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.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Library Humor

This Day In History - April 25

April 25, 1719:
* Robinson Crusoe is published

Daniel Defoe's fictional work The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is published. The book, about a shipwrecked sailor who spends 28 years on a deserted island, is based on the experiences of shipwreck victims and of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who spent four years on a small island off the coast of South America in the early 1700s.

Like his hero Crusoe, Daniel Defoe was an ordinary, middle-class Englishman, not an educated member of the nobility like most writers at the time. Defoe established himself as a small merchant but went bankrupt in 1692 and turned to political pamphleteering to support himself. A pamphlet he published in 1702 satirizing members of the High Church led to his arrest and trial for seditious libel in 1703.

He appealed to powerful politician Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford, who had him freed from Newgate prison and who hired him as a political writer and spy to support his own views. To this end, Defoe set up the Review, which he edited and wrote from 1704 to 1713. It wasn't until he was nearly 60 that he began writing fiction. His other works include Moll Flanders (1722) and Roxana (1724). He died in London in 1731, one day before the 12th anniversary of Robinson Crusoe's publication.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Library Humor

Daily Writing Tips - Inning, Innings, and the Seventh-Inning Stretch

Inning, Innings, and the Seventh-Inning Stretch
By Maeve Maddox

In the games of baseball and cricket, opposing teams take turns batting a ball.

A baseball game is divided into nine innings during which each team has a turn at bat. Each half of an inning ends with the third out. (An out occurs when a player strikes out or is tagged between bases.)

I’ll let Merriam-Webster explain the cricket term innings:

innings (noun): plural but singular or plural in construction :  a division of a cricket match in which one side continues batting until ten players are retired or the side declares; also : the time a player stays as a batsman until he is out, until ten teammates are out, or until his side declares.

Both terms have given rise to figurative expressions.

In reference to cricket, the term “to have one’s innings” can mean simply, “to have one’s turn at something.” Spoken of someone who dies at an advanced age, “to have a good innings,” means, “to have a long and successful life.” Here are some examples of the figurative use of innings:

The men had their innings in a revival of George Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell, performed as a staged reading in the style designed by Charles Laughton in 1952.

Berry told the Radio Times: “I have no desire to be a centenarian. I think 90 is a great time. You’ve had a good innings.”

From baseball comes the expression “the seventh-inning stretch.”

The ritual of the seventh-inning stretch is described in a letter dated 1869:

The spectators all arise between halves of the seventh inning, extend their legs and arms and sometimes walk about. In so doing they enjoy the relief afforded by relaxation from a long posture upon hard benches.

Chicago Cubs fans have been singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch since 1982. It’s often referred to as “the seventh-inning song.”

In researching this post, I discovered that some baseball fans are a bit confused about what to call this traditional interlude:

Incorrect: The seventh ending stretch came and to our surprise an announcement was being made over the loud speakers and a message appeared on the scoreboard.
Correct : The seventh-inning stretch came and to our surprise an announcement was being made over the loud speakers and a message appeared on the scoreboard.

Incorrect: In typical fashion, the third quarter seemed like a seventh ending stretch. Bear and I both took several catnaps due to the lackluster performance of both teams.

Correct : In typical fashion, the third quarter seemed like a seventh-inning stretch. Bear and I both took several catnaps due to the lackluster performance of both teams.


Meet the 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.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Scheduled Classes for Computers -Thursday, April 23

9:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. Reserved—Mr. Reimenschneider
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Mr. Jerry Reimenschneider COM121 (13) NO INSTRUCTION; reserve 12 computers.

2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Reserved--Ms. Moyer
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Ms. Lois Moyer ORI102 (28) Introduction to The Yocum Library presented by Ms. Patricia Nouhra.

Quotes From Authors About The Tragedy of Book Banning

“The crime of book purging is that it involves a rejection of the word. For the word is never absolute truth, but only man’s frail and human effort to approach the truth. To reject the word is to reject the human search. ” — Max Lerner

This Day In History - April 23

April 23, 1564:
Birth and death of William Shakespeare celebrated

Historians believe Shakespeare was born on this day in 1564, the same day he died in 1616.

