Flower

4 Unique Libraries in Chilly Places!

It’s winter, though here in Florida it still feels like summer. For a lot of us, winter means snow, ice and bundling up. To get into the winter spirit, let’s take a look at some unique libraries in chilly places. These libraries are pretty “cool” to say the least.

Wyoming: Albany County’s Seed Library

Often when we think of gardening and the weather needed to grow a decent crop, warmer climates “sprout” in our minds. In a state like Wyoming where the climate can be dry and cold during the winter, creating a seed library seems improbable. But alas, Albany County Library was up to the challenge. The idea is that patrons can check out a packet of heirloom seeds, plant them, then once the plants develop more seeds, the seeds can be saved and returned to the library to later be replanted and so forth. The hope is that after five generations pass, people will have plants that are adapted to the colder Wyoming climate.

France & Italy: Library of Ice

Scientists observe climate change in their day-to-day research and projects, so it’s understandable that they would want to preserve as much data as they can from the ice around the world which is dwindling. Each ice sample is different and vital to uncovering details about our planet. The “Protecting Ice Memory” project, which started in August 2016, is a way for researchers to create an ice archive so to speak. Blocks of ice must be extracted then transported to an underground ice bunker in Antarctica. There, scientists can study the samples and gain valuable information relevant to climate change. While the project started in Italy, participants conducting the archiving effort include French institutions.  European countries, as well as Brazil, China, Nepal, and Canada have also shown support.

“Iceberg on frozen sea at sunrise” Photo credit: Foter.com / CC0

Washington: Gear Lending Library

Whether for snowy weather, rainy days or a camping trip, Washington’s Gear Lending Library has it covered. Jackets, rain pants, layers, boots, and outdoor packs can be borrowed. Offered through the Washington Trails Association with the help of donations, the Gear Lending Library is for adults age 18 and up who participate in the Outdoor Leadership Training program which is designed to get more young people outside and aware of how the outdoors can benefit them.

“Ice gear” Photo credit: simonov via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Alaska: ARLIS at the University of Alaska Anchorage Campus

Ever see polar bear fur or a stuffed puffin in person? Well at the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS) at the University of Alaska you can. All you need to borrow these exotic and interesting items is a library card. Here you can find everything from furs to animal specimens to skulls and so much more. Research is brought to life with the help of these interesting items. Harry Potter fans, there’s even something for you. Yes…a snowy owl.

Photo credit: Wonderlane via Foter.com / CC BY

Where is your favorite library? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest

We Are ProQuest: Jean Ward

Dexter the Very Good Goat, Jean M. Malone, Jean Ward, Children's Picture Books

Photo with permission to use from Jean Ward

We Are ProQuest: ProQuest is only as successful as its staff. The ProQuest difference is people behind-the-scenes using their skills to create products and features to provide the optimal research experience from kindergarten to post-graduate to life-long learner. We Are ProQuest features profiles of some of our talented team members. Today let’s meet Senior Product Manager, Books for the OASIS/CIS products, Jean Ward.

Jean Ward has made a name for herself as Jean M. Malone writing children’s books and has a novel in the works. Her children’s picture book, “DEXTER the very good goat” was mentioned in a ProQuest newsletter when Jean was praised for her work. While Jean has recently changed roles to become Senior Product Manager, Books for the OASIS/CIS products she also balances that job with her writing career. Jean shared with me her journey, challenges and what she dreams to accomplish in the future.

How did you come to work at ProQuest?

I came to ProQuest through the Coutts acquisition from Ingram in 2015, and it has been a very positive experience.

What is your educational/professional background?

I double majored in English (Creative Writing concentration) and Motion Pictures (Screenwriting concentration) at the University of Miami, and then after graduating I started working in a bookstore. It was a small, family run shop where half the charm was the serendipitous discovery, but the lack of Dewey Decimals or a catalog actually drove me nuts. From there I went to work in my local public library for a few years, and then I joined Ingram as an assistant cataloger, which was the perfect outlet for my organization-starved self.

