The Learning Commons is home to the Library, MediaTech, Classroom and Events Services, and CSALT—Instructional Design, the Tutoring Center, Student Accessibility Services and Advising and Peer Mentoring.
The Library’s recent retirees, Barbara Flanders (left) and Beverly Dupere (right) with their supervisor, Mary Wu.
Our two Lucky Ladies!
Barbara, Betsy Learned, Dean of Libraries, and Bev
Looking for some leisure reading suggestions? Check out some of the library staff’s favorite recent reads.
Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian
The Namesake & Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
I focused the majority of my summer reading on local and acclaimed author Jhumpa Lahiri. I heard Lahiri speak at Roger Williams University while I was a student here in 2006, and fell in love with her novel, The Namesake (2004). Ironically, it took me over ten years to finally read the book of short stories which her talk focused on, Interpreter of Maladies (1999). I loved this book so much that I immediately picked up a copy of her newer collection of short stories, The Unaccustomed Earth (2007).
Both Interpreter of Maladies and The Unaccustomed Earth are beautiful collections of short stories that blend the mundane struggles of human relationships with the often overlooked hardships that first and second generation American citizens endure while assimilating in the United States. Lahiri’s prose is simultaneously direct and illustrative, which when combined with her excellent character development makes it hard to put either book down. Each story includes some element of Indian culture (typically Bengali), which may turn off some readers looking for cultural variation, however, I found it extremely interesting to be able to learn about a new culture through the lens of so many different characters. I would highly recommend anything written by Jhumpa Lahiri, especially my two summer reads, Interpreter of Maladies and The Unaccustomed Earth.
John Fobert, Electronic Resources Librarian
Patriotic Murders by Agatha Christie
A visit to the dentist by Hercule Poirot ends with, what else? A dead body. Was it suicide or murder? In true Christie fashion, it is unclear if the motive was love, money, or national security. The story is set at the beginning of the Second World War and was originally published in November 1940 under the title One, Two, Buckle My Shoe. It is hard to put this book down as the storyline moves along quickly and the characters are intriguing. Christie worked in a hospital pharmacy during WWI so, as in many of her books, her knowledge of chemicals is apparent. A thoroughly pleasant read with enough twists to keep you wondering what will happen next.
Christine Fagan, Collections Management Librarian
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
This book has been selected as the Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Book for 2017. Engaging story! I cannot put this book down!
“Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude interweaves the political, personal, and spiritual, bringing a new consciousness to storytelling; this radiant work is a masterpiece of the art of fiction.” – Harper Collins Hardcover edition
Liz Hanes, Acquisitions Assistant
The Obsession by Nora Roberts
This book was a great summer read. Nora Roberts’ books are always good, but this one was better than usual because it has a little bit of everything. It’s a romance, but also includes some elements of mystery, and some thrilling, slightly scary moments.
Hannah Goodall, Learning Commons Coordinator
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Fates and Furies tells the story of a marriage through the narration of both the husband and the wife. While the majority of the book is told through the perspective of Lotto, the charming, eccentric, actor and playwright husband, it is resolved through the narration of his seemingly quiet and reserved wife, Mathilde. The novel twists through the lives of Lotto and Mathilde as they meet at the end of college at Vassar and ends with a sneaky twist set in the country side of New York. I found this book captivating and humorous, as well as a little heartbreaking.
You receive $15 per semester to print on campus. If you need to add money to your card you can always add cash via the CBORD machine located in the Library.
November 2, 2016
Archer Mayor –Crime Novelist
Where: Where: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center/RWU Library (4:30 PM)
in association with the School of Justice Studies
Archer Mayor is the author of the highly acclaimed Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as “the best police procedurals being written in America.” He is a past winner of the New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction—the first time a writer of crime literature has been so honored. In 2011, Mayor’s 22nd Joe Gunther novel, TAG MAN, earned a place on The New York Times bestseller list for hardback fiction. For more on Archer: http://archermayor.com/about/
Interview conducted Brittany Parziale, Connections Intern
Dr. Jeffrey Meriwether is Assistant Dean for Operations, FCAS, and a Professor in the Department of History and American Studies. He has been at RWU since 2001.
