Friday, December 01, 2006

Netlibrary ebook for December

Every month, Netlibrary gives us free access to one of their ebooks for that month. This month it's Wagnerian opera--useful for interpreting the movie Apocalypse Now, I suppose. (That's my favorite part of the movie--rent it if you don't know what I'm talking about!)

December eBook of the Month:
The New Grove Guide to Wagner and His Operas
By Barry Millington
Oxford University Press, 2006

The December eBook of the Month profiles the life and the work of one of the most controversial figures in the history of ideas as well as music. Drawing upon the scholarship of The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, the most comprehensive dictionary of opera in the world, The New Grove Guide to Wagner and His Operas offers a concise survey and guide, providing both seasoned Wagner-lovers and neophytes with all they require for an in-depth appreciation of Wagner.

Author Barry Millington has completely updated the original pieces and contributed four new chapters on Wagner, including a summary of Wagner productions from 1876 to the present day, a suggested listening and viewing guide, complete chronology of Wagner's operas, and a glossary of terms that will delight any opera-goer. In addition, there are detailed entries on each of Wagner's operas, a main biographical section, and a group of separate articles on such topics as Leitmotif and Gesamtkunstwerk, as well as a newly revised updated article on Bayreuth.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Netlibrary)

Culinary Arts changes for Spring semester

If you are planning on taking any culinary arts classes this Spring, be aware that the Spring printed schedule is incorrect. Here are the correct fees:

Materials fee changes for Culinary Arts Spring 2007

"R" CULART 10 (4324) $150.00

"R" CULART 20 (4325) $90.00

"R" CULART 25 (5142) $45.00

"R" CULART 30 (4326) $135.00

"R" CULART 35 (4327) $50.00

"R" CULART 40 (5145) $60.00

"R" CULART 43 (5147) $45.00

"R" CULART 45 (4328) $55.00

"R" CULART 49 (4329) $60.00

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Cuesta news)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MLA formatting help for library databases

Format Citations in EBSCO Databases

Cuesta College Library's Ebsco databases now have the ability to format article citations in MLA, APA and other significant formats. How does it work? First, just add any citation to the "folder" (click on icon to right of article information). When you are ready to compile and produce the citations click on the main folder icon at the top of the records list. Then choose to email, print or download the records (see screenshot below). On the next screen click the radio button for "industry citation format" and choose a format style from the dropbox (see screenshot below). That's it. You can perform a similar function in all ProQuest databases.


2. Choose "Industry Citation Format" and specify the format desired.

One BIG CAUTION: Your citation will look much more like MLA or APA style, but still will need some work. Here's an example:

Ebsco-generated MLA citation
"VAW A BLOW TO AIDS." Herizons 20.3 (2007): 10-10. MasterFILE Premier. 14 November 2006.

Should be
"VAW a Blow To AIDS." Herizons 20.3 (2007): 10. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Cuesta Coll. Lib., San Luis Obispo, CA. 14 Nov. 2006 .

[Thanks to the Gutman Library blog, Philadelphia University, for alerting me to this new service.]

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Research Help)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't forget to vote!

If you're having last-minute trouble deciding on how to vote, you can check newspapers online to see what they're recommending.

Atascadero News (local races)

Tribune (local races)

Los Angeles Times (statewide)

Sacramento Bee

San Francisco Chronicle

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Spring schedule available online

The Spring schedule is now available online. Go to Find Classes on the Cuesta homepage. The print schedule should be out in a few days.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(Cuesta news)

New Netlibrary ebook for November

Every month, Netlibrary provides a free book for that month. Here is November's:

November eBook of the Month:
From Vietnam to 9/11: On the Front Lines of National Security

Avoiding dry, detached analysis, the November eBook of the Month presents the revealing story of an insider's involvement with international affairs and the lessons he learned from those experiences.

Written by Congressman Jack Murtha, From Vietnam to 9/11 offers refreshingly candid observations of the most important international crises in recent history. From Vietnam and Lebanon to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, this eBook details America's failures as well as its successes, pointing out where policymaking was misguided or ill-informed and offering perceptive analyses of resource allocation and policy direction for the coming century.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

in Netlibrary

Friday, October 27, 2006

Netlibrary e-books; Stem cell research book

Cuesta library owns over 7,000 Netlibrary e-books, which can be viewed by either going to the library catalog and typing in "Netlibrary", or by going to and logging in as a Cuesta student. (Go to to create a Netlibrary account if you don't already have one.)

