Five Tips for Using PUC’s Library

By Allison Fox, access services librarian

I’ve spent most of my life in libraries. My mom was the librarian at my elementary school, and summers were divided between the swimming pool and the library. As a result of these experiences, libraries have always seemed like a second home to me, which is probably what led to my becoming a librarian! You don’t have to become a librarian, but I hope you will love the library as much as I do! Or at least a little bit. Being comfortable in and with the library will contribute greatly to your academic, and (dare I say), social, success. To that end, here are five tips for using the library.

1. Make yourself at home
As I’ve just implied, a library should feel like a second home. The library has a variety of different sorts of spaces so figure out which one works best for the goal you’re attempting to reach. If you need to work in a group and engage in “lively” discussion, the main floor has an open study space and a couple of rooms to reserve. If you’re seeking quiet and solitude, the top and basement levels have many study carrels where you can focus on your work. There’s also a group viewing room on the bottom level where you can watch VHS tapes on a vintage TV (or DVDs, or streaming TV through a projector), or just gather as a group. There are multiple spaces for different kinds of work and you should keep all these options in mind when planning your schedule.

However, while we librarians want you to feel comfortable here, we also want you to pick up after yourself as you (hopefully) do at home. You are allowed to eat in the library, so please do us the courtesy of throwing away any bottles or food containers. Don’t be the person who finds out what an angry librarian looks like. 🙃

2. Make use of resources
I’ve already talked about the spaces the library offers, but wait, there’s more! Printing in the library is free. We have color as well as black and white printers, available for all your academic needs. There are also laptops to check out if you don’t own one, or if yours has recently experienced any sort of meltdown, or if you just need to use the lockdown browser to take a quiz. If you’re having trouble finding an article or book (or refining a topic, or finding one at all!) there is a librarian specifically on call to help from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., every day during the week, and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. We offer books on every possible topic, so if you’d like to take up knitting or cook an elaborate mid-century meal, we have a book for that, although unfortunately, we can’t provide you the spare time required for such undertakings.

3. Ask questions
One of the most important things you will learn about using the library is that no question is too small or large. If at any point during your research you find yourself lost, please find a librarian to talk to! There is no reason for you to struggle through the process by yourself, and we librarians are both able and willing. We librarians are a voraciously intellectually curious lot, so it’s fun for us to help you solve your dilemmas, be they tracking down a specific article, beginning an exploratory search of a broad topic, or refining a research inquiry. We’re also happy to tell you where the bathrooms are (we have them on each floor!) or help you find a book on the shelf. We welcome all (primarily academic) questions, from the straightforward and simple to the difficult and complex.

4. Be patient
While we are always happy to help you and answer questions, it is important to remember that research can be a long process which will require persistence and patience. It will always require a certain amount of reading and sifting through things, and it’s a process that will demand increasing amounts of your attention. As librarians, we want to make the process of finding these things as painless as possible, and give you methods that will continue to improve what and how much you find. It’s always going to take a certain amount of time, and the further you get into your discipline the more complex your research will be, so it’s important to accept the necessity of giving it your full attention.

Additionally, we librarians are very busy. We all have responsibilities like teaching classes, choosing books and other resources for the library, and a variety of other things like cataloging materials, processing archival collections, maintaining systems, and information literacy assessment. Therefore, if we are not immediately available to help you, please bear with us. We will cheerfully help you once we’re back from teaching or off the phone or finished with helping another student.

5. Get to know the librarians
I keep talking about the librarians so it may seem repetitive to advise getting to know us. However, I stand by it! If you know us you will feel comfortable asking questions, and your Academic struggles will be lessened greatly. We are also completely awesome! Patrick Benner is the library director, and he is the guru of all things technological. He also knows an awful lot about computer history and science fiction. Jason St. Clair is our cataloger, which means he makes sure all materials are in the library catalog so they can be found on the shelves. He is a musician and also reads a lot of sci-fi. Katy Van Arsdale is the special collections librarian and archivist, which means she maintains PUC’s history and deals with SDA scholarship. She wears fabulous nail polish and knows a lot about movies. And I’m Allison Fox, access services librarian—I deal with circulation and do a lot of instruction. I’m obsessed with sentence structure and argument construction, and pop culture.