While working at Ingram I went back to school to earn a Master’s of Library and Information Science at the University of Alabama, and eventually transitioned from cataloging to a collection development position within Coutts, first as a title selector and then as the department manager. Recently I left that department to become the Senior Product Manager for the OASIS product at ProQuest.

I understand you’re a writer. When did you start writing?

Gosh, I’ve been writing for about as long as I can remember. I guess I’m not embarrassed to admit that I started out as I think probably many writers do, writing fan fiction when I was a teenager (Star Trek). Then I did a heck of a lot of writing in college, and after college, I wrote my first novel, which will never see the light of day.

What do you enjoy best about writing?

That’s a really hard question! I think what I love, even though I also hate it, is the revision process, and once I learned to embrace that, it really freed me because it allowed me to write truly terrible drafts so that I could just get things out on paper and see how they worked, and then go back to them. I think the most beautiful thing about writing is how it’s like a painting, and this is what I realized a few years ago when I finally learned how to revise. It made me think of The Girl With A Pearl Earring movie, where you actually see the way Vermeer would have painted: first there is a shape. Just a shape. And then you come back and you add more textures and more colors and the shape turns into a blob. And then you come back and add another layer–and after several layers, you have this beautiful amazing piece of art. But it didn’t start out as a beautiful, rich, textured work–it started out as shapes and blobs. And I think writing is exactly the same.

How do you balance work and writing?

When you find out, you tell me. It’s basically having two jobs, right? There have been long periods of time where I really burned the candle at both ends, but I have not been very good at this lately, and by lately I really mean for about the last two years. As I have taken on greater levels of responsibility at work, I have less and less energy to devote to writing, and I go through long dry periods where I just don’t write at all. Or it comes in fits and starts which are too sporadic to be useful.

But what I have found is that the best way to write is to have a routine. If I can manage to get myself into a routine for awhile where I sit down and write for an hour or two every day, then I find it much easier to stay in that routine. But life happens, it gets in the way. We moved this year, I have a longer commute, my husband’s schedule changed, my work schedule changed–so I have not been in a routine for awhile. I’m working on getting back into one right now. I’m not really like some writers. I don’t write to stay sane like my sister does. I actually watch TV to stay sane. I write because when I don’t write, I feel very disappointed in myself.

You’ve been published. How did you get published?

Every single path is different, right? I had a screenwriting classmate in college who got a job at Penguin, and she put out a call when she became an editor–send me writing samples if you ever think you might like to write for Penguin. So I did, and one day she called me and said all her writers were busy and she needed a book about flamingos on a short deadline–I think she needed the first draft in about 10 days, could I do it? And I said “Of COURSE I can do it!” and promptly went to the library to learn everything I could about flamingos. I ended up doing 2 more books for Penguin, and what I learned is that you always say yes when presented with an opportunity, even if it’s a little bit scary.

What has been your proudest moment?

I think my proudest moment on this journey has been to do with my latest book. It is a picture book, and the text actually began as my writing sample for that Penguin editor. I loved it so much that I asked my dear friend JJ, who is an amazing young artist, to illustrate it for me, and she breathed life into it in a way that I hadn’t even imagined. Since this book wasn’t an assignment or publisher request, but was all of our own making, it has been incredibly exciting. My proudest moment was finding out how much my–let’s see–she would be something like my cousin-in-law once removed? Anyway, she is the most adorable little girl, and she is Dexter’s biggest fan. Hearing about how much she loves Dexter, how she keeps her book in a special spot in her play kitchen and how she knows all the words by heart–that is definitely my proudest moment so far. Knowing that something about the book struck a chord with her and makes her so happy.

What is a dream you have in life?

I want to continue to write picture books because they are so much fun, but my dream is to be a novelist published by a mainstream publisher. I’m currently revising my third novel, and have been for an embarrassing number of years now. I dream big–I want to touch people’s lives–especially young people–through my writing. I want to win the Printz. And then I also have this nerdy obsession with Hallmark Christmas movies, and I have several Christmas novels that I want to write–and then write the screenplay adaptations for them as Hallmark movies of my own.

