Library

Schedel Garden benefit harvests dollars for library books

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The board meeting room in the Wood County District Public Library is filling up. New treasures arrive every day, said Library Director Michael Penrod. That includes a grill and a bicycle. There’s hand-crafted wooden box by John Calderonello and glass by Dominick Labino and Joel O’Dorisio. Hidden among them are gift certificates from numerous local business. The items are arriving in advance of the 10th Annual Library Benefit at Schedel Arboretum and Gardens, Thursday, July 19, 6-8 p.m. Attendees will also feast on hors d’oeuvres catered by Swig’s and tour the gardens. The price of a ticket is $100 and only 100 are sold. Tickets are available at the library. The focal point is the live auction, said Clif Boutelle, president of the Library Foundation, sponsor of the fundraiser. The bidding gets “very spirited.” People enjoy trying to outbid each other. Items also include a week at a Florida Gulf Coast condo, a family portrait session with Cheryl Hagemeyer, and golf with BGSU coach John Powers, either a 45-minute lesson or a nine-hole round. Then there are Sue Shank’s cookies, Boutelle said, which “seem to be very popular.” Shad Ridenour returns as the auctioneer. Attendees aren’t there trying to get an item on the cheap, Penrod said. Rather they bid enthusiastically. That spirit is fueled by an understanding of what the library contributes to the community and a desire to help it continue its mission. The purpose of the Schedel benefit is to raise money to buy books, both printed and ebooks. Last year $116,000 was raised. Penrod said that money does not replace money from the library’s levy or state funding. It supplements that funding. Boutelle said the fundraising is a way of thanking the community for its support of the library. The money raised has allowed the library to spend $442,000 on materials last year. Boutelle said the goal is always set at $75,000. They never want to take the generosity of those who attend for granted. That generosity starts, said Penrod, with the 15 members of the foundation board who reach out to friends and business associates to get the auction items Penrod said those efforts were “a blessing.” The Schedel fundraising started at the initiation of Bob and Patricia Maurer in 2009. The deepening recession was starting to take a toll on the library budget. So the Foundation, which was…


Benefit at Schedel Gardens provides essential funds for library materials

On July 19 the WCDPL Foundation will host its tenth annual Library Benefit at Schedel Gardens in Elmore, Ohio. Over the past nine years, this event has raised funds to purchase new books that our patrons use to move into a new career, gain a new skill, teach a child to read, learn about nearly any other topic of interest, or read for pleasure.  Every dollar from this event goes to purchase new books, large print books, audiobooks, e-books, and picture books. Despite some saying the Internet and e-books replace libraries, the core function of the library as the “People’s University” (where anyone can explore, learn, and discover) remains vital.  In 2017, community members visited the library more than 4,200 times per week, attendance at programs and author visits grew another 11 percent, the number of cardholders grew another 3 percent, and borrowing books and other materials remains at all-time record levels. This high rate of usage requires continuing investment.  The importance of private fundraising to meet community demand is critical.  Your financial gifts make a difference! I ask that you consider giving a monetary sponsorship for the Library Benefit at Schedel Gardens in any amount from $20 to $20,000.  Simply send a check payable to WCDPL Foundation (with “Schedel sponsorship” in the memo line) to A.J. Heilman, 251 N. Main, Bowling Green, OH 43402.  Sponsorships over $1,000 will be recognized on a plaque in the library. Also, please plan to attend the July 19 Benefit!  Come enjoy a relaxing evening with garden tours, fine beverages, delicious food, live and silent auctions, and lots of fun and laughs with other library advocates! Tickets are $100 each and are on sale at the library. Please support the library so that it can remain “the place to be” for the community to learn, discover, explore, and read. Michael Penrod WCDPL Director


