Friday, November 20, 2015

Just in Time for the Break -- New Books!

The Thanksgiving break is only a few days away (insert an angelic chorus here). If you're planning to relax over a good book in the aftermath of the Thanksgiving feast, the library has you covered. We have over two hundred new books, and there's definitely something here that will take your mind off your postprandial nausea. Start your browsing with our recommendations below.

Alexandra Robbins explores the troubles and triumphs of medicine’s unsung heroes in The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital. She uses the real-life stories of four women — from a first-year nurse to a former narcotics addict — to give readers a glimpse of life behind the Employees Only door, examining everything from dealing with burnout to saving a life.

Have you ever wondered who invented beds, or which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? Greg Jenner digs through Egyptian tombs and Victorian sewers to bring you the answers in this romp through the history of everyday things, A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life.

Improvements in technology are revolutionizing higher education, making it more widely available and providing students who face skyrocketing prices with alternatives. Explore the future of college in College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education by Ryan Craig and The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey.

The ripples of Terry Pratchett’s legacy are still going strong and will be for decades to come. A Blink of the Screen is a collection of short fiction that spans his entire career, and is a fantastic, humorous read whether you’re new to his work or an old friend.

Curious about the inner life of marine creatures? James Prosek examines the myth, mystery, and biology of the freshwater eel in Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World’s Most Amazing and Mysterious Fish. And in Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid, Wendy Williams uncouples the reality of the squid, and other cephalopods, from its legendary status of giant, deadly sea monster.

Greek mythology has had a major impact on culture and literature, from Plato to Percy Jackson. In The Gods of Olympus: A History, Barbara Graziosi invites readers to follow the Greek gods across ages and cultures, from their original worshippers to the 21st century.

In the aftermath of a televised panic attack, Nightline anchor Dan Harris turns to self-help, spirituality, and brain scientists to rewire the little voice in his brain — the same voice that can be our own greatest asset or liability. He writes about his journey in 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story. And in Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection, Jia Jiang shows readers how to use rejection as a path to personal success.

You can find all these books and more in our catalog. Happy reading!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

One Book Program Speakers

The One Book Program presented two speakers in October: Professor Justin Wert (October 21), and Dr.  Lundy Pentz (October 28).  Both talks were well attended and provided two different views on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

 Professor Wert's talk, entitled The Life of Henrietta Lacks: Black Community and Black Lives Matter, dealt with the sense of community that surrounded Lacks and her family, the ties between the individuals in her network, and the active support that individuals in that network gave to each other. We also learned about the migration from rural Virginia to urban Maryland, specifically Baltimore, and how black society changed because of this.

Professor Wert teaches English Composition I and II, Survey of American Literature I and II, and Survey of African American Literature I and II. 

To see a video recording of Professor Wert's talk, please click here. 

Dr. Lundy Pentz retired from Mary Baldwin College after decades of teaching biology, microbiology, immunology, physiology, and more. He got his PhD and his B.A. at Johns Hopkins University in MD. His talk,  entitled Cells, Tissues, and Money, focused on the financial aspects of cell research.  Dr. Pentz  walked the audience through the process of cell research, and debunked the idea that researchers get rich by discussing the expenses associated with this research. 

To see a video recording of Dr. Pentz's talk, please click here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

JSTOR access has been restored

Thank you for your patience while JSTOR fixed the problem!  Access has now been restored.

JSTOR Access Problems

JSTOR is currently experiencing some technical problems.  As of right now, you cannot access the database. We will post an update when access has been restored.  JSTOR continues to post updates on their website, if you want to follow them!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One Book DNA Activity

Last Thursday the PVCC Jessup Library hosted the One Book “Extract Your Own DNA Activity.” For one afternoon, the Library Teaching Room was transformed into the “Library Laboratory” where 13 students decked out in rubber gloves and safety goggles carefully followed instructions to isolate strands of DNA from their own cheek cells.

