Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wait--don't go yet!

Before you leave for winter break, stop by the library & find a book or two (or three, or four, or...). We have new books galore--check out the whole list with this link.

For a guided tour of the highlights of the list, trust your friendly reference/instructional librarian to give you some recommendations.

If you have a spare thirty minutes over the break, you could be the social networking expert in your family, neighborhood--wherever: Sams Teach Yourself YouTube in 10 Minutes; Sams Teach Yourself LinkedIn in 10 Minutes; Sams Teach Yourself Facebook in 10 Minutes.

The list of fun fictional features is too long to post here; just visit the new books link & select "Popular" from the menu. (Fiction fans, beware: not all fiction is listed as "popular," so you might also want to visit "Arts & Humanities / English" to see even more fiction.) I will point out one special addition: Q & A: A Novel. This is the book that inspired last year's Oscar winner, "Slumdog Millionaire."

For those of you who prefer fact-based reading, we've got a long list of great additions to make you happy, too. The two largest groupings this time around are in history and medicine. To see everything in the history category, visit the new books list & click on "Arts & Humanities" then select "History" in the second menu. For every new medical title, click on "Science & Medicine," then click "Medicine & Health" in the second menu.

The titles I find most intriguing out of this group are Darfur: A New History of a Long War, The African American Experience, Madame de Stael: The First Modern Woman, Frankenstein: A Cultural History and The Hot Zone. But don't stop with these titles--many, many more are waiting for you in the new books list. Take a look, stop by the library, and get home & relax with a good book--you've earned it

Here's hoping you have a very happy and safe new year.

PS--The library will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. from Thursday, December 18 to Tuesday, December 22 (excluding weekends). The library--and the college--reopens January 4 at 8 a.m.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You Ask, We Deliver!

Ask us a question, and we shall answer! In less than a semester, the reference librarians at the Jessup Library answered over 1200 questions. Many of you asked for help finding a literary criticism; some needed help navigating Word or Excel. Whatever it was, the sheer number of questions tells us that you value our services and that the library's resources are in demand.

Which brings me to my next point. If you DO have a question or if you need help finding a book or article, just give us a call (or e-mail, or meebo us, or stop by)! Someone is always available to answer your questions or to just point you down the right path.

What I'm Reading Now...

"Born Standing Up : a Comic's Life," a review by Laura Skinner, Technical Services.

He grew up two miles from Disneyland and got his earliest gigs there and at Knotts Berry Farm. Elvis Presley once told him he had an "ob-leek" sense of humor. Many of us know him as that "wild and crazy guy" that pranced, together with Dan Ackroyd, around the Saturday Night Live stage, but Steve Martin, in Born Standing Up, reveals himself as neither wild nor crazy, but rather as a shy and quiet artist who spent his down time between shows alone, watching The Brady Bunch in the dimness of a motel room somewhere, scouring antiques shops for forgotten treasures or perfecting his art with the devotion of a master sculptor. His rise to fame was not meteoric but rather a slow and deliberate ascent up a steep hill, the product of old-fashioned hard work and perseverance and also some old-fashioned good luck.

This isn't a celebrity tell-all book, full of dirty secrets and juicy tales of wild nights spent drinking, carousing or having sex with fans. Born Standing Up focuses tightly on the evolution of Martin's comedic style over the years. Inside the comic with an arrow through his head lives a thoughtful, passionate student of the art of comedy and all its nuances. His comedy was never improv; on the contrary, every line, every word, every gesture had been tested and re-tested, had been rearranged until all the bits fit into one coherent tapestry of gags that were placed just so to create a desired (and hoped for) response from the audience.

Martin's writing style is gentle and intimate, and he tells his story with heartfelt humility and honesty. There is no flash and no scandal to be found in this book. In some ways, it is a book about the harsh realities faced by those who pursue fame. Fame didn't come easily for Steve Martin. Along the road to his colossal success he struggled with anxiety, panic attacks, hypochondria, depression and a difficult relationship with a father who resented and envied him. Looking at fame through Steve Martin's experience is realizing that fame is a very tough, capricious mistress and that it takes a very strong individual to withstand its whims, cruelties and humiliations. Talent doesn't guarantee success; the road to fame is littered with talented unknowns who never made it into the winner's circle.

Getting to the top takes perseverance (which, according to Martin, is "a great substitute for talent"), a lot of work, an ability to withstand loneliness and to be in the right place at the right time. Martin's first stroke of luck was landing a writing job for the Smothers Brothers, which eventually led to Johnny Carson, and then to Saturday Night live, and then to sold-out shows. Then one night there were some empty seats, and Martin decided to hang up his King Tut costume and move on to the more social pursuit of movie making. His success continued in this new field and in others, and today he stands as a respected comic, actor, author, playwright, musician, magician and composer.

