Friends Book Sale at Firestone Park on 9/19 and 9/20, 2014


Friends of Firestone Park Library Fall Book Sale

Friends Preview Sale – Friday, September 19th, 2014, 3:30-5:30pm.

Friends of the Library are invited for a sneak peek and to buy books and other materials at the book sale.  If you are not a Friend of the Library, you may join at the door for $5.00.

Book Sale – Saturday, September 20th, 2014, 10am – 3pm.

Come and browse our wide selection of fiction and non-fiction books, audio books, movies, magazines, and more!


For more information, please ask at the front desk or call us at (330) 724-2126.


MBS and the United Disability Service BraVo! Program


bravo group



Mind, Body and Sole!

This summer, the Firestone Park branch worked with Regina Lewis to sign up 31 participants from United Disability Service’s BraVo! program. Of the 31 participants, 16 accomplished both 26 days of reading and 26 miles of exercise! In addition, 5 participants earned their 60 day milestones!

Regina Lewis was pleased with the level of service received at the branch, and arranged to have a photo opportunity with Michelle Alleman, branch manager.

In the photo, 7 of the BraVo! participants are seen wearing the MBS shirts that they earned. Also in the photograph from the Firestone Park Branch are Tori, Erica, and Michelle.



For more information about the United Disability Services of Akron, click here.  Enjoy!






NatureConnect Garden Pizza Party – September 13th, 2014
























On Saturday, September 13th, we held our 2nd Annual Nature Connect Garden Pizza Party!  We made personal pizzas using toppings like cheese, pepperoni, and tomatoes from our garden.  Everyone had a great time, and everything was delicious!  Yum!  The kids had a blast!


For more stories involving pizzas and great pizza recipes, click here to find items in our library.  Enjoy!



Happy Birthday Leo Tolstoy – September 9th



Happy Birthday Leo Tolstoy!

“Author (1828–1910)
Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote the acclaimed novels War and Peace, Anna Karenina and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and still ranks among the world’s top writers.

Early Life

On September 9, 1828, writer Leo Tolstoy was born at his family’s estate, Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula Province of Russia. He was the youngest of four boys. In 1830, when Tolstoy’s mother, née Princess Volkonskaya, died, his father’s cousin took over caring for the children. When their father, Count Nikolay Tolstoy, died just seven years later, their aunt was appointed their legal guardian. When the aunt passed away, Tolstoy and his siblings moved in with a second aunt, in Kazan, Russia. Although Tolstoy experienced a lot of loss at an early age, he would later idealize his childhood memories in his writing.

Tolstoy received his primary education at home, at the hands of French and German tutors. In 1843, he enrolled in an Oriental languages program at the University of Kazan. There, Tolstoy failed to excel as a student. His low grades forced him to transfer to an easier law program. Prone to partying in excess, Tolstoy ultimately left the University of Kazan in 1847, without a degree. He returned to his parents’ estate, where he made a go at becoming a farmer. He attempted to lead the serfs, or farmhands, in their work, but he was too often absent on social visits to Tula and Moscow. His stab at becoming the perfect farmer soon proved to be a failure. He did, however, succeed in pouring his energies into keeping a journal—the beginning of a lifelong habit that would inspire much of his fiction.

As Tolstoy was flailing on the farm, his older brother, Nikolay, came to visit while on military leave. Nikolay convinced Tolstoy to join the Army as a junker, south in the Caucasus Mountains, where Nikolay himself was stationed. Following his stint as a junker, Tolstoy transferred to Sevastopol in Ukraine in November 1854, where he fought in the Crimean War through August 1855.

Early Publications

While Tolstoy was working as a junker for the Army, he had free time to kill. During quiet periods he worked on an autobiographical story calledChildhood. In it, he wrote of his fondest childhood memories. In 1852, Tolstoy submitted the sketch to The Contemporary, the most popular journal of the time. The story was eagerly accepted and became Tolstoy’s very first published work.

After completing Childhood, Tolstoy started writing about his day-to-day life at the Army outpost in the Caucasus. However, he did not complete the work, entitled The Cossacks, until 1862, after he had already left the Army.

