Election 2014

Election Day is near! On November 4, 2014, registered voters will have the opportunity to vote for a new Governor. Voters will also be choosing people for other state offices, people to represent them at the United States House of Representatives, and on a series of ballot referendums. Here is some information to help you navigate on Election Day:

Where Do I Vote? | Candidates | Ballot Questions | Televised Debates

Where Do I Vote?

The Candidates
(note – all names are listed in the order they’re listed on the ballot)

Governor/Lieutenant Governor

Attorney General

Secretary of State (of the Commonwealth)



Governor’s Councillor (Third District)

Senator in General Court (Third Middlesex District)

Representative in General Court (Ninth Middlesex District)

Representative in General Court (Tenth Middlesex District)

District Attorney

Register of Probate

Representative in U.S. Congress

Senator in U.S. Congress

Ballot Questions
There are four statewide ballot questions on this year’s ballot. There are booklets in both English and Spanish with details about each question located in our Community Information Room on the first floor. The Secretary of the Commonwealth site also has
information about each ballot question.

  • Question 1
    Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing
    “This proposed law would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gasoline tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, (1) be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index over the preceding year, but (2) not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon.”
    A Yes Vote would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.
    A No Vote would make no change in the laws regarding the gas tax.
  • Question 2
    Expanding the Beverage Container Deposit Law
    “This proposed law would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law, also known as the Bottle Bill, to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic non-carbonated drinks in liquid form intended for human consumption, except beverages primarily derived from dairy products, infant formula, and FDA approved medicines. The proposed law would not cover containers made of paper-based biodegradable material and aseptic multi-material packages such as juice boxes or pouches.
    The proposed law would require the state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to adjust the container deposit amount every five years to reflect (to the nearest whole cent) changes in the consumer price index, but the value could not be set below five cents.
    The proposed law would increase the minimum handling fee that beverage distributors must pay dealers for each properly returned empty beverage container, which was 2¼ cents as of September 2013, to 3½ cents. It would also increase the minimum handling fee that bottlers must pay distributors and dealers for each properly returned empty reusable beverage container, which was 1 cent as of September 2013, to 3½ cents. The Secretary of EEA would review the fee amounts every five years and make appropriate adjustments to reflect changes in the consumer price index as well as changes in the costs incurred by redemption centers. The proposed law defines a redemption center as any business whose primary purpose is the redemption of beverage containers and that is not ancillary to any other business.
    The proposed law would direct the Secretary of EEA to issue regulations allowing small dealers to seek exemptions from accepting empty deposit containers. The proposed law would define small dealer as any person or business, including the operator of a vending machine, who sells beverages in beverage containers to consumers, with a contiguous retail space of 3,000 square feet or less, excluding office and stock room space; and fewer than four locations under the same ownership in the Commonwealth. The proposed law would require that the regulations consider at least the health, safety, and convenience of the public, including the distribution of dealers and redemption centers by population or by distance or both.
    The proposed law would set up a state Clean Environment Fund to receive certain unclaimed container deposits. The Fund would be used, subject to appropriation by the state Legislature, to support programs such as the proper management of solid waste, water resource protection, parkland, urban forestry, air quality and climate protection.
    The proposed law would allow a dealer, distributor, redemption center or bottler to refuse to accept any beverage container that is not marked as being refundable in Massachusetts.”

    A Yes Vote would expand the state’s beverage container deposit law to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks with certain exceptions, increase the associated handling fees, and make other changes to the law.
    A No Vote would make no change in the laws regarding beverage container deposits.
  • Question 3
    Expanding Prohibitions on Gaming
    “This proposed law would (1) prohibit the Massachusetts Gaming Commission from issuing any license for a casino or other gaming establishment with table games and slot machines, or any license for a gaming establishment with slot machines; (2) prohibit any such casino or slots gaming under any such licenses that the Commission might have issued before the proposed law took effect; and (3) prohibit wagering on the simulcasting of live greyhound races.
    The proposed law would change the definition of “illegal gaming” under Massachusetts law to include wagering on the simulcasting of live greyhound races, as well as table games and slot machines at Commission-licensed casinos, and slot machines at other Commission-licensed gaming establishments. This would make those types of gaming subject to existing state laws providing criminal penalties for, or otherwise regulating or prohibiting, activities involving illegal gaming.
    The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.”