Libraries create millions in value for their communities

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The libraries in Wood County generated $35.5 million in economic value in 2017. Wood County District Public Library Director Michael Penrod presented those figures to trustees at their meeting Monday morning. That figure was a local update of a report originally commissioned by the Ohio Library Council in 2016. The update was done by Woodlink, which brings together the county’s the eight library systems. Those libraries provided just over $8 million worth of services in the year, and the direct return on investment was $3.44 for every dollar’s worth of services, or $27.7 million in direct return on investment. The multiplier reflects the impact of the money patrons save by using library services and how that flows through the economy. That brings the amount to $35.5 million. The report looks only at the impact of services provided, not money spent, such as salaries. The eight library systems in the county, in addition to Wood County District, which has a branch in Walbridge, are: Pemberville Public, which operates branches in Luckey and Stony Ridge; Kaubisch Memorial in Fostoria; North Baltimore Public; Rossford Public; Way Public in Perrysburg; and Weston, which operates a branch in Grand Rapids. Penrod said it is important that the library seek donations as well as tax dollars. The Library Foundation provides a large financial boost with the money it raises at a summer benefit held at Schedel Arboretum & Gardens. Penrod encouraged the trustees to promote the event in the community. The 10th Annual Library Benefit will be held Thursday, July 19. Tickets are $100. Last year it raised $100,000. That money is used to purchase books – in all forms, Penrod said. He said that the money does not replace money from the state or raised by the library’s levy, but supplements those dollars, allowing the library to spend more than the average amount on materials. The event features a live and silent auction. It is not, Penrod said, an event where people come expecting to find a bargain at auction, but rather expect to pay a premium as a way to show their support for the library. Trustees John Fawcett said he’ heard from a couple people that they wished there were lesser priced fundraising options included, such as a lottery where everyone who buys a ticket has an equal chance. Board President Brian Paskvan said that could be…


Preschoolers celebrate crowning achievement in reading

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ken and Pam Frisch did their part to help their granddaughters earn their crowns. The granddaughters, Sophia Kulik, 3, and Savannah Kulik, 4, are among the 23 preschoolers who have met the mark in the Wood County Public Library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge. The Frisches said they read to the girls, and then logged in the number of books. They were so impressed with the program that they stepped up to help fund it through their Frisch Family Fund. Both have backgrounds in teaching, “so reading has always been important and pretty special,” Pam Frisch said. “The library has been an important part of our family,” Ken Frisch said. Their daughters volunteered as teenagers, and now their granddaughters share that connection. Saturday, the library celebrated the first year of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. As part of the festivities, the children who’d reached the goal received cardboard crowns. Cassie Greenlee, who works in the Children’s Place, said 23 have met the goal. Julia Kulik, Sophia and Savannah’s mother, said the girls earned their crowns last summer. They started in May, and by August they’d notched 1000 books. “It was a lot of reading,” she said. “They love it.” The girls go to story times at the library. “Everyone in the children’s department is so great and so supportive.” Sophia will pile up picture books to her waist when she wants to read, her mother said, and that’s all the time. The grandparents said the girls go through phases in what they want to read. Right now Sophia is captivated by dinosaurs. But “we’re equal opportunity readers,” Pam Frisch said. The two-hour celebration featured a number of schools, programs and agencies that support children. Most had dinosaur-themed activities in honor of guest author Shari Halpern, whose “Dinosaur Parade” will be given to each child who signs up for the 1000 Books program. Halpern got her own start as an author-illustrator when she was a child. She enjoyed drawing and coloring. “I loved getting a new box of crayons.” She was always making things for school projects or her dollhouse. Going into art “was a given,” she said. Becoming a children’ book illustrator was her goal from the time she learned in college that it was a career opportunity. Halpern has been working in the field since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design…


1000 books program gets new readers off to royal start

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Some local royalty will be crowned on Saturday. About 20 local preschoolers who have “read” 1000 Books before Kindergarten will get crowns of their own as part of the celebration Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wood County District Public Library. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program was launched last year, and it’s been a success, said Children’s Librarian Maria Simon. About 800 children are enrolled, with more being signed up each day. She hopes more will join on Saturday, moving the library closer to the goal of having 1,000 participants. The program encourages reading 1,000 books before children enter school. That’s not 1,000 different books. These are toddlers, and they may want to hear the same book over and over again, and then yet again. A book read aloud to a group by a child care provider or library staff member counts as well. Simon said she intentionally kept the record keeping simple. Just tally the books, without worrying about titles or minutes spent reading. Everything can be done online at wcdpl.readsquared.com. Every child who is enrolled gets a free book, and then they get stickers along with way to celebrate each 100 read. When they get halfway through, they get to pick a book from the library’s collection, and a bookplate noting their achievement is put in the book. At 1,000 they get a crown. For the inaugural year, the children received a book by Denise Fleming, who was the special guest author at last June’s kickoff celebration. Starting in Saturday, the children will receive Shari Halpern’s book “Dinosaur Parade.” Halpern will give a presentation at 11 a.m. Saturday and then sign books. Simon said both Halpern and Fleming were very supportive and enthusiastic about the program. Some of the older participants do enjoy seeing their numbers go up and up. But for most the biggest benefit of the program is the time spent with parents, or grandparents or childcare providers reading. And to get a 1,000 books read, it takes all of them. One child told, Simon that if it wasn’t for his two grandmas, he wouldn’t have read all those books. Simon said she enjoys watching children develop their taste. They get to explore the library’s large selection of picture books. They find characters they like, or realize they prefer funny books. Then after every 100 books, they get…


