I used to want to be a writer…

I used to want to be a writer,
Someone who gave knowledge and information,
Someone who built worlds,
Someone who fueled the mind.

I used to want to be a writer,
I dreamed of it,
I thrived for it,
I lived for it.

Then the words disappeared,
They dried up like a river bed in summer,
They flew my coop like a flock of birds,
They bled from my mind.

Oh how I mourned their loss,
I sought out the advice of others,
I lost my self in their knowledge and information,
I lost myself in their worlds,
I had my mind fueled and I decided I wanted to be just like them.

I used to want to give knowledge and information,
I used to want to build worlds,
I used to want to fuel minds,
So I did.

I became a librarian.

a hand writing with a quill
Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

I became a librarian by choice. I chose to go back to school to get my undergraduate degree and then go straight to graduate school. I was a non-traditional student and proud of it. My love of knowledge, discovery, and research led me to this path. My adoration of words, their meanings, and what they can accomplish fueled it.

Why did I become an academic librarian? It wasn’t for money, nor for fame. It was to help others. The dissemination of information is one of the greatest gifts — or superpowers — I have. I can help others find and discover the information they were looking for, and I can help spread knowledge. The toughest lesson I have had to learn is how to say ‘I can’t find that information, but I can suggest new avenues for trying to discover it.’

Even in this time of uncertainty, we are here for you. The academic librarians of Touro College are here. We are here to help you find your facts, support your arguments, and find new avenues of research. Above all, we are here for you — period. Reach out and talk to your librarian today.

Contact a librarian: https://www.tourolib.org/ask-a-librarian

Review our remote access guide: https://www.tourolib.org/student-remote-guide

This post was contributed by Heather Hilton, Librarian, Bay Shore

Math Adds Up To Sewing Success

I was never good at art. Throughout school, I was a disaster at drawing and a mess at painting. Art classes did little more than fill me with a sense of incompetence. Always told that I was more of a spatial and abstract thinker, I stuck to what I was good at: math and science.

I was in high school when I began to play around with my mom’s sewing machine just for fun. I made some interesting and awful clothes — I was not good at art, right?

It was a math teacher who changed my mind about my ability to sew. He asked me how geometry helped me figure out how to put pattern pieces together. Sewing, he told me, is nothing more than geometry. It requires measuring, numbers, cutting shapes of fabric, and putting them together like a puzzle. A lightbulb went off in my head: sewing is the math geek’s answer to artistic endeavors and creative outlets. I was hooked.

During the current coronavirus lockdown, I decided to spend some time catching up on patterns and fabrics I had accumulated over the years to make some clothes and share with our Touro community. Here is the dress I will try out:

dress pattern
McCall’s 7627 pattern (Figure 1)

Here it goes!

I started by measuring and calculating my pattern size. After, I cut out pattern shapes from the fabric (Figures 2 and 3).

cutting out the fabric
Figure 2
cutting fabric out
Figure 3

After all the pieces of fabric are cut out, then comes the instructions on how to assemble them (Figure 4).

sewing machine next to cut fabric
Figure 4

The instructions call for constructing the top first by sewing the bodice together with darts, pleats, and facing to add design features (Figure 5).

beginning to sew
Figure 5

The top of the garment is put together, minus the sleeves; they are added later (Figure 6).

after the first sew
Figure 6

Next, I started work on the skirt section. Ironing is unfortunately required to get a perfect seam (Figure 7).

ironing the skirt section
Figure 7

Like putting a puzzle together, the skirt was in four sections that needed to be sewn together (Figure 8).

Figure 8
Figure 8

Adding darts and pleats to skirt section to add figure enhancement (Figure 9).

adding pleats and darts
Figure 9

The bottom and the top are complete. Now to attach them to each other (Figure 10).

sewing the top and the bottom to each other
Figure 10

The top and the bottom are matched up and sewn together. Final finishes are made to the garment by hemming rough edges and cutting loose strings (Figure 11).

the dress after making final touches
Figure 11

The dress is then machine-washed and dried in order to get any chemicals out of the fabric and to pre-shrink the garment if is made of cotton.

