Sunday, October 31, 2010

Curl Up With a Good IEX January Course

Library faculty are offering two courses this January. A new course jointly taught by Anna Hulseberg and Julie Gilbert is Fact and Fiction (NDL 109). "In this course students will explore the relationship between fact and fiction in the experience of the reader and the writer. We will commence with an investigation into the psychology of reading and apply this framework to interactions with course readings. We will read works of fiction, explore the related historical record, and further consider the ethical implications of the often blurry relationship between fiction and truth through fieldwork. The term will culminate in the investigation of an historical event and the production and presentation of a creative work related to that event."

Barbara Fister will teach Books & Culture (NDL 105): "To read the news, you would think books and readers are on the brink of extinction. The National Endowment for the Arts warns that reading is in precipitous decline and numerous 'experts' say people in their teens and twenties have no interest in anything that isn't high tech. Yet more books are being published than ever before and the number of people using public libraries is at an all-time high. This course will explore books in contemporary culture, the book industry from writers to readers, the intellectual history of reading, and the future of the book."

Stay tuned for news of our Spring course offerings . . .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Peer Reference Tutors - and Longer Hours

We know that as busy as students are, they often can't really settle down to work on their papers until 9:00 pm or later And 10pm is when the librarians are yawning, hanging up the reference shingle, and heading to bed. (Okay, one of us is a night owl, but he's the exception to the rule.)

We're trying a new experiment. With the help of two talented student employees who volunteered to get some reference training and burn the midnight oil, we will be offering extended reference assistance from 10pm until midnight several evenings a week. Keep an eye out for our peer reference tutors who will be available to help out at the reference desk for a few extra hours, just when students need it the most.

photo courtesy of mortsan

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?

At the entrance to the library are security gates. Every book we own and equipment now too, are secured so that unless we desensitize items, the alarm (or beeping) will sound as you leave the building. Our items, books, computers, DVD’s, CD’s, etc., are precious to us. We want everyone to be able to use our resources, but responsibly, by checking things out at the circulation desk appropriately.

Should an item in your backpack trigger the alarm, kindly come back to the front desk and we will assist in figuring out what made the alarm sound. The Book Mark and many other stores place sensitized/magnetic strips into their items as well. It often isn’t compatible with our system so we will desensitize your textbooks so they won’t sound the alarm again.

Our final word is please don’t be alarmed by the alarm!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Open Access Week

We're coming to the end of the now-annual celebration of the Open Access movement. The idea of open access is that knowledge is most useful when it can be shared and is not behind barriers. As anyone who has done research in our library knows, there are limits to our collection, both print and online. Sharing among libraries helps, but even so we often run into situations where we need to pay a copyright permission fee to get an article in a journal we don't have. These can run up to $50 per article, so it's no small matter.

Open Access is a response to those barriers. To quote Peter Suber, who knows more about it than anyone, "Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder."

To support this movement, the library has recently begun adding open access books that fit our collection to our catalog. (If you encounter one of these, and think we should have a print copy available, let us know; we understand that reading long-form texts on paper has certain advantages). You will also find that journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals are included in our software that matches database references to actual articles. And as a department, the library adopted its own open access mandate a couple of years ago - being the first department at a liberal arts college to adopt such a mandate. Since then at least three liberal arts college faculties have adopted college-wide mandates - Trinity, Rollins, and Oberlin colleges. What this means is that the faculty involved will make every effort to make their research available to all, either through publishing in open access venues or through making sure they retain rights as authors to self-archive their work online.

A reminder to Gustavus faculty: though we do not have an official institutional repository for open research, the campus web team has added a handy feature to profiles that makes it easy to upload your work and make it available to the world - as simply as attaching a file to an e-mail message. If you aren't sure if a particular publisher allows self-archiving, check the Sherpa/Romeo database of publisher policies.

For examples of open access projects, see -

images courtesy of Bob Fornal and the Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Library Hours - Fall Break 2010

Library hours for Reading Days:
Friday Oct. 22: 8:00am-4:45pm;
Saturday, Oct. 23: 10:00am - 5:00pm;
Sunday, Oct. 24: 12:00pm - 6:00pm;
Monday, Oct. 25: 8:00am - 4:45pm;
Tuesday, Oct. 26: 8:00am - 1:00am

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fun facts: Interlibrary loan

Although you may have been the grateful recipient of an obscure dissertation borrowed through ILL from a library across the nation, you probably don't think about the lending side of ILL. What kinds of materials are being requested by other libraries from the Gustavus collection?

Our Scandinavian crime fiction has been enormously popular. Here's an example.

The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø has been in the Gustavus collection since April 2009. To date, it has circulated 13 times. Seven of those circulations have been to libraries out of state. The Redeemer has traveled to Wyoming, Vermont, Texas, New York, Maryland and was sent twice to Oregon.

In addition, between May 2009 and September 2010, we had to say "no" to thirty-four requests for this title from out-of-state libraries because it was already checked out!

As always, our interlibrary loan privileges with other institutions are dependent on "good behavior." Help us return material in a timely manner so we don't jeopardize those privileges. Questions? See the ILL page of the library website.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Used Book and VHS Sale

Stop by the library this week for our used books and VHS sale. Everything is only 50 cents! With a clearance sale on Friday, everything you can fit in a bag for $2.00.