In Light of Recent Events…

A Guest Post

By: Kathleen Finegan, Library Director

The recent protests at the MU campus in Columbia reminded me of an experience I had as an undergraduate at UMKC in the 1970s.

I had enrolled in a course called ‘Negro History.’ The course had not been taught for a while, thus the Negro rather than Black or African American history.

The course was taught by a Dr. Underwood and the class was full, every seat taken.

As the course developed and the members of the class engaged in discussion, two of my classmates stand out.

One was named Charles; he was a black man and we had several classes together and often shared our notes when one of us missed class. It was rumored that Charles had traveled to Haiti and returned with a more radical view on civil rights.

The second member of the class that stands out was nicknamed ‘Son of Norway.’ He  was interested in genealogy and his background was Scandinavian.  He didn’t shy away from comparing his investigation of his family history with that of Black Americans.

A class like Negro History being taught in the 1970s was bound to encourage critical inquiry and argument. Dr. Underwood to his credit demanded that all discussions remain civil and further the pursuit of understanding.

One day in class Charles and Son of Norway had an exchange about the comparability of the history of Blacks in America and the history of Scandinavians in America. Charles maintained that the history of Black Americans, because of slavery and the struggle for civil rights was more fraught than that of Scandinavians, who choose to immigrate and settle in America. He also referred not to this history of white men, but of pink men.

Charles substituted the pink race for the white race, and referred to Son of Norway as a pink man.

Son of Norway responded to begin called a pink man much as a Black man might respond to being called a N—–.

The class erupted. Everyone had something to say about the pink designation.

I learned a lot in the ruckus that followed that day. Words, and especially naming, is a powerful tool. Learning about history entails an understanding of that power..

Reading some of the responses of former MU President Tim Wolfe to the complaints of the MU minority community, I thought, Pink man.

Kathleen Finegan

 

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We’re back from the mostly dead!!

Have you missed me?

We didn’t drop off the face of the earth…we just took a little hiatus from the blog-life. We’re back now and will be posting semi-regularly until all the kiddos (read: Avila Students) run away from campus in May.

Since this blog has been mostly dead for a bit, I thought I’d take the time to update you on the happenings at your friendly neighborhood library & learning commons.

We’ve been in our fresh new digs for a semester now, and have pretty well figured out what works and what doesn’t! Two things have been made abundantly clear to us:

  1. Avila Students really really really dig the writable walls. We get fresh drawings daily along with walls written on top to bottom with nursing and psychology notes. Sometimes it’s clear that the students doing to work were just killing time while they drew a five foot tall little mermaid but others are taking the time to draw and label a multi-panel picture of the human body. It’s…interesting…to see what new stuff will be there every day!
  2. Avila Students really really really want a coffee shop…and we can’t deliver it. It’s a bummer to the students that our campus can’t seem to get a legitimate coffee shop installed…it’s a bummer to the staff as well. We did our best with what we were given, and have provided you guys with a coffee/hot drink vending machine (which makes decent beverages), some normal vending machines, a pair of microwaves, some prep space, a sink, and some cabinet space. We wanted more too, but this will have to do for now. Sorry guys!

Listening to student (and staff) complaints is not all that we do though! We’ve begun improving our already improved spaces by adding a mounted camera into the Presentation Room, so any presentations or practices or meetings or whatever can be caught on “film” if so desired. We’re working on making it more accessible, but for the time being–we’ve got that at least!

We’re also in the planning stages to create a number of new workshops and discussions that will be taking place during the next few months and in the Fall. Is there anything you would be interested in learning about? We’re always looking for fresh ideas…ours get a little stale. So far we know we’d like to talk about researching–the how to’s and what do I do’s–and how to not going to jail for copyright infringement. We’re also toying with the idea of an iPhone photography series. Thoughts?

Finally…yes, this is going to be a fairly quick and painless experience today…I am preparing to create some new things for Stress Relief Week in the library. We usually band together with Avila Student Life/GAP to host Doughnut Day and afternoon fancy snacks during that week and the last couple semesters we’ve put out coloring sheets and coffee for student brain breaks. This semester I’d like to bring more people in for stress relief activities. At this point games are on the menu–normal games like monopoly and life, card games, complicated games like Settlers of Catan and Powergrid, and MAYBE a set of giant Yahtzee dice. I think the giant dice would go over best…how about you? The other day is “solidarity day”–where the librarians/library staff are encouraged to show up in PJ’s and we’ll have healthy study snacks around. Just some ideas

Is there something you’d like us to do? We’re on the hunt for programming ideas and I could use a fresh brain or two to pick!

Keep an eye out for more posts soon! We’re glad to be back and look forward to posting some new and entertaining stuff soon!

-Friendly Neighborhood Blogging Librarian

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The Banned, The Burned, and The Removed!

Early in September  we set up our banned books display…which some of you may have noticed. I hope. It’s fairly modest, but definitely there. Banned books week ran from the 21st-28th. We were a little early in setting up and we’re going keep it up for a little longer in hopes that you’ll pick up a banned book to read Feed your rebel side!!

about 150 books are sitting out there in honor of banned books week because they have been banned or challenged at some point in their “life” since publication. Some were banned almost immediately upon publication, others challenged periodically through the years. Some are banned for obvious reasons while others have nearly outlandish reasons. For a few of the books on the display, we’ve provided you with the main reason for the ban or challenge…but do you want to know what got most of them on the list? You’re in luck! Here is a hefty list of books (many that we’ve got on display) and the reasons they’ve been so persecuted.

Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Challenged at the Baptist College in Charleston, SC in 1987. Why? Apparently people were offended by the “language and sexual references in the book”.

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Perpetually challenged since it’s publication…no fewer than 30 times in the states alone. In 1960 a teacher from Tulsa, OK was fired for assigning the book to an 11th grade English class. While the teacher was reinstated, the book was still removed from the curriculum and the school. Some of the “favorite” reasons for banning the book are: language, sexual content, ‘defamatory to minorities, God, women, and the disabled’, blasphemous, undermines morality, anti-white, and my personal favorite: it’s a “filthy, filthy book”.

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

This award winner was burned by the East St. Louis Public Library in 1939 because of “vulgar words”. In 1973 Turkish booksellers and publishers were arrested and put on trial for ‘publishing, processing and selling books in violation of an order of the Istanbul Martial Law Command’, those arrested faced a month to six months jail time and had their books confiscated.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Warren, IN Township Schools challenged the book in 1981 because the book does “deep psychological damage to the positive integration process” and “represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature”. Lee’s work is called out often, even today, for it’s language.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Along with 17 other titles, The Color Purple, was challenged by a group called ‘Parents Against Bad Books’ (super creative name, guys…). They opposed its inclusion in Fairfax County, VA elementary and secondary schools, saying that the books “contain profanity and depictions of drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct, and torture”.

Ulysses by James Joyce

Burned in the United States in 1918, Ireland (Joyce’s own country) and Canada in 1922, and England in 1923!

Beloved by Toni Morrison

In 2006 a board member for district 214 in Arlington Heights, IL tried to get Beloved and a few other titles removed from the NW Suburban High School. She was elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision making and raised the issue for these books based on EXCERPTS she found on the INTERNET. Because everything we read on the internet is true, right?

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Challenged in 1981 at the Owen, NC high school because it is “demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal”. You don’t say?

1984 by George Orwell

Challenged in Jackson Co., FL in 1981 because it was “pro-communist”. I wonder if they read the book…

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Banned in France (1956-59), England (1955-59), Argentina (1959), and New Zealand (1960)…because of disturbing sexual content.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Banned in Ireland (1953), Syracuse, IN (1974), Oil City, PA (1977), Grand Blanc, MI (1979), Continental, OH (1980), and many others. In 1989 it was challenged as a summer youth program reading assignment in Chattanooga, TN. The reasoning: “Steinbeck is known to have had an anti-business attitude” and “He was very questionable as to his patriotism”.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Challenged in Snoqualmie, WA (1979) due to several references to women as “whores”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Removed from classrooms in Miller, MO in 1980 because “it makes promiscuous sex look like fun”.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

In a Wisconsin survey it was revealed that the John Birch Society had challenged the novel because it objected to the words “masses in revolt”. A similar study was done in 1968 by NY States English Council’s Committee on Defense Against Censorship using NY State English classrooms. It was found that Animal Farm had landed on it’s list of “problem books” because “Orwell was a communist”….seriously?

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Burned in Nazi bonfires in 1933. Banned in Boston (‘30), Ireland (‘53), Riverside & San Jose, CA (‘60)

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Banned in the Graves County school district in Mayfield, KY in 1986 because it contains “offensive and obscene passages referring to abortion and used God’s name in vain”.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

First, the June 1929 issue of Scribner’s Magazine, which ran the novel, was banned in Boston, MA. Then, it was banned in Italy (1929) because it is a painfully accurate account of the italian retreat from Caporetto, Italy. Then, burned by Nazi’s in 1933. And finally, challenged in Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY school district in 1988 as a “sex novel”.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Challenged for sexual explicitness in Brentsville, VA (1977).

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Challenged in Columbus, OH  school in 1993; the complainant believed the book contained language degrading to blacks.

Native Son by Richard Wright

Removed from Irvington High School in Fremont, CA in 1998 after a few parents complained the book was unnecessarily violent and sexually explicit.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

In 1975 five residents of Strongsville, OH sued the board of education to remove the novel, labeling it “pornographic” and charged that the novel “glorifies criminal activity, has a tendency to corrupt juviniles, and contains descriptions of beastiality, bizarre violence, and torture, dismemberment, death, and human elimination”. It was banned in 1978 from St. Anthony, ID’s Freemont HS classrooms and the instructor was fired (the instructor sued but a decision was never published).

