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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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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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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 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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Woo! Go Earth!

Do you like any of the following?

-playing or walking around outside…barefoot                        -flying kites

-eating fresh off the vine/plant/tree/etc. fruits and veg   -camping

-breathing in crisp, refreshing fall air                                          -skiing/snowboarding

-swimming in bodies of water that aren’t a pool                     -fishing & hunting

-bird and animal watching & photography                                -spring storms

Did you answer yes to any of these? I’m guessing you probably picked out at least one that strikes your fancy…or at least one you’re interested in doing in the future. Yes? In fact, many of you probably enjoy a variety of these activities. I, for one, am a huge fan of blackberries and cherry tomatoes directly off the bramble or vine (respectively)…sooo good despite the probability of eating an insect. If nothing else, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you at least KNOW someone who would be interested in some of these activities…therefore, hear me out.

Today is Earth Day…actually every April 22nd is Earth Day since its creation in 1970. The holiday, or special day, or what-have-you, was the brainchild of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. He was inspired by the anti-Vietnam War “teach-ins” taking place across the nation on college campuses. Using the basis of the “teach-ins” Nelson envisioned a large scale environmental demonstration to “shake up the political establishment and force this issue [the environment] onto the national agenda”. The idea was announced at a conference in 1969; Nelson spoke of his idea and invited the entire nation to get involved. Word spread quickly and Nelson was joined in the organization by a young activist/Stanford student president named Dennis Hayes. Hayes took on the duties of Earth Day’s national coordinator and with the help of an army of student volunteers and a variety of Nelson’s staff and Nelson himself, got the event organized. On April 22, 1970 20 million demonstrators and thousands of schools and local communities came together to bring environmental issues to the forefront. Rallies were held across the nation in Philadelphia, Chicago, LA, New York, etc. In Washington DC congress went into recess so its members could speak with their constituents. In New York the mayor shut down a portion of 5th Ave. and spoke at a rally along with actors Paul Newman and Ali McGraw. This first event spurned the environment into the limelight, and has been attributed to the passing of several protective laws: The Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the endangered Species Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. In addition, in December of that same year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established. The EPA is tasked with protecting human health and safeguarding the natural environment–air, water, and land.

After the first “celebration”, the movement continued to grow. In 1990 Earth Day went global. Demonstrators, participants, and volunteers totaling over 200 million persons from over 140 nations came together. In 2000 the movement had another boost. Focusing on global warming and a push for clean energy 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reached out to hundreds of millions of people. Earth Day 2000 utilized the internet to bring people and groups together across the globe, organizing events throughout the world including a talking drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa and hundreds of thousands of people gathered for a rally on the National Mall. Today, the Earth Day Network (the organizers of the event for the last few decades) collaborates with more than 17,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries and have managed to get more than 1 billion people involved in the events. Each year, Earth Day celebrations have a purpose or a theme. Usually these themes have to deal with an environmental danger or some way to reverse/stall/end environmental harm. This year the theme is “green cities”. There will be a large scale promotion of green building technologies and the greening of cities (like parks on abandoned train tracks or building roofs).

Want to take place in events? Lucky for you, there are events in cities big and small all across the globe. Missouri has one very large “celebration” in St. Louis every year…the St. Louis Earth Day Festival which takes place on Sunday. Visitors are welcomed to learn all about sustainable products and services, meet local non-profit organizations and much on local, organic, and vegetarian goodies. Many programs are centered in schools, teaching young students about the earth and how to protect it. In Jefferson City, MO there area elementary schools are invited to the capital lawns to meet with environment and sustainability organizations to learn about the area, preservation, and all things nature. Often students are sent home with a sapling to plant as well a a number of goodies, magnets, pencils, etc. from the various collaborators who run booths. The state offices located nearby are also welcomed to participate and many offices offer an extra 15 or 30 minutes to walk or get some kind of exercise, preferably outside. Many Kansas City area businesses and schools do their own programs. Even big names get in to the fun…this year Apple has offered free recycling on all of their used products and have vowed to begin powering all of their stores, offices, and data centers with renewable energy to reduce the pollution caused by its devices and online services.

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Chocolate Mint Day!

Love Andes Mints? Can’t go a day without indulging in some Mint-Chip ice cream? Actively crave Thin Mints 90% of the year (minus a couple weeks in Feb. when they are available easily)?

Do you like it when this: chocolate                                                              is mixed with this:            mint


Today is National Chocolate Mint Day!

Go out and celebrate with your favorite minty chocolates or chocolatey mints! Better yet, stop by the library (today) and snag a chocolate mint while supplies last!

If you’ve got a hankering to do some baking or general kitchen concocting, here are some fabulous “chocolate mint” themed recipes!

Chocolate Mint Milkshake

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

Easy Thin Mints (Girl Scouts knock-off!)

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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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What did you do?

Welcome back students!! I hope you all enjoyed your lovely break and had some good times with friends and family for the holidays. The break for your friendly neighborhood librarians is significantly shorter than break for most students, as we need be open to help Avila faculty, international students, and community members who pop in. That being said, we still get time and we love to use it! I’ve added some pictures, below, of some things that I did/experienced over my break…but what I really want, is to hear from you, dear reader! Hop over to our Facebook page and tell us what you did for your break. Feel free to post text, photos, videos…whatever is appropriate and Facebook will allow you to post! I’m looking forward to seeing what you did! 🙂  

Hooley-Bundschu, the last day before break.







I am from Jefferson City, MO…where they got more ice than snow during Winter Storm Falco (I think…). This is the lovely view of a “forested” area in town on Christmas Eve.



My family tends to go a little “overboard” for Christmas. We all love to give and our full-full family celebration usually results in an avalanche of gifts…as seen here. We managed this with a $10 limit (granted there are 15 people…)!

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