Thursday, May 29, 2014

All TWU Libraries Closed May 31-June1; Summer Hours Begin June 2

All TWU Libraries will be closed on Saturday, May 31st and Sunday, June 1st, 2014.  

Summer hours begin Monday, June 2nd, 2014.  For details, see the operating schedules of the (Denton) Blagg-Huey LibraryDallas Center Library, and Houston ARC.


Need library access over the weekend?  Access virtual library services (TWUniversal, databases, subject guides and more) 24/7 via the TWU Libraries website and TWU Libraries Mobile.

Questions?  Please contact us.


~Sandy Cochran  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thank You, Dr. Angelou

Maya Angelou, February 2012.  Image courtesy of harlemcondolife.com.
Editor's Note:  The renowned Dr. Maya Angelou--poet, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil rights activist, producer, director, recipient of 71 honorary doctorates, and above all else, teacher--has died.  The TWU community had the privilege of welcoming Dr. Angelou to the Denton campus in 2012; the following post is reprinted in her honor.

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body

Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world 
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

From A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou
Written and delivered in honor of the 50th 
anniversary of the United Nations

There are certain events at which those in attendance are acutely aware they're seeing and hearing something special.  This seemed to be the case on March 27th, 2012 in the Margo Jones Performance Hall on the Denton campus of TWU.  Those who helped pack the auditorium from 11 a.m. to noon that day were treated to an hour with the renowned Dr. Maya Angelou--poet, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil rights activist, producer, director, recipient of 71 honorary doctorates, and above all else, teacher. "I thought I was a writer who can teach", Dr. Angelou shared, "but it turns out I'm a teacher who can write."

For sixty sparkling minutes Dr. Angelou invited the audience to share glimpses--punctuated by poetry, dancing, life lessons, humor and song--of her extraordinary life.

The centerpiece of that life?  Poetry.  Initially a coping mechanism during a difficult period, poetry was a lifeline to Dr. Angelou--then a lifestyle. "It put rainbows in my clouds," she said. "Everyone should memorize some poetry to protect yourself--you'll then be in a position to protect others."  Further extolling the virtues of poetry, Dr. Angelou reminded the audience that there is real humor in some of it--and that "we need to have things in our lives which remind us that things will be better in the morning, and that we are of value."  Poetry did this for her, and she encouraged everyone to tap into poetry's power. "Find poetry," she said. "Maybe (Algernon Charles) Swinburne, Sonia Sanchez . . . or Maya Angelou."

Interspersed with favorite passages committed to memory--from The Health-Food Diner by Maya Angelou; Little Brown Baby and Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar; Invictus by William Ernest Henley; Harlem Sweeties by Langston Hughes; Concientious Objector by Edna St. Vincent Millay; and The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe--Dr. Angelou's talk centered on poetry as a path to dignity, empowerment, self-respect and respect for others. 


A good teacher, indeed.

Thank you, Dr. Angelou.

For more on and by Dr. Maya Angelou, TWU Reference Librarian Jimmie Lyn Harris compiled a bibliography of resources available through TWU Libraries, and with TWU Reference Librarian Stephany Compton put together a list of websites touching on Dr. Angelou's life and work

Enjoy.

~Sandy Cochran

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saluting Rachel Carson, Environmental Pioneer

Image courtesy of rachelcarson.org.
May 27, 2014

Rachel Louise Carson, author of the seminal works Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us (for which she received a National Book award), has been credited with igniting the modern environmental movement.  She was born 107 years ago today.


The TWU Libraries would like to take this opportunity to offer a tip of the hat to Rachel Carson--the woman, her work, and her lasting impact on the world around us.


FOR MORE ON RACHEL CARSON

*  Clip: The Bravery of Rachel Carson Moyers & Company
*  Rachel Carson Bill Moyer's Journal

*  Rachel Carson (1907-1964) National Women's History Museum

Saluting Rachel Carson  May 27, 2014 marks the 107th anniversary of the birth of Rachel Carson,
American marine biologist, conservationist and author of Silent Spring.  Carson has been credited 
with igniting the modern environmental movement.  Image courtesy of google.com.  May 27, 2014.