Services for the Homeless at Libraries

Atrium, San Francisco Public Library

Atrium in the San Francisco Public Library [Photo courtesy of Katherine Jardine, Public Relations Officer, San Francisco Public Library]

One of the SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issues my colleague Amy and I work on at ProQuest is Homelessness. Learning about the different challenges the homeless face on a daily basis, we wanted to know more about what is being done to help them. After some initial research, we came across the San Francisco Public Library and Leah Esguerra who was hired there as the nation’s first library social worker helping homeless patrons. Here’s what we learned from our conversation with Leah Esguerra and an infographic highlighting the different services offered for homeless patrons at some libraries.

Typical Work Day

Leah Esguerra has been a social worker at San Francisco Public Library for almost eight years (she contracts out from the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team) and described to us how her work has evolved and changed over time. Today, she has a team of eight people, 7 are outreach workers known as Health and Safety Associates (HASAs). The HASAs are employees who have dealt with homelessness at some point in their lives. The goal is for the HASAs to link homeless patrons with outreach and resources they can use on their own. She supervises the outreach workers, who work in four shifts.

They have a visible place in the library, known as The Spot where patrons can check in and up with the HASAs. In addition to working with the outreach workers, Esguerra does walkthroughs and acts as a consultant for staff in dealing with situations that arise with patrons. She answers questions about social services, behavioral issues, and mental health. Some days, she sees as many as 15-30 people.

The library also works to establish community partnerships with Veteran’s Affairs, Lava Mae  (a service providing mobile showers for the homeless) and others.

The Role of Health and Safety Associates (HASAs)

The HASAs do outreach in the bathrooms to find people who are inappropriately using the bathrooms (for example, sleeping in the stalls or bathing) and use their own experience as formerly homeless to help and to tell them about places they can go to for help. The HASAs provide inspiration and patrons are drawn to them because of relatable experiences.

Some of the original HASAs have moved on, continuing to grow in their line of work. One is in civil service and another is now a senior case manager.

Biggest Challenges

Challenges include the housing crisis in the Bay area. Esguerra’s original position 8 years ago was tied to finding housing. She would link homeless patrons with single room occupancies. Now, finding housing is a tougher issue. Finding housing is possible, but it often takes more than a year. They went from 400 to 30+ available rooms. She also said she has little access to these rooms and the rooms are not solely for library use. Another challenge presented itself with displacement among the elderly.

Rewards of the Job

People will come back to Esguerra after many years and thank her for her help. They tell her they are working and still have a house or that she’s helped them deal with mental health issues. She gets calls during the holidays from people she’s helped as well.

Esguerra said the HASAs are seen a safety net too. Staff will first call the HASAs if homeless patrons are causing a disturbance instead of calling security.

Best Practices for Homeless Outreach Programs

It is essential for libraries to have social services and/or social workers. Libraries without the means available to hire a social worker can partner with universities or create other partnerships with community organizations. Social service programs in libraries are great for both staff and patrons. Esguerra told us how the homeless have said the library is their sanctuary. She and her team at the library consider themselves ambassadors. They make the homeless feel included in the community. Having HASAs work at the library brings a different face of homelessness to the staff. The HASAs work very hard and are really good at what they do. They humanize the homeless and raise the level of compassion and understanding.

“Libraries are the community living room.” — Leah Esguerra

Esguerra says other libraries who are interested in starting a social services program should definitely give it a try. She said there are many ways to accomplish it.

Today, the movement is international. The San Francisco Public Library has inspired libraries and institutions elsewhere around the world – including Korea, Japan, and Australia – to implement their own social service programs.

Libraries and Homelessness [Infographic]

President Obama: Moving Forward and Leaving a Legacy

Photo via pixabay [CC0 Public Domain]

Photo via pixabay [CC0 Public Domain]

President Obama’s Legacy

Every president leaves behind a legacy and becomes part of the classroom history lessons and discussions for future generations.

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the President of the United States. He arrived during a time of anger and brewing uncertainty in the U.S. His campaign slogans ranged from Hope and Yes We Can! in 2008 to Forward in 2012. Did his accomplishments live up to his campaign promises? Only time will tell how historians will view the Obama presidency and whether he indeed brought hope and a positive impact on the country he served.

