It’s the Final Countdown!

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Welcome to April, and the last month of classes! Here in the Library, we know how busy and stressful the next month can be for everyone, with studying, final projects, etc. So, we decided to compile a list, full of suggestions from all the Library staff, in order to help all the learners at MHC along with their “end of the semester” studying!

Don’t worry: in honor of National Humor Month, and April Fools Day, this post will be full of jokes! As they say, a joke that helps with your studies is an e-joke-cational one!

try these tips:
  • Find a quiet place to study–too much noise might keep you distracted (noise cancelling headphones work too!)
  • Make sure you have ample lighting; it might leave you and your studies in the dark if you don’t
  • Take breaks if you need them; don’t overwhelm yourself
  • Stay hydrated, or else you might wash away your chances of a good grade
  • Remember to have a snack! Little pieces of chocolate or candy work well as the sugar and caffeine content will give your brain a little pick-me-up, which makes studying all the sweeter
  • Work on one class at a time, because jumping from subject to subject might confuse you
  • Save your notes, studying tools, or projects frequently if you’re working on a computer, otherwise you may lose the drive to keep studying
  • Repetition. Write it over, write it over, and say it out loud! Repetition can help the knowledge stick in your brain and make it easier to recall during your exams
  • Study with a friend! You can keep yourselves accountable, and bounce more study ideas and tips off of each other!
  • Make a schedule or a time table. This will help you budget your time for each subject more efficiently, and help you better understand and see how much progress you’re making. That way you won’t be overdue on anything
  • Triage your academic priorities! Knowing which classes and projects should be at the top of your list is important, so you know where you should be focusing all of your energy

We here at the Library have quite a few ways to help you with your technological studying needs too! We have a variety of multimedia resources for you to sign out, such a USB drives, headphones, therapy light lamps, and more! All you need is your Student ID card!

We also have different spaces within the Library for you study, such as the Computer Lab, the Quiet Study Room, and the Group Study Rooms. The Computer Lab has access to two scanners for you to scan your notes electronically, and The Quiet Study Room is for those learners who just need peace and quiet while they work! The Group Study Rooms are certainly better for a crowd, with room for up to four people! You can book the Group Study Rooms in advance for up to two hours at the bottom of our Library website! Or, you can click this link and get right to the booking page: https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/GroupStudyRooms@mhc.ab.ca/bookings/

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If you’re looking for even more information, tips and tricks, you can also take a look at the online recordings of Student Success Sessions! You can find all of the current recordings at https://www.mhc.ab.ca/Services/AcademicSupport/Student-Success-Sessions as well as the calendar for any in person classes that Academic Support is putting on!

If you need more information, or need to ask any questions at all, you can always come see us during our open hours, or contact us via email or phone! And, follow us on social media @mhclibrary for more fun tips and tricks through the last push of the semester!

Happy studying!

What’s a mathematician’s favorite dessert?

Pi.

Open Education Week 2022

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What is Open Education?

Open Education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness. By combining the traditions of knowledge sharing and creation with 21st century technology, Open Education wants to create a vast pool of openly shared educational resources, while harnessing today’s collaborative spirit to develop educational approaches that are more responsive to learners’ needs. Open Education seeks to scale up educational opportunities by taking advantage of the power of the internet, allowing rapid and essentially free dissemination, and enabling people around the world to access knowledge, connect and collaborate. Open allows not just access, but the freedom to modify and use materials, information and networks so education can be personalized to individual users or woven together in new ways for diverse audiences, large and small.

Image by Abby from Pexels

The Transformative Potential of Open Education

March 7 – 11 is Open Education Week! Open Education and Open Educational Resources (OER) reduce barriers in the pursuit of knowledge. Through Open Education, people can connect with others they wouldn’t otherwise meet to share ideas and information. Materials can be translated, mixed together, broken apart and openly shared again, increasing access and inviting fresh approaches. If we look at open educational content, we can see that its transformative educational potential revolves around two linked possibilities:

  1. Increased availability of high quality, relevant learning materials can contribute to more productive students and educators. Removing restrictions around copying resources can reduce the cost of accessing educational materials; in many systems, royalty payments for textbooks and other educational materials constitute a significant proportion of the overall cost of education.
  2. Having the possibility of adapting existing of materials provides one mechanism for constructing roles for students as active participants in educational processes, who learn by doing and creating, not by passively reading and absorbing. Content licenses that encourage activity and creation by students through re-use and adaptation of that content can make a significant contribution to creating more effective learning environments.
Image by Geralt from Pixabay

Impact of Open Education on Different Stakeholders

The benefits for each of those involved in using Open Education approaches – the learners, the organization and the educators can be identified.

