Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Yocum Library's Database of the Week: ProQuest Central

"ProQuest Central is the largest single periodical resource available, bringing together complete databases across all major subject areas, including Business, Health and Medical, Language and Literature, Social Sciences, Education, Science and Technology, as well as core titles in the Performing and Visual Arts, History, Religion, Philosophy, and includes thousands of full-text newspapers from around the world. Coverage extends from 1970 to today."

This is the database many students start with because it covers so many disciplines and topics. To reach ProQuest Central, go to The Yocum Library's home page, click on "Online Databases," then click on "All Subjects." At the top of the list, you should see "ProQuest Central." If you click on that, it will take you to the search page.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Family History Tips--Part 8

Other Often-Ignored Individuals in Ancestral Records
In the last installment, we looked at the valuable clues of siblings of our ancestral lines in census records and other documents. This week we will look at the value of other household members, neighbors and other names that appear on records. As I said last time, very often when stuck tracing a name back, other siblings are valuable in tracing a family. The same goes for the following:
  • Other household members in census records: Census records are probably the most valuable records in family research. The 1880 to 1940 census records list individual’s relations to the head of the household—in-laws, cousins, grandparents, servants, etc. However, be aware that the 1850 to 1870 census only lists names, ages, gender, place of birth, occupation, etc., but no relationships. These are still valuable clues, though. Very often that much older person at the bottom of the list is a parent or grandparent. I once discovered a love affair in an 1870 census (dated 5 August) household. A domestic servant, Catharine Cline, fell in love with one of the master’s sons, my 5x-great grandfather Willoughby Miller. They married a few weeks later! Investigate everything you can on those persons.
  • Neighbors in census records: Always look at who is living next door. Very often they are relations. Other relations may live in close proximity. Examine a few pages before and after. Do you see any similar names? They may be relations.
  • Baptismal records: Always look at the sponsors in baptismal records. They are often family members. Besides sometimes giving the maiden name of the mother, maiden names for female sponsors may be included. Moreover, examine these records in context with other siblings. For example, if many of the children have the same middle initial, such as R and the sponsor in a baptismal record is a Catherine Reiff, it may be that this Catherine is a single sibling or the mother, which would mean that the mother of the child is a Reiff.
  • Marriage license applications and certificates: Applications often give parents’ names, but look at the names of witnesses on certificates. These may be relations.
  • Military registrations: World War I and II draft cards ask for the name and address of the registrant’s “nearest relative.” These are usually wives, or parents, but other relations may be listed such as a brother.
  • Military pension records: Pension requests often have dozens of pages, listing marriages, children, and more. Read each page carefully for valuable clues.
  • Passenger lists on ships: Manifests, especially the two-page ones from the early 20th century, are usually chock full of information. Some have columns listing contact names and relationships of the immigrant—one for nearest relation and address in the old country from where they are emigrating, and one for the person and relationship they are meeting at their final destination.
  • Naturalization records: Some of these records list parents, spouses and children of the individual requesting citizenship, but also look for names of witnesses; they may be related. When examining these in a digital image database, be aware that the information is on several frame images before and after the one that is indexed.
  • Death records: Not only do death records often give the names of parents, but also look at the informant’s name, especially on 20th century death certificates.
  • Wills and administration records: The more pages in a file in a courthouse or those digitized on databases, the better the clues that can be found within. These can number from one or two to hundreds of pages. Read each page carefully.
The next installment of this series will address other information in ancestral records, such as addresses, occupations, and additional valuable clues.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Meet the Staff: Carl Long

Name: Carl Long

Position in Library: Library Assistant (Part-time)

Educational Background: B.A. in Philosophy from Penn State; MLS from Clarion University 

Favorite Books: Dune by Frank Herbert; Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche; The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris; Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Favorite Movies: The Shawshank Redemption, Big Trouble in Little China, anything Stars Wars, and anything Star Trek

Favorite Area of Library: Second Floor Stacks

Special Interests: Philosophy & Technology

Hobbies: Table Top RPGs, board games, hiking, and camping

Anything else you wish to share that will help others get to know you: "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." ― Abraham Lincoln

Monday, October 3, 2016

Magazine Monday: Psychology Today and General Comments about Browsing

by Steven D. Mathews, Library Assistant

Review of Psychology Today

In the area of P-titled magazines on the third floor of the Yocum Library, you will find Psychology Today, a fifty-year-old periodical driven to make the technical studies surrounding the human mind and behavior more publicly accessible. Psychology Today is published every two months and based in New York City. The following review will cover the basic design and some of the topics discussed in recent issues. I conclude with a note about the magazine’s companion website ( and some general comments about browsing through the magazines on the third floor.