Part biography, part memoir, part confessional, this book is ultimately the endearing story of a 10-year-old child who sold guidebooks in Disneyland and dreamed of being a magician, and how that child became a white-suited, gray-haired comedian whose silly antics and catchphrases have kept us laughing for decades.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Netbooks Are Here!

We've known it for a long time! The library's laptops were old, slow and frustrating. Trying to search on the World Wide Web was near impossible and waiting for the computer to recognize a USB drive could take forever. But no more!

Last Thursday, the library started circulating 15 new netbook computers. These computers are slimmer, lighter, faster and just plain cute! Each computer uses Vista as the operating system and has Microsoft Office 2007 installed. The only thing these computers can't do is play a CD or DVD. For that capability, you'll have to use one of our older laptops. So, yes, to answer your question, we still have the older laptops; we'll just use these when we run out of the netbooks.

So please stop by the library's circulation desk and check out a new netbook. We think you'll find them a vast improvement. Have fun and enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just in time for Thanksgiving break

If you're nosey like me and like to read about the details of other people's lives, you're in luck! This list of new books includes all kinds of memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies--not to mention books about writing memoir:
Family Bible
Tell Me True: Memoir, History, and Writing a Life
Scheisshaus Luck: Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora
RĂ©sistance: A Woman’s Journal of Struggle and Defiance in Occupied France
The Man on Mao's Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China's Foreign Ministry
The Time and Place That Gave Me Life
Hapa Girl: A Memoir
Circus Queen & Tinker Bell: The Memoir of Tiny Kline
Things I've Been Silent About: Memories
The Glass Castle: A Memoir
The Middle Place (written by a relative of a PVCC instructor, by the way)
Big Russ and Me: Father and Son, Lessons of Life
Me of Little Faith
Will’s Choice: A Suicidal Teen, a Desperate Mother, and a Chronicle of Recovery
The Urban Hermit: A Memoir
Labor of Love: A Midwife's Memoir
Audition: A Memoir
Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story
Freddie & Me: A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody
Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground
My First 100 Marathons: 2,620 Miles with an Obsessive Runner
Saving Jack: A Man's Struggle with Breast Cancer
Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love
From Baghdad, with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava
Thinking About Memoir
The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World
Steiglitz: A Memoir/Biography
Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford
The Echo from Dealey Plaza: The True Story of the First African American on the White House Secret Service Detail and His Quest for Justice After the Assassination of JFK.

Didn't I warn you? There's a lot of potential for snooping in that list!
Don't give up if you're not a fan of memoirs or biographies--the list of new books has something for everyone. Follow the link to choose the topics that interest you. There are books about horticulture & social networking, books about politics, books about philosophy & religion, books about history, science, anthropology, gender name it, we've got it. If you don't find something to interest you, use the "Contact Us" link to make a suggestion.

All you need to check out a book before you take your Thanksgiving break is your student ID or your login for MyPVCC. Employees just need to help us spell last names. So what are you waiting for? Stop by the library; stock up on new books!

Book Lovers Unite This Friday, November 20th

The Book Club will meet this Friday, November 20th, from 1 to 2 p.m. in Jessup Library. We will continue our discussion of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines. Please join us as we explore this novel more thoroughly. See you Friday at 1 p.m. There will be refreshments!

Linda Cahill

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just a Reminder...

The semester is slowly winding down, and people are busy finishing papers and studying for upcoming exams. The library is filled to the brim; most seats are taken during the day, and the computers are constantly in use.

A previous post outlined the library's computer policy and to whom priority is given when people are waiting. We feel it is important to restate the policy here.

According to the library's Policies and Services Web page, the following groups are given priority (in this order) when computers are in demand:
  • Currently-enrolled students, faculty and staff using the computer for research or coursework;
  • Currently-enrolled students, faculty and staff using the computer for research not relating to coursework;
  • Community members using the computer for research.
If all the computers are busy, keep in mind that you do have options. You may always check out a laptop (for use in the library); the laptops print to Xerox #2. If you're in a hurry (and don't want to wait for a laptop to boot up), consider going to the Academic Computer Lab in Rm. 832 (located in the technology wing). If you want to contact us about the computers, we suggest you use the chat feature to the right of this post. Remember, we don't monitor students' computer use (due to privacy and staffing concerns); however, when notified, we will request that those using the computers for work other than coursework move and make way for those waiting.

We have more students than ever here at PVCC; resources are in high demand. We can work together to ensure that everyone uses those resources properly. And as always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What I'm Reading Now...

"A New World Order," a review by Crystal Newell, circulation/access librarian

The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

The "world is flat" according to Thomas Friedman. In this changing political, economical and social environment, the United States' place as hegemon is in question. What are the exact forces contriving to make a post-American world? Who are the up-and-coming players on the world stage? Zakaria explores and answers these questions in a well thought out and easily understood way. He views the changing political stage as an opportunity for the United States. As China and India rise, the United States' place of power will inevitably shift, but we, as readers, have to ask if this is a bad thing.

