Wednesday, December 05, 2012

What is a Hobbit?

hobbit [hä-bət] noun
  1. a member of a race of imaginary creatures related to and resembling humans, living in underground holes and characterized by their good nature, diminutive size, and hairy feet
  2. a nickname for Homo floresiensis
synonyms -  little people (region of Bree), halfling, shirefolk

Well to answer this question more succinctly, maybe a first-hand visit might be in order. On December 14, the doorway reopens to Middle Earth which brings the J. R. R. Tolkien novel, The Hobbit, to movie theaters everywhere. This story follows Bilbo Baggins and his adventures with Gandalf the Grey and a company of dwarves to retake the Lonely Mountain now inhabited by a dragon. As seen in glimpses in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bilbo crosses paths with Gollum and the ring of power.

To see the story unfold, you can see it in theaters on December 14th or you can read the story in the SWOSU Libraries. A Tolkien display is now up in the library that allows you to read or watch the story of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Along with these stories, other materials are included on the display if you are interested in the details of the backstory, Tolkien studies or criticisms.

To celebrate the adaptation to the big screen, the SWOSU Libraries is sponsoring a movie poster giveaway. On the library display, you can find a contest form - there are no restrictions on how many times you can enter your name. There are five movie posters for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey up for grabs. Winners will be announced Friday afternoon at 3:00pm, December 14th. Good luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

National Book Award Winners!

The winners of the National Book Awards were announced last night in New York City. The winners are:

Fiction: Louise Erdrich. The Round House (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Non-Fiction: Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Random House)
Poetry: David Ferry. Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press)
Young People’s Literature: William Alexander, Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)

Click here for a complete list of winners with a link to interviews of the winning authors. Also, come to the Al Harris Library to check out our display of National Book Award winners and finalists. 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Finalists for 2012 National Book Awards

                                   Come check out the National Book Award Finalists display at the Al Harris Library! When the 2012 winners are announced on November 14, the display will be updated with winner information.

Sponsored by the National Book Foundation, the National Book Award winners are selected in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature. The National Book 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. Their goal was to enhance the public's awareness of exceptional books written by fellow Americans and to increase the popularity of reading in general. For more information on the National Book Awards, go to

Friday, November 02, 2012

Remember, Remember! The fifth of November!

V for Vendetta
The Al Harris Library is home to a diverse collection of graphic novels and related films. To coincide with November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day, we have chosen to feature the graphic novel V for Vendetta, by writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd.

V for Vendetta tells the story of a vigilante seeking revenge against an oppressive government that is set within a dystopian future. The story, although fictional, borrows liberally from the historical figure of Guy Fawkes, who along with thirteen co-conspirators, attempted to blow up the English Houses of Parliament in 1605.

Moore uses the construct of the vigilante revenge tale to effectively provide not only an exciting work of populist fiction, but also a politically charged tale of fascism versus anarchy. It also provides a political critique of former English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and what Moore interpreted as the failings of England’s political environment and domestic policy during her administration.

To check out this graphic novel, or any of the associated books or media in the front display case, just ask for assistance at the circulation desk!
Guy Fawkes:
A Complete History of the Gunpowder Treason
For further information on Guy Fawkes and the history of the Gunpowder Treason, please consult Guy Fawkes: A Complete History of the Gunpowder Treason, by Rev. Thomas Lathbury, M.A. - A concise non-fictional history of the Gunpowder Treason that attempts to assemble all available information on the subject from various historical perspectives.

Available as a digital textbook via Ebrary.

Click Here to Access Book.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...

In Flanders Fields
by Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Honoring Our Veterans

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Democrats and Republicans

Both the Democratic and the Republican National Conventions are now over, campaigning by the presidential candidates from the two major parties is in full swing, and the General Election will be held on November 6. So in a few weeks, we will need to decide which candidate will get our vote. Would you like to know more about the history of the Democratic and Republican parties? The Al Harris Library has several resources on the histories of the two parties and how they evolved into what they are today.

The American party system was born in the policy conflicts between the followers of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson during Washington’s presidency, but the Republican party is the younger of the two major parties. Although the definitions of Republican and Democrat have changed over the years, a two-party system has always flourished in the United States.

Come check out the two displays of the Democrats and Republicans at the Library! Become informed and remember to vote on November 6!

