Thursday, August 31, 2017

After the Storm: What NOT to Donate, and Where TO Give

Many of us are eager to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.  Here are some tips on the best places to donate and volunteer - and what NOT to give.

Donate money through a trusted organization.  You can find out more about a particular charity's efficiency and effectiveness using your donations at Charity Navigator or CharityWatch.  Each site has set up a special page with Hurricane Harvey suggestions.  Look for organizations with the highest percentage of their funds going to actual programs and services (at least 75%), as opposed to administrative and fundraising expenses.

Items such as food, clothing, and toiletries should only be collected if you have a confirmed recipient at the disaster site willing and able to receive them.  Otherwise, volunteers will be pulled away from essential services to sort, transfer, store, and distribute items that might not even be needed by disaster victims.  Then you get a mess like the one pictured below - often such items will ultimately be discarded in an area already overwhelmed by debris from the disaster.  Here's a link to the 10 Worst Things to Donate After a Disaster - with explanations why and suggestions of what to do instead with those items.

Shoes Donated to Disaster Survivors / Adam DuBrowa - Sep 26, 2015 /

If you want to volunteer to help on site, contact existing non-profit organizations BEFORE heading to the disaster area.  Get appropriate training, and be sure it is safe to travel (and you have some place to stay and eat) before going into the area.  Otherwise, you might just get in the way.  Remember, assistance will be needed long after the storm is over and the media is gone, so there will be plenty of opportunities for service later after you've been trained to best help.  Here is a link to Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.

For more information, see Volunteer & Donate Responsibly at the Federal Emergency Management Agency website:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Common Printing Issues & How to Resolve Them

Guest Post by Kortney Davis, User Services Assistant

As we jump into a new semester, we want to ensure your success across the board.  These are a couple of common printing scenarios that give our students trouble so we’re addressing them today to help you troubleshoot and know who to ask for help.

Blank Pages
You’ve sent your job to the print queue.  You swipe your card, print the job, and the printer spits out blank pages. 

Most often, this scenario is caused by printing from the browser directly—Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox have all led to this particular problem on patron computers.  This is a very common issue when printing documents from Blackboard.

To solve this issue, download the file and save it to your T drive.  Open the file, and print it from the program designated for that file—Microsoft Word, Excel, Photo Gallery, Adobe Acrobat, etc.  You may receive an error message indicating that you cannot save documents to the computer you’re using.  Click “OK,” and proceed with saving to your T drive as you normally would. 

Once you have sent the file to print from that program, go to the reference desk.  Tell the person at the reference desk about the issue you had with printing the first time and that you have already printed the job from the appropriate program.  They will ask to verify your student ID number and print the new job without charging your Texan Bucks or printing account funds.  You will not need to swipe your card at the printer.

To avoid this problem in the future, take the steps to download the file as outlined above and print from the correct program.  This will save you time and give you an opportunity to review what you’re printing one final time.

Load Paper Into Tray 1
You’ve sent your job to the print queue.  You swipe your card, and the printer gives you an error message that looks like this:

Before you do anything else, tell the person at the reference desk about this.  Snap a picture with your phone or just relay the error message exactly as it appears.  This error message prevents other patrons from printing their work at the printing station until the message is cleared so it is important to let us know as soon as possible.  This error message rarely means that the printer is out of paper.  It usually means that the file being printed is set to the wrong size paper.

After you’ve told the person at the reference desk about this message, go back to your computer and click “file” then “print.”  Look at the printing settings for the file you’re printing. 

In this situation, the paper size is often set to “legal,” which is not a paper size the library keeps in our printers.  To correct this, choose letter size from the drop down menu. 



Then reprint your job, and tell the person at the desk about the issue you had with printing the first time and that you have printed the job on the correct size paper.  They will ask to verify your student ID number and print the new job without charging your Texan Bucks or printing account funds.  You will not need to swipe your card at the printer.

To prevent this error in the future, it’s a good idea to double check the paper selected on the print screen before you print the job. 

If the printing woes you’re facing don’t match the above scenarios or these solutions do not work for you, don’t hesitate to ask us for help!  It’s what we’re here for.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Need a ride? Call CARR

Do you live in the Stephenville area and need a ride around town or to nearby towns such as Granbury or Weatherford? Then what you need is CARR. City and Rural Rides (CARR) is a rural public transit operation that serves 11 counties including Erath.

CARR operates Monday to Friday from 7:30AM to 5:30PM and is closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

To request a ride call 1-800-710-2277. You can schedule a ride up to 60 days in advance. They recommend to call at least 2 business days ahead of your planned trip to ensure that they can accommodate you. They will take same-day requests until 3:30PM, but will only give you a ride if they can fit you in that day's schedule. When you call they will ask for the following information:
  1. Passenger Name
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Address
  4. Phone Number
  5. Assistance Needs 
  6. Emergency Contacts 
  7. Destination Name 
  8. Destination Address 
  9. Request time
The amount you pay depends on distance traveled. These are the current rates:

  • 1-5 miles................$1.00 
  • 6-10 miles..............$2.00 
  • 11-15 miles.............$3.00 
  • 16-20 miles.............$4.00 
  • 21-25 miles.............$5.00 
  • 26-30 miles.............$6.00 
  • 31-35 miles.............$7.00 
  • 36-40 miles.............$8.00 
  • 41-45 miles.............$9.00 
  • 46-50 miles.............$10.00 
  • 51-55 miles.............$11.00 
  • 56-60 miles.............$12.00

You must pay the driver with cash or check (credit cards are currently not accepted). Drivers are not able to make change. Another option is to purchase a prepaid fare pass, if you buy a $20 prepaid pass, then you will receive $4 worth of free rides.

If you have any questions about CARR you can contact them here: I can tell you from personal experience that they respond to questions very quickly.

This online handbook provides detailed information about the services CARR provides.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer Interim Hours

Dick Smith Library Summer Interim Hours:
Aug. 12th & 13th- Closed
Aug. 14th-18th - 8am-5pm
Aug. 19th & 20th- 1pm-5pm 
Aug. 21st -25th - 8am-7pm 
Aug .26th- 10am-6pm
Aug. 27th- 12pm-2am
Regular semester hours begin Aug. 28
Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun - August 21, 2017

On Monday, August 21, parts of the United States will be able to view an uncommon event, a total eclipse of the sun by the moon.  The "path of totality," in which the total eclipse will be visible, is about 70 miles wide, and extends through 14 states from Oregon southeast to South Carolina.

Even if you can’t travel to the path of totality, you *should* be able to see a partial solar eclipse here (weather permitting).  On the Tarleton Stephenville campus, approximately 70% of the sun's surface will be covered by the moon around 1:07 p.m.  The partial eclipse will start about 11:38 a.m. and end about 2:36 p.m.

NASA has lots of great resources - including maps and eye safety tips, as well as the logo at the top of this post - at a special website:

If you miss this eclipse, don't worry - you will have another (and better) chance to see a total solar eclipse in 2024.  On April 8 of that year, most of the Stephenville area *will* be in the path of totality.  You can use this interactive map to find areas on the path: