Friday, December 13, 2013

Art Projects from Recycled Books

The idea of recycling or changing materials that are no longer used into new and more useful projects has gained in popularity in recent years. Although books are made up mostly of paper which can be recycled, it is often difficult to get recycling companies to take them because of the adhesives that are used for binding. This Fall semester the students in Dr. Joana Hyatt’s Art Foundations II class worked on this problem by using their creativity to design and make art projects out of worn and discarded books. They came up with some very original and creative projects that are now on display in the glass case at the entrance of the Al Harris Library.

Come visit the Library and see the variety of projects that are on display! Maybe you will get ideas for creating your own art projects from old books. Also, if you search the web, you will find images of many types of projects created from books.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Check Out the Audiobooks

When you are traveling over the holidays, there's nothing better than having the opportunity to enjoy listening to an audiobook. The Al Harris Library owns an extensive collection of audiobooks, and they are available for you to check out. Take a look at the collection of classics located in the small glass case that is southeast of the building's entrance. Any of these books can be checked out by asking for assistance at the Circulation Desk. Many more audiobooks are located on the shelves near the coffee machine at the south end of the library.

Check out something from the collection today and listen to an entertaining and informative book. This is a good way to take a break from your studies as the semester is reaching conclusion or as a great escape before the a new semester begins.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Film Franchises

The Al Harris Library is home to a diverse collection of television series and films. For the months of November and December, we have chosen to feature examples of famous film franchises.

Film franchises can represent well-crafted examples of escapist entertainment, or provide a well told narrative that is expanded and enriched with each additional installment. The best film franchises have been able to achieve both of these distinctions.

Films selected for this display are varied and encompass a wide range of genres including: Drama, Space Opera, Fantasy, and Cliffhanger Serials. These films have helped shape the cultural landscape of cinema and continue to be viewed for their unique contribution to film studies and film audiences.

Film Franchises represented in this display include:

  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • The Godfather Trilogy
  • The Star Wars Trilogies
  • The Indiana Jones Trilogy
  • The Harry Potter Saga
  • The Rocky Collection

Monday, November 18, 2013

The President Is Shot

On November 21, 1963, President John Kennedy flew to Texas to give several political speeches. The next day, as his car drove slowly past cheering crowds in Dallas, shots rang out. Kennedy was seriously wounded and died a short time later. Within a few hours of the shooting, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald and charged him with the murder. On November 24, another man, Jack Ruby, shot and killed Oswald, thus silencing the only person who could have offered more information about this tragic event. The Warren Commission was organized to investigate the assassination and to clarify the many questions which remained.

President Kennedy's death caused enormous sadness and grief among all Americans. Most people still remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington for the President's funeral, and millions throughout the world watched it on television.

As the years have gone by and other presidents have written their chapters in history, John Kennedy's brief time in office stands out in people's memories for his leadership, personality, and accomplishments.

Take a look at the books on the Kennedy display in the Al Harris Library and select something to read about the life and experiences of the president who was killed 50 years ago. Another excellent source of information about the man is the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

National Book Awards Finalists for 2013

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. 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. The event has now become the most important event on the literary calendar.

Today the National Book Awards are sponsored by the National Book Foundation and continue to recognize the best of both established and emerging writers. They recognize achievements in four genres: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The winners, selected by five-member, indpendent judging panels for each genre, receive a $10,000 cash award and a crystal sculpture.

The National Book Award Finalists are announced in October and the National Book Award Winners are announced in November. For more information on the National Book Awards, go to

Come check out the National Book Award Finalists display at the Al Harris Library! When the 2013 winners are announced on November 20, the display will be updated with winner information.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Emily Dickinson Archive

An open-access website for the Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson has just been made available for use by Houghton Library at Harvard University.
     The archive makes high-resolution images of Dickinson's surviving manuscripts available in open access, and provides readers with a website through which they can view images of manuscripts held in multiple libraries and archives.
     Only a handful of Dickinson's poems appeared in print during her lifetime and none under her own name; those few poems were sent to publishers by friends, and she did not have an opportunity to review them before they were printed. At her death in 1886 Dickinson left behind a wealth of writings that had never been printed: hundreds of manuscript poems in her personal effects, and hundreds more poems and letters sent to her correspondents.
     Dickinson’s manuscript page is the focus of Emily Dickinson Archive. A search of the full text or first line from a poem produces images of all the manuscript versions of the poem.