Amazingly, Tolstoy still managed to continue writing while at battle during the Crimean War. During that time, he composed Boyhood (1854), a sequel toChildhood, the second book in what was to become Tolstoy’s autobiographical trilogy. In the midst of the Crimean War, Tolstoy also expressed his views on the striking contradictions of war through a three-part series, Sevastopol Tales. In the second Sevastopol Tales book, Tolstoy experimented with a relatively new writing technique: Part of the story is presented in the form of a soldier’s stream of consciousness.

Once the Crimean War ended and Tolstoy left the Army, he returned to Russia. Back home, the burgeoning author found himself in high demand on the St. Petersburg literary scene. Stubborn and arrogant, Tolstoy refused to ally himself with any particular intellectual school of thought. Declaring himself an anarchist, he made off to Paris in 1857. Once there, he gambled away all of his money and was forced to return home to Russia. He also managed to publish Youth, the third part of his autobiographical trilogy, in 1857.

Back in Russia in 1862, Tolstoy produced the first of a 12 issue-installment of the journal Yasnaya Polyana, marrying a doctor’s daughter named Sofya Andreyevna Bers that same year.

Major Novels

Residing at Yasnaya Polyana with his wife and children, Tolstoy spent the better part of the 1860s toiling over his first great novel, War and Peace. A portion of the novel was first published in the Russian Messenger in 1865, under the title “The Year 1805.” By 1868, he had released three more chapters. A year later, the novel was complete. Both critics and the public were buzzing about the novel’s historical accounts of the Napoleonic Wars, combined with its thoughtful development of realistic yet fictional characters. The novel also uniquely incorporated three long essays satirizing the laws of history. Among the ideas that Tolstoy extols in War and Peace is the belief that the quality and meaning of one’s life is mainly derived from his day-to-day activities.

Following the success of War and Peace, in 1873, Tolstoy set to work on the second of his best known novels, Anna KareninaAnna Karenina was partially based on current events while Russia was at war with Turkey. LikeWar and Peace, it fictionalized some biographical events from Tolstoy’s life, as was particularly evident in the romance of the characters Kitty and Levin, whose relationship is said to resemble Tolstoy’s courtship with his own wife.

The first sentence of Anna Karenina is among the most famous lines of the book: “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Anna Karenina was published in installments from 1873 to 1877, to critical and public acclaim. The royalties that Tolstoy earned from the novel contributed to his rapidly growing wealth.

Religious Conversion

Despite the success of Anna Karenina, following the novel’s completion, Tolstoy suffered a spiritual crisis and grew depressed. Struggling to uncover the meaning of life, Tolstoy first went to the Russian Orthodox Church, but did not find the answers he sought there. He came to believe that Christian churches were corrupt and, in lieu of organized religion, developed his own beliefs. He decided to express those beliefs by founding a new publication called The Mediator in 1883.

As a consequence of espousing his unconventional—and therefore controversial—spiritual beliefs, Tolstoy was ousted by the Russian Orthodox Church. He was even watched by the secret police. When Tolstoy’s new beliefs prompted his desire to give away his money, his wife strongly objected. The disagreement put a strain on the couple’s marriage, until Tolstoy begrudgingly agreed to a compromise: He conceded to granting his wife the copyrights—and presumably the royalties—to all of his writing predating 1881.

Later Fiction

In addition to his religious tracts, Tolstoy continued to write fiction throughout the 1880s and 1890s. Among his later works’ genres were moral tales and realistic fiction. One of his most successful later works was the novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich, written in 1886. In Ivan Ilyich, the main character struggles to come to grips with his impending death. The title character, Ivan Ilyich, comes to the jarring realization that he has wasted his life on trivial matters, but the realization comes too late.

In 1898, Tolstoy wrote Father Sergius, a work of fiction in which he seems to criticize the beliefs that he developed following his spiritual conversion. The following year, he wrote his third lengthy novel, Resurrection. While the work received some praise, it hardly matched the success and acclaim of his previous novels. Tolstoy’s other late works include essays on art, a satirical play called The Living Corpse that he wrote in 1890, and a novella calledHadji-Murad (written in 1904), which was discovered and published after his death.