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

BURNED in Drake, ND in 1973! In 1985, it was challenged in the Owensboro, KY high school library because of “foul language, a section depicting a picture of an act of beastiality, a reference to ‘magic fingers’ attached to the protagonists bed to help him sleep, and the sentence: ‘The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the fly of God Almighty’”.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Declared “unmailable” by the U.S. Postal Service in 1940. In 1973 Turkish booksellers and publishers were put on trial and faced a month to six months imprisonment for “spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state”.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Banned in Italy and Yugoslavia in 1929 and then burned by the Nazi’s in 1933.

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Challenged as required reading in Husten Falls, NY Schools in 1994 because the book has recurring themes of rape, masterbation, voilence, and degrading treatment of women.

The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien

Burned in Alamogordo, NM in 2001 outside of Christ Community Church (along with other Tolkien works) as satanic.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Burned by the Nazi’s in 1933 because of Sinclair’s socialist views. Also, banned in Yugoslavia in 1929 and in East Germany (as inimical to communism) in 1956.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover D.H. Lawrence

Banned by U.S. Customs (1929), Ireland (1932), Poland (1932), Australia (1959), Japan (1959), India (1959), and Canada (1960-62). Dissemination of the novel was stopped in China in 1987 because the book “will corrupt the minds of young people and is against the Chinese tradition”.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

1973, a bookseller in Orem, Utah was arrested for selling the novel. Though charges were dropped, the seller was still forced to close the store and relocate to a different city. The novel was removed from schools in Aurora, CO (1976), Westport, MA (1977), and Anniston, AL (1982) for “objectionable language”.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Though published in 1899, the novel was banished for decades because it so disturbed the critics and the public.

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

Banned in: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Qatar, Indonesia, South Africa, and India because of its criticism of Islam. It was BURNED in West Yorkshire, England. In Venezuela, owning or reading a copy is considered a crime punishable by 15 months imprisonment.

Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

1961, the group called “Mother’s United for Decency” out of Oklahoma City, OK hired a trailer, dubbed it the “smutmobile” and displayed books deemed objectionable…including Sons and Lovers.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Challenged at Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY School District in 1980 as a “filthy, trashy sex novel”.

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs

Found to be obscene by Boston, MA Superior Court in 1965.

Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence

Seized by John Summers of the NY Society for the Suppression of Vice and declared ‘obscene’ in 1922.

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Banned in Boston, MA in 1927 and BURNED by the Nazi’s in 1933 becasue it “deals with low love affairs”.

I find it most entertaining that some of these books were banned or challenged when it is very nearly obvious that those complaining or challenging them had either completely missed the point of the book or had not even read it…I’m looking at you, the people who tried to get rid of 1984 because it was “pro-communist”! There are still hundreds and probably thousands of books that have been banned or challenged at some point, including children’s books, but they just didn’t make the cut on this list! Go forth, my readers, and read a banned or challenged book! Be a rebel!

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You didn’t know? Fun Facts about Incoming Freshman!

The fall semester has dawned, new textbooks have to be bought, and a fresh pack of freshman have stormed the campus. This incoming class, like all others, have a few distinguishing features. Out of the kindness (or weirdness) of my heart, I decided I would share with you some of the fun facts about this new group of future graduates!

Most of these students were likely born in 1996! There are many things they’ve always experienced and a number of things they’ve never known!

Things they’ve always known:

  • Hong Kong has always been part of China
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina have always been one nation
  • Cloning has always been a face, not science fiction
  • Their parents have always been able to rely on ratings to judge TV violence
  • There has always been “TV” exclusively available on the web
  • The Unabomber has always been behind bars
  • Chicago, the Broadway musical, has always been popular
  • Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.
  • They’ve always Loved Raymond…(or not)
  • Betty Rubble has always been a Flintstones Vitamin shape
  • Inter-league play in baseball has always been approved by baseball owners
  • Java (the programming language) has always been available.
  • OJ Simpson has always been “not guilty” of murder (maybe…)
  • Ebola has always been a problem
  • Go Go Power Rangers! These kiddos have always known the Power Rangers
  • The Mall of America, huge as it is, has always been a shopping option
  • Magic Johnson has always been HIV positive
  • Wholly computer generated films have been perpetually present (The first was Toy Story in ‘95)
  • Bidding on Ebay has always been an option

What they’ve never known:

  • Joe Camel has never introduced them to smoking
  • They’ve never tasted the “texturally enhanced alternative beverage” that was Orbitz
  • They’ve never had to hide their “dirty” magazines. (web storage…)
  • They’ve probably never used Netscape as their web browser
  • Cheers has never been “new” for them.
  • Johnny Carson has never hosted the Tonight Show
  • The Soviet Union has never existed for them, except in their textbooks
  • Our incoming freshman have never known a world without DVD’s

People they have never shared a part of their lifetime with:

  • Jerry Garcia
  • Kurt Cobain
  • President Nixon
  • Andre the Giant
  • Tupac (2Pac) Shakur
  • JonBenet Ramsey
  • Carl Sagan
  • Tiny Tim

Other anomalies of this new breed of college student:

  • Famous parents Madonna and Sly Stallone may show up for parents weekend to visit their children.
  • During their first weeks of kindergarten they were bombarded by images of planes crashing into the World Trade Center buildings.
  • Wire-rimmed glasses don’t immediately bring John Lennon to mind…they think of Harry Potter or maybe hipsters.
  • The phrase “press pound” means nothing to them, “hit hashtag” on the other hand, works just fine.
  • Courts have always been overturning bans on same-sex marriages
  • Good feedback doesn’t mean a pat on the back, it means 30 ‘likes’ on a Facebook post.
  • The New Kids on the Block have only done “reunion” tours in their lifetime

When you go forth and interact with these students, perhaps this will give you some new talking points or something fun to educate them about…who doesn’t want to learn about Netscape?

Welcome to all of our incoming students! All of us at the library look forward to seeing you and hope you have a fabulous year!

Go Eagles!!!

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Moving On…

Moving, Moving, Moving…keep those books a moving! Moving Moving Moving, Rawhide? No, we’re not looking to truly rewrite the lyrics to that most popular tune, but we are certainly moving!

Today began the library’s official move back into the original digs. There was much rejoicing…until we saw just how much we had to move. I recall moving into Avila Hall only a few months ago, but it would appear our humble collection of stuff has grown…considerably. For my own part, the trip that took three bags when we moved in to AH took me six today!

Offices are beginning to take on the “owner’s” personality as we slowly move our packages, boxes, and bags in and unpack.

Tomorrow the real fun begins. The books are a’moving. Hallett, the folks who moved our books out in April will be returning in force to put the books back…sort of. As many of you know, we’ve moved to a closed stacks system, so many of the books will be moved into an alternative space next door. We will, however, be keeping the reference books for both Avila and St. Paul’s, the curriculum & children’s lit., play scripts, some folios, and the easl books in the library. In addition to those, we’ll be creating a section for faculty recommendations. These books are meant to be those a faculty member would like students to have quick access too, but not necessarily as important as those that will be placed on reserve.

As we go through this extensive moving process the library will, unfortunately for some of you, remain closed. A grand total of 10 days has been set aside to allow us to get moved in, set up, and settled before the semester gets going. Our soft opening has been (tentatively) planned for August 21st with a “grand opening” ceremony on the 25th. If you are on campus during our closure and are in need of a computer, please go to Hodes. They are, once again, taking care of our displaced students. They will be open from 8 – 5 on the weekdays.

I realize this blog is a little wee, and doesn’t really give too many details as to what is coming. Maybe we want it to be a big surprise, Eh? So, stay tuned to see what sort of fabulous new goodies we’re bringing you in the new space and to get some information about the move!

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Plotting Sessions

As the fall semester approaches (too quickly, for some) the library & learning commons staff are beginning to plan. It’s never quite safe when the librarians plan…but it’s happening all the same. This year, in a small change of pace, we’re looking for ways to reach out to our campus and community. We want to be more directly involved in your education and entertainment. So…this post is all about some of the ideas being tossed around as we plot.

Completely Infallible and Fantastic Ideas

  • Bring gaming to the library! All kinds of games. Chess and Checkers to Risk and Settlers of Catan. Also, host maker nights for games…create your own game and play it sorts of events.
  • Speed Book Dating or Blind Date w/ a Book evenings. We’ll break out the comfy chairs and maybe a bean bag or two while you and your peers meet some new books. Books will be from the library and from the participants, covered, and have a dating profile styled description. Pick your “match” and sit and read for a bit.
  • Movie night. Pretty self explanatory, eh?
  • Video making contests w/viewing parties. The first of these would be for Halloween. We’ll want you and anyone else you’d like to include to make a halloween video (appropriate of course), submit it to us in some format tba and we’ll have a viewing party to pick a winner. Prizes are also tba.
  • Read In events. As many activists do “sit-in’s”, we may host a read-in event to support reading or banned books week or some such literary holiday.
  • Technology and Researching workshops. We’re adding new technology as fast as we can and trying to keep new and shiny things available to the Avila campus. We are considering hosting workshops in the library on how to use/do certain things. Specifically the video making equipment and software we’re adding to the “yet to be named” presentation room.
  • Scavenger hunts. If we do this, we’re hoping more to participate in a campus wide event. You’d be searching for library artifacts, photographing them, and submitting them to some location.
  • Arts and Crafts time. Everyone like this part of school, yeah? You got to play with scissors and glue and markers and crayons. It’ll be just the same but a little more library or book related. In the spring we put out coloring sheets and crayons & markers for you guys to play with. Some were definitely enthused, more were either unaware, didn’t care, or were too busy cramming. We’d like to do this some more, and build on it.
  • Book Club. Yep, a literal book club where we pick a book, everyone reads it, and we discuss.
  • Webcasts, webinars, and Tweetchats. A wide range of topics from pop culture to how to use the computers. We’re going to try to be all over the internet trying to be of use to the Avila population.

