Monthly Archives: November 2012

Spotlight on New Books from Native American Authors

The National Book Award winners were announced this month, and this year’s winner in the fiction category was Louise Erdrich’s The Round House. Erdrich has been a bestselling author for decades, and her novels, The Round House included, typically focus on the lives of High Plains Indians, in both historical and modern contexts. Her 2008 novel The Plague of Doves (Sara’s review), is a perennial favorite among CADL staff.

This announcement coincides with National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, and in a year which has seen several books published by major Native American authors. Blasphemy is bestselling novelist, poet and young adult author Sherman Alexie’s latest collection of short stories, about Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Although he’s been a beloved literary figure for many years, he may be best known now for his National Book Award-winner The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Anthropologist and novelist David Treuer’s new book, Rez Life, is a non-fiction examination of life and culture on Indian reservations across the country. The New Yorker’s review of Rez Life says that “[Treuer’s] upbringing on an Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota makes him adept at delving behind stereotypes of Indian life and infuses his account with passion and meticulousness.”

Esteemed poet Joy Harjo has also published a new work of non-fiction this year, the memoir Crazy Brave, about her childhood in Oklahoma and her development as a young poet at an Indian arts boarding school. The Kirkus review calls it “lyrical” and “soul-stirring.”

– Sara D. Public Services Librarian at CADL Downtown Lansing

New Health Books

When thinking of new books at CADL keep in mind that we have an up-to-date collection of health related titles too. Topics such as exercise, specific ailments and diseases, latest research and legal issues are all covered. Here’s a sampling of some of our recent acquisitions:

Not finding a title that covers your interest? We’d love to hear your suggestions.  You can submit a purchase suggestion from the link on our catalog. Also, you can search for information on current health topics in the databases and ebooks we subscribe to. They’re found under Health Resources in Research Tools on our website.

Finally, in case you haven’t heard enough about the office of President of the United States yet, here’s a fun quiz that will challenge your knowledge of various health issues of presidents and presidential candidates: The Presidential Health Quiz.

– Eunice B., Reference Librarian at CADL Downtown Lansing

Great Lives, Great Reading

As a kid I loved reading biographies and that hasn’t changed. I read every biography of Henry VIII and his wives that I could get my hands on after I saw the Six Wives of Henry VIII miniseries on PBS. I was also into Abraham Lincoln, movie stars and Louisa May Alcott.

Recently I read The Brontes by Juliet Barker, a wonderful and well sourced account of the family. I thought I knew a lot about the Brontes, but this book contained information I had never known before.

Another new biography on my bedside table right now is The Redgraves:  A Family Epic by Donald Spoto. The family’s acting dynasty is now on its fourth generation and in all probability will go into a fifth generation in the coming years. Fascinating lives on and off the stage and screen.

Biographies you may enjoy:

Great lives can be discovered at Find Books.


– Anne R., Reference Librarian at CADL Downtown Lansing

Deer Hunters Have a Place at the Library

For many Michiganders, the holiday season doesn’t begin with Thanksgiving. It starts in the early morning hours of Nov. 15 opening day of firearm deer-hunting season. According to the Department of Natural Resources, this date is considered Michigan’s “other Black Friday.” In 2011, it was reported that deer hunters spend an average of $800 each, and that deer hunting is a $500 million industry for the state.

While the library may not be the first place you think of when planning your deer hunt, we actually have an amazing number of resources available. Our rich collection of hunting literature includes:

Hunters who have bagged a deer may want to check out a cookbook, such as We Kill It, We Grill It, a fantastic compilation of venison recipes. Also available is Making the Most of Your Deer by Dennis Walrod, an all-purpose guide to utilizing your deer after the kill. It includes detailed instructions on field dressing and butchering, as well as options for venison preparation and do-it-yourself taxidermy tips. Walrod even covers leather-crafting, soap-making, trophy-mounting, and salting and tanning hides. This is an indispensable information source for any hunter looking to extend the hunting experience.

