March Madness and the Tournament of Book Characters

Posted on

Fisticuffs? Smoke screens? Magic or words? Wit or brawn? A teaspoon of honey…or a smattering?

March is known for lions and lambs, kites and wind, and of course, basketball. But this month, the library is hosting a different kind of madness: the tournament of book characters! Think of two of your favorite book characters and imagine who would win a battle of words and actions.

Last year was ACPL’s inaugural Tournament of Books. The ultimate winner was The Hobbit by Tolkien. This year, were asking you to imagine showdowns between your favorite heroes and protagonists. Everyone who votes (either online or on paper) will be entered into random drawing for a free book gift card! The drawing will be March 31.

Click to see a larger image of the bracket.

Don’t know one of the characters? Look it up! You might discover a good book. But don’t worry, you don’t have to read the books to vote. Just have fun and may the best character win!

You can vote online once every week at or pick up a paper bracket at the library.

update: Sherlock Holmes won it all!

In Appreciation of the Flexibility of Volunteers

Posted on


From left to right: Sherri Dunfee, Bill Fanning, Jennifer Collins, Melanie Cheraso, and Jennifer Mainelli.

On any given Monday evening at the Wells Public Library in Albany you’re likely to find a group of folks stretched out on the meeting room floor. They’re not just enjoying the atmosphere, they’re part of an on-going series of gentle stretching and yoga classes made possible by a rotating group of dedicated volunteers.

“It’s a chance for the community to learn some relaxation techniques and basic yoga poses,” says Lanna Galloway, the library manager. “Albany really needs this type of programming and it wouldn’t be possible if these folks weren’t willing to give up a few hours of their time every week. We truly appreciate them.”

Our yoga volunteers are an ecclectic and varied group. One of them sings in a rock ‘n roll band. One once led a yoga class while 39 weeks pregnant! And one has swam in the Dead Sea. (If you want to find out who’s done what, you’ll have to come to class and ask!) There is one thing, however, they all have in common: a love of teaching and learning from their students.

“If you’ve been looking for a way to get some excercise and met a great group of interesting people,” continues Lanna, “then come to the Wells Library on Mondays around 6 o’clock. Everyone is welcomed.”

This program is free and open to all skill levels. Wear comfortable clohing! For more information, call 740-698-3059.

Throwback Thursday — Life As a Kid

Posted on

In 2002, ACPL was awarded a grant to purchase video cameras, microphones, lights, and iMacs for movie editing (cutting edge at the time!). The project was called “Life As A Kid: an oral history of Athens County” and involved volunteers interviewing their neighbors, friends and family about growing up in the area.

The cast of characters interviewed as part of the project:

The result was hours and hours of footage. Ultimately, each interview was edited down into a finished piece and made available for checkout. There was also a summary video produced of the project. It’s about an hour of tidbits grouped around common themes, like toys and games, food and clothing.

ACPL recently digitized the summary video and posted it on our YouTube channel. It’s fascinating to watch. There are fun tales from many familiar faces, including quite a few who are no longer with us. Take a look:

Mary Michael interviewed at The Plains Library in 2003.

“Life As a Kid” was a huge undertaking that involved grant money and significant support from many individuals and the State Library of Ohio, the Ohio Humanities Council, the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, the Ohio Community Computing Network, and the Appalachian Media Access Center.

Keep checking YouTube. We hope to have even more full interviews available in the coming months.

TBT: Phonebooks

Posted on

Not so long ago, a significant number of everyday reference questions asked at the library’s front desk were answered with a quick flip through the phone book. Today, of course, most of those same questions are answered by Google.

Our local history room still has a small collection of old area phone books. As historical documents, they can be quite useful for looking up addresses, occupations and businesses: where did your grandparents live? What was the name of that shoe store on the corner? Old phone books offer a slice of life of days past.

Hat cleaners! When was the last time you had a hat cleaned?

