newsId: 1E0219F2-5056-AF26-BE7965F8ED763DCB
Title: Fin-tastic Collection Highlights for Shark Week
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Abstract: Sink your teeth into our Shark Week collection highlights. AU Library has picture books, streaming videos, and scholarly works relating to everyone’s favorite apex predator.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/02/2015
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Close to Shore: a True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence by Michael Capuzzo During the summer of 1819, a series of fatal shark attacks along the Jersey Shore set off a public panic. These attacks changed the accepted scientific belief that sharks were not dangerous to humans and are often credited with inspiring the book Jaws by Peter Benchley.

In Harm’s Way: the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of its Survivors by Doug Stanton When this Navy cruiser was torpedoed and sank in 1945, the survivors of the initial attack faced a number of dangers, including shark attacks. Out of a crew of almost 1,200, there were only 317 survivors This book connects the larger narrative with the stories of 3 survivors.

TEDTalks: Simon Berrow - How Do You Save a Shark You Know Nothing About? (streaming video) Marine biologist Berrow speaks about near-extinct basking sharks, a non-aggressive and enormous filter feeding breed of shark. Although long hunted for their oil, little is known about basking sharks, something that Berrow is attempting to remedy by studying these creatures.

Surviving the Shark: How a Brutal Great White Attack Turned a Surfer into a Dedicated Defender of Sharks by Jonathan Kathrein and Margaret Kathrein (ebook) As a 16 year old, Kathrein was attacked by a great white shark while surfing at a popular Northern California beach. As an adult, he raises awareness of sharks, advocating for these threatened animals. His biographical account of these experiences is inspiring.

Sea of Sharks: a Sailor’s World War II Survival Story by Elmer Renner and Kenneth Birks During WWII, a small Naval minesweeping ship was capsized by a typhoon in the waters of Okinawa, Japan. Stranded for days without food and water, the powerful story of the survivors is told through Renner’s first-hand account.

Saving the Oceans: Shark Reef (streaming video) This PBS program takes a look at the threats faced by sharks, particularly the shark fin trade, and the research efforts underway by marine biologists to collect data that may be used to protect these increasingly endangered fish.

Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections between Cities and Oceans by Timothy Beatley (ebook) Dive into the complicated relationship between urban areas and the oceans in this engaging book. While the movement to ‘go green’ becomes increasingly visible, Beatley provides a look at what it means for cities to ‘go blue’ and build a more sustainable connection to the world’s oceans.

Framing the Ocean, 1700 to the Present: Envisaging the Sea as Social Space edited by Tricia Cusack This collection of essays tracks the shift in the cultural perception of the ocean, from the widely held 18th century view that the sea was a dark and empty place, to present-day connections between marine science and art. This volume pulls together works on an array of topics, employing a broad range of approaches, such as post-colonial and feminist theory.

How Many Sharks in the Bath? by Bill Gillham Toddlers can get in on the fun of Shark Week with this colorful counting book.

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton Little ones will get a kick out of this story, in which two favorite toys go head-to-head in a series of competitions to see who comes out on top.

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy This award-winning and beautifully illustrated book takes the reader to the Farallon Islands, only 30 miles away from the Golden Gate Bridge, to show a day in the life of great white sharks.

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Title: Once Upon a Library
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Abstract: June 24th is International Fairy Day. Delight your inner child with some of the Library’s fairytale-related material.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/23/2015
Content:

June 24th is International Fairy Day. Delight your inner child with some of the Library’s fairytale-related material.

Cinderella, choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev Filmed at the stunning Opéra national de Paris, this ballet interpretation of the beloved fairy tale will awe you with the dancer’s technical expertise, amuse you with hilarious depictions of the wicked stepsisters, and charm you with beautiful sets and costumes.

Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall This star-studded musical fantasy film weaves together story lines from several Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales and gives them a dark twist. Meryl Streep took the Best Villain title at the MTV Movie Awards for her portrayal of the Witch in this movie.

Russian Fairy Tales, translated by Norbert Guterman & compiled by Aleksandr Afanasev Explore the world of Russian folktales in this volume, which collects more than 175 works and enchanting illustrations. Discover the near-immortal Koshchei the Deathless, Baba Yaga, a powerful witch who lives in a hut supported by chicken legs, and a host of other intriguing supernatural figures.

The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth As the title suggests, these fairy tales were unknown until 2009, when von Schönwerth’s collection of folklore research was discovered by a Bavarian writer. This collection brings together 72 of these stories, featuring key fairy tale components, such as magical animals, royalty, and quests.

Grimm Legacies: The Magic Spell of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales, by Jack Zipes If you are interested in a scholarly approach to fairy tales, this text provides an examination of the cultural influence of the Grimm Brothers’ work. Zipes also considers how adaptations of these stories have changed over time and how that reflects societal shifts.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Cathrynne Valente Charming story, prose, and illustrations come together in this book, which tells the story of a 12 year old Midwestern girl, whisked away on an incredible adventure to Fairyland. Valente’s style calls to mind the whimsy and humor of Lewis Carroll.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire Fans of Wicked with enjoy this retelling of Cinderella through the eyes of one of the stepsisters. Set in 17th century Holland, this tale blends elements of reality, such as Dutch mercantile culture and portraiture, with fantastic elements drawn from the fable.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book One, by Bill Willingham A collection of fairy tale and folklore figures come to inhabit New York City, after being pushed from their magical homeland by a powerful foe. This volume collects the first two graphic novels in the enormously popular Fables series, giving the new reader an ideal jumping-off point.

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Title: American University Named One of the "Best Places to Work in IT"
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Abstract: American University ranks No. 44 among large organizations in IDG’s Computerworld Best Places to Work in IT, an annual ranking of the top 100 organizations.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 06/22/2015
Content:

American University ranks No. 44 among large organizations in IDG’s Computerworld Best Places to Work in IT, an annual ranking of the top 100 organizations that challenge their information technology staffs, while providing the most competitive benefits and compensation. AU ranked No. 4 out of the top 100 for Career Development, based on staff satisfaction rankings and a mature mentorship program. 

The list is compiled based on a comprehensive questionnaire regarding company offerings in categories such as benefits, career development, training and retention. In addition, Computerworld conducts extensive surveys of IT workers, and their responses factor heavily in determining the rankings.

“I am so proud that American University was once again recognized as a Best Places to Work in IT, standing out as one of the few higher education institutions included among the corporate giants,” remarked Dave Swartz, chief information officer. “Our excellent benefits package and commitment to professional development allow us to attract and retain top quality employees seeking a diverse and supportive environment.”

Swartz continued, “AU employees have been encouraged to take advantage of the tuition remission benefits offered not only to them, but also their spouse or domestic partner and children, to advance their education. On top of that, over 40% of the staff within the Office of Information Technology have elected to participate in our Mentorship Program, where they are paired with a colleague to receive or provide help in achieving their goals.”

This recognition by Computerworld reaffirms the assessments of recent accreditation teams, which remarked, “This is a season of unparalleled strength and advancement at American University. AU is more focused on its mission, more diverse in its student body, more strategic in all decision making, more robust in its financial health, and more clear about its future than perhaps at any time in the past.”

AU has made a firm commitment to employ technology to empower excellence. Under the leadership of Swartz, the team continues to build and strengthen a robust, reliable, and secure framework of information and communication technology to support our activities as a world-class university.

"The 100 organizations on Computerworld’s 2015 Best Places to Work in IT list realize that attracting and retaining a highly-skilled technology workforce leads to competitive advantage,” says Scot Finnie, editor in chief of Computerworld. “In a tight market for tech talent, these outstanding employers attract the best and brightest IT pros with generous salaries and top-drawer benefits, then deepen their teams’ engagement with challenging, business-critical projects built around cutting-edge technologies. As a result, these winning organizations are best positioned to take advantage of the digital transformation sweeping through every industry.”

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Title: 10 Epic Summer Blockbusters Available at the AU Library
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Abstract: Summer is the season for big budget blockbuster releases and a great time to re-watch some of your favorites, or see some classics that are new to you. Stop by AU Library Media Services to borrow one of these titles.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/11/2015
Content:

1979—Alien DVD 885

It may be hot outside, but you’ll get the chills watching this classic sci-fi horror film, as the crew of the spacecraft Nostromo discover something dangerous on a seemingly empty planet. Sigourney Weaver takes on the ground-breaking role of a female action star as LT. Ripley.

1986—Top Gun DVD 2959

If you’re feeling the need… the need for speed, check out this action-packed movie about Navy pilots in training. Featuring Tom Cruise as “Maverick,” Val Kilmer as “Iceman,” and a soundtrack with some major 80s hits, this is an iconic summer blockbuster.