The cover of each issue of Psychology Today features an inspired image from one of the issue’s featured articles. The most recent three covers include images inspired by the following: “Ménage à trois: Is Tech Sabotaging Your Love Life?”; “The Narcissist: It’s Not Always Who You Think”; and “The Story of Your Life.” The latter title is from the June 2016 issue, “The Smart Woman’s Dilemma,” which features articles about the benefits of journaling, radical perspectives on anxiety and addiction, and our curious “love-hate” relationship with artificial intelligence. Other featured articles from these issues includes the disadvantages of social media, what to do when a partner comes out as transgender, and how to develop a strategy for learning just about anything you desire. Current affairs, such as a comparison between the “shared dilemmas” of Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton, are also sprinkled throughout the magazine.

Undoubtedly, Psychology Today explores and digests a variety of psychological subjects and conditions, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, dreams, and more. The magazine’s companion website (subtitled, “Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist”) offers actionable advice on about 45 psychological topics, aggregated web-only articles, and search queries to find a licensed therapist in your zip code.

The (Lost) Art and Joy of Browsing
Before closing, I want to emphasize that a major point in my series of Monday reviews for the Yocum Library Blog is that, collectively, these magazines offer a myriad of articles on a library's-worth of subjects (e.g., cooking, literature, politics, music, art, technology, etc.). In short, because they are written for general audiences, they offer an abundance of ideas for you to explore. The fact that the Yocum Library offers such a diverse collection of current popular, niche, trade, scientific, and multicultural magazines for free is invaluable. It is rare to find such a clearly organized presentation of magazines (even at large bookstores!) as you will see on the third floor.

But these magazines offer more than passive self-enrichment. Beyond following your favorite magazines, you may find something that sparks your interest in another area simply through the physical act of browsing, which is becoming something of a lost art in need of a stronger digital analogue (i.e., an easier search without a paywall).

Browsing through the pages of entire magazine issues on the third floor may even lead you to search for something to read, hear, or view in more depth, such as a scholarly journal, book, or documentary. This is especially pertinent to students looking for research topics who may be stuck or experiencing a paradox of choice at the moment. Moreover, in the age of multiple careers and hobbies, you can never truly know what may inspire your next project.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Meet the Staff: Katelyn Bennett

Position in Library: Library Assistant (Work Study)

Educational Background: I graduated from Berks Catholic High School in 2015. I am currently a sophomore here at Reading Area Community College, and intend to graduate this upcoming May with an Associate's degree in psychology. In the future, I am planning on attending Kutztown University for a Bachelor's degree in psychology. My ultimate dream is to obtain a Master's Degree in counseling. I would like to work primarily with adolescents who are affected by eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

Favorite Books: I enjoy reading YA futuristic novels as well as nonfiction books that challenge my current way of thinking. My two top book series are the Gone series by Michael Grant and the Legend series by Marie Lu. My favorite book is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Favorite Movies: A few of my favorite movies in no particular order are: The Fundamentals of Caring (2016), Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014), Donnie Darko (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), Zootopia (2016), Spirited Away (2001), and 21 Jump Street (2012).

Favorite Area of Library: My favorite area of the library is the third floor stacks. I enjoy looking at all of the books we have here, especially the Philosophy and Cookbook sections.

Special Interests: Ethics (Moral Philosophy), looking up various healthy cooking recipes, Native American heritage, and science

Hobbies: Photography, analyzing movie plots and writing reviews, listening to classical, Christian, and alternative artists, and going on walks around my neighborhood

Anything else you wish to share that will help others get to know you: I enjoy collecting various rocks and gems and have quite a good collection so far. I am involved in Phi Theta Kappa and a (soon-to-be) member of Psi Beta. I recently participated in Writing Wrongs, where I worked with several students to interview residents of Easy Does It, Inc. (a recovery center for individuals who are affected by addiction) and publish a magazine. The goal of this endeavor is to show individuals how addiction has impacted several lives and to eliminate the stigma attached to alcoholism/drug addiction. To learn more, check out I am also a new member of the Front Street Journal here at Reading Area Community College.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hispanic Authors Whose Books Have Been Banned

Since this week is Banned Books Week and it is also Hispanic Heritage Month, we're going to celebrate both by listing 15 banned books by Hispanic authors. Here they are:

  1.  …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him by Tomás Rivera
  2.  Always Running by Luis J. Rodriguez
  3.  Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  4.  Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas
  5.  How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
  6.  Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
  7.  Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  8.  Loverboys by Ana Castillo
  9.  Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peňa
10.  Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuňa
11.  One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
12.  Rainbow Boys by Alex Sánchez
13.  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
14.  The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
15.  The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2015

Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.

Here is the list of the top ten most frequently challenged books for 2015:

Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).

I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).

The Holy Bible
Reasons: Religious viewpoint.

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).

Habibi, by Craig Thompson
Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.

Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan

Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

From the American Library Association's Banned and Challenged Books web site.

© Copyright 1996-2015, American Library Association

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