Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Library Closed for Holidays Noon December 23 Until 8 AM January 3

Systems Christmas tree by Tracy Holtman
The Dick Smith Library will close for the holidays at noon on Thursday, December 23.  We will reopen at 8 AM on Monday, January 3.  

From that latter date until classes resume on Tuesday, January 18, we will only be open Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM.  We will be closed on weekends and on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 17.

However, you can still access our catalog and databases from anywhere 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the latter with your NTNET user name and password.

All of us at the Dick Smith Library wish you a happy holiday season with best wishes for 2011!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Yellow Car

Since it Tis the season, I'd like to share a story with you about a Christmas tradition in our family. When my nephews were 4 and 5 years old, my husband (Joe) bought them a model car, which he had to put together. When they went home they forgot the car. When Christmas rolled around the car was still there. So I wrapped it up and put it under the Christms tree. When they opened it they thought that was so funny. When they went home, again, they forgot the yellow car. So the next Christmas, I wrapped it and they got it again. They thought that was really funny. So after that, in the excitement of opening their packages, they would lay it down, and we would sneak it out and give it to them the next year. I finally had to buy another car to have 2 boxes, they figured out the gift together was the car. Then it was a question of "who got the yellow car this time?" We did this for 14 years. We lost John in a car accident 3 years ago. He would have been 23 this Sunday. Seemed kind of strange, I couldn't find the car that year, I'm sure I have it stored away somewhere. It's funny, who would have thought, we would have so much fun and so many good Christmas memories because of a little yellow car.

Hope you have lots of Christmas Memories!

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Tarleton - 75 Years Ago

The 1936 Grassburr photos above show the Tarleton campus in 1935/36, and students having some fun in the snow! Just imagine the campus scene in the wintertime with leafless trees and brown grass! That's what Christmastime in 1935 would have looked like on campus!

"A J-TAC reporter visited the workshop of Santa Claus last week. Being in a talkative mood, Santa revealed the fact that a number of the Tarleton students have communicated with him in some way and that most of them have been rather unselfish in their orders. The Dump girls want a carload of bathtub stoppers, the library force wants a radio, the Fort boys want bigger and better firecrackers. Santa also stated that he was not distributing dolls this year, due to Miss Lillard's advance order." (J-TAC, December 14, 1935)

Here are some letters to Santa from the December 1935 J-TACs:

Dear Santa Claus,
Please bring me an influence on the faculty like Edwin Dyess has and a set of beautiful red curls. I have studied hard and have been a good boy.
Ray Beidleman

Dear Santa,
Please be kind to my public and help me not to disappoint them. All I ask for myself is a football.
Joe Little

Dear Santa,
Please bring me a job in the library like a certain Mr. Elliott has.
Mr. Scoates

Dear Santa,
I am a little girl with black hair. Mother says I have been a good girl. Please bring me a basketball season that I can enjoy as much as I did the football season.

Dear Santa,
Please bring me more extra time so that I can spend it with a certain little brunette with an olive complexion - better known as "hot lips".
Love to Santa,
Joe Emerson

What nostalgia! Well, whatever you wish, may all your hopes and wishes come true! Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

We'll see you in 2011!

Grassburr, 1936.
J-TAC, December 14, 1935.
J-TAC, December 21, 1935.

Bound Periodicals Christmas Tree!

This is an 8 foot tall tree built from 578 bound periodicals at the Texas Medical Center Library in Houston, Texas.  Photo from the Texas Library Association Facebook page.

Happy birthday to Jane Austen

December 16, 2010 would have been Jane Austen's 235th birthday. Before you start partying like it's 1809, check out some of our resources:

100+ biographical and critical works, including 6 bibliographies
Over 40 copies of her works and letters

Reserve copies of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies at the Circulation Desk
(OK, technically not by Austen, but definitely related).


Monday, December 13, 2010

Michael Jackson's Influence in Academia

Think Michael Jackson's influence was only in music and pop culture? Think again. Here's an article about how Michael Jackson has influenced fields like engineering, psychology, and chemistry. Wondering "what in the world" or "how did that happen?" Read more to find out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

50 Novels to Read when You Need a Good Laugh

Dec. 10! I feel a party coming on (Thanks, Mike Graham!)!! Well, maybe not. Once finals are over, and Christmas is over, what you may really need is somequality down time! How about a fire, hot chocolate, and a good book! How about a good book that makes you rotfl?