Do any of these ideas sound like something you would be interested in? Is there something you would like to see on this list? Are any of these ideas so lame you want to facepalm with a brick? Please let us know! We’re looking for feedback from the community as a whole to make YOUR library a place you enjoy and want to be. 🙂

 

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Internet of “Stuff”!

In this week’s edition of the Library Things blog we’re going to talk about weird things on the internet. Which seems redundant, really (weird and the internet are pretty much interchangeable terms). A large part of my position is to scour the internet looking for “stuff”, and boy-howdy do I ever. That may be the first time I’ve ever used the phrase “boy-howdy”…and the last. I am leaving it, but I don’t like it. Anyway…today, as a part of my never ending search for “stuff” today I came across some particularly entertaining items compliments of Buzzfeed. Some were games, some were just interactive clicky things, others were just completely random and I’m going to share this glorious list of items with you, for your entertainment (of course).

#1: You’re Getting Old. This is both an awful truth and the name of the site. You simply enter in your birth date and voila! Details about how long you’ve been on this earth and some rando events that happened since you graced the world with your presence.

#2: GeoGuessr. This is a fabulous time suck for those amused by locations and quizzy items. You are shown a Google Maps styled area that could be anywhere in the world. You can explore some and you have to try to figure out where you’ve been placed. Sometimes the answers are obvious, sometimes they seem obvious. Fabulously entertaining for the strange folks like me, your humble blogging librarian.

#3 Hacker Typer. This is a weird one. Have you ever wanted to look like one of those fancy hackers in the movies? Well, now you can!! You can type anything…anything whatsoever…and it will generate what appears to be random hacking code. Fun stuff.

#4 Find The Invisible Cow. That’s what you do. Somewhere on this blank white page there is a cow (or goat if you play enough times…and perhaps others, I only tested it a few times). It’s not just moving your mouse over the page though. It’s like a “hot-cold” game with some dude saying “cow” over and over in varying tones based on how close you are. If he’s screaming, you’re close. Stupidly amusing.

#5 idaft. Are you a fan of Daft Punk? Have you ever wanted to be one of the guys? Well, have I got a page for you! This fancy little page interacts with your keyboard and basically lets you do the whole “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” song. Amusing.

#6 Incredibox. This is a fun place to kill about…a day. You get 7 dudes to use to make different beats, songs, diddys, whatever. All told you have 20 different noises to choose from some beats, some vocals…you get the idea. If you match up your creation to the ones programmed in, you get to watch a special treat. Oh…and you can record your creations. Fun!

#7 Run Pee. Yes…you read that right. It’s a site that will tell you when you’re safe to take a tinkle break during the movie of your choosing. Naturally, not every movie is on the list, but most stuff currently in theaters has made the page!

#8 Does the Dog Die. Another movie helper site. On this one you can search out your pet themed movies to see if the dog does in fact die. It’s a fabulous page for people like me, who can’t bear watching a beloved pooch perish. Apparently this does not apply just to dogs, but to pets in general. It will also let you know if a pet is injured.

#9 Whale. This page doesn’t actually have a name, so I’m calling it Whale…because that’s all that really is. It’s a killer whale that will follow your mouse around the page. It’s stupid, but amusing. Plus, It’ll kill a few minutes while you try to make it miss.

#10 Pointer Pointer. This is another fairly stupid, but ingenious little site. You move your pointer around (giving it time to think, of course) and it will generate a photo of people (or something) pointing at, or very near, your pointer. Silly.

#11 Akinator. This one has made its rounds about the interwebs fairly recently, but just in case you missed him…Akinator is the web genius/genie. You pick a real or fictional character (in your head) and answer his questions…and he’ll figure it out. It’s pretty surprising really. He’ll usually get it in about 20 questions or so. Apparently Mr. Bean is a befuddling choice if you don’t know too much about Mr. Bean…took him 56 guesses and he still came up with Rowan Atkinson instead of Mr. Bean specifically.

So…there are 11 silly internet goodies to on which you can kill some pretty serious time. These are in no particular order, and you may not find them nearly as amusing as I did, but give them a try just in case!

