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What is a Human Library?

The Tarleton Libraries and the Division of Equity, Inclusion, and International Programs will be hosting two Human Library events mid-November!

  • The Stephenville event will be on Tuesday, November 15th from 3-6pm in the Thompson Student Ballrooms.
  • The Fort Worth event will be on Wednesday, November 16th from 4-7pm in CAB Rooms 121/122.

So what exactly is a Human Library?  The Human Library Organization developed the platform to help fight stigma and prejudice in a safe setting.  Instead of physical books, the “Books” in the library are actual people!  Our books are volunteers who have personally experienced abuse, discrimination, or being stereotyped.  Examples of book titles could include things like HIV+, Vegan, Black, Lesbian, Dyslexic, and Politician.   

Those attending the event are called “Readers”, and they check out a Book from the Human Library for a 30-minute, one-on-one conversation.  This is a Q&A format, so it is an opportunity for Readers to ask questions they may have never felt comfortable asking or possibly never had the opportunity ask.  By having conversations in a safe space, the goal is to help break down stereotypes and challenge prejudices. 

We hope to see you at our Human Library!

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First Generation Students

What is a First Generation Student? Being a first-gen student means that your parent(s) did not complete a 4-year college or university degree, regardless of other family member’s level of education. Older siblings and family members who attended college may be a great resource as you navigate your college journey!

November is First-Generation Awareness Month and November 8th has been the annual day to celebrate first-gen college students on campuses nationwide. Tarleton has been recognized nationally for its efforts to support first-generation students. (https://web.tarleton.edu/news/tarleton-recognized-nationally-for-efforts-to-support-first-generation-students/

There will be a First-Gen gallery on both the Stephenville and Fort Worth Campus starting November 1st. Check out the Dick Smith Library in Stephenville and Ft. Worth’s main floor for stories by first-gen students and alumni! Also included are Faculty and Staff success and support stories!

Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd every year. It is a time to remember loved ones who have passed. While there are many local variations as to how the holiday is celebrated, one commonality is the ofrenda (alter or offering).

Day of the Dead ofrenda in Querétaro, Mexico. A1650705 Aura, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Ofrendas are usually constructed on October 30th, and they have some common characteristics:

  • Marigold flowers (cempasúchil) also known as the flor de muerto (flower of the dead). This flower has been associated with the dead in Mexico since pre-Hispanic times. The color and scent are believed to attract souls toward the offering.
  • Calaveras – skull decorations that can be made out of various materials including papier-mâché or sugar.
  • Food such as fruits, tamales, and pan de muerto (bread of the dead) to be enjoyed by both the living and the departed.
  • Pictures and/or mementos of deceased loved ones.
Bread of the Dead (Pan de Muerto) at an ofrenda in Mexico City. Secretaría de Cultura de la Ciudad de México, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The origins of this holiday are ancient. The Aztecs celebrated multiple days in honor of the dead including Miccaihuitontli (Feast of the Little Dead Ones) and Miccaihuitl (Feast of the Adult Dead Ones). In modern Mexico, November 1st is typically the day people mourn dead children and November 2nd dead adults.

After their conquest of Mexico in 1521, the Spanish introduced Catholicism, and many of the old beliefs were suppressed. However, some of the old practices were incorporated into Catholic ones, and such is the case with the Day of the Dead.

It is no coincidence that Día de los Muertos coincides with All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). Those holidays have origins in Medieval Europe and are celebrated by the Catholic faithful all over the world, but Mexico’s celebration of these days is unique due to its Aztec heritage.

To learn more, check out these items at our library:

October is Pride Month!

The Tarleton State University libraries strive to foster an environment where everyone is welcomed, accepted, and supported. The university itself is dedicated to serve our diverse campus community. Dr. Sherri Benn, the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, remarked, “Diverse stakeholders partnering to create an accessible, equitable, and inclusive ethos makes Tarleton an exemplar for the nation. We are a source of inspiration, a beautiful tapestry of unique distinctions.”

Recently, the Gay-Straight Alliance of Tarleton wrapped some of the trees in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month. Check out their Facebook page to see more!

Be aware of some important events that are coming up soon!

  • October 11th is National Coming Out Day! For more information and resources, visit the Human Rights Council’s Coming Out Center.
  • GSA is hosting the 2022 PRIDE Festival on October 12th from 5-7 pm. Festivities will be held outside the Dining Hall, and will include a pop-up library and other interactive booths from organizations across campus.