Final adjustments are made for fitting (Figure 12), and the dress is done. Geometry — that’s all it is!

modelling the dress after it has been washed
Figure 12

This blog post was contributed by Annette Carr, Librarian at the School of Health Sciences at Bay Shore. All photos courtesy of the author.

You can take the librarian out of the library…

How can I be a librarian from home?

I started thinking about this as I sat alone by my computer: can I be a librarian outside of the library? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that one could do a great deal from home as a librarian. As some might say, you can take the librarian out of the library, but you can’t take the library out of the librarian.

a laptop and phone and mug on a couch
Image by Anrita1705 from Pixabay

After being told we would begin working from home, we were given one day to go back to our offices to set up or pack up what we needed to work remotely. This began a whirlwind of changes to the way I work, from new, purring officemates to turning my home into a modern industrial park.  Continue reading

How to Diffuse a ‘Zoombomb’

The new reality of working from home and social distancing relies on the use of video conference platforms to connect with co-workers and customers. Zoom has recently emerged as one of the leading remote meeting platforms where users can engage in online video conferences, chat, and mobile collaboration. Zoom was founded in 2011 by software engineer Eric Yuan. The company went public on the NASDAQ in April 2019.

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a boon for Zoom. Many schools, colleges, and companies across the country began downloading and using the platform just as the virus began to force people to work from home. Since March, the software has been downloaded 40 million times worldwide, and since February, the stock price for Zoom has nearly doubled from approximately $76 per share to $159 per share. But, as with many companies that find sudden success, Zoom’s flaws have been becoming more apparent to consumers.

illustration of a man and a woman on a video cll
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Criticism of Zoom has revolved around its security flaws and a new phenomenon called “Zoombombing.” Zoombombing occurs when a hacker, prankster, or wrongdoer enters a Zoom meeting uninvited (aka “crashing a meeting”) and begins interrupting the meeting by posting inappropriate content or hijacking the meeting from the host. Zoombombing has led to many customers having to terminate their videoconferences, cancel meetings, and worry if their cyber security systems have been breached. One of our librarians at Bay Shore was in a webinar this week that had to be terminated due to a Zoombomber posting illicit content and disrupting the meeting.

In addition to Zoombombing, the rapid increase in Zoom usage has led to scrutiny of the company’s privacy policies and potential security flaws. In particular, Mac iOS users are vulnerable to security problems as hackers have been able to access Zoom on their computer to turn on cameras and microphones as well as install malware on their computer systems. Zoom has also come under criticism for giving user data to Facebook without users’ knowledge or permission. Zoom has since stopped giving user data to Facebook, but these problems have already led to class action lawsuits against Zoom.

image of two women on a video conference call
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

While the privacy challenges need to be addressed at the company-level, Zoombombing is a threat we, as users, can take steps to combat as we continue to use Zoom throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond:

Use the latest software: Ensure your participants are using the latest version of Zoom. The latest version has upgraded security features to block users from randomly scanning and joining meetings.

Password protect: When creating a meeting, make sure your meetings require a password for participants to enter. Zoom has made password protection a default setting on the latest version of the platform.

Direct invitation: Invite participants directly via email with an invitation and meeting password. Do not publicly post Zoom meeting information via social media or other public channels.

Close your meeting: Once all participants have arrived at the meeting, close the meeting to any newcomers to avoid crashers. Hosts can close the meeting by clicking on the “Participants” tab at the bottom of the screen and choosing the “Lock Meeting” option.

Remove/disable unwanted participants: The meeting host can remove and block crashers who are Zoombombing. The host can also disable the chat feature, mute all participants, disable participants from sharing videos, and limit screen sharing options to “Host only”.

