Air Force One

 

Air Force One

(Image by Repubblica.It)

The President and Vice President (and sometimes their families) need a way to travel safely; enter special aircraft. The majority of Americans are familiar with Air Force One. Some don’t realize that there are actually two identical presidential planes. Air Force One is the plane used by the President and Air Force Two is the air traffic call sign to indicate the plane flying the Vice President. There are also special helicopters which may transport the President, Vice President, First Lady, or various members of the presidential family.

To transport such dignitaries, there must be highly coordinated efforts to get to and from the special aircraft safely and with efficiency. The President and the Vice President need to be ready to fly at a moment’s notice. Air Force One is a military version Boeing 747 aircraft known in military terms as a VC-25.  It is kept at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland under heavy guard and features four engines and weighs in at 85 tons.

If the President plans to fly and invites the press, the press must arrive one hour prior to the scheduled departure time to allow them time to get through security checks conducted by the Secret Service. Press members and all pieces of their equipment are checked over by the Secret Service and sentry dogs.

Preparations for the President’s arrival begin long before this. Air Force One is prepared in the presidential hangar long before the President even announces his intent to fly to some destination. These preparations include making sure that the plane is in top operating condition as well as immaculate cleaning and stocking of anticipated items such as clean bed sheets, toiletries, entertainment items, and groceries.

While final preparations are made, the Secret Service will announce a “quiet period” if the President plans to speak to the Press before departure. If the President isn’t going to speak, the Secret Service declares a “ramp freeze.” A ramp freeze halts all aircraft movement on the west side on the Andrew’s runway. Many times both a quiet period and a ramp freeze are ordered simultaneously. Special precautions are taken whether the President arrives at the hangar by motorcade or by helicopter (Marine One). Often decoys are used so that an observer wouldn’t be able to tell exactly where the President is. Snipers are posted at strategic locations to help protect the President.

Flight Crew aboard Air Force One consists of an Aircraft Commander (AC) who is the pilot in command, communication operators, and flight attendants.  Flight Crew will be briefed of the critical details of the plane’s mission and destination. These briefings can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour depending on the situation. Presidential safety and security remains the job of the Secret Service and is handled separately. The Secret Service will inspect the plan for any threats inside and out. The flight crew will board the plane long before the President even arrives which allows final touches to be made and time for the pilot and co-pilot to go through their preflight check list. If the President and his flight companions arrive on time, they will board Air Force One exactly as the preflight list is completed. If the President and his party are delayed, the crew will simply wait and be ready to take off the instant they are on board. If the President will need any special equipment or other items at his destination, a fleet of other planes will have taken off with anything necessary for the President’s arrival well before Air Force One is even in the air. Everything needed for the President will be set up and ready for him upon arrival.

As you can imagine, there is so much to say about a presidential flight and aircraft than I could possibly cover in just one blog post. For this post I relied heavily on information in these books: Air Force One  by Robert F. Dorr

Air Force One Robet Dorr

and Air Force One: The Aircraft That Shaped the Modern Presidency by Von Hardesty.

Air Force One Von Hardesty

Both of the above books are adult picture books loaded with interesting and technical information which I highly recommend if this is a topic that greatly interests you.

I will mention that some of the pages in Robert Dorr’s book are out of order. The author says in in his dedication and acknowledgements page, “Any errors in this book are the fault of the author.” If one can get the hang of the unusual page order, this is quite an informative book.

In addition to the details I’ve shared, both of the above books deal with the actual aviation and presidential travel  history leading up to the use of a Boeing 747 that we call Air Force One.

Other books I checked out were:

Plane Insanity       Falling Upwards

Have you ever given any thought to special preparations needed for Air Force One? Were you aware of the use of Presidential helicopters?

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Addendum: I know that the picture of Air Force One posted several times without the blog attached to it. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused Dewey Hop readers.

Dewey Hop has been off schedule for approximately two months and I also apologize for that. Normally Dewey Hop posts twice a month, so there will be two extra posts of Dewey Hop soon to make up for the month of January. The schedule was interrupted for both professional and personal reasons.

As we all know scheduling anything around the holidays in November and December can be quite challenging. The library also closes if our local schools close due to weather. So being in and out for holidays, training days, inventory, and then out at various times for weather didn’t help the scheduling and work time required to keep up with Dewey Hop. In addition there were some “technical difficulties.”

On a personal note, I myself was actually in and out off and on for several months. My schedule had to be adjusted due to some major upgrades going on in my home. I had to be at my house during these upgrades to make sure my dogs were not a problem to the workers. However, the work has been finished now and I am pleased to report that I now have two newly installed hardwood floors (with one to go), and a majorly upgraded heating system as well as a newly added central air system–the first one my fixer upper house has ever had! This project was massive and involved building runs and adding and deleting vents.

