Friday, September 28, 2012

October is American Archives Month

Next month is American Archives month and the theme this year is "I found it in the archives". Since I have been an archivist for more than a few years I have been reflecting on what I have helped others find in the archives and stories from other archivists about how their patrons have used their materials to discover things about themselves and their history. It is always rewarding to learn that all the time you spent refoldering, rehousing, arranging, describing, and writing a finding aid for a collection made it possible for a patron to find that one thing they were looking for in their research.

But there are more personal stories, such as the time I was describing the contents of a labor collection to a patron over the phone. One of the items was a handbill from the 1930s to raise funds for an appeal for a union member who had been convicted of murder, possibly unjustly, who was in prison. I mentioned that the handbill had a photograph of the union member and another photograph of his wife with their four children. I then learned that the person I was speaking to was one of the children and that they had been searching for that photograph for a number of years. I had always known that the collections I worked with were not just pieces of paper and photographs, but the record of people's lives. This conversation brought that idea home to me. Another time I had given one of the many presentations the staff did to history classes that had to write an original paper doing original research with primary resources. We basically described the collections held in special collections, how to use them and what the rules are for their use. A few months later I saw one of the students and they told me that they had changed the topic of their paper after hearing my presentation. They had changed their paper to one on the controversy over changing the university mascot form Rebels to Mavericks. I thought, wow, I just briefly mentioned that collection. These are just a couple of stories that I thought I would share.

Today more archives are making their collections available digitally so patrons no longer may have to travel to use collections. It also means that by having items in a digital format patrons can use them ways that were not possible before. I recently attended a Digital Frontiers conference and one of the presentations was from a university in East Texas. Honors students had been using the oral histories and photographs in the archives. One student wondered where were the African American students in the archives. His research lead him on a personal journey of learning about Northeast Texas history and integration at Texas A&M Commerce. His research produced this video and an ongoing project.

So see what you can find in the archives.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

A New Bus
and MORE !

Seventy five years ago – the fall of 1937 – students living at the college farm were welcomed to Tarleton with a brand new bus to ride to and from campus!  It was built in the Tarleton shop under the direction of E.A. Blanchard, Associate Professor of Automobile Engineering!  The $25 motor was from a Chevrolet truck.  It took only 3 weeks to build the bus, which was closed in with glass and streamlined, enabling the boys to travel in the coldest weather!  The bus left the farm at 6:30 am in order to get to the dining hall for breakfast, returned to the farm at 1pm, and went back to the dining hall at 5:30 for dinner.  Not only did Doc Blanchard oversee building the bus, he invented a bottle washer for the diary at the college farm that same year!  The bottle washer enabled the diary to wash more than 1800 bottles a day, some 300 more than before, resulting in more milk going to the dining hall!

E.A. “Doc” Blanchard, shown above in 1930 and 1962, was a Tarleton icon – he fought in both World Wars, came to Tarleton in 1926, retired in 1962, has a street on campus named for him, always kept a Tarleton post office box , and lived to be 100!   One of his hobbies was building vintage cars.  He restored and gave to the university the red 1911 Ford Model T Fire Chief car that many have seen in the TSC.  Doc and Nellene could always be seen in the local parades in one of his vintage automobiles, or at their home on Lillian, across the street from the TSC, working on them!   He was also a licensed instructor of meteorology and civil air commerce.   He was instrumental in organizing the flight training program at Tarleton, which trained 126 pilots during World War II.  Born in Fredericksburg and of German descent, Doc Blanchard also wrote a manual for training intelligence officers on how to interrogate German prisoners and edited Army Motors Magazine.  As childhood friends, he also played with Chester Nimitz behind the bar of the Nimitz Hotel in Fredericksburg!

On perhaps a lighter note, Doc Blanchard was responsible for recovering and restoring to its original glory our cannon!  Students from rival NTAC stole the cannon in November 1928 during the football game week.  Because it was so cumbersome to haul all the way back to Arlington, the NTAC students dumped the cannon in the Bosque River!  Doc Blanchard and the Tarleton maintenance foreman, Ed Emmett, pulled it from the river with a tractor and returned it to campus where Doc restored it.

