Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Day In History: "Little Women"

One of the most celebrated books by a woman author -- and most beloved by young female readers -- is Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Today marks the publication anniversary of this novel, which was first released in 1868. Think of Alcott as one of the grandmothers of the "chick lit" genre!

Little Women tells the tale of the March sisters: Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. They come of age as the country engages in the Civil War, during which their father serves as chaplain for the army. The novel was actually published in two parts (the first in 1868), and was such a success that the second part was published the following year.

The characters in this novel were featured in other books by Alcott, including Little Men and Jo's Boys. Many adaptations have been made of Little Women, including movies, plays and musicals.

If you're interested in knowing more about Alcott or want to read her books, here are some relevant resources at the NCC Libraries.

American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work

by Susan Cheever
PS 255 .C6 C48 2006 Stacks

Beyond Little Women: A Story About Louisa May Alcott

by Susan Bivin Aller
E-BOOK Online

Little Women [DVD]
starring Katharine Hepburn
PS 1016 .L57 2001 Media Tower (shelved with fiction DVDs)

The Blind Lark

by Louisa May Alcott
E-BOOK Online

Scarlet Stockings

by Louisa May Alcott
E-BOOK Online

Flower Fables

by Louisa May Alcott
E-BOOK Online

Little Women and Good Wives

by Louisa May Alcott
E-BOOK Online

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
PZ 7 .A335 LI64 Young Adult (also available online as an e-book)

Photo credit:

"Alcott, Louisa May." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. JPEG file. Web. 15
Sept. 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Go Ahead, Read Something Controversial -- Celebrate Banned Books Week!

Can you imagine a library that's missing your favorite books, just because someone you don't even know decided their content is inappropriate for you -- and everyone else? Take a look at some of these titles. Have you read any of them? Do you agree with the reasons for which they have been challenged and/or banned?

Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, violence

Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexual content, unsuitable for age group

Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
Reasons: occult/satanism

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Reasons: racism

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: sexual content, offensive language, unsuitable for age group

Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: offensive language, sexual content, unsuitable for age group

According to the American Library Association (ALA), these are just a handful of the titles that are challenged or banned every year. A challenged book is one whose value has been questioned by a member of the community, and has been requested to be removed from a library, school or other public institution. A banned book is one that has actually been removed from a library or school collection. Books have been challenged for a variety of reasons, including:
  • content unsuitable for the book's intended age group
  • sexual content
  • discriminatory content
  • offensive language
  • violence
  • occult or supernatural themes.

Libraries across the nation celebrate Banned Books Week (BBW) annually -- not to encourage challenges or bans, but to promote free and unrestricted access to materials. ALA's Web site states, "BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion, even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them."

How do book challenges happen? Here's a typical scenario: a group of parents rally to remove a book, such as
The Giver by Lois Lowry, from a middle school library. The challenge imposes their personal views on the entire student body by blocking all students' access to the book. School officials may have to meet to discuss the challenge, and to decide whether or not the book remains on the middle school library shelves. This may be a lengthy process, thus preventing the book from being read for a long time.

The NCC Libraries are prepared for this year's Banned Books Week (September 26 to October 3). Here are some photographs from last year's eye-catching exhibit -- be sure to stop by and see what we have in store for you this year! Don't miss our display featuring some titles that have been banned in the past (you'll be surprised!), and take a moment to share your opinion about book banning. Celebrate your freedom to read any title you choose by crossing into our "Banned Books Zone"!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Celtic Classic Festival This Weekend

Are you ready for the 2009 Celtic Classic Festival in downtown Bethlehem? From Friday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 27, the Celtic Cultural Alliance will host traditional highland games, athletic competitions, Celtic music, dancing, crafts, and lots of food and beverages. You can even enter the haggis eating contest -- if you dare! Put on your kilt, grab your bagpipe and check out this fantastic local event.