For more information about the Republicans and the Republican Convention, see For more information about the Democrats and the Democratic Convention, see

Thursday, July 12, 2012

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

For more than 200 years, the White House has been more than just the home of the Presidents of the United States and their families. Throughout the world, it is recognized as the symbol of the President, of the President's administration, and of the United States.

On November 1, 1800, John Adams and his wife Abigail were the first family to take up residence at the White House, a then unfinished building in the heart of Washington, D.C. Since that time, each President has made his own changes and additions to the facility. The White House is, after all, the President's private home. It is also the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge.

Throughout its history, the President's residence was also referred to as the President's Palace, the President's House, and the Executive Mansion. The popular designation "White House" did not become official until 1901, when Theodore Roosevelt had the name engraved on his stationery.

Some interesting details about the White House include: 
  • The White House requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface. 
  • There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.
  • The White House grounds cover 18 acres. Before the construction of the North Portico, most public events were entered from the South Lawn, which was graded and planted by Thomas Jefferson.
  • With 5 full-time chefs, the White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d'oeuvres to more than 1,000.
  • For recreation, the White House has a variety of facilities available to its residents, including a tennis court, jogging track, swimming pool, movie theatre, and bowling lane.

This is your opportunity to take a quick trip to the White House. Visit the book display located by the front door of the library where a computer monitor is positioned. Use the computer to take the interactive tour of the White House and see what is inside. The virtual visit will give you a chance to look at the structure and visit the West Wing, Residence, East Wing, and South Lawn of this landmark dwelling place that becomes the home and work location for each President of the United States and the presidential family during the President's term of office.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Graphic Novel Display: The Dark Knight Rises

The Al Harris Library is home to a diverse collection of graphic novels. On July 20th,
The Dark Knight Rises 
premieres on the big screen. 

To coincide with the release of the final chapter in this contemporary trilogy of Batman films, we have collected some of the graphic novels in our collection that detail the history of DC Comics’ Dark Knight. These books served to inspire this film.
Batman debuted in Detective Comics #27 May 1939), created by writer, Bob Kane and artist, Bill Finger.

Although the concept has been modified, extrapolated and adapted into other media, the Batman mythos continues to evolve and serve as a reflection of the times.  

Please be advised, this display contains books that are representative of the serious, dark tone reflected in the newest films, and, as such, depict the Batman in an equally mature manner.

Feel free to check out any of these books!

Just ask the staff at the Circulation Desk for assistance.

Explore the Lives of Others Through Biography

Would you like to learn more about people who have in some way made changes to our world?  Reading a biography is a great way to find out more about the individuals who have influenced us. The Al Harris Library owns many books that have been written about the lives of people from different backgrounds, locations, fields of study, and various occupations. The books displayed are just a small sample of what is available for check out on the second floor of the library.  Videos and audiobooks are also available for you to check out and enjoy.
The display also provides a small sample of video resources that focus on the lives of others through both popular films and documentaries.  These examples include the popular films: Pollock, The Hiding Place, Tuskegee Airmen, and A Beautiful Mind along with clips from the documentaries: Woody Guthrie, Hoop Dreams, and Indians, Outlaws and Angie Debo.
As the summer continues, relax and experience a life of the past or the present by reading an interesting biography. It's a great way to enjoy a hot summer day.

Friday, June 29, 2012

You Love His Stories; You Just Don't Know It

Philip K. Dick android
Philip K. Dick android
For 30 years, movie lovers around the would have been enthralled by the wild imaginings of a writer most people have never heard of.  A dozen films, many of them mega-hits, have been based on his works.  The latest, to be released Aug. 3, 2012, is a remake of the movie "Total Recall" and starts Colin Farrell.

This author is Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), whose paranoiac visions of the near future inspired such films as "Blade Runner,"  "Minority Report," "A Scanner Darkly," and "The Adjustment Bureau."  Filmmakers regularly plunder his writings for movie plots, an indicator of the growing interest in the writing of PKD (as he is commonly known).

During his lifetime, PKD's reputation as a writer was little known beyond science fiction fans.  Since his death, however, not only have his ideas become part of American pop culture, but his writing has been discovered by a wide range of serious literary critics and academicians, who now place him among the top rank in American letters and literature.

The new Philip K. Dick Display at the Al Harris Library shows the award-winning science fiction novels for which he was known.  Also presented are the mainstream literary works written throughout his career that were rejected in favor of his science fiction.  Most were written during the 1950s and 1960s and  are urban tales about young men who are dissatisfied with their jobs and have disastrous love lives.  The fact that these works have been made available by publishers for the first time during the past few years is another indicator of PKD's increasing reputation as a great American  writer.

