What Are the Students Reading? Spring 2015 edition, part 2

A couple weeks ago, I posted some book reviews written by student assistants that work in Gleeson Library | Geschke Center. Here are some more to get you excited about future reads.

brainBrain on Fire: My Month of Madness, reviewed by Ariana Varela

This memoir by Susannah Cahalan depicts the life of the author, a young woman working in New York City as a journalist for the New York Post, as she suddenly descends into mental illness. While doctors and psychologists alike fail to come up with a viable explanation for her change in behavior, the reader witnesses first hand the violence, paranoid hallucinations and helplessness that accompany her unexplainable illness. Although Cahalan notes that she herself is an unreliable source due to the fact that she has no memory of this “month of madness,” she has complied evidence from video surveillance, hospital records, and interviews with all the individuals who witnessed her harrowing journey and miraculous recovery. It is not until a last “real-life House” doctor comes on the scene that the reader finds out Cahalan’s actual rare disease that differs from clinical mental illness as defined in the DSM-V. This book will leave the reader on edge with its vivid depictions of insanity and will make the reader question the small day to day mishaps in their own lives.

Down These Mean Streets, reviewed by Hannah Ingram down

Originally read for a high school English class I was student teaching, Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas became one of my favorite “easy reads.” Taking place in the Spanish Harlem, Long Island, and various locations “down South,” Down These Mean Streets tells the engrossing tale of a young man’s journey into adulthood and self-discovery all the while struggling with the immensely prominent racial mindset of 1950s America. As Piri moves readers through his epic memoir, dragging us quite literally through the muck and mire of each mean street, he quietly reveals the humanity which ties us all together, a message that becomes even more striking when juxtaposed with the inhumane, treacherous life of a poor, young, Puerto Rican man. Full of carefully chosen epigraphs, chapter titles, and colloquial language, Piri Thomas weaves a tale that is as impressive in its craft as its social appeal. I highly recommend this for anyone seeking an entertaining and gut-wrenchingly truthful look at a world that has mostly gone unknown.

Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon For Women’s History Month

Edit A Thon

Gleeson Library/Art+Feminism* Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

In honor of Women’s History Month, join us for a communal updating of Wikipedia entries on subjects related to contemporary art and feminism.

Friday, March 6th, 2015

[10am-1pm] Gleeson Library, 2nd Floor

All are welcome. Bring your laptop, if you have one, and feel free to drop in or stay for the entire time. For the editing-averse, we urge you to stop by to show your support.

The Library will provide:

tutorials for beginner Wikipedians, suggestions for entries that need updating or creation, a limited number of laptops, reference materials, and refreshments!

Please RSVP here:


* Art+Feminism is a campaign to improve coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia, and to encourage female editorship. Last year, on February 1st, 2014, approximately 600 participants convened in 31 locations in 6 countries to edit Wikipedia articles on women and the arts as part of Art+Feminism’s annual Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. This year, Gleeson Library is participating, along with many other international libraries, as a satellite location.

Evidence Based Infographics from USF Nursing Students

Last semester Bachelor of Science in Nursing students taking Nursing 322, Evidence Based Inquiry and Informatics, used library resources such as CINAHL, PubMed, Scopus and DynaMed to search for and collect evidence on a clinical question. After identifying research relevant to their topics, they critically appraised the studies and made recommendations for practice change based on the strength of the evidence, their clinical expertise, and patient preference.

Finally, the nursing students spread the word about their findings through a presentation and an infographic, like the one below on Neonates and Noise by students Maggie Hui, Fabiola Prado, Ryan Lee and Matthew Sy. The infographics have all been posted to MyWikiCare.org, an online, open web platform for curating, sharing, and synthesizing knowledge and experience to speed the translation of evidence-based practice to standard bedside care.

To find out more about this project and to view the entire collection of infographics by USF nursing students, follow this URL: http://www.mywikicare.org/Nursing+322+-+Evidence-based+Inquiry+and+Informatics+Submissions 


“Shall We Play That One Together?”

disc 2-blogdisc 1-description Find That One for Yourself in Your Local Library Database

Since the earliest days of civilization there has been music, but the history of sound recording is pretty a new phenomenon. It started in 1860 when Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville invented a “device called a phonautograph, an invention that converted sound waves into etchings on a sheet of paper, but could not play them back” and it lasted until now, the age of iPods and digital streaming .

With the invention of gramophones, radios, stereos and many other electric appliances, it became possible to listen to the recorded song in private homes. There has been an evolution of listening, the way we understand music and our musical perception has changed, affecting our attitude towards every sound generating source, from the intimacy of earphones to the distant noise of a busy city street.