I do apologize for any inconvenience there may have been and I thank those of you who reached out to make sure I was ok. I look forward to many more (and on time!) Dewey Hop posts.

 

 

 

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Lighthouses

Lighthouse at Night

Lighthouses have a unique and interesting history as well as important functions. Their most obvious function is to help guide ships through perilous conditions.

Boston Light

The first lighthouse in the United States was built in 1716 on Little Brewster Island at the entrance to Boston Harbor. The light in the original lighthouse was produced by using candles or lamps that burned whale oil. In that era someone had to keep the candles and lamps lit thus the reason lightkeepers were needed.

Though the 380’s section of the Fulton County Public Library contains many interesting adult picture books about lighthouses, for this post I’ve relied heavily on these books:

lighhouses  The LighthouseLighthouse Families

The very first lightkeeper was George Worthylake. He served for two years before he and two other men drowned when the boat they were in capsized while trying to reach the lighthouse. During the next several years, the original lighthouse continued to have it’s share of challenges.

fog cannon

In 1719 the lighthouse began sharing it’s small island with the first ever fog cannon in the US. After the arrival of the fog cannon, things went pretty smoothly until the early 1750’s when a fire in the lighthouse destroyed all of it’s wooden parts. Though the fire was a setback for the lighthouse, it was repaired and reopened and remained in working order until the American Revolution when the British destroyed it. Though it remained out of commission during the war, the lighthouse was once again repaired and returned to service when the fighting stopped.

Prior to the American Revolution other lighthouses began to dot the seacoast of the US. There was Brant Point in 1746,

Brant_Point_Light,_oblique

Nantucket Island in 1748,

nantucket_lighthouse

Beavertail Lighthouse in 1749,

Beavertail Lighthouse

as well as many other lighthouses that began to appear in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and South Carolina. Eventually lighthouses made it all along the Atlantic Coast, then the Great Lakes region (where the lighthouses are shorter than the coastal lighthouses), and finally the Pacific coast.

Grand Haven Fog House

All lightkeeping families had to contend with very hazardous weather conditions, but the lighthouses in the Great Lakes regions have a very unique winter hazard – ice. The coastal lighthouses don’t tend to get a lot of ice buildup since the saltwater of the sea tends to prevent ice from forming. Lighthouses on the Great Lakes border fresh water bodies and thus do not get the benefit of self dissolving ice. It has been reported at times that the Great Lakes lighthouses could have up to 30 feet of ice surrounding them. The ice has to be chipped away to get to the door. Sometimes lightkeepers have been trapped inside due to ice. At other times they’ve been kept out by the ice.

The Federal Government was established in 1789. In the ninth act of Congress all navigational aids became the responsibility of the Federal Government. Every state was required to turn over their lighthouses and all other navigational aids to the Treasury Dept.

In 1820 lightships began to be used.

Lighship

Unfortunately the lights on these ships made them the targets of rebel ships during the civil war. Many of the lightships were burned, sunk, or hidden.

Up until 1840 the President’s signature was required to appoint lightkeepers. President George Washington was personally involved in establishing the salaries of lightkeepers and in some cases lowering their salaries.

In the beginning all “official” lightkeepers were men. The lightkeepers moved their entire family to where ever the lighthouse was that they were assigned. Often these places were quite remote. There were no nearby stores to get supplies, there were no schools, no other people, no form of entertainment, no churches, etc. The lighthouse families were entirely on their own. If the lightkeeper did his job correctly even passing ships avoided the lighthouse. These families had to learn to live in less than hospitable environments with only each other to depend on. Oftentimes they even had to teach themselves how to run the lighthouse since very few light keepers received training of any sort.

Family members in a lightkeeper family were all expected to help out with the lighthouse in any way possible. These jobs ranged from cleaning and maintenance duties to precision workmanship. Often the wives of the lightkeeper became the “assistant” lightkeeper. If a lightkeeper passed away and left behind a widow, she was offered the lightkeeper position before anyone else and most of the widows accepted the responsibility. This was the standard procedure from 1820-1852. By 1852 the United States had 30 female lightkeepers. Even after a Lighthouse Board began discouraging the hiring of women lightkeepers, many women managed to get jobs as lightkeepers . This was occuring in a time when women were not supposed to hold jobs.

