Knowledge to the Max

Max R. Traurig Library Newsletter: Summer 2015

Library Sees 47% Growth in Foot Traffic, Increased Classes and Events

The Library was a busy place this spring- and thanks to the new security gate system installed in January of 2014, it is clear that the library just keeps getting busier. Door counts are recorded every time someone enters the library through either of the two entrances. The numbers skyrocketed throughout the 2014-15 academic year, peaking in September with 15,853 entrances. This spring, traffic was highest in April, with 12,721 entrances, an increase of over 3000 compared to April of 2014.

In 2014-15, the Library increased hours by extending closing times until 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday nights, for a total of 64.5 open hours. The number of instruction sessions also increased over 14-15, with a total of 139 classes taught by librarians. In addition, 11 events related to the One Book, One College project attracted over 100 students and many faculty and staff members between the months of February and April.

ExCITEing Snacks

By Jenna Barry

As the Spring semester came to a close, the library hosted an event for the first time called “exCITEing Snacks,” where library staff were able to show off their culinary skills while assisting students with formatting MLA & APA style citations. On April 29th, Room L501 became the Citation Station with an array of bite sized foods to sample. Some of the delicious fare included healthy snacks like granola and hummus, international cuisine such as Paraguayan cornbread, and sweet treats like magic bars and chocolate stuffed raspberries. Each of the recipes was printed out on a card with the proper MLA and APA citations included, so that students could see examples of citations for many different source types like books, websites, newspapers, blogs, magazines, and even YouTube videos. Roughly 200 students attended this event, and a similar one is being planned for next semester. If you are interested in trying out any of the recipes featured at the event, see our guide.

NVCC Faculty & Staff “Vacation Book Group”

By Elaine Milnor

Our recurring “Vacation Book Group” – open to all NVCC Faculty, Staff and friends - will meet in June, as we usually do, to discuss our next selection: Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng. A prize-winning debut novel, it was chosen as Amazon’s 2014 “Book of the Year”. The book was strongly recommended for our group discussion by an NVCC staff member who is an avid reader and a frequent library patron!

If you are intrigued by the idea of joining colleagues informally during semester breaks and vacations to discuss interesting books that have some meat to them (while veering away from overly weighty or lengthy tomes - who wants that when we’re on break?) – please contact Elaine Milnor to join in or suggest great titles for future reads (or for library purchase!).

New ESL Books

By Jenna Barry

The library has recently added a number of new ESL readers to its collection, which are used by many students taking ESL classes at the College. We have new fiction titles from the Penguin Readers Series and the Oxford Bookworms series, and non-fiction titles from the Oxford Bookworms Factfiles series. Titles include adaptations of classic works like Jane Eyre and the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, as well as text companions to popular films like Marley & Me and Saving Private Ryan. We have focused especially on expanding the selection of books in levels 1 and 2. We’ve also gotten some new shelf storage that is color-coded by level. Stop by to check out the new titles and the new display!

Interlibrary Loan: it’s leaving … but it’ll be back!

On April 16, 2015, the Connecticut State Library announced that the reQuest Interlibrary Loan database will shut down on June 30, 2015, to be replaced by a new system in the fall. This decision was made as a result of ongoing budgetary reductions.

This decision will affect the NVCC Library in two ways:

  • We cannot accept Interlibrary Loan requests made after June 1, 2015 until the State Library’s new Interlibrary Loan system is up and running in the fall.
  • The statewide reQuest library catalog, used to search all CT libraries concurrently, will not be available after June 30th.

During this transition time, our library staff will be happy to assist with locating items in nearby libraries. We apologize for any inconvenience.

We apologize for the unavoidable inconvenience caused by the State Library’s budgetary decision. An announcement will be made when the new Interlibrary Loan system and statewide catalog are up and running.

Library to Offer Blackboard Workshops for Students

By Jenna Barry

This fall, the library will be offering several workshops on Blackboard basics for students who are new to online learning.

The workshops, which will be offered at various times during the week of September 7th, will feature hands-on practice with some of the basic functions of Blackboard Learn. The goal is to help students succeed in courses that have an online component. Students can practice engaging in discussion board forums, sending messages, uploading an assignment, and taking a quiz. While parts of online learning may seem daunting, there are many ways in which interacting with peers and instructors in a virtual setting can prepare students for future participation in a variety of digital environments.

Carrie Horvath, Director of Distance Learning, and Lew Boyce, Education Technology Specialist, have offered their valuable insights into some of the most common issues that students encounter when completing tasks in Blackboard for the first time. Carrie has also made available the Blackboard course in which students can practice with various features during the workshops, an important component of this hands-on learning initiative.

Registration is required so that participating students will have access to the online component during the workshop. Times and detailed sign-up information will be available in late August. Contact Jenna Barry at with any questions.

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Puzzle and Game Drive

Our students really enjoy working on puzzles and playing board games to help decompress from their studies. The Library is happy to accept your gently used, complete puzzles and board games for student use! Drop them off at any desk throughout the summer.

What great books are the NVCC staff reading?

Insiders' Guide to Connecticut by Eric D. Lehman

Are you planning a staycation this summer? Have a day or two to spend in Connecticut with visitors? The Insiders' Guide to Connecticut is filled with details about the nooks and crannies of the Constitution State. After some general information and history, each Connecticut county is broken down into the following sections: attractions, activities and events, shopping, accommodations, restaurants, and day trip suggestions. Try a day trip to another county - you might discover something fresh and new! The Appendix, entitled Living Here, features specific information for planning to relocate to Connecticut, making this wonderful little gem the perfect Welcome gift.

- Liz Frechette

The Martian by Andy Weir

Picture this: you and your fellow astronauts are on Mars when a dust storm hits and NASA tells you to return to Earth... but you're accidentally left behind. Good thing you happen to be:

  • a botanist
  • a mechanical engineer
  • hilariously funny and optimistic

The Martian packs some serious science, some frantic page turning action, and lots of wry, irreverent comments into one fantastic novel. Read it now before the movie (starring Matt Damon) comes out in November!

-Jaime Hammond

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

One of my new highly recommended books is the recently published Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng. I chose this book for our next “Vacation Book Group” discussion run for NVCC faculty and staff because it is an easy yet compelling and thought-provoking read from start to finish.

“A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another”. That’s what says – does it grab you?

How about this from The New York Times Book Review: “Ng has set two tasks in this novel’s doubled heart—to be exciting, and to tell a story bigger than whatever is behind the crime … What emerges is a deep, heartfelt portrait of a family struggling with its place in history, and a young woman hoping to be the fulfillment of that struggle. This is, in the end, a novel about the burden of being the first of your kind—a burden you do not always survive.”

-Elaine Milnor

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

This collection of essays, poems, and images was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry with good reason. The way that Rankine combines stories, conversations, media clips, and images to provide glimpses into life as a Jamaican American poet living in a racially charged America is both emotionally jarring and technically fascinating. Citizen: An American Lyric has stayed with me so much that I need to read it again.

-Jaime Hammond