Thursday, April 17, 2014

Remembering Literary Pioneer Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize-winning author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of
Cholera, has died.  He was 87.  Widely acclaimed as the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miquel
de Cervantes, Garcia Marquez was considered the supreme exponent, if not the creator, of the literary genre
known as magic realism.  New York Times.  April 17, 2014.  
BBC News.  April 17, 2014.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner and widely-acclaimed author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, has died.  He was 87.


Obituary: Gabriel Garcia Marquez BBC News Latin America & Caribbean

Life in Pictures: Gabriel Garcia Marquez BBC News in Pictures

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Literary Pioneer, Dies at 87  New York Times

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dies at Age 87  TIME

Read about Gabriel Garcia Marquez in various articles, books and more available through TWU Libraries.

Conversations with Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Gene H. Bell-Villada


Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold)

Los funerales de la Mamá Grande

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude)

and more . . .


Read the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez?  Have a favorite?  Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.

~Sandy Cochran

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This Easter Weekend, Hop On Over to the Denton and Dallas Campus Libraries

Roxsand Beckles, student assistant in the Reference Department of the
Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus of TWU, gets ready to 
welcome patrons to the library this Easter weekend.  For our patrons' 
convenience, the TWU libraries on the Denton and Dallas campuses 
will observe their normal operating hours this weekend, April 19-20, 
2014.  Photograph by Kristin Wolski.
Although all TWU campuses will close at noon on Friday, April 18th (including the libraries in Denton and Dallas and the Houston ARCthe libraries on the TWU Denton and Dallas campuses will be open this Easter weekend to serve your study, research and other information needs.  

Although a holiday weekend for many, the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus will observe its regular hours and open on Saturday, April 19th (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday, April 20th (2 p.m. to midnight.)

The Dallas Center Library doors will be open, per its regular schedule, on Saturday, April 19th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Questions?  Call us at 940-898-3701.  We will be hoppy to assist you.

~Sandy Cochran

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Houston Librarian Marilyn Goff Named Recipient of 2014 TWU Award for Outstanding Contribution to TWU Libraries

Medical Librarian Marilyn M. Goff, MLS, AHIP, the librarian for the
Houston campus of TWU since 2000, has been named t
he recipient of
the 2014 TWU Award for Outstanding Contri
bution to TWU Libraries.  
Texas Woman's University Libraries are pleased and proud to announce that TWU Medical Librarian Marilyn M. Goff, the librarian for the Houston campus since 2000, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Texas Woman's University Award for Outstanding Contribution to TWU Libraries.

To say that Marilyn is a valued member of the Reference Department team of TWU Libraries would be an understatement. With 
expertise in health sciences internet research, she is a provider of cutting-edge research information to faculty members on the Houston campus of TWU.  Involved in every aspect of library operations for the ARC in Houston, Marilyn works tirelessly for the students and faculty members she serves.

Accolades for Marilyn began rolling in as soon as the award announcement was made.  "I am delighted to hear that our colleague Marilyn Goff is being recognized for her many achievements," said Professor Anne Young of the TWU College of Nursing.  "In Houston, we could not make it without her."  This sentiment was echoed time and again by faculty members Marilyn works with and for.  "We can always depend on her," said one.  "Her expertise is priceless," said another.  "We are so fortunate to have her here in Houston!" said a third.  "Most deserving!" said yet another.

As appreciated as she is by faculty members, Marilyn's supervisors are also keenly aware of the value of the research, teaching and customer service skills she possesses.  "
Marilyn is an accomplished medical  librarian with advanced research and teaching skills," says Connie Maxwell, Assistant Dean of Libraries.  "She is computer savvy,  customer-service oriented--and always has a warm and friendly smile."  "I was thrilled to learn that Marilyn had won the (TWU) Award for Outstanding Contribution to TWU Libraries," said Eula Oliphant.  "It is a pleasure to supervise someone who is so genuine and so dedicated to their work.  I have received numerous thank-you notes from students Marilyn has assisted--some even acknowledging that she is the reason they were able to graduate."  Eula added a sentiment which many who know Marilyn might use--"Thank you, Marilyn, for a job well done."

