Thursday, September 18, 2014

Watch This: Jurassic Park

A bi-weekly series featuring a recommendation of a movie available in the Reeves Memorial Library DVD collection

Jurassic Park (1993)
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Last month saw the passing of the great British actor/director Richard Attenborough, whose career in front of and behind the camera spanned an astounding 65 years.  Attenborough directed the Oscar-winning epic Gandhi (1982), and is well-remembered for his classic portrayal of vicious hoodlum Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock (1947), but his most lasting cinematic legacy may be his turn as billionaire theme park owner John Hammond in Steven Spielberg's hugely entertaining blockbuster Jurassic Park.  The film was adapted from the bestselling novel by Michael Crichton, whose Hammond was cold and greedy.  The Hammond of the movie, in contrast, is kind and benevolent, though no less hubristic, and Attenborough imbues him with an almost childlike sense of excitement about his newest theme park attractions.

The film follows a small group of visitors (scientists Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler, mathematician Ian Malcolm, lawyer Donald Gennaro, and Hammond's two grandchildren, Tim and Lex) as they take a preview tour of Hammond's new theme park, located on an island off the coast of South America.  Hammond's team has found a way to extract dinosaur DNA from blood found in mosquitoes frozen in amber millions of years ago, and to use the DNA to clone living dinosaurs.  Despite warnings from Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm that these creatures cannot be controlled, Hammond is determined to move forward with the opening of the park.  Of course, the tour does not go as planned, and a power outage resulting from the unscrupulous behavior of a park employee leads to a breakdown of the park's security systems.  With the dinosaurs loose on the island, the remaining visitors and park employees must fight for their survival.

Although the film features a talented ensemble cast, they're not given much in the way of character development (Attenborough's Hammond and Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcolm are both certainly memorable performances, as is Samuel L. Jackson's supporting turn as chief engineer Ray Arnold).  But it's easy to overlook this fault, because the real stars of the film are the dinosaurs, rendered through a combination of animatronics and computer-generated effects that still feel more realistic than many effects found in today's films.

In the 21 years since its original theatrical release, Jurassic Park has lost none of the magic that made it such a worldwide phenomenon.  There is an almost palpable sense of wonder that pervades the film itself (some credit must go to composer John Williams for his superb musical score), and it's easy to see why it captured the imaginations of moviegoers around the globe.  Spielberg has always been a master of grand-scale spectacle, and even with repeat viewings, the film's most thrilling sequences still amaze: the T-rex attack on the tour vehicles (beginning with the iconic moment featuring the cups of vibrating water), the gallimimus stampede, and Tim and Lex's game of cat-and-mouse with the velociraptors in the kitchen.

As was the case with the previous Watch This post about Titanic (1997), I feel like this is another instance in which most readers will have already seen the film at least once.  However, Jurassic Park is absolutely worth another visit, and should certainly prove a wonderful cinematic experience for first-time viewers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Naxos Music Library

We are excited to announce our new streaming music resource, Naxos Music Library, which is now available via the "Databases" page on the library's website.  Naxos has partnered with hundreds of music labels to digitize their CD catalogs, and over 1.4 million tracks are currently available, with more being added every week.  Whether you're a casual listener or a hardcore music aficionado, Naxos has something to meet your listening needs, with a wide range of genres from composers and artists all over the world.  Although the bulk of the database is classical music, you can also find jazz, folk music, opera, world music, gospel, musical theater, pop/rock (including country music), relaxation music, and even spoken word recordings.


You can search or browse by composer or artist, browse by genre, and access the database's extensive text-based information, which includes liner notes, composer/artist biographies, and libretti and synopses for hundreds of operas.  You can also listen to pre-created playlists, or create your own!  Naxos even offers a mobile app, so you can listen to the music on your smartphone anytime, anywhere.

We hope you'll enjoy this wonderful new resource as much as us, so check it out today!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Training for active shooter situations on Friday-- be aware!

The Greensburg City Police Department will be on campus on Friday afternoon (9/19) from 1:00-3:30 PM, conducting ALICE training for employees in Reeves Theater. This training is to prepare campus employees to respond to emergency situations.

As part of the training, MULTIPLE BLANK GUNSHOTS WILL BE FIRED inside and outside of the training room.

Please spread the word that this will be taking place so no one is alarmed. We will also be posting notices throughout the Learning Commons. If the sounds of the blank gunshots will be distressing to you, you may wish to meet and study elsewhere on campus during this 2.5 hour period.

Friday, September 5, 2014

More furniture!


More of the furniture arrived for the Learning Commons today!


Study tables in the O'Hara Room-- quiet study space downstairs 
(go down the front stairs and make a right when you reach the coffee lounge area)

The Reading Room got some of its tables and chairs, too! Also quiet study space
(formerly Harlan Gallery; you can use the off-street entrance near the theater)

More of The Reading Room! Most of our spaces have a mix of tables and comfy furniture. Here's a nook for deep reading... or for browsing the fiction collection in those wooden shelves. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September DVD Spotlight: American Independent Films

Starting this month, Reeves Memorial Library will be featuring a different set of titles from our DVD collection each month.  As we begin the month of September and the new academic year, we're celebrating the independent spirit with a group of American films made outside of the Hollywood studio system.  Included are many influential and important independent films, such as:

Shadows (1959), directed by John Cassavetes
Stranger Than Paradise (1984), directed by Jim Jarmusch
Pulp Fiction (1994), directed by Quentin Tarantino
Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967), directed by Martin Scorsese
Eraserhead (1977), directed by David Lynch
Carnival of Souls (1962), directed by Herk Harvey

Be sure to stop by and check these out!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First class in the Learning Commons!

Dr. Stanley had the opportunity to teach in one of the new Learning Studios this morning. As the focus on the class was the history of printmaking, it was more hands-on with ancient technology than oriented around the new, but it still provided a perfect venue.




Friday, August 22, 2014

Fall Hours!

We begin fall hours on Monday! We keep slightly shorter hours for the first week of classes, but the academic year is definitely here. Have a wonderful and safe weekend.


                                   REGULAR LIBRARY HOURS
                              AUGUST 25, 2014—January 1, 2015

Monday – Thursday                                                         8:00 a.m.  -  11:50 p.m.
Friday                                                                                8:00 a.m.  -    4:50 p.m.
Saturday                                                                            9:00 a.m.  -    4:50 p.m.
Sunday                                                                              1:00 p.m. -   11:50 p.m.

                                  EXCEPTION DATES FALL 2014
                  August 25 – August 28                                                     8:00a.m.  -  8:50p.m.                    
                  August 31 – September 1                                                 CLOSED

                  EXTENDED WEEKEND
October 12                                                                        CLOSED
                  October 13 – October 14                                                 8:00 a.m. –  4:50 p.m.

THANKSGIVING BREAK                         
November 25                                                                    8:00 a.m. – 4:50 p.m.
November 26                                                                    8:00 a.m. – 3:50 p.m.
                  November 27 – November 30                                         CLOSED

FINALS
December 8 – 10                                                              8:00 a.m. – 12:50 a.m.
                  December 11                                                                    8:00 a.m. – 10:50 p.m.
                  December 12                                                                    8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS BREAK
December 14                                                                   CLOSED
December 15 – December 19                                         8:00 a.m. – 4:50 p.m.
                  December 20 – December 21                                         CLOSED                    
                  December 22 – December 23                                         8:00 a.m. – 4:50 p.m.
                  December 24 – January1                                                CLOSED