What do you geek, Bryant?

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geek defAs you can see above, “geek” is a verb.  If you geek something – comic books, football, painting, gardening, home brewing, physics, running, cooking, Russian literature, or pretty much any other thing you can name – then you love it, talk about it at length to anyone who will listen, and know more about it than some people would consider reasonable.  Fact: everyone geeks something.  And chances are, the library can help you with that in some way.

This semester, the Douglas & Judith Krupp Library is taking part in Geek the Library, a national campaign co-sponsored by OCLC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that is designed to help raise awareness and generate support (vocal, financial, and maybe even at the ballot box) for libraries throughout the country.  Using “geek” as a verb is a way to get people to think about the things they’re passionate about, and then connect that back to libraries, because no matter what it is that you geek, your library (be it your local public library or your school’s library) can connect you with resources, material, and even people to help support those passions, and possibly help you discover new ones.

You’ll be seeing a lot of information about this from us in the weeks ahead, whether it’s here on the blog, on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), around campus, and at the library itself.  And there will be plenty of ways for you to participate in this as well, so keep your eyes and ears open.

Start getting your geek on, Bryant.  And ask yourselves this question: What Do You Geek?

whatdoyougeek

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New Additions to the Reference Collection

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We at the library regularly order new reference books for our collection. The Reference Stacks are on the first floor of the library past the computer terminals. Reference books cannot be checked out of the library, but do not let this dissuade you from using them. They have invaluable information that may help you with many projects and research. Here are some highlights from our recent acquisition:

First Amendment Rights: An Encyclopedia

Historical Dictionary of Tibet

Global Social Issues

DSM – 5

Research Methods in Anthropology

Historical Dictionary of Jazz

Encyclopedia of Terrorism

Scientists and Science

Dictionary of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering

Updated collection of Who’s Buying

The reference collection is indispensable for your research needs. The reference collection has material that is not available anywhere else. See a reference library today for help with your research needs. We are available by phone, instant message, text, e-mail, and in person.

Ask a Librarian!

The Presidential Election

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The 2012 Presidential Election is just around the corner. If you are a United States citizen, age 18 or over, you are eligible to vote in November. Hopefully you are registered to vote!

The library has some excellent resources about the history of elections and politics in the United States. Before the election on November 6th browse through these selected titles which are all available at the library.

U.S. Election System – this book is an introduction to the history and structure of our election system.

Tea Party Goes to Washington – this source details the rise and wide ranging influence of the Tea Party movement in American politics.

Hopelessly Divided – Post-9/11 politics, the widening gap between Democrats and Republicans, and the resurgence of populism are detailed in this book.

The Conservative Century – this work gives a history of Conservative politics in the United States with important figures like Barry Goldwater, Ronald Regan etc.

The Achievement of American Liberalism – the New Deal, The Great Society, and post-1960’s American liberalism is the focus of this book.

We hope that you find these sources useful while you get ready to exercise your right to vote. This election will decide the course of the nation for the next four years so it’s time to get informed and get involved. If you need help finding sources related to the election, or any other topic, come to the reference desk in the library or contact us!

Instamatic Instruction: Learn how to use the library via Instant Messaging

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Have you ever IM-ed a Librarian? If you have you may have experienced something pretty cool. You asked a question and the librarian said “If you give me a quick minute, I can show you how to use this database” or “Just a sec and I’ll send you a short video on how to do that.”

The library staff is making use of some freely* available tools to help teach you how to be an independent library user. Now don’t get us wrong, we love helping you with your intriguing queries. We get to learn something new every time you ask a question! But… we also want to contribute to your success as a well educated and capable individual upon graduation and part of that is giving you the tools to “do it yourself!”

We have two approaches we use to demonstrate search strategies, how to use a particular database, where to find a book, etc.

    1. Video-casting – The library uses the free version of a tool called Jing (by TechSmith) to quickly record a specific activity on our computer screen.  We can add voice overs, but often simply show where to go, what to type, what to click and more without sound.  Because of the design of the tool, we are able to create a video, upload it and generate a link for you in less than a minute.  That means that you are given visual instruction to teach you how to find the answer to your query often in a matter of minutes!  See an example here.
    2. Screen-sharing – The library uses a the free version of a tool called Join.me to share our screen with you, an IM user, on the fly.  We simply send a link through the IM chat box, you click and immediately you are able to see our screen and all we do on our computer.  This has several perks such as an embedded chat box, the ability for us to give you control of our computer and more!  Screen-sharing with Join.me even allows us to work collaboratively online, if you want to demonstrate something to the librarian; it can function as a two-way street.

