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.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Word of the Day

 \ gahyl \  , noun;  
1.insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity.

The infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile , / Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived / The mother of mankind…
-- John Milton, "Paradise Lost," 1667

Untrained human nature was not frank and innocent; it was full of the twists and defences of an instinctive guile .
-- Edith Wharton, "The Age of Innocence," 1920

Though the origins of guile  are unknown, it is thought to have come to Middle English from a Germanic source, by way of Old French.


This Day In History - January 26

January 26, 2006:
Oprah Winfrey takes James Frey to task for lying

On this day in 2006, during a live broadcast of her daytime TV talk show, Oprah Winfrey confronts author James Frey about fabrications in “A Million Little Pieces,” his memoir about addiction and recovery, which she chose as an Oprah’s Book Club selection in September 2005.

“A Million Little Pieces,” published in 2003, was James Frey’s first book. In it, he describes in graphic detail his harrowing experiences with addictions to drugs and alcohol, and his time at a treatment center when he was in his early 20s. After Winfrey picked “A Million Little Pieces” for her popular on-air book club, which launched in 1996, the memoir climbed the best-sellers lists, following in the footsteps of many of the club’s previous selections. In October 2006, Frey appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to promote his book, which the talk show host had previously said she “couldn’t put down,” calling it “a gut-wrenching memoir that is raw and it’s so real…”

Then, in early January 2006, The Smoking Gun Web site published an expose claiming court records, police reports and interviews with a variety of sources showed that Frey had falsified and exaggerated parts of “A Million Little Pieces”--especially surrounding his criminal past and time spent in jail--in order to make his story more dramatic. On January 11, 2006, Frey and his mother appeared on “Larry King Live” to defend “A Million Little Pieces,” and Winfrey called in to the show to express support for the author. However, two weeks later, on January 26, when Frey appeared on Winfrey’s for a second time, he faced tough questioning from the talk show host, whose attitude toward him had changed. Winfrey began the live program by telling him, “It is difficult for me to talk to you because I feel really duped. But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.”

Frey admitted to Winfrey that he had altered and embellished details of his story, including the fact that he had been in jail for just several hours, not 87 days, as stated in his book. When Winfrey asked him about a particularly memorable incident from the book in which he wrote about having root canals without anesthesia, Frey conceded he couldn’t recall whether or not the dentist had used any Novocain. Winfrey also confronted the publisher of “A Million Little Pieces,” saying her staff had been contacted about possible inaccuracies in the book, only to be told that the publishing company stood by Frey’s story as a work of non-fiction. During the show, the publisher acknowledged that “A Million Little Pieces” had not been fact-checked.

Frey’s fabrications sparked a national debate over the definition of memoir. In the aftermath of the controversy, he was dropped by his literary agent, and his publisher settled a class-action lawsuit brought by readers who claimed they had been defrauded. Future editions of “A Million Little Pieces” included a note from Frey in which he admitted to altering parts of his story. However, the scandal did not signal the end of Frey’s career: He went on to publish the novels “Bright Shiny Morning” (2008) and “The Final Testament of the Holy Bible” (2011).


Library Humor

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Library Humor

Word of the Day

bulbous \BUHL-buhs\,
1. bulb-shaped; bulging.
2. having or growing from bulbs.

Your man comes nearer, and now some hint of a bulbous enlargement at one end, and perhaps of lateral appendages and a bifurcation, begins to show itself.
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., "Over the Teacups," 1890

Good things have been said about it by blue-nosed, bulbous-shoed old benchers, in select port-wine committee after dinner in hall.
-- Chalres Dickens, "Bleak House," 1852-1853

Bulbous comes from the Latin literally meaning "bulb" or "onion." It entered English in the late 16th century.


Meet the Yocum Staff - Kim Stahler

Name: Kim Stahler
Position in Library: Instruction/Reference Librarian
Educational Background: MS Library Science from Clarion, BS Education from Kutztown
Favorite Book: now reading Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You and Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We BuyFavorite Movie: too many to pick one but liked Happy Go Lucky, Doubt, and Revolutionary Road lately.
Favorite Area of Library: all my wonderful diverse coworkers, the magazine area with the pretty rug
Special Interest: politics, urban studies, pop culture, sociology, psychology
Hobby: vegan cooking, doing anything in a city, wine, letter writing, social activism, relaxing with my cats, hamster, and loved ones

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Word of the Day

 \ AM-bi-vurt \  , noun;  

1.one whose personality type is intermediate between extrovert and introvert.

