Monday, January 22, 2018

Welcome Back for Spring Semester!

If you're new to RACC, welcome. Come check out The Yocum Library and find out all about the services we provide. If you're returning to RACC, we look forward to continuing to serve you.

Like our Facebook page and join our blog. Watch for upcoming posts with details about the services we provide, our holdings, and important events as well as an introduction to our staff and much more.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Family History Tips-Part 23, Digital Archive Brings Life to the Past
by Brenna Corbit, Technical Services Librarian

Genealogical data gleaned from baptismal records and death certificates or historical events in text-books present interesting facts, but that’s it. One thing missing is that we may often forget that these events surrounded real living people like you and me. That is where The Yocum Library’s newest database comes into play.

Microfilmed newspapers of the past were useful for looking up information of which we had a date, such as an obituary. But to find articles about family scandals, tragedies or notable deeds, one would have to read months of papers hoping to find anything if a reasonable time frame was unknown. Likewise, looking for articles such as how World War One affected local communities would require much reading. Digital imaging and OCR (optical character recognition) changed all that.

OCR is a computerized method of reading images of text in digitized images much like our eyes scan a page and interpret printed words, only OCR scans millions of pages for keyword queries in seconds. To show the value of this technology, I present two examples.

I never knew the details of why my great grandfather was divorced from his first wife on 7 November 1885. The article that appeared months before the date presents the story that led to that event. 
In terms of historical research, I present a portion of an article of how Reading citizens celebrated their first war-time Christmas during WWI.

To find go to The Yocum Library database listing under A to Z or History. The off campus link is available on the user ID/password sheet found in the RACC Portal under the resources tab. Once you are on the homepage, I highly recommend the two short video tutorials to effectively use the database.

To restate what I said in past articles about OCR, it is not perfect, but it is always improving. The good news is if you know a time frame or exact date and OCR fails to find your information,’s digital images of individual newspapers are borrowable by date. Remember, you can stop by the library anytime if you need help researching. Thank you.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Yocum Library is closed today as we remember and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King was born in 1929 and became a Baptist minister and activist, who is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience.

He received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance in 1964. Sadly, his life was cut short at 39 when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Walking with Peety: The Dog Who Saved My Life

Book Review by Kim Stahler, Instruction/Reference Librarian

The animal memoir is a genre I find hard to resist. I remember seeing the video about this man and his shelter dog online a few years ago. Their story of mutual adoption was created by the shelter and went viral. I was thrilled to see the story become the book, Walking with Peety: The Dog Who Saved My Life by Eric O'Grey with Mark Dagostino. You can, of course, find the book at The Yocum Library.

Middle-aged Eric O'Grey was so unhealthy, depressed, lonely, and anxiety-ridden that he felt he was at the end of his rope. In desperation and at the advice of a new doctor, he adopted an older, not-so-healthy shelter dog in the hopes they could get active together. And wow did they.

Eric had never even had a pet, yet the close bond he and Peety formed changed their lives in almost every way imaginable as Peety’s love opened his eyes to new things—some literally around the corner and others through Eric’s effort and open-mindedness. Eric now runs marathons and is an advocate for animals and health!

This was my favorite book in 2017. I really did not want it to end. I even friended the author on Facebook and was thrilled when he accepted me. Just look at Peety’s face on the cover. If you read this book, please tell me what you think.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Human trafficking is a subject that is not often talked about. Many people believe it is something that happens overseas and not here in the United States.

According to the Polaris web site, 8,042 human trafficking cases in the United States in 2016 (last full year with statistics), up from 5,961 from the previous year. As of June 2017, 4, 406 human trafficking cases have been reported.

Polaris estimates that "the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated."

Learn more about human trafficking. The Yocum Library has a number of books on the subject including The Slave Next Door : Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales and Faraway : A Suburban Boy's Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking by R.K. Kline and Daniel D. Maurer. We have more books and other Berks County libraries have additional resources that you can request and have sent to The Yocum Library.
Here are just a few web sites about human trafficking:

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Enjoy a Classic Christmas Poem

[NOTE: Apparently, there is some controversy over who wrote this classic poem. Tonight, let's forget about controversy and just enjoy reading it.]

A Visit from St. Nicholas (Original Title)
by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Has Officially Arrived

Today is the first day of winter. It is the Winter Solstice, the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. 

The Winter Solstice is the time (not just day) when the Northern Hemisphere is pointed at its furthest distance from the sun, bringing less light and colder temperatures. Here in Reading, Winter Solstice occurs at 11:28 a.m. The sun will rise at 7:23 a.m. and set at 4:41 p.m. giving us only 9 hours and 17 minutes of daylight.