Doc Blanchard was born January 13, 1897 in Fredericksburg, Texas.  He was an avid supporter of Tarleton most of his life!  He died September 1, 1997 at the age of 100!

Grassburr, 1930, 1962.
JTAC September 28, 1937, May 1, 1962, September 4, 1997.
Guthrie, Christopher E.  John Tarleton and his Legacy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We are here to help - Study Rooms Available

Wow!  The first month of the semester is already gone.  Classes are beginning to require some serious time and work. The library is here to help.  We have services and spaces to fit your needs. 

Try one of our first-come, first-serve study rooms.
  • Get some study partners and use the group study rooms - For groups up to six students: Rooms 226, 227, 229, 230, 231, 233, 237, 238, and 239
  • Need some quiet time alone?  We have study carrels for individuals: Rooms 243, 244, 245, and 246
Don't forget to ask for help – we have professional librarians here to assist you. Use them!

One of the best ways to get the most out of the library is to visit us. The library is open 101 hours per week offering access to the library's collections, reference assistance, circulation services, study rooms, computer workstations, and more. We hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy National Comic Book Day!

Did you know that today, September 25th, is National Comic Book Day? 
In order to commemorate, here is a list of ten popular movies which were originally comic books:

10. The Crow

9. Road to Perdition 

8. Wanted

7. Mystery Men

6. Tank Girl

5. Men in Black

4. The Surrogates

3. The Mask

2. Monkey Bone

1. 30 Days of Night

To read more about the above comics, you can click here.

Also, the library offers a number of resources discussing comics (such as the history, art, style, and cultural influences), and you can even check out some comics/graphic novels from our collection.

Click here to search our online catalog.

If you're interested in searching our databases and the catalog for materials, try our Discovery Service.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Meet Our Staff: Amy Castillo

Amy Castillo
Periodicals & Electronic Resources Librarian
Dick Smith Library – Main Floor – room 112A

Amy oversees the Periodicals collections (print periodicals, microforms, and electronic resources) and staff, and is also the Fine Arts department liaison. Prior to coming to Tarleton this month, she was a Periodicals Specialist at TCU in Fort Worth. She also worked at the Arlington (Texas) Public Library in a number of roles.

Amy says, “I started my library career as a band librarian while in high school. After graduating, my high school band director told my college band director about me and I was hired to be the band librarian at University of Texas – Arlington [where Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in music]. For a long time I thought I would be an ensemble librarian, working with bands and orchestras, I even interned with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Library for a year. However, I really enjoyed working in an academic setting, particularly with serials due to their dynamic nature. Being in the periodicals field is far from boring!”

Amy earned her master’s degree in library science from Texas Woman’s University, and a master’s in liberal arts from TCU. She will complete a graduate academic certificate in Digital Content Management from the University of North Texas next spring.

As for interests outside the library, Amy says, “Knitting, sewing, quilting, and reading are the big ones. I even write a blog about yarn and knitting! I’m also a total cat person. I currently have two, Rose and Ellie, who are very sweet and very spoiled.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Did You Know?

The library blog isn't the only way you can keep up with library news and events.

Flickr, a terrific photo-sharing site, has the latest pictures of our events.  Check out our library poker pics!  By the way, if you use Instagram, you can tag library pictures with #DSL or #DickSmithLibrary.

That's right--(a form of) poker at the library during Transition Week. Because we're awesome.

Twitter is perfect for short bursts of information.  Feel free to tweet us questions--we love to help! If you use the hash tags #Tarleton  or #DickSmithLibrary you just might get re-tweeted.

The library's Twitter page.

Our Facebook account is the place to go for a little bit of everything--news, pictures, and more. "Like" us to stay in the know.

The library's Facebook page.

Check in at the library 10 times on Foursquare and get a free flash drive. You can also find out when your friends are here so you can meet up.
The library on Foursquare.

