library heading

library heading

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is the Metal Cap on Top of the Chimney Important?

“The little metal cap on the top of my chimney blew off in the wind. Is that a problem?” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library understands not wanting to climb up on the roof of a house during this cold winter weather. Knowing nothing about the subject, we first looked at Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Library by James E. Brumbaugh. The chimney cap (or capping) described in the volume was built of masonry [p.127], and was not what the patron needed. On p.136 there was a drawing of a stove with an exterior pipe and a ‘shanty cap’ on top. The staff continued the investigation using both terms. has instructions for How to Install Your Chimney Cap. As well as detailed installation directions for different styles of caps, the author of the article states “chimney cap
. . . keep the rain from damaging your chimney flue and to keep squirrels, raccoons, and bats from taking up residence.” included additional reasons for why your chimney needs a cap. Besides the previously mentioned critters, this site also lists “birds, small boys and other would-be thieves.” This website gives very detailed reasons for the importance of the cap, including: “rain coming down an open flue . . . causing unpleasant odors and deterioration of flue walls. It can run down . . . where it causes rust damage . . . Rain plus coal soot forms sulfuric acid, which is particularly destructive . . . An Ohio sweep removed a dozen dead birds from a blocked gas flue one cold winter's night. . . Hordes of bats flew down the chimney of one house, driving the family out. The homeowner and his neighbors killed 195 bats inside the house. . . The remains of a man missing for seven years were found when his house and chimney were torn down by a wrecking crew.” The site recommends having a professional do the installation.

The library’s patron felt that these were certainly valid reasons for having the cap replaced as soon as possible.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What Was That Movie's Name?

“I’m looking for a movie, but I can’t remember the name. It is about a knight or a duke and his servant who come to the future. The hero’s bride was lost, and they are looking for her.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff enjoys these challenges.

We first searched the online site for ‘knight lost bride time travel.’ The Internet Movie Database. No title came up to match. Next we tried and found Just Visiting, where in the 12th century, a count ‘finds his beautiful bride-to-be done in’ by magic. He and his servant come to the 21st century to bring her back. Our patron said this was the movie she wanted. One of the libraries in our shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog owned the DVD and our patron was able to request it to be sent to Newton Falls, for her to borrow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Are Buckeyes Poisonous to Dogs?

“Hello. This is ___________, from Dr. __________’s veterinary office. He is out of the office today, and we have a client who is afraid her dog has eaten a buckeye. We need information about their toxicity. I phoned our usual resource, and they were unable to assist us and inquiries to the ASPCA’s Pet Poison Control cost $60.”

The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library checked the ASPCA’s website [], as it does list 17 common poisonous plants. Buckeyes were not one of them. Pet Medicine: health care and first aid for all household pets by Roger Caras ... [et al.] is a useful and easily understood book, but does not have a very long listing of poisonous plants. The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health does have an extensive list. Buckeyes, especially the shoots and seeds are considered to be toxic in the spring and summer to horses [p.1182].

As this is a question not to be dealt with casually, we did further research and found that buckeyes are also called horse chestnuts. The Ohio Extension Service’s [] and the Humane Society’s [] websites list them as a poisonous plant.

The caller also needed the symptoms of buckeye poisoning. [] has the buckeye under Gastrointestinal Toxins. [] says the ingestion of these nuts “may produce vomiting, abdominal pain and in some cases diarrhea.” Under the Top 10 Things Poisonous to Pets at the website, Vetinfo [] we found that the “Symptoms of ingestion include: dilated eyes, vomiting/diarrhea, irritation around mouth, swelling of the mouth and throat, excessive drooling, excessive thirst, irregular heartbeat/breathing, muscle tremors, seizures, coma, and death.”

Our caller had enough information for the client. She could now watch her dog for symptoms to determine if it had actually ingested one, before taking it to a veterinary office for care.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Quotation Marks

“I’m reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne and noticed something odd. Instead of quotation marks around the dialog, there are apostrophes. Do you know why?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff has noticed that some authors use punctuation in ways we are not used to seeing for literary purposes.

We first went to the author’s website and his blog to see if perhaps, like other writers, he used the apostrophes creatively for effect. Because nothing stood out as unusual; our staff wondered if it might be cultural. Boyne is from Dublin, Ireland.

In Sentence First: An Irishman’s blog about the English Language. Mostly [], the author states that “In British English, single marks are traditionally preferred, with double marks inside them as required, then single again and so on.” This is the opposite of what is commonly used in American English. The information at the website, How to Write an Essay Top tips on how to write an essay from academic research writers
[] concurs.

The Cambridge Guide to English Usage by Pam Peters also addresses the use of double and single quotation marks [pp. 454-455]. Peters’ book is a useful resource for writing: including correct word usages and meanings; and formats and styles for letters, memos, and e-mails. It may be borrowed from the library.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We Need Your Help Answering Our Question

Rather than “Ask the Librarian”, we would like your help in answering our question. A postcard was recently donated to the Local History Room of the Newton Falls Public Library. The photograph on the front is of a small building at the southeast corner of S. Canal and Broad Streets, with a large three story brick building behind it, which later became Kloss Hardware. The lettering on the windows reads CIGARS AND TOBACCO, RESTAURANT: LUNCH AND SOFT DRINKS. There is a man in a light shirt and suspenders standing in front of the building. In an enlarged version of the photo, a sign can be seen around the corner which reads GRAPH.

We first began our search in the History of Newton Falls compiled by Ella A. Woodward. In the section on Interesting Old Buildings [p.64], it states that William Herbert of Niles “erected a large brick residence and business place” at this location. There was also a small building that was moved to a location on Canal Street near Broad Street, where Mr. [Theron] Beard had a photograph gallery and later J.P. Jagielski, photographer was the last tenant. These facts seem to match what is in the locale of our smaller building, but gives no information about it.

We next searched online in the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. This database found in the Ohio Web Library [] contains large scale street plans produced by the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company from 1867 to 1970. The maps sometimes include information about the types of businesses found in the buildings. On 1889 and 1893 maps there was a general merchandise store at the location. The 1902 map shows a restaurant, and the 1908 one has a dining room with a kitchen behind that appears to be connected to a hotel [in the large brick building?]. The next map is from 1915 and lists a hardware store in that area.

Again, we examined the History of Newton Falls compiled by Ella A. Woodward. At that corner, it lists the following businesses: “a saloon and restaurant, the Yeager Bros., the Johnson Bros., the Foulk and Johnson Hardwares and the Fink’s Department Store. Finally the Kloss Hardware maintained retail business there [History of Newton Falls, p. 191].” The library staff would appreciate your help in discovering the name of this restaurant and any other information you might have about the business or the owner. The restaurant would have definitely been at the location during 1902, and was in existence sometime between the years 1893 and 1908.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Car Trouble

“My car is doing something strange; when I turn the motor on and off my head lights and daytime running lights flicker. I want to see if I can find out what is causing this.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands that during this difficult economic time people are seeking information for working on their vehicle or before taking them to a mechanic.

The library subscribes to the online database, AllData, which provides comprehensive automotive reference for domestic and foreign cars, trucks, and vans from 1982 to the present. Maintenance information, technical service bulletins, schematics and diagrams are included. Since access to the database is only available within the library, the patron ‘borrowed’ a computer using her library card.

We selected her vehicle by year, make, model, and engine. Under the section, Lighting and Horns, we looked first at the Technical Service Bulletins. Under the heading Symptoms, there was information about Erratic Operation. One of the conditions dealt with in this area was “intermittent front lamp concerns.” The database included the cause of the problem and the procedure with illustration for dealing with it. The patron was able to print the information, hopeful that the simple steps given would solve the problem.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Newspaper Recipes & Crossword Puzzles

Sometimes patrons contact the Newton Falls Public Library looking for articles in back issues of newspapers. “I’m looking for a recipe that was in the Tribune Chronicle a while back. It was a Rookie Cookies Pineapple Pudding Cake.” “I’m trying to make a photocopy of the crossword puzzle in Sunday’s Plain Dealer and it’s not coming out very well. Is it available online?”

Unsure of the date of the article in the Tribune, the library staff attempted to find it at but the recipe was not listed. We next did an online search. The San Diego Union-Tribune’s (Universal Press) Mini Page [], July 2, 2009 featured this Rookie Cookies recipe.

Newsprint often photocopies darkly causing little contrast for crossword puzzle squares; finding it online would allow our patron to have a sharper image from which to work. The Plain Dealer’s puzzle cannot be accessed online without a paid subscription. By searching online using the name of the puzzle and the author’s name, we found the desired puzzle on the website of the LA Times []. The paper has puzzles from the last 30 days which can be played either online or printed to be worked by hand. For those who enjoy doing puzzles, but find they need assistance, the library has The American Heritage Crossword Puzzle Dictionary and The New York Times Crossword Puzzle Dictionary by Tom Pulliam and Clare Grundman. These books are available to help find the answers to difficult clues.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dark Chocolate Cocoa Fudge

“Can you find me a recipe for dark chocolate cocoa fudge?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff thought this was a mouthwatering request, appropriate for the upcoming holidays. We began the search by looking through our many cookbooks.

The Bon Appétit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild had a very rich Classic bittersweet chocolate fudge recipe (p.731) which required bittersweet chocolate, marshmallow cream, unsweetened chocolate, condensed milk, whipping cream and butter, but no cocoa. Just looking at the cover of Candy Making Basics by Evelyn Howe Fryatt was tempting. There is an entire chapter of Fudge Delights (pp. 16- 28). Members of the staff decided to check this book out when the patron was done using it. Who could resist such treats as Caramel Fudge Fantasy, Piña Colada Fudge, Layered Cream Cheese Peppermint Fudge, and the very seasonal Spiced Pumpkin Fudge.

Having no success finding the correct recipe in the cookbooks we looked through, we began an online search using the terms: dark chocolate cocoa fudge. The first site that came up was Their recipe for Rich Cocoa Fudge included Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa and seemed to be exactly for what our patron was looking.

Rich Cocoa Fudge
3 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.
2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)
3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.
About 36 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds. NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe. This is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How to Contact the President of the United States, Senators, & Congressmen

Sometimes the Newton Falls Public Library staff members are asked similar questions by different individuals. The following queries were made in the last few days and could be answered by using one site. “What is the phone number for the White House?” “Where can I send a letter to the President?” “How can I have the White House send a letter of recognition for special events like a 50th wedding anniversary or a 100th birthday?” “I want to contact my senator and representative. Where can I find that information?” is a wonderful resource for such questions.

At you can find the following phone numbers - Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414 and FAX: 202-456-2461. At this site you are also able to contact President Obama and his staff electronically using the online form. For those preferring to contact them through the mail, the address is The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.

The Office of Presidential Correspondence handles letters of greeting to United States citizens. The website gives the following detailed instructions on how to ask for letters from the White House. Greetings can be requested for “a 50th, 60th, 70th or later wedding anniversary, birthday greetings for individuals turning 80 or older or veterans turning 70 or older, wedding (send your request after the event), baby's birth or adoption of a child, retirement after at least 30 years on the same job, Eagle Scout Award, Girl Scout Gold Award, or Bar/Bat Mitzvah or equivalent religious occasion. When you make a request, be sure to send it so that it is received at least six (6) weeks in advance of the event date. (Greetings are generally not sent after the event date, except for wedding congratulations and newborn acknowledgments.) Include the name and home address of honoree(s), form of address (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Miss, etc.) exact date of occasion (month, day, year), age (birthdays) or number of years of marriage, your (the requestor's) name and daytime phone number, any specific mailing instructions if other than to honoree's address,” and for a wedding include couple's married names and current or new address). Send the required information to the White House Greeting Office by mail or fax (address and fax number above). notes that the office is presently swamped with requests and it is currently taking several months for the request to reach the office and to be mailed out.

Besides information about the current administration, this site also includes facts about all the presidents and first ladies; the White House; the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our government; and other links to resources such as the Senate, House of Representatives, CIA World Factbook, and

Friday, October 9, 2009

Steam Furnace H20 Low Fill

“I have a steam furnace to which I have to add water almost daily. Someone told me about something I can put on it that will automatically keep the boiler supplied with water. I think it was called a Watts and he also mentioned “H20 low fills”. Can you help me find more information about it?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff confesses to not knowing much about furnaces, but we often search for information on subjects about which we know nothing.

Our initial online search for “Watts steam furnace H20 low fills” wasn’t very informative, so some general information about furnaces was needed. Looking through our books, we could see that steam heating systems do not seem as popular as others, such as forced air. Heating and cooling by the editors of Time-Life Books and This Cold House: the simple science of energy efficiency by Colin Smith had information about steam heating systems. While both helped us understand this type of furnace a little more, neither gave the information about water low fills.

