Keeping North Run Creek Beautiful

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The Reynolds family cleaning up North Run Creek. Photo courtesy Neale Foster.

Did you know that North Run Creek snakes along the property line of Reynolds’ Parham Road Campus? All along the path you’ll find informational signs that were originally put up by DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) and approximately 2 miles of trails that follow the creek line and zig zag through the surrounding woods and fields. Not only is this peaceful, mostly shade-covered trail available to Reynolds students, faculty and staff, but it’s also available to the public every day!

 

On Friday, August 12th, at 9AM in 95 degree weather, a group of volunteers from Reynolds, comprised of staff, faculty, family members, and including one adventurous rising freshman, participated in the annual creek clean-up with the patient help of buildings and grounds employees. We are proud to say that three library staff people, Suzanne Sherry, KC Frankenburger and Neale Foster, assisted with this clean-up.

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Afterward, cooling down in the air conditioning. Photo courtesy Neale Foster.

Volunteers spent roughly two and a half hours picking up paper, styrofoam, plastic, old tires, bottles, cans, candy wrappers, and any other litter they found along the path. And they didn’t complain about the weather once! (Okay, maybe once.) But no matter the weather, it’s always important to remember to that keep our environment beautiful we have to do our part.

If you get the chance, please check out the trail to experience the beauty of nature right here in our own Reynolds back-yard! And remember: Re-use, reduce, recycle!

Welcome, Will Weaver!

With the Summer semester coming to a close, and fall semester right around the corner, you may have noticed a new face in the library at the Parham Road Campus.

At the end of June, the library was pleased to welcome David “Will” Weaver as our electronic/web services librarian.

WillWill served three and a half years as Systems Librarian with Henrico County Public Library. In his tenure with HCPL, he achieved several notable accomplishments, which included overseeing a successful migration of the ILS to a hosted/SaaS solution; streamlining/automating several daily workflow tasks; enhancing the aesthetic and functionality of the online catalog; overseeing the system administration of the opening of two new libraries; and laying the groundwork for migrating to a modern, updated online discovery layer.

Prior to working with HCPL, Will served as a teacher and librarian with Henrico County Public Schools, including serving four years as librarian and girl’s assistant basketball coach at Highland Springs High School.

Outside of the library profession, Will is an avid music and film enthusiast and in 2012 co-founded a local non-profit film collective Good Day RVA, which films local bands in unique areas around Richmond and across the state. From filming and editing, to managing the website, Will is highly involved in the group’s creative output. Other hobbies include trail running, basketball, cider-making, and fishing.

Please join us in welcoming Will to the Reynolds family!

Your Ideas Matter

In the Reynolds Library, we take your ideas seriously…

Suggestion: More Quiet Spaces with Electrical Outlets at the Downtown Library!

Response: We totally agree with you, which is why we are so thrilled to have the Reynolds Room open behind the reference desk. Did you know that you can use that room anytime the library is open? There are outlets on the walls, lights, and really comfortable chairs. Feel free to go in there anytime you’d like a quiet space. Also, have you checked out our group study rooms? Each room is equipped with a laptop, display monitor, and outlets for you to use! Also, we have six large tables in the library. On each table there is a lamp and at the base of the lamp are multiple outlets for you to use.  They are easily missed but check them out next time you’re in the library.

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Suggestion: To have disinfecting wipes stationed around the library, especially near the work table areas.

Response: Our housekeeping staff works very hard to keep up with the traffic in the library, but it is true, sometimes patrons make a mess and the library staff doesn’t see. If this should happen in the future, please let a staff member know and we’ll have it taken care of ASAP!

Suggestion: For the Parham Campus Library to have more anime, manga, and comic book titles AND a binder that has a list of all the DTC anime, manga, and comic books so people know what the other campus has.

Response: What a great suggestion! We will certainly pass this along to the PRC Library and hope they can add more titles in the near future. Also, did you know the library has something better than a binder?! The Library’s Quick Search can help you find all of the anime, manga, and comic books at Reynolds. Check it out!

