Friday, January 19, 2018

Question Friday!

Ever wonder why Boolean operators have their ungainly name? Students from a Caldwell Student Success class asked the same thing! Here's what I found out...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Year in Review: NewsBank Edition

We have a TON of great resources available in the Library, but one of the coolest may be the NewsBank database, which archives current and historical newspapers from around the world.

NewsBank’s "Year in Review - 2017" succinctly captures what enraptured and enraged American college students—the main users of the database—last year. According to their review, the most popular search topics on the databses included
  • Catalonia
  • Hurricane Irma
  • Judge Roy Moore
  • sexual harassment
  • Hurricane Maria
  • North Korea AND nuclear
  • Tom Brady
  • Golden State Warriors
  • NFL AND protest
  • opioid AND addiction
  • Cassini AND Saturn
  • exoplanets
  • Ken Burns AND Vietnam

These search terms largely focus on the political and the humanitarian: it is clear that students were searching for the facts in controversial topics. Reading many sources and opposing points of view, of course, are the best ways to combat fake news and confirmation bias. And can we just take a moment to notice the use of Boolean operators in those search terms? Go college students!

The review also includes a round-up of important images from the year. They range from the tragic…
People visit a makeshift memorial for victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

People lay flowers after a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Howard University students pray near the site where Heather Heyer was killed when a driver rammed a car into a crowd of demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. About fifty Howard University students visited the site where Heyer died while protesting a white nationalist rally on Saturday Aug. 12. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
To the political…
In this Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, Buffalo Bills players take a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Orchard Park, N.Y. What began more than a year ago with a lone NFL quarterback protesting police brutality against minorities by kneeling silently during the national anthem before games has grown into a roar with hundreds of players sitting, kneeling, locking arms or remaining in locker rooms, their reasons for demonstrating as varied as their methods. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch smiles as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
To infinity and beyond.
Engineer Mar Vaquero monitors the status of NASA's Cassini spacecraft as it enters the atmosphere of Saturn in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. Cassini disintegrated in the skies above Saturn early Friday, following a remarkable journey of 20 years. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Pool)
Consider using the NewsBank database as the starting-block in your research for your next class project. The quick information you find in a newspaper article can lead you to precise keywords and phrases that will help you find the in-depth research sources you need. Contact the TVCC librarians for the database login information or for tips on how to begin your research.

All images in this blog post have been used according to fair use.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Our Top Ten of 2017

We here in the Library read some great books that were released this year. Here are a few of our favorites (in no particular order). Those that are available at our library are marked with an asterisk, but we can order in any of these titles!


The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Recommended by Kelsea

In this haunting hybrid of memoir and true crime account, Marzano-Lesnevich describes how a law school internship set her on a collision course with Ricky Langley, a pedophile and murderer, forcing her to contend with past trauma and preexisting prejudice. Langley was sentenced to death for the 1992 murder of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory, a sentence that was overturned after a surprising request for leniency by the victim’s mother. In an impeccably researched account, Marzano-Lesnevich explores Langley’s childhood, his repeated efforts to get help, suicide attempts, and a prior prison sentence, during which he told a therapist, “‘Don’t let me out of here.’” The author draws parallels to her own history of sexual abuse and the family members who failed to confront her abuser, and she recounts her later battles with an eating disorder and PTSD. Marzano-Lesnevich excels at painting an atmospheric portrait: a staircase becomes an ominous symbol, and a house’s peeling paint looks like “a skin worn by a creature who lurked underneath.” The dual narratives are infinitely layered, as Marzano-Lesnevich allows for each person’s motivations and burdens to unspool through the pages. Her writing is remarkably evocative and taut with suspense, with a level of nuance that sets this effort apart from other true crime accounts. (Publisher's Weekly, 13 February, 2017)