Every month, Netlibrary features a new book. This month it's The Stem Cell Divide: The Facts, the Fiction, and the Fear Driving the Greatest Scientific, Political, and Religious Debate of Our Time by Michael Bellomo. Amacom Books, 2006. If you're doing a speech or paper on the stem cell debate, this is your chance to try out this book.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Cal Poly is closed today due to a burst pipe. All water had to be shut off all around campus to fix the break. Campus should be open again tomorrow.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Research help)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Phil Angelides in San Luis Obispo tomorrow

Interested in the next election for California governor? Here's your chance to hear the Democratic challenger to Schwarzeneggar--



Phil Angelides

Front Porch Town Hall –

tax cuts to help

middle-class families

The Hogan’s Home

1325 Cazadero Street

San Luis Obispo, California

(cross street – San Luis Drive)

Tuesday, August 29th

3:15 – 4:30pm


Please RSVP with Mónica Henestroza at 916-448-1998 or

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

I read a great book over summer break--The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman. It's a nonfiction book about cross-cultural (American vs. Hmong) misunderstanding in a Merced, California hospital setting. It has a lot to say about our worldview (including the healthcare professional worldview) and how it's conditioned by our culture.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Good Reading)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Save Money on Your Textbooks

How to Save Money on Your Textbooks:

1. Cuesta bookstore puts out its list of textbooks, available in the bookstore or the library checkout desk on both San Luis and North County campuses. Order textbooks as soon as possible. Make sure you have the correct edition/ISBN. (Most classes use the same text as last year, but if the text is more than a couple of years old, there could be a new edition.) A few teachers will accept the previous edition, such as the nutrition and human biology teachers at North County. If you are taking Math 7, the instructors are asking you to purchase the eighth edition of Fundamentals of Mathematics instead of the ninth, which means students are scrounging at Aida's or online to get it.
2. Check or for the textbook. Often you will find instructor’s editions for really cheap, which usually is fine. The ISBN won’t be the same as the student’s edition, but that is OK.
3. Shipping times vary, but normally the book will arrive in 1-2 weeks. If that isn’t soon enough for the class, both the San Luis and North County libraries have copies of the most-used textbooks on reserve for two hour use in the library. You can check to see if the library has a copy at If that won’t work for you, you can also purchase texts at Aida’s in San Luis Obispo, which will normally be a little bit cheaper (not much, though) than the prices at the Cuesta bookstore.
4. This will not work if you need to purchase a bundled textbook with CD, login code for textbook website, etc. You have to pay retail price for that. The Cuesta bookstore textbook list will indicate if you must purchase a bundled textbook.

[This is a rerun of a posting I made back in December, when it was book-buying time]

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Money, WWW Resources)

Monday, May 08, 2006

American Ground: good reading

I just finished reading American Ground by William Langewiesche. It's about the recovery effort by construction workers at the World Trade Center after 9/11. Very well-written and thought-provoking. I recommend it!

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Good reading)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Income Tax blues

It's that wonderful time again: time to do your income taxes. Even if you don't feel like doing them, you need to fill the forms out so you can use them for financial aid purposes. All the forms are available at the IRS website at

If you have questions on your income tax, a great resource is J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax. It's available at the San Luis campus library in the reference collection at KF 6369 J18 2006. I've used it for years to decipher my income taxes.

And yes, I finished my taxes two weeks ago, so I'm feeling smug.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Money)

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I was just reading a post from the Free Range Librarian blog (my favorite) where she mentions snowclones. I thought, "What is a snowclone?" I tried getting a definition from Google (define:snowclone), and got nothing. Then I checked Wikipedia (, and found just what I needed: "Snowclone is a neologism used to describe a type of formula-based cliché which uses an old idiom in a new context....The term is an allusion to one particular instance of the phenomenon:
If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have Y words for Z."

Wikipedia has its place!
Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Fun)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Summer Schedule Now in Print

The Summer class schedules are available in print now--Fall schedules should arrive some time next week.

Tina Lau
North County Librarian
(in Cuesta news)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cascading Style Sheets

I learned webpage publishing (using HTML) several years ago, before Cascading Style Sheets were invented. I never had the time/inclination to update my HTML knowledge, and finally I have been confronted with the fact that my own personal webpage won't display correctly in the Mozilla Firefox browser. I have tried to find a quick-and-dirty introduction to Cascading Style Sheets in the past, but have been unsuccessful. I finally found a really good basic tutorial at the W3 Consortium, If you're like me and are basically clueless on the creation of CSS and don't have the time to wade through a manual, try out this tutorial.

