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Friday, August 5, 2016

Can praying mantises change color?

“I saw a white praying mantis in my garden, and a few days later, I saw a praying mantis about the same size, but it was green. Was it the same one? Can they change color?”

It could have been! One of our circulation clerks happens to raise mantis nymphs as a hobby, and she told us that, depending on the species, mantids can change color as they molt. Like caterpillars and many other bugs, their exoskeletons do not grow with their bodies, and must be shed in order for the mantids to grow. Once they are adults, they will no longer need to do this. An adult mantis can be distinguished from a young one by the wings, which only adults have.

Mantids may turn pale for a while immediately after shedding their skin, which may have been what our patron saw. Molting is a delicate time for them and they should not be disturbed. However, if our patron saw the same mantis later, it seems to have survived the process.

Friday, July 22, 2016

How can you tell if a book is a first edition?

When collecting books, first editions are often more valuable than later editions, so it’s helpful to know how to identify them, but the answer is more complicated than we expected.

According to the page “Identifying and Collecting First Editions” on, in the publishing industry, “first edition” covers all copies of a book printed from the first setting of type. If revisions are made, the revised book is the second edition, and so on and so forth. The first set of books printed is called the first printing, or first impression. If these all sell out and the publisher decides to make more copies, the second set is the second printing, or the second impression. So something marked a “first edition” may not have necessarily been part of the initial print run – it could be from a later printing, but before any revisions were made. Collectors are generally most interested in the earliest copies published – so, the first printing of the first edition – and that’s often what they use “first edition” to mean.

Official Price Guide to Collecting Books: Sixth Edition, written by Marie Tedford and Pat Goudey, and First Editions: A Guide to Identification: Second Edition, edited by Edward N. Zempel and Linda A. Verkler, both give tips on identifying first editions. Some publishing companies will include information on the copyright page such as “First edition, First printing,” or “First published 2007,” which makes it easy, but some give no indication. Sometimes it’s only possible to tell that something is an early edition because the collector knows what to look for, such as a certain error that was later revised. For example, Tedford and Goudey use one of Laurie R. King’s books as an example. She wrote her dedication in Hebrew and in the first edition, it was printed backwards.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why have I been seeing healthy trees with patches of dead leaves?

This is called flagging! It can be caused by a variety of things, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation website, from weather-damage to insects to fungus and other diseases. At this time of year in this area, the flagging was probably caused by the periodical cicadas.

We checked and In Ohio’s Backyard: Periodical Cicadas by Gene Kritsky for more information. They explained that cicadas don’t eat that leaves, and, while they use their mouthparts to suck sap from the trees, that isn’t what’s causing the flagging. The female cicadas use a pointed appendage called an ovipositor to deposit their eggs in the new growth on the ends of tree branches, preferably deciduous trees along the edge of a forest or otherwise in full sunlight. Sometimes this causes the branches to break and droop down, causing flagging. Small or young trees are at the most risk of permanent damage, but most trees will bounce back once the dead branches drop off. It’s in the best interest of the cicada not to cause permanent harm to the tree, because their young will feed on the juices from its roots for seventeen years as they develop. (The young cicadas do not remain in the tree branches. The eggs hatch after six to eight weeks and tiny nymphs fall to the ground, eventually tunneling a foot or more into the earth.) If you see small lengthwise slits on the branches, these are oviposition scars, a good sign that the flagging was caused by cicadas. Again, it’s likely that the tree will soon be back to normal. Protect it from further stress by making sure it has adequate water and pruning it only very lightly until it’s dormant again in the winter.

For other tree troubles, The Tree Doctor: A Guide to Tree Care and Maintenance by Daniel and Erin Prendergast is available for borrowing at the library.

Friday, July 8, 2016

When was Arlington Elementary built?

A patron interested in Newton Falls history had some pictures of Arlington Elementary School but couldn’t remember exactly when it had been built.

We checked some of the local history books in our reference section. History of Newton Falls, written by Ella Woodward and revised in 1977, mentioned the then-current principal, Sam Cappelino, but didn’t go any farther back. Lima Lyman’s Lyman’s Histories and Stories of Newton Falls named the 1970 principal (Wesley Jonah) and mentioned a school built in 1920, but didn’t say which school or give more information about Arlington that we could find.

The answer was in front of us all along. The Newton Falls Public Library webpage has a History of Newton Falls section, including a paragraph about the history of education in the town. Arlington Elementary was built in 1929. The school built in 1920 was a high school, but it was damaged in the 1985 tornado and a new one was built in 1987. A new middle school was built near the high school in 2006. The old middle school, which had been built in 1971, was remodeled. In 2007, the old middle school became the new elementary school, and Arlington was demolished the following year.

Friday, June 24, 2016

What happened to the catalog?

If you’ve visited the CLEVNET catalog website recently, you’ve probably noticed its new look. CLEVNET has switched over to a new catalog site with a new look and new features. There’s also a corresponding new app – the CLEVNET app will have stopped working, and the new app to download is called BookMyne, available for both iOS and Android.

As with any big move, a few issues have popped up. Anyone having trouble logging into their account is welcome to call or visit the library for help. (Logging in with the barcode on the back of your library card, instead of your username, and capitalizing any letters in your password can sometimes solve the problem.) If you used the lists feature, some of the lists are still migrating over – one of our librarians noticed that their “to-read” list on the new site had everything they’d ever added to it, including books they’d deleted from it years ago – but they should be settling in shortly.

Media and e-media are integrated in the new catalog, so instead of going to a separate site to check out, for example, a book for your e-reader, you can do it on the same site you use to look for books in the physical library. Searches can be narrowed to show only digital materials or only library materials: there’s a green bar under the CLEVNET logo, and next to a little icon of a house, click on the drop-down menu that says “Everything” to choose which collection to search. 

Digital holds and checkouts can be viewed alongside library holds and checkouts under “My Account.”

As always, feel free to call or visit the library with any questions about the new catalog, the new app, or anything else you may be curious about.

Friday, June 17, 2016

What’s wrong with the caterpillars? Why are pieces falling off of them?

If you’ve stopped by the youth services desk in the last two weeks or if you’re following us on Twitter, you may have noticed that the Garden Club is raising painted lady butterflies. Five of them have entered their chrysalis stage, but when they were still caterpillars, we were noticing fuzzy black bits at the bottom of their enclosure. Some patrons wondered if something was wrong.

As it turns out, the fuzzy black bits were totally normal. Caterpillars are continuously growing and their exoskeletons don’t grow with them, so they must molt. They shed their head capsules first, followed by the rest of their skin, and are usually very still when preparing for a molt. They’ll often eat their old exoskeleton. We were just seeing the leftover pieces.

For more information, check out Myriam Baran’s Butterflies of the World or Paul Smart’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Butterfly World, both of which are available here are the library. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Can I get a list of local parades?

One of our patrons came in this week looking for a list of local parades. While we couldn’t find one centralized list, we did turn up some information.

The Austintown, Canfield, and Newton Falls Fourth of July celebrations have their own webpages. We found that the Austintown parade is at 2:00 pm, the Canfield parade is at 10:10 am, and the Newton Falls parade is at 10:00 am.

County tourism websites like and are also excellent resources, as are the local papers. We found information on the Harry Stevens Hot Dog parade in Niles, which is at 1:00 pm on Sunday, July 3, and the Cortland Lions Street Fair, which has a parade at 6:00 pm on Saturday, June 18.

Finally, the Ohio Festivals and Events Association has a lot of information on different festivals happening in the state throughout the year. A list of events sorted by month can be found on their website, and they also publish a brochure.