Tag Archives: librarian

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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National Library Week!

The week of April 13 – April 19, 2014 is National Library Week!

One week each year, usually in April, since 1958, libraries throughout the nation have held celebrations ranging from simple posters to all out parties to celebrate all that they have to offer (staff, materials, “spaces”, etc.) as well as supporters and patrons. The celebration was developed by the National Book Committee, which was made up by members of the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Book Publishers. In 1974 the National Book Committee was disbanded and ALA took over full sponsorship. The original committee created the celebration with the goals of: “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time”, “improving incomes and health”, and “developing a strong and happy family life”. The goals set forth by the ALA may have changed a bit in the ensuing decades since National Library Weeks’ birth, but the original goals still hold true.

As a part of the annual celebration the ALA assigns a  different theme to each year. Typically these themes deal with trends (library, community, global, political, etc.), promoting library services, reading, or literacy. The very first library week was themed “Wake Up and Read!”. This year the theme is “Lives change @ your library ®.”

Each library celebrates differently, of course. I’ve seen as little as a small poster on the circulation desk and as much as a week long, fun filled schedule of events all culminating with a party on Saturday (the last day) providing free food and drinks as well as games and prizes to any and all who wish to attend. Many libraries change their events to match the annual theme and frequently will gear their parties, games, etc. to children. In the last few years there has been a trend of promotions for teens and young adults, so I would expect to see more programs…particularly “maker” or “tinker” programs…aimed at that age group. On that note, the rise in popularity of the “maker” movement has prompted libraries, mostly public, to create “makerspaces” where patrons can basically work to create new things either from new bits & pieces (like a 3D printer) or by breaking apart old items (like toys, computers, fans, etc.) and using the salvageable bits. With these new spaces, there could be a variety of programs aimed to promote those spaces. This year, I expect to see a lot of programs asking patrons to share their life changing library stories or promoting using the library to help change lives (like creating an artificial hand with a 3D printer).

To promote this year’s theme, @YourLibrary (a library and literacy support community), has started a drawing for a Kindle Fire. Want to enter? Just take a selfie and share it with a story of how libraries have changed your life, or what libraries mean to you. Share your photo and story on Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr using the hasgtags “#LivesChange” and “#NLW14” before noon on Friday, April 19th. If you want more details or to use the funky speech bubble created just for National Library Week this year, click here! Here at Avila’s library, we have set out some copies for use!

Non-libraries get into the party as well. Different book publishers, library support groups, and technology companies will host online webinars, host events, or even offer some of their useful services for free! This year Oxford University Press has made their online resources free for the week! Just use “libraryweek” as both username and password and enjoy!

SO! Tell your story, take a selfie and remember to appreciate your library and librarians for all that they do and have done in your life. If you’d like to help your library celebrate, just stop by and see what programs they’ve got set up for the week! If you’d like to show your appreciation to your Avila University librarians, just stop by and say thanks…we also accept candy. 🙂 keep calm and library on

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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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Net Neutrality and Libraries

I had not planned on posting today, but yesterday an event took place that I felt I should cover here on Library Things. Yesterday morning, word began spreading about the “end of net neutrality”. In a landmark, and perhaps damning, decision a federal district court struck down ‘net neutrality’ or the nondiscrimination rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In the case of Verizon v. FCC, the courts decided in favor of Verizon citing that the FCC does not currently have the authority to enact such rules. The U.S. Court of Appeals has sent the rules back to the FCC, who may attempt to rewrite or rework the rules.

I choose to share this with you because it is a troubling decision for people of all walks, including students, educators, librarians, businesses, almost everyone. The nondiscrimination rules acted to allow a free flow of information and kept companies from “picking favorites” from their users or contributors or restricting the natural flow of the web. With the rules struck down, large net providers (like Verizon) could restrict certain users or sites, direct the “flow” of information to specific channels, create tiered & price based internet service (fast lane/slow lane style), or completely block sites or users at will. I have your attention now, don’t I?

Wondering why this is a big deal for libraries too? Well, one of the core foundations of modern librarianship it the free flow of information. A belief that information should be easily available to all persons is part of the foundation of nearly all libraries. A restriction on our internet or a provider blocking whatever they deem appropriate could stop the information flow we’ve been enjoying for a while now. A restricted or tiered internet could prohibit small start ups and tinkerer’s from getting off the ground and creating masterpieces; imagine what would have happened to Facebook in it’s early days if every net provider channeled users to Myspace only. Not awesome.

What everyone in the library, information, technology, and really…well…everyone waits for now, is to see what exactly happens. We have an idea of all of the bad things that could come of this but we will only know the true impacts when the companies embrace the ruling. At the moment, all we can do is be aware of the problem and look for opportunities where we can help make a change.

If you would like more information about Net Neutrality, Verizon v. FCC, or the possible impacts please check out the following links:







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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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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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