Library sets holiday hours; Ukulele Club meets, Dec. 18

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY WCDPL (Bowling Green and Walbridge libraries and the Bookmobile) will be closed in observance of Christmas from Friday, December 23 through Monday December 26. Regular hours resume on Tuesday, December 27. The library will also be closed system-wide to observe the New Year’s holiday on Sunday, January 1 and Monday, January 2, 2017. Regular hours resume Tuesday, January 3. Enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Sunday, December 18 at 3 pm: Calling all ukulele enthusiasts looking for a friendly and helpful group to play ukulele with. Look no further–to participate in our Ukulele Club’s jam session, all you need is a ukulele and sense of adventure. Song books and music provided at the jam. RSVP appreciated (419-352-5050), but not required. 1st Floor Meeting Room. For more information, contact WCDPL at 419-352-5104.

“Living With Earl” finds its voice in reading by author & new audio edition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Some people were surprised when Tom Lambert wrote a book. Some people even took umbrage at what they saw his literary pretensions. After all, didn’t he flunk English? And Lambert, a cabinet maker by trade, admits he didn’t spend much time in the library either, though he did tend bar at Howard’s Club H when it was located where the Wood County Library now sits. Yet talking to Lambert, it’s clear the man loves a story, and he put the effort into writing some of them down. The result was the book “Living With Earl” which he self-published a year ago. It’s available at Grounds for Thought and Finders downtown as well as online from Amazon or at his website The book recounts Lambert’s interactions with a mysterious visitor, Earl, who claims to be Mark Twain. Though he’s a spectral presence, he still has mortal needs like food, coffee and getting his laundry done. Lambert will revisit the site of his old haunts, when he reads from “Living With Earl” Saturday, Dec. 10, at 1 p.m. in the atrium of the Wood County Library. The reading comes in conjunction with the completion of an audio version of the book, which will be available on Amazon.  Professional actor Brian Schell, who Lambert said has a voice similar to Motel 6 pitchman Tom Bodett’s, gives voice to Lambert’s adventures with his quirky visitor. Lambert, 70, said the book grew out of daily Facebook posts in which he attributed sundry witticisms to Earl, a name he pulled out of thin air. “On this date, according to Earl, the first Dalmatian was spotted” was a typical one.  Lambert would put the posts together in the 40 minutes he had in the morning before heading off to work. The posts garnered the stray like or two.  Disappointed by the seeming lack of reaction, Lambert announced, that he would cease posting the Earl jokes. He was flooded with protests, and the suggestion he pull some of these stories together into a book. Along the way Earl had decided he was Mark Twain. The book is a series of vignettes that have Lambert and the strong-willed Earl, talking, disputing, eating, shooting pool, visiting various area locales. Some of the stories about Lambert are true, others about Earl are made up, and much of the material lies in the netherworld between…

Mr. Lemoncello author has soft spot for Bowling Green & its library

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Simon first reaction when she found her name in “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics” was to call out to her husband. The next was to order a cake. Cake after all is the celebratory food of choice at Mr. Lemoncello’s amazing library. “I just about jumped off my chair,” said Simon, children’s librarian at the Wood County Public Library. The author, Chris Grabenstein, didn’t only name the reference librarian at the fictional Alexandriaville Public Library after Simon, he buried another reference to Bowling Green in the book. The GPS coordinates for Blue Jay Extended Stay Motel where the book’s young heroes find a vital clue are those of the Wood County District Public Library. That makes it a stop for those who do geocaching. A few people have already visited the library because of that. Simon said she didn’t realize that connection until after she contacted the author to thank him for using her name. “He enjoys making his books interactive.” Grabenstein has been known to drop references to places he’s been and people he’s met, as well as other books.  One of the challenges the heroes of the book face is a contest to see who can eat pizza and read at the same time, and then pass a comprehension test. The winning team read Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Shlemiel Went to Warsaw and Other Stories.” Another character’s favorite book is “Bud, Not Buddy” by Michigan writer Christopher Paul Curtis. The villains in the Mr. Lemoncello books are those who have precious, overly protective attitude toward libraries and books; the heroes are those who want to share their love of reading widely. Grabenstein is no stranger to Bowling Green. Last year on his way to Michigan on a family visit, he visited to promote his book “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.” He gave a presentation at the middle school, where his skills as a standup comedian were on full display, Simon said. He loved the town, Simon said, asking if it was used in any movies. “When I saw the town, it looked just like I imagined my fictional Ohio town of Alexandriaville might look,” the author wrote in a recent email. “So I now use photos of BG for reference when I am writing Mr. Lemoncello stories.” “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics” is a sequel to “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.” Simon, he added, has been…

