Dog Nights Return!

The Pet Partners therapy dogs will be here again this semester on Thursday, December 1st and Tuesday, December 6th from 6-9 pm. Join us in the library for some finals week stress relief.  Also available will be a two mini horses!

Here are just a few of the reasons why you should join us:

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Someone knows how to relax.

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Dually is the softest boy in town!

Look at this face!

Look at this face!

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We will have two mini-horses this time!

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JSTOR – another way to find articles

Sometimes you need information on a subject that is very specific, and you don’t want to be overwhelmed with the total number of results you get from OneSearch, the library’s main search engine. We offer very many databases specific to all areas of study. Perhaps you’re a secondary education major with a math focus and you need to learn the history of multiplication tables.

First, begin by going to our home page and finding the subject specific link under the OneSearch tab.

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This will take you to a selection of subjects to pick from. I have chosen Mathematics because I want to know about multiplication tables.

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After you have chosen a subject, you are directed to a page with databases that are appropriate for the subject you are searching. JSTOR is a great resource for a multitude of subjects, including mathematics

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After we have selected the database we’d like to use, in our case JSTOR, it will take us to a page like this. I have entered the title “multiplication tables” into s the search field as shown by the red rectangle. If you want your search to find the term “multiplication tables” together as a phrase it is imperative that you put it in quotation marks.  Otherwise the search will retrieve results that have the two words, but not necessarily together as a phrase.

You may also choose what kind of materials you’d like to search as marked by green X’s. You can also choose a range of dates to get the most recent articles.

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Underneath the search fields, there are subjects. You can check any of the boxes to make your search subject specific. In our case, as showcased by the purple arrow, I have chosen mathmatics.

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Once you enter your search, you can choose if you want relevancy, newest, or oldest, for your order. I have chosen the first article shown by relevancy.

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After choosing my article, I have lots of choices. It’s very convenient to read articles on JSTOR because they are organized well. You can down load the PDF version of an article for easy reading as shown by the blue arrow. The PDF version appears exactly like the print copy of the article. It also makes it easier to access and gives you the ability to print. It’s easy to flip to the previous article or the next one as shown by the lime green rectangle. With JSTOR, citations just become the easiest thing in the world. With the click of a button, you can have a citation made up for you. The article appears below the review as shown by the black arrow. The articles vary on length.

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JSTOR is just one of our many data bases that we offer for research. Depending on the subject, there may be a more specific data base for your research. JSTOR is a good database for subject specific or general information. If you ever need help with research, be sure to chat, email, call, or stop by the library.

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Book Review: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Rating: 4/5

This is not a happy story. “The Bell Jar” does not leave you feeling uplifted, or inspired, or really much of anything at all. It honestly was a book that left me feeling numb. Sylvia Plath writes so that the reader can look through her eyes as she goes through the trials of being a woman suffering from mental illness the 1960s. She approaches the story with stark honesty, holding nothing back in a brutal examination of the progression of life events.

This is a book that I would suggest to anyone wanting to gain insight on mental illness or perspective on the time period. If you are looking for a light read however, this is the wrong book for you.

The plot is based on a semi-autobiographical account of the author’s life before, during and after her first suicide attempt. What makes this book so important is the history behind it because when looking at what transpired shortly after the book’s publication, there is an aspect where Plath foreshadowed her own death. Plath published “The Bell Jar” in London in January 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. In February of that year, Plath succeeded in her second attempt at suicide at age 31.

“The Bell Jar” takes us back in time, telling her story about the end of her college year. The first part begins with Esther Greenwood, a high achieving college student from Massachusetts, living in New York to work on a magazine for a month as an intern guest editor. Esther and eleven other college girls live in a women’s hotel. While living in New York, Esther goes through many different experiences and views her fellow student interns with some distance. She explores what her choice drink would be at a bar while trying to forget Buddy Willard, her college boyfriend who is recovering from tuberculosis in a sanitarium. Buddy wants to marry Esther when he regains his health.

But, Buddy does not understand Esther’s desire to write poetry, and when he confesses to something he did, Esther decides that she cannot marry him and sets out to lose her virginity, approaching the issue as if it is simply something to get over with.

There is a distinct change in the story when Esther comes home from New York. This is where her life starts to spiral and every event leading up to her attempted suicide comes into bright focus. From here she goes through treatments that include shock therapy and an assortment of drugs. She is misdiagnosed and never truly recovers.

Again, “The Bell Jar” is not a happy book, but it does give the reader a very real perspective. Plath does a beautiful job of developing characters that mirror Esther, tying her story together with vivid imagery. She keeps you paying close attention to every interaction and event. Though Plath is a great poet, her only novel reflects a more blunt side to her writing. This is both a strength and a weakness to this book.

The bell jar that the book is titled after becomes becomes very apparent by the end. There is no satisfying conclusion, because it is an honest account. By the end, you are simply left repeating “I am, I am, I am.”

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Book Review: Germany: Memories of a Nation

Germany: Memories of a Nation by Neil MacGregor

“Anyone who wants to understand Germany should read this.”

-Antony Beevor

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Art Historian Neil MacGregor’s work, Germany: Memories of a Nation approaches the complexities of German history through the lens of monuments, memorials, artworks, and everyday objects.  In doing so, MacGregor sheds light on modern Germany’s cultural values forged in the wake of its complex past, which includes a time of advancement before and during the Renaissance, a time of darkness during the Nazi era and the Cold War, and modern times in which it holds the position of economic powerhouse and a leader in the EU.

MacGregor approaches the topic of German history in his work through six parts.  These parts explore topics such as the extent of German culture in Europe throughout history, which far surpasses its modern-day borders; the unifying factors in Germany, such as a common language and fairy-tales; the more complicated aspects of Germany’s past that affect German national identity to this day, such as the development of the German national flag and the recognition of Karl der Große (Charlemagne) as a great German; German-borne technological advancements, such as the printing press; Germany’s descent into darkness, including the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era; and finally, Germany’s attempts at reconciling with its past and forming a new national image.

In general, MacGregor offers an incredibly thorough and fair exploration of German history.  Virtually no aspects of the German past are glossed over.  However, Memories of a Nation is far from a dry read; MacGregor’s choice in quotes and explanations of complex issues within the German national memory are easy to comprehend.  Furthermore, MacGregor utilizes an abundance of large, colored photographs within his text to exemplify the most important themes within his work.  For example, in Chapter 8, “One Nation Under Goethe,” in which MacGregor explores the importance of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to the German national identity, MacGregor offers the reader photos of multiple illustrations of Goethe’s works created by German artists over time, as well as a photograph of a sculpture of Goethe, which greets visitors to Germany in the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

The combination of the above factors makes for an incredibly attractive read to both scholars of German Studies as well as the everyday person who may have a limited knowledge of German national history and culture.  My only criticism of Memories of a Nation is that MacGregor is sometimes a bit too idealistic in his exploration of cultural themes within Germany.  He tends to focus on artwork because of his profession, and as a result his depiction of the German psyche sometimes becomes too stylized.  Even taking that into account, I still have yet to find a more fair and detailed exploration of German history, and would therefore highly recommend Memories of a Nation to anyone who has any sort of curiosity about German culture and civilization.

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APA, MLA, Chicago Oh My: Style Guides from the Library!

Papers always seem to sneak up on you, mainly because you keep putting them off, saying “oh I’ve got a month.”  Once you finally start writing, the references always seem to be the thing that keeps you up late the night before the paper is due.

Don’t worry, we can help you with that!  We have quick guides to four of the main citation guides–APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian.  Starting on our homepage, look under User Guides (circled in red below), and pick the style you are required to use for your paper.

For most research papers in the social sciences, you’ll be required to use APA style so that’s what we’ll be working with.

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After you’ve selected your style guide, there will be a list. This list is filled with every citation you could possibly need.

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I’ve chosen to look up a book citation. As you can see underlined in purple, online and print books are cited differently.

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When you click the expand button next to the blue arrow, it will take you to a more detailed citation guide that shows you the correct format for that source.  Citations are very precise so make sure you are citing the correct item. Note, when you expand the page, you must scroll (as indicated by the yellow arrow) to reach the print citations.

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Although definite time savers, our quick-reference style guides still require you to manually create your own citations.  A faster way is to use free reference manager like Zotero, which can import sources you find by using OneSearch and then create in-text citations and a reference list in MS Word all in a few clicks of your mouse.  Thousands of citation styles are available through Zotero.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to stop by or contact us!

 

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Check out the library’s touch screen scanner!

We have a easy-to-use new scanner in the library!

This touch screen machine will send scans straight to the printer, email,  and flash drives, or you can download files directly to your smart device! It has two features, one for book scans (as shown by the green star in the image below) and one for paper scans using the automatic document feeder (as shown by the yellow X) . The automatic document feeder also has a special slot for driver licenses or NMU ID cards.

The main scanning computer is circled in red. The bottom screen has the controls for the scanner and the top screen displays your scans. Lastly, the purple arrow shows the smart device dock, which serves a hot spot for you to download the files directly onto your laptop!

Easy as this scanner is to use, if you have questions please ask at the Public Services Desk or contact us through chat/phone.

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Book Review: Copper Sun

If You Want to See How Evil People Can Be…Read This Book!

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

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Rating: 4.0/5

Summary: Amari is a young black girl from a village in Africa. She has an easy life with her parents, younger brother and newly betrothed- Besa. It all changes one day when an Ashanti warrior brings “strange men with skin the color of goat’s milk”. Most of the people in the village are killed, while the young and healthy survivors are captured and taken to be slaves in America. This book follows Amari’s journey to the coast, to America and in slavery. She makes many friends and is the victim of horrible and heinous crimes.

This book is told from two perspectives: Amari and Polly- a young white indentured servant. The two are hesitant to trust each other at first, but certain circumstances force them together. They begin to understand each other in a way they didn’t before, especially Polly. At the beginning of the book, Polly was a pretentious snob, who turned up her nose to be working in the kitchen with slaves. However, as she continues working with Teenie, Amari and Tidbit in the kitchen, she begins to form a family bond with all of them. She realizes that they are human too despite her preconceived notions.

Polly’s character development and arc was my favorite. I was intrigued by Polly’s character because the reader got to experience the psychological change her thoughts and perceptions went through. When Amari is whipped for dropping pie, Polly is disgusted and horrified. It was only a pie after all! I think that was a defining moment for Polly; she truly saw what slavery was and hated how powerless she was to stop it. The other thing I liked about Polly was her spirit; she didn’t buy into the crap that women aren’t supposed to read or have abilities besides childbearing. It was wonderful to see her change since I didn’t really like her at first.

Amari is a kind and gentle spirit. I enjoyed the alternating viewpoints, the contrast between the two girls made the story real. Amari’s softness was the perfect balance to Polly’s sharp tongue. The bond these girls end up developing made reading about their predicament even more heart wrenching. It was amazing how brave and courageous they both were, especially Amari. She kept her hope in the face of terrible circumstances and it was truly inspiring.

The writing in this book is very easy to understand and I flew through the book. Amari’s parts can be a little more difficult than Polly’s since she’s still learning English, but they are still beautifully written. The other part of this book I appreciated was the amount of research that Draper put into making it. It’s not as apparent when you read the story perhaps, but after glancing at her website you realize it’s astounding. Draper has truly outdone herself with the care and craft she put into Copper Sun. Overall, a wonderful though saddening read.

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Reserve your own study room

Finals will be here soon and the demand for study rooms rises even higher than normal.  There will be room reservations back to back to back, so please remember when your time is up, vacate the room.  Have you ever waited at the desk for someone to return the key because they forgot their time was up?  Don’t be that someone.

The conference rooms policy is here.  Some timely gems from the policy are:

  • Rooms may be reserved up to two weeks in advance for a maximum of two hours per day. 
  • Room reservations are guaranteed for only the first 15 minutes of the reserved time block.
  • You (or someone in your group) will need your Wildcat Express card to check out keys and markers.

The nice thing is you can reserve your own room from the library homepage!  Click on the link at the bottom right of the library homepage, enter your NMU ID and password, pick the day and time you need, and enter the required info.

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Book Review: The Glass Castle

I Really Wanted to Punch Her Parents… A Lot

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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Rating: 3.5/5

Summary: This is the memoir of Jeannette Walls and her dysfunctional family. She has a very unorthodox childhood, which some may call negligence or even abuse on her parent’s part. It’s the story of how one can lose faith in people after so many defeats. But it’s also the story of how perseverance and determination can get you out of a tough situation. So many things happened in this book, it’s tough to nail down exactly what to say. It’s unlike any story I’ve read and I liked it and hated it for that reason.

This book was good. It is amazingly written and has a solid flow. The story came alive for me, I could imagine living under the stars in the desert to the falling apart shack in Welch. The reason I gave it three stars is because of the parents. I was so frustrated with some of the things they did and said. Especially her mother, I was just so upset. I realized that she didn’t have it easy, being married to an alcoholic, but at the same time I was so irritated with her complacency. She wouldn’t leave him and she didn’t really want to help her kids either. She did try a couple times, but still I wanted her to do more.

To be fair, this wasn’t all bad times. They had some really good times together as a family, but a lot of the time the negative outweighed the positive. I think it took a lot of courage to publish this story and I applaud Jeannette for having the courage to do so. I kind of want to slam her parents some more, but that probably happens a lot, so I’m going to rein in on it. Her parents aren’t all bad, just like most people aren’t all good or bad. I always had this hope that maybe her father would get into the field of physics. He seemed so intelligent and passionate about it, he would’ve made for a great professor.

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Walls brings up this great childhood dream of the glass castle time and time again.  I loved the metaphor it made and the way she explores it allows for the reader to dive deeper and come to their own conclusions about other meanings of the glass castle. For me, the glass castle was the kid’s’ fantasy where everything was perfect and they didn’t have to worry about anything. Unfortunately, their fantasy comes crashing down, when they realize their father can’t change his alcoholic ways.

I resonated with Jeannette as being the middle child, but also for being kind of a leader. She looked out for her family and was her father’s keeper at times. My family has its problems and I’m usually the middle ground person. I also loved how dedicated she was to her studies and keeping her family fed and ultimately planning to get out. I also loved Lori for her weirdness. I was shouting in my mind “Yes! Be unique, I love it!” This story was full of unique characters and some of them I loved and some I hated.

All in all, I really enjoyed this story. I listened to part of it while cooking and read the rest of it. I believe Jeannette herself tells her own story and it gives it a credibility and nuance that another reader wouldn’t be able to. Her voice is soothing yet she can still deliver the exuberance of a small child. This book will test your patience, but I think it’s worth it because at the end you’re left thinking “wow what an amazing story it packs”.

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Book Review: Unwind

“Killing” Kids is Only Okay Between the Ages of 13-18

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
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Rating: 5/5

Summary: Unwind is a tale of post-war dystopian America, where the dusts of the Heartland war have finally settled and abortion has been outlawed. To replace it, parents can retroactively “abort” a child between the ages of 13-18, by unwinding them. This process allows the child to technically go on living, but in a “divided state” and so they’re basically dead if you want to get the gist. There are three main characters: Connor, Risa and Lev. They are each to be unwound, but for separate reasons. Connor is a disrespectful and disobedient teen, Risa is a state ward that can no longer be funded, and Lev is a religious tithe from his family.

Connor is kind of a loose cannon at the beginning of this book; however, his character does mature quite a bit through the story and he becomes a legend and head of the rebellion against unwinding. Risa is the voice of reason in this piece for the most part. She is the calm, intelligent one; she brings Connor back from the brink of many fights and teaches him how to analyze a situation and determine the best course of action before charging in headfirst. Lev is just Lev, he is so hard to describe because of the deep and mind altering things that happen to him. If anything, Lev is a symbol of anarchy. I don’t want to give anything away, but Lev goes from this innocent and naïve little kid to the disturbed and angsty preteen everyone loves to stereotype.

I love this book for many reasons. One is the political statement I believe it makes. Another is the characters and what they go through. It’s amazing to see how bad their situation is and how they find the determination to not only survive, but try to help others (maybe not intentionally at first). Also, Risa and Connor have this super cute relationship thing that develops and it’s just so cute; so points for that!

I would recommend this book to anyone who can think critically. Seriously, everyone should read this book, it’s that amazing. I can’t wait to finish Unwholly and the rest of the series.

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