One of the advantages of recorded music is the diminishing of cultural and racial distances; it has arguably brought races and once-distant cultures closer together and has made listeners aware of various sonic cultures around the globe. Folks can understand each other through musical forms despite different spoken languages and backgrounds.

On other hand, modern life has given our generation a greater capacity to appreciate more complex sounds. It has changed our perception and interpretation of urban and industrial noises, enhancing our abilities to better process the aural information of our surroundings.

As Andrija Filipović mentions in his article, “Noise and Noise: The Micropolitics of Sound in Everyday Life,” “personal-stereo use acts to transform users’ horizons of experience by superimposing itself onto the environment, cloaking the alien with the familiar and in doing so transforms the subjective response to it, even removes a sort of barrier between the subject and the exterior world.”

With the emergence of technology in libraries and the existence of various music databases, the ability of users to access freely available music is increasing; the ease with which library patrons can listen to their music with a blink of an eye and a click of the mouse heralds a new age.

Via various libraries and their networks of databases, not only are rare recordings of the past accessible but numerous materials such as articles, books, and images are available to be explored remotely at sites miles away from the library.

A free membership to the San Francisco Public Library provides access to two excellent music databases: Hoopla and Alexander Street Press.

Albums by Miles Davis, for example, are available in Hoopla:

hoopla& 48 different arrangements of Miles Davis “Blue in Green” performed by various artists can be listened to in Alexander Press Music Databases.

alexanderAmerican Song
Classical Music Library
Contemporary World Music
Jazz Music Library
Music Online
Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries®

And at the same time a search for Miles Davis in ARTstor (courtesy of USF library) will find the images of his performance in 1969.

artstorartstor miles davis

 While articles and books written about his life and his music may be found by searching in databases such as Fusion or ebrary (both courtesy of USF library):

davis articleJournal of Contemporary African Art; Spring2013, Issue 32, p96-113, 18p, 9 Color Photographs, 4 Black and White Photographs

davis bookMiles and Me : A Memoir

Today’s libraries provide access to numerous interesting materials beyond imagination. Databases now function like underground digital tunnels, which connect you to every corner of your interests, even the hidden ones. The land of library databases is a treasure of unknown multiplying wonders which like a maze lures you in and will leave you in sheer amazement.

Resources linked here, courtesy of Gleeson Library:

“French inventor’s pre-Edison recordings played for first time.” Agence France-Presse 27 Mar. 2008: NewsBank. Web. 6 Feb. 2015.

Filipović, Andrija. “Noise And Noise: The Micropolitics Of Sound In Everyday Life.” New Sound: International Magazine For Music 39 (2012): 15-29. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Feb. 2015.

Barboza, Anthony. “Photographing Miles Davis.” Nka: Journal Of Contemporary African Art 32 (2013): 96-113. Art Source. Web. 6 Feb. 2015.

Troupe, Quincy. Miles And Me: A Memoir. Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, [2000], 2000. Ignacio: USF Libraries Catalog. Web. 6 Feb. 2015.

What’s Up With Valentine’s Day?

Singles awareness day. A conspiracy by greeting card and candy companies. Causes an uptick in suicides. Valentine’s Day sure got a bad rap in contemporary society. Why we so jaded? Is there anything about this holiday that is worthy of celebration?


Early 20th century Valentine’s Day card, showing woman holding heart shaped decoration and flowers, scanned from period card from ca. 1910 with no notice of copyright.

First off, let me refute BuzzFeed‘s assertion that there is a higher instance of suicides on Valentine’s Day. Lester, writing in Perceptual and Motor Skills (a peer-reviewed, academic journal) says, “The present data from the USA for 1972 to 1987 do not reveal an abnormal number of completed suicides or homicides on St. Valentine’s day” (1990, p. 994). Further, Barker et al., writing in Australasian Psychiatry, point out that the effect of the holiday may depend on country, and their Australian study “failed to find an increase in suicides on Valentine’s Day” (2014, p. 125). If you run a search in the library’s Fusion database using the keywords suicide and valentine’s day, you will see studies from other countries as well. Also important to note is the difference in data generated by analyzing attempted suicide vs. completed suicide, and other varying degrees of self harm. Don’t always believe what you read on BuzzFeed, because not only is their assertion unbased, but the “study” they link to is actually an interview with a crisis center director, not a study.