The participants of the One Book DNA Activity represented by their DNA samples!

The activity was well-attended and much-enjoyed, and by its end nearly all of the participants had been able to successfully extract a small sample of their own DNA. Students came face-to-face with a piece of their personal genetic blueprint, and each was able to take home the results of his or her DNA extraction. Participants also received a free One Book tote bag. The simple experiment utilized common supplies and ingredients, such as table salt, food coloring, and rubbing alcohol. If you would like to try the experiment yourself, you can find directions and a how-to video on the PBS: NOVA Web site.

The DNA Activity was sponsored by the PVCC One Book Program, which is currently featuring the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Upcoming One Book events and activities include an essay contest, film screening of a documentary on Henrietta and HeLa cells, and a presentation by guest speaker Dr. Lundy Pentz on “Cells, Tissues, and Money." Learn more on the One Book Program Web site, and look out for an article on the DNA Activity in an upcoming edition of The Forum.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

New Books

It's that time of the semester again: there are new books here at the library, and we've got recommendations from nearly every subject in the Library of Congress classification system. Whether you’re interested in philosophy or military science, we’re sure to have a book here that will pique your interest.

Discover how to make your habits work for you in Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. In Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most, author Hendrie Weisinger argues that pressure is always detrimental to performance — but there are ways to lessen its effects. Mequilibrium: 14 Days to Cooler, Calmer, and Happier by Jan Bruce, tackles daily stress management — not through eradication, but by the simple act of changing your response.

Yuval N. Harari explores humankind from a variety of perspectives — from the biological to the economic — in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Kara Cooney tells the fascinating story of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s second female pharaoh, in The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt, piecing it together from the scant artifacts that remain from her rule.

Jesper Juul shows how video games allow players to embrace and transcend failure in The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games.

If you’re interested in start-ups, leadership, or exploring your creative potential, we have you covered. Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull gives readers an intimate glimpse into the workings of Pixar Animation and describes how they can use these insights to become better leaders and more creative individuals in Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. #Girlboss, by Sophia Amoruso, champions creativity as the ultimate path to success, using Amoruso’s own story — “from dumpster diving to founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world” — to illustrate how it works. Peter A. Thiel urges readers to create new things, rather than building on the old, and shows them how in Zero to One: Notes on Startups, Or How to Build the Future.

In Science Unshackled: How Obscure, Abstract, Seemingly Useless Scientific Research Turned Out to Be the Basis for Modern Life, C. Renée James shows how simple curiosity has led to the breakthroughs — like WiFi, GPS, and pain medications — that form the backbone of modern life. Schemes that sound like classic science fiction become real, viable plans to counteract global warming and save the world in Hack the Planet: Science’s Best Hope — Or Worst Nightmare — For Averting Climate Catastrophe by Eli Kintisch. Rat Island: Predators in Paradise and the World’s Greatest WIldlife Rescue by William Stolzenburg looks at a little known side of the conservation movement — killing one species to save another — and follows teams of ecologists, hunters, and poachers as they attempt to save islands from the depredations of foreign predators. And The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds by Gavin Pretor-Pinney is a warm, personably written romp that will appeal to anyone who enjoys cloud-watching.

You can find all of these books in more in our catalog.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Some friendly reminders...