Of course, a wealth of information on almost any subject is available online, and hunting is no exception. One excellent internet resource is Mi-HUNT from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a comprehensive tool for locating public hunting land. No matter where you are in Michigan, the interactive map application at Mi-HUNT will show you up-to-date information to help you plan your hunting trip.

DNR also offers video tutorials, map layer definitions, an Interactive Hunting Map App, and complete information about Michigan’s hunting seasons with bag limits. Access it from home, or come in to use one of our free public computers or Wi-Fi.

And for all the deer hunting widows and widowers out there, don’t forget to stop in to the library to pick up a good book or a couple movies to watch while your loved one is out in the field!

– Julie C., Head Librarian at CADL Williamston

Make It Easy for Me

Local career expert Lisa (a.k.a. Recruiter Uncensored) shares some of her knowledge with us every Monday. You can read this post in its original form along with comments here.

You’d be surprised how difficult it can be to connect with job seekers. In a time of fierce competition for jobs, it’s important to make sure employers have easy ways to get in touch with you.  Here are a few examples of what I run into frequently.

  • Changing your cell phone or internet service/provider without updating me you now have a new new phone number and/or email address.
  • Allowing your cell phone voicemail account to become too full to receive new messages.
  • Not telling those who share your phone number/email to look out for messages from me. It’s odd how often I’m greeted as a solicitor or debt collector.
  • Neglecting to include primary phone numbers and emails on resumes, email signature lines, business cards and correspondence. I’d add, if you’ve included this information in small or difficult to read font, it’s still problematic.
  • Connecting with me via a social medial tool (LinkedIn/Twitter) and then never going back to check that tool to see if I responded.
  • Failing to provide contact information upon introduction at a networking event. This is made worse by failing to follow-up after a networking event with the contact information you promised to send along.
  • Leaving a voicemail full of all of the times it won’t work for me to call you back. It’s much easier on the brain to hear ideas for when it IS good to call versus the opposite.
  • Only stating your phone number once in a voicemail message. I’d add failing to say your name in a voicemail message.
  • Calling me from a number that isn’t your primary point of contact.

Because the last bullet isn’t as obvious a problem as the others, I’m going to take a hot second to explain it more completely. There are several problems that stem from people not calling me from their primary number. First, I usually only save my contacts’ primary numbers to my cell phone. So, if you are an existing contact of mine and call me on a number that isn’t the norm, I won’t see it’s you on my phone. I may make the decision to let the call go to voicemail when I would have picked up the phone otherwise. Second, if the caller is not an existing contact in my phone, they’ve made it more difficult for me to make it so. It’s easy to click and add numbers to my directory from my inbound call list. Having to type it in manually relies on me being in a position to write the person’s preferred phone number down and then me getting it in correctly while typing on teeny phone buttons.

All of the above may sound like no big deal, but trust me when I tell you every little thing counts when it comes to making it convenient for employers to get in touch with you.

– Lisa W-P, CADL Guest Blogger

This Is Your Brain…

There’s been a fascinating range of popular titles on the mysteries of the mind featuring both physical and behavioral science research. Titles like Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks and Quiet by Susan Cain have had a solid presence on the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller Lists. Here are a few titles (new and old) that have caught our attention…

Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain (review) is a thought-provoking book for introverts and extroverts alike. Contrary to popular images and cultural myth, we’re not quite the nation of extroverts we think we are.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan details the experiences of a young New York Post reporter with signs of schizophrenia. However, a doctor diagnoses her with a rare and deadly brain disease. Cahalan has appeared on the Today Show and NPR’s Fresh Air.

Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism by Paul Collins is a cross between a memoir of a son’s autism diagnosis and the history of the disorder, including the public’s understanding of it.

Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks is an investigation of the various types, sources and resonances of hallucinations. It looks at their effect both on a micro level in the brain and on a larger scale shown historically throughout our culture.

Branch Head Kathy Johnson loved the audiobook version of My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, the memoir of a brain scientist who suffered a massive stroke at the age of 37.

Have you come across any you would suggest?