In the meantime, students can study the impact of the Obama administration by evaluating his impact in key areas: the economy, health care, environment, culture, and education.

The Economy

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he entered a country in the midst of a global financial crisis that lasted from 2007-2009 with lingering after-effects. Jobs were lost and big banks were in trouble. Some economists argued the financial crisis was the worst one since the 1930s Great Depression. Under President Obama, “15 million private sector jobs” were added as of August 2016 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This period of job growth, a total of 77 months thus far, is a record for the United States. Legislation has also been put into place that helps the middle class and low-income families while stimulating financial growth.

 

Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted by President Obama on March 23, 2010. While it has received much criticism, there have been some clear benefits to this statute. The Affordable Care Act prevents health insurers from denying or charging more for coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Pre-existing conditions could be diabetes, cancer or a range of others. Read more about pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act here. Also, this law has made it possible for many more people to get health insurance. Only non-citizens and people who are incarcerated can be denied health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Some critics have argued against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act due to its high premiums and tax penalties.

Environment and Culture

An area of differentiation in President Obama’s second presidential term compared with his first has been his tireless use of the Antiquities Act of 1906. President Obama has repeatedly used the Antiquities Act to preserve ecological areas and protect cultural as well as historical sites. You can read more about these accomplishments here in a 2015 Washington Post article.

“Obama has established or expanded 19 national monuments for a total of more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters, more than any previous president.” — Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

Also, President Obama has emphasized the importance of acknowledging and addressing climate change. His Action Plan for protecting the planet offers insight into the effects extreme weather is having on the world. His plan also targets ways to limit carbon pollution, which is vital to the planet’s future.

Education

A major misconception about the widely discussed education initiative known as the Common Core State Standards is that it was led by the Obama administration, but this is not so. While Obama supports this initiative it was actually led by U.S. states, many of which opted to adopt these standards on their own. More about the Common Core State Standards can be read here. Some of President Obama’s education initiatives have been:

  1. Race to the Top: Encouraging states to spur education reform so that teachers and students can succeed.
  2. Reforming No Child Left Behind: Intended to close the achievement gap and bring education standards up-to-date.
  3. Redesign Initiative: An initiative designed to improve high schools and incorporate college-level coursework as well as career-related experiences/competencies into daily education.
  4. Funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Providing states and school districts with emergency funding needed to keep more teachers in the classroom.
  5. ConnectED Initiative: This initiative aims to bring the best technology and training to students and classrooms.

What is the Obama legacy? 

Your students can research and gather the evidence themselves. Point them to SIRS Knowledge Source for a wealth of information on the past eight years of the Obama administration.

Pokémon GO Meets Libraries

Youth Services Desk at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library [Photo Courtesy of Erin Douglass, Youth Services Librarian]

Youth Services Desk at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library [Photo Courtesy of Erin Douglass, Youth Services Librarian]

Catching the Pokémon Craze

As soon as Pokémon Go came out, I found myself saying things like, “Be back later, going to hunt Pokémon” or “Gotta catch ’em all.” I’m not the only one. My colleagues and friends are also venturing outside all in hopes of catching as many Pokémon as they can. My colleague, Amy Shaw, and I wanted to write a blog post about how this game has impacted libraries specifically since many of them are set up as Pokémon Gyms or Pokéstops, and are organizing activities centered on the game.

Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library’s ‘Pokémon Go Walk and Train Club’

Pokémon Go Walk and Train Club [Photo Courtesy of Erin Douglass , Youth Services Librarian at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library.]

Pokémon Go Walk and Train Club [Photo Courtesy of Erin Douglass, Youth Services Librarian at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library.]

Erin Douglass, the Youth Services Librarian at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ said they are enjoying the Pokémon mania through a Walk and Train Club to fit in with their 2016 summer reading theme of sports and fitness. Players can bring their smartphone and join a walk around the neighborhood. They stop at a Pokémon Gym, Pokéstops, and share tips as Pokémon spawn while a lure module is dropped in the park. Douglass said her hope is to have the club grow and be able to incorporate a walk for charity app to contribute to a cause and catch ’em all at the same time.