After exploring a decidedly different take on history (Was the West really that influential; what about the East?), Zakaria describes how India and China have risen in recent years, both economically and politically. He also discusses how this affects the United States as the world shifts from unipolar to multipolar in terms of global power. In conclusion, he offers helpful tips to the United States as ways to ensure its future as a valued, powerful nation.

This book will assuage many fears and combat the notion that there can only be one superpower. This book is enlightening and thoroughly interesting, and a read that I would definitely recommend.

Zakaria is a journalist who writes for Newsweek; his areas of expertise include politics and foreign policy. For more information on Zakaria, take a look here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

National Information Literacy Awareness Month

Image courtesy of

The world is full of information, and the amount of information is increasing exponentially every day. Books, articles, newspapers, Web sites and blogs (not too mention the influx of tweets) bombard us with information; sometimes it is reliable and correct, sometimes it's not. The ability to locate, use and determine what is reliable and trustworthy is called information literacy. This skill is extremely important, both in college and in the workplace.

However, libraries are not the only institutions expounding the importance of information literacy. Even the president of the United States recognizes the need to be information literate. So much so that a proclamation was enacted on October 1. October has been declared National Information Literacy Awareness Month (as per this online press release).

If you are interested in becoming more information literate, consider taking an ITE 119/120 or CSC 110 class. The librarians at PVCC are also here to help. You're always welcome to schedule a one-on-one session with us.

Faculty, if you would like to read more about information literacy, take a look at the Association of College & Research Libraries' (ACRL) Web site. The ACRL gives standards for higher education as well as ways for faculty to incorporate information literacy into a class. The library also offers information literacy instruction. Simply sign up to bring your class to the library for instruction.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Club

The Book Club is reading A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines. We will meet on Friday, October 23, in Room 725 (Study Room C) from 1 - 2 p.m. in the Jessup Library. Please join us as we review and discuss this book! Any questions, please contact Linda Cahill (

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quick Library Tip #1

How many times have you made a special trip to the library just to ask if we have the book you need? Do you avoid buying your textbooks until you call the library to find out if we have any of the textbooks?

Your wait is over: you can look for these things on your own from any computer anywhere by following these simple steps.

1. Go to the library Web site.

2. Click on the "Jessup Library Catalog" link seen here:

3. Use the drop-down box on the basic search screen to select where you want the computer to find your search terms (we usually select "Keywords Anywhere" unless we have a particular book or author we want to find, then we use "Title Keywords" or "Author Keywords").

WAIT! What if you need to find a book you think might be on reserve (like a textbook)?

Use the link to the library catalog, but before you add any search terms, go to the big blue box at the top of the screen & click "Course Reserves" :

Select your home college; now you should see a search screen that looks a lot like the one shown above, with one big difference--it will say "Basic Search of PVC Course Reserve Catalog."

But if you have any questions or need help finding a book, always feel free to contact us. We're here to help!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Books Week. Join us in celebrating the freedom of speech and the freedom to read, rights we are promised in the first amendment of the Constitution. During Banned Books Week, we celebrate our ability to access and to read books (and other information) from a variety of viewpoints. This week also seeks to praise intellectual freedom and deter censorship (ALA, 2009).

If you're interested in finding out which books received the most complaints, check out this Web site. Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? Just food for thought...

Monday, September 21, 2009

What Is a Journal Article?

Can you tell the difference between this article and this one? The first is a scholarly journal article; the second is a magazine article. What are the differences between the two articles? What makes a journal article scholarly, or peer-reviewed?

The first article has some distinguishing features that make it scholarly in nature. For instance, this article has both an abstract and references. (Two features that are typical for scholarly journal articles.) The author, M. R. Jalongo, is affiliated with Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and he is the one conducting research on this topic. Also, take a look at the format of the article; there are no pictures or catchy graphics.

Now compare that to the second article. Notice that this article has several photographs. The design of the page is more flashy and colorful. Where are the references? Who is writing the article?

The Cornell University Library does an excellent job of further explaining the differences between scholarly journal articles and magazines. To read a more in-depth comparison, just take a look.

Knowing the difference between scholarly journal articles and magazines will be helpful when your professor asks you to include these types of resources in your paper. Remember, scholarly journal articles present research done in that field of study or discipline; the article is published for academic purposes -- to further knowledge and encourage investigation. When writing a paper, it is those sources to whom you should look as support for your argument.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What I'm Reading Now...

As I mentioned in my introduction, I read mysteries for fun. I rarely read anything else, honestly. To find good books, I start by browsing the library catalog. But sometimes a book comes to my attention because a lot of people write about it in critical sources like Library Journal or the New York Times Book Review.