Friday, May 23, 2014

In Remembrance: Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day is a federal holiday, observed on the last Monday in May.  A moment of silence will be
observed at 3 p.m. local time, across the nation, to pay tribute to the American men and women who
died during military service.  USA.gov
MEMORIAL DAY FACTS
1)  Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day, from the practice of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags.  Federal law declared the day's official name Memorial Day in 1967.
2)  Memorial Day was a response to the casualties on both sides of the Civil War.
3)  It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.

4)  In 2000 Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day in an act of national unity. cnn.com

MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS

5 Things To Do in Dallas This Memorial Day Weekend
Dallas Symphony Parks Concerts

Houston Happenings This Memorial Day Weekend

MORE

For information on how to support the troops, the history of Memorial Day, American recipes, and Memorial Day Weekend safety tips, visit USA.gov.

All TWU Libraries are closed for Memorial Day Weekend (May 24-26, 2014) and will reopen on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

A safe, happy and peaceful holiday weekend to all.


~Sandy Cochran

Thursday, May 22, 2014

From Beyond Library Walls: Emerging Technologies and Apps To Explore

Printing in 3 Dimensions  Assembling an articulated model of a V8 engine.  3D printing, a 
rapidly-evolving emerging technology, was the subject of a presentation at the 2014 Texas Library
Association annual conference.  Photograph by Nick Crowl.  3D Printers in the Library: Toward a 
Editor's Note:  In addition to their myriad responsibilities at the libraries in Denton and Dallas, and at the Houston ARC, TWU Libraries staff members place a high priority on professional development--including training, conference attendance, and self-directed skills advancement.  This report, the first in a planned series on items of interest discovered beyond library walls, is from Yandee Vazquez, Library Assistant with the TWU Houston ARC.  Personally, I have my eye on the Pebble watch. Enjoy.  

This past April I was lucky to attend the annual Texas Library Association conference, and let me tell you, it was quite an experience!

No, it was not a group of dowdy-looking women scheming on the best way to charge you fines.  The conference, located in the lovely city of San Antonio, Texas, showcased some of the most interesting ideas, products, and resources available in the state. Two of the most fascinating, and fast-paced, presentations of the four-day conference looked at newly emerging technologies and apps.

Two particularly fascinating examples of emerging technologies discussed were wearable technologies and 3D printing

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGIES
The area of wearable technologies encompasses the development and innovation of technology that can be worn on the body. Some, like the Pebble smartwatch or Memi bracelet, serve as notification devices that can be connected to a smartphone, email, Facebook, or other social media account in order to provide discrete, simplified access to those sites.  Others track the body’s feedback during the day to provide more information on health and/or fitness.  Ongoing research includes the development of a pacemaker powered by walking, and e-skin which can be used by robots to touch or as very sensitive touchscreen displays.  Considerable research is being done in this area, and the developments just keep on coming.

3D PRINTING
This area of emerging technology may be more familiar.  Being able to print objects whenever you need them is one of those things that seemed like it would stay in the realm of science fiction, or at least the distant future.  Current advances in the technology, though, have led to the development of usable printed wrenches, guns, food, clothing--even body parts.  Though there is still a long way to go before items can be printed quickly, cheaply, and efficiently, these developments could be the beginning stages of a revolutionary household and workplace appliance.

8 APPS TO EXPLORE
Cloudgoo connects files across multiple cloud accounts.
Fitbit and Gain Fitness are fitness tracker apps; Fitbit comes with an activity/sleep tracking bracelet.
Wickr provides military-grade encryption for sent information, giving the sender control over who can read messages and for how long--then deletes the information (including metadata.)
Doctoralia can help you find a doctor or hospital around the world.
Wello and its accompanying hardware, currently available on a limited basis, measures heart rate, blood oxygen content, body temperature, and other bodily functions.
Chorma is a chore-tracker that syncs between devices for easy organization of who does what around the house.
Tile tracks the location of any item attached to the accompanying tag.

