Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy New Year!

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,and never brought to mind ?Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?”

You’re humming the tune, yes? To be honest, it wasn’t until I listened to the Barenaked Ladies “Barenaked for the Holidays” that I really started to figure out the words to that New Years-y tune. Now, a handful of years later, I know the first verse and the chorus…still failing, I suppose, but at least I try. Anyway, the purpose of this intro is to announce (in case you’re living under a rock) that tomorrow is officially New Year’s Day, meaning tonight will be a time of fun and festivities. So, how about a little history? Surely, you’re a little curious

New Year celebrations are not a new thing. In fact, the New Year has been celebrated in some fashion for the last four millennia. Some of the earliest celebrations can be attributed to ancient Babylonians. The first new moon following the vernal (spring) equinox was the herald of the New Year for the Babylonians. They would celebrate with a massive religious festival called Akitu. Other ancient peoples celebrated similarly, pinning the New Year to an astronomical or agricultural event. For example, the Egyptian’s New Year began with the annual flooding of the Nile and the Chinese New Year occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

As time progressed, so did our calendar making skills. The early calendars had only 10 months and 304 days, beginning with March. Many of the dates coincided with some lunar or, eventually, solar event. Sometime after the eighth century B.C. Numa Pompilius is said to have created Januarius and Februarius (January and February). In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar (emperor at the time) noticed that the calendar was out of sync with the sun and, after consulting prominent astronomers and mathematicians, created the Julian calendar, which is a close representation of the Gregorian calendar most of us use today. As a part of his changes, January 1 became the beginning of the New Year, though this was partly in honor of Janus (the month’s name sake and Roman god of beginnings). Celebrations during this time included offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging of gifts, house decoration vis laurel branches, and raucous parties.

Medieval Europeans, specifically the religious leaders, were not “hunky dory” with the lack of significance for christians and moved the date of the new year to more “religious” days like December 25th (birth of Christ) or March 25 (Feast of Annunciation). In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII re-established January 1 as New Year’s Day.

Now that New Year’s Day has been set for at January 1 for most countries for just a ‘little’ while, we’ve come up with some special ways to celebrate. These frequently include food, song, and bright & shiny explosions or balls. In the U.S. we tend to eat black-eyed peas for financial success, shoot off fireworks, and drop a 12,000 pound lighted ball. In Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, and others pork is a staple in the New Year’s feasts. Some countries opt for a ring-shaped cake to represent the “rounding out of the year” and the Swedes and Norwegians dine on rice pudding with a hidden almond (the lucky ‘finder’ is purported to have good fortune for the next 12 months). Many areas  shoot off fireworks, and some have adopted America’s ball drop at midnight, though some have taken it a little off track by dropping a pickle (PA) or some other odd object. The New Year’s resolution has some history, having started (perhaps) with the Babylonians making promises in order to earn the favor of the gods. A final bit of New Year’s fun for many peoples is the singing of songs. Most English-speaking countries love to belt out “Auld Lang Syne” (which basically means ‘old long since’ or ‘old times’, making the line “For old lang syne” into “for old times sake”).

This year, as you celebrate with friends and family, drinks and snacks, fireworks and a giant lighted ball, remember that it’s actually an ancient holiday to ring in a new and, hopefully, prosperous new year. It’s a time to leave the past behind, and start our fresh. Have fun, be safe, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!



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December 31, 2013 · 10:00 pm

National Fruitcake Day!

Yes folks, the most magnificent day of the year has arrived at last: National Fruitcake Day. Woo Hoo!! You didn’t know this day existed? Me either! As it turns out, there are a variety of senseless and fun holidays for each day of the year, National Fruitcake Day is just one of many.

No one seems to know why December 27th was chosen to honor the much “beloved” fruitcake, but December being National Fruitcake Month probably had something to do with it. Also, I could have something to do with the fact that fruitcakes are traditionally exchanged during the Christmas holidays and, unless they are soaked in booze, will likely begin molding before too long. No matter the reason, do you really know what fruitcake is?

