Last two days to win a free book!

Only two days are left to register to win a copy of The Yellow Birds. The deadline is October 3. Find the form at this link.

Kevin Powers color_Marjorie Cotera_HiresThe Yellow Birds is a war novel by Kevin Powers. Powers is a Richmond native who attended James River High School. Enlisting in the army at age seventeen, he later served a year in Iraq as a machine gunner. He was stationed in Mosul and Tal Afar in 2004 and 2005. After his honorable discharge he came home and studied at Virginia Commonwealth University. He then went off to the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener fellow in poetry. He’s won a bunch of awards and now works in New York.

The Yellow Birds

He published his first novel in 2012. The Yellow Birds is a study in contradiction. It tells of the dreariness and horror of an urban war, but the narrative is poetic and beautiful. It is the story of young Private Bartle and his younger buddy Private Murphy. They just want to survive. When they’re on watch, they are desperate to stay awake. They’re soldiers; they talk like solders; they curse like soldiers.

Kevin Powers is coming to Reynolds on Thursday, November 6, to read from The Yellow Birds and his new book of poetry,  Letters Composed During a Lull in the Fighting (A few winners of the drawing will receive the poetry instead of the novel). After the reading, he will answer questions from the audience and stay to sign copies of his books. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in Lipman Auditorium. All are welcome; please come.

This program is an Around the World through Books event, sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council.

All three Reynolds campus libraries have copies of The Yellow Birds to lend for two weeks; Parham Campus Library has it as an audiobook.

Los bibliotecarios participan de la conferencia lenguas extranjeras

Thank you in different languagesDenise Woetzel, Reference/Information Literacy Librarian at Reynolds Community College and Helen McKann, Librarian at John Tyler Community College attended the joint VCCS World Languages Peer Group / FLAVA (Foreign Language Association of Virginia) Conference in Williamsburg on September 26 to promote the VCCS Libraries many world language resources.  Over 700 foreign language instructors from across the state of Virginia including over 70 VCCS foreign language instructors attended the conference.

Instructors throughout the state dropped by the VCCS Libraries table to learn more about the variety of resources available that support each college’s foreign language curriculum including:

  • Print, eBooks, and audiobooks on how to learn a specific language
  • Films on Demand’s streaming video World Languages collection
  • Spanish and French databases available through EBSCOhost
  • Accessing international journal, magazine, and newspaper articles written in a specific language (e.g., Spanish, French) using the EBSCOhost and Factiva databases.

For more information check out the VCCS Libraries online World Languages Resources guide or contact the Reynolds Library.

Reynolds Library participating in VIVA Cooperative Borrowing Program

Reynolds Library is participating in a cooperative borrowing program initiated by VIVA (Virtual Library of Virginia), a state-wide consortium. Visiting researchers can borrow materials on-site at any participating library with proof of affiliation at their home institution.  For instance, a Reynolds student or faculty member visiting family in Blacksburg could borrow materials from Virginia Tech’s library. Similarly, a student or faculty member from Virginia Tech who is visiting family in Richmond could borrow books from our library. Borrowers will be responsible for the care and return of items checked out, and will abide by the policies of the lending library.  (Not a traveler? Interlibrary loan is still available to request items we do not hold.)

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This program greatly expands the materials available to you across the commonwealth and is a great example of cooperation among Virginia academic libraries.  Walk in, register, browse and check out.

A list of participating libraries can be found here: http://www.vivalib.org/borrowing/  A click on the participating library will take you to a description of their lending policy.


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When visiting other libraries, please be sure to have your ID with you.  Lending libraries will check our directories to validate that your are a current student or faculty member.  So spread the word — Virginia’s resources are our resources! Encourage Reynolds folks to use other libraries and let your academic family and acquaintances and know that the Reynolds Library is here to serve them too!

Library Open House a Great Success

The 2nd Annual Library Olibrarygcpen Houses from Sept. 8-10 were all a great success. Library staff welcomed over 300 students, faculty, staff and the community to the events with exciting library resources, fun activities and food.

Participants learned about the library’s popular streaming video databases such as Films and Demand and SWANK Motion Pictures, tested their library search skills by playing a game of Library Jeopardy, took a self-guided tour of the library through an iPad Scavenger Hunt, tested some educational apps and eBooks on the iPads, created crafts like giant tissue paper flowers and loom bracelets, practiced T’ai Chi Chih as a healthy and productive work/study break, enjoyed a variety of refreshments, and won cool prizes like a Reynolds t-shirt and a set of earbuds!

