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Keeping Up With the Librarians

Oh, the Places You'll Go! Books, Travel, and Databases

by Nicole Tassinari on 2024-03-04T09:25:00-07:00 in English & literature, General & multidisciplinary | 1 Comment

open book with air balloon, rocket, and airplane flying outI love to read. I know that's a shocker coming from a library blog. Still, I'm leading with this because March 2nd was National Read Across America Day, established by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998. Some of you may know this as Dr. Seuss Day, as the NEA selected March 2nd because it marked Theodor Seuss Geisel's birthday.

One of the primary purposes of Read Across America Day is to promote the love of reading to children. I don't think I'm going out on a limb here to say it's worthwhile to promote the love of reading to all age levels. And since you're reading a library blog, you probably agree. While March 2nd has passed, all of us in the library feel that reading is critical enough to celebrate all month.

When my kids were in elementary school, their teachers would crack the door open on March 2nd, and parents would be allowed to read a Seuss book to the class. Sharing the joy of reading in a "hands-on" manner was gratifying. As my kids became older, I extended that hands-on approach by pointing out literary "landmarks" when we traveled.

  • I made my teenagers re-read Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey when we visited the Boston Public Garden (I can hear some of you calculating the age of that book, and let me just say it was already a classic when I read it as a child - or at least well on it's way to being a classic). They tolerated the mandatory pictures with the duck family sculptures with the ennui that only teenagers can perfect.
  • I dragged them through the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO (otherwise known as The Overlook in Steven King's The Shining), muttering "redrum."
  • My husband displayed remarkable patience as I led him from square to square in Savannah, GA, pointing out houses and landmarks from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (a book he hadn't read).
  • I had to content myself with seeing only the outside of the House of Seven Gables in Salem, MA. The home is featured in the classic novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but an inside tour couldn't compete with the Salem witch trial reenactments offered throughout the town, and I was outvoted.

I'm not sure if I should consider it a win or not when the first time one of my kids took up the literary landmark mantle, it was to eat dinner at Bella Italia in Port Angeles, WA, the scene of Bella and Edward's first date in Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. To the restaurant's credit, the food was pretty good, notwithstanding a couple of cardboard cutouts of the characters in the entryway.

Gale Research Complete logoIt's in this vein of literary exploration that I'm excited to announce that Gale has introduced a new platform that might satisfy both needs (and make research more effortless for you). Gale Power Search is now Gale Research Complete. The home page still has the same search box for those who want to jump right in. However, you now have the option to run an advanced search to find a specific document or drill down into a specific topic has been added under the helpful heading What would you like to do today?

The advanced search page is solid, but the Focus My Research box allows you to select specific databases (or collections) to narrow your search, which is a big improvement. Click on the link to a collection to see a more specific breakdown of resources. The collection of Topic Overviews (i.e., Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints and eight others) provides comprehensive coverage of a topic in one place. Are you struggling to find a topic for a paper? Use these collections to review topics within a broader category. For example, check out the Environmental Studies collection to browse a list (474 at the time of this blog's publication) of environmental issues impacting the world.

Now, you might be asking yourself what any of this has to do with reading. Well, hold onto your hat. I'm about to go a little library nerd on you. (Fun fact: The earliest occurrence of the word "nerd" appeared in Seuss's book If I Ran the Zoo (1950)).

And then, just to show them,
I'll sail to Ka-troo
and bring back
an It-kutch, a Preep and a Proo,
a Nerkle, a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!"

The Gale Directory Library, found under the Books collection, is a researcher's treasure trove (okay, a nerdy researcher who loves reference books, but still). This information was always in Gale, but the new platform makes finding it easier. The resources listed below are directories, so the information provided can be a little sparse, but they can be a great starting place to gather facts. Quick tip: You can search within these publications for names, topics, and subjects after you enter the directory by selecting the Search Within box under Filter Your Results.

If you haven't used Gale resources in the past, I encourage you to explore the new Gale Research Complete for your next research project. Or (and possibly more fun), check out the New York Times Book Review series in Gale called Read Your Way Around the World (i.e., Read Your Way Through Cairo or Read Your Way Through Boston). It's a series that recommends books to read before you visit the area, famous authors, places to visit on a literary pilgrimage, and more.

Or just read. This is the month for it.

Librarian Fun Fact: Literary travel aside, a common assumption about librarians is that we become librarians because we want to read books all day. While that would be a treat, I don't know any librarians who do that. Children's librarians have regular story time, but that's a specialty (or punishment) that doesn't quite apply. Most of us become librarians because we love research and have a pathological need for order.

Nicole TassinariNicole Tassinari is an associate university librarian and oversees content development. She's the proud mom of three almost-grown children who love to tell her to "just Google it!"

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Posts: 7
Danielle Chaffin 2024-03-05T09:08:52-07:00

Terrific article! Love the literary landmark travel ideas! 


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