Please join the staff of the TWU Libraries as we honor our friend and colleague Marilyn Goff at an award presentation and reception on Monday, April 14, 2014 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Joyce Thompson Lecture Hall (Room 101) of the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus of TWU (the lecture hall is the first door on the right as you enter the building.)  Those on the TWU campuses in Dallas and Houston can view the proceedings live via video conference (in IHSD 3514 in Dallas, and in IHSH 3322 in Houston.)  A reception on the Houston campus to honor Marilyn is in the planning stages for a later date.

From all of us with the TWU Libraries, Marilyn, we offer our heartfelt congratulations to you for this well-deserved honor.

~Sandy Cochran  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Signing: Dr. Phyllis Bridges and her Newest Tome on TWU History

Dr. Phyllis Bridges, TWU Professor of English,
will be signing copies of her 
latest book, on the
history of TWU, 
on Friday, April 11th from 1:30
2:30 p.m. in the first-floor rotunda of the
Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton 
campus of
As recently reported by the TWU Department of Marketing & Communication, Dr. Phyllis Bridges will appear at the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus of Texas Woman's University on Friday, April 11, 2014 to sign copies of her newest book, Marking New Trails: An Informal History of the Texas Woman's University.   

Dr. Bridges, Professor of English at TWU, will be available in the first-floor rotunda of the library from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.  
Copies of her book will be available for purchase. 

This event is open to all members of the TWU community as well as the general public.

~Sandy Cochran

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kick Off National Poetry Month with a New Professor's Corner on Wednesday, April 9th

Dr. Haj Ross of the University of North
Texas will present A Peek into the Workshop
of the Poet: Dylan Thomas and Stephen Dunn
on April 9, 2014 at 7 p.m. at 
the South Branch
of the Denton Public 
Have you made your Poetry Month plans yet?  If not, the next session of Professor's Corner, a free discussion group devoted to quality presentations on literary topics, happens on Wednesday, April 9th.  All are invited.

A Peek into the Workshop of the Poet: Dylan Thomas and Stephen Dunn

Two poems will be looked at in great depth:  Dylan Thomas’s In My Craft or Sullen Art and Stephen Dunn’s The Sacred (for your convenience, both works are linked to their respective titles.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Denton Public Library, South Branch (3228 Teasley, Denton, Texas, 76210.  Just south of the Teasley/Lillian Miller intersection.  MapQuest map and directions available here.)

This program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Dr. Haj Ross of the University of North Texas is the presenter for this session.  Dr. Ross is Distinguished Research Professor in the Linguistics Section of the Department of Linguistics and Technical Communication at the University of North Texas.  He is a frequent presenter at Professor’s Corner.

As a linguist, Dr. Ross takes an approach to poetry that gives new meaning to the concept of dissecting a poem.  You will never be able to read poetry the same way after this session.  He is interested in poetics “and” semantax [the interfield of syntax/semantics].  He does not see the sense in trying to keep “them” separate.  Studying the structural beauties of language without simultaneously watching how the great writers make use of the structural capabilities of their languages to hint at the ineffable--such a limitation leads to joyless linguistic science.  Language becomes flat, grey.  Studying the incredible intricacies of the verbal art of the greatest masters of language without having the most subtle of linguistic tools to do one’s literary criticism--this is as successful as doing astronomy with an inexpensive telescope.  The fundamental point to be kept in view is that a language is alive.  Chloroforming it and pinning it to a board to make it easier to talk about is no less distressing than seeing a luna moth in a museum exhibit.  Without this liveness, there could be no verbal art.

See here for more background on Dr. Ross.