Now that we had a better idea how the system worked, we again looked online. The site has a variety of forums. Our patron examined the one dealing with Boilers - Steam and Hot Water System. She did not see anything in the discussion pertaining to her situation, but would consider asking a question of the group to see if anyone there had an idea. Continuing the search, we discovered a company named Watts[] with products for plumbing and heating. They have a division for water safety and control for hydronic and steam heating systems. This appears to be the company with the product she needs. At this point, we recommended she contacts a professional to learn more about what she needs to keep the furnace boiler automatically filled.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It is Old; is It Valuable?

“I’m going through stuff at our house. Some of the items are old, but I’d like to know if they would be worth selling.” The Newton Falls Public Library has a wealth of material to assist patrons looking to discover if what they own has more value than they may think. We have books that cover the broad topics of antiques and collectibles, such as The Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide by Ralph and Terry Kovel, and Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles. The Antiques Price Guide and Collectibles: Price Guide by Judith Miller, have very useful, color photographs which will assist you in identifying what is owned. If you think what you have may be a bit more humble than an antique or collectible, consider borrowing Official Guide to Flea Market Prices by Harry L. Rinker, Flea Market Trader, or Warman's Flea Market Price Guide by Don Johnson & Ellen T. Schroy.

The library also has books about specific items ranging from The Complete Encyclopedia to GI Joe by Vincent Santelmo to Antique Hardware Price Guide: a comprehensive collector's price and identification guide to vintage doorknobs, door bells, mail slots, hinges, door pulls, shutter hardware and locksets by H. Weber Wilson. It is interesting to see the variety of things that people save and collect.

For items which have been left neglected, before selling an owner may want to examine Care and repair of everyday treasures: a step-by-step guide to cleaning and restoring your antiques and collectibles by Judith Miller. When ready to sell, borrow The Great Garage Sale Book: how to run a garage, tag, attic, barn, or yard sale by Sylvia Simmons. Through our shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog borrow The Complete idiot's Guide to Starting an E-bay Business by Barbara Weltman.

Out of curiosity we decided to investigate some personal items. We were not able to find the tube-shaped Herb Ox bouillon tin in Antique Tins, Identification & Values by Fred Dodge and shall have to keep investigating. However the pink Diamond Quilted Depression glass cereal bowl was in Warman’s Depression Glass by Ellen T. Schroy and is valued at $8.50.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Questions, Questions, Questions

“I would like the phone number of a cab service. I need to have a ride out of town, so I can send a Western Union money order.” “How do you spell participation?” “Adam Smith is an 18th century economist. What did he die of?” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library finds the diversity of questions fascinating, and considers no question less important than another.

Before looking for a local taxi service, we offered to see if there was anywhere locally which supplied Western Union money orders. Going to and searching for locations in the 44444 zip code we found two locations within walking distance for the patron. As a result, we never did look for the phone number originally requested.

As we were standing, speaking with the next patron, the second question requiring a correct spelling was easily satisfied by using the Oxford American Dictionary, which sits on the shelving in the reference area.

The final question was a bit more difficult. The patron had looked in the library’s reference materials, including Chambers Biographical Dictionary and Dictionary of World Biography. Both had information about Adam Smith, including the date of his death but nothing about the cause of his death. We looked online in the library’s database Biography Plus Illustrated
. This resource and the reference books revealed that Adam Smith was not only a famous late 1700s Scottish economist, he was also an author. We then searched Gale Literature Resource Center database []. In the biographical information, we located several articles which looked to be helpful. British Philosophers, 1500-1799 by Kurt Norlin (Claremont Graduate University) states that “Smith began to suffer from a real and increasingly severe ailment of the stomach or intestines . . . he died on the night of 17 July 1790.” While it did not list a specific disease, the answer was sufficient for our patron’s needs.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How Do I Get Paint Off of Concrete?

“I had a concrete porch installed. When the painters sprayed a fresh coat of paint on the decorative railing, they got black paint on my new concrete in the outline of a large piece of paper. They and I don’t know how to remove it. Can you find me anything that will take the paint off?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff could see where a clean patch outlined in paint in the center of a new porch would not be appealing.

Clois E. Kicklighter, in Modern Masonry: brick, block, stone, warns that “faulty cleaning techniques or the use of the wrong cleaning agent” can ruin the appearance [p.127]. For brick and concrete block he mentions cleaning with an acid solution or sandblasting, as well as rubbing it with a smaller piece of block. This is especially useful for removing mortar. We weren’t sure if these methods would be effective for removing paint. Masonry Basics, which is part of Ortho’s All About series, deals with removing paint and graffiti stains from brick. It suggests pressure washing, scraping with a wire brush, scrubbing with a mixture of trisodium phosphate (TSP), semi-paste paint remover, spray paint remover, muriatic-acid solution, or the final option sandblasting [p. 91]. Again, we weren’t sure if these would be effective on concrete.

Rodale's Book of Practical Formulas has some formulas for general concrete cleaning, but none for paint removal. Fix It, Clean It, and Make it Last: the ultimate guide to making your household items last forever by Gayle K. Wood addresses the problem of oil and grease stains on concrete. Wood recommends covering the area with mineral spirits or paint thinner. Then spread cat litter, sand, baking soda, or corn meal over the spot. Leave it for at least 12 hours and sweep it up [pp. 251-252]. Since you are removing stains with a substance commonly used for removing paint, this seems to be a possible solution to our patron’s problem.

The expert online at the Paints and Coatings Resource Center [] offered several suggestions for removing paint from a concrete driveway: “scrape or wire brush the paint off the surface . . . maybe a wire wheel brush on the end of a cordless drill . . . would be much easier than scrubbing manually . . . you might be able to use as paint stripper that you can purchase from a hardware store.” These instructions, like all the others previously mentioned recommend testing in a small obscure area first. Our patron is going to take these suggestions to her mason to see if one of them may work for her problem.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mice in a Trailer

“Last year, mice got into our trailer over the winter. How can we keep them out when we store it this year?” This is a question that the Newton Falls Public Library staff knows can be considered from different points of view; looked at as an RV, housekeeping, or pest problem.

