Friday, March 31, 2017

April DVD Spotlight: Library Staff Picks

We're changing it up for this month's DVD Spotlight.  Instead of the usual theme of a certain genre or national cinema, we're featuring favorites and recommendations of the Reeves Memorial Library staff, chosen from our extensive collection of DVDs and Blu-rays.  As you might expect, our picks are just as varied as the staff members who chose them, spanning the new and the old, the popular and the obscure, and just about every genre you can think of.

From our hearts to your screens, here are some of our selections:

Dirty Dancing (1987)
"When I first saw Dirty Dancing in high school, I was horrified that "Baby" fell for the much-older Johnny the Dance Instructor.  But that wasn't icky enough to keep me from in turn falling for the flick.  How can this classic have only 6.9 stars on"
            -- Kelly Clever, Public Services Librarian

The Exorcist (1973)
"This is the most spine-chilling, terrifying movie ever made.  I was 12 years old when the movie debuted, the same age as Regan."
            -- Helene Ciarochi, Library Technician

Hamlet (1948)
"This classic film, directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier, won several Academy Awards in 1949--Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Black and White), and Best Costume Design (Black and White).  Olivier's interpretation and editing of the text was not without controversy, but the film is a showcase for this great actor at the height of his powers.  He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director, but did not win."
            -- Judith Koveleskie, Serials Librarian

Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)
"Our family's all-time, watch-over-and-over-again, feel-good film!  Richard Dreyfuss portrays a composer-turned-teacher, over the course of decades.  His life journey (along with his students' and family's) is inspiring.  The soundtrack is great, too!"
            -- Michelle Frye, Circulation Assistant

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
"This grand, operatic epic is a favorite of mine in more ways than one.  It's my all-time favorite western, it has my favorite musical score of any film (by the great Ennio Morricone), and it has my favorite opening scene in all of cinema.  Plus, it's got Henry Fonda cast against type as one of the all-time great movie villains."
            -- Adam Pellman, Cataloging/Acquisitions Librarian

Taxi Driver (1976)
"Try to imagine a time before Uber."
            -- David Stanley, Library Director

Stop by and check some out today, and maybe our favorites will become your favorites, too!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Student Teachers

How are all of our student teachers holding up? Hopefully the classroom is everything you’ve hoped and dreamed!

The education program has long been a hallmark of Seton Hill. Today we’re sharing a couple of pictures of student teachers from years past.

Seton Hill student teachers, 1930’s:

And more student teachers, these ones from the 1950s:

Heading out to change the world!

We don’t know the identities of any of these students, so, as always, if you recognize someone, please let us know. Many thanks to Bill Black in the SHU Archives for the photos.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Ready, Aim...

It’s probably no surprise that archery has had a place at Seton Hill over the years. What may surprise you is that sometimes it was an indoor sport.

As you could probably guess from the bowling balls in the foreground, these young ladies were practicing their target skills indoors. This shot was taken in 1953 at the bowling alley in Sullivan (for more information about that, check out a previous TBT post:

And here are four other aspiring archers a few years later (1961) in a more typical milieu:

Lois Mattel, Gidget Mahon, Ilona Hains and Anne Clement

Thanks to Bill Black in the SHU Archives for the photos and background info!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Break Hours

            March 11 – 12                                                            CLOSED
                                    March 13 – 17                                                            8:00 a.m.  -     4:50 p.m.

                                    March 18 – 19                                                           CLOSED

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Equestrian Sports

Equestrian sports have a long tradition at Seton Hill, though horseback riding used to also take place on a more informal basis. Many girls came from well-to-do families, and keeping a horse for recreational riding was common.

Here are some young ladies enjoying the fresh air on horseback in the 1930s:

Thirty years later (1962), we see a few more students hanging out with some equine company.

That’s a pretty tall horse!

Good luck to the ladies of the equestrian team! Give your hooved pals a carrot and a pat for me.

Students’ names were not noted in the Archives’ files. As always, if you recognize anyone, please let us know.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Throwback Thursday: A Century of Basketball

To celebrate March Madness, today’s Throwback Thursday takes a look at the Seton Hill basketball teams over the decades.

The school’s athletic teams weren’t always known as the Griffins; here’s a shot of the 1915 Alerts:

I’m wondering how our women’s basketball team would like to take to the court in those outfits today. They look a little… warm.

By 1960, the range of motion in the uniforms seems to have improved significantly, and we can see the old Sullivan gym in use:

The ‘89 team posed in street clothes.

And by 1998, things are looking much more familiar-- though we still didn’t have McKenna yet!

Good luck to you and your brackets.

Coaches’ and players’ names were not noted in the Archives’ files; if you recognize anyone, let us know!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March DVD Spotlight: Page to Screen

It's often said that the movie industry is lacking in original ideas for films, but you can't ignore the fact that countless great films have been based on books and plays, including this year's Oscar winner for Best Picture, Moonlight.  With this is mind, we're highlighting some of the numerous literary adaptations from our DVD collection all through the month of March.  We've got classic and contemporary gems based on novels (There Will Be Blood, A Clockwork Orange), plays (Hamlet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), and even comic books (American Splendor).

