Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Ask The Librarian

“I’m writing a story about cowboys, and I’d like to incorporate authentic cowboy slang. Could you help?”

| Published on April 3, 2014

While we have “Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang” and “A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles” available in the reference section here at the Newton Falls Public Library, both are more useful for looking up the origins of specific words and phrases. Putting “cowboy slang” into an online search engine brings …

“I’d like to learn more about using computers, but I can’t make it in to all the classes at the library. Are there online classes I can take?”

| Published on March 26, 2014

The Newton Falls Public Library offers free computer classes and one-on-one times three Mondays and one Saturday every month. However, we understand that everyone has busy schedules. Fortunately, there are online resources available. Cynthia Casterline, our technology educator, recommended LearningExpress Library and GCFLearnFree.org.
LearningExpress Library requires that you set up an …

“Can groundhogs climb? I swear I saw one in a tree, but no one believes me.”

| Published on March 21, 2014

At the Newton Falls Public Library, we weren’t familiar with tree-climbing groundhogs either, but we looked into it and, as it turns out, they’re very capable climbers and they’re also able to swim!

“What do you do with the money from the book sale?”

| Published on March 13, 2014

There are two annual book sales at the Newton Falls Public Library, one in the spring and one in the fall. There’s also a small cart in the lobby where people can buy books year-round. All sales are put on by the Friends of the Newton Falls Public Library.
The Friends …

“How long is the Buckeye Trail Little Loop? Can you bike it?”

| Published on March 9, 2014

One of our patrons, an avid walker and biker, was making plans to spend a few weeks in late spring or early summer going around the Little Loop of the Buckeye Trail.
The Buckeye Trail winds around the interior of Ohio. It’s made up of twenty-six sections and covers around 1,444 …

“How do birds stay warm in the winter?”

| Published on February 26, 2014

One of our patrons stocks several bird feeders year-round. With the cold weather we’ve been having lately, she was worried about how her birds were keeping warm. Putting “how do birds stay warm” into an online search engine showed that this is a popular concern.
Some birds will fly south for …

“What happened to the lady who used to sit at the desk?”

| Published on February 19, 2014

We’ve gotten this question a lot in the past few months. The desk everyone’s been talking about is the reference desk, and the lady in question is Carol Baker, who had been our reference and adult services librarian here for quite a while. If you’ve been to the Newton Falls …

“Can businesses refuse to accept cash?”

| Published on February 6, 2014

While none of us here at the Newton Falls Public Library are lawyers, we have several resources at hand that we could use to help answer our patron’s question.
We weren’t able to find the answer in either Nolo’s “Encyclopedia of Everyday Law” or the American Bar Association’s “Complete Personal Legal …

“Do you have any information on cleaning and caring for a cast-iron skillet?”

| Published on January 22, 2014

One of our Newton Falls Public Library patrons had recently inherited a cast-iron skillet and wanted to be sure they were taking care of it properly so that it would perform at its best.

“How can I get my dog therapy-certified?”

| Published on January 8, 2014

Many of us here at the Newton Falls Public Library have seen therapy dogs at work, whether at hospitals, nursing homes, or even colleges. Therapy dogs are different from service dogs such as seeing-eye dogs and seizure-response dogs. While service dogs are specifically trained to assist a person with their …

“Can you help me find a short story I read in high school? I want to read it again, but I can’t remember what it’s called or who wrote it.”

| Published on December 4, 2013

At the Newton Falls Public Library, we understand how discouraging it can be when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Our patron remembered that the story was about a son going through his father’s belongings to discover that he had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam. She also …

“I need a book with instructions on hemming blue jeans; it is getting too costly to have someone else hem them for me. I would also like them to still look as finished as they were before I shortened them.”

| Published on November 27, 2013

The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library has their own memories of children complaining about the appearance of clothing after shortening or alterations, and can understand a mother wanting to be frugal.