Have a wonderful week Avila, and stay tuned! I’ll be blogging from VEGAS in a few days!

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Mmmm…Coffee…

So here we are again. It’s lovely isn’t it? Today I wanted to talk to you about one of my personal favorites, coffee! Seriously. I’m sitting right next to a cup right now as is write this sitting I one of the many Roasterie shops around the KC area. I figured, why not, eh? It summer, not too many of you guys are working on big assignments or cramming for midterms/finals, and I’m guessing a good portion of you are probably consuming this to get through the mornings at your job (be it summer, your first real job, or the job you’ve head for.ev.er.). Am I right? I kind of figured it would be a decent gamble.

So, coffee. The bitter bean we turn into some crazy caffeinated bean juice. We drink it hot and cold, with gratuitous “additions” or black as night. But what do you really know about this tasty beverage?

Coffee has been consumed, supposedly, since the 9th century. It first started out in Ethiopia in the province of Kaffa. Over time it migrated through the Arab areas, taking the people by storm. By the 15th century it was being cultivated and the first coffee shops begin appearing all over Mecca. Much like our coffee shops today, they were dens of socializing, game playing, thinking/philosophizing, and (of course) politics. It was this political bent that caused the shops to be frequently banned, but they would crop up again and again eventually leading to a tax to minimize the disturbances. Much to no ones surprise the Arab countries did not want to share their wonderful drink/bean/plant with the world, and imposed a ban on transport of fertile beans. This was short lived…circumvented in 1616 by the Dutch. The Dutch brought coffee to the Netherlands and begin growing it in greenhouses; they also had some plans growing in India and Java (in moder day Indonesia). The wonderful beverage was quite popular in Europe and generally sold by lemonade vendors until the first coffee shop pooped up in Venice in1683… Cafe Florian, which is still in operation today. Coffee was not too far behind the first American settlers…the first literary mention of the drink was in 1668! Coffee shops soon followed in all the major cities including NYC, Philly, and Boston. In the United States, as with other counties, the coffee shops became hubs for planning and getting together. The Boston Tea Party was planned in one, and the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of New York were started in a coffee shop! The bitter bean continued to grow in popularity. In 1720 one plant took an eventful boat ride with French Naval Officier Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu. One rough voyage later they arrived at Martinique where the surprisingly still living coffee plant was interred…and grew….and grew…and grew! By 1770 it is recorded that there were between 18 and 19 million coffee plants on the island. And thus was born the newest cash crop! Martinique did not have the only soil that loved coffee, shortly after the Dutch brought coffee to its settlement of Surinam it flourished. Since then, coffee has become one of the most profitable crops of South and Central America. The British, not to be outdone by their conquering rivals, introduced coffee to its colony in Jamaica in 1730. Coffee grown in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains is still, to this day, the most famous and expensive coffee. Kona coffee of Hawaii is also climbing the charts…but North American growers are definitely not to quite the level of our South and Central American counterparts, or the Asian or African counterparts for that matter.

Curious about how it goes from tree to cup? Well…

Step 1) plant coffee plant in fertile soil. It likes warm, moist climates. Wait.

Step 2) harvest coffee “cherries”‘ the coffee fruit.

Step 3) “process”…removed the fruity flesh from around the bean

Step 4) dry….forever.

Step 5) roast. The beans are roasted at temps around 392 degrees F (200 C) to a desired hue. The flavor of your coffee depends on the roast…darker is usually more bitter.

Step 6) grind to pulp and brew with water.

Step 7) consume at last

Fun coffee facts:

  • There are multiple species of coffee plant. The most popular is arabica.
  • In 2003 it was the 6th largest legal export in value.
  • From 1998 – 2006 approximately 6.7 million tons of coffee were produced annually. The number has since risen.
  • Average U.S. consumption is 3.1 cups a day.
  • Demand for coffee in Europe was so strong by the 19th century, that in times of limited real coffee beans, substitutions were made using chicory root, acorns, and/or figs. Ew.

How caffeinated do you want to be?

Caffeine amt. based on 7 oz serving or 1 shot of espresso

  • Drip coffee: 115-175 mg
  • Espresso: 100 mg
  • Brewed coffee: 80-135 mg
  • Instant: 65-100 mg
  • Decaf, brewed: 3-4 mg
  • Decaf, instant: 2-3 mg

Best coffee tips:

  • Make sure your pot is clean (stale coffee scum=nasty flavor)
  • Use clean filtered water
  • Use fresh and quality coffee beans. Even better: grind your coffee just before brewing.

Want to learn more? Just want to be amused by coffee? Check these out:

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Summer and Reading!