Although the plays of William Shakespeare may be the most widely read works in the English language, little is known for certain about the playwright himself. Some scholars even believe the plays were not written by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon but by some other well-educated, aristocratic writer who wished to remain anonymous.

Shakespeare's father was probably a common tradesman. He became an alderman and bailiff in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare was baptized in the town on April 26, 1564. At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter in 1583 and twins in 1585. Sometime later, Shakespeare set off for London to become an actor and by 1592 was well established in London's theatrical world as both a performer and a playwright. His earliest plays, including The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, were written in the early 1590s. Later in the decade, he wrote tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595) and comedies including The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597). His greatest tragedies were written after 1600, including Hamlet (1600-01), Othello (1604-05), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1605-1606).

He became a member of the popular theater group the Lord Chamberlain's Men, who later became the King's Men. The group built and operated the famous Globe Theater in 1599. Shakespeare ultimately became a major shareholder in the troupe and earned enough money to buy a large house in Stratford in 1597. He retired to Stratford in 1610, where he wrote his last plays, including The Tempest (1611) and The Winter's Tale (1610-11). Meanwhile, he had written more than 100 sonnets, which were published in 1609. Although pirated versions of Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet and some other plays were published during Shakespeare's lifetime, no definitive collection of his works was published until after his death. In 1623, two members of Shakespeare's troupe collected the plays and printed what is now called the First Folio (1623).


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Scheduled Classes for Computers -Wednesday, April 22

6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Reserved—Ms. DeLong
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Ms. Dina Delong COM131 (8) NO INSTRUCTION; reserve 12 instruction area computers.

7 Homophone Mistakes to Avoid

*by Allison VanNest • March 27, 2015    

When you’re speaking out loud, homophones sound alike, but when you’re writing them out, it’s a different story. Though they have the same pronunciation, homophones have slightly different spellings and totally different definitions. Since using the wrong one can completely change the meaning of your statement, it’s important to make sure you have the right word in mind. Here are seven homophone mistakes to avoid.

Than vs. Then
Despite their single letter of difference, misusing “than” and “then” can change a statement completely. “Than” is the word to use in a comparative statement, like “You’re a better writer today than you were yesterday.” Use “then” when describing a sequence of events, like “Write a good sentence, and then compose a great paragraph.”

To vs. Too
While “to” and “too” sound the same, remember that the former is a preposition, while the latter is an adverb. “To” typically means “toward,” while “too” can either mean “excessively” or “also.” For example, you could say, “When you go to the beach, take me too.”

Your vs. You’re
Though it’s a common mistake, using the wrong version of this word can make your writing look sloppy. “Your” is always a possessive pronoun, so when you use this word, be sure you’re declaring ownership. For instance, you could say, “your book” or “your professional writing sample.” “You’re,” on the other hand, is a contraction of the words “you” and “are.” When using this word, check yourself by reading it with the words “you are” in place of the contraction to make sure it makes sense.

Threw vs. Through
“Threw” and “through” may be different parts of speech, but they can be tough to keep straight. The first work in this homophone pair is the past tense of the verb “throw,” or the act of tossing something in the air. “Through,” however, is an adverb that implies movement through space or time. You could say, for instance, “The pitcher threw the baseball through the air like a pro.”

Stationary vs. Stationery
Many writers confuse these homophones, since the only spelling difference is a single vowel towards the end of the word. “Stationary” and “stationery,” however, have very different meanings. “Stationary” refers to standing still, while “stationery” refers to cards, paper, or other writing materials. Your stationery may be stationary, but never the other way around.

Seas vs. Sees vs. Seize
As if two homophones weren’t enough, you will find three spellings of this sound-alike. “Seas” is a noun that describes oceans and other large bodies of water, while the verb “sees” refers to looking or observing. Finally, “seize” means to take control. “She sees the opposing forces seize the seas” demonstrates the unique meaning of all three.

There vs. Their vs. They’re
You’ll also find three of these tricky homophones. “There” refers to a general location or distance. When describing where you parked your car, for instance, you might say, “My car is in the parking lot over there.” “Their” serves as a possessive form for more than one person. When referring to the vehicles belonging to a group of people, for example, you would say, “their cars.”