Professor Meriwether is currently reading Settle and Conquer: Militarism on the American Frontier, 1607-1890 by Matthew J Flynn. This book examines the history of westward expansion that occurred in America and suggests that the destruction of Native American cultures that took place at that time was in part a “campaign of counterinsurgency.” Professor Meriwether especially appreciates how this book “successfully takes a current foreign affairs topic and relates it to America’s national history.”
R.F Delderfield’s To Serve Them All My Days, is the story of a Welshman from a poor mining village who fights in World War I and later becomes an educator. Professor Meriwether cites being taken by many of the works of historical fiction written by Delderfield.
During his childhood, Professor Meriwether read Audie Murphy’s To Hell and Back, the story of Murphy’s World War II experience as the most decorated American soldier in that war. “My dad was a World War II veteran. We watched this film together when I was young, leading me to read the book multiple times. I’ve recently passed the book down to my son to read.”
Isabel V. Hull’s Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany is a book that “takes on the military cultures and practices of war in imperial Germany.” Finding time for pleasure reading can be quite difficult for Professor Meriwether. Still, he says he would love to “just sit in a dark room with a cup of coffee and read this book.”
“I don’t believe I could name an essential read as my focus is so narrow and is based on my academic research and studies.”
By Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian
Last month’s article Sticker-Shock Sparks Faculty-Librarian Collaboration with OER provided our readers with a brief overview of the OER (open educational resources) movement and how RWU is not only a participant, but a leader. Today we’d like to highlight one of our seven OER Faculty Fellows, Paul Webb, who is a Professor of Biology and has been at RWU since 1999. He teaches a number of biology and marine biology courses in the fields of oceanography, zoology, animal behavior, and animal physiology. Like many faculty members, Professor Webb was having difficulty identifying a textbook that encompassed all of the content he felt necessary to teach his courses – a book without all of the “extra stuff”. For his introductory level oceanography course he decided to take a bold and innovative approach: write and self-publish his own textbook under an open license. Webb’s decision to publish his own textbook did far more than save his students from having to purchase another expensive textbook, it also encouraged an analysis of his pedagogy, allowed him the flexibility to pull content from his own notes and other open resources, and provided him with the autonomy to exclude irrelevant or extra content that often is included when a publisher enforces strict word count requirements.
The process of creating OER may seem intimidating, and it does come with its own list of challenges, but with the proper support and planning, it is possible. Let’s take a closer look at how Professor Webb published his own textbook. To begin, he gathered his own collection of notes which he used to teach the course over the years, identified areas which he needed to expand upon, located chapters from other open textbooks to supplement his original writings, and searched for illustrations and images that were free and available to use without restrictions. Webb then identified a platform on which to publish his textbook, and settled on PressBooks, a user-friendly book writing software that allows authors the ability to easily turn a manuscript into an e-book or print book for a minimal cost to the author ($100). With PressBooks, he was able to add content at his own pace, upload and add illustrations and images to accompany text, and share the book and individual chapters with his students via PDF and many other e-book formats for free. Students can opt to print the entire book or just selections from it, and can work directly with the e-copy on their laptop or e-reader. Having the freedom to create and share his own textbook with his students has had many benefits, but we cannot ignore the challenges which the process itself has also posed along the way:
- Locating quality public domain images
- Writing chapters on topics he’s not as familiar with when he was unable to locate previously written content using other open sources
- Properly citing open content
- Wondering how this non-traditional contribution of scholarship in his field will be valued (or not) in the tenure/promotion process
These challenges (and others) are common among anyone who opts to create open content, whether it be a textbook, course pack or other academic ancillaries. As librarians, we do our best to investigate how we can work together with faculty to support these types of challenges as well as celebrate the successes and contributions that are made to the OER movement. Roger Williams University is incredibly fortunate to be able to call Professor Webb one of our own. His hard work and dedication to not only his students but also to his academic colleagues around the world cannot be overlooked. Thanks to his new textbook, students and faculty worldwide will be able to apply the 5 R’s of OER:
Retain – Make and own copies
Reuse – Use in a wide range of ways
Revise – Adapt, modify, and improve
Remix – Combine two or more OER
Redistribute – Share with others
Our next article will highlight Marcella Recher, an adjunct faculty member in the Sustainability Studies program at RWU and another one of our esteemed OER Faculty Fellows.
