I’ve been contemplating posting a series of the interesting questions that I get asked at the Information Services desk, but after a few slow weeks, I’m not confident that I’ll be able to post them with any regularity. Maybe I’m just picky. I answer reference questions every day, but not all of them have me doing in-depth research on quirky topics. So, rather than promise a question of the day or week, I’ve decided to post the fun ones (minus any personally-identifying information, of course) as they come, and tag them as IRQ (Interesting Reference Question) posts. If you have your own IRQs, please feel free to share in the comments section!
The other day a patron called asking about a number of cities in Ohio as possible places for her aging parents to relocate. The research came with a number of specifications: she wanted the city to be located on a limestone foundation, at a high elevation, and as close as possible to their family in D.C. and Atlanta. Follow-up questions also included cost of living and crime statistics, public transportation systems in the various cities, and directions from here to the city she decided would be the best fit.
This query had me looking in all kinds of places. I found a Bedrock Geologic Map of Ohio, courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Geological Survey and looked at the composition of the bedrock in the different regions she’d selected. (After first determining which county each city was in, and in some cases zooming in on maps of said counties to get a better idea of what the bedrock in that specific location looked like.) I also looked up elevations, directions from each city to D.C. and Atlanta, and whether there was a public transit system. While most of that was found on Google, I did take a look at some census statistics, and returned to an old favorite from my days of location scouting while I was job hunting, Sperling’s BestPlaces. The site provides information about cost of living, crime, demographics, and more, compared against the U.S. averages for reference. (If you want to know where they get their data, check out their about page.)
While I certainly don’t consider myself a geologist, or a Realtor, I had fun investigating these parts of Ohio. I learned a little more about the state, and about geology.