DPL Blog

Minecraft Mania

minecraft_logoIf you’ve come into the Tech Room lately, you’ve probably noticed the handful of kids playing a computer game with mediocre graphics and no clear objective. The game is called Minecraft, and you may have friends and family who are completely obsessed with the game. I first heard of Minecraft a couple of years ago when a few kids I know started showing off castles and mines they had constructed in the game. They showed me something new they had done in their game worlds literally every time we saw each other. Two years later, and they’re still going strong.

So what’s the big deal? As I mentioned, the graphics are nothing amazing. There isn’t really a clear objective or end-goal to the game (although slaying the Ender-Dragon can provide a sort of “end” to those players who’d like one). The game only costs about $30, and after that every upgrade is free. And yet, I’ve encountered individuals with seemingly nothing else in common who love Minecraft and can spend hours talking about their recent escapades in the game. In an effort to understand, I read articles and blog posts galore. Finally, I decided to just start playing the game demo. And I’m completely hooked.

Minecraft isn’t like any other game I’ve ever played. It requires a different kind of thinking, as you do everything from collect resources to create huge structures (a scale model of the U.S.S. Enterprise, anyone?) to planning your farm layout so you have a steady food supply. It’s not really violent, and it certainly isn’t graphically so. It can be played by a single player in a different world each time, or in the same world, or on a multiplayer server–the options are really endless. Teachers can use the game to teach different concepts or connect with students if school has to be canceled, and players typically have no problem focusing on their own, self-created objectives for long periods of time. steve_minecraft

For parents, siblings, and others who don’t play but live or work with someone who does, the obsession with Minecraft can be baffling and even concerning. Fortunately, we have a couple of tech programs coming up for players and non-players alike:

First up is a special after-hours Minecraft playing party for kids ages 8-18. This program will run from 5:30 to 7:30 on Saturday, July 25, and pizza and pop will be provided! Parental permission is required to confirm program registration.

Just a few days later, we’ll be hosting Minecraft for Parents. This tech class will be Tuesday, July 28 from 6:30 to 7:30, and will include information about the game, including essentials for safe game play. Just curious about the game? In spite of its title, you need not be a parent to take this class! Call 330-343-6123 for more information and to register.

-Kathryn Green, Technology Manager

Growing up with Mia

Meg Cabot's Royal WeddingIn 2001, I saw The Princess Diaries in the theater with my best friend and my mom. It was awesome! I left the theater really wanting a scooter…  Being the total geek that I am, I wasted no time in purchasing the book by Meg Cabot. (I probably even bought it the same day we saw the movie) To say I enjoyed the book would be an understatement. I loved it. I had to keep reading. I bought every Princess Diaries book that came out through my high school graduation. The rest I checked out from the library, because I was a broke college student, after all. And that’s what libraries are for.

The Princess Diaries  follows Mia through her high school career. She writes down anything that comes into her head and everything that happens to her. Frequently, she writes in bathrooms. She writes about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Princess Leia, Lifetime movies and her fellow royals. And, of course, she writes about her crushes, her friends, and her enemies. These are her diaries, after all, and in a diary, you don’t have a filter.

In college, I learned about “stream of consciousness” while reading The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, and since then it’s how I describe The Princess Diaries. It’s GOOD stream of consciousness. It still makes sense, but you learn how Mia thinks. And she thinks like a teenager. Worrying about homework, worrying about her mom dating her algebra teacher, worrying about her best friend’s brother and how good his neck smells.

It’s hilarious and unique. Just like Meg Cabot, who I got to meet in person three years ago.

Last month, I was elated to find a new Princess Diaries book, this time written for adults. Liz and Meg Cabot

Now, Mia’s all grown up. Recent drama has brought her back to writing in her diary to relieve stress. She writes the same way she always has: no filter, lots of pop culture references, a laugh on every page. Her friends and enemies from previous books are back, Grandmere is still around with her crazy dog and tattooed-on eyeliner, and readers will not be disappointed to find out who Mia is marrying.

