Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Former Tarleton President George J. Nunn

100 years ago the President of John Tarleton College was George J. Nunn. He assumed the duty at the beginning of the 1911-12 term. However his tenure at Tarleton was short lived. He resigned after one year to return to Amarillo to oversee his business interests there.

Mr. Nunn, a distinguished scholar and world traveler, obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees from Vanderbilt University and also studied in Leipzig, Germany. He had traveled extensively in Europe and the Holy Land, cruising with his wife from Montreal on June 1, 1910 and sailing back from London in October 1910. He had been in the administration of Alexander Institute in Jacksonville and Polytechnic Institue in Fort Worth prior to coming to Tarleton. His wife was Stephenville native Zula Orr, daughter of William Polk Orr, who with his family, settled in Stephenville in 1882. Mr. Orr, a hardware dealer specializing in harnesses and carriages, was a member of the first city council. Mrs. Orr was a member of the Twentieth Century Club, and had served as president.

Not much happened at John Tarleton College during his one year tenure but prior to his presidency the wealthy widow Mary Corn Wilkerson had donated 370 acres of land to Tarleton. It was sold and the profits were used to build the first women's dorm on campus. The Mary Corn Wilkerson dormitory was completed by the fall of 1908 and was located where the Hunewell annex is now facing McIlhaney.

One tidbit contained in the June 16, 1911 Stephenville Empire stated that "Dr. Nunn thinks a large picture of Mrs. Mary C. Wilkerson should by all means adorn the walls of the dormitory and one is being made for that purpose!"

Chamberlain, Frank. The Early Presidents of Tarleton, Dick Smith Library Cross Timbers Historic Images Project.

Guthrie, Christopher E., John Tarleton and His Legacy.

King, C. Richard, Golden Days of Purple & White.

Stephenville Empire, June 16, 1911.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Online Government Documents, in the library catalog

There are tons of free online government documents available, but they can sometimes be tough to hunt down (or even remember that they exist). To try to make them easier to find and use, we've started adding them to the library's catalog - we now have 6,103!

Government documents cover an amazing range of topics - education, science, agriculture, you name it. I've included a list below of some of the interesting online government documents I've come across in our catalog:
  • The docs : a graphic novel - Did you know that the government has published graphic novels? Yes, this is a full-color graphic novel produced by the Naval Health Research Center. It depicts the story of four Naval Corpsmen deployed to Iraq.
  • Biosecurity : the key to keeping your horses healthy - A brochure with bulleted tips on how to keep your horses healthy when showing them, bringing in new horses, visiting auctions or other farms, and when having visitors over to your farm. It also includes a few disinfecting tips.
  • Dealing with debt : 1992-93 bachelor's degree recipients 10 years later - This report looks at the borrowing patterns of 1992-93 bachelor's degree recipients and provides details on how many of them had paid off their loans by 2003, and how many of them were still repaying their loans, plus how much they still had left to repay.
  • Job accommodations for people with food allergy - A quick overview of some of the job accommodations that might be useful for people with food allergies.
  • Door-to-door meat sales - Consumer advice detailing how to safely buy from door-to-door meat salespeople.
  • "Free trials" aren't always free - More consumer advice, this time telling you what to look for before you sign up for that exciting-looking free trial you just spotted online or elsewhere. It also tells you who to contact if you've been wrongly charged for a "free" trial.
  • Complete guide to home canning - Everything you ever wanted to know about home canning. This explains how to can fruits and fruit products, tomatoes and tomato products, vegetables and vegetable products, fermented foods and pickled vegetables, jams and jellies, and poultry, red meats, and seafoods.
If you'd like to try searching online government documents in the library's catalog, you can do that by doing an Advanced Search for Type: Government Document, Location: Online Access.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Most used Library Databases

Our Library has 204 databases that were searched more than 2 million times last year!   Here is a list of the 10 most searched databases.  Which one is your favorite?  As budgets get tight, IF we were to think of dropping one of the less used resource list on our databases page, which one would YOU save?
  • Academic Search Complete
  • Business Source Complete 
  • MasterFile Premier
  • PsychINFO
  • Psychology and Behavior Science Collection
  • Education Research Complete
  • PsychArticles
  • ERIC

