April is Autism Awareness Month

On the evening of Friday, April 1, many prominent buildings across North America and the world including TD Garden, Fenway Park and the Prudential in Boston, the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada will turn their lights blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2.

The month of April is designated Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders. Many parents and professionals refer to this group as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. There is no medical detection or cure for autism. 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism. A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes. Autism is more common than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups. Early intervention can make a huge difference in a child’s life. Please visit or the Centers for Disease Control for more information.

Some other resources for help are Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about autism and its effects on individuals families and society, Asperger’s Association of New England,
Autism Alliance of Metrowest, Inc., and the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism.

There are also many books and DVDs on the subject of autism. Several of these are available at our library or through Interlibrary Loan.

Books for Children and Teenagers

Books for Adults


posted by Gerry C.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

It’s not easy being GREEN!

I’m GREEN, have been for over thirty years, wait a minute I’m getting older, the 70’s are further back than I thought, make that almost 40 years and counting…Math never was my strong suit!
You could say Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was a wake up call to the world.
It wasn’t called being GREEN back then, we were trying to SAVE the Environment by way of recycling and staying away from artificial ingredients, chemicals and additives.
When I was first married, it was the rage to pay attention to the environment, save this,
don’t use that, read the labels, watch out for red dye #5, phosphates and artificial ingredients. On and on it went and we tried to follow all the rules to help SAVE the WORLD. We cooked from scratch, avoided convenience foods with all the additives and preservatives. Now everything is fast food, cooked from frozen or prepared by others who don’t care about the salt, fat and calories. We composted our yard waste and garbage, only bought white paper products, didn’t use paper plates
or anything disposable, used cloth diapers, didn’t eat Tuna fish (I remember trying pilchard the “other” tuna fish) and conserved water. I even remember the slogan on a tee-shirt popular back then: “SAVE WATER…SHOWER WITH A FRIEND!”
We had jobs we could walk to or used public transportation, I use to park at a central location then walk around town to do my errands. I still walk as much as I can; sometimes we go three or four weeks without having to gas up our vehicles.

These days the push is on to use less paper, the Internet is causing newspapers to
become obsolete; but we still get plenty of junk mail. Recently I’ve seen a message at
the bottom of some e-mails asking me not to print the message unless it’s…
vital to the pursuit of my happiness!

Convenience is popular when it comes to certain things, not many use cloth diapers these days and I have to admit I draw the line at cleaning items like peanut butter and mayonnaise jars just to put them in the recycling bin. Maybe if I had an “electric” dishwasher instead of my in-house human dishwasher…(thanks hubby!)

I get a little irritated when people are almost militant and quite demanding when they preach to me about being GREEN because…
I AM GREEN, I’ve been living the GREEN lifestyle for a long time, it’s easy once you get into the habit.
I think MY carbon footprint is quite small compared to others; my future may hold the use of adult disposable diapers… though I hope that’s a long way off!
Here are a few books available at the Waltham Public Library on the subject, there are many more available in Waltham and in the Minuteman Library Network “check them out!”

There are also many books for kids to get them started on a lifetime of being GREEN

posted by Jeanette

Doreen adds: April is Keep America Beautiful Month!
Visit our April Keep America Beautiful display near the First Floor Browsing room. Check out a book(s) on topics ranging from recycling and ecology, to conservation and being green.

Library Service Provides 24/7 Access to Digital Media

Enjoy popular and award winning digital media from the comfort of your home
or shorten your commute with best-selling or classic titles!

The Waltham Public Library is proud to offer you popular eBooks and audio books, downloads to access anytime, from anywhere in the world. Joining top rated libraries like New York, Cleveland, Boston, and Denver, we are proud to announce this at-home or in-the-office 24/7 service of a new way to enjoy your library.

Our online collection is guaranteed to have something for you! From popular fiction novels by Nora Roberts and James Patterson, to classic works from Mark Twain and William Shakespeare, our digital library spans nearly every genre. You can download bestselling fiction novels, popular biographies, self-improvement guides, and more! Imagine listening to or reading well-known classical literature, popular novels or books on current events on your commute to the office; compliments of the Waltham Public Library

WPL is also participating in the Overdrive Advantage program allows libraries in MLN to purchase additional Overdrive titles for their own libraries’ patrons. This shortens waiting periods on the hottest new titles.

Getting started is easy! Visit the website, , install the free media software, browse the collection, and select titles to add to your Cart. Check out is simple. Just enter a valid library card number and download the digital media to your personal computer. When the download process is complete, you can enjoy titles on your PC or transfer to any compatible device.

