Write it down!

How many of you take class notes with a laptop?

If you’re one of the many students who types your notes during a lecture, you may want to check out this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking

After an instructor at the University of Kansas banned taking notes with laptops during her lectures, she saw a rise in test scores.

But how?

And why?

If you type your notes in class, the theory is that you can copy down more of what the instructor is saying and then have more thorough study material in the long run. But, as the author points out in the article, research shows that taking notes with a pencil and paper actually increases how much of the original information you retain.

The reasons seem simple enough:

First, taking notes on paper frees us from the usual laptop distractions and multi-tasting.

Second, when writing notes on paper, we have to think more critically about the information our instructor is giving in order to transcribe the message meaningfully. Because handwriting is typically slower than typing, we have to synthesize and really absorb the information the first time in order to decide what’s important enough to write down.

Third, when taking notes by computer, most are not paying attention to the content, so much as focusing on getting every word down. So while our fingers may be keeping up, our brains are snoozing through the message.

What do you think, readers? Which note-taking method do you usually prefer? If it means getting higher grades, would you consider taking notes by hand instead of using a laptop? Do you think if your instructor banned taking notes by computer that you’d benefit from it? Let us know in the comments!

Image credit.

We’ve Got That! Volume One

You already know that the library has you covered when it comes to academics. With over 180 electronic databases and over 97,000 print titles available to you at a moment’s notice, we are the number one place to be when you need the four-one-one on all your school-related projects. But I’m willing to bet that some of our dear readers don’t know that Reynolds libraries are also a pretty fun place to hang, even when you’re not studying. Skeptical? Well, just sit right there: I can prove it to you!

This week, I’m introducing a new, recurring, column to the library blog called We’ve Got That! In it, I will highlight some of the lesser-known – and super fun/useful/awesome/rad/unique – gems that the library has hidden inside its (virtual and literal) walls.

In our first edition, we’ll be highlighting something I know everyone will love:

Movies Starring Liam Neeson

(as everyone’s favorite well-spoken, kinda angry, rule-breaking, heart-stealing, former special forces agent/mythical lion/1980s tv personality/bad LEGO cop/good LEGO cop/jedi master/list-maker/grieving widower with a heart of gold and a set of very particular skills)

1-4. Taken, Taken 2, The Unknown, & The A-Team

taken

If you love Liam Neeson, and you love car chases, explosions, hand-to-hand combat, quiet confidence, well-tailored suits, and plenty of gunplay, then these four films are calling your name!

5. The LEGO Movie

Liam flexes his acting chops in this animated blockbuster from 2014 by playing not only Bad Cop and Good Cop, but also Pa Cop!

6-8. The Chronicles of Narnia Series

 aslan

(The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

Mr. Neeson again shows off his voice-acting skills as the mythical lion, Aslan, in The Chronicles of Narnia Series.

9. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

He’s a Jedi in this one. Enough said.

10. Love Actually

love actually

In this popular Christmas movie, Liam plays a widower who helps his young son figure out what love means… and more importantly, shows him that a last-minute mad dash through an airport/train station is pretty much required in any romantic comedy.

11. Schindler’s List

In this World War II drama, and 1994 Best Picture winner, Liam portrays the real-life Oskar Schindler, a businessman who secretly helped to save at least 1,200 Jews from the Nazis. Not for the faint of heart.

These are just some of our favorites. Check our catalog for more and let us know in the comments section which film starring the always-dapper Liam Neeson is your personal favorite!

Plan Your Valentine’s Weekend with Help from the Library

Today is February, Friday the 13th, but triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number thirteen) is the least of your worries, because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and you’re completely out of ideas!

Why don’t you let the library help plan your romantic weekend?

1. Take a look at this Thursday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch on the library’s periodicals shelf. Every Thursday, there’s a weekend insert that gives you the skinny on all the great events going on in the Richmond area over the weekend! Check out info on concerts, theater tickets, and special events. Maybe there’s something perfect happening right around the corner to surprise your sweetie with.

2. Come to the library early to get all of your studying done in time for your big date. If you need a quiet space, you can always check in to a study room for maximum concentration.

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3. Pick up a romantic movie! We’ve got plenty of DVDs ready to be checked out that will be great to cuddle up with on this cold weekend.

4. Check out Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (or one of our many other stellar cookbooks) and whip up a gourmet meal that will knock your valentine’s socks off! (We’ve got another copy at Parham Road Campus too!)

5. Brush up on your date’s favorite hobby, interest, or pastime so you can impress them with your dedication to learn more about the things they love. Stop by the reference desk and a librarian will help you find exactly what you need.