     This archive is an amazing resource that provides for scholars an opportunity to closely study the work of this great American poet.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Celebrating Our Freedom to Read

Many libraries, including the Al Harris Library, will be celebrating Banned Books Week and the freedom to read during the week of September 22-28. 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.  For more information on banned and challenged books, go to the American Library Association's web page on Banned and Challenged Books

Come to the Al Harris Library and see our display of just some of the hundreds of books that are banned or challenged in the United States each year.  Let's  celebrate our freedom to read! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Celebrating William Faulkner

Nobel Prize winning American author William Faulkner was born on September 24, 1897. This year we honor the 116th anniversary of his birth by paying tribute to his artistry as an award-winning author, teacher, and Southern gentleman.

During the years of 1957 and 1958, Faulkner served two terms as Balch Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia. Tapes of his lectures were recorded by two member of UVA's English department. With Faulkner's consent, the professors kept an audio record of the lectures. The result is our gain since we have access to this audio archive through a site called Faulkner at Virginia. In addition to the audio archive, the site includes essays, news articles, photographs, and other interesting materials related to the work of this great American author. All of these resources are available for exploration.
Take a look at the book on the display, Ledgers of History: William Faulkner, an Almost Forgotten Friendship, and an Antebellum Plantation Diary, written by Sally Wolffe.  Wolffe's book details a special friendship of Faulkner's with a fellow Mississippian named Dr. Edgar Wiggin Francisco, Jr. Dr. Francisco shared with his friend the content of the diaries of his great, great, grandfather, a pre-Civil War era plantation owner.  It is believed that significant ideas and characterizations from these diaries were used as source material for Faulkner's novels and short stories.

Take a look at the works of William Faulkner and appreciate his monumental genius and creative artistry.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.

Take a look at the collection of books written by Hispanic authors that are part of the display.  Find something to read and enjoy as part of this celebration.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Information Creation!

SWOSU Libraries is dedicated to providing our patrons with the best information available, but a library is not just about providing information, a library should also strive to help patrons produce their own creative and scholarly content.

To this end we have a number of digital cameras, video cameras, audio recorders, webcams and other equipment available to facilitate this goal. The devices in this display are available for check out. 

Just ask for assistance at the circulation desk!

In our media creation room we have many other devices that can be used within the library. These range from state of the art to the hard to find! This equipment includes: A flatbed scanner, a digitization scanner, 2 VHS to DVD recorders, a CD duplication unit, LP Record to CD recorders, Audio Cassette duplicators, and a typewriter.

If you are interested in creating a more involved media project requiring HD video creation or green screen photography, make an appointment for a session in our new Media Studio, located in the basement level of the Al Harris Library! 

Make an appointment to use the SWOSU Libraries Media Studio! 

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Read the World

One of the great pleasures of the written word is that it allows us to see, feel and experience worlds we may not know. The act of reading makes the unknown known and the strange familiar.  The authors represented in this month’s display come from Nigeria, Mongolia, St. Lucia, Mexico, India, Japan and Peru. On display are the works of Mario Vargas Llosa, Chimamanda Adichie, Nuruddin Farah, Jiang Rong, Derek Walcott & others.  They represent myriad voices, styles, translations, genders and nations. The books in this month’s display are a small sampling of the world literature available in the Al Harris Library. If there are commonalities that bind them all, they can be found in the writers’ shared love of story and belief in the power of language. 

Read the world, find yourself. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Salute to Our Military History

July is the month when we celebrate American independence and is an excellent time to take a look at some of the government resources that are part of our library’s collection of materials. The display focuses on resources that are related to the wars in which American soldiers have participated beginning with the American Revolution in 1775 and moving to the current War on Terror.

Many of the books that are part of the display are government documents.These materials have been integrated into our general collection, so they are available for check out.

Interestingly enough, a substantial portion of the government documents collection is available electronically and can be found by searching the online catalog. If you want to know more about the wars in which our soldiers have fought, search the catalog. There you will find books, videos, and electronic resources about our military heroes.