Not surprisingly, fruitcake (or fruit cake) is a cake made with chopped candied and/or dried fruit, nuts, spices, and occasionally soaked in spirits (not talking ghosts here…). As it turns out, a cake which merely has fruit in it can be considered a “fruit cake.” The humble fruitcake has been around for quite some time, making appearances in ancient rome (made with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins mixed into a barley mash). The cake has since modernized some, and is now more cake-like, including a variety of dried berries, nuts, spices, and occasionally different “beverages” (rum and brandy seem to be the favorites). You can find cakes that are “au natural” all the way to elaborately decorated. In most countries the fruitcake is traditionally served during the holiday season and for weddings.

Fruitcake has a history, believe it or not. Not only has it been around, it was actually banned for a brief period of European history, because it was deemed too decadent and sinful. It is also said to have been buried with some ancient Egyptians. In more recent history, it has become a much beloved projectile in Manitou Springs, CO. On the first Saturday of January, locals and visitors gather to toss, catapult, carry, and sculpt their leftover fruitcakes. Events include relay races, fruitcake sculpting contests, throwing competitions, and a catapult toss.

Fruitcake is not exactly well loved by American society; apparently 38% of us will give away a fruitcake if it is given to us. But, if you are looking to celebrate the cake, you can usually find fruitcakes in your local grocery store in a variety of sizes, colors, and levels of decoration. Better yet, you could celebrate by making your own! Here is a link to a recipe from Good Eats and Alton Brown (thyme lord/food nerd/tv personality).

Want to know how I learned all this fabulously fruity information? Click here!

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Christmas Boogeymen

Have you been naughty or nice this year? Better hope you end up on the nice list, otherwise you might meet some of these Christmas-y boogeymen from around the world.

**Warning, just because they are being called “Christmas-y” boogeymen, does not mean that they actually arrive on Christmas. Many of them appear early in December or during the Twelve days of Christmas.**

Krampus: Primarily seen in Austria and Germany (or Germanic cultures), Krampus is a “dark” companion of St. Nicholas. Traditionally, he is depicted as a classic devil, complete with cloves hooves, horns, and a monstrous tongue. Occasionally, he will just be a “sinister gentleman” dressed in black or “man-beast.” Krampus is the bad cop to St. Nicholas’s good cop, going around beating naughty children (and some women) and if they have been particularly bad, he will stuff them into a bag or basket and carry them to his lair (which is typically considered Hell). He arrives on Krampusnacht, which is the eve of St. Nicholas’s Day to wreak its havoc.

Zwaret Piet (Black Peter): is another companion of St. Nicholas (Dutch: Sinterklaas) that originated in the Low Countries. Zwaret Piet’s job is to help St. Nicholas deliver gifts to the good children and deliver punishments to the naughty. Naughty children will receive punishments based upon the severity of their “crimes”; children who are not particularly naughty will probably receive a “roe” (bundle of birch twigs) to imply that they should receive a birching or a lump of coal while the very naughty will be carried off in a burlap sack to Spain where St. Nicholas and Zwaret Piet are said to live during the off season.

Gryla, Yule Lads, & Yuletide Cat: Gryla is an ogress living in the icelandic mountains who is said to be part troll and part animal. She has 13 children, who are known as the Yule Lads. Each Christmas season she and her Lads come down from the mountain. Gryla is in search of naughty children to boil in her cauldron (children who repent their naughty ways are released). The Yule Lads go about making mischief throughout the 12 or 13 days of Christmas with one arriving daily. In the past they were used to strike fear into children with their nasty ways, but now they have been transformed into a Santa Claus like creature, leaving treats for good children and rotting potatoes for the naughty. The Christmas or Yuletide Cat belongs to Gryla and her boys. The cat comes down while the Lads are causing mischief and hunts out the children who have not received new clothes for Christmas (because a lazy or bad worker would not need new clothes) and, depending on the severity of the story, will steal their presents or go so far as to eat those children.

Knecht Ruprecht: Yet another of St. Nicholas’s companions. Knecht Ruprecht hails from German folklore as a scruffy farmhand. He visits children and asks if they can pray. Children who can will receive sweets, nuts, and perhaps small gifts; children who cannot will receive useless or ugly gifts (lumps of coal, birch switches, stones, etc.); and finally children who refuse will be beaten with his bag of ashes.