Finally, “they’re” is a contraction of the words “they” and “are.” Whenever you use this term, make sure that what you really mean is “they are.” For instance, you could say, “They’re parking.” If you’re really ready to show off your knowledge of homophones, try out the statement, “They’re parking their car in that lot over there.”
Homophones may sound the same, but their meanings are very different when you use them in writing. Study up on which words you need to use, and when, as many spelling and grammar checkers cannot correct for words that are spelled correctly but used wrong. (Lucky for you Grammarly can!)

What’s your biggest homophone mistake?


Word of the Day

1. Psychiatry. a distortion of memory in which fact and fantasy are confused.
2. the inability to recall the correct meaning of a word.

The subtle, recurring confusion between illusion and reality that was characteristic of paramnesia fascinated the chaplain, and he knew a number of things about it.
-- Joseph Heller, Catch-22, 1961

Paramnesia is a New Latin construction that entered English in the late 1800s. It derives from the Greek roots pará meaning "beside; beyond" and amnēstía meaning "oblivion."


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Scheduled Classes for Computers -Tuesday, April 21

9 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Reserved—Ms. Hoerr
Description: Ms. Dorothy Hoerr COM050 (20) Using ProQuest databases presented by Ms.Kim Stahler.

9:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. Reserved—Mr. Reimenschneider
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Mr. Jerry Reimenschneider COM121 (13) NO INSTRUCTION; reserve 12 computers.

11 Books That Were Banned for Completely Ridiculous Reasons

*Posted by Chrissie Gruebel × September 24, 2014

Happy Banned Books Week! In honor of this glorious celebration of our freedom to read what we want, let’s pause for a sec and remember there are people out there still trying to take this freedom away for dumb reasons like not wanting their kids to read the word “nipple.”

Actually, now that we think of it…it’s kinda quaint that people still think they can ban books at all, right? It’s the most ineffective power trip in the world! The U.S. government can’t even keep their top-secret spy stuff from the public—how does anyone expect to keep The Adventures of Captain Underpants away from a kid who is basically made out of internet?

So let’s all get together and laugh in the face of censorship. Here’s a list of books that were banned and/or challenged based on…well, based on basically nothing.

Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh
Why: Because she SPIES (and lies and curses and sets a bad example for kids or whatever)—basically, because she does exactly what Louise Fitzhugh promises in the title. If anything, this is a lesson in honesty and truth in advertising. She could’ve called it Harriet, the Perfect Child but she didn’t, did she? Plus, show us an 11-year-old who isn’t lying and spying and making mischief from time to time, and we’ll show you that this 11-year-old is a cyborg in human skin.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Why: They called it “sexually offensive,” “immoral,” and “profane,” but let’s be honest here: the real answer is “TOO MUCH PERIOD.” Hey, tween gals on the cusp of lady-dom? Don’t panic! Don’t panic even though you live in a world where no one likes to acknowledge that this happens to you! Forget Judy Blume and turn your attention toward these tampon commercials where women do nothing but turn cartwheels on a beach. Yeah. Thiiiiis is reality. Shhh.

Where’s Waldo, by Martin Handford
Why: Side boob. Seriously. Yes. In this hot mess of a book that’s supposed to make it difficult for you to find anything, someone managed to pick out an errant side boob in the beach scene of the 1987 version. Because, per usual, women’s bodies—even the cartoon ones—ruin everything and start wars and stuff. Avert your eyes forever.

Little Red Riding Hood, by Brothers Grimm
Why: In the 1987 version, which was adapted from the original fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood was shown carrying a bottle of wine in her basket. But, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we ask you this: What’s honestly the most disturbing thing about Little Red Riding Hood? Is it the fact that there’s a sentient wolf in her grandma’s pajamas? The fact that said wolf probably mauled said grandma to death? Oh, it’s the WINE? Really? Not the fact that the Brothers Grimm were always setting up scenarios where children might get eaten? Ok, as long as you’re sure. Glad everyone has their priorities straight.

Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
Why: The only reason there could possibly be: promoting cannibalism, which is something we all remember from our childhoods, right? Shel Silverstein wanted us to eat other humans. Oh, and some people who really care about their plates also got mad because Shel told kids to break dishes instead of washing them, and we have to keep our little indentured servants in line, right? We can’t have a bunch of whimsical poetry giving them any ideas.