Reading Royal Wedding was like catching up with an old friend I haven’t spoken to in a while. I had no idea how much I missed her, and even though I can’t find anything about a Volume 12, I’ll still cross my fingers that this still isn’t the last I’ll hear from my friend Mia.

– Liz Strauss, Teen Librarian

PS: Meg Cabot can write anything, and pretty much has. Aside from The Princess Diaries, she’s written a mystery series (Size 12 is Not Fat), several adult books including a paranormal romance (Insatiable) and even has a few children’s series (Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls). A new middle-grade spin-off of The Princess Diaries also began this year with From the Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess. Check out the Meg Cabot books available at the library!

The Great American Novel

You may have heard of authors attempting to write “The Great American Novel,” or TGAN.  My question is this: what exactly does that mean? I assume it refers to an author’s ability to capture the quintessential characteristics of the American story: capturing the American Dream; overcoming adversity; redemption; success.  If you ask many critics, The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitgzerald typically tops the list as the top candidate for TGAN. But not so fast…

Great American NovelLet me say that thirteen days ago I was playing basketball with our boys and I tore my Achilles tendon (wearing black, leather dress shoes no less).  Tomorrow I have surgery to repair the tear and Dr. Teater has estimated a few weeks off of work and months of recovery.  Let me say this is not an easy thing for me. I always have somewhere to go and I am involved in so much.  Perhaps this is God’s way of telling me to take it down a notch.  At any rate, I will have lots of time to discover TGAN.  Here is my list of candidates:

  • The Great American Novel, by Philip Roth
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
  • Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
  • The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara

Here is why these titles made my list.  Has it stood the test of time and does it capture the essence of what being an American is all bout?  Time will tell.  Let the reading begin!

-Jim Gill, Director

Everyday Heroes

Super Mortimer CertifiedSummer is here and Dover Public Library is in full swing with our Summer Reading Program. This year we’re discovering what makes a HERO.

I was giving this some thought as I was riding on the lawn mower the other day.

We have heroes in our family, at our workplace, or church. We have heroes that we root for in our favorite book, too.

You might be someone’s hero. We never know who is looking at us, from a small child, teenager, or parent. You can use any moment in time to teach a lesson, reach out a helping hand, or be a listening ear.

Our Summer Reading Program is sharing about the many heroes we have in our community. From police, to fire persons, doctors and even librarians.

Liz, our Teen Librarian is a hero to me. She is always so helpful to me and others. She always has time to answer my crazy questions. She gives me great book suggestions. She is never too busy to help me. She even helps me with this blog thing.

Our Dover Public Library is full of heroes and led by one as well. Jim is a great Director. He keeps us on our toes, challenges us to try new things, and supports us to continue our education and develop our hobbies into new and engaging programs at the library.

We’re incredibly lucky to have such an amazing staff of helpful heroes. This summer, be a hero to someone in your life and help us prove that not all super heroes wear capes.


Helen Keller

Have a Super Summer!

-Denise, Adult Services

Introducing: Mocavo (genealogy research you can do in your PJ’s)






For the beginning genealogist, census records are a great place to start. You can track down names, locations, household members and even occupations of your ancestors. But be warned! Information provided varies depending on the census year; the questions became more specific and detailed as time went by. For example, if your ancestor was a child in 1840, you will not be able to find his name because enumerators only collected the names of heads of households. Everyone else was a tick mark. It wasn’t until 1850 that names and ages were provided for everyone in the household, and relationships among individuals weren’t provided until 1880. So how do you know which census collected what? At the Mocavo website, clicking on a Census year will bring up the available search fields for that decade’s census. As you can see, there is a huge difference between information collected in 1790







and 1930.









Mocavo, like other genealogy websites, will search all available census data for you. This includes schedules from 1790-1940, the latter being the most recent census year available. They do not provide information on the 1890 census, because almost all of that data was tragically lost in a fire. Read about how the records were destroyed here.

Ancestry.com, one of the online genealogy giants, is working to help researchers fill in the gaps left by the fire. Read about their project here.

