library heading

library heading

Friday, November 26, 2010

Is There a Wiring Diagram for a 21 foot 1976 Starcraft Boat?

The Newton Falls Public Library recently received the following email query. “We have a patron who needs a wiring diagram for a 21 foot 1976 Starcraft boat. Is there a library that has this information?” Libraries are very good with sharing information and on occasion the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library gets requests such as this one from another library.

We contacted the librarian making the inquiry and discovered that her patron did not need information about the Holiday outboard motor attached to the boat, but rather the diagrams for the boat itself. Searching our catalog, we found Outboard Motor and Inboard/Outdrive: wiring diagrams, 1956-1989 and Outboard Motor Service Manual. Since neither had the information needed, we expanded our search online.

Typing in took us to the Small Engine Repair Reference Center database. It includes manuals for All Terrain Vehicles, Generators & Other Small Engines, Marine/Boat Motors, Motorcycles, Outdoor Power Equipment, Personal Water Craft, Snow Machines/Snow Mobiles, and Tractors. Selecting Marine/Boat Motors, we looked at the Electrical System section of Powerboat Maintenance Overview & Information. From there we were able to send on information about auxiliary power plants, battery systems, bonding, lighting, making a wiring diagram, power plant lay-up, and shore power. We were also able to send the Intertec Wiring Diagrams: Outboard Motors & Inboard/Outdrives 1956-1989. Hopefully this information will meet the need of the patron. Newton Falls Public Library card holders can access this website from any Internet access computer.

If the patron is interested in more information there are websites such as This website had a page which gave more details about the 1976 Starcraft Holiday 22, a 21.42 foot outboard boat and how to purchase a manual.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why is Turkey the Traditional Thanksgiving Meat?”

“Why is turkey the traditional Thanksgiving meat?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff does not often get asked about commonly accepted customs such as this.  Discovering the answers to questions like this is always interesting.

The Folklore of American Holidays has an extensive section about Thanksgiving and harvest celebrations including the origins and customs.  Under Thanksgiving Dinner and What it Means [p.466], the basic menu of turkey, dressing, cranberries, potatoes, and pumpkin pie are listed, but not the reasons for the selections.  We extended our search online and found with information about Historic American Thanksgiving dinner menus.  In 1621, a contemporary description of the three day Plymouth Colony celebration lists waterfowl, turkey, and venison as the meals’ meats. It appears that until the mid 1900’s, a variety of meats were commonly served for this dinner.

Searching the we found an article which appeared in Highlights for Children [Nov2010, Vol. 65 Issue 11, p6-7, 2p] A Turkey at the White House! author, Jeannine Q. Norris, relates the story of the pardoning of the turkey by President Lincoln.  His son, Tad liked a turkey that was given to the president for Christmas dinner and begged his father to pardon the bird.  Thus began the custom of pardoning the White House turkey.

In The Making of the Domestic Occasion: The History of Thanksgiving in the United States by Elizabeth Pleck [Journal of Social History; Summer99, Vol. 32 Issue 4, p773, 17p].  Ms. Pleck states, “In early nineteenth century New England Thanksgiving day might begin with a morning church service, followed by the large meal in the afternoon.  Before or after attending church, men, musket in hand, might take aim at a wild turkey in the fields, or at paper targets.  The winner usually won a turkey as his prize for good marksmanship.”  In the 1920s, teachers began teaching about the holiday and decorated their classrooms with . . . pictures of Pilgrims and turkeys.  One wonders if this early childhood association with the holiday and turkeys helped to cement a lasting connection between the holiday and the menu.

We informed our patron, while we could not find a definitive reason it seems to have become customary to serve turkey due to common practice.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Will My Fish Die If I Carry Them Through the Security Gates?

“I had never heard this before, but someone I know was purchasing a fish at Wal-Mart and the cashier told her that the security gates would cause the fish to die. It was suggested that she lift it over her head while walking through.” While the fish in the patron’s story survived she and the Newton Falls Public Library wondered if it has that ever happened.

The HeraldTimesOnline Bloomington, Indiana [] addressed this very question in Rebecca M.Troyer’s article, Hotline favorites: Can I eat my Crocs? Exploding fish at Wal-Mart? “Lift up your fish through ye mighty gates” (March 25, 2009). The Hotline investigated by contacting Wal-Mart and the scanner manufacturer. Both corporations reported that there had been no “documented instances” or reported problems in relationship to the health and well being of fish. We informed our patron that this seemed to be well researched and it appeared to be safe to carry a fish through security and out of the store.

Urban legends such as these are good for storytelling. As our patron enjoyed this tale, we directed them to library materials with additional amazing stories, such as Alligators in the Sewer: and 222 other urban legends by Thomas J. Craughwell, Spiders in the Hairdo: modern urban legends collected and retold by David Holt & Bill Mooney, Too Good to be True: the colossal book of urban legends by Jan Harold Brunvand, Urban Legends: the as-complete-as-one-could-be guide to modern myths by N.E. Genge and the DVD MythBusters. Mega movie myths.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why is a New Ship Christened with a Bottle of Champagne?

The caller on phone line number two wanted to know, “Why is a new ship christened with a bottle of champagne?” This is one of those practices that the Newton Falls Public Library staff is aware of, but never really thought of the reason behind it.

Page 791 of Popular Beliefs and Superstitions: a compendium of American folklore: from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett, under the heading Christening of a Ship; The Name of a Ship includes the following beliefs: “Christening a ship with champagne will bring it and its crew good luck” and “It is bad luck to christen a boat with anything but champagne.” The section also one that said “A ship must be christened with the breaking of a bottle of wine . . . to be safe and lucky.”

Library staff members remembered hearing of bottles containing fluids other than champagne being used. To discover if this was so, we looked online and found that the Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center has a website dedicated to Naval History and Heritage with frequently asked questions. Christening, Launching, and Commissioning of U.S. Navy Ships by John C. Reilly (Head, Ships History Branch)[] relates the history of this practice back to 3rd millennium BCE Babylon. Later, Jews and Christians used water or wine to ask God to protect the ship. Ottoman Empire residents prayed to Allah and sacrificed a sheep and then feasted. Beginning in the 19th century in the United States of America, women began to customarily “sponsor” or christen ships. It was during this time that champagne began to be used, perhaps for its elegance, and has continued except for during Prohibition. Over the years, wine, cider, holy water, sea water, spring water, river water, whiskey, and brandy have been used.