So what’s the catch? There is none! Digital downloads are easy to check out and download, and the best part is- there are never any late fees because your titles are automatically returned at the end of the lending period. Have a new eReader, MP3 player or smartphone? Great! The Help feature on the digital media catalog will get you started with step-by-step instructions tailored to your device.

Try it out today!

posted by Deb

Japan — How To Help and Where to Find Information

In the wake of the indescribably awful earthquake and tsunami in Japan, here are some resources for those of you who want help or trying to find more information.

Relief Organizations


Oscar Fashion Point/Counterpoint

Murder at the Academy Awards
It’s been nearly two weeks since the Oscars telecast, but our two movie loving librarians are still discussing everything about the awards, including the (sometimes questionable) attire of the crowd. Two years ago, they gave their opinions (both good and bad) on the fashion, and once again, they are here to share their thoughts. Read further down for a list of Academy Award and fashion resources at the library.

Marialice’s Turn
So many award show, so little time to be critical.
So lets start right out with the “what were they thinking category?”.

  • Oprah Winfrey–Yikes–she must have gained weight after picking out that dress. She was certainly spilling over on top.
  • Marisa Tomei–bad dress and bad hair.
  • Why did Amy Adams ruin her L’Wren Scott (Mick Jagger’s gal pal) beaded gown with a mismatched Cartier emerald necklace. What a waste of 1.35 million dollar gem!
  • Scartlett Johansson forgot to comb her hair for the big event and her doily dress was unattractive.
  • What can I say about Helena Bonham Carter except she is always a hot mess.
  • Hillary Swank looked far too plain. She needed some glitter.
  • Reese Witherspoon looked like my favorite Barbie doll from the ’60’s and not in a good way with that high ponytail.
  • Melissa Leo’s lacy looking dress was definitely a “no”.
  • My former girl crush Nicole Kidman (sorry Nikky) looked weird with those hippy dippy things sticking out from an otherwise pretty embroidered gown and great figure.
  • And I think Florence Welch stole my mother’s old curtains.
  • Why does Annette Bening always look so old? Personally I think its her hair. She needs a new stylist.
  • Cate Blanchett was wearing a bulls eye on her top. Why?
  • Sharon Stone–one word–scary!

Its much more fun to be negative, but I must credit where credit is due.

Laura’s Turn
I don’t know if I’m getting old and cranky, but there was a lot I didn’t like about the fashions, this year. I even disagreed with a lot of top critics, so either that means I know something they don’t, or I have no idea what I’m talking about. You decide.
My Least Favorites.

  • Mila Kunis: She was great in Black Swan. She’s hilarious on Family Guy. She was not great in this dress. The color is pretty and it had potential, but I was not digging the see through bottom, not to mention the lace things on top. I thought they were either tattoos or lace from undergarments of some kind. And yet, she made multiple best dressed lists. Even Joan Rivers liked it!
  • Reese Witherspoon: I actually liked this dress but the shoes and the hairdo prompted my fellow Oscar watchers to yell out, “Where’s Ken?”
  • Nicole Kidman: The top part of the dress isn’t bad, but the bottom part is just too bizarre. It is not flattering on her at all. Even she looks like she’s making fun of it in the picture that I linked.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow: I hope I’m never on an awards show because the E! Fashion Police will definitely rip apart whatever I wear. Once again, they loved something that I hated, and raved at this outfit. I thought it looked like a dress made out of aluminum foil.
  • Cate Blanchett: I completely agree what Marialice (and everyone else) said about that shield. However, I was most turned off by the spray of yellow on the shoulders. It looked like a stain.
  • Scarlett Johansson: Based on what I said about Mila Kunis, you may have already figured out that I’m not a fan of the see through dress. I also never think it’s a good idea to cut your hair with a chef’s knife.
  • Halle Berry: I can’t believe that I’m putting her on this list. Halle Berry can wear aluminum foil (unlike say Gwyneth Paltrow) and still look beautiful. However, I was not loving this dress. I liked the top part. (In fact, I loved that). However, there were too many ruffles on the bottom. Hillary Swank and Marisa Tomei also suffered from too much ruffles (Swank) and poufiness (Tomei).

Before you can say, “Laura, I’ve seen the way you dress and believe me you’re not one who should be criticizing other’s clothing”, I assure you that I did like some of the outfits.