Also on display is the 2011 release of "The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick," a weighty reproduction of journal entries from the last eight years of the author's life in which he grapples to understand religious expriences he had during a three-month period in 1974.  This long-awaited work among PKD aficionados would not be available in print if the author's prestige was not on the rise.

The display also includes biographical and critical works about Philip K. Dick and his work.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Remembering Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury (Aug. 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012)
Ray Bradbury, recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91 after a long illness. He lived in Los Angeles.

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree.

Click here to see books by Ray Bradbury that are available from the SWOSU Libraries.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Graphic Novel Display: The Amazing Spider-Man

The Al Harris Library is home to a diverse collection of graphic novels. On July 3rd,
The Amazing Spider-Man will swing onto the big screen.

To coincide with the release of this new comic book adaptation from Columbia Pictures, we have collected some of the graphic novels in our collection that recount Spidey’s exciting adventures from the pages of MARVEL comics.

Although the concept has been modified, extrapolated and adapted into other media, the premise remains the same:

“With Great Power there must also come - Great Responsibility!”

Spider-Man debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August, 1962), created by writer, Stan Lee and artist, Steve Ditko.

The story of Peter Parker; his heroism, hardships and humanity, has endured and entertained for fifty years!

Feel free to check out any of these books!

Just ask the staff at the Circulation Desk for assistance.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Display of Books by Presidential Candidates

The presidential primaries are winding down to a close with the last one taking place at the end of June. Also, the Republican and Democratic conventions will be coming up at the end of the summer. The Republican Convention will take place August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida and the Democratic Convention will take place September 3-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information on the conventions, go to (Democratic) and

Would you like to find out more about the presidential candidates? Currently there is a display of books by presidential candidates located between the front doors at the Al Harris Library. Find out more about the presidential candidates that have made this election year an interesting one by checking out the resources in this display, as well as other resources available at the Library. Enjoy some good summer reading and become informed at the same time!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Get Caught Reading

Summer is just around the corner, and it’s a good time to read for pleasure. Our bulldog buddy Duke suggests you look at some of the great books we have in the Al Harris Library. Many of the books on the display were used as part of a new reading program called World Book Night. This program was successfully launched in the U.K. in 2011. World Book Night was also celebrated in the United States and Ireland for the first time in April 2012. It is anticipated that more countries will be joining the celebration in the future. Take a look at these great reads and be prepared to join the national celebration next year.
Of course, these are just a sample of the many books that are available for you to enjoy. Browse upstairs in the Al Harris Library for books you can check out, visit the audio book section on the first floor, or catch up with the ebooks that are available for downloading and reading electronically. Don’t forget that it is always a good thing to be Caught Reading!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Bestselling Books Made Into Movies

Reading the book or the watching the  movie....which do you prefer?  How many times have you read a book and thought it would make a great movie?  I generally prefer to read the book rather than see the movie adaptation.  I feel Hollywood seldom gets the translation from the pages to the screen correctly. One must remember that Hollywood has certain constraints and goals in turning a bestselling book into a movie.  Sometimes Hollywood rearranges or condenses the book's content and changes the story entirely.

I like how reading lets a person imagine the detail.  Watching makes the viewer see someone else's interpretation of the story.  Seeing another perspective can be interesting, but isn't nearly as entertaining as creating a world for yourself.

Was the novel The Help better than The Help movie (both available at the Al Harris Library)?  Was seeing the dinosaurs brought to life on the screen better than imagining the per-cretaceous era in the book, Jurassic Park?

Are there ever movie adaptions that surpass the book? Come by the Al Harris Library and see my display.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Graphic Novel Display: Avengers Assemble!

The Al Harris Library is home to a diverse collection of graphic novels. On May 4th, The Avengers featuring: Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye; will premiere on the big screen.

To coincide with the release of this blockbuster by Marvel Studios, we have assembled some of the graphic novels in our collection that feature those characters who comprise The Avengers.

The team debuted in The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963), using existing characters created primarily by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby.

Although the concept has been modified, extrapolated and adapted into other media, the core group of characters has endured and remains as entertaining as ever!