1987—RoboCop DVD 8164

A cyborg cop cleans up the streets and seeks revenge in this dystopian action sci-fi movie—sound over the top? It is. This summer blockbuster also has a subversive side, weaving in satire and dark humor alongside the explosions and one-dimensional villains.

1988—Who Framed Roger Rabbit? DVD 1096

When cartoon star Roger Rabbit is framed for murder, he hires a down and out private detective (Eddy Valiant, played by Bob Hoskins) to clear his name. Winner of four Oscars, this film was the first of its kind to blend live action and animation.

1989—Batman DVD 4701

Directed by Tim Burton, this take on Batman is dramatically different than the more recent Dark Knight trilogy. The scene of Jack Nicholson’s Joker unleashing chaos on Gotham, set to the music of Prince, is reason enough to borrow this blockbuster.

1990—Die Hard 2: Die Harder DVD 446

Bruce Willis returns as John McClane, a tough and sarcastic New York cop, saving the day on Christmas Eve yet again. This movie brings all the action, explosions, and one-liners of the original to the Washington Dulles Airport. Yippee ki yay.

1991—Terminator 2: Judgment Day DVD 4989

This sequel pits robot against robot, as the T-800 Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, goes up against the more advanced T-1000 model. The stakes are high, as the Terminator attempts to protect the future leader of the human resistance movement from assassination.

1993—Jurassic Park DVD 4901

Refresh your memory before going to see this summer’s Jurassic World with the first film in the series. Directed by Stephen Spielberg, based on a book by Michael Crichton, and packed full of animatronic dinosaurs, this film actually premiered right here in DC—at the National Building Museum.

2001—Moulin Rouge! DVD 297

Romance, excitement, spectacle, and style all converge in this Baz Luhrmann film, set in Paris during La Belle Époque. This Oscar-winning musical features Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor as star-crossed lovers and holds nothing back in terms of dazzling sets, costumes, and musical numbers.

2008 - Iron Man DVD 2763

Robert Downey Jr.’s wit and charisma make for an ideal Tony Stark in the movie that launched the Marvel Universe cinematic onslaught of recent years. Start at the beginning of this saga and watch genius playboy billionaire Stark become a superhero.

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Title: Building Partnerships with Technical Services
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Abstract: Bender Library currently supports four partner collections across campus, which are all housed and maintained by their respective departments, but incorporated into the library’s catalog so that their materials are easy for AU users to find and access.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/02/2015
Content:

Did you know that the American University Library partners with other on-campus library collections in order to make their content more accessible to the university community? These partnerships support research and learning at AU by expanding each collection's presence as an educational resource. Each of these micro-libraries are part of our Campus Partner Collections.

What are Campus Partner Collections?

The AU Library currently supports four partner collections across campus: the Career Center Resource Library, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) Gender and Sexuality Library, the Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition, and Research (CLEAR) Resource Collection, and the Visual Resource Center (VRC) Collection. These collections are all developed, housed and maintained by their respective departments, but incorporated into the library’s catalog so that their materials are easy for AU students, faculty, and staff to find and access.

How do I find resources held by Partner Collections?

Collectively, the Campus Partner Collections hold more than 6000 books, periodicals, and DVDs for exclusive use by the AU community, and finding them is easy! Partner collection items are included by default in WRLC Catalog and SearchBox results, but can also be searched separately:

To search a particular collection in the WRLC Catalog, select “advanced search,” and then “more limits.” Scroll down in the “location” field, select the desired collection:

  • AU Clear
  • AU: CDI Gender and Sexuality Library
  • AU: Career Center Butler Pavilion
  • AU: Visual Resources Center, Katzen Arts Center

Click “Set Limits,” and enter your search as usual.

Where are the Partner Collections located?

  • CDI—Center for Diversity and Inclusion Gender and Sexuality Library: Mary Graydon Rm 201-2.
  • CLEAR—Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition, and Research: Asbury Hall, North Wing, Basement.
  • Career Center Resource Library: Butler Pavilion, 5th floor.
  • VRC—Visual Resource Center Collection: Katzen Arts Center, Rm 142.

Can I borrow Campus Partner Collection materials?

Significant portions of the Career Center, CDI, and CLEAR collections all circulate. Loan policies and periods vary by collection, but the majority of circulating items can be borrowed for a week or more. Students, while you’re visiting partner collections for check-out, be sure to check out other incredible services, including interview preparation (Career Center), engaging workshops and events (CDI), and personalized language coaching (CLEAR). Although books in the VRC’s Kassalow Collection do not circulate, they are available for immediate research and general browsing.

How does the library support Campus Partner Collections?

The Library’s Technical Services unit works with partner collections to catalog and physically process materials. We can handle materials in foreign languages, unconventional formats (e.g. equipment) and classify materials according to custom organizational schemes to suit the needs of your learning community. If desired, materials can be set to circulate from these remote locations for a variety of loan periods. On a regular basis, the library generates inventories and circulation reports to share with collection managers to inform their decision-making and help them maintain dynamic collections for their primary users.

How do I partner with the library?

Does your department maintain an in-house collection that you’d like to make more discoverable to the AU community? If so, please contact Robert Kelshian, Director of Access Services, (202) 885-3282, to discuss a potential library partnership.

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Title: Librarian Profile: Alayne Mundt
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Abstract: Dedicated to making information more accessible, Resource Description Librarian Alayne Mundt works through the codes and standards needed to make the Library catalog useful and useable.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 05/21/2015
Content:

Resource Description Librarian Alayne Mundt is driven to help others. In her work at AU, she strives to make information more accessible to researchers, but before settling down in the DC area, she explored a number of avenues for her interest in service. While working on her BA (as a double major in English and Religious Studies) at the University of Oregon, Alayne’s interest in Judaic Studies led her to study abroad in Israel for a year. Her time there was deeply “enriching,” allowing her to learn Hebrew and more about the architecture and history of Israel. Later on, Alayne joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Nepal. While there, she taught English to 4th and 5th graders and helped to train primary school teachers. The experience was eye-opening for this Oregon native: “the poverty was intense, child labor was common, and I wanted to help.” Although the culture shock was initially overwhelming, Alayne developed close ties to the friends she made in Nepal, including the members of her host family, “the warmest, most wonderful people on Earth.”

Upon her return to the U.S., Alayne moved to San Francisco and took a job making swords for an armory. As a part of this job, Alayne learned to fence, a hobby that she would love to pick up again. She spent some time making and repairing epees, foils, and sabers, before realizing that she wanted to become a librarian. Alayne switched coasts to attend Simmons College in Boston, where she received her M.S. in Library & Information Science and then relocated to the DC area. She “never expected to stay on the East Coast” but discovered that she likes “living in a place with such a rich history.”

Where can you find her?

When she isn’t speaking at conferences, working on committees, or researching her next article, Alayne can be found in the Technical Services unit within the Library. The behind-the-scenes work at libraries is a mystery to many. Books, films, databases, and journals are added to the AU Library collection all the time, but from the time an item is requested to when it arrives on the shelf, there is an unseen process that must take place. Part of that process is ensuring that our users are able to locate these new materials. Alayne strives to make all of our resources easier to find. Resource description work can encompass a variety of important tasks, such as creating entirely new catalog records for unusual resources such as board games and data sets, making library metadata (information about data) easier for researchers to find by employing web technologies to connect resources across institutions, and maintaining consistency between name changes using controlled vocabularies. Alayne uses this example “if someone is searching for information on Cary Grant, search results should also include materials associated with the actor’s birth name, Archibald Leach.” Conversely, this work allows users to better differentiate between people, places, and things with the same name. For example, if a researcher is looking for information about former president John Adams, it will be easier for her to separate that data from material concerning minimalist composer John Adams. Alayne’s attention to detail and thoroughness mean that the materials in our collection are easier to find through the catalog for anyone doing research at the AU Library.

Why she loves her job

While Alayne was drawn to librarianship initially because of her love of reading, she does not shy away from the increasingly digital aspect of the job. In fact, she finds it exhilarating to be in the profession during a time of great change and growth. The specialization of resource description is “changing very rapidly, which makes it an exciting time to be in the field.” Her attraction to helping others is evident in Alayne’s enthusiasm for improving access to information. She describes her work as “helping to provide broader, better access to Library services and making Library resources more easily searchable and discoverable.” In addition to the satisfaction of sharing information, Alayne “is so grateful for the collaborative nature of this Library; the openness about sharing ideas and working together to improve services. The people here are dedicated to making our Library the best we can for our students.” In addition to the joy she finds helping students, Alayne even finds the fun in her commute which she spends listening to Mötley Crüe, getting pumped up to start cataloging books!