Here are some NCC Library resources to get you into the spirit:

Celtic Myths
by Bill Price
BL 900 .P75 2008 New Books section

The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore
by Patricia Monaghan
BL 900 .M66 2004 Reference

Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase & Fable
by Sean McMahon
E-BOOK Online

Clan of the Goddess: Celtic Wisdom and Ritual for Women
by C. C. Brondwin
E-BOOK Online

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Irish History and Culture
by Sonja Massie
E-BOOK Online

A Celtic Journey Through Time: A Short Story of Ireland [DVD]
produced by the History Channel
DA 910 .C45 1998 Media Tower

The Celts
by Duncan Norton-Taylor
D 70 .N67 Stacks

How the Irish Saved Civilization
by Thomas Cahill
DA 930.5 .C34 1995 Stacks

Photo credit:
"Scottish Highland bagpipe." Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

JPEG file. Online. 14 Sept. 2009. <>

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hidden Gems: In the Twinkle of an Eye

It's time for another installment of the SpartaBlog series "Hidden Gems," which reveals interesting, quirky, unusual (or just plain weird) Library materials that you may not know we have.

Hollywood lost one of its most luminous talents when actor Paul Newman died on September 26, 2008. Known for his twinkling blue eyes and 50-year marriage to actress Joanne Woodward, Newman played diverse roles ranging from escaped convict to pool hustler to washed-up lawyer to the voice of a 1951 Hudson Hornet in the animated feature Cars. Newman also championed a number of philanthropic causes, most notably the "Hole in the Wall Gang" Camp for seriously ill children, which is supported in part by the Newman's Own brand of gourmet food.

If you've never seen a Paul Newman film, or would like to revisit an old favorite, stop by the Media Tower at Mack Library (main campus) and pick up one of these classic DVDs from the fiction section.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
co-starring Robert Redford and Katharine Ross
PN 1995.9 .W4 B88 2006

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
(based on the play by Tennessee Williams)
co-starring Elizabeth Taylor
PS 3545 .I5365 C3 1999

Cool Hand Luke
co-starring George Kennedy
PS 3566 .E18 C66 2008

The Hustler
co-starring Jackie Gleason
PS 3570 .E95 H87 2007

The Verdict
co-starring James Mason
PN 1995.9 .J8 V47 2002

"Paul Newman." Internet Movie Database. 14 Sept. 2009.

DVD cover art courtesy of

Illustration credit: "Newman's Own." Newman's Own Foods Web site. 14 Sept. 2009.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Leisure Reading Titles

Here are some of the newest titles in our leisure reading section. Take some time out from the stress of school or work and enjoy a fun read today! Click on the link to read a review of the book at

The Lost Symbol
by Dan Brown

The Missing by Beverly Lewis

No Time to Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard

The Spire by Richard North Patterson

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi #3: The Abyss by Troy Denning

The Rapture by Liz Jensen

While I'm Falling by Laura Moriarty

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

The Siege by Stephen White

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reminder: Book Discussion Group Meets Tomorrow!

We hope you've enjoyed reading Richard Russo's hilarious novel Straight Man, and are ready to have an interesting, lively discussion about it with students and colleagues!

Join the Book Discussion Group for a few good laughs tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 22), from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Library Conference Room (CC440). The Library is on the fourth floor of the College Center building at the main campus in Bethlehem.

If you'd like to get a jump on the reading for next month's meeting, October's book pick is In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld. Hope to see you then!

Friday, September 18, 2009

This Day In History: Touchdown!

Welcome to "This Day In History," the SpartaBlog column that features historically significant events associated with particular dates, and highlights related Library resources.

On September 17, 1920, the American Professional Football Association was formed in Canton, Ohio. The organization changed its name to the more familiar National Football League (NFL) in 1922. Fourteen teams formed the original association; now there are 32 teams in the NFL, divided into the National Conference and American Conference. The culmination of each football season is the Super Bowl -- one of the most-watched annual events on television -- which gives the reigning champions bragging rights until the following year. In case you missed it, the Pittsburgh Steelers won their record-breaking sixth Super Bowl in 2009.

Interested in football? Tackle some of these resources at the NCC Libraries!

