Saturday, December 4, 2010

Harness the Power of the Web

Did you know thousands of titles are at your fingertips from home or anywhere? You can learn how to browse, checkout and download digital books and more from the Massillon Library Web Site. We offer eBooks, audio books, music and video through the Ohio e-Book Project (OEP). As of September 2010, over 34,000 library patrons like you have enjoyed the Ohio e-Book Project holdings. The OEP is a consortium of 37 libraries that pool their resources to collectively purchase downloadable audio books and eBooks for use by library patrons right from their home computers and portable devices.
Let's take a closer look. What is an eBook you may ask? An eBook is made of text and images. It's a digital book, magazine or graphic novel that can read on a computer or portable device. How about an audio book? An audio book is a book you listen to. It's a recorded reading by a narrator or cast of actors and can also be enjoyed on a computer or portable device.
All you need to get started is an internet connection and a Massillon Library card. First start by checking to see if your device is supported by going to our web site, open the Books and Reading tab, click on Digital Books and then click on the Overdrive icon. Unfortunately not all devices are supported. We are here to help and would love to show you more. You can call us at 330-832-9831 ext. 327 or stop in our Computer Center and setup an appointment to see a demonstration.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Who knew that anyone would want to price beer cans? Well, now the Reference Department of the Massillon Public Library knows, and so do you! Louisville Public Library had the catalogue that contained the knowledge being sought by one of our patrons during the recent past.

The questions have been more diverse than usual these past few weeks. Our Reference Staff have been busy searching for state laws pertaining to child custody issues. We were able to guide the patron to The Public Library of Law website at, one of the largest free law libraries in the world. We were also able to help a patron find the Ohio law to determine the culpability of someone who did not report a sexually transmitted disease. Since we are not attorneys, these patrons were encouraged to seek help at websites that were compatible with their problems. Sites such as the Cleveland Law Library and have proven very helpful.

Study materials have also been a popular item as well. How to write a memoir, educational journals on special education, and documentary movies on planets were needed by our eager-to-learn-patrons. One of the more interesting queries was a nun who was trying find one of her ex-students, a priest. We found him at a new position at one of the merged parishes.

College and high school students have been swarming in with urgent requests for help. One student had a project on world poverty and we were able to guide her to the United Nations website and to find more information about the eight anti-poverty goals adopted by the General Assembly at a Summit Meeting that took place on September 20-22, 2010. We are confident that the next several months will be just as challenging if not more challenging! Bring your questions on!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Journalism and Sports: A Successful Combination

Recently we had a question from a patron for our Reference Staff: Who is Frank Deford and why do I keep hearing about him? If you are an avid reader and sports fan, you may know that Mr. Deford has written 16 books of which two (Everybody's All-American and Alex: The Life of a Child) have been made into movies. He is the Senior Correspondent on the HBO Show Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and a Senior Contributing Writer at Sports Illustrated. He does not stop there, however. You can also hear him every Wednesday morning NPR's Morning Edition. His recent novel, Bliss, Remembered is a love story set at the 1936 Olympics and in World War II.

We found his work so interesting we thought we would include a piece he shared with Morning Edition on August 4, 2010. This story will be sure to touch your heart and soul, as it did our patron and our staff.

Eric Compton's Gifts: Talent and a Donor's Heart

In May, two years ago, Isaac Klosterman, 26, a fine young man and former college volleyball player, was riding his motorcycle one night in Florida, when a hit-and-run driver pounded the bike from the rear. Isaac never saw what hit him.

Last Thursday in West Virginia, at the lovely old Greenbrier, a short golfer appeared visible approaching the 18th green, the final hole of the opening day $6 million PGA Classic there. The golfer coming down the fairway was named Erik Compton. He parred out, finishing the round in 63 to tie for the lead. Only it was Isaac Klosterman's heart that beat under the leader's shirt.

And even more incredibly, that heart is Compton's third.

Growing up in Miami, he was only 9 when he learned he had a rare disease that caused his heart to enlarge. He finally got a transplant three years later, took up golf, and became the country's best junior player.

He turned pro in 2001, but by 2007 he had a massive heart attack, nearly dying.

"Well, I'd had a great life," he told me when I interviewed Compton last month for HBO's Real Sports. But then, he got Klosterman's heart and started life all over again — but now with a wife, too, and a miracle baby that doctors told him he could never father because of all his medications.