Schurk wraps up BGSU career as librarian of “the cool stuff”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Talking to Bill Schurk is a trip down memory lane, and that lane leads through the byways of Cleveland, especially its libraries and thrift shops, as well as through byways of American popular music. Schurk is set to retire at the end of the year after almost 50 years of service as a librarian and archivist at Bowling Green State University’s storied sound recordings archive and popular culture library. He arrived just as BGSU turned its attention toward popular culture – “the cool stuff,” as he said they called it then. His job interview, he said, revolved more around jazz recordings than any library pursuits. Of course, he was already a known quantity having worked in the library as an undergraduate. And while Schurk career path wasn’t straight, it seems in retrospect to have been pre-ordained, bringing together his love of librarianship and his passion for collecting the arcana of popular culture. If you need information on an obscure popular song, he can find it for you, and then tell you all about the B-side. That all stems back to his childhood. He remembers collecting stuff as far back as age 5. There were magazines, bottle caps, stamps, even cigarette packs. His family had an old wind up record player, and he controlled that. He knew all the gift shops and thrift stores, where he could get the best buys. “I know how to acquire things,” he said. His parents, he said, were supportive, allowing him ample space in the house to store his treasures. Schurk’s first library job was at the Cleveland Public Library when he was in junior high school. Since then he always found himself working in some sort of library. Those ranged from a variety of positions in the Cleveland Public Library, including in the library for the blind. But it also involved working in the tool crib of a General Motors plant during his ill-fated stint as an engineering student. That, too, he said was a kind of library. And later back working in a Cadillac plant in Cleveland, he managed the room that stored the blueprints, yet another kind of library. It was while working at the Cadillac plant that he decided to go back to college. The Vietnam War Era draft was starting to breathe down his neck, and he saw even engineers getting call up. So…

Readers click on links to get news & they’re shocked to find…

By AMY FRY   In the last several weeks I have heard more and more often about how people are living in “information bubbles.” As a librarian, this concerns me. One of my chief missions is to make high-quality information sources available so students can engage in critical thought bolstered by the best information. I’m not casting blame: I’ll admit that a few months ago I was getting most of my news through my Facebook feed. But I just got tired of it, so I paid for a subscription to a national newspaper and got more deliberate about reading the weekly magazine I’ve been subscribing to for the last 25 years. I was struck by the time and effort it takes to stay informed. I think it’s funny how in an age when such an overwhelming amount of information is available we need to make more of a concerted effort to seek out and engage with it, because it’s so easy to only see what shows up in our social media feeds. “Facebook is hosting a huge portion of the political conversation in America,” according to an August article in the New York Times Magazine. 61% of respondents to a 2014 survey of 18-33 year olds said they get news about politics from Facebook. My guess is that number would be higher now. And a lot of what we see there is not quality, fact-based journalism but opinion, conjecture, and outright garbage, making it like the carnival claw game in some ways – fishing around the limited options (much of which is junk), you win whatever’s accessible at the moment, if you win at all. Like most people, I immerse myself in information from a wide variety of sources of with a wide range of credibility and authority. Some of my choices are clearly based on how easy they are to get to (Wikipedia) and how entertaining I find them (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver). Others are based on my desire for depth, nuance and realism (books and newspapers). There’s nothing wrong with this approach to getting information – what becomes key is how you a) supplement the most accessible and entertaining information, b) evaluate how each source balances bias and authority, and c) sort opinion from fact. Even legitimate and very factual news sources are filled with instances of opinion: cable news has pundits and commentators, and newspapers have editorials and letters. So you must always be an active…