Kallikantzaroi: Greek malevolent goblins who dwell underground, spending their days trying to cut down the World Tree (and destroy the Earth). During the Twelve Days of Christmas they come above ground to cause mischief to humans and forget their sawing. On the Epiphany (Jan. 6th) they must go back underground and resume their sawing of the World Tree which has miraculously healed while they were above ground. Generally, these guys mess with everyone–naughty or nice.

Belsnickel: As seen on The Office, originates from the Palatinate region of Germany and has some popularity in the Penn. Dutch community. Belsnickel comes to homes one or two weeks before Christmas carrying a switch and looking terribly mean and shabby (usually dressed in torn, tattered, and dirty clothes). He threatens to beat naughty children with the switch (though never actually hurting anyone), and effectively scares children into being good so Santa will bring them gifts.

Pere Fouettard (Whipping Father): A French companion of St. Nicholas who accompanies St. Nick on his rounds on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day). While St. Nicholas is delivering toys and sweets, Pere Fouettard is dispensing lumps of coal or floggings to naughty children.

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Jingle Bells and Little Red Kettles

The Salvation Army. One of the biggest and most widely known charities in the United States, and, quite possibly, the world. Every year, usually about mid-November the little red kettles appear the the bell ringing begins. If you’re like me, you donate on occasion…usually when you’ve just paid cash at whatever establishment they are jingling outside of. Have you ever thought about volunteering to be a bell ringing? Have you ever wondered what the Salvation Army is all about or, perhaps, where your donations go? Well, you’re about to find out!

The History: The Salvation Army began in 1865 by William Booth, a London minister, who wished to take his message to the streets so it would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute. When he discovered the disquiet caused by the disheveled joining services with the prim and proper he found a church especially for the destitute–the East London Christian Mission. The name of the Salvation Army was born of the church’s mission in which they described the mission as a: salvation army.

The Now: The Salvation Army has, obviously, grown in strength and numbers in 148 years. It is now an international movement run by General Andre Cox, providing hundreds of programs and services to those in need. The most noticeable of its efforts are the cooperative projects with international relief agencies (providing food, water, basic needs, etc to victims of natural disasters, genocide, lack of resources, etc.) and providing provisions, housing, and basic daily needs to people in need. In addition, the “Army” provides addiction counseling and family tracing for those looking to located relatives with whom they’ve lost contact. As a part of it’s christian mission, the Salvation Army, uses sports and social work to build relationships, find connections, and “help the people and communities to enjoy healthy lives in bodies, minds, and souls.”

Where Your Money Goes: According to the Salvation Army website, $0.84 of each dollar donated “is used to sustain life changing programs that bring hope to hurting souls”. The breakdown shows that 84% goes to programs & services, 6% to administration, and 10% to fundraising. The Salvation Army relies on the community’s support for many of it’s programs, and claim that the “Army” receives more financial support from the general public than any other charity in America.  All funds and gifts are used in the donor’s region unless the donor requests something different, and the donor may designate which programs/services receive the donation.

I Want To Ring The Bell: If you are interested in ringing the bell, volunteers are always appreciated. You can sign up at your local Salvation Army or on your regional Salvation Army’s website (KC area ringers can sign up here).  The Salvation Army also hires bell ringers for all day assignments–these are usually people trying to make ends meet but still want to give back to their community.

Want To Donate?: If you are interested in donating to the Salvation Army you can do so at anytime on their website or your regional Salvation Army’s website. You can also use the regional website to locate donation centers and kettle locations in your area.

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Toys for Tots

Around this time of year we are hearing all kinds of commercials about what to give your friends, family, and children for Christmas and about all of these “wonderful” sales that “X” store has going on, but every now and then you’ll hear someone say “‘Tis the season of giving”. For this post and the next I’m going to offer up some information about two of the Christmas season favorites when it comes to charity: Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army.