    A Yes Vote would prohibit casinos, any gaming establishment with slot machines, and wagering on simulcast greyhound races..
    A No Vote would make no change in the current laws regarding gaming.
  • Question 4
    Earned Sick Time for Employees
    “This proposed law would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions.
    Employees who work for employers having eleven or more employees could earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while employees working for smaller employers could earn and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.
    An employee could use earned sick time if required to miss work in order (1) to care for a physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition affecting the employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; (2) to attend routine medical appointments of the employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; or (3) to address the effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee’s dependent child. Employees would earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, and would begin accruing those hours on the date of hire or on July 1, 2015, whichever is later. Employees could begin to use earned sick time on the 90th day after hire.
    The proposed law would cover both private and public employers, except that employees of a particular city or town would be covered only if, as required by the state constitution, the proposed law were made applicable by local or state legislative vote or by appropriation of sufficient funds to pay for the benefit. Earned paid sick time would be compensated at the same hourly rate paid to the employee when the sick time is used.
    Employees could carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the next calendar year, but could not use more than 40 hours in a calendar year. Employers would not have to pay employees for unused sick time at the end of their employment. If an employee missed work for a reason eligible for earned sick time, but agreed with the employer to work the same number of hours or shifts in the same or next pay period, the employee would not have to use earned sick time for the missed time, and the employer would not have to pay for that missed time. Employers would be prohibited from requiring such an employee to work additional hours to make up for missed time, or to find a replacement employee.
    Employers could require certification of the need for sick time if an employee used sick time for more than 24 consecutively scheduled work hours. Employers could not delay the taking of or payment for earned sick time because they have not received the certification. Employees would have to make a good faith effort to notify the employer in advance if the need for earned sick time is foreseeable.
    Employers would be prohibited from interfering with or retaliating based on an employee’s exercise of earned sick time rights, and from retaliating based on an employee’s support of another employee’s exercise of such rights.
    The proposed law would not override employers’ obligations under any contract or benefit plan with more generous provisions than those in the proposed law. Employers that have their own policies providing as much paid time off, usable for the same purposes and under the same conditions, as the proposed law would not be required to provide additional paid sick time.
    The Attorney General would enforce the proposed law, using the same enforcement procedures applicable to other state wage laws, and employees could file suits in court to enforce their earned sick time rights. The Attorney General would have to prepare a multilingual notice regarding the right to earned sick time, and employers would be required to post the notice in a conspicuous location and to provide a copy to employees. The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Attorney General, would develop a multilingual outreach program to inform the public of the availability of earned sick time.
    The proposed law would take effect on July 1, 2015, and states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.”

    A Yes Vote would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions.
    A No Vote would make no change in the laws regarding earned sick time.

Gubernatorial Debates

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — October 26, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of October 26, 2014.

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — October 19, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of October 19, 2014.

Kate’s Last Day

photo from Waltham News Tribune

We are sad to say goodbye to our director, Kate Tranquada, who is leaving the Waltham Public Library after 27 years of service. Kate has pretty much done it all at the library, from driving our bookmobile, to being our Young Adult Librarian, to becoming Head of Reference, and then moving on to administration first serving as assistant director before becoming director in 2008. Kate has also led the Waltham Public Library Book Club since 2003, and has been very popular with its members. (From what I’ve heard from Kate, the feeling is indeed mutual). Kate has made an impact on both the staff and patrons, and we will all miss her.
Please enjoy this article from the Waltham News Tribune about Kate and her tenure at the Waltham Public Library.

Privacy Concerns about E-book Borrowing

Do you borrow e-books and downloadable audio books through the library via our subscription to Overdrive?
If so, and you use the Overdrive Media Console app on your mobile device or Adobe Digital Editions on your computer, you may be interested in recent news about Adobe Digital Editions Version 4 and possible security breaches. There has been a lot of information out there, not all of it accurate, but the bottom line is that with the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions, Adobe has been tracking the content of its users.