Douglass also put together a craft activity based on the game. Pokémon fans are able to create a Pokéball that opens to reveal a Pokémon inside and participants can choose from Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Gengar, Snorlax, or Eevee. Since the Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library is a Pokéstop in the game, Douglass said they’ve scheduled lure modules to drop at specific times. Players are invited to take a break from the heat while rehydrating inside the library. Future dates of Pokémon Go activities will appear on the library website. Douglass said her Pokémon tip is to explore new places, but be safe and attentive. Also catch a lot of Eevees — they’re adorable and can evolve three different ways!

New York Public Library Luring Patrons

At the New York Public Library, Pokémon Go has been a great way to get people outside and exercise. Lauren Weiss, NYPL Social Media Marketing Associate, said the game has been super innovative.

She said people of all ages are bonding over it and interacting. One thing the NYPL is doing is challenging others to “beat the library” by holding down the Pokémon Gym. They are coming up with ways to get people into the library through the Pokéstops and gyms. She said the crown jewel of Pokémon seems to be the Snorlax. Weiss also shared the library’s Pokémon Doppelgangers found in their Digital Collections! Here you can find side-by-side comparisons of various Pokémon to real images found in the NYPL collection.

In response to the Pokémon Go game’s popularity, Weiss said, “I think it is going to get bigger. Those of us who grew up with it are the ones who are the core audience.”

Teen Summer Reading Club at Kingsbridge Library - NYPL [Instagram Screenshot with Permission from Lauren Weiss, New York Public Library]

Teen Summer Reading Club at Kingsbridge Library – NYPL [Instagram Screenshot with Permission from Lauren Weiss, New York Public Library]

Beaufort County Library Wants You to Bring All Things Pokémon

At the Bluffton Branch of the Beaufort County Library Ryan Easterbrooks is in charge of Children’s Programs. Being a huge Pokémon fan, he saw an immediate opportunity to combine Pokémon and libraries.

He created a Pokémon display meant to bring attention to the game and said a friend of his saw it on his personal Facebook page and posted it to Reddit. He said it was on the front page of Reddit by the end of the day and had 5500 upvotes, with 1.3 million views on Imgur. He said it was awesome to see something library-related go viral.

Pokémon Display at Beaufort County Library [Photo Courtesy of Ryan Easterbrooks in Children's Programs]

Pokémon Display at Beaufort County Library. This picture went viral on social media. [Photo Courtesy of Ryan Easterbrooks in Children’s Programs]

His library has been contacted by several others in the U.S. that want to know what children’s programs they are planning on. His idea for the future is to have a Pokémon club where people can bring their Pokémon trading cards, Nintendo DS, or device with the game to the library and play against and with other kids. He said they are also promoting the manga as reading material to kids.

“Pokémon is selling the library in many ways,” Easterbrooks said.

Uniting People Through Pokémon

Warwick Public Library has been busy with Pokémon Go events. Kristin Munson, a reference librarian there, said they’ve held a live gym meet for teens in grades 7-12 who could battle for ownership of the library Pokémon Gym. They’ve also had stations for creating Pokémon-shaped bookmarks, 3D perler bead pets, or to take photos with a plush Pikachu and props.

Later on, the library is going to give out gym badges that can be earned through submitting photos of Pokémon people have caught.

“My favorite part of Pokémon Go by far has been the camaraderie and genuine kindness of everybody playing,” Munson said.

It’s been a great icebreaker for the shy or socially awkward and a great motivator to get those who are depressed outside. People are playing for purely selfless reasons, dropping lures at children’s hospitals, picking up litter while they hunt, leaving out water and snacks for strangers and even walking shelter dogs to progress in the game.

She said, “It’s been the ultimate restorer of faith in humanity.”