One of those books is Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin. It is not only a popular success, but a critical success as well. The best mysteries and historical fiction usually test my idea of what would have been acceptable at that time. For example, the "detective" in Mistress of the Art of Death is a woman who performs autopsies and investigates causes of death. While that is perfectly normal to us now, in medieval times that was unheard of, not to mention frowned upon. It was so unusual, in fact, the detective has to pretend she's an assistant to a man while she investigates the brutal murders of the children of Cambridge.

Reading historical fiction, including mysteries, inspires me to find nonfiction books. I can learn about what life was really like when my favorite fictional detective was "alive." Luckily, I work in a library full of just those kinds of books, so when I'm ready to learn about women in medieval England, I'll have just the book: Women in Medieval England by Helen Jewell.

If historical fiction is your interest, you can see a list of books in that category by searching the "subject keywords" field for "historical fiction" in our catalog. If mysteries are your thing, you can search the "subject keywords" field for "mystery fiction" OR "suspense fiction." Take a look--you'll be pleasantly surprised by what the library has to offer in these categories. And if you have a favorite mystery author, please use the contact us link to let me know about him/her. I'm always looking for my next favorite author.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

You're invited... check out our newest library books. We've got something for every taste. The list of everything we've added over the last year is available in the New Books List on the home page.

Pay close attention to the drop-down options; there's a new choice: QEP. Selecting "QEP" from the list will locate books about teaching writing, the importance of writing and using rubrics in instruction.
Be sure to also stop by the library; browse the whole set of new books. Meanwhile, here are a few highlights:

For those of you who would rather do some light reading, check this post about our growing collection of graphic novels.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


How do you decide which sources to use for an academic paper? Have you ever cited Wikipedia in your paper only to have points taken off? You probably have experienced this, but perhaps you wondered why Wikipedia was not appropriate. Take a look at the Cornell University Library guide to Using Wikipedia. This guide specifically answers the question, "Why can't I cite Wikipedia in my paper?" Mostly, the guide discusses how Wikipedia works, who writes the articles and the ever-changing nature of the information on Wikipedia. These very qualities are some of the reasons why Wikipedia should not be used in scholarly research.

The librarians here at PVCC are always glad to help you with your research. If you have questions about any particular resource, please let us know. The quality of your sources greatly impacts the quality of your paper, so start off on the right foot. Learn about Wikipedia, and then ask yourself how this can apply to other resources you may find on your topic.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What I'm Reading Now...

“Microtrends, Under the Microscope," a review by Katie Smith, Academic Advisor
Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes by Mark J. Penn

For people drawn to both macro- and micro-sociological and societal trends, this book is a definite must-read. Penn describes "microtrends" as phenomena that catch on with one percent or more of the American population, (or at least three million people). Basically, microtrends are small, but potentially powerful and influential social movements.

Each chapter covers a different microtrend in the US, and some of my favorites describe the increase in teenagers who knit, individual over team sports, commuter marriages and pet ownership. As a reader, I recognized aspects of myself and my own lifestyle reflected in several microtrends. More telling, Penn explains, is the impact that these small movements can have on the political and business climate in the US through their powerful effect on voting and consumer trends. For people who want fascinating insight into emerging social and political movements, this book is highly recommended reading!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Before school gets too crazy

Welcome back! Before your assignments make you forget what reading for fun is all about, let me draw your attention to some of the fun "eye candy" we have for you.

Our catalog has more than 40 titles using the words "comic books" or "comic strips" or "graphic novels" in the description. Some of these books are graphic novels like Aya and Persepolis. Some are only available online, like Hackerteen, Vol. 1. (You'll need to prove you're affiliated with PVCC to open the link--log in with your MyPVCC username and password.) Others are books about the art of creating these types of books. For example, there's Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels. And then there are books for people who would like to create their own comics or graphic novels. Our most recent purchase in that category is Drawing Words & Writing Pictures: Making Comics: Manga, Graphic Novels and Beyond. And there's even a series of eBooks full of academic essays about anime, manga and fan arts: Mechademia is the series name. This volume is called Networks of Desire. (This one's in NetLibrary--you need a free account to view the book from off campus, so stop by school and create the account or ask a librarian for help.)

So hurry up--before school responsibilities take over your free time--stop by the library to check out a graphic novel or two. Happy reading!

P.S.--Have you seen the post asking for your input on what to name the reference desk? Check it out--it's not too late to express an opinion.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What I'm Reading Now...

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Never has a book so altered my life's choices as this one. That may sound dramatic, especially considering the title, but it's true. Recently, I have been inspired by all things natural and organic. Basically, I have been inspired to return to a simpler life with less-processed foods; a return to whole foods. (And no, I'm not talking about the store.)

