Tell A Story Day (April 27th)

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“Tell A Story Day” is upon us. The purpose of this fun holiday is to offer a special day to read and tell stories of all kinds. Libraries across the country will have unique readings to children and famous authors will gather to share ideas. It is a day to remember one of the oldest practices humanity still continues to today. So, if you’re interested in ever writing a story, or just making your friends laugh, here are some tips on how to tell an effective story. (These tips apply to both written and spoken stories.)

 

1. Know Where You’re Going

Going on a trip is always fun. Most people plan out a trip by finding hotels, checking airline prices, finding tourist attractions, and planning for transportation. Rarely would you go on a trip without planning any of this, or without packing. When it comes to telling a story, planning is key. Determine the point or destination of your story. If your story does not have a point or end idea, then maybe save it, or reframe it. The worst feeling is to get to the end of your story and your audience not understand why you told it in the first place. Know where you’re going and lead your audience there- which brings me to my second point.

 

2. Lead Your Audience

Stories are about guidance. Think of yourself as a tour guide as you take your audience through the story. You know the twists and the turns. You know the places where suspense will be key, but remember that your audience does not know these things. You must bring them there. Do not give away too much at the beginning or save everything for the end. Remember how long you have to tell the story (page count or time limit) and pull the story along that time. Your words (written or spoken) are like a rope that the audience follows to the destination you have determined. As you tell your story, focus only on the details that matter along the road you are bringing them down. Do not allow them (or yourself) to become too distracted. You will lose them quickly if you don’t lead well.

 

3. Stay Focused

It is very easy (especially when talking) to begin to wander around in your storytelling. Perhaps you think of another story while telling one. Your brain has made the connection so you jump to the next thing, leaving your audience confused on where you’ve taken them. Be careful when following rabbit trails. Your audience may begin to believe that there is no destination and that you are just meandering with your words. Once they become directionless, your audience will stop caring about the story. If a tangent is important to the destination, help the audience to understand why it is important.

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4. Don’t Laugh Before the Punchline

I often find myself, usually when telling jokes I find particularly funny, laughing before I’ve delivered the punchline. The problem is, I’ve not helped my audience appreciate the joke more, I’ve only aggravated them. I’ve done so simply by knowing something they don’t. I’m the one telling the joke, I shouldn’t laugh until everyone else does. In storytelling, this can happen as well. If you show emotions out of place with the current moment in the story, you will confuse your audience. If you know something about a character the audience doesn’t, don’t make comments about it until the time when the audience understands. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t foreshadow, but only that you don’t give everything away before the proper time.

 

5. Have a Moral (but not a moral-of-the-story)

We have all heard the line “the moral of the story is…” Since you have undoubtedly heard this before, you understand it is a cliche. Try to avoid cliches as much as possible, including this one. If you tell your story well, there is no need for this tagline at the end. Your audience will have grasped the moral without realizing it. That is the point of the path you are taking them on. By the end they hardly remember every step, but they can look back and see how far they’ve come along.

 

Storytelling is an amazing practice. So take these tips and write and tell away! Take your audience along for the ride, but pay attention: you never know what a story might teach you.

 

*written by Brennan Kress

Spotlight On “Film Criticism”

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Film Criticism is the third oldest academic film journal in the United States and an open-access resource where you can download and print its various articles. Through Film Criticism, you can access full-text and peer-reviewed critiques of film experts about different movies, directors, and cinematic themes. Often the articles will also connect films to the real world, focusing on merchandising and cultural impact.

You can also read about TV shows in this journal, like Twin Peaks or Storage Wars. While Film Criticism is aiming at an academic audience, reading the reviews of the latest media could also help you find your next favorite show. If you’d like to be the one writing about entertainment, Film Criticism accepts submissions here.

Look for Film Criticism online or on the library website by searching the “Journals By Title or Subject” tab.

How To Find Books By Union Authors

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Did you know that many Union faculty and staff members are also published authors? The library has a sizeable collection of books that were written or edited by Union authors. There are 4 major ways that you can see these books:

  1. We have a “Union Authors” list online! Just click the link to view the list. You can also find this list by using the drop down menu that says “Find Materials” on the library’s home page.
  2. If you know the author or the title of the book by name, you can search for them via our library website. The website will tell you the book’s location in the library and its availability status.
  3. If you just want to browse the collection, you can walk around the book stacks and find Union Authors by noticing books with “Union Authors” stickers. These stickers are red and attached to the spine of the books. Hint: a large amount of books by Union Authors are in our theology section.
  4. One final way to see books by Union Authors is by viewing the “Union Book Project” via www.uu.edu. You can search for specific authors or by year to see the books that were released in a particular time period. It’s a great resource!