Featured titles include:

Adaptation (2002)
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman struggled so much in adapting the best-selling non-fiction book The Orchid Thief that he wrote himself into the script.  The result is a wholly original look at the process of adaptation itself, with stellar performances from a cast that includes Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, and Nicolas Cage (as Kaufman and his fictional twin brother).

Beauty and the Beast (1946)
This gorgeous and inventive French telling of the classic romantic fable is pure cinematic magic, featuring incredible make-up, set design, and special effects that bring the Beast's castle to vivid life.

Jackie Brown (1997)
Quentin Tarantino's adaptation of the great Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch, about a middle-aged flight attendant caught between a gun runner and two federal agents, is at once a taut, funny crime thriller, a nuanced, character-driven romance, and an homage to the 70s-era blaxploitation films that launched the career of the film's star, Pam Grier.  It's a perfect pairing of filmmaker and source material, and makes you wish Tarantino would try his hand at adaptations more often.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
In this Oscar-winning classic, Jack Nicholson gives a towering central performance as R.P. McMurphy, a psychiatric ward patient whose rebellious nature pits him against the oppressive head nurse, Miss Ratched.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This adaptation of a Stephen King novella, about the friendship that develops between two inmates in a Maine prison, is one of the best and most beloved films of the past few decades.

Throne of Blood (1957)
The great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa adapted a number of works from western literature for his films, and Throne of Blood, a retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth, may be the best of the bunch.  Set in feudal Japan, the film tells the story of a samurai lord who murders his master and usurps his power in fulfillment of a witch's prophecy.

Check one out today!

March Reading Theme: Road Trip: The Sunny South

Winter, winter, go away… We’re daydreaming of warmer days ahead, or perhaps just of regions where March doesn’t mean the chance of a blizzard. This month’s featured fiction titles all take place in the American South. Fix some sweet tea and set yourself down a spell to read one of this month’s picks.

Image courtesy of

High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown: “When her new husband joins the hastily organized Confederate Army, Geneva changes her name to Jimmy, dons a uniform, and enlists to be with her beloved.” (Publisher’s summary)

Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote: “In this semiautobiographical coming-of-age novel, thirteen-year-old Joel Knox, after losing his mother, is sent from New Orleans to live with the father who abandoned him at birth. But when Joel arrives at Skully's Landing, the decaying mansion in rural Alabama, his father is nowhere to be found.” (Publisher’s summary)

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier: “Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, the intrepid Ada is trying to revive her father’s derelict farm and learning to survive in a world where the old certainties have been swept away. As it interweaves their stories, Cold Mountain asserts itself as an authentic odyssey, hugely powerful, majestically lovely, and keenly moving.” (Publisher’s summary)

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus: “Lucy Marsden is narrowing in on her 100th birthday. She had been married to her husband William More Marsden since she was fifteen. But Willie, a veteran of the Civil War, never recovered from his youthful foray into battle, and more importantly, the loss of his closest friend. And the stories Lucy has to tell of the war, Willie, her life with him, and the tales she heard from his one-time slave Castalia, call to mind a time and a place, a history and a legacy that is not soon forgotten, and a call to justice that never should be.” (Publisher’s summary)

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris: “Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life. When one of her coworkers checks out, she decides that maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.” (Publisher’s summary)

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen: “When a ferocious hurricane rips through Southern Florida, the con artists and carpetbaggers waste no time swarming over the disaster area.” (Publisher’s summary)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: “Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s.” (Publisher’s summary)

Tending to Virginia by Jill McCorkle: “This is the story of Virginia Turner Ballard, know to her North Carolina relatives as Ginny Sue. It's also the story of her mother, her grandmother, her great aunts, her closest cousin--three generations of women who gather around Virginia to help her at the end of a hard pregnancy, to tend to her, to help her prepare for the fourth generation.” (Publisher’s summary)

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers: “Frankie Addams, a motherless twelve-year-old raised by her father and the family's African-American cook, struggles with conflicting feelings about her brother's upcoming wedding.” (Publisher’s summary)

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: “This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.” (Publisher’s summary)

The Neon Bible by John Kennedy Toole: “John Kennedy Toole--who won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his best-selling comic masterpiece A Confederacy of Dunces --wrote The Neon Bible for a literary contest at the age of sixteen. The manuscript languished in a drawer and became the subject of a legal battle among Toole's heirs. It was only in 1989, thirty-five years after it was written and twenty years after Toole's suicide at thirty-one, that this amazingly accomplished and evocative novel was freed for publication.” (Publisher’s summary)

The Golden Apples by Eurora Welty: “Welty is on home ground in the state of Mississippi in this collection of seven stories. She portrays the MacLains, the Starks, the Moodys, and other families of the fictitious town of Morgana. ‘I doubt that a better book about “the South”-one that more completely gets the feel of the particular texture of Southern life and its special tone and pattern-has ever been written’ (New Yorker).” (Publisher’s summary)