I'm a plain American ambivert ...
-- Vladimir Nabokov, "Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle," 1969

It's the latest, and so, of course, I decided to try it on, and it did fit. I'm an ambivert .
-- James McCourt, "Time Remaining," 1993

Ambivert  was coined in the 1920s by Kimball Young in his book Source Book for Social Psychology  as an extension of the terms introvert  and extrovert .


Daily Writing Tips

10 Writing Exercises to Tighten Your Writing
*by Brittiany Cahoon

Writing projects can be like children. You love them dearly, but sometimes they irritate you to the point that you just need a break. Working on something fresh and new can invigorate your mind and give you a new approach to your work. These exercises can work for any genre of writing, fiction and non-fiction alike.

1. Free Association
This is probably the most popular writing exercise to get the juices flowing. Pull up a new Word document, take a deep breath and just write whatever comes to mind. Dig as deep as you can into your subconscious and don’t worry about what comes out. Sometimes there’s a mental blockage with something that’s been bothering you, so it helps to write it down and get it out of your system.

2. Think Outside the Box
Think of something you’re passionate about, like a hobby or a love interest, and write everything you know about it. Sometimes writing slumps happen and it helps to write about something you love. Even if you just write a paragraph, it’s better to write something that’s not your current project. This will rejuvenate you to re-start on your current project.

3. Sharpen the Saw
Something I love to do when I’m stuck is read another author’s work, especially an author who writes in the same style or format as my current project. If you’re writing fantasy, read some Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. If you’re writing a biography, try taking a look at some biographies of your favorite actors or writers. Escaping into someone else’s world for a bit can relax you enough to delve into your own imaginary world again.

4. Use the Musical Muse
Writers feel their work, and when you can quite describe what you’re feeling on paper, it can be frustrating. Get out your ipod or computer, put on your earphones and find some songs that appeal to you and the scene or piece you’re working on. Grooveshark.com and Pandora.com are two websites that offer free, instant music streaming to get those juices flowing.

5. Mad Libs
Choose one noun, adjective and verb. Make them as random as possible. Write a story using these words in context. You can also do this exercise with a fellow writer and give each other your noun, adjective and verb to see what you both come up with.

6. Eavesdropper
This is a wonderful exercise if you struggle to write natural dialogue between your characters. Sit in a public place like a park or at your local college campus and listen to the things people say as they walk by. Take copious notes and share them with other writers. This exercise is also great if you need a laugh.

7. Use Writing Prompts
A writing prompt is simply a topic around which you start jotting down ideas. The prompt could be a single word, a short phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being to give you something to focus upon as you write. You can find examples and resources about on our Writing Prompts 101 article.

8. Person, Place, Event
If you’re in the middle of coming up with some new ideas, this exercise can help. Get a piece of paper and a pen and draw two lines down the middle to form three columns. In the first column, list every type of person you can think of, such as the police, firemen, grandparents, your spouse, a princess or whatever comes to mind. Next, think of a variety of places. It can range from the grocery store to Ireland. In the last column, list a time period or famous historical event like the Battle of Gettysburg or the year 1492. Combine a person, place and event and experiment with writing about that particular situation. You can try as many as you like!

9. Research Rendezvous
Select a random topic, like the African Bush or squids and look it up on as many reference sites as you can find. Dictionary.com, thesaurus.com, Wikipedia.org and about.com are some research sites you can begin with. Learn as much as you can about this new topic. Keep a file for research notes.

10. A New Point of View
Pick a genre or point of view you have never tried before and write a short story with it. If you normally use third-person point of view, switch to first-person. If you normally focus on non-fiction, branch out and write some fiction. If you normally write sappy romances, give action/adventure a try. It’s scary to leave your comfort zone, but you’d be surprised the kind of inspiration you get when you switch perspective.

Library Humor

Friday, January 23, 2015

Word of the Day

 \ flit \  , verb;  
1.to move lightly and swiftly; fly, dart, or skim along: bees flitting from flower to flower .
2.to flutter, as a bird.
3.to pass quickly, as time: hours flitting by .
4.Chiefly Scot. and North England . a. to depart or die. b. to change one's residence.