I hope this gives you some insight into using the PUC library! And of course, all you have to do to find out more is come in and ask.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Katharine Van Arsdale

Katharine Van Arsdale is a Texan-turned-Californian who loves books. This is appropriate, considering her profession: She is one of our team of librarians here at PUC who helps students and other faculty find what they need. Katy adores her two cats, Mochi and Meeka, and has a passion for history. Without further ado, introducing: Katharine Van Arsdale!

Name: Katharine Van Arsdale
Title: Special Collections Librarian
Email: kvanarsdale@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2015

Classes taught: Information literacy sessions for all kinds of cool classes in different departments

Education: B.A. English, Andrews University; MSLS Library & Information Science, Catholic University of America; M.A. History, Catholic University of America

What made you decide to be a librarian?
I’m a special collections librarian at an academic library, which is honestly my dream job. The “special collections” part means I get to work with rare books and archives full of old letters and photographs and diaries. It’s all the coolest stuff in the library. I knew I wanted to do this job when I was a kid and I visited museums. I saw all the interesting objects hidden behind glass and I thought to myself, “I want to be the one who has permission to touch all the historic things.” So that’s what I do now every day, and it’s great. The best part is that I work in an academic library’s collection, which means that I’m making these rare books and fragile photographs available to student researchers. I’m taking the cool exhibits out from behind the glass and sharing history with PUC, and I love that.

What are some of your hobbies?
I’m obsessed with National Parks. My life goal is to visit and hike in every National Park. California is a great state for this, because a lot of the most beautiful parks in the United States are here within driving distance of PUC.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in Texas, and until I was about 10 I spoke with a thick Texan drawl. It’s totally gone now. Well, mostly.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
I love the campus. There are trees and flowers everywhere, and the views are always changing as you walk across the campus because it’s hilly. Many of the buildings are historic, and they have very interesting architecture. The campus is also special because it’s close to wilderness and city, mountains and ocean. From PUC, we can go for a hike in the forest preserve, or we can take a day trip to San Francisco. It’s all nearby.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
I love standing on the steps to Irwin Hall when the sun is setting. You get such a gorgeous view of the campus and the sky.

What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is “The Count of Monte Cristo” because it’s a glorious revenge tale but also a classic book, so you feel very cultured and smart when you finish reading it.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
If you have questions or problems with any stage of research or study, you can text the library. Did you know that? It’s true! We have a Text-a-Librarian number so you can get help even when you can’t come to the library. Try it—the number is (707) 948-6639!

#FacultyFriday: Meet Jason St. Clair

Here’s the latest installment of #FacultyFriday, where we feature a different faculty member each week.

Name: Jason St. Clair
Title: Technical services librarian
Email: jstclair@puc.edu  
Faculty since: July 1, 2017

This year we welcome Jason St. Clair to PUC, where he will be working as the new technical services librarian in the Nelson Memorial Library. He joins us most recently from Andrews University, where he spent the past five years serving as the interlibrary loan assistant and more recently, the head of patron services and interlibrary loan manager. Previously, St. Clair served as the access services assistant and media center technician at the Peterson Memorial Library at Walla Walla University.

Education: M.S. in library & information science, from Drexel University, 2008; B.A. in English, minor in History, from Walla Walla University, 2005

Professional activities“Adulting in the Library: Experiences of Millennials as Library Staff” presentation at 37th Conference of the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Librarians, June 25-29, 2017.

What made you decide to be a librarian?
I’m a very curious person and I love being surrounded by so much information and being able to explore different topics on a whim or learning something new as I assist a student in their research.

What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, hiking, mountain biking, Legos, family

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I can name all of the countries of the world.

What are you looking forward to the most about being at PUC?
The close-knit feeling of the campus community.

