Monthly Archives: September 2009

Happy Birthday TEL!–Guest Post by Sally Robertson

The Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) is 10 years old this October.  TEL is a great resource for all Tennesseans to use to find information.   It is a virtual library that gives access to over 400,000 electronic resources, and is available anywhere there is internet availability:  at home, school, work, or even on your iPhone.    (www.tntel.info)

In May 1997 TEL began with 18 databases, now there are 34 databases.  They range from EBSCO’s Points of View Database, which includes essays and audio and video full text content on all subjects, to Tennessee specific databases.   For research there are the Gale Databases that give people access to articles from both scholarly journals and popular magazines.  Many of the articles contain the full text right in the database. 

For finding out Tennessee news there is a link to newspapers that goes to NewsBank’s Tennessee Newspaper Collection.  Right now it contains the Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis newspapers.   Up until July 1, 2009 the Tennessean was included, but now the Tennessean is only provided through ProQuest.  The Tennessee State Library is working on getting the Tennessean back.  

TEL does have a genealogy database through ProQuest called: Heritage Quest Online.  It contains family history books, federal census records, Freedman’s Bank records and more. 

There is also a test preparation site called Learning Express Library.  Here you will not only find interactive practice tests for elementary through college students, but also exercises and skill-building courses.  There is also a whole learning center devoted to helping you find the right job.    You can create your own account in Learning Express Library so you can actually take practice tests. 

For historical research check out Tennessee’s Landmark Documents, Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA), and Volunteer Voices.    Tennessee’s Landmark Documents is a part of TeVA.  It is a digital collection of Tennessee’s most significant historic documents taken directly from the originals.  The documents can be browsed or searched by keyword.  TeVA can  be searched by keyword or by browsed by collection. 

If you are having trouble deciding what to read next you might want to check out the Gale database What do I Read Next?  Searchable by author, title or series.  You can also browse the award winning books or search by genre.

Everything in TEL is provided free for all state of Tennessee residents, through the Tennessee State Library and Archives.  The statewide password is: elvis.  (This stands for: Electronic Library Virtual Information System.)   Check it out!  If you think it is useful thank your legislators.

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Monday Motivator: Read a Banned Book!

This week is Banned Books Week, sponsored by American Library Association. Each year, the association keeps statistics on book challenges throughout the nation. Most books are challenged at the K-12 level, and most are challenged by parents. The reasons are across the board and across the political spectrum.

What are some of this year’s challenged books?

  • The Color Purple—Concerns about homosexuality, rape, and incest in the book.
  • A People’s History of the United States—Claimed to be “leftist, un-American propaganda.”
  • In Country—Claims of inappropriate sexual content and graphic language.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird—Concerns that black children would be upset.
  • Bless Me, Ultima—Claims that the book is profane and anti-Catholic.
  • Black Hawk Down—Claims that the book violates the school district’s policy on cursing.
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—Claims the book is too pornographic and at odds with student behavior promoted in the school handbook.

Time magazine also compiled a list of the most banned books in history. They include the following:

  1. Candide
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  3. Brave New World
  4. Nineteen Eighty-Four
  5. The Catcher in the Rye
  6. Lolita
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
  8. The Anarchist Cookbook
  9. The Satanic Verses
  10. Harry Potter Series

Why should we care about books being challenged and banned? Perhaps the second list above might provide the answer. A glance over it shows that some classic books have been considered too obscene, risky, and revolutionary during various time periods. We can always decide that a book is too obscene, radical, or even stupid for us to read, but most librarians’ stance would be this: It should be our decision, not someone else’s.

Faculty and Staff Recommendations: Week 4

 

emily naff

Emily Naff

Photography Faculty

Recommends

The Americans

By

Robert Frank

Why? 

“Robert Frank’s “The Americans” is one of my all time favorite photo books.   The book was controversial when first released because it showed a darker side of America that many people didn’t want to acknowledge existed at the time.   Jack Kerouac described it best, “…with that little camera that he [Robert Frank} raises and snaps, with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world.”  The work in this book is a powerful illustration of the fact that photographs can evoke the same emotions as poetry.”

The Monday Motivator: Get a Flu Shot.

The seasonal flu vaccine is here, and you can get your flu shot in most places: your doctor’s office or any drugstore or grocery store that has a pharmacy. Although the H1N1 flu is getting all the press this year, it is still important to get the regular flu shot as well. Why? According to the CDC, 200,000 people are hospitalized, on average, each year from complications of the flu, and 36,000 die. Even if you are not in a high-risk category, by getting the shot, you help protect those you live and work with who might be.

For more information, go to the CDC website.

Faculty and Staff Book Recommendations: Week 3

 

emily naff

Emily Naff

Photography Faculty

Recommends

The Americans

By

Robert Frank

Why? 