Learners can benefit from:

  • Applying knowledge in a wider context than their course would otherwise allow
  • Freedom of access and enhanced opportunities for learning
  • Support for learner-centred, self-directed and social/informal learning approaches
  • The opportunity to test out course materials before enrolling

Educators can benefit from:

  • Student/user feedback and open peer review
  • Reputational benefits, recognition
  • Benefits (efficiency and cultural) of collaborative approaches to teaching/learning
  • Reaching a wider range of learners

Educational institutions can benefit from:

  • Recognition and enhanced reputation
  • Wider availability of their academic content (linking to widening participation agenda)
  • Efficiencies in content production
  • Increased sharing of ideas and practice within the institution
Image by Perfecto from Pexels

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OER are “digitized materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research” (cited from OECD). OER can include full university courses, open textbooks, interactive mini-lessons and simulations, or K-12 Lesson Plans, worksheets, and activities.

Where can OER be found?

There are many organizations and repositories where OER may be found. In Canada, BC Campus and ECampus Ontario are leading the way in the production and dissemination of Open Educational Resources. Locally, Open Education Alberta is gaining momentum in the province as well, providing the publishing software Pressbooks for authors interested in producing OER. Medicine Hat College has produced two OER since joining this collective in 2021, with three more currently in production. Some other organizations that foster the creation and use of OER are:

Image from Pixabay

Textbook Costs are Rising

References

OpenMed.eu. (n.d.). The benefits and impact of open education. https://course.openmedproject.eu/lesson-1-2-the-benefits-and-impact-of-open-education/

PennState. (2022). OER and low cost materials at PennState. https://oer.psu.edu/about-oer/

Women’s History Month 2022

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March is Women’s History Month! This month over our social media, as well as here in the Library, we’ll be showing off some amazing resources that touch on all things Women’s History-—famous inventors, authors, and other women who have made leaps and bounds throughout history, all for the sake of equality.

Women’s History Month started as a small, week long event tied to International Women’s Day (March 8th.) It was lead by Gerda Lerner, who is now known as one of the pioneers of the academic field of women’s history, and began to grow traction when the participants of the event realized how popular it was. Eventually, it was recognized as Women’s History Week in a Californian state in 1978, only to be promoted on a presidential level to National Women’s History Week in 1980. Years passed, and more localities began to have events to commemorate the week, some of them extending through the entire month. As the movement continued to grow, it was only a few years later that the National Women’s History Project petitioned for the month of March to be designated as Women’s History Month. And in 1987, that was exactly what happened!

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Here in Canada, Women’s History Month Canada is in October, and had a very similar beginning. In 1992, October was chosen instead of the traditional March, to coincide with October 18th, the anniversary date of Edwards v. Canada, more commonly known as the Persons Case. The Persons Case was a huge breakthrough in regards to women having the same amount of power in political settings, and set the groundwork for many women who work as government appointed officials. The month of October also coincides with International Day of the Girl, which is a day that is observed by the United Nations to help push and champion girl’s and women’s rights in, but not limited to: education, law, nutrition and healthcare.

Since then, Women’s History Month has been celebrated in many different ways and in many different countries! Conventions, exhibitions, and other activities have been planned all around the world, mostly focusing on a specific theme each year. 2020 was Valiant Women of the Vote, which focuses on the Women’s Suffrage Centennial, in which one hundred years ago women finally got the right to vote in the United States. 2021 was a continuation of that theme, entitled Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced. 2022’s theme is Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope, with a focus on women in healthcare and healthcare related STEM positions.

Some famous women who invented major technologies in healthcare and STEM related fields include:

  • Virginia Apgar, the inventor the APGAR score for newborn babies
  • Hedy Lamarr, who invented the beginnings of technology that helped create the GPS, Wi-fi, and Bluetooth
  • Ada Lovelace, who is credited with writing the world’s first computer algorithm
  • Letitia Geer, the inventor of the medical syringe that could be used with only one hand
  • Ida Hyde, who while working with cells molecular structures, invented the first micro-electrode
  • Rachel Fuller Brown & Elizabeth Lee Hazen, who both worked together to create one of the first effective anti-fungal drugs
  • Mary Sherman Morgan, who created Hydyne, a type of rocket fuel
  • Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of the Kevlar fiber which is used in bullet-proof vests
  • Ann Tsukamoto, her work with stem cells lead her to co-patent the process of stem cell isolation
  • Patricia Bath, the first African-American person to receive a patent for a medical purpose, which ended up with the creation of the Laserphaco Probe

There are so many things, from high-powered lasers that are used in eye surgeries, to items we use in everyday life, that we have women to for!

