Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

The Library Staff wish you all a very happy, restful holiday season and a peaceful and successful new year.

Please note the Library is CLOSED for the winter break from Dec 23 - Jan 2.

See you all in 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Over 400 served

During the last week of classes and final exams (Dec 5 - 16) the Libray opened half an hour earlier and closed an hour later to provide extra study time. In those two weeks, over 400 students came into the Library before 8.30 and stayed after 10.

The popular tradition of late-night study break snacks also made a repeat appearance -- students sustained their studying with coffee, tea, cookies & granola bars.

Unexpected excitement also occured on Thursday 15 Decemeber when a police incident adjacent to campus caused a lockdown. Over 200 students sheltered in place in the Library until the campus was evacuated.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lockdown resolved

Around ten pm last night the situation resulting the Alexandria Campus lockdown was resolved.

(above: "lockdown snacks")

Many thanks to Library staff who remained on campus throughout the evening to assist students, provide snacks, and keep the library safe and comfortable. Throughout the evening the mood in the Library was generally positive, students were supportive of each other and upbeat, and staff reacted with calm and grace.

Library services at the Circulation Desk, Reference Desk and Library computer stations were maintained as normal until the Library was evacuated.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Shortly before 6pm today the Alexandria campus was locked down following an ongoing incident adjacent to the school but not on campus. Students, faculty and staff were advised to remain indoors and away from windows. Campus was crowded with students taking or preparing for final exams.

Students took refuge in the Library where staff served "lockdown snacks."

People remained calm and studying continues in the Library.

Evening classes were cancelled.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

NOVA History online!

Interested in learning about NOVA’s history? NOVA History Collections is an online archival
repository for more than 500 photographs, student publications, commencement programs, yearbooks and other documents from 1965 to the present. The repository is full-text searchable, and users can download, save and print any document or photograph in our collections. This project was initiated and developed by Alexandria Campus Library Specialist David Anderson. He is collaborating with Travis Nace, Chystie Greges, Maureen Townsend, Nathan Mueller and Stephanie Sharkey to build collections for each NOVA campus.

Visit NOVA History Collections at

NOVA History Collections is part of an effort to begin preserving historical information about the
College. As NOVA approaches the 50th anniversary of its founding, that information will become more and more valuable. While the libraries have retained many of NOVA’s documents and photographs since the 1960s, some items have been lost or destroyed over time. Others may be in filing cabinets, desk drawers or boxes throughout the College, just waiting to be discovered and archived! If you have any documents or photographs that could be added to our archival repository, please contact Anderson at

Monday, December 05, 2011

Extended Hours!

Just in time for final exams, the Library will once again extend its hours to provide more time to study, opening half an hour earlier and closing an hour later.

Library Extended Hours

Dec 5 - Dec 8: 8am - 11pm

Dec 9: 8am - 5 pm

Dec 10: 9am - 4 pm

Dec 12 - 15: 8am - 11pm

Dec 16: 8am - 5 pm

Dec 17: 9am - 4 pm

Join us for late night study breaks -- coffe and snacks -- at 10pm.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

The College is closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday from noon on 23 Nov until Monday 28 Nov.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Library Featured in Psychological Thriller

The Elyria Public Library featured in a "cameo" role in the recent film Take Shelter.

Libraries. You never know where they will turn up!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What's that smell?

It's that time of year again -- the corn plant is blooming!

(above: dracaena fragrans, or corn plant)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NOVA Faculty and Staff take VLA Conference by Storm

The attendee evaluations from the VLA 2011 Annual Conference are in -- and NOVA faculty knocked it out of the park:

"Rebecca Kamen's presentation was outstanding."

"These have to be the best two keynote speakers I've heard in a long time. Both were amazing and inspiring. Thank you so much! Also, every single session I attended was interesting, informative, and engagingly presented. Well done!"

"Great conference, the best I have been to in years!"

"Thoroughly enjoyed the opening session with Rebecca Kamen"

"Rebecca Kamen was out of the box, and simply fascinating."

"Excellent conference. There was a good mix of sessions for many different interests and audiences. Kamen was an outstanding keynote presentation."

"Rebecca Kamen's program was probably the most interesting VLA or even ALA program I've attended."

"I believe this year, more than any other, provided me with more intellectual take-aways than I could list. The sessions were excellent, and I enjoyed every one that I attended."

"This was the best conference I've attended."

"One of the best VLA conferences I've attended."


Friday, November 04, 2011

Nature is a Language

Can you Read?

The Alexandria Campus Library staff took the VLA Annual Conference by storm. On Oct 27-28 Portsmouth, Va was invaded by legions of NOVA Librarians.