In Defense of Food is a treatise written by Michael Pollan on the benefits of food and eating. One may wonder why either of these things would need explicating or defending, but in a world of processed, food-like substances and food industry lobbyists, it is wholly necessary. Pollan basically argues three things: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" (1). He goes on to describe what each of those tenets mean to the average person fighting his/her way through the grocery aisles in search of what to have for dinner. Along the way he introduces and discusses ideologies like nutritionism (not so good) and organic (not as benign as you may think). The result is an eye-opening experience laden with practical advice. So, if you are looking for a book that is more than just a good read, try taking a look at In Defense of Food. You might just have a life-altering experience (or at the very least, learn what it means to truly eat healthily).

Michael Pollan is an award-winning journalist and author whose writing focuses primarily on gardening and food. Pollan's other works include The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World and The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. You may read more about Michael Pollan here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meet the Jessup Library Staff

Hello, my name is Linda Cahill, and I am the Coordinator of Library Services at PVCC. I have been in the Jessup Library since 1992 and have observed many changes in library services and resources during this time. In my position, I oversee and coordinate library activities and services for all students, faculty and staff at all college locations.

My background includes library work in public, college and special libraries. My undergraduate degree is from Columbia College (Columbia, SC) and my master’s degree is from The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).

I love the community college environment, helping students use the library and locating materials to support their research. Our mission is to make your library experience successful and enjoyable at the same time. If you have questions about library services or resources, please let us know.

I am currently reading classic novels that somehow escaped my earlier reading lists. I love non-fiction, how-to-do-it-yourself and gardening books.

Please stop by soon and introduce yourself!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fifty Books That Everyone Should Read

The July 13 edition of Newsweek highlights fifty books we should all read. "Now." Follow the link to see the full article, but read on to see how many of the books are available at the Jessup Library. (Right click on the links to open a new window.)

Of the 50 books on the list, the Jessup Library collection includes [drumroll, please...] 23. That's almost half the books, which is pretty impressive considering what a wide variety of books they chose.

So which ones can you get from the Jessup Library?

The #1 must-read book on the list, for starters: The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope is on the shelves in the library, waiting to go home with someone.
#2, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright is also available in the library.
#5, The Bear, by William Faulkner, is in the library as a part of a collection called Go Down, Moses, and Other Stories.
#10, God: A Biography, by Jack Miles, is also something you can check out of the library by using your student number or your MyPVCC username.
Moving right along to #11, we have The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry, a noted environmentalist and essayist.
And you'll probably recognize #12 if you've taken English 112 here at PVCC: A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor.
#16 is an oldie but a goodie: Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. You have a few choices if you decide to borrow Whitman's classic work from the library at PVCC--it's included in two collections: Complete Poetry and Collected Prose or Collected Writings; it's also available in an e-book on NetLibrary (you'll need an account to view this--contact us and we'll be happy to set you up with one); and it's available on its own in two editions.
#17 is for the folks who are thinking, "But what about the scientists among us? Didn't they recommend any books for us?" The answer is yes, they did, and we have this one: The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin.
Maybe science isn't your thing, but you like to read nonfiction.
#18 is a good choice for you: City: Rediscovering the Center by William H. Whyte. The Newsweek summary says, "Using years of painstaking research, Whyte proved that the way to make a city work lies in the details--the width of a park bench, the height of a subway step." Makes you want to go to the Downtown Mall and measure the width of the benches, doesn't it?
Mark Twain's books appear as a group in #21--the Mississippi books. We have a long list of Mark Twain titles available through the library, including those set in Mississippi, like Life on the Mississippi.
#24 is set far, far from Mississippi--it's all about one particular doctor and his monster: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. (This one is also available in an e-book format--don't forget to ask for a NetLibrary account.)
#28 is a much more recent title: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, written in the early eighties.
#29 takes us out of the world of fiction, back into the world of nonfiction: American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006.
#30 is another book of nonfiction, also historical in nature, but with a very personal connection to the author. In Lost, Daniel Mendelsohn, a U.Va. grad, writes about his search for information on relatives who died in the Holocaust.
#31 brings us back to the world of fiction, but stays with the theme of family: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.
#33 is classic from a previous century: Kim by Rudyard Kipling--also available as an e-book.
#35 is a novel set in England in the "ruthless decade" of the 1980s: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst.
#37 is not just a novel, it's a graphic novel: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
American Pastoral by Philip Roth is #40. It's a novel set in the 60s, during a time of major political upheaval.
#41 is The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, and it's about nature--four plants in particular: potatoes, tulips, marijuana, and apple trees.
#43 is described by Newsweek as "an elegant short-form primer on the machinery of Washington's morality." If that interests you, check out Senator Joe McCarthy by Richard H. Rovere.
#45 isn't officially on the shelves yet, but it's coming soon. Keep your eye on upcoming new-books lists for The Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.
#47 is something most students read in high school or college, but if you've missed it, or want to refresh your memory, you can get it at the library: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

And last, but certainly not least, is, according to Newsweek, "One of a brilliant series of brutal, hilarious and vivid crime novels featuring Harlem police detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson; no one ever wrote better about race." That's a description of #49 on the list: Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes.

