Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's Christmas on Campus

Even though it doesn't snow very often in Georgia, it does get cold at this time of the year and the Christmas spirit is definitely present on campus.  We are fortunate to have National Management Resources to keep our campus clean and working as well as beautiful.  They do a fabulous job and here are some of the results. 

On the Patio with the Lewis Library in the background

The Chapel

The Clock Tower with a wreath around its timepiece.

Another view of the patio.

The recently constructed pergola.

Holly berries (Ilex cornuta)

Each year at Christmas our staff and director show their appreciation to all our  students who work at the library.  We don't know what we'd do without them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Holidays from Lewis Library!

Happy Holidays from the staff at Lewis Library!
From left to right:
Mary Lou Dabbs, Rachel Evans, Patricia Barrett, Jennifer Wiggins, Lisa Morgan, Stacey Davis, 
Caitlin Vest, Jacque Hornsby, David Wiggins, Charlene Baxter, Carolyn Graham, Arthur Robinson.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Finding Used Books Online

Amazon has made buying books a lot easier, but what if you're looking for out-of-print books, for yourself or as a Christmas gift? Or you want to find a cheaper second-hand copy, or a first edition? Sometimes Amazon will list sellers of used copies, but what if they don't have the book you want?

Thanks to the Internet, finding that elusive book is much easier than it used to be, whether you're a serious collector or just want cheap copies of everything your favorite author wrote. There are websites that allow you to search the holdings of thousands of booksellers worldwide with one click. Here are my favorite resources:

AbeBooks.com lets you limit your search in many ways-by publisher, by price, or first editions in dustjacket. (Read the seller's description carefully, though; the seller may specify "No dustjacket" and the computer catches the "dustjacket" and ignores the "No.") You can sort your results-cheapest copies first, or "most recently listed" (to see what's been added since you last checked. Best of all, you can register "wants" if you can't find the books you want (or the copies listed are too pricey), sign up, and you'll be e-mailed as soon as they become available. There's no charge for this service, and you can sometimes get great bargains.
alibris.com works similarly, and also allows you to sort results by condition. You can often get discounts by checking http://www.alibris.com/coupons or Googling for "alibris coupons."
Bookfinder.com the most comprehensive site. Bookfinder.com allows you to search abebooks, alibris, Amazon, Biblio.com, and other sites simultaneously to find the best price (especially useful if you're looking for textbooks). But since it searches several databases simultaneously, it's less efficient than abebooks and alibris at limiting your search and sorting results.
If you have questions, feel free to see me in the library, or email me. If you want to borrow books rather than purchase them, there's always interlibrary loan.

* This blog post was authored by Arthur Robinson, the Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian at Lewis Library.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Staff Picks #6: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

For the sixth edition of Staff Picks, our recommendation comes from Charlene Baxter. Charlene is the technical and public services librarian at Lewis Library. Here's what Charlene has to recommend for holiday reading:
"Need some light reading for the holidays? My favorite mystery series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels can provide that. The author, Alexander McCall Smith, was born and educated in what is now Zimbabwe; later taught law at the University of Botswana so he brings knowledge of south Africa to his books."
"The library has the latest one, The Double Comfort Safari Club, on the McNaughton browsing shelves. Also in the collection is a DVD version of the HBO series based on the first novels in the series. The stories revolve around the detective work of Mma Ramotswe, owner of the only detective agency in Gaborone, capital of Botswana. The personal lives of Mma Ramotswe, and her assistant, Mma Makutsi, slowly evolve along with cases concerning lost relatives, scams and cons, and unfaithful spouses."
Watch a video teaser for the DVD version below:
Photograph of book series courtesy of The Yellow Library blog.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Staff Picks #5: Rowling's Other Books...

