Thursday, December 07, 2017

Explorations for Vacations

Have you ever wanted to add a little adventure to your life over Break? Does adventure travel sound appealing, but you just don't have the time to fit it in? Have you ever, faintly lost, wandered the shelves in the library, wondering how the books are arranged? Well, today, we're going to explore the 900s section of the nonfiction collection to see what we find. (Hint: the 900s span includes books about History and Geography, as well as some closely related topics.)

So, what does all that have to do with adventure and exploration? How about we think of exploration as we step over to the Bragdon Room to pick a few books to start your adventure:

First off is a fine winter-weather collection of stories about a really, really cold place, the Arctic and many of the incredibly tough people who tried to explore it. While some have succeeded and now flourish living within the Arctic Circle, others were unsuccessful at best, terminally late at worst. If you're interested in extreme cold-weather tales of endurance, check out the 919s. This is the section for "geography of and travel in Australasia, Pacific Ocean islands, Atlantic Ocean islands, Arctic islands, Antarctica and on extraterrestrial worlds." The Icemen: 919.8 CON

If Arctic extremes of weather doesn't do it for you, how about we go in the opposite direction? We can while away quite a few miles, 24000 in fact, around the Equator in much more balmy circumstances. Warmer, but maybe not safer. Because Western exploration had a distinctly northern bias for so long, many explorers thought they were poking around at the ends of the Earth. Their stories are amazing. If you could try a little travelers' tales, check out the 910s. This section specializes in geographers, travelers, explorers regardless of country of origin. Latitude Zero: 910.92 GUA

If you just want to stay local and not reach quite as far as the Equator, how about checking out some of the absurdities to be found right here in the state of Massachusetts? A trip to the Moon might be too hard to arrange, but how about a trip to a house made entirely of paper (Rockport)? Or to a museum dedicated to bad art (Dedham)? Or to a memorial to a cookie (Whitman)? Day tripping in New England can be weird and wonderfully enlightening. Check out the 917s for more ideas for local adventuring. The geography of and travel in North America section brings you these gems. Massachusetts Curiosities: 917.44 GEL

The last stop on our exploration is 13th Century England. This isn't strictly travel to adventurous geography like the other selections, but it is too strange to miss knowing about. Did you know that King John of England (known as King John the Bad) moved the crown jewels of England from one place to another while he was fighting his subjects? The weird part is that the wagon train with the treasure completely vanished while crossing a marsh. Not one person, ox, or golden treasure piece has ever been found. To this day, no one knows exactly what happened to those carters and John's millions. 942 holds more history of England and Wales in all its flavors. King John: 942.03 MOR

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Freaky Fairy Tales

Has it been a while since you read a fairy tale? If so, you might be surprised at some modern versions of old-time stories. Check out one of these odd little tales for to read over break -- Mother Goose is a long way behind these freaky, slightly fractured stories. Children are definitely optional.

Fractured Fairy Tales by A.J. Jacobs. These short tales were originally shown as cartoons during The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle show. These stories are the original bent, folded, and mutilated fairy tales. Think twisted, punny, and many unexpected endings. (SC JAC)

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. Tam Lin is a modern retelling of the ancient Scottish song by the same name. In this version, a Scottish forest is a college campus and Tam Lin is a student. The magic, intrigue, and angry Queen of the Fairies are still there. Tam Lin is a cult classic for people who like fantastic fiction and romance. (FIC DEA)

Fables: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham etc. Winner of many awards, the Vertigo series author remakes several fairy tales by throwing the characters (Cinderella, a "big, bearded man who lives in the North,"... into present-day New York City. Chaos and catastrophes ensue, as in Colin the Pig’s severed head answering when Snow White asks him if it’s over and if things will ever get better—“Oh dear, oh dear. I wish I could say it did, Snow. I truly wish I could.”  (GN WIL FAB v. 5)

Friday, December 01, 2017

Displaying Our Stuff!

Did you know that this October marked the 125th anniversary of the release of Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes stories collection? Did you know that Govs has its own water treatment plant and how it works? How about that the “Great American Eclipse” took place this summer on August 21st? If you were a regular visitor to the library you might know because these are a few of the topics we have highlighted in our library displays.

Every month we try to put together eye-catching displays that tackle current events, a scientific discovery, an important anniversary in history, or something that interests us and might interest you.  We research important dates in history as well as looking at what people are talking about now, to come up with what we hope is an interesting and timely display.  Our extensive collection of books and DVDs supports the chosen topic and has been known to lead to a junior thesis topic or two!

