Saturday, April 25, 2009

Extra, Extra!

Our Reference Department has big news! (Pun intended!)

Just last week, we invested in a subscription to Heritage Microfilm's Newspaper Archive, an online database that houses literally millions of newspaper pages (in an oh-so-handy searchable PDF format) from 1759 to the present. Included in the collection of newspapers from across the country are old issues of the Canton Repository, Massillon's own Independent (with complete coverage between 1869-1975), and Tuscarawas County's Times-Reporter and now-defunct Twin City News.

The product itself is revolutionary for reference services because it makes researching the past much more convenient, available, and expeditious for librarians and the public alike. Before our subscription to Heritage's services, our staff and patrons were heavily reliant upon microfilm, which is not indexed (save for obituary files) or easily searchable, for much of our local history research. Now, whether you're searching for your parents' engagement announcement in The Independent, your grandfather's World War I records in The Repository, or old advertisements for a Uhrichsville dairy in the Twin City News, you can do so with ease from the comfort of your own home!

To connect to Heritage Microfilm's Newspaper Archive, click here and select NewspaperARCHIVE. You'll be authenticated through our library's subscription and taken to the site's home page. Select the Advanced Search tab at the top of the page to begin searching!

We hope you'll enjoy this new and exciting service!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Name That Tune!

Law enforcement officials do so much for our communities; a simple "thank you" doesn't seem like nearly enough to express the gratitude some residents feel for these special people. So, to go a little further in showing their appreciation, one local church is taking it upon itself to host a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, complete with a themed compilation of songs about life in blue.


How exactly does one go about finding songs about law enforcement?

By calling one's local library, of course!

Our staff was able to track down a fairly comprehensive list of appropriate songs for the church's celebration by using Jeff Green's The Green Book of Songs by Subject. This hefty print resource, available for perusal in our library's Reference Department, is a directory of songs listed by subject -- a characteristic that came in pretty handy when browsing for tunes dedicated to law enforcement! Under the heading "Law & Order," we found nearly 100 applicable songs, ranging from John Cougar Mellencamp's "The Authority Song" to Kenny Rogers' "The Long Arm of the Law" to Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock."

We hope our local officers enjoy the celebration -- and music -- on their special day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Shortest Distance between Two Points

You know you've found yourself thinking it.

You're in the middle of preparing for a roadtrip to visit your best friend from college, who just so happens to live in Nashville, Tennessee. As you gaze at your steering wheel and contemplate the seven-hour trek that will consume the majority of your waking hours for the day, you wonder: "why can't we just meet in the middle?"

Today, we discovered a neat little tool called Meet In Between, a handy device for all of us who have loved ones scattered across a drivable radius. Simply enter your address and the address of the person you're planning on visiting, and voila! Travelers are given the exact location of the halfway point, along with a plethora of suggestions for meet-up locations (restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, golf courses, bars, etc.) and addresses of each.

Safe (and convenient!) travels to you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Signs of Summer...

It may still be April, but it's obvious that our patrons have warmer weather on their minds!

Today, a gentleman approached our Reference Desk and asked us for a step-by-step set of instructions that would aid him in replacing the convertible top of his 1971 Oldsmobile. As we got to work, he mentioned that he had learned everything he knew about cars just by visiting our library's Reference Department. "I figured one more question wouldn't hurt," he laughed.

While our library boasts an impressive collection of Chilton auto repair manuals and even provides patrons full access to the ever-helpful ALLDATA online database, none of our conventional reference sources provided the step-by-step guidelines our patron needed.

Enter, a website dedicated to the southern California aftermarket auto parts company that shares its name. On one of their product resources pages, we found an incredibly handy how-to guide for installing a convertible top. After reviewing the printout we provided him, our patron nodded and confirmed that it was exactly what he was looking for.

We're glad we could keep the tradition of automotive assistance going in our library!

(Image courtesy of Flickr user Timothy K. Hamilton.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Time After Time

We received a particularly fun information request today that inspired us to pull out our old Ace of Base cassette tapes!

A visitor from Solon, Ohio, approached our Reference Desk and asked us about our microfilm capabilities here at the library. (Note: our Reference Department houses virtually every issue of The Massillon Independent from 1863 to the present day; we also offer three microfilm readers that are free and available to the public.)

It turns out that this particular gentleman was a graduate of Fairless High School and was crowned prom king back in his heyday of 1994! He remembered his picture appearing in an issue of The Independent but forgot to save himself a copy, so he turned to us for some help in tracking down that long-lost article.

After some careful investigation of some early May 1994 issues of the newspaper, we reunited the former prom king with his royal write-up, picture included. And, proving once again that we're hurtling towards immersion in the digital age, we offered to email our visitor a copy of the scanned article as a .jpg email attachment.

Reuniting the past with the present and rekindling old memories -- yet another service your library happily offers!

Monday, April 6, 2009

When in Rome...

Today, our Reference Department received a call from the friendly folks at Progressive Chevrolet in Massillon, proving that yes, everyone can make good use of their local library, even local auto dealerships!

One of Progressive's staff members found himself in a quandary when he stumbled upon the Roman numeral MCMXLII during his work day today. Joking that he must not have been paying attention when Roman numeral conversion was taught in grade school, he asked if we could decode the letters for him.

Using the handy Roman numeral converter available at IV, we discovered that the year in question was actually 1942.

We hope we helped Progressive with today's information pursuit! Thanks for thinking of us!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Nice Tall Glass of...Contaminants?

Ever wonder about the possibility of invisible contaminants residing in your drinking water, holding the potential to make you really sick? (Or really paranoid?)


One of our patrons did; she asked us for some help in tracking down a comprehensive list of contaminants and their MCLs (maximum contaminant levels) earlier this week. We pointed her in the direction of the good ol' Environmental Protection Agency's website, where we found an extremely helpful PDF that included a list of the National Primary Drinking Water Standards. Everything from arsenic to vinyl chloride (!) is covered, along with the corresponding potential health effects if the exposure goes over the maximum contaminant level. Common sources of the contaminant in regular drinking water are also provided.

Knowledge is power, so look out for yourselves and be safe!