Next, let’s take a look at other research sources that will give us a background of the holiday, and maybe help us celebrate giving and receiving love. If you do a simple keyword search for valentine’s day in Fusion, there is a “research starter” at the top of the page that gives you an overview of the holiday, culled from Encyclopædia Britannica. Click here to view whole encyclopedia entry, but interesting to note is that it became a romantic day to celebrate in the 1300s, there is dispute over which Saint Valentine it is named after, and like many modern holidays, it is connected to a Roman holiday, Lupercalia. To read more overviews of the holiday—some of which actually contradict Encyclopædia Britannica‘s Valentine’s Day information—head over to Gale Virtual Reference Library and run a search on valentine’s day. Did you know that on Valentine’s Day “in 1999, about 3,000 couples in Belarus attempted to set a new world record for the largest kiss-in (previously held by 1,600 couples in Spain); in 2002 more than 1,000 students and teachers at a South African high school went for the world’s biggest hug-in” (Valentine’s Day, 2010)? Isn’t that fun?

If you’re still curious about the holiday, go back to your Valentine’s Day search in Fusion, and click on the scholarly (peer reviewed) journals facet on the left side of the result screen to get rid of the news articles and other fluff. Here you’ll see some interesting, unexpected stuff, like articles on how Valentine’s Day influences perceptions of relationship functioning, mocking Victorian valentines, how the pressure of Valentine’s Day manifests in men’s behavior, and how the timing of the Valentine’s Day holiday affects birth rates. Who thought so much legitimate research could be written about the holiday BuzzFeed loves to hate?


Above all, though, Gleeson Library urges you to celebrate Valentine’s Day as best you see fit. You could come in to the library for a blind date with a book, stop by the Open Heart Workshop on 2/12 to make valentines, or start practicing for your audition for a part in the Vagina Monologues!


Barker, E., O’Gorman, J., & De Leo, D. (2014). Suicide around public holidays. Australasian Psychiatry, 22(2), 122-126.

Lester, D. (1990). Suicide and homicide on St. Valentine’s Day. Perceptual And Motor Skills, 71(3 I), 994.

Valentine’s Day. (2010). In C. D. Abbey (Ed.), Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary (4th ed., p. 790). Detroit: Omnigraphics.

Valentine’s Day. (2014). Encyclopædia Britannica. (September 2014): Research Starters, EBSCOhost (accessed February 11, 2015).

What Are the Students Reading? Spring 2015 edition

A fresh semester brings fresh book reviews, fresh from the student assistants who work in Gleeson Library | Geschke Center. This week is part one of this semester’s recommendations… stay tuned for following parts, in case you have enough free time to squeeze in some extra reads.

Sharp Objects, reviewed by Hannah Bunting SHARP-OBJECTS_612x612

In this chilling novel by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, a recovering alcoholic and self inflicting journalist, Camille Preaker, is faced with a challenging assignment to return to her small eerie hometown of Windgap, Missouri to learn more about the recent mysterious murders of three young girls. While home Camille is forced to stay with her hypochondriac and psychotic mother and young, but very mature, sister.  She struggles with the ability to remain focused on the task at hand while dealing with her mother’s bizarre behavior and her sister’s wild rendezvous. The result of her findings leads to a very interesting and intense twist that is not expected from the first page of this story.

the-god-of-small-things The God of Small Things, reviewed by Jenner Wells

Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things explores the stringent expectations and arising conflicts of traditional Indian society and politics through the eyes of fraternal twins, Rahel and her brother Estha. The novel takes place in the 1960s when they are seven and incorporates glimpses into their adult lives in the 1990s.

Rahel and Estha grew up in their grandparents’ household with their uncle and mother, Ammu, who had returned home to escape the abusive relationship of Rahel and Estha’s father. From a young age, the twins are reminded of the values within Indian society—men hold the greatest power, lower castes are undeserving in all respects, and love will never trump these establishments.

While Roy addresses the degradation of these values that was occurring at the time as Western influence increased, she also incorporates the struggle of conservatives hoping to preserve their traditional culture. Throughout this period, the twins experience everything from gender discrimination, sexual assault, and love for everything Western, to being involved in the death of a cousin and witnessing the punishment of their mother and her “untouchable” lover of a lower caste. The God of Small Things has become one of my favorites due to the intriguing aspect of examining such complex topics through the innocent perspective of Rahel and Estha who, with the reader, develop an understanding of this culture and time period while curiously questioning its value and purpose.

Tours of the Library

Curious about Gleeson? Want to learn more about the library and all of the services we offer? Come on a library tour–there’s no need to sign up, just join us. We meet inside the library, in the lobby at the fountain. The tours last about 30 minutes, and a library staff member will take you around the building and show you how Gleeson can help you. They are scheduled for:

Monday January 26th @ 11am

Tuesday January 27th @ 3pm

Wednesday January 28th @ 10am

Thursday January 29th @ 12 noon

Friday January 30th @ 4pm

Saturday January 31st @ 2pm