Black History Month with Preston’s resources



February marks Black History Month, and we want to feature some library materials that focus on the issues and figures in African American history.

First, there’s Kanopy Streaming Video. Now supported financially by our participation in VIVA, the Virtual Library of Virginia (state-wide library consortium), Kanopy is a collection of more than 30,000 videos from leading producers.  Kanopy has a Black History Month collection of more than 300 videos that you can stream from anywhere on Post. Additionally, the VMI community may view these videos from off-post when they enter network username and password.

Second, you may be interested in the graphic novel March, a vivid first-hand account of Rep. John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. This three-volume set was recently added to the library’s collections.

The library also has recent books like award winners Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me (which is checked out currently; let us know if you want to put a hold on it to be next in line).

As always, librarians and staff are available to help find what you’re looking for—please ask us!


Best books this year

Have you noticed any end-of-the year book lists recently?buzzfeed-best-fiction-books

There’s the New York Times 100 Notable Books of the year.

The Washington Post 10 best books of 2016.

NPR has a cool site and app called a “Book Concierge.”

Bill Gates has shared his favorite books of 2016.

Huffington Post has, among others, The 18 Best Fiction Books of 2016, Buzzfeed has 24 fiction books.
You’ll be glad to know that Preston Library has a lot of these books. And if you see one that you want to read and we don’t have it, let us know – we’re always looking for suggestions.


News sources at Preston Library

Preston Library subscribes to several fantastic news sources where people can find local, national, and international news. Like all of the library’s electronic resources, these are available on Post and via any Web connection for people who have VMI network accounts. Librarians recommend these news sources for Cadets of all years to find credible information, and they come with tools to help people in the research process.

access-world-newsOne of the most highly-recommended news databases is Access World News, which provides online access to Lexington’s local weekly newspaper, the News-Gazette, and 100+ Virginia news sources, as well as news from around the world (as the name would suggest). A cool feature is the “Find a Topic” tool, and the database is also a good place to go for election news and information. We hope you’ll check it out.

Other news sources can be found here in the A-Z database list.


Library database trials

Librarians at Preston Library are always trying to make sure we have available to cadets, faculty, and staff the best electronic resources that we can. This means that in addition to our 100+ online database subscriptions, we frequently have “trials” setup so the VMI community can try out a new database. Getting feedback from our users helps us decide whether to add a new resource.

Today we set up a trial with Geopolitical Monitor, an international intelligence publication and consultancy. The trial is live for a month and if you have any feedback, let us know.

A-Z databases, including new resources and trials.
A-Z databases, including new resources and trials.

All online resources are available at this page, and new and trial resources are highlighted on the left. Contracts with our database vendors allow online resources to be used by our students, faculty, and staff, and “walk-in” library users. Faculty, staff, and students can use the resources from off-campus with their network log-in credentials.

If you get a chance to try this out, we’d like to hear what you think.


Happy birthday, Roald Dahl!


Roald Dahl With His Family.. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 25 May 2016. http://quest.eb.com/search/158_1179195/1/158_1179195/cite. Accessed 13 Sep 2016.

Today would have been Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday (he died in 1990). You might remember him from The BFG or James and the Giant Peach and The Witches, both of which are on the American Library Association’s list of most banned and challenged books from 1900-1999. To read more about why and how books are banned or challenged, visit the ALA’s website.

Dahl wrote children’s books and made up some fun words—Remember the Oompa Loompas?  Several of his words have recently been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

VMI Cadets, faculty and staff can access the OED online, and anyone local can use the print version.

Books · Research

The Perseids

Have you heard about the Perseid meteor shower? Maybe you saw this post at IFLscience.

2007 Perseid
Persied Meteor 2007. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 8 Aug 2016. http://quest.eb.com/search/139_1987702/1/139_1987702/cite

Every year around this time, meteors are visible, originating from the comet Swift-Tuttle, and appearing to come from the constellation Perseus.

If you’re curious about the Perseids, or meteor showers in general, you can learn more with various library resources:

This book, Meteor Showers and their Parent comets.

Articles in online reference works like Credo Reference.

Articles in the ProQuest SciTech collection, like this one.

If you’d like to learn more about meteors, stop by the reference desk or contact the Library Help Desk.


Welcome, STP participants


Preston Library welcomes members of the next Rat class who are on Post for STP. All of you will be visiting the library for a tour and some may have a library workshop as well. You all have library accounts set up, so if you want to check out a book or DVD, we’re ready for you.

We encourage you to visit the library (and enjoy the AC!), look around for some good study areas, and let us know if you’ve got any questions.