Banned Books Week

Did you know that libraries all over the nation have celebrated Banned Books Week every September for the past 40 years?  Librarians and many others in the book community band together every September to support the freedom to read and fight censorship.  This year, Banned Books Week falls September 18th through the 24th

Libraries are an essential service point for community access to information. The freedom to read is a human right, protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution (American Library Association, n.d.-b).  One of the main goals for librarians is to build a collection of materials that present all view points for current and historical issues.  This material should be available for the entire community of people that the library serves. 

Over the course of our history, people have sought to restrict what materials are allowed to be included in a library collection.  Books are banned or challenged most frequently for reasons such as being considered sexually explicit, use of offensive language, or the content is unsuitable for the age group.  A book challenge is when someone attempts to have content removed or restricted from a collection. When a book is banned, that means the book was removed from the collection.  By removing a book from the collection, it denies other people who are interested in the material the ability to access it freely.

According to the American Library Association (n.d.-a), “ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons” (para. 2).

Every year, the American Library Association compiles a list of the 10 Most Challenged Books.  For 2021, the titles included:

  1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
  2. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  3. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  4. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
  7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
  8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
  9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
  10. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit. 

To celebrate Banned Books Week in 2022, Tarleton Libraries has partnered with the Tarleton Art Society.  They will be decorating the Dick Smith Library’s exterior windows in support of the freedom to read.  Stop by and take a look at their art installation between September 18th and 24th!

References

American Library Association. (n.d.-a). Banned books week (September 18-24, 2022). http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned

American Library Association. (n.d.-b). Library Bill of Rights. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

American Library Association. (n.d.-c). Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

National Voter Registration Day

September 20, 2022, is National Voter Registration Day. This is a nonpartisan civic holiday to encourage everyone to register to vote. Registering ensures that you’re able to participate in upcoming elections.

Tarleton students, faculty, and staff can use Turbo Vote to register to vote, check voter registration status, and set up text and/or email notifications about upcoming elections.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

Congressional and state elections will be held on November 8, 2022. To be able to vote in those elections you must register by October 11, 2022. You can find more information at VoteTexas.gov.

Interested in learning more about voting and elections? Check out these titles from the library:

10 Ways the Library can help

There are lots of ways the library can help you start your semester off on the right foot! Here are my Top 10.

  • We have friendly, knowledgeable staff who love to help you! Call us at 254-968-9249, Chat, or send an email to reference@tarleton.edu for assistance.
  • Need help resetting your password, getting into Canvas, or having trouble printing? The Tech Spot is located on the main floor of the Dick Smith library.
  • The library has over 317 databases that cover all areas of the Tarleton curriculum.  We can help you find the right one for your research using our Subject Guides!
  • Our Discovery Search tool saves you time by allowing you to do one search and get results from several different library databases.
  • Have questions about your paper?  Need help finding sources on your topic?  You can Schedule an Appointment with a librarian for extended help.
  • All students, staff, and faculty can check out materials from our library free-of-charge. All you need is a photo ID (University ID or driver’s license).
  • Our Interlibrary Loan staff work hard to find books, articles, DVDs, microfilm, etc. to borrow from other libraries for your research needs.  
  • We can save you time! We have charging stations for your phone located on each floor and a supply vending machine in the lobby of the Dick Smith Library for pens, pencils, scantrons, etc.
  • Shhh…we have quiet places to study. Check out the Quiet Zone located on the upper level of the Dick Smith library. We also have study rooms available at both Dick Smith and Rickett libraries when you need to work as a group!
  • After all the school work is done, did you know that fiction and other recreational books are available for you – and it is all free!!  OverDrive is a great way to read the latest best sellers and hot reads.
  • BONUS TIP: Take a study break when needed! The Study Grounds Cafe is open on the main floor of the Dick Smith Library. They serve Starbucks coffee, tea, smoothies and bottled drinks as well as Sandella’s flatbreads, panini’s, and quesadillas. Or you get grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and sushi. The Rickett Library in Fort Worth has a cafe in its lobby!

If nothing else, please remember that the library and its staff are here to help you be successful during your time at college. If you need anything just ask!!!