Lighthouse organizations began to appear in Canada, but soon spread to the United States in 1865. These organizations began a sort of mobile library system. They traveled around to various lighthouses quarterly and offered a good assortment of reading materials. Among the types of books the libraries were circulating were novels, biographies, adventure books, religious works, and magazines. Getting as many books as possible helped to entertain and educate lightkeeper families. Lightkeeping families didn’t have a lot of free time, but they did have some and most of them took up hobbies such as gardening (which had the added benefit of being able to feed their families) although this took patience in many areas since whole gardens could be wiped out by the sea during a bad storm. Other hobbies and/or interests of lightkeeping families included fishing, hunting, basket weaving, wood carving, and music.

Today, modern technology has almost completely automated lighthouses requiring minimal human intervention.

Have you ever visited a lighthouse? Do you think you could have lived the monotonous and solitary life of a lightkeeper?

 

 

 

 

 

Railroad Transportation

Chugging along in the 380’s I’ve come to a section about trains and railways. To fully appreciate how far trains have come and where they are headed, we must first look to the past; way in the past.

Some books to help us learn the history of the railways are:

Amtrak TrainEarly Railways

The American Heritage History of Railroads in America

Greeks and Romans had very different ideas about transportation. The Romans built roads all over Europe in an effort to make travel easier. Greeks on the other hand seemed to have been of the opinion that roads were too much work and decided to use a rut system which was carved into rocks. Greek rutways became the forerunner of the modern railways.  Ruts were just wide enough for a cart’s wheels to fit into and the ruts would help to guide a cart along its way. In various places of the Mediterranean area remains of the rutways can be seen. Rutways were actually quite sophisticated with sidings and passing loops. As much as possible the rutways or tracks ran along contours on a level grade.

Despite their level of sophistication, rutways had some definite disadvantages. First the rutways were impossible to build unless rock layed directly beneath the surface ground. This meant that rutways could only be built locally in certain spots. The carts that were used on rutways were not restricted to the rutways and therefore worked just as easily on Roman roads or even off-road. Because there were more disadvantages with ruts, they were virtually abandoned during the Dark Ages.

It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that railways as we know them began to be used.  Miners needed to move heavy loads over rough surfaces without hitting the mine walls. Circa 1530 textbooks in Germany began to show illustrations of mining which portrayed railways of one kind or another. The illustrations showed large wagons with flanged wheels that ran along wooden tracks. This arrangement was very helpful to the miners. Once the materials were out of the mines, then what? It was because miners needed to transport large heavy loads above ground and to various port destinations that railways finally came out of the mines. It wasn’t long until railways were built leading down to navigable waters. By doing this, miners could easily get past rough and often muddy roads. By the early 1600’s there were over 20 separate railways in the Newcastle on Tyne area.

Railcars had wooden wheels that ran along wooden tracks. The wooden wheels wore out quickly.  Circa 1760, cast iron wheels were tried out, but the cast iron wheels chewed up the wooden tracks faster than the wooden wheels. In an effort to solve this problem, first wooden strips where placed over the contact areas of the cast iron wheels. Unfortunately the wooden strips would loosen very quickly. It became apparent that iron rails were needed to work with cast iron wheels.

It is believed that Richard Reynolds made the first successful iron rails. The iron rails reduced repair costs and doubled the payload a horse could deliver. Once railways began to demonstrate their practicality they began to be used more frequently. Originally railways were oval shaped but in 1801 the flanged wheel was reinvented by Benjamin Wyatt. Wyatt’s wheel featured a concave groove and sported a double flange. The new wheels wore out quickly on the oval tracks. Wyatt then tried his wheel with a flat topped rail. Flat topped rails contained the advantage of being able to be used in many places without danger of derailments. Once flat rails began to be used, there were local areas that used horses to pull railcars.

When steam power was introduced railways were transformed. In 1769 Nicolas Cugnot invented the first self-propelled vehicle. It was a three wheeler and ran briefly on public roads. In 1784 a student named William Murdoch built an experimental steam locomotive. A number of attempts at steam powered road vehicles by several people eventually led Richard Trevithick to be the first person to try his steam locomotive on the railways. Unfortunately Trevithick’s  locomotive made a successful maiden voyage with a loaded train but tore up the rails in the process. However, the practicality of a steam powered train was proven. Trevithick’s ideas were eventually reexamined by other engineers who were able to reduce the weight of the locomotive and make improvements to the wheels and exhaust system. Various upgrades and improvements were made to the the engines and train cars and by the 1820’s some railways had begun hauling freight and a few also hauled passengers on private railways.

Public railways did not yet haul people since the majority of people at that time were afraid of the locomotives. Horses were alarmed by the noises the trains made, sparks from red hot coals leaving the train’s chimney started fires, and thick black clouds caused complaints. As long as the trains ran on private railways there was nothing to prevent their operation. Laws would be needed before trains could run on public rail lines.