Brand NFL: Making and Selling America's Favorite Sport
by Michael Oriard
GV 954.3 .O75 2007 Stacks

Breaker Boys: The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship
by David Fleming
GV 956 .P68 F54 2007 Stacks

The Bus: My Life In and Out of a Helmet
by Jerome Bettis
GV 939 .B48 A3 2007 Stacks

The Lion in Autumn: A Season With Joe Paterno and Penn State Football
by Frank Fitzpatrick
GV 958 .P46 F58 2005 Stacks

Notre Dame and the Game That Changed Football: How Jesse Harper Made the Forward Pass a Weapon and Knute Rockne a Legend
by Frank P. Maggio
GV 939 .H316 M34 2007 Stacks

The Real All-Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation
by Sally Jenkins
GV 958 .U33 J45 2007 Stacks

"National Football League." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Online. 8 Sept.
2009. <>.

Photo credit: "Pro Football Hall of Fame." Online photograph. Pro Football Hall of Fame: Facts and History Web site. 14 Sept. 2009.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Making Information Accessible to All

Do you need help accessing information due to a print or visual disability? If so, the NCC Libraries would like to suggest these helpful resources.

Bookshare, a Web site provided by the U.S. Department of Education, is free to any U.S. student with a qualifying disability. The Bookshare collection includes books, textbooks, magazines and journals, which may be downloaded and accessed using adaptive technology such as "text-to-speech" software that reads text aloud, and digitized Braille display. For more information, click here:

The Free Library of Philadelphia is a regional member of the national Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which mails materials to those who qualify. Available formats include Braille books and audiobooks (books on compact disc). An application to join this program is available on their Web site:

If you live locally, be sure to contact the Lehigh Valley's Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI). This organization can help you acquire materials, aid with transportation and connect you with others. Their Web address is:

Finally, if you are an NCC student and need assistance, the best place for you to visit is our Disability Services Office. Their staff can assist you with requesting academic accommodations, understanding disability-related policies and creating a support plan for your individual needs. On the Main Campus, call 610-861-5342 or visit them in College Center (Rooms 240-250); at the Monroe Campus, call 570-620-9221 or stop by the Student Services Office.

Illustration credit: "Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar." Online drawing. National Federation of the Blind. 14 Sept. 2009.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Student Wins Flash Drive @ Study Skills Marathon!

Congratulations to Elizabeth Bortz, winner of the Library's raffle contest! Held at the Study Skills Marathon on Wednesday, September 9, all visitors to the Library table were eligible to win a two-gigabyte flash drive. That's a lot of storage!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Introducing: Literature Criticism Online

If you're currently taking English II or any other literature course at NCC, then this announcement is for you!

The NCC Libraries recently purchased a research database called Literature Criticism Online. This database contains full-text analysis, criticism and commentary on a variety of literary works. Articles in Literature Criticism Online are digitized versions of essays from the following print series:

• Drama Criticism

• Poetry Criticism

• Short Story Criticism

• Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism.

You may recognize these books, which we also carry in the Reference section. We will no longer be receiving new installments of these series in print, although we will keep all volumes that we currently own. Instead, as each new volume is published, its content will appear in the Literature Criticism Online database.

What do this mean to you? The great thing about this database is that you will no longer have to look through stacks of print volumes to find criticism of an author or work. Instead, you can simply search the database and have the information appear on your computer screen! Articles can be sent to your e-mail address, saved to a flash drive, or printed.

Remember, to view this database from home, you must use your NCC student I.D. number and assigned password to log in.

If you need assistance with Literature Criticism Online, or any other type of research, please contact the Reference Librarians via e-mail, or by calling the Reference Desk at 610-861-5359.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering September 11th

Today, the NCC community reflects on the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

The Band of Brothers organization is sponsoring a day-long 9/11 Remembrance in the new Student Life area of College Center, which will feature video segments, a photo slide show, and the listing of names of those who lost their lives on September 11th. At 11:00 a.m., the Christian Fellowship Club will lead a non-denominational memorial service and moment of silence. Both events are open to everyone.

To gain a better understanding of September 11th and its aftermath, visit the NCC Libraries for books and DVDs that offer in-depth analysis.