Today, we’ll cover Toys for Tots. You’ve probably seen the cardboard “Toys for Tots” boxes around some of your favorite businesses and organizations (the library has two!) and watched them slowly will with toys. The basic premise of the ‘charity’ is to collect toys and books which will be distributed as a message of hope to less fortunate children for Christmas. Toys for Tots was started in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks (USMCR) in Los Angeles, CA. In that first year he was able to collect 5,000 toys, the first of which was a handmade doll. The following year, Toys for Tots was adopted by the US Marine Corps and expanded it into a nationwide community action project. A few years later the Toys for Tots Foundation was born, and now works in conjunction with the USMC Toys for Tots as, for all intents and purposes, it’s business office. In recent years, they have added a new program to the “for Tots” line; now you can donate your old vehicles (running or not) to the “Cars for Tots” program, which benefits Toys for Tots. Further information is available about this on the Toys for Tots website.

The popularity of the program grows each year and it has seen its fair share of famous folks as the spokesperson, including a few first ladies, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Clint Eastwood, and Tim Allen…to name just a few. Even the, now famous, train logo was created by Walt Disney. In terms of numbers, by the end of the 2012 campaign Toys for Tots had collected nearly 16.8 million toys which were distributed to more than 7 million underprivileged children.

Accolades: As of 2012, Toys for Tots, has spent 11 consecutive years on the Philanthropy 400, with a current standing of #70. Toys for Tots continues to be considered an accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.

Toys for Tots serves the main 50 United States as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, collecting and delivering toys to underprivileged children each Christmas. Each year there are about 700 communities hosting a Toys for Tots Campaign, which is run by one individual who is a Marine (current or retired), a member of a Marine Corps League Detachment, or a member of a local community organization. Toy collection begins as early as October and ends around mid or late December. Collection boxes are placed throughout the community and community members are asked to donate new and unwrapped (no wrapping paper) toys which will later be collected, wrapped by campaign volunteers, and distributed to the children who are in need. To determine if a child will need this extra Christmas hope, Toys for Tots organizers develop working relationships with schools, churches, local charities, and any other organization which are qualified to identify needy children. Additionally, you can request a toy on the Toys for Tots website.

In addition to delivering to the needy children of the US, Toys for Tots also serves the Native American community. The Toys for Tots Native American Program moves some toys and donations out of the collection area (Usually only in California) and reaches out (with the donations) to the disadvantaged Native American children on their Reservations. In 2012, over 177,000 toys were distributed to over 78,000 Native American children in Reservations throughout the United States.

The Toys for Tots campaigns have been so successful in their mission that they have partnered with the UPS Store to create the “Toys for Tots Literacy Program”. The programs mission is “to offer our nation’s most economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing them direct access to resources that will enhance their ability to read and to communicate effectively. They primarily take monetary donations, which help to place books in the hands of the economically downtrodden.

If you are interested in donating, Toys for Tots asks for new and unwrapped (as in, no wrapping paper) toys and books for children of all ages (they serve children from infant to about 16–ages depend on area and availability of gifts). You can place these in boxes scattered throughout your community. To located a box near you, click here. They also take monetary donations and are now offering the option to donate “in honor” or “in memory” of someone. To learn more or donate money, click here. Avila University does participate in the Toys for Tots program, and there are boxes scattered throughout campus for donations; here, at Hooley-Bundschu Library, there are two boxes situated around the Circulation Desk.

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Looking for Something to Read Over Break?

Christmas break is just around the corner and students, staff, and faculty are all preparing for the festivities and, probably, a “long winter’s nap”. One of the best ways to unwind is with a good book. So, your ‘friendly neighborhood librarians’ at the Hooley-Bundschu Library have come up with a list of books that you may want to pick up while you’re enjoying some peace and quiet over the break. If you would like a more detailed list, click here!

Paige-Social Media & Information Literacy Librarian

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

By: Douglas Adams

Genre: Science Fiction, Humor

Why I think you should read it: It’s a fabulous book and a cult-classic to boot! I loved it when I first read it, and love it still today. I’ve adopted “Don’t Panic” into my general lifestyle (though I do not always carry a towel).