Improvements to railways and locomotives continued with most of the activity happening in Britain while other countries watched with interest. John Stevens, an American, was paying very close attention. Stevens built a small experimental engine and proved it could run on a circular track. Stevens engine was more like a toy, but learning to navigate curves would be a major advancement in railways.

In 1829 the Delaware and Hudson Canal Co. became the first company to buy locomotives from England for use in America. They were used on a 16 mile track that ran from the wharf at Honesdale, Pennsylvania to the mines at Carbondale. The first full sized engine to navigate a curve (and a perilous bridge) was the Stourbridge Lion.  Unfortunately the engines were not cost effective and were still tearing up the tracks.

Because certain cities like Baltimore were cut off by hills and had no possibility of building a canal to help transport payloads the only answer was to build railways. Though mining companies had limited objectives others had a wider vision. Charles Carroll was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. He laid the railway’s first foundation stone and accompanied the act with a speech in which he said  he considered laying the foundation stone “the most important act of his life.”

By about the mid 19th century, locomotives had proven their value.  They were being used to transport mail and the populace was beginning to realize that other merchandise could be transported reliably and easily over the rails. At that time, locomotives reached an impressive speed of 10 miles per hour and were more reliable than horses. In the United States public railroads began to be built.  Circa 1870 rail networks were connected and people were being routinely transported as well as freight. By the end of the 19th century locomotives, rails, and safety had all improved dramatically.

By 1914, railroads in America were more technologically advanced and resembled our modern railroads complete with automatic signalling systems pioneered by Westinghouse. This technology was quickly adopted by other countries around the world.

Technology and all railroad related issues continued to improve to our modern day. Two other books I was interested in were:

Heartland Railroads of Indiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Indiana, freight trains are still part of our daily life although some rail routes are beginning to disappear (perhaps a topic for another time). On odd occasions we might spot an Amtrak train, but there aren’t too many passenger trains in our area. While the information in these books is very good, I was particularly impressed with the photographs in Heartland.

As trains continue to improve, they are becoming more futuristic. Below are some trains already in or could be in operation in parts of the world. To my knowledge, these sorts of trains are not in the US:

London's Tube Train

Future Train 1 Hover Train

Have you ever ridden a passenger train? Do you frequently see freight trains in your area?

 

 

 

Communications

Internet Tubes

(Image by Google)

After an incident in which a squirrel disabled his home internet connection,  Andrew Blum wrote Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet.

Tubes

All of us have heard terms like “cyberspace,” “hyperspace,” and “world wide web.” All of these terms (as well as others) suggest that the internet is just “out there” without form or body but as Andrew Blum points out in his book, this isn’t entirely true. After the squirrel incident, Blum was suddenly aware that the internet is “connected” and that “wireless” isn’t an entirely accurate term. Blum was so fascinated by this fact that after he located the wire the squirrel had chewed through he literally followed the wire–and then other wires which eventually led him to “tubes” which housed fiber optics. Some of these fiber optic containing tubes run along the bottom of the ocean so that cities like London and New York can connect to each other as well as connecting many other places. Some fiber optic cables are buried underground. The whole experience is fascinating to read about. The fact that Blum could literally follow wires to see where they led him meant that the internet actually exists in physical space. It doesn’t exist like radio frequencies in the air. For the most part the physicality of the internet is hidden from most of us but it does require physical space. Blum went out of his way to try to find a map of the internet and then followed many routes all over the world.

This was such a fascinating concept to me that I googled, “Where the Internet Lives” which actually took me to a Google data center. Some of the pictures of the internet are beautiful. I hope you will check them out. The internet is several networks connected to each other. Therefore, the internet literally has to exist in at least two physical spaces. Therefore the internet can’t just “live” in one place, such as the Google Data Center. It has many “homes.” This is what Blum is talking about in his book and what that means literally around the world.

The next book I came across as I proceeded with my read through of the 380’s section was about communications of a very different type – Hollywood behind the scenes drama.

Scandals of Classic Hollywood

Anne Helen Petersen not only dishes out plenty of Hollywood gossip, she does so while managing to include historical fact presented as part of our cultural history while discussing the issues in the context of film, political, and even gender history in the “Golden Age” of Hollywood.  This true life drama is the stuff movies are made of: blundered cover ups, illegitimate children, sex, drugs, and love affairs. I don’t want to give away the stories in this book, but if you love to follow the careers of Hollywood celebrities, you would probably enjoy this book.

Have you ever thought about the internet in physical space? Do you read about your favorite celebrities?

