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Are yearbooks a thing in the past?

While sitting in work this week I overheard my co-workers talking about yearbooks. They said how excited they were to get them and have everyone sign them. Our boss overheard the conversation and broke the news that yearbooks haven’t been printed since 2005. They were astonished and so was I. Why wouldn’t yearbooks be a thing anymore? Who was in charge of making a yearbook? And who made the decisions of having one or not?
I did a little digging around and found out that the decision for not having a year book was simply in the students. Rachel Lucking who is the Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Development at FSU, said that a group of students would have to be declared as a club by SILD and SGA, then get funding from SGA to pay for supplies and putting together the yearbook; it’s simply that easy.
Because students didn’t have anyone to run a club to make a yearbook there wouldn’t be one. And nobody has made the effort since 2005. Because a class didn’t even discuss a yearbook, making one didn’t even come up in conversation.
Why don’t students want to have a yearbook? I don’t think they understand that college is supposed to be the best years of their lives and wouldn’t they want to remember that? A yearbook is one way to save their memories and look back at the teachers they had, friends and people they saw and knew around campus and how the campus looked in general. Wouldn’t they want to dig up an old book 10, 20 or 30 years later and remember all the fun crazy times they had in their life before they hit the real world?
Framingham State does offer and digital yearbook dating back from 1915 all the way to 2005. This gives you a look to see what the school was like back in the day. If we did this today for 2014 then kids in the future will get the same experience that we can get with looking at these digital yearbooks. To see the digital yearbooks go to the Framingham State homepage, then go on to the Henry Whittemore Library homepage. From there on the left side of the page click on Digital Commons at Framingham State University. When you see the search-box in the upper left hand corner search for which yearbook you would like to see.
It’s sad to see that students have decided to stop producing a yearbook because from a personal perspective I would like to remember all the people that I have met while being here. This has been my home for two years now and will be for the next two I want to share my experience with my family and friends and show them the people that I met and the places I had to go every day. A yearbook would give me that option.
I asked students there opinion on having a yearbook and most them talked about the cost. They said that since there high school yearbook was so much money that they thought a college one would be even more. Others said they barely even look at their high school one so they don’t need a college one. Technology is improving so much these days, with Instagram and Twitter; it’s easier to upload pictures for everyone to see, faster than digging through a closet to find an old yearbook. A year book is a big project that would need to have a dedicated candidate to take on the challenge. They would have to take on costs, pictures, statements from students and more.
In the end the decision of a yearbook would be up to you. If you are really passionate about the idea of having a yearbook then be that person to make the change. Start a club or get a group of people together and start a discussion about it. Spread the word and maybe people who are interested will join as well. You can visit Student Involvement and Leadership Development located in the McCarthy Center to pitch the idea and then go to the Student Government Association office and meeting to become an actual club.

By: Shelby Wood

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Library’s New Technology to Help Students with Disabilities

Library’s New Technology to Help Students with Disabilities
By: Shelby Wood

On March 1st 2012 the library applied for a grant that will benefit students, faculty and staff members who have disabilities. CASA is the place on campus for students to get advice, support, tutoring. It is also a place for students with learning or other disabilities like visual and hearing impairments to get help. Before, students with disabilities that needed to find information for projects or articles, would first have to go to the library, then go to CASA (which is across campus) where they would start to prepare their research. This process can take a toll on students because what if their information was wrong then they would have to do the entire process over again.

I believe that it would be hard for our Framingham students with disabilities to have to do this process over and over again and thankfully the FSU library was awarded a grant to help with this problem. Shouldn’t there be an equal and easier way for students with disabilities to do their work since they pay so much in student fees? We as students want our library to fulfill their mission statement, “The Henry Whittemore Library ensures that students, faculty, staff and the general public with disabilities have appropriate technologies needed to access programs and services of the university”.

I am certainly happy that the grant that was awarded to us. With $15,000, the library’s new grant has helped us purchase technology like, Win Wizard, which is for students with learning disabilities and who have difficulty reading and writing. Another software, Openbook, converts printed documents into electronic text format on the PC using quality speech and the latest optical character recognition technology. JAWS is a computer screen reader program that provides a text to speech output. Finally Zoomtext is a screen magnifier software.

Students should thank the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the money that they have granted us with. Not only did they grant our school with a large sum to help students with disabilities, the institute supports over 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums all over the nation. Their mission says “IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. We provide leadership through research, policy development, and grant making” I believe that they have fulfilled their mission and FSU should thank them.

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iPad’s for use now at Framingham State

iPad’s for use now at Framingham State
By: Shelby Wood, library social media intern

Over the past weekend I got to personally take-out an iPad that the Whitimore Library lent me. It was one of the most entertaining weekends ever. I literally could not be separated from the device for more than an hour. When I went to dinner I took it with me to show my parents (but also to play with it). The thing was so addicting.

