Category Archives: The More You Know…

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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Louie Louie, oh no. Me gotta go.

“Louie Louie, oh no/Me gotta go/Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said/Louie Louie, oh baby/Me gotta go”

Today is International Louie Louie Day! Everyone’s favorite party song-or at least a favorite-is celebrated each year on April 11th, the birthday of original composer of the tune, Richard Berry. Not surprisingly, he was also the first person to record it…in 1957. Since then it has been re-recorded by a multitude of big names. The version most are familiar with is the cover by the Kingsmen done in 1963. Other notable covers were performed by Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Black Flag (yes, really), Young MC, Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, and the Smashing Pumpkins. In addition to a variety of musicians covering the song, it has also been covered by the occasional actor in films featuring the song.

Shockingly, the super catchy party anthem was meant to be the “B-side” for Berry’s recording of “You Are My Sunshine”. The song itself has been much praised and, because of a tremendous amount of history in the Washington/Oregon region different cities in both states have celebrations throughout April (and apparently September/October in Portland) to commemorate the diddy. In fact, the glorious tune was nearly declared the official state song of Washington State. More typical commemorations of International Louie Louie day have included: newspaper articles, magazine stories, radio programs, and (in cities with a big Louie Louie contingent) small parades. Occasionally, radio stations will celebrate Louie Louie day by playing massive blocks of different versions of Louie Louie.

In honor of this terrific holiday, I ask that you don some kind of party wear…I suggest a plastic lei and perhaps an umbrella drink…and check out all of these different versions of “Louie Louie” I was able to dig up.

Richard Berry

The Kingsmen

Iggy Pop

Paul Revere & The Raiders

Toots & Maytals

The Clash

Rockin’ Robin Roberts & The Wailers

Motorhead

The Sonics

The Kinks

Blondie

Led Zeppelin

Fat Boys

Otis Redding

Black Flag

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Animal House Clip

Down Periscope (watch the last minute…ish)

Monty Python skit set to Louie Louie

Coupe De Ville

Mr. Holland’s Opus (start at 8:22)

In other news…it’s also Cheese Fondue Day & National Bookmobile Day. So, when you’re finished watching all of these fantastic videos go check out a book from your local bookmobile about Richard Berry and enjoy reading it over some delicious Cheese Fondue! And as always: keep calm and louie louie

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How librarians nab a valentine

In lieu of the typical post for this site, I’ve decided to honor Valentine’s Day in a purely librarian way: cheesy librarian pick-up lines. Prepare to be amazed by the tremendously creative use of library vernacular.

This Valentine’s Day, woo your future lover with any of these 10 fabulous lines:

  1. Mind if I check you out?

  1. Are you a librarian? Well, I really need to be shushed!

  1. No one believes I am a librarian, maybe you should try to check me out.

  1. You have the tightest hair bun in the place!

  1. Let’s play search engine: enter your search terms and see if you get positive results.

  1. I’d catalog you under “Desirable”!

  1. Dewey belong together, or is it just me?

  1. Can I have your call number?

  1. Wanna have 306.7?

  1. Hey girl, I like cats, Doctor Who, books, and that cardigan you’re wearing. (works best if you are Ryan Gosling)

I hope you’re not too scandalized. Librarians are an odd bunch. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! Celebrate wisely, and we’ll see you all on Monday!

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(not our) National Libraries Day!

Saturday is National Libraries Day…but in the United Kingdom. This is, of course, a bit of a bummer for United States libraries. No matter! We can still celebrate in our own way. 🙂

Across the UK libraries will be pulling out all the stops, showing their patrons just what they are capable of, as well as hosting a variety of events for all ages. Each library has it’s own plan for celebration. Some will host a party, others will have a “petting zoo” for new e-readers or incoming electronics, still others will have crafting events or story hours throughout the day. It’s not just public libraries, either. Academic and special libraries are welcome to showcase their goods as well. Nuffield College Library took the offer and ran with it, dedicating a blog post to a behind the scenes look at their archive collections.

Want to celebrate your libraries on UK’s National Libraries Day? What not stop in to Hooley-Bundschu Library and check out what we’ve got available? Or perhaps mosey down to one of the many public libraries in the area, get a library card, and check out a couple of cheesy romance novels for the weekend? Your friendly blogging librarian will be hitting up the Mid-Continent Library branch in Lees Summit to pick up a couple of graphic novels to plow through over the chilly weekend. Go Libraries!

If you want to show your Avila University library some love, hop over to our Facebook Page and give us a like, or perhaps follow us on Twitter!

Happy National Libraries Day to all the libraries in the UK and around the world!