We began our search with RV Repair & Maintenance Manual by Bob Livingston and Woodall's RV Owner's Handbook by Gary Bunzer. Both had information on winterizing a recreational vehicle. The Woodall's book reminds the owner to inspect the undercarriage for small holes, and to “use Eternabond or aluminum plates to eliminate such openings [p.306].” Our patron wanted to know if there was something he could put inside the trailer in the event some holes are missed.

Heloise From A to Z and All-New Hints From Heloise did not have the pest control information we needed. The Complete Household Handbook: the best ways to clean, maintain & organize your home by Good Housekeeping simply said to “set traps [p. 336].”
The Friendly Trapper: book 2 by Harold E. Bailey has an entire chapter, Mice and Rats, on the topic. While it has many unusual suggestions for catching the pests, there are none for deterring them from entering a space in the first place.

This appears to be a common problem as many online discussion boards address the matter. The most common suggestions were to make sure the trailer is completely clear of food and crumbs, that all holes are filled as mice can enter a space as small as ¼ inch, and to try using inexpensive dryer sheets or moth balls as a deterrent. A contributor to [pjanits from Schaumburg, Ill] suggests that you “get a strong light and lay on the ground under the trailer and think like a mouse. Really, follow along the axle and see what’s there or where the frame is exposed enough for little feet to grab on.” At the same site another member suggested taking out all the cushions, checking for holes, filling them with coarse steel wool, and then putting out plates of moth balls, both inside and underneath the trailer. There is a caution on the website warning people of the danger of using mothballs which are toxic to people and pets. Another interesting suggestion, if storing your trailer in a building on your property, is to adopt a spayed or neutered cat.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Picnic Table Plans

“I need instructions for building a picnic table; the kind with unattached benches. The ones I see at the stores all have attached seats.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the difficulty of climbing over attached benches and the desire for the flexibility of removing the benches from a table.

The first item that came up in a search of the online catalog was Build It Better Yourself by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming. The picnic table in the chapter Outdoor Furniture was one with attached benches. This same chapter also has plans for a small table with the traditional crossed or slanted legs seen in larger picnic tables. If our patron were very handy he might be able to use the instructions for both these pieces of furniture to design his own, but he preferred to have a set of plans from which to work.

Weekend Woodworking for the Garden by Cindy Burda with Thomas Stender has an unusual picnic table and bench combination made from various lengths of 2 X 4s, stacked and threaded together by steel rods. Individuals who wish to use a variety of materials in their building will find Better Homes and Gardens Outdoor Projects You Can Build filled with interesting ideas. There are benches made from wood along with your choice of flue tiles, a window well, or clay tile reducers. These benches could be used with the book’s Contemporary Picnic Table which has the crossed legs. Building Outdoor Furniture by Ed & Stevie Baldwin has instructions for a round table with separate benches and the requisite hole for an umbrella. Better Homes and Gardens The Best of Wood Book 3 has a very pretty table and bench set on its cover with hearts cut into the leg panels. Also included are the instructions for a matching Comfy Country Chair which is similar to an Adirondack chair.

Our Internet search revealed more types of picnic tables and benches than we imagined. There was one which could be broken down for easy portability, one with a roof, a set of curved picnic benches to put with your choice of table, and another table that splits into two bench seats with backs. Finally at the Popular Mechanics site [ ] we found the plans for the classic cross legged table and benches desired by our patron.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What are the Differences in the Versions of Donovan's Catch the Wind?

“I plan to buy a copy of Donovan’s Catch the Wind but I see that he recorded three different versions of it. What are the differences?” Some of the Newton Falls Public Library staff fondly remembers the 1960s singer Donovan.

The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll states that Donovan (Leitch) first recorded Catch the Wind in 1965 as his debut single. “The song was almost entirely acoustic [p.276].” The Rock Who’s Who by Brock Helander lists the song as being recorded on albums by the same name by both Hickory and Garland Records in 1965. The song was recorded on the Greatest Hits album by Epic in 1969 and again by Sandstone in 1992 [p. 176]. Neither of these sources explained the differences in the versions. The only information The Encyclopedia of Popular Music gives about the song is to note that it was the song that launched Donovan’s career. The Encyclopedia . . . describes his “finest work, however, was as an ambassador of flower power” (vol. 2. P. 1590) and gave his first eleven albums three and four star ratings.

While the Newton Falls Public Library does not own a Donovan CD, patrons can enjoy seeing him perform on the library’s DVD, Bob Dylan Don't Look Back along with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Alan Price. The song can be heard on Donovan's Greatest Hits by Donovan and on the Flicka: motion picture soundtrack, both which may be borrowed through the library’s shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog.

Looking online at in the Donovan section, we found the song on many of his albums. In Concert: The Complete 1967 Anaheim Show [Import] [Live] has Catch the Wind pt. 1. The Essential Donovan, Try for the Sun: The Journey. . ., and Mellow have the mono single version. Summer Day Reflection Songs has a version with strings but does not specify if it is the single version. The Best of Donovan: Sunshine Superman has the LP album version, and we would guess that it was this version on the first album. Summer Day Reflection Songs has the original single version with strings and the original album cut without them. The Rising Again version was recorded with Danny Thompson. At this site, our patron is able to listen to different clips of the song, in order to determine which he prefers., the Free Online Encyclopedia has an explanation of the differences but the site does not include references or citations for verification. The site states the first release was produced on a single and featured Donovan’s vocals with echo and a string section. The second release of the song was on his first album What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid. This version was recorded without the vocal echo and strings. Still yet another version of Catch the Wind was released by Epic Records on their album Donovan’s Greatest Hits. Wikipedia states that Epic Records “were either unable or unwilling to secure the rights to the original recordings of Catch the Wind and
Colours . Donovan rerecorded both songs with a full backing band, and these were included on the greatest hits album with session musicians Big Jim Sullivan and John Paul Jones.”

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Do I Need Headlights Turned On When My Daytime Running Lights are On?

“I have a question about the new law that requires turning on your vehicle lights when your windshield wipers are on. Are my daytime running lights sufficient or do I need to actually turn on my car’s headlights?” While the Newton Falls Public Library staff is unable to give legal advice, we can find out what the law states. The article, Driving in the rain? Turn on your lights in the Vindicator on July 28, 2009 [p.B2], says that the new state law went in to effect on July 1, 2009. It is a secondary enforcement matter; you can be issued a citation for not turning on your lights when you are pulled over for another infraction. The article said nothing about daytime running lights.