For the fifth edition of Staff Picks, our recommendations come from Caitlin Vest. Caitlin is one of the evening and weekend library assistants at Lewis Library, as well as a former student and history major at LaGrange College. Caitlin brings us three great recommendations. Check it out:
Are you a Harry Potter fan looking for some light reading over Christmas Break? If so, you may be interested in one (or all!) of Rowling’s 3 other books.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
This collection of children’s stories is integral to the plot of the 7th and final book in the Harry Potter series. While Muggle (nonmagical) children grew up on tales of “Snow White” and “Cinderella”, Wizard children read “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot” and “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”. This delightful book of wizard fairy tales was translated from the Ancient Runes by Hermione Granger and includes an introduction and commentary written by Albus Dumbledore.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
A Hogwarts textbook, this book is referenced throughout the Harry Potter series. It includes descriptions of creatures that frequent the books, such as dragons, bowtruckles, and trolls. I found the most amusing part of the book to be the comments that Harry and Ron scribbled in the margins.

Quidditch Through the Ages
This is another title frequently discussed in the Harry Potter series. It tells the amusing and fantastic history of Quidditch, the popular wizarding sport played on broomstick.

All three books can be found on the third floor of Lewis Library, shelved with the Juvenile fiction books. The call number is JUV Rowling.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Extended Exam Hours!

Need to get some extra studying in? The Library's Extended Exam Hours begin Friday, Dec 2!
Friday, Dec 2 - open 8am-9pm

Sat, Dec 3 - open 11am-4pm

Sun, Dec 4 - open 2-11pm

Mon, Dec 5 - Fri, Dec 9 - open 8am-11pm

Sat, Dec 10 - 8am-3pm

Staff Picks #4: "1776"

For the fourth edition of Staff Picks, we bring you a wonderful recommendation from Patricia (Pat) Barrett. Pat works in the Suber Archives and Special Collections of Lewis Library. Her recommendation if for the book 1776, by David McCullough. You can find this item in the library on the bottom floor using the call number, E208 .M396 2005. McCullough, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, explores the events, people, and extraordinary moments of courage that led to the founding of our country. This is an eloquent story of that tumultuous year. Here's what Pat had to say about this book:

Pulitzer Prize winning David McCullough has brought George Washington and the citizen soldiers who served under him, farmers, teachers, doctors and other ordinary men, to life describing the immense challenges these patriots had to confront in the face of the British military juggernaut. The men who devoted their lives to the patriot cause had to endure extreme cold, sickness, and lack of arms but even these were not enough to deter them. Their courage and ingenuity was in stark contrast to others who responded in to these privations by running away or deserting to the British. After Americans declared their independence in 1776, it was nothing short of miraculous that this country survived and it was largely due to the efforts of George Washington who set aside regional and personal differences to allow the most able people to serve with him.

Are you interested in this title, but not the world's fastest reader? The library also has in the collection the audio book version of 1776, which spans 10 sound discs. "[He] narrates in a sonorous, grandfatherly voice, keeping his speech vibrant and engaging, as if he were simply telling a story."—Publishers Weekly. The audiobook version of 1776 was an Audie Award finalist and winner of a 2005 PublishersWeekly Listen Up award. Takes Pat's advice and check out this book or audio book over your Christmas break!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Spotlight: The LaFayette Collection

With the Christmas holidays right around the corner, the Suber Archives & Special Collections department in Lewis Library would like to pay a special tribute to the LaFayette collection. The Library and the College are very thankful for the pieces in the LaFayette collection, which aid in illustrating the rich history of both the college and the city of LaGrange with the legacy of LaFayette, an important French aristocrat and American Revolutionary hero.

The central point of downtown LaGrange is the square. From 1828 to 1936, the square was home to the county courthouse. Later, the square became a public park with a fountain. In 1976 a statue of the Marquis de Lafayette was placed on a pedestal in the fountain, and the park was named LaFayette Square. The city of LaGrange itself was actually named at the suggestion of Colonel Julius Caesar Alford (known as the "War Horse of Troup" in Congress), who in 1825 overheard Lafayette remark on the similarity between the west Georgia countryside and LaGrange, his wife's estate in France (located about 30 miles from Paris).