If there is something you would like us to highlight in one of our displays in the future, please let us know. Suggestions are always welcome!


Thursday, November 09, 2017

National Native American Heritage Month display

The organized fight to officially recognize the contributions of Native Americans to the United States began in the early years of the 20th century. Different states and time periods have used different names, including American Indian Day, Native American Day, American Indian Day, and Indigenous Peoples Day. The first Federal proclamation of National American Indian Heritage Month came in 1990 under President George H.W. Bush. Other names for this month of celebration are Native American Heritage Month and National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

Pesky has a strong collection of books and videos that explore the politics, history, literature, and social conflicts of indigenous peoples in the United States. Please stop by and check out our display. More information is available at the websites of the Federal agencies that sponsor the heritage month.


in a double rainbow
lives the summer rain
who bring the seed
to soak the ground
to make dry arroyos run
as singing summer floods

-- Harold Littlebird, “In a Double Rainbow” in Voices of the Rainbow: Contemporary Poetry by Native Americans, edited by Kenneth Rosen, 212-213. New York, 1993.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

48 Hours Without the Library

48 Hours Without the Library

Due to the inconsiderate act of Mother Nature, the somewhat mysterious workings of National Grid, and the obstinate rule enforcement of the Byfield Fire Department, Pesky Library remained closed for a number of days this week. Although Library 2.0 set up shop in the dining hall for the duration, it just wasn’t the same. Here is a brief timeline of events and commentary that ensued:

Hour One: Students gasp in shock as we stop them from entering the library on Monday morning...they need to print. We gently send them on to buildings with generators while quietly questioning their understanding of electricity.

Hour Two: Panic from students who borrow textbooks and laptops every day in lieu of bringing theirs to school. How will they get through the day?

PA: Where will everyone go? Stay in the dining hall? Go to the student center?  Terrible ideas. Students lament. We offer to “SHHH” in the dining hall to comfort them.

Hours 10-15: Emails abound from all directions. No library? No learning center? No study rooms?

Hour 25: Mobile Library wises up and grabs a table near an outlet. Electricity is life.

Hour 26: Depression has set in. Boxes of books for Junior research projects lay unopened in the mail room. Appointments that “have to happen today!” are hastily accomplished amidst dining hall chaos.

Hour 28: Students stop by the pop-up library to share their harrowing tales of life without electricity. Many realize how much time they actually spend in the library and tell us how much they miss it. We miss them, hide our emotions we tell them to take off their hats.

Hour 48: With the power back on we spend the (hopefully) last few hours in the mobile library awaiting the all clear to return to Pesky. We echo the sentiments of many at Governor’s as we put this time into perspective, and think about the many people around our country and the world who live in much worse conditions daily. As frustrating as some of these 48 hours have been, we are thankful for the time spent around students, faculty and staff that we don’t typically get, and the new perspectives on life here at Governor’s and our world. Now back to work!

P.S. at Hour 72: Post electricity return we spent another afternoon in our pop-up space awaiting the all clear on the fire alarm system. Like so many things this week nothing went as predicted, but that is another life lesson. Thursday morning finally finds us back in Pesky helping students print, loaning out textbooks and laptops, digging out from days of mail and packages, and awaiting the first hat on a student head. We’re happy to be back.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dia de Muertos

No hope that ever warmed a human heart
      Was lost when that heart crumbled into dust:
      The dreams that woke the sunrise of the world are ours—
      Our dead walk with us daily, hand in hand.
      But every joy we know to give or keep;
      By hearts more gentle, and by eyes more true,
      They are our own, and undivided still.
In memory! In memory of the dead!
      In tenderness and hope for all who live!
      Peace with you, ye that lie at rest!
      Hope with you, ye that live and yet must face
      The pain of living!
      In memory, in hope, in tenderness!

--Sharlot Mabridth Hall (1870–1943), "Memoriam," Cactus and Pine: Songs of the Southwest, 1910

Dia de Muertos is a memorial festival, all about remembering and honoring the dead. It’s held in the beginning of November. Come see our display with more information about Dia de Muertos traditions, including movies, cookbooks, and coloring pages. 

Dia de Muertos

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Hair-Raised Jonathan

Ghosts and goblins, witches and werewolves, vampires and mummies! 

Are you in the spirit for some hair-raising stories and nerve-rattling movies? Spookify your life over at the Masters of the Macabre exhibit in Pesky Library. Don't wait too long -- these creepy, scary entertainments will vanish into the dark of the night before too long. (not really, they'll still be on the shelves).

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