Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday Reads: Independence Day

Today our Cataloging & Acquisitions Librarian, Adam Pellman, shares a seasonally-appropriate book from our fiction collection.

Adam Pellman with Independence Day by Richard Ford

"With the July 4th holiday having just passed, I thought it would be an ideal time to read a novel set during that time of year, Richard Ford's Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day.  The novel is a follow-up to Ford's celebrated 1986 novel The Sportswriter, which follows divorced sportswriter Frank Bascombe as he grapples with his failed marriage, the death of his young son, and his assorted unfulfilled aspirations.  Independence Day picks up several year later, during the July 4th holiday weekend in 1988, as Frank, now a realtor, continues to deal with his many failings.  He struggles to close a home sale with a bickering out-of-state couple, his relationship with his girlfriend is crumbling, and his two-day road trip with his troubled teenage son, who lives with Frank's remarried ex-wife, does not go as planned.

"It's a beautifully-written novel, and Ford makes the seemingly mundane details of everyday life feel fresh and compelling.  Frank has many flaws, and I don't recall finding him all that likeable when I read The Sportswriter about five years ago.  But I have a great deal more sympathy for Frank in this book, maybe because I'm now closer to his age, and have more life experience under my belt."

Monday, July 2, 2018

Closed 4th of July

thx to for the image!

The Library will be CLOSED on Wednesday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day.

We are wishing all a safe and happy celebration!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday Reads: Another Country

Two summer Friday Reads for you in a row! Judith Koveleskie recently read Another Country by Mary Pipher and wanted to share. 

Judith Koveleskie with Another Country by Mary Pipher, Ph.D.

"Another Country by Mary Pipher, Ph.D., was written nearly twenty years ago, but it is still relevant in navigating the 'generation gap.'   This term was popular a few years ago, when referring to the differences between parents and teenagers, but it is equally relevant in the relationships between adult children and older parents.  
"The author is a psychologist who offers insights about the different ways that parents and children view emotions, independence, and aging.   She also includes numerous interviews with older people at various stages in their life journeys.  
"One particularly interesting concept is that age cannot fully define a person.   She points out that formerly anyone over 65 was ​old.   ​Now, however, those in good health can be considered 'young old' and their lives do not differ much from the lives they lived as younger people.  However, ​gradually or ​​suddenly their health can change and they become 'old old' with many different needs and in many cases a completely different way of relating to others.

"The book also discusses the gifts that each generation has to give to each other.   With the aging of the 'baby-boomer' generation and the increase in typical lifespans, we have a larger elderly population than ever.  As a nation, we should find better ways of caring for the 'old old' as well as learning the lessons that they have to teach us."

Friday, June 1, 2018

Friday Reads: Educated

We won't have a Friday Reads every Friday during the summer, but you'll see us share a book now and then. We hope you're also getting a chance to read some good books this summer!

Today Public Services Librarian Kelly Clever tells us about a book she read recently-- Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

Kelly Clever with Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

"Tara Westover was 'homeschooled' (more on the scare quotes in a sec) in the mountains of southeastern Idaho in a fundamentalist Mormon family. Her father was a mentally-ill survivalist who was obsessed with the coming of The End. He ruled the family with an iron fist and put his children to work salvaging scrap metal from his junkyard. Since the medical establishment was a tool of the Illuminati, injuries (including third-degree burns, concussions, broken bones, and more) were treated at home by her mother, a self-taught herbalist. The kids’ labor was more important than their education, so anything beyond learning to read and basic arithmetic was left to each child to self-direct from a handful of musty textbooks in the basement.

"Everything changed when Tara’s older brother, Tyler, the third of the seven children, taught himself enough to take the ACT and get into college. Their dad tried to stop him from going to BYU to be brainwashed by the liberal professors, but Tyler persisted. Years later, he persuaded Tara to follow in his footsteps. Going to college also got her away from the second-oldest brother, who had already broken several of her bones in violent rages to which their parents turned a blind eye. Tara was 17 when she first entered a classroom, and she had a steep learning curve as she first heard of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement, realized that most people washed their hands after using the bathroom, and discovered that ibuprofen could fix an ache in minutes instead of days.

"Eventually, though the mentorship of her bishop, her roommates, and her professors, Tara won fellowships that enabled her to study in Cambridge and at Harvard; today she holds a Ph.D. in history.

"This book was incredibly difficult to read, but I implore everyone who can handle it to read it. I grew up in the religious homeschooling movement of the ‘90s; I’m three years older than Tara Westover. My family also lived in semi-isolation out in the mountains and got pretty into Y2K prep, but my parents believed strongly in education, including college (even for girls, which was unusual in those circles). They took us to the doctor and dentist regularly and were never violent or negligent. But I was always aware that there were other families out there who were much farther down the spectrum. I absolutely believe Tara, because I am all too familiar with the patterns, the family dynamics, and the mindsets that she describes."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend hours

Memorial Day Weekend LIBRARY hours:

Thursday, May 24th: 8:00 a.m. - Noon
Friday, May 25th - Monday, May 28th: CLOSED

Friday, May 4, 2018

Finals Hours

Finals are upon us!

LIBRARY hours (the office and the rooms with the books!); the Learning Commons space upstairs will be open 24/7!

  • May 7 - 10                            8:00 a.m.  –  9:50 p.m.
  • May 11                                  8:00 a.m.  -  4:50 p.m.
  • May 12 - 13                          CLOSED

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Throwback Thursday: May Court

Today we're exploring another extinct Seton Hill tradition: the May Court and the May Day celebrations, generally. Once upon a time, May Day was the biggest "student event" of the Seton Hill year and was officially devoted to the celebration of the Virgin Mary.

May Day trumpeters

May pole

These two photos are from May Day 1925. We see the "May Court" with the heralds trumpeting their arrival. You can see that a couple of the girls behind the trumpeters are carrying elaborate baskets, while others have bouquets or armloads of blossoms. In the second photo, we get to see a May Pole; while May Day celebrations have died off in the United States over the decades, many of us probably got to participate in one of these as children. 

May Queen and King
King and Queen of May: Grace Boslett, '33, and Barbara Yahner, 32

This shot is dated 1932, and here we get to see a few curious trends emerging. First, the "King and Queen of May" are now wearing renaissance costumes instead of the (mostly) contemporary clothing of seven years earlier. Second, yes, the King is named Barbara. 

The May Court was chosen in a similar fashion to modern-day Homecoming courts-- by vote-- and the May King was a separate voting category from May Queen. So Barbara and any runners-up for May King were nominated for the May King role. 

dancer with flower wreath on front lawn
Mary Gertrude Jones, May Day 1934

You may recognize the location of this 1934 photo. Part of the May Day festivities were a parade to the front lawn (in front of what is now the Administration building). In the background behind the dancer, you can see girls sitting around on the grass, while the court is seated upon a raised dais. 

May Court

This 1936 May Court features a mixture of 30's and Renaissance clothing. Here, again, we have a female May King, and here, again, the King is taller than the Queen. The rest of the court, other than the heralds, are wearing dresses. 

May Queen
This unnamed student was May Queen in 1937.

Student crowning Mary statue

And here we have a student crowning Mary with flowers in the Grotto in 1947. 

May Day celebrations at Seton Hill, as in much of the rest of the country, began to fade out shortly after World War II. May 1st is also known as International Workers' Day, which was widely observed in communist countries, making it more problematic for many Americans during the Cold War. 

For more information about the history of May Day, you can find more on