Downs-Jones Library

An Academic Library on the campus of Huston-Tillotson University.

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Why I Still Read Newspapers

They’re updated daily instead of by the minute. The pictures don’t move. They’re full of advertisements. The content can’t be customized to your preferences, so they’re full of stuff you’re not interested in. There’s no video content and no sound. Stories break off in the middle of a sentence and in order to read the rest of it, you have to flip through oversized pages rather than clicking on a link and having the page change itself.

So why on earth do we still have newspapers at the Downs-Jones Library? A pair of hardcopy newspapers, the Austin American Statesman and USA Today, can be found on the north side of the upstairs floor of the library, in with the racks of magazines. Huston-Tillotson University currently receives the weekday issues, Monday through Friday. And while the Downs-Jones Library prides itself on being a highly digital library, with tens of thousands of eBooks available and a growing number of online databases, we still have a place for the daily newspaper.

I’m fond of newspapers, and ironically for many of the reasons I just listed as problems. One of the great advantages of the daily newspaper is that even the breaking news has been given some time to be checked and evaluated, unlike a news website where rumor may be reported as fact in order to get a thirty-second lead on their competitor. This slight difference in time pressure allows newspaper editors to spend more time checking their stories – although, in practice, this doesn’t always happen. They are full of advertisements, it’s true. Newspapers aren’t cheap to print, but then servers aren’t cheap to host either, and at least it’s impossible to click on a paper ad by accident. Given the choice, I’d rather have a paper insert fall on my lap than a flashing neon popup ad appear on my computer screen trying to convince me that a) I am the 1,000,000th visitor and therefore a WINNER! and b) no, really, this isn’t a joke, click here to redeem your FREE iPad. Who exactly do popup programmers think they’re kidding?

As for not being able to pick and choose what appears in the paper, I find that the range of articles presented in a newspaper encourages me to be a more comprehensive news reader. I’d much rather read the cute article about the baby penguin robot spy…but that big headline about events in the troubled Middle East looks important, and I end up feeling bad for ignoring it. Even just reading half of the article before I lose my stomach for it (this does happen) makes me much more informed than I was, and at least I’ve acknowledged that these things are happening rather than ignoring them because they aren’t entertaining. (Although it never hurts to read the cute article as well.)

Newspapers are also a great way to find out about events in the world and locally that you didn’t know you were looking for. I hope to adopt a couple of cats in the near future – by keeping an eye on the local section of the paper, I’m going to do so during one of the times when the shelter is lowering fees and encouraging people to adopt pets because they’re overcrowded. The classified ads can be quite funny, although not as funny as the editorials and letters to the editor can be. And if you’re looking for a garage sale to replace that lamp that got broken recently…yes, classifieds do often list garage sales. While I may not currently have time to get involved in most of the activities or visit the restaurants that feature articles recommend, at least the information is there, food for imagination when it seems like the entire world is made up of class projects, homework assignments, and due dates.

And that’s why I like reading the paper every day – even in the afternoon when the daily articles are already out of date by half a day. And that is part of why we still subscribe to a physical newspaper.

Do you have a reason to read a physical newspaper?

Would you like one?

Stop by the library sometime and try it out.

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Hoop Dreams

On October 14th, 1994, 20 years ago this month, Steve James, Fredrick Marx, and Peter Gilbert presented their 2 hour and 50 minute documentary, Hoop Dreams, at the Sundance Film Festival (Sundance Institute). The film would go onto win the Audience Award for Best Documentary (Sundance Institute) and Steve James would be awarded Best New Director by The Directors Guild of America. Film critic, Roger Ebert, in his 1994 review of the film, would say, “[It is] not only documentary. It is poetry and prose, muck-racking and expose, journalism and polemic.” Hoop Dreams continues to resonate 20 years later, not only as a film but as social commentary “about ambition, competition, race and class in our society. About our value structures. And about the daily lives of people … who are usually invisible in the mass media, but have determination and resiliency that is a cause for hope” (Ebert).

The Downs-Jones Library will be screening Hoop Dreams Sunday, October 19 and Sunday, October 26 in room 104 on the first floor of the library (part 1 on the 19th, part 2 on the 26th) from 7pm-9pm. Discussion will be held prior to and following the screening.

The Downs-Jones Library provides access to resources regarding sports and the African-American experience as well as the art of documentary film:

Sports and the African American Experience

Carter-Francique, Akilah R., Suzanne Malia Lawrence, and Jeff C. Eyanson. “African American Femal Athletes’ Stories About Race: A Phenomenological      Exploration.” Journal of Global Intelligence & Policy 4.4 (2011): 1-18. Academic        Search Complete. Web. 5 Oct. 2014.

