May Question of the Month – An irregular series

ask_a_librarian_button.gifThe reference librarians at The Seattle Public Library are pretty darn amazing. They don’t know everything, instead they know where to find everything. As part of an irregular series of posts we salute the talented and dedicated reference staff at your local library. Names and other identifying information have been removed from the questions we showcase.
Got a stumper? Click on Ask a Librarian. It’s what we do.

“On antique cutlery dating from the 1600s-1900s, was it the convention to have the man’s family initials engraved or the woman’s family initials? “

     “We checked in several books including:
The story of cutlery from flint to stainless steel by Joseph Beeston Himsworth from 1953 and
The cutlery trades; an historical essay in the economics of small-scale production, by Godfrey Isaac H. Lloyd from 1913

But the Encyclopedia of food and culture by Solomon H. Katz, 2003 provided the clearest answer:

At that time (18th century), women could not legally own land or other property, so the scope of their lives was limited to home and family. For this reason, silverware was significant as a woman’s contribution to the financial part of a marriage, and it was often purchased for her one piece at a time and kept in what was called a “hope chest,” along with other household goods such as linens and quilts. Because it was bought with a woman’s taste in mind, most silverware was designed for women. Silver flatware, along with other household goods, has traditionally been monogrammed with the bride’s initials.”

On the hunt for the latest CD by your favorite band?

Are you a visual learner? Hoping to find that hot new movie or CD at Seattle Public Library but not sure how to search the catalog? We are experimenting – Let’s us know what you think. Just click to start the video. And then start power searching the SPL Catalog .

Need Computer & Business Books?

The Safari Books Online database provides easy online access to a wide range of business & computer-related books.  Safari includes books on software programming techniques, programming languages, IT, Web design and computer technology as well as books on Windows, Macintosh, or Linux operating systems.  It includes current books published by O’Reilly, Addison- Wesley and Pearson.

Safari allows you to search in book titles, section headings, programming examples, and even in the full text.  Once you locate your search term, click on it and go directly to that section in a book.  The programming examples are especially handy: to test them you can copy and paste directly into your programming environment! 

Check it out.  With it’s great user interface and selection of current books, it one of our faves in the Business, Science, and Technology department!

Family photo sparks information quest

LaMont Family Photo in front of Woodland Park Totem PoleI was looking through some old photographs recently and came across this one, taken in 1950, of my father with his mother and sisters standing in front of a Totem Pole. Dad tells me the family had driven over from Chewelah to visit his grandparents, and while they were in Seattle, they stopped at the Zoo (along with Alki Beach and Ye Old Curiousity Shop). I don’t remember ever seeing a Totem Pole on the grounds of the Zoo.  What was it’s story? Is it still there?

The library’s Northwest Index, which indexes local newspapers, magazines, and books, is a great tool for finding information about local history, so I headed up to the Seattle Room to see what I could find. Sure enough, there were a few entries of interest – Continue reading “Family photo sparks information quest”

April Question of the Month: An irregular series

bnr_askaquestion.gifThe reference librarians at Seattle Public Library are pretty darn amazing.  They don’t know everything, instead they know where to find everything.   As part of an irregular series of posts we salute the talented and dedicated reference staff at your local library.   Names and other identifying information have been removed from the questions we showcase.  Got a stumper? Click on Ask a Librarian.  It’s what we do. 

“What is $161,000.00 in 1987 dollars worth in today’s dollars?”

We found a calculator on the web at http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/
that gives the answer to your question using various measurements.  Be aware that current data is only available through 2007.

In 2007, $161,000.00 in 1987 dollars was worth:
$293,856.18 using the Consumer Price Index
$263,229.41 using the GDP* deflator
$378,036.94 using the Continue reading “April Question of the Month: An irregular series”