Welcome to The Yocum Library of Reading Area Community College's Blog!

For many years we have published a print newsletter for the RACC community that provided information on the library's staff, resources, and services. In order to provide information on a more timely basis, we decided to switch to the blog format. We hope that you enjoy learning more about The Yocum Library of RACC.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

This Day in History - October 12

Posthumous portrait of Christopher Columbus bySebastiano del Piombo, 1519. 
October 12, 1492:
Columbus reaches the New World

*After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Little is known of his early life, but he worked as a seaman and then a maritime entrepreneur. He became obsessed with the possibility of pioneering a western sea route to Cathay (China), India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. At the time, Europeans knew no direct sea route to southern Asia, and the route via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire, as were many land routes. Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans of Columbus' day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St. Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world's size, calculating that East Asia must lie approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed).

With only the Atlantic Ocean, he thought, lying between Europe and the riches of the East Indies, Columbus met with King John II of Portugal and tried to persuade him to back his "Enterprise of the Indies," as he called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where he was also rejected at least twice by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. However, after the Spanish conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in January 1492, the Spanish monarchs, flush with victory, agreed to support his voyage.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. On October 12, the expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and "Indian" captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New World, discovering various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainlands, but he never accomplished his original goal—a western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.


Columbus Day - October 12

Columbus Day History

Columbus Day is the celebration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. In the US, it is celebrated by all US states except for Hawaii, South Dakota and Alaska.  Columbus Day occurs on the second Monday in October each year.

Columbus Day Facts & Quotes

Colorado was the first state to officially recognize and celebrate Columbus Day in 1906.
In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared October 12th every year as Columbus Day.
In 1971, the official holiday was moved to the second Monday in October in order to give workers in the US a long weekend. This was part of the Uniform Monday Holiday  Act.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. - Robert F. Kennedy
Many Italian-Americans celebrate their heritage with special celebrations on this date.
Columbus Day Top Events and Things to Do
Attend a Columbus Day Parade.  The parade in New York City is one of the largest.
Eat some good Italian food.
Watch a parade.
Visit the Library of Congress's online exhibit 1492: An Ongoing Voyage.
Host a scavenger hunt for the neighborhood kids and let them become Explorer's for the afternoon.

Columbus Day References and Related Sites
US Office of Personnel Management
Library of Congress: 1492, An Ongoing Voyage

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Author's Quotes


This Day in History - October 11

October 11, 2002:
Jimmy Carter wins Nobel Prize

On this day in 2002, former President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."

Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, served one term as U.S. president between 1977 and 1981. One of his key achievements as president was mediating the peace talks between Israel and Egypt in 1978. The Nobel Committee had wanted to give Carter (1924- ) the prize that year for his efforts, along with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin, but was prevented from doing so by a technicality--he had not been nominated by the official deadline.

After he left office, Carter and his wife Rosalynn created the Atlanta-based Carter Center in 1982 to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering. Since 1984, they have worked with Habitat for Humanity to build homes and raise awareness of homelessness. Among his many accomplishments, Carter has helped to fight disease and improve economic growth in developing nations and has served as an observer at numerous political elections around the world.

The first Nobel Prizes--awards established by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) in his will--were handed out in Sweden in 1901 in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The Nobel Prize in economics was first awarded in 1969. Carter was the third U.S. president to receive the award, worth $1 million, following Theodore Roosevelt (1906) and Woodrow Wilson (1919).

Word of the Day

fusty \FUHS-tee\,
1. old-fashioned or out-of-date, as architecture, furnishings, or the like: They still live in that fusty, gingerbread house.
2. having a stale smell; moldy; musty: fusty rooms that were in need of a good airing.
3. stubbornly conservative or old-fashioned; fogyish.

It seemed somewhat fusty with its plush gold and red trimmings and ornate furniture, all of it so completely devoid of human activity.
-- Curtis Gillespie, "Playing Through: A Year of Life and Links Along the Scottish Coast," 2002

She entered, and without further talk went up a steep, fusty stair and knocked at a door on a tiny landing.
-- Thomas Burke, "Twinkletoes," 1926

Fusty can be traced back to the Latin fustis meaning "staff, stick of wood." It entered English in the 1390s.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Genealogy Links

Sources Useful for Many Searches

A large collection of genealogy sources https://www.familysearch.org/

Free online genealogical courses https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/home.html

Genealogical sites for every state and county in the U.S. http://www.usgenweb.org/