Elder Years

Over the last 30 years of his life, Tolstoy established himself as a moral and religious leader. His ideas about nonviolent resistance to evil influenced the likes of social leader Mahatma Gandhi.

Also during his later years, Tolstoy reaped the rewards of international acclaim. Yet he still struggled to reconcile his spiritual beliefs with the tensions they created in his home life. His wife not only disagreed with his teachings, she disapproved of his disciples, who regularly visited Tolstoy at the family estate. Their troubled marriage took on an air of notoriety in the press. Anxious to escape his wife’s growing resentment, in October 1910, Tolstoy and his daughter, Aleksandra, embarked on a pilgrimage. Aleksandra, Tolstoy’s youngest daughter, was to serve as her elderly father’s doctor during the trip. Valuing their privacy, they traveled incognito, hoping to dodge the press, to no avail.

Death and Legacy

Unfortunately, the pilgrimage proved too arduous for the aging novelist. In November 1910, the stationmaster of a train depot in Astapovo, Russia opened his home to Tolstoy, allowing the ailing writer to rest. Tolstoy died there shortly after, on November 20, 1910. He was buried at the family estate, Yasnaya Polyana, in Tula Province, where Tolstoy had lost so many loved ones yet had managed to build such fond and lasting memories of his childhood. Tolstoy was survived by his wife and their brood of 10 children. (The couple had spawned 13 children in all, but only 10 had survived past infancy.)

To this day, Tolstoy’s novels are considered among the finest achievements of literary work. War and Peace is, in fact, frequently cited as the greatest novel ever written. In contemporary academia, Tolstoy is still widely acknowledged as having possessed a gift for describing characters’ unconscious motives. He is also championed for his finesse in underscoring the role of people’s everyday actions in defining their character and purpose.”

Source:  (


You can find more information about Leo Tolstoy and his works here in our library.  Enjoy!




Akron Libraries will be closed on September 1st – Labor Day


All Akron-Summit County Public Library Locations will be closed on Monday, September 1st, 2014 – Labor Day.


The Lincoln-Douglas Debates began on August 21st, 1858


“The Lincoln–Douglas Debates of 1858 were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Illinois, and Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate. At the time, U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures; thus Lincoln and Douglas were trying for their respective parties to win control of the Illinois legislature. The debates previewed the issues that Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory in the 1860 presidential election. The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery.

In agreeing to the debates, Lincoln and Douglas decided to hold one debate in each of the nine congressional districts in Illinois. Because both had already spoken in two—Springfield and Chicago—within a day of each other, they decided that their “joint appearances” would be held only in the remaining seven districts.

The debates were held in seven towns in the state of Illinois:

  • Ottawa on August 21
  • Freeport on August 27
  • Jonesboro on September 15
  • Charleston on September 18
  • Galesburg on October 7
  • Quincy on October 13
  • Alton on October 15

The debates in Freeport, Quincy and Alton drew especially large numbers of people from neighboring states, as the issue of slavery was of monumental importance to citizens across the nation. Newspaper coverage of the debates was intense. Major papers from Chicago sent stenographers to create complete texts of each debate, which newspapers across the United States reprinted in full, with some partisan edits. Newspapers that supported Douglas edited his speeches to remove any errors made by the stenographers and to correct grammatical errors, while they left Lincoln’s speeches in the rough form in which they had been transcribed. In the same way, pro-Lincoln papers edited Lincoln’s speeches, but left the Douglas texts as reported.

After losing the election for Senator in Illinois, Lincoln edited the texts of all the debates and had them published in a book. The widespread coverage of the original debates and the subsequent popularity of the book led eventually to Lincoln’s nomination for President of the United States by the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago.

The format for each debate was: one candidate spoke for 60 minutes, then the other candidate spoke for 90 minutes, and then the first candidate was allowed a 30-minute “rejoinder.” The candidates alternated speaking first. As the incumbent, Douglas spoke first in four of the debates.”