The library staff went online to look at the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws []. In the section on Driving in Special Conditions it says “Lights must be displayed between sunset and sunrise and during any periods of rain, snow, fog or other unfavorable atmospheric conditions regardless of the time of day. Lights also need to be used at any time when natural light conditions do not make it possible to clearly see objects 1,000 feet ahead [p. 62 & 64].” That still didn’t exactly answer the patron’s question.

We next contacted the Newton Falls Police Department. They informed us that the daytime running lights are not sufficient, and drivers MUST turn on their headlights. If the vehicle has headlights that come on automatically when natural light dims, it sounds as if drivers should err on the side of caution and make sure that their headlights have turned on.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pitching Horseshoes is Popular in Newton Falls

“Pitching horseshoes seems to be very popular in Newton Falls. How did the game begin?” Knowing the popularity of the game in the community made this an interesting question for the Newton Falls Public Library staff. Rules of the Game: the complete illustrated encyclopedia of all the sports of the world by the Diagram Group has the rules and set up for horseshoe pitching. 2009 ESPN Sports Almanac: the definitive sports reference book has information about many sports, including chess, eating, and fishing but nothing about horseshoes. Facts & Dates of American Sports by Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich had some historical information about horseshoes. The first known clubs were in 1892 in Meadville, Pa. and East Liverpool, Oh. Kansas State College (now Kansas State University) held the first pitching tournament in 1905 [p.50].

An online search resulted in some surprises. The 2009 Ohio Senior Olympics Games Regional Horseshoe Tournament was held on Thursday, July 9 at the Newton Falls VFW Post
3332 [].

We also discovered a local question at the website of the professional bowler Walter Ray []. Before taking up bowling as a teen, Mr. Ray was a child prodigy horseshoe pitcher []. A fan from Warren was looking to see if he was going to again attend a Newton Falls horseshoe tournament.

The most detailed information was found at the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association’s website []. The Association feels that the game has its origins in Ancient Greece. “There is a tradition that the camp followers of the Grecian armies, who could not afford the discus, took discarded horseshoes, set up a stake and began throwing horseshoes at it . . .Following the Revolutionary War, it was said by England's Duke of Wellington that “the War was won by pitchers of horse hardware." The game was very popular with soldiers. “The impetus for the NHPA as we know it today grew out of the throwing of mule shoes in the Union Camps during the Civil War. Courts sprang up in the backyards of Union states.” Rules for the game were established in 1869 in England, but no tournaments held nor records kept until 1909. The first Horseshoe World Championship was held in 1910 in Bronson, Kansas. The championship belt won by W. Frank Jackson had horseshoes attached to it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How Do I Get Rid of Weeds Without Harming Pets?

“I have to get rid of weeds growing through my brick patio. Can you help me find something that’s safe around my pets; both my dog and cat like to chew on the plants outside. Something that is easy for me to use besides hand weeding? The area is too big.” Weeds can be the bane of a homeowner’s landscaping existence, and the Newton Falls Public Library staff can understand our patron’s dilemma in trying to get rid of them without endangering the pets.

In The Truth About Organic Gardening: benefits, drawbacks, and the bottom line by Jeff Gillman, almost 10% of the book is focused on the topic of weed control. It is very helpful that for each suggestion, Gillman includes the benefits, the drawbacks, and the bottom line. Our patron wasn’t sure if his organic suggestions to flame the weeds (with extreme caution), cover the entire area with plastic, or apply corn gluten meal, vinegar, or salt were good for her.
We next examined Giant Book of Garden Solutions: 1,954 natural remedies to handle your toughest garden problems by Jerry Baker. In this book, the use of common household items is very interesting. Baker has a recipe for Brussels Sprouts Brush-Off Soup using the sprouts (can substitute cabbage leaves), dish soap and water [p. 329]. Another one that attracted our attention was Weed Wipeout, made from gin, vinegar, liquid dish soap, and water [p.289, 356].
The safest weed killer for use around pets was found in Great Garden Formulas: the ultimate book of mix-it-yourself concoctions for your garden. Slowly pour boiling water over the weeds and the soil around them and do not remove the dead weeds as they will serve as mulch, discouraging new growth [p. 154]. There is also a formula for a rubbing alcohol and water spray [p.156]. The final suggestion in their chapter, Formulas for Weed Control, was to carefully identify the weeds, ensure they haven’t been treated with chemicals, harvest and eat them. A Newton Falls Public Library staff member declared, “This is the ultimate revenge against weeds, along with a little pepper and olive oil!”

Friday, July 17, 2009

How Can We Make Our Home Handicapped Accessible?

“We need to make our home handicapped accessible. Can you help us find information? We were also wondering, is there is a way to use an automatic garage door opener to open a man-door?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff found it interesting to research these questions, as this is a situation faced by many families as loved ones become older or lose mobility.

The book, Opening the Doors to Older Persons: an ADA accessibility checklist was created for primarily for public buildings, but the information and checklists included give homeowners some important things to consider. Access For All by Schooley Caldwell Associates and the Ohio Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities has a chapter on housing with instructions on how to increase accessibility in the modification of a single family home. A very practical book in the library’s collection is Ideas for Making Your Home Accessible. It takes you step-by-step through the process, looking at costs and needs, as well as giving simple suggestions such as using vertical file storage to provide easy access to frequently used items (p. 58). We also recommend borrowing The Accessible Home: updating your home for changing physical needs through TiPL, Trumbull Independent Public Libraries’ shared catalog.

Not finding anything on adapting a garage door opener for use as an automatic handicapped door, our staff did an Internet search. In Life on Wheels: for the active wheelchair user by Gary Karp [], the author writes about how a contractor mounted the opener sideways on patio doors to make them automatic. The Automatic Sliding Door Opener by designers Michael Meilunas, Mark Seus, and Colum Gibbons (Binghamton University, Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science Department of Mechanical Engineering) in the NSF 1997 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities, (p. 44-45) [] also shows a sliding door opener using one originally intended for a garage. has Free Home-Made Automatic Gate Opener Plans by Keith G. Vickers which looks as if it could be adapted to open a man-door.

Adapting a home can be expensive. Groups considering helping families with emergency home repair/handicapped accessibility may wish to examine the site for The Ohio Housing Trust Fund’s Housing Assistance Grant Program []. Handi-Ramp [] has a network of programs that can be looked at to see if any will match the homeowner’s needs.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Do Libraries Matter?

