Monthly Archives: February 2010

Monday Motivator: Just Say Yes!

Almost every self-help book I’ve ever read (and believe me, I’ve read more than my share) has suggestions, especially for women, on how to say no: no to overwhelming demands from bosses, friends, and family members. And most of it rings true. But I think sometimes we get so caught up on all the stuff we think we have to do, that we end up saying no to all the things that make life a little more enjoyable. So this week’s theme is “Just Say Yes.” (And, yes, to those of you who know me too well, this is the title of a Snow Patrol song. Notice how smoothly I worked it in.)

Last week, Sharon Dyer made a comment about the Motivator: “The movie “The Bucket List” made me realize later may never come. Enjoy life now. Since seeing the movie, I’ve been trying to do more enjoying life, and less working my life away.” Sharon has the right idea.

Another movie on the same theme (and one unlikely to make you cry buckets) is “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey. Carrey plays a bank employee who is totally stuck in his life since his divorce. Abused by a self-help guru, Carrey agrees to say yes to everything in life for one year, which leads to many funny, gross, and ultimately life-affirming moments.

Okay, sometimes we are busy. And sometimes we have to say no. But maybe, if nothing else, we need to slow down before saying that “no” and at least realize the times we use work and other responsibilities as excuses for not truly living the lives we know we’re capable of.

As Thoreau teaches us (for those of you who won’t listen to Morgan Freeman, Snow Patrol, or Jim Carrey), we don’t want to come to the end of our lives only to discover that we haven’t really lived at all.

Monday Motivator: Days Turn into Lives

Like most people on campus, I was shocked and saddened by the death of our colleague, Holly Paulus. She should have had at least two more decades to explore this world and do all the things that were on her life list. But it wasn’t to be. Still, at least with Holly, we all know that she managed to enjoy everyday and constantly found new ways to express herself and her gifts. While she might have died too soon, she did not die without having truly lived her life.

In honor of Holly, this week, take a minute out and make a list of all the things that you loved to do as a kid or a young adult and would still love to do today if you had time. Then look at that list and then think of how you spend your days. As Annie Dillard said, how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. And if those things from your list are already in your days, then congratulations!  If not, see if you can’t work a few in each day this week.

Aargh! I Have to Do a Research Paper! What Now?

The research paper is the bane of many college students’ existence. But it can be even more frustrating when you’re taking Composition to learn how to write a research paper, but you discover that you also have research papers assigned in your other classes and they’re due before you even begin the process in the writing class! What is the hardworking, but totally, befuddled student to do? This is the perfect time, my friends, to use your friendly Kisber Library for more than checking your Facebook page on the computer.

You are welcome to stop in at any time to talk to a librarian about your assignment, but if you want to be assured of some quality one-on-one time with a research librarian, you can make an appointment with  Emily, Sally, or Charles.

Make an appointment with Emily, Sally, or Charles for help with your research paper!

Emily:  353-3559 or

Sally: 353-3270 or

Charles: 353-3726 or

Bring the research assignment with you to the appointment.

The Library Celebrates Black History Month!

Each time the library puts up a history month exhibit, whether it be Black History or Women’s History or any of the others that come up during the year, someone is sure to ask if this is necessary any longer.

“After all,” someone will say, “we have an African-American president, a woman Secretary of State. We have worked hard to be more inclusive. Aren’t these months set aside for certain groups just an unnecessary remnant of past prejudice?”

For the me, the answer is no. One of the my other jobs is reviewing books. I often get biographies and histories to read. I’m always amazed at the things that I don’t know about our country’s past. This past month, I reviewed a book on women’s role in the U.S. military. While the role of military women in general has been basically ignored in the history books (except for the passing references to nurses and the occasional sidebar on women dressing as men in order to fight), the role of African-American women rarely even merits a sidebar.

What Black History Month does is to allow to see a more complete picture of our history and to give praise to those who also contributed to our nation’s welfare. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Some books on the exhibit for this month:

  • Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to Worl War II.  Douglas A. Blackmon.
  • The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction. LeeAnna Keith.
  • Sojourner Truth’s America. Margaret Washington
  • Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen. Lynn Homan and Thomas Reilly.

Snowy Days and Mondays

Two things happened today which caused the library to be slower than usual. One, it snowed last night, and many people have stayed home. Two, the Learning Center reopened after the renovations, and students now have computers there to use. Both have contributed to its being a very quiet day in the library.

In many ways, this has been the hardest beginning to a semester we’ve had in several years. We had an increase in students with a temporary drastic decrease in computers. The library staff has had to monitor computer use and several times a day ask students to move on if not doing class work. In general, students have been cooperative, but as the weeks passed and assignments became due, they became understandably more impatient with the situation.

Also, the computer situation meant that we had to reserve our library computer classroom for open lab use. So we have done fewer orientations for classes. This worries us because any short conversation with a student or faculty member indicates that students need help with their research skills.

But now that the Learning Center is open, we’re ready to start fresh and emphasize instruction. K163 can be used for classes again. And we’ll have space to work with students on their research projects.

What I want to stress is that even if your class has not had a library orientation, it is not too late to get help. For faculty, you can come to our classroom or we will come to yours. For students, stop by and ask for help. We like nothing better than helping you find the sources that will make your paper the best it can be.

So visit us!

Monday Motivator: Commit a Random Act of Kindness.

