Friday, October 30, 2009

Scary Movies

Scary Movies
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
If you're thinking about cuddling up to a nice scary movie tonight, check out our DVD display. We have 1,000 entertainment videos in our collection and at least one of them is sure to make you look under the bed or into dark corners. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Students today interact with information in entirely different ways than their teachers ever did. While we adapt to use digital information, we also wonder if students have lost some of the ability to process information in their quest to be online, all the time.

This morning I took advantage of new digital capabilities to view and listen to the keynote speech from the Internet Librarian conference while sitting behind the library desk. Vint Cerf, VP & Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, spoke about how people interface with information. He shared that in a recent conversation, Henry Kissinger expressed concern that people are thinking more shallowly about things than they once did; that such communications as emails, Facebook, and Twitter reduce the amount of time we spend thinking about things. Mr. Cerf re-stated this by saying that our culture is trending toward abstraction and brevity. He said that “Power corrupts and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.”

In education, we love to adopt new technologies and expose our students to as many time-saving gizmos and gadgets as we can. The important thing to remember is that the technology is not the important part. If the technology makes the education more accessible, then we should use it. However, technology for the sake of technology may breed students who no longer have the critical thinking skills to solve the problems of today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Databases on Trial

We're currently evaluating new databases to see if they provide material for your research needs. This is a great opportunity to find more resources for your papers for free!

To access the trial databases, go to or Elmstreet > Database Trials (underneath Library). The databases require a user name and password; these are listed in the Elmstreet document.

We’d love to have your feedback. We will have free access until November 22, so let us know of your opinion soon. Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve) is associated with symbols like the jack-o'-lantern. But did you know that these lanterns were first carved from a turnip or a rutabaga?

A 1970's collection of Scottish Halloween traditions describes the carving of a turnip lantern like this:

"To make a lantern, choose a large round turnip. From the top, cut off a thick slice--about a quarter of the whole--and scoop out the inside, preferably with a spoon, taking care not to break the skin.
The 'shell' should be as this as possible, but a stump must be left at the bottom and hollowed out to serve as a socket. Now take a sharp pen-knife and carve on the turnip a man-in-the-moon face, a skull and cross-bones, or other device. Then get a candle, plain or coloured as desired, and set firmly in the socket. Make two holes near the top, one at each side of the handle. It should be long enough to prevent any risk of burning one's hand. Alternatively, the lantern may be suspended from a forked stick.
When the lantern is lit, there is a soft, luminous glow, and the device you have carved stands out clearly. There is room here for considerable artistry."

The excerpt above - and many other intriguing traditions - can be found in The Folklore of World Holidays (REF 398.2 MAC).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Things to Read

Looking for something else to read besides text books? Our profile on LibraryThing links to book reviews written by current and former students, staff, and faculty of the Governor's Academy. On Being Foreign: Culture Shock in Short Fiction is an interesting read found through the reviews that I happen to have personal experience with. I probably would not have found it on the shelves had it not been for serendipity - and LibraryThing!

For a little more playful approach, check out what The Book Seer recommends. This web site suggests titles on the basis of books you like. These suggestions are pulled from two popular web sites (LibraryThing and an online store).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dummer Doodles

This week, our archivist Laurie DiModica has been busy with the inventory of antique books housed in The Governor’s Academy Archives. She made a singular discovery and shared the following with us:

“There are approximately 300 books, with the oldest dating to the 17th century. Many of the books—their handcrafted bindings and leather covers worn but resilient—can be traced to their use during the earliest years of the academy, when Headmaster Samuel Moody educated hundreds of boys during his 27-year tenure (1763-1790). So many of these boys went on to lead notable lives in government, military, business, and the ministry. It is possible to identify several of the antique books as belongings of specific students; inscribed with the handwritten “Dummer’s School,” the oldest of the books also list their owner’s name and date of ownership. Some of the books were handed down from student to student, traceable through chronological order.

While the signatures begin to personalize these items, a few books reveal a bit more. In R. Brookes’ The General Gazetteer: Or, Compendius Geographical Dictionary, a 1762 publication that was shared by William Williams of Salem and Samuel Moody of Newbury (students of the academy ca. 1783-1785,) one can see, tucked on the inside front cover and initial page, an example of 18th century student doodling.

In the photograph below, doodles from the inside cover of The General Gazetteer can be seen, including an outline of two male figures, one much more detailed than the other, and labeled with “John Stoddard”. The page is ripped just next to this text, but it is likely that it read “Wanton” to reflect the name of another Dummer School student, John Wanton Stoddard of Newport, RI. Stoddard attended the academy during Headmaster Samuel Moody’s tenure. Is the Stoddard’s drawing of himself…or perhaps this is a caricature from a friend (Williams? Moody?).

Apparently, the contents of The General Gazetteer—descriptions of “all the empires, kingdoms, states, republics, provinces, cities, chief towns, forts, fortresses, castles, citadels, seas, harbours, bays, rivers, lakes, mountains, capes, and promontories in the known world; together with the government, policy, customs, manners, and religion of the inhabitants—was not enough to keep Dummer boys singularly focused!”

Thanks, Laurie for reminding us that students haven’t really changed over the centuries!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chapel Talks

Chapel - Russia (S.S)
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Every Wednesday, we meet in the chapel to listen to an inspirational speech. We hear students speak of their good and bad experiences and how their lives have changed. We hear poetry and music. Yesterday, Kevin Ramos-Glew, a Spanish teacher, spoke of the importance of mentors in his life. He shared memories of his brother and important lessons he learned from him. He also encouraged us all to learn from our mentors, to be inspired by "the greatness of others."

