Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Banning Attempt in Hood County in 2015

In the spring and summer of 2015, the Hood County Library (in nearby Granbury) was the focus of a challenge to two books.  Given that this (September 25 through October 1, 2016) is Banned Books Week, it's a relevant topic.

The two books, about acceptance and tolerance, were My Princess Boy and This Day in June.

My  Princess Boy, written by Cheryl Kilodavis, is subtitled "a mom's story about a young boy who loves to dress up" -- in this case, her four-year-old son.  The narrative is a bit pedantic, but there's an important message about compassion and tolerance. Suzanne DeSimone's illustrations are notable for the lack of features on the faces.  That might be so the reader or listener can imagine anyone's and everyone's faces on the characters - further promoting acceptance of others and one's own uniqueness.

This Day in June, written by Gayle E. Pitman, Ph.D., a professor of psychology, won the 2015 Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, given annually to "English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.'  This was the first time in the award's 44-year-history that a picture book won (or was even named an honor book).

The book portrays the sights, sounds, and emotions of a colorful gay pride parade with short rhyming text and intricate illustrations by Kristyna Litten.  Young children who look at this book will see a fun parade; older children and parents will see some of the subtler messages in the shirts and signs of parade participants and watchers (the latter generally rendered in simple outlines and pastels).

Pitman also included an interesting four-page reading guide that provides more background for the images in each of the double-page-spread illustrations, as well as a four-page "note to parents and caregivers" with ideas on using the book and talking to children of various ages about the issues it might bring up.

More than 50 people submitted challenges to the books to the Hood County Library in late May and early June, 2015.  The county's Library Advisory Board (whose members are appointed by the elected county judge and commissioners) held a public hearing to consider the book removal requests on June 8.

The board voted unanimously to recommend keeping the books. The library director, in an attempt to compromise with the complainants, moved This Day in June to the library’s adult collection, because of its reading guide.

Nevertheless, the complainants continued to voice their disapproval, so the Commissioners Court held a public hearing on July 15, 2015.  The meeting lasted nearly three hours and drew both supporters and opponents of the books, who were all allowed to speak for up to five minutes each.  About three fourths of those who spoke supported keeping the books.

Commissioners decided not to vote on the issue after the county attorney spoke.   She noted the courts would likely consider any attempts to remove, relocate, or restrict access to the books to be unlawful censorship, based on previous case law involving another Texas public library.

The decision not to vote meant the books will stay where they are.  Not surprisingly, this issue led to a review of all the library's policies (including collection development), but ultimately no major changes were made to those.

This is an example of a book challenge that did NOT result in a ban.  "Banned Books Week" is somewhat of a misnomer - but "Challenged Books Week" does not have quite the same ring to it.  Luckily, most books that are challenged in libraries and schools are not banned.

Libraries - especially public and academic libraries - should support the freedom to read.  Individuals (including parents for their young children) still have the right to choose what they read - just not to restrict the rights of others through censorship.

[My Princess Boy and This Day in June are available on the lower level of the Dick Smith Library in the Curriculum Collection, call numbers EDUC HQ1075 .K535 2010 and EDUC PZ8.3 .P5586836 TH 2014 respectively.]

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Friends of the Library - Dinner in the Stacks

The annual fall Friends of the Dick Smith Library - Dinner in the Stacks in less that a month away.  Time to get your Tickets!

Friends of the Dick Smith Library presents:
“Portrait of Route 66” Presented by Dr. T. Lindsay Baker

Dr. Baker, Director of the W.K. Gordon Center in Thurber, will present stories of his travels along Route 66 and his search for the locations of historic photographs and images on the Curt Teich postcard company.

When: October 15, 2016
6:30-Appetizers 7:00-Dinner & Program

Where: Dick Smith Library

Tickets must be purchased  by October 13th.
Go online: or drop by the library.

$20.00 for Members
$25.00 for Non-Members

For more information contact:
Tonya Dobson

Thursday, September 22, 2016

New Database: APA Style CENTRAL

Do you need assistance writing and citing your papers in correct APA style? If the answer is yes, then you must check out one of our newest databases: APA Style CENTRAL. You can find it on the A-Z Database List.

*Some of the tools within this database require an APA Style CENTRAL account to access. You can create an account for free.*

This database is divided into four areas: Learn, Research, Write, and Publish.

