Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Humans and Night

Due to the tilt of the Earth's axis, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning away from the sun on Saturday, December 21st, causing the longest night of the year. Night is when we can see stars. If we are in a location with little light pollution, we can see more stars as well as the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, which stretches across the sky like a blurry (milky) band and is made up of stars, gas, and dust.

Our relationship with night is often spent sleeping and dreaming, as dictated by our circadian rhythms. Though, millions of workers labor during evening and "graveyard" shifts, some of which contribute to running the world's nightlife.

This blog post shares an eclectic mix of Armacost Library resources on night, sleep, and dreaming.

Histories of Night
At day's close: Night in times pastBook in General Collection: HN8 .E48 2006
Evening's empire: A history of the night in early modern Europe; Book in General Collection: GT3408 .K67 2011

The Stars 
The Stars we know: Crow Indian astronomy and lifeways; Book in General Collection: E99.C92 M25 2012
Stars above, earth below: A guide to astronomy in the national parks; Book in General Collection QB44.3 .N67 2010


Image result for Sleep : a very short introduction    Image result for The Secret world of sleep : the surprising science of the mind at rest

Dreams and nightmares: The new theory on the origin and meaning of dreams; Book in General Collection BF1091 .H365 1998 The new science of dreaming; Book in General Collection BF1078 .N454 2007 v.1-3

Night work
Nightshift NYC; An online book
Working the night shift: Women in India's call center industry; Book in General Collection HD6189 .P375 2010

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Finals Week - Extended Hours

Visit the Library for extended hours during Finals Week. Plenty of quiet spaces for studying, open late, during the following hours:

Sunday, December 8: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Monday, December 9 - Thursday, December 12: 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Friday, December 13: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 14: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Qui Nguyen on Fantasy, Fighting and Family

image credit: Arizona State University

This month the Theatre department will perform "She Kills Monsters," a play inspired by comic books, superhero movies and Dungeons & Dragons. Appropriately enough for one drawn to heroic narratives, playwright Qui Nguyen has a powerful origin story of his own. Nguyen's parents were Vietnamese immigrants who settled in El Dorado, Arkansas. Nguyen was always aware of how his family stood out in the mostly white community, but his parents taught him that while he was an outlier in his hometown, he actually looked like the majority of the rest of the world. They fed him a steady diet of kung fu movies so he would be accustomed to seeing Asians as protagonists and people of strength. [2] In 1988, when Nguyen was twelve, he saw this heroism firsthand in his own family.

That year, 110 refugees from Communist North Vietnam crowded into a tiny motorboat they hoped would take them to freedom, including Nguyen's uncle and two cousins who hoped to join Nguyen's family in the United States. They carried enough supplies for a week, but when the boat's motor failed, their journey dragged on for over a month as they drifted through the South China Sea. At one point the refugees made contact with a US Navy vessel, which refused to take them onboard or provide sufficient supplies. The passengers fell ill and resorted to murder and cannibalism in their desperation. When Filipino fishermen rescued them only 52 people were left alive, including the younger of Nguyen's two cousins, who was sent not to America, but rather to a refugee camp in the Philippines. It was up to Nguyen's mother to lobby journalists and American officials to get him released. She was told it would take no less than two years to navigate the bureaucratic impasse, but owing to her tenacity, she got it done in two months and had Nguyen's cousin home in Arkansas by Thanksgiving. Nguyen recalls how his cousin - two years younger than him - was changed by the ordeal. "I think my soul is dead," he confided one day. [4]

The story stayed with Nguyen, and he got an opportunity to tell it in drama school. "I had never written a play before, so I had no voice as a writer; all I could do was imitate scribes that I liked," said Nguyen. [1] The resulting play, "Trial by Water," draws on the work of pioneering Asian-American playwright David Henry Hwang and saw its premiere by the Ma-Yi Theatre Company in March 2006. Reviewers praised the set design, the use of puppets to represent the refugees, and especially the fight scenes, staged by Nguyen himself. However, critics found the characters too one-dimensional, the dialogue too predictable, and the play's overall tone to be melodramatic rather than tragic. [4] Nguyen recalls that when his family finally saw the play, he was eager to hear his mother's reaction:

She responded bluntly, "It doesn't sound like you." I was shocked. "What do you mean it doesn't sound like me? You've never read anything I've ever written." I thought she was referring to my voice as a writer. What she meant was, literally, it didn't sound like her son. She told me, "You're mischievous and you're funny and you like to goof around, and this play doesn't show any of that." My response to her was a very mature, "Screw you, mom. If you really want me to be all those things, I'll write those things, and I'll show you how much you won't like it." [1]

And so Nguyen's theatre company, Vampire Cowboys, was born. Vampire Cowboys quickly earned a reputation for creating "pop-culture infused action-adventure stories with heroes who were female, people of color, and/or LGBTQ." [1] Nguyen drew on his loves for martial arts movies and comic books, as well as his experience as a fight choreographer, which allowed him to write and direct elaborate combat scenes in each of his plays. "I have a unique perspective as a playwright because I am also the fight director," he explains. "I get to actually go inside the space and play around and move the actors around. I always like spaces that I can do new tricks in, like bounce off walls." [5] Nguyen's work with Vampire Cowboys has allowed him to find his voice as a playwright and realize his vision for a pop-culture informed theatricality. "My ultimate dream for Vampire Cowboys," writes Nguyen, "is to create characters as memorable and iconic as a Superman or Wonder Woman but representing the world I live in with the diversity it has and the faces I'm used to. I would like to have an Asian-American Superman, African-American Batman or a Latino Captain America and have people embrace them not as token characters, but characters they love..." [5]

Nguyen's partnerships with Vampire Cowboys led to a string of genre-bending plays and numerous award nominations in the 2000s and 2010s. When he was finally ready to return to telling family stories, the result was "Vietgone," which blended tales from the fall of Saigon with classical Greek tragedy. Nguyen credits his success at pushing through boundaries and growing as an artist to the support he receives from trusted artistic collaborators:

I think of myself as a really shy introvert. When it comes to actually being vulnerable, it's hard for me ... And so when I'm writing something ... where we're going to dive into my fears and skeletons in my family's closet, I want to know that my team is filled with people that will go to the wall with me. If you look at my production history, you'll notice that I work with a select group of people over and over again, because I know that when I get into that rehearsal room, I'm gonna bare my soul. So when I meet people that I care about and trust implicitly, I hang onto them. This is my "family." The advantage is that when you're in a room with people you know have your back, you're fearless - you can push the envelope way farther because you're willing to experiment in ways you can't when you don't know each other very well and still trying to be polite. [1]

In "She Kills Monsters," Nguyen's heroic vision centers on Dungeons & Dragons, which affords a young woman the ability to gain unexpected insight into her dead sister. The role playing game is not merely there to evoke nostalgia for a popular pastime shared by playwright and audience members alike. Rather, the dungeon master serves as an effective vehicle for Nguyen's meditations on fate and tragedy. "Looming over the action is another fate-shaper, one whose edicts are permanent. Bumping into the wrong orc in the wrong cave can mean a premature death, and so can dying in a car crash at the age of fifteen," wrote one critic. "When someone gets his heart torn out in 'She Kills Monsters,' it comes complete with grisly sound effect. No less impressive, however, are the play's depictions of the more conventional wounds of adolescence, the ones that come from loving and not being loved in return. The whole enterprise is kind of dopey and kind of invigorating and kind of remarkable. It will slash and shapeshift its way into your heart." [3]

Buy tickets for "She Kills Monsters" on the University of Redlands website. 

Works Cited

[1] Adrales, May. "All in the Family." American Theatre 34, no. 2, 2017: 46. Ebsco.

[2] Criscuolo, Michael. "Qui Nguyen." American Theatre 27, no. 8, 2010: 42. Ebsco.

[3] Grode, Eric. "The Pains of Evisceration and Unrequited Love." New York Times, November 19, 2011, C3. ProQuest.

[4] Stevens, Andrea. "A Savage Journey Prompts Questions of Our Humanity." New York Times, March 28, 2006: E5. ProQuest.

[5] Wellman, Mac. "Running Your Own Show." Dramatist 11, no. 4, 2009: 7. Ebsco.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Trisha R. Thomas: The Nappily Series

Trisha R. Thomas, author of the Nappily Series, will speak about her work on Tuesday, November 5, 7-8pm in Hall of Letters #100.

A screening of the recently released Nappily Ever After, the romcom based on Thomas's novel, will take place on Monday, November 4, 7-8pm in Hall of Letters #100.

Two nights of romantic comedy! (Move over Hallmark Channel.)

