Library to feature community picks

July 11, 2014

You have probably noticed the displays filled with “Staff Picks” at the Delaware County District Library. Staff members regularly add their favorite books to these displays and Library customers have made them very popular — so popular, in fact, that it gave us an idea. How about letting customers tell us what their favorite books are?

Very soon, you will have the opportunity to share your favorite book, DVD or audio book with the Delaware community. If you really liked something you read, watched or listened to, you simply and anonymously put a slip labeled “Community Picks” into the item when you return it. The slips will be at the circulation desks at all Library locations. Once the item is checked in, Library staff will add it to the “Community Pick” display.

In addition, we’ll soon be offering you the option to rate the books you’ve read through the “Read It and Rate It” program. We will be adding removable stickers to hundreds of books, but you can also ask any Library staff member to help you affix the sticker to any book you want to rate. You have to option of initialing your rating or remaining anonymous. If you read a book already having a “Read It and Rate It” sticker inside, feel free to add your own rating.

I hope you’ll help fellow Library customers find something great to read, watch or listen to by participating in these two new programs. I think it will be lots of fun to become more acquainted with our neighbors in this unique and exciting way.

Did Betsy Ross really stitch the first American flag?

According to legend, when upholsterer John Ross was killed in 1776, his wife Betsy took over the operation of their tailoring business. The shop was visited by General George Washington and supposedly they discussed flag designs. Betsy is said to have convinced him it would be easier to cut 5-pointed stars rather than 6-pointed ones. Legend has it when Washington left the shop, Betsy began stitching the official American flag. Historians, however, find it significant that not one of the numerous flags flying at different times during the Revolutionary War was of the design alleged to be the handiwork of Ross. Historical records and Washington’s written itinerary do not mention a visit to Ross’ shop or his concern about designing a flag. Further, the tale recounted in history books was told by Betsy Ross herself on her death bed in 1836, to her 11-year-old grandson who did not publicly relate it until more than 100 years later at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Perhaps in time, Betsy Ross’ deathbed tale will be unequivocally proven or disproven, but, according to Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, at least at this time, there is no way of verifying who stitched the first American flag.

Did Thomas Edison develop a helicopter that flew on gunpowder?

In 1885, Thomas Edison was given $1,000 by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., to conduct experiments towards developing flight. Edison built a helicopter and used the paper for a stock ticker to create guncotton, with which he attempted to power an internal combustion engine. The helicopter was damaged by explosions and one of his workers was badly burned. Edison reported that it would take a motor with a ratio of three to four pounds per horsepower produced to be successful, based on his experiments. In 1908, Edison patented his own design for a helicopter powered by a gasoline engine with box kites attached to a mast by cables for a rotor, but it never flew. Thomas Alva Edison: Great Inventor was the source of this information.

What is a groundhog kiln?

Foxfire 8 notes groundhog kilns are uniquely southern kiln types which were used to fire alkaline glazed pottery in the 19th century. The groundhog kiln was semi-subterranean in construction featuring a doorway leading into a long, low passage of brick or rock construction, which terminated in a chimney poking out of the ground. The ware was loaded in the low passageway or “ware-bed” and the fire was built in the sunken firebox, located inside the door. The chimney would draw the heat from the fire through the pottery inside.

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 web site at or directly to Mary Jane at . No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!