If any of these books interest you, stop by the library. We'll be glad to help you find one, or maybe even two!

We Have Been Busy!

The library is a popular destination for many people. As a quiet and relaxing place to study, we provide a refuge from the bustling halls and rowdy student center. Because of this, we have almost doubled our circulation. You have certainly kept us busy this past academic year; just take a look.

Total number of items checked out by students in 2008-2009: 17,548

Total number of books checked out by students: 6,674

Total number of laptops, power cords, and headphones checked out by students: 11,508

This is a significant increase from 2007-2008, so thank you! Thank you for using the library and making us an important part of your educational journey!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What would you call us?

Approximately two years ago, the Jessup Library went through renovation. The yellowing green carpet was replaced and the orange duct work was painted a lovely, soothing gray. Ramshackle, mismatched tables were replaced with space-efficient and matching computer carrels. We changed out the orange shelves and the old chairs. All-in-all, it was a lengthy but rewarding process. We all hope you are enjoying the updated surroundings, but if you ever wondered what it looked like before, here are some pictures to remind you.

And although we renovated two years ago, there are many things still left to do. One item that remains on our to-do list is signage. We would like to put up signs that will help you; we also want those signs, and the language used, to be user-friendly.

If you had an opportunity to decide, what would you call certain areas in the library? What would YOU call the reference desk? We'll use your input to help us decide in the near future!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Meet the staff

Hello, my name is Laura, and I'm the technical services supervisor for the Jessup Library. My job involves getting the books that the library acquires to the shelves. That may sound simple but it's a rather involved job, as the books need to go through a lot of prepping before they get to come out of my area. I also help out at the front desk sometimes, answering research questions, or checking out books and materials or helping students with their computer woes.

I received my master's degree in library science in 2006, from Texas Woman's University. I was a distance student, doing most of my work online using Blackboard, and I plan to go on to obtain a PhD and would like to center my research on the role of libraries in distance education. I did my undergraduate degree at PVCC, where I obtained an associate degree in the liberal arts, and at Mary Baldwin College, where I graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. At Mary Baldwin I was inducted into the Lambda of Virginia chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, secret handshake and all.

For several years before arriving in this area, I was a teacher of English as a second and foreign language. In Charlottesville, I have tutored foreign students, mainly from Asia and from Eastern Europe. Because of this, I always keep an eye out for books that are easy reads for beginners, both English speakers and foreign students.

Being a librarian, I like to read a lot. I very rarely read fiction but when I do, I favor classic sci fi, some horror, and Agatha Christie mysteries. I much prefer reading non-fiction, especially history, anthropology, and, for just plain fun, vegan cookery. When I'm not reading, I like to bake, write, work on my farm, spend time at a small online community and play with my five dogs.

So, stop by and say hi! I'm here to help you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meet another Jessup Library librarian

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Judy Carey Nevin, and I'm the reference/instructional librarian at PVCC. My job includes answering people's questions and teaching students, staff and faculty how to use library resources. You have probably met me through an orientation session offered for one of your classes.

I'm from New York State. I lived in the same town all the way from nursery school until the end of high school, then I left home to go to college. I went to SUNY Geneseo, a very small 4-year state school, for my undergraduate degree, and went to Rutgers (New Jersey's state school) for my master's degree. My very first job after getting my library degree didn't have anything to do with being a librarian, though. I worked in NYC as a children's book editor for more than five years. I have been in Virginia for seven years, and during that time I've been a librarian at Monticello High School, and the reference/instructional librarian here at PVCC.

In my spare time I read quite a bit. My favorite books are mysteries, especially those set in modern-day England and Scotland. I play the flute in a small ensemble; you might have heard us at one of the art gallery functions here at PVCC. I'm an avid (some might say obsessed) knitter--I even teach beginning knitting at PVCC--and have recently learned to spin wool on my spinning wheel, and am trying to understand how to crochet. My other obsession is my dog, Henry, who is as spoiled as any critter can be.

I hope you'll come to the library and introduce yourself and ask me questions. My job relies on this, so please help me by asking a lot of questions!

Friday, June 19, 2009

New e-books

My last post was all about the latest books we've added to the library collection. Like they say on TV: that's not all--there's more!

Students, faculty and staff have access to over 50,000 electronic books through NetLibrary and Safari Books. Safari's collection focuses on technology topics--there are over 5,000 titles in there, so if you're interested in technology, take a look. (You'll need to sign in with your MyPVCC login if you're using it from off campus.)