Thomas combines romantic comedy with the empowerment of a Black woman claiming her beauty in a culture that has centered Western European (eurocentric) beauty ideals. When first published Nappily Ever After caused controversy for the use of the term nappy: "I remember when Nappy Hair came out and the controversy and the anger that was felt, and it was frightening.

For your interest, books from our collection on Black beauty in the context of the United States:

Shange, Ntozake. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow Is Enuf : a Choreopoem . New York: MacMillan, 1977.

Craig, Maxine Leeds. Ain’t I a Beauty Queen? : Black Women, Beauty, and the Politics of Race. Oxford ;: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Banks, Ingrid. Hair Matters : Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness . New York: New York University Press, 2000.

Hobson, Janell. Venus in the Dark : Blackness and Beauty in Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Elsevier and the University of California

Our University of California (UC) colleagues (and their students) are shouldering a tremendous burden on our behalf as they stand up to Elsevier. What may be less apparent is why their opposition is so important. In recent decades through mergers, acquisitions, and a rebranding of their business strategies, Elsevier has increased their control over scholarship by offering products, services, and data to governments, funders, higher ed institutions, learned societies, libraries, multilateral agencies, and ranking agencies. This has resulted in substantial dependence on Elsevier to extract and analyze data, and to determine what counts as prestigious and of high-quality. This is the domain of scholars (who provide our time, labor, and monies) yet Elsevier (and other publishers) are often seen as authorities of quality. Elsevier’s recent profit margins rest comfortably at or above 30which come at the expense of library book budgets and learned societies. Scholars must work collectively to limit corporate authority (in prestige and pricing) given the damage to research integrity and financial sustainability for universities, libraries, and students (e.g., textbooks). (See the Armacost Library Manifesto; additional citations available upon request.) 

As responsible stewards, Library faculty have resisted Big Deals, defended patron privacy, developed an open-access repository, and begun to discuss how to challenge this emerging model of business. (See the Armacost Library Manifesto.) With the support of our new Associate Provost and Director, we ask that you join us in support of our UC colleagues to rebalance power in the circulation of our own scholarly communications. 
  • Upload your scholarship and creative work to Our House in InSPIRe, as permitted by your contracts 
  • Support libraries as they negotiate fair contracts; back them up when negotiations fail. 
  • Support mission-driven, academic-led publishers with your content 
  • Support mission-driven, academic-led publishing with your labor. 
  • Support mission-driven, academic-led initiatives by committing funds. 


Les Canterbury 
Lua Gregory 
Shana Higgins 
Bill Kennedy 
Janelle Julagay 
Paige Mann 
Sanjeet Mann 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

You like free?

October 21-27, 2019 is Open Access (OA) Week!

You see open access (OA) and open educational resources (OER) everywhere...

Screenshot of Primo's search results showing a search filter for open access (OA) and a search result that is OA

 Visual link to How Do I? questions and answers about open access (OA) and open educational resources (OER)

Visual link to the Faculty Guide to OER

Do you like free? Well, when a scholarly article or book is made freely available online for anyone to use, that scholarly item is considered to be open access (OA). When something is OA, that means that it's free to use and free of most restrictions that prevent its use. Since the vast majority of scholarly article publishing is authored and paid for by universities, many scholars want to see their scholarship free for anyone to use. Many educators also want OA since that makes it easier to get information to their students.

Do you like free textbooks? Well, when textbooks, videos, and other educational material are made freely available for anyone to use, those items are called open educational resources (OER). If you'd like to learn more, join us in Larsen 222 on Monday, October 21 at 12:30pm to learn how liberal arts institutions like the University of Redlands are making OER happen on their campuses. Current students, faculty, and administrators are invited!

This year, faculty have an opportunity to apply for a grant to support the use of OER.

If you have any questions, please call 909-748-8022 or email library [at] redlands [dot] edu.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

National Friends of the Library Week

The inner workings of libraries can be mysterious. This is no accident. Librarians and library staff work hard to make most of our processes invisible to the communities we serve in order to make the experience of using the library's services and resources smooth and seamless. While we at Armacost strive to continue to maintain that mystery, we also want to be sure to acknowledge community members who help us do our best work.

One of the most discreet forces behind the functionality and progressiveness of libraries is an organization created to support and oversee the continuation of the library’s services to the community. Most county, special collections, and city libraries fondly know them as the Friends of the Library. With monthly meetings that are sometimes open to the public, the Friends of the Library work hard to oversee the collection at the library, generate funds through book sales and other events, and can help to better the library’s global and social presence and involvement.

