Friday, December 19, 2008

Final Exams Finally Over

As exams wound down to an end, Library Extended Hours came to a successful close.

From Monday December 8th through Thursday December 18th, over 500 students before 8.30am and after 10pm. That's 500 students who were able to study outside of the Library's normal term-time hours. (record numbers of students packed the library during normal operating hours as well -- sometimes approaching every single available seat being filled).

In addition, the Library's now traditional Late Night Study Snacks were a bigger hit than ever before. Over 240 cups of coffee, tea and cocoa were consumed, as well as more than 12 boxes of cookies and lots and lots of chocolate to keep up the energy through late-night cramming.

Best of Luck to all exam-takers and best wishes for a Happy New Year! See you in Spring '09!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Study Early -- Study Late!!

Once again the Alexandria Campus Library will extend its hours for the last week of classes and exams.

Starting Monday 8 December through Thursday 18 December the Library will open half an hour early at 8am. Monday through Thursday the Library will close an hour later at 11pm.

Continuing what has become a Library Tradition, Late Night Snacks will also be served.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Semester hits high gear

It's that time in term when students begin to think about papers & final projects, conducting research, and preparing for upcoming finals.

Predicatably, the Alexandria Campus Library is busier than ever.

Students coming to library are studying independently...

...Using Group Study Rooms (there are now 5 group study rooms in the Library, available on a first-come, first-served basis. 4 of the rooms are appropriate for groups of 4 or fewer, while one is larger)...

...finding a comfortable place to read...

...checking out books (in record numbers)...

...using Reserve Materials (especially Text Books! did you know that Alexandria students account for almost half of the total college reserve use?)...

...using laptops (the Library supports wireless as well as wired laptop use)...

...and yes, even using Library computers (students generally experience at least some wait to find a vacant computer)...

...and just like at home, the Living Room is the scene of many a project...

What does Your Library have for you?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hat-o-ween from Your Library

Alexandria Librarians got into the spooky spirit for Halloween.

Little ghouls and goblins were welcomed into the Library on Thursday night, as the Student Business Association sponsored a campus Trick-or-Treat for local kids.

On Fri 31 October the Library Staff continued our annual tradition of 'Hat-o-ween' donning special headgear for the day.

Bruce (Two Face) gets the award for most committed. Jane brought a whiff of Hogwarts, and we had two baseball fans (Go Tribe! Matt scared everyone by putting away his tie and going casual).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NOVA named top tech savvy college

The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Wired Campus" feature reported on the to tech-smart community colleges. Based in part on online library capabilities, NOVA ranked in the top three colleges of its size:

October 27, 2008

Top Tech-Smart Community Colleges Get Ranked

The top tech-smart community colleges have been named by the Center for Digital Education and the American Association of Community Colleges. The center conducted a survey to highlight colleges that provide a high level of information-technology service to students and faculty. The survey examined colleges’ offerings in such areas as online admissions, student access to transcripts and grades, information security, campus-security alerts, and online-library capabilities.

Institutions were placed in three categories, based on the number of students enrolled in 2007. The top three winners in each category were:

7,500 or more students:
Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, Pa.
Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, Va.
Florida Community College, Jacksonville, Fla.

3,000 to 7,500 students:
Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Darton College, Albany, Ga.
Tompkins Cortland Community College, Dryden, N.Y.

Fewer than 3,000 students:
Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, Ill.
Central Wyoming College, Riverton, Wyo.
Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington, Minn.

The center is a membership organization and a division of e.Republic a for-profit publishing and research group. —Josh Fischman

Friday, October 17, 2008

Aging Gracefully

Library Director Sylvia Rortvedt celebrated a milestone birthday.

Happy Birthday to Our Fearless Leader!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hot El Salvador

Alexandria Campus Library celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a Hot Topics display of books about El Salvador.

The National Education Association says of National Hispanic Heritage Month:

"National Hispanic Heritage MonthSeptember 15 - October 15
Observed each year from September 15-October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month honors the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens who trace their ancestry to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Spanish-speaking countries of Central and South America.
Contrary to popular belief, the word Hispanic does not refer to race, but is an ethnic term for diverse peoples of many races and origins who hold in common the Spanish language."

