Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Music Databases

The library added 10 new music databases this week! These databases contain streaming music files, videos, scores, discographies, and musician biographies, as well as more traditional reference materials. They cover a variety of genres from throughout time and around the world, from medieval motets and early american folk music to jazz and hip-hop. There are also databases specifically devoted to dance and opera. Basically, no matter your musical tastes or academic interest, you can find something in these new databases.

One of the most interesting new databases to me is Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries. This database contains streaming music from the Smithsonian's Folkways Recordings, which collects diverse, traditional musical forms from around the world. It also contains music from archives in Africa and Asia.

Music students and faculty will probably find a lot to use in the Classical Scores Library. This database contains over 45,000 scores. They include everything from individual instrumental parts to full orchestral arrangements. They are presented in an easy-to read format and can be printed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Book Drop by Any Other Name May Be The Book Return

                  Many book drops are nondescript slots in the circulation desks or outside walls.
No information available.
Other book returns are metal, weather-proof boxes similar to mail boxes in which patrons my drive by or walk up and deposit books.

Free image
Other book returns are more creative.  The book return at the Sitka, AK Public Library falls into this category. It's an over-sized stack of "books," made out of metal, about five-feet tall, with the obligatory slot for depositing the books. It's one of the most fun book drop returns I've ever seen!

Sitka, AK Public Library Book Drop; Photo by Lisa Wan; All rights reserved.
Book returns may not sound like the forum for funny stories, but the library comic, Unshelved, by Ambaum and Barnes ran a 3-strip series featuring the book drop.  It seems that patrons were curious to know where the books went after they were dropped through the outside book drop slot and other interesting conversations through the book drop with the librarian.  See the May 4, 5, 6, 2015 Unshelved for these humorous strips. (For copyright purposes, I have not included any of the strips.)

The Dick Smith Library has a couple of ways to return books in Stephenville.  Books can be deposited in the slot in the circulation desk or in a box located on the outside of the building.

When a student in Fort Worth receives books requested through ILLiad (Interlibrary loan), the books will arrive via the courier and may be picked up on the 5th floor of the Hickman Building in Suite 500.  Returning the books doesn't involve a book drop of any sort, rather the books should be put back in the envelop or box in which they were received and taken back to the Suite 500.  Be sure to give plenty of time for the courier get the books back to Stephenville before the due date!

Keep a look out for the more interesting book returns, but no matter what - 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

An 1890 Missing Person: Using Chronicling America to Learn More

The Dick Smith Library serves as a Regional Historical Resources Depository for original and microfilmed records for a number of Texas counties, including Coleman.  Two years ago, another library transferred to us a fascinating Coleman County Sheriff's ledger from 1887 to 1892 that contained notices about stolen and stray animals, and wanted and missing persons.  I posted about one such missing person then.  Here's another one that caught my eye:

John Fordham's mother apparently hired a Wichita, Kansas, detective agency to look for him when John left home just before turning 15.  Since John had "a fancy for horses" and "may be found around cattle ranches," it makes sense that the detective agency might have sent this notice to sheriffs in Texas counties.

This missing person notice had a good clue about the missing boy - John Fordham was or would be age 15 on May 9, 1890, meaning he was born on May 9, 1875.  I conducted a search in for a John Fordham born in 1875, and found a record with a matching date of birth for a burial in a Wichita, Kansas, cemetery for a John Chafin Fordham.  That young man died on June 2, 1896, at just 21 years of age, which made me wonder - what happened between the 1890 missing person notice, and his death just six years later?

A search in the Library of Congress Chronicling America website for "John Fordham" between 1875 and 1896 brought up some results from June 1896 issues of the Wichita Daily Eagle.  The first article was from June 3:
from The Wichita Daily Eagle, June 3, 1896, Page 5, via Chronicling America

John's mangled body had been found near the train tracks in White City, Kansas, which is about 100 miles northeast of Wichita.  He'd been traveling with another young man named T. T. Kell (who does not appear in any later articles) to the Dakotas, and they'd decided to hop the train rather than buy tickets (even though John certainly had the money).  Speculation in the article was that John fell asleep and fell out of the train and was run over.

More detail appeared in a article in the next day's Daily Eagle:
from The Wichita Daily Eagle, June 4, 1896, Page 5, via Chronicling America

John's body had letters addressed to a J. C. Fordham of 522 S. Lawrence Avenue in Wichita, a note for $350 from a Helen Fordham (his mother), and a March 12, 1896, deposit slip for a bank in Wichita, all of which helped identify him.  His father, Charles Fordham, claimed the body.