The LaFayette collection itself is made up of materials related to Marquis de LaFayette. Pieces from the collection were given to Dr. Waights G. Henry, Jr., for LaGrange College by Dr. Leland D. Case, of Tucson, Arizona, who was a friend of Count Louis de Lasteyrie and of Count Rene de Chambrun, both descendants of LaFayette. This gift resulted from Dr. Case's friendship with Dr. Georges de Bone, Associate Professor of Modern Languages at LaGrange College.

Included in the LaFayette collection are a variety of old postcards from France and the era of the American Revolution. The post card pictured here is just one example of the LaFayette postcard collection, featuring Washington and LaFayette at Valley Forge. For more information on historical postcards, visit the Chicago Postcard Museum online. The collection also includes an original copy of an article that was published in March 1975 in Columbus, Georgia's Ledger-Enquirer Magazine. The article tells the complete story of the statue of LaFayette and how it came to guard the square in downtown LaGrange, GA. You can find out more information about the LaFayette collection and the other collections housed in Lewis Library by visiting the Suber Archives & Special Collections online guide. Click on the images in this post to view them larger.

Photo and text Courtesy of the Georgia Encyclopedia. Pictured in the photograph is LaGrange, Georgia's town square with statue of LaFayette. The statue itself belongs to LaGrange College, but is on permanent loan to the city of LaGrange. This blog post co-authored by Patricia Barrett and Rachel Evans.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Staff Picks #3: "In the Realms of the Unreal"

For the third edition of Staff Picks, Rachel Evans is our recommender. Rachel is a Graduate Library Assistant at Lewis Library, currently working towards a master in Library Science from Florida State University. Rachel is also a graduate of LaGrange College, with a double B.A. in Art and Music. For her first Staff Picks, Rachel has chosen two titles from the collection.

The first is Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal, by John Monroe MacGregor. This book can be found on the third floor of the library, in the oversized book section using the call number, NX512 .D377 Z83 2002. Here's what Rachel had to say about this book:
For those who love art books and weird outsider artists, this is an excellent choice! This large art book is filled with countless drawings and other works by the late Henry Darger, an artist whose works are truly unique, at times expressing the whimsical fantasies of the artist who created characters which kept his mind company throughout the lonely years of his reclusive life.
The second item is a related DVD from the library collection titled In the realms of the unreal: the mystery of Henry Darger. Directed by oscar-winner Jessica Yu, this film masterfully employs animated sequences in this intriguing documentary to bring to life the enchanted world of a most eccentric artist. Check out this item, DVD ND237 .D37 I5 2005.
This is an excellent documentary that explores the strange world of Darger, an artist you certainly won't hear about in your art history class!

For those whose curiosity has been perked up by this post, here's a little more information about the artist: Henry Darger was an elderly recluse who spent his childhood in an asylum for feeble-minded children, and his adulthood working as a lonely janitor. When he died in 1973, Darger left “300 paintings and 30,000 pages of writing, including his magnum opus — The Realms of the Unreal, a 15-volume, 15,000-plus-page illustrated novel on which he had apparently been working since 1909... Central to the novel are the Vivian Girls, seven blond Kewpie doll-like heroines who are the sweet-souled, ferocious leaders of the Child Slave Revolt… That his little girls…display male genitalia makes Darger’s vision all the more unnerving” (John Anderson, Newsday).