Pokémon Themed Book Covers at Warwick Public Library [Photo Courtesy of Kristin Munson, Reference Librarian]

Pokémon-Themed Book Covers at Warwick Public Library [Photo Courtesy of Kristin Munson, Reference Librarian]

Bridging Generational Gaps

Teens Catching Pokemon at Farmers Branch Manske Library [Photo Courtesy of Korey Finch, Youth Services Librarian]

At Farmers Branch Manske Library in Farmers Branch, Texas, Youth Services Librarian Korey Finch recognized the programming potential of Pokémon Go right away. Finch, who has loved Pokémon since the game first came out in the ’90s, set up a Pokémon Go Adventure Walk, which she called “a total Field of Dreams moment.” Not only was the event well-received, it also managed to reach one of hardest to reach groups – teenagers. Inspired by the successful turnout of The Adventure Walk, Finch created a 5K Egg Hatch Walk, which also had a good turnout, in spite of the Texas heat.

One of the best things about the events, according to Finch, was that Pokémon Trainers of all ages participated, bridging generational gaps. Finch also noticed other benefits to Pokémon Go, including increased traffic to the library. According to Finch, “[m]ore people have been coming in to get library cards, pay off old fines, enjoy the cool air, and quite a few come in just to chat with me about different things they’ve caught or places to catch certain things.”

“In my opinion, one of the coolest things about this game is its ability to bridge generational gaps, and allows libraries to connect with teen patrons in such a fun way. Out at the park we encountered some teens who found out about Pokémon we had caught in the library, and they took off running to go explore the library! When does that happen voluntarily?!” –Korey Finch, Youth Services Librarian, Farmers Branch Manske Library, Farmers Branch, Texas

IndyPL: Gotta Catch ’em all READING!

 

Zubat in Central Library

Central Library Facebook post of a Zubat in the stacks. [Photo Courtesy of Jon Barnes, Communications Specialist, The Indianapolis Public Library]

The Indianapolis Public Library joined in on the Pokémon craze by holding a Pokémon Lure Day on July 23. During the event, library staff dropped lures to attract players to its many branches. Central Library in the heart of downtown Indianapolis served as the main Pokémon site, dropping lures every 30 minutes during library hours and offering 2K and 5K Walking Maps of nearby gyms and stops. The event attracted more than 2,400 patrons to Central Library, which according to Jon Barnes, Communications Specialist at the Library, was a 500 visitor increase compared with the previous Saturday. The downtown library even featured a special drink, the Pikachu Power!

The Indianapolis Public Library event showcased their event in a staff-created online resource guide: “IndyPL: Gotta Catch ’em all READING!”  The resource guide is chock full of all things Pokémon, including 63 different how-to videos on how to draw Pokémon.

Fosters Collaboration

Oddish

Oddish in the library stacks (Photo used with permission by Cari Rérat, Director, Pryor Public Library, Pryor, Oklahoma)

Pokémon can also be used as a way to foster collaboration between libraries and those in their communities. Such collaborative events can be a way to reach current and new library users in a new way. Korey Finch, of Farmers Branch Manske Library, says she has been in talks with the Farmers Branch Historical Park about creating a Pokemon Go Meetup Event for teens at the park before school starts. (Update: Ms. Finch let us know that she finalized plans with their historical park for a Pokémon & Popsicles event on Friday, August 19th, from 9AM-11AM!)

Cari Rérat, Director of the Thomas J. Harrison Pryor Public Library in Pryor, Oklahoma, mentioned that the library will be partnering with the Main Street Association, their town’s Rec Center and downtown businesses to organize a Pokéwalk, with at least one lure every 30 minutes, through their downtown area.

Pokémon and Safety

Libraries are also using Pokémon as a teaching tool to address digital safety and privacy issues. Skokie Public Library in Skokie, Illinois, plans to use the game to teach children about both physical and digital safety. On August 16, from 3:00-4:00 p.m., they will be conducting a Pokémon Go Safari with children in Grades K-5. According to Amy Koester, the Youth & Family Program Supervisor at the library, the safari will take the children on a walk to several Pokéstops that are within a several block radius of the library.

Tweet Us Your Library Pokemon

Are there Pokémon in your library? Send us your photos or let us know how you’re joining the fun! Tweet us at #ProQuest or send us a comment below.