Library director & others get pay hikes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Wood County Library board handed out praise and pay raises at its meeting earlier this week. Both Library Director Michael Penrod and Fiscal Officer Linda Joseph received 3-percent increases as part of an overall $32,814 merit package for staff salaries. The raise brings Penrod’s salary to $83,338.58. Joseph’s raise brings her hourly rate to $27.51. Joseph works 22.5 hours over three days a week. Trustee Jane Robb said of Joseph, “I don’t know how you pack a full-time job into 22 hours.” Board President Brian Paskvan said her work was so good, “I actually look forward to the auditor’s call.” Trustee Nancy Buchanan told Joseph: “If you need more time, take it.” Trustees also had high praise for Penrod. “You’re always ahead of the game,” Robb said. “We know you’re not paid what you deserve,” Paskvan said. “But we look forward to rectifying that at some point in time.” In approving the merit pool, Paskvan expressed similar sentiments. “We’re still making up for those very difficult times. We’re very careful. We want to give you something to work with to compensate people appropriately.” “They are a great staff,” Penrod said. “I can honestly say of the 40 people we have here, I would rehire all of them.” In another financial matter the board approved the health insurance plan for the coming year. The plan through Paramount will cost the library 8.81 percent more this year. Employees cost will rise to $45 a pay period from $41. This covers almost 22 percent of the $5,380 annual premium. Ben Otley, of First Insurance, explained what the library’s options were. The library has, under current law, one more year in a transitional plan before it has to offer insurance in full compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Such a plan, Otley said, would cost 49 percent more. But, he said, some changes in the ACA are expected and there’s a likelihood the library could at least get another transitional year. “But don’t hold me to that,” he said. For the future the library could consider joining other entities in seeking insurance in an effort to keep costs down.    

Holiday news from Wood County Public Library

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Thanksgiving Hours WCDPL (Bowling Green and Walbridge libraries and the Bookmobile) closes at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23 and remains closed Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26 in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Regular hours resume in Bowling Green on Saturday Nov. 26, and the Bookmobile resumes operation Monday, Nov. 28.   Food for Fines WCDPL in Bowling Green and Walbridge and the WCDPL Bookmobile will accept Food for Fines starting Saturday, November 26 through Thursday, December 15. Your donations of non-perishable foods will benefit local food pantries. This offer applies to overdue fines only. Walbridge Library Temporary Home Upon closing at 5 p.m. on Nov. 23, the Walbridge Library will remain closed while it moves into its temporary location, the Walbridge Village Hall, 705 N. Main St., Walbridge, for the completion of the building expansion project’s final stages. Walbridge Library will reopen in the Village Hall on Monday, December 5. The construction on the Walbridge Library building at 108 N. Main St. is expected to be completed by mid-February, 2017.   For more information, contact WCDPL at 419-352-5104.

Library posts photos of BG’s Tomato Festival

Submitted by the WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY With the Bowling Green Holiday parade just a month off, take time to look back at parades from an earlier time. In August of 1938 and 1939, Bowling Green hosted a first and second Tomato Festival. The Wood County District Public Library has just posted 64 photos from the Jim and Joan Gordon Collection of the two festivals at: Photos feature marching units, floats from local businesses and the contestants for the crown of Tomato Queen.  