NetLibrary's collection is much bigger than Safari's, and covers a wider variety of topics. The latest additions to NetLibrary are already in the catalog, so when you search for books in the Jessup Library Catalog, you'll see e-books and traditional books. You need a NetLibrary account to view the books from off campus; stop by the library the next time you're on campus, and we'll show you how to get an account.

NetLibrary's collection includes a lot of highly academic material that is appropriate for college-level research, but since it's summer time, let's take a look at some of the not-so-academic titles that have been added to NetLibrary. (To see the whole list, follow this link to the catalog.)
Stay tuned for highlights of specific titles.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's new?

Most people know that the Jessup Library houses books that are useful for doing research. But you might not be aware that the collection also includes graphic novels, science fiction and mystery novels.

For example, we have recently added a number of graphic novels to the popular collection. There's
Y: The Last Man, all about the last two male mammals on earth (before you ask, one's not human, so the title is still correct). If that doesn't interest you, there's also a set of two graphic novels about a nineteen-year-old woman named Aya, who lives in Ivory Coast. Maybe nonfiction is more your thing; we have graphic novels for you, too: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography. If you're more interested in creating a comic book or graphic novel, you'll want to check out Drawing Words & Writing Pictures: Making Comics: Manga, Graphic Novels, and Beyond.

If you'd rather read a book without any illustrations, you might want to check out one of the newest additions about living with animals:
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process or Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl or Dewey: A Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.

The popular collection also contains mysteries (like
The Turnaround by George P. Pelecanos, a writer for HBO's 'The Wire'), science fiction (like Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn), novels (like The Tempest Tales by Walter Mosley) and non-fiction (like The Pact and The Bond--about three men from Newark, NJ, who make a pact to be successful despite difficult circumstances).

To check out all of the latest additions to the library's collection, go to the
New Books List and browse. Remember, it's easy to check out books from the library; you just use your MyPVCC log-in or your student number. A book checked out today will be due back in four weeks, but you can renew it if you need more time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chat with us

On your right, you'll notice a new tool; the staff at the Jessup Library have implemented meebo (instant messaging)! Do you ever have a quick question or concern? Would you like to ask us a question but would prefer anonymity? For example, if the noise level is bothering you, send us a quick message via meebo, and we will respond.

We hope this new tool will be beneficial. We understand how busy you are and we want to respond quickly and efficiently. Please take advantage of this new feature and, as always, let us know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meet the Jessup Library Staff

Please let me introduce myself. My name is Crystal Newell, and I am the circulation/access librarian at the Betty Sue Jessup Library. My position involves handling the overdues and implementing new and interesting technologies that best suit your needs.

Originally, I started out cataloging books and, since obtaining my master's degree, moved on to circulation. I also am a former community college student, as I attended both J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and PVCC. After having wonderful experiences with community college, I attended the University of Virginia and, later, Drexel University.

When not working, I enjoy reading. I have an affinity for historical fiction, particularly if it's set in Asia or during the early twentieth century. Here lately I have read a number of remarkable memoirs, autobiographies and nonfiction titles. I am always glad to pass along a recommendation or two if you are looking for an interesting read. So please, come say hello!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Noise in the Library

This recent series of posts is an attempt to address the concerns mentioned by you in the student survey. Today's topic is noise in the library, particularly the noise level in the window lounge.

The library is often the only place in the College to study quietly, and some people need absolute quiet to study. We have noticed that noise levels are a constant complaint among those who are trying to study in the back of the library. Although the library has large tables in the window lounge, this area is not conducive to group study. Talking at a normal tone of voice or even whispering can distract others.

If you need group study space, please use one of our five study rooms. A group may sign up for these rooms in the white binder at the front of the circulation desk. These rooms can be reserved for up to three hours. Also, always be sure to check for open study rooms as groups often do not show up. After 20 minutes, the group forfeits the room. You may then sign up for that time slot.

Individuals may use the group study rooms; groups take priority over individuals, however. You also do not need to sign up in the white binder.

And we are always here to help. If something is distracting you or if a group is talking too loudly, please let us know. We will be glad to handle the situation. We want the library to be a pleasant and stress-free study space. Never be afraid to ask for assistance!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Computer usage in the library

The library just completed its most recent student survey, and the availability of working computers topped the list of concerns. Many a student asked for more or better working computers. While we cannot purchase additional computers at this time, you'll find that most of the broken ones have been replaced (as mentioned in an earlier post). Will that solve the problem completely? Probably not.

Computers are in demand in the library, particularly during college hour (12:20-1:20 p.m.). During this time, students often wish to print papers or other materials for class, and generally, they are in a hurry. It is frustrating when computers are monopolized by others who are checking e-mail or looking at Facebook. At least that's what many respondents said on the survey.

