DPL Blog

The Great American Novel   Recently updated !

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

Books on Wheels

Books on Wheels Logo

Boys Club MemberIs that something new at the Dover Public Library? No! We just revamped the Outreach program.

We have a team of dedicated individuals that we have affectionately named Book Buddies that deliver materials to our homebound patrons and residents of care facilities in Dover. But we deliver more than books. Besides the obvious, books, magazines, CDs and DVDs, we also deliver a friendly face and a smile. Some of our patrons don’t have any family or friends to visit them on a regular basis, and we get to have the privilege of being that someone to visit with. It just gives you that warm fuzzy feeling when you come around the corner and the men we call the “Boys Club” are waiting in the lobby because it’s Tuesday, and the library ladies are coming that day. Or when you knock on the door of one of our homebound patrons and they state, “it must be Wednesday!”

Not only are we making a difference in the lives of those who are not able to make it to the library on their own, but they are making a difference in our lives as well. It is very rewarding to hear how much they appreciate the service we provide. Even though they may be shut-in, the possibilities are endless of where they can go with the materials the DPL has available. So if you know of someone who could benefit from this program, please feel free to contact me at ltoohey@doverlibrary.org or call 330-343-6123.



– Outreach Librarian

How does your garden grow?

Checking out seeds

With Seeds from the Dover Seed Library!

We here at the Dover Public Library are always looking for great ways to help our patrons and our community.  So, with that in mind, we have started a Seed Library.

What’s a Seed Library you ask? Well, it’s just the greatest thing ever.  We have a classic card catalog (the kind I used as a kid) located just inside the front door of the library.  And since we haven’t used a card catalog like that in… well… never mind how many years, we have placed packets of seeds in it. The top half of the cabinet has flowers and the bottom half has vegetables. You come in, open up a drawer, take some seeds, fill out a form, bring it to the front desk,  and you’re done. Easy peasy.

Then you plant the seeds. Watch them grow. Bring back in the seeds from what you grew. This is a great family activity to share with those you love! And, it’s so easy, you don’t even need a passport to adventure (your library card) to check out seeds. The Seed Library is here for everyone!

Not a gardener? That’s okay. We have a variety of gardening books that can help you out if you have questions, and as always, the staff are here to help you.

Stop in and see our new collection of seeds!

Happy gardening!


– DenisePlant the seeds

Adult Services