can be purchased Online(Buy now), at the Library’s front desk, or at the door on the night of the event. Everyone is welcome so don’t miss it!  

 

Oliver Wolcott Library to Open Doors on Sundays

You asked. We listened! The Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield is happy to announce we will be opening on Sundays starting September 28, 2008. The opening is in response to many patron requests for expanded weekend hours. OWL has witnessed a dramatic increase in usage for more than five years and now averages 240 visits each day, with Saturday usage increased by 10% in the past year alone. This July was one of the busiest months ever recorded in OWL history, with an average of 294 people visiting each day. Other libraries that are open on Sundays report it as being their busiest time of the week. Extended weekend hours will be especially beneficial to students, working families and weekenders.

You will see much of the same, excellent staff here on weekends. Some of our full-time staff find working the weekends fits their lifestyle better than a typical Monday - Friday schedule. OWL has also hired additional part-time staff to work on the weekends. These staff members have been specifically selected to handle student reference and research questions. This new service is being funded by a partnership between the Town of Litchfield and the Library.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy Sundays at OWL. Use our quiet room, read a book, use our public computers or bring your laptop to access our wireless network, write a paper, research that homework assignment, find a good film, have a meeting-- there's so much to do at the Oliver Wolcott Library. Now you can enjoy all the OWL has to offer every day of the week, including Sundays starting September 28th. Please come! 
 

OWL Gives a "Hoot" for Going Green

Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield has made some significant changes to help reduce their carbon footprint. Director of the library, Ann Marie White, has always been an earth advocator but was inspired by reading Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia clothing.

More than two years ago, Ann Marie set a goal for OWL to reduce its footprint on the planet while still offering great service to their patrons. The Board and Staff quickly stepped-up to the initiative. Ann Marie says their success has been a team effort. By re-imagining underused space, OWL effectively expanded the library by 10% without increasing their footprint or staff, and while reducing energy costs. With this renovation, they created a sitting area to highlight their new adult book collection, upgraded their technology area, and added seating. The result has been an increase in circulation by 7% over the prior year. OWL implemented energy savings initiatives that reduced electrical energy usage by 17% and oil usage by 12% in two years.

The newly renovated area near the circulation desk has the most energy efficient lights that are on the market today (T.5 fluorescent lights). All other existing lights in the library were also changed to energy efficient bulbs. A new computer software program, called Syam, allows all the computers to shut down automatically at night to save on energy. Oliver Wolcott Library installed programmable thermostats and storm windows to the east side of the house area, as well as upgrading the boiler system. The programmable thermostats are self-timed and work by dropping back the temperature automatically in the house area and community room when the library is closed.
 

Most people might not think that libraries would use a lot of paper—but in actuality, they do; forms attached to books going to other libraries, request slips, copies and print-outs etc. OWL adopted an aggressive recycling program setting up recycling cans throughout the staff and public areas. They coordinated with the maintenance staff to gain their support for the project. Now, they recycle an average of 8 cubic feet of material each week, which totals over 22,000 pounds each year!

For almost a decade, OWL has purchased eco-friendly products including natural air fresheners, hand soaps, and recycled paper products. Not only is this helpful to the environment but it minimizes staff and public exposure to chemicals and fragrances that are of growing concern for many in our community. Additionally, the landscaping is maintained without the use of chemicals, pesticides or herbicides.


Whenever possible, OWL goes “green.” One of the more surprising opportunities was the new area rugs installed in the new book area and behind the circulation desk during the renovation. Ray Anderson, founder of the company Interface that manufactured the Library’s rugs, was inspired by the book, The Ecology of Commerce, by Paul Hawkin. He dedicated his working life to make Interface “the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire industrial world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: People, process, product, place and profits—by 2020—and in doing so, to become restorative through the power of influence.” The rug is also economically satisfying; if one square of the rug gets dirty or needs to be replaced, the one square can be easily removed without having to replace the entire rug.


The library looks forward to upgrading the Children’s room in winter of 2008-2009 with energy efficient lighting and to continue to look for ways to reduce its footprint while offering excellence in library services.

 

OWL Acquires Three New Museum Passes

Is Connecticut your staycation destination this year? With gas prices forcing us to slow down a bit, it’s not a bad idea to stay local this summer vacation and take advantage of all the museum passes Oliver Wolcott Library has to offer Litchfield residents!
Oliver Wolcott Library is happy to announce it has added three new day passes to their collection: Children’s Museum and Roaring Brook Nature Center combination pass, Earthplace Nature Discovery Center pass, and The Maritime Aquarium.

The Children’s Museum and Roaring Brook Nature Center are exciting places to explore. The Museum in West Hartford is teeming with exhibits, both indoors and outdoors. Among the fascinating exhibits are the Wildlife Sanctuary, Travelers Science Dome, Excavation Station, and Turtle Town where you can visit the turtles/tortoises and even crawl under a turtle shell to get a different perspective of life underneath! There are also a variety of summer activities and programs for all ages, and one can’t visit the museum without visiting the digital planetarium—a 40 foot diameter dome that seats 149 people and features live and pre-recorded shows. Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton offers various educational exhibits and animals to see, as well as many guided nature walks and animal demonstrations. The Oliver Wolcott Library pass will allow one free admission with every paid admission, up to a limit of four free admissions per pass per day.

The Earthplace Nature Discovery Center in Westport is also great for families and nature lovers. The 62-acre sanctuary, which was once an old farm, is now home to beautiful nature trails that you can explore including a bird and butterfly garden. Nature lovers will be thrilled to explore the many species of animals and insects that reside at the center. Other exciting summer adventures include family campfire, pond exploration, myths and legends day, and various hikes both during the day and at night. The Oliver Wolcott Library pass allows one family of four to visit for free.
The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is not only an aquarium that allows for exploration of animals and other species, but for adventures in the IMAX Theater and the maritime history hall as well. Among the 125 species at the aquarium are sharks, otters and an octopus! You can even take a ride on board the R/V Oceanic. The Maritime is a wonderful place to learn and spend a day with the family. The Oliver Wolcott Library has two passes to Maritime Aquarium. The passes offer $2.00 off a combination ticket (aquarium & daytime IMAX).

And don’t forget the Library still has passes for Mystic Marine Life Aquarium, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, White Memorial, and State Park Passes. The passes go out for a 2 day loan period. There is a five dollar a day fine for each day the pass is overdue. Passes are first-come, first-serve and cannot be reserved. Visit our website at www.owlibrary.org, and then click Programs, then on Museum Passes for additional information or stop in today to take your pass home. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to have a “staycation” and save some money with our fabulous passes!

 

WNPR Broadcasts LIVE from Oliver Wolcott Library

More than fifty patrons were treated to a special discussion on WNPR’s live broadcast of Where We Live with Kevin Phillips at Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield. The broadcast took place on Monday July 14th in the community room at the Library.  The one-hour program addressed issues that Phillips discusses in his new book, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism. Phillips provided hard facts about what Americans are facing economically, while also keeping it light with his humor. Audience members were invited to ask questions for the last 15 minutes of the program. This was an exciting event for patrons and especially for the Oliver Wolcott Library being able to host Where We Live with NPR host John Dankosky. Click here to listen to the broadcast and to see pictures of the event.

 

160 South Street, P.O. Box 187 Litchfield, Connecticut 06759 | Ph: 860-567-8030 | Fx: 860-567-4784

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