The reading made available in advance by the presenter can be found on the calendar page of the Denton Public Library’s website [(from the homepage, click calendar and then the session title (Professor's Corner on April 9th)]. Reading in advance is encouraged but not required.

Dylan Thomas on
Dylan Thomas on Wikipedia
Stephen Dunn on
Stephen Dunn on Wikipedia

This session is part of the free series entitled Professor's Corner: A Literary Discussion Group, the purpose of which is to meet a public need for high-quality presentations on literary topics by having local English professors talk about their special interests.  The presentations are aimed at the general public and allow for discussion. Readings of modest length are usually available in advance.  Gatherings are usually on the second Wednesday of specified months from 7:00 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m.  Monthly announcements are available by e-mail; to get on the mailing list, send a request by e-mail to Fred Kamman, Denton Public Library;; 940-349-8752.

Dr. Stephen Souris, Texas Woman’s University;; 940-898-2343

May 14, 2014     
Contemporary mythology and the frame-tale narrative (Dr. Gretchen Busl)
June 11, 2014     
Poems by Thomas Gray (Dr. Ashley Bender)
Denton Public Library, Voertman's Bookstore, Recycled Books Records CDs, and Cooper’s Copies and Printing.  This program was also made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Please join us.
~Dr. Stephen Souris

Thou Shalt Not Incur Late Fees: The Magic of Remote Renewals and Proxy Patrons

Image courtesy of Library Funnies on Pinterest.
Late fees and penalties are everywhere.  Late with your electric bill?  Your power may be cut off.  Miss a credit card payment?  Interest accrues.  Late returning library materials to the TWU Libraries in Denton or Dallas?  A bothersome late fee is applied to your account.

Humans are not perfect.  Incurring irksome late fees is understandable—but also avoidable.  The TWU Libraries in Denton and Dallas offer, for our patrons' convenience, several methods of keeping those pesky late fees at bay.

Your First Line of Defense: Simple Knowledge
When you check out an item from one of our libraries, a due date is stamped onto the book or other item; you are also told this same date.  Dates are easy to forget, however, so borrowers also receive weekly email updates (look for Borrowing Activity Letter in big, bold letters at the top. You may need to adjust your email settings so that emails from don’t go straight into your spam folder.)

The Magic of Remote Renewals
Well, things happen.  You’re a busy college student or faculty or staff member and you’ve overlooked that due date, your library materials are due—and you still need them.  The TWU Libraries recognize that academic life is stressful, whether you’re learning or teaching or working or all three—and now this.  How can you keep the materials you need without incurring late fees?  Through the magic of remote renewals.

A remote renewal is a renewal of library materials accomplished without a trip back to the library.  Wait, there’s more--you get two of these wonderful experiences per checkout!  Think about it.  This means that if you’re an undergraduate student, you could conceivably keep a book for nine weeks after visiting the library once.  Of course, there are stipulations--you can renew certain items (like regularly circulating books) only twice; you cannot renew an item if there is a hold on it; and you cannot renew ILL or Reserve items (for a complete rundown of the rules and regs, see the Renew Materials page of the TWU Libraries website.)

Great.  A remote renewal is what you want.  How do you make this wonderful thing happen?  Either online or by phone.

Online renewal is available to currently enrolled students and faculty and staff members (courtesy card patrons must renew materials by phone; see below for details.)  Just follow these simple steps:

~Click My Account (in the maroon box titled TWUniversal Search, under the words Advanced Search.)
~You’ll be directed to a login page.  If not, click Sign In (in the upper righthand corner of the screen.)
~Log in with your Pioneer Portal information.
~Click My Account again (now located in the upper righthand corner of your screen.)
~A list of items checked out to you will appear.  Click on the items you want to renew; click Renew Items.
~Finally, make sure the due dates have changed for the items you want to renew.  If they have, congratulations!  You have successfully renewed your items using remote renewal.

