Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tuesday Night Tutoring is Back!

The Harbert Writing Center is offering Tuesday evening writing consultations from 7-10 on the ground floor of the library.  HWC Peer Consultants are trained to help you become a better reader and reviser of your academic writing.  Bring your draft and work with a writing tutor this Tuesday!  No appointments are necessary.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement which Changed America with Author Frye Gaillard and Professor Wilson Fallin February 28 at 4:00 p.m., Carmichael Library

The Montevallo Branch of AAUW and 
Carmichael Library
Invite you to attend the Black History Month Event

Cradle of Freedom:
Alabama and the Movement which Changed America

with Author Frye Gaillard and Professor Wilson Fallin
February 28 at 4:00 p.m., Carmichael Library

Frye Gaillard will discuss his book Cradle of Freedom
 Professor Wilson Fallin will serve as respondent
Refreshments and discussion to follow the presentations

Frye Gaillard is a native of Mobile, Alabama and a graduate of Vanderbilt University. Gaillard began his career as a reporter for daily newspapers in the late 1960s, writing about the Civil Rights Movement as it unfolded across the South. “As a reporter, and later editor for The Charlotte Observer, he covered the integration of that North Carolina city’s schools by busing. He has been editor of Race Relations Reporter and southern editor of the Charlotte Observer.... In Cradle of Freedom, Gaillard puts a human face on the story of the black American struggle for equality in Alabama during the 1960s. While exceptional leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis, and others rose up from the ranks and carved their places in history, the burden of the movement was not carried by them alone. It was fueled by the commitment and hard work of thousands of everyday people who decided that the time had come to take a stand.” Gaillard focuses on the contributions of these foot soldiers as well as on well known leaders. (Adapted from reviews).
Professor Wilson Fallin has written numerous works about African American experience, and he participated in the Civil Rights Movement which Gaillard covered as a journalist. Dr. Fallin is a minister in the Baptist Church and a highly regarded member of the History Department at the University of Montevallo. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama and teaches courses in African-American, Southern, and African studies. His works include Uplifting the People: Three Centuries of Black Baptists in Alabama (Religion & American Culture; Aug 17, 2007) and The African American Church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1815-1963: A Shelter in the Storm (Studies in African American History and Culture; Jul 1, 1997). The public is cordially invited to attend and to participate in the discussion.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chat Reference Starts Monday!

Starting on Monday, Carmichael Library will offer chat reference.  You'll be able to ask us questions about research and library materials via instant messaging and text.

To IM a librarian or reference staff member, click the chat button on the library homepage:

You can also access our chat widget and learn more about chat reference at

If you're on the go, you can text your question to us at 205-287-7898.

Our hours for chat and text reference are:

Monday - Thursday: 9 am - 8:30 pm
Friday: 9 am - 4:30 pm
Sunday: 3 pm - 8:30 pm
When we're not available via chat and text, you can submit a question using the Ask A Librarian Form.  We'll respond to your question ASAP during regular library hours.
We're very excited to bring you this new service!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Feb. 12, 2013: Brazilian Carnival in Carmichael Library

February 12, 2013 from 2:00-3:15pm
Join us in Carmichael Library to Celebrate 
Brazilian Carnival: History, Music, Dance and Costumes
Poster Presentations 
Samba Lessons
Brazilian Food

Monday, February 04, 2013

What it Means to Celebrate Black History Month

What about the other eleven months in the year?  Is history even in the past?  I think I need some help with this one.  Dr. Cornel West, can you help me out?   

In a 2011 interview with Craig Ferguson (host of the Late Late Show), West answers why he thinks Black History Month is important: 
Black history forces all of us, no matter what color, culture, or civilization, it goes beyond even America, to raise a terrifying question: What does it mean to be human? That is a terrifying question […] Black history forces us to say, what kind of human being are we going to be in America or in the New World or anywhere else. ([i]

No doubt, West’s point rings true 365 days a year.  We should be questioning ourselves, as terrifying as some questions might be, and getting to the heart of why humans treat other humans so badly, and how can we stop it from continuing.  What needs to be reconciled before we understand what happened before the 1960s and how can we approach issues that remain unresolved?  As we so often hear these days: We have come a long way, but there is still work to be done.   We're all searching for peace and answers--sometimes that alone seems like progress, or, at the very least, the effort provides a space where people from all backgrounds and experiences can see that the other side (if there is such a thing) are also seeking perspective and truth.  