Since there are so many amazing women to celebrate during this month, we here in the Library have put together a few different resources to take a look at too! Below is a book list that is all about women:

Through feminist eyes: essays on Canadian’s women’s history by Joan Sangster — HQ 1453 S17 2011

U.S. women’s history: untangling the threads of sisterhood by Leslie Brown, Jacqueline L Castledine, Anne M Valk — eBook

Becoming by Michelle Obama — E909.O24 A3 2018

Viola Desmond: her life and times by Graham Reynolds, Wanda Robson — FC2346.26 .D48 R49 2018

She persisted around the world: 13 women who changed history by Chelsea Clinton, Alexandra Boiger — 305 Cli

100 more Canadian heroines: famous and forgotten faces by Merna Forster — eBook

The kids book of great Canadian women by Elizabeth MacLeod, John Mantha — 971.009 Mac

Nellie McClung, the complete autobiography: Clearing in the west and the stream runs fast by Nellie L McClung, Veronica Jane Strong-Boag, Michelle Lynn Rosa — PS 8525 C58 Z53 2003

A reconstructed world: a feminist biography of Gertrude Richardson by Barbara Ann Roberts — eBook

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Have a knowledgeable and inspiring Women’s History Month! Check us out @mhclibrary on Instagram for more information and posts!

Happy reading!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/womens-history-month

https://www.canada.ca/en/women-gender-equality/news/2018/10/womens-history-month.html

https://women-gender-equality.canada.ca/en.html

https://womenshistorymonth.gov/

https://www.womenshistory.org/womens-history/womens-history-month

Freedom to Read Week 2022

(IvanPais, 2016)

Pretty soon we enter 2022’s Freedom to Read Week, running from February 20th-26th!

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Freedom to Read Week is an annual event all about bringing awareness to something that tends to sneak up on us… censorship. Censorship is when information is restricted or suppressed to prevent some – or all of us – from accessing it. The more that books and resources are censored, banned and made difficult to access, the more our rights are restricted. After all, who has the right to tell you what you can and can’t read?

This might have you wondering: “Why would anyone want to censor or ban a book in the first place?” To be honest with you, there’s no simple answer. People request the removal or restriction of books for infinite amounts of reasons. One person may find a book to be too religious, and the next may find the same book to be not religious enough. Even books you might find harmless, ones you grew up with, could have been banned or challenged in one or many libraries around the world.

(American Library Association, 2020)

The problem is: when resources are removed from libraries, it means that we lose the opportunity to explore a unique perspective and authors lose the chance to share their voice. This is already a huge issue in itself, and only becomes more problematic when you take into account that a large portion of books being banned are centered around characters belonging to LGBTQ2+ and BIPOC communities. A good example of this is what is currently occurring in Texas, where books with diverse characters and themes are being targeted specifically for removal. An article from NBC news highlights that: “in many instances, parents and GOP politicians have flagged books about racism and LGBTQ issues that don’t include explicit language, including some picture books about Black historical figures and transgender children.” (Hixenbaugh, 2022)

(Doungtepro, 2020)

Removing books with diverse characters and themes removes not only an opportunity to gain understanding of others and the things they go through, but representation of these groups- who are already underrepresented. And while it may seem that the attention attracted by the BLM movement, Every Child Matters, and Pride events are encouraging more diversity to be brought into our books, ABC’s article reminds us that: “Children’s books written by authors of color in 2020 increased by 3% to 26.8% compared with 2019. Children’s books written about racially diverse characters or subjects, however, grew by only 1% to 30%, according to preliminary data provided to The Associated Press by the CCBC, which has been tracking statistics on children’s book representation since 1985.” (Fernando, 2021) Slow progress may be progress… but when these books are removed from libraries and schools it’s significantly less progress than we need.

Here at MHC we are lucky enough to have access to a variety of books that have been banned, challenged, and even burned in other places around the world! So take this opportunity to read what many cannot, and raise your voice in protest when anyone tries to remove them from your grasp!

Every day, but especially during months dedicated to under-represented populations such as Black History Month, we at the Library look for diversity, inclusivity, and equity! This week, for Freedom to Read, we have highlighted those books that embody this so well.

If you are looking for a place to start, check out our reading lists here: https://mhc.ab.libguides.com/FreedomToReadWeek2022

Or Visit https://www.freedomtoread.ca/  to find articles on censorship and lists of banned books!

As librarian Jo Godwin said: “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.”

References

IvanPais. (2016, February 2). [Online image] PixaBay. https://pixabay.com/photos/book-notebook-learning-learn-1171564/

American Library Association. (2020). Banned Books Free Downloads. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/freedownloads

Hixenbaugh, M. (2022, February 1). Banned: Books on race and sexuality are disappearing from Texas schools in record numbers. NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/texas-books-race-sexuality-schools-rcna13886

Doungtepro. (2020, July 15). [Online image] PixaBay. https://pixabay.com/photos/praying-bible-reading-bible-worship-5406270/

Fernando, C. (2021, March 16). Racial diversity in children’s books grows, but slowly. ABC News: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/racial-diversity-childrens-books-grows-slowly-76487798#:~:text=A%202019%20diversity%20baseline%20survey,to%20get%20around%20those%20barriers.

Academic Awareness Week!

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It’s the first week of February, and welcome to Academic Awareness Week!

While taking classes here at Medicine Hat College, there is an important step to each class you take that you may not even realize you’re doing. It’s in each paper you write, each lecture you attend, and also in each assignment you do. It’s called Academic Awareness, and can sometimes be known as Academic Integrity. It’s the art of knowing how we feel, how we act, and how we respect the knowledge that is being shared within the classes that your professors are teaching. It sounds fairly simple, right? However, there are often small ways that students can be breaking the code of Academic Integrity, which can lead to things such as failed assignments, suspensions, and even legal action. Through the rest of this blog post, I will be going through one of the most important examples of following Academic Awareness: not plagiarizing. I’ll include a few of the key words, phrases, and examples of Academic Awareness, as well as resources for you to go and check out if you’re more interested in the subject!

Academic Awareness is being keenly aware of your honesty and honor when working or engaging in a learning environment. This can range from citations/references of correct sources, crediting others for their work in a group project, and in general, being responsible for your own work and learning adventure. Being an academic learner within MHC is a way for you to create and express your own ideas and engage in discussions to further your learning, but it all needs to be done honestly. That means that you need to reference where referencing is required, follow copyright laws, and most certainly, never cheat on a test or exam, regardless of the scenario. Academic Awareness effects every student, not just the ones that do not follow it. Academic Dishonesty–the opposite of Academic Awareness–not only cheats the person who commits it from learning in an honest and healthy environment, but the other students in the classroom. Sometimes, a student may not even know that they are committing Academic Dishonesty, so it is important to have a good understanding of what you should do so you don’t accidentally do what you shouldn’t.

Plagiarism is one of the biggest problems that we have to face in regards to Academic Dishonesty. Plagiarism can be defined in many different ways, but some of them include the following examples:

  • taking someone else’s words, work, contributions or materials and using them as your own
  • using someone else’s words, work, contributions, or materials and not properly crediting/citing/referencing the author(s)
  • stealing or tweaking someone’s else’s words, work, contributions or materials and using them as your own
  • creating an idea or piece of work that is based off of someone else’s words or work that already exists

Plagiarism is the same as fraud: it is purposefully stealing someone else’s words or work, pretending that it is your own, and once you’ve handed in your assignment or paper, lying about the fact that you were the one that created it. Plagiarism is not just limited to words, books, or ideas; it also includes media, such as music, pictures, movies, etc., which can make assuring that you are not committing plagiarism very challenging at times.

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Luckily, we here in the Library have many amazing resources for Academic Awareness! We have APA, MLA, and Chicago citation guides, located at https://mhc.ab.libguides.com/citation for you to use whenever you may be writing a paper. These guides are to help you understand what sort of information you need to be citing–basically any ideas or phrases that you did not come up with yourself.

We also have our lovely Info Service Staff, who are always able to lend a helping hand for all your referencing needs. Right now, you can find them at the front desk of the Library or through the "Chat" function on our website, http://www.mhc.ab.ca/library, and can be reached Monday-Friday from 8am to 4pm. If you’re writing late at night, and need to send an email before you forget to, you can also reach them at mhclibrary@mhc.ab.ca. If you are specifically concerned with a piece of music, a picture, or any sort of media related item and whether or not it is copyrighted, we also have a Copyright Specialist who will be able to help with that, as well as a copyright guide, found at https://mhc.ab.libguides.com/c.php?g=715484.

We also have a few books available for you to place a hold on. You can find the titles, authors, and call numbers below:

My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture by Susan D. Blume — PN 167 B48 2009

Doing Honest Work in College: How to Prepare Citations, Avoid Plagiarism, and Achieve Real Academic Success by Charles Lipson — PN 171 F56 L56 2008

Cite It Right: the SourceAid Guide to Citation, Research, and Avoiding Plagiarism by Tom Fox, Julia Johns, and Sarah Keller — PN 171 F56 F69 2007

Don’t Steal Copyrighted Stuff!: Avoiding Plagiarism and Illegal Internet Downloading by Ann Gaines — PN 167 G35 2008

Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide by James D. Lester — LB 2369 .L4 2015

Copyright Infringement by Roman Espejo — KF 3080 C66 2009

Intellectual Property Law: Copyright, Patents, Trade-marks by D. Vaver — KE 2779 .V38 2011

A Research Agenda for Academic Integrity by Tracey Bretag (eBook–search for the title using the search bar on our website!)

Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

You can find more fun Academic Awareness Week events at the Student’s Association page, found at https://samhc.ca/events/

If you ever have any questions, you can reach us at any of the above chat functions or email addresses, as well as at mhclibrary@mhc.ab.ca. We will do our best to assist!

Happy reading!

Additional Resources:

https://www.plagiarism.org/

https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr02281.html

Be Kind to Your Mind

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While some people view the New Year as a chance for transformation, many of us are just not feeling it this year. The pandemic rages on, and the weather zigzags between Freezing Cold™ and Slightly Less Cold™. But while this is indeed our reality right now, please know that you are not alone. We are experiencing these things collectively, and we can remain resilient by reaching out to one another. This semester, we encourage you to “Be Kind to Your Mind” and check out some of the supports that Medicine Hat College has to offer:

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MHC Mental Health and Counselling

Our college’s Mental Health and Counselling team offers support to students in the form of one-on-one counselling sessions. These sessions are completely free and confidential. Each student can access up to six sessions per semester, and should you need more you will be provided guidance on how to access other free programs within the city.

To schedule your first session, simply visit the advising desk or call 403-529-2819. Drop-in appointments are also available on Walk-in Wednesdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (visit or call the advising desk as early as possible to secure a spot).

Note: All counselling sessions for the Winter 2022 semester will take place online. Should you need access to a computer and a private space you can visit the Library to book a solo study room for your appointment.

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Chaplaincy Services

Chaplain George works at MHC as a spiritual guide to students, staff, and faculty. No matter your beliefs or religion, Chaplain George is available to speak to you in-person and remotely. What can you talk to him about? Anything from spirituality and world religions, stress, grief, homesickness, and just existing in this complicated world.

You can book appointments with Chaplain George by visiting the Chaplaincy webpage and clicking BOOK ONLINE. The Interfaith Centre is also available to reserve for prayer, group worship, and other spiritual activities. These reservation requests must be submitted to Facility Bookings prior to the 15th of the previous month.

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Student at Risk Support Team

The Student at Risk Support Team (SARS) is available to offer support to students who may be experiencing personal challenges, mental health issues, or academic struggles. If you know someone who may be at risk, please do not hesitate to contact SARS. Early intervention can reduce the chance of crises – never worry that you are overreacting!

Please be aware, SARS is not an emergency service. In case of emergency, call 911.

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Library Resources

If solo reflection is more your style, our library holds books and online resources related to all sorts of mental health topics. You can browse our online reading list or check out our in-person displays on campus!

Please don’t think twice about accessing any of these resources if you feel at all stressed this semester. College is hard, and you are accomplishing amazing things simply by being here. Have fun, study hard, but most of all be kind to your mind.

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Twas four weeks till the break…

Twas four weeks till the break,
when all through the college,
some small things were stirring,
seeking new knowledge
Don’t know them from last year?
Here’s what’s in store…
Our elves, Paige and Read
are back at it once more!
With last year’s IDs
they knew what to do!
To the Library the skipped
to get them renewed!
And at the Library desk,
oh, something new and inviting!
Canned foods for overdue fines…
How thrilling! How exciting!
Looking to learn,
they planned sneaking to classes,
with gift bags in tow,
working hard for some passes!
With so much to do,
Paige made a decision.
“I’ll use tomorrow’s extended hours
in the Library for revision!”
Now the elves had arrived,
what should they study?
“Let’s try education
and reading to a buddy!”
On the way from the Library
the elves dropped by the centre
for student success,
with writing tips and coaching mentor!
The Library kiosk
was the next stop to be had,
where they booked study rooms
and searched for books that were rad!
With finals approaching,
a relaxing PAWS is sound!
Paige and Read heard about one…
Louie the therapy dog is coming to town!!
(and by town, we mean the Front Lounge of the Vera Bracken Library on Dec 6 from 12-1PM)
Hearing students talk of the databases’ might
They researched the Jewish Festival of Lights.
Celebrating one day of oil that lasted for eight,
the elves wish Happy Hanukkah to all on this date!
With assignments due shortly,
Read loaded up money.
“The campus self-serve printing option
is so simple it’s funny!”
With their printing credits ready
they felt quite at ease,
so they spent some time sitting
in the front lounge at peace.
While enlightenment takes longer
than the time they had free,
our elves call out happily
“Blessed Bodhi Day to thee!”
The extra hour last week
helped Paige out a lot!
This week Read will join her,
4-5 in the Library, for a thought!
This International Human Rights Day
the elves are proud to join in,
Declaring “Elves are for Human Rights!”
But do you know where yours begin?


