Thursday, April 19, 2018

Nine Times the Times Made Headlines

The SCC Library is proud to announce our new New York Times online subscription! Now SCC students, staff, and faculty have free access to daily New York Times articles and their archive via the paper’s website. Visit to learn how to activate your NYT account with your SCC web ID and password for immediate access.

“But what’s the big deal,” you ask? “Isn’t The New York Times just another newspaper?” Heck no! This is the “newspaper of record” we’re talking about! The Times has developed a reputation among journalists and readers as the best quality American newspaper, lauded for its thorough reporting and journalistic standards in the U.S. and internationally. Plus The New York Times has an over 160-year history of innovative reporting and state-of-the-art publishing methods. Here are just a few of the notable episodes in the history of The New York Times.

The Times’ Founder Fought Off Rioters with a Machine Gun
In July of 1863, a draft was instituted to enlist recruits for the newly-formed Union Army in anticipation of the Civil War. This sparked the New York Draft Riots, in which those protesting the draft attacked the home office of The New York Times, violently denouncing the paper’s pro-union, anti-slavery positions. Times founder Henry Raymond and his newspapermen held off the protesters with Gatling guns (an early form of machine gun). The protesters, understandably unnerved by the resistance, decided to go attack the office of The New York Tribune instead.

The Times Exposed a Corrupt Political Operation before it was Cool
Throughout the 1800’s, New York was largely managed by a backroom-dealing, unofficial political “office” known as Tammany Hall, that infiltrated city government with Tammany-approved politicians and their wives’ favorite nephews. The most notorious of these proto-mafiosos was William Marcy “Boss” Tweed, who, though never elected mayor himself, essentially controlled the mayor’s office. Tweed was known for being exceedingly generous with city contracts, paying his favored tradesmen $40,000 for a broom here and $180,000 for a table and chairs there, until The Times published details of New York County’s financial records. His corruption exposed, Tweed died in prison, cursing The New York Times and its savvy readers.

The Times’ Famous Slogan was a Diss on Its Competitors
By the 1890’s, New York newspapers such as Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal had developed a well-deserved reputation for their “yellow journalism,” publishing sensational, lurid, and often wildly inaccurate news stories to lure in readers. Times publisher Adolph Ochs began running the slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print” on the masthead of his paper, suggesting The New York Times was the proper choice for the distinguished reader too sophisticated for celebrity gossip and photos of decapitated hobos. Readers agreed. Despite contests to find a replacement slogan, Och’s masthead promise has remained in place since 1896.

The Times has Won More Pulitzer Prizes than Any Other Newspaper
Beginning in 1918, The New York Times has racked up 122 Pulitzer Prizes for excellence in journalism. The prizes have been awarded for reporting on a wide variety of subjects, including coverage of World War I, the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, architecture criticism, war in Lebanon, toxic shock syndrome, the Challenger space shuttle disaster, molecular biology, the reunification of Germany, the Sept. 11 attacks, Ebola, food safety, Hurricane Katrina, and even a multimedia presentation about avalanches. This year, The Times won Pulitzers for reports on Hollywood’s abuse of women, Russian interference in U.S. elections, and an editorial comic strip about the struggle of refugees who fear deportation.

The Bombing of Pearl Harbor Created the Times Crossword Puzzle
The New York Times Crossword Puzzle, the standard-bearer among puzzle freaks across the globe, was not the sort of thing Times publishers initially wanted for their lofty newspaper. Though crossword puzzles gained popularity in the 1920’s, the Times considered them “a primitive form of mental exercise.” It was not until the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 that an editor finally conceded that a crossword puzzle might be a nice diversion for a readership weary of wartime worries. No one knows who wrote the debut puzzle, but a large team of contributing puzzlesmiths and associated word geeks create the crossword section today.

The Times Helped Strengthen to First Amendment
In 1960, The New York Times ran an advertisement, written by a civil rights group, which described actions by the Alabama police to curb their right to protest on a college campus. The problem was that many of the claims were exaggerated or false, prompting L.B. Sullivan, the Montgomery city commissioner, to file a libel lawsuit against the Times. Sullivan claimed he had been personally injured by the ad’s errors, seeing as he supervised the police department, and the Alabama Supreme Court agreed. However, when the Times appealed the case, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling, a case that established the “actual malice” requirement in libel cases (injured parties must prove a story was published with the intent to harm and that the publisher knew the story was false). Nice shot with that “freedom of the press” play, New York Times!

The Times Fought a War Against the Pentagon … and Won!
Daniel Ellsberg, a former State Department official, found himself in possession of The Pentagon Papers, a secret report compiled by the U.S. Department of Defense on the war in Vietnam, and turned them over to The New York Times in 1971. The Times began publishing excerpts from the report, which revealed to their readers that the U.S. had escalated their military efforts long before the public was informed. Though a federal court injunction demanded that the Times cease publication of this “leaked” material, the Supreme Court ruled that attempts to stop the presses were considered “prior restraint” and upheld the paper’s right to publish. Score another First Amendment victory for Notorious NYT!

The Times Won’t Drop F-Bombs … Usually
The New York Times maintains a strict “watch the potty mouth” policy, refusing to publish bad language or other material they deem offensive. In the 1950’s, a picture editor was fired for running a photo of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio locked in an open-mouthed kiss. Twenty years later, a photo of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller extending his middle finger at protesters was censored before publication (the article stating only that Mr. Rockefeller “gestured three times with his finger”). While certain widely-circulated videos in recent years have been reported by the Times with their four-letter-words intact, the paper has traditionally replaced such language with the term “barnyard epithet.”

The Times Exercises Freedom of the Press … with a Paywall
With the arrival of the internet, traditional newspaper funding through advertising and subscription dollars began quickly drying up as free content began flooding the web, including free online versions of newspapers like The New York Times. In 2011, the Times announced a paywall for their online publication. Five articles per month are available for free, but continued use of the site now requires a subscription, ranging from $15 to $35 per month. The gamble worked. As of December 2017, the Times had doubled its readership over the previous two years with 3.5 million paid subscriptions, insuring the continued life of “all the news that’s fit to print.”

But the best news is that SCC folks still have access to The New York Times for free!

Just follow the instructions and link on this page to register and enjoy access to the Times and its archive courtesy of Spartanburg Community College!

Works Cited

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Get Thee to a Video!

We know how it is. You’re researching Hamlet for that important English 102 paper you have to write. You’ve found tons of great resources in the SCC Library’s databases, chock-full as they are with online journals, e-books, magazines, newspaper, and even audio files, but you’re still interested to know more about Shakespeare’s classic.

Of course the problem is obvious: You forgot about video! Sometimes the best information comes in the form of good, old-fashioned A/V, and as Shakespeare says, “The play’s the thing.” Written material is vital, but if you really want to see Hamlet come to life in all its gorey glory, video is the place to be.

Thankfully, the SCC Library has got you covered the video department, and the best part is you don’t even have to get up from your computer! On-campus or off, you have the Library’s video databases at your fingertips, including Films on Demand, the Credo Video Collection, Bloom’s Literature Videos, and 20th Century Historical Videos. Detailed searches are easy, and you’ll find citations, transcripts, embed codes, and much more.

Just try a search for our emo friend Hamlet in the Films on Demand database, and you’ll find valuable information on Shakespeare’s classic, such as:

Hamlet: A Critical Guide

This insightful and entertaining overview of Shakespeare’s masterpiece covers the play’s major themes of revenge and death, as well as a focus on Hamlet’s relationships with the women in his life, his mother and Opehlia. Leading scholars discuss the plot and character motivations. Essential viewing for the Shakespeare student!

Who knows better the story of Hamlet better than the legendary actors who brought the play to life? Join Sir John Gielgud, Ben Kingsley, Richard Burton, Sir Laurence Olivier and others as they discuss the substance and meaning of the Shakespearian tragedy they know so well.

This television production from 1964 presents scenes from Hamlet as interpreted through Comedia dell’Arte, the classic Italian genre of comedy and pantomime. Think of it as Shakespeare by way of The Three Stooges (with a little Jerry Lewis thrown in). The presentations emphasizes the comedic nature inherent in the Bard’s works.

This documentary views Hamlet through a modern lens by examining the public (and Shakespeare’s) relationship to our royalty. Learn what fascinated Shakespeare about the frailty of monarchs and their families and how it is reflected in the lives of the royal families today.

Explore Hamlet and the rest of Shakespeare’s classics through their history on the motion picture screen. An endless variety of styles and reimaginings of the Bard’s works have appeared throughout film history, and the many scenes examined here help bring the majesty and mystery of Shakespeare’s world to life.

And don’t forget: complete adaptations of Hamlet are also available through Films on Demand, including the classic BBC production starring David Tennet and the even-more-classic film starring Laurence Olivier.

If you’re off-campus, just use your SCC web ID and password to access the videos or any other SCC Library database. And as always, ask the SCC Library staff if you have any questions about how to research Hamlet (or ham radio or ham salad or Alexander Hamilton or ham near anything!).


