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Ask a Librarian
We’ll admit it. Even though most of us librarians are not exactly in the target demographic, we’re kind of absolutely loving the back-to-school vibe in Tavi Gevinson’s new online magazine Rookie. Maybe that’s because some of us are old enough to have lived through the days of Sassy, the mid-1990’s call-to-girl-power magazine that serves as partial inspiration for Gevinson’s work (What? We already said we were old.)
Maybe it’s Joss Whedon’s advice about how to survive your first year of high school (incidentally, pretty applicable to the question of how to survive your first year of college, or your first year of law school, or whatever), or the DIYish fashion tips that are all Plaid!, Knee Socks!, Belt Your Books!, or maybe it is just the rain that never stops, but we’re already planning a weekend back-to-school, best-teen-movies-ever marathon.
Alternately, we’re thinking about the real implications of all this rain, and how to help our fellow Vermonters. But say you want to reward yourself after a day of hard labor with the sort of nostalgia and excuse for popcorn that only a teen movie provides. Here’s some of the best the UVM media collection has to offer (we like to think Gevinson and Co. would approve):
N.B.: The library owns the complete run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but in our humble opinion it’s season two when things really get going (Evil Angel! Spike and Dru! Oz!). Not that we have spent a lot of time thinking about it or anything.
Sean Jack is a senior at UVM studying English and Film. He works in the Media Resources Department of the Bailey Howe Library. We asked him to tell us about one of his favorite films from the library’s collection. Here’s what he had to say:
“Growing up, The Way Things Go was my favorite movie. I realize that this is an odd statement –what child would pick the filming of an art installation as their favorite movie? – but as a child this film captivated me like no other. I’ve always been fascinated by Rube Goldberg machines, purposefully over-complicated devices that perform a simple task through a series of chain reactions. Contraptions like this have been featured in many films, for example, the meal-making machines found in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Back to the Future, but what makes The Way Things Go special is the sheer ingenuity and enormity of the endeavor filmed in the name of art.
“Constructed in an abandoned warehouse, the device, an assemblage of household items like balloons, tires, tea kettles, and ladders, spans an incredible 100 feet of cause and effect style reactions, as one item pushes, spins, or catapults another into action. Peter Fischi and David Weiss, the creators of both the film and the contraption, are known as “the merry pranksters of contemporary art” (New York Times), an apt moniker considering the jovial, childlike wonderment which I feel the film espouses.
“The Way Things Go is very much about motion, and viewing the film is akin to watching a well executed dance. Each stage of the contraption has its own specific motion, however the one thing each element has in common is that every movement is delicately deliberate. Whether it’s the topsy-turvy roll of a barrel as it saunters its way up a ramp or the haunting swing of a pendulum caught aflame, each is equal parts wonderful and beautiful.”
We asked Ana Banu, a student who works in Bailey/Howe Library, to share some of her favorite books and movies from our collection and she delivered an eclectic mix of film, fashion, fiction, and art. Get them while they’re hot!
Here are her recommendations:
Yves Saint Laurent by Jéromine Savignon and Bernard Blistène
YSL is a brilliant fashion designer, although I could just call him a brilliant artist, without any further ado. He is also an inspiring individual not only for people who are intrigued by fashion. This book talks about his life in almost an intimate manner and presents it from different points of view, including his and the peoples who he worked with. You get to learn about his ways and also see how a character can become lovable through his actions, creations and way of living, right in front of your eyes. YSL dedicated his life to making women, and later on men, feel comfortable, powerful and stylish.
Zen in the art of archery by Eugen Herrigel
This book is one the shortest books, yet helpful and insightful, I’ve ever read. It is about Zen and it is about Archery. It is also about how the two go together in creating an awareness of the moment that is beyond words. Things, in general and in particular, begin appearing a lot simpler and natural after taking in what Eugene Herrigel says. And the way he says is accessible enough to keep you going.
Camera lucida : reflections on photography by Roland Barthes
This is one other short(er) book, but so intense and powerful that every paragraph could be developed into pages. In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes talks about his own system of viewing and interpreting photography, beauty, history. It is both playful and academic and it explains things that are not easily explained, like why we get emotionally involved when looking at a photograph.
L’ećume des jours (translation: Froth of the Daydream) by Boris Vian
L’ećume des jours is a novel for the French speakers, only because it is in French, not because the story wouldn’t survive a broader audience. I, personally, read it in a different language and loved it. The images described in the book are so powerful and visual that they transcend language. Reading it in French might add some nuances to the strange and creative ways of telling Colin and Chloe’s story.
Malcolm X – Directed by Spike Lee
Based on The autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X is a movie directed by Spike Lee. It truly embodies both historical accuracies and the director’s admiration for the person that Malcolm X was. The story is brought to life by Denzel Washington, Spike Lee’s fetish actor, and probably the best choice for playing this character.
I postponed watching this movie, because it seemed to have that silly and distasteful air some movies have. But it is not distasteful, nor silly. It is the story of an old “Elvis”, who may or may not be the Real Elvis, and a black old man (Ossie Davis) who thinks he is JFK, in fighting an Egyptian mummy trying to steal some souls. And as “Elvis” says: Ask not what your rest home can do for you. Ask what you can do for your rest home.
The Center for Digital Initiatives is pleased to announce an exciting new addition to our popular Hay Harvesting in the 1940s films. Lucien Paquette, retired UVM Extension faculty member, spoke with UVM Extension Annual Fund Officer Kurt Reichelt on January 21, 2010 in Middlebury, VT. Paquette’s insights and comments bring these silent films alive!
Watch for yourself on our Vimeo page.
These three silents films were originally digitized by the UVM Libraries in 2008, thanks to a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. The films were a product of the UVM Agricultural Experiment Station research conducted by rural sociologist Robert M. Carter in the 1940s. Carter studied the efficiency and costs of various haying techniques, from older hand harvesting methods to mechanized processes. This collection captures farming equipment and techniques rarely seen today.
Video from the UVM Libraries sponsored lecture, “Living in a Wired World: Can Personal Privacy Survive in the 21st Century?” is now available via CCTV/Channel 17.
Watch the video online:
Or when it airs on channel 17, later this week:
Imagine waking up one day in your own personal terrarium, where everything you do and say can be seen by anyone passing by. Sound scary? In a world of Web cams, social networking sites, and GPs-equipped phones, your dorm walls may be more transparent than you realize.
The University of Vermont Libraries presented a lecture and book-signing by Burlington-based attorney and computer forensics expert Frederick Lane, about the challenges emerging technologies pose to one of our most controversial rights, on Wednesday, November 18th at 4:30 PM, in Billings North Lounge.
Lane’s American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right was published by Beacon Press in the fall of 2009.
Lane is the author of numerous books and articles on issues of intellectual freedom, including freedom of speech, privacy online and in the workplace, the impact of technology on our rights and liberties, and the separation of church and state. His work has been featured on Nightline, 60 Minutes, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
As Seen On TV – Historical Sources Online
Live at 5:25 – Thursday, February 25, 2010 – Channel 17
The UVM Libraries’ Center for Digital Initiatives shared some of its excellent local history resources with the audience of Preservation Burlington’s “Live at 5:25.” Outreach Librarian Robin Katz was joined by two Library staff members who have helped create CDI collections.
Mary Van Buren-Swasey of the Cataloging department uses her local history expertise to create rich museum-level descriptive records for the ongoing additions to the McAllister photograph collection. Dan DeSanto, a staff member in Reference and Instruction and a recent graduate of the University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Science, is currently working on our forthcoming collection of Long Trail photographs.
In this video, Robin, Mary and Dan highlight collection materials, share anecdotes about the research involved in digital collection production, and invite viewers to further explore the CDI.
This episode will be shown again on Channel 17 on these dates:
Tuesday March 2, 2:30 PM
Tuesday March 9, 2:30 PM
Tuesday March 16, 2:30 PM
Tuesday March 23, 2:30 PM
To invite the CDI to address your audience, please contact us.
See how the CDI was mentioned on a previous “Live at 5:25” show entitled “Researching Your Old House” and featuring historian and museum consultant Erica Donnis:
Thanks to a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation, three films documenting hay harvesting techniques have been digitized by the UVM Libraries. These silent films are a result of rural sociologist Robert M. Carter’s 1940s study at the UVM Agricultural Experiment Station. Carter researched the efficiency and costs of various haying techniques, from older hand harvesting methods to mechanized processes. The films capture farming equipment and techniques rarely seen today.
It has been said that the 25,000 photographs in Special Collections’ Louis McAllister collection “span the marvelous (circus sideshows with signs promising ‘Viking giants,’ ‘freaks,’ and ‘strange people’) to the mundane (serene shots of bank interiors and children’s dance recitals).” This heavily-used collection of commercial photography is now available online.
Researchers will appreciate the collection’s “museum-level cataloging” created by library faculty and staff. Extremely detailed records for individual photographs will aid scholars, genealogists, and history buffs.
Presenting the year’s most used materials in the Center for Digital Initiatives online research collections:
10. Circus People, McAllister photographs
9. Burlington Lakefront, McAllister photographs
8. A.D. Pease Grain Co., McAllister photographs
7. Using the One-Man Pick-Up Baler, Hay Harvesting in the 1940’s
6. Andrew Craig Fletcher to Andrew and Ruth Fletcher, 1864 October 20, Fletcher Family papers
5. Burlington Dump, McAllister photographs
4. Deer Hanging Upside Down Surrounded by Hunters, Tennie Toussaint photographs
3. Hand Methods of Harvesting Hay, Hay Harvesting in the 1940’s
2. The Buck Rake, Wind Stackers, and Field Chopper in Use, Hay Harvesting in the 1940’s
1. Horses Pulling a Snow Roller, Tennie Toussaint photographs