Friday, June 28, 2013

Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

Tonight, Dr. Dottavio will be throwing the first pitch at the Texas Rangers versus the Cincinatti Reds game. 1,000 or so Faculty, Staff, Students, Family, and Supporters of Tarleton State University will be in attendance at the game tonight. Among those thousand will be several of the Library staff.
If baseball is your thing, you can find several resources on the topic in the library. The following is a video from our Films on Demand database. In 1941, President Roosevelt threw out the first pitch at the Yankees versus Senators game. Over 32,000 were in attendance at the season opener that day.

We hope to see many of you Texans and Texanns out there tonight. Be ready to show Arlington, Texas what kind of spirit Tarleton State University and its community has.
Go Rangers!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It's the Summer of Zombies

If you're not taking classes this summer or if you're looking for something to give you a break from your summer school work, why not read a book and/or watch a movie based on a book?

Here are a couple of fun summer reading ideas (or their movie versions for movie-watchers) to fight off summer zombie-mode:

*You can get access to all these books through the Dick Smith Library.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Prequel Audio BookPS3608 .O29 P75 2010B (located on lower level)
Deluxe heirloom ed.(1st ed): PS3607 .R348 P75 2009 (located in the stacks)
Movie version: "In development" according to IMBD

The Blood King
Book: PS3613 .A77865 B56 2009 (located in the stacks)
No movie version available

World War Z
Book: Request through InterLibrary Loan
Movie: In theaters now; check here for Cinemark 6 movie times.

Warm Bodies
Book: Request through InterLibrary Loan
Movie: In stores now; check here for Amazon listing.

If you need assistance, please call (254)968-9249 or email for more information.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bad Tech Habits & How to Break Them

Many (most?) of our daily activities are filled with technology: phones, computers, video games, apps, tablets, software, hardware, social media, streaming videos, and so much more.

At least, it seems like most of my time (personal and professional) is spent using, seeking, enjoying, trouble-shooting, cursing, and exploring technology. So, figuring out ways to avoid having too many technological bad habits seemed like a good move.

Success = Christopher Null's recent PCWorld article, "The 21 Worst Tech Habits and How to Break Them," offers just the kind of tips I wanted about ways to avoid tech pitfalls.

My top 5 bad tech habits I plan to start fixing right away are
  • not cleaning my equipment,
  • sitting with bad posture at the computer,
  • not taking breaks,
  • not reading the FAQs, and
  • never rebooting.
Check out Null's articleHis list is informative, and the fixes he suggests are easy to do. Also, he offers good bonus tips for mending bad email habits. Enjoy and happy teching!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where did the ... move to?

Those who have visited the Dick Smith Library over the past few months may have noticed we have moved things around. In particular, we have a new alcove on the main floor! Just in case you haven't made the full trek or have yet to stop by, here's a few things we've relocated to this area that's located next to the Periodicals collection:

- Stephenville Empire-Tribune & Dublin Progress newspaper microfilm reels
- Microform reader machines (including the digital microform scanner on the far left)
- A printer and a copier
- Stapler & hole puncher

Library staff are located nearby if you have any questions about the machines and/or microfilm. Cheers!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Meet Our Staff: Laura Prewitt

Laura Prewitt
Graduate Assistant
Reference & Information Desk
Dick Smith Library – Main Floor

I started as the Reference Graduate Assistant (GA) at the beginning of the spring semester in 2013. Graduating from Tarleton, my undergraduate degree is Agricultural Services and Development, with an emphasis in agriculture extension. During that time, I also obtained a minor in Technical Writing with a graphic design emphasis. To complicate matters even more, I am working on a masters degree in Counseling/Psychology. After I explain my assortment of degrees, many people give me odd looks before saying, “…So you are going to teach cows how to read and then counsel them?” I often laugh before explaining the reasoning behind the hodge-podge of interests.