But just what happened in 1890?  Young John apparently had some wanderlust - the letters found on his body indicated he owned mines in the Cripple Creek, Colorado area, and he was on his way to Dakota when he died.  He appeared to have a mind of his own, even at a young age, and was rather successful financially, based on his clothing, the contents of his pockets, and the references in the articles.  Obviously, he came back home to Wichita sometime between the early 1890 "missing" poster and his death in 1896.  So far I haven't been able to determine what he was doing all those years in between.  Maybe as more newspapers are digitized, I'll find out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer heat

So far the summer has been really nice, but 100 degree days are just around the corner!  Here are some
safety tips to survive the summer heat.
  • Stay in a cool place indoors or under a shady tree. 
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing, such as cotton, so sweat can evaporate
  • Drink lots of liquids - cool or cold water, drink sport drinks, such as Gatorade, etc. Keep your body hydrated by drinking 8oz of cool water every 15 -20 minutes.
  • Do not stay in or leave anyone in a closed, parked car during hot weather.
  • Perform the most stressful job in the cooler part of the day if possible . 
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat with vents. 
  • Use an umbrella for shade. 
  • If you feel hot, try to cool off. Open a window. Use a fan. Go to an air-conditioned place. 
The library is filled with comfortable seating, books, computers, and even TV's.  Come visit and stay cool!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Today is Embrace Your Geekness Day

When I think geek, I think of computers and technology.  If you are one of those types of geeks here are 5 library tech tools to help you celebrate Embrace Your Geekness Day:
  •  Overdrive - eBook titles can be downloaded to an e-reader, tablet or other device or read in the browser.
  • Mobile Apps - download mobile apps for various databases or download the library app to keep up with your library account and search the catalog.
  • Laptop Vending Machine - if you need to borrow a laptop to study while you are building your own from scratch, you can check one out for 4 hours at a time from our laptop vending machine.
  • Collaboration Tables - come hook all your laptops up and work on group projects at one of our collaboration tables.
  • Social Media - keep up with everything that is going on in the library by following us on social media. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

SPORTDiscus and Philosophers Index

The library has two new databases this month: SPORTDiscus with Full Text and Philosophers Index with Full Text. These two databases support growing programs here at Tarleton in the Humanities and in Sports Medicine/ Kinesiology.

Philosophers Index contains full text for many leading philosophy journals from around the world and in over 30 languages. It covers every area of philosophy, including aesthetics, logic, metaphysics, philosophy of science and more.

The resources available in SPORTDiscus with Full Text thoroughly cover sports and sports medicine topics, as well as topics like occupational safety, health education, physical therapy and nutrition. It includes not only journals, but conference proceedings, book chapters and eBooks as well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

You CAN Do _________ (fill in the blank with your hardest class assignment)!

What do you think is the hardest assignment you are required to do? Something in statistics? Writing a college level paper? Whatever attitude or mindset you have plays a large role in how you approach a task considered to be challenging.

Studies by Carol Dweck have shown that mindset has much to do with the ability to accomplish a task.  In Dweck’s (2006) book, Mindset: The Psychology of Success, she informs the reader about “fixed mindsets” and “growth mindsets”.  She explains that “fixed mindsets” view tasks as something that the learner is not smart enough to accomplish, even if they worked hard on it.  Does this sound like something that you may have done with trying to write a paper in APA style or to complete a statistics assignment?  Dweck describes “growth mindsets” as ones in which the learner believes they have the ability to increase their IQ through perseverance and hard work. 

by Reid Wilson@wayfaringpath; Icon
In Dweck's (2010) article, Even Geniuses
 Work Hard, she points out that having to work at something doesn’t make a person stupid.  Sometimes the most outstanding person is the one who, at first, found the task to be difficult, but through perseverance and hard work, appears to be functioning at the level of a genius.

Next time you think you’ll never be able to write that APA paper or you can't  do those statistics problems, take up the growth mindset; believe you can accomplish the task and work hard to actually do it!

Dweck, C. (2010). Even geniuses work hard. Educational leadership, 68(1), p. 16-20. Retrieved from
Dweck, C. (2006) Mindset: The psychology of success. New York: Ballentine Books.

Friday, June 26, 2015

OverDrive eBooks!

Tarleton State University Libraries has a new feature:  OverDrive eBooks (and digital audiobooks)!

From the library's home page (, choose Databases, and then OverDrive.  Depending on your browser settings and whether or not you are already logged into NTNET, you may (or may not) get the authentication screen, which looks like this:

Enter your NTNET ID and password, and click Login.  You'll then get a screen like this:

Scroll down the page, because there are a number of different groupings of the eBooks, or use the menu at the top.  There's also a search box in the upper right corner, if you are looking for a specific title or author.

If you are familiar with OverDrive from using it at other libraries, the interface is the same here.  Tarleton has partnered with other libraries in the Texas A&M System to purchase eBooks and digital audiobooks for this shared resource.  Keep checking as more titles are being added!

