Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Did you know that, since 1995, September 19 has been International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Wikipedia gives a brief history of this weird occasion, which originated between two friends playing a game of Racquetball.
So, I know you’re asking, “How do I learn to talk like a Pirate?” Good news! You’ve come to the right place. Your Durham Tech library has just the tool for you: Mango Languages. Continue Reading →

Join us for Crafternoon workshops this Fall semester

The Library and Student Government Association are hosting craft workshops this fall semester.  Workshops are held in the Library’s Group Study Area room 105A on the lower level of Main Campus Library unless otherwise noted.  All materials and supplies are provided.

Images from previous Crafternoon workshops:

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Schedule for Main Campus
Mon. 8/27 1:00-3:00   Academic planners/notebooks
Tues. 9/18 1:00-3:00  Mixed media collage
Wed. 10/24  11:00-3:00 Pumpkin painting (note location: Fall Fest, Main Campus Plaza)
Thurs. 11/1  1:00-3:00 Day of the Dead masks (note location: Wynn Multipurpose Room)
Tues. 11/27 1:00-3:00 Tote bag painting

Schedule for Orange County Campus
Wed. Aug. 29 11:30 – 1:30  Academic planners/notebooks
Thurs. Sept. 20 11:30-1:30  Mixed media collage
Tues. Oct. 23 11:30-1:30 Pumpking painting during Fall Fest
Wed. Oct. 31 TBD  Day of the Dead masks
Thurs. Nov. 29 11:30-1:30  Tote bag painting

What We’re Reading: Dread Nation

dread nation by justina ireland book cover

Available at the OCC Library on the New Book shelf

This book was enthusiastically read by Meredith Lewis, Orange County Campus Librarian.

Genre: Revisionist Zombie Historical Fiction, Supernatural fiction [not sure if it’s fantasy or science-fiction– I’m waiting for the next  books in the series to figure out how those zombies became zombies!]

#ReadGreatThings2018 Category: A book with a supernatural creature [yup], A book that takes place during a historical event 50 years or more in the past [Reconstruction-era America… but with zombies]

Find out more about the Read Great Things Challenge here.

Why did you choose to read this book?

Honestly, it was one of several this year that I read about, had a great premise, and also got really good reviews. I often wonder if books are as good as everyone says they are and this is one of several I’ve read lately that have lived up to their hype –see: Children of Blood and Bone (reviewed on the blog here, The Hate U Give, and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

Despite the great reviews, I was a little torn because I actually hate zombies. A lot. If a zombie apocalypse actually ever occurs, I’ll have a hard time not just giving up because it’s too bleak. I don’t want dead people-like things eating my face. 

What did you like about it?

This is going to sound strange, but it was a really sassy and hopeful book. So it takes place during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War, except the war was finished because zombies started rising from the battlefield. Afterwards, newly freed slaves (and Native peoples, another interesting aspect to the book) are sent to combat schools to learn to kill the undead. Our intrepid heroine Jane is ready to graduate from Miss Preston’s School of Combat when… well, things go crazy and I don’t want to spoil the wonderful plot twists for you. Despite all the undead, Jane is always plotting on how to make her world better and how to get back to her family. In addition to the zombies, it casts a nicely critical eye on race relations and problems when marginalized people are put in opposition to each other. [Can you tell I was an English major? Look at that last sentence.]

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

The deep-seated evilness of several of the characters reminded me of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. 

Who would you recommend the book to?

I’d recommend this to both people who do like zombies and people who don’t like zombies, and any people who like super engaging stories, awesome strong female characters, and are okay waiting for the next book in the series [2019 on Goodreads!]. 

What would you pair this book with? 

Some very sharp sickles. You know, for the zombie slaying. 

What We’re Watching: Jane

Jane DVD cover

Available at Main Campus Library: QL 31 .G58 J36 2017

This movie was watched by Julie Humphrey, Library Director.