My passion is working with troubled youth and my long-term goal is opening a ranch for troubled children. Starting my freshman year at Tarleton, I was given the chance to work with foster children at Foster’s Home for Children, which is where I truly found my passion of helping troubled youth. At the beginning of my senior year in college, I founded an organization called Tarleton Mentors, which connects college students to the foster home, providing the kids there “mentors” and the care-givers an extra pair of hands to help out around the house. Complimenting my experience at the foster home, I have also traveled to the Ukraine and worked for several weeks with orphans, opening my eyes to a bigger, broader world beyond the gates of Tarleton. That trip alone has impacted me and only lights my passion even more, working with youth that have been forgotten, pushed away and abandoned.

Before obtaining the job as the Reference GA, I worked at Career Services for roughly two years during my undergraduate years. At that time, I really found out how much I enjoyed customer service and helping people with their everyday needs. After I graduated, I worked at the College of Graduate Studies for a few months as a GA and learned the technical side of graduate admissions. After expanding my knowledge there, I migrated from that office to my current position at the library. One of my favorite features of this job is dealing directly with the students and helping them with whatever situation that arises, whether it be research, technical problems or anything else. My experience in a library consists of over 900 hours of volunteer work from 7th grade through 12th grade. When free time presents itself (which is few and far-between) I am normally found at the foster home, mainly chilling and enjoying the moment, or curled up on the couch with my dog, watching TV. I do enjoy yoga and meditation, finding quiet in my chaotic life.

Friday, June 21, 2013

5 fantastic reasons to follow us on Twitter

5.  We have a great sense of humor

4. We keep you informed about happenings in the library, at Tarleton State, and in Stephenville and beyond.
Tornado-related tweets.

3.  We care
about your experience in the library.
The case of the missing laptop charger.

2. We have cool contests with amazing "Tarleton swag."
Students' contest tweets were very creative.

1. We can  help you find books, articles, and much more.
Let us help you make finals week less stressful.

We are @tarletonlib on Twitter.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Learning Commons

The library is hoping to start construction on a Learning Commons in August.  Preparations are already being made to move equipment, furniture, and staff to ensure library services remain available during the renovation.  We hope to have a web page out soon where you can see a rendering, floor plans, and featured photographs of the project.

You can view the progress of the project via pictures on Flickr. We will also be posting updates on our social media outlets, so be sure and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Learning Express Library

If you are thinking about going back to school, are currently in school, have children in school or just want to refresh some test taking skills you need to check out the Learning Express Library database on our database page.

My daughter will be going into the 7th grade in the fall and she struggles with dyslexia. I was searching our databases for something that might help her this summer and the Learning Express Library database had everything I was looking for and more.

I found activities for math and reading at all levels plus practices tests for the dreaded STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness). I am sure she will not show as much enthusiasm as I did with my findings but it will better prepare her for junior high.

STAAR practice test
While I was looking for other practice tests and activities for her to do this summer I clicked on the College Preparation tab and found practice tests for my son who will be starting college in the fall. He is actually taking the ACCUPLACER test this week and was able to prepare for it with the practice tests.
ACCUPLACER practice tests
 I found the Workplace Skills Improvement tab and found some helpful information for myself.
Workplace Skills
So keep your mind sharp this summer and check out all the DSL databases!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Looking for a Job? Try Job & Career Accelerator

Try the Dick Smith Library's Job & Career Accelerator database. As soon as you click on it (and register...don't worry, it's free and easy to do), you'll be taken through a helpful step-by-step tutorial. The site is very user-friendly; so, even if you bypass the tutorial, you can figure it out pretty quickly on your own. I suggest creating a profile first. There's not much information to fill out, and it will give you a list of jobs that are within your education level. You can still look at the jobs within other education levels as well. It also provides a quiz, called the Occupation Matcher, that fits a list of jobs specifically to your personality as well as your education level. It's actually pretty intuitive. The site also helps you with your resumes and helps you to prepare for the hiring process. All-in-all, it's a pretty handy database to find; so, check it out and see what you think.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Should You Use the Library's Databases?

You have a research project assigned for one of your classes.
You think, "I'll have to find some articles for this.  Where should I start looking? Hummm... the Internet!!"
Next, you open a browser and "Google" your search.
Stop sign Stock Image
Could there be a better route to take to get more accurate, 
more timely, and less costly research results?
Yes! Royalty Free Stock Photography - Image: 183947
Using the library's databases is THE place to start!

