Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Let my scars leave brilliant traces

I am very saddened by the apparent suicide of student Travis Green at our University. I did not know him, but I have known people who have made the decision to take their own life, and I know how terribly difficult it is for their family and friends to comprehend.

If you are considering suicide, please know that there is 24-hour help available to you:

And if you need to speak with someone for any reason at all, please know that it is a sign of great strength to reach out and ask for help when you are feeling helpless. The University offers many different types of counseling services:

Travis Green was a talented writer, and published his work online.

This poem has been a salve for me when I have gone through coping with the suicide of someone close:

Individuation by Avah Pevlor Johnson
If I must be wrung through the paradox,
-- broken into wholeness,
wring me around the moon;
pelt me with particles from the dark side.
Fling me into space;
hide me in a black hole.
Let me dance with devils on dead stars.
Let my scars leave brilliant traces,
for my highborn soul seeks its hell --
in high places. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lange Nacht der aufgeschobenen Hausarbeiten (Long Night Against Procrastination)

That one assignment you've been putting off... you know which one I'm talking about.

Come to the LONG NIGHT AGAINST PROCRASTINATION - hosted by the Alkek Library, Thursday, November 10th from 6-11pm. We'll provide the coffee, snacks, study breaks and research support to help you finish that dastardly assignment.

Subject Librarians will be on hand throughout the night. We've all hired cat-sitters, so don't miss out on the opportunity for after-hours, personalized research help!

For the nerds: The tradition of "Long Night" originated at a University in Germany in 2010 - students asked for longer open hours in which they could study and finish assignments. This lead to an overnight event at the University with refreshments, study breaks, exercises and other incentives to keep students active and on task.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dear Literature, I'm falling for you.

Image taken from page 216 of 'Lady Valeria. A novel'

Fall is in the air... crisp, cool weather and the crunch of colorful leaves beneath your feet.
That's what I hear is going on in the Northeast anyway. Here in San Marcos, we're "enjoying" highs in the 80s, in November! This transplant from New York is ready to wear her Fall boots and sweaters. Oh well, maybe in December?

In any case, what does the idea of colder weather make you think of? For me it's taking some time away from my (too) busy week to enjoy some story telling, ideally though a novel I have a hard time putting down and can't wait to pick up again.

On my drive in to campus today, I enjoyed an interview on NPR where editor Terry McDonell told some tales of hanging out with literary greats he has known. It got me thinking about all of my favorite authors, and making a mental list of which novels I wanted to revisit, or new ones I've been wanting to fall into.

What kind of literature do you enjoy when you find some time away from your busy schedule of classes, research and time spent with friends?

Search our catalog to find your next great read.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Celebrate your freedom to read Banned Books!

Please join us today as we celebrate our freedom to read banned books. Located in Alkek Library, Open Theater, 2nd floor (to the right of the coffee shop area) until 4pm.

5-minute reading slots are still available. A sign-up sheet is located at the entrance of the event.

We would be honored if you would consider being one of our readers. A selection of banned and challenged books will be available in the Open Theater area for Banned Books readers to browse through. You are also free to bring your own book.

For more information about Banned and Challenged Books:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How do you say, "Online Newspapers and Magazines" in your native language?

Have you ever wanted to browse a newspaper or magazine on your computer or phone - possibly for research for a class, or maybe just for your own enjoyment during your free time?

Did you know the Library provides access to many Newspaper Databases?

Sometimes it's nice to browse the contents and "flip" through the newspaper or magazine, without knowing exactly what you're looking for. I suggest using PressReader and Browzine for this type of browsing experience!
Are you an International student who wants to read newspapers and magazines from home? Titles in PressReader can be filtered by Country, Region, Language and more.
Maybe you're learning a new language and you'd like to practice your skills by reading a newspaper or magazine in that language? If so, do you like dogs? Are you learning German? You can read Mein Hund! 
More interested in French culture? Spend some time browsing the French cultural magazine, Les Inrockuptibles. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
Save your favorites to your account, and check back periodically to skim the latest issues!

What are you waiting for? Go find your favorite newspapers and magazines (and find some new favorites while you're at it). Fashion, mechanics, photography, lifestyle, parenting, psychology, finance, business, home decor, cooking, art, religion, and so many more! All in the language you prefer.

Watch the short videos below to see what you can do with Browzine and PressReader.



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back to school - insider tips on using feature films in your research and classes

The Fall Semester is just around the corner! Faculty, do you like to use feature films as part of your instruction? Students, has your Professor asked you to find a feature film related to your research topic?

If you answered Yes to any of the questions above, check out our collection of streaming feature films offered by Swank Streaming database!

picture of empty movie theater
The films are now searchable in our catalog.

You'll find many films that incorporate the 2016-17 Common Experience theme, A Century of Conflict. 

Students, if you're not sure which films relate to your research topic, feel free to schedule an individual research consultation with your subject librarian!

Faculty, find your Subject Librarian here, and please email us if we can assist you in any way!

View a complete list of our streaming databases here

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dreamers gonna dream!