Feel free to check out any of these books! Just ask the staff at the circulation desk for assistance.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Favorite Books Event to Celebrate National Library Week

Do you have a favorite book? One that inspired you, informed you, changed your perspective on a topic, or just entertained you? We invite you to tell us about your favorite book!

In celebration of National Library Week during April 8-14, the Al Harris Library is sponsoring an exhibit and book discussion titled "The Favorite Books of SWOSU Students, Faculty and Staff."

If you would like to participate, please submit the "My Favorite Book" form at by Tuesday, April 10. The book discussion will be on Thursday, April 12, 12:00-1:00 p.m. in Group Study Room #2 on 2nd floor of the Library.

Hope to see you at the Library!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The History of Washita Massacre

CATC President Henrietta Mann, President Randy Beutler and Dr. Sunu Kodumthara will be presenting on the history of the massacre that took place at the nationally recognized Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. The lectures will take place on the Weatherford Campus tonight - SCI-Science Room: 208 at 6pm.

The site protects and interprets the setting along the Washita River where Lt. Col. George A. Custer led the 7th U.S. Cavalry on a surprise dawn attack against the Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle on November 27, 1868.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Science Fiction Writer Philip K. Dick

March 2, 2012 was the 30th anniversary of the death of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. The work of PKD has had a growing influence upon fiction and movies throughout those 30 years. He lived long enough to see some of the daily takes for the movie "Blade Runner" but did not get to see the project completed and released.

Since "Blade Runner" a number of PKD titles have inspired big production movies. Most recently "Adjustment Bureau" has been in the theaters and "King of the Elves" will soon be released by Disney. More important than specific movie-makes of his works is the style of a PKD story that includes alternative realities, mutated beings, and paranoia. These elements have become a mainstay of contemporary movie making whether or not they are directly inspired by a work of PKD. "The 6th Day" is an excellent example.

The movies have contributed to the continuing interest in the novels and short stories of PKD. His body of work has finally managed to stay in print. Regard for his unique brand of story-telling has increased with each decade. At this point academic works are being written that give him credibility as an American literary figure.

The Al Harris Library has included the work of Philip K. Dick in its collection development. Among recent acquisitions are his mainstream novels written early in his career and abandoned upon repeated rejection. Some have only been available in print during the past few years.

Also, recently added is the 2011 publication of "The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick". This work is a portion of over 8,000 pages of personal journal entries that he wrote from 1974 until his death in 1982. He uses his own fiction as a springboard for grappling philosophically with events in his life. We have also included recent biographical and academic works about PKD.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Career Guidance For University Students

Graduation time is fast approaching and with it, the need for good, practical career advice.  Students should keep in mind the following concepts:  (1) Your first job out of college is not likely to be the same type of work as what you will do in 12 to 15 years, so be open to the excitement of change;  (2) What you think is so important, like making lots of money now, may well change in the future;  (3) If you are unsure of what to do, continuing in graduate or professional school may not be the best choice;  (4) Others will continue to have an impact on your job life, so do not "burn the bridges behind you" when you get or change jobs in the future; and, (5) Don't be discouraged if today's "job availability" is not what you desire when you graduate - Better days are coming.  Although these "tips" are not perfect, they may help you reduce future regrets about your career path and education choices.

In addition to job information, this display also includes books about resumes and interviewing techniques. Keep in mind the Career Services office at SWOSU, located @ STF 209.  The mission of Career Services is to provide services for all SWOSU students and alumni.  They will be glad to assist individuals in securing internships, summer work opportunities, and full-time employment.

The Grave of the Titanic

Apirl 15, 2012 will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

A webpage from The Gulf of Maine Research Institute describes: "At 11:40 PM on April 14, 1912, she struck an iceberg about 400 miles off Newfoundland, Canada. Although her crew had been warned about icebergs several times that evening by other ships navigating through that region, she was traveling at near top speed of about 20.5 knots when one grazed her side."

"Less than three hours later, the Titanic plunged to the bottom of the sea, taking more than 1500 people with her. Only a fraction of her passengers were saved. The world was stunned to learn of the fate of the unsinkable Titanic."

This horrific event has sparked many imaginations over the past century and inspired projects from disciplines as varied as: History, Fiction, Movies, Engineering, and Deep Sea Exploration. See our library display showing examples of books and movies available for you to check out on the subject of the Sinking of the Titanic.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spaghetti Westerns

There’s a man in the distance, at least it looks like a man. The heat coming off the desert floor makes it hard to be sure. The air is still, hot and oppressive. The only movement is a lone vulture circling high in a cobalt blue sky. There are three bodies on the ground, gunslingers, outlaws by the look of them. The man in the distance is vanishing as he rides further and further away. A lone trumpet sounds and the credits role...

