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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Porter Wagoner's Ties

“I like the ties Porter Wagoner used to wear. Where can I buy ones like them?” This was an interesting multi-faceted question; who is Porter Wagoner and what did his ties look like?

Wagoner was a country music star, who got his start singing on the local radio station three times a week from the grocery store where he worked [The Comprehensive Country Music Encyclopedia p.405]. Known as the “Thin Man From West Plains” (Missouri); he is famous for his grand showmanship and his rhinestone suits []. After signing Dolly Parton’s to his television show, they were duet partners for seven years [Comprehensive Country…p.406]. He died on October 28, 2007 at the age of 80.

The Internet was a great resource for photos of Wagoner and the ones on clearly showed examples of his ties. Some were small narrow bow ties with long tails; others appeared to be a neckerchief style also with long tails. Some of the latter had what looked to have a scarf slide at the neck. Searching for country western ties and neckerchiefs helped to identify the types Wagoner wore. The bow tie is known as a Kentucky bow tie or a Kentucky colonel bow tie. The other style is a western scarf tie, and seems to be reminiscent of neckerchiefs worn by cowboys. The style with the slide is the apache scarf tie. Our library patron will be able to search online or at stores that carry these ties. Wagoner also wore rhinestone covered, diamond shaped pieces between the openings of his collars. These had no tails and matched his jackets. We were unable to find any information about this type, and assume since they seem to match his rhinestone jackets, that they were custom made for him. Another popular style worn by many country singing stars is the bolo string tie.

For more information about Porter Wagoner, the library has a variety of books including Definitive Country: the ultimate encyclopedia of country music and its performers by Barry McCloud and A Century of Country: an illustrated history of country music by Robert K. Oermann. Ultimate Dolly Parton [sound recording] by Dolly Parton features a duet by her and Wagoner. The library can also borrow through interlibrary loan Popular and Collectible Neckties: 1955 to the present by Roseann Ettinger to satisfy curiosity about the many varieties of ties.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quit Smoking, Save Money

“I need to quit smoking; the new tax is costing me too much money. Do you have anything to help me?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the difficulty in dealing with this addiction. An article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer [3/31/2009] states that with the new tax cigarettes in Cuyahoga County will cost around $6.20 a pack. The American Cancer Society’s website,, has a smoking cost calculator. Being conservative, if our patron pays $6 a pack, only smokes half a pack a day, and could quit today; the savings would be $1095 in a year. That would seem to be a good incentive to check out some of the materials available.

The library has a new book which our patron might want to consider, The Enlightened Smoker's Guide to Quitting by Bear Jack Gebhardt. Often a method which works for one individual doesn’t work for another, so books may be borrowed from other libraries in our shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog. Some of the titles available are American Lung Association 7 Steps to a Smoke-free Life by Edwin B. Fisher, Jr. with Toni L. Goldfarb, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Quitting Smoking by Lowell Kleinman and Deborah Messina-Kleinman, and How to Quit Smoking Without Gaining Weight by Bess H. Marcus, Jeffrey S. Hampl, and Edwin B. Fisher.

The American Cancer Society’s website has a great deal of information to assist the smoker and those around them get through the transition to nonsmoker. Nicotine Anonymous [] has a twelve step program offered at meetings in Trumbull and Mahoning Counties. They also offer telephone and Internet meetings. The Ohio Tobacco QUIT LINE 1-800-QUIT-NOW (or 1-800-784-8669) is a free telephone cessation service. Individualized tobacco-quitting guidance is supplied and eligible callers can be offered nicotine replacement therapy.

Options to help you while going through withdrawal are meditation and exercise. For meditation you might want to consider Yoga Journal's Yoga Practice for Meditation [videorecording], Quantum Wellness: a practical and spiritual guide to health and happiness by Kathy Freston, Meditation for Dummies by Stephan Bodian, or Breath Sweeps Mind: a first guide to meditation practice. The library also has numerous books and videos on various forms of exercise, dance, and sports to divert the mind and help to keep weight off while giving up cigarettes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Kind of Screwdriver Does a Triangular Screw Take?

“I have to take apart a small heater. It has a screw on it I’ve never seen before. The screw head has a triangle cut in to it. What kind of screwdriver does it take?” The patron had brought the small black screw along with him to show the Newton Falls Public Library staff. Those working that day had never remembered seeing one like it before either.

Classic Hand Tools by Garrett Hack had wonderful information and photographs about a variety of woodworking tools, but no screwdrivers. Machine Shop Basics by Rex Miller and Mark Richard Miller was filled with details shop practices and tools, but no screws. It wasn’t until we got to Millwrights and Mechanics Guide by Carl A. Nelson that we were successful in finding information about screws. It was interesting to note that there are three basic forms of heads: flat, round, and oval which use either a straight-slotted or Phillips type driver. Nelson gave examples of nineteen different kinds many of which fall within these groups; some with intriguing names like filister, bung, felloe, pinched, and piano. In addition to the slotted and the Philips, the Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual gave examples of the square-drive [Robertson], star-drive [torx], one-way, and hex-head [Allen], but no triangular. This book did give troubleshooting tips for problems with electric heaters.

Searching the Internet for triangular screws and screwdrivers brought up interesting results. Online shoppers can purchase triangular screwdrivers for use on watches, robot vacuum cleaners, children’s fast food meal toys, and we assume from the reference question, small electric heaters; and tri-wing Y ones for electronic game consoles. These are security screws, designed to deter those seeking to disassemble the product. Other security screws found were snake eyes, reverse thread, one-way slotted, and pin heads. There are also drivers made for removing each kind.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Computer History

Our new computer classes, Get Back to Work @ the Newton Falls Library got the staff asking their own questions. “How long have there been computers at the library? Wasn’t there once a dial up access to the library?” The answers to these questions involved a trip to the Local History Room on the 2nd floor.

Working backward through scrapbooks, we found that the staff began barcoding books in 1995. In December 1995, library patrons signed up for their new raspberry colored barcoded library cards, and the first day of library automation was February 11, 1996. Other paperwork showed that there was a microcomputer policy in existence before 1994. We continued working our way through older scrapbooks and the Newton Falls Herald. After the grand opening of the two-story library addition on April 14, 1988, it was announced in the following week’s Herald that the library had hired a new Tech Assistant to orient patrons in the use of the public access computers.

Reviewing our Technology Plans’ background sections, microcomputers were available for public word processing in 1983. The library began its automation process in 1991. In 1993, CD-Rom reference materials were available on library computers. The Internet could be accessed in-house by patrons with staff assistance in 1994. Beginning in September 1996, they had dial-in access from remote sites though our Newton Falls Information Network. Free Internet use and access to reference databases became available to the public in April 1997, through the Ohio Public Library Information Network [OPLIN].

For 26 years the library has offered computer training to the community. The R. J. Wean Foundation recently provided grant monies allowing the library to purchase the necessary equipment for our new wireless laptop computer lab, which is being used for classes on computer skills training courses. Our new classes cover a variety of topics including: basic computer skills, setting up email accounts, online job searching, resume and cover letter writing, MS Word and Office Basics, MS Excel, and photosharing.