Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shel Silverstein

I grew up on Shel Silverstein and am always horrified to find out not everyone was. Where the Sidewalk Ends is another book that I have given as a gift countless times, because I hope it will delight others as much as it continues to delight me. He is banned because at one time he wrote for playboy, or people were afraid children would do the silly things he describes in his poems, like break dishes to avoid having to wash them.
When I was little, my mother would read a few poems to me before bed. My favorite was "The Worst," which I begged her to read over and over. It's a description of a big, ugly monster, and the last line is "And he's standing right behind you!" She would build the anticipation up, then say that line very loudly and quickly, pointing over my shoulder. I screamed and jumped every single time. She read it to me again when I was in high school and I couldn't help screaming once again. I couldn't help myself, I still love the poem.
--Mary Broussard

Monday, September 29, 2008

Huckleberry Finn

We studied Huckleberry Finn in my 8th grade English class. It wasn't necessarily the kind of book I would have chosen to read at that age - - I would have preferred Wilma Cather or O'Henry or Charles Dickens. But the detailed study of the book opened my eyes to examining literature critically, and it is interesting how often I think back to that chapter in my education. Several years later I learned that the book had been banned at various times and in various places. I didn't understand why - - - I still don't!

--Janet Hurlbert

Headless Cupid & Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret

I saw two of the books on the list that I read a number of times when I was a kid. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume and The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I still have my original copies to give to my daughter when she gets into Young Adult fiction (which I hope she does or I just won't know where she came from!). In fact, I'll probably read them again when I get them out for her. My mom always read what I was reading and loved them as much as I did. They are both such interesting stories and touch on topics that kids deal with growing up. Why people feel the need to ban them is beyond me.
--Lisa Barrett

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Banned Books Week 2008

Today officially kicks of Banned Books Week 2008. This was started by the American Library Association in 1982 to raise awareness of all of the books various people have tried to censor in our history. Most of these efforts are in schools and public libraries, but it occasionally affects academic libraries as well.

I love this week each year because I love to read and many of my favorite books are on the lists of most frequently challenged books. I have invited other members of the library staff to submit stories about their favorite banned books, and those will appear here this week, starting with my own.

Also, vote for your favorite banned book. Your vote will enter you into a raffle to win a $5 gift certificate to the campus store. Faculty and staff's votes will be entered into the raffle to win a $2 Jazzman's gift certificate.

You can also join Amy Rogers (professor in the Education Dept.) and myself for a discussion of banned books in schools. We will talk about the history of book censorship, censorship in schools, and how schools and teachers should handle complaints. This program will take place in the library's classroom on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and will include drinks and food from frequently banned books.

I will never understand how anyone could argue with To Kill a Mockingbird, which I often argue is one of the best books ever written. It transcends gender, racial, and age differences... it has something to appeal to everyone. There are such powerful messages about growing up and respecting people who are different than you, and it was so ahead of its time when it was written. The argument is against the racial slurs that appear in it, but it is very bad people who say those in a very painful scene. I have given this book as a gift so many times, particularly to my non-American friends. It is one I wish everyone would read, and learn from.

-- Mary Broussard

Friday, September 12, 2008

Presidential Election Display

Come see Obama and McCain at the Snowden library... or at least life-size cardboard stand-ups of them! In our newest display, you'll find these as well as magazines with lengthy articles on the two candidates.
Also, check out this great video from Common Craft called Electing a US President in Plain English. It briefly and clearly explains the presidential election process.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Double-sided printing

The library got selected to host a "pilot" double-sided printer. If you use any of the library computers on the first floor, select the LIBRARY1 printer. Under print preferences, you can select "duplex".

The LIBRARY1 printer is the one closest to the library offices, on the south side of the library.

You will still have two pages deducted from your printing allotment, but you will be saving trees and making lengthy articles feel lighter in your backpack!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We Listen!

We are preparing to do a large survey called LibQUAL+ this winter, but we do smaller surveys on an annual basis. There is also a suggestion box near the circulation desk, and you can always e-mail a librarian... my e-mail address is broussm@lycoming.edu and you can send me any feedback you have about the library.

We make many decisions about the library based on student feedback! I can't stress that enough. In the past, we have made the following changes based on student feedback:

  • Longer hours (from 8 a.m. to 7:30 and from midnight to 1 a.m.)
  • Added our own IM reference service
  • Moved the Ask-a-Librarian button on the Web site
  • Added colorful directories, new signs for the Circulation Desk and the Research Help Desk (formerly known as the Reference Desk), as well as interactive maps on our Web site.

I'm sure if I asked the librarians who have been here longer, they could come up with an even more impressive list. Of course, there will always be some things that are beyond our control. These include the number of computers in the library, late-night food service, and additional outlets for laptops. We will continue to work on the latter two issues, but progress will be slow.

So please let us know what you think about the library, its resources, and its services. We care!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Featured as a Reference Universe Case Study

The Snowden Library has been featured by Paratext, the company who makes the Reference Universe database. The feature is a case study where they interviewed librarian Mary Snyder (Broussard) about the innovative ways that the Snowden Library uses Reference Universe in the classroom and on the Web site. We are the only "baccalaureate" library they have created a case study for so far and will use this to market to other four-year college libraries.

Reference Universe is a unique and highly useful database that makes using the reference book colletion much easier. As other databases index journal articles, Reference Universe indexes entries in reference books. With just a few strokes of the keyboard and a click of the mouse, one can be pointed to titles of specific reference books, then specific volumes and page numbers to the relevant articles. Try it out today from our Reference Portal page!