Why? Why not just use the Internet, then you don't have to figure out how to use the databases or anything?

Because there is a better way...

The FAQ page from the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University has the answers to that and these same (slightly altered) answers apply to the library at Tarleton State.

Use the chart below to quickly compare library databases to the world wide web.
Library DatabasesThe Internet
Paid for by the library so that you can have free access to scholarly information.Some resources are free, but others require you to pay for them.
Content is evaluated for authority and accuracy.Information is not evaluated for accuracy and may be incorrect, misleading, or biased.
Information is stable.Websites come and go.
Through Subject Research Guides it is easy to find databases that relate specifically to your topic (and get connected to an expert if you need guidance).The internet is a vast sea of information with no organization.
Library databases offer options to quickly limit or expand your search to find the articles you need.A search engine (like Google) often returns an overwhelming number of results with no quick way to narrow them down or ensure they relate to your topic.
In short, you should use library databases in order to quickly find relevant scholarly information that you can use in research papers or other course projects. We also have several library databases that include music, videos, and art! Take a look and you're sure to find something that relates to you!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Camping Vacation This Summer

One of the best ways to have an exciting summer vacation, or just a weekend away, is with a camping trip, and if you are on a tight budget, a state park might be the perfect choice. I have spent the spring researching different destinations from the Grand Canyon to the Gulf Coast. The choices are endless. Many coastal states have parks right on the beach and offer activities such as snorkeling, beach combing, canoeing and kayaking, and even scuba diving. Landlocked parks offer a variety of adventures like rock climbing, backpacking, and the occasional mini golf course.

Another idea is to find a choice destination and search for a state park within driving distance. Our family has season passes to Six Flags good at all Six Flags locations. We are planning part of our trip around hitting one, and have found several great choices within an hour or two driving distance. This means we can spend several days playing at the lake and get to have a full day at a theme park for at least half the price it would cost for the same amount of time in a hotel.

The library has everything you need to plan your trip. Use the computers to figure out where you want to go and how to get there. You can also make most of your reservations online. Once you have decided what you want to do, use the library's Discovery tool or the catalog to find out what you will see when you are snorkeling, how to safely rock climb, or what supplies are best for a backpacking trip in the mountains.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Crafting for Summer

Looking for a fun project to work on over the summer?  Have a set of well-loved books that you don’t plan on keeping?  Want to hide away some personal treasures in your home or dorm?  Then try making a Multi-Book Secret Storage Compartment!

You will need:   
  •  A set of books that are not hot titles that would draw people's attention (and that you are willing to sacrifice the contents of-- it's hard, I know!)
  • A scroll saw or hand saw
  • Masking tape
  • Glue (optional)

Just follow the steps shown below:

If you don’t have books you’re willing to part with, try stopping by our Friends of the Library book sale being held on July 10th.  The sale will be located in the lower level of the Tarleton Center in Room 001.  This year they are reducing their book prices.  It's now $0.50 for a paperback and $1.00 for a hardback (half price starts at 2pm).  And for just $10, a customer can fill a Friends tote bag (level to top) with books of their choosing.  We hope to see you there!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Have you been carded?

The library would love to card you... with a TexShare Card!

The TexShare card program is a reciprocal borrowing program between hundreds of Texas libraries. It allows card holders of participating institutions to directly borrow materials from the libraries of other participating institutions. Participants include university, public and special libraries.

All current Tarleton students, faculty, and staff are eligible to request a TexShare Card. All you need to do is fill-out the Request Form and we'll mail the card directly to you.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Outdoor Recreation and the Library

Summer is always a great time to go camping, fishing, swimming, or enjoy other outdoor recreation. This summer, Rec Sports will be hosting several Outdoor Pursuits as well as outdoor recreational activities. You can also climb the rock wall and enjoy free sessions of Group X, in the Rec Center, during the summer.
What do Rec Sports and the Library have in common you may be thinking? It's important to exercise both your body and mind! The library and Rec Sports can both provide the tools to a successful workout. Stop by the library to see what resources are available on outdoor recreation and pick up a brochure/pamphlet on Rec Sports activities.
Need assistance?
Feel free to ask at either reference desk, call 254-968-9249, or Ask a Librarian.
We always look forward to helping you with your needs. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Need Help on the Upper Level of the Library? You're In Luck

Have you ever found yourself lost upstairs in the library's stacks? Or maybe you're working on a paper on one of our computers upstairs and realize you need assistance finding more sources but don't want leave your work unattended? 

