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Friday, July 22, 2016

How can you tell if a book is a first edition?

When collecting books, first editions are often more valuable than later editions, so it’s helpful to know how to identify them, but the answer is more complicated than we expected.

According to the page “Identifying and Collecting First Editions” on, in the publishing industry, “first edition” covers all copies of a book printed from the first setting of type. If revisions are made, the revised book is the second edition, and so on and so forth. The first set of books printed is called the first printing, or first impression. If these all sell out and the publisher decides to make more copies, the second set is the second printing, or the second impression. So something marked a “first edition” may not have necessarily been part of the initial print run – it could be from a later printing, but before any revisions were made. Collectors are generally most interested in the earliest copies published – so, the first printing of the first edition – and that’s often what they use “first edition” to mean.

Official Price Guide to Collecting Books: Sixth Edition, written by Marie Tedford and Pat Goudey, and First Editions: A Guide to Identification: Second Edition, edited by Edward N. Zempel and Linda A. Verkler, both give tips on identifying first editions. Some publishing companies will include information on the copyright page such as “First edition, First printing,” or “First published 2007,” which makes it easy, but some give no indication. Sometimes it’s only possible to tell that something is an early edition because the collector knows what to look for, such as a certain error that was later revised. For example, Tedford and Goudey use one of Laurie R. King’s books as an example. She wrote her dedication in Hebrew and in the first edition, it was printed backwards.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why have I been seeing healthy trees with patches of dead leaves?

This is called flagging! It can be caused by a variety of things, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation website, from weather-damage to insects to fungus and other diseases. At this time of year in this area, the flagging was probably caused by the periodical cicadas.

We checked and In Ohio’s Backyard: Periodical Cicadas by Gene Kritsky for more information. They explained that cicadas don’t eat that leaves, and, while they use their mouthparts to suck sap from the trees, that isn’t what’s causing the flagging. The female cicadas use a pointed appendage called an ovipositor to deposit their eggs in the new growth on the ends of tree branches, preferably deciduous trees along the edge of a forest or otherwise in full sunlight. Sometimes this causes the branches to break and droop down, causing flagging. Small or young trees are at the most risk of permanent damage, but most trees will bounce back once the dead branches drop off. It’s in the best interest of the cicada not to cause permanent harm to the tree, because their young will feed on the juices from its roots for seventeen years as they develop. (The young cicadas do not remain in the tree branches. The eggs hatch after six to eight weeks and tiny nymphs fall to the ground, eventually tunneling a foot or more into the earth.) If you see small lengthwise slits on the branches, these are oviposition scars, a good sign that the flagging was caused by cicadas. Again, it’s likely that the tree will soon be back to normal. Protect it from further stress by making sure it has adequate water and pruning it only very lightly until it’s dormant again in the winter.

For other tree troubles, The Tree Doctor: A Guide to Tree Care and Maintenance by Daniel and Erin Prendergast is available for borrowing at the library.

Friday, July 8, 2016

When was Arlington Elementary built?

A patron interested in Newton Falls history had some pictures of Arlington Elementary School but couldn’t remember exactly when it had been built.

We checked some of the local history books in our reference section. History of Newton Falls, written by Ella Woodward and revised in 1977, mentioned the then-current principal, Sam Cappelino, but didn’t go any farther back. Lima Lyman’s Lyman’s Histories and Stories of Newton Falls named the 1970 principal (Wesley Jonah) and mentioned a school built in 1920, but didn’t say which school or give more information about Arlington that we could find.

The answer was in front of us all along. The Newton Falls Public Library webpage has a History of Newton Falls section, including a paragraph about the history of education in the town. Arlington Elementary was built in 1929. The school built in 1920 was a high school, but it was damaged in the 1985 tornado and a new one was built in 1987. A new middle school was built near the high school in 2006. The old middle school, which had been built in 1971, was remodeled. In 2007, the old middle school became the new elementary school, and Arlington was demolished the following year.