Monday, July 01, 2013

2013 International Year of Statistics

“2013 is the International Year of Statistics, a worldwide event supported by more than 2,000 organizations!

“You may be asking yourself, “Why celebrate statistics?” The short answer is because statistics have powerful and far-reaching effects on everyone, yet most people are unaware of their connection—from the foods they eat to the medicines they take—and how statistics improve their lives.

“The campaign’s primary objectives are to do the following:
•    Increase public awareness of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of society
•    Nurture statistics as a profession, especially among young people
•    Promote creativity and development in the sciences of probability and statistics”   For more information go to the following site:

Statistician Job Outlook

“The demand for statisticians is high and continues to grow significantly. The major driver of this growth is that our global society is becoming increasingly data-rich and data-dependent.”…

“And, there appears to be no apparent end to this growing need for statisticians, making it a solid and rewarding—both personally and financially—career choice for today’s secondary school and university students.“   For more information go to the following:

Library Book display

The Al Harris Library is celebrating the 2013 International Year of Statistics with a book display showing examples from our collection representing academic disciplines that use statistics, instruction books on the subject,  and  books containing statistical information.  The display is on the first floor of the Al Harris Library.  These and other books in the collection are available to be checked out.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Finding Your Way Government Directories

What is the value of print directories when information can be found using search engines or the search features on Web sites?

Directories are written and edited by individuals who draw upon their experience in government to produce entries for any given subject.  Search engine’s digital algorithms only return a mass of unevaluated sites for each subject.  The list-oriented structure of directories aid the reader by directing them to items about government entities and organizations.  This structure also facilitates browsing to related, but previously unknown information that is adjacent on the page. 

A good directory provides only the best and most pertinent information for a subject at the time of its publication.  While it is true that print publications cannot keep up with the infinite changes of the World Wide Web, the value of directories is the quality of the information they direct the reader to.  If the web address in the listing is no longer active, then the reader can still track useful information on the names of organizations and any subsequent data about them.

The Al Harris Library has directories in both digital and print formats.  See our display on the first floor of the library to examine some print examples of government directories.  The United States Government Internet Directory has an abundance of government web sites allowing you to explore previously unknown sites in the hidden web.   Other titles we recommend for viewing are:  Washington Information Directory, the State Information Directory, and the Parks Directory of the United States offering you ideas for the perfect vacation this summer.

Whether the topic of interest is government, business, or recreational directories are powerful tools for locating authoritative information, which have been vetted for accuracy.  In fact, these directories should be recognized as a neglected footpath that leads to self-empowerment and success.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Jacques Cousteau

Check out the newest display at the Al Harris Library on Jacques-Yves Cousteau.  The accomplishments of this man in any one arena dwarf those of most men.  He was a war hero, author of 50 books, creator of 120 films, and co-inventor of the SCUBA diving aparatus.    He was most known by the television series he produced from 1966 to 1994.  His most important accomplishment was simply making people aware of how man and pollution are increasingly damaging our fragile ecosystem.  All of the display books are available for you to take home and dive into!

Friday, April 12, 2013

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?  To celebrate National Library Week next week, April 14-20, the Al Harris Library is sponsoring a "Favorite Books of SWOSU Students, Faculty and Staff" exhibit and book discussion. 

If you would like to participate in this event, please submit the "Favorite Book" form at by Monday, April 15, at 5:00 p.m.  Your book and your comments on the book will be on display on the 1st floor of the Library.  The book discussion will be on Wednesday, April 17, 12:00-1:00 p.m. in Group Study Room #2 on the 2nd floor of the Library. 

Come and check out the books that are already on display!  Whether or not you submit a favorite book, we hope to see you at the Library next week for the book discussion.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shakespeare on Film

Shakespeare left behind 38 plays which have become a great source of material for filmmakers. There have been hundreds of adaptations, some modern with only the plot-line referenced, others traditional, and some that have taken great liberty in terms of both theme and style. What all have in common is the rooted notion that Shakespeare’s works, across the centuries, are engaged with questions still asked about what it means to be human. Tragedy, comedy, humor and pathos, all can be found in the plays and films of William Shakespeare now on display at the Al Harris Library.  