These instructions are also available on the Renew Materials page.  If the internet isn’t your thing and the library isn’t open, call 940-898-3786 (Denton) or 214-689-6602 (Dallas) and follow the prompts.  During normal operating hours in Denton, call 940-898-3719 to renew materials; in Dallas, call 214-689-6580.  Remember--after two remote renewals, you must bring an item into the library if you wish to renew it.  Courtesy card patrons can renew items by remote renewal once, by calling 940-898-3719 (Denton campus library) or 214-689-6580 (Dallas Center Library.)

Proxy Patron Service for TWU Faculty Members
Remote renewal is an exciting service offered to all TWU Libraries patrons in Denton and Dallas, and a great way to keep those late fees from piling up.  But what if, as a faculty member, you’ve renewed your items twice by remote renewal, they’re now due, you can't make it to the library, and you still need your materials?  Sounds like you could use a proxy patron.

The TWU Libraries’ proxy patron service is available to all TWU faculty members.  Through this service, faculty members may designate a student or staff member as their proxy patron, who is then able to check out and return library materials on their behalf.  Simply let the libraries know who your proxy is (at the Circulation Desk or online), and that proxy can then conduct library business for you for as long as they work with you (if at any time you need to change or add a proxy, follow this same procedure.)

Everybody hates late fees, so the TWU Libraries do their best to help our patrons combat them.  From email reminders to remote renewals to the proxy patron service for faculty members, we do our best to make sure you enjoy—without fear of late fees or inconvenience--the time you spend with us and the resources we make available. 

~Jason Mims

Sunday, April 6, 2014

You're In The Library When Severe Weather Threatens. Now What?

Keep Calm and Wait for the "All Clear":  TWU students talk, read and bide their time in the Remote 
Storage area of the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus of TWU.  After an announcement warning of
severe weather in the area, TWU students quickly and calmly made their way to the ground floor of the
library to wait for the "all clear" signal from DPS.  Normally reserved for the storage of library materials, the
windowless interior space on the Denton library's lowest level is a good place for Blagg-Huey Library patrons
to seek shelter from severe weather conditions.  Thursday, April 3, 2014.  Photograph by Sam 
Along with bluebonnets and balmy breezes, spring in Texas brings unpredictable, stormy and sometimes severe weather.

When it comes to severe weather conditions and other emergency situations, being prepared is the best defense. According to TWU's Department of Public Safety (DPS), as soon as you are notified of approaching severe weather you should seek shelter--using an interior room away from doors and windows if possible--and wait for an "all clear" message (alerts can come directly from DPS via text, email or phone Pioneer Alerts, or verbally from a university employee.)  

In the TWU Denton or Dallas library--or the TWU Houston ARC--when you hear that severe weather is imminent?  Here's what to do.

~Listen for instructions from DPS/library employees;
~Seek shelter, using interior rooms away from doors and windows (the Garden Level hallways, restrooms and Remote Storage area are good places to go); and
~Wait for an all clear message from DPS/library employees.

~Listen for instructions from DPS/library employees;
~Seek shelter, using interior rooms away from doors and windows (the first-floor auditorium is a good place to go); and
~Wait for an all clear message from DPS/library employees.

~Listen for instructions from DPS/library employees;
~Seek shelter, using interior rooms away from doors and windows (stairwell B--with its fire doors and windowless, reinforced walls--is a good place to go); and
~Wait for an all clear message from DPS/library employees.
~After a weather emergency, those off campus are encouraged to call the TWU Houston Severe Weather Closure Hotline (713-794-2310) to see if the campus is open.


~The TWU Department of Public Safety uses the Pioneer Alert system to alert students and faculty and staff members in the case of a significant emergency on a campus, or a campus closing.  Sign up to receive alerts on this page.
~It's a good idea to keep the DPS emergency number for your campus in your phone [Denton: 940-898-2911 (x2911); Dallas: 214-689-6666 (x6666); Houston: 713-794-2222 (x2222)].
~A printable copy of the "Know What To Do" DPS flyer can be found here.
~Phone numbers and other information related to bad weather closings at TWU can be found on the TWU Bad Weather Info page.