“Robert Frank’s “The Americans” is one of my all time favorite photo books.   The book was controversial when first released because it showed a darker side of America that many people didn’t want to acknowledge existed at the time.   Jack Kerouac described it best, “…with that little camera that he [Robert Frank} raises and snaps, with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world.”  The work in this book is a powerful illustration of the fact that photographs can evoke the same emotions as poetry.”

Asking Good Questions Online.

The Kisber Library has many ways that you can ask us questions when you’re not in the library. There is the Ask-the-Librarian link on the library homepage. Furthermore, many of the NSCC web classes have embedded librarians where you can email questions about research projects in your classes. And you can email any of us individually using our campus email addresses.

But to make sure that we help you to the best of our ability, we need you to follow three simple guidelines when submitting questions:

  • First, our purpose as an academic library is to help you conduct research. We are not allowed to answer the questions you have for homework, but we can direct you to sources that will help you answer them.
  • Remember that, in many cases, we have not seen your assignment; therefore, we need you to state your question as clearly as possible.
    • For example, an ineffective question might be: “article on children”
      • Why is this ineffective? We would need the following information before we could provide you with any real help:
        • Is it any article or a journal article?
        • What class is this for? Education? Psychology? Sociology?
        • There are hundreds of thousands of articles on children. What aspect are you interested in?
    • An effective question would be more like this: “I have to write an article summary on children for my psychology class. It has to come from journal. I am interested in male preteens and depression.” This gives us much more to work with!
  • Third, we are not miracle workers, and we’re not superhuman. We sleep and have downtime. So don’t send us a question that has to be answered in fifteen minutes because the assignment is due in a hour.  Monday through Friday, we answer questions the same day we receive them.  Questions submitted on the weekends will be answered on Mondays. We take school holidays, just the way you do. So look over an assignment and ask your questions early, so we’ll have time to answer them and you’ll have time to do your research before your assignment is due.

Monday Motivator: Build Self-Efficacy.

Self-esteem has gotten a bad rap lately, especially since some studies implied that American middle-class children often had excellent self-esteem, but it wasn’t translating into any sort of accomplishment. The days when everybody gets a ribbon may be over. Self-efficacy is now the new catch phrase.

According to Wikipedia, “Self-efficacy is the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner to attain certain goals. It is a belief that one has the capabilities to execute the courses of actions required to manage prospective situations.” It is not just feeling good about yourself. Many goal setting theorists believe that self-efficacy is the cornerstone of success.

Therefore, it is not only important that we have self-efficacy, but it is crucial for those of us in  educational fields that we provide experiences to build the skill in our students as well. How can we build self-efficacy? Caroline Adams Miller and Michael Frisch in the book, Creating Your  Best Life, suggest four ways we can enhance our self-efficacy:

  • Have role models.
    • Read biographies of people who have succeeded in your field of choice.
    • Look for people in your daily life who can serve as role models. If you want to be a better student, make friends with the good students in your classes.
  • You need a cheerleader. But not someone who will praise you whether you succeed at your goal or not, or allows you to make excuse after excuse. A good cheerleader gives you realistic feedback  and then provides guidance for improvement.
  • Learn to manage stress. Don’t let pain or bad moods get in the way of success.
  • Have a series of winning experiences. One of the best ways to do this is to break large goals down into smaller steps. Achieving each small goal allows us to believe in ourselves and gives us the skills to take on bigger tasks.

A Sampling of New Books!

The library is always adding new books that will help you with your research, expand your knowledge, or simply entertain you. Here is a sample of what’s on the New Books Shelf now:

  • 101 Facts about Bullying. Parents and teachers will find this book enlightening. Written in a simple format, Meline Kevorkian and Robin D’Antona present key information that anyone facing bullying needs to know.
  • Earth Talk: Expert Answers to Everyday Questions about the Environment. Do you want to know if we’re really running out of oil? Or maybe you want to find out how to save energy in your own home. This book of selections from E-The Environmental Magazine is for you.
  • What Every American Should Know about the Middle East. A lot of us talk about the Middle East, and a lot of us are misinformed. Melissa Rossi gives us a quick overview of the region, including the real facts behind our misconceptions, a brief history, and a country-by-country tour. It’s on the Jolly Librarian’s to-read list.

These and many others are on the new book exhibit in the Kisber Library, just waiting for you to check them out!

The Monday Motivator: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

According to the book, Every Monday Matters:

  • The United States produces 4.5 pounds of waste per person per day.
  • 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour.
  • An average of 750,000 photocopies are made every minute.
  • Only 2 man-made structures on earth are large enough to be seen from outer space: The Great Wall of China and the Fresh Kills Landfill in New York.

So our goal for this week is to reduce, reuse, and recycle:

  • Reduce our need for new things. See what can be used or worn another season or year.
  • Reuse or fix rather than throw away things. Maybe we don’t need a new phone or computer every two years. Maybe the coat that’s too big can be worn  by someone else.
  • Recycle. Take cans, papers, plastic bags to the recycling centers. Donate clothes and household goods to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Donate books to libraries.

Even if our individual contribution is small, it makes a difference.