Are you interested in learning more about social media? Why not stop by the library the next time the Texas Social Media Research Institute (based here at Tarleton) has a Lessons @ Lunch session?

You can also search for social media articles or browse the library's collection of books and e-books on social media.

A Discovery or database search on the words "social media."

See you online!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Arr, Today be National Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Display on Piracy.
Ahoy, mateys. Today marks the 10th Annual National Talk Like A Pirate Day! There are several things you can do to participate in this day of fun. You can change the language of your Facebook to English (Pirate). You can also use the Tarleton Libraries Mango Languages database to learn to talk pirate.

Why does it take Pirates so long to learn the alphabet? Because they can spend years at C! (Please Pause to know it's funny!)

You can search Discovery to find books on pirates, the history of piracy, and modern piracy, or stop by the New Books display and "checkout" the books that have already been selected.

Why are pirates pirates? Because they ARRRRRR!!(Again..just laugh.)

Talk like a Pirate, ye scurvy dogs!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fun and Local Runs

My blog posts generally have something to do with what I am involved with at the time. I think this is only natural and I hope the information I provide is helpful to someone.
I am currently training for a 10K. Although this is not my first time to train for a 10K or even longer event, I still need encouragement or even push (or possibly a shove) to keep me motivated.
To keep me motivated I look for interesting and fun events to register. has an amazing database for a lot of events, not just cycling and running. This is always my starting point when I want to find an event.

Upcoming events I have found:
1.    The Patriot Games Mudfest in Sanger, TX on September 22nd.

2.    DinoDash 2012 in Glen Rose, TX on October 13th.

3.    Tarleton Homecoming 5K in Stephenville, TX on October 20th.

4.    StephenvilleLions Halloween Spooktacular in Stephenville, TX on October 27th.

5.    Hot Dog Trot in Weatherford, TX on November 3rd.

6.    Tarleton Turkey Trot in Stephenville, TX on November 17th.

Other great events in 2013:

 7.    Warrior Dash in Grandview, TX on April 13, 2013

 8.    The Color Run in Dallas, TX - TBA 2013

 9.    Dublin 10-2-4K - TBA 2013

These runs are a great way to keep you on track and motivated but many of them are raising money for different organizations. The Hot Dog Trot is donating proceeds to SODA (Society for Organ Donor Awareness). The Dino Dash is donating proceeds to The Lisa Schmidt Foundation (Lisa was a former Spanish teacher for Glen Rose).  Stephenville Lions raises money for sight and hearing loss prevention and assistance. The Warrior Dash donates proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Keep moving!


Molly (Library student worker), me and Taylor (my niece) after the Warrior Dash in November 2011.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Constitution Day 2012

It’s Constitution Day, and, as such, it is my right to tell you that the Dick Smith Library can help you with any of your constitutional needs, whether you need a book or newspaper or database. They have several different resources to help keep you up to date with our government and can even help with the upcoming election.

Personally, I like to use the databases, and, so far, my favorite “government” database from the Library’s database list is U.S. Government Information. Not only does it provide information on elections and registering, but it also provides information that you wouldn’t normally think to look for on a government page. For example, the government has auctions you can attend and get some pretty cool stuff for a very reasonable price, but I didn’t know where to find this information. I found it in that database. It’s also great if you’re searching for government jobs or are in need of financial aid. If you qualify, you could even get renter’s assistance. Who knew? It’s amazing the things you find when you start using the resources.

Also, in celebration of Constitution Day, the Dick Smith Library will be handing out FREE Constitution booklets; so be sure to drop by and pick up your copy. And, don’t forget that the Speaker Symposium Committee will be presenting their first speaker of the year, Dr. Rick Halperin, Director of the Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University, tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the O. A. Grant building, Rm 116. He will be speaking on “The Status of the U.S. Death Penalty.” So, don’t miss both of these great opportunities to learn more about our country and its rights.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Texshare Cards

It's that time of year again--time for new TexShare cards. The TexShare card program is a reciprocal borrowing program.
Only current students, faculty, and staff are eligible for the card. Student cards are only good for the semester. Faculty cards expire at the end of the Summer II session in August. Registered users must obtain a TexShare card from their home institution before they are able to check out materials from other participating institutions. TexShare cards can be requested at the circulation desk, or an online application is also available at

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Tarleton Opens Fourth Door!

