Did you know?

The Weinberg Memorial Library has several Dell and Gateway laptops that University of Scranton students can borrow, for free!  You can check out a laptop at the Circulation desk and use it anywhere in the Library, for up to three hours.  All you need is your Royal Card.

laptop1

Circulation coordinator Pat Savitts gave me a few pointers for laptop borrowers:

  • If your three hours are up and you haven’t finished your work, you can call down to the Circulation desk from your cell phone to renew your loan – as long as no other students are waiting for a laptop.
  • Don’t leave your borrowed laptop unattended.  If you need to step away from it, ask a friend to keep an eye on it for you.
  • Be prepared to either save your work to a flash drive or email it to yourself.  To protect your privacy, your files will be automatically deleted when you shut down the laptop.
  • Our laptops aren’t connected to the UniPrint system, so if you need to print your work, either save it to a flash drive or email it to yourself, and then use one of the computers in the Pro Deo room or the second floor computer lab (or any other computer lab on campus) to print.

Happy borrowing… and don’t forget to vote today!

Library staff on stage

Looking for a scare?  This weekend, the Actors Circle of Scranton presents “Jekyll and Hyde,” a Broadway musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (haven’t gotten to read it yet?  You can borrow it from the Library!).

Library staff member David Hunisch plays Simon Stride, Jekyll’s rival.  I got to see the show last weekend, and David’s performance as the pretentious Simon was spot on.  He did a fantastic job transforming himself into a villain.

Jekyll and Hyde will be at the Providence Playhouse in Scranton all weekend – the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows are at 8pm, and you can also catch a matinee on Sunday at 2pm.  Tickets are $15 for the general public, but students can get tickets for $10.  Call 570-342-9707 for reservations.

To David and the cast, from all of us here at the Weinberg Memorial Library — break a leg!

New face at WML – Reference Librarian

Greetings to all University students, faculty, staff, and members of the public! I am yet another new staff member at the Weinberg Memorial Library (WML).  My name is Neil Grimes and I was born and grew up in Wilkes-Barre which is a part of the Northeast PA region.  You can find me working at the Reference desk on Sundays from 12pm-5pm and Monday evenings from 6pm-11:30pm.  I began working at the WML back in March of this year.  Everyone has been very welcoming and supportive!  I can’t thank everyone enough for making me feel like the University of Scranton is almost like a second home.  Each day that I spend on campus I find that I learn something different and something new from my co-workers, students, faculty, and members of the public.  

For my undergraduate education, I attended King’s College in Wilkes-Barre where I majored in history and secondary education.  During my undergraduate years, I worked at UPS where I sorted, scanned, and loaded packages and mail that was being sent to places all over the United States.  If you are curious as to how the whole shipping process works, feel free to ask me.  Following my four years at King’s I went on to graduate school at Clarion University of Pennsylvania where I received my Master’s in Library Science.  Following graduation, I began working as a high school librarian in the Wilkes-Barre area. 

Among the skills that I feel one needs to succeed in the 21st century are critical thinking skills, effective writing skills, public speaking skills, and research skills.  These are all skills that I have sharpened over the years and that I use on a daily basis.  Whether we realize it or not, people are constantly using their research skills when they seek to answer questions in their daily lives.  Librarians are very helpful in instructing people as to the best way to research and answer questions, even the most difficult questions.  You would be surprised as to how much you can learn from librarians!  Don’t be afraid to ask for help as librarians are very good to pointing you to the information that you are looking for.

I have been interested in reading and libraries as far back as I can remember.  Among the first books that I ever read were by Dr. Seuss, as I am sure that these are among the first books that most children read.  The most recent book that I finished was I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, a true crime story that solves the case of Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance once and for all.  I won’t reveal any of the details, but I do highly recommend that you read the book.  Recently, I read that Martin Scorsese is going to make this book into a movie starring Robert DeNiro. 

"I Heard You Paint Houses"

Outside of spending time in libraries , I love to travel and have been to Italy, Toronto, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Tampa, Florida, and Lawrence, Kansas.  This is not a comprehensive list of the places that I have been to, but it does hit many of the highlights.  Every new place I travel to brings with it new memories as well as the opportunity for some great photographs.  There are some great places to take photographs on campus, don’t be afraid to capture some memories when the chance presents itself.

Why is 94% so great?

Last May when they picked up their commencement information, graduation garb, and other necessary materials for making their final exit from the University of Scranton, the graduating class of 2008 completed their Senior Survey.   In this survey, students are asked a variety of questions about their experience at the “U” during the past four years.  Questions range from cafeteria food to lab equipment and virtually every other subject in between.  Of course we as librarians are always interested in their opinion of how they found the library resources and services to be useful and helpful to their academic careers.  The results for the Class of 2008 are in and the great news is that the seniors experienced a 94% satisfaction rate with the Library.  This figure is also compared to students at other colleges and universities in our peer institutions – and we excel here as well.  I would like to pose a question to all readers of this blog.  If you were to take the Senior Survey today (no matter if you are a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) what one improvement would you make to raise the satisfaction level even higher?  Every few years the library undertakes a survey sent to a random sampling of students asking questions about library resources, hours, services, etc.  But this informal question can help us make improvements (if realistic and within the bounds of fiscal responsibility) even before the next survey reaches your Royalmail account.

Going digital

A page from "Prominent Men of Scranton and Vicinity," one of WML's newly digitized books

A page from “Prominent Men of Scranton and Vicinity”

This fall, the Weinberg Memorial Library is one of 14 institutions participating in a mass digitization pilot project.  The program is headed by PALINET, a network of more than 600 libraries, archives, and museums  in the mid-Atlantic region, with a goal of making electronic copies of interesting books available to the public via the internet.