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things That Happen on the Internet Every 60 Seconds

Did you know that every 60 seconds on the internet...
  • More than 168 million emails are sent
  • 695,000 updates & 510,040 comments are published on Facebook
  • Google serves more that 694,445 search queries
  • 370,000+ minutes of voice calls done by Skype users
  • 20,000 new posts are published on Tumblr
  • 13,000+ hours of music streaming flows from Pandora
  • More than 13,000 iPhone apps are downloaded
  • 6,600 images are published on Flickr
  • 600 videos (about 25 hours of content) are uploaded to YouTube
Check out the infographic at

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Where Did Tarleton Students Shop in 1911?
From the Stephenville Empire July 21, 1911:

"The New York Racket Store endeavors to keep a full stock, and a complete assortment of Good Goods on hand all the time. Our prices shall always be found the lowest, and our object and desire shall be to please. We are now offering exceptional values on our Bargain Counter and we earnestly solicit your patronage and will appreciate a call whether you buy or not. We want to get acquainted! We have added a Soda Fountain and will serve ice cold drinks such as are usually found at first class fountains and will appreciate your business in that line!"

The Stephenville Museum photo above shows the Racket Store on the west side of the square. Check out the streets and the dress in 1911! The Racket Store was in the building next to the historic bank building on the corner of Belknap and College. It has been several businesses over the years including Cox's Department Store, Perry's five and dime, and today it houses the law offices of Northcutt, Johnson, & Parker.

What a difference 100 years makes!

Hope you are having a great summer!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top 10 Cover Letter Tips

If you're out there looking for a job, chances are you are being asked to provide a resume and cover letter. Here are 10 tips to help you with your cover letter.

1. Check grammar/spelling errors - Speaking from personal experience, spelling errors are one of the first things that will get an applicant sent to the "no hire" pile.

2. To whom it may concern - Avoid this introduction in your cover letter. Take the time to address your cover letter to the hiring manager.

3. Mr. or Mrs. - Trying to guess if Ashley Smith is a Mr. or Mrs. may offend your potential employer, especially if you get it wrong. Just go with (First Name Last Name).

4. What you can do for me - Your resume should convey how your experience can benefit the employer. This is your first chance to prove how you can be a valuable asset to the organization.

5. Copy resume - Remember the cover letter is a compilment to your resume not a reproduction of it.

6. Ending - Keep the power in your hands, let the employer know in your cover letter that you will contact them.

7. Keep it to 1 page - Make your points and stay concise, bullets work nicely.

8. Referral - Give credit where credit is due.

9. Power Verbs - Use powerful words to highlight your skills and be specific to the position.

10. Always include a cover letter with your resume - Again, from personal experience... applicants that don't include a cover letter rarely make it to the interview stage.

Good Luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sometimes you can't get it online

I'm an amateur genealogist, working on my family history.  I've been trying to track down a couple of elusive relatives and determine if they are indeed mother and daughter.  I've looked for a birth certificate or birth registry entry on free websites like and the Clerk of Cook County (Illinois; the daughter's birthplace) website, and on paid sites like and Heritage Quest, but I haven't had any luck.

I have been able to narrow down the year in which the daughter was born, and I checked the catalog of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  What I'm looking for, the "Registers of births outside of the city [Chicago], 1878-1894," is only available on microfilm.  Luckily, I can have that reel of microfilm sent to my local FamilySearch Center at a nominal cost, and I can look at it there.

So what is my point in telling you this story?  Sometimes the information you need is not available online, and you have to e-mail, call, or go to the library to get it.  Come see us or contact us at the Dick Smith Library - we're glad to help you!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Research on smartphones

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a new report on smartphone usage in America.

According to Pew, "one third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones. The Project’s May survey found that 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone. That translates into 35% of all adults. "

The most popular smartphone platform? Android.