We conferenced. We networked. We Presented. We keynoted. We dined. We danced. We even karaoked (and Matt even took his tie off).

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Nature is a Language, Can you Read?

Alexandria Faculty and Staff took Portsmouth, Virginia by storm on Oct 27 - 28 to attend the Virginia Library Association Annual Conference.

(l-r: Matt Todd, Sylvia Rortvedt, Rebecca Kamen, Anne Anderson, Brandee Worsham. One of the student sculptures in visible in the background).

The 2011 conference was notable for the participation of a number of members of the NOVA community. The conference program was designed and laid out by Alexandria Campus graphic design students working in the NOVAStudio program, mentored by Professors Lisa Hill and Angela Terry.

As President of the Association Matt Todd conducted both general conference sessions and served on the conference planning committee.

The keynote address at the opening general session was delivered by Alexandria Campus Fine Arts Professor Rebecca Kamen, who described how her work has been influenced by books and supported by libraries, linking her interests in the history of science, the visual arts, the book as artifact, and the intersection of classroom instruction, the creation of art, and libraries as cultural repositories. Her address was later described by attendees as "outstanding," "out of the box," and "one of the most interesting of all conferences I have attended."

Sylvia Rortvedt (Associate Director of Learning and Technology Resources at the Alexandria Campus) joined Rebecca in a very well-received concurrent session that was the subject of a "Twitter" stream.

Thirteen NOVA faculty and staff were granted permission to attend the conference, and two NOVA students donated artwork to be raffled off in support of the VLA scholarship fund.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Blog Crests 20,000 Page Views

Readers of the Alexandria Campus Library Blog know that this is the place to be for online news about Library services and collections, campus developments, and news from around the library world.

Recently, the blog passed the 20,000 page-view mark, with over 12,000 visits from all over the world. YOUR Alexandria Campus Library is visited from Virginia, California, Canada, England, Hungary, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Many people find us by clicking on the links on the campus or library homepages, but some find us through Google searches.

The blog provides an archive of changes and developments in the campus library, including major events like construction, asbestos removal, re-carpeting, and campus wiring projects; staff news like weddings, birthdays and achievements; conferences; holidays; extended hours; art exhibitions and musical performances in the library; student survey results and much much more. You might even find evidence for some long-lost initiatives -- does anyone remember Beauregard Radio?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Welcome to our South African Visitors

On September 27th the Library welcomed a delegation of program managers from South Africa:

Delegates met with Library Director Sylvia Rortvedt and Instruction Librarian Anne Anderson for a tour and overview of the Library's collections and services.

The campus welcomes our South African guests all this week!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In support of libraries, books, words, ideas

An altered book artist and library fan has been making anonymous donations of his artwork to libraries in Edinburgh.

So far six exquisitely detailed artworks, crafted from books, have been left anonymously on tables in 6 libraries (including the National Library of Scotland and the Central Lending Library) and two more at the Edinburgh Book festival.

A book lover, the artist leaves a tag (addressed to the recipient's Twitter address!) with each book, many of which read in part "in support of libraries, books, words & ideas..."

Many of the recipient institutions have put the donated artwork on permanent display.

Always ahead of the curve, the Alexandria Campus Library has a long relationship with altered books! In 2007 the Library hosted its first ever art show "Text, Image & Form" showcasing student artwork created from altered books (some of them former Library books!).

And earlier this year the Library hosted the "Altered (Eaarth) Book Exhibit" showcasing student work inspired by bill Mckibben's book Eaarth.

And like our colleagues in Scotland, we liked the works so much we put some on permanent display:

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Student Art

Did you know that all of the artwork displayed in the Library is the work of NOVA students? For several years the Library has been acquiring photography, sculpture, painting and pottery created by Alexandria Campus students. Several new pieces were recently added to the collection:

(above: The Persistence of Hope" by Ryan Lytle. Acquired in conjunction with the Altered Book & Poster Exhibition: Eaarth)

(Above: "Untitled Abstract" by Christyn Gaffney. Acquired from the juried student art show).

(Above: "The Questionable Quiz" by Ainsley Adao. Acquired from the Communication Design Exhibition).

These and other examples of student work are on permanent display throughout the Library. Come and see them soon!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Welcome to YOUR Library!

Welcome to the Alexandria Campus Library. If you survived the earthquake, and the hurricane, AND the beginning of the semester, then you are well on your way to success in your career here at NOVA.

We know that you may have questions about the Library. Have a look at our FAQ to find out about hours, policies, services, and collections.