Library board strategizes about strategic plan

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Wood County Library Board is starting to consider revamping its strategic plan in hopes that it helps get a levy passed in November, 2020. The plan would set the library’s course through 2019. Three years ago when the library refreshed its plan, it used minimal outside help. A consultant helped do a community assessment. But at this week’s meeting, board members and Library Director Michael Penrod discussed whether they may want to do a more far-reaching process this time. “Now may be the time,” said board member Chet Marcin, “so we can build toward the levy. If we wait until the year of the levy, you don’t have time to implement it.” Becky Bhaer, board vice president, said she often questioned the use of consultants and wondered if the board could handle the job itself. Some of the data collection can be done in house, Penrod said. After all, they are librarians. Still doing a community survey requires skill in what questions to ask and how to pose them. “I don’t ever want to our strategic plan lightly,” said Board Chair Brian Paskvan, “We are doing well, and we want that to continue.” Much change is afoot in the library world, he added. “We need to look at that to make sure we’re moving forward.” Penrod said he’d do further research into who may be available to hire and at what costs. The board also approved a new dental plan for its employees. The cost of the plan is going up 3 percent to $11,734, of which the library will pay $7,292, or $213 more than last year. The library pays 80 percent of the premium for 17 employees. It does not subsidize the premiums for family members. Also, adult services librarian Michele Raine reported that photographs of events surrounding Bowling Green’s 150th and 175th anniversaries are now available on The photos were donated by Jim and Joan Gordon, and most were taken by Jim Gordon. Raine said to make them more accessible, staff is in the process converting them so they can be posted in an album on the library’s Facebook page.  

Interview with “Beautiful Question” author at public library

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The library’s popular “Job Coach,” HR expert Frank Day, will be available Wednesday, Oct. 19 starting at 9:30 a.m. to provide advice on polishing your resume, exploring online job sites, or filling out an online application. Please call ahead, 419-352-5050, to make an appointment for your half-hour session with Day. Library users are invited to rediscover the relaxing pastime of coloring on Monday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in the second Floor Meeting Room. The library provides supplies, but participants may bring their own if they wish. A “Tablet and Smartphone Class,” presented in partnership with the Wood County Committee on Aging and the BGSU School of Media and Communications, will be held Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 6:15 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room. The class is structured to suit your needs and to help you to get the most from your phone or mobile device. Registration is required. For details and to register call the Senior Center at 419-353-5661. Join us for an intimate “Coffee at the Carter House” on Wednesday Oct. 26 at 9:30 am. Special guest will be Warren Berger, author of the BGSU Common Read selection, “A More Beautiful Question.” Hosted by Community Reads in partnership with the BGSU Common Read, the event includes an interview with Berger by Clif Boutelle, with a book signing to follow. Library users are encouraged to take a moment to help WCDPL’s Board of Trustees thank library staff by submitting nominations for the John M. Gibson Outstanding Performance Award. The award, which recognizes library staff who have “gone the extra mile,” has been presented annually since 2005. Details and nomination forms may be seen online at WCDPL’s full programming calendar, including scheduling and current selections of its popular book discussion groups, may be seen on line at These events are free and open to all. For more details about these and other programs for adults at WCDPL, call the library at 419-352-5050.

Library council launches campaign to support state funding

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Wood County Library is joining libraries around the state to rally their supporters to let legislators know how important libraries are to them and to the state. Library Director Michael Penrod told the library board about the Ohio Library Council’s Protect Public Library Funding advocacy campaign. Penrod said the idea is to let legislators know how important libraries are as the state budget starts to take shape this fall. The governor doesn’t propose the biennium budget until early in the year, but much of the work goes on behind the scenes in fall, said Penrod. The information presented by Penrod shows the general decline in funding from 2008 when it was set at 2.22 percent of the state’s general fund budget until it was 1.66 percent in 2015. The legislature did raise it to 1.7 percent in 2016, but unless action is taken that will drop back to 1.66 percent. Libraries aren’t advocating for a specific amount of funding, he said. Just no cuts. “It’s very much a positive campaign, people to contact our representative and senator and tell them why you love the library,” Penrod said. The library council provided statiics on the economic impact of public libraries. For every $1 spent on public libraries it generates $5.48 in economic value. Libraries, according to the handout, provide $2.7 billion in direct economic benefit to residents.  With more than 8.7 million Ohioans with library card holders, Ohio has the highest per capita use of public libraries in the nation. Libraries have only two funding streams, state money and a local levy. Penrod also reported on local efforts to help the ibrary. The Library Foundation raised more than $94,000 at its annual fundraiser at Schedel Gardens. Also, the Friends of the Library’s book sale earlier this month raised $4,600, the most ever. Penrod reported that since the library started using a collection agency about eight years ago to go after those who have not returned materials borrowed from the library, it has retrieved materials worth $121,000 and collected $119,000 in reimbursement for materials not returned. This is not a source of revenue, Penrod noted, because it simply replaces materials the library already possessed. Meeting in Walbridge, the board also received an update on the expansion project there. “Everything seems to be going well,” he said. He said he expects the library will have to…