Spend some time with this list, 50 Novels to Read when You Need a Good Laugh. Just reading the list is making me smile. Roald Dahl, one of my favorite ADULT authors--trust me, he did not write only children's books like James and the Giant Peach. Hugh Laurie? Letters from the Earth (Twain). Bridget Jones's Diary--love the movie!! Dave Barry--did you hear his article about getting patted down at the airport! How about Evanovich's One for the Money?

We have some of these books in the library, and if you are registered for the spring semester, you may check them out over Christmas.

Enjoy your break!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

75 Years Ago!

Grassburr Pictures Must Be In Before Christmas!
(J-TAC December 14, 1935)

The photo above shows K.N. and Mary Baxley, on the far right and far left behind the counters in Baxley's Studio, probably in the 1950s judging from the bobby socks and penny loafers, and flats that the girls at counters are wearing! K.N. Baxley made many of the early Tarleton photographs that are in the Grassburr! He was a Stephenville photographer for many years, also making photographs for all the little county schools!

The Baxley Studio is actually still here! Manuel Miller took over Baxley's Studio, and it is our downtown Miller's Studio! Mr. Miller's daughter, Joan Livingston is the current owner and photographer. Miller's Studio staff still take pictures for the Grassburr!

The December 14, 1935 J-TAC states: "Pictures for the Grassburr have been coming in rather slowly until the last three or four days. Most of the club pictures have been turned in and the rest are expected before Saturday. Tuesday the Cadet Corps had its picture made for the annual. Some of our new officers surely were happy to have their pictures made in their uniforms with buttons and sabers! Captain Hart had to be told by Captain Davis to put his saber back in the sheath! Those who expect to get their individual pictures in should do so before the Christmas holidays!"

The Grassburr, which began in 1916, provides Tarleton with a great historical resource! Many people visit the library to look at the Grassburrs! Hopefully our current students will realize that it is important to have their pictures made for the Tarleton yearbook! Seventy five years ago the students had to get their pictures made before the Christmas break!

Dick Smith Library Cross Timbers Historic Images Project
. Stephenville Museum Collection.
J-TAC, December 14, 1935.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reading/Grade Levels and Children's Books

Since I oversee the library's collection of children's books (here primarily to support our future teachers in the College of Education), I sometimes get asked for recommendations for books at certain reading or grade levels.  Sometimes this is because the child's school participates in Accelerated Reader; sometimes it's just because someone is looking for a book appropriate for a particular grade.

I won't go into the pros and cons of Accelerated Reader and other leveling systems here, except to say that if the child WANTS to read a book above grade or reading level, I certainly would not discourage the child from trying!  These systems are just guidelines.  Keep in mind too that even if the reading level of a book measures out as low, the content of the book may be more appropriate for an older child; and vice-versa.

If you want to look up Accelerated Reader information yourself, you can do so at this site:  Keep in mind that not all books have an AR quiz (and thus won't be assigned a grade level), and that even if the book HAS a quiz, the child's school may not own that quiz.  This page will also give you the interest level for books (UG = grades 9-12, MG = grades 4-8, LG = grades K-3), which can be very different from the reading level!

Another system for measuring the reading levels of books is the Lexile Framework. Lexiles are reported with the state's Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test scores.You can look up the Lexile measure of books here:, while this page explains how those scores roughly correspond with grade levels:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top 10 Christmas Movies

Since soon most people will be watching their favorite Christmas movies today's top ten comes from the Celebrating Christmas website This is their list of peoples favorite Christmas movies.

10. The Nightmare Before Christmas
9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 animated)
8. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
7. A Christmas Carol (1951 version)
6. A Christmas Story
5. The Santa Clause
4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
3. Home Alone
2. It's a Wonderful Life
1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Altered books

"2010 Altered Books / TSCPL display"
by Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
I know donating books isn't always an option or even a good idea (think about things like outdated medical textbooks - would you be comfortable with your doctor using information from one of them on you?). I think altered book art can be really interesting, and I love that these books are being given a life beyond what they were originally created for instead of just being thrown away.