If you are new to the Alexandria Campus, have a look around the campus website for maps, office locations, and contact info.

Keep up with curent news and events by following the campus blogs, or view the events calendar.

Further Questions? Stop by the Library in Bisdorf 232 and ask a friendly member of staff!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fall Semester 2011

The beginning of the 2011-12 academic year is almost upon us. If you are new to NOVA -- welcome! If you are returning -- welcome back! The Alexandria Library is here to help students succeed in their studies and research at NOVA.

Most new students (and some returning students) will have questions about how they can obtain textbooks (purchase in the bookstore or borrow in the Library), where they can study (quiet and group study in the Library), and how they can get help with research or preparing for tests (your friendly campus Librarians can help with that!).

Many students have practical (and just as important) questions:

Q. Where can I hang out?

A: The campus has brand new lounge furniture on the second and third floors. From the Library go out the main doors, turn right and keep going (see below):

Q. Where can I get a snack or something to drink?

A. There are vending machines in various locations throughout the building. The nearest ones to the library are in the third floor lobby, one floor up (see below):

(Bonus: Did you know you can use your NOVACard in many of the campus vending machines?)

Q. I need a computer to look up something quick, where can I find one?

A. There are computer kiosks in several places in the Bisdrof (AA) building. The nearest one is right outside the Library in the lobby! (see below):

(Bonus: You don't have to log on to use these computers!)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Library Hours During the Break

August 8 is the last day of summer term. Why not celebrate by paying a visit to our Popular Reading collection and find books by Dean Koontz, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacchi, Zane, and more!

Library Hours

Tuesday - Thursday August 9 - 11: 8.30am - 7.30pm

Friday August 12: 8.30am - 5.00pm

Saturday - Sunday August 13 - 14: Closed

Monday - Thursday August 15 - 18: 8.30am - 7.30pm

Friday August 19: 8.30am - 5.00pm

Saturday August 20: 10.00am - 2.00pm

Sunday August 21: Closed

Fall classes begin Monday August 22

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Whether you are saving money in a slow-growing economy, or beating the heat by being a tourist in your own hometown, why not check out some of the local attractions on our doorstep?

Why not start off with one of these travel guides?

Lonely Planet City Guide: Washington DC. F192.3 W322 2010

Eyewitness Travel: Washington DC. F192.3 W32337 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

American Sabor!

Explore the history and evolution of Latinos in U.S. popular music at the American Sabor exhibit, at the Smithsonian through October 9th.

The very names of Latin music genres suggest an irresistible, unmistakable rhythm. Salsa. Mambo. Rumba. Cha-cha-chá. And through the decades, these distinctive musical styles have continually—and profoundly—influenced American popular music. Latino musicians helped shape many traditional genres of music in the United States, including jazz, R&B, rock ’n’ roll, and hip hop.

American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the Experience Music Project with scholars from the University of Washington and tells the fascinating story of that impact. With beautifully designed bilingual text panels, striking graphics and photographs, listening stations, compelling films, and musical instruments, the show celebrates the true flavor, or “sabor,” of Latin music in the United States. The exhibition focuses on five major centers of Latino popular music production in the years after World War II – New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, and San Francisco—which represent the remarkable diversity of this music.

Or check out one of these resources:

Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture. E184 S75 E59 2004

Congo to Cuba CD M1681 C9 C66x 2002

Nuevo Latino CD M1686.18 N848x 2002

Dangerous Curves: Latina Bodies in the Media P94.5 W642 U665 2010

Friday, July 01, 2011

Happy Birthday America

The College will be closed on Monday 4 July in observance of Independence Day.

While you're waiting for those fireworks, why not check out and read a good book?

Patriotic Holidays of the United States: An Introduction to the History, Symbols and Tradition. JK1761 H46 2006

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. E176 R63 2004

The Chemistry of Fireworks. TP300 R87 2000

Old World, New World: Great Britain and America from the Beginning. E183.8 G7 B57 2008

Not everyone was so keen on independence:

Tories: Fighting for King in America's First Civil War. E209 A45x 2010

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calling all DC Shutterbugs

Have camera? Like to take photos of our historically significant and aesthetically beautiful hometown?

Find out the best spots for photo-making with The 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in Washington DC (TR267 S748x 2010), including research, planning, location scouting, as well as how-to tips on lining up the shot and taking the best pictures.

Not an ace photographer yet? Why not sign up for one of NOVA's photography courses.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Snapshot Virginia: Libraries are ESSENTIAL

SnapshotVA 2011 Results:
77 Virginia libraries participated between April 17-30, 2011! Highlights of patron comments and testimonials can be found on the Community page.

