candy cornThere is one Halloween candy that is more divisive than politics and religion, the American Civil War, or even Coke vs. Pepsi…Candy Corn. Ask the average trick-or-treaters on your neighborhood streets about their feelings toward candy corn and you will most assuredly have half that praise it’s honey-flavored goodness and half that refer to it as tri-colored ear wax.  Whether you are pro-candy corn or in the dissenting minority, the candy has a pretty interesting history. Would you like to hear it? I knew you’d say “yes, please!”

George Renniger, a candy-maker, worked at the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the 1880s, Renniger invented a candy made of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla flavoring, and marshmallow creme. Ingredients were cooked in large kettles until it took on a slurry-like consistency. The slurry was then transferred into buckets and transported to the kernel-shaping molds. Workers walked backwards pouring the hot slurry into kernel-shaped molds, coated with cornstarch to prevent sticking as it cooled. Workers made three passes over the molds, each time with a different color of slurry all to achieve an authentic corn kernel-like appearance. The molding process was quite extensive and strenuous, considering neither air-conditioners nor electric fans had yet been invented. Like most foodstuffs of the times, candy corn was sold in bulk. It was packed in wooden barrels, buckets, or cartons and delivered by wagon or train to general stores within short distances.

In 1898, the Goelitz Confectionery Company’s Ohio factory began producing their variation of candy corn and boasts the longest history of making the candy in the industry. Candy corn became so successful for the company that it sustained them through World War I, The Great Depression, and World War II. You might not know the name “Goelitz Confectionery Company” today but the company still exists and still manufactures enough candy to circle the earth more than five times over…you may know them as Jelly Belly.

Fun Facts about Candy Corn

  • Candy corn is one of the healthier Halloween candies:
    • Candy corn is fat-free
    • One kernel is just over 4 calories
    • A one ounce serving is 110 calories
  • Roughly 9 billion kernels of candy corn are sold each year.
  • Candy corn hasn’t always been corn-shaped. In the 19th-century, candy-makers created these fondant-based candies in shapes of chestnuts, clover leaves, and turnips.
  • When Goelitz first created candy corn, they called it “chicken feed” and the boxes were illustrated with a rooster and the slogan “something worth crowing for.”

For more odd Halloween trivia, Halloween-themed books and DVDs,

or to sample some candy corn, drop by the HCC Library.


Broek, Sara. “The history of candy corn: a Halloween candy favorite.” Better Homes and Gardens http://www.bhg.com 2014.

“Candy corn by the makers of Jelly Belly.” JellyBelly.com 2014.

Prokop, Jessica. “The surprising history of candy corn.” CandyFavorites.com 2012.

banned books week

September 21-27, 2014 is National Banned Books Week, a week celebrating the freedom to read and remembering how censorship infringes on intellectual freedom.  Ever wonder why some books are banned or challenged? Check out a small sampling below…

charlotte's webCharlotte’s Web by E.B. White banned or challenged because:

  • in 2006, parents in Kansas because “humans are the highest level of God’s creation and are the only creatures that can communicate vocally. Showing lower life forms with human abilities is sacrilegious and disrespectful to God.”
  • ranked 13 out of 100 most banned and challenged classics

origin of speciesOn the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin banned or challenged because:

  • Darwin was accused of “dethroning God by challenging the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis”
  • continuously banned in Tennessee from 1925-1967

harry potterHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling banned or challenged because:

  • 1999-2002 Harry Potter topped the list of most banned and challenged books in the United States because it portrays wizardry and magic
  • in 1999 alone, Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s Stone was challenged and/or banned 26 times in 16 states

speakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson banned or challenged because:

  • some critics have described a pivotal rape scene as “child pornography” (although they admit to having never read the book)
  • challenged in a Sarasota, FL school for emotional aftermath of rape, bullying, depressions, sexual harassment, and family dysfunction in 2013. Currently under review at the school district level.

ulyssesUlysses by James Joyce banned or challenged because:

  • “it might cause American readers to harbor impure and lustful thoughts”, includes obscene language and obscenity
  • banned in the United States by customs censors in 1922
  • 500 copies were burned when an attempt was made to import the book
  • the ban on importation was finally lifted in 1933 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Silent-SpringSilent Spring by Rachel Carson

  • Velsicol Chemical Corp. tried to prevent the book’s publication and stop the New Yorker from publishing the text in serial format
  • alleged that Carson was “innocent dupe of a communist conspiracy to undermine the superiority of the Western World, and reduce us to starvation”

Want to know more about Banned Books Week or see what else has been banned or challenged?