Check out some of the festivities listed on the National Libraries Day Website or the Facebook Page!

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Weekend Update

This past weekend was quite an exciting one in the pop culture world! Sunday, specifically, blew up twitter in a variety of different ways. We had the Super Bowl (game, commercials, & half-time show), Groundhog Day, and the passing of beloved actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. On top of that the KC area got a “lovely” sheeting of ice on Friday afternoon, leading to a variety of problems throughout the weekend.

So, in lieu of a more “educational” post, we’re going to start this first week of February with a weekend re-cap. You know, in case you live under a rock (and somehow have internet access) and missed this weekends happenings. So, here are ALL THE THINGS from this weekend:

  • Ice…everywhere. Beginning Friday afternoon Kansas City decided to reenact Atlanta’s slippery mishaps from last week. It all started out as a light drizzle, which no one expected to flash freeze on all surfaces. The roads went from wet to ice rink in a matter of minutes. Multiple crashes ensued, highways were closed, and stopping &/or turning became a crap shoot. To all of you brave souls who traveled anywhere on Friday afternoon, bravo on being around to read this blog! For many of us, we are still dealing with ice rink conditions on our driveways, sidewalks, and small/less traveled side streets. This problem is about to be exacerbated by the on coming boatload (technical terms, of course) of snow heading our way Tuesday. Yay!

  • Groundhog Day. I’m guessing about 90% of you know what goes on for Groundhog Day. In case you don’t, here is the gist: a groundhog in Pennsylvania emerges* from his den and does or does not see his shadow. If he sees his shadow, six more weeks of Winter; no shadow, early Spring! This lovely rodent is named Punxsutawney Phil and the big celebration takes place in Punxsutawney, PA. This year, he saw his shadow. Six more weeks of Winter are heading our way, I suppose.

*Emerges, meaning taken from his den by strange men in coattails and top hats.*

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman. So sad. He was 46 and was found dead in his apartment with a syringe in his arm. The initial cause of death has been ruled a drug overdose. Because I am sometimes a terrible person, my second thought (after, of course, thinking it was so sad) was: “what about the Hunger Games movies?”. Seriously, I immediately felt terrible for thinking that (but really, what will they do?). My terrible-ness aside, this is a hollywood tragedy, as Hoffman was a great and respected actor. Yet another great has left the fold. Sad sad sad.

  • Super Bowl!

    • The Pre-Game: Was anyone else confused by the replay of an interview of Barack Obama by Bill O’Riley? It was a little upsetting considering I had been watching the festivities and happy/fun interviews with Bill Murray and Jamie Foxx just moments before. Not your greatest move Fox.

    • The Game: Well that was…interesting. I think the nation was pretty well split on who would win (Vegas polls were almost 50/50). Both teams had great year, each finishing 13 – 1 and generally destroying their competition either by a crazy good passing game (Denver) or a mean defensive line (Seattle/Legion of BOOM). Needless to say, the Legion of Boom was at the top of their game, stopping Denver almost every time. Seattle put the beat down on Denver, beating them 43 – 8. Some are saying Denver didn’t “show up”, but I disagree. I think Denver played a good game, maybe not their best, but they still played hard. Seattle was just that good; they clearly had the best game of their season. I’m happy for them, even if I was rooting for Denver, they earned that win fair and square.

    • Half-Time Show: Bruno Mars & The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Wow! That was one heck of a performance, and it’s always nice to see people clearly enjoying what they are doing. Was anyone surprised that Flea and Anthony Kiedis were shirtless? I really hope not. Those leggings, though, were a bit more surprising. Bruno Mars showed the world (or at least the millions watching) why he is so liked. He put on one heck of a show, starting with a mighty fine drum solo and then moving into “Locked out of Heaven”, “Treasure”, and a James Brown laced version of “Runaway Baby”. After a brief RHCP interlude (which was…special), Mars finished with “Just the Way You Are” and tugged the heartstrings by peppering in shoutouts from deployed service men/women. It was a good show.

    • The Commercials: These were a little “Meh” this year, eh? It seems as if everyone was going for the “touchy feely” styled commercial. Props to the creator of the first Doritos commercial…it was pretty good. I was pleased-ish with the M&M’s commercial with Boris the Blade (Rade Serbedzija). My overall favorites were 1) Jaguar’s commercial with British actors Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley, and Mark Strong. It was a decent commercial, but mostly I was just enjoying the view (I dig the Hiddles). 2) The pistachio commercial with the eagle in a suit and Stephen Colbert. 3) Chevy’s commercial with the bull…it made me giggle.