Privacy concerns over location tracking were not mentioned in the report.

More information:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Miss Margaret Bierschwale to Become Librarian

The May 2, 1931 JTAC's front page news announced that Miss Margaret Bierschwale was, as of June 1, to replace Mrs. Dorothy Lee Fagan as head librarian of the college. Miss Bierschwale had come to Tarleton in September 1920 as head of the Physical Training department. She had been the head of the English department in Navasota High School while Tarleton Dean J. Thomas Davis was the superintendent!

In January 1921 Miss Bierschwale was made head of the Tarleton English department and served in that capacity until June 1923. She then spent time pursuring a graduate degree and abroad traveling to England, Scotland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and France! She received her B.A. degree from Randolph Macon Woman's College and her M.A. from Columbia University. She also served as an assistant in the New York Public Libraries. She returned to Tarleton in 1931 as the college librarian.

In 1935/36 Miss Bierschwale took leave from her position as Tarleton librarian to study graduate English at Columbia University in pursuit of her Ph.D. She studied Elizabethan drama with Professor F.S. Boas of London, a rare treat!

As librarian at Tarleton Miss Bierschwale enlarged and enriched the library's collection, especially in Texas history. She instilled a love of rare books and quality Texas history resources into one of her students, C. Richard King, who became a historian and collector of Texana. Dr. King donated his materials to our library!

Miss Bierschwale resigned in December 1943! "To her staff of library assistants she has been an inspiration; to the Library Committee she has proved a constant source of guidance and vision; to countless students she has endeared herself through her sympathy, understanding, and unselfish service!"

Grassburr, 1931, 1933.

JTAC, May 2, 1931, September 29, 1936, December 7, 1943.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Great Texas Places to Get Away From it All

With summer upon us many people think of just getting away to a cooler place. Others want to just get away from all of the connectivity that surrounds us. This is a list from Texas Highways of where in Texas you can go to get disconnected.
1. Padre Island National Seashore
2. Big Bend National Park
3. Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area
4. Hill Country State Natural Area Wilderness Primitive Camp
5. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
6. Lost Maples Natural Area
7. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
8. Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area
9. Matagorda Bay Nature Park
10. Devils River State Natural Area

11. My favorite place to get away: Mo Ranch

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thinking about Cancelling those Credit Cards?

I do not know if anyone else has noticed, but the economy kind of stinks right now. Congress can't even decide the best way to deal with it. Debates go on every day over how to fix it. The President has said that he will meet with Congress every day until they come to a resolution. I am currently in a recession at my house, and I am always trying to find a way to get out of debt. What is your economy looking like today? Check out this article from Yahoo Finance; maybe you will get some good ideas on dealing with credit cards.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Science fiction at the library

Since I enjoyed doing the post I did on DVDs at the library, I thought I'd do something similar for science fiction. Below are just a few of the science fiction books you can find at the library. If you've got a chance, you should also check out the science fiction display that Thomas put up on the main floor, near the new books area.
  • Bellwether by Connie Willis - The unabridged audiobook version of this will be on the library's shelves soon. The main character is part of a company that predicts and tries to create fads.
  • Crime Prevention in the 30th Century edited by Hans Stefan Santesson - Includes stories by Harry Harrison, Anne McCaffrey, and others.
  • The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester - A science fiction police procedural set in a future in which telepathy has made murder almost impossible.
  • Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb by Philip K. Dick - Set in a post-apocalyptic future.
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Ender is sent to Battle School at the age of six, in order to train to fight the aliens coming to destroy humanity.
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer - YA dystopian fiction about a young clone being raised by a drug lord as a future source of organs.
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov - A collection of short stories dealing with the interaction between robots and humans.
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson - If you've ever thought about trying cyberpunk, this is probably a good book to start with. If you like cyberpunk but somehow haven't read this yet, you really need to check this out.
  • Seven Science Fiction Novels of H.G. Wells - Includes The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon, The Food of the Gods, and In the Days of the Comet.
  • A Treasury of Great Science Fiction edited by Anthony Boucher - If you can't settle on a single author, an anthology may be the way to go. This includes stories by Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Poul Anderson, Arthur C. Clarke, Henry Kuttner, Alfred Bester, and more.
  • Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras by Scott Westerfeld - Fast-paced YA dystopian fiction.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

