Thursday, March 31, 2011

Museum Blog: Van Gogh

When doing research on a specific artist, it's a good idea to check whether there is a museum or another type of institution dedicated to the artist's work. If there is, it's worth checking out the museum's web site. Nowadays many institutions offer superb materials and links on their sites, available for free. There certainly are good, authoritative sources available for the world's most famous artists.

For example, the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands has established a blog. The Van Gogh’s Studio Practice provides access to collaborative research projects in art history, technology and natural science. The objective is to gain new insights into Van Gogh’s working method by investigating every facet of his creative process and his works of art, and through comparison with his contemporaries.

Browse the blog for fascinating images from van Gogh's sketchbooks, details of the latest van Gogh research, and more.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Haiku PoeTree for April

Haiku PoeTree closeup
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Japanese haikus, those mesmerising 17-syllable poems, have fascinated the West since the nineteenth century. We start the National Poetry Month by paying tribute to haikus with a poetry tree, complete with origami cranes.

Originally a part of the 5-line poem tanka, the haiku almost always contains the name of the season, or a key word with which to infer the season. This short-cut method allows the reader to immediately comprehend the weather, the foliage, the animal life, and the emotions that go with the season in question. More than a statement of feeling or a picture of nature, a haiku connects two seemingly different things and creates an implied identity between them.

Remember also that Friday, April 1st, is Jeans Day. A small donation will let you wear jeans that day, and the money raised will go to buy socks for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Revisit Day Reads

The revisit days are almost here! We've set out a selection of short stories, novels, and poetry in the lobby with a connection to teenagers or writing by teens.

The tall pyramid in front of the circulation desk displays the latest acquisitions. The front desk corner shelf has poetry. You can find even more books at the ends of the fiction shelves, where we've showcased some of the older young adult stories. We've already checked out several, so if you want your share, hurry in!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Melville and Whaling Display

One hundred and sixty years since the publication of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, and our fascination with all things whaling endures. Books and articles continue to be published, new discoveries made, and Moby Dick is secure in his spot on the AP English Literature reading list. What makes whaling all the more fascinating for us here in Byfield is our proximity to the origins of many great whaling vessels. The whaleship Essex was built just up the road in Amesbury. The Essex was captained by George Pollard Jr., of Nantucket. This was the whaleship that went down with more than half of its crew after being attacked by a whale. And therein lies the tale of Moby Dick. We have a number of excellent non-fiction reads on the sinking of the whaleship Essex. It’s intriguing to contemplate the extent to which the anthropomorphisation of the whale played a role in drawing men to the sea in this harshest of jobs. Archaeologists announced just last month that they have discovered the remains of another 1800’s whaler just north of Hawaii, the Two Brothers, which may very well have also been made in Amesbury, and was also captained by Mr. Pollard.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

U.S. History Display: 1960s

American History 1960s
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Our Display series featuring the different decades of the 21st century in American History has reached 1960s. Check out the table in the back of the reference area for a taste of the spirit of the sixties.

We have sources on the life of Muhammad Ali, for example, and on the days of the peace marches, Woodstock, and psychedelic music. Read how post-World War II comfort turned into yet another war, how a new, rebellious youth culture shook the existing conventions, and how feminism and civil rights transformed the society. There's also a book on the Kent State shootings of 1970, where guardsmen killed four students and wounded nine after a student protest against the invasion of Cambodia went awry. This decade is like no other, and will leave no-one cold!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Archives Poster - Dummer Work Squad

Our latest poster celebrating Academy history looks at the work squads of the past. In the '30's students built an outdoor wooden running track and a new skating rink and enlarged the playing fields. In the '40's students picked up the work done by men who had left to serve in the war. Read more about the squads and what they accomplished on Mrs. DiModica's Archives blog - parts one and two.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Social Networking Hazards

Welcome back from spring break! We hope everyone feels refreshed and energetic to tackle the rest of the spring semester.

Whether you're cruising the Byfield backroads or the information superhighways, it pays to mind your manners. Did you know that Facebook malware has become a serious threat to IT security? Due to phishing and clickjacking activities, some colleges and universities are even isolating student computers before they infect the rest of the school network.

Our IT department recently sent out a reminder about Facebook threats. It's very easy to click on interesting stories and catch up on gossip on any social networking site, especially if it looks like a friend recommends the link. Unfortunately, it's equally easy to fall pray to malware programs. At the very least, they will spam your profile - and your contacts' profiles - with annoying links. At worst, you'll be stuck with very real cell phone or credit card bills.

One of the latest Facebook scams is called "My Top Stalkers". Users are directed to an external site that claims to reveal the top people checking out their profile. Of course, somewhere along the way users are asked to provide their information, and a charge will appear on their cell phone bill. You can read more about the "My Top Stalkers" scam at All Facebook: The Unofficial Facebook Resource.

So do yourself and your friends a favor. Educate yourself. Google before you click. A quick web search will often reveal a scamming attempt. Remember also to check your Facebook account settings. Make sure no rogue applications are active, because just deleting the spam posts does not get rid of malware.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Last Moments Before Break

Last Moments Before Break
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Students catch up with each other in the library for the last time, and print out their tickets or last papers before break. In an hour it's vacation time; even better, we have gorgeous weather to start it off with!

We hope everyone has a great spring break!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Latest Reviews: March 2011

Lives Like Loaded Guns
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Looking for something to read over the March break for a well-earned respite?

The latest reviews linked to our "virtual collection" include Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo, Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds by Lyndall Gordon, and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.

You can always find even more reviews through our LibraryThing profile.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

March Break Travel Abroad

School Exchange Programs
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Each year, students from The Governor’s Academy travel abroad during the March break to participate in formal student exchanges. In 2011, 14 members of the junior class were selected to visit four sites.

Read more in the Governor's Academy Blog from Aboard!

The photo to the right contains a collage of memories from last year's exchanges. Come visit the library to see them in full. We're sure that this year's visits will create memories just as incredible!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Latest New Books

900s - Feb 28 2011
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Just in time for the spring break, we have a batch of new books available. Check out these just added titles - and more! - in the new books nook on the first floor.

P.S. Remember to check out the awesome Ronald Reagan display in the hallway display case!