Title: Jane

Director: Brett Morgen

Genre: Documentary

Why did you choose to watch this movie?
I am a huge admirer of primatologist, Jane Goodall, and her animal conservation work.  I had heard that this film featured never-before-seen archival footage of her years working in Tanzania in the early 1960’s.

What did you like about it?
The film footage by wildlife photographer Hugo van Lawick is incredibly beautiful and captivating. The director had access to more than 100 hours of this amazing film from the National Geographic archives.  I liked hearing Dr. Goodall’s story in her own words as narrator.  I learned so much about her life and work.

Image of Jane Goodall and baby chimpanzee

Image from Hugo van Lawick, National Geographic, reprinted in the New York Times

Did it remind you of any other movies?
It certainly reminded me of other wonderful nature documentaries like March of the Penguins but it is a very unique and fascinating biography.

Was there anything noteworthy about the movie?
I didn’t realize that Jane was only 26 when she first went to the forest of Gombe to observe and document chimpanzee behavior.  She had great support from her mother who accompanied her on the expedition for the first few months.  I also wasn’t aware that she didn’t have a college degree at the time of her work in Africa. She was secretary for Dr. Louis Leakey, paleoanthropologist and archaeologist, who sent her to Tanzania. She went on to her earn her PhD a few years later.  Jane fell in love with the wildlife photographer that was filming the experience and they married and had a son together so there is the added bonus of a love story!

Who would you recommend the movie to?
Nature and science enthusiasts, animal lovers, and anyone who appreciates compelling documentaries and learning about fascinating people.

What would you pair this movie with?
Other new biographical films of inspirational women like activist Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the first farm worker’s union.

Dolores DVD cover

Available at Main Campus Library, HD 6509 .H84 D65 2018

What We’re Currently Reading: Summer Reads Edition!

In a repeating series highlighting current and recent reads around Durham Tech, here’s Durham Tech’s awesome faculty and staff’s current or recently finished summer reads:

Need help finding a book in-library or requesting a book through ILL? You can look it up in our catalog or ask a librarian. Don’t yet have a library card? Ask in the library and be sure to bring your Durham Tech ID.

Are you already reading for the Durham Tech Read Great Things 2018 Challenge? Find out more about the Read Great Things Challenge here.


What We’re Reading: Children of Blood and Bone

children of blood and bone by tomi adeyemi book cover

Available at the Main and Orange County Campus Libraries on the new books shelf

This book was read by Courtney Bippley, Reference Librarian at the Main Campus, and Meredith Lewis, Orange County Campus Librarian.

Genre: Fantasy, YA

#ReadGreatThings2018 Category: A book with a supernatural creature [yup], occurrence [yup], or event [yup]

Find out more about the Read Great Things Challenge here.

Why did you choose to read this book?

Courtney: It has been getting a lot of really good press. And, Meredith told me to read it, so it meets the ‘recommended by a Librarian’ item on the Read Great Things Challenge.

Meredith: I love a good fantasy world and this one, where those with magic have been all-but-enslaved by those without (though the story turns out much more complex than that), is tops. I love some good world-building, and this is some of the best and clearest I’ve read in a while. 

What did you like about it?

Courtney: I enjoyed the relationship between the main character and her brother. It felt real to me because it wasn’t all sunshine and happiness, but it was commitment and family.

Meredith: I loved that at its core it was about what our obligation to other human beings is and how, despite how family loyalty is a big theme in this story, sometimes we have to come to terms with things our family members have done that are wrong. And how we can move to effect positive (though difficult) change. Plus, again– the world-building and mythologies were really lovely. 

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

Courtney: It reminded me a little bit of Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi because the magic in both revolved around death, and they are both set in magical, fictional, African countries. However, I’ll say that Children of Blood and Bone is much better than Beasts Made of Night on every level (plotting, character development, magic systems, world building…) so you can just read this one.

Meredith: The world-building reminded me of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. I also really liked that, although it had some romance and romantic tension, that wasn’t the primary focus of the story. They have a world to save, folks!  

Was there anything noteworthy about the book?

Courtney: It’s going to be a movie!

Meredith: Lionaires. (One of many awesome things about the book, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.) Honestly, though, it’s cool that it takes a non-Western (African, specifically West African) approach to the underlying mythology of the world. 

What feeling did the book leave you with?

Courtney: This book left me feeling like I wanted to read the next one. Typical of most first books in a trilogy, the end set up an interesting premise for the next book.

Meredith: I’ll admit this book left me a little stressed out. Like Courtney, I’m eagerly awaiting the second book, especially since lots of heavy stuff went down towards the end of the first book and I’m worried about some of the characters. 

Who would you recommend the book to?

Courtney & Meredith: Anyone who enjoys young adult fantasy books, or just fantasy books [with great world-building] in general.

What would you pair this book with?

Courtney: This book would pair well with a self-defense class. I’d like to learn how to fight with a stick.

Meredith: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor or The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin [available at the Orange County Campus Library].

What We’re Reading: Monstress (Vol. 1 & 2)

This series was read by Meredith Lewis, Orange County Campus Librarian.

Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic Book

#ReadGreatThings2018 Category: A book that contains a supernatural creature [loads], occurrence [more than one], or event [very much yes]

Find out more about the Read Great Things Challenge here.

Why did you choose to read this book?

I picked up Monstress Vol. 1 a year or so ago in an effort to check out some new graphic novels. The graphics were beautiful and there was a weird multi-tailed cat in one of the preview images. I’m a simple person–I may have chosen it for both the positive reviews and the cats. It’s also really beautifully illustrated (and terribly bloody and twisted). 

I chose to continue the series because it’s dark and fascinating. The main character, Maika Halfwolf, is scarred emotionally from a war between entities in her world that left a huge number of beings dead and many more brutalized, but her physical scarring comes from a terrifying (and very hungry) monster that she shares her body with. She reluctantly takes on a half-fox and two-tailed necromancing talking cat as sidekicks. Look, it’s really weird (as I say out loud frequently while reading it), but really interesting. And it’s not as whimsical as the animals make it seem.

What did you like about it?

Maika’s exploration of where she ends and the monster begins is really fascinating, especially since they can see into each others’ memories. The second volume starts to clear up some of the mysteries introduced in the first volume, but I still have more questions! (Volume 3 comes out later this year, so I’ll just have to wait unless I want to buy individual issues of the comic.) 

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

The second one reminds me ever so slightly of Pirates of the Carribean… but that’s only because there’s a ship and a terrifying island and ghosts.They do not share a similar tone AT ALL. 

Was there anything noteworthy about the book?

If you’re into awards, this (along with My Favorite Thing is Monsters, also available at the OCC Library) was nominated for a 2018 Eisner Award and Vol. 1 won a Hugo Award last year

Who would you recommend the book to?

If you’re into dark fantasy and beautiful art and weird stories with anthropomorphic animals and half animals and monsters, this is probably going to be your jam. All the trigger warnings, though. 

I found this Hollywood Reporter article interesting, too, for more information: ‘Monstress’: Inside The Fantasy Comic About Race, Feminism And The Monster Within

What We’re Reading: Educated

educated a memoir by tara westover book cover

Available at the Main Campus Library on the New Book Shelf (CT 3262 .I2 W47 2018)

Educated by Tara Westover was read by Susan Baker, a Reference Librarian at the Main Campus, and Meredith Lewis, the Orange County Campus Librarian.

Genre: Memoir

#ReadGreatThings2018 Category: A biography, autobiography, memoir, or a fictionalized account of a real person’s life AND A book you chose for the cover [seriously, look at those layers]

Find out more about the Read Great Things Challenge here, and check out other beautiful and interesting book covers in the Main Campus library’s front window display to find your next great read.

Why did you choose to read this book?