“Recently there has been much discussion about a large reduction in funds for Ohio public libraries, due to the economic crisis being faced by the state. Why does this matter?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff has been responding to this question daily. We believe libraries serve as the great technology and information equalizer - a source of informational and enrichment materials and programs for all citizens regardless of their age, race, gender, and social or economic standing. And libraries deal daily with how the changes in the economy affect our patrons and our services.

For too long the role of the community library has been viewed as just a place that provides patrons with entertainment in the form of books, music, and movies. The library’s role has changed. We still offer print and entertainment materials, but as more and more information is becoming available online, we are finding patrons need us to assist them “searching for the needle in the haystack” of World Wide Web. We assist the unemployed with Internet access to job search sites and listings, plus instruction in the creation of resumes and use of state and federal assistance beyond the scope of One Stop facilities. Without this free access to the Internet, one-on-one assistance from our staff, and computer classes, many people would be lost in the area of technology. We provide patrons with free resources they require to improve and manage their health, improve their skills in various areas, conduct research, study for tests, seek legal and tax information, fix their cars, plan their estates, do their school assignments - in short a multitude of the practical, necessary tasks of daily living. We cannot count the number of patrons who have come to our library for assistance holding a letter from a government agency telling them to get some required piece of information from the library. Libraries play a critical role in the health and working of the community. Our library provides the local schools and homeschooling families with materials that support their curriculum, as well as resources to the community’s senior lunch program. Throughout the year there are enrichment and educational programs for everyone, from infants to seniors.

Libraries serve as a lifeline for the neediest segments of the population, offering the poor and unemployed critical services and information they cannot acquire elsewhere. Here in Trumbull County where unemployment is at 14.3% the need for library services is particularly necessary. Patrons have been coming to us requiring job search and skill building assistance they cannot get elsewhere. They must also have access to computers to apply online and regularly check e-mail concerning job prospects. Large reductions in services could put these already struggling people out of reach of the realistic means to find employment. There is no public transportation and many of our patrons walk to the library, suggesting that access to another library would be beyond their reach.

We wish to thank all our patrons, local businesses, and community organizations for their kind words and support. We invite everyone to visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal St., Newton Falls, phone 330-872-1282,
or online at and to take advantage of everything the library has to offer:

Materials available for use:
*Books – large type, paperback, hardback, board, oversize, AR, graphic novels, easy readers
*Audiobooks – CD, cassette, Playaways
*Videos & DVDs
*Cassette players
*Telesensory viewer
*Magnifying glasses
*Parent/Teacher collection
*Print & online job search guides & skills materials
*Floppy drives

*Computer classes
*Job search programs
*Story times for children, 0–6 years of age & families
*Library Sprouts
*Readers Theater Club
*Summer reading clubs & programs for adults, teens, & children ages 0 – 12
*Game Design workshop for teens
*Knit & Stitch
*Adult enrichment
*Teens – Wii, Anime Club
*Book Discussions – Library & off site
*In-house programming for special groups such as school classrooms, daycares, Girl Scout troops
*Art exhibits & displays

Local History Room:
*Community historical reference
*Genealogy assistance
*Community photos, memorabilia, newspapers

Library services:
*Reference – in-house, phone & online
*Readers’ advisory
*Teacher Totes
*Self serve copier
*Public access Internet computers & printers
*Homeschooling assistance
*Meeting rooms
*Informational articles for local newspapers
*Golden Buckeye registration
*Voter registration
*Tax forms, including printing of forms online
*Assignment Alerts temporary collections
*One-on-one computer & Internet assistance

Online services:
*Teacher Pathfinders
*Databases such as AllData Pro, LearningExpress Library & Ohio Career Information System
*Ask the Librarian
*Interactive blogs for adults, teens, & children
*Local community & organization links
*Library calendar
*Community calendar

Items available at low cost to assist patrons:
*Flash drives
*Multiple computer print jobs & photocopies
*Floppy disks

Cooperative programs:
*Homebound Service contracted through WTCPL
*Book Share w/ schools & daycares - materials to support local school curriculum
*Senior Totes w/ senior lunch program
*County and state lending via ILL through MORE, SEO & TiPL
*Purchasing w/ NEO-RLS & TiPL
*Off-site programming for special groups such as senior citizens, school classrooms, daycares, *Girl Scout troops, & local organizations
*One Book Two Counties area wide book discussions & events

Staff participation in community events & organizations:
*Home 44444 the Holidays
*Newton Falls Area Commerce Association
*North Pole Challenge
*Friends of the Library
*Relay for Life

Death Comes in Threes

American English is filled with interesting sayings and phrases. The Newton Falls Public Library staff recently had patron wondering where another one came from. “With the passing of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson, I got to wondering where the expression, death comes in threes, originated? Another staff member has family who says a birth, a wedding and a death all come together. This got us to wondering if the expressions are linked.

Our staff searched the phrase, slang, and idioms books in the library’s collection and was unsuccessful in locating either expression, even though there were numerous listings for the words but not those particular phrases. Even McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs by Richard A. Speares, which has many pages containing death, come, and threes, does not have either of the sought after phrases.

Trying to consider other ways of looking at this; what if it is not a phrase but rather a superstition? Pioneer Superstitions by Ferne Shelton has a sampling of oral tales and beliefs. Ohio State Buckeye fans will be happy to know that “If a buckeye is carried in a chest pocket, all enemies become kind to you. If carried in a lower pocket or purse, expect prosperity [p.12].” Superstitions by Peter Lorie refers to death, birth, and marriage as milestones of life and offers interesting superstitions related to each, beautifully illustrated by paintings and photographs. Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: a compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett is where we were partially successful. In volume 2 there is a section titled, Numbers, Counting in the Lore of Death. Most of the notions in this section included references to one death or funeral followed by two more. In the same volume, Love, Courtship, Marriage, etc. as Death Tokens, we found the belief that marriages, births and deaths will come linked together in families.

We were unable to find anything definitive either in print or online as to the origins of these beliefs, each of which deals with three events. One reason which might be considered is the prevalence of human beliefs focused on the number three. In the May 28, 2001 issue of Telephony
[], Jason Meyers writes in his article Rule of Threes [p.84], “Dividing things into threes is universally acceptable. There's Aristotle's principle of the three unities of time, place and action. There's Freud's id, ego and superego. There's the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Three strikes and you're out. Third time's a charm. Bad things happen in threes, and for some reason things are also supposed to be funnier in threes.”

