Friday, March 29, 2013

One Trillion Gallons

CONSUMER INFORMATION

From the extremely handy folks at usa.gov, more information we can all use to make our lives just a little bit better.

If you had to guess, how much clean (yes, clean) drinking water do you think is wasted each year by American households due to leaky pipes, toilets, shower heads and other fixtures? 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) gallons.  That's a lot of zeroes, a lot of water--and a lot of money out of our pockets.


These types of leaks are often easy to fix.  Many of these simple repairs can be accomplished with a few tools and hardware, and pay for themselves in water bill savingsLearn how to find and fix leaks in your home, and save water with WaterSense labeled products (WaterSense is not a brand but a water-efficiency program partnered with the EPA.)

While you're on their site, check out the rest of usa.gov, including Get It Done Online!  This convenient site allows you to find many U.S. government services accessible online from, well, anywhere.

For more information on plumbing and other household repairs, see the TWU Libraries Catalog tab in TWUniversal.

Now go fix those leaks.


~Elaine Cox

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is the Library Open This Weekend?

TWU Libraries Hours

Friday, March 29
All TWU campuses will close at noon, Friday, March 29, 2013.

Saturday & Sunday, March 30-31
All TWU Libraries will observe their
regular Spring Hours.

~Sandy Cochran

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ready to Rock and Roll: The Finals Countdown Is On

They say time flies, and does it ever.  Final exams are fast approaching on this, the downhill side of the Spring 2013 semester.  The staff of the TWU Libraries hopes your semester is going well so far.  As you gear up for finals, we hope you keep us in mind.

The countdown summary you see here is the first of many.  In it you'll notice information handy at this time of year, including a development we're particularly proud of--extended library hours on the Denton campus during finals week.  A pilot program at this stage, these additional finals week hours were added in response to numerous requests from you, our patrons.  We hope you find them useful.

And the Fifties theme going on?  The coffee breaks at the Denton campus library will have a Fifties Rock 'n Roll theme this semester, and we decided to carry it over here.  You know what they say about all work and no play.

We wish you a successful Spring 2013 semester, and invite you to contact us if we can be of service with your classes, papers, projects, research or other information needs. 

When it comes to providing a rich array of information services and resources, the TWU Libraries are always ready to rock and roll.

~Sandy Cochran

Monday, March 18, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

Everyone with your TWU Libraries hopes you had an enjoyable and restful Spring Break, and are ready to get back in the saddle for classes, projects, papers and final exams. 

From Sunday, March 17th through the last day of classes for the Spring 2013 semester (Friday, May 3rd), the libraries are back to their regular Spring schedules

Please remember whether you're a student, faculty member or other member of the TWU community, the TWU Libraries are here to put a rich array of information services and resources at your disposal.  If we can help you, please let us know.

As the semester progresses, look for information on extended library hours at the Blagg-Huey Library for final exams and details on the traditional finals week coffee breaks at the libraries in Dallas and Denton.

From all of us with the TWU Libraries, a successful and rewarding remainder of the Spring 2013 semester.

~Sandy Cochran

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Safe and Happy Spring Break to All

Spring Break 2013 for students of Texas Woman's University will be March 11th thru March 15th.  The university will be open, but classes will not be in session.

The TWU Libraries will be open as follows the week of Spring Break:

Blagg-Huey Library (Denton campus)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dallas Center Library (IHSD)
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Houston ARC
8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

From all of us with the TWU Libraries, a safe and happy Spring Break to all.

~Sandy Cochran

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Poet and the Revolver

An apparently unpublished and previously unknown poem by Carl Sandburg that addresses the topic
of guns has been discovered at the University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript Library.  The
poem, typed on a manual typewriter on onionskin paper, was discovered by a library volunteer. 
Photo by Ben Woloszyn.
Part eerie coincidence, part voice from the grave.  It is one of those unexpected confluences of events that hints, to those so inclined, of divine intervention--or at the very least a divine nudge.