For academic libraries, such as the Armacost Library here at the University of Redlands, there is an advisory board composed of the Director of the Library, faculty, students, and other members of the university community. The responsibility of discussing what direction the library is going in and making plans to better the overall environment and goals of the library are left to this capable council of members. Sometimes, they decide where the art of the library will go and whose art ought to be hung on the walls. Other times, they advise staff on updates to hours or circulation policies.

For example, in the past, the Library Advisory Board for the Armacost Library gave valuable input when the library discussed renovating the learning commons. They also advised on the Armacost Community Agreement and various job descriptions for the staff currently working at the library. They, not only, impact the structure of the library, but also create future opportunities for the community it serves. Their input d​uring the migration to our current Integrated Library System (aka: the library catalog) was especially important.

Although the Library Advisory Board hasn’t been active for a while due to shifts in the library, Annie Downey, current Associate Provost and Director of the A​rmacost Library and Learning Commons, is planning to reconvene the Board this academic year and looks forward to working with this group of UofR community members who are “dedicated to the library” and she hopes to do many more projects with them. Current Librarians also note that they create a connection with the library and campus. Also, there are members of the library community interested in leading them into furthering their goals for the Armacost Library and the University of Redlands.

Whether it is at a public, special, or academic library, those who support, protect, and better the use of the library for their community will always be those who raise awareness for their cause. The mission of the Armacost Library include providing services to all walks of life on campus and beyond. 

Conveniently, the Armacost Library is open to the public due to the government documents available on the 4th floor of the building. However, a non-Redlands faculty member, student, or staff member are required to have library cards to check out the information. Accessing the library and viewing the documents require nothing but a curious mind.

So, come and witness the hard work that the Library's Advisory Board, Librarians, Library Staff, and Student Library Clerks put in to make this dream work.

Monday, October 07, 2019

What Is A Seminary Library?

Graduate School of Theology (GST) students on Redlands’ Marin Campus in San Anselmo, CA  need a wide range of resources to support their research, work, and ministries. From ordination exam study guides to spiritual direction handbooks, the collection at the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) Library is not a typical library collection because the students here at the seminary are not your typical students.

Not everyone graduates to get behind the pulpit. Instead, they channel their passion into chaplaincy, education, or in establishing non-profits or grassroots campaigns. Students often research, address, and speak out about traumas or problems they’ve witnessed in their communities. They want the academic background for designing solutions and healing processes. As their librarian, I’m proud to be a sounding board for their research topics and to introduce them to the variety of sources they can synthesize into innovative dissertations and projects.

One reason many students choose this graduate institution over others is the freedom to take a panoply of courses from all the member centers and schools of the Graduate Theological Union. These seminaries and centers merged their libraries to create one of the largest, most diversified theological libraries on the West Coast, the Graduate Theological Union Library. The San Francisco Theological Seminary library is a branch of this library, which means that all physical and electronic resources are shared between the libraries and their patrons. Moreover, Graduate School of Theology students get free walk-in access to the UC Berkeley libraries.

Studying amidst castles seems like a fantasy, but it’s daily life for the students here on campus. They enjoy views of the Hogwarts-like seminary buildings and Mt. Tamalpais as they roam the library’s halls and the labyrinth outside the library. Geneva Hall houses not only the library, but also one of the chapels, faculty offices, and a few classrooms. Functionally and geographically, the building is at the heart of the campus.

If library smells are dear to your heart, the book smell here will make you especially happy. There is a rich archival collection housed here, featuring artifacts, missionaries’ diaries, and rare books.

If you have questions about the library or find yourself researching an advanced religious or theological topic, please call, email, visit, or chat.

-Stephanie Miller
Branch Librarian
Graduate School of Theology - Marin Campus; home of the San Francisco Theological Seminary

Monday, September 30, 2019

Redlands Experiences: Archival Materials

As we go about our days as students, faculty members or staff at Redlands, we are part of a continuum of people who have done similar things since the inception of our University, over 100 years ago. Each individual who has had a Redlands experience is a part of the collective story of our institution. Everyone comes from a different background, and brings their own perspective to the mix. That is what makes our story rich, and diverse.

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a student at Redlands in a different era? What might students now and students in the 1930s have in common? How might their campus experiences be different? Recently, the archives of Armacost Library received a wonderful donation of photographic images taken by student Helen Frances Woodard, in the 1930s. In each photo, we see what Woodard’s perspective was. They act as a small window into the past, revealing a few clues that might help us explore these questions of similarity and difference more closely.