Suggestion: Be awesome all the time

Response: Believe me, we try.🙂

Slowly by slowly: Lessons from Uganda

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Image courtesy Mary Hanlin.

Back in the fall, our Web Services Librarian, Mary Hanlin, left Reynolds to join the Peace Corps where she would be stationed in Uganda for two years. I recently got a chance to catch up with Mary through e-mail, and she was kind enough to grant me an interview for the blog. You can read it below!

Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing in Uganda. How did you decide to join the Peace Corps?
I’m currently working as something called a Teacher Trainer at Jinja Primary Teacher’s College (PTC’s). In Uganda, students train to become primary school teachers for two years, and are expected to teach a variety of curriculum – math, music, English, physical education and reading. I focus on teaching Jinja PTC students how to teach reading. Do you remember how you were taught reading?  Do you remember when you would get stuck on a word, and your teacher or your mom would tell you to, “Sound it out?”  Well, here in Uganda primary pupils don’t know how to “sound out” words, because they’re taught reading through memorization. A teacher writes a bunch of words on the chalkboard and then the students repeat after the teacher. That’s “reading” in Uganda. So, at Jinja PTC I try to teach phonics. I also have a lot of small projects: a mobile book club where we go out into the community and read to children, and I’ve just started a Chess club. The cool thing about Peace Corps is that you can often create your own projects and goals.

I decided to join Peace Corps midway through my career as a librarian, because frankly I wasn’t appreciating the life I had and I worried that I wasn’t growing and changing enough. I wanted to do something that challenged me and also changed me.

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Mary, pictured with Ugandan children. (Image courtesy Mary Hanlin.)

How did you prepare, mentally or otherwise, for the journey?
I am not really sure there’s any good way to prepare mentally, but I did a lot of research about Uganda, and had a clear objective sense of what I was in for. Also, I could only bring 100 pounds of luggage, so I brooded deeply over what to bring and what to not bring. There are literally hundreds of packing lists on the Internet for what to bring to Peace Corps, but the fact is 80% of the things you bring you end up being able to get in country. A few things I’m really glad I brought: quick dry towels, my computer/Kindle/iPhone and my teddy bear. Who doesn’t love an old lady with a teddy bear?

When people talk about joining the Peace Corps, they imagine it will be a life-changing event in their lives. Has it lived up to that idea so far?
Yes. Living in another country, especially one as culturally different as Uganda, is a whole mental shifting that I hadn’t entirely anticipated. Sometimes I feel like I live in an alternate universe. I don’t say this is a negative way, but in some ways I feel less like an individual or little snowflake. I’ve come to realize a lot of who I am and what I believe is because I am entirely a product of American culture. For example, conservative or liberal, most Americans have come to believe corporal punishment in school is not only wrong but should be illegal. It’s not something we have to think about, we just all share that framework. Only recently has Uganda passed laws making corporal punishment illegal. However, I can affirm that caning is the norm here. It took a while for me to really understand those who cane or support caning aren’t bad, it’s just their culture, their inheritance. They haven’t thought about it any more than we think about what “beautiful” anorexic-looking women on the cover of US Weekly do to our values and our norms. Certainly, I make efforts to dissuade colleagues and parents from caning, but the key thing to keep in mind is that culture is inherited and rarely reflected upon. In both American and Ugandan culture, people don’t think about why things are the way they are, and that can often be very damaging.

What did you know about Uganda before you left? How has that perception changed, or strengthened?
First, thanks for asking about Uganda and not Africa. I get a lot of emails asking me how things are going in “Africa,” and though I know there isn’t any ill-will meant by it, we need to remind ourselves that Africa is not a country. Rather, it is a continent of 54 different countries, over a billion people, and thousands upon thousands of different cultures and languages.

So, what did I know about Uganda before I left?  Sadly, not much. Of course, I knew about Idi Amin and the terrible harm he caused. I knew Uganda was on the equator so I assumed incredibly hot. I knew that Ugandans spoke many different native languages. That’s about it.