Dominion lasts until obtained -/ Possession just as long -/ But these - endowing as they flit / Eternally belong.
-- Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), "Dominion lasts until obtained," 1945

At every stop, she flits  like a firefly -- alighting here, glowing with charm, then moving on to another voter.
-- Helen Thorpe, "Bill Bradley's Secret Weapon," New York , 2000

Flit  entered English around 1200, and can be traced to the Old Norse flytja  meaning "to carry, convey."


How to Punctuate Quotations

How to Punctuate Quotations
by Mark Nichol
Quotation marks are signposts indicating that spoken or written words are being expressed. They have other purposes, too, but this post confines itself to this role.

Despite the ubiquity of quotation marks, some people still err in placement of the closing mark. Generally, a close quotation mark follows rather than precedes a sentence’s terminal punctuation, as in the sentence “You have nothing to worry about.” (Styles for quotation marks in British English differ from those for American English: Terminal punctuation follows the close quotation mark, and dialogue and quotations are enclosed in pairs of single, not double, quotation marks.)

Notice, however, that I wrote “generally,” and not just because of the British English exception. (As you see here, a comma, like a period, is located inside quotation marks when it follows one or more words thus confined.) What are the exceptions? If the terminal punctuation mark is a question mark or an exclamation mark, and it appears outside the context of the quotation, it should be located outside the quotation mark as well.

(In the examples below, which I enclose in double quotation marks because they are themselves excerpts of written documents, the sentences in question are bracketed by single quotation marks — the correct style for a quote of a quote.)

For example, notice the placement of the question mark in “Who said, ‘You have nothing to worry about’?” The framing sentence, not the quotation, is an interrogative sentence, so the question mark belongs outside the single quotation marks bracketing the quotation (but inside the double quotation marks, because it is part of my example.) By the same token, in the sentence “I can’t believe he had the nerve to say, ‘You have nothing to worry about’!” the indignation resides in the context of the framing sentence, not in the recitation of another person’s contentious comment.

Notice also that, though a period would ordinarily be located within the quotation followed by the question mark and a comma would usually appear after “about” in the example with the exclamation point, quotation marks and exclamation points trump and replace periods and commas in such sentence constructions. Punctuation marks are never paired (except in the use of multiple question marks or exclamation points in informal writing, and in the case of a close parenthesis and a period, like the tag team you see right here).

That’s not all there is to quotation marks, of course. For example, in a future post, I’ll discuss the subtleties of proper placement of attributions, those identifying phrases such as “he said” or “she added” so fundamental to both journalism and literature.

* http://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-punctuate-quotations/

Library Humor

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finding My Relatives - in Slovakia

*by Vladimir Bohinc, Professional Genealogist

I would like to share with you my experience in finding live relatives, hoping to save some of you a lot of time and frustration.

Let us presume, you know the names of your Grand parents. They were the ones that emigrated some 100 years ago. You can be pretty sure, that there still are people with blood relation to you, living somewhere in Slovakia. Let us also presume, you know the place where your ancestors were born. What would be the first step? And next?

Quite easy, you can put together a list of all persons with certain surnames that you can find in a phone book. Priority lies with those that still live in that place or near. Are these my relatives? Is this the question I should ask them? They do not know that. They do not know your ancestors and have probably never heard about them. 100 years ago they just disappeared, didn't they? What they can remember is the same as what you can; the names of their Grandparents. You will understand, that their Grandparents can not be yours. Right? So, what could they then be?

Each of your Grandparents probably had siblings. If he/she was the only one who left the country, then some of those siblings might have survived , got married and had children . The descendants of the siblings of your Grand parents would be your live relatives now. If these lines did not survive, then it would be the descendants of the siblings of your Grand Grand parents.

It is also very likely, that your live relatives will not carry the original surname. Probably the same way as you. In this case, you can not go and look for them in the phone book. You just don't know their surnames and whereabouts.

I soon realized, that asking the supposed relatives whether they remember this or that leads you nowhere. It is simply not enough to declare somebody a relative, if he remembers your ancestors or stories about them. I have only one question, always the same, when I first approach potential relatives; " What were the names of your Grand parents?" Mostly people know that.

Now, on my side, I have made a research about the siblings of my Grand parents and their descendants to such extent, that I have pairs of parents, that married after 1900 and thus could be Grandparents to somebody, that still remembers them. Sometimes I find even more data, so that I already have direct parents of still living persons.