These are just some of the amazing things I saw at the TLA conference this year.

Who knows what kind of things they will present in 2015?


~Yandee Vazquez

Friday, May 16, 2014

Libraries Adjust Hours for Intersession

Between semesters, the TWU Libraries in Denton and Dallas, and the Houston ARC, remain open during adjusted intersession hours.  Summer hours begin Monday, June 2nd, 2014.

For details, see the operating schedules for the (Denton) Blagg-Huey Library, Dallas Center Library, and Houston ARC.

NOTE: All TWU Libraries are closed on Saturday, May 17th and Sunday, May 18th, 2014.


Don't forget!  Our virtual library services (TWUniversal, databases, subject guides and more) are available 24/7 via the TWU Libraries website and TWU Libraries Mobile.

Questions?  Please contact us.


~Sandy Cochran  

Sigma Lambda Gamma Joins The Coffee Break Fun

Go Shocking Pink and Majestic Purple!  Members of the TWU chapter of national sorority Sigma Lambda Gamma participated in the Spring 2014 finals week coffee breaks held at the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton 
campus of TWU.  Members greeted students and gave out goodie bags containing school supplies and other treats.  
Photograph by Kristin Wolski.  May 4, 2014. 
~Sandy Cochran

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Summer Health Check: How Healthy Is Your Lifestyle?

CONSUMER HEALTH NEWS

Summer's just around the corner, bringing with it barbecues, sunny days at the beach and other lifestyle changes.  These habit shifts make the beginning of a new season an ideal time to assess our nutrition, physical activity and other lifestyle factors--particularly in light of a recent study which warns that college students tend to have unhealthy lifestyles that could increase their risk of cancer and other health problems later in life.  


The study, conducted by Northwestern University researchers and reported on the MedlinePlus website (a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health), indicates that Black and Native American students are especially at risk, although there are proactive steps students can take.  "Changing unhealthy behaviors in college students now could be a way to reduce the risk of cancer as well as other diseases later in life," said study principal investigator Brian Hitsman, an assistant professor in preventive medicine-behavioral medicine and psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at the university.  Northwestern University News Release. May 6, 2014.


For more, including the lifestyle factors included in the study, see College Students' Unhealthy Habits Can Mark Their Future.

A happy and healthy summer to all.


~Elaine Cox and Sandy Cochran

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pioneer for Diversity Staff Award Goes To LaMargo Branch of the Denton Campus Library

LaMargo Branch, staff member of the Blagg-Huey Library on the 
Denton campus of TWU, has been recognized as a Pioneer for 
Diversity by the TWU Office of Intercultural Services.  An employee 
with the TWU Libraries' Interlibrary Loan service, LaMargo was 
recognized in part for sharing with students and other library 
patrons, over many years, pieces from her extensive personal 
collection of African artifacts.  Photograph by Kristin Wolski.  
April 30, 2014.
LaMargo Branch, staff member of the Blagg-Huey Library on the TWU Denton campus, has been named recipient of the 2014 Pioneer for Diversity staff award in recognition of her passion for diversity and her mission to promote cultural awareness.

LaMargo sat down with the editor of Check It Out, the TWU Libraries blog, to talk about the award, her amazing African artifact collection--and the reason she hasn't been to Africa.


Check It Out (CIO):  First of all, congratulations on receiving this award.
LaMargo Branch (LB):  Thank you.

CIO:  How long have you been working at TWU?
LB:  Since August 25th, 2003.


CIO:  Every year you share a portion of your personal African artifact collection with the patrons of the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus.  Are there other places where you do this?
LB:  Yes.  I do it for my church, Friendship Baptist Church of the Colony, and for the Office of Intercultural Services here at TWU.