Fosty, George and Darril, Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925. Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2008. Print.

Call Number: GV 847.8 C65 F68

Frey, Darcy. The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. Print.

Call Number: GV 885.73 N4 F74

Hoop Dreams. Dir. Steve James. Perf. Arthur Agee, Jr and William Gates. 1994. New Line, 2005. DVD.

Call Number: DVD 126

White, Derrick E. “Sports and the Racial Divide: African American and Latino Experience in and Era of Change.” Journal of African American History 94.4  (2009): 591-593. Literary Reference Center. Web. 5 Oct. 2014

Documentary Film

Cardullo, Robert J. “Cinema as ‘Social Documentary’: The Film of Andre Bazin,   Revisited.” Studies in French Cinema 13.1 (2013): 33-46. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Oct. 2014

Cinema and Social Change in Latin America: Conversations with Filmmakers. Ed. Julianne Burton. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1986. Print.

Call Number: PN 1993.5 L3 C49

Lind, Rebecca Ann. Race/Gender/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers. New York: Pearson, 2004. Print.

Call Number: P 94.5 M55 R33

Nichols, Bill, Jeannette Sloniowski, and Barry Keith Grant. Documenting the Documentary: Close Reading of Documentary Film and Video. Detriot: Wayne State University Press, 2014. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 5 Oct. 2014.

Swender, Rebecca. “Claiming the Found: Archive Footage and Documentary Practice.” Velvet Light Trap: A Critical Journal of Film & Television 64 (2009): 3-10.  Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Oct. 2014.

Works Cited

 Hoop Dreams”. Ebert Digital, LLC, 21 Oct. 1994. Web. 5 Oct. 2014.

 “1994 Sundance Film Festival”. Sundance Institute, n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2014.

hoop dreams

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Banned Books Week


It’s Banned Books Week. The Downs-Jones Library is celebrating the freedom to read with our Banned Books display on the upper level. The display includes books that have been banned or challenged in the past.

Titles include:

  •  Uncle Tom’s Cabin / N PS2954 .U5 2007
  •  Autobiography of Malcolm X / N E185.97.L5 A3 1977
  •  Persepolis / PN6747.S245 P4713 2007
  •  Anne Frank’s Diary / D810.J4 F73 1997
  •  House at Pooh Corner / J PZ7 .M64 Ho
  •  Invisible Man / N PS3555.L625 I5 1990

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Additions to collection: Mexico

mexico display wordleExplore Mexico with our new book display just inside the upper level library doors! These new additions to our collection cover many aspects of Mexican society: history, literature, religion, politics, and more. Titles include:

  • Mex-ciné: Mexican filmmaking, production, and consumption in the twenty-first century / PN1993.5 .M4 A43 2013
  • Maya exodus: indigenous struggle for citizenship in Chiapas / F1221 .T9 M64 2012
  • Barrio Libre: criminalizing states and delinquent refusals of the new frontier / HV5831 .M46 R66 2012
  • The broken spears: the Aztec account of the conquest of Mexico / F1230 .V5713 1992
  • The course of Mexican history / F1226 .M54 1991
  • Singing for the dead: the politics of indigenous revival in Mexico / F1221 .M35 F38 2013
  • Mexico’s revolutionary avant-gardes: from estridentismo to ¡30-30! / N6555.5 .E76 F59 2013

Find these and many more in our catalog and our ebook collection. Not finding what you need? Ask a librarian!

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Additions to collection – Communication

women advertising representation

Recent additions to our collection in the area of COMMUNICATION:

Black pioneers in communication research / N P91.5.U5 J33 2006
Introduction to intercultural communication : identities in a global community / GN345 .J43 2007
Media work / HM1206 .D48 2007
Women, advertising and representation : beyond familiar paradigms / HQ1180 .W6516 2010
Intercultural communication : a global reader / HM1211 .I5624 2004
Race, gender, media : considering diversity across audiences, content, and producers / P94.5.M55 R33 2004
Image and representation : key concepts in media studies / P91 .L29 2009


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John Scalzi’s Redshirts

The longer something has been around, the easier it is to mock it. That is certainly the case with John Scalzi’s Redshirts. Not that Redshirts has been around that long: it was released in 2012 and made the running for a Hugo Award that year. (In the world of sci-fi, this is a Big Deal – if you see a book has won a Hugo Award, read it, because the experts in the field have agreed that this is the best novel/novella/short story/collection of the year.) No, Redshirts cheerfully mocks Star Trek, which has certainly been around for a while – the show will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016 – along with the clichés that show and its spinoffs have spawned across the many universes of TV sci-fi.

