Tag Archives: gratitude

HPL Staff: Holiday Traditions

23 Dec

It’s almost Christmas! Similar to last month’s #Gratitude post, I asked my Hoboken Public Library colleagues about their favorite Christmas books, films, and music. Following are their favorites, which are available at the library or through interlibrary loan.

Dear readers, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian


Image via Amazon

Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

My favorite holiday tradition as a child was when each year after stuffing ourselves with Thanksgiving turkey my mom would pull out our personal collection of Christmas books from storage so that bedtime was full of stories of reindeer, snow men, and elves. Our December library visits also found us lugging home books with a holiday theme. Now I love getting to read Christmas stories to my own son. My favorite as a kid that I enjoy getting to share with him is Santa Mouse by Michael Brown and illustrated by Elfrieda DeWitt, which features an adorable mouse who decides to give Santa a present of his own. It is available from several BCCLS libraries. Of course there are plenty of other books my son likes as well; several of his current favorites are How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague, Merry Christmas, Splat by Rob Scotton, and A Pirate’s Twelve Days of Christmas by Philip Yates and illustrations by Sebastia Serra. I also delight in reading my own holiday themed books; some of my favorite choices for adults are Rhys Bowen’s The Twelve Clues of Christmas, Donna Andrews’s The Nightingale Before Christmas, and Miracle, and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis.




Sharlene Edwards, Senior Children’s Librarian

I love old-timey black and white films. I enjoy the thoughtful dialogue and the simplicity of old school visual effects. My top five B&W movies in order: Miracle on 34th Street12 Angry Men, Invasion of the Body SnatchersThe Bad Seed (have you seen this movie?!), and It’s a Wonderful Life, which also happens to be my favorite movie of ALL-TIME. I even have a dog named Zuzu!

I’ve watched IAWL at least once a year (usually twice a year) for the past 15 years. My mom and I have a tradition on Thanksgiving which involves getting comfy on the couch, flipping on the film, and crying tears upon tears of joy. For those not familiar with the film, the story revolves around George Bailey, a kind and passionate soul who puts others’ needs before his own, often to his own detriment. George finds himself in serious trouble after his scatterbrained uncle’s actions result in a warrant for George’s arrest. Convincing himself that he is more valuable to his family dead than alive due to a life insurance policy, George resolve to throw himself off the local bridge. An angel named Clarence intervenes and, after failing to convince George that his life is valuable, he decides to show George by unveiling an alternate reality in which George has never been born. As the two explore this new reality, it becomes increasingly apparent just how many lives George has influenced in positive ways…and how much worse off everyone would be if George had never existed.

This movie is a heartwarming annual reminder that “each man’s life touches so many other lives” and “no man is a failure who has friends.” Gosh, I’m practically tearing up as I write this!

Shannon Campbell, Children’s Librarian

Every Christmas Eve night, after all the family festivities have occurred, my family and I cuddle up in our living room and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Despite watching it every year, I’ve always fallen asleep during the second half of the film (to ensure that Santa will come, of course). Sadly, I have never actually seen the second half. But I usually do wake up just in time for the famous quote: “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

Carolyn Hartwick, Account Clerk

Aside from the smell of gingerbread, for me Christmas is all about the music. I would have these songs playing the entire month of December if it did not irritate the rest of my family.  My playlist: Nat King Cole’s Christmas for Kids From One to Ninety-TwoBing Crosby’s Christmas, Diana Krall’s Christmas SongsThe Complete Christmas Recordings of Andy Williams, Light of the Stable by Emmylou Harris, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Martin Sexton’s Camp Holiday.  An additional gift is that all this holiday music is available through BCCLS!

Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian
I love Christmas movies! Every year I have to watch certain movies and TV specials before it truly feels like the holiday season to me. I always start on Thanksgiving night with the original Miracle on 34th Street and end on Christmas day with repeated viewings of A Christmas Story. It’s a tradition that’s been going on since I was a kid.

Many of my favorites are movies that are already popular, such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Elf, so I’ll recommend one that doesn’t seem as well-known… Santa Claus: The Movie (1985) starring David Huddleston, Dudley Moore and John Lithgow. When I was little I thought that this was the true story of Kris Kringle since it starts out with his origin story, explaining how a simple toymaker became the world-famous gift giver. Today, this movie still has magic and nostalgia and makes me excited for the holiday. If you need to get into the spirit of the season, I’d suggest adding this film to your preparations. The movie can be borrowed from the library.




Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

Every Christmas I like to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, based on Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol. The movie features original music, the lyrics of which I still remember since first hearing them when I was 10. “Scrooge”, which introduces Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Michael Caine), includes the line “no cheeses for us meeces [sic]” sung by the Muppet mice that never fails to crack me up. Here is a clip of that song from YouTube.

