The View (from downstairs)

Here is the latest message from Ryan Ingersoll, Head of Library Technology at the SPU Library:

Did you know the Tech Desk is more than just a place to print your documents? Not only is our goal to provide collaborative space, but also relevant technology tools for students to use in the creation of digital projects. All library computers are loaded with an extensive suite of software. Whether you need to create a brochure or flyer in Adobe InDesign, create floor plans in AutoCAD, or analyze data in IBM SPSS the software you need is here. Additionally, the Tech Desk provides a range of tools for check out including iPod touches and Flip cameras for movie creationMacBook Pros for use within the library (perfect for a study room!), headphones, and audio recorders.

What if you don’t know how to make a movie or use Evernote, for example? Ask the Tech Desk! Our staff is trained to provide assistance with many of the technology tools we provide. If we don’t know the answer we will research it for you. As you finish up your projects for the year we encourage you to stop by to see how we can help you. If you need one-on-one assistance send us an email and we will schedule a time with you. Visit our website to learn more about what we have to offer. Our knowledge base provides helpful tutorials and showcases the different tools we check out.

Library Study Tips

As finals approach and stress levels build, consider these tips from the Library to help make your study and research time more productive:

1) Check out required course reserve materials as far in advance as possible. As due dates approach, these resources can become highly sought after by your peers, which may make it more difficult to access the items in the days before a project is due.

2) Visit our blog tutorials for checking out eBooks, ordering Summit items, viewing ERIC documents, and even searching for videos using our library catalog.

3) Use the Reserve a Room calendar to make reservations for your group to use a study room. See this post for the how-to on reserving a room in the Library.

4) Need a white-board marker for your study group? Check out markers at the Circulation Desk with your SEA PAC card. Remember to return them to the front desk after use.

5) All reference librarians can show you how to find information for your assignments. You can call, email, chat, and even text a reference librarian, or you can email the liaison librarian of your department to make an appointment for specialized help.

6) Need help with a computer issue? Email the Tech Desk to set up an appointment with a specialist who can help you navigate through the complexities of certain software.

7) The Library is open for extended hours beginning May 28 through June 6. The hours are Monday – Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to Midnight, Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from Noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 3 p.m. to Midnight. Take advantage of these extra hours!

Remember, we are here to help with your study needs, so feel free to drop by with a question. Happy studying during these last few weeks of the quarter.

Blind Date with a Book

This summer, revive your love of the written word by checking out one of our Popular Fiction books during the Library’s Blind Date with a Book event. These books are going ‘under wraps,’ so instead of selecting your reading material based on title, cover art, or author, you may have to choose a book based on several clues about the book’s contents. Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit the library website. A news item will appear when the display is ready.
  2. The display will be located by the main floor computers. The books will be covered in brown paper. You’ll need to read the clues to make your choice.
  3. Pick a book based on the clues, and bring it to the Circulation Desk for check out. You will have the option of checking these books out for the normal amount of time, or for the entire summer—your choice.
  4. Once you check out the book, take it home, unwrap, and enjoy!
  5. Return the book when you finish reading so we can wrap it for a new patron.

Now that you know how it will work, stay tuned via the library website. Have any questions or need additional information on the participating books? Email Liz Gruchala-Gilbert or Stephanie Rubesh for the details. Until then, happy studying!

Thursday Food for Thought Recap

The library wrapped up its quarterly Thursday Food for Thought program this afternoon with Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, co-directors of SPU’s Center for Relationship Development, reading from their newest book The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer. In addition to discussing the counter-intuitive message of the book, they revealed practical ways in which to use conflict to your advantage. You can purchase a copy of the new book here.

Last week, Rick Steele read a report of his experience of teaching – and learning from – offenders who are trying to live their Christian faith under the conditions of incarceration, written for his work in progress, Ambassadors in Chains: Teaching Christian Prison Literature in a State Prison.

Books featured at Thursday Food for Thought may be available for checkout at the SPU Library. See the previous post for call number information and links to the catalog to view availability.

We had a great turnout this quarter—thanks to all the speakers and those who attended for your participation and the stimulating conversation. The next list of speakers will post on the Thursday Food for Thought website later in the summer, so check for updates shortly.

Book Review Tuesday

Book Review for The Describer’s Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms and Literary Quotations for Readers and Writers by David Grambs


While crafting a research paper or a creative writing assignment, do you ever find yourself stumped on a perfect descriptive word? Does it ever feel frustratingly out of your grasp? If you are like me, thesauri and dictionaries can be a useful tool to help pull you out of the word blank mire, but these resources can only go so far; if I’m in search of a word to describe “light,” yet don’t know exactly what kind of “light” I’m looking for, a thesaurus can be limited. Terms such as “sunny” or “bright” are familiar, even overused, synonyms. But what about more nuanced words like “twinkling” or “shady?” Both describe “light” in vastly different ways.

While this resource has been around for a while, I continue to find it especially valuable in my academic and personal pursuits. David Grambs’ The Describer’s Dictionary (W.W. Norton and Company, 1993) is a writer’s dream, dividing words by subject: Things, Earth and Sky, Animals, and People. From there, the categories further narrow so you can search for items such as shapes, climate, even coiffures. Instead of definitions, Grambs provides us with related literary quotes on the left of each page as well as grouping similar words together in the list. As I enthusiastically read through this, I found myself coming up with more words and creating my own personal lists. Which leads me to a minor quibble; the book is by no means comprehensive. I almost wish that the quotes had been dropped to fit in more word lists. The color section could have been a lot longer than a mere twelve pages, seven if you discount the pages with multiple quotes for the same words. I would have liked to see a much longer work, perhaps with illustrations (ie, color swatches, images of patterns, face shape drawings beside the corresponding descriptive words) so you can choose the word that more closely matches what is in your head. Grambs does have a newer edition out (1995), so perhaps I will take a look at it to see if any updates have been made.

In short, I find this a unique resource for physical descriptions. It is suited for writers, but just about everyone can find a word of worth in this practical work.

The library call number for this item is PE1591 .G67 1993.

-Melody Steiner, Access Services