“How do you get rid of a woodpecker?”

| Published on November 21, 2013

One of our Newton Falls Public Library patrons was being pestered by a  woodpecker, and was hoping to chase it away before it caused damage to their barn. Fortunately, there are several methods they can try.
According to the Audubon Society [http://birds.audubon.org/faq/why-woodpecker-damaging-my-house-and-how-do-i-stop-it], woodpeckers peck for three reasons: to mark territory, to …

“Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with tenosynovitis in my hand. Could you find me some more information on it?”

| Published on October 9, 2013

“Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with tenosynovitis in my hand. Could you find me some more information on it?” Though none of us here at the Newton Falls Public Library are doctors, and therefore aren’t qualified to give medical advice, we could certainly provide the resources to help answer …

“I need a recipe for making buttermilk…”

| Published on September 11, 2013

“Help,” our caller said “I need a recipe for making buttermilk.  Not the one that uses vinegar or lemon juice; the one that uses cream of tartar.”  While the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library was more familiar with the latter, they had heard of the former.

“I’ve heard the expression ‘like white on rice,’ but I’m not really sure if I’m correct in understanding what it means. Can you find me the information?”

| Published on July 12, 2013

English has some very unusual phrases that the patrons and staff of the Newton Falls Public Library have found to be interesting.
Our search began in the library’s reference collection.  On the cover of Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green, which is, according to Evening Star Standard  reviewer Jonathan Meades …

“I remember many years ago that there were a pair of pianists who played the song Exodus. Can you find me their names?”

| Published on July 1, 2013

“I remember many years ago that there were a pair of pianists who played the song Exodus. Can you find me their names?”  Some of the more mature library staff also remembered the pair and that their initials were F & T, but nothing more.
The online search for the words …

“I need a chart of the growing periods of tomatoes. Can you help me?”

| Published on June 24, 2013

The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the importance of this information to home gardeners, so they can determine the best selection of plants for our growing season.
We showed our patron Ortho’s Complete Guide to Vegetables by Jacqueline Hériteau which has several pages of descriptions of various tomatoes with growing …

“Why is Fido a popular name for a dog? Where does it come from?”

| Published on June 17, 2013

Over the years, the Newton Falls Public Library staff has found that patrons are often interested in the origins of words.

“I need a book about chipmunks.”

| Published on May 15, 2013

“I need a book about chipmunks.”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff member wasn’t too surprised by the statement; we have another patron who enjoys books about squirrels.  After careful questioning as to the exact nature of information wanted about chipmunks, it was learned the our patron is having a …

“I am looking for a knitting pattern for a poncho that has cuffs…”

| Published on March 23, 2013

“I am looking for a knitting pattern for a poncho that has cuffs. I saw one online, but now I can’t find it again.”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff had trouble imaging what the garment looked like, so we asked for clarification. “It is a poncho you pull over …

“I’m trying to remember the name of a drug store chain from the 1950s, 1960s…”

| Published on December 13, 2012

“I’m trying to remember the name of a drug store chain from the 1950s, 1960s.  There was one near where I lived in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., and I remember there was also one in Youngstown.  The one in Washington was replaced by Gray Drugs. Can you find the …

Did You Hear That?

| Published on October 22, 2012

As you hear the echoes of whirling winds throwing leaves and while changes in weather chills your bones, October is a month rich in tradition of ghostly tales and old folklore. Whether it’s idle curiosity, a sense to hear scary stories, or suspenseful intrigue, Portage County District Library has an …

“I’m interested in railway to bike trails…”

| Published on August 5, 2012

“I’m interested in railway to bike trails; the ones that are constructed along abandoned railways. Can you find me a map of the railroad that used to run north and south through Newton Falls?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff knew that the tracks ran along River St., next to …

“What makes a rock maple table different from a regular maple table?”

| Published on November 24, 2011

“What makes a rock maple table different from a regular maple table?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff began their investigation in the library’s woodworking books. We found a complete list of various woods with photographs and descriptions in The Complete Manual of Woodworking by Albert Jackson, David Dan and …