Library to celebrate 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, June 9

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Families with young children birth through preschool are invited to a Celebration of 1000 Books Before Kindergarten at the Wood County District Public Library Children’s Place on Saturday June 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. Included in the one year celebration of this ongoing reading challenge program will be an author/illustrator visit form Shari Halpern, a Family Resource Fair with the Wood County Early Childhood Task Force, and special recognition for everyone registered, new registrants, and the 20 “Royal Readers” who have already achieved the goal of 1000 books! The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program began last June with a kick-off with guest author/illustrator Denise Fleming. (Click to read story.) In the past year, 800 young children have registered in the library or online at wcdpl.readsquared.com. The Children’s Place looks to register more babies and young children at this event. This program has been supported by the Friends of the Library and continues to be supported by the WCDPL Foundation with private donations. The Wood County District Public Library will be giving Shari Halpern’s picture book Dinosaur Parade to all children present and registered in the 1000 Book Before Kindergarten program. Shari will be share a presentation at 11am and stay to autograph copies of Dinosaur Parade. The Resource Fair will include local agencies and organizations as well as daycare and preschools. Crafts and activities will be available to enjoy. Please contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253 with any questions about this event or the ongoing Summer Reading Program “Libraries Rock!”


Operatic ‘Big Bad Wolf’ starts summer reading program on a high note

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Simon, the children’s librarian at the Wood County District Public Library, wanted to get the musically inclined summer reading program off on a high note. So, of course, she brought in a soprano. And the soprano rolled in with a mezzo-soprano, a pianist, and a bass to play the bad guy. Libraries Rock! The summer reading program got under way with a visit by Toledo Opera on Wheels. The four-member troupe had enough scenery and hand puppets, not mention musical talent, to bring to life a couple of classic fairy tales. “Who’s Afraid of the Big Band Wolf?” blends the stories of Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs. The original script was set to music from Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni.” This is what the public library is all about, said Joy Torres, who was there with her four children age 3 to 10. “It introduces us to a lot of new things, we wouldn’t have a chance to experience if it wasn’t here. They always seem to bring in something new and exciting.” One year it was a magician, she said, and this year the opera. Later this year a local rock band, Mindless Matters, will play a show in the library on June 27 at 7 p.m. Crystal Swaisgood, a mother of three who like Torres home schools her kids, said she’s at the library all the time taking advantage of the diversity of activities offered. This summer Lubrizol will present a STEM Sound Lab and young local musicians will come in play what they’ve been practicing and serve as reading buddies. The full schedule of activities is available in the library’s Connect Family Magazine. Click for more details. “It helps keep the excitement of learning alive,” Torres said of the summer reading program. The young musicians in the Opera on Wheels program hope that their 30-minute opera will spawn future opera listeners and maybe performers. Janani Sridhar, the soprano who sang the part of Little Red Riding Hood, said with the arts being cut in so many schools, programs like this are all the more important. She believes very strongly in bringing opera to these young listeners as a way of cultivating an audience. This was the last day for the troupe, all resident artists at the Toledo Opera. After 85 performances, they had one more show, and…