Research Success Series

Congratulations on starting your graduate degree! You have received your schedules and your syllabi. You are looking ahead to your assignments and ready to take them on.

Now what?

Approaching graduate work often requires a different strategy than the undergraduate experience. Projects are typically more layered. You may be tasked with new concepts, such as writing a literature review or creating an annotated bibliography. These things may have been part of your previous academic experience, but they are more relevant now–and evaluated more carefully.

The Tarleton Libraries are excited to offer the Research Success Series this fall! The series of Zoom sessions is designed to address common aspects of graduate work, and to equip you with the knowledge of how to grow in them. Each session is brief (about 25–30 minutes), so they are not exhaustive. Rather, they are designed to introduce you to an academic concept and point you to resources that help hone your insight and skills.

New graduate students might not even know what kind of help they need. As they progress in their degree, they discover a new kind of assignment that they never had to accomplish before. Surprise! But even that should not cause panic. The library is always ready to guide you through.

The Research Success Series is not only for graduate work. Students at every level–as well as faculty members–attend and benefit greatly. Whether you seek help at the point of need or you want to prepare yourself for what may come down the road, register for a session and we’ll see you there! All sessions are recorded and available for later viewing on the library’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TarletonLibraries

Keep an eye on the library’s events on our calendar: https://calendar.tarleton.edu/library/week

Sessions are every other Thursday at 12:15–12:45pm and 6:00-6:30pm. Register by clicking on the times below:

Managing Academic Workflow (August 25th)

12:15pm          6:00pm            

How to Find Peer Reviewed Articles (September 8th)

12:15pm         6:00pm           

How to Read Academic Literature (September 22nd)

12:15pm          6:00pm           

Citation Formatting & Management (October 6th)

12:15pm          6:00pm           

How to Write a Literature Review (October 20th)

12:15pm          6:00pm           

Illustrating Information Visually (November 3rd)

12:15pm          6:00pm        

Developing Presentation Skills (November 17th)

12:15pm          6:00pm           

Be on the lookout for the session recordings on our Research Success LibGuide. And as always, please reach out for assistance with your research.  Contact us at reference@tarleton.edu 254-968-9249, or book an appointment with a librarian online.

Independence Day in the USA

Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

What does Independence Day in the USA mean? Often, it means flying your American flag from your porch, having a BBQ with family and using red, white, and blue paper plates, cups and napkins. It means loading up the kids to take them to see fireworks or a parade. It may mean a day off from work. But how often do you think about how we got here?

It started in 1607, when a company of men and boys called, the Virginia Company of London left Britain and landed in Jamestown where they established a fort.  They cloistered themselves inside the fort they had built to fight against the Powhatan Indians whose land they had invaded. Soon they found themselves starving, but the Powhatan Indian Chief sent food to help. In spring of 1610, more settlers arrived bringing supplies which rejuvenated the Jamestown settlement.  A few years later, a settler named John Wolfe helped to create a profitable tobacco trade. By 1619, more people arrived. Some were slaves to help farm the tobacco crops. Some were women destined to become wives and to start families. Wars were continuously fought between the Indians and the British settlers. By 1646, a treaty between Indian tribes and the settlers pushed Indians onto reservations.

Fast forward more than 100 years. The 13 American colonies have been organized. Cities had been created. Economic commerce had been established. The French and India War had been fought, but it had cost the British a lot of money which the they thought should come from the colonies. Imperial acts were decreed imposing taxes and other ways to recoup revenue from the colonists. By then, though, the colonists had become used to doing things their own way and were suspicious that these Imperial acts were more than just economic moves.  These “Acts of Tyranny” drove the colonists to enter into the Revolutionary War in 1775.

In the year following, the Second Continental Congress created a document declaring independence from Britain. The Declaration of Independence notified the King that the colonies were free and separate from Britain.  It also laid the basis of this independence on two fundamental principles which were that the government should secure of the “inalienable” rights of citizens of the colonies and that governments only get their power from the people whom they govern (Declaration, 2010). The Declaration of Independence was confirmed on July 4 by the Continental Congress, thus we remember this as the birth of our country.