So far, what’s been your favorite thing about PUC?
Being surrounded by trees and mountains and nature.

My Summer Working in PUC’s Nelson Memorial Library Archives

By Sierra McMillan

One dilemma for many college students is where they will work over the summer. I am a senior English major, so I wanted to have some sort of job that would be applicable to my future career plans. I asked Katy Van Arsdale, the special collections librarian here at PUC, if she needed help in the archives during the summer months and lucky for me, she did.

My main project over the duration of the summer was cleaning, digitizing, and curating an exhibit of early 20th century PUC magic lantern slides. Magic lantern slides were used to display photographs and other images from the 18th-mid-20th centuries. The PUC slides I worked with displayed a wide range of images from early PUC history—like groups of students, classroom scenes, and views of campus. At the beginning of the summer, Katy gave me a large box of these lantern slides in disintegrating wooden boxes, and it was my job to clean them and transfer the slides to proper archival storage. It took quite a bit of time to go through every slide; each which needed the dirt brushed off, excess grime cleaned with deionized water, and then they were placed in individual paper enclosures.

PUC students visit Bodega Bay sand dunes as part of Dr. Clark’s Field Nature School, summer 1934.

The next step in the process was to digitize the collection. Lantern slides are difficult to scan; the different portions—the transparent interior image and the exterior slide frame—have to be scanned separately in order for both to be viewable. On the scanned images, I used Photoshop to make both portions of the digitized version of the slides simultaneously viewable. In total, I cleaned and digitized around 450 slides. After all of the slides were scanned, I curated a small exhibit of these lantern slides for display in the library. Soon the entire digitized collection will be viewable on the Adventist Digital Library.

Landscaping and pools between Clark Hall and Irwin Hall, where the greenhouse now stands. Probably photographed in the 1930s.

Working with this collection of lantern slides and in the library archives in general over the summer was such a great experience. It gave me a taste of the type of work that archivists do and information about historical artifacts I wouldn’t have learned about in such a hands-on manner otherwise. Research for my senior thesis project has lead me to look into some online archive collections and it’s fascinating to know how these collections might have been produced and that I had a hand in putting together a similar collection for the PUC archive.

PUC student poses at the base of the Graf Hall steps, probably in the 1930s.

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About the PUC Library

Thanks to the internet, there is one resource college students often forget about – the library. Patrick Benner and Joel Lutes, two of PUC’s librarians, gave us 10 facts about the college’s library, several of which we didn’t even know! The library is doing some pretty neat things to help PUC students do their best while they’re here.

Library 1

1. You can browse over 30,000 journals at library.puc.edu.

2. The PUC Library provides students with access to over 100,000 ebooks.

3. You can select from over four million books, DVDs and CDs through Link+.

4. The Pitcairn Islands Study Center in the library is the world’s largest research collection about the islands. Scholars come from all over the world to do their research here.

Library 2

5. If you don’t have your own computer, don’t worry! There are about 60 public workstations available within the library and the computer lab areas. Printing in the library is also FREE, so if you need somewhere to print your homework, the library is your place.

6. Did you know you can check out a laptop from the library? There are 15 laptops available to students; 2 MacBooks and 13 MacBook Pros. They come with a carrying case and a charger that can be checked out at the same time or separately, and they’re able to be checked out for up to three hours at a time. You can renew them one time/day for another three hours by calling or stopping by the library.

7. There are four group study rooms that can be reserved at library.puc.edu if you need a place to study with friends for that Anatomy test.

Library 3

8. You can find out what was said about your parents in old issues of The Campus Chronicle that are now digitized on the library’s website. You can browse issues as far back as 1924!

9. Research help is available until 9 PM every evening the library is open.

10. If you’re writing a paper in your room and don’t want to change out of your pajamas to go ask a librarian a question for your research paper, get out your phone! You can text a PUC librarian at 707.948.6639, and generally any texts between 7 AM and 11 PM will be seen and answered within minutes.

Library 4