Interested in learning even more about Darger? Check out these helpful links:
Official website
St. Etienne Galleries - the gallery that handles all of Henry Darger's work.
Henry Darger fanpage
Realm of the Unreal: A page about Henry Darger
Henry Darger images at the Hammer Gallery
An essay on Henry Darger's work
Wellspring Website
American Folk Art Museum. Home of the Henry Darger Study Center and Darger artwork in permanent collection.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Staff Picks #2: "Finishing the Hat"

For the second edition of Staff Picks, our recommendation comes from Arthur Robinson. Arthur is the Reference and ILL librarian at Lewis Library. For his staff pick, Arthur has chosen Finishing the hat : collected lyrics (1954-1981) with attendant comments, principles, heresies, grudges, whines and anecdotes, by Stephen Sondheim. This item is located on the top floor of Lewis Library and can be found using the call number, ML54.6 .S69 S66 2010. Here's what Arthur had to say about this item:
Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim discusses Broadway musicals he’s worked on, including West Side Story and Sweeney Todd, and provides all the lyrics.
The library's collection contains many other items by and related to Sondheim and his work. To find more items like this one, search the library online catalog by author for "Sondheim, Stephen".

Monday, November 28, 2011

Staff Picks #1: "Bury my heart at Wounded Knee"

Starting today, the library blog will feature Staff Picks leading up to the close of the fall semester! Staff Picks will feature a recommended book or item from the library's collection chosen by one of the staff members at Lewis Library. Having trouble deciding what reading material to borrow over the holidays? Staff Picks can help!

For the first edition of Staff Picks, Stacey Davis is our inaugural recommender. Stacey is the Serials & Cataloging Assistant at Lewis Library, as well as an avid reader! For her first Staff Picks, Stacey has chosen Bury my heart at Wounded Knee : an Indian history of the American West by Dee A. Brown.

This book can be found on the bottom floor of the library using the call number E81 .B75 1991. Here's what Stacey had to say about this book:
You'll get more of the "buried" history of the Native Americans from this 1971 bestseller; it is a sad, but enlightening story that will stay with you long after you have read the last page of the book.

If you're interested in more items related to this topic, check out the following DVD, Bury my heart at Wounded Knee [DVD] : the epic fall of the American Indian, located on the third floor of Lewis Library, DVD PN1997 .B922 2007.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday Spotlight: The Wesley Collection

In light of the Thanksgiving spirit here on campus, Suber Archives & Special Collections at Lewis Library is excited to spotlight the Wesley Collection. LaGrange College has been associated with the Methodist Church throughout the institution's long history, since it's founding in 1831, and is very proud to house such an impressive collection of John Wesley related historical objects in the library's archives area.

John Wesley was born in 1703 in Epworth, England where his father, Samuel, was rector. His mother, Susanna Wesley, was herself a woman of accomplishment. When John was three years old the rectory caught fire and although he was rescued he considered himself, “a brand plucked from the burning.” As a cleric of the Church of England and a Christian theologian, Wesley is largely credited along with his brother (Charles Wesley) as founding the Methodist movement. As a result, Methodism is was a highly successful evangelical movement that originated in the United Kingdom and encouraged people to personally experience Jesus Christ. Wesley's teachings, better known as Wesleyanism, "provided the seeds for both the modern Methodist movement, the Holiness movement, Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Movement, and Neo-charismatic churches, which encompass numerous denominations across the world."

The Wesley Collection at Lewis Library is just one of multiple permanent collections housed in Suber Archives & Special Collections on the bottom floor of the library. Items from the Wesley collection include a variety of figurines, portraits, and an impressive and interesting collection of love feast plates.

The story behind the love feast plates began when John Wesley visited Savannah, GA. There he met the Moravians, who impressed him greatly with their calm during a storm at sea. Upon returning to England in 1783, Wesley participated in a Moravian Love Feast, and proceeded to introduce the concept to the Methodists a year later.
The Love Feast celebrates the birth of Christ through scripture reading and prayer, the singing of hymns, the lighting of candles, and the serving of Moravian bread and coffee during which these plates were used. The saying on many of the Love Feast plates is, “The best of all is, God is with us." These words have been purported to be the last words spoken by John Wesley on his deathbed.

