History in Our Own Backyard

If you enjoy learning more about local history, here’s a Facebook group you might want to search for: Akron Ohio Historical Buildings. Members post photos, both current and old, of buildings and homes in this area. They ask other group members questions and share information. It is impressive how much group members know and how enthusiastic they are. Even if you do not feel that you are knowledgeable in local history, it is still fun to see what shows up in this Facebook group; it is a good learning tool.

In addition to the Facebook group, here are a few books we recommend for the local history enthusiast:

 Lost Akron is a new book by local historian Mark Price. Price has assembled a volume on all kinds of Akron places, including O’Neil’s and Polsky’s department stores; Springfield Lake Sanitarium, which housed many tuberculosis patients; the Richfield Coliseum, which was once home to the Cleveland Cavaliers and site of many rock concerts; and Norka Beverage, a local soda-maker which ceased operations in 1962. (The soda has recently been revived by various retailers.) Lost Akron’s storytelling is fun, informative, and will trigger many memories for longtime residents. Be sure to check out the Acknowledgements page – the library’s talented and bright Special Collections staff are thanked by name!


Lost Akron was preceded by another fun and fascinating book from Mark Price. The Rest Is History: True Tales From Akron’s Vibrant Past is a compilation of Akron Beacon Journal articles which Price wrote as an ongoing series titled This Place, This Time. It is a great browsing book, full of new information and old memories. The Blizzard of 1978, The Wolf Ledge (not Wolf’s Ledges, as many are prone to say), Cry-Baby Bridge, the legendary spooky site at Rogues’ Hollow in nearby Wayne County. There are so many great stories in this book!


Another good book for those who enjoy learning more about the area we inhabit is Walks Around Akron: Rediscovering A City In Transition. Published in 2007, a few things have changed but much remains the same. Writers Russ Mussara and illustrator Chuck Ayers published these pieces previously in the Akron Beacon Journal. They trace various walks which combine the present with bits of background and history. Walks Around Akron is an armchair travel book which invites the reader to get out and experience the local treks described in its pages.



Library recalls visit by Julian Bond

Julian Bond with library patronsThe recent death of civil rights leader Julian Bond is poignantly felt here at the library. As longtime employees and patrons recall, thirty years ago, Mr. Bond was the keynote speaker at the dedication of our collection of books and articles focused on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and the civil rights movement. The dedication on Sunday, January 20, 1985 was co-sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., the Akron Community Service Center, and the Urban League. Some 300 people turned out in subzero weather to hear and greet Mr. Bond at a library reception afterward. It was a thrilling and unforgettable event.

Today, the library’s MLK materials are indeed the “living, dynamic collection” we envisioned back in 1985. Substantially expanded, it is now maintained by the Business & Government Division.  To learn more, please visit us on Main Library’s third floor or contact us at 330-643-9020 or bgdiv@akronlibrary.org.

Image courtesy of the Special Collections Division.


New Books of Note

Crabbe, Tony. Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much. Grand Central Publishing, 2015.

What is “busy”? The author states that it can be many things: avoidance, a brand, an addiction, something that “everybody else is doing” and therefore “easy”. This new book offers the insight of managing one’s attention rather than one’s time in order to get things done. Crabbe is an organizational psychologist who works with an array of multinational client companies.

Lipman, Victor. The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World. Prentice Hall Press, 2015.

Does the perfect candidate for management always need to demonstrate the classic attributes of the type A personality: competitive, driven, and demanding? Lipman examines core principles from a relational standpoint and reveals that some traits commonly touted as essential for managers actually do more harm than good. The author provides an argument that the most successful leaders must also exhibit type B characteristics which include being risk averse, highly analytical, and willing to listen to others. This book expands upon research presented in Susan Cain’s Quiet and Jennifer B. Kahnweiler’sThe Introverted Leader, providing new information in thirty short chapters.

Piketty, Thomas. The Economics of Inequality. Belknap Press, 2015.