Free genealogical resources from Ancestry http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/

A directory of genealogical sources http://www.cyndislist.com/

Berks County Resources
A large collection of Berks County records http://berks.pa-roots.com/

Berks County Genealogical Society http://www.berksgenes.org/

The Historical Society of Berks County http://www.berkshistory.org/library/

Berks County Register of Wills (wills, marriages, deaths, births)

Berks County Prothonotary (immigrations, naturalizations, divorces) http://prothy.co.berks.pa.us/search_genealogical/

Berks County Recorder of Deeds (deeds & mortgages) http://www.co.berks.pa.us/Dept/Deeds/Pages/OnlineRecordsSearchInstructions.aspx

Historical Maps and Locators
Overlays of current maps with historical maps http://www.historicmapworks.com/

A digital collection of historical maps http://www.davidrumsey.com/

Library of Congress Maps http://www.loc.gov/topics/maps.php

A finding aid to obtain enumeration districts for census records 1880-1940 http://stevemorse.org/census/index.html

Searchable surname distribution map of Poland http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/

Ellis Island http://www.ellisisland.org/

Free Census Records
U.S. 1940s census http://1940census.archives.gov

Ireland 1901 & 1911 http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie

Death Records
Recent Obituaries http://www.legacy.com/ns/obitfinder/obituary-search.aspx

Cemetery transcriptions http://www.interment.net/

Cemetery transcriptions and photos http://www.findagrave.com

Country & Translation Aids
Google Translate http://translate.google.com/

Latin Words and Phrases

German Research https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/results.html?fq=place%3A%22Germany%22

German Script

German Handwriting / Kurrent Pt. 1

German Handwriting / Kurrent Pt. 2

German Handwriting / Kurrent Pt. 3

Researching Hispanic Heritage

Spanish Script Tutorial

Searching En Espanol

Irish Research

Italian Research

Polish Research

Russian Research


Librarians Rock!

Word of the Day

wayfarer \WEY-fair-er\,
a traveler, especially on foot.

But as you passed along these horrible records, in an hour's time destined to be obliterated by the feet of thousands and thousands of wayfarers, you were not left unassailed by the clamorous petitions of the more urgent applicants for charity.
-- Herman Melville, "Redburn: His First Voyage," 1849

...it is not inconceivable that, for all his sorrowful thoughts, our botanist, with his trained observation, his habit of looking at little things upon the ground, would be the one to see and pick up the coin that has fallen from some wayfarer's pocket.
-- H. G. Wells, "A Modern Utopia," 1905

Wayfarer is the modern form of the Middle English weyfarere. It's been used in English since the 1400s.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Word of the Day

 \ VEN-er-uh-buhl \  ,

1.commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity; worthy of veneration or reverence, as because of high office or noble character: a venerable member of Congress.

2.a title for someone proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church to have attained the first degree of sanctity or of an Anglican archdeacon.

3.(of places, buildings, etc.) hallowed by religious, historic, or other lofty associations: the venerable halls of the abbey.

4.impressive or interesting because of age, antique appearance, etc.: a venerable oak tree.

5.extremely old or obsolete; ancient: a venerable automobile.

1.a venerable person.

And oh, to think that he should have disobeyed and practised on that sweet, that venerable  gentleman, whose name he bore; that kind and tender guardian; his more than father—to say nothing at all of mother—horrible, horrible!
-- Charles Dickens, "The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit," 1843-1844

...one would think that to look on while a pair of venerable  hands pressed such young heads, and a venerable  face looked upward for a blessing on them, would be very likely to make the heart swell gently, and to moisten the eyes.
-- George Eliot, "Scenes of Clerical Life," 1857

Origin: Venerable  first appeared in English in the 1400s from the Latin venerari  meaning "to worship or revere."




" It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. "

Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Meet the Yocum Library Staff - Emily Heller

Emily Heller
Position in Library:
Student Staff - Service Desk
Educational Background: 
High School Diploma from Fleetwood Area High School, studying Nursing-prerequisites at RACC
Favorite Books:
"A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess, "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood , and "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert
Favorite Movie:
"Moulin Rouge" directed by Baz Luhrmann
Favorite Area of Library:
The Tower Room on the 3rd floor- how can you not enjoy that view?!
Special Interest: Poetry and reading.