In the community

Alayne serves on a number of committees, including the Senate Committee for Information Services, the WRLC Metadata Committee, the library’s Digital Strategies Group, and as the Vice Chair of the University Library Faculty Committee. She works with Acquisitions Librarian Stacey Marien to write a regular column for Against the Grain, a journal about libraries and publishers. Their column, "Let's Get Technical," addresses practical solutions to technical problems, and they presented together at the 2014 Charleston Conference. All of her work in the broader academic community helps to give Alayne a fresh perspective on solving the puzzles of resource description. The types of materials found in the modern library are changing, as are the methods that library patrons use to find information. Alayne’s expertise and capacity for inductive reasoning make her a perfect fit for the challenging field of resource description.

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Title: Secret Lives: Dawn Fairbanks
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Abstract: The seventh article in a series of profiles offering a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at our Library personnel. Meet Processing and Serials Specialist Dawn Fairbanks and learn about her secret life as an opera singer.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 05/12/2015
Content:

Dawn Fairbanks, Processing and Serials Specialist by day, opera singer by night, grew up in rural New Jersey, singing in school choruses. Her love of music drew her to the French horn, an instrument that she took up at the age of 9 and played through college. Dawn’s interest in artistic forms found other outlets during her time at Susquehanna University in central Pennsylvania. Since childhood, Dawn recalls that she was “always scribbling in notebooks and writing stories.” Her love of writing drew her to pursing a BA in Creative Writing and then attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, where she received her MA in English Literature.

After finishing her Master’s program, Dawn relocated to Vermont, attracted by the natural beauty of the state, the snow, and the bucolic setting that reminded her of the area where she was raised. While there, she began singing in a church choir, where she met the leader of the local Gilbert & Sullivan troupe, who invited her to perform in an upcoming production of Princess Ida. Dawn performed the role of Lady Psyche, Professor of Humanities, in this comic opera with a ‘war of the sexes’ theme. As Dawn recalls “it was the most fun I’d ever had.” After that, she was hooked. She continued to sing with the Gilbert & Sullivan troupe after this first performance, and also sang with the Green Mountain Opera Festival for the next four years, before moving to the DC area with her family.

Although Dawn had tapped into a newfound love of singing, her daughter Chloe gave her the push she needed to take this interest to the next level, encouraging her to sign up for formal instruction. Dawn began working in a vocal studio and taking lessons. She is now part of the American Center for Puccini Studies (ACPS), an organization that performs works by composer Giacomo Puccini, offers educational opportunities for singers, and provides community outreach and service. “There is always something in the works!” Dawn explains, as she mentions that she is wrapping up a 6 week aria workshop. In addition to gigs with ACPS, she continues to sing in her church choir, enjoys taking in local performances, works here in the Library, and finds time for her family.

Music is a big part of family life for Dawn. The whole family sang together with the Gilbert & Sullivan troupe their last year in Vermont, her husband has participated in local theater, her younger daughter helps broaden her musical tastes by making playlists for the car, and Chloe, who nudged Dawn into pursuing her passion for opera, is now a performer in her own right. Dawn proudly shares that the 21 year old AU student just sang lead in the Gilbert & Sullivan Society at Oxford University.

Dawn also has excellent advice for any AU students interested in seeing local performances or getting into opera. Aside from the “huge, huge CD collection and excellent opera selection” at the AU Music Library, she suggests looking for smaller regional venues, which often have reasonably priced tickets, such as the ‘Music at Redeemer Series’ at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Bethesda. She also recommends checking out local venues that offer special student pricing, like the Kennedy Center’s ‘Specially Priced Tickets,’ and DC area groups, like the Inscape Chamber Orchestra, made up of “local, young, insanely talented performers.” On a different note, Dawn’s younger daughter Mollie, whose passion has become human rights, highly recommends the Library’s free Exploring Social Justice series, which features speakers who have had personal and profound experiences with injustice and have demonstrated the capacity to forgive and to live the rest of their lives committed to witness and advocate within their spheres of influence.

Music & Performance Recommendations from Dawn:

Inscape, Sprung Rhythm (CD 10397)

Le Comte Ory
From the Met website: "Jokes, misunderstandings, and gender-bending disguises—including knights dressed as nuns— abound in this hilarious tale of deception and seduction." There's a wonderful scene with the three stars all in bed together....perfect for anyone who thinks opera is stuffy!

Don Giovanni
Aaaaaand...more seduction! What is it with opera?! The themes are familiar to all - jealousy, attraction, and a boss who has all the fun while leaving you underpaid and unappreciated - all set to Mozart's sublime music.

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Title: Spotlight on VHS Collection Preservation in the AU Library
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Abstract: Experts estimate that the VHS format will be essentially inaccessible by 2025. Luckily, the AU Library’s Media Services is working to digitize VHS titles in our collection that are at highest risk of being lost in the near future.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/22/2015
Content:

The AU Library’s Media Services department was born out of the invention of the consumer-friendly videotape and the sudden availability of recordings for instruction. This filmmaker-friendly technology was revolutionary, as it triggered a boom in creative production worldwide and a new market for established television producers and film studios.

Between the early 1980s and early 2000s, AU Library’s Media Services department built a collection of 8,000 VHS titles with an emphasis on supporting classroom teaching. The collection includes documentaries, theatrical performances, C-SPAN coverage, feature films, television series, and other genres. The popularity of the VHS format declined with the invention of the DVD and by the early 2000s the format was completely antiquated. It is now facing a crisis: of the thousands of VHS tapes acquired at AU, about 30% of the collection has never been released on DVD or in streaming format. To make matters worse, industry experts estimate that the various forces converging against the VHS format (age of tapes, irreparable and irreplaceable equipment) will make it essentially inaccessible by 2025.

So what is being done about the VHS tape crisis at AU?

Following the guidelines described in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright law, Media Librarian Chris Lewis, Visual Media Collections Coordinator Molly Hubbs, and student assistant Sophie Brichta have been poring through the VHS collection to identify the distribution status of each item and digitizing titles that are at highest risk of being lost in the near future. For VHS titles available on DVD, the tapes are sent to storage and the DVD is added to our queue of items to purchase. If a VHS recording continues to be requested for teaching or research and no DVD or streaming version is available, then the tape is digitized and made available for onsite use.

Ms. Hubbs has assembled a video digitization workstation to ensure that high production standards are met throughout the preservation workflow. She processes video recordings with quality control tools and saves files in a high resolution format. She also creates backups of all files in order to ameliorate the risk of digital rot and other potential disasters. For each digitized file, a DVD “access copy” is also created, cataloged, and made available for teaching and research needs. After digitization, VHS originals are sent to storage.

Campus VHS recordings are equally at risk

The abundance of on-campus recordings of commencements, guest lectures, sporting events, and other historical moments has not been overlooked. Ms. Hubbs has been working with the University Archives and various departments on campus to collect and digitize video materials unique to American University’s history. Over 200 items have been inventoried from the Audio Visual department’s collection of commencement and convocation ceremonies and dozens have already been digitized and preserved. Some of these vintage films will be added to an AU YouTube channel. Outreach has begun across campus to locate neglected and forgotten VHS recordings. If you have tapes or know any faculty, staff members, or alumni with a collection of unique campus materials on VHS, ¾” tape, or even film, please contact us at mhubbs@american.edu or clewis@american.edu and they will work with you to preserve that material.

More about the crisis of VHS and other magnetic tape formats

Though VHS tape is a relatively stable medium, the playback equipment is less reliable, rubber and nylon parts are deteriorating and replacement parts are scarce. The retirement of VHS technicians and lack of a viable market and training opportunities for videotape technicians further exacerbates the problem. There are still a few manufacturers of VHS playback equipment, but those players are usually squeezed into VHS/DVD combo units, and the quality of the parts is generally of a lower consumer grade suitable for a short operational life. The likelihood of an older tape getting stuck and damaged in a perfectly clean recently manufactured player is considerable. In a word, the VHS tape is all but obsolete.

So if a VHS tape hasn’t been released on DVD, is it really of any interest and is it worth saving?

You might be surprised by the myriad of reasons that recordings go out of release. Commercial profitability is the most obvious and that pertains primarily to feature films and other mass market releases where a studio or television network still owns the rights. More common are the problems endemic to educational distributors. Many educational distributors have gone out of business and their entire inventories have slipped into limbo. Other instances include, distribution rights to a video that didn’t get renewed, purposely or neglectfully, or issues such as music licensing or a legal dispute preventing a title from being re-released. In some cases, such as with major television networks, the distributor discontinued selling VHS or DVD copies of their content altogether.