The Monuments Men: Allied heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

By Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter (Contributor)

Genre: Nonfiction, History, WWII

Why I think you should read it: I am planning to read this in the near future mostly because it will be a feature length film starring:  George Clooney, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and others! So, read it, go see the move in February, and judge which was better. 🙂

Kathleen: Library Director

Want Not

By Jonathan Miles

genre: General Fiction, Satire

Why I think you should read it: It keep me reading and introduced characters I came to who I cared about.

May We Be Forgiven

By: A.M. Holmes

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Why I think you should read it: People behaving badly is a universal premise for any fiction, but I was cheered by these characters dawning recognition of how badly they had behaved and their attempt to make amends.

Larry Kramer: Electronic Resources Librarian

What the Dog Saw

By: Malcolm Gladwell

Genre: Nonfiction, Sociology, Business

Why I think you should read it: The answers about the implausible tale of the ketchup are most interesting. Gladwell, who writes for the New York Times,  also tells the story of a super-salesman, Ron Popeil,  and all his “Popeil Gadgets.”  He talked with a person who can calm the dog with the movement of his eyeball. The story of how “hair-coloring” for women got started is great. What is the difference between someone who “chokes” and someone who “panics” is also really good.

Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming

By: Peter Seibel

Genre: Nonfiction, Computer Science

Why I think you should read it: I am planning to read this. It’s reviews and contents are great for what I am currently working on.

Elisabeth Lomax: Library Assistant

Ocean at the End of the Lane

By: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror

Why I think you should read it: The author has done it again. The story of a suicide and how it changed a young boy’s entire life is hard to describe. It is definitely scary, yet heart-warming, as well. The characters are interesting and, as always in good supernatural horror fiction, the author asks us to suspend our disbelief in the impossible as he makes it absolutely worth our while in the end.

The Book Thief

By: Markus Zusak

Genre: Young Adult, History, WWII

Why I think you should read it: It is a standalone novel which follows a young girl’s relationship with her foster parents, the other residents of their neighborhood, and a Jewish fist-fighter who hides in her home during the escalation of World War II. It’s extremely interesting and, though upsetting, asks all the right questions.

Adonna Thompson: University Archivist

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

By: Brian Selznick

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult/Children, Fantasy, Mystery

Why I think you should read it: It is a beautiful story uniquely told through a blend of text and pen and ink drawings.

Whose Names are Unknown: A Novel

By: Sanora Babb, Lawrence R. Rodgers (Foreword)

Genre: Historical Fiction, American History

Why I think you should read it: I put this one on my list after hearing about it in the new Ken Burns documentary on the dust bowl. Powerfully moving.

Becky Nichols: Circulation Manager

Anne of Green Gables

By:  L.M. Montgomery

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Classics, Historical Fiction

Why I think you should read it: because she is so sassy! She works her way into trouble and then talks her way out of it.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

By: Barbara Robinson

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Humor, Holiday

Why I think you should read it: It’s a fun filled riot of a story. Great for the Christmas season.

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Everything You Didn’t Know You Needed To Know About Caffeine

As finals week continues to ravage the campus and students begin heading home for the holidays, I felt we should learn a little about a common “favorite” among the late night finals crammers and long-distance drivers: Caffeine. Yes, folks…today’s informative post is brought to you by the letters C, H, N, and O specifically when they are lined up like this: C8H10N4O2 (for those of you who are confused, this is caffeine’s chemical formula).

Caffeine, or trimethylxanthine, can be found naturally in your coffee, chocolate, and tea but is also added to your caffeinated sodas, energy drinks, novelty candies & gifts (gums, mints, soap, lip balm, etc.), diet pills, and even some over the counter pain relief medicine. Coffee leads the way in general caffeine consumption, with 250,000 tons of it consumed globally per annum. Around 90% of Americans consume caffeine in some form each day, with more than half of the population consuming more than 300mg’s of the stuff daily (about two cups of coffee); 20-30% are reported to consume more than 600mg. Surprisingly, we are not the leaders in consumption of caffeine. The caffeine crown goes to the Scandinavians with countries, like Finland, consuming more caffeine than any other country worldwide.