The 9/11 Commission Report
by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
HV 6432.7 .N39 2004 Stacks, Main and Monroe

The 9/11 Encyclopedia
by Stephen E. Atkins
HV 6432.7 .A85 2008 Reference section

After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era
by Steven Brill
HV 6432.7 .B75 2003 Stacks

by Joel Meyerowitz
HV 6432.7 .M47 2006 Oversize section, Main and Monroe

Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts
by David Dunbar and the staff of Popular Mechanics
HV 6432.7 .D43 2006 Stacks, Main and Monroe

Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero [DVD]
produced by PBS Home Video
HV 6432.7 .F35 2004 Media Tower

Nine Months at Ground Zero: The Story of the Brotherhood of Workers Who Took On a Job Like No Other
by Glenn Stout
HD 8039 .B892 U68 2006 Stacks, Main and Monroe

Searching for the Roots of 9/11 [DVD]
produced by the Discovery Channel
HV 6432.7 .S43 2005 Media Tower

Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11
by Damon DiMarco
HV 6432.7 .T69 2007 Stacks, Main and Monroe

Photo credit:
"Temporary Memorial." Online photograph. Flight 93 National Memorial Web site. 4 Sept. 2009.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Using Library Databases From Home Is Easier Than Ever!

It's that time of the semester: your professors are starting to assign research papers! If you're looking for information that is reliable (and not found through Google), you're in luck -- the NCC Libraries have many resources that you can use for research papers and projects.

If you prefer to do research in the comfort of your own home, your Internet connection gives you access to the NCC Libraries' online resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our databases, like ProQuest and EBSCOhost, are always available. The best part is that they are now even easier to access.

If you're a returning student, you may remember those yellow sheets of paper that contained a list of different passwords for the Libraries' databases. They were a big hassle, right? The good news is that you no longer need the yellow password sheet!

To log into a database at home, you simply need your NCC student I.D. number and the password that was assigned to you by the College. This I.D. number/password combination gets you into SpartanNet, as well as most of the Library databases!

The great thing about the new way of logging into the Library databases is that it gives you off-campus access to some resources that were unavailable in the past, such as Westlaw Campus (research database for paralegal students); Chronicle Career Library (information about careers); and Safari Books (e-books for computer programmers and IT professionals).

Please remember that if you need assistance finding or using resources, you can visit the NCC Libraries in person, or contact a librarian by e-mail or phone (610-861-5359). We are more than happy to assist you in your research endeavors!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Study Skills Marathon Tomorrow

Don't miss the Fall 2009 Study Skills Marathon!

The action takes place in the Spartan Center (Main Campus) tomorrow, Wednesday, September 9, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This event packs many great student resources all into one place. Brush up on your study skills, learn techniques for reducing stress and meet a variety of people who can help you on your path to academic success! Representatives from student clubs, like Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and College departments, like the Learning Center and Counseling office, will be on hand to chat with you.

Looks like the students in the top photo from last year's Study Skills Marathon were getting quite a workout with the exercise balls -- you'll have to show up on Wednesday to find out what's in store for this year's event!

While you're making the rounds in the Spartan Center, be sure to visit the NCC Libraries table to learn about our services (that last photo on the right shows two of our librarians enjoying the Fall 2008 Marathon). You'll also have the chance to enter a drawing to win a flash drive. You can see the winner of last semester's flash drive giveaway here.

If you're still not convinced that you should stop by, here's another selling point: free food and beverages!

See you in the Spartan Center!

Friday, September 4, 2009

All NCC Campuses, Libraries Closed for Labor Day Weekend

Although it seems like everyone just came back for the start of the semester, a short vacation is upon us! All of the college campuses will be CLOSED from Saturday, September 5th through Monday, September 7th. The regular schedule resumes on Tuesday, September 8th. Enjoy this final summer holiday!

Photo credit:

"Labor Day." Online Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
25 Aug. 2009 <>

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Book Discussion Titles Announced for Fall

Fall 2009

Book Discussion Group


Northampton Community College

Open to Everyone!

Do you like to read?

Do you want to join a fun, stimulating discussion group?

Join us for the

NCC Fall 2009 Book Discussion


Schedule of titles:

September 22:
Straight Man by Richard Russo

October 27:
In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld

November 24:
Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America
by Linda Lawrence Hunt

Where: Paul & Harriett Mack Library

Northampton Community College

College Center, 4th Floor

For information, call: Olga Conneen, 610-861-5358.