National Library Week

It’s National Library Week!

What is National Library Week?

I think the American Library Association (ALA), the sponsor of National Library Week, explains it best:

National Library Week (April  10 – 16, 2016) is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. The theme for 2016 National Library Week is ‘Libraries Transform.'”

Each year, National Library Week has a theme, and this year’s theme is “Libraries Transform.” Libraries do indeed transform. They develop, grow, and adapt to new technology and the needs of patrons. Not only do libraries themselves transform, but libraries also transform and affect the lives of people. Libraries are community driven and now offer more resources than ever before to patrons. The digital age has allowed libraries to reach out to its community outside of the library walls. Resources such as eBooks, video and music streaming, and access to many databases are just some of the tools available to the community. These resources have helped transform the way students do their homework, the way researchers do their research, and much more!

How can you take part in National Library Week?


Here in our very own Bryan College Library, Mrs. Connie has set up a table at the front desk celebrating the week with balloons and candy for you to snack on while doing your homework! Also, on the corner book displays by the periodicals, there are books out that are library themed. Come by, grab some candy, use the resources your library offers you, and thank your librarians for all their hard work!


The ALA is hosting a #LibrariesTransform promotional contest! They are asking for people to share how the library matters to them or has transformed their life.

To participate in the contest:

Post to Twitter, Instagram, or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page during National Library Week for a chance to win. Entries can be a picture or text. Creativity is encouraged. Just be sure to include the word “Because” and the hashtag #LibrariesTransform for a chance to win. Entries can also be submitted directly to the Libraries Transform website. The contest ends Saturday, April 16 at noon CT.

One randomly selected winner will receive a $100 gift card and a copy of  “Secret Coders,” by Mike Holmes and Gene Luen Yang.


For more information and more ways to participate, visit these sites:

Libraries Transform

ALA’s Website


When You Think You Have Nothing to Write

What do you blog about when you think you have nothing to write? This has been my struggle for the past week. After going through the stress of trying to finish my thesis and get it turned in on time on top of all the other writing assignments I’ve had, my typing fingers and the part of my brain that writes papers (whatever that part is called, if there even is such a thing) is screaming for a rest!

So I think I gave it a rest, and now a week has passed, and now I will have to write two blog posts this week to make up for last week🙂 but that’s okay.

For my first of two blog posts, I think it would be appropriate to write about writer’s block. It exists. It is a real thing. I like to think of it as a disease, but I know that’s not true.  Merriam-Webster’s full definition for writer’s block is:

“A psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.”

So what do you do when you feel like you just CANNOT write even one more word? Do you have to take a week long break? Or does a 30 minute break work for you? Do you grab a bite of food and then you’re okay? Or do you need to nap? For me, I find that several of these methods work depending on the situation. In my current situation, I felt like I needed to take a step away from writing for a few days before I could think of anything worthwhile to write about. Other times, when I don’t have the freedom to take a few days away from writing, I find that going outside and throwing frisbee or taking a nap helps.

I did some research on writer’s block and found some other causes and methods recommended for you to try. According to the Purdue OWL web page on writer’s block, a lot of writer’s block is caused by anxiety. Anxiety caused by attempting to start a writing assignment with little to no brainstorming or preparation, a topic that bores you, and/or a lack of confidence in your ability to write can all create writer’s block.

Try a few of the following methods to lessen your anxiety and rid yourself of writer’s block:

  • Brainstorm – jot down big ideas with smaller ones underneath
  • Freewrite – write without stopping—any and everything that comes to mind. Your pencil or typing fingers should not cease moving—even if it’s “I don’t know what to write.” Words will eventually come.
  • Make an appointment with the writing center. Not only are the writing tutors there to help you with an already written paper, but they can also help you brainstorm for a paper.
  • Pick a topic you are interested in if allowed.
  • Stop thinking unproductive thoughts and begin thinking productive thoughts. “I can do this.” or “I will write x many words in x amount of time.”
  • Insert yourself into your most comfortable and productive environment. If you normally write best chewing gum, pop a piece of gum in your mouth. If you write better listening to music, crank up your favorite jam. If you write best in the library, get your bottom to the library.
  • Get out of your seat and stretch. Take a walk around campus, around your dorm, or around the library. Sitting still for too long can make you go numb.
  • Eliminate distractions. Place your phone on silent and on the other side of the room. Take a quick 10 minute break before beginning a writing assignment to scroll through all your social media and remove any temptations to get back on during your time dedicated to writing. Get away from your friends if you have to.
  • Remember that your first draft does not have to be perfect. Use that as motivation to get words down on paper.
  • Break a huge writing assignment down into small doable steps. Don’t try to tackle 3000 words all at once.
  • And the biggest thing…DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. I have first hand experience with having near mental breakdowns and late papers all because I did not plan well and chose to procrastinate. Don’t do it. Just say no.

Take some of these tips and win. Accomplish your goals. Beat writer’s block. I believe in you.