To see more exciting displays, exhibits and events, visit the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Constitution Day

Celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution with a good book:

The genius of America : how the Constitution saved our country--and why it can again. KF4541 .L334x 2007

A more perfect constitution : 23 proposals to revitalize our Constitution and make America a fairer country . KF4550 .S185x 2007

The summer of 1787 : the men who invented the Constitution. KF4510 .S74 2007

Unruly Americans and the origins of the Constitution. KF4541 .H58 2007

America’s constitution : a biography. KF4541 .A87 2005

(above - the Library's 2008 Constitution Day display).

Or read about the restoration of Montpelier, the Virginia home of the Father of the Constitution, James Madison.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stock Market Woes

Lehman Brothers fails. Stocks tumble. Wall Street turmoil.


Read up:

Financial institutions, markets, and money. HG181 .K48 2008

The man who made Wall Street : Anthony J. Drexel and the rise of modern finance. HG2463.D66 R67 2001

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Hurricane Ike made landfall this morning, bringing with it a 15 - 20 foot storm surge, widespread flooding and wind damage.

Ride out the storm season reading up on hurricanes & weather:

Storm world : hurricanes, politics, and the battle over global warming. QC944 .M66 2007

Hurricanes : a reference handbook. QC944 .F58 2006

Divine wind : the history and science of hurricanes. QC944 .E43 2005

Restless skies : the ultimate weather book. QC981 .D68x 2005

Extreme weather : a guide & record book. QC983 .B78 2004

Hurricanes and typhoons : past, present, and future. QC944 .H92 2004

Or check on the latest from the National Hurricane Center.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pentagon Memorial

"President Bush today dedicated the Pentagon Memorial as "an everlasting tribute to the 184 souls who perished" when a hijacked jetliner exploded into the western side of the nation's military headquarters, part of the largest terror attack on U.S. soil. " -- Washington Post, 9/11/08

Read more about the 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon, or life in America since 2001, check out some of these titles:

Debunking 9/11 debunking : an answer to Popular mechanics and other defenders of the official conspiracy theory. HV6432.7 .G747 2007

The terror dream : fear and fantasy in post-9/11 America. E169.Z83 F35 2007

The looming tower : Al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11. HV6432.7 .W75 2006

Mecca and Main Street : Muslim life in America after 9/11. E184.M88 A22 2006

102 minutes : the untold story of the fight to survive inside the Twin Towers. HV6432.7 .D89 2005

In the shadow of no towers. PN6727.S6 I5 2004

The Pentagon : a history : the untold story of the wartime race to build the Pentagon--and to restore it sixty years later. UA26.A745 V64 2007

Up from zero : politics, architecture, and the rebuilding of New York . NA6233.N5 W6745 2004

Monday, September 08, 2008


Here in the Library, we aim to please. We take student suggestions seriously. Students asked for group study rooms -- and we gave them group study rooms. Students asked for comfy chairs, and we found some club chairs for the reading room. Students asked for later hours in exams, and the Library now stays open an extra hour in reading week and exam week. But there are some requests we have to politely decline.

One student recommended the Library invest in "stripper poles" (the student did not recommend we invest in strippers!). As fun as that would be, we don't think stripper poles would promote an atmosphere of study or would encourage learning success.

However, in lieu of stripper poles (or strippers for that matter), you might want to check out:

Stripped : inside the lives of exotic dancers by Bernadette Barton. It is shelved in the circulating collection at PN1949.S7 B37 2006.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Do parties matter? No, not keggers (although they matter, too), but political parties. Party convention season is upon us. Celebrate by reading a good book.

Political Parties Matter: Realignment and the Return of Partisan Voting. JK2261 .S863 2006

U.S. election system. JK1976 .U217 2004

National party conventions, 1831-1988. JK2255 .N375 1991

Party crashing : how the hip-hop generation declared political independence. E185 .G55 2008

Millennial makeover : MySpace, YouTube, and the future of American politics. JK1764 .W635 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Students Are Saying

We've been gathering feedback from students about the Library's new look. Here's what some of them had to say:

Overall, comments have been very positive:

"Good space to chill out."