CIO:  How did your collection begin?
LB:  I started it in the nineties in Champaign, Illinois while I was working for the Douglass Branch of the Champaign Public Library.  Kids would come to the library and want to know about their culture.  At first I was pulling out books for them.  Later I started collecting pieces here and there, and would bring them to the library for displays.  One piece was a large wooden Ashanti stool with an elephant on it, which I still have.  Kids need to see things and feel them—it helps them learn, helps them with comprehension.  That’s how I look at it.

CIO:  How did you start bringing pieces of your collection to TWU? 
LB:  Well, February is Black History Month, and I’ve always worn an African dress for that.  A librarian here asked what I was wearing, and started talking with me about it.  Dawn Letson, former head librarian in the Woman’s Collection, asked if I had enough materials to do a display for Black History Month.  She chuckles.  I said I did.  That weekend I did a display at the library--I think it was featured in the Lasso.  That was in 2004, and I’ve been doing it every year since.

CIO:  Do you have a favorite piece?
LB:  Oh, gosh.  I have pieces that are favorites.  There’s a Massai warrior, a wooden sculpture about a foot high.  Also a multicolored Massai headdress, or gelee.  Oh! My drum from Ghana—it has faces carved into it.  These pieces are unique.  The drum is made of wood that can’t be cut any more.  You’ll never find another drum like that one.

LaMargo Branch, staff member with the TWU Libraries' Inter-
library Loan service, dressed in finery from her extensive 
African artifact collection.  These dresses, known as boubou,
are a small portion of the collection, portions of which LaMargo 
generously shares with Blagg-Huey Library patrons every year.
Photograph by Greg Hardin.  February 17, 2012.  
CIO:  The dresses are stunning.  What are they called?
LB:  They’re called bouba or boubou—it depends where they’re from. The fabrics are all different, and some are one-piece dresses, where others are two pieces—a top and skirt—or even three.  Some have headpieces.  Original pieces are very expensive.  Sometimes I bought African fabrics in Illinois and had dresses made for me.  You can tell the difference between what you buy, and what is original.  The fabrics are different, the designs are different.

CIO:  Where did you get your bouba and boubou?
LB:  My sister traveled, and she bought my first dress in Nigeria.  I’ve had students give me dresses.  A mother of a student once gave me three from Tanzania. 


CIO:  You’ve been to a few Pioneers of Diversity luncheons, isn’t that right?
LB:  Annita (Owens, a librarian with the Blagg-Huey Library) took me to my first one in 2004.  Three or four years ago Michelle Prudhomme-Coleman saw a display I did for the library, and asked me to do one for them. 

CIO:  What was your reaction, and your family’s, when you first learned you were receiving a Pioneer of Diversity award?
LB:  When I received the luncheon invitation from the Office of Intercultural Services, I thought I was going to be mentioned, or maybe given a gift.  When the ceremony got started, I thought, “Oh, wow.”  When I realized that only one recipient was named from each category—organization, student, staff, and faculty—I thought, “Surely not.”  First they announced the organization winner, then the student winner, then me.  I was in shock.  I really was not expecting that.  My husband and daughter were very proud.

CIO:  What about your collection is most meaningful to you?
LB:  Oh, the whole collection—and that it took me over 20 years to collect everything.

CIO:  Are you still adding to it?
LB:  I’m always interested in new pieces, and what they mean to the African culture.  These things should be expressed and displayed.

CIO:  Cultural heritage is obviously very important to you.  What would you like to tell our readers about that?
LB:  I don’t even know how to put this.  We may be different colors, but we all share a history.  We do.  You have a history, I have a history, we all have a history.  We’re all looking for the same thing.  We all want to know our past.

CIO:  How does it feel to be recognized as a Pioneer for Diversity?
LB:  Awesome—in capital letters.  Awesome.  I still can’t believe it.  To be recognized like that—it’s an awesome feeling.  You never know how what you do affects other people.  I think it’s the same way with whatever you do.