Let me make one thing clear: I am an ardent Star Trek fan, a Trekkie, a Trekker. I’ll spare you the long-winded explanation of the difference between the two terms, because there is one, but that’s another story. But while Redshirts mocks my favorite fictional universe of all time, it does so with great love, a keen eye, and no little enjoyment, simply daring offended Trekkies to object, because true fans will know that everything Scalzi parodies…is not all that far from the truth. The show has holes, the show has flaws. Trekkers know: So what? But Redshirts is a joyful spin through the show’s problems and clichés from the ground up, the viewpoint of the disposable characters whose defining traits – those red shirts and expendability – have become a cultural byword.

The story goes through three stages: the simple parody of the redshirt’s point of view; the hilarious meta-fictional plot of the redshirts realizing they are in a badly written show and taking advantage of the badly written clichés of the show to track down the real-world authors and complain; and the simply baffled musings of said authors after the characters have gone home, as they wonder now what do I do? and has this happened to anyone else? Throughout, it maintains a sharp awareness of sci-fi fans, sci-fi writers, and science fiction in general, and loves it all even as it mocks it.

While hardcore Star Trek fans will spot most of the jokes, even readers who have only seen an episode or two here and there, or who only know the show by reputation, will recognize the clichés that Redshirts is out to get. It’s a Mystery Science Theater 3000 of books, 314 pages of humor and happy hunting of bad writing. Even if you’re not a Trekkie, it’s worth a read; if you ever plan on writing fiction, it’s definitely worth looking at for a pointed outline of what not to do. As a novel, Redshirts illustrates many of the pitfalls of lazy sci-fi, while simultaneously, of course, greatly enjoying falling into all of them and wallowing around for a while.

The Downs-Jones Library’s copy of Redshirts can be found at PS 3619 C256 R43 2012.

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The Light In August

August has fallen upon us a warm blanket that we do no want. The air of August is only made to feel more oppressive as it is smothered between the immediate memories of heat from May, June, and July and the stifling anticipation of temperatures of early September.

In 1932, William Faulkner’s Light in August was published. It is the story of a young white woman, Lena Grove, in search for the father of her unborn child in Jefferson, Mississippi, a town in Faulkner’s fiction Yoknapatawpha County. It is also a tale of race, sex, and violence. Perhaps Faulkner hoped to set a tone with the title; a sense of discomfort and oppression that comes from August sun that is almost meant to remind the reader of the oppression that comes from unforgiving Southern mores, racism, and violence (Corbett).

William Faulkner is almost universally regarded as one of America’s greatest writers. He was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 1949 (, the Pulitzer Prize in 1955 for A Fable and in 1963, posthumously, for The Reivers (The Pulitzer Prizes)), and the National Book Award in 1951 for Collected Stories and in 1955, again, for A Fable (National Book Award). His name is on one of the most prestigious writer’s awards in the US, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Faulkner’s canon has been collected and well critiqued, the results of which are available through the resource at Huston-Tillotson University’s Down’s Jones Library:

Works Cited

Corbett, Bob. “Light In August.” What I’ve Been Reading: Comments on Books from Bob Corbett. Webster University, July 2013. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

“Fiction”. The Pulitzer Prizes. Columbia University, n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

“National Book Award – Fiction”. National Book Foundation: Presenters of the National              Book Award.  National Book Award, 2007. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

“William Faulkner – Bibliography”. Noble Media AB 2014. Web. 4 Aug  2014.


Physical Books:

Faulkner’s novels, short stories, and poetry, as well as, critical works are located in the PS3511. A86 – PS3511. A86 Z9853 range.

Novels, 1930-1935   William Faulkner PS3511. A86 A6 1985 (Includes Light in August)

William Faulkner, American Writer Frederick R. Karl PS3511. Z8588 1990

The South and Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha: The Actual and the A pocryphal

Ann J. Abadie and Evans Harrington, editors PS3511 . A86 Z489


­New Orleans Sketches William Faulkner

Faulkner and Whiteness Jay Watson 

William Faulkner: An Economy of Complex Words Richard Godden

Database Articles:


“William Faulkner: A Bibliography of Criticism” Irene Lynn Sleeth

Twentieth Century Literature

“William Faulkner As History Teacher” C. Ben Wright

The History Teacher

InfoTrac Academic

“The Southern Hard(ly) Boiled: Knight’s Gambit, Big Sleep, and Faulkner’s Construction of the Popular Masculine Subject” Nicole Kenley

The Mississippi Quarterly

“Introducion: Faulkner and the Metropolis” Peter Lurie

The Faulkner Journal


“William Faulkner’s Civil Wars” Jay Watson

Southern Quarterly

“The City Specter: William Faulkner and the Threat of Urban Encroachment”

Anne Hirsche Moffitt

Faulkner Journal


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