Susan: I work with students in a community college. I have a son in elementary school.  So I think about education—how does it work?  What makes it good?—a lot. The combination of the title and the cool pencil graphic that is so much more if you look closely drew me to the shelf. I picked it, scanned the prologue—hmmm, this is good writing, and I want to know what happens….I was hooked.

Meredith: As usual (eye roll directed towards myself), I’d read some reviews on it and it seemed interesting– a story of not-quite-actually-home-schooled to PhD. I’m always interested in how people get from one place to another in their lives, especially in their education journeys, but this book was so much more than just that. 


Continue Reading →

#ReadGreatThings2018: Summer Reading Time!

With the spring semester over and done*, summer reading is upon us!

Looking for some light structure to your summer reading? Why not try the Durham Tech Library’s Read Great Things Challenge?

Durham Tech Library's Read Great Things 2018 Challenge

What is the Read Great Things Challenge?

The Read Great Things Challenge is a reading challenge sponsored by the Durham Tech Library throughout 2018 that encourages folks to diversify or increase their reading goals by completing books that fit into at least 10 of the following 12 categories:

  • A book being turned into a movie or tv show in 2018
  • A biography, autobiography, memoir, or a fictionalized account of a real person’s life
  • A book about or that features sports
  • A book of poetry or a book written in verse
  • A book you previously started or were assigned and never finished
  • A book that takes place in a country or place you’d like to visit
  • A book you chose for the cover
  • A book that takes place during or is about a historical event 50 years or more in the past [1968 or before]
  • A popular science book [nonfiction books that talk about scientific topics from a non-textbook point-of-view]
  • A book with a supernatural creature, occurrence, or event
  • A book about cooking or food
  • A book suggested by a Durham Tech librarian either in-person or on the Durham Tech Library Blog

We’re highlighting different genres throughout the year and on the blog through individual book posts, but you can always ask a librarian for recommendations if you can’t think of a book to read for a certain category (which conveniently fills that final awesome category).

How do I participate in the Read Great Things Challenge?

It’s pretty simple –just start reading! You don’t have to sign up and you can start at any point in the year. You’ll need to choose books that fit into at least 10 of the 12 categories by the end of Fall Semester (December 2018) to complete the challenge.

There’s also a joinable Sakai site (listed under Membership on your Sakai home page once you sign in) that we’ll be using if you want to discuss books you’re reading and recommend some of your own great reads. Email Meredith Lewis (OCC Librarian) or the library for more information. 

What kind of book counts as a “great thing”?

All books count–hardcover, paperback, ebooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, comic books, library books, books you own, books you’ve borrowed… If it fits into one (or two) of the categories and you’ve read it/want to read it, that counts.

Can I count a book for multiple categories?

One book can count for up to two categories.

How do I win the challenge? (What do I win?)

To win and complete the challenge, you should finish books that fit into at least 10 of the 12 listed categories. In late November or early December, we’ll have bookish prizes available for those who bring their completed book list to the library or fill out the completion form.

You’ll also get a personal sense of satisfaction and bragging rights. (And who doesn’t love those?)

Do the books have to be from the Durham Tech Library?

Nope, but we’re glad to point you in the direction of one already in our collection. We have some great books just waiting to make it on your list.

Download a pdf of the checklist and challenge guidelines here: Read Great Things Challenge 2018

*Technically, the semester will be “over and done” tomorrow, you know, for accuracy’s sake.

Happy National Library Week!

In honor of libraries everywhere, we wanted to share a sweet and amazing story about the donkey libraries, Biblioburros, in Columbia.  “By adapting the packsaddles of his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, from carrying water to carrying books, Luis created a makeshift mobile library and set off to take his books to children who otherwise wouldn’t have access to reading materials. With that the ‘Biblioburro’ was born.” (BBC)

View the wonderful short video and article from the BBC Culture site.

Our library has a copy of the children’s book, Waiting for the Biblioburro, inspired by this story.

Waiting for the Biblioburro book cover

Find this book on the lower level of the library: PZ 7 .B816644 Wai 2011