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What is Egg Lemonade?

“What is Egg Lemonade? I saw it mentioned in one of the old Newton Falls Heralds in the Local History Room. Can you find me a recipe for it?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff thought this sounded like an interesting summer beverage. We first searched for books about beverages. The books on the shelf about beverages were bartending ones, and none included this drink. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mixing Drinks by The Players and Alan Axelrod says to avoid using raw eggs in drinks and suggested using powdered egg whites instead. While we don’t yet know if this recipe includes raw eggs; as egg creams do not, it is a good warning to heed.

Cookbooks of older recipes, such as Food in Medieval Times by Melitta Weiss Adamson, The Martha Washington Cookbook by Marie Kimball and The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook by Mary Donovan, did not have Egg Lemonade. The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook did have a recipe for Cider Posset, which included cider, cream, Madeira and eggs. Larousse Gastronomique: the new American edition of the world's greatest culinary encyclopedia had an interesting recipe for eggnog with beer. Even How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman did not have Egg Lemonade.

We were much more successful with our online search. Many sites had recipes for Egg Lemonade. Interestingly enough, it appears that the recipe is a favorite of different ethnic cultures. [a site for Indian foods], Jewish Food Cookbook and Drinks from Denmark all have recipes for this beverage. The basic ingredients in each are sugar, lemons, eggs, and water or soda water.

According to the blog,, the recipe was included in an 1887 collaborative cookbook with the ingredients shaken in a mason jar. A recipe was also published in 1909 in The Good Housekeeping Woman's Home Cook Book []. Nutrition and Dietetics (©1910, 1913) by Winfield S. Hall, PhD., MD. [] recommends Egg Lemonade as part of the treatment of chronic gastritis. Dr. Hall suggests it as one of the foods to be introduced gradually after several days of consuming predigested proteins such as peptonized milk, followed by other liquids, and then foods including Egg Lemonade, broths thickened with cereal, and delicate custards [p.241].
Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher by W. O. Rigby, 19th edition 1919 at has a lengthy list of common egg drinks, including Egg Coffee and Egg Limeade.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What Does A Rain Check Have To Do With Rain?

“I was at the store the other day to purchase an item on sale. They told me that they would have to give me a rain check. That got me wondering; why do they call it a rain check? It has nothing to do with the weather.” Language, slang, and idiom questions are always intriguing to the Newton Falls Public Library staff. American English is so unique, that the library even has the book American English as a Foreign Language by Sandra Stevens

The only rain in the index of Common Phrases and Where They Come From by Myron Korach in collaboration with John B. Mordock was “raining cats and dogs [p.2-3].” In Teutonic myths, Odin’s dog signifying the wind chases a cat, the rain. When it rained heavily, Odin was believed to be dropping cats and dogs. Readers, who enjoy very short articles, will have fun reading this book of interesting descriptions of common phrases.

A Dictionary of American Idioms by Adam Makkai, M.T. Boatner, and J.E. Gates and McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs by Richard A. Speares define a rain check including the obvious, a free ticket to another outdoor activity in place of one canceled by rain. We still don’t know how that has gotten to apply to merchandise at a store. Cassell's Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green had the meanings of many rain words, but not rain checks.

We searched online for the origin of rain check. The site says the term was first used as early as 1884, when the May 26th St. Louis [Missouri] Dispatch story states "The heavy rain yesterday threw a damper over local operations. At each of the parks the audience had to be content with three innings and rain checks.” This site also notes that the phrase became “used metaphorically, and by the 1970s it had spread outside the U.S. and into other English-speaking countries.”

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Rose is a Rose is Amazing!

At the monthly Newton Falls Area Commerce Association meeting on Tuesday, May 12, the Newton Falls Public Library was given a rose with the NFACA’s logo on it. All the members received one to publicize a new business, Speaking Roses at It was purchased the day before at Nordlie in Newton Falls. The white rose bud was set on the library’s circulation desk, and there it has been for almost 4 weeks. Not only does it still look lovely as of June 8, it has grown new leaves. Our staff has been Asking the Librarian, “Can we plant it? Can we start plants from the new growth?”

The Rose Bible by Rayford Clayton Reddell, given in memory of Janice Kolacz, has a chapter on propagating. It explains how to grow “roses on their own roots from cuttings [p.215].” Cuttings are inserted into good rooting soil with two budding eyes above and below. For a rose novice that wasn’t quite enough information. The Ortho book All About Roses by Rex Wolfe and James McNair has more detailed instructions on softwood cuttings, accompanied with drawings showing each step. Remove the flower; dip the cuttings in a root hormone stimulant, set into a damp soil mix, and then cover with a plastic bag until the new shoots appear. At that point the cutting can be transplanted to the garden [p. 62].

Neither of the books addressed the fact that a cut rose was growing new leaves. An online search revealed that others have experienced this phenomenon. There was a posting at the site iVillageGardenWeb [] with similar questions about planting a growing cut rose. The responder gave similar instructions to what was recommended in All About Roses. It was suggested that a two liter bottle can also be used to create the greenhouse effect needed to root a rose cutting.

On June 8, a member of the library staff took this lovely rose home to try to root it, and hopefully patrons and staff will be able to enjoy this small gift for years to come.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Affordable Activities for Everyone

“I’m looking for affordable activities for my family this summer. Does the library have any programs?” The Newton Falls Public Library has great programs for all ages this summer. There are also resources and ideas to borrow with activities which you can do without spending much money. Visit the library and ask a librarian to show you the many local travel, craft, project, and game books. Borrow DVDs and videos, audiobooks and CD-Roms.

Parents and children, ages 0 – 5 years can participate in Read to Me @ My Library. At home, read to your child, complete the reading readiness activities, and earn up to 4 prizes. Parents will be eligible for the grand prize drawing of Roby Lee’s gift certificate. Family Story Time for children, ages 0 – 6 years and their families will be on Tuesdays, June 16 through July 28, at 7 p.m. Story Time for children, ages 2 ½ - 5 years, with a caregiver will be on Wednesdays, June 17 – July 29 at 10:30 a.m. Registration for the programs will begin on June 1.

