April 28, 2008

Alloway Library Supports BC Children's Hospital Jeans Day

On Jeans Day people across the province proudly wear their lapel pin or button acknowledging their support of BC Children's Hospital. By purchasing a $20 lapel pin or a $5 button before or on Jeans Day, participants have the opportunity to wear their jeans for the day. Several of Alloway Library's staff bought a button and donned their denim on April 24th.
Together the TWU community raised over $500 for BC Children's Hospital.

From left to right: Becky, Sylvia, Shirley, Duncan, Sharon, Shawn, Shelley

April 18, 2008

Empty bottles make a difference

As the term winds to an end, Alloway Library is introducing a new beneficiary for its bottle fund. All recyclable beverage containers collected in the library will raise money to support Tahaddi, a compassion ministry working in a slum of Beirut, Lebanon.

Tahaddi, the Arabic word for “challenge,” serves the poor in three ways: through medical care, literacy programs and prison work.

The medical dispensary provides free access to primary care, offering family medical consultations; medicines; lab work as well as practical and financial assistance when hospitalization is required.

Its educational ministry promotes a climate of tolerance and includes adult and child literacy programs, wood shop and sewing classes for children from 10 to 13 years of age who have no access to normal schooling as well as summer camp and Bible clubs for children

Tahaddi also provides moral and spiritual support to women’s prisoners during weekly visits and provides inmates with basic necessities, Bible studies and English classes. In a unique arrangement, warm sweaters knitted by the prisoners are given to the shantytown children in the literacy classes.

Learn more at www.tahaddilebanon.org

April 16, 2008

Librarians: magician, matchmakers, healers, trail guides

We have quoted Anne Lamott on libraries before. In her latest book she mentions librarians:
... librarians. I see them as healers and magicians. Librarians can tease out of inarticulate individuals enough information about what they are after to lead them on the path of connection. They are trail guides through the forest of shelves and aisles -- you turn a person loose who has limited skills, and he'll be walloped by the branches. But librarians match up readers with the right books: "Hey, is this one too complicated? Then why don't you give this one a try?"
Grace (eventually): thoughts on faith. Riverhead Books; New York 2007.
Alloway Librarians are ready to lead all inquirers on the "path of connection" online or on-site.


April 08, 2008

Sad day for Canuck fans

AllowayLibrary staff dressed in black and marked the end of the Canucks' hockey season with black jelly beans, black licorice and other sombre treats. Not all of us managed to appear suitably sad enough. Click on the image to see more.

Thanks to Sharon Vose; photo by Hank Suderman
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Still more new DVDs

It's been a busy term for adding new videorecordings, but I think this is the last batch of new DVDs for a while. Alloway LibraryNews doesn't feature new books because there are even more of them, and they are browsable in the library in the New Books area on the main level.

Remember, you can click on the title to see the catalogue record and then request any title with and “in cataloguing” or “checked out” status.

Life running out of control Genetically modified agricultural and animal industries around the globe including Saskatchewan, India and Norway. "Meticulously researched, excellently photographed and multilayered documentary" View trailer.

Buying into sexy Marketers are selling a grown-up, sexualized image ("age compression" marketing) to pre-teen girls. Follows three tweeners, showing how they are being manipulated and pressured to look sexy based on pop idols and models. Then asks the boys what they think about young girls dressing sexy. Also interviews parents, marketers, and tween retailers. Resources and online viewing here

Violation of trust a century of native residential schools in Canada. Focuses on the Williams Lake, BC school and the harsh experiences of the children who went there. Speaks to survivors, an historian, a therapist, and clergymen who ran the school. Asks questions about government policy, society's attitudes, and the responsibility of the priests. Gives statistics; illuminates how former students are trying to heal.

Breaking point series. Painstakingly researched, involving thousands of Access to Information requests and over 400 hours of interviews, Breaking Point features Jean Chrétien, Jacques Parizeau, Daniel Johnson, Jean Charest, Preston Manning, Deborah Grey and Brian Tobin, among others, providing their candid and "insider" views of this pivotal moment in Canada’s federation.

Episode 1 A battle of titans Tells the story of the people and the events leading up to the Oct. 30, 1995 Québec referendum on becoming a sovereign nation. This program introduces two of the main political leaders of the day: Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien and Québec premier Jacques Parizeau: their upbringing, their backgrounds and their political careers up to that point. Also looks at Lucien Bouchard's involvement.

Episode 2 The choice This program focuses on the week leading up to the referendum, and the dramatic night itself.

Dark crystal Shows how two B.C. towns in the Interior, Kamloops and Barriere, are dealing with a crystal meth epidemic among their young people. The Dark Crystal web site includes supplementary materials, and a streamed version of the program.