In fact, Uganda is incredibly green, fertile and not outrageously hot (usually in the mid 80s but rarely above 90). It’s not typically the “bush” that most people think when they think of a developing country: cell phones are the norm, though home computers are still incredibly rare.

Ugandans are incredibly patient and non-violent, willing to put up with so many more things than my American self is used to putting up with. They have this saying: “mpola mpola,” which means slowly by slowly, and means essentially we’ll get there but it’s going to take a while. Whenever I get frustrated with my language training, my teacher reminds me: “Mpola mpola.” And she is right of course; I am getting there. Another Ugandan proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  That’s the Ugandan way of life: everybody is always doing things together to get something done.

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Image courtesy Mary Hanlin.

I don’t know about you, but if I were going to move to a developing nation, I would have all sorts of thoughts swimming around in my head. Like, “I don’t know how I am going to live without X, Y, and Z.” Or, “I would never in a million years eat A, B, or C.” Has any of that changed? How have you adapted?
Peace Corps is very good at scaffolding volunteers to adjust to a different life, and the fact is my life is very different. I make a tiny stipend and live in a two-room apartment with (minimally reliable) electricity and no running water. I bucket-bathe every morning and use a pit latrine. I hand-wash my clothes. I walk a lot more and eat a lot of carbs, but not a lot of protein because meat is too expensive to eat every day; (plus it’s not refrigerated so I am constantly worried about getting sick from it). I’m a little dirtier in Uganda because the roads are either too dusty or too muddy.

Believe it or not, though, the physical changes are easier to deal with compared to the cultural ones. Though I rarely wore dresses in America, here I wear dresses 95% of the time because that is what the culture expects and Uganda has very rigid gender expectations. Though I was a runner in the US, I rarely jog, because I stand out too much and jogging just isn’t done here. And recently, due to an ethical dilemma I adopted a dog, which is really looked down upon in Ugandan culture. (Ugandans have no concept of dogs as pets.)  Peace Corps really wants volunteers to integrate into their community and, on some level, I have. I am getting better and better at the local language mostly because I hang out with little kids a lot. Also, I have a few Ugandan friends whom I can be a bit more open with, but the hardest thing for me so far, has been integrating. I never really had a clue how American I was until I moved out of America, but am really convinced that where we are raised constitutes the majority of our values and “lens” of the world.

That said, just as Americans are willing to accept cultural differences, I think most Ugandans are willing to give me a bit more leeway. For example, something that is common in my region is kneeling to show a sign of respect. This is particularly done by women and girls and directed, generally, towards men. I’ve been in situations where the women around me kneel to an older man even as I remain standing. For me, I just cannot do that. I am just too American and too sensitive to the symbolism to kneel for anyone. But the cool thing is that I’ve never been asked to kneel. Ugandans understand that I don’t come from that kind of culture, and it’s been a relief in many situations to not have those kind of cultural expectations placed upon me.

Tell us a little bit about the village you’re living in. Tell us about your daily routine. (Little stuff like laundry/bathrooms/food shopping/entertainment/electricity/etc.)
I live in the village of Wanyange which is 20 minutes outside of the town of Jinja (the source of the Nile). It’s small and dusty and, honestly, full of trash because there’s no such thing as garbage men in Uganda. (We burn our trash here.)  Like most of Uganda, Wanyange is full of children, and, surprisingly, they have been a great source of joy to me.

I get up at 6:45 every morning and do chores, such as fetch water, cook coffee over the gas stove, sweep my floor which is constantly dirty, bathe. At 9:30 am I’m at school and I teach (11 classes a week). When I am not teaching, I am lesson planning and working in the library. Time is not the tight ship it is in America, so often I’ll just hang out with my colleagues or play chess with the students or read with the primary school kids who are next door. That’s one thing I both love and hate about Uganda: I can really spend time building relationships here, because, notwithstanding the classes I teach, nothing has an exact time. But, on the flip side a meeting that is supposed to start at 11 am typically starts at 1 or 2.