CIO:  Have you ever been to Africa, or would you like to go?
LB:  Not really.  I’m afraid of bugs.


~Sandy Cochran

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Tradition Continues: A Banner Semester for Library Coffee Breaks

Staff members of the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus hold up a banner filled with expressions of gratitude from students to the TWU Libraries and the Division of Student Life for refreshments they enjoyed during Spring 2014 coffee breaks.  The libraries and Student Life partner each spring and fall semester to sponsor the finals week breaks, offered at the Denton campus and Dallas Center libraries, during which students are offered complementary beverages and snacks to fuel their finals week studies.  Photograph by Kristin Wolski.  May 12, 2014.
They've become a tradition on the Denton and Dallas campuses, eagerly anticipated by students each fall and spring semester. During finals week coffee breaks--sponsored by TWU Libraries and the Division of Student Life--hundreds of cups of coffee and tea are poured; dozens of cases of water are emptied; and hundreds of energy bars, apples and packages of goldfish crackers are distributed--all in an effort to make life a little easier for TWU students during an important and stressful time of the semester. 

Spring 2014 was a banner semester for the coffee break tradition at TWU.  Between May 2nd and 7th, 2014, library staff members served students in Denton and Dallas over 2,100 times--affording them a chance to refuel and recharge for their end-of-semester preparations.  Students were extremely appreciative, with many signing a thank you banner in the Denton library, and more thanking library staff members in Dallas.

Coffee breaks at TWU Libraries are very much a group effort; everyone who took part in their planning and execution deserves credit for their success.  From planning, supplies acquisition and graphic design; to housekeeping, refreshment preparation and security--every aspect is necessary and important.  Most of all, though, we'd like to thank each of the many TWU students who attend the coffee breaks every fall and spring semester.  TWU Libraries take great pride in knowing we play a small but appreciated role in your  final exams week, and look forward to doing so for many semesters to come.

From everyone with TWU Libraries, we hope your finals went well.  Here's wishing you an enjoyable and rewarding summer.
 

~Sandy Cochran

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Ebooks in Academic Libraries

The following is based on the presentation EBooks: Are Your Students Getting a Return on Your Investment? given at the Association of Independent School Librarians Annual Conference on April 25, 2014 by Kris Reed, Assistant Dean of Libraries, Texas Woman's University.

What is an ebook?  Most people will agree that it is a digital object that contains both text and graphics and is the result of integrating a book into the electronic environment.  Ebooks can be displayed on a computer screen or a handheld device.

Most of us are familiar with the ease of downloading an ebook onto our Nook, Kindle, or iPad, but how do these ebooks become accessible in an academic library?  What goes on behind the scenes to bring ebooks to users at TWU?  
It is not a simple task, since we do not download individual titles to handheld devices.  Instead, the library provides network access to all ebooks, which means they are all available to our authorized users 24/7 (although you do not have to download ebooks to use them, we do make this possible.)

A LITTLE EBOOK HISTORY
The first born-digital ebook, Afternoon by Michael Joyce, was published in 1987 to floppy disk.  The first ereader to come out, the Rocket, appeared in 1998.  It was around then that libraries began providing ebooks to patrons, although these were almost entirely scholarly in nature and not downloadable.  Downloadable fiction and nonfiction did not appear until 2003. Beginning in 2011, smartphones and tablets were equipped with ereading capabilities.  Now ebooks are everywhere, and actually outsell print books in many markets.  We can even produce our own ebooks!

BRINGING EBOOKS TO ACADEMIC LIBRARIES
When a library adds printed books to its collections, the process follows this path:  Select > Purchase > Receive > Catalog > Process (get shelf-ready) > Circulate.  The steps are straightforward and orderly.  Since ebooks are virtual, adding them to a library’s collections, in theory, involves a slightly different pathway:  Select > Acquire > Load > Manage > Access.  It would be easy to establish a workflow for adding ebooks if this path could be consistently followed, but in reality there is no typical process path for adding ebooks to the collections of most academic libraries.  This is partly due to the lack of industry-established standards or processes to follow.