Enjoy the following slide presentation, created by archives and special collections assistant Patricia Barrett. The presentation displays many of the items from the Wesley Collection, and includes musical accompaniment by the Sons of Lafayette, an all male choir from LaGrange, GA. The recording is of a live performance of "All That Hath Life and Breath Praise Ye the Lord", which was composed by Rene Clausen (b. 1953) who adapted the text from Psalm 96. This live recording was captured during the choir's 2011 appearance in Cornwall, England.

For more information about the Wesley Collection, visit the new Suber Archives & Special Collections online guide. For more information about the history of the college, visit LaGrange College's website here, or enjoy a pictorial timeline here. For more information about all things John Wesley, visit the following links:

*This blog post was co-authored by Patricia Barrett and Rachel Evans. Images in the presentation above are of items from Lewis Library's Wesley Collection, and were photographed by Patricia Barrett on behalf of Suber Archives & Special Collections. Information in this post was gathered from items and documents in the Wesley Collection, in addition to online sources including the Biography of John Wesley, courtesy of Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WorldCat: A Candy Shop for Book-lovers!

The WorldCat database, which can be accessed through GALILEO, is not only a valuable database for researchers, it’s an addictive one for book-lovers. As one of my colleagues has said, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop. WorldCat provides citations and information for practically every book (DVD, CD, periodical, etc.) held in any library in the US (and many in other countries), and tells you which libraries have it. WorldCat has many uses:
  • You can get full citation information for a book.
  • You can identify all books published by an author, or see if your author has published anything new recently.
  • You can identify the most recent edition of a book (especially important for textbooks).
  • You can see which libraries have a book.
  • If you’re looking for a short story, you may be able to identify books in which it’s been published. Many story collections have “contents notes” listing the stories they contain. Similarly, you can search for plays published in anthologies, essays, etc.
  • You can check whether a film or TV program has come out on DVD.
  • If you’re looking for an individual song or short piece of music, you may be able to identify CDs on which it has appeared (or music scores than contain it).
  • By doing a subject search, you can identify books on a given topic (and by using the date function in the Advanced search, you can see what’s been published recently—or about to be published).

Please see me at the Reference desk of Lewis Library if I can help you in using WorldCat, or if you want to order a book or music score from another library on interlibrary loan.

*This blog post authored by Reference and ILL librarian Arthur Robinson on behalf of Lewis Library. "Reading is a treat!" image by Doss Elementary, WorldCat screen shot by Arthur Robinson, Photo of Lewis Library Reference Desk by Rachel Evans.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Librarian Shares Presentation of Interesting Alumni: LC's Extraordinary Women of the Past

A group of LaGrange College friends visited the library Monday, November 14th for an "Extraordinary Women from LaGrange College's Past" presentation by Charlene Baxter. Ms. Baxter is the Public and Technical Services Librarian at Lewis Library.

Using pictures, books and documents from the library collection and Suber Archives, Ms. Baxter shared stories about some of her favorite past graduates, including: Eliza Frances Andrews, class of 1857; Virginia Atkinson, class of 1880; Carrie Parks Johnson, class of 1883; Buford Jeannette Johnson, class of 1895.

One of Ms. Baxter's favorite stories is that of Buford Johnson (pictured here), a truly extraordinary graduate from LaGrange Female College. After graduating at the age of 15, she later taught mathematics and pedagogy, proceeded to earn a Ph.D. at John Hopkins University, and was the second female to be tenured as a full professor there in 1923. Additionally, this outstanding graduate was the first female president of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, the founding editor of Child Development, and authored 3 scholarly books.