This year, Carmichael Library is celebrating Black History Month by acknowledging complications that surface when a celebration calls for highlighting the appalling alongside the inspirational--because, let's face it, so much of Black History in America is appalling, but the struggles of Selma and Birmingham changed everything.  We are inspired by those who fought to make things right for all of us--so right, in fact, that today's fourth grader learning about the Civil Rights Era can't even imagine segregation and finds the idea completely ridiculous.   

We’ve put together a book and art display that will change weekly; we’ve also created a special Black History Month playlist on Spotify.  Check out the Spotify playlist while you’re studying or grading papers.  We hope you’ll be intrigued, provoked, and inspired by our selections—and perhaps you’ll advise us on what to include in the coming years.   

Link to Spotify Account—Put together by our very own Mike Price, Digital Media Specialist

Book Display Schedule
Week 1: Books on histories—Slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights; Books on Race—White & Black relations, Black identity; Black Studies Readers; New Southern Studies
Week 2: African American biographies and autobiographies
Week 3: African American writers and musicians
Week 4: African American artists and filmmakers
Also, leave comments here about what Black History Month means to you—which moments in history do you find particularly meaningful; name the African American leaders, heroes/heroine that inspire you or help you better understand American history; who are some of your favorite African American poets, writers, musicians, and film makers, and what do their particular contributions add to American art?   
--Jill Deaver
Carmichael Library
ILL Coordinator & Public Services Assistant    

[i]The Late Late Show intro song is pretty terrible, I recommend skipping it. 

Why Concept Maps?

Earlier this year I was introduced to the idea of an online concept map (or an argument map, or a mind map).  These have been around for a long time, especially in technologically-unrefined media like pen and paper.  I've often drawn series of circles, lines, and bubbles to show relationships between ideas as I work through the various stages of writing essays.  Now, there are several free, cloud-based programs that allow you to map out ideas and embed information, videos, pictures, and graphics.  Some of the best are Mindmeister, View Your Mind, and even Prezi.  These programs provide students with visually-attractive ways of interpreting information and presenting the evidence they find when doing research.  When you design a concept map, you can create bubbles, images, notes, and lines to show relationships.

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

Why are concept maps useful?  By nature of their spatial design, concept maps allow students to grapple with complex ideas and suggest possibilities, particularly when they are thinking about social phenomena that are hard to sort out.  Here at Montevallo, Deborah Lowry has already used concept maps in SOC 240 Social Problems to help her students present information about complex issues.  Her main contention is that many social problems demand a kind of thinking that encourages us to ask questions and make connections between disparate realities rather than to provide easy answers and make broad claims.

The map above (click here to access) comes from another class, Donna Bell's FCS 254 section on International Retailing.  Students in that class are asked to identify a country and literally map out a range of questions about it, including basic demographics, trade agreements, major industries, and other market influences.  The goal is for students to become informed about all elements of the retail production process in textiles industries.

I developed this map on Thailand, and I started to learn about some of the trade agreements and lobby groups that influence trade in the textiles industry, particularly athletics apparel and footwear.  I discovered that thousands of workers in Thailand are Burmese immigrants who have no standing and little protection from exploitation and police brutality in Thailand.  I learned from a report generated by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America in 2004 that factory labor in Thailand only costs manufacturers 68 cents per hour.  I also saw that the same organization lobbied congressional representative Maria Cantwell (WA) to introduce the Affordable Footwear Act of 2011.  The act, which is listed under the "Advocacy" section of the FDRA's homepage, is described as making an intervention in the global retail economy:

With costs continually rising throughout the supply chain, American families are faced with rising taxes on their footwear.  It is time to pass this important legislation on behalf of all footwear consumers and their families.

There's a lot missing from this blurb, of course.  The "rising costs" in the supply chain have little to do with the taxes levied by the United States on foreign trade; instead, these "costs" should be represented as an issue of justice and human rights.  Why should savings be passed on to the U.S. consumer, when millions of workers in Thailand and elsewhere continue to labor for pennies each hour?  And will these savings actually be passed to the consumer at all, or will they be absorbed into the annual earnings of major companies like Nike, JC Penny, Shoe Carnival, Rack Room Shoes, and other participating members of the FDRA?

With this concept map, I was able to visually see how a global capital market works, embed credible information about international trade agreements and labor conditions abroad, and then draw lines to make connections in the cycle of trade.  In short, I learned a lot about retail trade that would potentially help me were I to become a buyer for a major company.

If you'd like to learn more about concept maps and explore the possibility of having your own students work with concept maps, don't hesitate to get in touch with me.  You can also "order" a library instruction session on our website.  I'm convinced that concept maps are a great way to infuse information literacy learning outcomes into a classroom.