The covers of phone book are fascinating, too. In many ways they reflect the aesthetics of the era. If you happen to have a modern phone book nearby, look at the cover; chances are it’s just another ad. In days past however, they were artful. Here are two favorites from our collection:

The inside pages also include interesting tidbits. Early directories had detailed instructions on how to call the next town (ie, long distance), how to use a party line, sometimes even histories of the region.

A shared phone line was often cheaper than having a dedicated line.

Did you know Englishtown was Nelsonville’s first name?

In the modern age, phone books may have lost their usefulness, but in the ephemera you can track the evolution of the technology that has led to the devices now small enough to be carried in our pockets.

Stay Safe Online in the New Year

Posted on

Every new year, people make resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, read more, or improve their finances. As technology becomes more important, we should consider how we use it. So this year, lets resolve to improve our internet security. Here are three simple measures you can take to keep your information safe online, which is especially important in a public setting such as the library.

1. Dont let websites remember your password.

  • When you log in to websites such as Gmail, there is a box that is automatically checked allowing the computer to remember your information, so you can log in quicker the next time. It seems convenient, but if you share the device with anyone, they will also be able to access your account easily.

Don’t do it!

2. Create a password thats easy to remember, not easy to guess.

  • We all dread signing up for a new website, because its another password we have to remember. Im certain weve all created insecure passwords, because they are easy to remember. A secure password consists of lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Try this: think of a word or phrase that you can remember with a capital letter and a number. Then add a symbol to the end of it. This will be your master password. Now, when you create an account on a new website, such as twitter, add the name of the website to the end of your password. Your password will be easy to remember, but different on every website. For example, your Twitter password could be Puppie$@Twitter and Gmail could be Puppie$@Gmail . Easy to remember and secure.

3. Always log out when youre finished.

  • Youve already made sure not to save your passwords, but if you forget to log out, the next user can still access your information. It doesnt matter how strong your password is, if another user can access your account without it. After checking your email or bank balance, always be sure to log out and close the browser.

Always click “Log Out.”

Make this the year you keep your information safe and continue learning about the devices we use on a daily basis. For more tips, advice, and computer help, visit your local branch of the Athens County Public Libraries.

Shaila Lias, a Guiding Ohio Online AmeriCorp member will be offering individual computer help and classes in the new year. For more information, email or call (740) 753-2118.

Leave a comment

TBT: Postcards

Posted on

Historic postcards are ubiquitous at flea markets and antique malls. They’re a glimpse into the past of a scene someone wanted to share with another. This particular postcard was mailed from Nelsonville in March of 1909 to Dr. Butts from his Mom while he was in medical school in Cincinnati. A quick note on the back of a card was the cheapest way to stay in touch. It was the early-20th century version of a text message: All’s well. See you home soon.

TBT: Interurban Railways

Posted on

Before the 4-lane highway, the easiest way for workers to travel between Athens and Nelsonville (and many points in between) was the interurban railway. Today, the Hock-Hocking Adena Bikeway follows much of the same route.

A common postcard promoting the Interurban.

The car system, called the Hocking-Sunday Creek Traction Company, operated between 1915 and 1932. In 1926, it was reorganized as the Nelsonville-Athens Electric Railway Company. The car unloaded in Athens at Second Street and Central Avenue.

Nelsonville also had it’s own street car system with a 3-mile loop between Nelsonville and Doanville, near Greenlawn Cemetary. In fact, the cars were often used for funeral processions.

In Nelsonville, the car traveled west on Columbus Street, turned at Fulton and traveled east on Fayette before crossing the main track at Chestnut Street. You can see a sketch of the in-town loop on this map from the Nelsonville Nostalgia Notebook.

The Hocking and Sunday Creek Motor Car in 1910.

Left to right: Charley Vorhes, Gaston Co, Marcellus Kreig, Ed Shafer (the train manufactor representative from Nebraska), Warren Badger, Colonel Tutt, Ed Young and “Hud” Price. Jim Beard is in the front window.

The new street car, 1910.

