library heading

library heading

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Very Special Library Lover

The Newton Falls Public Library received a special donation during Library Lovers’ Month from a very small library lover. Six year old Melody Jacques visited the library to select books and to make a gift to the library. In July of 2009, after a discussion with her parents, Heidi and Les Jacques, about how the library depends upon donations to have books and stay open, Melody informed them she wanted to give money to the library and have her name put into the big book in the foyer. Her mother helped to make a box, covered with stickers and surrounded by books, to hold her fund. Good deeds and hard work were rewarded with green stones in a jar, which earned her money each week. When Melody received money as gifts from family members, the money went into her fund. Upon reaching $50, her pediatrician Dr. Giorgio Vescera matched her fund. On February 13 Melody presented her gift to the library staff for the purchase of more of her favorite books.

Melody and her favorite books with Youth Services Librarian, Chrissy Braun.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Does February Have Only 28 or 29 Days?

“Why does February have only 28 or 29 days in the month?” A question which the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library had not considered is always a fun one to answer. First we looked at Chase’s Calendar of Events. The book contains 4000 birthdays, 1400 historical anniversaries, 650 national and international holidays, 160 religious holidays, and thousands of other notable days, but does not say why February has fewer days than other months. It does remind the reader that February is Library Lovers’ Month.

Encyclopedias are excellent sources of basic information. In the library’s copy of World Book Encyclopedia 2007, we found an entry about February [pg. 60]. Before 700 B.C. calendars only had 10 months. The Roman ruler, Numa Pompilius added January and February, with February being the last month of the year. The month only had 28 days until “Julius Caesar gave it 29 in standard years and 30 every fourth year. According to tradition, the Roman emperor Augustus took one day off February to add to August, the month named after him.”

We were still curious about why this month had fewer days than the others. The New York Public Library Desk Reference states on the cover that it is “the most valuable answer book you will ever own,” so we thought we would see what it had about the calendar. In the section on The Development of the Roman/Julian/Gregorian Calendar [pg. 13] it states that “Julius Caesar rejected the Roman lunar calendar in favor of a solar one . . . The solar year was made up of 365 ¼ days. A leap day was added every 4 years to maintain the balance between the calendar and the seasons.” Included with this article is a chart showing the development of calendars by Romulus in 738 B.C., King Numa Pompilius, Council of Decemvirs, Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, to Gregory XIII in 1582. In the 10 month Romulus calendar, Decembris is the shortest month with 29 days. The calendars of King Numa Pompilius and the Council of Decemvirs have months that are 28, 29, or 31 days long. The succeeding calendars adjusted the number of days in a year and in months, until the Gregorian calendar finally left only February with 28 or 29 days.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is There a Sequel to Moby Dick?

Patrons of all ages ask questions of the Newton Falls Public Library staff. A young man, age 11 years, wanted to know “Is there a sequel to Moby Dick?” We first went to a locally purchased research database, Literary Reference Center Plus. This new database will be especially useful enabling students to research authors and titles, and to view full text versions of books online.

In the database, we found an article,
Biography of Herman Melville by Harold Bloom. It says the book was written by Herman Melville in 1851 following an eighteenth month sea voyage he took in 1842. Looking through various articles in the Literary Reference Center Plus, we were unable to find a sequel to Moby Dick listed.

The library staff frequently uses websites which list books in a series. Examining both What’s Next? [] and Fantastic Fiction [] showed that there was no sequel written to Melville’s classic.

While searching online for the answer to this question, we typed in Moby Dick sequel and found some interesting sidelights. The opening line of the book, “Call me Ishmael” has spawned the complementary title, Don't Call Me Ishmael. There is a young adult book by Michael Gerard Bauer and a webcomix written by George O’Connor [] by that name. There is also a blog titled Herman-Melville []. The author of the blog posted on Sunday, February 19, 2006, says “As noted above, I currently am deceased. Recently, however, we got wireless” and discusses his in-progress sequel to Moby Dick, which he anticipates titling Son of Moby Dick.

We had to inform our patron that there is no sequel to Melville’s classic book.

Friday, February 5, 2010

English as a Second Language

“I know someone who wishes to further her education so she can find employment, but English is not her first language. She needs to improve her fluency. Is there anywhere she can get help?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the need for good language skills in these difficult economic times; not just for those for whom English is their second language, but also those who need to strengthen their basic skills or prepare for the General Educational Development (GED) test.

The Trumbull Career and Technical Center (TCTC) is the administrating agency for the Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) program which includes both English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and GED. We were able to tell our patron that the ESOL classes are held at TCTC, 528 Educational Highway, Warren, OH 44483 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30 – 2 p.m. in room AE163. They are free and are offered continuously. For more information about the ABLE program, contact TCTC at 330-847-0503 ext. 1611. Copies of TCTC’s 2010 Adult Workforce Education Training Catalog are available at the Newton Falls Public Library.

The Newton Falls Public Library also has both print and online resources to assist those seeking to further their education. If preparing for the GED test, the library has several books including Cracking the GED/the Princeton Review, GED Success, and TABE level D : test of adult basic education: the first step to lifelong success by Phyllis Dutwin and Richard Ku. Online, library card holders may access the LearningExpress Library through the Ohio Web Library []. The LearningExpress Library offers unlimited 24/7 access to courses for computer skills; job search and workplace skills; resume writing; interactive targeted skill-building in math, reading, and writing; as well as hundreds of online interactive practice tests for exams including grade school achievement, college entrance exams, GED, U.S. Citizenship and civil service positions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Are the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration Still in Cleveland, Ohio?

“I just finished reading a book titled Stalking the Divine by Kristin Ohlson. She lives in Ohio and her book talks about a group of cloistered nuns, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, who reside in a monastery behind a church in Cleveland. They pray continuously for the sorrows of the world. The church is St. Paul on Euclid Avenue. Are the nuns still there?” Many of the Newton Falls Library staff members have lived here most of their lives and had never heard of this group of faith filled women. Questions that teach us something new are always interesting to answer.

Searching online, we found the website of the Sisters []. It includes beautiful photographs of St. Paul and the nuns, as well as information about the order and the church. Three of the general requirements listed online for becoming a part of their community are: “The ability to live in community and to work with others. A love of prayer. A desire to serve God by serving people through intercessory prayer.”

If you would like to read other books about Ohio women, try American Grit: a woman's letters from the Ohio frontier by Anna Briggs Bentley, The Best of That's Life by Marty Douce of Newton Falls, Buckeye Women: the history of Ohio’s daughters by Stephane Elise Booth, Ohio Women, in honor of contributions to the growth and progress of Ohio, and Ohio's first women elected officials: 1895-1995.