Scheduled Classes for Computers

11 a.m - 12:30 p.m. Reserved--Ms. Setley
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Ms. Marie Setley ORI103 (25-30) Intro. to Library presented by Ms .Brenna Corbit

12:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m. Reserved--Ms.Setley
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Ms. Marie Setley ORI103 (25-30) Intro. to Library presented by Ms. Brenna Corbit.

2 p.m.- 3:45 p.m. Reserved—Ms. Essig
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Ms. Brenda Essig COM021 (11) Finding and evaluating Internet sources presented by Ms. Kim Stahler.

Word of the Day

posy \POH-zee\,

1. a flower, nosegay, or bouquet.
2. Archaic. a brief motto or the like, as one inscribed within a ring.

HAMLET: Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
OPHELIA: ’Tis brief, my lord.
HAMLET: As woman’s love.
-- William Shakespeare, 'Hamlet," 1603

This time I have to bring her in an hour a posy of the rarest flowers, and where am I to find them?
-- Andrew Lang, "The Orange Fairy Book," 1906

Posy is a variant of the word poesy, meaning "poem, poetry." Sometimes called nosegays or tussie-mussies, posies were popular accessories among fashionable women in Victorian England, and, harkening the word's literary origin, became vehicles for the floral "language of love."


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

This Day in History - October 7

Oct 7, 1955: Ginsberg reads "Howl" for the first time

*On this day, poet Allen Ginsberg reads his poem "Howl" at a poetry reading at Six Gallery in San Francisco. The poem was an immediate success that rocked the Beat literary world and set the tone for confessional poetry of the 1960s and later.

Ginsberg was born in 1926 to a high school English teacher father and Marxist mother who later suffered a mental breakdown. Her madness and death were the subjects of Ginsberg's poem "Kaddish."

Ginsberg's father raised Allen and his older brother to recite poetry by Poe, Dickens, Keats, Shelley, and Milton. Ginsberg attended Columbia University, intending to study law. At Columbia, he met Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassady, who would become central figures in the Beat movement. Ginsberg was expelled from Columbia in 1945 for a series of minor infractions, then bummed around, working as a merchant seaman, a dishwasher, and a welder. He finally finished Columbia in 1948 with high grades but was arrested when a drug-addict friend stored supplies in his apartment. He successfully pleaded not guilty on the grounds of insanity and spent eight months in the psych ward at Columbia.

After his arrest and trial, Ginsberg went through a "straight" period, working as a successful market researcher and helping to develop a successful ad campaign for toothpaste. He moved to San Francisco and soon fell back in with the Beat crowd. In 1955, over a period of a few weeks, he wrote his seminal work "Howl."

"Howl" was printed in England, but its second edition was seized by Customs officials as it entered the country. City Lights, a San Francisco bookstore, published the book itself to avoid Customs problems, and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti was arrested and tried for obscenity, but defended by the ACLU. Following testimony from nine literary experts on the merits of the book, Ferlinghetti was found not guilty.

Ginsberg was center stage at numerous milestone counterculture events during the 1950s and 1960s. His name made it onto J. Edgar Hoover's list of dangerous subversives. He wrote about his own experiences as a gay man, experimented with drugs, protested the Vietnam War, was clubbed and gassed at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, studied Buddhism, toured with Bob Dylan, and recorded poetry and music with Paul McCartney and Philip Glass. He became a popular teacher and lecturer at universities across the United States. He won the National Book Award in 1973 and was a runner-up for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He wrote and read poetry in New York until his death from liver cancer in 1997.



J. Abdul Kalam – Aerospace scientist and former President of India.

Scheduled Classes for Computers

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Reserved--Ms. Carol Bean-Ritter
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Ms. Carol Bean-Ritter ORI103 (25) Intro to Library presented by Ms. Kim Stahler.

4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Reserved—Mr. Walentis
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Mr. Al Walentis COM121 (20) NO INSTRUCTION; reserve 12 computers in instruction area.

7:30 p.m. - 8:30pm Reserved—Ms. Kwitkowski
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Ms. Teresa Kwitkowski COM121 (15) NO INSTRUCTION, reserve 12 computers.

Word of the Day


1. Informal. a person or thing that shows marked ability or excellence.

1. Informal. of marked ability; exceptionally fine.

We have room for but one verse; but it's a crackerjack, the gem of the collection and illustrates how Ardenas can soar when he spreads his pinions and takes a header into the poetic empyrean.
-- William Cowper Brann, Brann, the Iconoclast: a collection of the writings of W. C. Brann, 1898

Crackerjack is an Americanism that came to English in the late 1800s.