Baby, You Can Drive my Car

Posted on April 18, 2016

By Mary Kelly

One of my favorite databases to play with is Gale’s Chilton collection. Not because I am a car person. (To me a car is a giant purse on wheels.) Not because as a librarian it is the easiest way to do car repair reference (which is very true). The Chilton database is more like my own personal marriage saver. This is because I have been married to an auto engineer for more than thirty years and car vocabulary is constantly the lingua franca of our household. This arrangement is great since I really don’t have to worry about car stuff. However, I do have to listen to all sorts of talk about cars. I am also told (in great detail) about car maintenance issues and why it is important.

Chilton is my personal car vocabulary resource/translator for about 75% of our conversations. (Yeah, this database is bookmarked for me.) It helps me explain my car problems to the Engineer husband, followed by criticisms of my general lack of car knowledge and failure to follow regular maintenance schedules.  This discussion is usually punctuated by people shouting and swearing. (Note: The current version does not include any definitions for the accompanying swearing associated with car repairs. Perhaps Chilton’s can consider adding swear words as a “feature” in future releases, until that happens, you are on your own.)

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It’s All about Horsepower for Gearhead Patrons

Chilton Auto Resources at Library

By Ryan Lee Price

The 305 cubic-inch engine in the Koenigsegg One “megacar” is capable of producing 1,360 horsepower from its gas-powered V8, propelling the 1,360-kg car to a top speed of 280 mph in 20 seconds. That’s a lot of power, and one can’t help but to imagine 1,360 horses hitched to the front of the $1.5 million car attempting to pull it up to 280 mph. However, in either guise—engine or horse team—1,360 horsepower represents the work of a lot of horses, and to understand how the term has been applied to cars, we have to go back about 100 years before cars were even invented.

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The History of Transcontinental Travel: The Unknown Horizon

American Progress, by John Gast, 1872. Chromolithograph published by George A. Crofutt. Source: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

By Ryan Price

John Gast was a painter based in Brooklyn when he was commissioned to paint this picture for George Crofutt, a publisher of a popular series of western travel guides. The images Gast put to canvas represent a historical timeline of transportation technologies up until 1872 when the painting was completed. The Indian travois, the covered wagons, Pony Express, overland stage and the three railroad lines are not only progressively pushing one another forward (from East to West) but also driving the indigenous inhabitants — buffalo, bear and Native Americans — almost literally off of the painting. In the wake of this expansion are the tall ships in the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Columbia (a personification of the United States) guides the way, holding a schoolbook in one hand while stringing telegraph wire with the other. The imagery is a vivid and dynamic telling of not only the history of westward expansion but the future of it as well.

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Why You Should Consider the Timing Belt When Buying a High-Mileage Vehicle

Chilton Library Summer Travel

By Christine Sheeky

If you have been shopping for a used car with high mileage, over 60,000 miles or so, there is a very important, often overlooked item to take into consideration. Maybe you have found a suitable car in your price range. One of the next steps to take is to research whether that vehicle has a timing chain or timing belt, because a timing belt repair is a significant expense.
What is a Timing Belt?

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You have to start somewhere, help out your beginners!

Idiot Guides and For Dummies ebooks on GVRL for libraries

Meet Connie, a spunky 72-year-old grandma who just received her first computer. Her grandkids want her online, so online she must go! “I don’t know what took me so long and I want to learn everything I can,” she says, “but I guess I’m a little hesitant because I don’t know quite where to start.” We couldn’t think of a better way than an eBook like  Laptops For Seniors For Dummies, 3rd Edition. Connie can read and follow activities on her screen at the same time, it’s a perfect match.

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I Can See Clearly Now: Window & Wiper Care

windshield help

By Tracy Junker

April is National Car Care Month and since April showers bring May flowers, it might be a good time to prep your vehicle with some best practices for window and wiper care.

How to check and clean wiper blades
We’ve all been there. It is raining just enough to make a mess of the windshield, but not enough to really clean it. And the wiper blades just make the situation worse!

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