Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some New Audiobooks

For you commuters or anyone about to take a long road trip, the Dick Smith Library has a growing collection of audiobooks in CD format, with many audiobooks still available in cassette format. They are located on the lower level of the library, just to the right in the Audiovisual Collection area as you exit the elevator or the stairs. You can check them out for four weeks; plenty of time to take them on a vacation (just be sure you don't lose any of the pieces!). Here are some of our newest acquisitions:


F592.7 .A49 1996B - Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, by noted historian Stephen E. Ambrose

F1230 .L45 2008AB - Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy

Social Science

HD31 .B527 2003AB - The One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard

HM1033 .G53 2007 - The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell

Political Science

JK468.I6 B89 2008D - Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent, by Fred Burton


LD571 .B418 S383 2004AB - Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson, by Mitch Albom


PQ9281.A66 E6813 2008AB - Blindness, a dystopian novel by Nobel Literature prize-winner Jose Saramago

PR6119.E86 T48 2006AB - The Thirteenth Tale, a Gothic suspense novel by Diane Setterfield

PS3555.B4824 A615 2008AB - The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff, a novel with a present-day murder mystery intertwined with a fictionalized memoir (that's based on a real one written in 1875), all involving polygamy

PS3566.I372 H37 2008 - Harvesting the Heart, by bestselling author Jodi Picoult

PS3569.E314 W48 2008 - When You Are Engulfed in Flames, humor by David Sedaris

PS3569.T736 O5 2008AB - Olive Kitteridge, this year's Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction by Elizabeth Strout, a set of 13 short stories linked by the title character, a 60-something math teacher in Maine

PS3602.A777548 L131 2008 - The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, suspense set in present-day Salem, Massachusetts

PS3607.R696 W38 2006AB - Water for Elephants, historical fiction set in and around a Depression-era circus, by Sara Gruen

PZ7.Z837 BOO 2006C - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, historical fiction set in World War II Germany, with Death as the narrator

Suggestions for CD format audiobook purchases are always welcome; use the comments area below!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – Ways to beat the Dog Days of Summer

It's that time of year - the dog days of summer, but really want does that mean? Everyone knows that the "dog days of summer" occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season. Webster defines "dog days" as... 1) the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere or 2) a period of stagnation or inactivity. We definitely have the hot and humid part down…and all I want to do is sit. Are you tired of being bored? Do you want to have some fun before school starts back? I thought I would share some fun ways to beat the Dog Days of Summer!

  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Have a picnic
  • Read a novel (something just for you)
  • Go to an amusement park or fair and ride the thrill rides!
  • Go fishing
  • Camp out in a tent
  • Walk in the grass barefoot
  • Collect seashells and put them in decorative bowl with some sandl
  • Sleep in! More than once!!!!
  • Hang your bed sheets outside to dry and bask in their clean sunshine smell.

If you have some way to beat the summer doldrums…Post a comment and share!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Why Spelling Is Still Important on your Resume (and probably elsewhere)

This from NPR:

Morning Edition, July 15, 2009 · The staffing company Accountemps surveyed 150 senior executives, and 40 percent said one typo alone was enough to rule out a job candidate. Also, a human should proofread the document. Spell check can miss errors. (Is that Spell Check? SpellCheck? Spellcheck? Spell check? AARRRGH)

-'nuff said.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ten Apollo Spinoffs

Okay, it's June 21 - but 40 years ago, the first men on the moon were still there this day (they didn't go back into the lunar module until just after midnight Central Standard Time). So here, in no particular order, are ten products or technologies resulting from the Apollo program:

1. flame-resistant polymer textiles that protect firefighters and soldiers
2. freeze-dried foods that preserve nutrients and increase shelf life
3. life support systems that filter and purify water
4. reflective materials that insulate homes and buildings
5. fluid recycling methods that simplify kidney dialysis
6. Teflon-coated fiberglass used in "green" buildings
7. metal-bonded polyurethane foam insulation protects the Alaskan pipeline
8. space suit technologies modernize athletic shoes
9. cardiovascular conditioning equipment
10. cool suits that kept Apollo astronauts comfortable during moon walks are today worn by race car drivers, nuclear reactor technicians, shipyard workers, and people with certain illnesses

For more information, see NASA Spinoffs and The Benefits of Space Exploration.

