Money Matters

April 20th, 2015

This week is Money Smart Week, a personal financial literacy initiative started in Chicago in 2001. Today, it is observed in a dozen states and is supported by the American Library Association and the Financial Planners Association. This public awareness campaign helps people, especially youth, manage their finances through numerous programs targeted at all kinds of groups and individuals.

msw

Many of our students are already quite experienced at budgeting, and have been managing their own households for many years. Others are new to it, though, and could use an ally. Especially our soon-to-be graduates, when the dreaded student loan repayment bills start to come! Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and resources for you to use right here in the library.

A great place to start is our financial literacy libguide. It includes articles, books, and websites of use to building your financial literacy skills, as well as material selected by our financial aid department that can help with repaying student loans. But of course, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. We have plenty more, as well – check out titles like The finance and accounting desktop guide: accounting literacy for the non-financial manager by Ralph Tiffin, Teens and credit by Roman Espejo, Taking ownership of the future: the national strategy for financial literacy, Using deliberative techniques to teach financial literacy by Nancy Claxton, or PISA 2012 Results: Students and Money: Financial Literacy Skills for the 21st Century for helpful tips and tools. There’s something for every need.

financial literacy books

And as always, if you have any questions, please ask us at iueref@iue.edu!

Insight into the 150th Anniversary of the Passing of Abraham Lincoln

April 14th, 2015

April 15, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s 16th president and one of its most famous personages. Few other American figures have been quite as celebrated, eulogized or invoked in the public consciousness, and fewer still have taken on the stuff of legend that Lincoln assumed both during and beyond his lifetime. His story is quintessential American myth: born poor in a log cabin, self-taught, freed the slaves, died tragically. But it is in interpretations of his life and beliefs that he took on the deep meaning and nearly universal praise his image and reputation enjoy today.

Appletons'_Lincoln_Abraham_frontispiece

His death itself turned into a major media event. In The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth and Memory, Harold Holzer and Frank Williams state “Even if most pictorial representations of Lincoln’s death lacked realism and good draftsmanship, all of them— paintings, popular prints, and photomontages— deserve renewed historical attention today because of their staggering popularity at the time they were issued, and their decisive impact on popular culture and American collective memory.” Popular images of Lincoln’s death, while not always accurate, helped to promote him as a victim to the cause of freedom, a quotidian American value and an important factor in his popularity today.

Another key to Lincoln’s legendary status lies in the multiple aspects of his life and personality, which remain symbolic and open to appropriation. Lincoln served in the military but also owned a small business (a general store which failed), reinforcing modern-day conservative values. Additionally, Lincoln wrote some of the most beloved speeches in American history, calling for mercy and remembrance. His Second Inaugural Address includes the famous line “With malice toward none, with charity for all,” one of the most quoted lines of any president. His speeches and his achievements regarding Emancipation represent a more democratically inclined leader whose work guaranteed freedom for disenfranchised African Americans. This multifaceted president therefore symbolizes innumerable values, and he has been claimed by a number of causes as one of their own. “Americans of every persuasion have wanted to pin their tail on Lincoln’s donkey in an effort to gain status for their personal cause since shortly after his death”, Edward Steers writes in his book Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President, a statement not far from the truth. Lincoln is called upon to evoke justice in fields as diverse as labor.

Beyond Lincoln as a champion of various causes or a martyr to American ideals, Lincoln has also been portrayed in numerous works of fiction and art. Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” praises Lincoln’s achievements while mourning his violent demise. African-American poet James Weldon Johnson exalts Lincoln’s memory in his poem “Father Father Abraham”, comparing him to the ancient Jewish patriarch Abraham. But not all portrayals are so reverent. During his lifetime, he and members of his cabinet were skewered in “The President’s Ball”, a 19th century music hall tune. Modern culture has also satirized his image, as in Seth Grahame-Smith’s well-known Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. In short, there is an Abraham Lincoln for everyone.

This is not to say that the man himself becomes invisible under his many roles. There are numerous fine biographies of Lincoln. David Colbert’s biography focuses on ten key dates in Lincoln’s life. K. M. Kostyal and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Abraham Lincoln’s Extraordinary Era primarily concerns itself with his Civil War history in the White House. For a single-volume overview of Lincoln’s life, few books come as recommended as David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln. However you wish to commemorate the passing of one of American’s finest leaders, the IU East Library provides innumerable options to meet your curiosity.

Want to know more? We can help! Contact us at iueref@iue.edu.

Music Resources

April 13th, 2015

You may not tend to think of the library for your music classes – after all, how can words convey what music is, or duplicate the experience of listening to it? But the truth is, the library has plenty of materials that can accentuate or facilitate the study of music. And one of those tools, the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, just got a major overhaul.

The Garland Encyclopedia includes 9,000 pages worth of material digitized from the original print encyclopedia. It allows you to search for information by genre, cultural group, musical subject, instrument, person, ensemble, or place. It also includes nine CDs worth of culturally representative music, and has tools that let users create, annotate, and share playlists with audio content from anywhere on the internet.

garland music interface

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – a guide listing many of our music resources can be found here. Perhaps the most relevant is the Naxos Music Library, which includes over a million and a half tracks of streaming music from 100,000 CDs, and adds 800 new CDs every month. You can listen to music of any genre, search by composer, artist, or type of music, and assemble and save your own playlists.

But you can approach the study of music in many ways. If you are interested in performing music rather than listening to it, access to sheet music is crucial. Library Music Source is a good database for this, featuring hundreds of thousands of pages of classical music, all of which can be downloaded in PDF. And scholarship about music is well supported with databases like Humanities International Index, International Index to Music Periodicals, and International Index to Performing Arts-Journals which index millions of records from music and humanities journals.