But back to my routine, I am usually home by 5 pm and typically the kids come over at 5:30 or 6 and we read or do coloring books until 7. Because I live on the equator, it gets dark almost exactly at 7 and I send the kids home then. I cook, usually spaghetti or something equally starchy and then I either read or watch something on the computer through my external hard drive until 10. During the weekend, I go to Jinja a lot and spend too much money on what we call “mzungu” food, e.g. American food. There is also a pool in town, and when I want to relax, I go to the pool and read all day.

Is there anything that you want the people at home to know about Uganda and the people in it? What have you learned about yourself?
Well the first thing I really want people to know is that Uganda is unique and as diverse as America. Just because most Ugandans share the same skin color doesn’t mean they’re any more alike than any of us. But, I will say I’ve been moved on several occasions on how loving and community-focused Ugandans can be. They really do hold community and family as the highest purpose for doing and being. Here’s an example: before I came to Wanyange, I had to live with a host family. One night, around 9 pm, my host mother said that she had to leave for the night. A neighbor’s mother had died, and because Ugandans don’t have mortuaries, the deceased is placed in the home of the family member. I asked my host mother why she was spending the night there, and she was surprised. “Because that is what we do,” she said. “We?” I said. And she explained to me that, yes, all of the women of the village would sleep there until the body was buried, 25 or so women. These were women with jobs, who had to get up early to go to work and yet they didn’t question the act of sleeping on a neighbor’s floor. Their culture and their values created an act of sharing and community that would be unheard of in America. Later, when I was sitting in my room I started crying a bit because the thing was, I thought what they were doing was so beautiful, and yet, I somehow knew, it was an act I would not be willing to do for just a neighbor.

What have a learned about myself?  I’ve learned that I don’t need a hot shower to feel clean. I’ve learned that if I close my eyes and eat it, I will like it more, even after they tell me it was a baked moth (a Ugandan delicacy). I’ve learned that I don’t have to be in control of everything in order to feel safe. I’ve learned that little children here are willing to hold anyone’s hand and I’ve learned that I love holding hands. I’ve learned that I can teach without a projector and a computer. I’ve learned that if I’m having a bad moment and it is night out, if I go and look at the stars, which are so deep and huge compared to Richmond, I’ll feel better. I’ve learned that I have been given more privilege and opportunity than I could ever mentally fathom when all I’d known and had experienced was America, and I’ve learned not to be ashamed of my privilege or defensive of my privilege, but that I need to take on the responsibility for it: to read a book with a little girl, to talk to colleague about different alternatives to caning, to show a student how the rook moves on a chess board, to hold hands with children, to give and to love and to live and to receive.

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Image courtesy Mary Hanlin.

If you ever came back to work at Reynolds, what advice would you give students now?
I don’t think my advice has changed from when I was a librarian to now. It’s always been the same and it is this: believe in yourself. Believe that you can get that diploma, or great job, that car that doesn’t break down every other week. Believe that you can buy that house, or get that promotion. Believe that your past doesn’t dictate your future. Believe that you are more amazing and intelligent than you’ll ever give yourself credit for. If you don’t start first by believing you can get “there” then you will never get “there”. But, once you get there, whether it’s a great job, or a master’s degree, or the ability to pay the bills and have a little left over to go somewhere… once your belief in yourself gets you to where you want to be, start believing in in someone else too.

Believe in your cousin who is struggling with drug addiction. Believe in your best friend who is going through her second divorce. Believe in any child who is too afraid to look you in the eyes. Believe in your colleague who has recently lost her sister. Believe in the boy who you tutor after school, who reads at a 4th grade level when he is in the 7th grade. Believe in the girl who sells you an avocado outside of the fancy Mexican resort where you have gone on vacation. Believe that a few minutes of your time, or a smile, or a candid conversation, can change someone’s life.

And finally, once you have all of those things: the diploma, the good job, and the nice house, believe that they will not save you; they, in and of themselves, will not bring you hope. They are just instruments, which can help lead you to believe not only in yourself but in someone else, and from there, in even the world. And they are meant only to lead you to a life where you can sit on the front step with a little girl in one of the poorest countries in the world, reading, slowly by slowly sounding out words, and know you are exactly where you are meant to be.