Spaghetti Westerns are a genre of Western film that emerged in the mid-1960s, so named because most were produced and directed by Italians, usually in co-production with a Spanish partner and in some cases a German partner. They have become iconic symbols of an American Western History that never existed. It is one of the ironies of film production that we define ourselves through the vision and sensibilities of foreign directors, writers and film makers.

Learn more about Spaghetti Westerns through our interactive display at the Al Harris Library.

Monday, February 06, 2012

February is African American History Month

The library is showcasing the contributions of notable men and women in Black history. At our display, you notice a considerable amount of material highlighting the contribution of Martin Luther King Jr. including the video
Citizen King. Besides books, you will find bookmarks celebrating this month--the bookmarks are free to take.

With such a rich history, our library display can't possibly cover all the persons, events and topics related to Black history. Therefore, a link has been attached to the content generated by the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and the Smithsonian Institute.

The following excerpt from Daryl Michael Scott outlines the history of this month-long recognition:

As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson's death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all color on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year.

(Excerpt from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History)

from the Smithsonian Magazine,

In honor of this year's celebration, travel in Harriet Tubman’s footsteps and discover the daring escape from slavery of William and Ellen Craft. Read about the great musicians who performed at the legendary Apollo theater in Harlem, and learn about Black History Month celebrations at the Smithsonian and the around the country.

The Invisible Line Between Black and White

On the Trail of Harriet Tubman

Martin Luther King Jr. by Mural

The Great Escape from Slavery of Ellen and William Craft

Show Time at the Apollo

A Civil Rights Watershed in Biloxi, Mississippi

Courage at the Greensboro Lunch Counter

The Scurlock Studio: Picture of Prosperity

A Year of Hope for Joplin and Johnson

Memphis Blues, Mississippi Delta Roots

Henrietta Lacks' 'Immortal' Cells

Remembering the Apollo I Tragedy & History of the Apollo Missions

On January 27, 1967, tragedy struck the Apollo program when a flash fire occurred in command module 012 during a launch pad test of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle being prepared for the first piloted flight, the AS-204 mission. Three astronauts, Lt. Col. Virgil I. Grissom, a veteran of Mercury and Gemini missions; Lt. Col. Edward H. White, the astronaut who had performed the first United States extravehicular activity during the Gemini program; and Roger B. Chaffee, an astronaut preparing for his first space flight, died in this tragic accident.

A seven-member board, under the direction of the NASA Langley Research Center Director, Dr. Floyd L. Thompson, conducted a comprehensive investigation to pinpoint the cause of the fire. The final report, completed in April 1967 was subsequently submitted to the NASA Administrator. The report presented the results of the investigation and made specific recommendations that led to major design and engineering modifications, and revisions to test planning, test discipline, manufacturing processes and procedures, and quality control. With these changes, the overall safety of the command and service module and the lunar module was increased substantially. The AS-204 mission was redesignated Apollo I in honor of the crew.

--Information from the NASA History Program website

The anniversary of this tragedy which created some beneficial changes to the subsequent Apollo missions is something to be remembered now that the United States embarks on new territory of space exploration with the recent retirement of the space shuttle program. Regardless of the passage of time, the Apollo missions still have a profound impact on modern society. Hollywood, in particular, continues to revisit these moments in space aviation history in such films as Apollo 13 (starring Tom Hanks), Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (where the crew of Apollo 11 seemingly had an alternative agenda to undertake while on the moon), and the recent sci-fi thriller, Apollo 18 (a "what if..?" movie if the Apollo 18 mission had taken place, the Apoll0 18, 19, & 20 missions were scrapped for several possible reasons).

The library display has information on many of the Apollo missions and the forgotten astronauts who made history attempting or reaching the stars. Please visit our library display to enjoy a trip to NASA and pay your respects to the astronauts who gave their lives exploring a vast frontier.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Celebrate Charles Dickens' 200th Birthday on February 7th, 2012

This coming Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 the Royal Family of England will be throwing a huge bash to celebrate the 200th birthday of the writer Charles Dickens. A search on the internet for Charles Dickens' 200th birthday brings up an array of websites describing celebratory events to mark this anniversary by institutions of all types.

