Monthly Archives: February 2013

Meet the Librarians at the Oviatt

Meet one of our Reference Librarians, Laura Wimberley. She’s been with the Oviatt team since 2011 and really enjoys working with students. Read more about her personal interests and why she became a librarian . . .

Laura Wimberley

Where are you originally from?

I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware (just outside of Philadelphia), but I’ve lived all over the country since then, in Ohio, Oregon, Colorado, and California.

What do you like/admire most about CSUN students?

I really appreciate how CSUN students are willing to admit when they don’t know something and ask questions.  That’s the only way to learn!

What’s your favorite book or your top 5?

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman is an epic love song to America. Whitman was an abolitionist, a proto-feminist, and arguably the first out gay public figure in American life.  Leaves of Grass is his masterwork; its spirituality and landscape imagery are just beautiful.

What songs would you include on the soundtrack of your life?

My absolute lifetime top five albums:

Paul Simon, Graceland

Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls

The Strokes, Is This It

The Postal Service, Give Up

The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema

Why did you become a librarian?

As I was wrapping up my doctorate in political science, I realized that even though I loved uncovering new information, I didn’t love the long, isolated process of social science research.  Being a librarian gets me all of the fun of discovery with more opportunities to share that process and try out different directions.

What do you wish every student knew about the library or librarians?

We really like answering your questions – the more obscure, the better!  Never be afraid that your question is a hassle.

What is your favorite quote?

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire

It’s a call to act and to accept that your flawed best is still better than nothing: it’s encouraging.

If you could learn any skill what would it be?

I’m hoping to learn American Sign Language soon.  The similarities yet differences between ASL and spoken English fascinate me, and I would love to be able to offer better help to CSUN’s Deaf community.

If you could be any fictional character who would it be?

This is a tough question!  The most fascinating characters often have the unhappiest lives, so I don’t want to be everyone I love reading about.  If I got to be fictional, I’d definitely want to be able to work magic, so I’ll go with Hermione Granger (not a real stretch for me as a personality, either).

What are some of your current projects that you are working on?

I’m part of the usability team for Oviatt’s website. Please let us know about your experience with our new website design.  We want to hear your feedback!

Laurie Borchard


Research Therapy: You Don’t Have to Come to the Library to Get a Library Book

You know you don’t have to come into the library to get your hands on some books, right? And if you’ve ever checked out a book from the library, only to find it doesn’t have any information you need, you should try looking at Google Books first.

The Oviatt has hundreds of e-books available, straight off of the website. Even if the book you want isn’t available electronically, you can still use Google Books to take a peek at the content. You might save yourself a trip! Watch this video to learn more:

ebooks video image

We want your feedback! What do you think of Research Therapy? What would you like to see in future episodes? Please, fill out our survey:

– Anna Fidgeon

Please tell us what you think about our Research Therapy videos at our survey. Thank you.

Need Help Using OneSearch?

Just in case you’re confused about our new search tool on the library’s homepage, we’ve created a short video showing you how it works and how you can narrow your results in order to get exactly what you need. We also have a OneSearch FAQ.

When you do a search your results are broken down into two different tabs, one is labeled Articles and one labeled Books & Media. The Articles tab are items that you would normally find in our online databases and the Books & Media tab are what you would find in our library catalog. The image below describes the types of resources found in both.

trouble with OneSearch Image
OneSearch is a powerful tool and we’re pretty excited about it. However, if you’re looking for specific types of resources you might want to check out our other discovery tools.

Just beginning your research?          OneSearch

Want different types of resources in various formats?           OneSearch

Looking for a textbook?          Course Reserves or Library Catalog

Looking for a specific article?          OneSearch

Books by a specific author?          Library Catalog

Is your topic a little complicated?          Find Articles by Subject

Are you looking for archival sources?          Special Collections and Archives FAD

Still not sure where to go?          Ask a Librarian

-Laurie Borchard

Keep an Eye on Your Personal Belongings

The Oviatt Library strives to be a safe and comfortable place to study. However, the building is open to the general public and, as such, is subject to all advantages and disadvantages of a public place. All too often, library users will leave their personal belongings on a table, a study carrel, or even a group study room to go to get coffee, to visit the restroom, or to get a book from another floor.

During this time, the person’s personal belongings are exposed to theft. Numerous times, students have reported their laptops, backpacks, cellphones etc. missing. Most of the time these items will not be recovered. Therefore the Oviatt Library suggests the following:

  1. Do not leave your personal belongings unattended even if it is only for a short time.  It only takes a second.
  2. Do not ask a stranger to watch your belongings. You do not know whether that person is a thief or not.
  3. Enroll in the STOP program administered by the Department of Police Services. The program will apply a security plate and warning label to your electronic equipment, thus reducing the resale value of the item. Look at and go to Computer Security & STOP to read more about this program.

Marianne Afifi, Associate Dean, Oviatt Library

Meet the Librarians at the Oviatt

Ellen Jarosz

Ellen Jarosz, Special Collections & Archives Librarian

Have you ever wanted to know more about the people that help make the Oviatt Library such a great place to be? Starting this Spring semester you can meet some of these great librarians through interviews we will be posting here on the blog. These interviews allow you the chance to learn more about what we librarians do here at the Oviatt, what some of our personal interests are and maybe even learn something new and fun about the Library.

Let me introduce you to Ellen Jarosz, she’s the Special Collections and Archives Librarian. She’s been at the Oviatt since November 2011 and she originally hails from America’s Dairyland and home of the Packers, aka Wisconsin. We sat down together and here’s what she had to tell us about herself.

What do you like most about working with CSUN students?

I like how varied student backgrounds are across campus. The diverse perspectives, knowledge, and experiences really contribute to classroom dynamics.

What’s your favorite book?

My favorite book is The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. The prose is beautiful, the characters and setting are wonderfully real, the themes are complex yet straightforward, and it’s short enough that I can start and finish it in a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. It’s also one of the few books I first encountered as assigned reading, but liked enough to read again on my own. I’ve read it too many times to count, and I never get tired of it!

What is the one thing you wish every student knew about Special Collections and Archives?

We have a lot of very cool stuff in Special Collections and Archives that anyone can come in to use. The oldest item we hold is a Sumerian calendar inscribed on a clay cone in cuneiform that dates from approximately 2350 B.C. (and yes, you can come in to see it anytime we’re open!) We’ve recently started a new blog, called Peek in the Stacks, where you can read about and see images of collection materials we think are interesting, notable, or fun. You’re also welcome to search for materials in Special Collections via the Finding Aid Database or Library Catalog.

Why did you become a librarian?

I came to librarianship by way of archives. I worked as a research assistant for a history professor at the University of Wisconsin as an undergraduate, and he sent me to the National Archives and Records Administration research facility in College Park, MD. One of the reference archivists there took me into the (normally closed) stacks. While following him through the aisles of boxes and bound volumes, I was struck by the fact that I was surrounded by the documentary record of our nation.

That brief tour and the days I spent going through correspondence, memoranda, drafts of congressional reports with notes about which sections should be classified or redacted from public copies, and other materials, made for a very inspiring experience. When I got back to Madison I asked one of the reference librarians at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library what I had to do to have a job like that one. He talked to me about different educational options, but encouraged me to enter a graduate program in library science that included an Archives and Records concentration or track.

What is your favorite quote?

And suppose that you lived in that forest in France,
where the average young person just hasn’t a chance
to escape from the perilous pants-eating-plants!
But your pants are safe! You’re a fortunate guy.
And you ought to be shouting, “How lucky am I!”
–Dr. Seuss, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be?

George Sand. Any woman in 19th century France (but especially a baroness) who leaves her husband, carries on a 10-year affair with Frédéric Chopin, writes numerous works of fiction (novels, plays), non-fiction (literary criticism, political essays), AND publishes a socialist newspaper out of a worker’s cooperative in the middle of a revolution, all while going about in public wearing men’s clothing and smoking tobacco, is a woman I’d love to chat with over a cup of coffee.

If you could learn any skill what would it be?

I’ve only had the opportunity and time to study a few languages, but wish I could learn more.

If you could witness any event in history, what would it be?

The Yalta Conference in 1945. Aside from the obvious (that decisions made there had significant and long-ranging consequences in terms of international relations and geopolitics), it would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall in a room with Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin, regardless of the topic of conversation.

– Laurie Borchard
Digital Learning Initiatives Librarian