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as the beloved Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904, so

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss, what wondrous worlds your books introduce!

Dr. Seuss is the author of forty-six books, including the Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

In addition to the books, his works have provided the source for eleven children’s television specials, a Broadway musical, and feature-length motion pictures. His honors include two Academy Awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award, and the Pulitzer Prize.  As he wrote in his book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, great achievement is possible:

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!” 

Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday by taking a look at the book display near the entrance to the library.  You will see the wondrous worlds his books introduce.

Friday, March 01, 2013

The Human Genome Project and Innovation

During the 1950s, scientists James Watson and Francis Crick discovered that the structure of DNA was the double helix.  Their discovery led, in the 1990s, to the creation of the Human Genome Project.  The mission of this massive international collaboration of laboratories was to map the human genome, the sequence of 3 billion chemical base-pairs.  In 2003 an outline of the human genome was completed.  Yet, there is till plenty of on-going research.

The work of the Human Genome Project has redefined the direction of pharmaceutical drug development.  Food is now engineered.  And, the entertainment world has produced movies exploring the social consequences of genetic tampering in Jurassic Park, Gattaca, and The 6th Day.

The Al Harris Library currently has a display of books about the Human Genome Project near the circulation desk.  These represent only a sample of available information about the Human Genome Project, DNA, and issues resulting from both.  All of the books are available for check out.  Articles about the project can be found in databases such as Today's Science and Issues and Controversies.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy 200th Anniversary!

Jane Austen began writing the novel which later became Pride and Prejudice in October of 1796 and finished it by August of the following year; she was twenty-one years old. Little is known of this early version of the story beyond its original title:  First Impressions. No copy of that original is known to exist.  Three months after Miss Austen completed work on the book, her father offered it to a publisher in the hope that it would make it into print.  The publisher refused without ever having seen the manuscript.

Fortunately for all of her admirers, whether Austen was discouraged or not by her first rejection, she continued to write; though, it was not until the winter of 1811, fourteen years after finishing First Impressions, that she again picked up that manuscript and began revising it into the version we know today as Pride and Prejudice. This occurred in the wake of her first publishing success--  her novel Sense and Sensibility was published 30 October 1811.  Pride and Prejudice was far more fortunate than its earlier incarnation; it was accepted for publication and was presented to the world on 28 January 1813.

The works of Jane Austen continue inspiring other authors and many devoted fans.  You can view a list of Austen-inspired titles at goodreads:

Visit the Pride and Prejudice display at the Al Harris Library and examine many resources that are related to Austen's great work.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A young boy grows up in a time of segregation and is moved by destiny into leadership of the modern civil rights movement.  This young boy was Martin Luther King, Jr.

During his lifetime, King demonstrated his abilities as a leader. He was an American clergyman, an activist, and a prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.  He authored five major books and hundreds of articles and speeches. His principal accomplishment was to raise the hopes of Black Americans and to bind them in effective direct-action campaigns that advanced civil rights by using nonviolent civil disobedience.

The theme of nonviolence that runs throughout his career left a decisive mark on American and world history. King's dream of a peaceful world has inspired many. His activism played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation. He was also a major voice in the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the age of thirty-five, he became the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers, he was assassinated. The work he courageously began was then left for others to continue.

In 1983, Congress passed a law designating the third Monday in January a national holiday in his honor. Dr. King's legacy can be celebrated by participation in a National Day of Service.  No matter where people are in America, they have an opportunity to join this effort and serve their communities.

Visit National Day of Service website for more information. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Octavia Butler: Genius Writer

Octavia Butler (b. 22 June 1947 – d. 24 February 2006), is an American science-fiction author. Ms. Butler was one of the most thoughtful authors of her time. One of the few black writers in the science-fiction field, she took full advantage of the speculative freedom that the genre allows writers to explore her interest in sociology, biology, race relations, American history, and the future of humanity. The first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, Ms. Butler was outspoken advocate for imaginative and speculative fiction. Listen to an interview with Octavia Butler and visit the library to view her display and find  available works, here at the Al Harris Library.