Blessing of the Books

Two of my favorite words are “blessing” and “books” — and the U sponsors and runs an annual event that involves both of these things!

From today’s issue of Royal News:

Have books been a blessing in your life? Pass the blessing on! New and gently used children’s books, suitable for toddlers through young teens, as well as Spanish language books are being collected by the Panuska College of Professional Studies. On December 1, at 3:00 P.M. in the McGurrin Reading Room, Father Pilarz, S.J. will be blessing the books. The books will then be shared with the children of Scranton, and beyond!

Other useful information:

Collections boxes are located in: McGurrin Hall lobby, Weinberg Memorial Library lobby, Brennan Hall second floor, DeNaples Center by the Community Outreach Office and the John Long Center in the Exercise Science area. If you need books picked up from your office or if you would like a collection box placed in or near your office please call 941-6390.

As you can see, the Library is a great place to bring your books for kids who may not have any other opportunities to get books this year. It works out nicely — come to the Library to access the abundance of books and resources we’ve been blessed with as Scranton students, staff and faculty, and if you have any books lying around that you think the children of the greater Scranton area would enjoy, offer that blessing back by donating those books to the Blessing of the Books event! Everyone wins!

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And a special “Thank you!” to our U.S. soldiers — past, present, and future — who have served our nation selflessly and bravely, on this day in which we honor our Veterans! May God bless you and your service!!

Book-to-Movie

I think it goes without saying that usually, the book is better than the movie. But that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy seeing our favorite stories played out in front of us — it’s like a concrete manifestation of our imagination! Or, maybe it isn’t, if the movie doesn’t do your imagination justice… Though this is usually the case, I find that often the best movies are the ones based on books. Maybe it’s because the source material is fleshed out so well, simply because it was first in book-length format.

Either way, I came across a neat website that has movie trailers for soon-to-be released movies, which are based on books. The book covers are side-by-side with the trailers. And I’d say there are some awesome sounding movies coming out in the upcoming year!

So, check it out here. And let us know what books-to-movies you’re looking forward to this year!

For my part, the one I anticipate the most is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This isn’t on that website, but you can see the latest trailer here. But out of the movies on that side-by-side website, I’d say the most interesting-sounding of the lot is The Reader.

What do you think?

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.

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

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

Twilight… in Scranton

  They’re here!!

  Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series is now available in the Weinberg Memorial Library, in the Ed Lab (3rd floor).  Special thanks to our Cataloging and Acquisitions staff, who got the books in and on the shelves so quickly!  Students have already checked out two of the books in the series, but Breaking Dawn and New Moon are still available – for now. You can see whether or not they’ve been snapped up and checked out by searching our Library catalog at http://wml.scranton.edu/search.

If you haven’t yet heard about the Twilight series, you can read about the phenomenon in a Washington Post article here.

Word on the street is that Stephenie Meyer is the new J.K. Rowling  (author of the Harry Potter series).  What’s the word on campus?  Does Twilight live up to the hype?

eBooks, in case of emergency

iTablet
iTablet

I’m somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to reading, that is to say, I prefer paper and ink over plastic and electrons. However, I’m always open-minded and willing to try new things; so, a couple years back, I decided to read Aristophanes’s The Clouds entirely on my desktop computer. Sadly, I couldn’t make it all the way through and eventually ended up taking the book out of the library.

However, I did learn something from my experience, namely that it is possible to read large amounts of text entirely online. Personally, I read online all the time, but usually in the form of newspaper/journal articles and other short passages, though occasionally I have pulled-up a couple chapters from a book, in order to get by for the time being.

So if you left your book on the bus, or the library doesn’t have it (highly unlikely), or your shipment hasn’t come in from Amazon yet and you need to have a chapter read by tomorrow, then I suggest giving some of the following resources a try. Keep in mind, you don’t need an iPhone or iTablet to read most eBooks, usually you can open them up right from your desktop/laptop, or even on most SmartPhones and PDAs.

Here are the top 5 FREE eBook sites, in my humble opinion:

1.) The Online Books Page – An Index of eTexts brought to us free of charge by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

2.) Project Gutenberg – There are over 25,000 free books in the Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalog. A grand total of over 100,000 titles are available at Project Gutenberg Partners, Affiliates and Resources.

3.) Bookyards.com – Bookyards has a total of 16,045 books, 41,384 external web links, 4,197 news & blogs links, 384 videos, 32,787 Ebook links and access to hundreds of online libraries (800,000 Ebooks) for your reading pleasure.

4.) JustFreeBooks – This website is actually a specialized search engine (similar to Google, except only searches eBook sites). Use the search box to find exactly what you are looking for.

5.) MemoWare.com – Contains over 18,000 “premium” titles. I can’t vouch for exactly what they mean by premium titles, but there are some excellent Literature selections and even some Reference texts.

Looking for a few good books?

If you are looking for a good read, check out the Book Sale area located across from the Circulation Desk. You will find some good books that you can purchase for $1.00 or less! Paperbacks are 25 cents each. You’ll find all types of books, from romance novels to the classics and everything inbetween. If you don’t find what you’re looking for today, don’t worry, this is an ongoing sale so new books are always being added. The Book Sale will expand to Galvin Terrace, the little park area just outside the Commons Entrance to the Library, for September 2, 3, 4, and 5 from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

Another place that you will find some light reading is in the Quiet Study Room which is located on the 4th floor. Most of the books in that room are fiction, but you might also find some coffee table books. Other than the Quiet Study Room, there isn’t a separate area where you can find fiction. But if there is a particular book for which you are looking or if you have a favorite author, then you can search the Library’s catalog.