The Inside Scoop: Secrets about the LA Library from a Student Assistant

May 28, 2015

Alliant Library’s student assistants having a unique perspective on the library, seeing it from both sides of the circulation desk. Today, we’re turning the blog over to Michael Saleh, for an insider’s look at some of the lesser-known resources at the Alliant Library. And even if you’re not at the Los Angeles campus, your home campus library has just as much to discover — come visit!

During my first day on the job at the circulation desk in the summer of 2013, I figured that the library performed most of your basic operations: checking books in and out to students and faculty members, checking out assessment test kits, and printing and copying. Two years (and many hours) later, I have discovered that the LA Library has some perks you might not know about if you never asked. It’s kind of like your grandparents’ attic…you need to do some exploring to find out some interesting things. But don’t worry, you won’t find your grandma’s old lingerie here. These are some things you might want to know about though:

  1. Short on cash? I have not purchased a text book in 2 years! We all know that buying textbooks is a justifiable reason for eating Top Ramen for the rest of the semester, right? No. No, it’s not. Click on the “Encore”, Classic Catalog”, or “LINKplus” tabs on the library.alliant.edu website to see if it is available at another Alliant campus or through one of our partner libraries.
  2. Are you a movie buff? Even though you can’t afford to buy a textbook, surely you have enough cash to register for a Netflix subscription, right? No. No, you probably don’t. Using the same tools to find textbooks, you can also find DVDs. A quick glance at the LA collection revealed movies like ‘City of God’, ‘Crash’, and ‘The Kite Runner’.
  3. Scared of zombies? I’m sure you had the money and time (and skill) to build an underground bunker for the Zombie Apocalypse, right? No…doubtful. The LA library used to be a plans vault for C.F. Braun & Company, one of the world’s most renowned petrochemical engineering companies during the post-World War II era. The library is the safest place on campus. As you walk through the doorway to the computer lab, you might notice that the walls are reinforced by more than 12 inches of concrete and there is a steel door that no zombie could penetrate.
  4. Need a quiet place to study or, in my case, take a nap? Graduate school in bustling LA is a great time to get peace and quiet to read or get a full night’s sleep, right? No. No, you’re lying to yourself. Our four brand new study rooms (outfitted with a light switch) are virtually sound proof and having the door closed is grad school code for “I don’t see you and you don’t see me, I’m cramming for a midterm.”
  5. Desperately need a fun study break? You have plenty of time to play at the beach or go to Disneyland, right? No. No, I don’t believe you. Stop by Sherrie’s office for a quick game of Pente, a fast-paced, strategic board game similar to Connect Four. But careful…it’s addicting and you probably won’t beat Sherrie.
  6. Have a sweet tooth? Candy is a viable alternative to Top Ramen, right? Yes. Yes, some might argue so. Alvin always has an unlimited supply of candy that has included Butterscotch, Fortune Cookies, and Espresso-flavored hard candy. Alvin is also a human restaurant guide for exquisite San Gabriel Valley cuisine.

Stop by the Alliant LA Library to discover what we have to offer. You just might be surprised about what you will find.

Yours truly,

Michael Saleh

Michael Saleh is a third-year Clinical Psychology student. A San Diego native, he’ll be moving north to start an internship in San Francisco in the fall.


Implicit Biases, New Materials, and Your Suggestions

May 20, 2015

Louis C.K. hosted the final episode of Saturday Night Live’s 40th season four nights ago, and his opening monologue has received some harsh criticism in the social media sphere. While most of the criticism is aimed at his discussion of sensitive subjects like child molestation and his comparison of Palestinian-Israeli relations to his feuding daughters, what feels most timely is his discussion of his own “mild racism.”

Max Fisher wrote up an interesting analysis of this bit for VOX, available on the list of links at the bottom of this post. In the article, Fisher discusses Implicit Racial Bias, an oft-discussed topic over on APA’s website.  In the 2012 report “Dual Pathways to a better America” presented by the APA Presidential Task Force on Preventing Discrimination and Promoting Diversity, implicit bias is a hot topic:

“Research has shown that noticing differences occurs automatically. However, while noticing differences might not be prejudiced, noticing differences is often automatically associated with judgments about the differences. Those judgments are often negatively biased and led to discriminatory behavior. Importantly, research finds that these processes that result in a variety of prejudices often occur outside our control.”  

Considering these implicit biases can be a lot like having to source any material you plan on referencing in your research papers:

Sure, so-and-so makes a great point that supports my thesis, but who is so-and-so and what credentials are possessed? 

Sure, my gut reaction is this, but why do I think that way and what led me to those conclusions?