– Jessica T., Public Services Head at CADL Downtown Lansing

Finding Family: Stanislaus & The Saloon

Meet Jeff, life-long Lansing area resident and amateur genealogist. Follow him as he enters his 19th year of researching his family’s path from the harsh copper mines of the Keeweenaw Peninsula to the conveniences of modern Lansing life. You’ll see the drive behind the long research hours, meet his family members and learn something about family life in the Upper Peninsula.

While many members of the Petlewski family worked for the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company, one branch of the family tried their hand at the saloon business. Various records indicate that Walter’s Uncle Stanislaus never worked in the mines and worked in retail as soon as he arrived in Calumet. According to Polk City Directories and his obituary in the Calumet News, Stanislaus first gained employment as a clerk with L. Hennes & Co and later with prominent local grocer, James Lisa.

Stanislaus’ deed for the future establishment, commonly known as Petlewski’s Bar, was signed in 1882; just days after his daughter, Octevga contracted measles and died.  He attained his residence/storefront at 608 Oak Street in 1882, three years before his first attempt at running a saloon. Perhaps this indicates that his lifelong dream was to establish a retail establishment of some kind. The Michigan State Gazetteer and Directory indicates that Stanislaus tried to establish his first saloon between the years of 1885 and 1889.

However, Stanislaus’ first attempt at operating a saloon likely did not succeed.  A colleague of mine discovered this neat little find in the 1901-1902 Polk Houghton County, MI City Directory.

1901-1902 Houghton County, MI Polk City Directory Advertisement for Maurin, Petlewsky, & Richetta Undertaking and Embalming and Funeral Directors

Stanislaus shortly operated an undertaking and embalming business in nearby Laurium with John Maurin, Michael Richetta and Angelo Richetta.  I’m still not sure how long this venture lasted.

Courthouse Records

Much of the evidence I have about Stanislaus’ life is from the Houghton County, Michigan Courthouse and records that are housed at the Michigan Tech Archives. The local courthouse that served your ancestor’s county of residence can contain many records documenting your ancestors life. Some basic records include vital records such as birth, marriage and death records. These records are the foundation to documenting your family tree as they provide basic tree-building documentation. Other records at the courthouse, such as wills, land deeds and criminal court records, will give you context into your ancestor’s life.

Check with the courthouse in your ancestor’s home county to find out what may still exist for your ancestor and how to access them. In some cases, local county records may have been donated to a local archive.  Another source may be your local LDS Family History Center. The LDS Church has microfilmed and digitized many county records that exist in the United States. Their microfilm catalog is accessible through FamilySearchFor more information about what is contained within various court records visit the wiki.

Stanislaus’ Will

When Stanislaus died in 1916 from pneumonia he left a total of $1,500 dollars to three of his children. According to his will, Stanislaus also left $2,500 to his remaining five children upon the death of his wife, Mary. That was quite a bit of money in 1916. Wills also contain fascinating information about your ancestor’s business. I’ll end this post with a few of the fascinating items Stanislaus left to his wife, Mary. Stanslaus’ brother, Joseph, possibly used these items to run the saloon into the Prohibition years.

  • 15 Gallons of Whiskey
  • 40 Gallons of Black Berry Wine
  • 25 Gallons of Port Wine
  • 20 Gallons of Brandy
  • 25 Gallons of Rock & Rye
  • 10 Gallons of Alcohol
  • 5 Gallons of Stomach Bitters
  • 5 Gallons of Crème de Mint
  • 10 Gallons of Gin
  • 10 Gallons of Rum
  • 18 Boxes of 5 cent cigars
  • 10 boxes of 10 cent cigars
  • 5,000 10 cent Cigarettes

My Next Post: The Big Larceny Case

Resources Consulted

“Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 Nov 2012), Owega Petlaska, 20 Nov 1882.
Petlweski, Stephen [aka Stanislaus]. Estate File.  Houghton County, Michigan, Courthouse.
Polk City Directory. Houghton County, Michigan. 1901-1902
Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory. 1885, 1887-88, 1889

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(c) jantaya 2012