For some students, this was their first visit to the library and offered them a friendly introduction to the library’s space and services. Participants commented that access to computers and the internet, comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff are the things they like most about Reynolds Libraries.  One student said she likes the “helpful staff and the feeling of sanctuary in the library.” A faculty member added that “my favorite thing about the library are the personable, friendly, helpful people. Thanks to all the good folk at the library for everything you do.”

We strive to be helpful to students, staff, and community users and we enjoyed the opportunity to advertise our presence and promote our services.  We look forward to another exciting year of working with our students and helping them succeed at Reynolds and beyond!

Please check out our Open House photo album at https://flic.kr/s/aHsk2CS84C!

Coming soon:  Learn & Lunch Library Style on October 1st at Parham and October 2nd at DTC from noon – 1pm!  Stay tuned…

Quick Facts about Reynolds Library

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  1. 360,000+ visits per year, or 1,000+ per day by students, faculty staff and community patrons
  2. 45,000+ book checkouts per year, or 125+ per day
  3. 12 group study rooms checked out by 11,000+ students per year or 35+ students per day for collaborative work and group projects
  4. 2 electronic classrooms, where 220 library instruction sessions and workshops offered to 3,500+ students in the academic year of 2013-14
  5. 148 touchscreen computers, all equipped with internet and MS Office 2013 (PRC 90, DTC 34 and GC24)
  6. 130,000+ volumes of books, including 40,000+ eBooks
  7. 180+ research databases accessing millions of articles 24/7
  8. 10,000+ streaming videos and DVDs

Why I love my ugly headphones, and why it relates to good web design

If you’re one of those people at the Gold’s Gym on Willow Lawn that can lithely run with those tiny, white Apple headphones, I secretly resent you.  In theory, I like Apple headphones for their suave and hipstery connotations.  But in practice, I dislike them because I have big ears and a pirate-like gait. Apple headphones, combined with running, just don’t stay in my ears.

My colleagues and I encountered a similar challenge this past year.  Lots of people liked our old website.  And the site worked well for some people. (They tended to be the people that had used the site for the longest time).  The problem was that the majority, especially new users, couldn’t navigate our byzantine site very well.  I’d find myself explaining to students the four steps it took to find a library sub-page.  Or, I’d need to check something on the site using my iPhone and I’d have to pitch and squint to find exactly what I needed.

The new site attempts to address those issues by making three major changes.  First, the site now functions fully regardless of the device that you are on. The first image is the old site on an iPhone; the second is the new site.  A key difference is that you can do everything on the mobile version that you can do on a regular PC (including searching).  Also, the old mobile version was only six pages. The new mobile version encompasses the whole site.

Old Site New Site

 

Second, the site uses more visual nodes in an effort to make highly used content easier to find.  An experiment: find the link to citing sources in the two graphics.  Which took more time to find?

oldmenu_newmenu

Third, the site attempts to do away with as much library jargon as possible.  What makes more sense to us: “Interlibrary Loan” or “If We Don’t Have It?”, “Popular Databases” or “Best Bets.”

This project is over a year in the making, and it has been a deeply collaborative effort.  Starting in August of 2013, armed with data from Google Analytics, a small group of library web soldiers (a.k.a. “The Digital Initiative Committee”), identified key user needs.  From there, we spent a great deal of time exploring other library websites and determining what we would like to incorporate into our new design.  In January, we created several mock-ups, and then evaluated three (web) templates; ultimately, we selected the design that we felt would be most supportive to our students.  In March, using Camtasia, we recorded library staff and students actually navigating the new redesign and made changes based upon those usability studies.  In May and June, we shared the site with more students (during library orientations) and received additional feedback.  Finally, in July, we shared the site with Reynolds faculty and staff.  This was a very recursive, but essential process.  We sought feedback.  We made a change.  We sought more feedback.  We made more changes.  Faculty and student input mattered and will continue to be the fundamental determinant for our site decisions.

So here we are: not at a perfect site –there’s no such thing- but hopefully at a more functional and usable site: an ugly headphones kind of website.  We hope this site works for you, but if not, the best way to change it is to let us know that change is needed.

 

Mary Hanlin (mhanlin@reynolds.edu) and the Digital Initiatives Committee (not a rock band, just yet, but almost as cool as one).

Lisa Bishop

Maureen Hady

Suzanne Sherry

Kate Goodfellow

Denise Woetzel