The 1962/63 school year at Tarleton was a very significant one!  As stated in the September 11, 1962 JTAC, the first seniors in fifty years entered the doors!  Tarleton became a four year school in 1959, making the seniors of 1962/63 the first graduating class after becoming a four year school!  My May 13, 2010 blog was about the 1963 graduates!

In addition, 685 freshmen attended the first day orientation!  The second largest number of freshmen in the history of Tarleton State College assembled in the main auditorium as shown in the 1963 Grassburr photo above!  The largest first day was in 1946 when nearly 900 WWII veterans enrolled!  The schedule of activities included a welcome by Dean Paul Cunyus, followed by three and one half hours of testing!....the SATs, which were being used for the first time at Tarleton!!!

As a side note, I graduated from Tarleton in the old main auditorium shown in the photos above!  Stephenville High School graduations were also held in this auditorium!  It was located where the new Hunewell Bandstand replica now stands!  Completed in 1929, the main auditorium was torn down in 1982, after completion of the current fine arts building.

President E.J. Howell welcomed all entering students during the afternoon assembly September 10, 1962, and after the first ever SATs were over!    From 7:30-9 that night, he and Mrs. Howell held a reception in their home for all students, their families and faculty (and home to our current president)!  In his welcome speech he stated that the students would certainly make the 1962/63 school year a memorable period in the history of Tarleton and in their own lives!

Now, 50 years later, I hope that you all…

Have a Great and Memorable Year at Tarleton!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Should I Read Next?

Even though I already know of more books I want to read than I have any chance of ever finishing, I'm always looking for more books to add to the list. What Should I Read Next? is another site helping me do that, and I thought I'd share.

How it works: You type in a title or author you like, click something from the results that best matches what you're looking for, and it spits out a list of recommendations based on registered users' favorites lists (a more detailed explanation can be found here). I haven't registered yet, but I tried searching a few authors and books I like, and the results usually seemed decent. I only wish the recommendations included annotations.

Play around with it, and remember that if we don't have whatever books it recommends, you can always request them via Interlibrary loan.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monteverde Friends' Library of Costa Rica

As school begins again, I am joining with the thousands of others who are writing their standard back-to-school “What I did this summer” essay.  So…what I did this summer was to visit the Friends' Library of Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Monteverde is a mountain town of approximately 250-300 people, located three and a half hours from the San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.  It’s the kind of town in which there’s a whole lot of friendliness, some tourism, and many small shops, but not the kind of place for a rather large English-language library in the midst of a Spanish speaking country, I presumed.  Just by chance I learned that my presumptions were profoundly incorrect.  I had the serendipitous opportunity to visit the very interesting Friends' Library supported and maintained solely by volunteers who are the founding ancestors of Monteverde, the Quakers (again, another surprise). 
It is surprisingly large, containing more than 18,500 books in English and 2,500 books in Spanish, making this one of the largest English-language libraries in Central America. 
 The interior space is cleverly divided into three-levels: the top level houses the adult materials, the middle level contains the middle school level books, and the elementary level books are found on the bottom level. 
 An old-fashioned, typed card catalog is maintained for the users to look up and locate books which are shelved according to the Dewey Decimal System. 
Anyone is allowed to check out books and return them using the Honor System. 
As a librarian, it was an amazing experience for me to see such a highly organized, well-maintained library completely kept up by volunteers and open to all users situated just off of a bumpy, sort of paved road, 4,600 above sea level in the mountainous cloud forests of Costa Rica. 
As a Texan who has traveled abroad, I always seem to find other Texans far from our Lone Star state, and this trip was no different. 
Sitting at one of the library tables directly across from the entrance was an expatriate whose roots go back to Austin, Texas.  Small world, isn’t it?