Time For a Pop Quiz

  • What do the three colors on the U.S. Flag stand for?
  • Who’s signature was largest on the Declaration of Independence?
  • Other than being a poet, what was Francis Scot Key’s other profession?
  • Can you name the original 13 colonies?

Do you enjoy history and learning new things about the origins of the United States of America? Celebrate Independence Day by reading up on U.S. History.  Amaze your friends as you confidently discuss the Federalist Papers, hold your own in an argument about the U.S. Flag, back up your opinions about the role of the Supreme Court.   The more you read about our country, the more you can appreciate the turmoil and accomplishments that the people of our nation have faced and overcome.

Here are some good books to sample:

Don’t Know Much About History – Kenneth C. Davis.  This book offers bits and pieces about American History without being overwhelming.  It’s a great way to pick up quick knowledge and hopefully make you thirsty to read even more about history.

Seizing Destiny: How American Grew From Sea to Shining Sea – Richard Kluger (Pulitizer Prize winning author).    Learn about the western expansion of United States from the Revolution up through the purchase of Alaska.

A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn.   This is NOT a light read, but it is very comprehensive.  This is a history as told from the perspective of the average working person, such as immigrants, African Americans, women, etc.

The Everything U.S. Constitution Book – Ellen Kozak.   While this is not scholarly, it is a nice simple explanation of how the Constitution came to be and what it means.

Federalist Papers – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Jay.  A very important collection of 85 essays, that were essential in U.S. History.

Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution – Richard Beeman.   The drama of the Constitutional Convention and the creation of the Constitution.

These are just a few of the thousands of books available to read about the founding and history of the U.S.   Do not be overwhelmed by the abundance of what is available in print and online….gaining knowledge is an unending journey.  Oh…and the answers to the above quiz?

White = purity and innocence

Red= Hardiness and valour


(You can read up on this at the website:  http://www.usflag.org/colors.html)


Summer food program announced by City of Akron

akronSealThe library is sharing the following announcement from the City of Akron:

The City of Akron is again participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all eligible youth (18 years and under) and summer day camp programs that meet the income guidelines for reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program. Those income guidelines are available upon request. Children who are part of households that receive food stamps or benefits under the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), are automatically eligible to receive free meals. The program runs from June 15 through August 13.

(To view a list of meal locations, click on the attachment in the City of Akron’s press release.)

Serving times are subject to change. For more information, contact Audley McGill at 330.375.2821 or Mason_cc@akronohio.org.


Federal Depository Library Program

Did you know that the Akron-Summit County Public Library is a federal depository which allows us to maintain a collection of Government Documents?  This program, The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), was formed by Congress to ensure that the general public has access to information pertaining to government standards which includes topics from the defense, commerce, and agricultural departments,  just to name a few.  The Government Publishing Office says “Information products from the Federal Government are disseminated to these nationwide libraries that, in turn, ensure the American public has free access to the materials, both in print and online.” The program is available at a number of libraries nationwide and even in some United States territories.  Here is a list of some of the departments that publish and provide documents through this program:


A Agriculture
AE National Archives and Records Administration
B Broadcasting Board of Governors
C Commerce Department
CC Federal Communications Commission
CR Civil Rights Commission
D Defense Department
E Energy Department
ED Education Department
EP Environmental protection Agency


Visit or call the Business and Government Division for help locating a Government Document.



Credit Card News

Consumers are starting to notice something different about their new credit cards. Chip technology is replacing the 50 year old magnetic strip.  The U.S. is behind the times compared to much of the rest of the world in adopting chip based transactions. The industry is making the move because of the high cost of fraud associated with the easy to pirate magnetic strip onto counterfeit cards.  The deadline for retail establishments to get up to date converting to this new technology is October of this year. Stores will still be able to accept traditional magnetic swipe purchases, but now will be liable for fraud as a result.

Also in the news, is a survey that finds that consumers will  likely not change their card use habits if rewards were no longer offered. Apparently, the accumulation of rewards is secondary to convenience and dependence on cards for emergency expenses.  Still consumers should shop wisely for cards that fit their needs.  If your current card drops it’s reward program, see if the issuer can offer you some other perk in using their product.  Also, if you carry a balance, always shop for the lowest rate you can find.

Finally, the 1970s punk rock revolution comes to your credit card! Virgin Money is now offering a new line of Sex Pistols themed credit cards “to bring a bit of rebellion in your wallet.”  Richard Branson, the entrepreneur who signed the Sex Pistols to Virgin Records back in the 70s is the one behind the launch of this product.  He claims he wants to help revolutionize banking like he did music.  Anyway, if you carry a balance, that will cost you a whopping variable punk rock APR of 18.9%.