Check out the Human Rights Support at the College: https://buff.ly/3HTNQTy
The elves were quite pleased
with their health book collection…
though Read still ate too much
that he gave himself indigestion!
With a tummy-ache extreme from reading/eating experimentation,
Paige sought out some help for Read’s health tribulations.
Besides, they knew that in nursing their was talent to unleash…
though the equipment they needed always seemed just out of reach.
In VisCom they painted well into the night,
with even their still-life’s strung with bright lights!
Learning theories of color, design, and composition,
they thought some new paint worth a sleigh branding transition!
To the Library they raced
with their designs freshly sketched,
making vision into 3D reality,
hands and minds both outstretched.
With a few finals left, the break fast approaches…
there is one extended hour in the Library left before its passed.
Join the elves this Friday, till five, for studying time.
It will be merry and bright, holly jolly, and fine!
The elves rubbed their chins
as they took a step back,
diagrams filling up whiteboards
with awesome reindeer jet packs!
The elves entered the gym,
and man, were they psyched!
Before their eyes: the perfect space
for an epic snowball fight!!
As they finished their work
they realized their blunder…
“We haven’t checked in with Santa!
Surely he’s beginning to wonder!”
So they borrowed an OWL
for a virtual meeting,
And seeing familiar faces
they ushered a greeting!
Paige and Read let Santa know
about all the learning they had faced.
And, thanks to their business classes, pitched
that Santa’s workshop be made remote-based!
The elves learned today
what Pancha Ganapati observes;
a celebration with focus

on five realms to preserve!
This day is only the first,

four more will follow in tow…
love of family, friends, associates,

culture, and religion… all grow!!
At the end of the month,
their heads filled to bursting,
they headed to the Library
to do some soul searching.
With the campus soon closing
for the holiday rest
they relaxed in the Library,
restored and refreshed.
With all the fun that was had
they just knew they’d be back,
for these elves have a passion
for learning new facts!

Tune in all through December as more of Paige and Read’s Grand Adventure is told…

What’s Going On: December 2021 Update

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As 2021 draws to a close, we here at the Library have a few exciting announcements to make!

Food for Fines 2021

Food for Fines is returning this December! For the month of December, we’re going to be taking food donations as a way to help students, faculty, and community members pay off any overdue fines they may have!

Any non-perishable food item are accepted, as long as they are unexpired, unopened, and undamaged. We are also able to take some toiletry items, such as toothpaste, shampoos, and conditioners!

FAQ:

Who can participate in Food for Fines?
Anyone with late fines! This includes students, staff, faculty, and community members!

What fines can be waived?
All fines that are attached to overdue materials are eligible. Fines for lost items, processing, or damaged items are not able to be paid through this program.

How much food do I need to donate in order to have my fines waived?
For each food item donated, $1.00 in overdue fines will be waived from your account.

What is the total dollar amount that can be waived with food donations?
There’s no limit! You can keep donating until all your overdue fines are waived!

What are the most-needed items for Food for Fines?
All non-perishable food donations are welcomed, but the most-needed items are:

  • Rice
  • Canned meat (i.e. fish and poultry)
  • Pasta sauce
  • Granola bars
  • Small bottles of shampoo/conditioner
  • Toothpaste

If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll answer everything we can!

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Extended Hours

We’re also pleased to announce our December Extended Hours!

On December 3rd, December 10th, and December 17th, the Vera Bracken Library will be open for one extra hour! This means we’ll be open 8am to 5pm on those Fridays! This way you can get all your studying, reading, and collaborating done before the lovely holiday break. (And just in time for final exams!)

Closure: December 9th, 2021

The Library will be closed on December 9th for a department meeting.

Reduced Hours

From December 21st to 23rd, the Library will reduce it’s hours to 8am to 4pm to make way for the new semester!