We understand these concerns and want to take the time to remind students of the library's policy regarding computer availability. According to the library's Policies and Services Web page, priority is as follows when computers are in demand:
  • Currently-enrolled students, faculty and staff using the computer for research or coursework;
  • Currently-enrolled students, faculty and staff using the computer for research not relating to coursework;
  • Community members using the computer for research.
Please be considerate of others; limit the use of computers to school-related work when others are waiting.

As always, let us know if you have any questions.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New computers have arrived!

The library has wonderful news! On Thursday, May 14, 10 new computers were installed to replace the broken ones, for a total of 24 desktop computers. That's one more than before!

For a while now, the library has suffered from a lack of computers. Out of 23 desktop computers, nine had failed in the recent semesters. This created a problem for many people as there weren't enough computers during our busiest times. In the recent student surveys, you voiced your frustration about the lack of working computers; we hope these 10 new computers will help.

The new computers have Vista and Microsoft Office 2007. You will be able to instantly recognize them; they have both towers and monitors. All other functionality, including printing, is the same.

Let us know if you have any questions about the new computers, and enjoy!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lost and Found

Many people often leave behind flashdrives, coats, and books as they rush off to class. These lost items are collected and stored in the library's lost and found for several weeks before being turned over to security. (The College's main lost and found.) So, if you have lost that very important flashdrive, check with us to see if it's been turned in!


The Jessup Library is proud to announce ARTstor, a digital collection of approximately one million images. This interdisciplinary resource offers images from the areas of art, architecture, the humanities and the social sciences. The collections are organized by topic and include: African-American studies, anthropology, design and decorative studies, Middle Eastern studies, and theatre and dance.

The images in ARTstor are saveable as JPEGs and may be inserted into PowerPoint presentations or Word documents. Each image also provides information necessary to cite it properly. (Double click on an image to open it in a new window, click the "i" for citation information.)

Unfortunately, ARTstor is not yet available from off campus. Hopefully it will be available soon; check back here for updates.

Please take a look at this wonderful resource, and again, if you have questions, just let us know!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding Your Inner Google

When you think of Google, you might not think "academic" or "scholarly." Most people use Google for a variety of reasons, but often, when using Google for research, they retrieve too many results or the results aren't relevant. Knowing how to use Google effectively and efficiently can save you a lot of time, effort and frustration.

Note: We encourage you to begin your research with library materials first. Google is not an alternative to, but a helpful addition to the library's resources.

The library staff recently presented a workshop called "Finding Your Inner Google." Google Scholar and Google Books, among others, were discussed, as well as tips and techniques for using Google effectively. For instance, did you know that Google Scholar is a good source of scholarly journal articles? Not to mention, you often can link directly to library databases to find full text. (Go to Google Scholar, click Scholar Preferences, and search for Virginia Community College System under Library Links to access library resources off campus.) Did you know that Google Books offers many books in full text AND links to citation information? (Limit search results to full view to access full text. Under About this book, click Find this book in a library, then click Cite, which is located in the upper right corner.) Google also has many features that are useful to you in everyday life. For example, use it as a calculator or to track a UPS shipment. (Enter equation or tracking number directly into Google's basic search.)

One of the best suggestions, when using any of the Google sites, is to use the advanced search screen. Advanced search allows you to limit your results easily. For instance, you can specify a particular URL or title without having to use special terms like "inurl:" or "intitle:". Also, remember that you can apply what you learned in ITE to Google just as easily as you do to EBSCO.

If you weren't able to attend the workshops, don't worry. We'll offer more in the coming semesters. In the interim, a Google guide is available in the library. And as always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Friday, April 17, 2009

End of semester

As the end of the semester nears, so does the end-of-semester due date, May 4. This is something the library does every semester; have you noticed?

It's important to return books on time, especially at the end of the semester, as a hold will be placed on your record if the book (or other item) is not returned by the due date. This prevents you from obtaining grades or transcripts and registering for classes. In addition, your account eventually will be turned over for collection. The amount turned over for collection depends on the replacement cost of the book.

Take a look at the Library Policies & Services Web page for more information. And, please, let us know if you have questions.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let us know what you think

The library satisfaction survey is available for all students, faculty, and staff. Please take a few minutes to let us know what you think of the library collection, the staff and the services. Results will be made available later in the semester.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hello and welcome to the Jessup Library blog!

After much thought and preparation, the Jessup Library is preparing to embark on a new adventure. In order to better meet your needs, we have started this blog. (Check out the tweets as well.)

Have you ever wondered what resources would work best for your paper, what has changed in the library or what new books have been added to the collection? We will discuss these topics and more as the services provided by the Jessup Library are explored.

Also, let us hear from you! To contact us, use the link to the right. You will receive a response if contact information is provided.


Jessup Library Staff