Since this is National Random Acts of Kindness Week, it’s a good time to consider how we can be kinder to others, not just nicer, which according to the OED definition is more concerned with the more superficial pleasantness or agreeableness. Kindness is connected to our own natures; when we are kind, it benefits not just others, but makes us a little better as well.

Niceness can be turned on and off more easily. We all know the person who can be nice as pie to a customer or a boss and then turn around and snap at a colleague. Kindness takes us beyond behavior that keeps us out of trouble or just  gets us in good with those in power. It is based on the fact that we’re all human and we all have a hard road in front of us. And the least we can do is make it a little easier for each other.

 If you are looking for ideas on how to be kind to yourself and others (and even the environment), check out this list.

Goodbye Holly

Like all of NSCC, the Library is mourning the death of Holly Paulus yesterday. Holly had taught reading at NSCC for many years and had just recently retired.

Most of the memories of Holly will include one of the following:

  • Her always cheerful expression as she greeted students and colleagues in the hallways.
  • Her quick step as if she just couldn’t wait to get where she was going.
  • Her love of walking. Many remember seeing her at lunch time going for a quick walk on the Greenway.
  • Her love of her family, but, let’s face it, most moms love their kids. But with Holly, it was more than that. It was the utter delight she took in her children and husband. It was obviously fun when they were together.
  • Her healthy snacks. While some of us munched on pizza and french fries, she seemed to always have an apple or a yogurt cup in hand.
  • Her projects. She was always enthused about something new she was working on.

When Holly announced her retirement, we all knew that it was “retiring” in name only, that Holly would always be moving on to something fun and different and entertaining that would keep her busy. But cancer had another idea.

I hope that we learn from Holly’s example: to live each day with love, enthusiasm, and all-out joy.

We miss you, Holly.

February: A Good Time to Start Again.

I guess any month is a good candidate for the cruelest month with April and November being mentioned in poems and December a favorite among psychologists. But I would give my vote to February. The holidays are over, but the holiday credit card statements are still coming in. The cold weather has been here long enough for us to be tired of it, but there is still a lot of winter left. It’s time to do taxes. And Valentine’s Day brings on a pressure all its own. On top of all that, the new year is no longer quite so new, and it’s become obvious to some of us that we’ve made no progress on all those resolutions we set on January 1.

Yep, February is no winner. But I think it’s time to reclaim February for the positive. February should be proclaimed “begin again” month. Sure, we’ve failed so far on our resolutions. But maybe there’s a better way to look at this. Maybe we are trying to change too many things. Maybe we are holding to dreams and goals that no longer fit us. And now we’re not tied down to all that holiday baggage with minds clouded by massive amounts of chocolate, candy canes, and relatives.

So at the beginning of February, don’t be discouraged by your lack of progress. Instead, take a second, more realistic, look at your resolutions. And winnow them down to the ones that mean the most to you. And let me emphasize the YOU part.

People who actually study goal setting for a living tell us that it’s easier to achieve goals when we settle on one or two at a time and not try to achieve or change everything at once. Also, research confirms over and over again that the best goals are SMART ones:

  • Specific. Be able to say clearly what it is.
  • Measurable. There has to be a way to know that it’s been completed.
  • Achievable. You have to be able to do it.  Be realistic.
  • Relevant. It has to mean something to you.
  • Time-bound. There has to be a deadline.

 A good goal: I am going to write a short story and submit to Tetrahedra on January 31.

Note that this fits all the categories..

A bad example: I’m going to be nicer to people. There’s no precision to it; there’s no real way to measure it; there’s no deadline. And, according to some of my colleagues, this simply isn’t realistic for me.

So let’s make February “begin again” month. Besides, if we don’t achieve our goals this time, we can console ourselves with half-price Valentine candy on February 15.

February is Library Lovers Month! Let’s Celebrate!

February celebrates many things: groundhogs , presidents, valentines, and Black history. However, it is also Library Lovers Month, a whole month of appreciating libraries of all kinds and showering love and respect on library workers.

For many of us, especially those of us who grew up in poor and/or rural areas, owning lots of books was a luxury we didn’t know. Our deliverance came from the library, and, in my case, the bookmobile that traveled to New Hope every Saturday. The library opened up possibilities of a world beyond what we saw each day. Reading, for me, was both escape and deliverance, and I am gratified that I ended up in the one place that is truly home to me: a library.

So this month, think back to the libraries and librarians that have made a difference in your life. If you can, thank them. If not, find another way to support them.

By the way, the library staff here at Nashville State feels very appreciated and supported. And if we’re not, don’t tell us.

And in case you’ve ever wondered if you should become a librarian, here’s a link to a simple flowchart that can help you make the decision.

There is always a Nashville State Connection: The Grammy Awards

If you watched the Grammy Awards Sunday night, you might have seen Harold Bradley mentioned as one of the Trustees Award honorees. Now the musical savvy among you might recognize Harold as one of the founders of the Castle Recording Studio and a session musican who played on albums by such artists as Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, and Willie Nelson. He also invented the tic-tac method of bass muting.

But what you may not know is that Harold is the father of NSCC CIS professor, Beverly Bradley. His granddaughter, Bethany Hill, is enrolled in the Visual Communications program. Beverly is rightfully proud of her dad, and the Jolly Librarian is please to be only one degree of separation from musical genius.

Here are some links providing more information about Harold Bradley’s accomplishments and honors:


The Tennessean