Borrowing E-books
Those of you who have downloaded the Overdrive Media Console app or Adobe Digital Editions in the past will recall that you needed to create an account with Adobe in order to authorize the software to download e-books from the library. Most of you probably only signed into the account once in order to authorize your device and likely forgot that you ever set up a username and password with Adobe. As long as you used an app or Adobe Digital Editions on a device that was authorized, however, you were always logged into your Adobe account. Allegedly, anyone using the older versions of Adobe Digital Editions is not affected by the security breach. Users can use the Overdrive Read option which allows them to read e-books directly in their browsers. There is, of course, always the option to download Kindle books from Overdrive to read on a Kindle app, but in that case, the user is just allowing Amazon rather than Adobe to access his or her content. Amazon is just more up front about it. According to a statement from Overdrive, the company’s CEO met with representatives from Adobe who claimed that an update to Adobe Digital Editions Version 4 is in the works.

Public Libraries and Privacy
As public library employees, we strive to maintain your privacy as much as possible, and we were not happy to hear this news. In fact, state law requires us to keep information about your library record private. This means we can’t share any information about items checked out to your card to anyone, including your significant other or parents. This also means we can’t share information about your computer habits. To further protect your privacy, we have installed software on all of our public computers that erases all information such as passwords and downloaded files every time the computer shuts down. Our public desktops shut down after each use, and we ask all laptop users to turn their computers off before returning them.

The Online World
Unfortunately, we can’t control what third party vendors and other websites do with your information, whether you’re using a computer in the library or at home. If you want to watch a Youtube video and don’t want Google to know about it, make sure that you log out of your Google account before visiting Youtube. If you see an interesting link on Facebook, for example, and don’t want Facebook arranging ads based on that link, visit the link after you’ve logged out of your Facebook session. It’s always best to assume that any third party website that requires you to use a username and password is using your information for some reason. It’s usually only for marketing research but it is always good to read the fine print.

You Can Choose What you Do Online
We know that many of you share a great deal online and possibly have no concern about this issue. People’s reading habits have hardly been secrets. Social media sites such as Good Reads and Library Thing have allowed users to share their reading habits with the masses, willingly. Even Bibliocommons, a Patron Online Catalog used by several library systems such as the Boston Public Library, allows patrons, if they choose, to share information about books they have checked out. The difference, of course, is that users of the above mentioned products are all voluntarily sharing information. Some of those checking out e-books through Overdrive or other library digital media platform may not necessarily be so willing. If you are not one of those who’s comfortable with sharing information on the Internet, always be aware anytime you are asked to create a username and password.

Further Reading:

posted by Laura

This Week’s Best Seller Lists — October 5, 2014

Here are the best seller lists for the week of October 5, 2014.

What Are We Reading? October 1, 2014

What books have we read? What music have we checked out or downloaded? What have we watched?