Students win big in Constitution ‘Jeopardy’ game

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s not every day that kids get to shout in a library, or that a state legislator gets to pretend to be Alex Trebek. Just on U.S. Constitution Day, or in this case, the closest school day to the anniversary of Sept. 17, 1787, when the document was signed in Philadelphia. The Constitution Jeopardy contestants were excited, but well behaved fifth graders from Conneaut Elementary School. The game show host was State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, whose previous position as a history teacher helped prepare him for Friday’s role. The setting was the Wood County District Public Library, in the same room that will be used in less than two months for local adults to elect their public servants. “This room makes me nervous, because this is where I get hired or fired,” Gardner said to the students. He asked the children if they could name his boss. The names started flying. The president? No. The vice president? No. The governor? “Some people think so, but he knows he’s not. I’ve told him that before,” Gardner said. After several other wrong answers, Gardner revealed the answer. “You are my boss. I’m required to listen to you.” The fifth graders may not have been prepared for that question, but once the Constitution Jeopardy game began, they could not be stumped. The categories consisted of topics like the founding fathers, checks and balances, branches of the government, the creating the Constitution. The students had no trouble naming the law-making branch of government; the third president, who was not at the signing of the Constitution; and the location of the Constitutional Conference. A history teacher at heart, Gardner could not resist throwing out a few of his own questions, asking the number of congressional and senate members. The answers may not have always been exactly what he had in mind. When asked about other items associated with Philadelphia, children named cheese steak and Hershey chocolate. As the Jeopardy game heated up, without the aid of dueling buzzers, the teams shifted to raising hands rather than shouting out answers. Arms shot up for those knowing the power of a veto vote, and the First Amendment as defender of freedom of speech and religion. The clue for Alexander Hamilton was aided with mention of the popular Broadway musical. Some questions were pretty easy for the fifth…

Library offers programs on books, technology, cooking & more

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY September winds up at Wood County District Public Library (251 N. Main St., Bowling Green) with book discussion groups (including a live conversation via Skype with author Sam Quinones), an opportunity for adults to treat themselves to an evening of coloring with friends, a class on getting the most from your tablet and smartphone, and a Skype presentation from the Federal Trade Commission on safe online practices and behaviors. Staff from the Federal Trade Commission share free resources and answer parents’ questions about online safety for kids during a live Skype presentation, “Living Life Online” on Monday, Sept. 19 at 7 pm in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room. Coffee Talk with Kristin Wetzel meets Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room to discuss “Fall of the Marigolds” by Susan Meissner. The library’s popular “Job Coach,” HR expert Frank Day, will be available Wednesday, Sept. 21 starting at 9:30 am to provide advice on polishing your resume, exploring online job sites, or filling out an online application. Please call ahead, 419-352-5050, to make an appointment for your half-hour session with Mr. Day. On Monday, Sept. 26 at 7:00 pm adults are invited to join us for “Coloring: It’s Not Just for Kids” in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room. Rediscover the relaxing and creative pastime of coloring. The first in a series of “Tablet and Smartphone Classes,” presented in partnership with the Wood County Committee on Aging and the BGSU School of Media and Communications, will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 6:15 pm in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room. These classes are structured to suit your needs and to help you to get the most from your phone or mobile device. Registration is required. For details and to register call the Senior Center at 419-353-5661. The Page to Table cookbook group, led by Kristin Wetzel, explores Asian cuisine on Tuesday, September 20 in the Carter House (307 N. Church Street, directly behind WCDPL). Participants bring a prepared dish to share, and copy of its recipe (noting any changes made), and a serving utensil. A display of suggested cookbooks for finding recipes is located across from the first floor Check-out Desk. Just the Facts with Anne Render discusses the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” on Tuesday, Sept. 27…