Amazingly, he qualified for the U.S. Open this year, having to play 39 holes in a playoff — because fatigue is Compton's greatest enemy. He's made five cuts in the seven PGA tournaments he's played this year. But the grind is still often too much for his rehabilitation, and at the Greenbriar, he faded on the last day. That part is heartless.

He has met the donor family, the Klostermans. He knows about their son, whose heart lets him play PGA golf.

"Transplants are fine, but a twisted thing you live with," Compton says. But Isaac Klosterman's parents, Lillian and Jeff, had been immediate in granting permission for all his organs to be taken from him. "Otherwise," Lillian told me, "it would have been a total waste of a good person's body."

In some countries, there is a policy called "presumed consent," where unless a person denies the use of his organs upon death, they automatically can be transplanted. Here, it's the other way round: you have to give permission.

About 3,000 Americans are waiting for heart transplants today. Presumed consent would make it possible for another Erik Compton to walk down a PGA fairway, or to play a piano symphony, or to paint a masterpiece — or just to come back home and greet a family with love and gratitude.

Transplanted hearts run out in 15 years or so. Erik isn't worried. He's sure medicine will advance enough in that time. I met the late Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the first heart-transplant surgeon, in Cape Town years ago.

"Someday," he said, "we will have a body transplant. You just keep your brain and get a whole new body."

"You're joking," I said.

"No," Dr. Bernard said, "and your wife will love you more."

I think Erik Compton will be playing seniors' golf before he's through.

Frank Deford.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Health in Progress
What kind of good stuff is on the web? We have had quite a few questions come in during the last month requesting help in finding health information on the Internet. A patron asked if we could find details about what to expect during and after hip replacement surgery. By clicking on, Medline Interactive Health Tutorials, the patron was able to view a narrated tutorial that included information regarding the procedure, risks, treatment options, and even anatomy. The National Library of Medicine produces this website by arrangement with the Patient Education Institute to help lessen fear associated with certain medical conditions. The healthcare consumer can choose the audio or text/graphic only versions. Spanish language versions are available as well. Another patron came in asking if we could find statistics on the rate of autism in the United States. We referred this patron to, the National Center for Health Statistics, where they were able to find this information. Statistics on this site are complied by or under the auspices of the US government. This information can even be downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet for easier reading.

Other quality medical information review sites include, US Food and Drug Adminstration and, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. You can find the latest news on product recalls on the FDA site in addition to food, drug, and medical device evaluations and safety alerts. Current news and archives of research results regarding dietary supplements, therapies as well as warnings about dangerous treatments and side-effects can be found on the Complementary and Alternative Medicine site.

Evaluating health and medical information found on the web can be tricky. Who provided the information and what is the reputation of this provider (commercial, non-profit, educational) are key items to verify. Looking at the author’s credentials such as educational background, publication history and research experience can help ascertain trustworthy information. It is very important that medical information sites adhere to high quality standards. It is also important to identify the site’s sponsor and credentials. So, when beginning your search and you find you need help, come on in or call our Reference Department (330.832.9831) and we can help you find the tools to assist you with your research.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Have a Question?

Questions have been streaming in this past month ranging from school projects to historical landmarks. Why would a person choose to live in the Himalayas you might ask? Perhaps you are an avid skier or perhaps you would like to volunteer your time to help children of another culture. Finding a plethora of information in our collection materials, our patron was able to leave the library feeling confident to research this question further. Have you ever speculated about the architectural wonders of Ancient Troy? Well, come on in and we can help you. As always, local history questions keep us on our toes. During the past month we helped patrons research information on local businesses such as Perry Rubber, Realty Rubber, Hastings Lumber and the Massillon Women’s Club using our “newspaper clippings” notebooks and our Massillon Memory database We are thankful for our volunteers, past and present, who have diligently cut out articles pertaining to local businesses and news and populated this local history web site. Using, one of the library’s databases, we were able to answer queries ranging from America’s governmental secrecy to stem cell research. Have a “how-to” question? We can help you find out how to remove plastic from antiques, house-break older dogs, get an appraisal on the value of a Bible from the 1700’s, or how to research material for writing a book on female murderers from Massillon. We love our jobs! Let the Massillon Public Library Reference Department assist you in your quest for knowledge!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Journey into the Past

Fascinated with family or local history? The Massillon Public Library is the place to come! We’ve been busy with local history questions and have had a great time digging into the past. Massillon natives from the early 1900’s and 1940’s have held the spotlight during the recent weeks. The Reference Department from Stark County District Library called on us for help with researching Robert Scott, a former Massillon Tiger football player who received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Their patron was an author writing a history of Ohio High School Sports and wanted to know if Mr. Scott played football in Massillon. The answer was found in a 1932 yearbook.