I certainly hope everyone is enjoying the summer so far! I know those of us at the library have been enjoying it when we can. Our director just returned from a garden tour of England and the circulation manager just returned from a mission trip to Cuba! I, your friendly neighborhood blogging librarian, will be heading to Las Vegas (Vegas Baby!) to attend the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference; I’ll be hanging out with a bazillion (number slightly exaggerated) in Vegas…this could be interesting.

Any hoo…In library news: We’ve adopted a stray stuffed bunny. The blue-ish bunny was left outside our temporary housing in Avila Hall just after the end of spring semester and appeared to have been run over. We found this rather disturbing and brought him in, washed him up, and now he’s doing just dandy. He’s gone on many adventures already since the beginning of May, mostly to check things out around campus. His most recent adventure is a trip to Texas with our part-time assistant Elisabeth for a cataloging class. He’s been a little shy down there, but we’ve received a couple pictures which will be posted on Facebook soon. If you’re interested in Jack’s story, please check our Facebook Page! He’ll be sending a friend with me to Vegas, and I do believe a friend of his went to Cuba. 🙂  Other news: We’re still in our temporary housing in Avila Hall. In fact, we’ll be camping out down here until mid-August! As far as we have been told, the library construction/renovation project is moving quickly and smoothly as well as the other projects on campus (yay more parking!). Finally, We’ve received news that our campus internet may (*fingers crossed*) be changing to…Google Fiber! If all goes as planned, we’ll be hooked up to the new Google-y juice for the fall semester. Huzzah!

On top of bringing you good tidings and a library update, I popped on to our little blog to send out some reading suggestions. These are all about what I’ve been reading and think many of you would probably get a kick out of (I’m looking at you 20 something women-folk!). These are in a particular order…Yeah, I’m ranking them. Here are 5 books to help you survive the summer:

#1  Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This is the first book in the “Lunar Chronicles” series. The front cover (for most copies) shows a foot with bionic looking parts in a red shoe…and gives you only one minor clue to what is going on in this story. Yes, there is a cyborg and her name is Cinder. Cinder spends her time serving the needs of her stepmother and sisters working as a mechanic (and around the house like a slave) in New Beijing. The future is a new place, with androids, cyborgs (with no rights, of course), a quickly spreading and very deadly plague, and people living on the moon called Lunars. It’s an exciting retelling of (you guessed it…) Cinderella. Pick it up, and if you enjoy it, there are already two more books in the series available (the fourth is due out in 2015): Scarlet and Cress.

#2 Dorothy Must Die by Daniell Paige. Yes, another retelling, but this seems to be the summer of retellings so it’s cool (Maleficent is magnificent if you’ve got some cash to spare, btw). This retelling is not a reworking of the original story, but a story that grew from the first. Some parts of the story you know have changed and this time Dorothy is not the beloved, tornado traveling girl from Kansas. But…someone does come through via natural disaster: Amy Gumm (“Salvation Amy” to her enemies in high school). So similar and yet different from the Dorothy we’ve grown to love, Amy is dropped in OZ and sent on a mission: Dorothy Must Die. Seriously. She’s awful. It’s a story of Oz, magic, and perhaps a bit of romance. And…it’s going to be a series!

#3 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Yes…really. I know it’s a killer for “feels” but it really is a great book. The story is all about teenager Hazel Grace and her encounters with cancer, Augustus Waters, an alcoholic author, and just life in general. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and sometimes you’ll do both at the same time, but it is worth it. If nothing else, it gives you a different glimpse into a world I hope you will never experience.

#4 The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore. If you’ve read any of his other books, you’ve probably become accustomed to his humor…snarky, vulgar, and just right. If you’ve never experienced Mr. Moore, this is a decent starting spot, though you’ll miss out on Pocket’s origin story. I, naturally, suggest  you read anything this man has written, though. Anyway, this story is a retelling/mash up (I know, again…) up The Merchant of Venice, the Cask of Amontillado, Othello, and a smattering of other works by Poe and Shakespeare. It’s very irreverent, but a hilarious and fun read. You follow Pocket on his adventures in Venice while acting as a messenger (with his loyal Jeff and Drool) of his queen. There is death, fighting, lying, and loving and you’ll giggle your way through the whole thing. Also…the outside of the pages is dyed blue, so that’s pretty nifty.

#5 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The neat old pictures scattered throughout this book and it’s sequel (Hollow City) would be enough reason to read it, but the story itself is pretty cool. Sixteen year old Jacob thinks he just a normal kid whose grandfather is a little nutty. After his grandfather’s mysterious death, around which Jacob saw something “spooky”, Jacob sets off on a mission to figure out who exactly his grandpa was. Some hilarity ensues along with wonder and suspense as we follow him to a lonely island off the coast of Wales.

That’s all for now folks. I realize 80% of those books would be considered “teen”, but lets be realistic…they’re usually quick to read and some of those stories really are fabulous. These titles will entertain and enthrall and, if nothing else, help you kill a long summer afternoon or a dreary and rain soaked day.