 

Zines, Culture and Self-Expression

"lairs zine" by danie on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“lairs zine” by danie on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

At the heart of local culture and creative storytelling emerged zines. The beauty of a zine is its cut-and-paste eclectic taste that questions status quo and gives a voice to anyone and everyone who has something to say. They are visual forums without commercial backing. Zines haven’t gone away, and there are some today that remain pillars in culture for people from all different backgrounds and life experiences. Gritty and messy, zines are mostly about self-expression.

Even libraries have an interest in zines, with articles written about what some institutions are doing to preserve the culture and history of these handmade works. One such example is the University of Iowa Library, where science fiction zines and others from the 1930s and 1950s are being archived. Another example is at the University of Chicago Library where zines about women, music and activism are collected. The need to be heard is always growing, and zines make that possible.

With the first “science fiction fanzine” published in 1930, it’s easy to see that zines have been around for a while. The infographic I’ve created provides a brief history of zines with a more complete timeline found on the Duke University Libraries page.

Some colorful examples of zines can also be found here:

The Lab
Mashable
Creative Bloq

Does your library collect zines? Have you ever made a zine? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest! We’d love to hear about it.

Why Playing Guitar This Summer Can Teach You About Science

Having Fun with Music

Summer is a great time to have fun and learn something at the same time. For those days when the heat is just too much, staying inside can be good for practicing a hobby or starting something new. Have you always dreamed of songwriting? What about playing guitar? Learning a new instrument or writing a song may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are tons of resources online that can not only teach you how to do these things but also help with understanding the science behind music.

Link Between Music and Science

There’s a whole lot of science happening in the process of making music! From the vibrations of guitar strings to creating melodies and harmonies, you can pick up a lot about physics just from plucking or strumming notes. Once you start experimenting with your chosen instrument, it becomes easier to see why music is a helpful tool in education. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to remember facts when they are incorporated into a clever song.

This short TED-Ed animated lesson by Oscar Fernando Perez and Chris Boyle illustrates just how much you can learn about physics through playing the guitar.

So, the next time you see a guitar imagine how its parts work together to create the sounds you hear, the vibrations you feel and the melodies and rhythms you play. Science is all around us! And it doesn’t have to stop just because it’s summer.

Resources Online

Here’s a short list of some interesting videos to watch on the connection between music, science, the brain, and even spiders.

The Science Behind the Arts: The Maths Behind Music
How playing an instrument benefits your brain
Spiders Tune Their Webs Like A Guitar 

Are you learning something musical this summer? Write us in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest. We’d love to know!

6 Magnificent Museums Around the World in 2016

Did you know every year since 1977, people around the world celebrate International Museum Day on and around May 18? Each year the event centers on a theme, and for 2016, it is Museums and Cultural Landscapes. The celebration of International Museum Day is growing with more than 35,000 museums participating in 2015.

International Museum Day was created back in 1977 during the International Council of Museums General Assembly in Moscow, “with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity.” To honor this culturally historic day, I’d like to highlight six beautiful museums around the globe.

More information can be found on International Museum Day here and information about the International Council of Museums can be found here.

1. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain houses modern and contemporary art and remains an architectural beauty. American architect Frank Gehry designed the building with Bilbao’s urban landscape in mind.

Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain

“Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain” Photo credit: Arch_Sam via Foter.com / CC BY

2. The main entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France is the grand Louvre Pyramid which reflects light splendidly during the day and glows magically at night. This museum is one of the world’s largest and its iconic Louvre Pyramid entrance was designed by Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei.

"Entrance to Louvre Museum in Paris, France" Photo credit: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ via Foter.com / CC BY

“Louvre Museum in Paris, France” Photo credit: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ via Foter.com / CC BY

3. The National Museum of Art, Osaka in Japan continues to grow with over 6,000 works as of March 2011. The museum’s objective aims to preserve Japanese art and the relationship Japanese art has with the world.

"National Museum of Art in Osaka -- Japan" Photo credit: mith17 via Foter.com / CC BY

“National Museum of Art in Osaka — Japan” Photo credit: mith17 via Foter.com / CC BY

4. The Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand is a special museum for its historical offerings, especially in natural history and military history. The museum has undergone multiple renovations over the last two decades. There are parts of this museum which also serve as a war memorial, honoring those who died in both World Wars.

"Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand" Photo credit: AdamSelwood via Foter.com / CC BY

“Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand” Photo credit: AdamSelwood via Foter.com / CC BY

5. The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar showcases Islamic art from three continents and spans 1,400 years of work. This museum aims to safeguard Islamic culture through opening minds with Islamic art. The museum houses prayer rooms though it is not a religious institution.

"Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar" Photo credit: jikatu via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

“Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar” Photo credit: jikatu via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

6. The Hangar 7 Aircraft Museum in Salzburg, Austria owned by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz has a futuristic design and houses more than just the aircraft museum. There is also a restaurant and bar where visitors can enjoy. This multipurpose building has a collection of airplanes, helicopters, and racing cars.

"Hangar 7 Aircraft Museum in Salzburg, Austria" Photo credit: heatheronhertravels via Foter.com / CC BY

“Hangar 7 Aircraft Museum in Salzburg, Austria” Photo credit: heatheronhertravels via Foter.com / CC BY

Are you planning to visit your local museum soon or an iconic museum far from home? Remember you can research museums and their countries in eLibrary and CultureGrams. Tell us about it in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

"Exercise Plays Vital Role Maintaining Brain Health." Photo credit: A Health Blog / Foter / CC BY-SA

“Exercise Plays Vital Role Maintaining Brain Health.”
Photo credit: A Health Blog / Foter / CC BY-SA

President Obama first declared May as Mental Health Awareness Month in 2013 which opened conversations about mental illness and strengthened the movement to improve resources. Mental illnesses can be debilitating if left untreated, but some of the most creative and artistic people have been diagnosed with one. Actors, musicians, writers, educators; no one is immune to a mental illness. In the same way, a physical illness puts a strain on the body and needs time to heal, mental illnesses alter brain function and need time to be properly treated and monitored.

Stigma often overshadows accomplishment when talking about mental illnesses, but many people are able to lead fulfilling lives, engage with those around them and achieve great feats. Treatment is important and Mental Health Awareness Month is a chance to make a difference in the community. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) organization offers local support and opportunities to get involved in the United States.  Other organizations like Mentalhealth.gov and Mental Health America are full of information too. Getting involved in mental health awareness and fighting against social stigmas can be as easy as starting a conversation.

 

ProQuest Mental Health Leading Issue Screencap via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

ProQuest Mental Health Leading Issue Screencap via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

If you would like to start a conversation or a debate regarding mental health awareness in the classroom, ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher has Leading Issues on Mental Health and Mental Depression to begin learning. Learning about mental health and mental illnesses in the classroom provides a safe place for students to discuss concerns, opinions and ask questions. The more comfortable we become with understanding these issues, the more empowered we are to help make changes in the future.

How are you engaging in mental health awareness? Comment below or let us know at #ProQuest

Harper Lee Through the Years

Harper Lee brought readers into fictional Maycomb, Alabama through the narration of a young girl named Scout. Lee’s brilliant story shed light on the topic of racial discrimination and class inequality during a time when these issues were growing, especially in the South. We don’t easily forget Scout and Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a piece of literature that has transcended generations. The American novelist we used to only know for her first book, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” excited readers everywhere when she released a second book, “Go Set a Watchman” in 2015.

Born on April 28 in 1926, Nelle Harper Lee lived a mostly private life. She didn’t give many interviews, but when she did, her words resonated. Though her health fluctuated over the years, she remained an active inspiration. She never married or had any children, but her literary contributions kept her busy. She had a sister Alice Lee who lived to 103 and died in 2014 as well as two other siblings who have also passed. Harper Lee passed away on Feb 19, 2016, and in remembrance of her, I wanted to create an infographic highlighting her major milestones.

Find more information on the life and legacy of Harper Lee in SIRS Renaissance, SIRS Discoverer, and eLibrary.

Do you have a favorite Harper Lee quote or excerpt? Comment in the space below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!