Messing with heads interviews and research linking heavy marijuana use to schizophrenia and paranoid psychosis among teenagers and young adults, particularly focusing on the effects of THC on the brains of young users. Online resources include broadband version, transcript, interviews, further info.

Death by jib Teens and young adults describe their addiction to crystal methamphetamines, and the drug culture of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. Includes vignettes of their lives on the streets, complete with language that reflects this harsh reality, and a mother talking about losing her son because of his addiction. Examines issues associated with the use of this drug: various losses experienced by users; sexual exploitation of youth on crystal meth; health problems including sores on the body, rotten teeth, cognitive impairment, and mental health concerns. A resource guide accompanies this DVD


April 07, 2008

More new DVDs

More new videorecordings. To view these DVDs click on the title, and if the status is "In cataloguing" or checked out, click on the "Request" link.

Four in the Passion and fury: the emotional brain series

  • Fear Our most primal and powerful emotion; from its evolutionary origins in the involuntary fight-or-flight survival instinct, to its essential function as a learning tool today.
  • Anger Does the potential for impulsive anger lurks in our genes? Why do we still need this most frenzied of emotions? What science can do to help us control it?
  • Love. examines the complexity of the emotion we call love, from the burning desire that can hit us at any moment of the day, to the giddy euphoria we feel when we first fall head-over-heels, to the incredible bond a mother feels for her infant, to the warmth and compassion we feel for the person who has sat across from us at breakfast for the past 30 years.
  • Happiness This show draws a distinction between the lasting state of happiness and the pursuit of instant pleasure. What happens in the brain, and possibly our genes, that make some people happy and others sad?

Living with ADHD While acknowledging concerns about overmedication, asserts that new medical strategies, carefully applied, are useful for parents struggling to keep ADHD from controlling their households and limiting the prospects and happiness of their children. Looks at the challenges of parents who are also diagnosed with the disorder. Therapists and teachers also offer insights. Transcript and more available online

Methamphetamine: neurochemistry and recovery ways methamphetamine changes the brain both chemically and structurally, and how these changes interfere with the recovery process. Animations illustrate what happens to a user's brain when the drug is introduced; brain scans illustrate what happens as the user comes off the drug. Combines interviews with people in recovery with those of treatment professionals who present the challenges inherent in recovery.

The new killing fields travels behind the rebel lines in Darfur, Sudan, uncovering evidence of systematic killings on a horrific scale, possibly the first genocide of the twenty-first century. Attempts to find out more about the Janjaweed and their leaders. Transcript available online

April 06, 2008

GreenFILE database covers the earth

Another new and timely database has been added to Alloway Library’s Article Indexes and Databases. GreenFILE offers well-researched information covering all aspects of human impact on the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on the environmental effects of individuals, corporations and local/national governments, and what can be done at each level to minimize these effects. Multidisciplinary by nature, GreenFILE draws on the connections between the environment and a variety of disciplines such as agriculture, education, law, health and technology. Topics covered include global climate change, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. The database provides indexing and abstracts for approximately 295,000 records, as well as Open Access full text for more than 4,600 records.


April 04, 2008

New DVD's on China, globalization and communication

Click on the title to see the catalogue record. Use the “Request item” link if the item status is “in cataloguing” or “checked out.”

China Rises Series
Previews and more at the series website

Party Games As Beijing prepares for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, it is envisioning a new political dawn for a growing nation, and is ready to invite the world to see its progress. But what price progress?

Getting rich Is China's success riding on the backs of their many poor? This episode profiles motorcycle magnate Zuo Zongshen, Internet entrepreneur Jack Ma, migrant worker Liu Yong, and worker's rights lawyer Zhou Litai.

Food is heaven From the steamy kitchens of Canton, to the arid moonscape of the north, food is the very heart and soul of China. But increasing development and dwindling water supplies are threatening the nation's ability to feed itself.

City of dreams In the streets and neighbourhoods of Shanghai, a new dream of China is being turned into reality. A generation of Chinese now lives in a style that would not look out of place in New York, Berlin or Toronto. But for its poorer residents, Shanghai can be a city of harsh poverty.


The dollar a day dress Steve Bradshaw travels to Mali, Uganda, Peru and Cambodia. In each country he tries to collect locally-produced fabric for London College of Fashion students to make into a symbolic dress. This dress represents the plight of the more than one billion people who live on a dollar a day or less because of the world's trade system, specifically subsidies to farmers in Europe and the U.S. of almost $300 billion a year, six times the amount the West gives in aid, which makes it extremely difficult for poor countries to exploit their trade advantage. Transcript and more online

That’s not what I meant!: Language, culture and meaning Deborah Tannen lays out and illustrates her linguistic approach to understanding how we use language to create meaning and why communication sometimes goes awry. She also talks about her research, examines conversational styles, and explains that how you say things is often as important as what you say. Comes with an Instructor’s Package.