Caring for Caregivers

Well-known mathematician, John Nash, recently died in a motor vehicle crash.  Also killed in the crash was his wife, Alicia.  Recipient of a number of important academic prizes including the Nobel Prize for Economics, Nash is not most recognized as a brilliant mathematician.  He is most well-known as a brilliant mathematician who was severely mentally ill.  John Nash came to most people’s attention as the subject of a biography by Sylvia Nasar as the well as the subsequent film of the same title, A Beautiful Mind.  Despite his gifts, John Nash’s story reminds us of the pain and stress that mental illness places on an individual as well as on his/her family.

John and Alicia divorced in 1963.  After his final hospitalization in 1970, his former wife allowed him to live in her house as a boarder.  Alicia Nash recognized the benefits of stability and a quiet life for a recovering individual, and John continued to improve in this atmosphere.  The two eventually remarried in 2001.

Family members and those who love individuals diagnosed with mental illness serve both themselves and their loved ones best through self-education and self-care.  John Nash’s life hopefully serves to help de-stigmatize mental illness as well as reminding us of the seriousness of living with it for all of those involved.

Akron Summit County Public Library has many books available throughout our collection helpful to family members of those with mental illness.  Listed here are few titles from the Business & Government Department.

The Price of Silence, A Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness by Liza Long:  Liza Long suddenly gained public attention after the Sandy Hook shootings.  She published an article speaking frankly about her own life as the mother of a severely mentally ill child.  This book expands on the challenges of that experience as well as detailing the current state of mental health care and policy.

My Parent’s Keeper, Adult Children of the Emotionally Disturbed by Eva Marian Brown:  Coining the term ACMI (Adult children of the Mentally Ill), Ms.  Brown follows the lead of the community of Adult Children of Alcoholics.  She recognizes and explores the continuing challenges of those who have grown up with mentally ill parents.

The Burden of Sympathy, How Families Cope with Mental Illness by David A. Karp:  Drawing on his work with families, David Karp strives to help find the elusive balance between offering love and care, and maintaining boundaries that allow for self-preservation.

A prime resource is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (https://www.nami.org/) and our local chapter, NAMI Summit (http://namisummit.org/).  NAMI Summit provides family education and support groups, opportunities to meet up with others who have shared experiences.  Both the local and national websites are goldmines of information.  A new offering from NAMI is the free app AIR (Anonymous. Inspiring  Relatable.)  This app offers support and interaction among users, providing different “paths” to choose from.  Choose a path as a person with a mental health condition, or a path for a family member/caregiver.  For more information and instructions on obtaining it, go to https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Breathe-Easy-with-Air.


Learn How to Qualify to Have Your Federal Loans Balance Forgiven

Interested in shedding some federal student loan debt? If you plan things just right, there’s a strategy that may work for you. It’s called the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Here are the requirements:

  • You must work full-time for a public service employer—a government agency or a non-profit organization. (Not all non-profits qualify.)
  • You must have a qualifying loan and a qualifying repayment plan. (You can restructure both so they meet the requirements.)
  • You must make 120 qualifying payments, all while meeting the points above.

Read this Department of Education blog post for a step-by-step explanation of how to qualify for each requirement.


Vietnam Anniversary

April 30 marked the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. While many Americans believe that the decision to pursue this war was one of the worst foreign policy disasters in U.S. history, the anniversary has sparked renewed interest among our readers. Here are a few books to ask for:

Black April bookBlack April: The Fall of South Vietnam, 1973-1975 by George J. Veith.

Veith, a former Army Captain, explores the concluding weeks, from the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973 to South Vietnam’s surrender on April 30, 1975. This book is based on American primary source documents, public interviews with key South Vietnamese figures, and previously top-secret North Vietnamese cables and memoranda.

Veith is also the author of Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War.


DefiantDefiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam’s Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned by Alvin Townley.

This suspenseful book about the “Alcatraz Eleven” won glowing praise from two men who could not be farther apart in their politics: Senator John McCain and former President Jimmy Carter.

Defiant is also one of the few books which credit the families of POWs.


They Are All My Family: A Daring Rescue in the Chaos of Saigon’s Fall by John P. Riordan with Monique Brinson Demery.

Riordan, then the assistant manager of Citibank’s Saigon branch, was one of the many Americans who fled Saigon on U.S. military cargo planes. But once he reached safety in Hong Kong, he could not forget his Vietnamese employees and their families.

In this fascinating book, Riordan recalls his multiple returns to Saigon and ultimate rescue of 106 employees and their families.



Homeschooling is a daunting task for many and it requires a great deal of patience and flexibility. These virtues can be tested in homeschooling situations that consist of children who are at different grade levels.
People have found that some students become overlooked while others receive more of the teaching attention. Below are some tips for home educating multiple children at various levels.