Welcome back! It's the start of a new school year, and it's exciting to see lots of students back on campus and studying in the library. We wanted to remind you of a few policies that you may or may not have known about!
  • Your student ID is now required for checking out materials. This is a new policy starting this fall and is part of a college-wide initiative to encourage all PVCC personnel to carry their IDs with them. This is for your safety, and the library policy is to protect you from unauthorized users checking out materials on your account.
  • Classes will be using the renovated library classroom.  We are very excited about our new library classroom that has a lot more seating space for students to work! However, this room will continue to double as a classroom when professors bring their students to the library. We will always post a sign indicating the times that these classes will be arriving each day, so you can plan accordingly. As long as no classes are in there, you are free to use the room.
  • Individuals may not reserve the group study rooms online. The library has quiet study space throughout that individuals may use to study. The only place where student groups can collaborate in the library is the group study rooms. Individuals are free to use a study room when it's vacant, but we ask that you please not book the rooms online.
  • Talking on cell phones is prohibited in the library. Please take your phone calls outside, so you don't disturb the people around you that are working.
  • Lower your voice when you come in the library, and don't talk in the Quiet Zones. The only place where talking is allowed is in the front of the library (at the computers and at the desk) and the group study rooms. The Reading Room, the Library Classroom, and the back of the library are all quiet zones. Please respect your friends and peers who are trying to work. If you find that someone is being loud and distracting your studies, let us know at the front desk, and we will be happy to "shush" them.  
Thank you! We look forward to wonderful year.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

EBL E-book Database Outage

In preparation for the launch of a new interface, the EBL ebook database will not be available on Tuesday, September 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EDT).  So, some of the ebooks in our library catalog will not work during this time.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Library Showcase: Genetics, Medical Ethics, and more!

HeLa cells (

This semester we are launching PVCC’s second annual One Book Project! On Club Day (next Tuesday) free copies of this year’s book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, will be available at the One Book table while supplies last! The book tells the true story of an African American woman from Virginia who lost her life to cancer in 1951 but gained immortality through a perpetuating cell line that revolutionized medical research. 

Henrietta’s story explores many topics, including medical ethics, the study of genetics, cancer, the discrimination of the Jim Crow era, and the persistence of socio-economic inequalities. You can learn about these issues and more in the latest library showcase (now in its new location in the Library Teaching Room!) Here are a few highlights from the display:

The disease that took Henrietta’s life has plagued humanity for thousands of years. The history of cancer from ancient days to modern times is traced in this fantastic, Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

If reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has stirred your interest in science, try The Cell: A Very Short Introduction by Terence Allen & Graham Cowling or Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction by Tony Hope for a quick information fix on these topics!

Many of Henrietta’s struggles reflect the injustices of the Jim Crow Era that impacted millions of African Americans. Read more of their stories in Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South edited by William H. Chafe, Raymond Gavins, and Robert Korstad.

Cells are the building blocks of life, but, for most of us, our cells aren’t a topic to which we give much thought. In The Language of Cells: Life as Seen Under the Microscope, Spencer Nadler describes the enormous impact that these microscopic parts can have on our human lives. 

Joycelyn Elders is very familiar with the discrimination that has plagued medical care in the United States. The great-granddaughter of slaves, she attended medical school in Arkansas and went on to become the Surgeon General of the United States. Her inspirational story is recorded in Joycelyn Elders, M.D. by Jocelyn Elders and David Chanoff.

The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA by Mark Schultz, Zander Cannon, and Kevin Cannon is a graphic novel that offers a fun and unique way to learn about genetics!

Curious about other revolutionary medical discoveries? The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons, 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine by Clifford A. Pickover covers the invention of eyeglasses, the first organ transplants, and other fascinating moments in scientific history—including the discovery of Henrietta's HeLa cells (see page 386).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Books Are In

The summer semester is over, and our two week grace period until the fall has begun. What are your plans? We hope they include dropping by the library to visit. We've got quite a few new books, and a whole list of recommendations.

Take a trip around the globe with our latest fiction. The City of Devi by Manil Suri explores the tumultuous streets of Mumbai through Sarita and Jaz, strangers searching a city in turmoil for the lovers they have lost. The Seventh Day by Yu Hua traverses contemporary China through the eyes of Yang Fei, a man who spends his first seven days in the afterworld revisiting his old life and the people he loved.

NoViolet Bulawayo examines the "sacrifices and mixed rewards of assimilating" in We Need New Names, a story that begins with ten-year-old Darling, an adventurous girl who leaves Zimbabwe for suburban America, only to discover that the American Dream is no closer, or easier, to grasp. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explores similar themes, following the lovers Ifemelu and Obinze through Nigeria, London, and the United States as they seek to build lives outside of their homeland.

Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee chronicles a woman's transformation from widow in a small Indian village to the wife of a middle-aged Iowa banker. And in The Age of Shiva by Manil Suri, seventeen-year-old Meera's rebellion against her confined life takes her across the landscape of newly independent India. How I Became A Nun by César Aira paints a darkly humorous portrait of modern Argentina, where a six-year-old child's adventures "[begin] with cyanide poisoning and ends in strawberry ice cream."

We also have a few nonfiction recommendations for you. Check out Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution by Laurie Penny, a discussion of modern feminism that doesn't pull its punches. The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley explores the history of why we are fascinated by murder. Sarah Ruhl gives us a unique collection of essays in 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write. And in What If?, Randall Munroe, the creator of popular webcomic, xkcd, looks at the science behind everything from global windstorms to the Facebook of the dead.

You can find all these and more in our catalog. Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Books Are Here Again

It's summertime again, and here at the library, we've got new books for you. Drop by to discover something that will complement every aspect of your summer, whether you're looking for a beach read, some staycation company, or a book to relax with between classes or after work. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

If you've been following Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, check out the latest installment, City of Heavenly Fire. You can find the rest of the series in our catalog. If historical fantasy and time traveling are more your speed, check out Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series: Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. You can also find the first three books in our catalog.

We also have an array of standalone novels. In the mood for young adult (YA) books? Check out Paper Towns by John Green. Want some historical fiction? Explore 20th-century America in The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant; Madrid, 1868 in The Fencing Master by Arturo Pérez-Reverte; or the imperial court of Emperor Franz Joseph I in The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki. Curious to see how Jane Austen's Emma would fare in the 21st century? Alexander McCall Smith has your curiosity covered in Emma: A Modern Retelling.

There are even more intriguing stories to be had in nonfiction. Learn about neurological curiosities dating back to the 1500s in The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery by Sam Kean. Explore contemporary Tehran in City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai. And just over a century ago, on May 7, 1915, the sinking of the Lusitania hastened the entry of the United States into World War I. Read the full story in Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy by Diana Preston.

Get into the heads of the comedians, actresses, and rockstars who keep us entertained. In Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart, Lisa Rogak follows Stewart's career from stand-up comedian to The Daily Show. Actress and producer Lena Dunham discusses growing up in her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s "Learned"Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler writes about everything from treating your career like a bad boyfriend to world domination by robots in her first book, Yes Please. Finally, The Art of Asking, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer expands on the musician's 2013 TED Talk and offers readers an example of how they, too, can harness the power of simply asking.

And you've got to read A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir by Lev Golinkin for the title alone.

Check out all these new books and more in our catalog!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Summer Reading Recommendations

The end of the semester is fast approaching! With exams in the rear-view mirror, will you be looking for a great vacation read or an entertaining book to fill a lazy summer afternoon? The latest showcase at the Jessup Library features summer reading suggestions of all genres: mystery, science fiction, humor, thrillers, nonfiction, romance, YA fiction, and more!

Are you fascinated by a suspenseful storyline full of twists and turns? Then try The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, or The Circle by Dave Eggers. For a real life mystery you might like The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox.

Catch up on the books that inspired recent popular films, like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio J. Mendez and Matt Baglio, or The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

If nonfiction is more your cup of tea, the summer is a perfect time to check out new releases like Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead by David Casarett, Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay Barbree, or Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser.

Sometimes you just want a fun, entertaining, joy ride of a book to read over the summer—we have plenty of those too! Laugh out loud with Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, Bossypants by Tina Fey, or American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage.

If you’re looking for a book but aren’t sure what to pick up next, check our Staff Picks display by the circulation desk, or just ask a librarian for a suggestion! Happy Summer (Reading)!