Man on the Moon

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I was twelve years old back then, and I remember huddling around the TV with my parents and siblings at our Houston home, watching the ghostly images on the grainy black-and-white video. Amazingly, NASA taped over the original video transmissions, but it’s been restored from a number of sources, including CBS videos – you can hear late anchorman Walter Cronkite in the background:

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

These were the first words spoken on the surface of the moon, by Neil Armstrong after the lunar landing module (nicknamed the Eagle) touched down at 5:17 PM (Central Standard Time) July 20, 1969. With dozens of cousins in Chicago and New York, I remember it felt special that the first word spoken in the "stark beauty" of the “magnificent desolation” of the moon was that of my Texas hometown.

About 5½ hours later, at 9:56 p.m, Armstrong stepped off the lunar module onto the surface of the moon, with the famous words: "That's one small step for [a] man. ... One giant leap for mankind."

(And yes, there was an “a” in there.)

The Dick Smith Library has a display through the end of August on this 40th anniversary (outer lobby) as well as the 50th anniversary of the creation of NASA (inner lobby).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crap Detection 101

Hello, Dear Learners!

In Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969), Neil Postman begins by quoting Hemingway from an earlier interview as saying that the one essential ingredient required for a person to be a ‘great writer’ is a ‘built-in, shockproof crap detector’. Postman ends by stating that ‘The new education…learning how to learn… has as its purpose…to help all students develop built-in, shockproof crap detectors as basic equipment in their survival kits’.

IMHO, crap detection is required to be an effective citizen in a healthy democracy. Fellow lifelong learners, I have some tools for you:

Howard Rheingold’s blog Crap Detection 101 is an excellent tutorial on crap detection. Rheingold makes the point that most of the books in the library are factually accurate, but you have no such assurance when you are on the web. You can protect yourself by learning how to separate the wheat from the chaff (my thanks to John the Baptist, Matthew 3:12), and this tutorial will help you. Look at the resources following, and add your own!

A healthy dose of skepticism will also serve you in this increasingly complex world. Cuddle up with Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World to learn the basics of the scientific method which can help you differentiate science from pseudoscience. Healthcare, global warming, swine flu, stem cell research, nuclear plants, sustainability, etc. etc. (the list could go on forever), all require knowledge—not just feelings--to make good decisions. Perhaps these two resources can guide you to being more knowledgeable.

And just for fun, want a quick quizzy (two minutes, max) to measure your science knowledge? Take the Pew Research Center interactive quiz. The Science Knowledge Quiz.
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Keeping Track of your Social Networks

The MakeUseOf post "20 Tips to Define and Manage Your Social Networks" by Mahendra Palsule gives useful strategies for managing multiple online networks. The post is organized in two parts and offers suggestions like these from part one :
  • Visualize Your Social Map
  • Define Your Target Audience
  • Use a Password Manager
  • Separate Private & Public Photo-Sharing
  • Use One Social Bookmarking Site
  • Use a Gravatar
  • Use Social Surfing
  • Integrate IM, Email, and Social Networking
  • Use a Consistent Username
  • Track Your Comments

Palsule also gives links to online tools to help the process. These strategies and tools should make social networking more manageable and less confusing/fatiguing. Happy networking!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Thurber Drug Store
Postcard Postmarked July 1909!
One hundred years ago this is what a Thurber post card looked like! This postcard is of the Thurber Drug Store. It was written in Thurber July 1, 1909 by J.E. M. to Mr. F. M. Marrs, Stephenville, Tex. He writes "All are well as usual. The photo is the Drug Store. See me at the corner. Yours, J.E.M." This photo is included in the online Dick Smith Library Cross Timbers Historic Images "Thurber Collection", as well as many other Thurber photos. From the library home page click on Cross Timbers Historic Images Project. Then use Thurber Collection as the search terms to find them all. Also be sure to visit the W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas museum for a look into Thurber's history!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Book Sale TODAY!