So, on this 246th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, think not only about the waving flag or your burnt hot dog. Think not only about the colorful parade floats followed by marching bands or the amazing fireworks. Rather think of all that occurred in the 169 years between the arrival of the Virginia Company of London and the radical moves taken by the members of the Continental Congress in 1776, to where our United States of American is now 2022. Then, ask yourself, “In 246 years from now, what will our future generations write about the USA?” Will it be about their Independence Day BBQ and fireworks, or will it be about ensuring the freedoms of the people and maintaining the government for the people, by the people?

References

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2021, October 19). American coloniesEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/American-colonies

Declaration of independence. (2017). In Encyclopaedia Britannica, Britannica concise encyclopedia. Britannica Digital Learning. Credo Reference: https://zeus.tarleton.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/ebconcise/declaration_of_independence/0?institutionId=5155

Declaration of independence (4 July 1776). (2010). In D. Watts, Dictionary of American government and politics. Edinburgh University Press. Credo Reference: https://zeus.tarleton.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/eupamgov/declaration_of_independence_4_july_1776/0?institutionId=5155

Herrera, R. A. (2006). Revolutionary War (1775–83). In P. Karsten, Encyclopedia of war and American society. Sage Publications. Credo Reference: https://zeus.tarleton.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreferenc

National Park Service. (2021). A short history of Jamestown. Historic Jamestowne: Part of Colonical National Historical Park Virginia. https://www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/a-short-history-of-jamestown.htm

The History of Juneteenth

In June 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.  This is the first new federal holiday since 1983.  Texas was actually the first state to formally recognize Juneteenth, making it a state holiday in 1980.  Even though this is a long-standing Texas holiday, many people do not know the history behind Juneteenth and why it is such an important date in our Texas history.

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.   This document would free “all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states.  While it promised freedom, this could only be truly enforced if the Union won.  Rebel governments were unwilling to enforce the proclamation.  As Union armies made their way through the South and won battles, enslaved people were able to gain freedom.  In addition, Black men were accepted into the Union Army and Navy as well, totaling almost 200,000 Black soldiers.  In an attempt to maintain their power, many slave owners migrated their slaves to Texas where there was minimal Union action.  Approximately 50,000 enslaved people were brought to Texas in an attempt to maintain slavery.

Only as the war came to an end was freedom truly real in Texas.  Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia on April 9, 1885.  The last battle of the war was fought on at Palmito Ranch in Brownsville, Texas on May 13, 1885.

At the conclusion of the war, General Gordon Granger was assigned the District of Texas on June 10, 1865.  Just nine days later, on June 19th, General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and formally announced the following, referred to as General Order No. 3:

The people are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, become that between employer and hired labor. The freed are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. (American Battlefield Trust, 2022.)

This announcement officially freed approximately 250,000 enslaved people in Texas (which would later be formally established by the 13th Amendment, ratified on December. 6, 1865).  Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and the word of freedom finally reaching the last state of the Confederacy.  Celebrations started in 1866 and grew over time as Black Texans migrated to other areas.

As you can probably guess, Juneteenth is a blend of the words June and nineteenth.  It is also known by several other names, including Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Juneteenth Independence Day.  Celebrations include “prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with food, music, and dancing. The day is also celebrated outside the United States and is used to recognize the end of slavery as well as to celebrate African American culture and achievements” (Britannica, 2022).

There are going to be Juneteenth celebrations across the nation, Tarleton included!  On Friday, June 17th Tarleton State University is going to host a Juneteenth Celebration from 4pm-7pm on the Dining Hall patio.  We hope to see you there!

For more information about Juneteenth, visit our LibGuide Page.

References

American Battlefield Trust (2022, June 13). Juneteenth: Explore Juneteenth’s history, meaning, and continued celebrations today. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/juneteenth

Baggett, J. A. (2021, June 18). Granger, Gordon (1821–1876). Texas State Historical Association. https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/granger-gordon

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2022, April 19). Juneteenth. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Juneteenth

Levius, T., & Difo, H. (2022, June 7). Where to celebrate Juneteenth all over the USA. Lonely Planet. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/where-to-celebrate-juneteenth

National Archives. (2017, September 1). Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military During the Civil War. https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/blacks-civil-war#:~:text=Volunteers%20began%20to%20respond%2C%20and,19%2C000%20served%20in%20the%20Navy.

National Archives. (2022, January 28). The Emancipation Proclamation.  https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation#:~:text=President%20Abraham%20Lincoln%20issued%20the,and%20henceforward%20shall%20be%20free.%22

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