Day of Common Learning 2014

On Wednesday, October 22nd, SPU canceled all classes so faculty, staff, and students could attend Day of Common Learning, where talks and sessions were based on the theme of power. Below are the thoughts of some of our Library staff who attended lectures and taught sessions.

Keynote: The Good News About Power
Andy Crouch

Andy Crouch began his keynote address about power by addressing the problem that conversations about power are usually either cynical or naive, and asked the question of whether it was possible to have a talk that was both honest and hopeful. Crouch felt that was possible with some reframing of the grammar and definition of power. He then offered some descriptions of power, including Nietzsche’s concept that all people wants to individually exert their power as widely as possible, forcing them into conflict with others who try and exert their own power. Crouch offered an alternative view of power from First Genesis, saying that our power comes from our ability as image bearers of Christ to make things that are “very good.” Crouch then offered several examples of this in physics, art, and music – showing how scientists and artists can use their ability to effect change to increase power for everyone. For example Henry Ossawa Tanner’s painting The Banjo Player – which took an instrument and music style that was being caricaturized and oppressed, and gave it a fuller expression in showing the importance of the banjo as part of African-American culture and community. Finally, he gave a two by two chart (for the business majors, he teased) showing a cross of authority – defined as the ability to effect change (authority), and vulnerability – to show the amount of risk one is exposed to. Crouch believes that low authority and high vulnerability results in poverty; low authority and low vulnerability is safety; high authority and low vulnerability is idolatry and injustice; and only with high authority and high vulnerability can we be image bearers.

- Carrie Fry

Session 1: Re-thinking Power and Powerlessness: Listening to Iraqi Voices in Blogs from Baghdad
Kimberly Segall

Dr. Segall’s talk yesterday focused on ways that the Western world tends looks at conflict in the Middle East. The ways in which our media tends to portray the Middle East as one homogenous region, whose religions and beliefs are all blurred into one. We talked about looking at the stories we hear from both sides of a conflict. For example, some of us may see the veil as forced upon women, as a sign of oppression. Dr. Segall pointed out that yes, there is oppression and power when forcing women to wear the veil, but there is also power when women make their own choice to wear it. She spoke about her own experiences of daily life from recently living in Iraq with her daughter. One of the main messages that I came out of this talk with was to remember to look to other sources of information for a clearer picture of the individuals living in conflict.

- Jo Krogh

Session 2: Technology and Power
Ryan Ingersoll, Michael Paulus, and David Wicks

David Wicks started the session sharing about the new Digital Education Leadership M.Ed. program. Wicks stressed the program’s intentional flexibility, as it is built around a unique sandboxed learning environment with team-taught courses, project-based learning, beta tests technology tools, and a preference towards using open access educational resources. Wicks touched on some of the important issues K-12 and higher education technologists, teachers, and students are navigating. Michael Paulus spoke next, reminding us of the long history of technology and invited us on journey to the past. Paulus shared about the different views of technology as liberator, oppressor, and instrument. To that end, Paulus introduced the need for attention and framed it by the Ten Commandments through the love of God and neighbor. Ryan Ingersoll closed the session with reflections about course topics on digital citizenship, mindfulness, multitasking, digital identity, and vocation. As a group we discussed Facebook’s mood manipulation project and reflected together on power and privacy dynamics. Ryan encouraged a need to focus on relationships in digital spaces by integrating love of God and neighbor, mindfulness, and a balanced approach to life based on the rhythm of Sabbath. Finally, he discussed how we should expand on Andy Crouch’s call towards being image bearers and implement that action of authority and vulnerability in digital spaces we inhabit.

- Ryan Ingersoll

Welcome back!

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Welcome back students, faculty, and staff! We are excited to begin a new academic year with you and help support you in any way we can.

Here is brief overview of some of the services we offer:

The SPU Collection
Books, journals, online articles, DVDs, and more – our general collection, reference collection, and special collections are home to an extensive number of resources that are readily available to you. Items are organized according to the Library of Congress system, which means they are shelved alphabetically based on their call number (the combination of numbers and letters located on the lower spine of an item). Call numbers A-J are located on the second floor and call numbers K-Z are located on the third floor. The Work and Faith collection is located in the graduate study room on the third floor, and the Popular Fiction Collection is located in the reading room on the main level – along with recent issues of magazines and newspapers. Locate any of our items by typing keywords, titles, or known call numbers in Primo – the online library catalog found at the top of the Library home page in the blue box.

Summit
An item that cannot be located in our collection can be ordered through Summit. Summit is a shared library system run by an alliance known as the Orbis Cascade Alliance, which includes 37 libraries from across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. An item ordered through Summit (you may also discover items by searching Primo) will be delivered to SPU within five business days.

Liaison Librarians
Each Librarian at the SPU Library is affiliated with specific departments and schools, and is able to give students, and faculty, instructional and research assistance. The reference desk, is staffed by our librarians, is open daily and its hours can be found here.

Course Reserves
Books and DVDs that professors put on reserve for a class are located at the Circulation Desk. Look up the course in Primo, bring the call number to the Circulation Desk, and a staff member will locate the item for you. Most Reserve items need to stay in the library and have a time cap on them so that items will be available to other patrons.

Tech Desk
Located on the lower level of the Library, the Tech Desk offers laptops, cameras, video recorders, chargers, and tech help services among other things. The lower level is also home to the computer lab featuring computers equipped with double monitors, extensive software, and printing capabilities.

Printers
Printers are located on every floor of the Library. Log into a computer, open your document, send to print, log in to the printer with your SeaPac Pass, and select the documents you would like to have printed. More information on campus-wide printing can be found here.