Community survey gives high marks to public library

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A community survey done for the Wood County District Public Library turned out to be a love letter. “Levels of satisfaction were pretty high across the board on all the services we surveyed,” said Shannon Orr, whose public policy class at Bowling Green State University conducted it. “There is very high customer satisfaction for the Wood County Library system, and they would be willing to support the next levy.” That was true even among the majority who only use the library a few times a year. They still felt that the library was an important community service. Orr presented the results to the library’s Board of Trustees Monday. The library’s levy, which brings in $1 million a year, about 40 percent of the budget, will need to be renewed November, 2020. Orr added, that “children’s events were cited over and over again very highly.” On the other hand, “the level of dissatisfaction is almost nonexistent.” “We do a lot of these,” she said. “I run more than 100 community projects with my classes, and this level of satisfaction is very unusual.” Orr’s students sent surveys to 2,000 registered voters in the library’s service area. They got 346 back, or 17.3 percent. That’s an adequate response rate. An online survey with identical questions was sent to about 1,500 email addresses the library had on file. Those responses matched the random sample, but were not figured into the results. The answers to the open-ended questions included in the online survey were provided to the library. People did cite a few areas of improvement. Given the aging population, more large print books are needed. Also, people wanted better guidance on what the library offers, whether books or programs. Arts and craft programs would be nice. And the library needs “freshening up,” particularly the carpet on the stairs. “I might have written that myself,” said Library Director Michael Penrod. He said he’s also ready gotten some carpet samples, and is consulting with a decorator. He said he still thinks of the facility as the “new library,” but it has been 15 years since the expanded and renovated library opened, and is showing its age. Customer services was singled out both for accolades and a few complaints, but was overall a strong point. “What came out is that the people are being served by people who really care,” Trustee…


Library seeks nominations of exceptional staff members

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Are there staff members at the Wood County District Public Library who always go the extra mile for you and your family when you visit the library? Say “Thank You” to library staff by nominating them for the John M. Gibson Award, a tradition which was begun by the library’s Board of Trustees in 2005 to recognize excellence in customer service. Since then it has been presented annually by the Trustees, who select the recipient from nominations submitted by both library users and staff members themselves. Any WCDPL employee (except the library director and assistant director) may be nominated for the Gibson award, which was named after the late John M. Gibson in honor of his contributions to the library and his integral role in the library’s 2003 renovation. All nominees will be recognized by the Library Board of Trustees and the Gibson Award will be August 17. Since being established in 2005, the Gibson Award has been presented to 14 library employees: Mandy Hackley (2005), Mary Boone (2006), AJ Heilman and Donna Mertz (2007), Debra Born (2008), Kristin Wetzel (2009), Linda Conrad (2010), Maria Simon (2011), Nancy Weiland (2012), Katherine Lawn (2013), Anne Render (2014), Matt Mehling (2015), Victoria Forgette (2016), and Tara Bahnsen (2017). Easy to use nomination forms will be available at the main library in Bowling Green, on the Bookmobile, and at the branch library in Walbridge starting Monday, May 21. Nominations may also be submitted directly from the library’s website, wcdpl.org. Deadline for all nominations is noon, Monday, July 2, 2018. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to have your favorite WCDPL staff member recognized and honored. For additional information about the John M. Gibson Award, contact WCDPL at 419-352-5104.


Library hikes fees to use atrium

The Wood County District Public Library  trustees voted Monday  to increase the fee for using the atrium. The board approved raising the rate from $50 to a base charge of $100 with additional fees depending on services needed. According Michael Penrod the main issue was that after reducing the meeting room rental rates in 2016, the atrium was still cheaper for use by individuals ($50 versus $75).  “But in the meeting room, we do not do set-up and staff time is minimal (we just clean),” he stated in  an  e-mail  after  the  meeting.  “But for atrium use, in addition to cleaning up after an event, the staff has to set-aside the space for much longer periods of time, handle all set-up of tables/chairs/etc, at times is asked to be present to run the complicated sound system for spoken-word events. “My staff is running at full-speed now, so I think the rental fee should be high enough to reflect the additional work – while still being at a reasonable rate overall.” The new fees are: *    Payment of a $100.00 base fee is required at the time of making the reservation. Set up of up to 90 chairs, refreshment & presentation tables, a podium, & a microphone (if needed) are included. *     The piano is professionally-tuned on a quarterly basis.  If you require an additional tuning, there is an additional $100 fee.  Only our own tuning professional may be engaged. *     If you need a staff member to be present to run the in-house sound system, there is a $75 additional fee.  This must be paid when making the reservation and is dependent on the availability of appropriate staff.  Otherwise, you may bring in your own sound system. *    Groups will handle all of their own technology needs including providing the computer, projector, etc.  A small screen and AV cart are available from the library at no cost. *     Before/after-hours access – $250 additional fee.  