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Image courtesy Mary Hanlin.
If you feel inspired to help the children and teachers in the village where Mary lives with a donation of books, please contact Suzanne Sherry at ssherry@reynolds.edu for information on how to help!

A Little Taste of Sunshine

With summer semester coming up, the library staff is hard at work making sure that life at the library continues on as usual so that students can expect the same great service they get during the Spring and the Fall semesters. But secretly… ? We’re all quietly daydreaming about taking big slice out of our summer reading lists. I asked the staff what sure-to-be-amazing titles are at the very top of their “to-read” lists during our downtime this summer, and this is what they told me!

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Bellweather Rhapsody, Kate Racculia
Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians, including quiet bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker and his brassy diva twin, Alice, have gathered in its cavernous, crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a colossal snowstorm is threatening to trap them all in the hotel. Then Alice’s roommate goes missingfrom room 712. The search for her entwines an eccentric cast of characters: conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. For everyone has come to the Bellweather with a secret, and everyone is haunted.
– KC F., Parham Road

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Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives. Thoughtfully exploring personal and historical events, from his time at Howard University to the Civil War, the author poignantly asks and attempts to answer difficult questions that plague modern society. In this short memoir, the Atlantic writer explains that the tragic examples of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and those killed in South Carolina are the results of a systematically constructed and maintained assault to black people—a structure that includes slavery, mass incarceration, and police brutality as part of its foundation. From his passionate and deliberate breakdown of the concept of race itself to the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, Coates powerfully sums up the terrible history of the subjugation of black people in the United States.
– Misha R., Downtown

 

NealeThe Fireman, Joe Hill
(If you aren’t familiar, Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son!)

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate – pregnant – nurse, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child. Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Harper’s husband Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror.
– Neale F., Downtown

LisaAnything by Lois McMaster Bujold
Speculative fiction author and Hugo Award winner (three times over!), Lois McMaster Bujold, is the author of several series, including the Vorkosigan saga, the Chalion series, and the Sharing Knife series.

Her most recent book, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is a continuation of the Vorkosigan saga (#16) and was published in February 2016.

Three years after her famous husband’s death, Cordelia Vorkosigan, widowed Vicereine of Sergyar, stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he’d never imagined, bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his life.

Meanwhile, Miles Vorkosigan, one of Emperor Gregor’s key investigators, this time dispatches himself on a mission of inquiry, into a mystery he never anticipated; his own mother.
– Lisa B. Parham Road

 

LoftanThe Fiery Cross, Diana Gabaldon
Book #5 of the Outlander Series

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge.

Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time—1743—when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army.

Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor—Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes….
– Loftan M., Downtown

 

9780778316558_RHC_SMP.inddThe Good Girl, Mary Kubica
“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.
– Kate G., Downtown

 

Daily Bible readings

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– Lisa B., Parham Road

Susan01Oregon Trail, Rinker Buck
Spanning 2,000 miles and traversing six states from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Trail is the route that made America.

Today, amazingly, the trail is all but forgotten.

Rinker Buck is no stranger to grand adventures. The book tells the story of Buck’s 2,000-mile expedition across the plains with tremendous humor and heart. He was accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and an “incurably filthy” Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl. Along the way, Buck dodges thunderstorms in Nebraska, chases his runaway mules across miles of Wyoming plains, scouts more than five hundred miles of nearly vanished trail on foot, crosses the Rockies, makes desperate fifty-mile forced marches for water, and repairs so many broken wheels and axels that he nearly reinvents the art of wagon travel itself. Apart from charting his own geographical and emotional adventure, Buck introduces readers to the evangelists, shysters, natives, trailblazers, and everyday dreamers who were among the first of the pioneers to make the journey west.
-Susan G., Goochland