 

Postal Communication

Mail Truck Driver

Reading through the 380’s (Commerce, Communications, & Transportation) has brought us to a section called Postal Communications. How much could there possibly be to say about this topic? It turns out there is quite a bit to say! However, that means that this is one of those posts which I wish I could include way more information than I will be able to include in a single post. The postal system goes way beyond just packages and letters. There is so much interesting American history associated with the United States Postal Service that I would never be able to include it all. For that reason, I will try to give a synopsis while encouraging Dewey Hop readers to explore this topic in depth.

The United States Postal Service surpasses all other mail delivery systems in the world and is even twice as efficient as Japan, Germany, and the UK. Postal workers are a vast army of postal workers. As of 2017, the United States Postal Service (USPS) employed 503,000 postal workers. Among those workers 24% of them are veterans and disabled veterans making the USPS one of the largest employers of veterans in the United States.

Though it’s not officially associated with the USPS, the majority of us have heard the phrase “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” This phrase comes from a translation of an ancient Greek work of Herodotus in which he was describing an ancient Persian courier service.  The phrase was made popular in the United States when architect William M. Kendall added it to one of his buildings while working with the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White.  Though this phrase is not the USPS motto, one could gain the impression that it is since it appears to be true.

The USPS is legally required to deliver mail 6 days a week to every household and business in the US. Handling 40% of the world’s mail volume, the USPS delivered 149.5 billion pieces of mail and 5.7 billion packages in 2017. In order to accomplish this massive job, the USPS sometimes has to get creative. There are many different methods in which mail is moved from place to place. The postal service employs various modes of mail transportation. Trucks are used:

mail delivery vehicles

express mail

Planes are used:

USPS Plane

Trains are used both as a means to transport mail and sometimes even as a post office:

Rail Post Office

Boats, ferries, and ships are used:

MailboatTryouts_2011 055-M

Mail Boat 2

The mail boats actually have to have tryouts (top picture) to hire their employees and the competition is fierce. Mailboats also offer tours  and venues for parties and weddings. So popular are these services that one must plan ahead because the calendar of events fills up quickly.

Believe it or not, even mules or donkeys are used:

Mule Mail  Mule Mail 3Mule Mail 2

One place the mules are used is at the Grand Canyon. The mules travel deep into the canyon to deliver mail to an Indian reservation which can’t be reached by other modes of transportation.

Of course some postal workers drive a mail truck to their general delivery area and complete most to their deliveries on foot:

Letter Carrier

I truly wish I had time to get into all of the fascinating aspects of the USPS, but since I don’t, I will highly recommend this book:

Neither Snow Nor Rain

Devin Leonard discuses USPS history, post office business, stamp collectors, and Amazon among many other fascinating topics in this book.

There are people who have made it a goal to visit every post office in the United States. Some of them blog about it. One such person is Evan Kalish who writes Postlandia. Kalish describes interesting details about the actual post office buildings and shares information about his trips. It is quite eye opening.

All of us receive mail 6 days a week whether at work or at home – and most of us take that amazing service for granted. Postal workers are very dedicated and must jump through several hoops to become a postal employee. USPS employees must pass the Postal Worker Exam. To help, Fulton County Public Library offers these study aids:

Postal Exams

Postal Worker Exam

Master the Postal Exams

I have always been an avid fan of the USPS and use it frequently. I still send cards, letters, and  packages. I love being able to brighten someone’s day with an unexpected surprise. Everyone deserves to get something in the mail once in awhile besides bills and junk mail. After reading more of the history of the USPS, I’m an even bigger fan.  The USPS website offers amazing services.  I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t done so lately.

Do you use the USPS service regularly? When was the last time you visited a post office?

 

Commerce (Trade)

Flea Market

Human beings have been trading and bartering things almost since the beginning of time. During the Stone Age valued trading stones were used to procure hunting equipment, tools, and raw materials to make tools. Obsidian was particularly important in the making of stone tools. Trading and bartering was generally confined to small groups of people in the community and with other communities short distances apart. As people began to domesticate animals and farm, there were more and more things to trade. Surplus of food meant that food could be traded for other needed items such as stone farming tools, clothing, and even decorative items. As the bartering system became more common, it gave rise to a group of people called merchants.

Merchants en route

Merchants began to travel thousands of miles on foot (later adding pack animals) trading, buying, and selling to communities along the way. Pottery was beginning to be used in parts of Asia and various other parts of the world and was a hot commodity. As human civilizations advanced there were more and more products to trade including livestock, surplus items, salt, copper, shells, pottery, animal skins, farming tools, seeds etc. Traveling merchants eventually developed trade routes and as trade expanded it eventually developed into the world wide trade we have today.