If the person tells me the names that I have on my Tree, he is my relative. I must look for as long as there are any potential candidates. If this fails, then another, older descendant line has to be made and the process repeated.

One of the problems associated with the search for living persons is the fact, that most Church Records end with 1895. Younger Records must be sought in Town Halls or Mayor's offices, which are not so easily accessible, due to the Privacy Law. Sometimes the Parish office has managed to save the Records from being taken away in the 50s. The availability varies very much from Parish to Parish. A cemetery search can also be of help in such cases, however, very old headstones are seldom to find, since the cemeteries have in many cases been renewed or moved or graves have been reused and old names are not there any more.

There is also a psychological aspect of this search. One has to understand, that your motives for finding your ancestors, places of origin, their old homes, relatives etc. may not be fully understood the way you feel about them. American family values are not quite the same as here. Sooner or later, a question may arise, whether you are after some property.

Most of the persons that emigrated, became heirs at some point in time. These inheritance problems have been solved in different ways. It may well be, that in some cases, there are some unsolved ,open questions. For this reason, having this in mind, one has to approach the newly found relatives with great care and respect, showing them only your pure genealogical interest. They will need some time to feel comfortable with that. Nobody likes too many questions. You should rather motivate your relatives to tell stories and alike on their own. Time will come, when you will be able to ask anything.

If you are thinking of visiting the relatives there are also some points to be considered

Every family clan has a certain internal hierarchy. If you find one related family, there will be five more right away. Try to find out, which family has the key position in that hierarchy and try not to ignore them. They should be #1 regarding your visiting plans.
If you will disregard this, the family will have a quarrel after you leave.
Lodging with the family is a very tricky business. Not to advise for the first time. You all have to get used to each other first. You will also want freedom of movement, which would be difficult to have while staying with the relatives.
One also has to consider, that the living standard here is much lower than in the US. Such a visit is a heavy burden to the family budget.
From the very beginning of your contacts, try to figure out an appropriate way to at least partly compensate for the costs. There were cases, where the relatives, wanting to show their hospitality, have taken a loan to cover the costs of hosting the visitors.
Most of your relatives do not speak English. Be sure to have a good interpreter that not only knows the language, but can also observe and comment.
While being here you will maybe not find all the comfort you are used to have at home. Never mind. This is a country and people, that have survived very hard times and are trying to catch up. Slovak hospitality will make it up for.
Having said all this and I am sure, there could be more, I would just like to recapitulate the most important points:

have your ancestors researched in a way that you will have a firm connecting point to living relatives before you contact anybody.
do not try to go and hunt without any such preparation.
do not expect too much from the records, that may or may not be kept in the parish you visit.
treat your relatives with respect, disregarding their social status.
do not forget to compensate. This will make lasting friends.
during your visit try to maintain the right blend of time and attention to the family you visited and the rest of the country you want to see. This will tell them much about your true motives of your visit.
bring a US flag with you and exchange it for a Slovak one.
I wish you all a successful search and lots of joy with your new family. In case you might want to consider a professional assistance, feel free to contact me at konekta@nm.psg.sk.

Sincerely yours,
Vladimir Bohinc


Word of the Day

 \ DIK-shuhn \  , noun;  
1.style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words: good diction .
2.the accent, inflection, intonation, and speech-sound quality manifested by an individual speaker, usually judged in terms of prevailing standards of acceptability; enunciation.

But the main characters themselves are not credible, with their mythic passions, expressed in diction  more formal and flowery than would ever issue from a boy of the slums and a girl from the world of pampered inanity.
-- Rhoda Koenig, "Rio Is Rich," New York , 1994

But wise men pierce this rotten diction  and fasten words again to visible things; so that picturesque language is at once a commanding certificate that he who employs it is a man in alliance with truth and God.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nature," 1836

Diction  stems from the Latin dÄ«cere  meaning "to say." The term entered English in the early 1400s.


Library Humor

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Word of the Day

 \ gleed \, noun;  
1.Archaic . a glowing coal.

"Not a gleed  of fire, then, except the bit kindling peat, and maybe a spunk in Mysie's cutty-pipe," replied Caleb.
-- Sir Walter Scott, The Bride of Lammermoor, 1819

I saw her pale lips move—a spell of warding, I suppose, for she neither winced nor withdrew her hand from the burning gleed .
-- Delia Sherman, The Porcelain Dove, 1993

Gleed  entered English before 950, and is related to the more common word glow .


