Your library card is more powerful than ever

I heard the news today, oh boy. At the end of a high school dance — when the couples linger on the dance floor — the slow song that they still play is yes, you guessed right, it’s – drum roll please – “Stairway to Heaven.” (And the kids still don’t know what to do during the fast part) But apparently there has been no clear-cut successor to Led Zeppelin.

While “Stairway” is a memorable song – who doesn’t chime in with the enigmatic “is there a bustle in your hedgerow?” — I still think that the teens today should find their own song. The only problem is — radio stations keep playing the same tunes. They’re the songs you heard when you were in high school, only now they are on the Oldies stations. It is enough to make you feel tired, bored, depressed – even, well — old. Every day as you drive to work, you’re in danger of being sucked into this musical maelstrom. Who is not sick of listening to the same songs, the same talk show hosts and the same tired commercials? But hey, don’t let it bring you down. It’s only castles burning.

And fortunately there is an alternative – come to the library! Check out our rich array of pop, classical and jazz CD’s, hum along to some show tunes or learn a new language. We have something for every taste. But don’t stop at the music, we also have audio books for your listening pleasure. The Chelmsford Public Library has thousands of audio books on both CD and cassette, with titles ranging from medical thrillers like James Patterson’s “5th Horseman” to “Cesar’s Way” — a guide to correcting common dog problems — to the entire compendium of Harry Potter books. You can pop an audiotape or CD into your car player and escape the humdrum routine. But audio books are not just for driving – we have library patrons who love to multi-task — they cook, knit, paint, vacuum, or some even work out at the gym while they listen to books.

And now, if the notion strikes you to listen to an audio book when we’re not open, you need not worry. Just as you peruse our catalog, print magazine articles from a database, renew your books on line or reserve museum passes with the magic of your library card – as of July 5th –you will also be able to download an audio book.

Our collection will be greatly expanded through a new service offered by MVLC (Merrimack Valley Library Consortium.) MVLC has contracted with Overdrive Media to provide downloadable audio books from beloved classics to the latest bestsellers, all from the comfort of your home. And there are even children’s books including “Anne of Green Gables” just waiting for you to download for your next family road trip. This is a pilot project with a small collection (163 titles) to start. But through the cooperative effort of consortium libraries and funds from the Chelmsford Friends of the Library — (I get by with a little help from my Friends) –the collection will increase by approximately 30-40 titles per month.

All it takes is the proper (free) software, a personal computer, an MP3 player – (for those in the know — this could also be a player on your PDA, your BlackBerry, or your smartphone ) — an Internet connection, that magical library card and a little derring-do – (a little human action.). For more details, check out our library webpage at and click on the Overdrive button. And remember, this service is available whenever the spirit moves you — 24/7. Eight days a week

Reprinted with permission from the Chelmsford Independent