We have you covered!

Did you know we have a reference desk upstairs which is staffed by professional librarians and library staff throughout various times of the day?

Don't be afraid to visit us at the desk; we would be happy to help you with any questions you may have, such as:

  • password assistance
  • locating a book
  • searching the academic databases
  • computer and printing questions
  • citation assistance
  • and more!

Need help upstairs but there's no one at the desk? 

Feel free to use the phone and dial 9249.

On the go and need assistance?

Contact us via phone or email:

(254) 968-9249   


As always, we're happy to assist you in any of your endeavors. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Writing a Paper? Try These 7 Research Tips

Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman in their U.S. News & World Report article offer some useful tips for writing papers. Key ideas from their article are listed below along with links to Tarleton Libraries' resources and services related to the tips. Enjoy!

  • Start from where you are.
    • Pick topics that interest you.
    • Look at course materials, lecture notes, handouts, etc. for ideas.
    • Ask your instructor if your topic is on target.
  • Think E.
  • Discover WorldCat.
    • “One of the best resources is, a free and public catalog of more than a billion (with a "b"!) items available from more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. . . . It's available in all modalities including online and mobile (with downloadable apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, and most Web-enabled phones).”
  • Learn the shortcuts.
    • “Use wild-card characters — typically a question mark (?), pound sign (#), or asterisk (*) — when you know only the first few letters of a word or when you want to find all the words that start with a certain string of letters.”
    • “Use the Boolean and operator (typically AND or +) to limit the results of a search, and the or operator (OR or -) to expand the topic.
    • “Take out any apostrophes (in words such as O'Reilly) and replace foreign language characters (ç, ü) with their English equivalents (c, u).”
    • Tarleton Libraries "Creating Effective Searches" tips
  • Use the resources that live and breathe.
  • Learn about ILL.
    • If you need something your library does not have, use your library’s interlibrary loan (ILL) services. “The ILL crew will get you the physical book or a copy of the article from another library, usually free.” Request items as early as possible so you can get them in time.Tarleton Libraries Interlibrary Loan Service
  • Look for "gateway" sources.
    • When starting a research project, you may want to begin with “sources that survey the problem, area, or subject you're researching and point the way to further, more specific studies. They might have names like Cambridge Companion to X, Stanford Encyclopedia of Y, Grove Dictionary of Z, or Oxford Illustrated History of A.”
      -- You can locate these resources using Tarleton Libraries catalog.
    • When “reading any source, look in the footnotes and bibliography” for ideas about other sources.
      -- Then use Tarleton Libraries’ SFX Citation Finder and catalog to locate items.
      -- Use the library’s Interlibrary Loan service to obtain items not available locally.
      -- Ask a Librarian for assistance whenever you need it.
View the complete article: Writing a Paper? Try These 7 Research Tips

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Where have the "Hot Titles" gone?

In an effort to make browsing through the periodicals stacks at the Dick Smith Library simpler and hassle-free we recently integrated the "Hot Titles" (popular magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Better Homes & Gardens, People, Texas Monthly, etc.) with the rest of the periodicals collection. They are now all in A-Z order in one location. I feel this small change is a positive one.

If you have questions about where to find something please do not hesitate to ask at the Periodicals Service Desk or the Reference Desk. We'd be happy to help!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer at the Dick Smith Library

Welcome back to the Dick Smith Library for your summer classes!  Here are the library hours for the summer terms, starting tomorrow, June 4 - August 8 (we are open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm today):

Monday - Thursday 7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Friday 7:30 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Service at the Circulation Desk stops 15 minutes before the library closes.
We will be closed on Thursday, July 4, for the Independence Day holiday. 

Take a look around the library and you'll see some changes.  For example, some sections of shelving on the upper level were removed, and a new study area near the windows was created:
Before (left) and after (right):  new study area on upper level.  Photos by Tracy Holtman