One reason why I really liked it was because the screen was so big and in my face that I could see everything up close and personal. I loved that because I have bad vision. Another reason why I thought it was so useful was because it had every app that I usually used with a computer on the iPad. I barely touched my computer all weekend. Using this iPad I could take it everywhere with me instead of lugging around my laptop. I just used the iPad.

The most common apps that I think students would use are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pandora. But not only does it have a great variety of social media to use; it also has a HUGE variety of games that you can play. At my family dinner, my cousins and I took turns playing Temple Run and Angry Birds. Another addiction that kids have these days is with the game Candy Crush. No worries because you can spend days on the iPad playing that game as well.
The battery life is amazing on the IPad. I was playing around with it for 3 days before it got to 50% and I thought I might have needed to charge it. As long as you use the screen lock so that it doesn’t drain the battery I’m sure the battery life could have lasted me a week.

But not only does it come with media and games, the iPad has dictionaries, a Shakespeare app to help with English classes, and apps for eBooks like if you have accounts. If you need to check your email, Gmail is already installed. You can use Safari, which is a browser to the Internet.
The iPad is fully loaded with activities, homework helpers and communication suppliers. I would highly recommend renting this out from our very own Whitmore Library. The iPad is on loan for use for 7 days. They have you read and sign an agreement saying that if broken, it has to be paid for by the user. “You break it, you buy it” is a very fair rule, considering they are letting us borrow and use a $500 electronic device. The iPad was a lot of fun to use for the week. It kept me very entertained and I highly suggest students use this awesome opportunity to use this free device.

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Childhood Books Taken Away

As a child there was one thing I begged for before going to sleep, a bedtime story. Stories that we grew up with and dreamt about throughout our childhood. But now as the years go by children’s books are being patronized and pulled apart by the little things authors write about, language and violence for example, are two things parents are now revolting against within these childhood books.

Banned Books Week is a week that the Whitmore Library displays books that have banned by different schools. The books that are banned are mostly in public libraries and elementary schools libraries that have parents that want to challenge the library to take away that certain book because they believe that the book is not suitable for children to be reading. For example, Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, was banned for its belief of being too frightening to be in a children’s library.

Kim Cochrane, who is the Curriculum Librarian, describes how the process of a book is banned “Every library should have a policy on banned books.First, we ask the person challenging the book, to read the book, and write their reasons for the challenge. The challenge is brought to the board of that particular library. At that point the board might decide to let the book stay on the shelf, or to remove the book, either temporarily or permanently.” The books that are displayed when walking into the Whittemore Library are books that people should be surprised about, these are the books that we grew up with and are currently being banned. Parents, who want to challenge the distribution of some of the books, miss the entire point to why the book was written. The point of the week is to spread the word of books that are being banned all over the country. Hopefully by spreading the word people will come to realize some of the ridiculous accusations that parents are complaining about in children’s books.

In my opinion I think the entire idea of a book being banned is ridiculous. Especially if it is a book that was written specifically for children. Authors write these books for the child’s enjoyment, not to scare the child or to show them how to use profound language. Parents are complaining about ridiculous things that they didn’t like about the book and coming up with crazy accusations so that the books are taken off the shelves. Libraries around the nation should do exactly what Kim said they should do, which is to take the book off the shelf until the subject dies down. The book should go back on the shelf afterwards, because these books have contributed to our growth, parent’s growth and should be there to read for the next generation.

By: Shelby Wood

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Introducing our new library intern: Shelby Wood

Shelby Wood

Greetings everyone! My name is Shelby Wood. I am a sophomore this year at Framingham State. My major is in English with a concentration in Journalism. I hope to declare my minor in psychology this year as well. My goal when I graduate is to become an advice columnist for a magazine or a newspaper (hopefully somewhere in New York). I am currently on the college’s newspaper the Gatepost and do the Gatepost Interview. I also have another job on campus at Campus Events.

I am looking forward to this social media internship and blogging about the Library.

Your Friend,

Shelby Wood

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Shifting into Overdrive: The Library’s New E-book System!

There’s no use denying it. We live in the age of digital information. Smart-phones, iPods, iPads, laptops, and many other devices ensure that we are never disconnected, for better or for worse. Everything is becoming digitized in the name of ease, and now many things that were staples of the home have become quaint novelties of a bygone era. And, unfortunately, books seem to be falling into this same trap.

I’ll admit it. I am riding the e-reader bandwagon. I was fortunate to receive an Amazon Kindle for Christmas, and I have to admit, I’m a believer in the digital age. While I don’t feel that the Kindle can replace the feel of a good book in my hands, the ease surrounding the small device cannot be denied. I read three gigantic books over the summer, each close to one thousands pages long, and my back thanked me when it didn’t have to lug around those behemoths everywhere I went.

