Monday, August 31, 2015

Are You Prepared for a Hurricane?

The peak of hurricane season has arrived and with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina past and Hurricane Rita's on the way, it is best to take stock and make sure you and yours are prepared for any coming storm. While most everyone who lives on or near the gulf knows how to prepare and the best emergency routes for evacuation, it never hurts to go over the basics.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Whom You Should Be Writing To

Write with the door closed. Rewrite with the door open.” by Stephen King

Ever thought "I can tell a better story than this" while reading a book, watching a movie, or digging around online? Then you should be writing. The reference department is presenting a workshop aiming to get you writing with exercises and peer discussion rather than critiques. The next of these workshops will be Wednesday, August 26th at 7:00pm in the Davidson Boardroom on the second floor of the Main Branch.

The first question that comes up when I say "You should be writing" is "Who would want to read what I write?" And that's a valid question because why write something if no one is ever going to read it? Sure, you could scrawl away for hours a night in a million notebooks, but that's more "crazy person hatching plans" than "being a writer." When you are trying to write, you must remember the audience you are writing to.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Research With Wikipedia


Sometimes you just need answers from the Internet quick and with little hassle. For those times, you may have heard of a little website encyclopedia with nearly 35 million articles in 288 different languages called Wikipedia. Wikipedia can give fast, easy reference information to answer simple questions, such as those that come up in game shows, bets with friends, or just innocent day dreams.

Monday, August 10, 2015

How to Get Online Help for Overdrive eBooks

The library's eBook collection in Overdrive has many benefits over the normal print collection. The ability to check out books while the library is closed helps out when you can't find the time to come to the library. But what happens when the library is closed and your device does not want to behave?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Researching: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources

When doing research in a library, it's often best to consider the sources you find on the shelves. Librarians choose books for a variety of reasons, but the reference collection contains the most accurate and up-to-date sources the library can find. The three types of resources found in libraries are primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.

Primary Sources

A primary source is the document or item that shows original thinking, discovery, or new information. Often in research these are the most important items to use because they have not been filtered through anyone's opinion but the creators. Examples of primary sources include diaries, works of art, literature, emails, photographs, constitutions, legal statutes, and many other creations. Most public libraries do not have many nonfiction primary sources, but some may contain maps, yearbooks, local history and genealogy collections.

Secondary Sources

A secondary source is a commentary on a primary source. This means that instead of creating something new, the author is giving his opinion or restating something that has already been expressed. These types of sources are often used in research to back up an opinion or point of view the researcher wishes to present. Secondary sources can be journal articles, biographies, summaries, criticisms, and many others. This type of resource is most used in the library, especially in journal databases and newspapers.

Tertiary Sources

Tertiary Sources are documents made up of many primary or secondary sources on a single topic or a variety of topics. Often college level classes will not allow the use of tertiary sources because they can be seen as redundant for restating secondary sources or having a biased opinion, but some professors and most high school classes allow them. Examples include dictionaries and encyclopedias as well as other fact books and manuals that are often found in reference collections.

If you keep in mind the types of sources you can find in a library, you can better use them to help strengthen any research paper. 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Why You Should Be Writing

“We read to know we are not alone.” - William Nicholson

Ever thought "I can tell a better story than this" while reading a book, watching a movie, or digging around online? Then you should be writing. The reference department is presenting a new workshop aiming to get you writing with exercises and peer discussion rather than critiques. The next of these workshops will be Wednesday, August 26th at 7:00pm in the Davidson Board Room on the second floor of the Main Branch.

With a title like "You Should Be Writing," there should be some really good reasons for you to be writing, right? Turns out, there's a bunch, and they all reflect the world,your place in it, and how you change as a person.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Do-It-Yourself Legal Aid

With money today stretched as tight as many can bear, do-it-yourself services are on the rise. One lawsuit, divorce, or contract can cost a lot if dealt with through a lawyer. For some simple court matters or legal questions, the library can help with books and online resources!

The library reference department has many resources available to help patrons in the building. These sources include primary and secondary legal materials. Primary materials are items containing the law, such as Louisiana Statutes, Civil Code, and U.S. Constitution. Secondary sources are all the resources used to define or interpret primary materials, like Black's Law Dictionary and Gale's Encyclopedia of Law.

Many resources exist online to give legal aid, but which one's can you trust? If you go to the library's page for "Databases by Subject," several resources are listed under Legal Reference, such as the Louisiana State Legislature's searchable laws and The United States Code.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 10.32.22 AM.pngScreen Shot 2015-07-23 at 10.33.49 AM.png

Other resources that provide context and examples of law include Cornell's Legal Information Institute and Google Scholar. Google Scholar has access to most state and federal court documents published in the last 50 years.

Because of Louisiana's use of the Napoleonic Code in civil cases, statutes and forms for court can be different from district to district or even parish to parish. The Louisiana State Bar Association has set up community resources to help the public find the right documents or representation they need. By visiting the Legal Education & Assistance Program (LEAP) for the public, many resources found in the community can be located. These resources include numbers for lawyer referrals, legal services corporations such as Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, general resources, and court contacts. Documents known as "libguides" contain information about driver's licenses, divorces, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and several other general topics.

The reference staff are not legal professionals and cannot interpret, recommend, or proofread any legal term or document, but we are happy to help as much as we can to find you the help you need.