So far, we’ve had six local history books digitized by Internet Archive.   All six were written before 1923, which means means that they’re in the public domain – so we can post them on the internet without violating anyone’s intellectual property rights.  What’s fantastic about the digitized books is that:

  1. they’re now accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime (while the physical books are only available to people who visit the WML Special Collections library in person, during limited hours), and
  2. they’re full-text searchable!

Check out our books on the Internet Archive website here.  You can browse through the books using the “flip book” viewer, and you can also download PDF copies of each book.  If your family is from the area, be sure to use the full text search box in the flip book viewer to search for your last name – the books are great resources for genealogists.  Or just look at the great pictures, like this 1882 line drawing of the proposed design for the Lackawanna County Courthouse from “Memorial of the Erection of Lackawanna County” (if it looks a bit different from what you see on the Square today, it is!) —

Proposed Lackawanna County Courthouse, 1882

Proposed Lackawanna County Courthouse, 1882

Happy Fall Break!!

 

The leaves of Northeastern PA

The leaves of Northeastern PA

 

Now that midterms are over, take a walk outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and amazing foliage that Fall has brought us!! 

The Library is closed until Tuesday, October 14th, when we will reopen at our regular hours of 8am-11:30pm. 

We look forward to seeing everyone refreshed and ready for the second half of the semester… See you then!

Banned Books Week

Since 1982, the American Library Association has declared the last week of September as “Banned Books Week.” According to ALA, “BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.”

To learn more about Banned Books, check out the ALA website. We also have a copy of ALA’s Banned Books Resource Guide in our Reference collection here at the Library. And don’t forget to check out our display on Banned Books, which you can find in the Quiet Study room on the 4th floor of the Weinberg.

Here’s a list of the top 10 books challenged in 2007 – have you read any?

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7) “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Need Journal Articles from 1865?

Then JSTOR is a database you want to try.

If you are looking for journal articles from as far back as 1865, this database will provide them for you, and in .PDF full-text format too. Here’s how you would run a search for your topic, in order to find articles about that topic, which were written in bygone days:

  • Select JSTOR on our A-Z List of Databases.
  • The way to narrow your search to find journal articles from a specific time period is to place a check-mark in the box next to “Article” under “Limit To: Type:” and then to put the range of years you are looking for in the “Limit To: Date Range:” fields. So, for example, if I want journal articles on my topic from the years 1865-1940, I will check off “Articles” and then put “From: 1865” and “To: 1940.”
  • Then, type your search topic into the Advanced Search field at the top of the page. Keep in mind that your topic may have been called by a different name back in the 1800s!
  • Then click “Search,” look for article titles that cover what you need, click into them to read the abstracts (summaries) as needed, and select the .PDF option for viewing, printing and saving the articles for your research.

Remember, if you’re working from home or your dorm, make sure you first sign into My.Scranton.edu, and then select “A-Z Database Listing” from inside the Library tab. This way, when you eventually get to JSTOR, the database will recognize you as a student, and it will let you access the full-text .PDF of the articles you need.

Ever wonder what was being written about, say, librarians, in the late 1800s-early 1900s? Go give the search a try to find out!* There is one very interesting article from 1929 about a study of ways that librarians cultivated “wholesome reading interests” back then (“Methods Employed to Stimulate Interests in Reading. I” by William F. Rasche, from The School Review, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Jan., 1929), pp. 29-36) — very interesting indeed.

*So, okay, I know most of you probably don’t care about librarians and our fascinating history as public figures in the community… Ahem. But! Whatever your research interest is (for instance, I know there’s an assignment going around about researching the same social issue in 3 different historical time periods) JSTOR is a great place to start in your search for old journal articles on the topic.

Before You Vote, Surf

The 2008 presidential election is coming up quickly — only 40 more days until November 4th!

With all of the debates, town halls, news stories, and sound bites, it’s hard to keep up with all of the information from and about the candidates – even if you are a devoted CSPAN viewer.  And, here in the Library, we encourage everyone to examine information from several sources and think critically about a source’s accuracy, reliability, validity, and potential bias.  So I thought it might be a good idea to highlight a few useful news and fact-checking websites to help you make an informed decision on Election Day.

One of my favorites is the non-partisan Annenberg Political Fact Check, aka FactCheck.org.  The site reviews political ads and commercials from both campaigns and checks to see whether their statements are accurate.  They also answer “questions of the day,” submitted by the public, to help you understand the background behind various rumors and accusations — today’s is “Did Sarah Palin make rape victims pay for their own rape kits?” (Answer: “Palin’s police chief in Wasilla did that. Whether Palin supported this is not certain”).

As a recent transplant from Virginia, I’m also a fan of a Washington Post blog called “The Fact Checker,” where blogger Michael Dobbs grades the candidates’ claims.  He assigns between 1-4 “Pinocchios” to let you know whether a statement was absolutely true, completely false, or somewhere in the middle (for example, true but misleading).  The Post also has a neat 2008 Campaign Toolbox, filled with links to up-to-date news, polls, and analysis.  CNN has a similar site, the Election Center 2008.

Of course, after digesting all of this political information, you’ll need a break! That’s when it’s time to go watch a few episodes of The Daily Show.

Most importantly, though, don’t forget to register to vote.  There’s been a table for voter registration in DeNaples every day during lunch, or you can download a Pennsylvania voter registration form (and find out more about voting in Pennsylvania) at www.votesPA.com, a website published by the Pennsylvania Department of State.  And let us know where *you* find your election information, by posting a comment.