The Learn area has:
  • Quick Guides - 66 short videos  that cover topics such as: how to set up the title page, and how to properly cite a journal article. 
  • Tutorials - 18 longer videos that cover more in depth topics such as: avoiding plagiarism. 
  • Self-Quizzes - 10 quizzes to test your APA knowledge. 
  • Samples - 17 sample papers and 148 sample references that you can use as examples of how to format your own papers. 
The Research area has: 
  • eBooks - 2 APA dictionaries and 17 additional reference books. 
  • My References - allows you to create, import, and organize your references. *This tool requires an account with APA Style CENTRAL to access.* 
The Write area has:
  • My Papers - allows you to write, edit, and save working papers. *This tool requires an account with APA Style CENTRAL to access.* 
The Publish area has: 
  • Information on over 2000 journals to help you determine which ones to target for publishing your own work. 
Check it out and let use know what you think. If you need assistance with this database or any other resource contact us at (254) 968-9249 or

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Banned Books Week! *Sept 25th-Oct.1st

Banned books week is coming up. It is Sept. 25th-Oct. 1st. The purpose of banned books week is the celebration of the freedom to read. Each year a different category is chosen to highlight those books related to that topic. This years focus is on "Diversity". Topics of diversity include the following:

  • Non-White main and/or secondary characters
  • LGBT main and/or secondary characters
  • Disabled main and/or secondary characters
  • Issues about race or racism
  • LGBT issues
  • Issues about religion, which encompass in this situation the Holocaust and terrorism
  • Issues about disability and/or mental illness
  • Non-Western settings, in which the West is North America and Europe

  • One of the things the Dick Smith Library is doing this year to celebrate banned books week is by creating an interactive display. We will have carts of books located on each level that will be wrapped in brown paper, as the example below.

     Students will be able to read a brief description of the book and the reason why it was banned. If they are interested in the book, they will need to check out the book in order to unwrap it to find out the title.

                                               What would you guess is the title to this book?
                                                   Hint: "After all, tomorrow is another day."

    So, while are you are in here studying next week, take a break to check out some of the banned books we have to offer!
    "Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance."  -Laurie Halse Anderson


    Thursday, September 15, 2016

    Anatomical Models

    The Kinesiology Department used its library materials allotment last year to purchase anatomical models for the Dick Smith Library!  These can be checked out for one week.  They are located on the lower level of the library in the Audiovisual Collection.

    Science in Graphic Novels

    The library has several science-related graphic novels available for checkout:

    The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA written by Mark Schultz, art by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon -

    The Stuff of Life uses a fictional story about aliens trying to overcome a serious and deadly genetic disorder to convey real-life facts about genetics and DNA.

    Freud for Beginners by Richard Appignanesi & Oscar Zarate -

    Freud for Beginners is not quite a graphic novel - "collection of comic-style pages" might be more accurate. It discusses Freud's life, beliefs, and theories.

    Little Robot by Ben Hatke -

    This last selection is very much fiction - a story about a young girl who finds and accidentally activates a robot. However, the main character does create a few more robots of her own. Fans of the Maker Spot's Lego Mind Storm, LittleBits, and other kits may see a little of themselves in her.

    STEAM in the Archives

    Today is Power Up Your Library Day (#poweredlibraries), a day to promote science, technology, arts, and math (STEAM). Working in the archives, you are surrounded by all of these. One of the first duties of archivists is to protect the records we hold. One of the ways we do this is by monitoring the temperature and humidity to ensure there is a stable environment.

    Temperature should be between 68°F and 72°F with relative humidity between 40 and 50%. Materials found in archives such as paper, parchment, leather, and wood absorb and give off water has the relative humidity changes. If the humidity and temperature are constantly changing then the materials are continually expanding and contracting. This causes damage to the fibers in the paper. This 30-second video that shows what happens with drastic changes in humidity:

    In addition, keeping the relative humidity and temperate in the correct ranges prevents the formation of mold and helps keep pests away. Mold and bugs both like cool damp places.

    We use acid free folders and boxes because most modern paper is acidic. The acid in the paper contributes to the deterioration of the paper. We use a special pen to test items to see if they are acidic. We may even use folders buffered with alkaline to help absorb the acid, but not with blueprints, because they are an acidic process and you would end up with blank pieces of paper.

    We also use plastic that does not off gas and damage items. Off gassing, is the emission of gas from items that can cause damage to items in archives. This usually comes from “bad plastic” found in some older photo albums. The plastic emits fumes that can damage the photographs themselves. The best way to explain off gassing is, it you have ever noticed a filmy buildup of something on the inside of your car windows and no one smokes in your car, that is off gassing caused by the bad plastic in your car. Finished wood and paint can also cause off gassing.

