Thursday, 24 December 2015

Catalogue systems to be rebooted

We've been experiencing difficulty with our catalogue over the past couple of days, and it has been determined that the issues are part of a wider system error that will need a complete reboot.

The reboot is currently scheduled for the 28th of December, and should correct most of the problems we are encountering.

Until the reboot has been completed, you will be unable to check on the status of items in the catalogue (so you won't be able to tell if a book is available or checked out), put holds on items, see your library account details or renew books online.

Everything should be working again by the time the library re-opens on January 4.  Books (etc) are never due while the library is closed, so don't worry about getting them back to us before the fourth.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Opening Hours for Christmas Eve, 2015

The Library will be closing at 12.00pm (midday) on Christmas Eve in both Townsville and Cairns.

The 24hr Information Commons in the Mabo Library in Townsville will be closing at the same time, and will remain off-line until the Library re-opens on Monday the 4th of January.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Library opening hours over Christmas and New Year

christmas wreathJCU Library has different opening hours throughout the year depending on campus, study periods and public holidays. The opening hours over Christmas and New Year in Townsville and Cairns are as follows:

Monday 21st of December 2015 to Friday 25th of December
Monday to Wednesday: 8.00am to 5.00pm
Thursday: 8.00am-12.00pm
Friday (Christmas): Closed
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Both Libraries will be CLOSED:
Christmas Day 25th December 2015 to 3rd of January 2016

Monday 4th of January to Friday 31st of January 2016
Monday to Friday: 8.00am to 5.00pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Both Libraries will be CLOSED:
Australia Day 26th of January 2016

We wish everybody a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Fictional Holidays

unhappy holiday image
Southend beach, July 1953. Photograph: Bert Hardy/Getty Images
You are now on holiday! If you are not going anywhere interesting yourself, what about escaping with a book about a holiday? Here are a few suggestions to get you going. All are available at JCU Library in hard copy and some as an eBook. Let me know if you have any other favourites.

The Holiday by Stevie Smith
The poet Stevie Smith, who lived with her aunt in Palmers Green, north London, memorably declared: "Travel narrows the mind." Yet in this delightful novel (her favourite), she packs Celia's bags for Lincolnshire where she visits her Uncle Heber, a vicar. She also gives Celia an Indian background and Lincolnshire is fancifully reconsidered: "I have the feeling it is India before me and not England; it is warmer, it grows warm and close, the night has a wild smell, a smell of dung, of sour smoke, of a magnolia, of a heavy scent..."

A Room with a View / eBook by EM Forster
Lucy Honeychurch, an upper-middle-class English woman, and her chaperone complain on arrival at Pension Bertolini in Florence (their room faces north, the meat served is second rate) but it is upon them that Forster turns his amusing and critical eye. The 1908 classic now reads as at once dated and fresh: "People told them what to see, when to see it, how to stop the electric trams, how to get rid of the beggars, how much to give for a vellum blotter..." Lucy surrenders to "the pernicious charm of Italy" and begins to be happy.

The Enchanted April / eBook by Elizabeth von Arnim
Italian holidays get more than their fair share of literary attention but this uplifting novel is unmissable -- reading it is almost as good as taking a holiday oneself. It begins with an advertisement in the Times : "To Those Who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine. Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be Let furnished for the months of April." A comically assorted group of women fetch up in the castle where each finds a happier version of herself. And because this is consummate gardener Elizabeth von Arnim writing, the castle's garden is an Eden.

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
The hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva is, in a sense, a school. At least, it is the setting in which Edith Hope, an unmarried English woman in flight from an improper love affair, endures a sentimental education, spending her nights in a "veal-coloured" bedroom. Summer is almost over and each day contains "the seeds of its own fragility", as if in sympathy with Edith herself. The novel won the Booker prize in 1984 and has not lost its melancholy power nor its unassailable elegance. It is the most autumnal of holidays with a low-season heroine.

