In a little over a month (on Saturday, August 15th to be exact) Branigan Library will look, feel, and smell like a new Library! That's because the approximately 180,000 books, 15,000 CDs and audiobooks, along with the nearly 19,500 linear feet of shelf in the Library will have just gotten a much needed cleaning. And, while we're at it, we'll have the carpeting and tile deep-cleaned, clean and wax the computer lab, plus paint the magazine/newspaper room.
In addition, we'll do the first ever inventory of the almost 300,000 records in the Library's database. This will allow us to determine just how many of those items are lost and/or missing and get a baseline for tracking the Library's collections and generating more accurate reports in the future.
So that we can do this in the least disruptive and safest way possible for you, our customers, the Library will be closed from Monday August 10th through Friday the 14th. In this way, we'll avoid even the possibility of any customer sustaining injuries during the cleaning. It will also enable staff to perform the inventory in the quickest, most accurate way possible.
This is just one more way we're striving every day to bring you the very best library services possible. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we undertake this important and necessary operation to help us all better conserve, preserve, and use the Library.
The book/media drop will be closed only briefly for the computer lab cleaning. It will remain open for the rest of the week so you can return materials on time and not incur overdue fines.
According to Melissa Mayntz* the above terms are collective nouns for Hummingbirds. Even just a casual flipping through Marcy Scott's new book Hummingbird Plants of the Southwest(Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2015) could make you think that she may be right, as the stunning photos lend credence to all the visual allusions.
Thanks to the graciousness of author and publisher, I received a review copy by mail a couple days ago. Wow! Any self-respecting "hummer" birder in the Southwest will want to get their hands on this book. If you're a gardener also, then . . . well, need I say more?
The Library doesn't own this gem of a book yet, but we have two copies on order. So, you can request that we hold it for you as soon as it arrives and is ready to go.
To do this, click on the link below and follow (most of) the instructions. Don't, however, press the Enter(the instructions call it RETURN) key after you type your name into the box. Go ahead and type your library cardnumber (the instructions call it barcode) into the next box and then, **and only then**, press the Enter key.Now you're ready to Click here.
But back to the book. You get a bouquet of several books rolled into one when you pick this one up. First, there's the profiles of the baker's dozen plus one Hummingbird species that regularly occur in the Southwest. Then, there are the plants, ten dozen of them, to be precise, that attract these winged jewels. Scott skillfully interweaves information about when which plants attract what species of "hummer" with what type of soil and watering they require with what other birds, mammals and insects use it for food or shelter plus a host of other info, to present a satisfyingly holistic result. This makes it truly invaluable for a whole host of readers. Birders, botanizers, landscapers, hikers, the merely curious, amateur armchair naturalists, all these, and others, will find scads more than enough to keep them coming back time after time.
But that's not all! The essays on hummingbirds' lives, plant pollination, setting up a southwestern native plant garden, attracting "hummers" and migration corridors are marvels of readability and precision. Then, there are the photos! While she took none of them, Scott certainly knew whom to tap for their talent and expertise in this area. Every single picture is reason enough alone to buy the book. Indeed, the whole thing, from photos, to species profiles, to the glossary, to the appendix on ways to help hummingbirds, to the bibliography and resource list is a natural history masterpiece.
And, in the works: a presentation and book signing with the author herself. Marcy Scott lives in Las Cruces and we're setting up a date for her to come to Branigan Library to talk about and sign copies of her book. So, keep watching for an announcement about that!
In closing, although primarily known for their eye- rather than ear-pleasing qualities, a tune of Hummingbirds is still an apt expression. No one would suggest that they're great songsters, but there's certainly something quite tuneful about the sound made by air rushing through a displaying male's feathers during mating season.
Today we celebrate Émile Zola, born on this day 175 years ago.
Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (2 April 1840 - 29 September 1902) was a French author, and the self-proclaimed leader of the Literary Naturalism movement. In addition, he was one of the principal movers in the 19th century political liberalization of France. Over the course of his career, Zola wrote more than 30 novels, numerous short stories, and several plays. Perhaps best know for his "J' Accuse...!" letter during the Dreyfus Affair, Zola was very much involved in liberal politics of his day.
The Dreyfus Affair
Alfred Dreyfus, of Alsatian and Jewish descent, was a Captain in the French Artillery. In 1894, he was, on extremely flimsy circumstantial evidence, accused of selling military secrets to the Germans. Convicted of treason, he was expelled from the Army and condemned to life in prison on Devil's Island in French Guiana.
