Monthly Archives: June 2009

Monday Motivator: Develop empathy.

A simple definition of empathy  is the abilty to understand someone’s feelings, thoughts, and concerns. It’s the ability to walk a mile in another’s shoes. It is a soft skill that reaps great benefits.

At a college, we employees are so enmeshed in the academic world that we sometimes forget how overwhelming things can be for the prospective or new student. Taking a minute to understand where the person is coming from can defuse an awkward, or even hostile, situation

Here are some daily practices to develop empathy:

  •  Listen to people. This would seem obvious, but how many of us are actually thinking about the next thing we need to do while ‘listening’ to someone?
  • Don’t interrupt people.
  • Don’t rush to give advice before listening all the way through.
  • Don’t dismiss others’ concerns as minor.
  • Encourage people to speak up.
  • Ask questions to get the full story.
  • Just think how you would want to be treated if you were the person, and then act accordingly.

Source material: Bruna Martinuzzi: The Leader as a Mensch.

Read for Fun: Our New Exhibit!

Do you associate the Kisber Library with academic tomes only, heavy subjects that you’re trying to escape from in the summer? Then take a second look at us!

Don’t hate us because we’re smart! We’re fun too!

Our new exhibit features our fun books–books just right for taking along to the beach or the pool or lazing away a sunny afternoon. Come by and take a look, and then take one home.

Here are some of our favorites:

Andrew is amazed by the political ravings of Stephen Colbert.
Andrew is amazed by the political ravings of Stephen Colbert.
Our wonderful student worker, Po, likes short stories.
Our wonderful student worker, Po, likes short stories.
Emily checks out the excellent thriller, In the Woods.
Emily checks out the excellent thriller, In the Woods.

The Monday Motivator: Practice Humility.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to be using The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow by Bruna Martinuzzi as a guide. For Martinuzzi, we are all leaders in some aspects of our lives, and her advice is very useful for bosses, employees, family members, and friends.

 According to the Random House dictionary, humility is defined as the “modest opinion of one’s importance or rank.” Humility has gotten something of a bad rap in the work force today. We’ve been to told to get noticed and let people know of our accomplishments.

But Jim Collins, in his key book on business success Good to Great notes that leaders of really successful companies have in common the ability to put aside their personal egos for the good of the companies they lead. Having humility does not mean denying our accomplishments, but accepting them without arrogance. A person with humility respects others’ accomplishments and is patient with their faults, knowing how easy it is to make mistakes.

Some practices for humility:

  • Don’t get engaged in “contests of perfection,” where both sides try to look good and avoid admitting mistakes. Simply step back and let the other person have the limelight.
  • Let other people be right.
  • Don’t preach or coach without permission.
  • Don’t attempt to do others’ job. Although you might think you’re doing someone a favor when you take over a task they’re struggling with, it is actually belittling.
  • The next time something goes wrong, don’t spend time assigning blame. Instead, ask ‘What can we learn from this?’

Let Them Have Their Cake and Eat it Too: Google Scholar

By guest blogger: Emily  Bush, Instructional Librarian

As librarians we attempt to convince students that subscription databases search as intuitively as Google – “It’s easy just insert ‘AND’ between each word, think of three different ways to say the same thing, make sure to click full text, hit search then weed your way through 300 irrelevant results OR try again.” Though several database services have changed their interfaces to look and act more like Google, students continue to Google their way through Comp I (and beyond) . So why then do we steer students away from Google, the king of searching with no heir apparent? First and foremost, students can’t access the full text of most journals and magazines through Google –– or at least not without digging into their pocketbooks. Enter Google Scholar – Google’s nerdy stepsibling hidden under Google’s “more” menu.


Google Scholar looks and acts just like Google; however, it only searches scholarly journal articles. In fact, you can search articles from the Nashville State databases through Google Scholar. To do so click on “Scholar Preferences:”

scholarpreferThen scroll down and choose Nashville State Community College (make sure to uncheck all the other boxes).  Save your preferences.


Now you can perform your search in Google Scholar (no ANDs, ORs, or NOTs required).The items Nashville State owns will say “Full-Text availability at NSCC.” Clicking the link will bring you to NSCC’s journal finder. Now you can click on any database with full access to the article and you’re there.


The Monday Motivator: Mentor a Child

I’m not talking here about formal mentoring, although that is a very wonderful thing to do. What I am talking about is just showing the children you know ways to be happy and responsible adults. One of my proudest moments came from a young friend of mine who told her grandmother, “You know, I’ve always thought that you had to be married to be happy, but now I’m no longer scared of being single. Faye seems to be one of the happiest people I know, and she’s not married.”

This week, let’s be conscious of the messages we send to children around us. Are we saying, by our example, that it’s okay to snap at others when we’re grumpy or things don’t go our way? Do we show that it’s okay to shortchange a business because “it’s only a few cents and corporations make a lot of money”? Do we show them that our work is meaningful, no matter what it is?

I’ve recently been hanging out with a three-year-old, and I have become painfully aware that children soak up messages right and left from all sorts of sources. Let’s make sure we send them the right ones.

The Monday Motivator: Get Rid of Junk Mail!


  • Almost half of all junk mail goes unopened. Only about 2% ever gets a response.
  • The average person gets 500 pieces of junk mail a year.
  • 5.6 million tons of catalogs and direct mail ads wind up in landfills each year.
  • A year’s worth of junk mail destroys more than a million trees.

Take action:

  • Remove yourself from as many mailing lists as you can.
  • When you enter a contest, fill out a warranty card, or donate to a charity, make sure you write “don’t rent or sell my name” on the form.
  • Recycle the junk mail you do receive.

How the Library Can Help You During Summer Term

Don’t think all your librarians are at the beach this summer. We’re here ready to help you. Here’s what the library can offer you during the shortened summer term:

  • Are you from another college taking NSCC classes for the summer? Then stop by and become acquainted with our databases. We’re more than happy to help you understand the differences among them and which one would be the best for your assignment.
  • If you have an assignment and need some help on finding resources, come by the reference desk and ask for help. Some students feel embarrassed and shy to ask, especially if there has already been a library orientation for their class. Don’t be. We know that summer students are often on information overload.
  • Many students take online courses in the summer. Don’t think that means that you don’t have access to a librarian. If your instructor does not have an embedded librarian for the class, you can still get research help by coming by the reference desk or asking a question through the Ask-the-Librarian link on the library homepage.

Just remember: the library staff is here to help you! Just stop by either in person or online.

Monday Motivator: Appreciate Music!

While many people decide to better themselves with New Year’s resolutions, I think summer is the time to try new things, take up hobbies, and just do things for fun. The weather is good. There seems to be a little more time.

So for this week, do something musical. If you know how, play something! If not, maybe it’s time to sign up for those lessons you’ve always wanted to take. But even if you have no sense of rhythm or timing or anything else (and I’m talking about myself), there are so many opportunities to appreciate music.

Living in Music City, there are almost unlimited opportunities to listen to live music. Consider the Frist Fridays at the  First Center. The Nashville Symphony always has something going on. And there’s always the CMA Festival. And don’t forget the amount of live music you can find in Nashville on any given night at various bars, clubs, and restaurants.

At the very least, turn off those loud-mouths on talk radio, put in a CD or plug in your Ipod, and listen to some great music on your summer trips.