Friday, January 5, 2018

Library New Year's Resolutions

Congratulations! 2018 is here, and you’re already committed to the New Year’s resolutions that will help create the perfect you! You’ve put away the fattening foods. You’re exercising more. You’ve curbed that filthy language and stopped biting your nails. Most important, you’ve started a new semester at Spartanburg Community College, and you’re committed to making the best possible use of the SCC Library!

You’re doing a great job so far, but here a few more suggestions for resolutions that will make your library experience everything it can be:

1. “I will bring my student ID.”

Remember: Your student ID is your library card. You’ll need it to check out library materials, check your account status, request books, use library study rooms, and pretty much anything that requires a library card. Make a resolution to stop leaving it in your car, your other pants, or over at grandma’s house. Keep it with you at all times and feel its power to rejuvenate your life!

2. “I will renew my library materials.”

You say that three-week checkout on your books wasn’t enough to complete your research on ancient Egyptian hairstyles? You won’t believe how easy it is to renew those books for an additional checkout period. Before the due date, just
click this link to renew online or ask one of the helpful library staff to renew them for you. Excessive library late fees can not only restrict your student record during registration but can ruin your reputation in the community worse than dandruff in your mullet. Resolve to renew!
3. “I will have my sources and formatting checked!”

MLA formatting, APA formatting…who knows what this stuff even means? The SCC Library staff, that’s who! Not only have we provided handy guides to any and all format and citation problems in our
online MLA and APA research guides, but the friendly library staff are available to review your citations and formatting live and in-person! (No autographs, please.) Resolve never to turn in a research paper again without first having it checked by the professionals. Your grade point average will thank you!
4. “I will not plagiarize.”

We know you promised last year that you would stop copying from your sources word-for-word, but some habits are hard to quit. We understand. That’s why we’ve developed this
online guide to avoiding plagiarism in your research papers. Commit to learning the dos and don’ts of intellectual property theft. Your friends will be amazed at your transformation into a copyright-law-abiding student!
5. “I will use the library databases.”

We know you’re addicted to books, and who can blame you? But 2018 will be the year you embrace the digital world with gusto! Make a vow to explore our
database and eBook collections to find an endless selection of quality sources for your next research project. Search journals, magazine articles, newspapers, and even your beloved books, all in easily-searchable digital format and available off-campus with your SCC web ID and password. Narrow results with advanced searching features, utilize the handy citation tools, and even print the results to add to your collection of resources. The New You for 2018 is the Digital You! Make the leap to databases and eBooks!

Starting the new year off right with diet and exercise takes will power, but SCC Library New Year’s resolutions are easy! Just ask the library staff for help. And be sure to explore our website for all your research needs. We’re here to help make 2018 your best year yet!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

5 Halloween History Facts

All Hallow’s Eve is upon us again, and in anticipation of our own Student Life/SCC Halloween party on October 31, we thought we’d share some interesting factoids about this historic holiday. Haven’t you wondered what this strange, costumed, door-to-door begging ritual is all about? Well, here are five facts about Halloween’s history sure to send shivers down your hard drive.

1. Halloween is Irish

Though Halloween derived its name from the Roman Catholic Church’s All Hallows Day (All Saints Day) in the Middle Ages, the holiday originated with the Celtic people of what we now call Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. As early as the 1st century BC, the Gaelic calendar denoted October 31 as Samhain, which marked the beginning of winter and the start of the new year.

For the Celts, November 1st introduced the “dark half” of the year. They also considered sunset the beginning of the day because they believed all things begin in darkness. Obviously, the ancient Celts were a cheerful bunch.

Halloween’s modern popularity in the U.S. also owes its origins to the Irish, thanks to the massive Irish immigration to America in the mid-1800s. The Irish Potato Famine drove them out, but they remembered to bring their witch hats and pumpkin spice lattes.

2. It’s Always Been about Dead Folks Coming Back to Visit

Samhain was thought to be a time when the veil between our reality and the spooky “Otherworld” of dead things was pretty easy to pass through. In particular, the Celts used the opportunity to touch base with relatives in the Great Beyond. These ghostly relations, the Celts knew from experience, were hungry, and they expected some generous hospitality before they would bother hanging out with their boring, live kinfolk. So the Samhain celebrants fixed up a dinner spread in the dining room to welcome Uncle Aiden and Grandma O’Connor back home. Some even had picnics in the cemetery.

Picnic in the cemetery! You can’t get much more “Halloween” than that!

3. There May Have Been Human Sacrifices

Being essentially a really creepy harvest festival, Samhain was the time to make nice with the pastoral deities who controlled the fate of next year’s crops. To appease these supernatural forces, sacrifices were made in the form of farm animals, burned crops, and even, historians believe, some of the neighbors.