 

Pick up a book by your favorite professor today! Chances are it’s on our shelves.

Featured Book: “Should I Go To Grad School?”

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The purpose of this book is to provide a broad, unempirical look at how a variety of people in the arts, academia, social sciences, and humanities have personally engaged with the problem of grad school.

Should I Go to Grad School? contains 41 different essays about people’s experiences, grad school statistics, and advice. While the book does not address STEM majors, it does contain wisdom for students in the humanities. Whether you’ve always wanted to go to grad school or are just considering it as an option, there is probably a story in this book that you can relate to.

Many of the authors tell their stories, answering questions like, “How did they get the job they wanted?” and “Why did they choose the grad school option?” There are inspiring stories sprinkled among solely practical ones.

Eben Klemm, a fellow at MIT, gives this advice:

Would my life be more or less complete, would I be better or worse, richer or poorer, doing more or less good if I had gone to grad school? Yes to all of the above. Anything can become a serious, almost academic pursuit if you care to work at it deeply and honestly (or dishonestly) within a community of similar individuals who choose to care about it as much as you do. You just have to find them. The important thing is to be sure of the questions that you are willing to pursue forever, and to determine the best ways and institutions that will allow you to do so. Other people are waiting for you.

Art, English, History, and Sociology majors: pick up this book if you’re thinking about expanding your education. There’s no one right answer for everybody- but out of these 41 different experiences, at least one may be able to help you.

Book Signing Event With Karen Kingsbury

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Tonight’s the night! We are excited to host Christian novelist Karen Kingsbury on campus. You can visit with Karen Kingsbury in the library from 5-5:40pm before her special dinner event, hosted by the Union Auxiliary. Kingsbury will be selling signed copies of her new book and can also sign your personal books for free if you bring them to the library.

For more information about Karen Kingsbury, visit her website.

For more information about “An Evening With Karen Kingsbury,” click here.

Featured Poet: Seamus Heaney

The path to success is to take massive, determined action.

 

When Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, he had already been writing poems since the 1960s. Born in Northern Ireland in 1939, Heaney grew up in a politically divisive world as WWII was beginning. He excelled at school and became a teacher and poet, often spending time in the United States to educate pupils there. Heaney also wrote plays and spent time traveling as a professor; however, he is most remembered for his poetry.

Heaney’s poetry contains themes of nature, relationships, working life, and Irish culture. Take his poem “Blackberry Picking” as an example:

For Philip Hobsbaum
Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
Heaney used language that invoked our senses: words like “fermented,” “sour,” and “sticky.” He brought his readers into his world and helped them connect with the earth.

Top 5 Psychology Journals

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Looking for an up-to-date study on mental health? Need a quick bio of Alfred Adler or Anna Freud? The library has around 1,150 psychology journals that provide tons of information. Listed below are some of the most comprehensive (and current) ones that you can access through our website.

 

Journal of Social Psychology

The Journal of Social Psychology includes articles on “experimental, empirical and field studies of groups, cultural effects, cross-national problems, language and ethnicity, cross-cultural notes and briefly reported replications and refinements.” When you’re looking for case studies, statistics, and psychology research, this is the journal for you!

 

 

 

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Psychology Today

Psychology Today has easy-to-understand articles for the average Joe as well as the psychology student. Here you can read about topics like cognition, social lives, aging, therapy, and self-help. If you’re needing a shorter article that explains a general concept, then Psychology Today is a good place to start.

 

Journal of Individual Psychology

You can read articles online from the Journal of Individual Psychology from 1974 to the present day via the library. This is a more specialized journal, dealing mainly with the practices and theories of Alfred Adler.

 

American Journal of Psychology

This journal includes topics on “experimental psychology and basic principles of psychology.” With articles dating back to the 80s, there’s plenty to unpack here. You can also see how trends in psychology have changed over time.

 

Behavior Research Methods

Behavior Research Methods documents the results of experimental psychology. In particular, you’ll find articles on how technology has affected behavior, how technology can give a better quality of life for some, and the changes in technology that psychology requires.

 

See all of these journals and more in our “Journals” section of the library website.

Library FAQs

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We’re here to answer all of your questions at the library! Here are some of our most popular questions from our students and guest patrons.

Student FAQs

  1. How can I apply to work in the library as a student assistant?

Students can go online through the Vocatio Center to submit their resume. The Circulation Manager will review their resume and may invite them to an interview. If approved, the students will need to submit paperwork to the Vocatio Center and sign up for hours on the Circulation schedule.