  • Libby: “(Re)Watching on DVD: Moneyball and Trouble with the Curve, my personal solace for the Red Sox being in last place.”
  • Nancy W.: “I’m currently reading The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee“.
  • Laura: “I’m currently reading Soldier Girls by Helen Thorpe, a non-fiction narrative about three women in the National Guard who were deployed to both Afghanistan an Iraq. It really touches on what it’s like to be female in the military as well as both the horror and boredom associated with deployment, and the feeling of not quite fitting in upon arriving home. This is a great read for anyone interested in gender studies, the military, or who wants a better understanding of what’s going on in the world. I’ve also recently read the intense and exceptionally detailed memoir/graphic novel Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I read the parody graphic novels, Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown, which imagines an alternate universe in which Darth Vader raises Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. The results are both funny and heartwarming.”
  • Janice: Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion by Derek Hough. “Those who are DWTS fans (or Dancing With the Stars, for the uninitiated) will recognize Derek Hough as one of the series’ favorite pro dancers. His new book takes us from his first dance lessons at age 11 through his years in England, where he was mentored by the parents of fellow pro Mark Ballas. This book is actually a very inspirational and uplifting guide to getting the most out of your own talents and learning from your challenges.”
  • Paula: “I recently finished 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman. Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus from Philadelphia set in motion a very dangerous plan to travel inside Nazi Germany, rescue 50 Jewish children and travel back with them to the United States. This is an amazing story!”
  • Maureen:
    • “Just finished listening to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (digital download). This amazing story takes place in Nazi Germany late 1930s-1940s. Liesel Meminger is living in a foster home where her foster father teaches her to read and opens a wonderful world to her despite the extremely meager existence they are experiencing. Death is the Narrator and it is mesmerizing, Liesel “steals” her books from the Mayor’s wife, who turns a blind eye to the stealing even leaving particular books for Liesel. Liesel reads these books to herself,her family,a Jewish boy,(they are hiding in the basement) and to neighbors when sharing the time together in the bomb shelter. Through her experiences Liesel comes to know the true meaning of what makes us all family. A truly wonderful story, one that will stay with you for a long time.”
    • “Currently reading Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof. A quirky cast of characters makes this debut novel a true delight. A small college town inhabited by some really quirky characters where a small orphan boy, Henry, drops into their midst and changes their lives. It beautifully written with some humorous as well as somber moments.”
    • “Just finished reading Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes. The latest Richard Jury mystery,( your typical English Pub mystery) involving 2 past murders and 2 present murders that seem to be connected. It is up to Jury and his zany friends to once again put the puzzles pieces together and solve the mysteries.”
    • North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo is another debut novel set in and around Boston filled with mystery and intrique. It starts out as a murder mystery and turns into something much more sinister and compelling. The main character is Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred confident woman of Russian descent who doesn’t shy away from confrontation. She is sharp witted and gutsy determined to find the truth and risk her life in the process. A great read and my thanks to Pat O. for the recommendation!”
  • Louise: “Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects is aptly named. Camille Preaker works for a second rate newspaper in Chicago. Hoping to boost her lackluster career, she reluctantly accepts an assignment in the town where she was raised. Camille has to try and investigate a series of brutal murders. She also has to try and stay sane while staying in her mother’s outwardly perfect, inwardly tension filled home. This novel will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.” Louise is also currently listening to The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
  • Virginia:
    • “If it’s September it must be time for the new Jack Reacher thriller from Lee Child. This one is called Personal. It is a quick & fairly satisfying read as Jack hunts down an assassin in London for the U.S. Army. Despite the well-honed suspense & sudden bursts of violence, the recent books are no longer edge-of-your-seat, can’t-put-it-down stories like the author’s earlier thrillers. A fun read anyhow.”
    • Fatal Conceit by Robert K. Tanenbaum. Over the years I’ve read many of this author’s continuing series about ‘Butch Karp, N.Y. District Attorney’. I’ve always enjoyed the twists & turns and the memorable characters. But this time? Not so much. I was really disappointed to find that this conservative author has gone off the political deep end with his hatred of the Left & the Obama administration. The thriller is spoiled with some despicable characters representing the whole Democratic party. So sad to see this series ruined by the writer’s politics.”
    • The Price of Silence : a Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness by Liza Long (non-fiction). One in every five American children will suffer from some sort of mental illness during childhood. Long tells the true story of her son as they battle to get an accurate diagnosis & appropriate treatment for the boy’s condition. The book covers many aspects of childhood mental disorders including the stigma & self-stigma visited on mothers, to blame them for their child’s disorder. Insurance companies do everything they can to avoid helping the situation until many parents are forced to turn their children over to the state so they will qualify for affordable care.. It is a sad reality in this well-written & researched book.”
    • “I also enjoyed reading two YA comics. Yes, it’s true, I am a comic book fan. I read Nightwing : Old Friends, New Enemies about the career of Batman’s sidekick Robin after he got too old to continue as a juvenile action hero. I also read Guardians of the Galaxy as the costumed heroes encounter new universes & a slew of super villains. The Young Adult area has a fine collection of Marvel & DC trade paperback comic books & I really enjoy them.”