The Beach by Alex Garland
The atmosphere of this unforgettably unsettling, bestselling novel is also what happens when people live on holiday and off-limits – beyond themselves. It is an idyll turned inside out. When Richard, a British backpacker, is given a map by a mysterious Scotsman about a hidden beach on the gulf of Thailand, inaccessible to tourists, it sounds like paradise. But what follows is a hip, drug-laden, grown-up version of Lord of the Flies. Chapter titles read as if torn from a breezy tourist guide: “Getting there” and “Beach life”.

Kellaway, K. (2015, June 19). The 10 best fictional holidays. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas at the movies

film strip tree
Whether we love or hate it, Christmas has always played a special role in the cinema and Christmas movies like 'It's a Wonderful Life' have a special place in popular affections. They almost constitute a mini cinematic genre. Christmas at the movies: images of Christmas in American, British and European cinema explores this idea.

Why don't you browse some impressively long lists of Christmas films and see if we have your favourite Christmas movie at JCU Library?

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Last Tuesday night opening for 2015 tonight

'Fenugreek, Tuesday's spice, when the air is green like mosses after rain.' - ― Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, The Mistress of Spices

There are not many positive quotes about Tuesday, but this one is beautiful - and relevant. It did rain in Townsville last night. The other thing you should know about Tuesdays is that this is the last Tuesday night this year that the Mabo Library will be open to 7.00pm. Our opening hours will change slightly next week; closing 5.00pm each day including Tuesday, followed by closures for the Christmas break. Tuesday night openings will resume in February 2016.

The library is always open online, but if you are coming in please check our opening times here.

Image: I love Tuesdays icon button 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

International Mountain Day

Mount Stuart
Mount Stuart. Society for Growing Australian Plants

Go climb one. Paint, ski or farm it. Study its amazing geology. Mountains cover around 27 percent of the earth’s land surface and play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 720 million mountain people around the world, but indirectly benefit billions more living downstream. International Mountain Day on the 11th of December celebrates all that mountains mean to mankind.

Just one of many interesting mountain themed books held by JCU Library is Himalayan dreaming: Australian mountaineering in the great ranges of Asia, 1922-1990 which tells the story of Australian mountaineering in the great ranges of Asia, from the exploits of a brash, young colonial with an early British Himalayan expedition in the 1920s to the coming of age of Australian climbers in the 1980s.

Special Collections Fossickings 49: Discovering Jean Devanny

In 1969 Ron Store, then a young graduate library assistant, suggested to the University College Librarian that the library should be acquiring a collection of regional literature, whether written about North Queensland, or by North Queenslanders, or indeed both. Receiving approval, and a small budget, Ron began enthusiastically seeking out the material. As well as historical and travel books, and those describing life in the north, Ron had a particular interest in North Queensland fiction. Taking as his guide contemporary works on Australian literature, especially Cecil Hadgraft’s study, “Queensland and its writers”, he soon identified some of the key titles to be acquired, among them those of Jean Devanny.
Ms Jennifer Tompkins (Special Collections Volunteer) working with the Jean Devanny Archive. Note that the books by Jean Devanny in the picture are from the North Queensland Collection.
Knowing nothing about Devanny at the start of his search, Ron quickly recognised her importance as a political and literary figure. He soon discovered that Devanny, a prominent Communist Party activist for much of her life, had not only travelled widely in the north and set three of her novels here, but had spent the last twelve years of her life in Townsville. Even more enticing was the news, gleaned from then City Librarian, Helen Mays, that Jean’s daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and Ronald Hurd, still lived in what had been Jean’s last home in Castling Street, West End. Finding their address in the phone book, Ron arranged a visit. It must have been quite a moment when he was first shown Jean’s large collection of papers stored in cardboard boxes in the humble cottage, which still stands today.  Patricia would have been well aware of the significance of her mother’s documents and her decision to place them in the safe custody of the fledgling University College Library ensured their preservation. Although containing manuscripts of published and unpublished fiction, this acquisition was not just a literary coup. JCU’s history professor at the time, Brian Dalton, was among those who recognized its historical and political value.
Townsville Bulletin, 21st November 1969
The handover of this treasure trove from the Devanny/Hurd family to the library took place more than 45 years ago and from that day to the present the archive has been used by researchers across Australia, as well as from New Zealand (her country of birth) and the US. The importance of the archive to Devanny’s biographer, Carole Ferrier, cannot be over-estimated and was acknowledged by the decision of both author and publisher to launch “Jean Devanny: Romantic Revolutionary” in our library. 

