Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Yocum Library's DVD Display Celebrates GLBT Pride Month

We have a display of DVDs related to GLBT Pride Month. 

In addition, our online carousel includes some of our book holdings related to GLBT topics. You can find the carousel at the bottom of The Yocum Library's home page or at the top of our blog (www.theyocumlibrary.blogspot.com).

These are just some of our holdings on this topic. Search the online catalog for more. Need help? Ask a librarian.

Friday, June 15, 2018

It's National Adopt-A-Cat Month!

Think this cat is cute? Want one of your own? June is National Adopt-a-Cat Month. According to the ASPCA, this is the time of year when they "see an increase in feline breeding" and they are "preparing for a massive influx of homeless and newborn kittens."

Now's your chance to find the cat of your dreams and save an animal's life. Check out the web sites for Animal Rescue League and the Berks County Humane Society. Know another place to adopt a cat? Post it here.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

ALA Celebrates June as GLBT Book Month

Libraries are welcoming spaces that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
This is especially evident as, for the third year, the American Library Association marks June as GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
The celebration is consistent with ALA’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. It also recognizes the significant contributions of GLBT authors.

Originally established in the early 1990s by The Publishing Triangle as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, GLBT Book Month™ is held annually in June and honors the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

GLBT Book Month™ is coordinated through the ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

This Day in History: June 6, 1944

Although the term D-Day is used routinely as military lingo for the day an operation or event will take place, for many it is also synonymous with June 6, 1944, the day the Allied powers crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II.

Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east. 

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah.

The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

The heroism and bravery displayed by troops from the Allied countries on D-Day has served as inspiration for several films, most famously The Longest Day (1962) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). It was also depicted in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers (2001).

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

June Is LGBT Pride Month

The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969.

As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world.

Join The Yocum Library as it celebrates GLBT Pride Month. Our online carousel and in-library displays show just some of the holdings we have related to GLBT topics.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Family History Tips-Part 32

More Genealogical Adventures Away from Your Computer: Visiting Places of Worship 
by Brenna Corbit, Technical Services Librarian

A few weeks ago I pushed you from your chair to chase your ancestors down in actual cemeteries rather than the virtual burying ground of records. Not that you need to chase anyone since they’re all restfully asleep. Anyway, hopefully you realized real cemeteries can reveal more than a website such as Find-a-Grave.com. And, perhaps, while scanning headstones, you may have noticed a church nearby.

Next to census records, church records and other places of worship are one of the best sources for piecing together family histories. But so few are available online, and too many are loathsome, indexed transcriptions--oh my, the errors that abound! Therefore, it's time for another field trip. 

    Top photo—New Hanover Lutheran Church, New Hanover Township, Montgomery 
     County, Pa., built in 1767. While visiting the church in 1998, the sexton gave me a
     tour and explained its history. My early Burkhardt ancestors are buried here. Another
     one of their descendants is RACC’s Ron Borkert who passed away in 2006.
     Bottom photo—The names of those who helped have the church erected are still
     legible on the original supporting columns. My ancestor Georg Burgkart (1718—1782)
     whose sons and grandsons were masons and bricklayers is one of them. 
        Photos: Brenna J. Corbit, 1998

Tons of church records are kept in various county and state historical and genealogical societies, but many of them are transcriptions, too. However, many places of worship still keep their original registers, and some are stored at dioceses and other regional religious headquarters. 

I have not retrieved most of my records this way, but there were a few registers I needed to view at various churches since copies of their records were not available elsewhere. I also want to point out that my experience is with various Christian sects, but I am sure other religions keep some kind of records.

There are usually four types of records found in church registers:
  1. Baptisms—include the baptism date, birth date, names of the parents, often including the mother’s maiden name, and sponsors. Pay attention to the latter since they may be related and offer connective clues. In some rare cases, a baptism will include the full names of the grandparents. 
  2. Marriages—include the date of the marriage and full names of the brides and grooms. Some records may give parentage, residence, and occupation. 
  3. Deaths/burials—include the date of death, date and place of burial, and maybe the spouse and parents. It may also include a birthdate, but usually an age in years, months and days. If no birthdate is included use a birthdate calculator. There are differences between burial records and headstones found in cemeteries. Not everyone has a tombstone for one reason or another. There may be none because of financial reasons, disappearance due to sinking into the ground or vandalism, or it may be totally eroded and illegible. Thus, you may not find a stone, but you might find the burial record. 
  4. Confirmations and communions—I find little use for these records because they do not usually give anything more than a list of names. They may be clues when trying to locate a person, but when dealing with common names, I cannot tell one Jacob Schmidt from another in a list with no ages or relationship information. A few do give more details, but this is rare. 
Here are my tips for exploring church records:
  • Certain Christian sects are better record keepers than others. My experience shows that German Lutheran records are far more prolific compared to Episcopalian records, for example. 
  • Always call ahead to see if records are available and when would be a good time to see them. 
  • Have a pair of archival gloves. Many record books are quite old and quite delicate. 
  • Ask if it is okay to photograph a record. 
  • Most places only allow pencils, not pens, since the latter is non-erasable. 
  • Many places do not ask a fee if you are conducting your own research, but it is nice to offer a donation. 
  • If your host has free time, ask for a tour of the place. It is amazing what history they can share with you. 
  • Afterword, send a letter of thanks. 
  • Many ministers covered several churches and kept their own records of baptisms. Therefore, there maybe two sets of records. 
  • Some churches are not too friendly when sharing their records and hold on to them quite tightly as if you are there to commit identity-theft with people many decades dead. So be as nice and patient as possible. I once had to wait in a separate room to see the marriage record of my great grandparents and was not permitted to see them until the attendant carefully covered all other entries in the marriage register. 
As with cemeteries, seeing the places where your ancestors were baptized, married, and had their last rites is far more enriching than some scanned image or index online. So, keep your engines running as we travel to other exciting places finding your past.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Importance of Commas

Think commas aren't important? Think again! The following is a report that appeared on CNN.com:

A group of Maine dairy delivery drivers will receive $5 million in a proposed settlement for unpaid overtime, according to court records filed on Thursday.

A judge ruled in the drivers' favor last March, and it was all thanks to the lack of an Oxford comma in a Maine labor law.

An Oxford comma is the comma used after the second-to-last item in a list of three or more things, "item A, item B, and item C." It's not often used in journalism.

The drivers' employer had claimed they were exempt from overtime pay, according to Maine's labor laws.

Part of the law exempts certain tasks from receiving overtime compensation. This is what the law's guidelines originally stated about exempted tasks:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.

Without the Oxford comma, the line "packing for shipment or distribution," could be referring to packing and shipping as a single act, or as two separate tasks.

The drivers argued that it reads as a single act, and since they didn't actually do any packing, they shouldn't have been exempt from overtime pay.

"Specifically, if that [list of exemptions] used a serial comma to mark off the last of the activities that it lists, then the exemption would clearly encompass an activity that the drivers perform," the circuit judge wrote.

According to court documents, the dairy, while denying any wrongdoing, believed further litigation would be protracted and expensive. The proposed settlement will be considered by a federal judge.

To prevent anymore Oxford comma drama, the Maine Legislature has since edited this exemption, replacing the punctuation with semicolons.

From CNN.com