“The October surprise of the election was the endorsement of the Democrat Douglas by former Whig John J. Crittenden. Former Whigs comprised the biggest block of swing voters, and Crittenden’s endorsement of Douglas rather than Lincoln, also a former Whig, reduced Lincoln’s chances of winning.

On election day, the Democrats won 40 seats in the state house of Representatives, and the Republicans won 35. In the state senate, Republicans held 11 seats, and Democrats held 14. Stephen A. Douglas was reelected by the legislature, 54-46, even though Abraham Lincoln won the popular vote with a percentage of 50.6%, or by 3,402 votes. However, the widespread media coverage of the debates greatly raised Lincoln’s national profile, making him a viable candidate for nomination as the Republican candidate in the upcoming 1860 presidential election. He would go on to secure both the nomination and the presidency, beating Douglas (as the Northern Democratic candidate), among others, in the process.

Lincoln also went on to be in contact with editors looking to publish the debate texts. George Parsons, the Ohio Republican committee chairman, got Lincoln in touch with Ohio’s main political publisher, Follett and Foster, of Columbus. They published copies of the text, and titled the book, Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas in the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. Four printings were made, and the fourth sold 16,000 copies.

The Lincoln–Douglas debate format that is used in high school and college competition today is named after this series of debates. Modern presidential debates trace their roots to the Lincoln–Douglas Debates, though the format today is remarkably different from the original.”

Source: (

For more information and resources on the Lincoln-Douglas debates, click here to find them in our library.  Enjoy!


Last Garden Buddies Program of the 2014 Season at Firestone Park


Today was the last program in our Garden Buddies series at Firestone Park Branch Library.  All summer, the participants have been charting the growth of the sunflowers and tomatoes in our NatureConnect spaces.  They have been reading stories, making crafts, and really enjoying the outdoors with our library staff.  Today, Miss Tori and Miss Jennifer shared stories with the children, and they made flower bookmarks and did chalk painting.  Below are some pictures from today’s program.  Enjoy!



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National Navajo Code Talkers Day – August 14th


Today is National Navajo Code Talkers Day

Cipher machines, or machines that create coded messages, did not work well in the jungles of the Pacific Islands during World War II. However, the United States military needed coded messages to send secret information from the battle lines to air bases and other locations. Native Americans who spoke the Navajo language helped solve this problem.

The Navajo “code talkers”, as they became known, used English code words that they translated into their language to send messages. The Japanese military could hear these coded messages, but they could not understand their meanings. The Navajo language was not well known.

The Navajo code talkers served in some of the fiercest battles of the Pacific. They saved many lives and helped the United States and its allies win the war. However, the code talkers were never allowed to discuss their work with anyone. Most Americans did not know about the code talkers’ role in World War II until much later.

For their bravery and service, President Ronald Reagan set aside a special day to honor the Navajo code talkers. In 1982, he declared August 14 to be National Navajo Code Talkers Day.”


Source (


Other related websites:


You can also find more information about the Navajo Code Talkers here in our library.  Enjoy!



Professional Speakers Day – August 7th


Today is Professional Speakers Day – August 7th!

Professional Speakers Day is a day to honor those who inform, encourage, and inspire their audiences with the spoken word.  It is not easy to get up in front of a room of people and speak for any length of time on a topic.  However, there are several resources that are available to help you to improve on this valuable skill.


14 Public Speaking Tips

Source:  (

“1. Careful with the use of PowerPoint

The first time a speaker brought a drawing, a piece of art, a flip chart, a slide show or any object on to the stage to stimulate the audience’s sense of sight as well as sound, speaking became presenting. PowerPoint is but a tool, used well by some, miserably by many. Using this tool allows presenters to engage one more of the audience’s five senses. As each sense is stimulated the retention of the material grows exponentially.

2. Don’t shoot the messenger

Move the audience from the amygdala part of their brain to the neocortex. Laughter is an excellent stimulus to accomplish this.

3. Engage all of their senses

Engage all five senses and your presentation contents will remain with the viewer measurably longer.