Paying for Groceries

Though most of our trade today involves exchanging money for goods and services, trade and bartering are still very much in vogue. Have you ever tried to buy a car from a dealership? Did you just pay the sticker price or did you try to get a better deal? Have you ever offered to “trade” services with someone? For instance I have in the past offered to tutor or babysit children in exchange for haircuts and other services. More recently I exchange cooking (food) for small house repairs. I know of a lawyer who provided legal services and the client “paid” by landscaping his yard.  There are thousands of scenarios and the value of such things changes based on what your needs are at any given time.

It is this bartering and trading and getting a “good deal” that make garage sales, yard sales, tag sales, flea markets and the like so popular. Many people have made businesses out of buying up cheap items at flea markets and yard sales, making improvements to their purchases and then reselling them. Others do this type of thing as a hobby or even just to express creativity.  Some good books about this sort of thing available at the Fulton County Public Library  are I Brake for Yard Sales: and Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster  by Lara Spencer

I Brake for Yard Sales

and From Flea Market to Fabulous by Kerry Trout.

From Flea Market to Fabulous

Though some of the crafts shown in this book may be dated, the techniques are still applicable and will definitely inspire the reader to other applications.

At this point in the blog, I have to confess that I am addicted to Flea Markets, second hand stores, craft shows, etc. and all books related to such things. I love to take furniture and various other items and rework them although I haven’t been able to do a lot of this in recent years. I also love to follow blogs related to crafting skills. A few of my favorites are kellysdiy and tierneycreates.

Have you ever gotten a great deal by trading or bartering? Do you like to “rework” or “repurpose” things?

eBay

eCommerce Market

Wikipedia defines e-commerce as:

 the activity of buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet.

There are various websites where buying and selling of products is done. One of the best known sites of this type is eBay.

Pez dispensers

Many people have heard the story about how eBay was started by a young man in love who wanted to help his fiance build her Pez dispenser collection. The young man had the idea to put the search online and voila! eBay was born. Although this is a nice story, it isn’t true. This story was a corporate lie generated to bring traffic to the site.

Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman

eBay was started by a 30 year old man named Pierre Omidyar on Labor Day 1995 and was originally named AuctionWeb.  AuctionWeb later changed its name to eBay. Echo Bay is the name the founder originally wanted for the name change but upon a check with the State of California, it was discovered the name Echo Bay was already in use by another business. Rather than give up the name Echo Bay entirely, it was shortened to eBay.

The first thing ever sold on eBay was not a Pez dispenser, but rather a broken laser pointer for $14. When first started AuctionWeb was free. As traffic to the site grew Mr. Omidyar’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) began to charge more money, so this charge was passed on to eBay users as a listing fee for sellers. The fees have continued to this day to pay the company overhead.

As I move along the library shelves I find myself reading more and more about eCommerce. I have to admit that I’m not the most tech savvy person ever, however I have come across many books that explain buying and selling online in language that even I can understand. Topics range from answering common questions, explaining how to register and get started in the often exciting world of eCommerce, explaining point systems, and using PayPal.

For this particular post I checked out several books about eBay. I highly recommend these books if you too would like to learn to navigate eBay or you would just like to learn more about it. These are a couple of the most recent books I’ve checked out:

9781118098066 cover.indd

How to Do Everything with eBay

There are many more of these types of books available at the Fulton County Public Library. I encourage all of you to read these types of books even if you are a long time eBay user (or other similar site). You will definitely learn something new!

Have you ever heard the Pez dispenser story and if so did you know it was a lie? Are you or have you ever been an eBay user?

 

 

 

 

Books Books Books and Reading

Books

The read through of the Fulton County Public Library continues and now the adventure is taking me to the 380’s section which focuses on Commerce, Communications, and Transportation. The first books I have encountered are books about books!

Books are so important and useful. They help us to communicate with each other. They are a source of sharing and receiving information. Books also go way beyond the basic function of communication. Books are most useful if we can read. Reading is akin to a car key. To get the full benefit of a car, one needs to have the key. To get the full benefit of books, one needs to read–and read a lot!

It's Called Reading

Most of us have learned to read through one (or some combination) of the following methods: self taught, learned to read by being read to, taught by a teacher, a librarian, or a literacy director. Some people seem to need a little bit more time to learn to read. For this reason, the Fulton County Public Library offers a Literacy Service under the leadership of Ezra Eagle.

eagle no hat

A few of the functions of the Literacy Department are to teach adults to read, to help patrons of any age to read better, and to help those whose second language is English learn to read and write in English. For other functions of the Literacy Department, follow the link above.