And yet the demand for some of this content for teaching needs remains high. Often, a given documentary has come to be regarded as a classic or provides such a powerful illustration of a concept or topic that nothing released since compares to the original. Here at AU, along with a growing number of institutions around the globe, we preserve these essential programs before our window of opportunity to save them closes.

About Preservation Week from the American Library Association website:

“Preservation Week (April 26-May 2) was created in 2010 because some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care. Eighty percent of these institutions have no paid staff assigned responsibility for collections care; 22 percent have no collections care personnel at all. Some 2.6 billion items are not protected by an emergency plan. As natural disasters of recent years have taught us, these resources are in jeopardy should a disaster strike. Personal, family, and community collections are equally at risk.”

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Title: Composting 101: Help AU Get Greener with this Primer on Composting
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Abstract: Since the program’s inception in 2012, the Library has played a pivotal role in expanding the organic waste collection program across campus. Join the effort to reduce waste on campus by taking a look at our primer on composting.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/22/2015
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Since the program’s inception in 2012, the Library has played a pivotal role in expanding the organic waste collection program across campus. Library personnel participated in the pilot phase of compost collection. In spring 2013 the Library maintained its leadership by being the first academic building on campus to deploy the now ubiquitous orange bins on campus. Today, the Library’s organic waste stream is one of the least contaminated of those in campus buildings.

Unfortunately, due to the increased contamination of organic waste collection bins across campus, the University’s composting program is struggling. When non-organic materials such as glass or plastic bottles are tossed into compost bins, the organic waste cannot be composted safely and efficiently. As a result of the high level of waste contamination at AU, local waste processing facilities neither have the capacity nor desire to process the University’s organic waste. Helen Lee, the University’s Zero Waste Coordinator, has been working with other parties in the region to find an alternative compost facility. She has also been collaborating with other local universities in similar situations to find alternative solutions to this challenge of contamination. In the meantime, the AU community can improve waste sorting practices to ensure that organic waste collected on campus is not contaminated with other items. Organic waste, which should be tossed in the compost bins, includes materials such as:

  • paper coffee cups
  • food scraps
  • sandwich wrappers
  • napkins
  • dishes and utensils labeled ‘compostable’ or ‘biodegradable’
  • anything made from plant material can be composted

Things that never belong in a compost bin include:

  • glass
  • metal
  • plastic

Waste collection bins in the Library have been marked with diagrams to aid in sorting, so if you are unsure where to throw your Subway sandwich wrapper, check the signs above the collection bins. Separating waste now will enable AU to demonstrate to potential new compost facilities that we have a clean stream and will be a good source of organic waste. When all students, staff, faculty and visitors sort trash appropriately into the collection bins, we can achieve the University’s zero waste goals.

Green Team Recommendations:

Our fabulous eco films Pinterest page has a great mix of films and television series (including Captain Planet and the Planeteers, if you’re feeling nostalgic.)

Both of these resources can help you start composting at home, with details on how and where to set up a bin and the science behind how composting works:

Composting by Bob Flowerdew

Perfect Compost : A Master Class With Peter Proctor

If you’re interested in learning more about waste processing in general, and best practices for reducing landfill use, this is an excellent book on the subject:

Lean Waste Stream: Reducing Material Use and Garbage Using Lean Principles by Marc Jensen

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Title: Concrete Greens: Urban Agriculture and Food Security
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Abstract: American University’s emphasis on green practices echoes the continued national interest in urban gardening, and the University offers many ways to become involved on campus.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/17/2015
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While AU’s lush greenery already serves as a feast for the eyes, on April 15, Campus Beautification Day, the Library Green Team began cultivating a new garden plot near the SIS building for plants that are not only ornamental, but also edible.

Though gardening and urban life might seem somewhat antithetical to one other, urban agriculture has been on the rise in many major US cities. This urban farming, in addition to providing coveted glimpses of green amongst concrete city structures, also works to alleviate the detrimental health effects of food insecurity in economically disadvantaged urban areas.

Urban agriculture, specifically the cultivation of edible gardens, offers a new way of empowering communities with limited access to viable food options. Community garden advocate Ron Finley, in a 2013 Ted.com talk, offered inspirational words about his work planting gardens in the food desert of South Central Los Angeles. Commenting on the powerful yield of the edible garden, Finley proposed that "[t]o change the community, you have to change the composition of the soil. We [people] are the soil. Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do. Especially in the inner city.”

Finley’s gardens crop up in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs and his work confronts the incongruous conceptions of urbanity and food deserts. According to the USDA, food deserts are defined as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.” Finley succinctly summarizes the detrimental impact of food insecurity in areas like South Central Los Angeles where, in his estimation, "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

Issues of food security extend far beyond the city limits of Los Angeles as a persistent national concern. Even in Washington, DC, there is startling disparity concerning food availability in the nation’s capital. According to the USDA's 2013 report on household food security in the United States:

  • 13.4 percent of all households in the District of Columbia were food insecure in 2011-2013. That is an increase of 1.4 percent from 2010-2013 when 12 percent of all households were considered to be food insecure.
  • Among the 13.4 percent of District of Columbia households struggling with hunger, 5.2 percent were considered to have "very low food security," a 0.7 percent increase since 2010-2012. People that fall into this USDA category had more severe problems, experiencing deeper hunger and cutting back or skipping meals on a more frequent basis for both adults and children.

Combatting these harsh realities is not easy, but many of DC’s residents are working to improve food security in impoverished parts of the nation’s capital. One such resident is Gail Taylor, a policy activist profiled in a September 2014 Washington Post article. Taylor, with the aid of American University’s free law clinic and council member David Grosso, drafted a bill restructuring city tax regulations that currently hamper urban farmers’ ability to sustain economically viable businesses.

Other organizations, such as the nonprofit DC Greens, are working to change the landscape itself by facilitating partnerships and empowering existing actors and residents to manage green solutions for at-risk communities. While community gardens have an established historical precedent in urban areas, these programs also highlight informal household food growing that uses private property such as back yards, front yards, pots on balconies, and fire escapes to grow edible produce.

American University’s emphasis on green practices echoes the continued national interest in urban gardening, and the University offers many ways to become involved on campus. Towards the rear of AU’s campus near the athletic fields is a pre-existing community garden where students can learn the ins and outs of urban gardening. In recent years, the Community Garden has donated extra food to a local food bank while simultaneously providing the educational tools necessary to spread urban garden practices by bringing 70 middle school students to AU to teach them about gardening and sustainability.

The Library Green Team hopes that cultivating this small plot simultaneously encourages students to consider issues of food sustainability in areas like DC where there is always room for another gardener to get a bit dirty in the interest of improving food security.

Interested in learning more about urban gardening and other related issues? Check out these materials and more in the Library’s collections:

A Community of Gardeners
This documentary by Cintia Cabib explores the vital role of seven urban community gardens as sources of fresh, nutritious food, outdoor classrooms, places of healing, links to immigrants’ native countries, centers of social interaction, and oases of beauty and calm in inner-city neighborhoods.

The World’s First Rooftop Farm: Mohamed Hage
This episode of The Green Interview features Mohamed Hage, who is turning the flat rooftops of Montreal’s industrial buildings into fertile farms that feed thousands-and he’s making a profit in the process. Hage, a self-described "technology geek" turned urban farmer, explains the genesis and genius of Lufa Farms.

City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America by Laura J. Lawson
In this critical history of community gardening in America, the most comprehensive review of the greening of urban communities to date, Laura J. Lawson documents the evolution of urban garden programs in the United States.

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Title: DC Community Gardens have their Roots in Victory Gardens
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Abstract: Of the 36 community gardens in Washington DC, an estimated 1/3 are former victory gardens, planted during the World Wars. Learn more about local history through our DC History and Local Area Studies subject guide.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/10/2015
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Tucked into the northwestern corner of campus is AU’s community garden, a small plot run year-round by student group AU Community Garden Club. In the summertime, this garden is lush with squash, peas, and greens, and is a testament to AU’s commitment to sustainability. In addition to our campus plot, there are dozens of other community gardens in DC, some even within walking distance from campus. These gardens are often not only rich in produce, but rich in history as well.

One example is the Glover-Archbold Park Community Garden, which is located less than a mile down the New Mexico Avenue hill. The garden is just under three acres large and is home to an expansive 150 garden plots. It is also a former “victory garden,” or a garden that was planted during the early 20th century’s World War era to help increase the public food supply. This garden can reportedly trace its roots to the spring of 1943, when 400 acres of land were given to DC’s “District Victory Garden Committee” to be allocated among 6,000 DC gardeners. According to 1943 estimates from the Department of Agriculture, there were about 18-20 million victory gardens throughout the United States at that time. Families planted gardens not only in the spirit of self-sufficiency, but also as a way to calm anxious nerves and to provide stability during wartime. Of the 36 community gardens in Washington DC, Community Garden Data from 2010 estimated that about a third were former such victory gardens.