In the spring of 2014, Piketty gave us Capital in the Twenty-first Century, which contributed to the debate on income inequality. In this new work, Piketty begins by explaining how inequality evolves and how economists measure it. He then explores variances in income and ownership of capital and the different policies used to reduce these gaps while introducing ideas about the relationship between labor and capital, the effects of different systems of taxation, the distinction between “historical” and “political” time, the impact of education and technological change, etc. He points to a number of alternative fiscal solutions, including wealth tax, etc.., but admits that going back to a pre-1980s-progressive policy will be difficult.


Good news for veterans seeking educator licenses

Here’s good news to pass along to active duty military and veterans who are preparing to enter the teaching profession:

Ed_Lic_buttonThe Ohio Department of Education is eliminating fees for educator licenses to recognize the contributions of military families. Beginning January 2, 2015, the fees for any initial Ohio educator license, permit or certificate – or for a renewal – will be waived for candidates who are veterans with honorable discharges or current service members of all branches of the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard or Reserves. Spouses of active duty service members also may receive a license free of charge.

For more information, contact the Ohio Department of Education, Office of Educator Licensure at (877) 644-6338.

As a reminder, the Business & Government Division maintains the library’s collection of books on the subject of education.  Please visit us on Main Library’s Third Floor to browse topics ranging from licensing exam preparation to classroom management, public policy, special education, social issues, and more.

Image courtesy of the Ohio Department of Education.


Consumer Internet Alerts

Social media has become a great way to communicate with friends and family. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of this in order to steal your identity. Known as “farcing,” these scams start when you receive a friend request from someone who claims to have mutual friends — and that can be just the beginning. Learn how to recognize and avoid this common social media scam and other online scams. The USA.gov website also suggests ways to protect yourself from identity theft.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has also updated an online publication: Cybersecurity Help : Information, and Protection Program. As we know, individuals are using many types of devices to access the Internet: computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, all of which are susceptible to attack. This updated document includes tips on recognizing malware and keeping electronic gear secure, avoiding theft of personal information via public Wifi locations or social media websites, and maintaining password security.


Social media tips for entrepreneurs

“Business & Government” includes more than just business and government here at Main Library. Our collection includes books on education, history, relationships and more. One area of interest to many readers is social media, and you’ll find books covering online etiquette, business models for social media companies, how to use social media to find a job, and other uses.  We also offer a fair number of titles for more casual reading.  Here’s a sample of books you can ask for (summarized by the publishers):

Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies / Joshua Waldman

This guide to using social media to find a job explains the benefits of using sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for networking.  It offers tips on creating an effective online profile, discusses how to develop a personal online brand, and includes other helpful job search strategies.  Learn how to craft resumes with LinkedIn, video, and more, using Twitter, Facebook, and other sites.


Understanding Social Media: How to Create a Plan for Your Business That Works / Damian Ryan

This excellent curated collection of observations is an all-in-one resource that should offer business marketers a wealth of guidance.  Discover the difference between online relations and social media as well as how to build a compelling social media program.  With social media constantly changing, this is a good resource to help you keep up with the many changes and adjust your platform accordingly.

Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don’t Float: Classic Lit Signed on to Facebook / Sarah Schmelling

Imagine your favorite classic tales retold in Facebook format, through news feeds and notifications.  What could that do to the rendering of many interpretations of classic literature? Check out this book and see how your favorite tales are reimagined and retold in the light of social media.


The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue / Shama Kabani

Kabani, president of the web marketing firm, Marketing Zen, offers an essential guide for using social media tools to help businesses succeed. Tips include how to start, maintain, and grow in marketing strategies; how to identify a target group; and social advertising.  This is the perfect book for those who want to expand their marketing potential.


