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Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Does This Odd Mailing Address Mean?

“I work for private agency. We are sending out some inquiries, and a few of them have an odd mailing address. It is a name, followed by a 6-7 digit number, then BCS LS MC Newton Falls, Ohio 44444. We can’t discover what that means. Can you help us?” This question from an out-of-state caller intrigued the Newton Falls Public Library staff.

First we telephoned the local post office and spoke with the Newton Falls postmaster. She informed us that while she didn’t know the meaning of the letters, the mail that came through with that designation was delivered to the Ravenna Arsenal [now named Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center]. Following our conversation with her, we spoke with someone at Camp Ravenna. The series of numbers is the unit designation, but she was not familiar with the meaning of the letters.

We next examined the books in our collection. Neither The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Abbreviations nor Acronyms, Initialisms & Abbreviations Dictionary gave abbreviations or acronyms which seemed to answer our question.

The search continued online. When the stewardship of the Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant was transferred to the Ohio National Guard, it became Camp Ravenna. We looked at their website While informative about the Ohio National Guard, we could find no pertinent information. The Military Postal Service Agency [] has interesting details about the mailing of packages, FAQs, and some commonly used abbreviations. However, we were unable to locate any examples matching ours. has an extensive listing of military abbreviations. There were 4 examples for BCS, 4 for LS, and 13 for MC. MC for Marine Corps or Medical Corps seemed to be only one that may apply as part of a military mailing address. None of the others seemed appropriate for this question.

We informed our caller by email of what we discovered.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Can I Register to Vote Here?

“Can I register to vote here?” With registration closing on October 4, 2010 in order to vote in the November 2, 2010 General Election, the Newton Falls Public Library staff views this as a very important and timely question.

The library has voter registration forms for Trumbull, ones that may be used for other counties, and Absentee/Early Voting ballot requests. The latter begins Saturday, September 18, 2010 for Uniformed and Overseas (UOCAVA) Voters. Absentee voting for non-UOCAVA Voters begins Tuesday, September 28, 2010.

According to the Trumbull County Board of Elections’ website []:
“Every voter will be required to provide proof of identity before voting.” Acceptable forms of identification include “your current and valid photo identification card, military identification, copy of utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document showing your name and current address. (Note: You cannot use as proof of identification a notice the Board of Elections mailed to you.) If you do not have, or fail or refuse to provide, the required proof of identity, you may cast a provisional ballot.”

The Board of Elections’ site also has other useful information including:

• Where to vote

• Are you registered

• Polling places

• Forms to be downloaded and printed

• Candidates and issues

• How to become a poll worker

• Election results.

Voters are always searching for information about local, state, and national candidates and issues in order to make wise choices. The library subscribes to local newspapers in Mahoning, Portage, and Trumbull counties; newspapers from larger Ohio cities; as well as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA today. Reading the library’s news magazines will also be helpful in making your decisions. The League of Women Voters [], the Ohio LWV [], and the Trumbull County LWV [] all have useful information on their websites. Smart Voter [] is another website sponsored by the LWV.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm Curious about Braille

“I’ve always been curious about Braille. Do you have anything for sighted people to look at or to feel?” Over the years others, such as students and scouts, have asked this question of the Newton Falls Public Library staff.

The Braille cell contains six raised dots which are numbered vertically: 1, 2, and 3 are arranged from top to bottom in the first column; 4, 5, and 6 are in the second. Letters, numbers, punctuation, music, and music symbols are created by using various combinations of these cell dots. For example the letter A contains only dot 1, B contains dots 1 and 2, and C is made up of dots 1, 3, and 4. Dot 6 placed before a letter signifies that it is a capital letter. Patrons may borrow sheets of Braille which have these raised cells to both feel and see.

Also available to be taken home are Expectations: a gift for blind children from Braille Institute (The Little Engine That Could in Braille), The Constitution of the United States, and The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faría. This last item encourages readers to imagine living without sight. The illustrations are done with raised lines and descriptions of colors based on imagery. There are Braille letters with the illustrations and a full alphabet for sighted readers to help them read along with their fingers.

Patrons interested in this subject may also be curious about sign language. There are books, films, and kits available to teach signing to adults, children, and infants. Sign Language Interpreting: a basic resource book by Sharon Neumann Solow would be a good place for adults to begin. Parents might want to consider examining Teach Your Tot to Sign: the parents' guide to American Sign Language by Stacy A. Thompson and Baby Sign Language for Hearing Babies by Karyn Warburton.