The following photos are of the Literacy Department at the Fulton County Public Library:

Lit Department

Literacy Office

Lit 2

Lit 1

The last two photos are tutoring rooms located in the Literacy Department. These rooms are used for Literacy Department services and also double as small space meeting rooms. One room holds 4 people, the other 10 people. When our regular Meeting Rooms (a topic for another post) are filled, small groups may be assigned to one of these two rooms. Additionally patrons are allowed to sign themselves up for either of these two rooms. Individual patron usage has included things like test taking (and being proctored), a quiet place just to study or read, family meetings, would be entrepreneurs strategy sessions, and home schooling activities just to mention a few. Some groups are repeating but may be very small so those groups have been assigned to these rooms by library staff (usually me).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention therapy dogs used in connection with the Fulton County Public Library Literacy Department. In the last several years, we have had two therapy dogs working at all three locations of our library. Allow me to introduce to you Samantha and Oliver:

Samantha and Oliver

Samantha is a  black Newfoundland. Samantha loves working with her Dad, Ron, at the library as well as in schools and hospitals.

Samantha at work in School

Samanthat at work in Hospital Samanthat and Nurses Samantha at FCPLR

 

 

 

 

Samantha has her own Facebook page and would love to be your friend. In her free time, Samantha enjoys spending time with her family. Samantha lives in another city and recently has decided to start working closer to her home.

Oliver is a chocolate Australian Labradoodle. He is the MDIC (Main Dog In Charge) here at the library. Oliver lives locally and he also works with his dad, Ezra Eagle.

eagle no hatOliver is quite busy with his duties and responsibilities as the MDIC here at the library. Besides having such an important job, Oliver is also a library patron. Oliver agreed to be interviewed to answer some of the most common questions people may have about him either as a therapy dog or a patron. Oliver is a people dog and he regrets that he is unable to personally answer questions at this time. The interview was done last summer, but the information given by Oliver about himself is timeless. Follow the link if you would like to read Oliver’s Interview.

Oliver’s job seems to be something new everyday. Below is a recent picture of Oliver and some library folk. On this day, Oliver was instructing on the finer points of making and playing your own guitar. It was a difficult job, but these two people succeeded  in their efforts and Oliver is being treated to an appreciative serenade. Music is a form of therapy after all. Oliver also enjoys listening to music in his free time.

Oliver Music Instructor

In other free time activities, Oliver enjoys sports and loves to take long walks to get back to nature.

Oliver1

Oliver 2

Oliver 4

(Black and white photo(s) credit: Kendra Roe)

Follow this link to watch a short video if you would like to learn more about how libraries (and schools) partner with dogs.

Once we actually learn to read, books can open up whole new worlds to us. They teach us, entertain us, make us laugh, make us cry, give us new ideas and challenge old ideas. Books make it possible for us to learn from the dead, to go into entirely new worlds on other planets, to explore scary topics in safety and so very much more. Since there is no way I could possibly ever finish listing all of the benefits of books, I encourage you to read from a wide variety of genres to stretch and grow yourself.

Beyond the printed page, books also serve many other purposes.  Books can be used to build and display:

Books Christmas Tree

Books building

Books can inspire us to be creative:

Books Flowers

Les Compressions de Livres

(Les compressions de livres by Johnathon Callan)

Books can even be part of home decor:

books lamp

Books also provide many jobs for people who handle them regularly.   There are people who work in book stores:

Book Store

In libraries:

library worker

My own job here at the Fulton County Public Library involves  reading many books and writing a blog which often features books as I explore library materials, resources, and services.

froggy2

There are people who write books

writer

and others who edit books.

editing

Books can also help people be self employed. There are people who buy and sell books–which leads me to recommend two of the most recent books I checked out on my way through the nonfiction section:

Book Finds Selling Used Books Online

Both of these books contain excellent information for anyone wanting to buy and sell books full time, part time, or just as a hobby to earn extra money. The information on the covers of these books is self explanatory. If interested, I highly encourage Dewey Hop readers to read these books about books.

There’s still so much more to say about books. One blog post can’t do the world of books justice. Once you enter this world, you will find something amazing and relevant to your life and I hope you will find a world of happiness in their pages.

Were you surprised to learn that libraries partner with dogs? What is your favorite thing about books? Would you enjoy a career centered around books?

 

 

 

 

 

Paying for College

College Fund

For those students who choose to go on to college, the big question may be “How do I pay for this?” Sometimes students have had a college fund since birth established by their parents or grandparents and may have worked and added to this fund themselves as soon as they were old enough to do so. For most students, though, this is not their reality.  Parents may or may not be able to foot the entire bill or even half of it. Many students bear this responsibility themselves. These students don’t just have a fund set aside to pay for college and must search for another plan.

Fortunately there are many options to help out and many books to help guide students and steer them towards reasonable payment plans or even finding a way to go to college for free.