 

  1. I need more prints. Can I buy them?

Yes, we have print cards for $1 and $5, it just depends on how many prints you need. If you need to do a print refund, though, that falls under IT- you can request one here.

 

  1. I need to request transcripts. Where can I do that?

The library does not handle transcripts. We can transfer you to the registrar’s office instead, or you can request them online via the registrar’s page.

 

4. I need to keep this book for a little longer than the due date for a project, but I’ve reached my renewal limit. Can you help?

Yes, generally we can extend the due date of a book when a student needs it for school-related purposes.

 

5. Can the library schedule appointments for the Writing Center?

No, the library and the Writing Center are separate entities (that do work together, though)! You can schedule an appointment with the Writing Center through their website here.

 

6. What are the library’s hours?

You can view the library’s hours 24/7 on our website!

 

7. I need help with APA/MLA/Turabian citations. Can the library help me?

Yes, you can schedule an appointment with a Research Coach for help with citations. You can also check out the APA manual, the MLA manual, and the Turabian manual from the library.

 

Guest FAQs

 

  1. Does the library offer tutoring services?

No. The library does have research help for Union students, but not for high schoolers, children, or adults who do not attend Union.

 

  1. Does the library partner with any local home school or education programs?

No, but families with children are welcome to visit the library.

 

  1. I’m a college student at Jackson State. Can I check out books from Union?

Yes, through a local university & college agreement, higher education students at other nearby institutions can check out a limited number of Union library items. See our website for more information.

 

  1. Can I look at eBooks and articles on the library website as a guest?

Yes and no. If you are on Union’s campus, you can view eBooks and articles on our library website. If you are not on campus, you will not be able to view them without a Union login.

 

  1. I’m a Union alumnus. What can I do in the library?

As an alumnus, you qualify for a free guest card, which allows you to check out up to 3 books. You can also be logged onto a computer as a guest and print for $.10 a page.

 

  1. Can I pay with a credit card?

No, we can only accept cash or checks at Circulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eBook Review: “Questions About Angels: Poems” by Billy Collins

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Billy Collins makes me laugh. He writes about situations that are usually serious and imagines them as even more serious, which is funny to me. Take death, for instance. In his poem “The Dead,” he recalls how people like to say that “the dead are always looking down on us.” This could (and maybe should) be a sobering thought, but you have to read what Collins follows up with:

 

The dead are always looking down on us, they say,

while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,

they are looking down from the glass-bottom boats of

heaven

as they row themselves slowly through eternity.

 

What imagery! Collins takes a sobering topic (dead people who are watching us) and then pairs it with the most mundane thing they could be seeing us do (putting on our shoes or making a sandwich). Can you imagine being dead, and looking down at the people you used to know and love and hate and worship, and there they are just putting two pieces of bread together in a dimly lit kitchen? How boring and average, right?

But the “boring” and the “average” are what make Collins’ poetry so great. He can make an ordinary white cloud seem fascinating. He can take a normal phrase or idea- like a father “going out for cigarettes” and not returning home- and give it new life. A lot of times his skill makes me laugh, but I also stop and think about what he’s written. Most poetry encourages you to pause and reflect, and Collins, even with the bits of humor sprinkled throughout his lines, certainly will teach you something new. You’ll look at whatever subject he’s chosen to champion in an entirely different way.

Questions About Angels: Poems is just one of his poetry collections. I like every poetry collection by Collins that I’ve had the pleasure to read. The good thing about Questions About Angels, however, is that the library has it in both a physical book form and as an eBook. I find that this collection still resonates even while reading it on a screen. The font and form is still right, and, since most of Collins’ poems are not terribly long, it can be convenient to read them via eBook.

If you only like reading physical books, you can check out Questions About Angels from our shelves. But if you want to try something different- maybe you want to read familiar things in a new way- click on the eBook link. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy the poems.

Spotlight On “The American Historical Review”

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According to their website, The American Historical Review (AHR) continues to have the highest “impact factor” among history journals (via the latest Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters). A publication of the American Historical Association, the AHR seeks to provide the most insightful historical content from experienced researchers. Whether you’re looking for a film review, a critique of capitalism, or a collection of colonial law, the AHR can point you in the right direction.

If you prefer the spoken word, the AHR also hosts a podcast called AHR Interview. Episodes are available on SoundCloud.

The library provides free, online access to the AHR via our Journals section. History majors, check it out!