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
Why: Vulgar language—but we kinda understand this one because, as all historical documents indicate, the Great Depression was named in jest.
In reality, it was a time of widespread singing and dancing and feasts. Everyone had a really great time. So Steinbeck got it wrong with all that tenant farming and unemployment and hardship. It’s just not accurate. Why would anyone need vulgar language when the world was so awesome?

Other good ones:
• The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger: Pornographic.
• My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara: Uses the word “bitch” to describe a female dog when we ALL KNOW what the word “bitch” is really for.
• The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank: “Too depressing” in one case, and in another case, she talked about genitals for a second and people got mad.
• Lord of the Flies, by William Golding: Implies that man is nothing more than an animal (as in, the point of the whole book).
• Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr.: Banned because an author with the same name as this book’s author (Bill Martin, no relation)—who, to be clear,  is an entirely different person—was a Marxist who wrote a different book about Marxism and people don’t know how to check their facts.

What books do you love that were banned for silly reasons?


Meet the Yocum Staff - Kathleen Nye

Kathy Nye
Name: Kathleen Van Fossen - Nye
Position in Library: Library Assistant - Editor of Facebook, Twitter and The Yocum Library Blog.
Educational Background: A.A.S. and A.A. From Reading Area Community College.  Penn State University, Berks Campus, B.A. Professional Writing, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Favorite Book: The Color Purple
Favorite Movie: Paris Blues
Favorite Area of Library: Tower Room
Special Interest: Advocacy for Women with Breast Cancer Reconstruction.
Hobby: Photography, travel, cooking and genealogy.

To view profiles of other staff members click on "Labels : Staff " below..

Monday, April 20, 2015

Scheduled Classes for Computers - Monday, April 20

7:30 p.m. - 8:50 p.m. Reserved--Mr. Uhrich
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Mr. William Uhrich COM121 (20) Reserve 12 computers w/o staff instruction.

Creative Writing Camp

Reading Area Community College to Hold First Summer Camps
for Young Teen Writers and Environmentalists
Contact: Jodi Corbett, Director of Academic Partnerships, 610-607-6219
Reading, Pa. – Reading Area Community College will hold its first summer camps, one in the Arts and the other in STEM, for teens, ages 13 – 15. Cost is $200 for each session. Maximum class size: 20; Minimum class size: 12. Deadline to register is June 8.
The Schuylkill River: Forces and Facets Connecting Campus to Conservation
Session I: June 23 - 26, 2015 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Course Number: ZSCI-957-401
Session II: July 20 - 23, 2015 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Course Number: ZSCI-957-402
The Creative Writing Camp
Session I: June 23 - 26, 2015 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Course Number: ZWRI-932-401
Session II: July 20 - 23, 2015 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Course Number: ZWRI-932-402
June 8 is the deadline to register.
Camp Facilitators
Professor Joey Flamm Costello, MFA, teaches creative writing courses, Fiction Writing I and II and Introduction to Fiction at RACC. During the academic school year, Joey taught creative writing workshops to seventh to ninth grade students at Schuylkill Valley Middle School and Muhlenberg Middle School. She has taught creative writing for nearly twenty years at colleges and universities. Teens will have one of their works created during the 4-day camp published in RACC’s first Legacy for Teens.
Professor and Master Naturist Patricia Rhine-Catucci, MS, has taught Environment at the College for years. She is advisor to RACC’s Environment Club and is an active environmentalist in the region. A certified public school teacher in a previous lifetime, Professor Rhine-Catucci brings her lifetime of conservation work to this camp.

Daily Writing Tips - Waxing and Waning

Waxing and Waning
By Maeve Maddox

The most familiar use of the verbs wax and wane is in reference to the states of the moon.

To wax is to grow. To wane is to diminish.

The moon has four phases, also called quarters. During the first two quarters, the moon is said “to wax” as its light increases. During the third and fourth quarters, as its light decreases, the moon is said “to wane.”

The verbs wax and wane are often used to describe the growing and lessening of interest in a subject:

My interest in Shakespeare has always waxed and waned.

Sadly, as my interest waxed, the interest of my sponsor appeared to wane.

My interest in cars began to wane in direct relationship to the run-up in prices.

In writing and speech, the verb wax may be followed by an adjective to describe the manner in which something is being said.