Library closed for Labor Day; on the air Sept. 9

From WOOD COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY In observance of Labor Day, Wood County District Public Library (251 N. Main St., Bowling Green) and will be closed Sunday, September 4 and Monday, September 5. The Walbridge Branch Library (108 N. Main St., Walbridge) will be closed and the Bookmobile will be off the road, Monday, September 5. Regular hours resume on Tuesday, September 6. Join radio host Clint Corpe and library staff on Friday, September 9 for a live remote broadcast from the library of the Morning Show (WBGU 88.1 FM, 6 am – 9 an). Hear the latest news of what’s going on at the library, including updates on the Walbridge Library renovation project, get ideas for your next great read, and get the inside scoop on fall activities in the works at WCDPL. The first two weeks in September offer a wide range of books and book groups for readers to choose from. First up, on Wednesday, September 7, the Read for Inspiration group, led by Deb Born, meets at 10:30 am in 2nd Floor Reading Lounge to discuss Lynn Austin’s Until We Reach Home. The Monday Mysteries group discusses Terry Pratchett’s Thud!, a mystery/fantasy set in the author’s popular Discworld. Mary Boone and Doris Ann Norris lead the discussion, which starts at 7 pm in the Carter House (307 N. Church St.). On Tuesday, September 13 the Diversity in America book group, led by Jim Litwin, meets at 6:30 pm in the 1st Floor Meeting Room to discuss Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates, for whom “history has always been personal,” offers readers a “new framework for understanding race: its history, our contemporary dilemma, and where we go from here.” Events are free and open to all. For more details about these and other programs for adults at WCDPL, call the library at 419-352-5050.

Wood County Library receives gift from Endres estate

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The estate of a retired Bowling Green State university professor of chemistry has made a large donation to the Wood County District Public Library. Library Director Michael Penrod said he was surprised when he was presented with the check for $227,395.42 from the estate of Paul Endres, who died in 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife, Maureen, in 2013. Endres taught at BGSU from 1969 to 2011. The use of the gift is unrestricted, Penrod said, and will go to the library’s foundation. “Every single gift is so precious,” he said. A current member of the BGSU chemistry department Neocles Leontis has also made a gift to the library. After Penrod spoke to the Kiwanis, Leontis asked about technology the library could use. Penrod mentioned the Sphero2, a small spherical robotic device that teaches programing. Leontis purchased one for the library’s Children’s Space. This is one of the new technological devices new to the library. The board met in new meeting room on the second floor. That room is equipped with an 80-inch high definition screen that can be used by visitors. Michelle Raine, assistant director of adult services, said the screen can be synchronized to project what’s on the screen of a tablet or laptop. The library has also recently purchased, for about $2,700 each, two Sprout  HP work stations. The work stations include a desktop computer, scanner camera, projector and 3D printing capabilities. “I can’t wait for the community to come in and start playing with it, so we can see what we can do,” Raine said. Users are encouraged to view the instructional videos on YouTube. Gone are the days when the librarians were the experts, Penrod said. Now they learn along with the public. One Sprout HP work station is in the second floor area with public computers, and another is in the Children’s Space. A third will be installed at the Walbridge branch when the expansion there is completed. Trustee Jane Robb said she’s been asked about whether the Carter House, which sits behind the library on North Church Street, is a drain on the library’s finances. Penrod said the rentals more than cover the cost of utilities and the extra $150 annually the library pays insurance. The Library Foundation pays for maintenance projects. Linda Joseph, the library’s finance officer, said the Carter House is also…