Downs-Jones Library

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


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Beyond the Library

The Downs-Jones Library contains an extensive collection of both print and non-print media, in addition to providing access to a range of electronic databases. Despite the library’s offerings, a substantial bulk of the world’s literature, poetry, film, and scholastic output is not immediately available for our students due to the limits of time and physical space. Perhaps you are looking for a copy of a novel from the New York Times Best Seller list you can’t find on our shelves? Or maybe you are conducting research on a specific topic and you are unable to find a pertinent journal in our databases? What are your options when you need to surpass the limits of our physical and electronic resources?

The first way to obtain materials from outside of our collection is through the TexShare Program. Students can come into the library and speak with any of our librarians to obtain a TexShare Card that will remain valid until the end of the current semester. Once you have obtained your card, you will gain access to over 500 participating libraries across the state of Texas. You can use the Find-A-Library site or the TexShare Card Map to assist you in finding libraries that are participating in the program. Be sure to bring your Huston-Tillotson ID in addition to your TexShare Card when visiting other libraries.

Another option for students looking for materials outside of our collection is our Interlibrary Loan Service. All currently enrolled HT students are able to submit a request for books, articles, audiovisual materials, and other items that are not available in our collection. Students need to complete an Interlibrary Loan Request Form as thoroughly as possible and then submit the request to our Technical Services Librarian at jlwood@htu.edu. The process can take up to two weeks and some materials will be more difficult to obtain than others, but in most cases we will be able to acquire the items of interest.

The next time your search through our catalog comes up lacking, consider utilizing the TexShare Program or our Interlibrary Loan Service to reach beyond the limits of our collection.


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Mortality, Writing, and Immortality

If you could nominate anyone for immortality, who would you choose? Some people define a field so strongly that it’s hard to know what that field would be like without them. All too often, we learn.

There’s a little less magic left in the world today. One of the world’s most popular authors, Sir Terry Pratchett, who was knighted in 2009 for Services to Literature, died March 12th, 2015, at the age of 66. A prolific writer, penning over 70 books, he was best known for the Discworld series, set on a flat planet carried through space on the backs of four elephants riding on the back of a gigantic world turtle. It sounds ludicrous – it is ludicrous: that was the point.

Discworld started out with The Color of Magic as a parody of high fantasy and blossomed into satire of everything – wizardry, politics, police work, myths, war, dragons, witch hunts, opera, gender politics, Christmas, rock-and-roll, newspapers, the mail, religion, soccer/football, trains, movies…you name it, Discworld has a spin on it. Today, the Discworld series runs to some forty books (a forty-first will be published posthumously, this fall). Pratchett’s gift for words and sly sense of humor makes reading and rereading his books an experience that never gets old – I’ve read each book in the series easily a dozen times, and I’m still spotting jokes I didn’t see before, and understanding points he made so smoothly and subtly that I didn’t catch the first few times around. There isn’t space to talk about the characters he created or the world he built and fleshed out and made real.

Consider them wholeheartedly recommended, even if you’re not a fan of fantasy. Discworld was built on fantasy, but it’s so much more than that, and fantasy tropes and clichés are a favorite target for satire and mockery.

I first encountered Sir Terry’s work when I was about eleven or twelve, through the book The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, a send-up of the Pied Piper legend. I’m convinced I picked up the book because it has a cat on the cover – the “Amazing Maurice” is a talking cat who, with similarly talking rats, is working a Pied Piper scam. They go from town to town faking an infestation of rats until whoever is in charge thinks to call in a piper – also, of course, in league with Maurice. It gets progressively funnier from there, and along the way becomes about much, much more than the con.

Since then, Terry Pratchett and Discworld have been part of my life. His world – his writing, his characters, his sense of humor – became part of mine. While Sir Terry had been open about being ill – he was diagnosed some years ago with early-onset Alzheimer’s – I had hoped that he would have many more years to tell us stories and laugh with his legions of fans around the world. When I learned that he had died, it felt like a personal loss.

So if I could nominate someone to be immortal, would I have chosen Terry Pratchett? I would have. (I don’t think he would have accepted, based on the way he developed the character of Death in his books – a skeletal Grim Reaper who talks like this and has plenty of curiosity about and a never-admitted soft spot for humanity, who is possibly Discworld’s most popular character.) But in a way, Sir Terry nominated himself for immortality. He once wrote that no one is truly gone until the ripples they caused in the world die away – in a way, writers are immortal as long as their books are read.

Sir Terry Pratchett changed the world by showing that world to itself through the distorted lens of the Discworld. He made us laugh, and made us listen and learn and think while our guard was down. His fans are mourning his death, but his work, at least, will live on.

Thanks, Sir Terry. Safe travels.


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The Home Improvement Reference Center

Have a plumbing problem? The Downs-Jones Library may be able to help you out. The Home Improvement Reference Center is accessible through the TexShare databases and available to all Huston-Tillotson University students (off campus users will need a user name and password, which is available at the DJL desk).

The Home Improvement Reference Center is a database presenting articles on home maintenance, decorating, and improvement. A variety of topics are covered, from how to build a rabbit hutch to DIY (do-it-yourself) keyless entry. Topics are arranged alphabetically and organized under headings of decorating, electrical, maintenance, outdoor, plumbing, remodeling, and woodworking. Links to how-to videos and a glossary of terms are available in the “toolbox” on the right side of the screen. The Home Improvement Reference Center also features a project spotlight, currently on “Preventing Frozen Pipes.