Swing into the library and READ BANNED BOOKS!


Anderson, Laurie Halse. “Ever Wonder How the Mind of a Book Banner Works?” madwomanintheforest.com, 2013.

Bald, Margaret. Literature Suppressed on Religious Grounds. Facts On File; New York, 2006.

“Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the Twentieth Century.” http://www.ala.org, 2014.

Stein, Karen F. Rachel Carson: Challenging Authors. Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2012. eBook Collection, EBSCOhost.

Sova, Dawn B. Literature Suppressed on Sexual Grounds. Facts On File; New York, 2006.

US ConstitutionIf you are reading this on September 17: HAPPY CONSTITUTION DAY!

Are you now wondering why and how we have a national holiday surrounding the U.S. Constitution? If so, you’re in luck! Read on for some interesting historical tidbits and fun facts about Constitution Day.

Constitution Day commemorates the creation and signing of the U.S. Constitution back in 1787.  The Constitution was actually written in 1787, ratified (or officially agreed upon) in 1788, formally governing in 1789, and is the longest surviving written charter of government in the world.  In 1956, Congress established Constitution Week to encourage more Americans to learn about the Constitution and to commemorate the drafting of and signing of this foundational document.  September 17 was not officially designated “Constitution Day” until 2004 when Robert C. Byrd,a Senator from West Virgina, added the designation to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2005.  The Constitution Day provision requires public schools and governmental offices to offer educational programs and/or events that provide a better understanding of the Constitution.

Fun Facts about Constitution Day

2004: year Constitution Day was established

2012: 225th anniversary of the Constitution

4543: number of words in the original, signed, unamended Constitution

11000 (as of 2012): number of amendments introduced in Congress

27: number of Constitutional Amendments

September 17, 1787: date of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4: number of months in length of the Constitutional Convention in 1787

9: number of 13 original states required to ratify the Constitution

70: number of delegates who were appointed to the Constitutional Convention

55: number of delegates who actually attended the Constitutional Convention

81: age of the oldest signer of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin

26: age of the youngest signer of the Constitution, Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey

39: number of delegates who signed the Constitution

3: number of delegates who did not sign the Constitution

  • George Mason, did not believe the Constitution established a “wise and just government” as it omitted the Bill of Rights
  • Elbridge Gerry, decided to become an ardent Federalist and also opposed the creation of the office of Vice President
  • Edmond Randolph, supported the Constitution during Virginia’s ratification when promised the position of Attorney General under George Washington’s administration

Christmas Trivia Quiz

For those of you who need a break from studying, grading, or just surviving the end of the semester, your friendly library staff provides the following diversion…a Christmas Trivia Quiz.  Take a break, relax, and have fun!   (answers are at the bottom)

1.    Christmas presents weren’t always covered in gift wrap.  In the early 1900s, presents were typically wrapped in:
a.    Old clothes
b.   White tissue paper and red satin ribbon
c.    A mystery inside an enigma
d.    Butcher paper


2.    In 1952, the first television advertisement for a toy was shown.  That toy was:
a.    A stick
b.    The first Nintendo game, which used vacuum tubes and was the size of a small car
c.    Poodle Skirt Barbie
d.    Mr. Potato Head, for which parents had to provide children with a real potato


3.    The movie It’s a Wonderful Life actually received its own FBI file because:
a.    An analyst thought the film was an obvious attempt to discredit bankers
b.    J. Edgar Hoover was mad that he wasn’t cast as Mr. Potter
c.    Zuzu was thought to be an un-American name.
d.    The FBI didn’t want people to have a wonderful life


4.    What is frankincense?
a.    Hot dogs made in the Middle East
b.    Frankenstein’s sister
c.    A sweet-smelling gum resin
d.    Spices sewn together to look like a human


5.    Although “Jingle Bells” is one of the most popular Christmas songs, it was actually written for:
a.    Thanksgiving
b.    People who like to sing really loud
c.    An Arnold Schwarzenegger movie
d.    Black Friday


6.    Fruitcake is, for some reason, a popular gift and/or treat at Christmastime.  In ancient times, though, warriors and hunters carried it on long journeys:
a.    To ward off evil spirits
b.    As an extra weapon
c.    In case they couldn’t find wood to build a shelter
d.    Because of its consistency and longevity


7.    In 1847, the music for “O Holy Night” was written by French composer Adolphe-Charles Adam.  However, it was denounced at first by church authorities because:
a.    Of its “lack of musical taste and total absence of the spirit of religion”
b.    They feared the choir wouldn’t be able to sing it
c.    They felt that “O” was confusing
d.    They didn’t like people who had three first names