Well, now you should be pretty well caught up on the weekend’s big happenings. Go forth with that knowledge and do…something. I’m not entirely sure how  you could use that information, but at least you will be able to participate in any “water cooler” conversations today. Have a good week folks!

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Mobius…books from beyond!

Mobius (mow-bee-us)…it’s an odd word isn’t it? It’s an odd word, but one that could be incredibly useful to you when you’re working on research projects. Mobius is the statewide consortium (of which Avila is a part) that works with libraries to offer discounted database and periodical subscriptions as well as creates an enormous lending network for all members. So what does this mean for you? Well, it means that we can provide you with more and better options for locating articles and WE CAN GET YOU BOOKS FROM ALL OVER THE STATE!

The Mobius consortium membership includes the majority of colleges and universities in Missouri as well as many public and special libraries. Each library is assigned a “cluster” based on geographic location and tends to work more closely with their cluster libraries. Avila is a part of the Kansas City cluster, so we work closely with (and can get materials pretty quickly from) universities, colleges, and some public libraries in the area (UMKC, Rockhurst, KC Public Library, etc.).

If you happen to need a book that we do not have access to at Avila, Mobius is going to be  your way to (hopefully) get a copy of that book. To get these books, your first task is to make sure Avila doesn’t already have a copy of it by searching here. If your search comes up blank, your next step should be to check the KC cluster options, which is here. Still nothing? Now you will have to check the full Mobius catalog, here.

In all of your basic searching options, you can search by title, author, subject, or journal/magazine. As always, if you search by author you need to put the last name first. If your search leads you to the full Mobius catalog, you will have more options for the basic search. In any of the searches, you are welcome to opt for the “Advanced Search”, which will help you narrow search results that are broad.

When requesting books, you will need to have your “user ID”. At Avila your user ID is your last name, first initial, middle initial, and your zip code (ex: A person named James A. Grant living in this area would be: grantja64145). If you have any problems requesting materials, you will need to contact the library or stop by the circulation desk.

When you request a book, it will be sent to your “home” library (at Avila, it will be the campus library), but you can also have them sent to other libraries within your cluster if they are more convenient for you. This ability makes mobius a fabulous and relatively quick way for students, faculty, community members, etc. to find information that is not currently available at their local/preferred library.

If you need help requesting materials, or with any step of the process, please feel free to ask any of your friendly neighborhood librarians. Also, you are welcome to ask me any questions in the blog comments or through our Facebook and Twitter (@HooleyBundschu) accounts.

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Help! I Have to Work in a Group.

As you all are getting settled into the semester, I’m guessing some of you are doing some early prepping for a collaborative assignment. Perhaps? We’ve all gotten to “participate” in a group assignment at some point, and will likely have to again. So, with that idea in your head, how about some ideas on how to make collaboration a little easier…particularly if you are an online student, a commuter student, or just plain don’t like people.

  • Document Sharing

    • Dropbox–free (to a point). You can house a specific amount of documents (somewhere around 2G).

    • Flow: Offered by ProQuest, the free version is available to academic users only and allows 2G of storage space and up to 10 collaborators. There are institutional options, but they are cost based.

    • Evernote: Mostly free, but works better as a document storage, option. If you were creative you could definitely utilize this.

    • Google Drive: Free! Google gives each user a TON of space and you can share documents in specific ways (allowing only people with the link or adding editors).

  • Meeting Space

    • Skype: Free! You can set up sessions pretty easily and people can participate in anyway they are comfortable: talk, text, and video w/mic. There is an app for that so you could work from a tablet or phone

    • Google Hangouts: Free and getting very popular. Allows for talk, text, or video. People can participate via text from phones or text enable device. There is an app for this, so tablets and smartphones are good too.

    • Adobe Connect–Not Free…yet. Great for online classes as it allows for each person to take over the screen as desired. Can be talk, text or video. Allows for screen sharing and slide sharing.

    • Twitter Hashtags–Free. This option would get a little confusing, but you could actually tweet your collaborators using a specific #hashtag. Follow the hashtag on Twitter, TweetChat, TweetDeck, etc.

  • Artsy Projects: Need something pretty to show the class?

    • Glogs (free!): The best description is: a web based poster. You design a virtual poster board using the huge collection of options available. These can be printed out, if need be.

    • Google Sites (free!): You could make your own website. It’s incredibly user friendly, and can be reasonably customized.

So, those are a few options for collaboration. These are all options for those of you working outside of Canvas (or other course management system). I hope these will come in handy for you all! Good luck folks!

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Squirrel Appreciation Day

Do you know what today is? Do you even know how important it is? Folks, it is Squirrel Appreciation Day. This is a very serious occasion, which much be celebrated according to extremely strict traditions.