Children, entering grades 3 – 6, can join our Readers Theater and help choose, prepare, and present a short play. There will be no auditions or lines to memorize. The group will meet on Tuesdays, June 9 – 30, at 2 p.m. Registration begins on June 1 and the performance will be on July 1 at 2 p.m.

Library Sprouts is for children, ages 4 – 12 years. Learn about growing and harvesting your own food. This group meets weekly in June and July on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Call anytime to register. Please be aware that they will be working outside and eating the items they grow. Please alert the Children’s Librarian of any insect or food allergies.

Children, going into kindergarten through sixth grade, can win weekly prizes for reading. Packets can be picked up beginning June 8. Prizes have been donated by the Friends of the Library, Dairy Queen, and Subway. In conjunction with the Reading Rewards activities there is also weekly programming on Wednesday afternoons, June 17 – July 22. There will also be a weekly ‘Look & Find.’ Search the library for the missing puzzle piece and help us to put together our masterpiece.

Teens, entering grades 7 – 12, Express Yourself @ Your Library by earning scratch off tickets for books read. There will be weekly instant winners and non-winning tickets will be entered into the grand prize drawings, which include video MP3 players donated by Pamida. Register to create a Duct Tape Bust - June 15, Altered Books - June 29, Collage Self Portrait - July 13, and Tie-dyed shirt - July 27. These Monday programs will be at 3 p.m. Teens, register for the three week Game Design Workshop and create your own video game. Sessions meet Thursdays at 2 p.m. Session 1 runs from June 11 – 25; session 2 from July 9 – 23. Anime/Manga Club will meet Saturday, June 27 and July 25 at 2 p.m. Students under 16 must have a signed permission slip or be accompanied by a parent. Wii Play for students ages 10 – 17 will be on Thursday, June 11 and July 9 at 4 p.m. Registration is required.

Adults can also participate in reading activities. For each library book, audiobook, or magazine enjoyed, earn an entry into our weekly prize drawing. At the end of the program, a winner’s name will be drawn for the grand prize which includes a gift certificate to Café 422. Register today for the Garden Plant Exchange on Wednesday, June 17, 6 – 7:30 p.m. Bring seedlings or cuttings to exchange with the other participants. Sign up for the Meet and Eat, pick up a recipe form, submit it to the library by July 20, and on Monday, July 27, at 6 p.m. bring your prepared dish for a recipe tasting. The Get Back to Work @ the Newton Falls Public Library computer skills training courses will be continue through the summer. Contact the library for the schedule of classes.

Knit and Stitch will continue to meet during the summer on Mondays, June 8, June 22, July 6, and July 20 at 4 p.m. Anyone, ages 10 years and older, who wishes to make a project for themselves or a friend is welcome. Register anytime for this ongoing program.

For more information about summer programs visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal St., Newton Falls, phone 330-872-1282, or online at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Which Direction Does a Wren House Face?

“I was given a new wren house. I know that it has to face in a certain direction; what is it?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff enjoys these interesting questions about birds. Many of us didn’t realize that birdhouses had to hang facing in certain directions.

The Birder’s Miscellany: a fascinating collection of facts, figures, and folklore from the world of birds by Scott Weidensaul states that the overall dimensions of the nest box of a house wren should be 8”H X 5.5”W X 4”D with an entrance hole of 1.25”. It should be placed head-high in the yard or garden [p. 125]. Edward A. Baldwin’s Birdfeeders, Shelters & Baths has some very creative bird houses and feeders including ones which would be excellent projects to make with children. He also has ideas for keeping predators at bay.

The Audubon North American Birdfeeder Guide by Robert Burton and Stephen W. Kress has a chapter on nest boxes: selecting ones to attract certain birds, box design, positioning, cleaning, maintenance, building, and garden threats. Burton and Kress state that house wrens are hole-nesters who like enclosed boxes attached to garden fence posts or in or near shrubbery or the edge of a forest, rather than open nesters like robins. They also have good suggestions for making your garden bird friendly, including protecting them from threats. For bluebirds and tree swallows they suggest that box entrances face east in order to be warmed by the morning sun, but say nothing about the placement of house wren boxes. The Audubon North American Birdfeeder Guide has an excellent chapter on house wrens. This bird with the cheerful song is friendly to gardeners, eating many insects including grasshoppers, gypsy moths, cabbage butterflies, ticks and flies. The wren usually bears two clutches of eggs each year, so it is still not too late to get a house up in time for the laying of the second clutch.

While we’ve learned a lot about wrens, the patron’s question still has not been answered. It is time to search the Internet. The website, has books which can be read online for free. Carpentry and Mechanics For Boys by A. Neely Hall has a chapter on Wren Houses []. This has very detailed information about wrens and their choice of house. It also states that they prefer that the opening of the house to face east. The patron had the information she needed and was heading outside to put up her new house.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Car Trouble

“I’m having trouble with my car. Where are your auto repair books?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff instructed the patron in the use of our online catalog to find the location of the auto repair manuals.

There is a large selection of repair materials in the books numbered with 629s, but these did not have the information needed by the patron. After discussion with her, she said, “The problem isn’t with the engine, the wiring, or the body. The problem is with the seat arm; it has begun tilting downward and it is driving me crazy.” The library has purchased the use of the online database, AllData, which provides comprehensive automotive reference for domestic and foreign cars, trucks, and vans from 1982 to the present. Maintenance information, technical service bulletins, schematics and diagrams are included. Since access to the database is only available within the library, the patron ‘borrowed’ a computer using her library card.

All Data is accessed by going to “Library Databases” on the library’s homepage. Then from All Data, she selected the year, make, model and engine of her vehicle. It is possible to do a component search in All Data, but we first went to the Technical Service Bulletins. There was nothing of interest listed under Recalls, but there was an extensive list of things under Customer Interest. A bulletin was issued for “Armrest Angled Down on Front Driver or Passenger Seat When Seat is in Upright Position.” This was exactly the problem the patron was experiencing with her vehicle. She printed a copy of the information, including the instructions on how to correct the problem. Since the vehicle was still under warranty, the dealership repaired the armrest for her free of charge. It was interesting looking at all the noises reported by other customers who own the same vehicle. Apparently hissing, squeaking, whistling, squealing, fluttering, shuddering, vibrating, whining, clunking, popping, rattling, and itching noises have been reported to dealerships. This is a useful tool in understanding one’s vehicle, and learning what may be a concern which should be dealt with by a mechanic