8.     “Good King Wenceslas” is a song that is often heard during the holiday season, but many people don’t realize that it was written about a real person.  Good King Wenceslas was:
a.    Overrated.  He was actually “Mediocre King Wenceslas.”
b.    The first king to have a Christmas tree in his palace
c.    Duke of Bohemia in the 10th century and a man of great faith who helped spread Christianity in Bohemia
d.    The original Santa Claus


9.    What is myrrh?
a.    The sound a mule makes when it is happy
b.    A sweet treat that was popular in the first century
c.    The short form of the name Myrrhtle
d.    An aromatic gum resin which is made into ointments or perfumes


10.     The Grinch suit that Jim Carrey wore in How the Grinch Stole Christmas was covered in hair from:
a.    Film director Ron Howard
b.    A yak
c.    Wigs
d.    A local barber shop


1.    b
2.    d (yes, d)
3.    a
4.    c
5.    a
6.    d
7.    a
8.    c
9.    d
10.    b

books in refrigeratorSaw this over the weekend at News of the Weird:

The business website Quartz reported in June that a popular consumer item in North Korea’s perhaps-improving economy is the refrigerator, made in China and increasingly available as a reward to stellar performers among civil servants and other elites. The appliances, however, cannot reliably store food because the country’s electric grid is so frequently offline and are mostly just status symbols. One item Quartz says often gets displayed in the refrigerator: books.


Check out our latest post to our YouTube video channel! When evaluating resources, especially online, your main focus is the quality of the information and the validity of the research. However, there are a few other things you can easily examine that enable you to judge the usefulness of a resource. The appearance (What does it look like? Professional? Too many ads or graphics?) and authority (Who hosts the site? Who wrote the article? What qualifications do they have, if any?) of a given resource provide enough clues to help you decide to examine the content further or move on to another, more appropriate, source.

While “researching” a fictitious history paper we Googled “What caused the American Civil War?” and this page appeared in our top search results. Let’s examine its appearance and authority as we evaluate the quality of this resource in less than 3 minutes.

Trying to decide which books merit room in the suitcase for your upcoming beach trip? Need an easy-yet-engrossing story that goes well with hammocks and cold drinks? Let the LRC staff ease your burden with a list of new arrivals and old favorites perfect for vacation reading. Click on each title for reviews and author interviews.

Joyland (Stephen King): Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.-Book jacket

Bonus: Stephen King talks about growing up and being scared on NPR

Jungleland (Christopher Stewart): On April 6, 1940, explorer and future World War II spy Theodore Morde (who would one day attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler), anxious about the perilous journey that lay ahead of him, struggled to fall asleep at the Paris Hotel in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Nearly seventy years later, in the same hotel, acclaimed journalist Christopher S. Stewart wonders what he’s gotten himself into. Stewart and Morde seek the same answer on their quests: the solution to the riddle of the whereabouts of Ciudad Blanca, buried somewhere deep in the rain forest on the Mosquito Coast. What begins as a passing interest slowly turns into an obsession as Stewart pieces together the whirlwind life and mysterious death of Morde, a man who had sailed around the world five times before he was thirty and claimed to have discovered what he called the Lost City of the Monkey God.-Book description

Inferno (Dan Brown): No beach reads list is complete without a Dan Brown novel and his latest mystery plunges protagonist Robert Langdon on a Divine Comedy-inspired tour of Italy during which he solves riddles while pursued by shadowy forces.

Wedding Night (Sophie Kinsella): When the love of Lottie’s life gives her a vacation instead of an engagement ring, she breaks up with him in typical dramatic Lottie style. Days later, her college boyfriend Ben makes an appearance, and the two quickly decide to wed. Meanwhile, Lottie’s sister Fliss and Ben’s best friend Lorcan frantically try to derail the wedding night while they fight their own growing attraction. Never fear: in the end—after international flights, bribery, blackmail, and disaster—all the characters end up discovering true love and learning a bit about themselves in the process. VERDICT Kinsella continues to delight in creating quirky characters and over-the-top situations, and this title is a perfect choice for those craving a great escape.-Library Journal

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayed): At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.-Book description

Prep (Curtis Sittenfeld): Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school’s glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel.

As Lee soon learns, Ault is a cloistered world of jaded, attractive teenagers who spend summers on Nantucket and speak in their own clever shorthand. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of–and, ultimately, a participant in–their rituals and mores. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider and is both drawn to and repelled by other loners. By the time she’s a senior, Lee has created a hard-won place for herself at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her carefully crafted identity within the community is shattered.-Book description



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