  • Jennifer Hudson: I love Jennifer Hudson. She’s a great story and a wonderful talent. Not everyone can get away with wearing a revealing dress but she pulls it off and looks gorgeous, too. She’s excited to show off her new figure and why not? The color was gorgeous on her, as well.
  • Melissa Leo: This is again where I differ in opinion from everyone else. This outfit was not loved by most people but I thought she looked great in it. Not only was it age appropriate, it fit her figure well.
  • Hailee Steinfeld: Speaking of age appropriate, this young actress looked lovely in this dress. I never like when actresses who have barely hit puberty wear dresses that are more appropriate for women in their 20’s and 30’s. I would have loved a dress like this when I was her age.
  • Anne Hathaway and James Franco: I’m not here to try to claim that they did a great job at hosting, or even a very good job, but I thought they both looked lovely. Hathaway looked beautiful in all of her outfits, even her tuxedo. Franco is like the male Halle Berry in that he looks good in almost anything. (well, maybe not this)
  • Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem: If I look like that, shortly after giving birth, I will be very happy.
  • Natalie Portman: Speaking of giving birth, Portman looks amazing in this dress so soon before her due date. I definitely liked this look better than the one sported by her co-star, Mila Kunis.
  • Daphne Zuniga: I have no idea why she was there and I admit that I’m a little biased since I love the movie, Spaceballs, but I thought she looked great.

For more about the Oscars and fashion, check out these titles from the library: The Complete Book of Oscar Fashion by Reeve Chace; Made for Each Other: Fashion and the Academy Awards by Bronwyn Cosgrove; Murder at the Academy Awards: A Red Carpet Murder Mystery by Joan Rivers.

What If?

I remember learning the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling when I was in school;
so when a children’s book with the title If by Sarah Perry was returned the other day, I put it aside to look at later.

Much to my delight I found that the book was not a child’s version of the poem I loved, instead it was a magical look at “IFS” or possibilities when you let your imagination roam free.
The author, Sarah Perry, imagines Ifs…such as: “If fish were leaves…then illustrates the thought, fish becoming leaves on a branch.”

Some of my favorites were

  • “If frogs ate rainbows…imagine a frog eating a rainbow the pouch under its chin lighting up
    with the rainbow colors just swallowed.”
  • “If dogs were mountains…dogs resting their heads on their paws causing a slope that rises behind them like mountains.”
  • “If ugly were beautiful…shows a warthog wearing a tiara.”
  • “If ants could count…has a line of ants forming the number 8.”
  • If spiders could read braille…imagine how fast a spider would scramble across the page, each leg searching for the next word.”
  • “If hummingbirds told secrets…has a hummer buzzing something into a chimpanzees ear.
    I’ve had close encounters with Hummingbirds like this; but they never told me anything!”
  • “If Zebras had stars and stripes…I think you can picture this one on your own.”
  • “The final IF in the book reads. “If this is the end…Then dream up some more!”

One of the reviews I read suggested that teachers read/show the book to the whole class then ask the students to imagine and depict their own IFS.
I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise in imagination, give it a try.
Oh…and in case you forgot about Rudyard’s famous “If” poem, you can find it in the anthology, Kipling, a Selection of his Stories and Poems.
posted by Jeanette

Free Tax Help

Below are some of the nearby places that offer free tax help:

  • Waltham Council on Aging
    488 Main Street; Waltham, MA 02452
    Service Provided: Tax Help for senior citizens. Must call to make an appointment.
    Times Available: February 1 – April 15. Monday – Friday
  • Bentley University Students
    Morrison Hall, Room 101; Waltham, MA 02452
    Service Provided: Tax Help for those who are eligible for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
    Times Available: February 17 – April 12 (there will be no service available from March 12 – March 19.
    Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Saturdays 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Taxpayer Assistance Center
    JFK Federal Building; 15 New Sudbury Street; Boston, MA 02203
    Service Provided: Federal tax help for those whose income is less than $49,000, as well some other services. Please call to make an appointment. Please note — this location provides assistance with federal tax preparation, only.
    Times Available: Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
  • Charles River Public Internet Center
    154 Moody Street; Waltham, MA 02453 781-891-9559, x206
    Services Provided: Federal and state tax help for low and moderate income families and individuals. Call to make an appointment although walk-ins are welcome.
    Times Available Fridays and Saturdays, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

The Year of the Rabbit begins!

The crowd in the Lecture Hall on Saturday morning was treated to a delightful pageant in celebration of the year of the rabbit.  Many thanks to the representatives of the Cambridge Center for Chinese Culture (CCCC): Peter Gee, Hui Fang, and all of the talented members of Xi Yang Hong (XYH) who provided music, dancing, tai ji and a stunning display of costumes and banners.

Although the name says Cambridge, the CCCC is located on Waverley Oaks Road in Waltham.  XYH is the senior division of the CCCC, which runs a Chinese School and provides a myriad of activities for all ages.

Before the performance on Saturday, XYH generously donated to the  library over 75 Chinese books and two beautiful calligraphy scrolls.  The books will be added to the library’s lending collection as soon as possible, and we are looking for the best place to display the scrolls for all to see.

Click here for photos!