Woodard made these diminutive photos with a box camera. Many simple box cameras of the 1930s did not have a source of additional light like an internal flash mechanism, so taking photos outdoors, or in a very well lit indoor space yielded the best images. The images taken went on film inside the camera. The film went to a developing house, or people could develop the film themselves and print the photos out on paper, with a relatively simple system of chemicals and equipment. Think how we capture images with current technology, and compare it to what Woodard did. There is quite a difference!

Now, examine the images for yourself, and compare them to similar views you see each day on campus. Reflecting on the experiences of others can help us clarify our own, and give insight into the continuum, of which we are an important part. As you take selfies or post images to Instragram of SnapChat, take a few and print them out, so they will be around for future generations to enjoy, just as we are enjoying Woodard’s snaps.

Michele Nielsen
Armacost Library, Archivist Historian

Monday, September 16, 2019

Banned Books Week 2019

September 22 - 28 is Banned Books Week, a time in which we can celebrate our freedom to read!

The American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom keeps track of challenges to books in the United States and has published the top ten banned and challenged books for 2018. Banned Book Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries.

While a "challenge" is an attempt to remove or restrict access to material, a "ban" is the actual removal of material. Although the reasons for challenging materials are wide and varied, recent requests to remove books generally refer to violence, offensive language, sexually explicit content, religious viewpoint, or the representation of gender roles and gender identity.

Join us for the following Banned Books Week events:

Banned Books Event
When: Wednesday, September 25, 11:00am - 1:00pm
Where: CDI and Hunsaker Plaza
Choose a banned or challenged book at our table in Hunsaker Plaza, in front of the Commons. Take a picture with it. Make buttons featuring banned books! Visit the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) to hear audiobooks playing of banned titles and discover why they've been challenged or banned. 

Silence is Loud
When: Friday, September 27
1:30pm: Silent Reading
2:30pm: #BannedBooksWeek open mic
Where: Location TBD
Snacks, books, and bring your own blanket. 

Banned Books Exhibit
When: All week
Where: Library entrance, 2nd floor
The Armacost Library will highlight banned and challenged books.

Banned Books Week events are sponsored by Armacost Library, Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and Johnston Center for Integrative Studies.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Welcome to the Armacost Library and Learning Commons from the Director!

Hello University of Redlands Community, 

On behalf of the Armacost Library faculty and staff, I would like to welcome all students, faculty, and staff to a new academic yearI am thrilled to be your new Associate Provost and Director of the Armacost Library and Learning CommonsAs I begin my first semester at the University of Redlands, I am looking forward to a year of discoverylearning, and meeting new people.  

Immediately upon arriving at the University of Redlands campus for my first day of work, I was delighted by the staff that I have the pleasure of working with each day. Over the the summer, our team was further enhanced with the addition of two new UofR staff members. Tiffany Chai and Matthew Diep became the newest members of our Access Services team this August. Tiffany is Circulation Supervisor and Matthew is Course Reserves Coordinator. While not new to the university or the library, Shana Higgins has moved to a new role as Instruction and Access Services Coordinator. We are also excited to have Michele Nielsen, University Historian and Archivist, and Teresa Letizia, Archives Assistant, join us on the library staff, after working for several years with Alumni and Community Relations. Finally, as part of the SFTS merger, Branch Librarian Stephanie Miller became a part of our team. Stephanie will continue to work closely with theology students on the Marin Campus. 

With our team in place, I’ve watched with excitement as campus has filled over the last couple of weeks. The Armacost Library and Learning Commons' librarians and staff are here to support you in all your information and research needs, whether you are looking for a good book or movie, accessing course readingssearching for articles in our database and journal subscriptions, or adding your scholarly works to InSpire. Our friendly and knowledgeable faculty librarians are here to help with your research questions, whether you are just getting started on identifying a topic for a paper, need help finding sources, or are struggling with how to format citations. We are available to work with you however works best for you, be it an online or in person one-on-one consultation appointment, dropping by the library day or nightchatting or emailingor using a carefully cultivated research guide. Librarians also partner with faculty to teach research and information literacy in courses at all levels and in all disciplines. 

We invite you to learn from and enjoy the library’s many services and collections as you embark on your own year of discovery, trying new things, and making new friends. 

Och Tamale!
Annie Downey