For more information on writer’s block visit Purdue Owl’s website or search the web for other methods of overcoming it.

To make an appointment with the writing center, click here.


Library Happenings

What’s going on this week (and next) in the library? Well, I’m glad you asked! A few things:


Students from Dr. Saynes Children’s Literature class have started bringing their book floats to the library to put on display! What are book floats? Every year, Dr. Saynes has each student in her Children’s Lit class choose a children or young adult novel to read. Once they read their chosen book, they are given the task of illustrating the book in a creative way on a box. As well as cleverly illustrating the book, students include a summary of their book on the box. The book floats are currently on display on the first floor of the library. If you see a book float that really interests you, along with the book floats, the books that inspired them that the library owns hardcopies of will be available for you to check out!


Come check out all the hard work Dr. Saynes’ class put into their book floats! Maybe you need a break from school work. Come grab a book that interests you!


Now that spring is here (Praise the Lord!), Mrs. Connie has set up her corner displays in the library featuring some of the library’s spring themed books!



The annual Undergraduate Research Conference is being held in the second floor of the library next Friday (4/8)! Don’t miss this opportunity to see your fellow classmates present the research projects they have been working on diligently. For more information on the BCUR program, please click here.


Is WordPress the Way to Go?

In general, what do you look for in a website? Easy navigation? Color? Graphics? Simplicity? Quality of content? All or some of the above?

What about the Bryan Library’s website? Are you looking for easy access to information you need for writing a paper? Do you want easy links to databases? An easy way to request an inter-library loan book?

Do you think the library’s webpage provides these things for you?

I’ve been thinking about the library’s website lately. I recently found out that the library’s website was made with WordPress. Many of you might be familiar with WordPress blogs. That’s the only thing I was aware WordPress was used for until recently. During my time working in the library, I have been so fascinated with everything new I’ve been learning–especially concerning the digital side of the library. Since learning that the Bryan Library’s website was made with WordPress, I’ve been interested in knowing more.

I recently watched a webinar hosted by OCLC titled “Enhancing Your Library’s Web Presence with WordPress.” This webinar was presented by a couple librarians at Berthoud Public Library in Colorado. This library also uses WordPress to make their website. The purpose of this webinar was to show viewers how simple it is to use WordPress for your library’s website. One thing the librarians speaking stressed throughout the webinar was that their library does not have an IT staff. I mean, they really, really stressed this. They said it probably 15 times throughout the hour long webinar. Their intention in emphasizing this fact was to show that even individuals like them, like you and me, the average Joe, can build a website using WordPress. This was very reassuring to me. Currently, I do not know a lot about HTML. I am, however, in the process of learning about it. I have been given books to read on it and have been using good ole faithful, the internet, to help me out.

With WordPress, though, you do not have to be a tech guru to make a website. The librarians at Berthoud Public took viewers through the many stages of their library’s website–what it started out as to what it is now using WordPress. What it began as was just a stationary screen with not many features or things to click on. It was a lot of plain text with no modern looking buttons or anything to click on. It reminded me of my teachers’ class websites during elementary and middle school. Remember those? They looked something like this:

Picture taken from here.

I think we should all take a moment to be thankful the Bryan Library’s website does not look like this. Yes. Very thankful.

From their old website they termed, “The Dark Ages,” Berthoud Public went to a basic pre-built website template made through PLINKIT (Public Library Interface Kit). PLINKIT, much like WordPress, offers basic templates for libraries to fill in the blanks with their information and links. Unlike WordPress, though, PLINKIT does have quite a few limitations and shortcomings. It offers little customization and was difficult to operate from the library staffs’ perspective. They had to be very careful while working on a page not to accidentally press a wrong button and break the page they were working on. The fragility of the website and minimal customization left the Berthoud Public staff looking for something better.

The Berthoud Public Library began using WordPress in 2014. WordPress, like PLINKIT, allows libraries to use pre-built templates. However, with WordPress, libraries can better customize their websites in a way that works for them. Before getting started with WordPress, the Berthoud librarians recommend that libraries first do two things. One: Brainstorm. Hold a meeting with your library staff to see what they want in a website. Send out student and faculty/staff surveys to find out what they want available to themselves and their students. The library website is there to serve your community, so your community is the perfect place to go in order to gain insight into what they need and want in a library website. Two: Spend time exploring other libraries’ websites. It is perfectly acceptable to gather ideas and layouts from other sources. Already having a basic idea of what you want your library’s website to look like will be helpful when trying to make your own.