You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie*

Recommended by Kelsea

Intense but unspoken feeling suffuses the bittersweet relationship between a mother and her son in this poignant, conflicted, raucous memoir of a Native American family. Novelist and poet Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) remembers his complicated mother, Lillian, who kept the family together despite dire poverty on the Spokane Reservation but had a contentious relationship with her son featuring bitter fights and years-long silent treatments. He sets their story against a rich account of their close-knit but floridly dysfunctional family and a reservation community rife with joblessness, alcoholism and drug abuse, fatal car crashes, violence, rape and child molestation, murder, and a general sense of being excluded from and besieged by white society. Alexie treats this sometimes bleak material with a graceful touch, never shying away from deep emotions but also sharing wry humor and a warm regard for Native culture and spirituality. The text is rambling, digressive, and sometimes baggy, with dozens of his poems sprinkled in; it wanders among limpid, conversational prose, bawdy comic turns, and lyrical, incantatory verse. This is a fine homage to the vexed process of growing up that vividly conveys how family roots continue to bind even after they seem to have been severed. (Publisher's Weekly, 3 April 2017)


Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Recommended by Kelsea

Beginning on the cusp of the 2000s and spanning more than 25 years, the second novel from Darnielle (Wolf in White Van) is a slow-burn mystery/thriller whose characters are drawn together by an eerie discovery. In his early 20s, Jeremy Heldt lives with his father, Steve—Jeremy’s mother was killed in a car accident six years before—and bides his time clerking at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa, waiting for better prospects to arise. It’s a steady job that keeps him out of the house, though things turn weird when customers begin to report dark, disjointed, unnerving movies-within-the-movies on their rented VHS tapes. At first reluctant to become involved in tracking down the origin of the clips, Jeremy, at the urging of his acquaintance Stephanie Parsons, uncovers the tragic decades-long story behind the videos and experiences an unsavory side of Iowa that he never imagined could exist. Powerfully evoking the boredom and salt-of-the-earth determination of Jeremy, his friends, and a haunted survivor determined to redress a great loss, Darnielle adeptly juggles multiple stories that collide with chaotic consequences somewhere in the middle of nowhere. With a nod to urban legends and friend-of-a-friend tales, the author prepares readers for the surreal truth, the improbable events that “have form, and shape, and weight, and meaning.” (Publisher's Weekly, 12 December 2016)


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson*

Recommended by Christina and Steve

After 27 weeks inching up NPD BookScan’s self-help bestseller lists, author Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life hit #1 in the week ended July 9, 2017. From its very first pages, the HarperOne title takes a confrontational stance against other self-help books. “Much of the self-help world is predicated on peddling highs to people rather than solving legitimate problems,” Manson writes. Instead of positivity, the book urges readers to accept failure and to choose a few things to really care about in life. (Jason Boog, Publsiher's Weekly, 28 July 2017)


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*

Recommended by Christina

Thirty-year-old narrator Eleanor Oliphant’s life in Glasgow is one of structure and safety, but it doesn’t offer many opportunities for human connection. At her job of 10 years as a finance clerk, she endures snickers and sidelong glances from her coworkers because she is socially awkward and generally aloof, and her weekends are spent with copious amounts of vodka. Office IT guy Raymond Gibbons becomes a fixture in her life after they help an elderly man, Sammy Thom, when he collapses in the street. Raymond and Sammy slowly bring Eleanor out of her shell, requiring her to confront some terrible secrets from her past. Her burgeoning friendship with Raymond is realistically drawn, and, refreshingly, it doesn’t lead to romance, though the lonely Eleanor yearns for love. Debut author Honeyman expertly captures a woman whose inner pain is excruciating and whose face and heart are scarred, but who still holds the capacity to love and be loved. Eleanor’s story will move readers. (Publisher's Weekly, 8 May 2017)


God: A Human History by Reza Aslan*

Recommended by Michelle

Aslan (Zealot) addresses ideas about the nature of deities in this wide-ranging work that traces the history of divine beings from the beliefs of humans’ earliest ancestors to contemporary assumptions. The book showcases Aslan’s signature style—verging on academic but always accessible—and his methodological agnosticism as he sets aside claims of truth about “God” in order to explore theories on how humans have come to believe in gods, humanize them, deify humanity, and conceive of gods across the ages. Aslan is adept at translating serious academic theory into lay-reader friendly prose, but he also shares his own perspective as a person of faith and advocates for a renewed pantheism—though he says it can be called by many names. In making his case for pantheism, he barely mentions the voices of Hindu traditions, lesser known pantheistic philosophies, or specific indigenous traditions that have long held beliefs similar to those he advocates. Despite these issues, any general reader interested in religion will find much to learn about how the idea of God or gods has evolved and changed according to geographical, economic, political, and social contexts. (Publisher's Weekly, 9 October 2017)