"Wonderful! The Library is more spacious now, more comfortable and it displays the real image of both academic and a business place. It looks very professional. "

"I think you could [use] more chairs, however, extremely comfortable overall, it’s an excellent place to “chill”"

"I love it. Very accommodating."

"I adore your taste in décor!"

"I like it, good furniture, probably need [a] few more."

"Amazing chairs/sofas."

"I really like now we have a place to study, while waiting for class or if you have an exam. It is good place to study. Thanks to those who [had] this idea."

"Finally, we can rest while reading books, newspapers or magazines. This is what was missing to be a complete library. I love the silence and the chairs. Maybe some more sofas, comfortable ones. Thank you NOVA!"

Students also had some suggestions. In addition to the oft-made observation that the Reading Room could use more chairs (we know!), some students wanted to see some more color. One Library User even suggested a pink sofa!

Many students have been surprised to discover the Library's interesting and diverse collection of magazines, which were formerly shelved on the upper-level and unfortunately not much visited. And large numbers of Library users now make use of the daily newspapers, which previously were kept behind the Circulation Desk but now receive exponentially more use on open display in the Reading Room.

Said one student: "whoever put these newspapers here was a genius."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Library Lemonade

Alexandria Campus Library served lemonade to new and returning students at the beginning of Fall Term 2008.

Over 160 glasses of lemonade were served in the first two days of classes. Welcome (or welcome back!) to NOVA!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Custom Search Engines

Search a specified portion of the World Wide Web with two of the Library's new customized search engines.

Librarian Anne Anderson used Google Technology to create two custom search engines, for the Religion and Science sections of the Best of the Web page.

The search engine you’ll see on each of those pages will search the content of only the websites listed on the Religion page and only the websites on the Science page.

Also, don't miss important information on hours, FAQs, and reserve information, staff contact info & more on the Alexandria Campus Library Home Page.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Librarians in the Living Room

Library Staff hang out in the new Library Reading Room.

Come by and see what you might like to read.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Group Study Rooms

When Librarians asked students what they most wanted in the Library, the most frequent request was for Group Study Rooms.

The opening of the new wing of the Bisdorf Building allowed for some creative repurposing of space in the Library, including our first Group Study Rooms.

The five Group Study Rooms are located across from the Circulation Desk, on the right as one enters the Library.

Group Study Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Library patrons are encouraged not to leave unattended personal possessions in the Study Rooms and to be considerate of others when using them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Welcome Home, Librarians

The Librarians in their new (to them) office space:

(l-r: Matt, Bruce, Jean, Anne. Sylvia's office is visible in the back, center).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Moving Moving Moving

How it all went down:

(the old financial aid office)

(Matt shelving popular reading books in their new location)

(The NEW Library Reading Room, showing the Popular Magazine collection where the old Financial Aid office used to be, and showing the Popular Reading collection in place).

(messy and crowded! No wonder the Library staff needed more space! This was someone's desk!!!)

(Jane and Twynell move into their expanded office space -- still got some cleaning to do!)

(Kim's new space -- she's smiling because she's not so crowded!)

(The Librarians' old office on moving day -- it's ALL got to go! This area will become a student study room)

(the Librarians' new office, formerly the Counseling offices).
(Anne, Jean, Matt, and Bruce and Darth Tater wave goodbye to the old office and get ready to move into the new (to us)).

Moving Day!

The Alexandria Campus Library was closed all day on Tuesday 12 August to do some work to our physical space and computer infrastructure.

For the Library Faculty, it was moving day as they moved into their new (new to them!) offices on the other side of the Library. Library Faculty can now be found in room 232A -- come visit, we've already decorated!

Other changes are even more dramatic:

  • Popular magazines were relocated to the main library level (academic and professional titles remain upstairs).
  • Computers in student areas were upgraded to newer, faster models.
  • Popular Reading books were moved to the main library level.
  • New leather chairs were put in place in the new Library Reading Room.
  • Group Study Rooms were prepared for student use in Fall '08.
  • A brand new study room was created behind the book stacks, with wired carrels for laptop use.
  • Study carrels were re-arranged to provide more spacious & convenient individual study areas throughout the main floor of the Library.