My family is also Jewish, so we celebrate Hanukkah. Without a doubt more music, film, and movies are dedicated to Christmas, but we like to listen to Adam Sandler’s four iterations of “The Chanukah Song”. The original and Part 2 can be streamed on Hoopla Digital, and Part 3 is on the soundtrack for Eight Crazy Nights. Part 4 can be heard on YouTube, which we replayed over and over again during Thanksgiving, laughing and giving thanks for Adam Sandler being a mensch and filling the Hanukkah music void.



HPL Staff Gives Thanks

25 Nov

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I asked my colleagues at the Hoboken Public Library what books or TV shows or digital media they were thankful to find this year. Following are their favorites, which are available at the library or through interlibrary loan.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

-Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian



Photo by Shannon Campbell

Shannon Campbell, Children’s Librarian
After 19 years of education, with an astronomical amount of papers, projects, and presentations, I finally graduated this year in May. I spent the entire summer knowing that in the upcoming fall, I had no professor or class to report to, no looming deadline hanging over my head for a paper or project. It felt freeing, and absolutely scary. I didn’t have the next step all laid out like I had for the previous 19 years. I looked to everyone and everything for advice and comfort, and found it in the book Graduates in Wonderland: True Dispatches from Down the Rabbit Hole, by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale. The story is constructed through a series of emails the girls send to each other the years following graduation. They talk about their successes, failures, fears, goals, dreams, people and places they have fallen in love with, and people and places they fell out of love with. It very much expressed the mindset I was in at the time. The cherry on top of the cake was my friends and I had sent the book to each other with notes in the margins reflecting our feelings on any of the topics as we read through it. It was very much like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but book-club style! Not only did I have the authors to look to for comfort, but I also had my friends through their words. That particular copy had been to NYC, Shanghai, California, and of course, Hoboken. To sum up what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving: my supportive friends, my education, and the authors of this book that perfectly express the scary (and amazing) journey of entering into adulthood.
Carolyn Hartwick, Account Clerk
I am grateful for a June 24 Staff Picks – British Edition post by Clay Waters.  One of his recommendations was for the British television series Life on Mars starring the delightful John Simm.  At the time I was a bit lost with no Sherlock, Doctor Who, or Walking Dead to catch up on so I binge-watched the 16 episodes in early July and then hummed David Bowie tunes to myself for the rest of the summer.  It was a great show, delivered quickly though BCCLS interlibrary loan, and something I am glad didn’t pass me by thanks to the Hoboken Library Staff Picks blog!
Heidi Schwab, Emerging Technology Librarian and Program Coordinator
What I took away from the award-winning documentary The Wolfpack is that even though the brothers, their mother and sister were living in a very bad situation, there is such a sweetness and kindness to them. It is amazing how they protected their mother and were sympathetic to their mentally-ill father who kept them locked up.  After growing up basically prisoners they retained their innocence and positive look at the world. This is a perfect Thanksgiving movie because we learn that even people who grow up in terrible circumstances can grow up to be positive and relatively happy in a way.
Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

This year I am thankful that I read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I read and enjoy a lot of books every year but there are very few that live up to the phrase “page turner.” This book is so surprising that the minute I finished I wanted to start over from the beginning to see how the pieces fit together. It’s not an easy read. There’s war, torture and loss. But also friendship, love and hope. Highly recommended.




Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

I’m thankful that we will be offering some great new services next month to our patrons: JobNow and HelpNow from Brainfuse.  Help Now provides students with online homework help from qualified tutors between 2 PM and 11 PM.  There are also always available video tutorials and practice tests for exams like the GED and SAT.  There is assistance for adults with skill building and who may need help with essays, business letters, or other writing.  JobNow provides assistance for job seekers with their resumes, interview coaching and more.  Check them out starting in December!




Rosary Van Ingen, Adult Circulation Services Department Head

My pick for the #gratitude post is The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. This novel, set in post-WWI Europe, celebrates love, friendship and family. This book never fails to remind me of the beauty and power of friendship.




Sharlene Edwards, Senior Children’s Librarian

I am so happy to have recently picked up The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. When it was published last year, I put it on my mental to-read list and continued on my adult fiction kick.  My to-read list is predictably long and unrealistic, and I would have most certainly forgotten about Auxier’s juvenile fantasy novel if I hadn’t spied HPL’s Young Adult Librarian hurriedly reading the last ten pages before starting her work day.  I brought it with me on my train ride home that night, and, by the end of page one, I knew I was going to fall completely in love with Auxier’s creepy Victorian tale about two young orphans who find themselves desperate for food and shelter at the door of an infamously strange house in the woods. Quickly the children learn that there are sinister forces at work in their new residence. The occupants, an unhappy family who is burdened by a mysterious illness, are under the dark thrall of a wishing tree. After finding myself in a bit of a reading slump, Auxier’s beautifully written novel reminded me of the power of artful storytelling.

MSCR blog 11.15

Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

This year I am thankful to have founded, with Rosary, the Mile Square City Readers book club. We have a wonderful, opinionated group that brings fresh perspectives and interesting insights to the books we read. I have tried to start a few book clubs in the past that didn’t last too long, and I’m excited to have this great club to talk books with once a month.

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