No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein*

Recommended by Steve

Journalist and activist Klein (This Changes Everything) turns to lessons from her previous books as well as more recent work from fellow journalists and activists as she lays out a blueprint for combating Trumpism and the corporatist policies of his predecessors that made his rise possible. Trump, she writes, “is less an aberration than a logical conclusion” of the previous half-century’s obsession with free-market ideology. Since the 1970s, war, economic shifts, and extreme weather events have been exploited to implement the economic “shock tactics” that underpin neoliberal austerity regimes. These crises are deeply intertwined and “can only be dealt with through collective action,” Klein posits. She also outlines the history of American “racial capitalism” and the “divide-and-terrorize” political strategies that have maintained it to the present day. To counter this, she writes, movements must be prepared to take power and govern together towards multifaceted ends, as “no one movement can win on its own.” Urging social movements to crystallize the yes for which they’re fighting (as opposed to simply resisting), Klein cites the Leap Manifesto in Canada and the Vision for Black Lives in the U.S. as examples of community-developed documents for building a new world. With a genuine sense of hope, Klein illuminates paths to collectively forge an ecologically sound, anticapitalist order. (Publisher's Weekly, 24 July 2017)


Unqualified by Anna Faris*

Recommended by Josh

No review available, but Josh liked it a lot.


Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman

Recommended by Kelsea

Mild departures from the routine inspire neurotic palpitations in these dourly funny essays by humorist Hodgman (The Areas of My Expertise), who pegs his shaggy-dog stories to several unnerving locales. One is around his second home in rural Massachusetts, where he wrestles with anxiety about taking his garbage to the wrong town’s dump (the right dump is a longer drive), gets high and builds witchy cairns in a river, and fights a seesaw battle against raccoon droppings on his property and field mice in his kitchen. Other essays concern his postcollege arrival in New York, where he revels in sliding-scale-priced therapy with a trainee psychologist (“I could talk about jazz violin all day long and she was professionally obligated to listen thoughtfully and pretend to be interested”), and his horrifying Maine sojourns, featuring taciturn locals, insufferable summer people, and blighted confections (“Fudge is repulsive... like a dark, impacted colon blockage that a surgeon had to remove”). Recurring themes include the yearning for perpetual adolescence, the baffling burdens of adulthood (“Homeowners advice: do not put even a single box of stale Cheerios down the garbage disposal, never mind three”), and liberal self-loathing (“There is no mansplaining like white mansplaining”). Hodgman’s sketches ramble a while and then peter out, but the twists of mordant, off-kilter comedy make for entertaining excursions. (Publisher's Weekly, 28 August 2017)


The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Recommended by Christina

Appearing two decades after 1997's celebrated The God of Small Things, Roy's ambitious, original, and haunting second novel fuses tenderness and brutality, mythic resonance and the stuff of front-page headlines. Anjum, one of its two protagonists, is born intersex and raised as a male. Embracing her identity as a woman, she moves from her childhood home in Delhi to the nearby House of Dreams, where hijra like herself live together, and then to a cemetery when that home too fails her. The dwelling she cobbles together on her family's graves becomes a paradoxically life-affirming enclave for the wounded, outcast, and odd. The other protagonist, the woman who calls herself S. Tilottama, fascinates three very different men but loves only one, the elusive Kashmiri activist Musa Yeswi. When an abandoned infant girl appears mysteriously amid urban litter and both Anjum and Tilo have reasons to try to claim her, all their lives converge. Shifting fluidly between moods and time frames, Roy juxtaposes first-person and omniscient narration with "found" documents to weave her characters' stories with India's social and political tensions, particularly the violent retaliations to Kashmir's long fight for self-rule. Sweeping, intricate, and sometimes densely topical, the novel can be a challenging read. Yet its complexity feels essential to Roy's vision of a bewilderingly beautiful, contradictory, and broken world. (Publisher's Weekly, 3 April 2017)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Deck the Halls with Books Aplenty