Tina Lau
North County Librarian
(in WWW resources, Technology)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Requesting Books from the Other Campus Library

When you use the library online catalog and find a book you want, often the book is housed at the other campus library. To have it delivered to the library you are at, you click on the blue "Request" button and it gets delivered by 12 noon the next day. That is, until the library building on the San Luis campus decided to get remodeled. As of this Friday, it will take an extra day for delivery of books back and forth between campuses. This will last for several months until the remodeling is further along.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Library insider, Research help)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Show Me the Money

The Cuesta College Financial Aid Department, in collaboration with the Associated Students of Cuesta College, will be hosting "Show Me the Money" a Financial Aid Literacy Fair. The event will take place on the North County campus on Tuesday, March 28th from 5:00 to 8:00pm in the Courtyard [N.B. Due to rain, it has been moved from the courtyard to the cafeteria and the
lobby of the 1000 building], and on the San Luis Obispo campus on Wednesday, March 29th from 11:00am to 2:30pm in room 5401.
"Show Me the Money" will feature interesting and informative workshops on such topics as "Financing Your Education," "All About Credit Cards," "Is Your Financial Future At Risk," "Identity Theft," and "Achieving Your Financial Goals." Local and national lending institution representatives will be present to answer questions. Free pizza, soda, and Cowboy Cookies will be available. There will be drawings for gifts, gift certificates, and scholarships ranging from $20 to $200 dollars. The band KARMA will provide live music. [taken from the campus headlines section of the Cuesta website]

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Creating categories in Blogger

I finally found out how to create categories for this blog--there is a hack at that I used. Hope you like the categories! [If you understand this posting, you have passed the Geek Test.]

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Technology)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Summer and Fall Schedules are Available

The Summer and Fall 2006 class schedules are available starting this morning in PAWS using the Open Class Finder, but they're not finalized yet. Listings could change. Print schedules won't be available until sometime in April. (in Cuesta news)

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Corporate Donations to Republicans/Democrats

Want to know which corporations spend money supporting the Democrats, and which support Republicans? Check out this website:

Interesting to note that, for example, Wal-Mart gave over 2 million dollars in 2004, 80% of it to Republicans, while Price Club/Costco gave $208,000, of which 98% went to Democrats. Looking at the website might change where you spend your money.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Finding the Book You Need

When only a book will do, first I check Cuesta library's online catalog to see if we own it. For example, if I were needing to find a copy of Smart Mobs : the Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold, I would go to the library homepage at, go to Webcat, and see if Cuesta owned it. If we didn't, I would next check the public library system at If they owned it, I would reserve a copy and have it sent to the Atascadero branch, closest to where I live. (You need to get a free library card in order to use the public library system.) If that still didn't work, I would borrow the book from another library by using Cuesta's interlibrary loan system. It's free (unless the other library charges to loan the book) and takes 7-10 working days usually. The form is at the bottom of the library homepage at Nowadays, you can get practically any book you want for free.

Speaking of free: If you wanted to buy the book, you could shop locally at one of the bookstores, or go to Barnes and Noble in San Luis for a very large selection. If you wanted to get a deal on it, you could go to AddAll and shop for the lowest price. The hardback edition of Smart Mobs is now out of print, but used to retail for $26. Using AddAll I found the book for 10.25 including tax at The paperback edition retails for $16 and is available for $8.20 including tax when I checked AddAll.

And if you only wanted to read a little section of the book, you could use the Search Inside the Book feature at to look at a part of it. Many (not all) books sold on Amazon allow you to search inside them and look at several pages. What I do is look at the table of contents, then type in words from the particular chapter title that interests me. It works great! (You could also use Google Book Search at, which basically does the same thing as Amazon's Search Inside the Book.)

Happy reading!
(in Money, Research help)
Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

I've started reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves, a very funny book about punctuation. (Believe it or not.) The author is quite tongue-in-cheek about the topic. If you want to have a fun read, and painlessly learn something about correct punctuation in the process, I would recommend this book.

Speaking of painlessly learning something, I like to painlessly learn by reading novels, historical and otherwise. I read The Kite Runner recently and learned a lot about the culture of Afghanistan. A lot of the history I know I've learned by reading historical novels.
(in Good reading, Fun)
Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ask a Mexican

I just saw an article in the LA Times today about a columnist for the OC (Orange County) Weekly who writes a column called "Ask a Mexican". It's a very tongue-in-cheek look at how different cultures perceive each other in Orange County. I read some of them, and I thought it was hilarious. [Some people are offended--make up your own mind.]

The LA Times article can be found by going to our library homepage, choosing Databases (, then clicking on Proquest. Type in "ask a Mexican" and it comes right up. Back issues of the column can be read at¡ask-a-mexican!/ask-a-mexican/.
(in Fun, WWW Resources, Good reading)

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Four-day Weekend!