Stay safe, everybody.

~Sandy Cochran

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Streaming Video: Teaching and Learning Tools for the Visual Age

You could call it the Visual Age.

Our society is an increasingly visual one, where pictures and video rule the roost. Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube--all purveyors of visual content--are booming kings of the social media hill. On the juggernaut that is Facebook, photos and video drive the most engagement on their top 10 brand pages, and videos on these pages are shared an astounding 12 times more often than links and text posts combined.  AllFacebook

In this visual media-rich age, how can TWU students and instructors supplement their learning and teaching with reliable and readily-available tools embodying this increasingly-popular visual bent?  By incorporating streaming video content into their classrooms, research, presentations and study.

Through the resources of Texas Woman's University Libraries, TWU students and faculty and staff members have access to a wealth of streaming video content.  While no one source is all-inclusive, each offers a unique and valuable perspective on the content it contains.  Combined, they provide students and teachers with a wealth of visual media to supplement course materials and enrich classroom experiences.

While most of the TWU Libraries' 200+ databases have a video component, there are some which focus primarily on providing streaming video content.  These include VAST: Academic Video OnlineFilms on DemandKanopy VideostreamingNBC LearnNursing Digital LibraryNursing Education in; and Opposing Viewpoints.


A part of the libraries' database inventory since Fall 2013, NBC Learn features 12,000 digitized stories from the NBC News archives dating back to the 1920s, all in one convenient location.  Current event content is updated every weekday, allowing users to watch the news instead of reading it.

NBC Learn in a Nutshell

Videos are available for use, free of copyright restrictions, by TWU faculty members and students for downloading and embedding--using simple embeddable links--into their Blackboard classes, PowerPoint presentations, reports, in-class discussions and debates, etc.

  A signature feature of NBC Learn is its Cue Card system, an advanced media player which supports videos, launchable with one click--as well as photographs, newspaper articles, primary source documents and other media.  Cue Cards are flippable, offering bibliographic information, clickable keywords, video lengths and citations (in your choice of MLA, APA or Chicago Manual of Style format) on the "flip side."  Assign groups of Cue Cards in your classes, or use them to get a quick update on the topic of your choosing.

*  User-friendly navigation.  Click on the tab on each video's right side, and a full transcript appears.  Additional tabs along the bottom let users create personal playlists; make notes; share Cue Cards via Facebook, Twitter, email and more; print full transcripts; and download videos for offline viewing.

*  Videos stream to desktops, laptops and tablets with Flash installed--making them available when you want them, where you want them.

*  Broad range of subject areas--from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, U.S. History, Global Studies, Health & Nursing, Psychology, Business, Marketing, Journalism, Sociology and more.

*  Short (2- to 5-minute) videos help connect classroom material to real-world applications while utilizing very little precious class or study time.

*  NBC Learn in the Classroom featuring feedback from educators who have used NBC Learn videos with their students.

*  Users can create personal playlists to keep resources organized or share them with others.

*  Printable transcripts are available by clicking on the tab on the right side of each video display.  These are useful for reinforcing material for all students, but particularly for those whose first language is not English.

*  Videos supported by closed captioning and available transcripts are ADA-compliant and engage students with both visual and auditory learning styles.

*  Original NBC Learn Collections including Science of Sports, Science, Social Sciences, English and more.  Some students find math and science easier to learn when they are related to sports.

*  A rich source of material on current events to aid topic selection by students for their papers and other research assignments.

*  Arranged by topic, in 40 browsable collections, for ease of use in interdisciplinary applications.

*  Bring history alive with contemporaneous broadcast clips about historical events.

*  Interviews with authors, essayists, and writers of note on some of the significant works of the 20th century.

*  Health and Nursing Science resources support the latest breakthroughs in physical, mental and regulating health issues.

*  Keep up with academics in the news.  Search by institution, faculty name, etc.