Around campus this week, you may have noticed our Book Giving Trees bedecked with twinkling lights and hundreds of gift tags. On each tag is information about one child’s favorite books, and if you pick up one of the tags, you were the lucky person who got to buy that child a book they would cherish forever. All of the books donated to the Library book drive go to a student in one of our local schools.

I love buying books for the children I find on the tree; I always find a little boy or girl who has the same interests as I do. I’ve given craft books, cook books, historical novels, fantasy books—all books that I would read in a heartbeat. I feel a connection with each child I buy a book for, and I can only imagine that, as she opens up her package and finds Esperanza, Rising, or he pulls off the gift wrap to Coraline, they feel something, too. That they feel excited, loved, and inspired.

And isn’t that what a holiday book drive should be about? A community coming together to care for their children, to give them the gift of imagination, adventure, knowledge, and joy? I certainly think so.

This year, I hope everyone on our campus (and beyond!) is able to feel the sense of unity and connection I feel when giving books to the drive. So here’s how you can help:

  • Find one of our Book Giving Trees between November 27 and December 8. We’ll have them set up in Barber Hall, the Science Center, and the Library. Choose a gift tag (or two or three) and buy a new book that the child on the tag might like. Return the unwrapped book and the tag to any of the boxes under the Book Tag Trees. Feel your heart grow three sizes.
  • Make a donation directly to the Library. We’ll do the book shopping, and you can still feel a warmth in your chest.
  • Join the Library for a bit of gift wrapping. We’ll have close to a thousand books to gift wrap, and any help we can get would be most appreciated. (Gift wrap party details coming soon!)
All book or money donations are due December 8. The Library thanks you for any amount of help you can give during the book drive!

If you want to contribute a book but are out of ideas of what to buy, we have a few suggestions.
For kindergartners and first-graders…

Skippyjon Jones is a kitty boy who knows that, deep inside, he is a Chihuahua. When he dons his cape and mask, Skippyjon can go anywhere and do anything…and be anything he wants! I highly recommend Judy Schachner’s Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble.
Image result for skippyjon jones in mummy trouble

For second and third-graders…

This is the perfect time to introduce kids to the genius of Roald Dahl. If you don’t know his name, you’ll recognize his most famous work Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His book The Twits is just the right length and has just the right amount of mild peril and crusty old people to steal a third-grader’s heart!
Image result for the twits

For fourth and fifth-graders…

I’m going to throw back to my favorite fantasy series for our fourth and fifth-graders, The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. The magical realm of Prydain is home to a young pig-keeper named Taran who cares for a very special prophetic pig…and saves the kingdom on a regular basis, of course. These books are heavy on adventure and Welsh folk lore. Start with The Black Cauldron for the best introduction to the world and its odd cast of characters.
Image result for the black cauldron book

For middle-schoolers and high schoolers…
I always think a protagonist the age of the young adult who is going to read the book is the best way to nab their attention. Nonfiction books that feature a strong person their age who is actively changing the world? Bingo! A novel that features characters navigating the same problems they might be having at school or at home? No contest. My top three include I Am Malala (nonfiction), Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
Image result for i am malalaImage result for eleanor and parkImage result for the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Politics, Truth, and Personality