And, for more encyclopedic information like the Garland Encyclopedia, try Oxford Music Online, which includes numerous seminal Oxford and Grove dictionaries and encyclopedias that have been digitized, including major texts like Oxford Companion to Music and the Oxford Dictionary of Music.

Regardless of your interest in music, the library has something to help. And if you have any questions, ask us at iueref@iue.edu!

Careers in Aging and Gerontology

April 6th, 2015

The week of April 5th is Careers in Aging Week, an opportunity to explore career options in elder care, as well as to think about the needs of older adults. Various information sessions and visual displays will be offered around campus by gerontology students throughout the week. While our nursing students may already have looked into the many options for jobs in elder care, the field certainly isn’t limited to medical professionals. It includes everything from social workers, psychologists, dieticians, personal trainers, and home health care aides to more unexpected roles like architects, technology and design specialists, programmers, and communications professionals. All of us will age – and many of us will deal with aging issues earlier, as parents and people we care about reach the latter stages of their lives.

But the library has a wealth of information on the topic, too. Books include titles like Older Americans, Vital Communities: A Bold Vision for Societal Aging by W. Andrew Achenbaum, Social Integration in the Second Half of Life by Karl Pillemer, Geriatric Nursing: Growth of a Specialty by Priscilla Ebersole, Career as a Nurse (RN): Geriatric Nursing, Preparing for an Aging World, and Aging: Theories and Potential Therapies by Joseph Panno. And for more ebooks, try the Social Sciences eBook Collection.

aging books

For journals, medical and social science databases like CINAHL, OVID, ProQuest Social Science Journals or SocIndex are excellent resources.  These let you limit to peer reviewed articles, full text, or by date.  All have hundreds of full text journals, making them great places to start. And that’s just the beginning.  All of our other social sciences-related databases can be found on this libguide, and our medical databases on this one.

And there are plenty of great resources on the internet, as well. The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook might seem like obvious places to start, but there are lots more. Check out Senior Planet, a web site dedicated to ‘aging with attitude’ by equipping senior citizens with technological tools and skills to stay healthy and connected. And the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) both advocates for the elderly and offers programs and insurance to eliminate the vulnerability many older people feel, keeping them as anchors for their families and their communities.

If you need any help in your research, ask us at iueref@iue.edu!

An Ode to Poetry

March 30th, 2015

Last week, we looked briefly at a little of what the library had to offer for the aspiring poet or poetry scholar. This week, let’s look at these sources in a little more depth. You might be approaching poetry in a lot of different ways. Maybe you just like poetry, and want to read some casually. Maybe you’re a student who needs to find poetry of a certain type, author, or genre to study. Maybe you need to find criticism about a specific poet or poem. Or maybe you want to write poetry of your own. The library can help with all these needs.

First, how to find poetry. Chances are, if you’ve taken a poetry class, you’ve used an anthology collecting poetry of the genre you’re interested in. We have loads of anthologies both print and electronic format, covering major genres like American, British, African American, Feminist, Postmodern, or Contemporary poetry, to more offbeat subjects like Surrealism, Young Adult, Media, Christian, Social Class, War, or even poetry about Flowers.

Databases like Litfinder and 20th Century American Poetry connect you with hundreds of thousands of poems, whether you’re interested in old greats like William Wordsworth or relative newcomers like Gary Snyder. Search by poet or poem:

litfinder

Other similar databases include American Poetry (1600-1900), African-American Poetry (1750-1900), Latin American Women Writers, Black Women Writers, English Poetry (600-1900), Scottish Women Poets of the Romantic Period, and Latino Literature: Poetry, Drama, and Fiction. Many of these same databases can be used to find criticism about the poems or poets, as well. In a database like Litfinder, you only have to choose the ‘Topic and Work Overviews’ tab:

litfinder angelou criticism

But general literature databases are great for searching for criticism, as well. MLA International Bibliography and ProQuest Language and Literature are two of the best and biggest, but another great one is JSTOR, a database that has journal articles dating back more than a century.  Normally, such old articles would be less useful, but not here. Since currency is nowhere near as important in the study of poetry as it is in some other disciplines, a critique written fifty years ago can be every bit as relevant today. All of our databases dealing with the study of poetry and literature can be found here. One word of caution, though – the more famous the poet or poem, the more likely it is that you can find critical work on it. If your poem is relatively recent or by an obscure author, there generally is not much to be found. Keep this in mind if you have a class where you are assigned to find criticism on a poem of your own choosing.

And, of course, we have plenty of books on the subject of poetry. In addition to ones like those mentioned last week, we have many interesting or fun titles like Pass the poetry, please by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Songs of Ourselves: The Uses of Poetry in America by Joan Rubin, or Poetry therapy; the use of poetry in the treatment of emotional disorders edited by Jack J. Leedy.

And of course, there is much we can offer the aspiring poet. A poetry handbook by Mary Oliver, Drafting and Assessing Poetry: A Guide for Teachers by Sue Dymoke, or Teaching Poetry Writing: A Five-Canon Approach by Tom Hunley are more titles focused on improving in the craft, and How to write poetry and get it published by Fred Sedgwick, Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing: Helping Patrons and Communities Use Free and Low-Cost Publishing Tools to Tell Their Stories by Walt Crawford, or Book Publishing Encyclopedia: Tips and Resources for Authors and Publishers by Dan Poynter can help you when it comes time to put what you’ve done in print for others to read.

how to write poetry

If you have any questions, we’d be glad to help. Ask us at iueref@iue.edu! And if you’re feeling creative, stop in the library anytime in April and add a poem to our Poetry tree!