If you’ve seen the film The Wicker Man, with its giant, wicker effigy being burned with a real-life, not-so-happy guy trapped inside, you have some idea of how the Samhain sacrifice might have gone down. Thankfully, the Irish left this part of the festivities behind when they came to America.

4. Many Halloween Party Games Were Meant to Tell the Future

With the doorway to the supernatural realm left wide open, all manner of otherworldly activity swarmed about the Celtic people on Samhain. This provided the perfect opportunity to find out what the future held. Would they become rich? Would the cattle get smallpox? Would Enya’s brother ever get married or would he live in their sheep barn forever?

Divination rituals involving nuts, apples, and eggs were used to provide clues to these puzzles. The obvious surviving Halloween ritual is apple bobbing, but peering into crystal balls, pouring lead into water, and mirror gazing also had their place in Samhain gatherings. Let’s hope the signs were good for Enya’s brother.

5. Ghoul and Goblin Costumes were Meant to Fake Out Real Ghouls and Goblins

While trick or treat costumes are thought to have always been part of Samhain shenanigans, the practice is specifically traced to France in the 14th and 15th centuries. By this time, the infamous Black Death had introduced the popular image of the Danse Macabre (Dance of Death), an image often painted on cemetery walls, depicting the personification of Death leading the newly deceased into a fresh tomb. Those dressing up as ghouls and devils on All Saints Day believed Death would avoid their village if he thought the job of escorting plague victims was already covered.

“We got this, Death! See you round the graveyard!”

Weirdly, this also evolved into the practice of mumming or guising, in which the ghostly-clad locals would sing and recite verses door to door, hoping to be rewarded with food. Those houses which provided the goodies were assured good fortune for the following year. Those who didn’t, well…they were just lucky toilet paper hadn’t been invented yet.

Don’t forget to join us for our Halloween party in the Library Lobby on October 31st from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. It won’t be a Samhain celebration (thankfully), but it will feature a costume contest, pizza for sale, and an intriguing and challenging Library Murder Mystery Game. Hope to see you there!

Works Cited

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


"What's with this MLA formatting stuff?" you ask. "Why do I need all these fancy margin setting and complicated citations? Can't I just send my paper as a text message?"

No need to worry. The Library staff at all SCC locations are ready to assist you with any and all MLA issues. In fact, one of our resident MLA experts, Nancy Tucker, will be presenting an MLA Workshop on October 11th to guide you through the process of formatting, citations, and all the other not-so-scary elements of MLA crafting.

We asked Nancy to give us more details on the upcoming workshop.

What is MLA formatting and why is it important?
MLA stands for Modern Language Association.  The Modern Language Association publishes the MLA Handbook which contains the rules for citing in MLA format.  Most classes at Spartanburg Community College require students to use MLA 8th ed. formatting.  Having the knowledge to cite sources is a critical skill for students at SCC.  In fact, students are required to cite their sources twice, once as an in-text citation and also on the works cited page at the end of the paper.  The SCC Library has created several MLA handouts to help with MLA citations.  In the workshop on October 11th, we will discuss these MLA handouts and how to use each one.
Certain rules of MLA formatting changed recently.  How is it different now?
In the summer of 2016, MLA published the updated MLA Handbook 8th edition.  This update replaces the 7th edition of MLA.  In the past, sources were cited based on their format.  The new 8th edition makes citing sources a lot easier.  In fact, all sources can be cited using one basic template.  Once a student learns how to use the MLA template, they can cite anything!  
Nancy Tucker, MLA master!
How do the SCC librarians help students with MLA formatting?
SCC librarians are available to answer your MLA questions during library hours in person, by phone, or by email.  Our MLA handouts are available 24/7 and can be found on our library website Students do not need an appointment to speak with a librarian. 
The library can be contacted at 864-592-4654 or  The Central Campus Library is open Monday – Thursday from 7:30 am- 9:00 pm, and on Friday from 7:30 am -1:30 pm.  Check our library website for updated library hours if you are at Cherokee, Tyger River, or Downtown

What’s the most challenging type of citation?
Any source that a librarian has to look up in the MLA handbook is a challenging source to cite.  Examples of challenging sources include: a live performance, a work of art viewed in person, the Bible, poetry, notes taken in class, an instructor's PowerPoint, etc.
It is important to know where to look when you don’t know the answer.  As librarians, we don’t know everything about MLA, but we know where to go to find the correct information.  These sources include the MLA handbook, the SCC Library website, and the MLA Style Center.  We will discuss these sources in the MLA workshop on October 11th. 
What will you cover in your MLA workshop?
In this workshop, we will discuss the basics of MLA such as how to identify the important elements of a source, what punctuation to use, when to italicize, when to use quotation marks, how to create a works cited page, how to create in-text citations, and much more!  We will also practice citing sources with a few fun activities.