Just a reminder that the Friends of the Dick Smith Library annual summer book sale is going on right NOW, Wednesday July 8, 2009, until 6 PM in the foyer of the Tarleton Center on campus. It's today only, so come on over and find some bargains, and help out your library at the same time!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Summer Reading Lists

I've been trying to come up with a Top Ten Reading list for the summer…and I can't seem to find just one. So I decided to share 10 READING LISTS. Hopefully one of these will suit you.

There are LOTS of reading lists out there! I hope those listed above will give you some good ideas for a great summer read! Remember if the Dick Smith Library does not own a title you would like to read, we can inter-library loan it for you. Most ILL's only take about a week…and its FREE! More Information about our ILL Service is available @

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!

The library would like to wish everyone a fun and safe July 4th holiday weekend!
Here are some interesting facts about the 4th of July from the U.S. Census Bureau:

2.5 million -- In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970 <>

304 million -- The nation’s population on this July Fourth.Source: Population clock <>

More than 1 in 4 -- The chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages consumed on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa. The Hawkeye State was home to 17.6 million market hogs and pigs on March 1, 2008. This represents more than one-fourth of the nation’s total. North Carolina (9 million) and Minnesota (6.7 million) were the runners-up.Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <>

6.8 billion pounds -- Total production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2007. Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for about one-sixth of the nation’s total production. And if the beef did not come from Texas, it very well may have come from Nebraska (4.7 billion pounds) or Kansas (4.1 billion pounds).Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <>

$107.2 billion -- Dollar value of trade last year between the United States and the United Kingdom, making the British, our adversary in 1776, our sixth-leading trading partner today.Sources: Foreign Trade Statistics <> <>

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Friends of the Library Book Sale

Mark your calendars! The Friends of the Dick Smith Library will hold their annual summer book sale Wednesday July 8, 2009 from 7:30 to 6 in the foyer of the Tarleton Center. The Friends have lots of items that have not been in previous sales, plus some that have.

The Friends began having book sales in 1992 and they are one of the major fundraisers for the group. The money is used to purchase items for the library that are not covered in the regular budget. Some of the items that have been purchased by the Friends include display cases, map case, artwork, furnishings for the Local History room, popular magazine subscriptions, mouse pads, flip video cameras, and many others.

Items included in the book sale largely come from donations. The library is not able to keep all donations....many are duplicates, some are outdated, and some are not appropriate for the collection. The gift items that are not added are given to the Friends for their book sale. We also give the Friends items that we withdraw from the collection because they are outdated or are duplicate copies.

We have come a long way! In 1902 the Stephenville Twentieth Century Club organized a book reception to benefit the John Tarleton Library. It was well received and more than 250 books were collected. "The bulletin for 1902-03 stated that the library held 1500 volumes of choice literature." Today we have over 280,000 items! (King, The Dick Smith Library: Into the Second Century, p.4)

The Friends of the Library annual book sale is well attended and popular with the Tarleton community as well as the Stephenville community. So come on over to the Tarleton Center Wednesday July 8 and find some bargains!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Trust not the Stars

Curses and muttered execrations! Have you found those lovely lines of stars rating movies/products/travel destinations/ restaurants, etc., etc., useful? Yes? ME, TOO!! I have relied on ratings and customer reviews to help me make purchasing decisions, but alas, no more. My gullible self recently got a reality check when I read The Perils of Five-Star Reviews from BBC News regarding 'shill reviews'.

Shill reviews are reviews that are not legitimately from customers, but self-serving reviews either paid for or written by those who have something to gain. Now one has to read even customer reviews with a critical eye. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not a legitimate review. Read the article and learn how to be a more-informed consumer.

Lucky for you, the information you get at your library has been vetted, and found worthy. Start there first.