* This blog post was co-authored by Rachel Evans and Charlene Baxter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

VHS Sale at Lewis Library

Lewis Library has a large number of VHS tapes for sale for 50 cents each! Come to the library and look through the selection before they're all gone...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Preview "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" app for iPad

Check out this amazing preview of an app for the children's book "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore", the best we've seen yet! This app is available for iPad, so all of you with iPad's out there, check it out! Thanks to children's book author/illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba for sharing this link with us. You can find more apps for children's books at the popular site Moms with Apps.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Children's Author/Illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba visits LaGrange College

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 children's book illustrator and author Elizabeth O. Dulemba visited LaGrange College. Mrs. Dulemba spoke to students in the Turner Assembly Room during the 11:15 contact hour, after which she gave a second speech to Becky Alexander's class of education majors on technology and the future of reading. The class was quite unique, including numerous video examples of children's book apps and a hands-on look at the iPad and Kindle from the perspective of a child. The library staff and Education Department would like to thank Mrs. Dulemba for visiting our campus. It was truly a delight! If you missed this event, check out her website at www.dulemba.com. The website includes free downloads of activity and coloring book pages, in addition to more information about her books and apps! We've also included a video example below which Mrs. Dulemba shared with us that we thought was really neat:

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Prezi for Jan Term!

Use the Prezi below to explore the variety of Jan Term options available to LaGrange College students this coming January 2012. If you have never used Prezi before, give it a try! Simply click the arrow to begin, and use the arrows to move back and forth through the presentation. To watch in full-screen, or auto-play (like a movie) click on the "MORE" button at the bottom right. To learn more about Prezi, visit your library's research guide page, Library Technology.

Education students at LaGrange College have been using Prezi's this semester in conjunction with their course work to give class presentations. EDU students, feel free to use this Prezi, or any of the library's Prezi's, as a starting point for your own! Choose the "Make Copy" option, and work from this Prezi as a template.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Make Wishbone Proud...

Still not ready to devote all your time to homework? Then make Wishbone proud and curl up with a good book! Check out Lewis Library’s McNaughton Collection, located on the main level beside the 24-hour center. (These are the books with the light green labels). The McNaughton Collection consists of fiction and nonfiction books that are temporarily leased to the library. Unlike our permanent collection, these are often bestsellers rather than academic. We have a variety of books including mysteries, romance, cookbooks, and biographies of popular figures.

We got several new McNaughton books in recently! Some new titles include:

I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark
Call number: PS 3553 .L287 I5 2011

Haiti: After the Earthquake by Paul Farmer
Call number: RA 645.7 .H2 F37 2011

Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips by Ina Garten
Call number: TX 714 .G36445 2010

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

by Fmr. Capt. Luis Carlos MontalvĂ n
Call number: HV 1569.6 .M56 2011

Congratulations, Dr. Robinson!

Dr. Arthur Robinson was the speaker at Opening Convocation on 31 August 2011. Congratulations, Dr. Robinson, you did us proud!

Dr. Robinson is this year's recipient of the United Methodist Church Teaching Award, an award given every year to a faculty member who "exemplifies the college’s commitment to inspire the souls of students”.

Dr. Robinson earned a Master of Library Science degree (1998) and a Ph.D in Classical Studies (1986) from Indiana University. He earned an undergraduate degree in Classics from Trinity College. Dr. Robinson joined the LaGrange College library faculty in 1998, and he works closely with students and faculty to identify and locate research material they need for projects and papers. He also teaches research skills for classes in English, history, art, theater, and Cornerstone.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Location for History DVDs

Library staff will soon move DVDs with call numbers CB through F to a new location on the 3rd floor. These DVDs, which include historical films, archival footage, and documentaries are often used to supplement material learned in history classes. The new location, behind current periodicals and directly across from a group study room, is more easily accessible to professors and students.

Library staff will also add labels to these shelves to more easily organize the DVDs by topic. As a result, we hope that they will see more usage. Here are just a few categories you might be interested in:

The Middle Ages
Military History
Ancient History
European History
Asian History
African American History
Travel programs

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Facebook Page Features Library Material

The Library staff is now using Facebook to feature material that you may not realize is at your fingertips! Every Friday, a short description of a different book, DVD, CD, internet or archival resource will be posted. Be sure to "like" the Library facebook page to receive these updates in your minifeed.