Come and see the transformations happening in Your campus Library.

We still have lots of work to do (group study areas need more thorough renovation, carpet in public areas and office areas needs replacing, the Library is in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint, and we're hoping for more new furniture in the Reading Room and Study Room) but this is a very promising first step!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why is it so quiet in here?!?!


Why is it suddenly so quiet in the Library?

Reading-room quiet suddenly reigns in the Alexandria Campus Library following the move of the Counseling and Financial Aid offices (and their shared waiting room!) to the new wing of the Bisdorf Building. Counseling is now located in room 194 and Financial Aid can be found in room 185.

Look for some big changes in the Library as new lounge furniture moves in, current magazines and popular reading move downstairs, and the Library faculty move to a new home on the other side of the Library.

Other new features coming soon include group study rooms, current newspapers on display, and increased study space throughout the Library.

The Library will be closed all day on Tuesday 12 August to move furniture and shelving and also for a computer migration.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Alexandria Library Featured on Hungarian Webzine!

Librarians can find anything out. Just ask Brandee Worsham, who was experimenting with the new search engine Cuil. Brandee performed a search on her own name and discovered a feature about the Library's online tour in a Hungarian webzine.

Librarian Anne Anderson and Library Specialist Brandee Worsham collaborated to create the online tour in January 2008. Apparently the launch of the tour on this very blog in February attracted international attention.

Alexandria Library's online tour was highlighted in the Hungarian Webzine FIKSZ K2, a non-profit, independent professional webzine. The webzine’s goal is to establish young adult librarianship in Hungary, which currently is not a separate field of librarianship there, and also to adopt and spread the theory and practice of Library 2.0.

The article, which can be read in original Hungarian here, was written by is László Csobán, a student of library and information science. Laszlo points to the Alexandria library website as an example how great it is that the two librarians (Anderson and Worsham) are showing people how to use the Library through pictures and verbal instructions, available online. He goes on to commend this form of online education as a model. The article goes on to suggest that readers would benefit from clicking on the tour and watching for themselves, rather than rely on any lengthy description from him.

One comment left on the article suggested that tours like these would be useful not just for library patrons but for some library staff as well (!), as in the commenter's experience some library staff are not aware of their own library's holdings through lack of good communication.

(everyone in the Alexandria Campus Library has viewed the tour!).

Naturally, Library staff wondered how Mr. Csobán came across the tour. Never a doubt a Librarian's ability to reconstruct a search! After some furious googling in the Librarians' office, it became clear that Google Blog Search must have been the route of discovery. The article ran in FIKSZ K2 on February 7, the same day this blog featured the library tour.

The power of technology truly makes a smaller world!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Wing of the Bisdorf Building Opens Today!!

The long awaited Phase III extension to the Bisdorf Building received its certificate of occupancy on Tuesday July 29th & the first office opened for business on Wednesday July 30th.

To read more about the architectural process of building extensions (or renovations) to existing buildings, check out 100 Great Extensions and Renovations TH4816.2 J63x 2007

"From simple room additions to complete demolition and rebuild jobs, this book explores some of the infinite ways in which architects have reinvented original homes. The results are astonishing in their diversity and innovation. Detailed project descriptions, drawings, house plans and full-colour 'before' and 'after' photographs in some cases, explain the thinking and process behind each extension from inception to completion. "

The Phase III extension provides new science labs, additional classrooms, a circular lecture theatre, office space for administration, office space for adjuncts, and a completely new & functional suite for Student Services, Counseling, Financial Aid, the Business Office, & more.

See pictures of the Big Move & sneak peaks of the new offices on our Phase III Blog.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Arts & Culture

Take a walk on the sophisticated side with these new books ranging around the world & across time concerning the arts & culture.

The Blue Rider in the Lenbachhous. N6868.5 E9 Z87 2000. Learn about the avant-garde Expressionists active in Munich in the early part of the 20th century: Kandinsky, marc, Macke & others, collectively known as the Blue Rider School.