Railways were an important part of the industry in the region and quickly replaced the Hocking Canal as the preferred method of transporting coal and workers. The railroad system also included many shortlines to connect smaller towns such as Chauncey and Millfield to the bigger arteries.

TBT: Alfred Harrison Carnes

Posted on

Click on any image for an enlarged view.

Alfred Harrison Carnes was a Nelsonville businessman and prominent citizen. He served as a township trustee and on the local school board.

Carnes, circa 1915, sits on his daughter’s porch on E. Columbus Street in Nelsonville.

Carnes was born in 1824 in Loudon County, Virginia and came to Morgan County, Ohio in 1832. After his parents died, Carnes worked a variety of jobs, including as a fireman and train engineer. Carnes moved to Nelsonville in 1842 at the age of 17 and worked for some time in the coal mines.

In 1846, he enlisted to fight in the Mexican-American War. After only a few months, he fell ill and ended up in New Orleans in a hospital.

Carnes returned to Nelsonville after his recovery and married his first wife, Sarah Ann Cruthers, in 1850. They had 5 children. Sarah Ann died in 1858 shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Mary Zepher Carnes.

In 1860, Alfred married Emily Bridge of Nelsonville. They had two children, Ina May and Clara.

Clara (Callie) Carnes was the daughter of Alfred and Emily Carnes.

In 1856, Carnes had started working as a store clerk for his friend, Matthew Van Wormer. In 1860, the store was taken over by W.B. Brooks. Carnes continued to work under Brooks until 1871 when he purchased, along with his son-in-law W.P. Shepard, a business from Lewis Steenrod.

The storefront for Carnes & Shepard was located on W. Washington Street in Nelsonville (now the site of the library’s front parking lot). The store specialized in women’s attire, shoes, hats and all manner of dry goods.

Alfred Harrison Carnes died in 1915 at the age of 91. He was recognized as the last survivor in Athens County of the Mexican-American War. His grave, along with most of his family, can be found in Greenlawn Cemetary just outside of Nelsonville.

TBT: High School Basketball Season

Posted on

Note: click on any image for a larger view.

The long stem of time reaches on. In August we published a throwback post about high school football; it seemed appropriate to mark the next turn of the sports season with some yearbook photos of basketball teams past.

The Athens High School Black and Red teams from 1921.

The Plains High School teams from 1922.

The Greyhounds (the Scarlet and Grey), Nelsonville High School from 1921.

Our local history room also has a framed photo of a Trimble Tomcats team. The year is unknown, but it was obviously commemorating an event involving a trophy. If you recognize any of the players or know the timeframe, please let us know:

TBT: Inside Nelsonville’s Super Dollar Discount Store

Posted on

NOTE: click any image to see an enlarged view.

Back then, every small town had a general store of some sort.Today, it might just be a gas station that also carries fishing supplies and dog food or a pharamacy that also sells canned goods and electronics. We’re all familiar with the modern day dollar stores and sundry shops; the names have changed and the prices have gone up, but the idea remains the same: sell variety.

In the late seventies and early 1980s, Nelsonville had the Super Dollar Discount Store. It was the last store to use the building at 95 West Washington before it became the current home of the Nelsonville Public Library.

The building was built in 1920 by Fred Beasely as one of his Ford garages. The building also served as a grocery store for a while. The front parking lot was the site of the Carnes Block building in the late 19th century.

Before moving here, the Nelsonville Library was in Stuart’s Opera House. After the second fire there, the library moved to the top floor of this building (the current meeting room space) before renovating and occupying the entire building.

The steps in the corner of the parking lot took you to the library.

Heading out the front doors towards the West Washington Street lot.

The sign on the door reads, “Shoplifters are always being asked for autographs.”

A general store really did carry a wide-variety of goods. These tall tubes were rolled linoleum floor covering. The black door leads to the current upstairs.

The hardware, men’s, and ladies’ departments.

In the vicinity of the library’s Columbus Street exit.