New Books in August

As Durham Tech gets new students, so too does the library get new books. Take a look below to see if a title catches your fancy, and be sure to come by the library and look over our New Book Shelf for more titles that aren’t on this list.

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How are you sitting?

Here in the library we spend a lot of time on our computers, as do our students. It’s easy to start to slump and forget that spending so much time sitting still is hard on our bodies. Here are a couple resources to help us all stay on track, and prevent aches and pains later on.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a handy guide to how to properly sit at your desk, as well as how to arrange your chairs and keyboards for maximum benefit.
  • The American Chiropractic Association has some tips for how to stand, sit, and sleep. 
  • Here is a short video explaining how to stop yourself from slumping at your desk. Use your webadvisor to log into Films On Demand to watch this video and/or see the other helpful segments about posture that are available.

Apps to Organize Your Life: What Durham Tech Faculty & Staff Love!

Life can be unorganized, and with all the digital options out there, choosing productivity and other helpful “life” apps can almost be an additional burden.

In order to help narrow down a huge playing field, the library asked Durham Tech faculty and staff what their favorite productivity apps are for managing their time and life.

Some almost across-the-board similarities were an ability to sync between devices and between platforms.  Cloud-based storage and collaboration was also key.

black and white calendar image

Calendar applications were at the top of everyone’s list:

  • Google calendar is a favorite, especially when synced to other calendar applications, including Apple’s calendar app.  Don’t have a Gmail address?  Students can login using their Durham Tech email address, and you can also use non-Gmail email addresses to create accounts for Google applications.
  • The college uses Outlook for email, so using the Outlook calendar is a great way to connect and share your work schedule with other Durham Tech employees and others using Outlook.
  • Like them all?  Use gsyncit to meld all your calendars together into one tidy schedule.  It can also import information from Evernote and Dropbox (more on those in a minute).
  • Need to be able to have people schedule time with you? allows people to schedule appointments with you during set periods of time (office hours, anyone?) and syncing with your Google or iCloud calendar.

checklist on clipboard image

Followed by task organizers and checklists.  The key here seems to be to find the app that fits your mental model:

  • Wunderlist allows collaborative lists among other features such as reminders, due dates, tagging, and other ways to organize tasks and items.  Bonus: This app syncs across multiple devices and platforms.
  • A visually pretty (oh, the colors!) and simple app, Clear allows you to create managed lists as well, including helpful reminders and the like.  Mac stuff only here, though.
  • Visually, a much simpler application, Workflowy allows deeply nested lists and tasks for bigger and smaller projects alike.  Also allows for reminds, due dates, etc.

cloud holding text document icon

Cloud-based storage for notes and such:

  • One Note is a (free) Microsoft product allows you to keep notes, photos, documents, and many other things easily accessible on all your devices using “the cloud”
  • Share, collaborate, organize, and sync to all your devices with Evernote, an app that allows you to “collect” items from across multiple medias in addition to taking notes, uploading documents, and much more.
  • Dropbox allows you to sync folders on your computer to the cloud both for storage and safety, creating a digital back-up or a place to virtually share and collaborate on documents.

mouse ruler and pen icon

Assorted digital tools for making life run a little more smoothly:

  • Need to remember to text your best friend “Happy Birthday”?  Need to text someone tomorrow afternoon, but afraid you’ll forget by the end of today?  These are just some of the helpful things FutureText can help you out with, in addition to functioning as a reminder app.
  • Need a scanner but aren’t near one of the Durham Tech campus libraries?  Check out CamScanner, an app that allows your phone to scan images and translate them into pdfs.  (Great for forms needing to be turned in and late assignments needing immediate submission.)
  • Managing your money is stressful.  Mint wants to help.  See how your spending divides up and create financial plans and budgets here.
  • Been working at your computer all day managing your calendar and other tasks?  Don’t forget good old activity trackers like the Nike + Running app.  How much did you move today?
  • [Edited to add] Need some digital self control when you have to do computer work or research on the internet , but need to stay away from certain sites or programs?  Check out this list of website blockers to force you into productivity compliance.

What’s your favorite app to organize your schedule and/or your life?  Share with the library in the comments or shoot us an email at library at

Thanks to all the Durham Tech faculty and staff that participated!

All images from The Noun Project and via Wikimedia Commons.

New Movies

Welcome back from Summer vacation. While you were gone the library has added a lot of DVDs to our circulating collection. All of them are available for check out a week at a time. The slideshow below is only a taste of what is available. Take a look at our DVD LibGuides (organized alphabetically and by genre) to see everything!

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Tips for Academic Success

Starting a new semester can be both exciting and daunting, whether you’re a new or returning student.  It’s important to set yourself up for success.

This Way to Student Success

Consider the following five tips tohelp you have the best semester possible:

  1. Plan for college academically.  Make sure you’re meeting with your advisor and keeping up with the requirements of your program.  Thinking of changing programs?  Meet with your advisor as soon as possible to see what new requirements you need to complete.
  2. Plan for college financially.  Make sure to keep up with your FAFSA, and budget at the beginning of the semester for basic living expenses.  If unexpected expenses come up, contact the Financial Aid Office to see if they have any advice, and for special circumstances, ask about the Dreamkeeper’s Emergency Assistance Program.
  3. Ask for help!  Admitting you need help or don’t know something can be a really uncomfortable moment, but not asking can end up being even more uncomfortable in the long term.  Need to know how to apply for C-STEP?  Haven’t used the library in a while and need a refresher?  Don’t know how or where to print or scan?  Don’t know where your class is?  Can’t figure out Sakai or WebAdvisor?  Ask a fellow student or a faculty or staff member.  (Oh, and for those library questions– come on in and we’ll gladly help you.  No judgement!)
  4. Stay focused on long-term goals.  Remember what your end goal is, especially when a class seems especially tough and you want to give up.  Need tutoring to get your through it?  Check out the Center for Academic Excellence or Upswing Online Tutoring to get help.  Need some collaboration and support? Start a study group.  Or, if you just need some moral support, find a friend with a sympathetic ear– it’s okay to be stressed out, but look for support to help you keep moving forward.
  5. Go to class, whether in person or online.  Enrolled in an online class, but having a hard time keeping up because you always leave it until the last minute?  Try creating a time to “go to class” digitally on a regular basis (before due dates) in order to better schedule your work.  Enrolled in face-to-face classes?  Make sure to attend in order to keep up, and if you have to miss class, be responsible and timely about getting the notes or missed work.

Do you have your own tips for success?  Stop by the front desk in the Main Campus Library and share your tips for a chance to have them displayed in the front window display OR fill out the form below to email the library your tips!  All are welcome to participate!

Starting the New Semester Successfully

Welcome back! In honor of starting the new semester with success in mind, this week, we’ll be posting some tips for success both for faculty, staff, and students!

Look for upcoming tips on academic success, digital tools to organize your academic and personal life, and other ways to start the semester out on a positive note!

Good luck!

Success Baby Meme

And some library business: Please note that starting on Monday, August 24 all students will need an updated or current student ID in order to enter the library.  Student IDs can be obtained in security offices on all campuses.  Thanks!

Student Library Workshop Schedule for Fall semester

Calling all Students!
Make plans to attend one of our Library Workshops this semester! 
Click here for the printable schedule:
Flyer Library Workshops Fall 15 revised

Photo of students using computers in the library

WHY? Learn important skills for success at Durham Tech and beyond!

WHERE? ERC Main Campus Library Computer Lab room 520 (and Orange County Campus when noted below)

WHO? Workshops are open to all Durham Tech students and no preregistration is required

Library 101: Learn How to Use the Library
Learn to locate books, DVDS, articles, and other resources and services to help you take advantage of all that the library offers to students.

Thurs. Sept. 3 12:00-1:00 pm

Wed. Sept. 9 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Avoiding Plagiarism & Citing Sources Correctly
Learn to determine why, when, and how to cite sources and learn proper citation guidelines for MLA and APA formats.  Practice creating citations and ask questions. 

Tues. Sept. 15 11:00 am- 12:00

Mon. Sept. 28 3:00 -4:00 pm

Wed. Sept. 30  2:00 – 3:00 pm (Orange County Campus)

Tues. Oct. 6 12:00-1:00 pm

Thurs. Oct. 8 9:00-10:00 am (Orange County Campus)

Thurs. Nov. 5 1:00-2:00 pm

Database Searching Tips and Tricks  (Note: New Date!)
Learn how maximize your database searching and efficiently locate great articles for your papers and class assignments. 

Wed. Nov. 4 6:00-7:00 pm

A certificate of participation will be given to all attendees. We hope to see you at our workshops!