Check back for library updates, more summer reading suggestions, and as always some random factoids about random things!

Happy Summer Avila & My Dear Readers!

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Summer Fun…Havin’ a Blast?

Graduation is Saturday(congrats grads!) which also means the school year is coming to a close. Many of Avila’s students will be heading home to spend the summer bingeing on Netflix, working summer jobs, and soaking up some vitamin D. So, in honor of summer’s fast approach I figured I would tell you, my faithful readers, some awesome things that you can do for fun this summer in Kansas City!

THE FREE OPTIONS:

  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (go check out the giant shuttlecocks)
  • Sample chocolate at Chip’s Chocolate Factory at Crown Center (note…this isn’t free if you purchase candies)
  • Go and see the fountains…there are tons around the city and sometimes on game days, they’ll dye the water!
  • Check out some of the prominent parks (Loose Park–for the gardens, or the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, for example)
  • Visit the Money Museum (and get free money!)
  • Explore the Central branch of the Kansas City Public Library. Check out the parking garage and the giant chess.
  • Bike the Trolley Trail
  • Window shop in Brookside, the Plaza, West Bottoms, and Historic Overland Park
  • Taste test each flavor of Glace Ice Cream until you can choose a favorite (not responsible for angry Glace workers…)
  • Take a tour of the Harley-Davidson factory
  • Visit the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Catch a freebie jazz show

UP TO $15 OPTIONS:

  • See the view (and learn some history) at the National World War I museum ($14 for adults. $7 World War Wednesday’s)
  • Tailgate at Kauffman Stadium (Parking is $11…you don’t necessarily have to go to the game to tailgate, but game tickets can be pretty cheap too).
  • Catch a Royals game (Hy-Vee specials and Student days offer deep discounts for tickets–as low as $8 a seat. They aren’t great seats, but you can still enjoy the game)
  • Enjoy a Skyscraper from Winstead’s, probably best with friends as they are HUGE (7.49 +tax).
  • Enjoy a fancy chocolate from Andre’s or Christopher Elbow’s (prices vary, expect about $3).
  • Camp at Watkin’s Woolen Mill ($8.50/night per space…it’s tent camping)
  • Explore Fort Osage ($7)
  • Visit the KC Zoo ($12.50 for adults [$5.50 if you are residents of Jackson or Clay counties] some free days)
  • Check out Science City and ride the bike across the high-wire! ($13.50 for SC, $6 for the planetarium)
  • Check out the Steamboat Arabia ($14.50)
  • Take a peek at baseball history at the Negro leagues Baseball Museum ($10)
  • See a show at the Alamo Drafthouse (Tickets are, at most 11.50 for a regular show, 3D is an extra $3.50 and special events may cost more. Real food and drinks are available in theater for an additional cost).

$16-UP OPTIONS:

  • Worlds of Fun! Go ride the roller coasters and if you’re up for a little added expense, visit Oceans of Fun while you’re there! (One day passes are 39.99 for adults, but deals and discounts pop up throughout the summer).
  • Build a giant LEGO tower at LEGOLand Discovery Center ($17, save 15% if you get your tickets online).
  • Visit the fish at Sea Life Kansas City ($19 with discounts for online ticket purchases).
  • Ride the world largest waterslide at the Schlitterbahn ($36.99. Save some cash for buying online).

VARYING PRICED OPTIONS

  • Catch a show or concert at a variety of beautiful and generally “nifty” venues scattered throughout the metro (the Midland Theater, Starlight Theater, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Off Center Theater, Power & Light, etc.). Prices vary by show and availability.
  • Barbeque! Kansas City is a bbq mecca for many and we’ve got a plethora of famous and hole-in-the-wall joints to get some great grub. Local and famous favorites include: Oklahoma Joe’s, Arthur Bryant’s, Jack Stack, Gates, and BB’s Lawnside BBQ.
  • Bask in the glory that is the soccer capital of America at a Sporting KC game (prices vary, but can be snagged for under $30 on occasion).
  • Eclectic dining experiences. We’ve got a little bit of everything in KC. Check out some of the patios and street vendors during some of KC’s prettiest months!
  • Shopping! From thrift stores and vintage to brand new and designer KC has it all. If you’re looking for the really fancy attire, check out the shops on the Plaza. Vintage boutiques and off the wall thrift stores often pop up in the shopping areas throughout the city.

So there you have it! Kansas City is FULL of fun and different things to do throughout the summer and many options are free! I for one hope to hit up the K for a Royals game and will definitely be nomming some BBQ! Anything on this list you want to try? Did I miss anything? Let us know! Comment here or tell us on Twitter: @Hooleybundschu #kcsummerfun!

With that, I wish you all the best of luck during finals week and to our many graduates, a hearty CONGRATULATIONS!

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