Sometimes patrons’ requests tax librarians’ desire to serve

By DAVID  DUPONT BG Independent News Librarians love to say “yes.” Service is the name of the game. But they have their limits. Michael Penrod, Wood County District Public Library director, shared some of those limits with the Board of Trustees Monday. He said he wanted to start giving the trustees some insight into the professional lives of librarians. And tax season, when folks flock to the library for forms and information, is an apt time to talk about limits. The Internal Revenue Service has been supplying fewer and fewer paper forms to libraries as it pushes taxpayers to file online. Some folks are resisting, Penrod said. A librarian can show a patron where the form they ask for is, or where to find I online and even help them print out the form from the IRS website. They cannot, however, tell the taxpayer whether that really is the form they need, or whether they are filling it out properly. For that, Penrod said, they need to consult a tax professional. That’s what he does. The library staff can direct patrons to non-profit services that can give help them do their taxes. It’s not only taxes. Michele Raine, the assistant library director, says the advent of DYI divorces can be a strain on library staff. The library again can point the way to where a patron can find legal information, but not tell them what information they should be searching for. They can show them how to use Ohio Revised Code, but can’t advise them what section applies to whatever problem they have. “People are looking for reassurance we can’t give them,” Raine said. “That’s the bottomline.” Penrod said a woman came in who had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He brought her reliable sources and lent an ear. But could not give medical advice. Raine said that the staff who are notaries public recently went through a training during which they were cautioned that because of librarians’ reputation for helpfulness that they may be targeted to sign questionable papers. They were warned to be vigilant. Penrod said he once was helping a man copy pages from an out-of-print reference book until he realized the man’s intent was to copy the entire book, have it bound, and then sell it. The staff in the Children’s Place love to have young patrons come in looking for books or taking part…


Library budget reflects need to address wear and tear

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Wood County District Public Library trustees Monday approved a permanent budget for operations. The $3,079,738 budget is 8.7 percent less than what was spent in 2017, but that budget reflected costs for adding onto and renovating the Walbridge branch library. Library Director Michael Penrod said he tends to include a bit more money in some lines, so he doesn’t have keep coming back to the trustees to make transfers from one budget line to another. The largest chunk of the library’s expenditures is for personnel-related costs at 52.41 percent. He said he can’t really predict what will happen in personnel for the year. He did note that the library saved money by changing one vacant full-time position to two 20-hour-a-week positions. This will enable the library to better cover its seven-day a week schedule, he said. Also, it saves on health insurance. Much of the discussion focused on the $200,000 budgeted for property maintenance. The library’s own new addition and renovation will turn 15 this year. “This building will be old enough to get its learner’s permit,” Penrod said. And, as noted by Brian Paskvan, president of the board, the building gets used by the public. “That’s what we want.” But that also means wear and tear. The library has had persistent leaks in the roof, with buckets strategically placed to catch the water above the ceiling tiles. That will be addressed… again. Also, the library’s windows need to be cleaned this year. That takes a power lift. While the lift is on site, Penrod said, it can be used to check other exterior features. The lights in the atrium will be replaced. The bulb type in the fixture are no longer manufactured, so they will be replaced with LED lights. That will save money in the long run, Penrod said. He said that custodian JJ Hofner has been replacing incandescent bulbs with LED throughout the building. The initial cost is higher but it will result in future savings because they last longer and use less electricity. The library grounds also need another application of mulch in its various gardens, and its parking lot near the Carter House needs paving. Penrod also noted that this budget includes a separate line item for ebooks, $120,000, which distinct from the purchase other electronic materials. Ebooks are an increasing share of what people borrow from the…


Humorous & soulful sounds on tap as BGSU pianists take center stage at library atrium