This week's feature is the book, Zeitoun. A new addition to Lewis Library, Zeitoun is the summer reading for this year’s Freshman Class. New students will reflect on this book as part of their Cornerstone experience. There is much to ponder and discuss in this book!

Both funny and tragic, Zeitoun is the true story of one family caught between America’s War on Terror and Hurricane Katrina. After the evacuation of his wife and four children, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, an American-Syrian Muslim, stays in New Orleans to manage the family business. In the face of general indifference and incompetence, he travels around New Orleans in a canoe, helping the city’s elderly and abandoned animals.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lewis Library Facebook Page

After a period of long debate, Lewis Library finally has its own Facebook page! In addition to the various LaGrange College academic department pages, the college is also represented on Facebook by such campus groups as Student Activities and the Career Center, not to mention the more than 1,000 (and growing!) number of students, former students or employees of the college who currently have personal profiles. If you have a Facebook page of your own, you can link to the library's facebook page using the Facebook icon on the top right of this page. There are many advantages to the library having a presence in an online community such as Facebook. Some of these advantages include enabling the library to relay important updates to students, faculty & staff, share basic information about the library and its hours, and to market and advertise library resources and other library related news with the library's patrons in the place where the patrons are: facebook.

In case you haven't been keeping up with social networking sites like this one, or if you're feeling a bit skeptical about the library having a presence on a social site like this one, please consider the extremely large number of libraries, colleges and universities that are already utilizing this wonderful tool to better communicate with and serve their patrons. My very first graduate library science course through Florida State University (fall 2010) was Digital Media for Libraries. During the first two weeks we covered the benefits of libraries using Web 2.0 technologies, and studied the pros and cons of the most popular social networking sites used by library patrons and information organizations. The following is a brief synopsis of what that course taught me about Facebook, and connecting with patrons where they are (which is online!):

Many adults and students alike actively use social networking sites on a regular basis. There are currently more than 120 million Facebook users and millions more using Myspace or other social networking sites such as Friendster , Hi5, Bebo, etc. With the implementation of Facebook applications such as JSTOR, LibGuides, and Books iRead, academic libraries have started exploring different ways to use Facebook and various applications to promote library services and assist students with their information needs.

Social Networking
Social networking sites can be defined as, “…interactive websites designed to build online communities for individuals who have something in common- an interest in a hobby, a topic, or an organization- and a simple desire to communicate across physical boundaries with other interested people” (Carter, H., Foulger, T., Ewbank, A., 2008, p. 1). A few of the most popular social networking sites are MySpace and Facebook. Becoming a member of a social networking site is generally very simple. Most often the user only needs to create an account and profile, and then search for friends/groups/organizations that they wish to link their profile to. In addition to creating/viewing user profiles, many social networking sites allow users to chat, share files, send e-mails, upload photos/videos/music, etc.

Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites with a community of more than 120 million active users (“Facebook Factsheet, 2008). Facebook was founded in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and since 2004 Facebook has grown to include over 700 employees and has offices in Palo Alto, CA, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, New York, Venice Beach, CA, Dublin, London and Paris (“Facebook Factsheet”, 2008). Facebook was originally restricted to users with an .edu e-mail address but today anyone with a valid e-mail address can join Facebook (“Facebook Factsheet”, 2008). Users must be 13 yrs of age to join Facebook and there is no fee to join. Members can join networks based on their geographic locations, school affiliations, etc. and can locate friends both new and old.

Examples of Libraries and Applications

Today, many public and academic libraries have a presence on Facebook. They have achieved this by creating library and staff profiles.