Two years later, new evidence was discovered that exonerated Dreyfus and disclosed the true culprit. The Army not only suppressed it but also punished whistle-blowing officer.
On 13 January, 1898, Zola risked his career and more with his open letter to the President of the Republic accusing the very highest echelons of the French Army of obstruction of justice and anti-Semitism in the Dreyfus Affair. It was published on the front page of the Paris daily L'Aurore. As he and his liberal friends had planned, he was tried and convicted for criminal libel of the army. What they had not foreseen was that he would have to flee to England to avoid arrest and prison. Soon, however, Zola was pardoned and returned home. Eventually, Dreyfus was pardoned and French liberals saw it as a victory of obscurantism. Without doubt, the outcome of the Dreyfus Affair was due in large part to Zola's fame, already well established before he became involved.
Zola's best-known work and masterpiece is Germinal, the 13th work in his 20-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. The series relates the story of a fictional family in the Second French Empire and is one of French Literary Naturalism. The book relates, with stark honesty the story of a coal miner's strike in Northern France and takes its title from the name of one of the spring months in the French Republican calendar. At the beginning of the strike, the miners have great hopes for a better life, but conditions worsen until the miners and their families, driven to despair, riot. Zola unflinchingly portrayed the violence on both sides when the Army and police repress it and the miners are forced to return to work. Germinalends on a hopeful note, though and has inspired labor activists ever since its publication.
At least one Anarchist assassin, Michele Angiolillo, went to his death with the word "Germinal" on his lips. And at Zola's funeral, crowds of workers thronged the streets, chanting "Germinal! Germinal!" as the cortege passed by.
The action shifts back and forth between Paris and London and evenhandedly assesses blame on both sides of the conflict. Dickens graphically portrayed the hardships suffered by French peasants in the years immediately preceding the Revolution. But neither did he flinch from recounting the savageries that the Revolutionaries perpetrated upon the aristocracy. As he did so well, Dickens wove together the lives of several characters through the 45 chapters and gradually, ever so gradually, with complicated plot twists, interspersed with many unfavorable comparisons to London society of the same time period, he brings it all to a crashing end. At the finale, the villain becomes a hero and sacrifices himself to ensure the happiness of the woman he loves and save the life of his chief rival for her hand. The two marry and, in the tradition of good Victorian novels, there is a happy ending.
To find out more about Dickens's life and works, you can do a subject search for Dickens, Charles in Branigan Library's online catalog. When I typed his name in, I got 46 entries ranging from biographies to study guides to movie some of his works to novels about him.
There is also a veritable plethora of information about Dickens on the Internet. From Wikipedia, to web sites devoted to Dickens and particular aspects of his life and/or works.
In addition, the Project Gutenberg has literally hundreds of copies of his works , not only in English, but other languages as well.
About a year or so ago, my boss shared some postings from Seth Godin's Blog with me and suggested that I might like to subscribe. To say that I was impressed his pithy, succinct and insightful daily commentary would be a monumental understatement. So, I subscribed. Here is today's example:
The difference between commitment and technique
We spend way too much time teaching people technique. Teaching people to be good at flute, or C++ or soccer.
It's a waste because the fact is, most people can learn to be good at something, if they only choose to be, if they choose to make the leap and put in the effort and deal with the failure and the frustration and the grind.
But most people don't want to commit until after they've discovered that they can be good at something. So they say, "teach me, while I stand here on one foot, teach me while I gossip with my friends via text, teach me while I wander off to other things. And, sure, if the teaching sticks, then I'll commit."
We'd be a lot more successful if organized schooling was all about creating an atmosphere where we can sell commitment (and where people will buy it). A committed student with access to resources is almost unstoppable.
Great teachers teach commitment.
To get the full visual effect by reading it on his blog, click here.
I encourage you to subscribe and would be surprised if you didn't find it inspirational.
Pratchett was born in 1948 and had a lifelong interest in astronomy. This latter was an influence on his writing.
His best known works are the Discworld series of books. They are set in a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn are standing on a gigantic tortoise. His legions of fans will remember his trademark wit and ironic sense of irreverent humor as irrepressibly light-hearted.
Pratchett remained upbeat until the very end, and although he campaigned for the right to assisted suicide, he died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes at home, surrounded by friends.
To read more about Sir Terry and his life, you can search for him on your favorite Web browser. Branigan Library also has a large number of the 80+ books he wrote and you can find them by doing an author search on our online catalog. To do so, just click here.