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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Librarian Asks Herself: how do Americans spend their time?

This is actually a LIBRARIAN ASKS HERSELF question. “There are approximately 10,000 people in Newton Falls and Newton Township. We see only a fraction of that number at the Newton Falls Public Library; where are the rest of them?” There is a great deal of information available online about how Americans spend their time.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics released the American Time Use Survey Summary (2007 results) on June 25, 2008. People who are employed work an average 7.6 hours each day. Doing daily household activities [“such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management”], women spend 2.7 hours while men spend 2.2 hours. For leisure activities such as watching television, socializing or exercising, men spend more time (5.7 hours) than women (5.2 hours). Television accounts for about half of the time we spend doing leisure activities.

A Time article by Po Bronson [“How We Spend Our Leisure Time,” October 23, 2006 –] states Americans have more leisure time than we did 40 years ago, about 45 minutes more. For every hour we have in leisure time, we spend 30 minutes watching television. The author has three suggestions on how to feel as if we have more time in our day. Turn off the television. Get out of the house. Join in activities with other people. Some suggestions included in the article for groups to join are “the 6.8 million who are in a book club, or the 196,000 who attend pro beach volleyball, or the 680,000 who go to tractor pulls every month. There’s even 3 million people who enjoy a sport called ‘muzzleloading’ . . . invite people over . . . Only 38% of Americans entertain friends or family at home.”

The Newton Falls Public Library is the perfect place to begin following Bronson’s advice. First and foremost it is FREE! If you are looking for a leisure activity to replace television, choose from books, magazines, videos or CD-Roms on more topics than can be listed including volleyball, tractors, muzzleloading, and entertaining. If you don’t think you have enough time to sit down with a book, our broad selection of audio books enable you to read while doing household tasks such as housework and painting, or while driving. If you own a cassette player there are books on tape. For those with CD players, enjoy books on CDs. Don’t own either? No problem. The library now has Playaways for adults, teens and children. A Playaway is a small player manufactured with one book saved on it. Just plug in a set of earphones, speakers, or a car adapter and listen. Prefer music to books? Borrow your favorite CDs.

Become number 6,800,001 and join one of our book discussion groups. The morning group meets at the Brew Basket on Broad St. in Newton Falls, on the third Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. Their next book, Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart [August 21] tells the true story of homesteading life at the beginning of the twentieth century. The evening one meets at the library on the last Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. The next book is Manhunt by James Swanson [August 27], about the search for John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of Lincoln. Both titles may be borrowed from the library.

There are also other FREE programs at the library for all ages. Small Town Talks, movies, and special programs, such as the recent “Invasive Plants” presented by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “Anime and Manga Club” and “Web Design Workshop” for teens, and story programs for children and families. All programs and events are listed on the library’s online calendar []. Let us know “what is the best time for school age programs” for kids and teens. Go to our home page,; visit our new blogs ‘44444 kids’ and ‘44444 teens,’ and vote on our polls. This may be done at home or by using one of the Internet access computers at the library. You may also give us your opinion by filling out one of the slips at the library’s Youth Services desk.

If you are looking for suggestions of interesting books to read, ask any of the library staff to assist you. There are also adult book reviews online at ‘44444 ask me,’ along with ones at ‘44444 kids’ and ‘44444 teens.’ A listing of our new materials can be found by selecting ‘44444 what’s new.’ If what you desire are answers to questions contact Elizabeth at our web site’s ‘Ask A Librarian,’ at her blog ‘44444 ask me,’ or by visiting or phoning the Newton Falls Public Library. Interested in these ‘Ask The Librarian’ questions? View ‘44444 questions.’

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