Images courtesy of Paul Webb
The library has recent copies of the Providence Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Bristol Phoenix. The newspapers are located directly across from the MediaTech desk in the journal and periodical shelves.
by Betsy Learned, Dean of University Libraries
The RWU Library is going to be changing its library software system between now and December 31, 2016.
How does this affect you?
As of July 1st, the interface for searching the library holdings catalog from the Main Library homepage http://library.rwu.edu/ has changed. You will see and have access to the same holdings in the RWU and HELIN consortium libraries as before, but the search interface and the results lists will look different.
If you are off campus, you will also notice that the method of authentication for access to licensed databases and journal articles has also changed. With the new EZ Proxy authentication, you simply sign in with your default RWU Single Sign On username and password — which is your RWU email address and password.
You will likely be able to navigate much of this new interface on your own, but when you have a question, or if you run into something that doesn’t make sense, please contact one of the librarians. Your input will help identify any glitches in the system.
The transition to the new library system begins with the search function, however, until all library data is migrated the search function will not work optimally. The full transition of all library functions will occur before the start of the spring semester.
What are some potential benefits?
Here is a short list of some benefits that you can expect to see once the new system is fully functioning:
- The most complete library catalog searching possible (RWU, regional, national, and international libraries) from a single search.
- Improved access to digitized materials in the public domain from the various organizations that make these materials available (HathiTrust, Internet Archive, etc.). More and more materials in the public domain (in the U.S., essentially anything published prior to 1923) are being digitized and made available. If they are cataloged in OCLC, they will be accessible without having to do separate internet searches.
- A return to “true” title searching and subject searching. It will take some time to adjust to the new interface, but it will offer capabilities that had been lost over time in the previous library system.
- You will be able to see a list of all your interlibrary loan requests so you can more easily keep track of them.
- After Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, and Bryant University left the HELIN consortium, their library holdings were no longer visible and accessible through the library catalog. The new system will allow you to see and request their holdings, along with all other regional libraries that have their holdings in OCLC. This will include the RISD Library, for example, that is not part of the HELIN consortium.
No library system is perfect, but I think this is going to be a significant improvement for the RWU community. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or any of the librarians with questions or concerns you may have along the way.
Thelma Dzialo is our newest full-time staff member in the University Library, joining the staff in August, 2016 as the Library Operations Manager. She was interviewed by Cindy Jones, Assistant to the Dean of University Libraries.
Q: Thelma, you’ve worked in several positions at RWU over the past 20 years. What about RWU makes you continue to stay?
I enjoy working with the students and watching them develop and grow in confidence and self-assurance during their time here. It’s gratifying to me to help them find what they need for their coursework. The natural beauty of the campus is also a large part of why I love working at RWU.
Q: How did you get your start in libraries? What do you like best about working in them?
My very first job was as a page in my local public library. I was very young, and it was an unpaid position. The only librarian that worked in that branch, Mrs. Grace Snell, was also my school librarian. She was a wonderful mentor to me, and taught me a lot about librarianship and also about our town. I love books and grew to appreciate the quiet and order of a library while working there.
Q: What does a Library Operations Manager do?
I am responsible for the management of the daytime support staff for the Information Desk, and oversee desk services during daytime hours. This is a new positon, and is still evolving. All of my new colleagues have been warm and welcoming, and I am very excited to be a part of such a dynamic team.
Q: You have grown children of your own–what advice would you give to students, especially incoming freshmen and transfers?
I would encourage them to take full advantage of their time here. Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone! Experience new things and get involved. You will learn a lot about yourself and will make lasting relationships and friendships during your time here. Enjoy yourself, but also work hard.
Q: What book do you think everybody should read at least once?
Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni
Q: Do you have a favorite genre of books or media that you enjoy the most?
I read mostly fiction, and have recently discovered that I enjoy audiobooks, too.
Q: In your free time, what are some things you like to do for fun?
I like to ride my bike on the Bristol bike path, and practice yoga.