Caffeine has a variety of benefits, the most desirable of which is its ability to boost your energy. It turns out about 65% of college students use energy drinks (filled with caffeine) to boost energy levels. For your benefit, there have been over 19,000 studies on caffeine, and more than one has come to the conclusion that, yes, caffeine will boost your energy. But why? Caffeine has the fancy ability to look like adenosine to your brains cells adenosine receptors; the caffeine will bind to the adenosine receptors and, unlike adenosine, will cause the cells to speed up. This increased cellular activity is “noticed” by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, upon noticing the activity,  interprets it as an emergency situation and releases adrenaline into your system. The adrenaline is your “fight or flight” instinct, so your reactions are heightened (among other effects). Additionally, caffeine has some dubious “cousins” in the drug world: Cocaine, Heroin, and some amphetamines and one of the traits they share is the ability to manipulate dopamine levels (usually an increase). Caffeine’s effect is much weaker than heroin, but it is suggested that this could be why caffeine has addictive properties.

Caffeine consumption has a wide variety of pros and cons, many of which are probably experienced by our Avila population regularly. The list of cons is long and not a little worrisome, but there are many pros that keep us coming back to our precious drug.

Cons: Increased heart-rate, increased blood pressure, food cravings, increased anxiety and stress levels, sleep deprivation, jitters, restlessness, heart palpitations, jolt/crash (depression & fatigue), and addiction/withdrawal.

Pros: renewed energy, heightened alertness, boosted mood, can stop headaches, treat asthma, can protect against cavities, and has some major medical benefits (regular users are 80& less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease; two cup a day users could see a 20% reduced risk of colon cancer,  an 80% drop in the odds of developing cirrhosis, and a 50% decrease in the risk of developing gallstones; It is also being tested as a possible protection from Alzheimer’s and against the destruction of pancreatic skin cells).

The two biggest issues with coffee are the sleep deprivation and addiction. Not surprisingly, one can (and frequently does) lead to the other because of what I’m calling the Caffeine Cycle. Which is when you loose “deep sleep” because you fell asleep with caffeine still in your system, use caffeine products to keep you energized throughout the day, and then do it all over again until you’re completely dependent.  It’s a vicious cycle that leads to reliance on caffeine to remain functioning normally. When you stop, the withdrawals could be pretty awful too. Like most drugs of the stimulant variety, caffeine’s withdrawal symptoms can include depression, fatigue, and splitting headaches. You could also experience slowed reaction times and “quick” thinking activities. Caffeine withdrawal is wicked enough that the international medical community considers caffeine withdrawal a medical syndrome.

Obviously, caffeine has its ups and downs. You get some pretty great benefits, but they can cost you in the long run. Still want to know more? Well, here are some random factoids my research turned up:

  • Natural caffeine is used by plants as a pesticide—killing off most insects that like to nibble on that particular plant.

  • African folklore sets the discovery of coffee’s energizing properties around 800 AD. European and Asian accounts indicate that coffee and tea were local staples as early as the 1400’s but it is likely that food and drinks made from caffeine containing plants were a part of humankind’s medical and nutritional arsenal since before recorded time.

  • Products marketed as “soda” or “pop” should have around 70mg or less per FDA regulations. Energy drinks get around that rule by not marketing as a “soda”. Your precious RedBull has about 80mg/8.3 oz. and 5 Hour Energy topples the scales at 207mg/2oz. serving.

  • Chocolate is not always as caffeinated as we think. Its caffeine content relies on the blend of cocoa butter, cocoa solids, sugar, flavorings, and filler. The average 50g bar of chocolate could have as few as 3mg or as many as 63mg. A good example is the plain Hershey’s Kiss—nine Kisses = 9mg of caffeine.

So, dear readers, go and enjoy your “cuppa” as per your usual, but perhaps look for some energy alternatives when you are planning a late night cramming session. If you’re looking for some options to avoid the all-nighters this semester, check out this blog post. Once again, Avila students and college students around the world—I wish you all good luck on your final exams!