As November is coming to a close and to wrap up our month of political highlights here at the Library, we are hosting a community movie night to watch the 2017 film, All the Way. 
Why this movie?  Well, to begin with, it's written by Pacific Northwest native Robert Schenkkan...and we are big fans.  Schenkkan's plays have a unique way of capturing point of views beyond the norm and challenging audiences to look at the world differently.  With wit and humor, he keeps us entertained and shows us something extraordinary.  This talent has earned him Tony awards and even a Pulitzer.Yes, we are fans of Schenkkan's work.  His play, All the Way premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012, and we wish you could have all seen it there.  It was phenomenal.  This launch brought the play to national attention quickly, landing it in theaters with none other than the remarkable Bryan Cranston as the lead role playing LBJ.  Cranston, having gathered fame in roles such as the acclaimed series Breaking Bad, held to his standard and wowed audiences, earning Tony nominations along the way.  We are delighted to bring the 2017 HBO adaptation of All the Way to you here at TVCC.
Besides being fans of Schenkkan and Cranston, this movie has something to say to us that is worth seeing.  The characters, true to their true nature, are not perfect.  The president and others in that crazy circus we call our political machine have agendas and hopes, intentions that are good and some less so.  In a time where our nation seems quite divided and in a state of unrest, we turn to politicians for leadership, for direction, and hope for social change.  Yet, we our level of trust in our politicians is abysmally low. We hope for change.  We call for newness and good to prevail.  Few periods in our history  say so much about those desires than the civil rights movement.  In a time of political unrest and upheaval, great forward steps were made in advancing equality and making the heart of what the United States should be, a free and equal society, shine out in the darkness.  What All the Way accomplishes with great aplomb is to open a door to the time and work change takes.  Change isn't easy.  People aren't all that we often hope they will be.  Still, this movie is full of the good that can come of working and moving forward towards a goal.  Funny.  Shocking.  Insightful.  Yes, it's definitely one you should come and see.  Join us November 29th in the Science Center, room 104 at 6 p.m. for a great evening.  Everyone is welcome.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Our History

November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.
Currently in the Library, there is a display honoring and acknowledging the Native Americans. There are books dealing with the trials and tribulations of their history, different tribal cultures, current political issues and concerns, art, and Navajo code talkers. There is fiction by Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, and Craig Lesley, the beautiful, poignant poetry of Joy Harjo and Leslie Marmon Silko. and several documentaries and movies, too.

Want to learn more?

Visit the Indian County Today website to learn five ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

The First Nations Development Institute has a recommended reading list with a wide range of topics: History/Politics, Popular History, Imagery, Education and many more.

The PBS website is celebrating the history, culture, and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives in a special collection of films, short stories and resources from Public Television.

Standing Bear and his family. He was an Indian chief who redefined what it means to be an American.
Contributed by staff librarian Michelle Sadamori.

Call # 813.54 Si34c

Call # 813.54 Al279t

Call # FIC Er27l

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Freedom of the Press

In our last post, I wrote about Dan Rather's idea that patriotism is a dialogue. One of our great American values is the freedom of the press, a freedom that ensures an ongoing dialogue about our political process. While there are many excellent books and films that document and celebrate the freedom of the press, and even challenge it, critics generally agree that All the President's Men is one of the best.

All the President's Men (1976) tells the story of the two reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who cracked the Watergate scandal during Richard Nixon's presidency. The critical consensus about the film, according to the review site Rotten Tomatoes, is that it is "a taut, solidly acted paean to the benefits of a free press and the dangers of unchecked power, made all the more effective by its origins in real-life events."

So it's a good movie. But what do we learn about our political process by watching the film?

We learn that, as Bob Woodward has often said, "democracy dies in darkness," that just as dangerous as Rather's "monologue of nationalism" is the silence of our government. In order for the people to have a voice in the direction of our nation, the people must be informed about government actions and policies in a consistent, honest, and unbiased manner.

All of this is easy to say, but much harder to execute. It is up to us, as the American people, to advocate for a free press while holding that same press accountable:

When we see a shocking news headline, we should think before we click.

When we see a questionable article, we should self-check the news.

When we see fake news, not only should we call it out, we should search for the real story. A great place to start your search is at the local library!

Want more? Pair All the President's Men with Frost/Nixon (2008). Both are available at the Library!

A DVD cover of "All the President's Men." Text reads "The most devastating detective story of this century."
Call # DVD 070.92 A1517al
A DVD cover of "Frost/Nixon." Text reads "Ron Howard's finest film yet."
Call # DVD 973.924 F9295f