Academic Library Facebook Examples:

  • LibGuides: If the academic library uses LibGuides subject guide maker for libraries, then their subject guides can be displayed on the library’s Facebook page. If searchers click on any subject, then they will be taken to their library’s subject guides.
  • JSTOR Search: This application can be added to a library page or an individual user’s page which makes it possible to search for articles within JSTOR.
  • WorldCat: This application allows users to locate items at libraries near them.
  • Contact information, links to library resources, catalogue searches, IM services, hours, upcoming events, and discussion can also be included on the library pages

The Changing Role of the Reference Librarian

Whether libraries/librarians agree or disagree with using Facebook to connect with users, they cannot deny that the new technologies have played a major role in redefining reference services. With these new technologies come new expectations from users about what types of resources a library should provide and also what types of knowledge reference librarians should be able to provide. While the reference inquiry/process will always remain essential in libraries, the physical boundaries of the reference desk no longer exist and therefore new opportunities to assist users should be explored in virtual environments such as Facebook.

Stephen Abram, VP of Innovation for SirsiDynix explains how the role of the reference librarian has changed:

“ Librarian 2.0 strives to understand the power of Web 2.0 opportunities and has learned the major tools. S/he combines e-resources, visual media, and print formats and is container- and format agnostic. S/he is device independent and uses and delivers relevant results to everything from laptops to smartphones and iPods. S/he combines nontraditional and traditional tools invisibly and seamlessly in the interests of clients. Connecting people, technology, and information is context, s/he leverages the long tail and miscellaneous. S/he is an integral part of client in-person and virtual social networks, touching everything with the communication mode of their choice- telephone, Skype, IM, SMS, e-mail, virtual reference, and more” (Abram, S. 2008, p. 47).

In order to become Librarian 2.0 as Abram has described him/her, many librarians feel they should embrace new technologies such as IM, social networking, Twitter, tagging, Second Life, etc. As more and more users immerse themselves in Web 2.0 technologies and culture, reference librarians will be expected to understand users’ information seeking behavior and meet their information needs accordingly.

Why are Academic Libraries using Facebook?

Many academic libraries have opted to join Facebook to promote library events and services because they feel that it is a great tool to reach students. A study done by George Washington University library system found that:

  • “As of 2006, 55% of all teens who use social networking sites have used Facebook or MySpace, and 48% visit daily or more often.
  • Students use Facebook for academic purposes including - communicating about assignments (68%); arrange study groups (61%); and communicate about academic interests (47%)
  • 60% of students wanted to see study suggestions on librarian FB profiles.
  • 55.7% of students were interested in tips on accessing library resources" (Bietilla, D., Edwards, E. 2008).

These points illustrate why many feel that using Facebook to communicate with students about library services/resources is a good idea. Since so many students are already using Facebook, then it makes perfect sense to try and assist the students in an online environment they are comfortable with and that they frequent daily or often. Having a library presence on Facebook would make accessing library services more convenient for students and could potentially allow librarians to reach students who would perhaps not normally visit the library. Also, since a Facebook profile costs nothing to create, many libraries feel that even if their library/personal profiles aren’t used, there really isn’t any loss to the investment.

One Perspective

Steve Poppino is a reference librarian that has been with College of Southern Idaho for twenty-five years. When it comes to using Facebook in academic libraries, he feels that Facebook can be a great way to promote library services. He commented that, “By posting information about the library and displaying useful links and contact information there, we might catch the attention of students who don’t use the library home page.” This is a benefit to using Facebook: reaching students that don’t generally come to the library or use library resources/services.


With millions of existing users, and thousands more signing up every day, social networking sites are more popular than ever and they continue to change the way that people all over the world interact with each other. Academic libraries have the opportunity to utilize social technologies and reach students in an environment where students are comfortable. There are concerns within academic libraries that using Facebook for outreach would infringe on the privacy rights of students and some librarians see Facebook as solely a recreational site that has no potential to be used in the academic world. Despite these concerns, the benefits of using Facebook cannot be denied. Having a presence on Faceook will make accessing library services and getting assistance more convenient for students. A Facebook profile costs nothing to create and the potential benefits of using Facebook to reach students is well worth that investment.

By: Rachel Evans, Graduate Library Assistant