Touching on an issue straight out of today's headlines, an apparently unpublished poem on the subject of guns by three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author Carl Sandburg was
discovered almost a month to the day after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.  Discovered among Sandburg's archives housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the discovery of the thought-provoking "A Revolver" (full text below) occurred as the gun control debate inspired by the shootings raged on. 

In addition to being "an amazing find" for scholars (in the words of Kathryn Benzel, a Sandburg scholar and Martin Distinguished Professor in English at the University of Nebraska at Kearney), "A Revolver" is remarkable in the timing of its discovery and the gun issues it raises“It’s just amazing how something written way back then is relevant today," said Ernie Gullerud, the retired U of I professor and library volunteer who made the discovery

The poem provides no answers in the gun-control debate, of course--but it does raise some profoundly legitimate questions.  “I think it’s so interesting that Sandburg says poetically what we all know about guns: that they are the final word,” said Valerie Hotchkiss, head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at U of I.   “But he takes the idea one step forward to meditate on the effect of guns on freedom of speech--how the First Amendment is watered down by the Second Amendment. If somebody has a gun to your head, you can’t speak freely.”  Are other rights in play here (due process for example)?  Are the rights afforded by one part of the Constitution absolute, or are they necessarily limited in their scope by the existence of others
Are we doomed to repeat the history we don't understand?


FURTHER READING
Previously Unknown Sandburg Poem Focuses on Power of the Gun
by Dusty Rhodes, Arts & Humanities Editor, University of Illinois News Bureau; reprinted at ilovelibraries.org

Works by and about Carl Sandburg and available through TWU Libraries

~Sandy Cochran

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

That's Not a Feeling: A Staff Book Review

BOOK REVIEW

That’s Not a Feeling, a novel by first-time author Dan Josefson, has received multiple starred reviewsThe cover illustrations--intriguing and eclectic--accurately reflect the array of perspectives portrayed throughout this unconventional tale.

The primary focus of
That’s Not a Feeling is Benjamin, a new “student” at boarding school for troubled teens Roaring Orchards.  “Student” is a misnomer here, as Roaring Orchards is not at all interested in academically educating its students.

Many of the teachers or room parents at the boarding school are themselves former troubled adolescents, their statuses as "recovered" individuals quite questionable.  One might even argue that Roaring Orchards exacerbates the emotional obstacles its residents must overcome.  Teachers frequently pass the time mocking students’ outward expressions of their inner distress while creating novel titles for classes to appease the educational board’s requirement of new material for the students’ consumption and intellectual advancement.


Roaring Orchards' hierarchy of teachers and room parents extends to its students. Girls and boys are kept mostly separate, each gender divided into groups of those that are better behaved and those that often act out. Aubrey, the headmaster, is essentially the dictator of this amoral institution (
the reader can infer by this blog entry's byline why the name of this man, the novel's cruelest character, made sections of the book difficult for this author to read.)  Aubrey's methods are employed without question by the teachers and room parents; even fellow students are required to express hatred and anger toward individuals who do not adhere to his philosophy.

Perspectives do shift throughout the novel, casting attention on the school’s varied effects on the individuals under its dark influence.  Tidbit, Benjamin’s classmate and sole source of camaraderie, provides information about relations in the girls’ quarters and occurrences at their separate meetings. Several of the teachers and room parents receive individual focus when isolated from the school’s happenings, highlighting the personal consequences of their responsibility for putting Aubrey’s philosophies into practice.


That's Not a Feeling does possess a dark undertone.  The characters, however (the students like Tidbit in particular), provide comic relief and bits of hope and faith in the powers of individuality and friendship.

Some reviews have deemed the ending of the book unsatisfactory. I did expect certain elements to be connected or tied up in a neater fashion.  I enjoyed the book very much, however, and feel that rereading it would allow me to better understand why Aubrey truly feels his inhumane methods are helpful to tormented souls. I do have an inclination toward dark fiction or satiric type works, so my positive review may not fit your tastes. If such stories are your cup of tea, however, then I suggest you give this novel a chance.

In an odd way, the students residing at Roaring Orchards are inspirational in their ability to challenge and support each other despite their unfortunate pasts and suffocating present situations at the tyrannical boarding school.