“To wax poetic” is to speak with enthusiasm and hyperbole on a favorite subject:

A grizzled New Orleans bartender waxing poetic on his favorite drink, the Mint Julip, as he makes his last one.

Apple brilliantly waxes poetic in new iPad Air ad
Prabal Gurung Waxed Poetic About His Militant Women

Similar in meaning is the expression “to wax lyrical”:

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger talks up Jackson Martinez transfer after waxing lyrical about the Porto forward

Like Spengler, they waxed lyrical about war and violence “as the superior form of human existence.”

Feelings of angry disdain are expressed by the phrase “to wax indignant”:

General Grant waxed indignant at his father’s crass attempt to profit from his son’s military [success].

Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand.—Baruch Spinoza

House Speaker Robert DeLeo waxed indignant Wednesday, forcefully denying claims by federal prosecutors that he let fellow legislators fill jobs in the Probation Department in exchange for their votes for the speakership.

Wax is also used in reference to less passionate states of feeling. For example, one can wax silent or sentimental:

Agnes waxed silent, pleased most with “the joy of her own thoughts.”

Anárion waxed silent as a couple strolled beside them, waiting until they had walked a safe distance away before asking, “Have you ever heard of Eregion?”

Justice Thomas waxed sentimental about the good old days when “teachers managed classrooms with an iron hand.”

Cobos waxed sentimental about being a “country boy” and announced that this was why he and his wife moved to the Upper Valley themselves.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Quotes From Authors About The Tragedy of Book Banning

"It's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers." -- Judy Blume

Daily Writing Tips - Verb Mistakes

*Verb Mistakes #6: Mixed Errors
By Maeve Maddox

Incorrect: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Tuesday urged the European Union (EU) to arm Iraqi Kurds to fight Islamist militants who have overran the country’s northern areas and triggered security crisis for its inhabitants. (Business Standard)
Correct : French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Tuesday urged the European Union (EU) to arm Iraqi Kurds to fight Islamist militants who have overrun the country’s northern areas and triggered security crisis for its inhabitants.

The verb “to overrun” is conjugated the same as the verb “to run”: run, ran, (have) run; overrun, overran, (have) overrun.

Incorrect: Earlier, one group of over 100 protesters lapped Columbus Circle, and then walked to the Apple store on Fifth Avenue. They laid on the store’s floor for a few minutes as a symbolic die-in. (New York CBS Local)
Correct : Earlier, one group of over 100 protesters lapped Columbus Circle, and then walked to the Apple store on Fifth Avenue. They lay on the store’s floor for a few minutes as a symbolic die-in.

The distinction between the verbs lie and lay are still observed in formal English. The principal parts of “to lie” in the sense of “to recline” are lie, lay, (have) lain.

Incorrect: But New Mexico authorities let him to walk out of Sandoval County Jail two months ago. (WSB-TV)
Correct : But New Mexico authorities let him walk out of Sandoval County Jail two months ago.

When certain verbs are completed by an infinitive, the bare form (without the to) is used. Among these verbs are hear, see, make, and let.

Incorrect: If you would have studied literature in college, you would know the writing devices you’re complaining about are amazingly well done. (Comment critical of a Cormac McCarthy book review)
Correct : If you had studied literature in college, you would know the writing devices you’re complaining about are amazingly well done.

Ordinarily, will or would appears only in the main clause and not in the if clause.

Incorrect: If I had of known this at the beginning of my degree I would have dropped out and gone elsewhere. (Comment on graphic design site)
Correct : If I had known this at the beginning of my degree I would have dropped out and gone elsewhere.

This conditional sentence contains two errors: 1. “Had of” is a miswriting for “had have.” 2. The addition of a have in the if clause is not needed.


Meet the Yocum Staff -Troy Bowers

Name: Troy Jonathon Bowers
Position in Library: Library Assistant
Educational Background: B.A. English Kutztown University
Favorite Book: Atlas Shrugged, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Timequake
Favorite Movie: The Royal Tenenbaums, Magnolia, Lord of the Rings
Favorite Area of Library: The alcove overlooking the Schuylkill River on the 2nd floor.
Special Interest: Comics as Literature, Coral Reef Aquarium Husbandry
Hobby: European Board Games, Reading, Hiking