To learn more about DC history, check out the DC History and Local Area Studies subject guide, where researchers can read about and explore DC’s historic neighborhoods, culture, and green spaces.

Aside from our comprehensive subject guide, there are some fascinating resources in the AU Library collection, with more information on victory gardens and community gardening.

Char Miller’s "In The Sweat Of Our Brow: Citizenship In American Domestic Practice During WWII—Victory Gardens" from the Journal Of American Culture, v. 26, issue 3 (access available to AU Community only)

Cultivating Victory: the Women's Land Army and the Victory Garden Movement by Cecilia Gowdy-Wygant (access available to AU Community only)

City Bountiful: a Century of Community Gardening in America by Laura J. Lawson

If you’d like to get involved with local community gardens and garden-related organizations, consider these options:

AU’s Arboretum (hires interns every summer)

AU’s Community Garden

City Blossoms

Common Good City Farm

DC Department of Parks & Recreation

DCGreenWorks

Love and Carrots

Three Part Harmony Farm

Washington Youth Garden

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Title: Librarian Profile: Jenise Overmier
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Abstract: The sixth article in our series of librarian profiles focuses on Instruction Librarian Jenise Overmier. Her commitment to public service and education make her an enthusiastic instructor, well-equipped to handle a range of research questions.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/27/2015
Content:

Instruction Librarian Jenise Overmier knew that she wanted to work in librarianship early on in her college career. Her deeply held belief that education should be accessible for all people prompted her journey down this path. As a student at the University of Montana, she pursued a course in Liberal Studies that allowed her a broad overview of the humanities, something that is often handy at the Research Assistance Desk. From there, she was drawn to the University of Texas in Austin because of their unique course offerings in conservation and archival studies. After completing her Master of Science in Information Studies, Jenise took some time to travel around the world, exploring national parks here in the U.S., as well as Iceland, Turkey, and France, before relocating to Washington, DC.

Where can you find her?

Jenise can be found all across campus, providing in-class research instruction for College Writing students, helping users at the Library's Research Assistance Desk, serving on a variety of teams and committees, and lending a helping hand in Archives and Special Collections.

Her background in preservation allows her to contribute to Special Collections projects, such as rehousing fragile materials and analyzing collections for preservation processes. "I love working with my hands I am so fortunate that Susan [McElrath, University Archivist] has welcomed me into the archives."

When she is off-campus, Jenise can often be found relaxing in one of the many beautiful parks around town, reading, enjoying the fresh air, people watching, and "trying to coax squirrels into being [her] pets."

Why she loves her job

The idealism and energy of college students is a major perk of working at AU for Jenise. In her role as Instruction Librarian, she works with a number of freshmen and several of the College Writing professors, with a primary aim of helping these students build a foundation of information literacy. When asked about her favorite part of the job, she responds "I am all about the students! AU students are committed to their studies and incredibly passionate about making the world a better place. I love introducing them to tools they'll be able to use throughout their lives, like different research methods and how to synthesize information to strengthen their academic projects."

In the Community

Always eager to be more involved in interdepartmental collaborations, Jenise is a part of the Faculty Senate Social Media Guidelines Committee, the Library Green Team, the External Diversity &Inclusion Committee, and multiple marketing teams. By establishing connections with other departments and units at the university, Jenise continues to learn more about the institution and gains new insight into making the Library even better.

"Libraries are community centers. We've got something for everyone, whether you need help with a research project, a safe space to study, or something in between. I've always felt at home in them and I want to ensure that our students and community members feel that way too."

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Title: Clocks and Clouds Provides a Showcase for Outstanding Undergraduate Research
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Abstract: Launched in 2012, American University undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds is a publication dedicated to giving undergraduate students an opportunity to do more with their research.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/24/2015
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Serving the AU community with our collection of over 767,923 volumes, 333,242 e-books, 25,000 sound recordings and 16,000 videos, the American University Library offers the resources our students need to achieve academic success. The AU Library collection totals over 106,881 journal subscriptions, 557 print journals, and over 403 databases covering a vast range of subjects. With access to this wealth of resources, AU students are able to produce outstanding research and embark on ambitious projects, the likes of which can be seen in undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds.

Launched in 2012, American University undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds is a publication with a mission. The team that works on this journal is dedicated to giving undergraduate students an opportunity to do more with their research by highlighting how their work can reach a broader audience and have an impact outside of the classroom. A joint effort between the School of International Service and the School of Public Affairs, this journal focuses on research relating to political science, international relations, and public policy. In an increasing interdisciplinary academic environment, this does not limit Clocks and Clouds to the work of students in SIS or SPA. Additionally, while the journal exclusively publishes undergraduate work, students may submit articles up to one year after graduation.

By providing AU undergraduate students with a chance to have their work appear in a peer reviewed journal, Clocks and Clouds is able to serve as a stepping stone toward submitting work to national publications and making presentations at research conferences. Although Clocks and Clouds only publishes a select few of the submissions received, this selection process offers an excellent learning experience for any students submitting work. The journal’s panel of peer reviewers provides students with thoughtful feedback and suggestions on how they can improve their work and writing.

Working at Clocks and Clouds is another way for students to gain experience and make connections. The journal puts each of their reviewers through a rigorous training process; no small feat with a staff of more than 20 students. Through their work as reviewers, these students gain insight into the processes of research and writing, develop copy editing skills, get a sense of the scope of research in their chosen field, and enjoy networking opportunities on campus. While the journal requires that applicants for reviewer positions have taken, or are taking, a “Research Methods” course, freshmen may apply as ‘junior reviewers,’ allowing them to grow into a peer reviewer position as their college career progresses. As Clocks and Clouds expands and grows, the journal is hoping to recruit more students from the fields of marketing and communications. Students interesting in working as reviewers for the journal can visit their online application form.

Curious about the title of the journal? It references a quote from philosopher Karl Popper: "All clouds are clocks, even the most cloudy of clouds." The Clocks and Clouds website explains further: "Philosopher Karl Popper’s “clocks and clouds” metaphor describes the two ends of the spectrum of predictability in social science: Clouds represent the disorderly and irregular, and clocks represent the predictable and rational. By providing a venue for top undergraduate research, Clocks and Clouds aims to find the clocks amidst the clouds."

Volume 1, released in spring 2012, is available online. The next issue of Clocks and Clouds will be released on April 17th and copies will be available at the 18th SIS Undergraduate Research Symposium. Anyone interested in getting involved with the release, obtaining back issues, or learning more about the journal can email clocksandcloudsau@gmail.com.

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Title: Éirinn go Brách! Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these Library Recommendations.
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Abstract: Get into the holiday spirit of St. Patrick’s Day! Below are some fun and relaxing ways to celebrate this holiday and learn more about Irish culture.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/03/2015
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Once classes resume after Spring Break, we will all need a little pick-me-up to get back into our routines. What better way to do that than to get into the holiday spirit of St. Patrick’s Day! Below are some fun and relaxing ways to celebrate this holiday and learn more about Irish culture.

Books

The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day, by Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair [GT4995.P3 C76 2002]
A quick and comprehensive account of the ways that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated and how these traditions originated. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to understand it!

St. Patrick’s Day: Its Celebration in New York and Other American Places, 1737-1845; How the Anniversary Was Observed by Representative Organizations, and the Toasts Prepared, by John D. Crimmins [E184.I6 C9]
This book discusses the traditions and celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day from the first celebration in Boston in 1737 to the first parade in New York City. This book is also available as a free E-Book via Google Books

St. Patrick: The Life and World of Ireland’s Saint, by J.B. Bury; foreword by Thomas Charles-Edwards [http://bit.ly/1sDOyvf]
This biography points out possible discrepencies in some periods of St. Patrick’s reported history. It is an interesting perspective on the life and times of St. Patrick, the man behind the holiday.

Traditional Irish Cooking: The Fare of Old Ireland and Its History, Andy Gravette and Debbie Cook [http://bit.ly/1ynpxFR]
This fantastic cookbook not only has a plethora of delicious recipes, but also gives insight into the life of those who love these meals. Try a few of them out with friends or solo for some fun in the kitchen.

Irish Countryhouse Cooking, compiled by Rosie Tinne [http://bit.ly/1yhhs74]
A tasty way to try something new and old, these traditional meals range from easy to make to more complicated for experienced foodies. Why not add some green dye to your dishes to get even more festive!