Once your library has done their research on what the community wants in a website it is time to take a look at the templates available for you to choose from. When you make your library’s homepage, they suggest thinking of it as the entry way into your home. The entry way, or your homepage, should be where guests are visually pleased with a nice overview of the home, or website, they are about to walk, or click, into. This is not where you will showcase every detail of what your website has to offer, but you should showcase in a minimal format what is available for your patrons. For example, below is a picture of the Berthoud Public Library’s current home page.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 2.39.11 PM

Their homepage features what their library has available while not giving you full access to all its features directly from the homepage. That would be too overwhelming. Instead, what they’ve done is use tabs on the top of the page that expand into a dropdown list of more features you can click on to take you to that particular page of the website. In the upper right hand corner of their website, they have given links to their social media sites for their community to have the opportunity to further connect with the library. They also have a feature in the center of their website that scrolls through current events held by the library. Towards the bottom of the page, but still easily visible, they have given direct links to their most used features.

So what do you think? Do you like the way they have set up their homepage? If you were a Berthoud Community patron, would you be able to easily access what you were looking for? Do you like their use of the drop down tabs at the top? Were you expecting more color or pictures? How would you compare this to the Bryan Library’s website? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.

If you want more options than what the premade templates from offer, you can check out I was unaware that existed until watching this webinear. I did a little bit of research, and I found that offers even more custimizability for your website. With the .org option, you host and maintain every aspect of your website. For example, rather than maintaining your website from an internet browser, the .org option requires you to download WordPress onto  your computer. You are in charge of hosting your site, maintaining it, backing it up, and providing security for it. With the .com option, all this is done for you. If you wish to have more freedom to build your own template, though, the .org option may be the way you wish to go. It just requires more technical knowledge and knowledge of HTML. Either way, WordPress is a valuable tool that libraries have the option of creating great websites with.

For more information on the .org versus .com options, visit these links:

For more information on how to build a website using the .com option, visit this link:

Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below! What do you like and not like about the Bryan Library’s website? What do you like and not like about the Berthoud Public Library’s homepage? I want to know your thoughts!




Photography Contest Results!

This past month, the Bryan College Library held a photography contest. For more information on the contest, see my previous blog post here. Eight entries were received, and judges chose a winner for three different categories. The winners and their photos are pictured below.

The winner for the “Most Humorous” category is Kat Frazier.

DSC_0004 (1)Kat is a senior Christian Ministry major with a youth ministry focus. She enjoys photography and playing soccer. What inspired her photo? Kat said, “I wanted to do something that was unique for my photo and originally wanted to have someone hang upside down in a tree while reading a book; unfortunately, it was raining so I had to come up with something equally unique that could be done indoors.”

The winner for the “Most Creative” category is Taylor Brown.

imageTaylor is a junior Elementary Education major. What inspired her photo? She said, “I wanted the picture to be creative in that I was reading a book on historical women in America, while in a library, and while balancing books on my head. The idea was for me to be seen as sophisticated and intellectual.”

The winner for the “Most Library Oriented” category is Mariah Goodwin.

IMG_8320Mariah is a junior Psychology 3+2 major. What inspired her photo? She said, “I wanted something that was really simple but you would know that it is the Bryan Library. If you look closely, you can make out some of the book titles that are in the Christian Worldview section of the library. This was actually the first photo I took out of 100 that I captured within 15 minutes of being in the Library.”

These three photographs and the other five entries are currently on display on the first floor of the library. Many thanks to everyone who participated! You all did such a wonderful job! Winners, make sure you have picked up your prize in the library.

Now that the contest is over, we are asking students to come in and write creative captions for each of the photos. For more information on this, please refer to my Caption This! blog post. Instructions for how to do this are also posted in the library. Take a study break, and come caption some photos!




Caption This!

Are you tired of studying in the library with no recreational opportunities to turn to when in need of a brain break? Need a chance to be creative and maybe laugh a little? The library is giving you this opportunity! Now that the library photography contest entries have been posted, it is now time for a new event! Today through Friday, March 11th, the library is giving students an opportunity for a quick study break.

Caption This! Option 2


So, what is this? This is your opportunity to step away from all the stress surrounding midterms. Come into the library this week and next to create captions for the photography contest entries! The photos are posted in one of the large glass display cases on the first floor of the library near the restrooms. Next to the display case, there are blank slips of paper for you to write on. Next to each picture is the name of the photographer and an assigned number. After you choose a picture to caption, write the picture’s assigned number somewhere on your slip of paper so we will know which picture it belongs to. Then write your caption! Your caption can be humorous, insightful, and/or creative!  There is box next to the cabinet for you to slip your captions into. Each day, captions will be taken out and placed under their corresponding photograph. You know you could use a study break, so why not take a five minute break to create a funny caption for one of the pictures!

Stay tuned later today or Friday for a blog post featuring the winning photographers and their photos.


Subject Guides

Do you need to start a research project but don’t know where to begin? Don’t fret. Don’t run to Google. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t try to sleep away your troubles. Instead, turn to the resources your Byran College Library have made available for you. The library’s subject guides are one such resource. The subject guides were created for you to have a convenient and easy place to begin your research. The library has compiled 16 subject guides for you to use.

The subject guides are:

Within each subject guide are recommended databases for finding articles in your selected discipline, strategies for searching the library catalog for books, eBooks, films, and music, and links to quality online resources.

Continue reading “Subject Guides”