After a student has finished your MLA workshop, what is the most important thing to remember?
The most important thing for a student to remember after attending this workshop is where to go to access the MLA resources and how to contact the library for assistance.  Our MLA handouts can be found on our library website  Students can also visit the SCC Library with questions or for MLA help.  Students do not need an appointment to speak with a librarian.  The library is open Monday – Thursday from 7:30 am- 9:00 pm, and on Friday from 7:30 am -1:30 pm.  Check our library website for updated library hours if you are at Cherokee, Tyger River, or Downtown.

Thanks, Nancy!

Don't forget: the MLA Workshop is on October 11th in the Central Campus Library Instruction Room at 2:00 pm.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Banned Books Week

Sometimes we take our freedom to read for granted. United States citizens work hard to protect and defend our constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech—the right to read or publish whatever we’d like—and it’s important to remember that not every country has these rights.

However, there are many times when our free-speech rights are challenged, sometimes resulting in the banning of material certain censors consider dangerous, obscene, or otherwise threatening to the common good. That’s why, in 1982, the American Library Association teamed up with the American Booksellers Association and other organizations of journalists, publishers, librarians and authors to create Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week oranizers seeks to draw attention to issues of censorship by showcasing the books most often challenged in school libraries, public libraries, book stores, publishing houses, and anywhere else where unpopular ideas might cause trouble.

Each year, the ALA compiles a
list of the top ten most challenged books. There are lots of current titles on the list in recent years, including The Hunger Games and even Captain Underpants, but problems with book censorship are nothing new. Many well-known books from decades past continue to be challenged by censors and concerned community members to this day, including notorious titles like:

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Twain’s story of a young Mississippi boy’s attempt to assist a runaway slave was first banned in 1885, the year it was published. The Library Committee of Concord, Massachusetts agreed to remove the book from the public library, criticizing its bad language and poor grammar. A New York Times editorial of the day applauded the decision, calling Twain’s book “trashy and vicious.”

Twain himself responded with mock concern about the controversy, “It has started a number of hitherto spotless people to reading Huck Finn…people who had not heard of him before; people whose morals will go to wreck and ruin now.”

Despite the book’s growing reputation as a literary masterpiece, Huck Finn continued to inspire demands for its censorship. As the civil rights movement emerged in the 1950s, the NAACP condemned the book as racist for its portrayal of the slave Jim, which they considered a negative stereotype. Twain’s use of racial epithets is the most common complaint among those hoping to ban his classic novel.

Huckleberry Finn consistently remains one of the most challenged books in America.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Topping the ALA list of most-challenged books for several years, the enormously popular Harry Potter series has been accused of being anti-family, promoting witchcraft, and featuring gratuitous violence. One Catholic school principal in Rockford, Illinois said the books were “contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church” by promoting astrology, and had them removed from the school library in 2000.

But elsewhere that year, a parent-teacher partnership in Zeeland, Michigan worked to cancel a Harry Potter ban, allowing the celebrated boy wizard back into the classroom after the books had been cast out by the school superintendent. Mary Dana and Nancy Zennie were honored for the efforts as “Banned Book Week Heroes” at the Library of Congress later that year. Turns out some spells can be reversed.

Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler

Here’s a case where a book being un-banned causes a lot of worry. Adolph Hitler’s infamous, anti-Semitic screed has been called the most hated book in the world. In it, Hitler proposed the ideas about German expansion and Aryan purity that led to the Nazi party’s rise and the horrors of World War II.

For seventy years, the state of Bavaria held the copyright to Mein Kampf, which allowed them to maintain a complete ban on publishing the book throughout Germany. In 2015, that copyright expired, allowing publishers the right to once again publish Hitler’s manifesto. The Institute of Contemporary History in Munich published a new, heavily-annotated edition of the work, leading to much public debate about the pros and cons of having Hitler’s racist ideology available to the general public. That edition sold out within hours of its release.

Though the spread of Nazism has been outlawed in Germany since the end of WWII, other publishers—including modern-day Nazis­­—now have the legal right to publish Mein Kampf, with or without the historical context of annotations. Is this a good idea? Is this a case of victory for free speech or a dangerous book let loose upon the world? Are there ever good reasons to ban a book?

You can explore these important questions during Banned Books Week at the SCC Library. Check out our selection of infamous banned books and decide for yourself if they are mind-expanding classics or dangers to society!

Works Cited