One day in the life of Virginia’s libraries—
243,166 books, movies and more were checked out
1,638 new borrowers received library cards
25,938 people used computers at their library
5,374 people came to their libraries for 337 free programs
4,228 people used their libraries to host 500 meetings
1,775 people were helped by their libraries with outreach programs
1,757 hours were logged by library volunteers
21,529 reference questions were answered

These statistics are based on the participation of 46% of Virginia public libraries, measured by population served.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

President Obama visits the Alexandria Campus

Today, June 8th, President Barack Obama visted the Alexandria Campus automtive program.

Missed the President?

Why not read a good book:

The Obamas: The Untold Story of an African Family. CT2227.5 )23 F57 2011

Barack Obama and Twenty First Century Politics: A Revolutionary Moment in the USA. E907 C36 2010

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama. E908 R46 2010

Or watch the Video:

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Sylvia Rortvedt (Associate Dean) and Matt Todd (Collection Development Librarian) traveled to Ashburn, Virginia to visit the "WorkLab" at Creative to check out possible new group study, individual study, and noise abatement solutions for the Alexandria Campus Library.

Look for some Creative solutions coming soon...

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's True?

How do you get your news? Newspapers. talk shows, cable TV, blogs, Tweets, Facebook, network TV, email, RSS feed, smoke signals?

With more information venues than ever before, and with traditional gatekeepers disappearing, it becomes ever more incumbent on the individual citizen to verify, analyse and evaluate the information he receives.

"Veteran journalists Kovach and Rosenstiel (The Elements of Journalism) begin their intelligent and well-written guidebook by assuring readers this is not unfamiliar territory. The printing press, the telegraph, radio, and television were once just as unsettling and disruptive as today's Internet, blogs, and Twitter posts. But the rules have changed. The gatekeepers of information are disappearing. Everyone must become editors assuming the responsibility for testing evidence and checking sources presented in news stories, deciding what's important to know, and whether the material is reliable and complete. Utilizing a set of systemic questions that the authors label "the way of skeptical knowing," Kovach and Rosenstiel provide a roadmap for maintaining a steady course through our messy media landscape. As the authors entertainingly define and deconstruct the journalism of verification, assertion, affirmation, and interest group news, readers gain the analytical skills necessary for understanding this new terrain. "The real information gap in the 21st century is not who has access to the Internet and who does not. It is the gap between people who have the skills to create knowledge and those who are simply in a process of affirming preconceptions without growing and learning." -- Publisher's Weekly.

Check it out today. PN4815.2 K68 2010

Friday, May 06, 2011

More Hours to Study: More Students Served

The Alexandria Campus Library completed it's second week of extended hours to provide increased study and research time for students completing final projects and preparing for final exams. Over 130 students used the library before 8.30am and over 400 students stayed in the library after 10pm, topping numbers for extended hours in the fall term.Carrying on a now popular tradition, snacks were served to students studying late. Healthy snacks like sandwiches, granola bars and dried fruit were the fare this semester, with lots and lots of lemonade.

Thanks to library staff who voluntarily adjust their schedules to make extended hours possible. This is the sixth consecutive year the Library has extended hours for the last week of classes and final exams.

Be sure to visit the Library Webpage to get up-to-date information on Library hours, as these change between terms and for the summer semester.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Altered (Eaarth) Book Exhibit opens

On Tuesday 26 April the Altered Eaarth Book exhibit opened in the Library. The Exhibit celebrates Earth Day (April 22) and was the result of a collaboration between Prof Denny May (English), Prof Lisa Hill (Communication Design), Prof Rebecca Kamen (Fine Arts), Prof Angela Terry (Communication Design) and the Library Staff. Students from Art 132 and ART 140 created the altered books. All of the sculptures are re-purposed copies of Bill McKibben's Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

The sculptures, including Eaarth Primer created by Lisa Hill and Rebecca Kamen (see Wed April 20) will be on display in the Library until summer.

(above: a view of the exhibit, with Tree of Life)

(above: Persistence of Hope)

(above: Nature Strikes Back).

More photos may be seen on the Art Department's Tyler Art's Life Facebook Page.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Extended Hours

The Alexandria Campus once again observes extended hours for the last week of classes and the week of final exams.The Library will open 30 minutes early at 8am Monday - Friday and close one hour late at 11pm Monday - Thursday.

Library Hours
Monday 25 April - Thursday 28 April: 8.00am - 11.00pm
Friday 29 April: 8.00am - 5.00pm
Saturday 30 April: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Monday 2 May - Thursday 5 May: 8.00am - 11.00pm
Friday 6 May: 8.00am - 5.00pm
Saturday 7 May 9.00am - 4.00pm
Please join us after 10 for Late Night Study Break, when snacks and drinks will be served.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hanging the Hanging Garden

As part of the campus's celebration of Earth Day (April 22) the Library features a "hanging garden" created out of re-purposed copies of Bill McKibben's Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

(above: Copies of Eaarth transformed)

(above: Rebecca Kamen (Fine Arts) and Lisa Hill (Communication Design) install the garden)

(Live plants suspended in the Library "living room.")

Monday, April 11, 2011

National Library Week

Celebrate National Library Week April 10 - 16

Alexandria Campus faculty share their favorite books -- stop by the Library today and check them out.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

NOVA's Digital Archive headlines Virginia Libraries Journal

Alexandria Campus Library's David Anderson writes in the Virginia Library Association journal Virginia Libraries about NOVA's the digitization efforts (read the article online here):

"We might not think of community colleges in Virginia as institutions with deep historical roots. The Virginia Assembly established the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) in 1966 in order to fill the need for two-year college programs in the state. The fiftieth anniversary of VCCS will arrive in 2016, and that event suggests an opportunity to look back at the history of community colleges in Virginia. At the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College, we have already begun this process by developing a digital collection to house and display historical documents from our campus archives. We have identified student publications, meeting minutes, event programs, and photographs as candidates for digitization."

Explore more of the Alexandria Campus's History on this website:

Monday, April 04, 2011

Oxford English Dictionary adds new words -- OMG

The venerable Oxford English Dictionary announced recently that its latest update in March 2011 will add almost 2,000 new words: "For the March 2011 release of OED Online, we have selected for publication a number of noteworthy initialisms—abbreviations consisting of the initial letters of a name or expression. Some of these—such as OMG [OMG int. (and n.) and adj.]: ‘Oh my God’ (or sometimes ‘gosh’, ‘goodness’, etc.) and LOL [LOL int. and n./2]: ‘laughing out loud’—are strongly associated with the language of electronic communications (email, texting, social networks, blogs, and so on). They join other entries of this sort: IMHO (‘in my humble opinion’) [IMHO at I n./1], TMI (‘too much information’) [TMI at T n.], and BFF (‘best friends forever’) [BFF at B n.], among others." Read more from the Library's ProQuest Database.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Come on VCU!!

Read coverage on Virginia Commonwealth University's amazing Final Four Cinderella story

from newspapers around the nation

And did you know, a librarian actually predicted this outcome.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Madness

is here.

Check out How March Became Madness: How the NCAA Tournament Became the Greatest Sporting Event in America. GV885.49 N37 E56 2006

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Case for Books

Is the age of the printed book coming to an end? If history is any guide, notes Harvard University Library director Darnton, not any time soon. In this collection of previously published essays, an unashamed apology for the printed word, Darnton, an eloquent writer and one of the world's foremost historians of the book, offers a fascinating history of our literary past and a penetrating look at the disruptive forces shaping the future of publishing. Almost no topic is untouched, from the role of libraries to metadata, the print traditions of Europe, piracy old and new, Darnton's own forays into digital initiatives and the efficacy—even the beauty—of our changing literary landscape over centuries of development. This book clearly has a main character, however—Google. The search giant appears often. While the individual essays are brief, in sum, the book offers a deep dive into the evolution of the written and published word. Darnton offers little cover from the winds of change, but for book lovers and publishing professionals he offers the comfort that comes from understanding the past, and hope, as he places the Internet among a litany of disruptive innovations the book has survived. Publisher's Weekly. (Oct. 27)

Check it out today: Z116 A2 D37 2010

Friday, March 11, 2011

Network Upgrade Nears Completion

Over spring break, the campus undertook a major network upgrade. During this process, internet services, printing, copying, phones, and library circulation services were unavailable on the Library's main level.

Some Library services, inlcuding reference, online research, reserves, and circulation services were available in the Library classroom (room 327) throughout spring break.

The upgrade included running new cables through the public spaces and offices in the Library, including in the 2-story reading area -- requiring the Big Ladder (above).

The Library will re-open, with normal hours, on Monday 14 March.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Spring Break!!

It's almost that time. NOVA will observe Spring Break from 7 March - 13 March.

During that time, the Library will be open from 8.30am - 5.00pm.

The campus will also undertake a scheduled network upgrade during that time. Copying, printing, telephone, and the internet will be unavailable on the main level of the Library. Library services and computer access will be available in room 327.