If you are interested in what sources I used to write this or want to learn some more click here

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Finals Frenzy

The library is packed, computers are full, students are carrying around extra-large coffees, and sweat pants are the norm. Yep, it’s Finals Week. This week, the library will see record numbers of students coming in to use the computers and quiet/private spaces to get in some serious studying. Your friendly neighborhood librarians wish to be as helpful as possible during this stressful time and we will be on high alert throughout the week.

As many people know (or will be figuring out very quickly) finals week is all about hard-core studying and taking exams. Having been there myself, I’ve come up with this handy dandy list of study tips to help you rock your exams. This is the “Cliff’s Notes” version, if you would like all the gory details click here.

  • Don't Panic LogoFirst and foremost: DON’T PANIC.
  • Don’t get too relaxed.
  • Start early. Don’t procrastinate.
  • Stay energized.
  • Just do it! Find a quiet space to study that lacks distractions and is reasonably comfortable. Or, if it works for you and what you are working on, study with a partner or a group.
  •  Be organized.
  • Help yourself. Create study guides, clarify your notes, and make flashcards.
  • Let it go. Don’t stress the small stuff (like wearing presentable clothing).

Bonus: Some tips for the day of the exam!

  • Be on time and well rested.
  • Make sure you have everything you need & want.
  • Pretest potty break. Seriously.
  • Be kind to the graders.
  • Be sure to fully develop your answers and arguments.
  • Read the instructions.
  • Stay to the bitter end.

I hope those little tips are beneficial to you! Students, I wish you all the best. I know this is a stressful time. Remember, your librarians are here to help! Don’t be afraid to ask us questions, it’s what we are here for. Good luck to you all!

Helpful tips brought to you by:

Gurung, Regan AR. “How do students really study (and does it matter)?.”Education 39 (2005): 323-340.

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Hooley Bundschu Library has a blog! Hooray!!

As this is the very first post I’ll keep it simple and just update you on some of the goings on here at the library.

First and foremost, we are rapidly approaching the end of the Fall 2013 semester, which means FINALS. Students are flocking to our computers and study spaces to finish projects, perfect papers, and get in those last few minutes of studying. For any students or faculty who are looking for information and/or help–don’t be afraid to ask your friendly neighborhood librarians! We can be found wandering all over the library and are happy to help. You are also welcome to ask questions via Twitter (@hooleybundschu) or Facebook. Also, it can get fairly noisy in here with this many people working, so those of you hoping for a “silent” study space, I suggest you investigate our quiet study area toward the back of the library. We also have a few small study rooms, which are first come-first serve (sorry, no reservations).

In an attempt to make your last week before finals a little less stressful, a variety of campus groups will be hosting events this week in the library and around the Avila campus. If you are in need of some stress relief, check the schedule of events on our Facebook page.

We recently hosted the ‘Free LaMar’s Donuts and Coffee’ event at the library as a part of Avila’s “Stress Relief Week.” This year we were able to take advantage of a special ‘BOGO’ deal with LaMar’s and received 50 dozen (600) donuts. We started serving at 8:00 A.M. and were still going strong when the evening shift came in at 5:00 P.M. A Huge thanks to LaMar’s Donuts and Avila Student Life for making this event a huge success.

With the advent of “Stress Relief Week” and the fast approach of Finals Week, the library will have extended hours. Check the image below for daily hours. The library will be closed December 14th & 15th and will re-open on the 16th with abbreviated hours until the official Christmas Break begins on December 23rd. Check back for details.

Finally, we are looking for donations! Specifically, we are looking for TOYS. As a part of a campus wide Toys for Tots drive, Hooley Bundschu Library will be collecting new and unopened toys to be delivered to needy children for Christmas. If you are interested in donating there are two collection bins inside the library, near the circulation desk. The bins should be available through the end of the school year and you are welcome to donate any time the library is open!

I will leave you with those thoughts for now. Check back soon for a new post and GOOD LUCK to all students preparing for Finals!!

Stress and Finals Weeks Schedule

Stress and Finals Weeks Schedule

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December 4, 2013 · 5:37 pm