Here at the Governor's Academy we have many mentors to choose from. Teachers, dorm parents, advisors, coaches, peer advisors, and administrators all mentor students and each other. One of the best parts of this school is the community and how everyone here wants everyone else in the community to succeed.

If you'd like to listen to Mr. Ramos Glew's speech, go to

Past chapel talks can be found at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Scanning in the Library

The new library copier now also works as a scanner. Here's how to e-mail a scanned document to a Governor's Academy e-mail address:

- Enter your User Number with the keypad and press OK on the copier display screen. The user number is posted on the board behind the copier. DO NOT use the Admin Login; you will not be able to log on that way.
- Press Image Send twice.
- Select Address Book, and go to Global Address Search. Enter the beginning of the recipient's name. Select Search. Select the correct recipient from the list. Select To to add the name as the recipient of your e-mail. Repeat for any additional recipients.
- Select Condition Settings.
- Place your document on the upper left hand corner of the glass. Press the black and white copy button (the lower button in the left hand corner of the machine) to scan the first page. Repeat for all pages you want to send.
- Select Read End on the copier display screen to end the scanning and send the e-mail.
- Press Logout on the keypad to reset the copier for next user.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's That Time of the Year Again

The first quarter is rapidly coming to an end, and that shows at lunch time: if you want to borrow a laptop, or use one of the library computers, or even have a seat, make sure you come early!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday 10/25 Hours

Reminder: Due to Parents Weekend, there will be no evening hours next Sunday, October 25th. The library will be open between 12 noon and 3 p.m.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Computer Trouble

We have had some problems with the library laptops this fall. Some exhibit the black screen of death, others merely refuse to let students (and staff) to log on.

We are working with the tech support staff to resolve these issues. We have also updated our instant help notes on the laptops. Look for the laminated inserts either on the left or the right hand corner of the laptop.

Please also remember that the newest laptops have a wireless On/Off switch on the left side. If you cannot connect to the school network, check that the switch is in the On position.

As always, if these tips are ineffective, let us know. We're here to help.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Literacy in a 2.0 World

Literacy in a 2.0 world
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
President Obama has declared October 2009 as National Information Literacy Awareness Month, saying we must “learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation.” President Obama echoed the sentiments of our librarians when he said, “We now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the information marketplace. At the same time, Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information, as well as institutions such as libraries and universities, that can help separate truth from fiction and signal from noise.”
At the Governor’s Academy we encourage our students to employ the services of our librarians to help them determine which sources are credible and which are not.
While some voices speak out saying that libraries are less important in the day and age when information is freely available at the touch of a button, President Obama has pointed out that librarians can be the first line of defense against misleading information. The materials that we collect in our libraries are chosen to serve our patron’s needs, but only after they’ve been reviewed by subject experts. As a part of this educational institution and in collaboration with our faculty, we constantly strive to promote and nurture information literacy in our students.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

College Counseling Announcement Board

We have made space by the copier for the College Office to post dates and times of upcoming visits by reps of different colleges and universities. Seniors can spend time in sessions learning about different programs and asking many questions. We were glad to turn over this bulletin board during this busy time!

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's turning chilly... in more ways than one

October is not only the time for bright leaves, it's the time for dark chilly evenings. October is also the time for ghosts, mysteries, inexplicable events, and spooky stories... perfect for spending a long evening with!

Friday, October 09, 2009

International Exchange

International Exchange
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
During the past few weeks we hosted five visitors from the Pudong Foreign Languages School in China. Last spring, four students and one teacher from the Governor's Academy enjoyed a lovely stay at the Pudong School. This spring, students will have a chance to travel with fellow students and teachers to China, Kenya, Honduras, South Africa, and Italy. Applications to participate in these programs should be completed as soon as possible.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

National Book Month

October is National Book Month! This annual event encourages readers of all ages to enjoy books. Check out the Pesky Library's display in the lobby, or read more about National Book Month at the National Book Foundation's web site.

Image to the left: National Book Month Nonfiction Display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Missed Research Help Meetings

Our students are getting busy with schoolwork, juniors perhaps more than everyone else because of their history thesis projects. So far we've seen many juniors for advice on how to start their research. We show them how to use the library catalog and explain the features of our databases.

Occasionally, unfortunately, students do not show up for their appointments. If you can't make your appointment, please let us know. We prepare for each and every meeting. By making sure we know you're coming, you get the most out of the instruction sessions, and get your research on the way.

Building a CPU

Building a CPU
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library

One never knows what collaborative tasks students will take on in the library!

Monday, October 05, 2009

From Mail Call to Your Hands

A few weeks ago we highlighted a delivery of new books and dvds. We have processed the new arrivals and added them to the collection. They are now available for reading and viewing.

Image to the right:
A sampling of new dvds in our collection
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library

Friday, October 02, 2009

Mark Salzman signs his book for a student

Every year, the entire school reads a common book. A highlight of this process is a visit from the author who speaks to the entire campus and in smaller groups. For those who wish to have their books autographed we host a special luncheon in the library following the convocation speech. This year's common book, Lost in Place : Growing up Absurd in Suburbia, amused us all. Salzman in person is every bit as amusing as his writing: he exposes the extraordinary happenings in commonplace situations. While he regaled us with tales of difficulty and woe, his final message was to be able to find the humor in life and to be able to forgive both others and ourselves. He offered the insight that forgiveness can cure a lot of human suffering.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Catching Fire September 2009

Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, has really caught fire in our library. It arrived on the shelves today and is already checked out with two reserves placed on it. Suzanne Collins has us hungry for more.