  1. Have the children teach each other. When the older children help the younger ones get started with their schoolwork it helps forge a bond.  It also helps reinforce concepts for the older student.
  2. Be super organized.  Instead of trying to start all of the children at the same time, create a system where the older children start themselves. This can happen by the supervising adult preparing and outlining what the children need, the night before. When it’s time for schoolwork to
    begin, everything is ready to begin. This work can be planned as far in advance as required.
  3. Differential Education. With this idea, all the children are taught at the level of the older child and allowed to absorb what they can.  Lessons can then be tailored to a more appropriate level for the concepts that the younger child did not comprehend.  The concept can be a little complicated so check out websites such as: http://homeschooling.about.com/od/teaching/tp/Homeschooling-Multiple-Ages.htm
  4. Online Schooling.  There are several websites that are virtual schools.  Access to a computer is necessary for most of these programs.  This allows for older students who are self motivated to take control of their own education.   Look at this website for names of some of these virtual academies: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/989823/homeschooling-tips-multiple-grade-levels
  5. Create a Routine. This can be as simple as having a set start time and requiring the children be in street clothes, not pajamas.  Others have found that having one room in the house to function as a school room helps cut down on distractions and allows for the schooling to be done in a special place much like having to go to a classroom in a school.





Still looking for more? Visit us in the Business and Government Division!  We have books to guide a lesson plan, help you to better explain tough subjects to your children, and more.   Check out these titles:

Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners / Lori McWilliam Pickert

The Everything Homeschooling Book : All You Need to Create the Best Curriculum and Learning Environment for your Child / Sherri Linsenbach

Easy Homeschooling Techniques / by Lorraine Curry ; with Naomi Aldort, Janice Campbell, & Cathi-Lynn Dyck.


Need to Build or Rebuild Your Credit?

A person may find that for one reason or another they are in a position where they have to start thinking of a strategy to rebuild their credit such as less than good credit judgement at a young age, or a financial setback such as loss of job or medical emergency.  It is difficult in this day and age to live life without a decent credit score since so much depends on it.  Leasing an apartment, buying a car and even, at times, getting hired for a new job rely on a person’s credit history.  What can one do to start climbing back up the ladder of good credit worthiness?  The first step is to not be late on bills you already have.  Some utility companies are starting to report payment histories, which would be a nice way to get some positive information added to your credit report, but this practice doesn’t seem widespread at this time. Among the best ways to establish a good credit history is by obtaining a secured credit card. This is a credit card designed for those with no or bad credit.  The cardholder is required to make a deposit up to the credit limit of the card. Then the card can be used just like an unsecured card and the bank reports payment history with no indication that it’s secured. One does not need a co-signer either. This is an excellent way to build a payment history. After establishing a positive track record, the bank may raise the credit limit and/or refund your deposit. Even better, you may apply for unsecured cards at this point. As one can see, a secured credit card is an excellent way to establish or reestablish good credit.  It is important to research these cards carefully though because most, if not all of them, come with fees and some are much more expensive than others.


Business and Government Books Garner Two Pulitzer Prizes

This week saw the announcement of 2015’s Pulitzer Prizes.  Winning books include two titles which are part of our department’s collection housed on the third floor.

The Pulitzer Prize for History goes to Encounters at the Heart of the World : A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth A. Fenn.  Ms. Fenn currently is the chair of the history department at the University of Colorado, Boulder. This book is the story of the Mandan Indians who thrived in the Northern Plains of what is now North and South Dakota.  In 1500, the Mandan’s population stood at about 12,000.  The 1837-38 Great Plains Smallpox Epidemic reduced the population to around 300.  In earlier centuries, the Mandan were a dominant people, expert at cultivating corn and trading with neighboring tribes.  Buffalo were also a vital resource.  Fenn’s book details several of their rituals which display their deep relationship with these animals.  The Mandan Buffalo Dance is an example.

Ms. Fenn employs recent archaeology, documented observation s of George Catlin (19th century author and artist, expert on Western tribes) and others, and her own time spent with still living Mandan people.  Her story is one of a vibrant society quickly laid low and their ensuing perseverance.

Winning the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and Autobiography is the Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pope Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe, by David I. Kertzer.  He is a historian and currently a professor at Brown University.  He has published many books on his long running theme of Italy and especially the Vatican against Jews.  The Pope and Mussolini continues this exploration.  The recent opening of the Vatican Archives has provided the author with much of his material.  Mussolini and Pope Pius XI both yielded enormous power in their intertwined, side by side realms.  It appears that in his last days, Pius XI was beginning to have doubts about the direction in which Mussolini was heading, but his death in 1939 prevented him from further expressing his doubts and displeasure.

Other winners this year are The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert for General Nonfiction, and for Fiction, All the Light We Cannot See by Cleveland native Anthony Doerr.  These titles are also available from our library.