Of course, this is a Library’s Blog, not a personal one. How are these e-readers going to affect the libraries? Are they also doomed to vanish from this world? How do they keep up with this new technology?

It’s a problem that has already been written off by some. But, as a lot of people know, libraries are no strangers to technology. Instead of shunning e-books, they have embraced the new medium, and are offering a new method of digital book distribution, thanks to something called Overdrive.

Overdrive is basically a fancy way of saying “Online E-Book Library.” And it works just as the same, with few headaches. You go to a special section of the Minuteman Library Website, where a listing of all the digital books are displayed. You can search through them, or display them in a full list. When you find a book you want, you click it, select the format you want it in, and then download it. It’s really that simple, with only a few tweaks depending on your e-reader of choice. You then have the book on your device (or even your laptop!) and can start reading right away.

But they don’t stop at just e-books. They have a large selection of audiobooks as well, along with the potential for videos as well. These are just as easy to obtain, following the same process described above. Select, download, and enjoy.

Of course, there are limitations. Firstly, the selection, while constantly growing, is still limited. It is likely that a book you want just won’t be available, however the library is happily accepting requests. Secondly, the library can only loan out a certain number of copies of most books. Like the physical thing, if someone has the only copy checked out, you have to wait for it to be returned before you can take it. That, and there’s no way for the book to be renewed. After the loan period passes, you have to check the book out again, which is a minor issue, but one that should be noted.

However, there are a number of books that are “available anytime,” as it states on the website. This is exactly what it sounds like; the books can be checked out by an unlimited number of patrons. Of course, these are likely not “best-sellers,” and instead tend to be classics.

With that said, Overdrive is already a great service and only has potential to grow better with time. It’s somewhat limited now, yes, but what is there is very easy to use and surprisingly robust. Once the selection grows, I think it will become a staple of libraries everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s not quite there yet. But, I know if I see a book on there I want, or need for a class, you can bet I’ll be using Overdrive to check it out!

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E-Readers Now Available!

Did you know that the Whittemore Library not only has e-books available, but they also have three different e-readers available for checkout? Neither did I!

Yes, it’s true! And it’s one of the library’s most interesting secrets. Behind the circulation desk rests these three e-readers, available for checkout to any of the University’s students or affiliates. I recently had a chance to take one of these e-readers for a test drive, and will tell you my thoughts below.

The e-reader, to my surprise, was not of the more well known brands like Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Instead, it is a Sony e-reader, but that should not deter you. This one is one of the nicer ones I’ve seen, and also one of the heavier. This gives the e-reader itself a very sturdy quality that feels good in the hands. It doesn’t feel easily breakable, which is good, as library technology tends to take a beating over time.

The e-reader comes with a wall-charger and some directions to help get you started. Finding the power button was a little tricky, but after turning it on, everything was smooth sailing. The menus are clear and easily readable, though the touch screen isn’t quite as responsive to the touch of my finger as I would’ve liked. Thankfully, after a quick glance at the directions, I found a stylus hidden on the side of the device, and using that made the menus much more responsive. I recommend using the stylus at all times, both for the menus and to keep fingerprints off the screen.

There is a small learning curve that comes with every e-reader, and this often catches new readers off guard. When you turn the page, the screen has to refresh itself before the next page can be shown. During this refresh period, the screen quickly turns solid black, before loading the next set of text. This sounds intrusive, but it’s not as bad as it sounds, as the whole process takes less than a second. But it does require some getting used to at first, and can be quite distracting. Having had my own e-reader for close to a year, however, I can say that this doesn’t bother me at all.

Turning pages, however, took me a few tries to figure out. Since the screen itself is a touch screen, I assumed that to turn the page I would tap on the edges of the screen. Not so. You can turn the pages two ways. Either by swiping the stylus across the screen  right or left, or by pressing the buttons on the bottom of the device. I found the buttons to be a more reliable method of page-turning, as the swipe didn’t feel as responsive to me.

The e-reader comes preloaded with sixty-six full texts, all of which are “classics” available in the public domain. A student checking out the device cannot purchase or rent new texts, as that feature has been blocked. The librarian can add new texts to the device, and is always accepting requests. The books are all formatted properly, and read fine.

The e-reader does some have restrictions. It can only be checked out for two weeks, with a high late fee of $10 a day. It also cannot be renewed, and has to be back to the library with all parts in tact in order to be checked out again.

With that said, if you are looking for one specific book, it might be better to just get that book itself rather than e-reader, if nothing else than to avoid the chance of high-late fees. However, if you read books quickly, or are planning a trip, the e-reader would make a worthwhile option. It’s certainly a good device, works well, and offers a good selection of books. Just be careful of the late fees!

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