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Thursday, May 24, 2012

How Do We Let Social Security Know That We've Moved

“We haven’t been receiving our Social Security statements since we moved several years ago. We haven’t retired yet, but we would like to get our statements. Social Security told us we needed go online and fill out a form. Can you help me?” The Newton Falls Public Library appreciates the desire for people to stay informed about their future retirements.

Social Security has an online page dedicated to changes of address. From there it is simply a matter of following the steps to fill out the information. After our patron completed her information, the site would not accept it. Phoning their 800 number, we learned that this is only for individuals already receiving Social Security benefits. They are informed of any address changes by the Internal Revenue Service from information given on tax returns, and IRS address change forms needed to be filled out by our patron and her husband.

Going to, and searching for “address change form” gave us the information that our patron needed form #8822. The library staff was able to print copies for our patron and her husband, and hopefully they will soon be receiving the information that they need.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Is it true that banks will charge a 1% fee on direct deposit?

“I had a friend tell me that the banks are going to start charging 1% fee for direct deposit. Is that true?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff had not heard of this before, and agreed that it would certainly be information that consumers would want to know.

As this was a more current issue than might ordinarily be found in books, we began our search online. To ensure that we were getting good information, we went to the online database MasterFILE Premier (EBSCOhost). This is an online storage site for print magazines, journals, newspapers, etc.  This resource may be accessed by going to our website and selecting OhioWebLibrary. While there were numerous articles about bank fees, there were none pertaining to a surcharge on direct deposit.
Using an Internet search engine, we did find a website which addressed this concern,  AskFactCheck. According to the site, the idea of a 1% tax on all bank transactions was first discussed in 2004 as a possible replacement for the federal income tax. From the information posted on the website, it appears that while it has been brought up several times since then, it has neither gotten a co-sponsor nor left committee.

We were able to reassure out patron that, at the moment, his pension would not have a surcharge put on it. For patrons interested in financial issues, the library subscribes to Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Money, and the Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Where Am I?

People often ask their reference questions by phoning the Newton Falls Public Library. “My friend just phoned me; she is lost and asked me for directions. Can you help me? I don’t have a clue where she is.” This is not the first time someone has called or visited the library asking for assistance getting from one place to another.

Our staff asked the caller where her friend was going, where she had started from, and if there were any landmarks or signs letting her know where she was at present. The driver had left Kent, Ohio, on her way to Alliance, and was on Route 619 near Hartville. The quickest way for us to find this information was to go to Typing in the directions section, “from” route 619 Hartville, Ohio and “to” Alliance, Ohio, brought up the information that was needed. Our caller was able to pass the information onto her friend, who, we are happy to say arrived at her destination safely.

For those who prefer the more traditional means of determining driving routes, the library also has Rand McNally’s The Road Atlas 2011 as well as the Official Street Atlas for many cities and counties in Northeast Ohio. Many of these items may be borrowed from the library as travel guides.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What is a Devil Strip?

“I’ve never heard this phrase before, a devil strip. When I asked someone at work, they said it was the strip of land between the sidewalk and the road. I’ve always lived where there are no sidewalks. Why is it named that?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff was familiar with the term, but had no other knowledge about it.

We began our search by searching a variety of books such as the Oxford English Dictionary, TheCassell Dictionary of Slang (1998) by Jonathon Green, and Descriptionary [a Thematic Dictionary] by Marc McCutcheon. Failing to find the information we needed, we extended our search online.

Two sources seemed to fit our patron’s need., defined it as the “grassy area between the street and the sidewalk. This term is unique to the Akron, Ohio area.” The second,, quoted Dictionary of American Regional English( vol II; 1991) stating that a “Devil Strip (or Devil's Strip) is the grass between the sidewalk and street in the front yard.  The phrase is not unique to Akron but can be heard throughout Northeastern Ohio.  Some versions of the legend hold that it keeps the devil out of your house.  The term is more likely derived from the area being a no-man's land between public and private property

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Single Patron, Multiple Questions

Often patrons have more than one question when they visit the library. One individual asked “What were the boundaries of the Connecticut Western Reserve?” and “What was the flight number of the plane which hit the Pentagon on 9/11?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff was familiar with Trumbull County being part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, but did not know how far it extended.

A Heritage to Share The Bicentennial History of Youngstown and Mahoning County,Ohio: Youngstown and Mahoning County, Ohio, from Prehistoric times to the National Bicentennial Year by Howard Charles Aley had a great deal of information about the area, the survey process and the boundaries. “The base line from which the surveyors . . . operated was the western border of Pennsylvania between the 41st degree and the 42nd degree plus 2 minutes, from whence it was to extend westward for distance of 120 miles [p. 16]”. The Official Ohio Lands Book by George W.Knepper is available from the library and is also online. Here we learned that the Connecticut Western Reserve was one of the seven federally surveyed ranges in Ohio. The maps in this book show the southernmost border running along the 41st longitude, which divides, in our area, Mahoning and Columbiana Counties [p.25].

Online at, we found, Images of America Austintown by Joyce Hunsinger Pogany. In the Introduction on page 7, it is written that the borders extended south from Lake Erie to what is now known as Western Reserve Road in Mahoning County.

There are numerous resources for answering our patron’s second question. One Nation America Remembers September 11, 2001 is primarily a photographic timeline of that day’s events. American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:41 am.