" Miss Mary Marrs Enjoys a Trip to Mexico City"

"Not all faculty members suffered from the Texas heat all summer!" Miss Mary Marrs and her sister, Mrs. W.B. McAdams, flew to Mexico City for a weeks vacation the summer of 1936. It was Miss Marrs' first time to fly, but after the trip she was then a "confirmed air traveler"!

Miss Marrs and her sister had a wonderful trip, making side trips to Tasco, Cuerna Vava, and the famous Floating Gardens....."where orchids are a dime a dozen"! However, I'm not sure that they escaped the Texas heat - it's hot in Mexico too - but the trip was awesome!

Assistant Professor Marrs taught mathematics at Tarleton for 27 years, retiring in 1952. Not only did she teach at Tarleton, she was a member of the first Tarleton class in 1899! Miss Marrs recalled that the first year there were four teachers, Dr. W.H. Bruce, the president, who also taught the advanced students upstairs in the first Tarleton building. Other teachers were H.J. McIlhany, Mrs. Pearl Ponder Chamberlin, and Miss Clara Bartholomew. She stated that most students rode horses to school and tied them to the trees! A windmill and wooden water tank were located behind the building. Dubbed the "Dog House", this is where the athletes took their baths!

In 1899 the girls and boys weren't allowed to associate with each other! One time Miss Marrs and her date wanted to go to a party. Just before time to go they donned their party clothes and went to see Dr. Burce for worked....he let them go!

During her Tarleton teaching career Miss Marrs taught a number of future Tarleton faculty including Dick Smith, Zeddie Edgar, H.W. Leach, Autis McMahan, Reuben Friou, and former Tarleton business manager Gerald Fanning!

Miss Marrs retired from Tarleton in the summer of 1952. Regretting that she didn't finish out a full 50 years, she stated that "after all, 48 years is a long time!" After retiring "I am going to travel in the Northeast, particularly Washington, New York, and Boston."

Unfortunately, Miss Marrs died October 15, 1953, after being hospitalized for seven months so she probably didn't get to fulfill her travel plans.

Hope you can escape some of the Texas heat this summer too......even if it is to Mexico heat!

Grassburr, 1935.

J-TAC, September 16, 1952, October 20, 1953.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I love numbers, or rather I love statistics!  Running reports and finding out how you guys use library resources helps the library determine which databases and tools are useful. Here are some interesting (at least to me) numbers from last year.
  • half a million+ people visited the library! (in person)
  • 166,293 people used library services from off campus
  • the library provides 206 database resources (when I started at Dick Smith Library fourteen years ago we only had 23) 
  • over 2,340,000 searches were run in library databases 
  • the library's online catalog was accessed more than 40,000 times
  • over 2.6 million sheets of paper were used in library printers
  • 47,170 items were checked out from the library
  • library laptops were loaned out 15,735 times
I could keep going, but I think those are some pretty impressive numbers.  ALL THOSE NUMBERS ARE UP.  I guess that means you like really like us!   Please keep utilizing the library...and give us feedback on how we are doing.  Post a comment and let us know if we are missing the boat or if there are other/additional resources you need. Hope to see you in the library soon!

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Easy Ways to Conserve H2O

    With the current drought conditions in Texas and most other southern states, conserving water has become an urgent need, and it's a need that each of us can take steps to address.

    For starters, check out the eBay Green Team's 10 easy water-saving tips that can “significantly cut back on the 80 gallons of H2O that the average American uses every day.”
    1. Slow the flow
    2. Flush smarter
    3. Put less down the drain
    4. Turn it off
    5. Fill ‘er up!
    6. Think ahead
    7. Check for leaks
    8. Raise your glass
    9. Catch what you can
    10. Grow it out

    Information about the eBay Green Team.