Books To Love

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Recommended by the library staff

The House on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Learning and Forgetting / by Elizabeth Cohen Van Pelt (audio CD)

Elizabeth Cohen, a Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin reporter, tells her story of being a single mother to her daughter Ava, as well as the home caregiver to her aging father, Sanford, who is suffering from mid- to late-stage Alzheimer’s.*  Recommended by Lisa.

Just Kids / by Patti Smith (audio CD and print)

It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation.*  Recommended by Denise: “I loved Patti Smith’s memoir of her younger years.”

Love in the Time of Cholera /  by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (print)

Set in a country on the Caribbean coast of South America, this is a story about a woman and two men and their entwined lives. From the author of the legendary One Hundred Years of Solitude.* Recommended by Loftan: “I just re-read Love in the Time of Cholera and fell in love with it all over again. I read it in college so revisiting it was pretty special.”

Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days / by Vanessa Farquharson. (print)

No one likes listening to smug hippies bragging about how they don’t use toilet paper, or worse yet, lecturing about the evils of plastic bags and SUVs. But most of us do want to lessen our ecological footprint. With this in mind, Farquharson takes on the intense personal challenge of making one green change to her lifestyle every single day for a year to ultimately figure out what’s doable and what’s too hardcore.*  Recommended by Maureen.

Waiting to Exhale / by Terry Macmillan (video DVD and print)

From the critically acclaimed author of Mama and Disappearing Acts, a wise, earthy story of a friendship between four African American women who lean on each other while “waiting to exhale”, waiting for that man who will take their breath away.*  Recommended by Anne: “These women lived large!”

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love /  by Kristin Kimball (audio DVD and print)

 “This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming – that dirty, concupiscent art – and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer.” – the author.  Recommended by Maureen.
*Descriptions from the Reynolds’ library catalog.

“Keeping seeds in the hands of the people”

Cindy Conner, a former Reynolds Horticulture instructor, has generously donated a copy of her new book Seed Libraries: and other means of keeping seeds in the hands of the peopleThis is the first book to cover the topic of seed libraries published in the United States.

Book coverCindy’s daughter, Betsy Trice, currently teaches Sustainable Agriculture at Reynolds and started the community seed library which is housed at our Goochland Campus Library. Cindy had mentioned it in her previous book, Growing a Sustainable Diet and her editor at New Society Publishers urged her to write a book on seed libraries. This February the book was published.

Cindy traveled the country visiting various seed libraries and documented how they work, where they are housed and how they are managed.

According to the book’s back cover Cindy’s book includes:

  • Step-by-step instructions for setting up a seed library
  • A wealth of ideas to help attract patrons and keep the momentum going
  • Examples of existing libraries and other types of seed-saving partnerships
Seed library
Reynolds community seed library

There is increasing interest in how and where our food is grown and it all starts with having control over the seeds we plant.  Many gardeners want to grow and eat food that comes from seeds that are not genetically modified. There is also interest in heirloom varieties of vegetables.

More people are gardening and even those with small yards or balconies are planting in containers.  There are some good books available that address how to save and store seeds, but this is the first book that describes how to share them.  It is a most welcome addition to our library.

Local Event: Two Best-Selling YA Authors Coming to Richmond!

ifistayhbGood news for all you YA fanatics!

Next Wednesday, January 28th Fountain Bookstore is hosting a discussion and book signing with bestselling authors Gayle Forman (If I Stay – now a major motion picture!, Just One Day, I Was Here) and Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle, The Scorpio Races, The Shiver Series). They will be discussing their latest books, answering questions, and signing books for fans. (Copies will be available for purchase at the event.)

Date: Wednesday, January 28th
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Cost: Free!
Venue: Richmond Public Library – Main Branch
Address: 101 E. Franklin Street, Richmond, VA

Make #timetoread at Reynolds on National Readathon Day!

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Raise your hand if you can’t remember the last time you sat down and read a book for four hours straight? Don’t worry, we won’t look.

Well now is your chance to finally make #timetoread. The National Book Foundation, Goodreads, Mashable, and Penguin Random House have partnered together to create National Readathon Day.

The event takes place on Saturday, January 24th from 12-4PM and there are a couple of ways you can participate. You (and your team) can create your own fundraising page where you can raise money for the cause by pledging to read during the four-hour period. If you prefer, you can also donate to one of the many other teams already assembled. Of course, the simplest (and most fun) way to participate is by joining thousands of others from 12-4PM this Saturday in a four-hour marathon reading session!

If you need some book suggestions, simply pop by the library and ask one of the staff members or check out our popular titles collection.

Need a quiet place to read on National Readathon Day? Why don’t you drop by the Parham Road campus library this Saturday? We’ll be open during the event, from 12-4PM. Hope to see you there, book in hand!