The numbers are in: Your library is valuable
I recently read a fascinating article about the value of librarians in our country, and some of the information was quite revealing and, honestly, a little stunning. The article noted that, “Today’s librarians are no longer mousy book worms; they are high-tech information sleuths and clever interrogators, helping customers plumb the oceans of information available in books and digital records.” How true!
Each year in the United States, there are 1,504,851,000 visits to the nation’s 122,101 libraries. Last year, there were around 200,000 visits to the Delaware County District Library. Daily, U.S. libraries circulate nearly four times more items than Amazon handles, and library cardholders outnumber Amazon customers by 5 to 1! Sixty-five percent of Americans have visited a public library in the last year.
Reference librarians answer 7.2 million questions each week in the U.S. Standing single file, the line of questioners would stretch from New York City to Juneau, Alaska.
The U.S. can boast about 135,000 librarians (there are 14 librarians at DCDL), and each week we receive on average 367 emails.
These amazing statistics were gathered from the American Library Association and the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Statistics, and they clearly show that Americans value and use their libraries.
So what do librarians do all day? They work an average of 2,785 minutes each week, and in next week’s column, I’ll tell you what they do during those minutes.
And, a reminder: the library will close at 5 p.m. on July 3 and remained closed for the Fourth of July holiday. We will reopen on July 5 with our regular hours. Happy 4th of July!
I read something about President Obama’s “Resolute Desk.” What is that?
The World Book Encyclopedia notes that Resolute desk is a large, 19th-century partners’ desk often chosen by presidents of the United States for use as the Oval Office desk. It was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 and was built from the timbers of the British Arctic Exploration ship Resolute. Many presidents since Hayes have used the desk at various locations in the White House, but it was Jackie Kennedy who first brought the desk into the Oval Office in 1961 for President John F. Kennedy. It was removed from the White House only once, after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, when President Johnson allowed the desk to go on a traveling exhibition with the Kennedy Presidential Library. It then was on display in the Smithsonian Institution. President Jimmy Carter brought the desk back to the Oval Office, where Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now Barack Obama have used it.
What is a Jiggs and Maggie book?
Jiggs-and-Maggie books (also known as bluesies, eight-pagers, gray-backs, jo-jo books, Tillie-and-Mac books, and two-by-fours,) were pornographic comic books produced in the United States from the 1920s to the early 1960s. The typical book was an 8-panel comic strip in a wallet-size 2.5×4 inch format with black print on cheap white paper and running eight pages in length. In most cases the artists, writers and publishers were unknown, and the quality of the artwork varied widely. The subjects are explicit sexual escapades usually featuring well known newspaper comic strip characters, political figures or movie stars, invariably used without permission. I searched the “Literature Resource Center” database for this information.
Can you really tell how close the thunderstorm is by counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder?
Yes, using a calculation called the “Flash to Bang” method. Sound travels through air 1,087 feet per second. For a quick calculation in your head, the National Severe Storms Laboratory notes you can use one mile per five seconds as a good approximation. The speed of light is much faster than sound, 186,282.397 miles per second, fast enough that you see the lightning almost the instant it flashes. When that happens, start counting until you hear the thunder, which is caused by a sonic shockwave created from air rapidly expanding in the presence of lightning’s extreme heat and pressure. Divide the number of seconds between the flash of lightning and the bang of thunder by five to account for the sound’s slower speed, and you have a rough idea of how many miles away the lightning struck. If it takes 10 seconds for the thunder to roll in after the flash, the lightning struck about two miles away.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Mary Jane Santos, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740–362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s website at delawarelibrary.org or directly to Mary Jane at email@example.com. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked.