You have many different ways of interacting with the JSCC Library

The JSCC Library welcomes you for 2014. You have many different ways of interacting with the Library.

On the JSCC Library home page (, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter to get the most recent updates. We hope that you will “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

There is an Ask the Librarian tab at the top of the library’s home page that you can use to ask questions of a library staff member. This can be a research question, a question about services, etc.

Clicking on the Library Services tab at the top of the page allows you to leave a comment about the library. Scroll to the bottom of that page to leave your comment(s).

There will also be a survey this spring given to many classes that will allow you to evaluate library resources, facilities and personnel.

You can also interact with library staff in person by coming by the library and asking for assistance in finding information, etc. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

The JSCC Library is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  

There is a display in the JSCC Library front lobby which contains memorabilia about the event, many of which were donated by JSCC employees.  There are original newspapers and magazines, as well as books and other materials.

The exhibit will be up through the first week of December.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts By Susan Cain

Review by Dr. Teri Maddox, Professor of English and Speech, Jackson State Community College

I recently read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts. Yes, I am an introvert, but I was attracted to my husband because he has the lovely qualities of introverts: the ability to listen and think before responding, to pay attention to details, to be willing to work hard behind the scenes for no glory or thanks, and to empathize sincerely with those who are hurting. Both of our children also have these great qualities, so I am happy to be surrounded by introverts in my immediate family. In addition, because I teach Public Speaking, I know that it is one of the most dreaded courses in an introvert’s college career. Susan Cain’s book celebrates introversion, providing dozens of examples and inspirational stories of how introverts have saved companies even though extroverts are the overwhelming CEO choice for Wall Street and Harvard’s Business School. Extroverts and introverts alike will enjoy this book because it reminds us that the gifts of introversion are worth celebrating.

The Richest Woman in America

I have just finished reading The Richest Woman in America by Janet Wallach  (HG 2463. G74 W35 2012)  It is an interesting biography of Hetty Green, who lived from 1834-1916.

It is a fascinating look at a woman who defied conventions of the time to become a shrewd investor and earned millions over her lifetime.  She was accused of being penurious and declining health care for her son when he was injured, but the book shows that she had a benevolent side also.

Please come by the JSCC Library and check this book out.

Scott Cohen

JSCC Library — DVD Collections (The Great Courses)

Some instructors (and students) know what I’m talking about when I mention the JSCC Library’s “Great Courses” DVDs.  Some have already made use of these resources — but not nearly as many as might benefit by doing so.

The Great Courses are a series of DVDs covering various courses and subjects, and created by instructors.  They are designed to supplement, not replace, the instruction faculty members provide and students receive in their own institutions.

Each Great Course DVD title consists of brief lectures, usually 30 minutes long; there might be 12, 24, 36, or more lectures in each title.  Information is presented in small amounts, one topic per each short lecture.  If a student is having problems with, or wants to know more about, a particular topic presented in his or her own class – a Great Course DVD lecture might provide invaluable assistance.

How to find DVDs in this series?  Access the JSCC Library homepage (, and then login to the Library’s online catalog via the link,  Find a Book/DVD/Video.  This link is found on the Library’s homepage, under “Resources.”

Once in the catalog, click on the down arrow beside the word, “Keyword,” and choose to search by “Title.”  In the search line, type the keywords:  great courses.

You will see the screen below, when you click the “Search” button:

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Above are the subject area divisions for Library-owned Great Courses DVDs; divisions such as: Business & economics; Communication skills; Modern history; and, Science & mathematics.  The number of DVD titles available in the JSCC Library for each subject area is indicated under “Entries Found.”  Each of these subject areas is a link; click into the link, to get information about the DVD titles included.

From the list above I might click on, for example, Great Courses (DVD). Modern history.  The “Entries Found” information for this link indicates that the Library owns two Great Courses DVD titles that are under the subject area of modern history.

When I click on the link, I will see these two titles:

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In order to get more information about a particular title, I would do just as I would do with any other Library resource record; click into the bold, underlined title.  So, if I want to see the full record for the first title, A brief history of the world, I click on the title link and retrieve the full record, as seen in the screenshots below:

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If you want a quick look at what lectures are included in this title, look at the “Contents” area:

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The lectures included on each disc, are listed in the Contents area of the title’s online catalog record.

On top of the well-presented and interesting lectures, all the Great Courses DVD titles come with a guide or guides to supplement the lecture material.

If you’d like to see other titles available from Great Courses, check out The Great Courses website.  “Courses by Topic” can be browsed; look at this area, located on the left side of the website homepage.  Great Courses titles are often very expensive – but sales for recent titles are always available, sometimes with up to 70-80% price discounts.

Search the JSCC online catalog for these DVD titles; you might find something you’d like to use in your classes.  Check out the Great Courses website as well; you might see a title you’d like for the Library to purchase and add to our collection for your future use.

Also — if you want your students to view a particular lecture or two, the Library will put Great Courses DVD titles on “Library use only” Reserve.   This will ensure that all the students in your class(es) get a chance to benefit from the knowledge available in these very fine resources.

If you have problems finding or accessing the JSCC Library Great Courses DVD titles – or problems finding any JSCC Library resources – please contact a Library personnel member.  Reference desk extension:  #50572.

—  Joyce Johnston, JSCC Library – Cataloging/Reference

Requesting a Book or DVD for the JSCC Library

If you are a JSCC student, faculty or staff, you can request that a book or DVD be purchased for the JSCC Library.
Please contact Gloria Hester, Acquisitions and Circulation Librarian, to request an item that you feel that the library should have. 

Just send an email to or call her at 424-3520, ext. 50328.

Great New Book in the JSCC Library

I would like to recommend One Click: Jeff Bezos and the rise of by Richard Brandt.  (Z 473 .B47 B75 2011)
It delves into what made him start his company and the very interesting things that have happened along the way.  The birth of the Kindle is discussed, as well as the innovations that Bezos used to make Amazon such a powerful company.

Scott Cohen


Book about Plants

I would like to recommend a book called Passalong Plants by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing (SB 407.B43) 

Though it is an older book, it does have timeless information. 

The book talks about Passalongs: “plants that have survived in gardens for decades by being handed down from one person to another.”

There are so many of these plants which are discussed in the book.  My favorites are:

Naked Ladies (“magic lilies”)
Passion Flowers
Rose of Sharon

The authors provide photographs of many of the plants and feature many witty comments.

Scott Cohen

A Patriotic View of Education

by Dr. Andrew Kelley, Professor, Jackson State Community College 

          In his January 6, 1816 letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, Jefferson wrote, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be…. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.”   

            His proposed Diffusion of Knowledge Bill of 1779 reveals that Jefferson viewed the humanities as a defensive weapon of a free people. He maintained that education could serve “to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits, that possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition [i.e. lust for tyrannical control over the people] under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes.”                                                                                                                            

          Concerned also with education as character development, Jefferson wrote to Joseph C. Cabell, in 1818, “If the children are untaught, their ignorance and vices will in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences than it would have done in their correction by a good education.” He believed in “a system of primary or ward schools, and an [sic] university where might be taught, in its highest degree, every branch of science useful in our time and country”. Jefferson used the term “science” in the original Greek sense of “knowledge”, and he was a champion of education for the poor as well as the wealthy.

          Jefferson’s position on education as a necessary condition of freedom extended to freed slaves, as evidenced by the following quotation from the on-line Library of Congress manuscript collection of Jefferson’s documents:  

          In writing to Robert Pleasants, a Quaker, Thomas Jefferson suggested that the Virginia government create a public educational system for slaves based on his 1784 plan “for the more general diffusion of Knowledge” as one step in preparing them for freedom. Jefferson proposed that Pleasants introduce the legislation urging that instruction be provided for those slaves “destined to be free” and noting that “Ignorance and despotism seem made for each other.” Such a measure was proposed as an amendment to a bill but was taken out before the legislation passed.

          A Renaissance Man knowledgeable in agriculture, architecture, education, geography, law, music, and science, as well as advocate of public education for children, and founder of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson envisioned a classical education consisting of the humanities as well as “useful sciences”. While the “useful sciences” would ensure freedom from poverty and advance the level of civilization, the humanities would ensure freedom from tyranny. Like virtually all people of his time (and of today), he thought everyone should have job skills, but employment without the freedom that comes from education would not have been acceptable to Thomas Jefferson, an American patriot.

Sisters Brothers by Patrick De Witt

Review by Dr. Mechel Camp, Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences

         Our lives are cyclical, a casting off followed by reclamation, a rejection followed by an embrace.  As we grow up, we experience this attempt to push the past away, imagining that getting older will enable us to disentangle ourselves from those events that haunt or scar. In Patrick DeWitt’s new novel The Sisters Brothers, two brothers, Eli and Charlie Sisters, share the belief that they have walked away from their family, their shared history, and the defining moments that have led them to their current employment as, well, murderers. Their tale takes the reader along for the ride, on horseback, of course, through tiny Old West towns and rapidly expanding California cities, meeting people frequently as hilarious as they are dirty and vile.

         The brothers’ emotional legacy, an alcoholic father prone to wife beating, we learn about midway through the story as Charlie and Eli travel from Oregon City to Jacksonville to San Francisco. It is 1851, and the Sisters are employed by the Commodore, a character about whom we’re given little information except that he pays Charlie and Eli to kill those men foolhardy enough to take what the Commodore believes is his. The “fabled Sisters Brothers” have become the Commodore’s assassins, and the novel begins as the brothers have just escaped some horrific event during which their horses were burned in a barn, as Eli Sisters, the narrator of the story, explains: “I was very fond of my previous horse and lately had been experiencing visions while I slept of his death, his kicking, burning legs, his hot-popping eyeballs.” The expectation is set for a tale of violence and romanticized adventure straight out of a Zane Grey novel. That the frequently gruesome, even occasionally gory story is told with humor and tenderness is the surprise we’re given as the trip progresses, the tale changing from the classic Western we expected to a moving tale of brotherhood in a variety of forms, and the emotional bonds that brotherhood creates. Even Eli’s relationship with his new horse, Tub, underscores the idea that bonds created are hard to break. Tub’s pitiable story underlies the adventure the brothers face, beginning in the very first paragraph of the novel: “Tub was a healthy enough animal but would have been better suited to some other, less ambitious owner. He was portly and low-backed and could not travel more than fifty miles in a day. I was often forced to whip him, which some men do not mind doing and which in fact some enjoy doing, but which I do not like to do; and afterward he, Tub, believed me cruel and thought to himself, Sad life, sad life.” Eli’s simple, straightforward narration allows the reader to understand him and like him, and the bond created between reader and narrator reinforces the ideas about relationships in the work itself. Instead of a violent, emotionless murderer, DeWitt creates in Eli a truly likable fellow, a man who struggles with his weight and fears the dentist, who wants to find a woman’s love despite his repeated failure to do so, who seems always looking for his older brother Charlie to be the friend to him that he is just incapable of being.

         Not that this isn’t a tale of adventure. The brothers arrive in California just after the Gold Rush has peaked, and the trail is scattered with men who have found great fortunes and men who have lost them.  Eli explains the lure of California as if the land itself beckons to them to try their luck:

         The banks were sandy but hard packed and we rode at an easy pace on opposite sides of the stream. The sun pushed through the tops of the trees and warmed our faces; the water was translucent and three-foot trout strolled upriver, or hung in the current, lazy and fat. Charlie called over to say he was impressed with California, that there was something in the air, a fortuitous energy, was the phrase he used. I did not feel this but understood what he meant. It was the thought that something as scenic as this running water might offer you not only aesthetic solace but also golden riches; the thought that the earth itself was taking care of you, was in favor of you.

         In San Francisco, they find the diary of the man they’re supposed to meet, Henry Morris, who has gone ahead to locate their intended victim, the prospector Herman Kermit Warm. The Gold Rush has permeated the dreams of both men, though, and the Sisters Brothers learn their secret, a formula that causes the gold in the California streams to glow long enough for them to collect it and become rich. This scheme, of course, cannot end well, but it reminds us of why those romanticized films and novels have held our attention for decades: a belief in the power of the American West, a landscape able to provide its new possessors with power or glory or riches, if only a man is smart enough to grab it for his own. It is a continuation of the promise that the Colonies held out for the European settlers, and the earliest inkling of the American Dream that would similarly capture the imagination of the twentieth century.

         Considering the title, we might expect a female influence popping up somewhere, but the women in this man’s world are stereotypical: the hard, near-passionless hotel keeper for whom Tub wants to lose weight, the “sad and beautiful” bookkeeper in Mayfield, a parade of prostitutes for Charlie and his cronies, even the gypsy-witch with her dark spells. The exception to this is the phantom little girl from the Intermission chapters whose “evil joy” in killing despite her innocent appearance reminds us that cruelty and violence don’t exist only in hired killers from a Western novel but everywhere and always. Our relegating them to a safe distance where only soulless assassins kill is a ploy to make ourselves feel different, and safe, an idea that Eli, a truly gentle character capable of murdering men he barely knows, symbolically reiterates.

         At the end of the novel, Charlie and Eli have come full circle and are forced to confront the past that they tried to leave behind. Home is the place that we leave as young people, the place we reject as trivial and inconsequential in the big lives we plan to lead, and the place we embrace for its innocence and comfort when our big lives become too scary to continue. When Eli is forced to be the “lead man” for his brother, he instinctively knows where to take him, and he takes us home, too, in an ending that is as satisfying as any a reader is likely to encounter. Amidst the humor and history, magic and mystery, the paradoxical nature of people and relationships surfaces, the recognition that good and evil are tied together so intricately that they can’t be clearly defined or even identified. Because of that paradoxical nature, it’s hard at the end of the novel to figure out how we’re supposed to feel about De Witt’s strange brothers. It’s almost unimaginable that Charlie, a virtual sociopath throughout the novel, engenders our pity by the story’s end, but it is a testament to DeWitt’s skill in creating so remarkable a character as Eli Sisters that we finally can only shake our heads at the brothers, recognizing their failures and foibles but understanding that we’re their brothers, too, that many of their faults are also our own, and that regardless of our human failings, we are bound to each other in innumerable ways.

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