~Aubrey James

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Time Matters: Springing Forward and Beyond

Actor Harold Lloyd suspended above a Los Angeles street in the
American silent film comedy Safety Last.  Longmans, Green and Co.,
New York.  1928.  Wikipedia.
The beginning of Daylight Saving Time (DST) every spring (this year at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10th) is about "springing" our clocks forward one hour--and theoretically losing those 60 minutes.  Some of us will feel the loss of an hour of precious sleep, some won't.  But whether you love it, hate it--or are overcome with indifference toward it--DST is almost upon us. 

It's All How You Look At It
Spring Break for TWU students (there are no classes, but the university and the TWU Libraries are open) is from Monday, March 11th thru Friday, March 15th.  Bottom line?  DST means Spring Break will get here an hour earlier than you thought.

Did Someone Say Donuts?

In the U.S., Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Saving Time, but the Navajo Nation (parts of which are in 3 states) does. The Hopi Reservation, however, which is entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, doesn’t observe DST. As a result there is a donut-shaped area of Arizona that does observe DST--but the “hole” in the center doesn't.

Whaddya Mean, "Last Call"?

Patrons of bars that stay open past 2:00 a.m. lose one hour of drinking time on the day when Daylight Saving Time springs forward one hour. This has led to annual problems in numerous locations, and sometimes even to riots. For example, at a "time disturbance" in Athens, Ohio (site of Ohio University) over 1,000 students and other late-night partiers chanted "freedom!" as they threw liquor bottles at the police who were attempting to control the riot.
 

So That's What They Mean by Time Travel
To keep to their published timetables, trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. When the clocks fall back one hour in October, all Amtrak trains in the U.S. that are running on time stop at 2:00 a.m. and wait one hour before resuming their routes.  Overnight passengers are often surprised to find their train at a dead stop and their travel time an hour longer than expected. At the beginning of Daylight Saving Time in the spring, trains instantaneously become an hour behind schedule at 2:00 a.m.--but they just keep going and do their best to make up the time.

Time Matters
The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at onceAlbert Einstein

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.  . . . have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to becomeSteve Jobs

Time is an illusion.  Lunchtime doubly soDouglas Adams

Note to Self: Remember Where We Put the Time Capsule

On the subject of time, this--for a good time. 

~Sandy Cochran

Monday, March 4, 2013

TWU Staff Council: That's the Spirit

The TWU Staff Council was "organized to foster a spirit of
unified community among staff members of Texas Woman's
University and to provide opportunities for their democratic
representation."  TWU Staff Council Constitution
Every day that the libraries of TWU are open, library staff members are hard at work making a broad array of services available to patrons--whether they're students, faculty or staff members, visitors or friends.  At the same time, the libraries recognize that every TWU department and staff member is a part of the larger university community, and as such have additional roles to play.

The TWU Staff Council--organized to foster a spirit of unified community among staff members of Texas Woman's University--provides a forum for every TWU staff member to get involved, keep informed and make their voice heard regarding our university community.

WHAT THE LIBRARIES DO
The TWU Staff Council plays an integral role in the quality of campus life for staff members, and we are proud to say that the libraries are well-represented on the Council and on several of its committees.


WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you're a TWU staff member . . .

Get involved by visiting the TWU Staff Council webpage; becoming familiar with the TWU Staff Council Constitution and Bylaws; and finding out who your TWU Staff Council representative(s) is/are;

Keep informed by visiting the TWU Staff Council webpage regularly; and

Make your voice heard by contacting the Staff Council or your representative(s) with any questions you have, comments you wish to make, or issues you wish to raise.

Please congratulate Caitlin Rodgers, the TWU Staff Council's new president-elect, when you stop by the Blagg-Huey Library's Circulation Desk.  Caitlin has been proactive in shaping library and campus life since beginning her tenure at TWU Libraries in February of 2011, and we couldn't be prouder of herCongrats, Caitlin!


~Sandy Cochran and Caroline Pendleton