    That is a lot of science and chemistry just dealing with traditional items in the archives. Then there is math, not just counting boxes. When you build an archive or library, you need to consider how much the stuff you are going to put in weighs and build floors that can support the weight. I know of at least one library where the weight of the books was not considered in the design of the library and some of the top floors are empty because of this.

    What about the digital collections and electronic files? They have to be preserved just like the paper items. Digitization does help preserve the original object by reducing wear on the object. However, then you have an electronic file that has to be preserved. You need to make sure the file is not corrupted, and that you have the software and hardware to access the file. Sometimes electronic files need to be migrated to different formats so that they can still be accessed, but still look like the original.

    Then there is the technology in the collections themselves. Collections can document the history of physics, math, chemistry, video games, art, music, or anything you can think of. By looking at archival collections, you can trace the advancement of various technologies and sciences.

    One of my favorite things are maps and the history of cartography. With today’s GPS and satellite technology it made be hard to realize that maps were once made using what we would consider primitive instruments or that navigation would be so difficult. It was not until a clock that could maintain accurate time while at sea on a sailing ship while at sea was invented that sailors could accurately determine their longitude. Early maps of North America often show what today is California as an island. Because of Baja California cartographers thought it was an island. The tip of Florida is often depicted on early maps as a series of small islands because cartographers were unsure about the swamps and marshes. While these maps may not be accurate by today’s standards, they show humanity’s quest for knowledge and the expansion of their horizons.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Made in the Maker Spot: August 2016

    We are so excited to have all of the students back now! Y'all are starting to make some really cool stuff in the Maker Spot, and we can't wait to see what all you come up with this semester. In the meantime, here are some of the things that students 3-D printed in August. If any of these inspire you, come visit us at the Maker Spot in room 250 of the Dick Smith Library, or visit our website at


    RaspberryPi Case


    Thursday, September 8, 2016

    Meet Our Staff: Kortney Davis

    Kortney Davis
    Administrative Associate
    Dick Smith Library – Upper Level – room 201

    My name is Kortney Davis. I started working at the library in August 2016 as the evening User Services Assistant. I am here Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  I am at the main level reference desk from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. I genuinely enjoy everything that I do here, and my favorite part of my work is interacting with students. When I am not assisting students, you can find me checking shelving flags on the lower and upper levels, running reports for paid fines, and maintaining inventory for the reference section and general stacks. I also assist with scheduling our meeting and group study rooms.

    When I am not at work, I am usually at home. I always have my face in a new book regarding a hobby or interest, and I love to cook! I live in Stephenville with my fiancé and our furry children. We have three cats, Pixel, Althea, and Phoebe, and right before I started working at the library, we adopted a puppy named Poppin. My favorite fiction authors are Neil Gaiman, Oscar Wilde, and Janet Fitch. My interests include music of all varieties, aromatherapy, knitting, crocheting, gardening, dying fabric, and geology.

    I am so happy to be here! Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and kind. I am looking forward to growing in my career here and getting to know our staff and students.

    [ETA - in May 2018, Kortney was promoted to Administrative Associate in our Administrative offices on the upper level, room 201, replacing Leslie Newcomb.]

    Thursday, September 1, 2016

    Meet Our Staff: Yeidi Rios

    Yeidi Rios
    User Services Specialist (Reference)
    Dick Smith Library – Lower Level – room B05

    Hi! My name is Yeidi (pronounced jay-dee) and I am one of the new User Services Assistants at the Dick Smith Library.  I am responsible for opening the library Mondays through Fridays.  If you need help finding a book, article, or any other resource, or simply need assistance with library equipment, I’m here to help. I will also be helping with Library promotion and many other fun library tasks.

    So a little bit about me. I majored in Humanities at the University Of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, and after that I studied Elementary Education, which led me to work as a teacher for four years. Through college, I worked in a library and I realized I have always remembered those years with much love and nostalgia. When life changed its course and traced a new journey for me to follow, I decided to work in a place I just loved, the library, and here I am.

    On the weekends, I like to start my mornings by making a breakfast feast (breakfast is my favorite meal of the day), family time with my preschooler, photography, running, and pretty much being outdoors. Now, regarding a favorite book, it’s tough because I have many. I’m really into biographies, so right now my favorite book is Bossypants by Tina Fey. I really like this book because it’s written by a truly inspiring female writer/comedian, who, by the way, starred in and produced "30 Rock," one of my favorite TV comedies of all time!!!! Her book has many anecdotes I can relate to.