Free College

One of the best known ways to go to college for free is to get grants and/or scholarships. Anyone planning on going to college should be applying for any and all of these types of things as possible. The more applications, the greater chance of finding one that will work.

Grants are often based on a person’s identifiers–such as being a woman, a minority, a Native American, etc. I’ve seen some grants based upon where one lives; for instance Hawaii. If you are unsure of what grants are out there, come in to the Fulton County Public Library and use the Grant Station to look up what’s available.

Scholarships are often based on an ability one has such as academic ability, athleticism, or a talent such as musical ability.  The library has books and of course access to the internet to help potential students search for applicable scholarships.

In Indiana, the state has a program called 21st Century Scholars. Students sign up for this program in the 7th grade and must maintain a good GPA as well as stay drug free and out of trouble. In Indiana, this is a really big deal where potential 21st Century Scholars actually have to appear before a judge and take an oath to remain drug free. For those who complete the requirements of the program, they can go to any state college or university. These students usually graduate debt free.  Hopefully other states have similar programs, although I have no information about other states.

If for whatever reason a student can’t get scholarships or grants, another excellent option is to enlist in the military and let the government foot the bill for your college degree. This option comes with the added benefit of career options as well as lifelong benefits (for retirees of the armed services), free medical and dental care, and access to veteran organizations once leaving the military.  An excellent book about this is Military Education Benefits for College: A Comprehensive Guide for Military Members, Veterans, and Their Dependents by David J. Renza, M.A. and Edmund J. Lizotte (Lt. Col., Ret.).

Blank white book w/path

College students must complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) which will help determine the amount of  free aid a student can qualify for. If you are on your way to college, follow the FAFSA link above to determine if you qualify for free money. If a student doesn’t qualify for free money, the FAFSA also helps determine the amount of student loans a student can qualify for and the linked site will walk you through the process of applying for grants and scholarships. It also provides some great advice on borrowing money if you have to.

Here are a few more books that are helpful in figuring out how to pay for college:

Paying for College without going broke

Paying for College

These books contain excellent information. The first one includes sample forms to help walk students through the FAFSA application process. The second book includes expert opinions and advice for finding the best financial packages available to students.

Although it’s much harder to do, there is always the pay as you go method. Some students do work and pay for school at the same time. If you happen to be an adult who’s already been full time in the work force, the pay as you go method is popular, but it’s not the only option. There may still be grants and scholarships you may qualify for. Among other options, your employer may be willing to foot the bill for your college classes especially if you are taking courses related to your current job. The following book will help walk an adult student through various ways to finance a college education.

501 Ways for Adult Students to Pay for College

If you are on your way to college, do you know how you will pay for it? If you’ve already been to college, how did you pay for it?

 

 

 

College Survival

college dorm

Reading my way through the education section of the Fulton County Public Library, I have shared books about many aspects of education. To this point all blog entries have been about mandatory educational requirements. For students going off to college after high school life is about to take a drastic change. These students are walking into unknown territory which can be exciting, thrilling, terrifying, and awkward all at the same time.

There are so many good books on this aspect of education that I couldn’t decide which few to review! Therefore, I’m going to share a couple of groups of books that I found helpful.

Just as incoming college freshman have done all of their lives, they must get prepared for “back to school.” Unlike they’ve done all of their lives, this time “back to school” not only means new clothes, shoes, and school supplies, it also means dorm or apartment supplies. This can be overwhelming for some students. Fortunately, those who have gone before them are full of advice. Some even write books like:

The Everything College Survival Book    Ready for College

The Everything College Checklist Book

These books all contain the types of information you might expect in a college preparedness book: how to study, how to manage time, how to strive for balance with a study schedule and a social life, finding friends, getting involved in campus life, etc. All of the above books have great information of this type and all would be helpful if you happen to be entering college for the first time.

Let’s face it though, there can be college situations that are well awkward to deal with. A student may be living with a total stranger or strangers who may be very different from anyone he or she has ever known. There are books to help both parents and students through this new environment. A parent wants to make sure their college student is as safe as possible while away at college and may have questions that could be awkward and embarrassing for the student. A college student may encounter very awkward situations in the dorm, with roommates in an apartment, or on campus. The following two books are recommended for such happenings:

Sex, Drugs and Flunking Out

The Naked Roommate

Both of these books will answer questions that you may not feel comfortable asking and/or help a student and parent to navigate sticky situations when one must speak up. They can at times be both funny and serious.

There can be a dark underside of college as evidenced by this book:

The Shadow Scholar

This is an interesting and eye opening book. While the majority of college students do their own work, we need to be asking some serious questions about our colleges and universities. The book is entertaining and funny, but brings up many valid points as well.

If you went to college, did you have some awkward moments? Did you have any surprising roommates?