Nicole Fowles: More ways to stay in touch with library staff


You’ll find that the staff here at the Delaware County District Library are happy to recommend some of our favorite books for you to try. You can find recommendations through our “Staff Picks” display, by visiting our Facebook Page for our monthly “Readers’ Advisory” Monday events, or by listening to WDLR 1550 AM on Fridays at 9 a.m. for the weekly radio show “Off the Shelf.”

Every week DCDL director George Needham and I, and the occasional guest, discuss what we’re reading, upcoming library events and exciting new things the library is doing in and for the community. The show rebroadcasts on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on WINF 98.5 FM, and you always have the opportunity to stream the show or listen to the archives online at

You are also welcome to call in to the studio while we’re on air. The studio line is 740-368-1550 and you’ll be greeted by George, me or WDLR operations director Fred Shaffer, who is also our additional on-air personality and the captain to our “Off the Shelf” ship.

“Off the Shelf” debuted on Friday, Oct. 16, and since then we’ve already featured guests from our “Teen NaNoWriMo” (National Novel Writing Month) challenge, DCDL staff, and had a cross-over show with our on-air “neighbors” from the city of Delaware and their show, the “Delaware City Digest,” which airs immediately following ours on Fridays at 9:30 a.m.

This December, we’ll hear from members of our Friends of the Library group on Dec. 11, and we’ve already heard from library staff who are coordinating our first annual gingerbread house competition. Entries for the competition are divided into two categories: Adults and group/family. Individuals or families can create their gingerbread house in advance at home and bring it in on a sturdy base (no larger than 20 by 20 inches) anytime on Dec.15 or 16. It is totally free to enter and there will be prizes!

I look forward to seeing the art that I know our creative community members will bring in to display during this competition.

Where did the tradition of creating gingerbread houses originate?

Gingerbread includes a variety of sweet and spicy cookies, cakes and breads. In medieval Europe, one of the first gingerbread recipes included the popular spice of ginger mixed with bread crumbs, cinnamon, anise seed, licorice and red wine. The recipe was molded into a pastry dough for decorative shapes. During the 17th century, gingerbread evolved to a more cake-like recipe.

During the 11th century in northern Europe, gingerbread fairs became popular. Vendors sold their goods at fairs in England, Germany, France, and Holland. The cookies were cut into fanciful shapes that would later be termed as “gingerbread work.”

The gingerbread of contemporary American Christmas celebrations came to us from old German traditions. German cooks would cut the dough into shapes of men and houses which they baked and decorated. This type of gingerbread house plays a prominent role in the Grimm’s German fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” This information came from Tanya Gulevich’s “Encyclopedia of Christmas.”

Nicole Fowles

Glad You Asked

If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s website at or directly to Nicole at [email protected]. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked.

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