Throwback Thursday & Happy Birthday, Shel Silverstein.

I think we all have a Shel Silverstein memory from our childhoods. He was like nothing we’d experienced before—the poet and artist who wrote about crazy, weird things like a rhinoceros sandwich or a dentist-eating crocodile, and we didn’t even miss the color in his black ink drawings. Today is Shel Silverstein’s birthday (1930-1999). Revisit your old favorites at the JJC Library, call number JUV 811.54 Si397S.

Ssilverstein ssilversteinillustration

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My Favorite Book: Cathedral by Raymond Carver

Growing up, there was only the Beat Generation. I was exposed to writers like William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and John C. Holmes, at an age way earlier than I should have been (freshman in high school). As a 14 year old, their writing techniques and the myriad of references used within works like Naked Lunch, On the Road, GO, or Kaddish, flew over my head; regardless; I convinced myself of their full understanding. Every word, every image seemed to make sense. It wasn’t until halfway through my bachelor’s degree that it became obvious, that not only was my understanding of these writers and their connection to literature, incredibly shallow; on the whole, by focusing on only the Beats, I had missed out on a huge amount of wonderful literature.
Taking a class junior year on American Literature after 1945 was when the world of authors changed for me. The reading list had 15 works of fiction on it, one of which was Raymond Carver’s collection of short stories, Cathedral. Carver’s sparse use of language and everyday America settings, made me feel like I was being pummeled with a 2×4. It was so powerful to read someone that constructed short, sparse stories, where the most that would happen would sometimes be a pet dying, or a woman getting up and leaving the room. But with little action, or conversation, Carver managed to capture what really happens in our lives. His work focused primarily on tragic events (death, adultery, losing a life’s savings), happening to damaged people (alcoholics, divorcees, deadbeats, etc.). Still, in the ruin, there was love, humanity and compassion. Not in the traditional sense of everything and everyone finding a happy ending; but rather in a way it comes to us in our own lives; in small, unexpected ways, that seem random yet significant.
Cathedral still resonates with me today. Carver’s work changed how I saw the world in terms of understanding relationships and their connection to our communities. Most importantly, Cathedral made me realize that literature doesn’t have to be, “cool” to be profound. It does not have to be connected to a social movement, it does not have to tear apart the old traditional ways. Cathedral taught me that literature just has to be honest and true to itself.

-Andrew Lenaghan, Librarian


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Celebrate Your Freedom to Read: Banned Books Week is September 21-27, 2014

Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.       –Stephen Chbosky

The JJC Library has a display of challenged books–start reading one today to practice your First Amendment Rights. The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom shares the 10 most challenged books of 2013:

1. “Captain Underpants”, by Dav Pilkey (Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence)

2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence)

3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James (Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)

5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins (Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group)

6. “A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl,” by Tanya Lee Stone (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit)

7. “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)

8. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)

9. “Bless Me, Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya (Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit)

10. “Bone”, by Jeff Smith (Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence)


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Today is Read an eBook Day!

We have  thousands of eBooks available and free apps for reading them on your own device. Be a part of the festivities by borrowing a Nook, Kindle, or your favorite eBook from the JJC Library

Enter to win a free eReader at


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Check Out JJC Library’s New Web Page

JJC’s librarians have spent the last several months redesigning the library web page. The process involved critiquing notable college library web pages, meeting with students to determine the best way to organize content, creating a test version of the page, conducting usability tests with students, using student feedback to tweak the page, putting on the finishing touches, and finally, making the new version live to the JJC community. We hope that you will find the new design visually clear, current and easier to navigate:

web page

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Remembering 9/11

The JJC Library has a display of books and films in remembrance of 9/11/2001. We share these lines from the poem “The Names” by Billy Collins dedicated to the victims and survivors.

Names written in the air

And stitched into the cloth of the day.

A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.

Monogram on a torn shirt,

I see you spelled out on storefront windows

And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.


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Reference Question of the Week: How does printing work at the JJC Library?

The library has black & white and color printers. After you print, a box will pop up on the bottom right hand corner of your screen that says your document is being held in a queue. You can go to the print room in the library which is located down the hallway from the Circulation Desk behind the yellow painting (see below). Log into a machine with your JJC username and password and the documents you printed will show up on the screen along with how much you owe (it costs 15 cents per double sided B&W page, 10 cents per single sided B&W page, 40 cents per double sided color page, 25 cents per single sided color page). Payment can be made at the coin machine next to the printer. You can also load money onto your print account with a debit or credit card at the web site
Helpful tip: To conserve paper, your documents will automatically print double sided. If you want to print single sided, you can change to that option on the print menu.

paintingprinters photo

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