*  User-friendly searchability.  Filter videos by source; search by key words; or use the Advanced Search option for compound searches and limiting the scope of your search by date, etc. 

*  Videos are sharable via email, Twitter, Facebook and more.

*  Campus Perspectives content, direct from and created by academic institutions, is sortable by topic and institution.

Amy Blackburn, TWU graduate student in Library & Information Studies, particularly likes the transcript feature and the ability to print all of a Cue Card's information on a single page.  She also appreciates the related videos after each clip ("like YouTube," she says.)

Have a few minutes?  Try NBC Learn here.


Access NBC Learn; our other streaming video databases; and other databases in our inventory by using the Databases A-Z List link on the TWU Libraries homepage.  Click on the database you're interested in and sign in with your Pioneer Portal information to enjoy streaming video content and more.  


Videos are indexed, and therefore retrievable, using specific language.  For best results experiment with terminology (use alternate search terms or consult an online thesaurus.)

For assistance with searching, streaming video or
any of our databases, please do not hesitate to contact the TWU Libraries.

~Sandy Cochran with contributions by Stephany Compton and Jimmie Lyn Harris

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Welcome Mat Is Always Out at the Denton Campus Library

The Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus of TWU was pleased to welcome the Mature Members
of Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony for a tour of our beautiful building.  Standing L-R:  Bruce
Robert Branch, Virginia Delph, Deborah Gardner, LaMargo Branch, Jeanette Yarbro, Mary Adams, 

Trudy Driver, Ruth Skillens, Margaret Dyer, Betty Calhoun.  Seated/kneeling L-R: Joyce Watkins, Marie 
Gibson, Edwina Nicholson.  February 22, 2014.  Technical assistance with photograph provided by Kristin 
Every once in a while, if we’re lucky, we are reminded of the treasures in our midst.  This sentiment was illustrated in a most convivial way by a group's recent visit to the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus of TWU.

The Mature Members Ministry of Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony, including Blagg-Huey Library staff member LaMargo Branch and her husband Robert, took a leisurely tour of the library on a recent Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A view of the library through their eyes reminds us that although the library's mission centers on education at TWU, we also heartily welcome--and have much to offer--guests to our beautiful building.

The church members carefully perused the library, appreciating holdings and exhibits on three of its four floors (the Garden Level, home to the TWU Libraries' Children's Collection, was not part of their visit.)  A highlight for many was an exhibit featuring numerous pieces from LaMargo’s extensive African artifact collection, a passion she has been pursuing for over 25 years.  Featured in the Denton Record Chronicle and on the TWU website, LaMargo's impressive private collection is one she regularly and generously shares with library patrons and guests.  LaMargo, whose family's roots are in The Republic of Sierra Leone in West Africa, works in the library's Interlibrary Loan Department.  She has been a member of the TWU Libraries family since 2003.

As their tour continued, ministry members were also impressed with the Woman's Collection on the library's second floor, particularly the WASP and their history.  Some group members hadn't realized before their visit that a Woman's Airforce Service Pilots program had existed, and were fascinated to learn that
at the height of World War II more than a thousand women left homes and jobs to become the first in history to fly for the U.S. military.  The group was able to view artwork commemorating these brave women, and particularly admired the life-size bronze by artist Jewel Pfeifer Estes honoring their service.

The Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus of TWU invites you and your group to visit during library hours.  You may find our Visiting the Libraries page helpful.  Visitors are encouraged to tour the building (find a library tour guide here or near the Information Desk on the first floor) and enjoy the rotating library exhibits.  Comfortable seating, a balcony and vending machines await you on the first floor; the Woman's Collection, a preeminent research center on women's history, is housed on the second floor; current periodicals and a quiet area can be found on the third floor; a rich variety of artwork in various mediums is displayed throughout the building--and this is but a portion of the library's offerings.  For assistance before or during your visit, please do not hesitate to contact the library's Information Desk in person (to your right as you enter the building) or by phone (940-898-3701).  A library staff member will be happy to help you.