“I really enjoy audio books, but my CD player broke. I would like to try something other than a CD one. Is there another portable way to listen to books?”

| Published on October 14, 2011

Our caller said, “I really enjoy audio books, but my CD player broke. I would like to try something other than a CD one. Is there another portable way to listen to books?” Many members of the Newton Falls Public Library staff also enjoy listening to works by their favorite …

“My husband and I enjoy feeding the squirrels peanuts in the shell…”

| Published on August 21, 2011

“My husband and I enjoy feeding the squirrels peanuts in the shell. We recently bought salted ones and my niece told me it wasn’t safe to give them salted ones. Is that true?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands people wanting to make sure they are giving animals proper …

“A friend of mine died several years ago…”

| Published on August 1, 2011

“A friend of mine died several years ago and I was trying to find the death certificate. I don’t want to have to pay for a copy; is there any way you can help me find the information?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff began the online search.
The USGenWeb Project …

“I’m trying to register for unemployment and the site is saying I already have an account. I don’t remember doing this.”

| Published on June 19, 2011

A very frustrated patron approached the Newton Falls Public Library staff, saying “I’m trying to register for unemployment and the site is saying I already have an account. I don’t remember doing this.” Unfortunately, at that time, the staff members were not able to resolve the situation, and he went …

“I have this shrub growing in my garden…”

| Published on June 3, 2011

“I have this shrub growing in my garden,” said the Newton Falls Public Library patron, as she showed a small branch to the library staff member. “Can you help me figure out what it is?” The branch had small white flowers, about an inch long, growing in pairs from a …

“Is there a reason why there is a specific finger for engagement and wedding rings?”

| Published on May 22, 2011

“Is there a reason why there is a specific finger for engagement and wedding rings?” asked the patron, who assured us that he had no immediate plans. The Newton Falls Public Library staff is aware of the custom of wearing these rings on the next to last finger of the …

“I’m having a problem with my cable company and can’t resolve the issue…”

| Published on April 29, 2011

“I’m having a problem with my cable company and can’t resolve the issue. I was told to contact my local franchise authority, but I can’t seem to locate a contact number. Can you help me?” Many of the Newton Falls Public Library staff also have cable service and were curious …

“What happened to the recycling bins which used to be by the Community Center?”

| Published on March 27, 2011

Over the last few weeks this has been a frequent question at the Newton Falls Public Library. “What happened to the recycling bins which used to be by the Community Center?” Our staff confessed we didn’t know, but we would find out.
We contacted the Newton Falls City Manager’s office and …

“Can you help me to find information about a piece of property?”

| Published on January 13, 2011

“Can you help me to find information about a piece of property?” Over the years, this question has been asked of Newton Falls Public Library staff members for a variety of reasons. Some individuals want to find information about their own property; others are looking to purchase a parcel or …

“Can you help me? I got a Christmas card, I can’t read the signature, and I don’t recognize the return address…”

| Published on December 20, 2010

The lady on the phone asked, “Can you help me?  I got a Christmas card, I can’t read the signature, and I don’t recognize the return address. I tore off the label and my dog ate it. All I can remember was her first name was Ruth, and she lived …

“I was looking at a magazine and I saw this little ceramic bird stuck in the middle of a pie. Can you tell me anything about it?”

| Published on December 13, 2010

“I was looking at a magazine and I saw this little ceramic bird stuck in the middle of a pie.  Can you tell me anything about it?” Some members of the Newton Falls Public Library staff were familiar with this cute item known as a pie bird, but having some …

We have a patron who needs a wiring diagram for a 21-foot 1976 Starcraft boat. Is there a library that has this information?

| Published on November 29, 2010

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 …

Ask The Librarian: 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?

| Published on November 12, 2010

“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 …

Why is a new ship christened with a bottle of champagne?

| Published on November 3, 2010

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 …