If the book shape (or headphones, for an audiobook) in the upper right corner for a title is dark, it is available for checkout.  If it is grayed out, you can place a hold on the item and be notified when it becomes available (and have it automatically checked out to you .  The eBooks can be downloaded in Kindle or EPUB format, or read in your browser.  Items can be borrowed for 14 days, and you can have up to 10 items checked out and 10 items on hold at any one time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Library Sponsored Blood Drive June 24, 2015

Come by and donate to the American Red Cross Blood Drive sponsored by the Dick Smith Library.  The drive starts at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, June 24th and ends at 3:30 PM. 

To schedule your appointment visit and enter Stephenville's zip code 76401.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet the Reference League!

The Reference Department published two new videos to the Super Librarian series last week.

The first video introduces you to the Reference League! They are here to save the day (and your research)!

The second video features a student who needs help after hours. Will the super librarian be able to help him?


The Super Librarian series features library staff helping patrons with common questions and problems that arise in the library. You can see the first video in the series, How to Find a Book at Follow our YouTube channel  to keep up with our latest videos from this series and more!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Small Community Library!

I'm a library nerd - I'll admit it! I love libraries, and I love finding libraries in the places that I travel. On a recent trip to Sitka, Alaska, I walked up on this small free community library located on a public street in a neighborhood area!  It's filled with books from which anyone can take a book, leave a book, or both.
Sitka Small Community Library - Lisa B. Wan, photographer & copyright holder, 2015
Someone has even attempted to add some organization to this free library by adding labels to the shelves.  In case you can't read it, one of the labels on the bottom shelf states, "Children Reads".  The the attention to detail by putting the children's books on the lowest shelves is notable.
Sitka Small Community Library Books - Lisa B. Wan, photographer & copyright holder, 2015.
Small community libraries exist all over the world, but I love it when I find one. I realize that there are other people who love books so much that they build small libraries, fill them with books just so that others can share in that love, and I smile.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The importance of organization in a library

Do you ever go up to the stacks collection on the upper level and wonder why on Earth the organization system is so crazy?  It might seem overly complicated to those not working in a library, but the following article demonstrates just how important organization is.

In The Boston Globe, "Daunting search paid off for library: Worker who found missing prints describes her dramatic discovery," we learn the story of how Boston Public Library shelved two valuable prints incorrectly, a collective value of more than $600,000.  These included Dürer’s “Adam and Eve” and Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait With Plumed Cap and Lowered Sabre.”

There was large speculation about if it was a theft, but what it really came down to was the sheer size of the collection that has been accumulating for centuries.  They've only started organizing the collection in recent decades, going through and labeling items one by one.  When you have 320,000 items, if one thing is shelved wrong it can take ages to track it down.  In the end, they had 14 people searching through nine different rooms over the course of a month before the prints were found.

So the next time you look for a book and it's exactly where the call number says it should be, say a small thank you to organization!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Butterfly Gardening

With all the rain we have been having this spring the flowers are blooming! And with the flowers comes butterflies.   Here is one book to get you started on what to plant in your garden to attract butterflies.

Butterfly Gardens
QL544.6.B87 1995
General Stacks

Search Discovery@Tarleton to find out what other materials the library has available on butterfly gardening.  (You might also search to find ways to get rid of mosquitoes!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Artemis Literary Sources

Tarleton Libraries now has access to a new database, Artemis Literary Sources. Artemis Literary Sources combines the information found in Literature Criticism Online, Literature Resource Center, Scribner's Writers Series, and Twayne's Author Series into a new interface that searches them all together. All of these resources are still available to search separately. However, Artemis adds new search tools that you can use to narrow topics, or see how language has changed over time.

Topic Finder

The Topic Finder tool lets you narrow your search using a wheel visualization, as seen in the picture below:

Here, I've done a search for "Emily Dickinson". By looking at the wheel, I can some topics that are associated with her, and I can narrow my topic from there. In this case, I've selected "Amherst", which was her hometown. So, the results are showing me biographical articles and articles on how her home influenced her work. Using this tool, I can see what paths my research might take and what sources might be available to support my paper.

Term Frequency

This tool is very similar to Google's N Gram Viewer. Google's tool shows the frequency of a word in books indexed in Google Books over time. This does something similar, but it shows how frequently a word or term has shown up in the sources indexed in Artemis over time. This includes book reviews, works of criticism and works of literature, so you get a good range, as you can see below.

Here, I've visualized the terms "Hip Hop" and "Techno" from 1985-2014. As you can see, both terms have been rising steadily since about 1998 or so. I can click on any of the points of the graph to see the documents that the graph is referencing.

Overall, this new database gives some pretty cool tools for researching and visualizing my data.