The novels of Charles Dickens have been read and loved by millions from his time to the present. His stories are models of popular writing still able to draw readers in and hold their attention. A Tale of Two Cities is arguably the the best popular novel ever written.

His stories are populated with memorable characters in unforgettable circumstances. Some of us would love to be able to forget Miss Havisham, caught aflame after wearing her wedding dress for decades, but the mental image is too stark to be forgotten.

His stories draw upon our sympathy for the poor and moral outrage with the inequalities of society. Dickens showed again and again that any of us can be dropped by fate from any height to the most desperate state of want. It was his ability to cause the reader to imagine the equal opportunity of misfortune that make his stories applicable to all in our imaginations and our hearts.

These are the sentiments expressed by websites dedicated to the celebration of Charles Dickens' 200th birthday. The work of Charles Dickens is important to our culture because of the qualities described. Almost from the very first publication of his earliest works to the present, his stories inspire us to want to enjoy them from the stage, radio and TV broadcasts, and movies.

This month the Al Harris Library has a display of Charles Dickens books and movies at the entry to the building. We encourage you to join in the celebration by reading Dickens or by watching an adaptation of one of his stories.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Osamu Tezuka and Manga ...

Manga is the form comics have evolved into throughout Asia, beginning in Japan. In Asia Manga is read so widely, by people of all ages and classes, that the Al Harris Library has purchased two Manga series to complement our growing collection of American graphic novels.

Both the Asian and American styles of graphic novels provide patrons with access to an art form that is important to the current generation of students, is significant to popular culture, and is garnering increasing interest in academic circles.

The two series, Buddha (8 volumes) and Phoenix (12 volumes), both written and drawn by Osamu Tezuka, are recognized as high achievements for the genre of Manga and the work of the man Osama Tezuka. Buddha is a multilayered story with beautiful graphics that dramatically show the cultural strains in ancient East Indian culture that led to the enlightenment of the Buddha, resulting in the Buddhist religion. Tezuka believed Phoenix was his greatest lifetime achievement. The series present stories of strife of various characters seeking immortality. These stories range in time from pre-history to the far future of 3,500 A.D.

An explanation of the significance of Manga and of Osamu Tezuka follows, from the “History of Manga” Web Pages from nmp-International:

“Contemporary manga traces its origins to a single genius -- that of Osamu Tezuka. In 1947 Tezuka took Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island as the inspiration for a manga version entitled New Treasure Island published in book form. Despite the miserable economic conditions of the immediate postwar (WWII) and the decimation of the publishing industry, this work became an immediate bestseller, selling 400,000 copies. At the time Tezuka was a nineteen-year-old medical student. New Treasure Island contained the germs of a new syntax for manga and had an enormous impact on a new generation of manga artists. Tezuka himself continued to produce manga until his death in 1989, authoring such popular works as Astro Boy.

“The decade following the war (WWII) saw the emergence of a great number of manga artists in addition to Tezuka, bringing about a veritable manga boom. Nonetheless, manga were still identified as a genre for children. But those who grew up reading manga were not able to kick the habit after reaching adulthood. This was the postwar generation, the manga generation. In their estimation of manga, the members of this generation came to experience a virtually irreparable rift with their elders. ...

“Around 1980 manga techniques began to show an even greater degree of refinement, and manga magazines acquired the breadth and diversity they still maintain today. Today's manga have emerged as a virtually omnipotent visual media, encompassing forms of entertainment from joke-books to melodrama to sci-fi, literary works from novels to travelogues, and manuals for educational and didactic purposes. As such, they have come to be enjoyed by people in all walks of life.”

For more about Osamu Tezuka and Manga see the display at the entrance to the Al Harris Library.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Desire2Learn and Campus Connect Update

Campus Connect is now part of the My SWOSU portal and Desire2Learn requires your DawgTag. See below for the details.

  • Campus Connect is now part of the My SWOSU portal. To login to your My SWOSU account, use the My SWOSU links on the SWOSU home page or at the bottom of pages on the SWOSU Libraries' web site.
  • Desire2Learn logins now require that you use your DawgTag as your username. Your password has not changed.
  • If you haven't been a SWOSU student since Jan. 1, 2011 and you're not enrolled for an upcoming semester, your Desire2Learn account will be deleted.

If you have questions about any of these changes, please contact the ITS Help Desk at (580)774-7070.