If you are studying genealogy in the 21st century, you can hardly avoid the amazing (and often overwhelming) information that can be found on the internet. But you may be stymied by a site asking you to buy a subscription, or a database that is only available on site at a university or a library. Take heart! Now there is Mocavo, a place to search census records and many other databases (newspapers, directories, yearbooks, histories, etc) online FOR FREE from your own home computer.

I had to try it out and see how it compared with Ancestry’s census search. It was just as easy to find my grandmother in the 1930 census at both sites. While Mocavo has a searchable, sortable index linked to the image of the actual record, they didn’t index the “occupation” field. But seeing how Ancestry.com indexed my great-grandfather’s occupation as “bris driver” (instead of “bus driver”), maybe we’re not missing much. I like that I can view the index and original record on the same page at Mocavo, and let’s face it, any site that allows me to conduct free research at home in my jammies gets my vote.

I recommend Mocavo to anyone looking for census records and other genealogical information, but even though you can do this at home, don’t forget that we librarians are still here to help you when you have trouble. So come on in to Dover Public Library if you get stuck. Bring your laptop and your genealogy questions, all we ask is that you get dressed first.


– Claire Kandle

Local History & Genealogy Librarian

Book Review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

9780062190376_custom-42f6c3328b92479b12e3bf53414b289e60372453-s200-c85“The moon blew up without warning and with no apparent reason.”

So begins Seveneves, the latest science fiction epic by Neal Stephenson. From the event described in the opening line, the Earth as we know it has an expiration date, and the countries of the world have to work together to insure the survival of humanity–and as many other life forms as possible. Set in a future, but recognizable, world where space travel is the domain of both governments and private “space tourism” companies, Seveneves spends most of it’s bulk describing the science, politics, and realities of human nature that affect the pioneers’ abilities to survive. Life and death situations arise, whether through human error or the unpredictable nature of space, and only a few survivors remain by the time they reach relative safety. This is hard science fiction at it’s best, gripping and immensely readable even during in-depth conversations about orbital mechanics and robotics.  Better still, the science is science we know and recognize: no aliens, no blasters, just physics and engineering slightly more advanced that our own. The last third–which jumps forward 5000 years to look at the survivors as they begin their explorations of Earth following the catastrophe that rendered it unlivable–is slightly less gripping, but satisfying nonetheless.

Seveneves, clocking in at just under 900 pages, is certainly an undertaking to read. However, the “effort” is well worth it–I couldn’t put this book down.

-Kathryn, Technology Manager

Discover Heroes this Summer

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s… a Super Moose?

Super Mortimer

School’s out and summer reading programs are here! Time to get out the reading logs and start handing out tickets for prizes. This year, I’m super excited for all the fun programs happening for both children and teens at the library.

First, both departments are having great reading programs. The Children’s Reading Program, “Discover What Makes a Hero,” has children committing to reading (or being read to) for 90 minutes a week for 6 weeks. The rewards are great! A free book, a T-shirt, a club card, and entrance to an exclusive pool party at Dover Pool in August. Plus, kids earn chances to win prize baskets and a new bike or scooter! The Teen Reading Program, “Unmask,” is modeled after the Summer Walking Challenge. For each hour that teens read, they get a chance to win the Unmask Grand Prize, which includes a boxed set of John Green books (you know, the guy who wrote The Fault in Our Stars) and other great prizes just for teens. Teens can also earn tickets by completing fun activities on their own in the Teen Zone.

Both departments are also hosting a variety of events with a heroic theme.  From superhero training camps to superhero games, children and teens will have a blast with classic superheroes this summer. The Children’s Department is going above and beyond the caped and masked heroes like Super Mortimer (above, drawn by your truly) by inviting local heroes from the Police and Fire Departments as well as family heroes to the library. Not all heroes wear capes, after all. The Teen Department is also going on a field trip to Kent State Tuscarawas to look at their new makerspace and hosting a Civil War Ball to commemorate the fallen heroes of the era.

Put up the moose signal: we’re about to have a fantastic adventure this summer at Dover Public Library!


Teen Librarian