Friday, August 24, 2012

Creatures of Habit

Last night after work I plopped myself down exhausted from a long day at work, and there were my two dogs sitting in front of me staring, waiting anxiously for me to take them on their daily run. I told them I was tired and there would be no run today. The 90 pound shepherd put her big paw on my arm and looked at me with those big brown eyes as if to say,"but we do this EVERY day, same time, same place!" My little terrier just kept jumping up and down trying to get me up out of my chair. I was determined to stand my ground. I was tired and didn't want to go for a walk. I was prepared to just give them their dinner and go take a bath. I opened the back door to get their food, and zoom, out the door they flew. They were going for their run regardless of how I felt about it. But I fooled them. I went straight for their food dishes, and they just looked at me with confusion. Then I added a little gravy to the dry chunks of food. They slowly returned to the house with their heads hanging. But once they tasted the gravy laden chunks, they were happy dogs, wolfing down their dinner. The daily run was forgotten. They are creatures of habit, they have a routine, and they don't like change, even if that change might provide a tastier outcome.

We are all creatures of habit. I remember a few years back when students came to the library to do internet research, they went immediately to Wikipedia. Now it's Google. Sure, its easy to search these sites, but how reliable are they? Who put these sources out there? How credible are they really? I must admit I am guilty as well of rushing to these sites when I'm in a hurry or need a quick answer. However, when it comes to research or term papers, it's my job as a reference librarian, to provide students and patrons with good reliable sources.

There are so many reference databases available that it can be overwhelming. I love Ebsco. I eagerly send college students to Academic Search Premier for journal articles. I send high school students to Masterfile for general interest articles, and I run to Novelist for readers advisory to help someone find the perfect book to read. All of these are available through MAGNOLIA, an extensive online research tool provided to public libraries by our State Legislature. When school started this month, I went back into MAGNOLIA to refresh my memory and see what's new in this HUGE database. I caught myself heading right back to the old tried and true Ebsco. However, I looked just below and saw Credo. I knew it was a reference database but never really spent much time in there. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. After seeing what it had to offer. All I can say is WOW, I never knew!

Now, this may not be something a reference librarian should be admitting, but I am a creature of habit and don't like stepping out of my comfort zone. But I did, and I found a great source that I plan to use and recommend to my students as another resource tool to help them succeed in school. So let me tell you a bit about what I found.

CredoReference provides an online reference collection that includes hundreds of encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, biographies, quotations,and even a crossword solver. All information is provided by reputable associations and research libraries, and it's easy to use. There are over 3 million full text entries in 601 reference books. You can search for images as well. The best part of all; Credo also provides proper online database citation for all the major formats. These are just a few of the tidbits of exciting information I was able to glean in the short time I spent in CredoReference.

Well, I certainly learned my lesson, and I intend to step out of my comfort zone and be less of a creature of habit and enjoy the tasty rewards it provides. If you would like to know more about Credo, Ebsco, or the other useful research tools found in MAGNOLIA stop by the library and ask for the new and improved reference librarian.

By the way, my dogs still got to run, after my bath!

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Books for August


Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz.  Odd Thomas, who can communicate with the dead, explores the mysteries of an old estate now owned by a billionaire.

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin.  A woman's successful life is disrupted by the appearance of an 18-year-old girl with a link to her past.

Friends Forever by Danielle Steel.  Three boys and two girls who meet in kindergarten maintain their bonds as they grow to adulthood.

Black List by Brad Thor.  If the counter terrorism operative Scot Harvath can discover who targeted him for death, he can prevent a terrorist attack.

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva.  Gabriel Allon, an art restorer and occasional spy for the Israeli secret service, discovers a global criminal enterprise behind a murder at the Vatican.

I, Michael Bennett by James Patterson.  A New York detective takes refuge with his 10 children in an upstate cabin.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness.  An Oxford scholar/witch and a vampire geneticist pursue history, secrets and each other in Elizabethan London.

Broken Harbor by Tana French.  A Dublin murder squad detective's investigation of a crime in a seaside town evokes memories of his hard childhood there.

Creole Belle by James Lee Burke.  The Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux hunts for a missing Cajun singer.

Haven by Kay Hooper.  The FBI agent Noah Bishop and his special crimes unit help two sisters probe the secrets of a North Carolina town.

Judgement Call by J A Jance.  Joanna Brady, an Arizona sheriff, must function as both a law officer and a mother when her daughter's high school principal is murdered.


Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz.  Draws on the iconic culinary figure's personal diaries and letters to present a one hundredth birthday commemoration that offers insight into her  role in shaping women's views and influencing American approaches to cooking.

Double Cross: The True Story of the D Day Spies by Ben MacIntyre.  Traces the sophisticated D Day operation through which extraordinary spies deceived the Nazis about the location of the Allied attack, profiling the successful Double Cross System and the remarkable individuals who used the program to save thousands of lives.

War on the Waters: the Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865 by James McPherson.  Recounts the naval campaigns of the Civil War, discussing the daring and innovation of the Confederate navy in sinking Union shops, and the Union navy's blockade of the Confederate coast and victories in some of the war's most strategic battles.


Fever by Lauren Destefano.  In a future where genetic engineering has cured humanity of all diseases and defects but has also produced a virus that kills all females by age twenty and all males by the age twenty-five, teen aged Rhine escapes her forced marriage and journeys back to New York to find her twin brother.

The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer.  Teenage genius Artemis Fowl and his arch rival Opal battle to the last in this eighth and final book in series.

Bloodrose: A Nightshade Novel by Andrea Cremer.  Calla Tor, the alpha member of her shape shifting wolf pack, must decide if her illicit love for the human Shay is worth the ultimate sacrifice.

Divergent by Veronica Roth.  In a future Chicago, Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she does not fit into any one group.


Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin Gets an A by Kirsten Mayer.  When the chipmunks have to write a school report on what they did on their summer vacation, Alvin is having trouble writing his, until his teacher suggests he present his report differently.

The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems.  Pigeon is very angry when the duckling gets a cookie just by asking politely.

Dixie and the School Trip by Grace Gilman.  Sneaking onto the school bus when her human companion Emma embarks on a class trip to a dinosaur museum, Dixie the dog learns all about how real dinosaurs lived before accidentally mistaking dinosaur bones for doggie treats.

Jack and the Giant Barbecue by Eric Kimmel.  When Jack's mother tells him how his father died when a giant stole his barbecue recipes, Jack vows to find the giant and retrieve the book.

Come by your Library and check these out! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Movie Lovers Unite!

I'm excited that our adult programs have enjoyed increased attendance and interest this summer, especially our movie events. We dreamed of Paris with Midnight in Paris, went on a great adventure with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and made ourselves really hungry watching the great Julie & Julia. Many people have asked me what is next. I have some movies in mind, but I would like to ask you what movies you would like.

Keep in mind that our movie license (yes, a license is required even for a nonprofit charging no admission!) is based on a list of titles on their website. Not every suggestion will pass the list test.

I really would like to hear from all you movie lovers out there:
  • What days/times would work best for you?
  • What genres?
  • Does anyone have suggestions for programs related to movies?
  • Do we want monthly movies? (I say yes!)
  • Do you have specific titles to request?
  • How about foreign films? Or do we want to stick with American-made films?
Later this month, Hunger Games will be released on DVD, and we'll be scheduling a movie event showcasing this very popular movie based on Suzanne Collins' best seller trilogy. These books
have been popular with our teen and adult patrons alike.

A really delightful film I saw in Baton Rouge will be out on DVD soon: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and an outstanding supporting cast, it is a heartfelt romp by some of the greatest British actors of our time. I hope lots of you will join us at the Library for this outstanding film.

We'll be letting everyone know dates and times for these events, and expect to present movies roughly once a month.

Please let me hear from you! Email or call at 601.445.8862 - or just drop by and see us.

See you at the movies!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Natchez Student Wins State Writing Award

The Armstrong Library wants to congratulate Courtney Sims, a 12th grade student from Natchez, who has taken top honors for this year’s Letters About Literature writing contest. Judges selected Sims’s letter to Romona “Sapphire” Fulton, author of Push, as the first place winner in the Level III competition for students in grades 9 though 12 in Mississippi. Sims’s winning letter advanced for national competition, where it made it to the national semifinals.
“I never imagined how my persona would be affected by Push,” wrote the seventeen year old reader. “This novel has shown me that I am blessed to be in the position I am in.”
Approximately 59,000 young readers across the country participated in this year’s Letters About Literature competition, a reading promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target. In Mississippi, 500 students competed across all three competition levels.

To enter, young readers write a personal letter to an author explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or themselves. Readers can select authors from any genre—fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. The program has three competition levels: upper elementary, middle school, and secondary. The contest theme encourages young readers to explore his or her personal response to a book then express that response in a creative, original way.

Courtney graduated from Natchez High School this year and is attending Touglaoo College, majoring in chemistry.