library heading

library heading

Friday, January 23, 2015

When are the tax forms coming in?

With tax season upon us, many patrons have come to the library looking to pick up their federal tax forms as they have in the past. We had always received a large selection of forms and publications from the IRS through the Tax Forms Outlet Program. The program provides tax forms to participating locations, primarily post offices and libraries, which then distribute them to the public.

Last fall, the library requested a variety of forms and publications from the IRS, as we’ve done in previous years. They usually arrive by the end of the year for us to put out in January. However, they did not arrive, and in January we received an email explaining the situation. Having lost $300 million in funding with the passing of the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, the IRS is unable to provide many forms through the Tax Forms Outlet Program this year. According to their email, they’ll be sending us copies of the 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ, Publication 4604, and one reference copy of Publication 17. We aren’t sure when these will arrive.

Filing taxes online is always an option. For those who would prefer to file on paper, there are a few ways to get the forms. It’s possible to order tax products directly from the IRS to be delivered by mail. Orders can be placed either online at or over the phone by calling 1-800-829-3676. Forms and publications can also be printed from The library staff is happy to print any forms that our patrons need. (Regrettably, we aren’t able to offer the forms for free, and the printing charge will be the same as for any other black and white copies: ten cents per page, with no charge for the first five pages.) Because we aren’t legally allowed to give tax advice, we do ask that patrons know which forms they need. For those who would like more help, we can provide a list of AARP Tax-Aide locations staffed by qualified volunteers.

All links mentioned here are also linked from our website at We also have links to the AARP Tax-Aide locator, the City of Newton Falls taxforms and information, Ohio tax forms and where to file them online, and the Ohio Benefit Bank, where those below a certain income can file their taxes online for free. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

I'd like information about Watkins Wall

“Could you give me some information on Watkins Wall? When did it go up and why was it taken down?”

Longtime residents of Newton Falls may remember the wall, which stood from 1978 until 1986 on the corner of Broad and Center Streets. Ella A. Woodward’s History of Newton Falls (the revised edition, which had only been published in 1977) didn’t offer any information, so we turned to our Local History Room.

The Local History Room is open most Wednesdays, and one Wednesday evening Linda, our Local History Room volunteer, was able to locate an article from the April 30, 1986 issue of the Newton Falls Herald. The wall had been torn down that Tuesday.

It had been built in 1978, part of a beautification plan that involved planting trees, developing parks, and redesigning storefronts. The city built the ornamental wall, which included planters with trees and shrubbery, and put down new sidewalks on the south side of Broad Street, but unfortunately funds became unavailable before the plan could be finished.

Tearing down the wall was also part of a beautification plan. The Parks and Recreation Commission intended to create a better sense of flow in the Four Corner Parks area. Most of the wall was going to be replaced by a low planter filled with flowering trees and accompanied by a long bench. The trees and shrubbery in the Watkins Wall planter were removed. Some of them were moved to Sixth Street and some to the front of City Hall. It was one stubborn tree that ultimately brought the wall down. When workers went to remove it, it turned out that its roots had been holding together part of the wall, and taking out the tree took brick out with it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Is the movie "Babel" part of a trilogy?

“I checked out the movie Babel and it says on the back of the DVD case that it’s part of a trilogy. Do I need to see the other two for it to make sense?”

We remembered when Babel was nominated for an Academy Award back in 2007, but didn’t remember it being part of a series; the movie seemed to stand alone.

Searching “Alejandro González Iñárritu,” the name of the director, in Academic Search Premier, one of the research databases available through CLEVNET, brought up a few scholarly works and archived magazine reviews of his films. We found a mention of a thematic trilogy in an October 2006 issue of Rolling Stone. According to the article, Babel and the other two movies in the series, Amores Perros and 21 Grams, are united by a similar structure, with each movie consisting of separate stories that are all tied together by one tragic event. Dolores Tierney’s paper “Alejandro González Iñárritu: Director without Borders,” published in 2009 in New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film draws attention to the films’ common themes of inequality, particularly between First- and Third-World countries, and fate.

Unlike traditional trilogies such as The Lord of the Rings, where missing one movie means you’re missing part of the story, movies in a thematic series don’t need to be watched in any order for them to make sense, as they’re tied together not by a common plot but by common themes and often common actors. Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (named for an ice-cream treat that’s popular in the U.K.) is another example. Consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, the trilogy deals with growing up and “the dangers of perpetual adolescence,” as Wright noted in a 2013 interview with The Toronto Star. Each movie has the friendship between Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s characters at its heart, and, of course, each includes at some point a different flavor of Cornetto.

For more information on Iñárritu, Celestino Deleyto wrote a book on his work that’s available through CLEVNET. He’s also featured in The Director’s Cut: Picturing Hollywood in the 21st Century, and all three movies in his trilogy, along with all three in Wright’s trilogy, are available in the system.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Can you substitute essential oil for fresh ginger?

“Can you substitute ginger essential oil for fresh ginger?” One of our patrons was baking and didn’t want to have to buy an entire ginger root only to use a little of it. They already had organic food-grade essential oil in their house (while not all essential oil is necessarily safe to eat, you can buy varieties that are) and wondered if they could substitute.

We found a forum post on Chowhound discussing ginger essential oil in food, and it led us to believe that our patron would only need to use a very small amount of their oil, as everyone posting noted that it was very potent. However, we still couldn’t find a clear substitution ratio.

Eventually, we found a recipe in Aromatic Monthly for chai tea using either essential oils or whole spices. It called for either one drop of ginger oil or “two pea size fresh ginger (mulched).” Finally we had something of an equivalency, but it was too imprecise to be of much help. Our patron ultimately decided that their best option was to add the oil a drop at a time until they achieved the flavor they wanted.

For more information on essential oils (though tending more toward aromatherapy than cooking), The A to Z of Essential Oils by E. Joy Bowles, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, and The Complete Illustrated Guide to Aromatherapy by Julia Lawless are available at the Newton Falls Public Library. For more information on ginger specifically, Helen Sudell’s Ginger: A Book of Recipes is available through CLEVNET.