Study Rooms
Study rooms are located throughout the building and provide private spaces for more effective individual and group study. They are equipped with tables, large monitors, and cables to connect these monitors to laptops. Rooms can be reserved through Room Finder (found on the Library home page). Library study rooms are not sound proof, so please be respectful of noise levels when using them.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have – we are always happy to help. Have a wonderful Fall quarter!

Q&A with Library Staff: Johanna Krogh

Jo Krogh joins the SPU Library staff as our new Budget Manager and Administrative Assistant. Learn a little bit about her below in our Q & A interview:

What are some things you are responsible for in your new position?

I am responsible for managing the library’s budget, which can range from counting cash in the cash registers to making sure we are all squared away financially for any major projects we have coming. I absolutely love working with numbers so although I am up in a cave crunching away- I’m happy!

What is your favorite thing about living in Seattle?

I love how each neighborhood in Seattle has its own unique identity. The MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry) is one of my favorite places to visit. It is right next to The Center for Wooden Boats where you can take sailing lessons. There are old retired boats parked that you can take tours through, and the museum itself is full of Seattle history. There is also a little park surrounding that area that is full on any given weekend, with the growing neighborhood of South Lake Union just a 5 minute walk away.

One of my favorite things about Seattle is the weather! I do enjoy the sun but I also like cloudy days and the light rain that Seattle is known for. I want to get good use out of my new raincoat, so wouldn’t mind if it was rainy all the time!

Any new book recommendations?

I mostly read fiction novels, and right now I’m bouncing around 5 different genres. I just finished reading ‘A Natural History of Dragons’, by Marie Brennan and really enjoyed it! It’s a fictional (dragons aren’t real, disappointingly) but relatable tale about a young woman trying to study a relatively new form of science that has always been a man’s subject. As a woman in mathematics, I can definitely relate to her struggles. I’m currently reading ‘The Good Lord Bird’ by James McBride, on pre-civil war social issues. For a much lighter suggestion, I recommend ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ by Mindy Kaling, one of my favorite people in comedy right now. The book is great, but the audio book is even better since Mindy reads it herself!

Jo is located on the second floor of the Library in the Administrative offices. Drop by and say hi!

 

 

Library Staff Christmas Picks

imagesCA5EXDCRThe first advent candle has been lit, twinkle lights are starting to grace houses and trees, and temperatures are continuing to plummet. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. After our successful Halloween book round-up, we knew we had to follow up with the Library staff’s favorite Christmas volumes as well. Pick up something to read for your travels home, or where ever you may be going this holiday season.  These books and films will also be on display on the main floor of the Library for your festive reading (and viewing) pleasure.

Liz Gruchala-Gilbert:

It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra

Amahl and the Night Visitors, by Gian Carlo Menotti

Kaitlyn Straton:

The Legend of the Poinsettia, by Tomie DePaola

Maryann Shaw:

Nine Days to Christmas, by Marie Hall Ets

Christina Nofziger:

The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg  fcl

The Father Christmas Letters, by JRR Tolkien

Carrie Fry:

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson

The Oxford Book of Carols, edited by Percy Dearmer

The Legend of the Christmas Rose, by Ellin Greene

Michael Paulus:

For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio, by W.H. Auden

Johanna Staman:

The Tomten, by Astrid Lindgren

Stephanie Rubesh:

O Holy Night: Masterworks of Christmas Poetry, by Johann Moser

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Other favorite books and movies including Love Actually, Elf, and Jingle All The Way, are available through Summit and ILL.

Merry Christmas!

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Book Review: When We Were Orphans

When We Were Orphans, by Kazuo Ishiguro

When We Were Orphans

“The past may be set in stone, but our memories of it are not.” Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro is famous for writing stories that contain this truth. The shifting nature of memory certainly sits at the center of his feverish mystery novel “When We Were Orphans.”

Narrated by (the fictional) Christopher Banks, a famous detective in Britain between the two World Wars, as journal entries dated from 1930-1958. His parents mysterious disappearance when he was nine leaves Christopher was orphaned in Shanghai. His father was a businessman within the colonial opium industry, and his mother was a society crusader committed to ending that very industry.

Christopher leads us to believe that his parents’ disappearance resulted from their stand against powerful interests within the opium trade. But his accounts of his childhood reveal both self-doubt and over-confidence about the facts of his past. I began to mistrust his reliability as a narrator as more inconsistencies emerge. His active imagination and proclivity for creating elaborate detective roleplaying games as a child also help to create doubt in the mind of the reader.

After Christopher is sent to England to live under the guardianship of his Aunt, his games turn into the real ambition of becoming a detective. Upon graduating from Cambridge he steadily gains influence in London society, becomes part of a fashionable “set”, and solves many high profile cases. Nevertheless, he is haunted by a desire to uncover what happened to his parents. Part of Christopher remains lost in his childhood remembrances and fantasies, and he determines that he must return to Shanghai—he must scour the city as well as his own memories.

On his arrival, Shanghai is teetering on the edge of chaos and absurdity, and serves as an analog for Christopher’s confused state of mind in the latter half of the book. Ishiguro depicts the city as it was during July 1937, just as the Second Sino-Japanese war is breaking out in the streets. The very space of Christopher’s childhood trauma collapses around him as he aimlessly attempts to sleuth out clues. In vivid passages describing rubble-strewn streets, Christopher is a man wandering inside a constantly shifting labyrinth. And no detective work can be done when no leads can be followed.

“When We Were Orphans” is almost self-revelatory at times—I found myself wondering about the nature of my own past, while reading about Christopher trying to recreate his. Such thoughts are somewhat uncomfortable, but also provoking and satisfying. By the time I reached the end of this unconventional mystery novel, I felt as though I’d travelled far with Christopher and personally.

The call number for this book is PR6059.S5 W47 2001, and it lives on the third floor.

- Zach McNay, Access Services Specialist