The feedback we have received from you, the student, has been really positive.   So next time you decide to IM the library, feel free to ask to see our screen or get a video to demonstrate the “how-to” answer to your question.  Maybe you’ll find a way to use the tools for your group projects or help your friend figure out how to set-up a new feature on their Facebook profile.

We look forward to getting your next question and teaching you via Instamatic Instruction, how to find your answer!

*We often refer to free versions of tools as “free-for-now.”  With the quick evolution of web-based services, companies often take away the free version once they’ve got users hooked, so it is always a good idea to have other tools to choose from as alternatives. 
Here are a couple:
Screencast-O-Matic
Skype with Screen-sharing – We have used this tool with students studying abroad.
There are many others available at a cost… enjoy exploring!
 

Helpful Government Sites

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Depending on what kind of project you’re working on, you often need statistics to back up any claims you make.  While we at the library are lucky to offer students access to a wide variety of excellent databases, sometimes you need to look outside the databases for your information.  Sites like wikipedia or blogs are unacceptable for scholarly research, and you may occasionally come across an article that lists statistics but doesn’t cite its sources.  There are many government sites that offer well-organized, current information and statistics to serve as a foundation for your research.

Here’s a shortlist of some that will be helpful to Bryant students:

CIA World Factbook: When doing research on other countries, it can be incredibly frustrating at time to just get basic information about the type of government, major industries or political structure.  The World Factbook is an excellent source for information on every country in the world.  In addition to that, there are links to intelligence literature, reports, press releases, maps and more.  The factbook is updated on a weekly basis, and is  not only an excellent source of information, but it’s actually interesting to read and browse.

US Census Factfinder: You can find industry specific economic factsheets for the whole country, or for individual cities then refine it further by industry.  There is also some data on foreign trade, current and historical, economic surveys and community surveys.

Congressional Budget Office: CBO provides Congress with: Objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget; and the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.

To that end, CBO offers access to economic and employment projections, as well as publications ranging from agriculture to housing to federal personnel.  It also includes cost estimates for bills currently in congress and PAYGO tables.

Bureau of Labor and Statistics: BLS includes information on American labor statistics as well as international comparisons.  Major headings covered by BLS include: Inflation Prices, Unemployment, Employment, Spending and Time Use, Productivity, Pay and Benefits and Workplace Injuries.  You can look at current and historical information about the labor market in the US.  The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also includes the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which shows projected growth or decrease in demand by industry.  This is a useful economic indicator, but also is helping for individual career research.

US Patent Office: Have a great idea and need to know if it’s been done already?  This is where you go to find out.  The patent office site allows full text and image searching (with a tiff viewer) of historic and current patents.  There are also links explaining why patent something, how patent and copyright differ and links to forms.

Department of Health:  If you need information about statistics at the state level, often those can be found on that state’s Department of Health site.

Securities and Exchange Commission: Need information on a publicly-traded company? This should be one of your first stops.  You can search by ticker symbol or company name and bring up a complete list of SEC filings including press releases, quarterly reports, prospectuses and communications and more.

The White House:  The White House is the best place to look for unbiased current legislation information as well as statements, speeches and news from the nation’s capital.  It also includes basic civics lessons on the three branches of government and their functions, The Constitution, Links to state and local government and The White House blog.

National Center for Education Statistics: If you need education statistics, then this is where you need to look.  NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.  You can search the site for current statistics as well as read reports and publications.

Energy Information Administration: Monthly and yearly energy forecasts, analysis and statistics, congressional reports, greenhouse gas data, energy use statistics, and international energy data.

Good luck with your research!

Congratulations to our Student Workers of the Month for March!

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Our Students of the Month for March are Corinne O’Neill and Naomi Kamiya from the Access Services department, and Dhara Shah from Reference!

Thank you all for continually going above and beyond the call of duty, as well as for general awesomeness all around.

And thanks to the rest of our fine crew, too, for continuing to make us struggle to make this decision every month. The fact that you all do so well makes all of our jobs so much easier.

Congratulations to our Student Workers of the Month for February!

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The Circulation Desk student workers of the month for February are Danielle Simbliaris and Tyler Davis, and the Reference Desk student worker of the month is Cassidy Rydberg.

Thank you, Cassidy, Danielle, and Tyler, for your continued dedication, willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, and fantastic customer service skills.

And, of course, thanks to all of our student workers for continuing to make this a tough decision every month.  Everyone has been so awesome all year that it’s really hard to narrow it down to just two people in a given month (seriously, you should see the flurry of emails about this we all send back and forth the last few days of every month).

Not that we’re complaining… this is the sort of problem most managers would love to have, and we’re incredibly thankful!