Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Exam Prep: It's Never Too Early!

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Whether you study weeks in advance or cram the night before an exam, one of the most effective ways to study is by using flashcards! Check out this infographic to see why flashcards work and how to use them effectively!

If pen and paper aren't your thing, check out Quizlet, a FREE online flashcard creator. Here, you can create flashcards about virtually anything and Quizlet automatically generates tests and study games from your flashcards! Quizlet allows users to import images, data sets, and use multiple languages in their flashcards and provides standard definitions or answers for thousands of terms and concepts!

Quizlet is also available on your mobile devices for free! Download the iOS or Android app to study anywhere!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The 'Terrible Swift Sword' of the Depression: Enter John Steinbeck

The year 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath.  The book won the National Book Award in 1939 and, a year later, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.  Many Americans only know this great American classic because of John Ford’s 1940 film that starred Henry Fonda as Tom Joad.

The book has inspired folk songs, theatrical adaptations, the film, and much discussion.   Steinbeck’s title is taken from Revelations 14:19 and the 1861 song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  It provides a symbolic connection with the story as Steinbeck moves his characters to “the promised land” of California. This movement provides an excellent connection because the author created The Grapes of Wrath to focus on economic exploitation in Depression-era California.

As a result, the book angered and moved Americans when it appeared in 1939 and has since remained one of the most widely debated novels in American letters. It has been called “painstakingly accurate, utterly false, obscene, utopian, apolitical, and profoundly political.” When it was written, the text brought about questions regarding the apparent failure of the American Dream.  It was banned from schools and libraries in Steinbeck’s home county of Salinas California  until 1941.

The Grapes of Wrath leaves us with much to discuss and consider regarding the events of the Depression.  Come by the library to examine the display and take a look at the resources that relate to Steinbeck and his work as well as resources about the Great Depression in America.  Check out one of these resources and discover that there is much to be learned from the events of America’s past.

Friday, November 07, 2014

National Book Awards Finalists

Sponsored by the National Book Foundation, the National Book Award winners are selected in four categories:  Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature.  This annual award began in 1950 when a consortium of book publishing groups sponsored the 1st annual National Book Awards Ceremony and  Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.  The goal was to enhance the public's awareness of exceptional books written by fellow Americans and to increase the popularity of reading in general. 

On October 15th, the National Book Award finalists for each category were announced, and the winners will be announced on November 19th.  If you would like to find out more about the National Book Awards or if you want to watch the awards ceremony live on November 19th, please go to

Come and check out the National Book Award Finalists display at the Al Harris Library and see if you can predict the winners!  The display will be updated with winner information when it becomes available. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead also called "Dia de los Muertos," is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and Latin America. The Day of the Dead is also celebrated in the United States and many cities like Dallas, San Francisco and Chicago, feature prominent parades and festivals. 
José Guadalupe Posada

November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, although it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. These dates correspond with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. This correspondence results from the Catholic Church's efforts to "find similarities between the indigenous and Christian beliefs." This celebration has a complex history that has been transformed through the years.

 Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) is a lasting symbol of the Day of the Dead. His skeletal folk art and political satire combined perfectly to express the attitudes of working class Mexican people. Come by the library this late October to see Posada’s work on display as well as our collection of films and books celebrating the Day of the Dead.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Break--A Good Time to Read for Fun

It's almost Fall Break, so what better time to read a good book? Check out the young adult fiction display to see many great books that won't take you long to read.  Take a trip to Terabithia, join Harry Potter at Hogwarts, visit Narnia, check out the heroes of Olympus with Percy Jackson, or solve mysteries with Theodore Boone.  There are many locations to explore and lots of interesting characters to meet by reading one of these books.

You may not be able to travel far during the break, but you will have the opportunity to visit great places by reading young adult fiction.  All of the titles on the display and many others are available for your reading pleasure at the Al Harris Library.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week 2014

Many libraries, including the Al Harris Library, will be celebrating Banned Books Week and the freedom to read during the week of September 21-27.   Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.  Hundreds of books are challenged or removed from libraries in the United States each year.  

More information on banned/challenged books can be found on the American Library Association's frequently challenged books pages.

We hope you will come by the Library and see our display of just some of the hundreds of books that have been banned or challenged over the years.

Let's celebrate our freedom to read! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fall: It's Football Season

American, or gridiron, football was developed by the elite, east coast universities in the 1800s. The first intercollegiate game was played in 1869 between Princeton and Rutgers. Since that time, football games take place at universities all over the country during the fall semester. Many adaptations and rule changes have occurred over the years as the sport has become more popular.It was in the 1920s that college football became recognized as “America’s greatest sporting spectacle.” Based upon the nature of the competition, the architecture of football stadiums was created in the style of Greek stadiums and the Roman Colosseum.

Interestingly enough, college football has become known for the inclusion of bands and cheerleaders, pep rallies, bonfires, cookouts and tailgating, homecoming events, and alumni reunions as much as for the athletic thrills of the competition. Because of the involvement of many members of the student population, it is a ritual that is important in many ways to many people.

Football season is a great time to look at information about the sport, so stop by the display near the front door of the Al Harris Library to examine and check out the books about this American game.

While you are here on campus, enjoy a trip to Fast Lane Field and watch the Bulldogs in action!