Our next post will take a look at the Devanny archive itself.  In the words of former University librarian, John McKinlay, the archive contains “probably the most important collection of manuscripts held at this library.”

Story by Miniata

Book Review: How to Write a Lot, by Paul J. Silvia

How to Write a Lot, by Paul J. Silvia, is an ironically short book - but that makes it a fairly approachable book to read.

Published as part of the APA LifeTools series, the book is a self-help-type tome written for graduate students and academics who are struggling to find the time to write journal articles and grant applications.

The book is aimed at academics, and specifically targets people looking to publish academic writing in Psychology - but the advice it offers is general enough to be applicable to all aspiring writers.

Silvia's central argument is that prolific writers never *find* the time to write.  Prolific writers make a point of *scheduling* time to write, and then stick to their schedules.  He maintains that having regularly scheduled writing time (and clear goals concerning how that time is to be used) is key to building writing as a productive habit, rather than a binge act.

Silvia goes on to outline a number of "Specious Barriers" that people use as excuses to avoid writing according to a schedule, such as writer's block or having a sub-optimal writing environment.  Prolific writers must make it a habit, and decide to write even when they could find excuses to avoid it.  Importantly, they must not allow themselves to be dictated to by "inspiration" (or lack thereof).

He also offers advice on how to stay motivated, how to monitor your progress and how to write with others.

The subject of the book is tackled throughout with a sense of humour, as the following extract illustrates:
I love writer's block.  I love it for the same reasons I love tree spirits and talking woodland creatures - they're charming and they don't exist.  When people tell me they have writer's block, I ask, "What on earth are you trying to write?"  Academic writers cannot get writer's block ... The subtlety of your analysis of variance will not move readers to tears, although the tediousness of it might. People will not photocopy your reference list and pass it out to friends whom they wish to inspire.  Novelists and poets are the landscape artists and portrait painters; academic writers are the people with big paint sprayers who repaint your basement.
Several chapters of the book are dedicated to specific advice for writing journal articles or books in Psychological Sciences, and these chapters do feel a bit like padding designed to flesh out a book that really makes its point within the first four chapters, but Silver's little guide is a good read for anyone (early career researcher or otherwise) who is struggling with "finding the time" to write.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


musical notesAlthough you may not be Singing in the Rain or an American in Paris or even a Funny Girl you can still enjoy these musicals, along with more from the JCU Library DVD collection. Just look for call number 797.4372 to browse.

The Compact Disc collection also contains a range of musicals to which you can sing along, or maybe you can play along with a musical score from your favourite musical. Scores and CDs are located on the first floor of the Mabo Library next to the Curriculum Collection