April 03, 2008

Faster, easier, clearer-- catalogue makeover succeeds

Alloway Library’s online catalogue has undergone a makeover to improve usability. Although many of the changes are subtle, they are already making a difference to the overall searchability of the catalogue. “I'm personally finding the catalogue much easier and even more fun to use,” says Alloway Library’s system administrator, who implemented the changes based on feedback from patrons and librarians. “I hope the patrons will find the same,” she adds.

The most noticeable changes make it easier to know which search options to use, and which limiters and sort options to apply. As well, collection and location descriptors have been revised to be clearer and more consistent throughout the catalogue to help users know where in the library they will find a particular item.

Alloway Library reference librarians and staff are pleased with the changes and are convinced that catalogue users will appreciate the makeover too, especially since a lot of the input came directly from them. “This is a work-in-progress,” comments Lee, “ we will continue to search out areas of the catalogue which need improvement.”

Here's a summary of changes

Overall Catalogue

  • Search tabs re-organized to improve clarity and quicker access to the most-used functions of the library's catalogue.
  • Search pages and specific search categories have been simplified and reorganized for ease of use and improved clarity

Basic Search: a faster start to searching the catalogue

  • Since most users start a search with keywords that come to mind, rather than exact titles, names or subject headings, keyword searches are now at the top of the drop-down list .
  • Search terms are more descriptive (e.g. "Title - Starts with", rather than "Title - Alphabetical")
  • Reserve materials added to list of "Basic Search" options

Power Search: easier all-in-one searches

  • Keyword-only searches for combination searching.
  • Optional pre-select to limit a search by collection (e.g. Electronic Books, Curriculum collection, Reference, Reserve, French or Korean languages etc.)
  • Researchers can now enter all the search terms plus limiting and sorting criteria before conducting a search.

“Limit by..”: easier searches for specific formats and types of publications

  • Limiters feature key collection categories within Alloway Library's collection
  • “Theses” now included as a collection limiter.
  • Limit by “Sound Recordings” or “Videorecordings” includes both tape and disc formats

Need a list of all the paper journals and magazines in the library? Limit by "Journals, Magazines (In-Library)"
Only want to see the online collections of books or only online journals/magazines? Use the "Books (Electronic)" or "Journals, Magazines (Online)" limiter.
Need to find a title in the Reserve Book Room? Do a title search, and limit it by "Reserve"

Search History: easier to re-do a search.
Search History is functioning again. The Search History tab brings up previous searches conducted during a session. See and edit searches you've conducted during a logged-in session to retrace your search steps or modify a previous search. This is helpful when conducting more complicated or extensive searches… or if you forgot to note the results from an earlier search.

Thanks to Shirley Lee

April 02, 2008

New DVDs

Two new titles today. Click on the link to see Alloway Library's catalogue record and, if it is in cataloguing or checked out, use the "Request item" function.

Manufactured Landscapes a feature documentary on the work of internationally renowned artist Edward Burtynsky as he travels through China photographing the evidence and effects of that country's massive industrial revolution. The Three Gorges Dam, factory floors a kilometre long and the breathtaking scale of Shanghai's urban renewal are subjects for his lens. Shot in Super-16mm film, the documentary extends the narratives of Burtynsky's photographs, meditating on the human impact on the planet without trying to reach simplistic judgements or reductive resolutions. In the process, it shifts our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it.

(This YouTube clip doesn't adequately capture the award-winning imagery)



Class Dismissed: How TV frames the working class. Media analysts and cultural historians examine the patterns inherent in TV's disturbing depictions of working class people as either clowns or social deviants, stereotypical portrayals that reinforce the myth of meritocracy to the advantage of other classes.





April 01, 2008

Student shelvers nearly perfect

Quality control at Alloway Library proves that student assistants who shelve material can be very proud of the work they do. And, because of their careful work, library patrons can be confident that they will find the item they want right where it should be.

This term, nearly 1600 items were spot-checked by library staff within a day or so of being shelved. Over 99% of those books, videorecordings and CDs shelved by library staff were found to be in the correct call number location when checked. The less than 1% of mis-shelved items were often found to be very close to where they should have been. Every person who shelved material this term met or surpassed the minimum goal of 98% accuracy.

Student assistants Sammi Lan, (foreground) Jack Xu and David Thompson demonstrate their shelving techniques.

If you are unable to find an item in the library, talk to circulation staff who can assist you by confirming the call number and status of the item, checking the sorting area or initiating a search request.