If you experience a Zoombombing intrusion, be sure to report it to Zoom at the following link: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/requests/new

This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Librarian at the School of Health Sciences at Bay Shore

References

Andone, D. (2020). FBI warns video calls are getting hijacked. it’s called ‘Zoombombing’. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/02/us/fbi-warning-zoombombing-trnd/index.html

Hodge, R. (2020). Zoombombing: What it is and how to prevent it in Zoom video chat. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/how-to/zoombombing-what-it-is-and-how-to-prevent-it-in-zoom-video-chat/

Lehtonen, S. (2020). Dow Jones surges 500 points on soaring jobless claims, as coronavirus stock market correction worsens. Retrieved from https://www.investors.com/market-trend/stock-market-today/dow-jones-coronavirus-stock-market-jobless-claims-luckin-coffee/

Newman, L. H. (2020, Apr 01,). The Zoom privacy backlash is only getting started. Wired, Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/story/zoom-backlash-zero-days/

Peterson, M. (2020). Two more MacOS Zoom flaws surface, as lawsuit & government probe loom. Retrieved from https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/04/01/two-more-macos-zoom-flaws-surface-as-lawsuit-government-probe-loom

Wutoh, A. K. (2020). Steps for Zoom protection email. Retrieved from https://mailchi.mp/7b3f91503173/steps-for-zoom-protection-email?e=d1d4c0b48f

 

Ways To Positively Affect Yourself & Others During COVID-19


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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

While it feels like the whole world has been turned upside down due to the coronavirus, you can still do your best to better yourself and help others during these turbulent times. Through social distancing, diligent hand washing, and adhering to direction given by the CDC and WHO, we can all help to stop the spread of the virus. In addition to distance, hygiene and listening to public health agencies, there are a multitude of things that you can do to positively affect yourself and others during COVID-19.

Continue reading

How I’m Making Working From Home Work For Me

 

image of woman working on a laptop at a desk
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Working from home might seem like a fantastic thing: no commute, no fighting traffic, no struggling to get up early, and no need to switch from your PJs to real clothes. But it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Waking Up

Yes, it is exciting that you can sleep in a bit later, but I swear it makes getting up harder. My body is pre-programmed to wake up at 6:30 a.m. every day, but now, I wake up and hit snooze or wake up later and feel groggy as anything. I haven’t been late for my usual start time, but I’ve cut it closer than ever before and logged in at 7:29 a.m. (This is in contrast to my usual habit of arriving at the building at 7:15 a.m.!)

Getting Dressed

While staying in my PJs seemed like such a wonderful option, I decided on casual clothes instead (jeans and a t-shirt), because I wanted to stay in a work frame of mind. Being in my usual work clothes motivates me to stay productive, while I think that if I had stayed in my PJs, I would have wanted to get back in bed and go to sleep.

Commute and “Traffic” Jams

It might seem like I’d have an easy commute — a few steps out of the bedroom, up the stairs, down a hall and into the computer room — that takes what, maybe 3 minutes?

Well, that’s not the case when you have cats.

No one told my cats that I’d be working from home, and it turns out that they have their own ideas about my “walk to work.” First, there was trying to get up the stairs as Bowie, my wonder kitty and ever-present pal, decided it was time for a petting session on the landing of the stairs. It took two or three minutes until his majesty was satisfied enough to let me pass.

At the top of the stairs, I found Romeo, our lovely boy and belly rub king, who also flopped over and demanded pets before he let me pass.  Finally, I was accosted by Auggie the ninja cat as I opened the door to try to get out of the room; she nearly knocked me over.

All-in-all, what I thought would take me just a few, quick steps, took me about five minutes.

Bringing the Library Home

Being able to log onto our chat reference service from home allowed me to provide reference and research support virtually, and to assist our students with their needs, just like I would have if I was in the library with them.  Although I wouldn’t have been able to physically get them a book if they needed one or to grab a physical copy of the latest journal, this luckily didn’t come up in my questions.

I have also been able to work on this blog and to start reviewing books for our collection, some of the tasks I would normally work on library.

plant and book on table with window in the background
Image by janexieok from Pixabay

All in all, I believe my work from home experience has been a success so far — despite the fluffy traffic jams and a desire to stay in bed. I am thankful that, in this trying time, Touro College is looking out for its students and employees. Level heads will prevail and we will be back to normal before we even know it!

In the meantime, we have collected many resources for students, faculty, and staff to support them during this time:

We are still supporting our community virtually! Please contact us if you need help from home: https://www.tourolib.org/contact

This post was contributed by Heather Hilton, Librarian, Bay Shore