A list of external links to useful forms to keep a genealogical project organized.
Ancestral Chart
Download the popular ancestral chart from Ancestry.com.

Easy Genealogy Forms
Download pedigree charts and family group sheets for free, from a genealogy researcher's website.

Family Tree Magazine- Download Forms
Download forms that will aid in the research and presentation of a genealogical project. The various forms record information on books or articles, tombstones or artifacts, census, people or families, and general research relevant to a project.

Genealogy Forms
Genealogy forms created by genealogy researchers conducting their own project. The creators stress that their forms are easy and intuitive. Download family record sheets, pedigree charts, pedigree fan charts, general family relationships charts, various timeline charts, tracking cemeteries charts, research and correspondence logs.


This Day In History - January 21

January 21, 1985:
Don DeLillo's " White Noise" wins the American Book Award

On this day in 1985, Don DeLillo wins the American Book Award for his breakthrough novel, "White Noise."

Although DeLillo had been publishing novels since 1971, his books had received little attention. "White Noise," a semi-satire about a professor of Hitler Studies exposed to an "airborne toxic event," established DeLillo as a leading post-modern novelist, concerned with the dread, paranoia, and malaise lying beneath American popular culture. He published Libra, a fictional portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald, in 1988 and Mao II, about a reclusive writer dragged into international politics and terrorism, in 1991.

In 1997, he published what some considered his masterwork, the 827-page Underworld, a sprawling exploration of America during the Cold War that touches on baseball, Vietnam, serial killings, nuclear weapons, visual art, and more.

DeLillo was born in New York to Italian immigrants in 1936. He grew up in working-class New York and attended Fordham University. He worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency before he became a novelist in his mid-30s. He lived for many years with his wife, a banker, in Toronto before returning to New York, where they now live.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Welcome to the Yocum Library

Welcome new and returning RACC students to the Yocum Library.

For students wishing to borrow items from the library, you will need to check them out at the Service Desk. The Service Desk is on your left as you enter the Yocum Library, 2nd floor.

The Yocum Library joined the consortium of the Berks County Libraries and for the students with a library card from a Berks County library; they may continue to use their library card.

If the student wishes to use the computers in the Yocum Library, they must bring their card to the Service Desk, along with a copy of their Fall 2013 student class schedule to obtain the proper sticker identifying them as a current RACC student.

If you do not have a library card, you may get one at the Service Desk. Just fill in the information on white index card. You will need to present a photo ID, such as PA drivers’ license or state ID card, a passport or other government issued ID. A RACC photo ID is also acceptable. A current class schedule is required. The library card is free.

A student may not use a Yocum Library computer without the sticker.

The Yocum Library sticker (Internet) is available at the service desk. To obtain the new sticker, bring your current student schedule and your library card to the service desk. A staff member will update your library card.

The staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the library and library procedures. The Reference Librarian is on your right as you enter the Yocum Library, 2nd floor.

Welcome to the Yocum Library.


The following tutorials are available for students on the Reading Area Community College, "The Yocum Library" website ..http://racc.edu/Yocum/default.aspx
Library Tutorials.. http://www.passhe.edu/inside/asa/library/Pages/Tutorials.aspx

Evaluating Websites

Finding Articles in Academic Search Complete

Finding Free Books on Google Books

Finding Good Sources

From a News Article to a Research Study

Google Search Tips

Project Muse

SciFinder Get Substances

SciFinder Get Substances and Reactions

Searching the Berks County Library Catalog

Select a Topic

Using the Formula Tab in Microsoft Excel

Welcome to SciFinder

What is a Research Study?

What is Citation Indexing?


* http://www.passhe.edu/inside/asa/library/Pages/Tutorials.aspx

Word of the Day

 \ sis-uh-ROH-nee, chich-uh-; It . chee-che-RAW-ne \ , noun;  
1.a person who conducts sightseers; guide.

"Intelligent old girl, I should say, sir," continued the cicerone , regardless of the Doctor's look of disgust…
-- John William DeForest, "Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty," 1867

I had no convenient cicerone  in the pattern of the Utopian books.
-- H. G. Wells, "The Time Machine ," 1895

Cicerone  is the accusative form of the name Cicero  because a guide was thought to have the knowledge and eloquence of Cicero.