Yeah….no. But it really is Squirrel Appreciation Day so get out there and appreciate those little rodents for throwing acorns at your head all year. Squirrel Appreciation Day was created by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator, in 2001. In honor of this glorious day, here are the 10 most “interesting” facts about squirrels.

10) Squirrels have four front teeth that grow continuously, at a rate of about six inches a year.

9) A group of squirrels is called a “scurry” or “dray”

8) There are more than 300 different species of squirrel around the world.

7) The smallest squirrel is the “African Pygmy Squirrel”, clocking in at a whopping five inches from nose to tail. The largest is the “Indian Giant Squirrel”, which can reach lengths of three feet!

6) A squirrel’s brain is about the size of a walnut.

5) The lifespan of a squirrel can be up to 12 years…if they would just stop running in front of cars! Oh, and natural predators cause problems too.

4) Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA has a squirrel-y mascot: Gladys the Fighting Squirrel.

3) Squirrels can relocate their stored food because they have licked or rubbed on the spot it is hidden, thus “scenting” it for later location.

2) Squirrels communicate using a variety of shrill sounds. They also use their tail to convey certain information/emotion.

1) Squirrel’s could rule the world…for a little while at least. Twice they have stopped trading at NASDAQ when some squirrels chewed through power lines. One squirrel caused a lengthy blackout in Northern Virginia when it got in to substation equipment and caused a transformer to blow.

**Bonus**

Rocket J. Squirrel was created in 1959 by cartoonist Jay Ward and is one of the world’s most famous squirrels. If you don’t know who he is…try looking up his friend Bullwinkle Moose.

So,  a very happy Squirrel Appreciation Day to all. Go throw some extra sunflower seeds out for them and don’t give them too dirty of a look when they nail you in the head with the shells.

Want to know how I found out about squirrels…click here

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Getting Organized…Like a Boss

As the semester starts up, I’m sure many of you are prepping for your new classes. For those of you who are new to the game or maybe had a “rough” Fall semester, sometimes being (and staying) organized will help you succeed. Here are some tips from around the web on how to get and stay organized in college!

  • Remember that no one is there to remind you to do your homework, study, pay bills, wake you up, etc. You are responsible for your own success.

  • Create a time management system that works for you.

  • Get a planner, a good one (not one of those puny 4” monthly planner booklets). Write down all important dates & times (work schedule, class times, due dates, tests, etc.). If its a really big planner, schedule your day by the hour and be sure to add in time for sleep, studying, free time, eating, and basic functions (showering, bathroom, etc.). But…be sure to remain flexible in case of emergencies or special events.

  • Color code your life. For some people, myself included, having different tasks written or high-lit in a specific color helps to keep me organized/on task. Think about different colors for different tasks or maybe go with the stoplight motif.

  • Keep your classes separate: Get folders or binders for each class (go even further and use corresponding colors from your scheduling for the folder color) and keep all notes, handouts, etc. in that folder. Try to keep things in chronological order.

  • Put things away in specific spots when you are finished with them (like keys, phone, etc.) so you always know where they are.

  • Carry a backpack/large bag and keep specific items in them at all times. Have spare pens, paper, blue books, flashdrive, etc. on hand and easy to find always in this bag.

  • Invest in a big desk calendar–write down all important dates & times.

  • Use a whiteboard & dry erase markers. Write down all upcoming important dates & times or course work that is due (color code if that helps you) and erase as they are completed or passed.

  • Take a trip to the dollar store for desk organization items. Keeping your workspace organized will help you stay on task.

  • Go through “something” once a week. Clean out a drawer, empty your purse, etc. Sometimes you’ll find missing things or realize you’ve missed an assignment! If nothing else, this will help you keep your space organized for longer if you are a messy person (like me).

  • Plan in advance. Yes, that paper isn’t due until May, but it might be a good plan to have it written down somewhere so it stays in your mind.

  • Take a stapler to class (or a hole punch). This will allow you to keep materials together from each days class. Three hole punch will let you toss it in a folder or binder immediately.

  • Create routines. Having a morning routine could help non-morning people stay on task in their haze.

  • Sticky notes! Have to read a specific chapter, put a sticky note in at the beginning of the required reading with the date it must be finished. You could color code this too (red for NOW – green for “ you have time”).

Organizing is different for everyone, and not every technique works for every person. These are just some basic ideas to keep you on track during the semester. Perhaps having a clear picture of your semester written down will help you avoid the end of semester crunch/crash. Good luck in this new semester! If you need any help staying on track, you are welcome to visit the library. We can sometimes be very helpful! 🙂

Where I found this nifty information.

 

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