RonundaThe 21 Day Sugar Detox, Diane Sanfilippo
“The 21-Day Sugar Detox” is a clear-cut, effective, whole-foods-based nutrition action plan that will reset your body and your habits! Tens of thousands of people have already used this groundbreaking guide to shatter the vicious sugar stronghold. Now it’s your turn!
Use the easy-to-follow meal plans and more than 90 simple recipes in this book to bust a lifetime of sugar and carb cravings in just three weeks. Three levels of the program make it approachable for anyone, whether you’re starting from scratch or from a gluten-free, grain-free, and/or Paleo/primal lifestyle.
– Ronunda C., Downtown

 

SuzanneLittle Black Lies, Sharon Bolton
In such a small community as the Falkland Islands, a missing child is unheard of. In such a dangerous landscape it can only be a terrible tragedy, surely…

When another child goes missing, and then a third, it’s no longer possible to believe that their deaths were accidental, and the villagers must admit that there is a murderer among them. Even Catrin Quinn, a damaged woman living a reclusive life after the accidental deaths of her own two sons a few years ago, gets involved in the searches and the speculation.

And suddenly, in this wild and beautiful place that generations have called home, no one feels safe and the hysteria begins to rise.

But three islanders—Catrin, her childhood best friend, Rachel, and her ex-lover Callum—are hiding terrible secrets. And they have two things in common: all three of them are grieving, and none of them trust anyone, not even themselves.
– Suzanne S., Parham Road

 

Kate02Don’t You Cry, Mary Kubica
In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.
– Kate G., Downtown

 

SydneyHarry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling , Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.
– Sydney G., Parham Road

 

DeniseThe M Train, Patti Smith
M Train is a journey through eighteen “stations.” It begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. We then travel, through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations: from Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico, to a meeting of an Arctic explorer’s society in Berlin; from the ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York’s Far Rockaway that Smith buys just before Hurricane Sandy hits, to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima. Woven throughout are reflections on the writer’s craft and on artistic creation, alongside signature memories including her life in Michigan with her husband, guitarist Fred Sonic Smith, whose untimely death was an irremediable loss. For it is loss, as well as the consolation we might salvage from it, that lies at the heart of this exquisitely told memoir, one augmented by stunning black-and-white Polaroids taken by Smith herself. M Train is a meditation on endings and on beginnings: a poetic tour de force by one of the most brilliant multi-platform artists at work today.
– Denise W., Parham Road

 

KC02The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
– KC F. Parham Road

Susan02Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads, Paul Theroux
Paul Theroux has spent fifty years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his tenth travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America — the Deep South. He finds there a paradoxical place, full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine, and yet also some of the nation’s worst schools, housing, and unemployment rates. It’s these parts of the South, so often ignored, that have caught Theroux’s keen traveler’s eye.  On road trips spanning four seasons, wending along rural highways, Theroux visits gun shows and small-town churches, laborers in Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi where they still call the farm up the road “the plantation.” He talks to mayors and social workers, writers and reverends, the working poor and farming families — the unsung heroes of the south, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who returned home to rebuild a place they could never live without.  From the writer whose “great mission has always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself — and thus, to challenge us” (Boston Globe), Deep South is an ode to a region, vivid and haunting, full of life and loss alike.
-Susan G., Goochland

 

What about you? Tell us, students and faculty members, what are YOU reading this summer?

Student Expo Projects…Delectable!

On an average day the library at all three Reynolds campuses is full of people studying and reading. On April 19th, 20th and 21st of this year,  however, Reynolds Libraries were jam packed with biology projects, nursing projects, hand welded sculptures, paintings, floral designs and yes, even… wedding cakes!

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This wedding cake featuring orange blossoms and bees was created by Sara Coats in Chef Puja Wingfield’s HRI 286 class within the Culinary Arts Program.  It was one of five “dummy” wedding cakes displayed at the downtown campus, and there was SO MUCH MORE!  To see photos of all of the projects, click here.

In its second year, the Student Expo drew over 300  people to gaze in amazement at the works of Reynolds students.  We are so grateful to the students and faculty who contributed their fine projects.  The library truly came alive with all of your work!