Cuesta is not having classes this Friday and coming Monday. Have some fun this weekend--

February 20 - 21 is the Flying Leap Storytelling Festival, Solvang, 688-9533.

or try the
Dollhouse & Miniatures Show and Sale
Enjoy the annual show in Morro Bay. About 30 dealers from all over USA. Door prizes, BBQ and other food available. Date: February 18, 2006 - February 19, 2006 Time: 10-4 Sat, 11-3 Sunday Location: Masonic Temple Event Address: 1338 Atascadero Highway, Morro Bay Parking: Free on Site Phone: 805-772-7858 Admission: $5.00

or, just go see some movies:

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Modern Language Association map of languages

The MLA website has a linguistic map of the United States that you can use to find out what areas of the U.S. have which languages spoken. It's at out "All languages other than English combined". (in WWW Resources)
Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Monday, January 30, 2006

Multiple IM accounts using meebo

I just found a great way to keep track of multiple IM accounts (Yahoo Messenger, AIM or ICQ, Jagger or GTalk, MSN). It's called meebo ( and it allows you to connect to multiple IM networks without downloading a program. Try it out! (in Technology)

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Frustrating Day

Following up on yesterday's post, today I'm dealing with yet another digital vs print decision. We could purchase some bundled sets of online books in specific subjects (construction, fashion, criminal justice, etc.), which would give students access to some great titles, and you could access them at home. Unfortunately, the pricing for the online packages is very expensive--$3000 for 19 culinary arts books, for example. We'll probably end up passing on these sets due to their cost. I hope the cost for digital copies goes down, so we can afford more of them. (in Library insider)

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Libraries still buy books!

I just spent the morning putting together book orders for our San Luis and North County libraries. Yes, we still do buy books. Increasingly we purchase electronic versions, such as our Netlibrary collection of 7,000 books, or our online databases like Ebsco and National Newspaper Index. But many book titles can only be purchased in print form, or they are better in print form. (I wouldn't want to curl up in front of my computer screen to read a novel, personally.)

I just read an article a few days ago in Educause Review by Jerry Campbell called "Changing a Cultural Icon: The Academic Library as a Virtual Destination" (at According to Campbell, "Within the next decade, published academic knowledge of all types will likely be issued digitally and made accessible on the Web, with paper publishing limited to mass-market titles, textbooks, and other areas that make economic sense." So we are in a transitional phase right now.

I will miss purchasing big reference sets as they go to online, because I can't help but enjoy the experience of using a print resource. I still love books--but in some instances, electronic is the better choice.
(in Library insider)

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

TV network news

Not a whole lot happening at Cuesta today, so I scanned the news headlines at (Refdesk is a great website with links to all sorts of information. Try it out sometime.) Turns out that two networks, UPN and WB, are merging:

Two small, long-struggling television networks _ UPN and The WB _ will shut down this fall and programming from both will be used to launch a new network aimed mainly at young and minority viewers.
The new network will be called The CW _ "C" for CBS Corp. and "W" for Warner Bros. _ each of which will own half of the new entity and contribute programs, assets and executives to the venture.

The new network will draw on programming from both UPN, whose shows include "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Veronica Mars," as well as from the slate of The WB, which includes "Supernatural," "Smallville" and "Everwood."


(in WWW Resources)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Henry V online text

Apparently there's a run on copies of Shakespeare's Henry V in the bookstores. If you're taking one of the English 1A sections that requires you to read it, here are a couple of online links to the text: (easy to navigate between scenes) (version at

Either will work! (in Assignments, WWW Resources)

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Friday, January 20, 2006

Short Story Recommendation

Over the Christmas break, I had time to read the Best American Short Stories, 2005 (PS648 S5 B43 2005). I highly recommend Cory Doctorow's story called Anda's Game. It's about a teenage girl who discovers that video games are not just games. It's pretty trippy.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Good reading)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Welcome Back! (or just Welcome!)/New Library Building

The semester has just started up, and Cuesta has some changes. There are about 40 new part-time instructors this semester, so you may have one of them. The library building on the San Luis campus has most of its walls up. I haven't heard the latest on when the building should be finished, but first everything will be moved from the older half of the building to the newer half. Once the older half of the building is renovated (bye-bye ugly carpet!), stuff will be moved from the newer half to the older refurbished half. The San Luis librarians are looking forward to an updating of their dowdy old building.

Have a great semester! Don't forget to stop in the library for help on research. Most of the librarians don't bite---

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Library insider)