We hope you will join us and enjoy, as the members of Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony did, the many treasures to be found at the Blagg-Huey Library.

The welcome mat is always out.

~Sandy Cochran

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Shamrocks, Bagpipes and Green Everything: Happy St. Pat's Day

Image courtesy of West Georgia Regional Library.
“There are only two kinds of people in the world,” the Irish saying goes.  “The Irish and those who wish they were." On Monday, March 17, 2014 this will be a bit o’ blarney because, of course, we're all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

In the spirit of shamrocks, bagpipes and green just-about-everything, a quick search using 
TWUniversal Search yielded, among a great many other things, the information below (TWUniversal Search is the one-stop, Google-like search engine provided by TWU Libraries for the discovery and delivery of local and remote resources--including books, journal articles and digital objects.)

Is the shamrock unique to Ireland, as the myth suggests? 
No.  In truth you can find it from Tasmania to North America to the mountains of South Africa (Europe Intelligence Wire, March 17, 2006).

Why is St. Patrick's Day associated with the color green?
According to some accounts blue was actually the first color 
associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but that started to change in the 17th century.  Green is one of the colors in Ireland’s tri-color flag, and it has been used in the flags of several Irish revolutionary groups throughout history. Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, so named for its lush green landscape. Green is also the color of spring and the shamrock (

Chicago has a long and treasured tradition of
celebrating St. Patrick's Day by dyeing t
Chicago River green
Why is the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick's Day--and is the dye really green?
It's a tradition that goes back over 40 years
, and no.

The origins of the tradition are of some dispute--depending on the source, either former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, local plumbers ( or leprechauns deserve the credit--but one thing is certain: the tradition is a revered part of the city's annual St. Patrick's Day festivities enjoyed by thousands.

Ironically, the dye itself is orange; combined with water it turns yellow, then a bright emerald color. "This spectacular transformation," notes the committee responsible, "ranks right up there with the parting of the sea by Moses and the Pyramids of Egypt" (  Sidenote: if you've ever wondered about the meaning of blarney, this is a fine example.

Bacon and Cabbage?
This St. Patrick’s Day, millions of people will sit down to an authentic Irish meal--or so they think--of corned beef and cabbage.  In fact, only half this meal is really Irish. Cabbage has historically been a staple of the Irish diet, but it was traditionally eaten with Irish bacon, not corned beef. Irish immigrants in America couldn't afford the bacon, so they substituted corned beef--a cheaper alternative they learned about from immigrants of other national origin (

Pinch Me
If you forget to wear green on St. Patty’s Day, don’t be surprised if you get pinched.  This is an entirely American tradition that probably started in the early 1700s.  St. Patrick’s Day revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns (fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see--i.e. anyone not wearing green). People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would likely sneak up and pinch green-abstainers (

The First O' Many
New York City hosted the first St. Patrick's Day parade, which featured Irish soldiers in the English military, on March 17, 1762 (PR Newswire, March 6, 2007).

That's Ironic 
reen is often considered unlucky in Ireland (Knight Ridder/Tribune, March 11, 2008).

A Pop O'Quiz

Which one of the following Irish-born writers--George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett or James Joyce--was not a Nobel laureate in literature? Answer: James Joyce (The Record, Bergen County, NJ, March 16, 2006).

Which one of the following--Van Morrison, Bob Geldof, Sinead O'Connor or Sheena Easton--is not an Irish-born recording artist? Answer: Sheena Easton (The Record, Bergen County, NJ, March 16, 2006).

We're Gonna Need More Green Beer
In 2006 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 34.5 million Americans claim Irish ancestry--a number almost nine times the population (at 4.1 million) of Ireland itself (The Wischlist Blog, March 13, 2010).

All of us with the TWU Libraries wish you a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day--and that's no blarney.

~Sandy O'Cochran