For instance, a library might select an ebook before loading it, and then access it before paying for it and managing it internally.  Or a library may not select an ebook at all (as with large packages or bundle purchasing)--just load, manage, and provide access to it.  Because there are so many possible scenarios for adding ebooks to our library, it is often difficult to manage them.  All of the same process steps must be followed, no matter the order, and nothing can fall between the cracks. This uncertainty makes for a difficult and inconsistent workflow.  Bringing an ebook to users takes the work of several library staff members.

Libraries can choose to purchase their ebooks from publishers, aggregators, or subscription vendors.  Unlike print materials, ebooks necessitate a signed license agreement before content is made available to users.  This agreement states who is authorized to use the ebook; who actually owns the content; what is acceptable and unacceptable usage; the limitations of use; the library’s archival rights in relation to the contents; and the costs and ongoing fees involved. Multiple platforms (interfaces) are available, so libraries must consider this before purchasing.  The more interfaces, the more differences there are for users to navigate, which is why most libraries settle for only a few platforms.

WHO OWNS THE LIBRARY'S EBOOKS?
Ebook ownership is different for a library than for an individual.  When the library purchases a print title, it is ours to keep; with ebooks, the library may or may not own the materials on a permanent basis.  Libraries can usually either subscribe to ebooks (purchasing access for a specified period of time) or buy perpetual access to them (meaning we own the ebook). This is why you might see a book in our online catalog one day, and then the next it disappears.  Some libraries, such as ours, also purchase ebooks on a title-by-title basis.  It is more economical, however, to purchase ebooks through collections, subscriptions, content bundles, databases, or consortiums, or obtain them via open access, lowering the overall cost per book.

In most academic libraries, ebooks can be found in the nonfiction, reference, and reserve collections and are usually written by and for the scholarly community.  TWU Libraries' ebooks are purchased to support the curricular and research needs of our users.  Typically, academic non-fiction ebooks are more complex than  others due to the charts, pictures, and other graphics they contain.  This is a challenge in epublishing because it is more difficult and expensive to produce these types of ebooks as opposed to those containing only textual content.  Librarians rely heavily on ebook statistics to measure their return on investment.

EBOOKS VS. BOOKS IN PRINT
Though ebooks do present challenges to academic libraries, they also have inherent and substantial advantages over print materials.  
With print books, a library physically receives them, catalogs them, and provides space to house them.  Ebooks are activated rather than delivered, and their cataloging records (metadata) are imported into the library’s online catalog in bulk, requiring no staff involvement.  Physical materials need to be processed (labeled and prepared for checkout), while ebooks are delivered through a website or URL, authenticated for TWU users, and made immediately accessible.  Ebooks are circulated by downloading them to either a handheld device or computer, so there is no need to hunt for them in the stacks.  Shelves are not required to house and organize ebooks because they are stored using cloud technology.

Print books are read from cover to cover, while most students using our ebooks search through the content by keyword to find exactly what they are looking for.  This is referred to as dipping.  Today most new books are produced digitally, have no print replica, and are enriched with features such as faster navigation, links to additional materials, highlighting and note taking capabilities, and keyword searching.

As for the monetary aspect of ebooks in academic libraries, ebooks are more expensive than print books.  One reason for this is that they are purchased for multiple users, which raises the cost by up to 200% or more of the print price. In addition, there are some publishers who refuse to sell ebooks to libraries because they see it as a loss in their print revenues.

As you can see, providing ebooks to users is more complex for libraries than it is for individuals.  Although books in electronic format can simplify and enhance the research process for students, it can also introduce access and technological issues. Although it is easy for students to use a library ebook, it is important to remember that each ebook at the library requires the effort of many library staff members working behind the scenes to make its use effortless for our patrons.

