Columbus Day: Its Role and Significance in American History

Christopher columbus

For many of us, Columbus Day is remembered as a day in which we commemorate the discovery of the Americas by the Italian Renaissance explorer, Christopher Columbus.  The holiday falls on the second Monday of October, and it is a time in which many of us, except for government officials and bank employees, do not have the holiday off from our workday (unless we intentionally take the day off), though we manage to also commemorate the holiday by often watching the many parades that are prevalent on this day, or throwing a party.  For many Italian Americans, however, it is a quite special time for them to display their pride by dressing up, playing music, and of course, making lots of wonderful food. Continue reading

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Introducing Open Textbooks this fall at Touro: students save almost $15,000.00

Is this textbook required? Can I use an older edition? Does the library have this book? These are common questions raised by students at the beginning of every semester. The reason why they are so common is very simple: textbooks are expensive. In the last 20 years, their price increased over 200%, while college tuition increased 191%, both way above the overall inflation (+57.4%, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Bashe Simon, director of Touro Libraries, initiated a project to raise awareness of open textbooks. Open textbooks are resources that are available at no cost under aCreative Commons license. This allows them to be downloaded, stored, distributed, revised, and remixed to suit the instructor’s need. They are free and have been used in numerous higher education institutions with great success (see, for example, this project by Tidewater Community College). Continue reading

Volume & Issue Numbers Demystified

"What is a periodical?" video from Touro Libraries' forthcoming Savvy Researcher Video Series
What is a periodical?” video from Touro Libraries’ Savvy Researcher Video Series

If you’ve done research papers in the past, you’ve probably had at least one professor ask you to cite something called an academic journal article (or three). But what exactly is it that your instructors are looking for?

Well, to answer that question, first we have to talk about what librarians call “periodical literature.” This is just a fancy collective name for magazines, newspapers, and journals which are published on a recurring, periodic basis, perhaps daily, weekly, or monthly. Individual issues of an academic journal are usually identified by volume and issue numbers. While you might browse through the September 2015 issue of Rolling Stone at the dentist, you’re more likely to find Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 122, Issue 3, on the shelves of your college library.

All of the different numbers in journal article citations can be a little tricky to keep straight though, so let’s break it down another way. Think of your favorite TV show. Got it? Ok. So, I’m going to go with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In this case, the show had 7 yearly seasons of 22-ish episodes each. In terms of periodicals, that would be 7 yearly volumes of 22 issues each.

If my friend wanted to watch the silent episode of Buffy, I could direct him to season 4, episode 10. If I wanted to quote Patrick Shade’s scholarly analysis of the episode’s philosophical implications on communication theory in an essay, however, I would direct readers to Volume 6, Issue 1 of The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association in my citation.

On the topic of academic jargon, it’s worth mentioning that the opposite of a periodical in the library world is sometimes called a monograph — but in the rest of the world, we just call them books. To continue our analogy, books are more like movies. Sure, there might be a sequel or two – or new editions, in book terms – or it might be part of a series, but they are still essentially self-contained entities.

So now that you know that journal articles are identified by the journal they’re published in, and the particular volume and issue it appears in, hopefully, it will make them easier to identify and cite!

Visit the library homepage to choose a database to begin your search, or check out the Student Services page for more research help, like the difference between scholarly vs. popular periodicals.

Contributed by Chelsea DeGlopper, Former Instructional Design Librarian, Midtown

Celebrating Sukkot

A sukkah from inside. (From Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)
A sukkah from inside (via Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)

After the solemnity and introspection of the High Holy Days, Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, is always a treat. Like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, I look forward to Sukkot every year because this holiday, unlike Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is an unaltered celebration.  After the Exodus from Egypt, the ancient Jews traveled the wilderness for forty years before reaching the land of Israel. They lived in small huts called “sukkot” during this time. The holiday of Sukkot commemorates those temporary dwellings: Orthodox Jewish families build a small hut, or Sukkah, outside the house where they eat all meals for the seven days of the holiday. Many Orthodox Jews also sleep outdoors in the Sukkah. A typical Sukkah would look something like this:

(source)
(source)

Continue reading

Yom Kippur: A Day of Atonement

Jews praying in the synagogue
Maurycy Gottlieb: Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, aka The Day of Atonement: this represents the time when Jews will have their fate decided. How much money will be earned for the year, what a person’s health will be, as well whatever is supposed to happen to a person in their life during the year.  People of course pray that everything that will happen should be good for the person.

I should note that on this occasion, the prayers are only directed between people and G-d, not between people and other people.  Any “offense” that take place between people is not covered by Yom Kippur.  The individuals involved need to ask for pardon from each other.

Yom Kippur is the end of this Holy time of year, which began with Rosh Hashanah.  This is a ten day period when forgiveness is asked from G-d as well as from “man”. As it says in the Liturgy, on Rosh Hashanah G-d writes down what will be and on Yom Kippur that decree is sealed.

This year, Yom Kippur will begin the evening of Tuesday, September 18th and conclude the evening of Wednesday, the 19th.

Contributed by: Edward Schabes, Library Assistant, Midtown

(Updated with 2018 dates and new picture.)

A Moving Rosh Hashanah Prayer

May Your New Year Be Sweetened with Happiness
(Image via Flickr; CC BY 2.0)

Rosh Hashanah, in Hebrew, means Head of the Year. It is one of Judaism’s holiest days and begins this year the night of Sunday, September 9th until the night of Tuesday, September 11th. There are many moving prayers and traditions designated for the High Holy days, but I would like to highlight one prayer that goes back to approximately the 10th or 11th century called U-Netaneh Tokef (“Let us tell the mighty holiness of this day”). Continue reading

Why You Need Your Public Library

oscar-ovalle-622680-unsplash
Photo by Oscar Ovalle on Unsplash

One of the benefits of working at the Touro College Midwood Library is that if I walk out of the building and cross the street, I’m at the Brooklyn Public Library Midwood branch. Between the college library and the public library…I spend a LOT of my time in libraries. I have library cards for three different library systems (New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and my hometown library), and on a given day, I have five or six books out and a few more ordered from other locations. But if I already spend so much time in the Touro library, why do I need the public library? Continue reading

Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Midtown’s moving!

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That’s right: The Midtown branch of the Touro Libraries is moving to a new building! Starting next week, we’ll be at 320 W. 31st St., surrounded by your classrooms, for easy access before and after your classes!

 

We’re excited to be right in the middle of the action and hope that our new facilities will provide a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for your questions, research, and studying.

We hope to see you there soon!

Welcome Back to Bay Shore!

Librarians posing
Hello from your friendly librarians at Bay Shore:  from left to right, Heather, Annette, and Joan.

This fall will be a fresh start for many of our students at the Touro School of Health Sciences in Bay Shore. But whether you are a returning student or just starting out, please keep in mind that the library has many resources for you. We can assist you in learning how to locate books, find full-text articles, and conduct research. While on campus, you may benefit from our quiet study spaces, research computer center, and of course, your friendly librarians. Continue reading