A second query came in concerning Massillonian Robert P. Skinner, former Ambassador to Ethiopia and author of several books on the subject. Our patron was a student from Walsh University working on a graduate thesis. We were able to provide assistance by finding information on a Library of Congress microfilm owned by the library.

As you can see, researching people, places and family can be quite fun and interesting. We have a host of resources and programs here at the library ready for your curiosity and fingertips. Massillon City Directories, Washington High School Year Books, the Massillon Business Database, the Obituary Index and The Rotch-Wales Papers make up just a few of our local history resources. Visit our Genealogy page on the library’s website to find numerous links and additional resources. Also, be sure to check out our Calendar of Events for upcoming programs.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Grab Bag, If You Will

The Massillon Public Library's reference desk has been hopping for the past few months. Yes, hopping. Hopping so much, in fact, that there hasn't been much time for reference blogging. But fear not, loyal reader(s)! We're still here. And to make it up to you, we're going to give you a rundown of all of the interesting and/or bizarre and/or interestingly bizarre questions that have crossed our desk since last fall. And by golly, we have a lot to talk about. You might want to pull up a chair.

  • A few days ago, we got the ever-popular "How many people are there in the world?" query. And it was World Bank to the rescue, pointing us to the mind-boggling number of 6,692,030,277 (as of 2008).

  • A couple of days later, a patron visited our reference desk and asked us if carrot leaves were safe to eat. Not trusting the USDA's claims of the leaves' safety and remaining skeptical when a handful of cookbooks concurred with these rulings, our patron finally convinced our Head of Reference Services, Sherie, to call the Food Safety Division of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to obtain a triple verification. When they agreed that yes, carrot leaves are indeed safe to eat, our patron left the library with a simple answer and some major peace of mind.

  • Did you know that cooked halibut offers your diet more magnesium than a cup of dry roasted almonds? Neither did we, until one of our loyal elderly patrons called and asked for a list of magnesium-rich foods to add to her diet. We pulled up a very helpful chart from the National Institute of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements website and gave her the complete list over the phone. "I'm 86 years old now," she told us, "and maybe adding more magnesium to my diet will help me make it to 87!" We hope so!

  • During one of our recent KnowItNow exchanges, a student opened the chat session with a doozy of a question: where is Einstein's brain? And the answer? Much more complicated than one would initially expect. This is because Einstein's brain is... how should we say this? Einstein's brain is no longer one entity. According to various sources, including NPR's "The Long, Strange Journey of Einstein's Brain" and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's "Doctor Kept Einstein's Brain in Jar 43 Years," Dr. Thomas Harvey removed Albert Einstein's brain during the famous mathemetician's 1955 autopsy, divided it into 24o pieces, and kept each piece in separate jars throughout his home for 43 years. It was in 1998 when Harvey finally turned over the famous pieces of gray matter to Dr. Elliot Krauss, a pathologist at Princeton University (where Einstein's brain has remained since). Yet another answer to fall into the already jam-packed Jeopardy-worthy category of Who Knew?

  • Ever wonder if you had a couple of (hundred?) (thousand?) dollars sitting somewhere unclaimed? Believe it or not, a lot of our patrons do! We've found that referring them to the State of Ohio's Department of Commerce is usually the most helpful way to check on the possibility of unclaimed monies. Their Division of Unclaimed Funds includes an online search form and an exhaustive list of very helpful FAQs. You never know if you don't try, right?

  • And lastly, to round out the list, we had another always-entertaining celebrity query cross our path about a month or so ago. One of our patrons approached the reference desk and asked, very simply, "What is a Bennifer?" And, without flinching, we cited a Fox News article that fixated on the celebrity uniname phenomenon, explaining that a "Bennifer" is not a rare animal species. It is, in actuality, the merging of the given names "Ben" and "Jennifer," the most famous example being, of course, the ill-fated union of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Yes, indeed.

We couldn't make this up if we tried, we promise.