Tintoretto. ND623 T6 A4 2007. Lavishly illustrated catalgue raisonne, prompted by a recent exhibition at the Prado in Madrid.

The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947 - 1957. TT504.6 E7 G65 2007. Blurring the lined between fashion and high art, this publication from the V&A Museum lovingly surveys the work of Christian Dior, Norman Hartnell, Jacques Fath & more.

Iconic America: A Roller Coaster Ride Through The Eye-Popping Panorama of American Pop Culture. E169.12 H55x 2007. What do Route 66, the Cowboy Boot, the Smiley Button, John Wayne, Malcolm X, the Hot Dog and a Louisville Slugger have in common? All are iconic images from American Pop culture -- joined here by more than 400 more.

The Dinner Party: From Creation to Presentation. NK4605.5 U63 C482. In depth study of Judy Chicago's famous & infamous feminist installation.

Fired With Passion: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics. NK4167.7 L875 2005. A celebration of the high achievement of Japanese ceramic artists since 1945.

Country Music Originals. ML394 R87 2007. Biographical treatment of the men and women who created country music, from Hank Williams to the Dixie Chicks.

The Great Funk: Falling Apart and Coming Together (on a Shag Rug) in the Seventies. NX504 H56 2007. Thomas Hine explores the 70s, from avacado kitchens to Earth Shoes, taking a tour through music, film & TV, society & advertising to unlock the secrets of the great funk.

Architecture of Authority. TR659 R62936 2007. For the past several years--and with seemingly limitless access--photographer Richard Ross has been making unsettling and thought-provoking pictures of architectural spaces that exert power over the individuals within them. From a Montessori preschool to churches, mosques and diverse civic spaces including a Swedish courtroom, the Iraqi National Assembly hall and the United Nations, the images in Architecture of Authority build to ever harsher manifestations of power: an interrogation room at Guantanamo, segregation cells at Abu Ghraib, and finally, a capital punishment death chamber...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Time in Your Library

What do Librarians get up to in the summer? Even as numbers of students fall and temperatures rise, summer is a very busy time in the Library.

Here are just a few of the things that have been going on, behind the scenes and out in the open, this summer.

  • The Career Books, previously shelved near the Counseling area, have been moved into the regular Circulating collection (check the Library Catalog to find a career book).

  • Library Staff have been busy in the book stacks, making sure all the books are in good order

  • The Circulating Books have been shifted in large sections of the collection to make way for NEW titles

  • Hundreds of New Books have arrived

  • Loads of New DVDs have arrived -- check the Feature Film Section for new favorites

  • Librarians are preparing to move their offices to a new location on the other side of the Library

  • Counseling and Financial Aid Staff prepare to move to their new home in Phase III

  • Some of the Library Periodicals moved onto an online format (check for your favorite in the Library Databases)

  • ALL of the Library's microfilm holdings were transitioned to an online format -- now searchable from on or off-campus!

  • The Library Course Reserve Collection continues to grow -- find your textbook here & read it in the Library for free!!
  • The old ELI VHS video collection has completely transitioned to Video On Demand. Watch ELI programs online!

  • The Library prepared to construct our first ever group study rooms (coming in Fall '08)


The Library will look very different in the Fall Semester from the way it looked in the Spring. Our collections and services continue to grow, and hopefully so will our space and physical offerings to serve you better!

Have a great summer -- check out some Fun Things to do in Virginia This Summer!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Garden time

Even if your garden doesn't look like the Villa D'Este (below), summer is still a time get out into the garden.

To get in the mood, check out some of these new (and not so new) books on gardening from the Library's collection:

Gardens in Time. SB465 L417 2006

Oxford Companion to the Garden. SB450.95 O94 2006

The Garden Book. SB451 G373x 2005

Garden Your City. SB453 F394 2005

The Chinese Garden. SB457.55 K47 2003

A Photographic Garden History. SB465 P48 1995b

The Sun King's Garden. SB470 L4 T46 2006

Gardening. SB470.5 H63 2002

Poetics of Gardens. SB472 M64 1988

Gardens with Atmosphere. SB473 M298 2001

Italian Parks and Gardens. SB484 I8 L5713 1996