In an effort to facilitate these often difficult discussion, the Sacramento Library has purchased for the Diversity Committee a set of “What Stands Between Us? : Racism Conversation Flashcards.”  The cards are broken into 4 sections: “Questions by People of Color for EuroAmericans,” “Questions EuroAmericans Would Like to be Asked,” “Questions by EuroAmericans for People of Color,” and “Questions People of Color Would Like to be Asked.” Stop by and check them out if you like, or maybe get a discussion group going.

Let us know what you think. Do materials like these help to facilitate discussion of sensitive topics? Would you like to see spaces made for discussion of sensitive topics? Do you have a suggestion for materials/books that would better help the Alliant community understand issues like implicit biases? Stop by and chat with us about it!

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/18/8618585/louis-ck-snl-monologue-racism

http://www.apa.org/pubs/info/reports/promoting-diversity.aspx


Alumni Benefits

May 14, 2015

With graduation fast approaching you might be wondering what library services and resources you’ll have access to once you’ve ventured on your way. For the discerning graduate, we offer a nice complement of on-site and online amenities for your continued education enrichment.

On-site:

Books, Dissertations, Video and Audio Media:
As a graduate of Alliant, you can check-out items from any of our campus libraries. Additionally, if our catalog lists an item at a campus not nearby, a hold can be placed and sent to your closest Alliant campus for pick-up.

Databases:
Visit any campus library for full access to all our research databases and online journals.

Reference Help:
It’s always nice to see a familiar face. Don’t be shy about asking an Alliant librarian questions. We’re here to help.

Off-site, Online:

We have two databases that you have full access to when you’re off-site. Both can be found on our “Databases” page:

Mango Languages:
Maybe now’s the time to learn a new language. Thinking about going on that Grand Tour you’ve always dreamed about? Planning a backpacking trip far from home? Maybe taking a break and sailing around the world is in your future. Maybe not, if you have those pesky student loans to deal with. But really, you don’t need to have any majestic plans. All you need is a hunger and curiosity to discover how other cultures live and communicate. To get you on your way, Mango has several levels of delightfully fun courses of more than 60 languages.

Psychiatry Online:
To help you stay on top of the latest news and studies of the human mind, the site publishes a host of peer-reviewed journals and eBooks. You’ll also find all editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Other online sources:
We have several useful links to outside resources. Just click here.

Finally, you can find more information on Alumni services and borrowing polices here.

Congratulations to all!

-Robin


Perks of Being a Patron: Identifying Online Resources Provided Just for You

May 6, 2015

Lately, a number of patrons have been asking about online resources that actually are not provided by the library. While we’re happy to help with any research question, it occurred to me that access is so seamless these days (ideally) that it’s hard to distinguish whether you’re accessing an article, ebook, video, etc. to which the library subscribes or content freely available to anyone. Here are a couple quick tips to determine if your access is provided by Alliant or not.

If you’re accessing something directly from the library website – whether you clicked a link on the Databases page, the List of Online Journals, or simply in the library catalog – then it’s a good bet that the content is provided by our subscriptions. Where it gets murky is if your research takes you wandering after leaving the library website. Say you click on a journal’s supplement available at a different site or, while still on a particular publisher’s site, hop over to look at another journal.

The easiest way to tell if you’ve wandered away from our resources is to look at the top of the page. In most cases, a banner will appear at the top of the page referencing Alliant. The banner might look like this:

access

or this:

logo

or something more subtle like:

email

Unfortunately, on some sites, a banner won’t appear. In this case, the URL can provide a helpful hint. If “library.alliant.edu” appears somewhere near the beginning, then you’re accessing resources provided by our subscriptions.

One last note: If you are asked to pay for a resource after clicking a link from anywhere on the library website, please let us know! Even if it turns out we really don’t have online access to what you want, we can recommend other ways for you to obtain the resource such as ArticleReach or ILL.

-Sara


Some of our quirks

April 22, 2015

After almost four years at the Irvine campus, I am in the process of transferring to our Los Angeles campus library. During the transition, I am spending several days a week at each campus. It has reminded me that while we have in common great students, faculty, and staff, each of our California campuses (and their libraries) has its own quirks.

For example, Irvine’s library is on the top floor of the building (and gets great sunsets!) while LA’s is below ground and reminds me fondly of my old undergraduate dorm. Here are just a quick handful of fun facts about our campus libraries:

  • A popcorn machine occasionally makes appearances in San Diegopopcorn
  • A favorite spot in Irvine for a quick break between afternoon & evening classes is the “napping couch”
  • In Los Angeles, a coffee & tea station keeps students caffeinated all day long
  • San Francisco has hosted art exhibits, allowing visitors to look at more than just books and screensartgallery
  • While studying or browsing the stacks in Fresno, you may come across a (ceramic) cat or two!
  • Sacramento students can check out children’s games, part of the campus’s new Play Therapy Collection

These odds and ends barely scratch the surface of what makes each of our California campus libraries unique. If your travels take you to a different part of the state, come visit and say hello. And let us know: what are your favorite Alliant Library fun facts?