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

New Book Recommendations on the Pacific

Here are two new books you may like to explore. One looks forward to the future of the Pacific and one looks back to its past.
Pacific : the ocean of the future / Simon Winchester.
Travelling the circumference of the truly gigantic Pacific, Simon Winchester tells the story of the world's largest body of water, and - in matters economic, political and military - the ocean of the future. The Pacific is a world of tsunamis and Magellan, of the Bounty mutiny and the Boeing Company. It is the stuff of the towering Captain Cook and his wide-ranging network of exploring voyages, Robert Louis Stevenson and Admiral Halsey. It is the place of Paul Gauguin and the explosion of the largest-ever American atomic bomb, on Bikini atoll, in 1951. It has an astonishing recent past, an uncertain present and a hugely important future. The ocean and its peoples are the new lifeblood, fizz and thrill of America - which draws so many of its minds and so much of its manners from the sea - while the inexorable rise of the ancient center of the world, China, is a fixating fascination. The presence of rogue states - North Korea most notoriously today - suggest that the focus of the responsible world is shifting away from the conventional post-war obsessions with Europe and the Middle East, and towards a new set of urgencies. Navigating the newly evolving patterns of commerce and trade, the world's most violent weather and the fascinating histories, problems and potentials of the many Pacific states, Simon Winchester's thrilling journey is a grand depiction of the future ocean.

The beach : an Australian passion / Robert Drewe.
From an Indigenous food source to a hedonistic playground, the beach has long been a national obsession. Robert Drewe's lyrical examination of Australian beach culture, in this new National Library of Australia publication, combines imagery from some of Australia's most celebrated photographers with his stories - a favourite boat, a capsicum-strewn beach, a summer holiday and an unwelcome great white. Drewe looks at the sunny, salty sexiness of the beach that first enticed the crusading Mr William Gocher into the ocean at Manly in 1903, defying authorities in his neck-to-knee bathing costume. We've come a long way from sunbathing in stockings and pantaloons to the unabashed display of sun-kissed bodies of all shapes and sizes at any beach in the country today. But the beach also has a dark side as a place of tragedy, violence and danger, a place where sharks attack prone surfers and prime ministers disappear. In The Beach, Drewe turns his attention to the favourite coastal theme, but in a new way: a mix of history, reminiscence and lyrical description, complemented by photographs from the National Library of Australia's collection.

The Psychology of Santa

psychology of santa cover image
Here is an e-book to read if you want to know more about a certain upcoming festival. The Psychology of Santa by Carole. S. Slotterback examines decades of psychological research, as well as studies in sociology, communication, history, and advertising, all of which deal with Christmas. The book examines what research can reveal to us about how psychologists and others view these customs and what they represent to our culture. A number of aspects of Christmas are explored, and this book offers an intriguing interpretation of our lives and customs. Topics covered include how Christmas is celebrated during wars, a history of selected customs and whether families today still engage in them, how different traditions of psychologists view Christmas, Christmas and stress, Christmas and depression and suicide, children’s letters to Santa Claus, and children’s beliefs in Santa and how they change with age.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Christmas carols

aussie christmas carol

To carol is to sing joyously.  If you are looking for some joyous Christmas carol music to sing, you can't go past the JCU Library CD collection.

Check through this list of the 10 best pieces of Christmas classical music, some of which are held at JCU Library, including Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

If you would like to play or sing yourself the Library also has plenty of Christmas music scores for you to enjoy.

Christmas children's stories

During a drought plagued Christmas you, or someone you know, may enjoy the following children's Christmas stories held in the Curriculum Collection at JCU Library.

Bubbay cover image
Bubbay is a hopeful story full of magic, combined with richly textured illustrations of Australian plants and animals. It offers a glimpse of how the natural and spiritual worlds can intervene in making ordinary lives better.

Applesauce cover image
Applesauce and the Christmas miracle describes an orange evening, tiger-striped with blackened trees. A pig sits upon a dam bank, fondly reminscing. Against a rural Australian setting of drought and bushfire, a little pig called Applesauce learns that Christmas comes from the heart.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

International Day for Abolition of Slavery

child labour
Child labour in Myanmar. Photo: ILO/Marcel Crozet
While you have been slaving over your textbooks, there have been other much more difficult forms of slavery happening around the world. The 2nd of December is International Day for Abolition of Slavery.

The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

JCU library has a range of resources on contemporary slavery. A good introduction is The anti-slavery project: from the slave trade to human trafficking.