Texas State Virtual Reality Technology Lab
"You may have seen black plastic hanging in the Alkek Library…This black plastic denotes construction space where preliminary work is being done to prepare for Learning Commons renovations.
Alkek Library is now beginning the planning process for those spaces, and this is one of your first opportunities to provide feedback."
We want YOUR help re-imagining the library of the future. Submit your ideas here - Deadline extended to August 1st!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

swank database banner

Have you heard about SWANK? It's an online database of streaming feature films to enhance your classroom instruction! For best results access with the most recent version of Chrome

Faculty: If you use feature films to supplement your lessons, go check out SWANK and see what titles we have!

Students: If you need to find a film to use as part of your research, you can browse SWANK for films related to your research topic!

NOTE: These films are NOT LICENSED for public events. They may be streamed only in a face-to-face classroom setting or for individual use. 

Access all of our streaming databases here, including SWANK!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Librarian Behind the Curtain

A lot of people think Librarians spend all day reading. They say, "Oh wow, I always wanted to be a Librarian because I love reading. Do you get to read all day?"

Unfortunately, no we don't. There is some reading involved... Professional Journals, Library-related news, blogs and even Facebook groups to share ideas and stay in touch.

One thing we DO spend time doing is weeding. Not the kind of weeding that requires rubber shoes and a floppy hat, but the kind that requires us to look at materials that haven't been checked out in many years and ask ourselves, "Should we keep this?"

Part of maintaining a Library collection is ensuring that the materials are up-to-date and relevant to current research needs. There's so much that goes into determining whether or not to keep a resource that I wanted to share a little behind-the-scenes, "Librarian behind the curtain," if you will.

Some of the factors we consider are:
  • If we do decide to keep the resource, should we keep in the library, or does it belong in the (currently under-construction!) off-site repository? The repository is the perfect place for older or more delicate materials due to its controlled air quality.
  • What other Libraries have the same item? You might have used our Library Catalog to look for a book here at Alkek or Round Rock, but did you know that you can search over 10,000 Libraries worldwide using WorldCat's online search? We use WorldCat to check if the same resource is available nearby. In some cases we might be the only library who owns a certain resource! Libraries are very good at sharing. If you need a resource that's not available at Texas State University, you can request a copy using Interlibrary Loan.
  • What if the resource isn't getting used, but it's a good resource? Is it available as an e-book or online? Sometimes a book can sit on the shelf untouched for years, but when it becomes available as an e-book it gets a new lease on life.
  • Does the resource have historical value? A quick glance at a publication date of 1889 might lead someone to jump to the conclusion that the resource is entirely outdated and couldn't possibly be relevant to today's researchers. However, some older books are valuable resources for scholars who want to use primary sources and base their own research on that which came before.
  • Finally, we have to accept that we can't hold on to everything! Even so, it can be hard for Librarians to let go of old books. It might not have been checked out in over ten years, but there's something about saying, "Let's get rid of it," that feels so final. What if someone needs it TOMORROW? Digital to the rescue! We have access to wonderful resources for primary sources online - take for instance, The Hathi Trust Digital Library. If a resource isn't being used in our library, and it's available through a digital database, it can make "weeding" the physical resource much easier.
  • Play the Home Game! Search the Hathi Trust Digital Library for the book The Absolute Participle in Anglo-Saxon, by Morgan Callaway. There you can view the digital scan of a dissertation presented in 1889. For what it's worth, our physical copy will stay alive and well in our off-site repository.
  • Yearbooks - Bobcats through the ages! If you like looking through older resources online, make sure you check out our online Pedagog Yearbook collection (1900-present) which was recently digitized. This is a prime example of giving old books new legs through digitization - you probably wouldn't have come to the library to view the yearbooks from yesteryear, but now you can see what the campus, faculty and students looked like in 1916 with the click of a link!
There you have it! A very quick peak behind the curtain at your friendly Academic Librarians @ Alkek! Next time you're walking through the stacks, smelling the old books, and maybe running your finger along the spines, take a moment to think about all the decisions that go into each individual resource - to keep or not to keep? Print or digital? Relevant or out-dated? And here you thought we spent all day reading... ;)

Have a suggestion for a library order? Let us know!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Finals are finally over! Ready for some streaming video this weekend?

This weekend's forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms... Perfect time to stay indoors and watch some films about those things you've always wanted to know more about if it weren't for that final exam or research paper that was eating up all of your free time.

Whatever your poison, there's something for you in the Films On Demand: Master Academic Collection Database. Just last month, 74 new titles were added!

Interested in learning more about the personal philosophies of Muhammad Ali or Jim Henson? Check out the PBS series "In Their Own Words."

Have 47 minutes to clear up any lingering questions you have about Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life? Acquaint yourself with Albert Camus and his Absurdist Philosophy.

Poetry month may have passed, but every month is appropriate for enjoying poetry. What's better on a rainy day than curling up in your favorite chair for a documentary about The Faerie Queene: The Secret Life of Books?
"Considered one of the most influential poems in the English language, Edmund Spenser’s "The Faerie Queene" is a fusion of Arthurian romance and Italian Renaissance epic styles."
If politics are on your mind this Presidential Primary season, you might enjoy this documentary (in Spanish) about Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, the oldest man to become president of Mexico.
"His competency in accounting and personal qualities of honesty and decency, distinguished him from the political corruption of the era."
Whatever you watch, just remember you've got until June 6th before classes start up again for the first Summer Session. Take some time to get familiar with Alkek's streaming databases and watch ANYTHING YOU WANT. Not because it was assigned, simply because it looks interesting.

Happy Interim!