You can see some examples of works by altered book artists on the International Society of Altered Book Artists website, but you'd better check the site out quickly: it looks like it may no longer be available after the end of this month. My favorite artists in their gallery are Ber Lazarus, Karen J. Hatzigeorgian, and Pat Sherrill. The picture on the left shows other examples of altered book art from a display done by the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. Check out Flickr (after you finish writing your paper or studying for your finals) for even more pictures of altered book art.

Do you have any favorite altered book artists? Do you like altered book art, or is it just sacrilege? Is it ok under certain circumstances, but not others? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Waistband

Personal health is a big issue for me, so I try to eat well and get in a few hours at the Rec Center every week. This time of year, though, it's harder than ever. Winter is my least favorite season. Cold weather is not my thing. I keep it rather warm in my apartment, and the library manages to stay pretty comfortable, too. (Luckily, Rec Sports at Tarleton has climate controlled facilities so the bitterly unpredictable Texas winter won't cramp my workout, either.) It doesn't help that this time of year an extra slice of pie tends to work its way into every important family event.

The good news is that there's still plenty of ways to stay healthy during the holidays. Here's a few of my favorites:

  • Take the stairs: Believe it or not, just replacing that elevator ride with taking the stairs can really go a long way. This isn't always practical (bad knees and two-ton book carts come to mind) but I find that, especially in the library, taking the stairs is often faster.
  • Snack on the vegetable platter: At just about every holiday party I go to, there's this nearly untouched pre-packaged plate of celery, broccoli, and baby carrots on the table next to the chips. I know the bean dip and Frito Scoops are tempting, but you can cut out a LOT of calories this way. Don't cheat by drowning your sorrows with ranch dressing either. A tiny slathering will give you all the flavor with a fraction of the bad stuff.
  • Get a "bad" parking spot: Crazy, right? We're all peeved when we can't find something close to the entrance. Look on the bright side, though: you CAN make it to the door, and back, without dying, and it doesn't have to kill your mood. Think of it as the universe's way of helping you stay active!
  • Pack a nosh: Take five minutes (or less) before class or work and slip an apple or granola bar in your bag. When you start getting the 10 AM grumblies, chomp down. As much as we all love scones and muffins, couldn't we all save the money and time it takes to go buy one?
  • DANCE! This is my ABSOLUTE favorite. If there's music at whatever holiday party you're going to, why not bust a move? It's going to get those endorphins pumping, burn calories, and up your popularity (...okay, maybe not). Basically, no downside!
Tiny steps can take you anywhere, and shedding that extra helping of fruit cake doesn't have to be hard. To help inspire you, I've even linked a fun dance video I saw on YouTube last week here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

"A Letter May Give Someone Pleasure; Play Santa for Some Unfortunate Child"

Christmas at Tarleton 75 years ago...Lyndsay Phillips, feature editor of the 1935/36 J-TAC, and the 1935/36 J-TAC staff are shown above. Lyndsay's December 14, 1935 article stated: "With the rapid approach of Christmas, gift planning and buying has greatly increased. Among your old classmates and friends of childhood are ones who have picked you for an example. In making this a good Christmas, why not write a personal letter to those old friends and tell them how much you appreciate their interest in you? These friends may be younger, older, or even friends of your grandmother who like to take you for an example! A letter would do these persons a great deal of good and make a better gift than you cuold possibly otherwise give, so why not try to write one?"

Lindsay also stated that there are many others to be remembered, especially kids who cannot afford toys or clothes. "Somewhere you have old clothes which are no good to you and old toys you will never use which would be the pride and joy of some kid or grown-up who otherwise would get nothing. Why not play Santa Claus to at least one or two of these?"

Even 75 years ago the Tarleton family was cognizant of helping others at Christmastime! Today many of our faculty, staff, and students contribute to the Angel Tree. Because of their generosity all of the angels were adopted and as a result many local families will have a nice Christmas!

Way to go Tarleton!

Grassburr, 1936.
J-TAC, December 14, 1935

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. The day was created in 1988 and is observed  on December 1 each year to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic.  I thought would give you some links to find out more about the Day!
 On campus today there is World AIDS Day event - a panel presentation sponsored by the Tarleton Student Social Work Association at 12:05pm in the OA Grant Humanities Blgd, Room 119