Monday, March 21, 2011

March Madness

The Reference Department at the Massillon Public Library continues to be a very interesting place! We have even been called miracle workers by some. We often are approached with small clues about books or movies and set to the task of discovering the title. Most of the time we are successful. Let’s play the game: it’s a movie about an underdog team winning the game and it is fairly new. The answer is Miracle. Let’s try another clue for a book: the topic is addiction, the author’s name starts with the letter ”U” and the book and the author were on the Dr. Phil show. The answer was Healing the Addicted Brain by Dr. Harold Urschel. That answer was found by Googling the Dr. Phil Show. How about a children's book about a baker who ran out of ingredients? Alas, we found Mr. Snitzel's Cookies by Jane Flory, found by using Oplinlist.

Often, we help patrons get connected. A gentleman came in and explained that his elderly sister was in a nursing home and had recorded some of her thoughts in a diary or journal. However, she had written it in shorthand. Discovering a shorthand book on our shelves, we found that it was not very helpful due to variations of the text. Another patron sitting at a table nearby had overheard his request and came over and offered the services of her daughter who had excelled in shorthand when she was in school. Two weeks later we found out that the patron's daughter had contacted her old shorthand teacher and she agreed to help translate the journal.

Sometimes, Massillon history is the hottest topic on our agenda. We have had questions on the architect Herman Albrecht, the jazz musician Bob Wilbur, the MIA soldier Ronald Stanton as well as other Massillonians like James Lathrop. Recently, a retired coach of Chris Speilman requested information for a Columbus radio station so that he could send a note of congratulation to his former student.

Another patron looking for the obituaries of Horace Gillom and his children was helped by the use of Newspaper Archive. This database was also able to answer some questions for another patron inquiring about the murder of two baby girls in the Massillon Hospital in 1947. You can find this database on our web site at

Because of the economy, more and more of our patrons are trying to fix their cars themselves rather than incurring the cost of a mechanic. To help them in their endeavors, we have two databases: Alldata is a resource that can only be used inside the library and the recently added Chilton Online Auto Repair which can be accessed from home, using a Massillon Public Library card. Again, you can find these databases on our web site at .

Interesting questions such as the current time in Australia, where would a person find books about growing up poor, or perhaps locations of babysitting classes in Stark County have popped up recently. “Wrong title” searches are very common - we are given a title that is not quite right and it does not show up in our databases. Google is our dear friend in these cases and we set out on the hunt. So, keep your questions coming and we'll keep digging until we can find an answer for you!