Films

The Wind that Shakes the Barley [HU DVD 3374]
This film centers around two brothers and their respective places in the conflict between Britain and Ireland during the time of the Irish War of Independence.

Gangs of New York [HU DVD 590]
Leonardo DiCaprio plays an Irish American adult seeking vengeance against “Bill the Butcher” who killed his father years before in this film directed by Martin Scorsese.

Once [HU DVD 3745]
Set in Dublin, Ireland, Once is a guy-meets-girl story with a musical twist.It provides a great way to get your romantic movie fix while also experiencing Ireland’s rich culture.

Music

“20 Best Irish Pub Songs” by Noel McLoughlin [http://bit.ly/1yhAY3f]
This compilation includes some popular favorites such as “Whiskey in the Jar,” “The Wild Rover,” and “The Galway Races.”

“Traditional Irish Music” [http://bit.ly/1DIP13h]
Make sure to be logged into your AU account to access this set of songs from Sean Talamh. Some songs listed include “Belfast Mill,” “Valse Ronde,” and “The Humours of Flinn.”

“Celtic Dances: The Legend,” contributed by Liz Knowles [http://bit.ly/1Cszxgg]
If dancing is more your speed, enjoy the Celtic sounds that get the Irish to their feet. The Naxos Library, where this music is located, also has hundreds of other Irish classics for which to search!

Events

D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade [http://dcstpatsparade.com/]
On March 15th, 2015, the 44th annual D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade is taking place on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, N.W. The parade route is easily accessible from the Federal Triangle, Archives-Navy Memorial and Smithsonian metro stations. Come out of winter hibernation to celebrate the holiday with others in the D.C. area.

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Title: Secret Lives: Shane Hickey
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Abstract: The fifth article in a series of profiles offering a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at our Library personnel. Meet Interlibrary Services Coordinator Shane Hickey and learn about his secret life as a rugby fanatic.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/03/2015
Content:

Interlibrary Services Coordinator Shane Hickey loves a challenge. Here at the AU Library, his focus is on locating and obtaining Interlibrary Loan materials as quickly as possible, in order to assist scholars with the time consuming research process. “I know how big a difference a single resource can make, because a thesis or paper is only as strong as the sources used to write it.” Shane’s drive to succeed and his interest in helping others shines through in his entwined roles as a rugby player and LGBT rights supporter.

A lifelong athlete, Shane tried his hand at a range of sports. From the time he was in the second grade, it was a family hobby to run together each morning. Growing up near Syracuse, NY, this was no easy feat. Rain or snow, the entire family (including the dog) went for an early morning run each day, even when on vacation. Shane absorbed his parents’ enthusiasm for athletics. Throughout school he played basketball, soccer, and baseball, earned a black belt in karate, and ran cross country for 6 years.

Luckily for him, all that practice paid off when he was introduced to the world of rugby. A casual fan of televised matches, Shane quickly made the jump to playing on the Scandals, a DC area team. After meeting a local member of International Gay Rugby (IGR), an organization that brings together players from LGBT and inclusive teams, Shane joined the Scandals for their weekly practice and was invited to watch their game that Saturday.

Much to Shane’s surprise, the coach decided to start him in that match. “It was terrifying! I had never even seen a game in person before that day” he recalls, but was hooked and has now been a member of the team for a year and a half. All those years of running outside in upstate New York prepared Shane for the pre-season conditioning that begins each year in January. Twice a week, the team meets for outdoor conditioning trainings that shift into outdoor practice sessions mid-February. The first game of the season is held at the end of March and the season concludes in May.

During the off-season, Shane stays involved by working as Club Secretary for the team, participating in team volunteer work, such as taking part in the DC AIDS walk and volunteering at Capital Pride, and running Rugby 101 clinics with his teammates, which introduce newcomers to the sport. For him, rugby is more than a game. His work with the Washington Scandals Rugby Football Club provides him with an opportunity to build friendships, participate as a supporter within the DC gay community, travel for away games, and be a part of something inclusive and rewarding.

“There is a place on the field for anybody of any size. As long as you have the will, you can play rugby. Our team includes men who have always played sports and men who felt excluded from athletics because of their sexual orientation – and are trying a sport for the first time.” Shane loves that there is room for everyone in rugby. The Capital Rugby Union, an organization that oversees rugby clubs within a region that stretches from central Virginia to eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, includes women’s, men’s, and youth clubs. Shane describes rugby as a “thrilling, intense team sport that offers room for individual goals and provides a satisfying sense of glory and competition.”

For anyone who is curious about rugby, Shane highly recommends checking out the Six Nations Competition, an annual international competition between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The 2015 Six Nations matches will run through March 21st and are televised at several Irish pubs in the DC area. The Scandals Facebook page also offers information on upcoming Rugby 101 clinics, matches, and social events where you can meet team members.

Book & Film Recommendations from Shane:

Life On Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster by David Attenborough
David Attenborough is a personal hero of mine and his autobiography is wonderful. From the early days at the BBC to his travels across the globe, learn about the history of the BBC, the challenges of filming wildlife, and the unexpected joys that life brings.

Anecdotes of Destiny by Isak Dinesen
This charming collection of stories by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) will keep you both entertained and thinking. Babette's Feast is my favorite from this collection and one of the greatest stories about food of all time—it was also turned into a film which won the 1987 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Borgen
Best political drama ever made, hands down. This fictional account of Denmark's first female prime minister will have you hooked from episode 1.

Bringing Up Baby
This story of unexpected love, a leopard, and one missing intercostal clavicle bone will keep you laughing from beginning to end. Oh, and it stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, need I say more?

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Title: Secret Lives: Susan McElrath
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Abstract: The sixth article in this profile series offers a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at University Archivist Susan McElrath, who manages the Archives and Special Collections, home to some of the most precious items in the collection.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/03/2015
Content:

The Archives and Special Collections at the American University Library are home to some of the rarest, most invaluable items in the collection. The University Archives chronicles the history of American University from its founding in 1893 to the present, through a variety of materials, while Special Collections features collections of rare books, publications, and manuscripts. Both of these collections are overseen by University Archivist, Susan McElrath, whose interest in education can be seen in her work in the Library and the classroom.

Highlighted as a History Wonk, Susan holds a Master of Library Science and a Master of Arts in American History from the University of Maryland. Her academic interests left her with a deep appreciation and understanding of historical materials, as did her internship at the Maryland State Archives, where she took her first job after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, with a minor in Math, from St. John's College. Her enthusiasm for all the "cool old stuff" housed in the archives and the "welcoming, nurturing environment" drew her into a career in libraries, and along an interesting path.

Her interest in historical documents and her "need for a job where [she] is making a difference and helping others" led her to work at the Bethune Museum and Archives, now called the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, in DC. This historic building is home to the National Archives for Black Women's History, which covers the New Deal Era through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. From there, she went on to a position at the National Anthropological Archives (NAA) at the Smithsonian Institution. While at the NAA, Susan taught a class on museum archiving and "caught the teaching bug."

Since coming to AU, Susan has found a number of ways to get involved in instruction. She developed a subject guide that provides an introduction to primary source research and offers historical walking tours of campus for alumni and parents every year during All American Weekend. Susan also develops exhibits for display in the Library that expose the AU community to the wealth of materials that can be found in Special Collections and the Archives. As Susan explains, "to keep it fresh, interesting, and eye catching, I do five exhibit shifts each year. These exhibits help to get the word out about our collections." In addition to these modes of outreach, Susan maintains a blog about new and noteworthy materials in the collection as well as fun facts in AU history. 

Bringing the Archives to the classroom is another way that Susan works to raise awareness of these resources. She offers in-class instruction on primary source research and during recent summer sessions, Susan taught 'Collection Management for Archives and Museums' for AU's Public History program. The Archives has also served as a location for "history lab sessions" in the new AU Scholars program. Susan provided expert help to the professor to provide students with the opportunity to work with, develop research skills, and create research projects using historic photographs and other types of primary source material housed in the Archives. Her expertise allows her to identify optimal primary sources for scholars using the Archives, facilitating and simplifying their research efforts.

In addition to her work in the classroom, Susan is happy to share her knowledge with individual students, stating that "no research project is too small! I enjoy connecting students with sources and hearing about their projects." To that end, Archives and Special Collections is open Monday - Friday, 9 am – 5 pm for drop-ins. Susan also works on the Research Assistance Desk each week and can be contacted by email or phone.The exploratory aspect of research is something that Susan thoroughly enjoys and she makes a compelling case for delving into Archives and Special Collections: "There are so many stories waiting in our holdings to be unearthed and told." That sounds like an irresistible challenge for the many intellectually curious scholars here at American University. 