-Erin


Wait, How Do I…?

April 13, 2015

The amount of information available to any person at any given moment is staggering. The amount of ways for any one person to get that information is even more staggering… Are you on your home computer browsing Netflix? On your tablet using a wifi network to check the score of the Giant’s game (hope is wasn’t last Saturday’s)? Out in the middle of nowhere on your cell phone trying to access Google Maps? Did you open Google chrome? Did you ask Siri? Did you type in the website directly?

The internet (including your library databases) can feel like a tangled knot you just aren’t going to get the comb through. Maybe you just give up. Maybe you move on to another site. Maybe you don’t get exactly the information you need. Isn’t there an expert who can guide you through these systems to find the information you need in to fastest way possible… Who would that be? Tech support? Geek Squad?

SURPRISE! As fun as it is to picture us dusting off the shelves, shushing out patrons, and romanticizing the scent of book mold (yes, that is what that distinct book smell is), your librarians are actually experts in the retrieval of information.  Sure, I’ve got my glasses, my stack of books to read and quite a collection of cardigan sweaters, but I am actually more equipped to show you how to find out who played second base for the 1992 Giants, what his batting average was and what his strikeout differential was from 1992-1993 (Robby Thompson, .260, 22), than to suggest something for your summer reading list (though many of us are great at this, too).

Your librarians are here to help you get to the information you need. Got an obscure question? Need to find something that the internet seems to have forgotten? Please bring it to us; this is our version of a treasure hunt. We’re also glad to sit down with you and show you our favorite searching strategies, and how to “think” like a search engine. You’ve got your topic, but the words you will need to use to find information on that topic will vary from Google to Google Scholar to EBSCO to ProQuest. We can help you with that; it’s what we do!

When we’re not here (weekends, 2am, etc.) you can find some of our great guides and tutorials at http://alliant.libguides.com/. You can also get there from the library website: http://library.alliant.edu–> Research –> User Guides.

Bring us your brainteasers, we are here to help!

-Nicole


Batter Up: An Academic Look at America’s Pastime Through Alliant’s Books and Dissertations

April 8, 2015

Thousands of baseball fans will be turning out at stadiums around the country this week for Opening Day games along with their attendant festivities of ceremonial first pitches. If you’re a dyed in the wool fan of the nation’s pastime who finds yourself unable to attend one of these events, there’s no need to pine away or fret. We’ve got you covered with some heavy hitting immersion in all things baseball. While I can’t guarantee the same exuberance and merriment that a crowd of rabid fellow travelers might offer, our collection of baseball materials will delight in unexpected ways.

You’ll find electronic books that cover legal aspects of the game such as, Baseball on Trial: The Origin of Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption, by Nathaniel Grow, and those that address discrimination of Japanese Americans, whose players’ love of the game were relegated solely to amateur play as described in Samuel O. Regalado’s Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players From Immigration and Internment to the Major Leagues. Segregation of African Americans is the focus of a number of titles, including, Black Baseball, Black Business: Race Enterprise and the Fate of the Segregated Dollar, by Roberta J. Newman and Joel Nathan Rosen.

We even have a few hard copies of books geared toward the younger set, including a biography on Willie Mays and historical fiction accounts of Jackie Robinson acting as catalyst for characters’ growth in two titles, Thank you, Jackie Robinson and Bette Bao Lord’s 1984 kid lit classic page turner, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson.

Finally, there is an intriguing collection of Alliant theses and dissertations on the topic of baseball. Interested in delving into the psyche of a baby boomer little leaguer? Try this 1958 thesis, authored by Charles R. Coover of our Cal Western University legacy institution, entitled, A study in the Evaluation of Little League Baseball. Need something a little more contemporary? How about this 2015 dissertation from Alliant San Diego Student, Alix Landon, Acquisition and Effectiveness of Coping Strategies Used by Professional Baseball Players to Manage Anxiety and Attentional Control: A Qualitative Study. The study examines populations of both minor and major league players. How about one from USIU student, Greene Farmer, Jr., whose 1975 study of the segregated “Negro Leagues” is so uniquely distinct that it holds a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum library in Cooperstown, New York. Its title is Social Implications of Black Professional Baseball in the United States. The author played both professional baseball and basketball in an era of segregated teams. His study covers the years 1867-1952.

Whatever your interest in the game is, you can find more titles and resources in the library’s catalog. Type the keyword baseball in the search box. 

Greene Farmer, Jr. sources: Arkansas Baseball Encyclopedia and Baseball-Reference.com

See the Baseball Hall of Fame catalog entry here

-Robin


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