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Laughter is not the usual response to music performed at a piano recital, but that’s the reaction Varis Vatcharanukul has gotten when he’s performed “The Body of Your Dreams.” The composition by Dutch contemporary composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis, known as JacobTV, will close the piano concert in the atrium of the Wood County Public Library Monday March 19 at 7 p.m. The rest of the program will features classics by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, and Chopin. Vatcharanukul said he wanted to tackle some contemporary music and his teacher Thomas Rosenkranz suggested “The Body of Your Dreams” for piano and boom box. JacobTV is an apt stage name for someone who uses fragments of TV dialogue to build his compositions around. In the case of “Body” he has sampled an advertisement for a body conditioning device. He shaped music lines inspired by the rhythms of the hyperbolic sales pitch. The pianist performs these in counterpoint to cut-and-pasted shards of male and female voices. The result is music easy to understand even for listeners new to contemporary music. “It’s not like that kind of new music,” Vatcharanukul said. It’s tonal and not particularly dissonant, with rhythms that evoke jazz rock. “That can catch audience,” he said. “Body” is also highly rhythmic, and it grows in intensity as the sales pitch continues. The piece is not simple though. Vatcharanukul said he’s not able to pay too much attention to the audience’s reaction because he has to concentrate, listening both what he’s playing and making sure it locks in with the voices on the tape. Vatcharanukul, who comes from Bangkok, Thailand, is in his last semester as an undergraduate piano performance major. He came to study with Rosenkranz. Over his five years at Bowling Green State University, he has played numerous times in the library’s atrium. He likes the mix of listeners. Some are knowledgeable about music, others aren’t. “It’s really nice I can do something for those people,” he said. Rosenkranz, who organizes the library recitals, said the students enjoy playing for their peers, in a less stressful situation. A pianist can feel isolated spending so many hours a day in the practice room. This gives them a chance to get out and share the music they have worked so long on. “They see it as a chance to grow,” Rosenkranz said. Ioanna Nikou came from Greece…


Gordon Korman, Youth Community Reads author, to visit BG & area schools

From WOOD COUNTY LIBRARY Families, meet Wood County District Public Library’s 2018 Youth Community Reads author, Gordon Korman. Gordon Korman is the best-selling author of over 90 Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, including Slacker, Restart, Ungifted, and the Swindle series. He is also a contributing author to the popular multi-author series 39 Clues. For more information and a complete list of his titles, please visit his website, gordonkorman.com. He was first published as a 7th grader with a novel he wrote during English Class. Mr. Korman is a much sought-after speaker who spends much of his time traveling to libraries and schools around the country. WCDPL is bringing Mr. Korman to Wood County March 21st and 22nd. His visit is funded through a gift from the estate of Majorie Conrad, and with support of the Bowling Green Community Foundation. Mr. Korman will speak at the Wood County District Public Library on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m., and at the Walbridge Library on Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. During the day on Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Korman will visit Bowling Green, Lake, and Northwood Schools. During his visit to Wood County District Public Library, Mr. Korman will speak, answer questions, and be available to sign books. Two paperback titles will be for sale by the Friends of Library. Several additional copies of his soon-to-be released novel #WhatsHisFace will be raffled off and available for autographing as well. The audience is encouraged to bring any personal copies of Mr. Korman’s books for signing as well. For more information, contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253.


Vintage Valentines celebrate the sweet & sour sides of the holiday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most of the origin stories about Valentine’s Day are not true. There really is no link to any one of the five Valentines who share Feb. 14 as their saint days. And the connection to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia seems tenuous at best. That celebration involved sacrificing dogs and goats, and whipping young women and crops with whips made of the goat’ hides to ensure fertility in the coming year. The more modern belief that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday,” cooked up by the card company to boost sales is also not true – people were exchanging Valentine’s Day greetings for more than a century before the company was founded in 1910. “Most of what we know is probably wrong,” said Steve Ammidown, manuscripts and outreach archivist for the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University. Ammidown visited the Wood County District Public Library to share a selection of vintage Valentine’s Day cards. The first reference to St. Valentine’s Day being associated with lovers comes in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century poem “Parlement of Foules (The Parliament of Fowls).” By the 16th century the tradition of exchanging romantic notes on Valentine’s Day took hold, especially in England and Germany. Exchanging cards began early in the Victorian Era. True to the times, Ammidown said, “complicated and fragile” was the way to go. It was a female entrepreneur, Esther Howland, who founded the first Valentine card manufacturer in America in the 1840s. The Worcester, Massachusetts, businesswoman had a staff to create her line of cards, which “were very ornate, very overwrought.” Ammidown showed a Howland card from the archive’s collection with its intricate patterns and fine, lace-like cut paper. It was meant to display, and its excellent condition indicates it was treasured. The Valentine card business proved attractive enough that competitors sprang up. The most prominent, George Whitney, eventually purchased Howland’s business. “He became the biggest name in Valentine’s cards,” Ammidown said. The business flourished at the turn of the 20th century as the post office became more reliable and postcards became more popular, the archivist said. Though they may have flowery, sentimental sayings on them, sometimes what was written on the back was more pedestrian. The inscription on the front of one declared: “My heart’s a posy blooming for you.” On the back is written: “Your boss said you have to…