See what you can discover in Archives and Special Collections by taking a closer look at these selections:

Eagle Lore: Windows into American University History

This online exhibit chronicles the history of American University in Washington, D.C. from its founding to the present day. Through a series of historic images from the University Archives, viewers can see the development of the campus itself and experience the evolution of student life at AU. This site also provides a glimpse of AU during prominent historical moments in U.S. history.

Peace Corps Community Archives

Two years ago AU Library began collecting primary source materials from former Peace Corps volunteers. This growing collection allows scholars to research the experiences of individual Peace Corps volunteers through correspondence, photos, diaries, and Peace Corps training materials.

John R. Hickman Collection

Find supporting multimedia clips for your projects, presentations, and papers in the John R. Hickman Collection, which contains broadcast quality audio recordings of vintage radio news and entertainment programs, from the 1920s through the 1970s.

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Title: Collection Spotlight—Black History Month
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Abstract: Black History Month is a time of observance during which we reflect on the important people and events in African American history. Here at Bender Library, we spotlight the best selections in our collection to help further celebrate Black History Month.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 02/26/2015
Content:

Black History Month is a time of observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom during which we reflect on the important people and events in African American history. The precursor to Black History Month was Negro History Week, which was created 1926 and was since expanded to a month long celebration during the bicentennial of the United States in 1976. For more about the origins of this observance, read Ralph Crowder’s “Historical Significance of Black History Month” in Black History Bulletin (requires AU login) or check out our African American Studies LibGuide. Here at Bender Library at American University, we have curated the best books, films, and music selections to recognize the important contributions made by African Americans.

Books:

Black History extends from the time of slavery to present day America under the leadership of the first African American President of the United States. These selected books highlight experiences of black Americans throughout history.

From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss [E185 .F825 2000]
This is the powerful story of African American history, from the slavery era through the late twentieth century.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas by Frederick Douglas [E449 .D749 2005]
This highly influential book changed the abolitionist movement forever in 1845 through its account of Douglass’ life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man.

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois [E185.5 .D83 2005]
Du Bois’ 1903 collection of essays was groundbreaking in creating an intellectual argument for the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century—which continues to resonate in the twenty-first.

Black Like Me by Howard Griffin [E185.61 .G8]
A nonfiction account of Griffin, who was a white native of Dallas, Texas, as he traveled for six-weeks through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man after artificially darkening his skin.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama [E185.97 .O23 A3 1995]
The President of the United States explores his heritage in this memoir and speaks to the current issue of racial tension within our nation.

Films:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these films tell a score of struggles and triumphs in black history.

Roots (1977) [HU DVD 6121]
Based on the novel, Roots: the Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley chronicles the story of his own family across many generations. It begins with an 18th century African, Kunta Kinte, who is captured and sold into slavery in the United States, then traces his life and the lives of his descendants in the U.S. into the twentieth century.

Glory (1989) [HU DVD 1171]
One of the best Civil War films ever made, this film follows the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of the Union Army and the Confederates.

12 Years A Slave (2013) [HU DVD 11176]
The Oscar winning film tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, as he is abducted and sold into slavery.

42 (2013) [HU BLU 4622]
This films depicts the story of Jackie Robinson from his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1945 to his historic 1947 rookie season when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

Malcolm X (1992) [DVD 165]
Denzel Washington holds nothing back in his portrayal of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader in this Spike Lee film.

Music:

Music is an integral component of the history of black Americans. Here is just a small sampling you can find in our streaming content or in the American University Music Library, located in the Katzen Arts Center.

Negro Spirituals [http://bit.ly/1whlDNg]
This collection catalogs a sampling of songs slaves sang for inspiration while working and, sometimes, use to secretly coordinate runaways to freedom.

Jazz
Jazz originated in African American culture, evolving from Negro spirituals and European music. Some influential black jazz artists include Louis Armstrong [CD 3332], Duke Ellington [http://bit.ly/1yEHICx], Miles Davis [http://bit.ly/1AmpS9G], and Billie Holiday [http://bit.ly/1IGqhtx]. All of these artists, and many more, used their talents and prestige in the 20th century to fight for equality in the United States and across the world.

Go-Go
Originating in Washington, D.C. during the 1970s, Chuck Brown, the “Godfather of Go-Go,” introduced this subgenre of funk to the black music circuit. Get a taste of the culture, and D.C. history, with a live recording of Chuck Brown at the 9:30 Club [CD 9827].

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Title: Secret Lives: Jackie Saavedra
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Abstract: Our latest Personnel Profile story highlights Circulation Services Specialist Jackie Saavedra, a Miami native who was swept off her feet by Washington, D.C.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 02/10/2015
Content:

During the grey, chilly months of winter, many D.C. residents fantasize about sunnier locales with sandy beaches and palm trees. Sometimes we can lose sight of the charms our home has to offer, until we chat with an enthusiastic newcomer, seeing the city through fresh eyes. Let Circulation Services Specialist Jackie Saavedra, a former Miami resident who fell head over heels for D.C., take you on a tour of the nation's capital that will have you falling in love with the city all over again.

While visiting friends in the District a few years ago, Jackie was struck by the abundance of libraries, museums, and intellectual activities available here. Her friends brought her to the American History Museum, Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery of Art, out for brunch and shopping at Eastern Market, and to see a band at the 9:30 Club. By the end of the weekend, she was hooked!

An avid book-lover, Jackie was already working on her Master of Science in Library and Information Studies at Florida State University in Tallahassee. After completing her degree, Jackie was awarded a two month internship at the National Anthropological Archives through the Smithsonian Institute. When her internship ended, she moved back to Miami for a short time before relocating to her new home and accepting a job with American University.

Jackie takes full advantage of living in a cultural hub, catching author talks at her neighborhood bookstore, Politics and Prose, seeing performances at the Kennedy Center and Shakespeare Theatre, and trying out different restaurants and cuisines. (She loves the pop-tarts at Ted's Bulletin and the ramen at Daikaya!) Some of her favorite activities include bringing a book to Meridian Hill Park on Sundays for some leisurely reading and a chance to enjoy the weekly drum circle, strolling through Georgetown to see the historic buildings, checking out shows at local art galleries, and visiting the National Museum of the American Indian, her favorite museum in town.

She also makes time to visit the United States Botanic Garden regularly during the winter. The steamy, warm environment reminds her of home. While Jackie is still getting used to winter weather, she thoroughly enjoys the occasional snow day. "It is so peaceful to stay in your warm apartment, sipping coffee and watching movies, while enjoying the view of a winter wonderland. There is something beautiful about the glare of the sun hitting a blanket of bright white snow." Experiencing the change in seasons is new for her and she appreciates seeing how the city changes throughout the year.

Although she misses her family, Jackie Skypes with them regularly and loves being able to explore D.C. with them when they visit. Her homesickness has also been eased by the friendliness she has encountered here, which surprised her initially. "D.C. residents are so welcoming. People here seem more willing to start up a conversation or lend a helping hand than I expected. Even though it is a busy city, D.C. has the neighborliness of a smaller town."

Her list of places to visit and things to do is always growing, but she is eager to visit Mt. Vernon and Dumbarton Oaks, see the upcoming exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, and take a Ghost &Graveyard Tour of Old Town Alexandria. Jackie's excitement about D.C. is contagious and serves as an excellent reminder to step back and renew one's appreciation for local culture.

Book and Film Recommendations from Jackie:

1. House of Cards, Seasons 1 & 2

Although the original book and mini-series are set in the U.K.'s House of Commons, the story seems far more gripping and sinister in an American setting. Also, the time-lapse opening sequence shows D.C. in its most imposing light.

2. A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro

This book takes a look at one of Shakespeare’s most productive years, in which he wrote Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and Hamlet. It's an ideal companion to a night out at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre or the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

3. Blankets by Craig Thompson

A blustery Wisconsin winter is the perfect backdrop to this graphic novel about adolescence and first love; the setting alone makes it a great read for a snow day.

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Title: Let the Library be your Valentine
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Abstract: Whether you plan to spend this Feb. 14 contemplating the nature of love, baking cookies, watching movies, or enjoying a romantic evening—the Library has plenty of suggestions for fun Valentine’s Day listening, cooking, viewing, and reading.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 02/05/2015
Content:

Whether you plan to spend this February 14th contemplating the nature of love, baking cookies for your most-adored friends, watching movies with your roomies, or enjoying a romantic evening with someone special (like yourself!)—the Library has plenty of suggestions for fun Valentine's Day listening, cooking, viewing, and reading.