To access the Home Improvement Reference Center, first go to the Down-Jones Library page on Huston-Tillotson University’s website. Second, in the left hand column, follow the “Electronic Databases” link. Choose the TexShare link, once on the databases page (off campus users will have to enter the username and password at this juncture). Scrolling down the page, the header “Complete List of Licensed Databases” will appear with a list of links beneath it. The Home Improvement Reference Center is listed alphabetically under “General Information”.

A simple search using the phrase “fix frozen pipes” will take you to an article titled “Fixing Burst or Frozen Pipes”. In the left hand column there will be links to other pages regarding similar issues or alternative remedies. Explore these pages and the database as a whole to best fix, maintain, or improve your home.


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Books & More

For many people, the idea of a library is irrevocably and almost exclusively linked with books. Although books make up a substantial portion of nearly every library’s collection, this common perception can obscure many of the other valuable non-print media that are available. In addition to traditional books, the Downs-Jones Library offers access to a wide array of electronic databases, eBooks, and general internet browsing on both PC and Mac computers.

Beyond print media and computer access, the library also houses a considerable collection of audio visual materials in Media Services room 103 on the first floor of the Downs-Jones Library. Patrons can search for titles in the collection utilizing the library’s online catalog. Setting the “Quick Limit” option to Videorecording will restrict the search to DVD and VHS materials. The collection contains a large range educational documentaries as well as entertaining feature films.   Requests for all audio visual items can be made to Ms. Amaya in room 103 on Monday through Friday before 5:00 PM.

Spend a little time in the online catalog and you might be surprised by what you find.


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Austin Music

Austin will be happy to tell you that it is the Live Music Capital of the World.  In fact Austin musicians have had a significant influence on the genres of blues, country, and psych rock. Performers such as Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson, and Stevie Ray Vaughn are well remembered and appreciated, the latter having statues erected in their honor. Antone’s, La Zona Rosa, and the Armadillo World Headquarters, now defunct venues, strike feelings of nostalgia amongst the Austin media corp. The East Side, now Austin’s hip part of town, has always had a significant impact on the city’s world renowned music scene.

The Victory Grill, named for its opening on VJ Day in 1945, on E. 11th St. was a hot spot for blues, R&B, soul, and jazz performed by both local performers and national touring acts. Austin bluesman W.C. Clark claims his first gig at the Victory as his first “real” gig, despite previously playing the Skyline Club on N. Lamar. Blues and jazz pianist Robert Shaw lived in east Austin and ran a grocery called Stop and Swat until 1967 when he returned to his music career performing at venues from Austin’s Aqua Fest to Frankfurt, Germany.

The Downs-Jones Library holds several books chronicling Austin’s music scene:

The Austin Music Scene: Through the Lens of Burton Wilson by Burton Wilson

call number: ML3521 .W55 2001

The Sound of Austin: Portraits by Matthew Sturtevant by Matthew Sturtevant

call number: ML3477.7 .T4 .S78 2012

Texas Music by Rick Koster

call number: ML3477.7 .T4 K67 2000

Texas Rhythm Texas Rhyme by Larry Willoughby

call number: ML3477 .W6 1990


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Fiction is a Reality at the Downs-Jones Library

Imagine this:

You would like a book to read. Not for class, not for an assignment, not something you have to write an essay on – just for fun. You don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, so you’re going to browse for whatever catches your interest. When the library is open, this is an easy enough request to fill, and everyone is welcome to roam the shelves looking for titles or authors that they recognize and might enjoy reading.

But what if…

You’re off campus. Or the library is closed. Or it’s raining and you don’t feel like going outside and getting wet. Or you and your laptop have gotten your favorite couch in the common area and you’re just really, really comfortable.

What now?

Fortunately, the Downs-Jones Library’s eBook collection does include novels, short story collections, and entertaining fiction. If you don’t know exactly what title or author you’re looking for, there are a few simple steps to finding options for recreational, portable reading.

Step One: Log onto the library’s eBook collection through the library webpage. If you’re off campus, the librarians can provide you with the log-in information.

Step Two: Under the search bar at the top of the page, click on “Advanced Search”. This will take you to a page with three search bars.

Step Three: There are also three drop down menus labeled “Select a Field (optional)”. Change the top one to “SU Subject” and type “fiction” into the search bar next to it.

Step Four: Click “Search”. You will be shown over 6,800 novels and works of fiction to browse through and choose from.

But maybe you’re looking for something in particular and want to filter by genre, or by subject.

On the left-hand side of the page, there are menus marked “Subject” and “Category”. By clicking on “Show More” beneath one or both of those two menus, you can choose from topics including “young women – fiction”, “race in literature”, “self in literature”, and “adventure stories”, as well as genres like “fiction / psychological”, “fiction / science fiction / general”, “fiction / humorous”, and “comics and graphic novels / fantasy”. The system will let you mix and match to taste.

Happy searching – and happy reading!


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Change is coming to the online catalog!

Thanks to a recent upgrade to our library software system, we are preparing to roll out a new and improved version of our online catalog. Like the current version, the new catalog will allow you to search for books and media in the Downs-Jones Library’s physical collection. Unlike the current version, the new catalog is designed to be easier to search and easier to review search results, and has a long-overdue more modern appearance!

Here’s a preview of what the new catalog will look like:

newcatalog1-sm newcatalog2-sm newcatalog3-sm

The current catalog can be found here; keep an eye on that space for the new version!

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