Paull Murray, Managing Director at TTG International Management

4. Find a friendly face

The great 17th-century philosopher and scientist, Pascal,  had a thought that applies to public speaking rather well. It states: “There are some who don’t write well, but speak well. The place or the audience warms them, so much so that they are able to draw from their mind more than they could without that warmth.”

During our face-to-face with the audience, most of us would feel much more at ease, if only we could find that warmth Pascal mentions… We will not find it if we do not look for it. Find a friendly face in the audience, and let its warmth release your thoughts. Return your smile, not just to that face, but to all, to thaw the audience. You may not have much control over the place, but your smile certainly has the power to defrost any audience. Then let the defrosted audience contribute to the total release of your brilliant mind.

Jean-Luc Lebrun, Writer & Trainer

5. Get to know your audience

Nothing is more important, in my opinion, that getting to know the group to which you will be presenting. A little homework goes a long way. Every time you speak it needs to be a “personal” experience for the audience.

Sue Fiedler, PHR Sr. Training & Dev Specialist at Driscoll Children’s Hospital

6. Get to know the room

Familiarize yourself with the room.  Allow plenty of time to walk around and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.

7. Don’t apologize

The audience doesn’t know what you are going to say, so if you make a mistake, they won’t even realize.

8. Speak with confidence

Remember to project your voice clearly but without shouting.

Jo Robinson, Presentation Magazine

9. Smile

Always have a smile on when you present in public.

Sminesh Babu, Sr. Manager - India Sales at Harbinger Knowledge Products

10. Look around for advice

There’s a blogful of tips going back more than two years at the PitchSmarter blog,

Robert Buccino, Owner, Neocortex Consulting Group

11. State the obvious

Don’t be afraid to the state what is obvious to you, it may not be obvious to the audience.

Sir John Harvey-JonesChairman of ICI from 1982 to 1987 and probably best known for his BBC television show Troubleshooter.

12. Be prepared to adapt

Be prepared to adapt what you have to say at the last moment to accommodate your audience.

Terry Waite CBE - British humanitarian and author

13. Make each audience think you care about them

Don’t treat every audience to the same presentation as though they were all mere listening machines. Wherever possible, make each audience think you care about them and you feel lucky or honored to get the chance to address them.

Ranulph Fiennes - Explorer

14. Concentrate on tone and pace

80 per cent of your speech or presentation will be forgotten! I think the most important thing to remember is your tone and pace.

Martha Lane Fox - Co founder of”


Other good resources:

The National Speakers Association (NSA) has a membership of 3,000 professional speakers; it has been estimated that the total number of professional speakers worldwide is between 10,000 and 20,000.

Toastmasters International  helps hundreds of thousands of people worldwide strengthen their public speaking skills. Many Toastmasters have gone on to successful careers as professional speakers!

The Up Your Fee Speaker Enrichment Complex is the hub of a complex of websites that provide educational, networking, promotional, and support tools and resources for professional speakers, trainers, and other communication entrepreneurs.

Source:  (


Finally, there are more fantastic and useful sources here in our library about public speaking.  Enjoy!




Firestone Park Branch Library 10th Anniversary Celebration

We had a great turn-out for our 10 Year Building Anniversary Celebration! 
Our Teen Volunteers manned two carnival games: a duck pond and a book drop beanbag toss game. 
Balloon Artist, Joe Delagrange, made a variety of creative balloon animals, swords, and flowers for children. 
Friends of the Library signed up new members, passed out coupons for their upcoming sale, and served cake and popsicles.
The YMCA and the Akron Racers both set up informational tables.
Many community leaders attended and participated in our StoryWalk, including:
Michelle Alleman, Firestone Park Branch Library, Branch Manager
Barb White, Akron-Summit County Public Library, General Manager of Branches
Donnie Kammer, ward 7 Councilman
Akron Fire Chief Robert C. Ross
Steve Barry, Sheriff of Summit CountyLoretta Vasuta, Primetimers
Tom Nicola, Primetimers, President
Loretta Vasuta, Primetimers
Laurie Chenevey, Firestone Park Community Center Supervisor
Melissa Roddy, Firestone Park YMCA Director
Officer Mike Kulick, Akron Police Department
Below are some pictures from this great event.  Enjoy!
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