Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dealing With Depression

Robin Williams has died. That is so sad. How could a man, who had dedicated his life to making people laugh, been so depressed and despondent that he would commit suicide? When I was on the Internet last evening trying to make sense of Robin Williams’ death, I came across an article by Linda Carroll on the NBC News website ( In it, Carroll explains about the precedence of copycat suicides when celebrities take their own lives. For example, there were increases in suicides after the deaths of Kurt Cobain and Marilyn Monroe in people of similar demographics (e.g. race, gender, location, etc.). But, more importantly, this article acknowledges that many depressed people do not seek help because they do not feel they have reason to see a professional about symptoms such as theirs. Wow, can this very sad news story get any worse? What good should we try to find in this tragedy? Maybe the fact that since the nation and the world are talking about depression and suicide, it can actually help individuals and their families who are suffering with mental illness. Maybe in some small way, the nation will come a little closer to realizing how important mental health is and how to find doctors and therapists that can help. Addiction, also something Robin Williams was struggling with, is another issue brought to the foreground by his tragic death. Countless individuals and their friends and families from all walks of life are touched by the debilitating struggles of addiction. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Robin Williams were the last celebrity to succumb to depression or addiction? Wouldn’t it be just great if mental illness no longer had a stigma attached to it and people took care of their mental health just as actively as their physical health? What a wonderful world it would be if we were all just a little nicer to each other because everyone is struggling with something in their lives. As librarians, we look to books to find solutions and learn ways to make our lives better. Here is a list of good books on mental illness, depression and addiction:
  • Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by D. Amen
  • Understanding Depression by J. R. DePaulo
  • Helping Someone with Mental Illness by R. Carter
  • Fifty Signs of Mental Illness by J. W. Hicks
  • Danger to Self by P. R. Linde
  • Family Intervention Guide to Mental Illness by B. Morey
  • Adolescent Depression by F. M. Mondimore
  • Overcoming Addictions by D. Chopra
  • Understanding Addiction by E. C. Henderson

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Somers Library Foundation to Hold 5K Trail Race and 1-Mile Family Fun Run

On Sunday, September14, 2014, the Somers Library Foundation will  hold a 5K Trail Race and 1-Mile Family Fun Run. Proceeds of the event will be used to enhance the Somers Library. The 5K Trail Race will begin in Reis Park at 9:00 a.m. and the Fun Run will begin in Reis Park at 9:30 a.m. The race course will cover cross country trails and fields located throughout Reis Park, Reis Homestead, Van Tassel Memorial Park, Primrose Elementary School and Somers High School. Refreshments will be provided in the Park.

Participants can register on-line at The Trail Race registration fee is $20; and the Fun Run registration fee is $10 per person or $35 per family. T-shirts are free for the first 100 registered participants. All fees increase by $5 after September 3, 2014. Race day registration is allowed and begins at 8:00 a.m. in Reis Park. The Somers Library Foundation is an independent fundraising organization that partners with the Somers Library in order to enhance library services. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Further information is available at For further details contact: Matt Parisi at

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sandy's System

Often when at the circulation or information desk  here at Somers Library, we hear patrons say something like, “I should find a system to keep track of what I read and what I want to read!” Well, our patron Sandy has created a meticulous way of doing just that, which she manages in her trusty blue binder. And although, at first glance, it seems like a lot of work, it is a labor of love (of reading) that keeps Sandy motivated!

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Sandy and I asked her about her famous blue binder and she was happy to share her system. She said there are a few keys to her reading record success. First, her husband Jay gets the New York Times bestseller list online, and Sandy looks through it to circle books by her authors. She brings the list to the library to put holds on the books she would like to read. The next part of her system is the creation and maintenance of the lists of books written by her authors which is kept in alphabetical order in her blue binder. 

In her binder, Sandy records the new books she is waiting for. Then, when Sandy is in between books because her holds have not yet come in, she looks through her list of her authors and finds older books she hasn’t read. At this point I wondered how an author would become a “Sandy author” and Sandy was happy to explain. She gets recommendations from friends and if, after reading a few of their books, Sandy likes the author, she then creates a spot in her blue binder for a list of all the author’s books. 

Obviously, Sandy has put a great deal of thought and effort into her system and I realize this may not be for everyone. I get a real kick out of seeing Sandy’s system in action, but I am not sure I could keep up with such a system personally. I am just not that organized. There are some great online tools like Shelfari and Goodreads that have ways to track books and these sites really work well for some people. But whatever works (or doesn’t work), the point is we all recognize what a joy it is to find a really good book to read!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Putting it Together at the Puzzle Table

While working the Information Desk on a quiet Thursday afternoon, I saw a familiar face at the puzzle table. This patron comes to the library primarily to put together the puzzle, sometimes spending hours. On this day, I told her how please we were that she enjoyed working on the puzzles in our library. She told me she has a two year old grandchild who visits her often, so she cannot work on puzzles at home. Apparently, she finds puzzles very therapeutic especially during stressful times in her life. Isn't it wonderful that our puzzle table fills a need in someone's life? Later on that day, a new patron came into the library looking to get a library card. After receiving her card, she wandered around the library. At the puzzle table, being pleased to see someone actively working on a puzzle, and exclaimed how happy she was to see puzzles at the library! These two patrons chatted for about a half hour as they worked on the puzzle together.

This is a perfect example of how libraries have changed from solely being book lenders in a silent cold building. Libraries today, as in the Somers Library, are warm and welcoming places where people interact and collaborate, and pursue their interests. This small and seemingly insignificant exchange is what we cherish and encourage at Somers Library, and hope there are other such encounters happening all the time.