Winter Break!

The Library and Medicine Hat College will be closed from December 24th, 2021 through to January 3rd, 2022. We look forward to seeing the return of students after a much needed holiday rest!

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If you have any questions about Food for Fines, or any of our hours of operation during the month of December, please just give us a call or stop on by the service desk! We can be reached at 403-529-3867!

Happy reading!

Diwali: India’s Festival of Lights

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Deepawali or Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is one of India’s largest and most important holidays of the year for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. The festival lasts five days, and as per the Hindu calendar it is observed on Amavasya (or new moon) – the 15th day – of the month of Kartik, every year. The Amavasya (lunar phase of the new moon) tithi (the name of the 30 lunar phases) begins at 06:03 on Nov 04, 2021, and ends at 02:44 on Nov 05, 2021. Therefore, the third and main day of Diwali will be celebrated all over India, and indeed around the world, on November 4, 2021.

Photo by Umesh Soni on Unsplash

The History of Diwali

The Diwali festival is likely a fusion of harvest festivals from ancient India. Early iterations of Diwali are mentioned in texts, such as the Padma Purana, which date back to the second half of the 1st millennium CE (sometime between 500-1000 CE). The diyas, or lamps (shown in the photo above) are mentioned in other ancient texts as symbolizing parts of the sun, describing it as the “cosmic giver of light and energy to all life and which seasonally transitions in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik” (which overlaps in October and November).

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Religious Significance

Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists, although for each faith it marks different historical events and stories. Nevertheless, the celebration signifies the same symbolic triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

Hinduism

The religious significance of Diwali varies across the geographic regions in India. In northern India, followers link the celebration to the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, with Diwali being the day King Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps. In southern India, the day is celebrated as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. In eastern India, Diwali is associated with the godess Kali, who symbolizes the victory of good over evil. And in western India, the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, The Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity), sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.

Jainism

“A scholar of Jain and Nivethan states that in Jain tradition Diwali is celebrated in observance of “Mahavira Nirvana Divas”, the physical death and final nirvana of Mahavira.” The Jain Diwali, celebrated in many parts of India, looks much like the Hindu version of Diwali, with the lighting of lamps and offering of prayers. However, the dedication of the Jain form of this holy festival remains committed to Mahavira.

Sikhism

“The festival of Diwali highlights three events in Sikh history: the founding of the city of Amritsar in 1577, the release of Guru Hargobind from the Mughal prison, and the day of Bhai Mani Singh’s martyrdom in 1738 as a result of his failure to pay a fine for trying to celebrate Diwali and thereafter refusing to convert to Islam.”

Buddhism

“Diwali is not a festival for most Buddhists, with the exception of the Newar people of Nepal who revere various deities in the Vajrayana Buddhism and celebrate Diwali by offering prayers to Lakshmi. Newar Buddhists in Nepalese valleys also celebrate the Diwali festival over five days, in much the same way, and on the same days, as the Nepalese Hindu Diwali-Tihar festival.”

Image by Amol Sharma from Pixabay

Celebrating Diwali

There are five days that make up the entirety of the Diwali festival. The first day, Dhanteras, is devoted to cleaning houses and buying small gold items. The goddess, Lakshmi, is the focus of the initial day of Diwali. The second day is a commemoration of the defeat of Narakasura by Krishna, and is known as Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali. Prayers are offered for the souls of ancestors on this day. The third and most well known day is called Lakshmi Puja when families light diyas, candles, and fireworks. The fourth day, which marks the start of the new year on the Vikrama (Hindu) calendar, is referred to as Goverdhan Puja, Balipratipada, or Annakut. This is a day that remembers Krishna’s defeat of Indra, the king of the gods. The final day of Diwali, called Bhai Dooj, Bhai Tika, or Bhai Bij, praises the bond between brothers and sisters.

Diwali is generally a time for visiting, exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes, feasting, feeding the poor, setting off fireworks, decorating floors with rangoli designs, and other parts of the house with jhalars. Gambling, especially in the form of card games, is encouraged as a way of ensuring good luck in the coming year and in remembrance of the games of dice played by gods and goddesses. Ritually, in honor of Lakshmi, the female player always wins. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in India, comparable to the Christmas season. It is thought to be auspicious to purchase new clothing, home furnishings, gifts, gold, and jewelry, since the festival is largely dedicated to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Food is a major aspect of Diwali as well, where families take part in feasts and in sharing of sweets, or mithai.

References

Arun, M.G. (1 November, 2013). Diwali lights up consumer spending, festive spirit beats inflation. India Today.