WE'RE HERE TO HELP
If you experience problems using our ebooks, please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.  Rapidly evolving technology, a competitive marketplace, new suppliers, and new features integrated into products for your use--for all of these reasons, 
change is a constant in libraries and in the ebook world.  We are here to help you navigate it. 

~Kris Reed

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What Are We Celebrating on Cinco De Mayo?

Cinco De Mayo, a holiday often thought of by those outside of Mexico as Mexican Independence Day, is actually celebrated in remembrance of the Battle of Puebla, fought in 1862.

A SHORT HISTORY OF CINCO DE MAYO


Prior to the Battle of Puebla, Mexico was governed by President Benito Juárez.  The country was in financial ruin, and in 1861 was forced to default on its debts held by European governments.  As a response to the default, French, British and Spanish naval forces landed in Veracruz, Mexico, demanding reimbursement.  After negotiations Britain and Spain withdrew from Mexico, but France, ruled by Napoleon III, saw Mexico’s dire financial straits as an opportunity for the French to make Mexico their dependent territory.
  
In late 1861 a French fleet invaded Veracruz.  President Juárez and his government went in to retreat.  6,000 French troops, under the command of General Charles Latrille de Lorencez, attacked the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles.  In response, Juárez mustered an army of indigenous Mexican and mixed-ancestry men into a ragtag force numbering about 2,000.  Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza was placed in command and led the men to Puebla.  Although outnumbered and poorly supplied, Zaragoza’s men won the battle, and on May 5, 1862 Lorencez withdrew his troops.  The French lost 500 soldiers in the battle, while less than 100 Mexican troops lost their lives. 

The Battle of Puebla, while not considered a major strategic victory in the war against the French, became a symbolic representation of the Mexican government and its resistance movement.  Six years later, in 1868, the war ended and France withdrew.  The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, the emperor of Mexico installed by Napoleon, was captured and executed by Juarez’s forces.  During his six-year reign, Maximilian had championed many of Juarez’s liberal reforms--including land reform; cancelling the debts of peasants; abolishing child labor; and restoring communal property. These reforms made the emperor unpopular with the Mexican aristocracy who did not support his cause against Juarez’s guerilla army and, after his death, created a contradictory historical legacy.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the city of Puebla with military parades, recreations of the battle, and other festive events.  To the rest of Mexico, May 5th is considered the same as any other day and not a holiday. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican-American culture and heritage. It is often celebrated with parades, parties, Mexican folk dancing, traditional Mexican food, and mariachi music.  A&E Television Networks (2014)

Editor's Note:  For History databases, books, internet links and more, see the History Subject Guide from TWU Libraries. Johnathan Wilson, History Subject Librarian, is available to assist you with your History research.  Reach him at jwilson16@twu.edu or 940-898-3739.


~Jeanette Janes

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Extended Hours & Free Coffee Breaks At the Denton Library During Finals Week

Time and coffee.  With those two things you can rule the world--or at least your final exams.

Preparing for finals?  The Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus will be open extra hours during finals week and offering free coffee breaks twice each evening on five nights. 


The library offers laptops, study spaces, helpful staff and more, and will be open for business according to the schedule below.  During coffee breaks in the first-floor lecture hall (room 101), students are offered free coffee, tea, water and healthy snacks.  Breaks are sponsored by TWU Libraries and the TWU Division of Student Life.

Friday, May 2nd
Open 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Coffee breaks at 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.  

Saturday, May 3rd
Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday, May 4th
Open Noon to 2 a.m.
Coffee breaks at 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

Monday, May 5th
Open 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Coffee breaks at 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 6th
Open 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Coffee breaks at 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 7th
Open 7 a.m. to Midnight
Coffee breaks at 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 8th
Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday, May 9th
Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 10th
Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Good luck on those finals, everyone!

~Sandy Cochran