Music:

Les Misérables Live! The 2010 Cast Album Get swept away by the music of this production and the romance between Cosette and Marius.

Magic Flute Set in a fantastical world, Mozart’s opera features plot twists aplenty, magical instruments, and of course, romance.

Tristan und Isolde  Wagner’s famous opera is a classic romantic tragedy based on a Celtic legend.

Cookbooks:

Sprouted Kitchen by Sarah Forte Show your body some love with healthy recipes from a wellness oriented food blogger.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child Learn to cook French cuisine alongside beloved chef Julia Child.

Sweet Magic: Easy Recipes for Delectable Desserts by Michel Richard Make some sweets for your sweetie, using the recipes from this DC celebrity chef.

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes by Daniel Ahern and Shauna James Ahern This love story meets cookbook features recipes and romance, with great ideas for anyone avoiding gluten.

Neelys' Celebration Cookbook: Down-Home Meals for Every Occasion by Pat Neely, Gina Neely and Ann Volkwein This celebrity chef couple’s featured menu for Valentine’s Day manages to be both light and decadent.

Movies:

Crazy, Stupid, Love Two words: Ryan Gosling

Noah’s Arc (season 1) Super-campy & fun, this show takes a look at the lives of young black men in LA.

Zebrahead Set in Detroit, this Oliver Stone-produced film brings together 90s hip hop and interracial love.

Weekend Two men have a brief, but intense love affair that changes them both.

But I'm a Cheerleader Orange is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne stars in this tongue-in-cheek rom-com cult classic.

Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss Unrequited love takes center stage in this charming camp classic.

Books:

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro Beautifully written, this novel follows a young woman as she reconnects with two deeply loved people from her past.

Selected Poems by Federico García Lorca Explore the haunting Sonnets of Dark Love in this book of dual language poetry by an iconic Spanish writer.

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks In this book, a noted writer, intellectual, and social activist examines the concept of modern love. 

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin Follow the story of an American in Paris who experiences the soaring highs and devastating lows of love.

Perks Of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky This coming of age story encompasses the love, heartache, loneliness, and angst of adolescence.

Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris by Edmund White Fall in love with Paris as you stroll through the ‘City of Lights’ alongside a celebrated American novelist.

More: Speak to each other in the language of love, using the Library’s new Pronunciator language learning software.

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Title: Select Stream-able Selections
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Abstract: When it is chilly outside and you need a break from your studies, check out our streaming content that you can enjoy from the comfort of your room. If you are snowed in, look to the Library’s streaming and online services to cure your cabin fever.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 01/29/2015
Content:

When it is chilly outside and you need to take a break from your studies, check out our streaming content that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own dorm room. If you find yourself snowed in and bored, then look to the Library's streaming and online services for books, films, and music to cure your cabin fever.

Books:

Winter is the perfect time to sit down in a big comfy chair by a fire (or space heater), sip some hot cocoa, and catch up on a couple of those great literary classics you've been meaning to get around to but just haven't had the time. This is just a small selection of the numerous titles available online.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens [http://bit.ly/1ulgrHB]

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley [http://bit.ly/14n6PSX]

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain [http://bit.ly/1wzv72p]

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells [http://bit.ly/1tRvC6f]

Some electronic resources are spinoffs from literary favorites, such as the …and Philosophy series.

Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein [http://bit.ly/1xzHoHk]

The Hobbit and Philosophy: For When You've Lost Your Dwarves, Your Wizard, and Your Way edited by Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson [http://bit.ly/14n9yvm]

The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy: A Book for Bastards, Morons, and Madmen edited by Keith Dromm and Heather Salter [http://bit.ly/1GXeGFE]

Films:

Find more streaming videos in the numerous Media Service collections but here are some highlights not available on Netflix streaming.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) [http://bit.ly/116UIaB]
This film originally bombed when it was released, making it cheap for TV stations to play during the holiday season and solidifying it as the Christmas classic we know today.

The Stranger (1946) [http://bit.ly/1ub7yid]
Directed by Orson Welles, this film follows a man of the War Crimes Commission seeking Franz Kindler, mastermind of the Holocaust, who has effectively erased his identity.

Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1942) [http://bit.ly/116VwMI]
You won't find Benedict Cumberbatch or Martin Freeman in this William Roy Neill directed film, but you will find a lot of classic local scenery as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson travel to Washington D.C. in order to prevent a secret document from falling into enemy hands.

Music:

With Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes Radio, you have a lot of ways to listen to music. Why not explore a few different genres of ad-free music brought to you by the music library?

Jazz Library [http://bit.ly/1ulLxii]
Mix selection of Jazz legends and contemporary jazz.

American Song Library [http://bit.ly/1vdPiYq]
Music from America's past including songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys.

World Music Library [http://bit.ly/1xA0Qnm]
Take your ears on a global trip with sounds from nearly every genre and region of the world.

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Title: Professor’s New Book Unveils Pros and Cons of Reading Onscreen
Author: Rebecca Basu
Subtitle:
Abstract: E-book or print book: Does it matter? According to new research by American University linguistics professor Naomi Baron, depending on the circumstances, the answer is yes.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 01/23/2015
Content:

E-book or print book: Does it matter? According to new research by American University linguistics professor Naomi Baron, depending on the circumstances, the answer is yes.

For the past 20 years, Baron has been probing how technology shapes the ways we speak and listen, read and write. In her new book, Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (Oxford University Press), Baron uncovers the advantages and disadvantages of e-reading and makes a case for educators, parents and policy makers to slow down the rush to digitize all reading.

Surveying university students in the United States, Japan, and Germany, Baron found that 92 percent of them found it easiest to concentrate when reading print. Not surprisingly, they were three times as likely to be multitasking when reading onscreen. What’s more, if cost were the same for hardcopy and digital versions, between 75 and 94 percent (depending on the country) favored print, both for school work and when reading for pleasure.

“Millennials’ preference for print may seem paradoxical given that they use so many digital devices in their daily lives,” Baron said. “Educators need to be mindful about the potential consequences of digitizing so much reading. Educators also need to listen to students’ voices rather than assume we know how they prefer to do their reading, and why.”

Conflicts in reading choices

Words Onscreen presents a research-based challenge to the growing move in education from K through college to replace print with digital reading to help the environment and to save money. Among Baron’s findings are that

• Students generally believe that digital screens are more environmentally friendly than paper. Yet some who cite environmental concerns as their reason for reading digitally nonetheless declare a strong preference for print. In reality, digital devices (and the cloud they access) have many negative environmental impacts.

• Students, especially in the U.S., repeatedly complain that they turn to digital textbooks to save money, not because they believe digital reading is the best way to learn.

• Many students report they learn more when they read in print.

• Length of reading matters in choosing between reading onscreen or in print.

In addition to her empirical research, Baron sketches out the modern evolution of reading. New forms of writing and publication (the novel, the magazine, and anthologies) made for new styles of reading. Today, the web propels people into search mode and skimming snippets rather than long reads. Baron, like many experts, is concerned that digital technologies discourage deep, individual, reflective reading.

“If you are reading on a device that has an Internet connection, it’s tempting to break off to send a text message, update social media accounts, or check out restaurant reviews,” Baron says. “These interruptions short-circuit concentration. The vast literature on multitasking documents how much time and mental focus we lose when we keep switching tasks.”

Baron also considers whether the surge in online social reading networks, along with eReader features that share other readers’ highlights, privilege superficial commentary and mechanical agreement, rather than encouraging people to wrestle with authors and their texts individually.

The smell of the pages

Triple-digit growth in eBooks from 2009 to 2011 led many people to believe that digital reading would soon overtake print. However, annual eBook growth has slowed down to the single digits. In Words Onscreen, Baron cites surveys indicating that today’s readers are interested in having multiple reading options available, including print and electronic versions of the same book – one to use at home and the other to access when on the go.

While eBooks are convenient and often less costly, readers don't own e-books the way they own print books, Baron stresses. When surveying students, many enthused about the look and feel of books, their ease of use, and even the smell of pages and bindings.

“Readers talk about the difference between having a collection of titles that are out-of-sight, out-of-mind, versus being able to view on their shelves the books they’ve read, or even having an unread title stare them down,” Baron said.

Though Baron’s point-of-view is cautionary, she recognizes the virtues of both media. The book’s final chapter offers readers pragmatic steps for capitalizing on the best of both formats.

“Digital reading devices will be with us for the long haul,” Baron observes. “It’s important for us as readers, parents, and teachers to capitalize on their very real advantages. But it’s equally vital for us to remember that form should follow function: Some reading is best done in print – just ask the millennials.”

Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World will be available in early February.

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