Traveling the Dark Lanes of America’s Interstates

In the 1950s, the United States embarked on a major public works program to build the interstate highway system. It was hailed as an opportunity to stimulate major growth for the US economy, including a vast number of jobs.  So with support from President Eisenhower and Congress, the construction commenced.  As a result, Americans experienced mobility like never before. But something else began to grow in the shadows of this massive project, namely serial murder.  In Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate, author Ginger Strand links the building of our highways to an assortment of gruesome homicides dating back to the 1950s, starting with Charles Starkweather, the young man who went on a murder spree with his girlfriend throughout Nebraska and Wyoming.   Among the highway-spawned monsters covered in this book are a California man who preyed on female hitchhikers, and the legendary Atlanta Child Murders.  Another noteworthy chapter covers the subject of vanishing truck stop prostitutes. (Although not mentioned in this book, Ohio, and specifically the Greater Akron area, has had experience with this.)

From the early 1980s into the 1990s, at least 8 bodies of prostitutes were found dumped along major Ohio highways.  Authorities speculate that it was the work of a serial killer who solicited sex from women at truck stops.  It was said the suspect went by the handles “Dr. No,” “Stargazer,” and “Dragon” over the C.B. radio when luring women to their demise.  The Akron area was not exempt from this period of macabre handiwork.  First, the body Marcia Mathews of Akron, was dumped along I-71 in Richland county in June 1985.  Then, in July 1986, the badly beaten body of Virginian Shirley Taylor was found at an abandoned rest area on 224 in Medina County.  Another Akron resident, April Barnett, was found murdered and dumped on I-71; this time in Ashland County.  The case remains unsolved.


A Local Nightmare

The other day, I stumbled across an interview with Sam Quinones on the subject of his new book, Dream Land: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.   For anyone puzzled and confused by the extent of the heroin epidemic in our very own community, Dream Land reveals the tragic confluence of elements making it happen.  Ohio features prominently in the narrative.  Changes in medical philosophy related to the treatment of pain, pharmaceutical companies hungry for profits, corrupt doctors, well-intended legal measures to shut down pill mills, and tidily efficient entrepreneurial cartel workers supplying low cost heroin to fill the void left by the absence of pain pills are Sam Quinones’ explanation for the raging heroin epidemic in Summit County, throughout Ohio, and the United States.

Fascinating and straightforward, Dream Land explains how all these strands have come together in our very own time and place.  Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of death from injury in Ohio and 35 other states, surpassing motor vehicle related deaths.  The number of drug-dependent newborns has increased 750% in Ohio since 2004.  Delivering moms addicted to opioids is up 841%.

Another recent book which is inciting discussion is Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of The War on Drugs by Johann Hari.  Author Hari details the Drug War’s beginnings in the hands of government official Harry Anslinger, first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.  The book explores the conduct of the fight against drugs over the decades as well as various theories about and approaches to treating addiction.

As a response to jails and prisons bursting at the seams with drug offenders, the Justice Department has been urging a hard look at sentencing.  Marijuana is increasingly legal.  It appears that Ohioans will likely vote on it this coming November.    As we become well-informed about the causes and history of drug-related social woes through titles like these, hopefully our society can find and implement some solutions.


More News You Can Use

Avoiding Fraud

Scammers can and will use a variety of tactics to rip you off and take your money. Being aware of the most common types of financial fraud should help you stay protected. Find trustworthy resources that will help you avoid the most common telemarketing, charitable giving and investment scams.

Plan Ahead for Vacations

An overflowing mailbox can attract burglars. Let the U.S. Post Office keep your mail safe while you enjoy your time away on vacation. It’s easy to sign up to have your mail held for you, and delivered to your door when you return.

Trouble with Social Security?

If you need to appeal a Social Security disability decision, you can now:

  • File your appeal online and upload your supporting documents
  • File your appeal even if you’re outside the United States
  • Find a shorter appeals process online
  • Receive quicker decisions from Social Security

If you wish to submit an appeal online, be sure to provide the necessary documents. Learn more about the appeals process here.


Time For a Pop Quiz – U.S. flag

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

bald eagle July 4Do you enjoy history and learning new things about 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, or 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.  Without being overwhelming, this book offers bits and pieces about American History. 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, including 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 signing image July 4essays 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 help you learn more 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 first question in our quiz?

White = purity and innocence

Red= Hardiness and valour


(You can learn more at these websites:  http://www.usflag.org/colors.html and Smithsonian – The Star Spangled Banner.