Colledge, R. (2017). Mastering World Religions. Macmillan. ISBN978-1-349-14329-0.

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2021, September 4). Diwali. britannica.com . https://www.britannica.com/topic/Diwali-Hindu-festival.

Klostermaier, K.K. (2014). A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Oneworld Publications, Oxford. ISBN978-1-78074-672-2.

Lamont, J. (29 October, 2010). India’s Banks Face pre-Diwali Cash Crunch. The Financial Times.

Lewis, T. (7 September 2000). Popular Buddhist Texts from Nepal: Narratives and Rituals of Newar Buddhism. State University of New York Press. pp. 118–119. ISBN978-0-7914-9243-7.

Lochtefeld, J.G. (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A–M, Volume 1, Rosen Publishing, ISBN978-0-8239-3179-8.

National Geographic. (2021, October 15). Diwali : Festival of Lights. nationalgeographic.com. https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/pages/article/diwali.

Pechilis, Karen (2007). “Guests at God’s Wedding: Celebrating Kartik among the Women of Benares”. The Journal of Asian Studies. 66 (1): 273–275. doi:10.1017/S0021911807000460.

Saraf, D. (August 2010). India Journal: Tis the Season to be Shopping. The Wall Street Journal.

Saran, P. (2012). Yoga, Bhoga, and Ardhanariswara: Individuality, Wellbeing, and Gender in Tantra. Routledge, pp. 175. IBSN: 978-1-136-51648-1.

The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) ISBN 978-0-19-861263-6 – p. 540.

The Wayback machine. (15 October 2013). Festive season to boost India gold buying Archived 7 December 2013 at the Bullion Street.

Tracy Pintchman (2005). Guests at God’s Wedding: Celebrating Kartik among the Women of Benares. State University of New York Press. ISBN978-0-7914-8256-8.

World Gold Council. (2013). Gold, Key Markets: India. http://www.gold.org.

What if textbooks were free? 

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It’s not a fantasy. No-cost textbooks are becoming a reality at Medicine Hat College (MHC) thanks to the efforts of some intrepid instructors to develop Open Educational Resources (OER). 

What are OER, you ask? According to UNESCO, Open Educational Resources are: 

teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost, and without  needing to ask permission. […] OER have been authored or created by an individual or  organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. (OER Commons,  2021) 

Depending on licensing, materials may be downloaded and shared in their original form, or edited and disseminated in revised versions. 

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One MHC instructor has been particularly committed to developing free resources for his classes. Clinton Lawrence teaches history and art history in the School of Arts, Science & Education. For his classes in World Art Before 1300 CE and World Art Since 1300 CE, he created open access textbooks. With the help of design student Mel Davison, as well library staff like Copyright and OER Specialist Laura Gunn and the library assistant I team, Clint assembled thirty-two chapters in two books that provide all course content, from discussions of prehistoric cave paintings to analyses of the post-impressionists’ commitment to contemporary subject matter. Clint has drawn all materials from open, peer-reviewed sources like Smart History. Check out his textbooks!

Why is Clint so committed to developing OER? He states, “With the increasing costs of education, I felt that I had a duty to find and adopt, whenever possible, robust, high quality OER to lighten students’ financial burden. In addition, there is a great deal of effective material publicly available and these sources give me flexibility to curate course content to support course objectives.” 

Furthermore, he sees serious benefits to increasing the institution’s use of OER:   

“There are several advantages to adopting OER. On Day One of the course, students have access to every resource that they need. Students can customize the sources: download an electronic copy or print the entire work or just print certain parts. The sources are flexible so that I can easily add or exclude content. As the instructor I can use the parts I like from different sources, without incurring extra costs.” 

Sounds like a win for students, instructors, and colleges. 

Learn more about International Open Access Week: Open Access Week – October 25 -31, 2021 | Everywhere 

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Clint Lawrence is an instructor in history and art history, School of Arts, Science, and Education at Medicine Hat College. He completed his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Lethbridge (2011) and his MA (2013) in history. He is currently a PhD student in the war studies program at the Royal Military College of Canada. Clint joined the School of Arts, Science, and Education and art and design program at Medicine Hat College in 2015. His thesis “Charles I and Anthony van Dyck: Images of Authority and Masculinity” focused on Charles I of England’s projection of kingship through van Dyck’s portraits during his personal rule. His current research interests include Indigenous participation in the Second World War, the relationship between the state and Indigenous service members, the post-war treatment of Indigenous veterans, and how post-colonial states craft national memories and memorialize Indigenous war service.