Consumer Health Information

For the grand opening of the new THC, the library, in cooperation with the Dean of Students and the THC staff, created the Consumer Health Collection. This collection of books on heath-related issues written for you and me (not medical professionals or students) are available for check-out. To search for these books, go to the library catalog and search with the subject heading "consumer health collection". This collection will be growing over the next two years, so check back! Also, if you have any recommendations please email me.

There is a corresponding web page covering the information I presented in the workshop held during the grand opening week. It serves as the guide to all of our consumer-health information. For additional tips on how to search for quality health information stop by my office or email me to make an appointment.

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Lucubrations of a Late-Night Library Laborer

As resolved by yesterday's Town Meeting, the library now has an honor code!

Some people have objected to this, primarily on the grounds that it isn't necessary, isn't enforceable, and the people most in need of reminders about courtesy and such are the ones least likely to pay attention to or sign it. Reasonable points, yes.


While not strictly essential to the library's existence or ability to function, the honor code is nonetheless a concrete, written-down statement of the principles that are essential to the way our library operates. The fact that people seem to need repeated reminders to check out and return materials and keep the place tidy demonstrates that there is a necessity for… a reminder! Drawing attention to the honor system by asking that people read and sign the code, which they then see posted strategically around the building, will, it is hoped, serve this purpose.

It is not "enforceable," no. If you walk off with a book in the middle of the night, no one may ever know. Certainly the librarians won't come after you with baseball bats (that would be silly and potentially illegal). But in this extraordinary little community, we have some extraordinary library privileges, and must stay aware of the contingent responsibilities. The library honor code asks that you stop and think before misusing the library's resources. It might not seem like a big deal to take just this one book away without checking it out, because you're in a hurry, or the computer isn't working — but if someone else had taken that book, maybe just earlier that day, and you looked and looked for it, and the librarians looked for it and advertised its disappearance, but you really needed it NOW — wouldn't you be frustrated? And if you were the one who took it and somebody else was frustrated, would you care? The honor code's purpose is not to guilt-trip you into behaving yourself; it asks that you think about that other person-who-might-be-you, and care. It asks that you sustain a spirit of courtesy by thinking of others as well as yourself — or in other, harsher words, that you enforce yourself.

I don't know what to do about the people who genuinely don't care enough to respect shared property. But the honor code is a beginning, a gesture, a statement of acceptance of the hitherto tacit rules by which we govern our own library use. It may not offer threats or punishments for those who "break" it, but that does not render it pointless or ineffective!



Panicked yet?

As the end of the semester approaches, final papers cast long shadows, doubt and worry creep ever closer, a sense of impending doom settles in… Fear not! You WILL find enough sources for your research papers! The library staff are coming to your rescue with one more van trip to the libraries at UMass Amherst.

The 15-seater van will leave at 10:00 am from the Dining Hall this Saturday (the 5th), returning to campus in time for dinner and giving you a good 4-5 hours or so to explore the resources that will be at your disposal. Only Massachusetts residents are allowed to check out books (and remember you'll have to figure out a way of returning them), but you're free to make copious photocopies/get rid of loose change, and encouraged to take down citation information for all the books and articles that we will cheerfully inter-library loan for you when you return. The deadline for requesting ILLs this semester is the end of next week, so now's your chance!

Sign up on the sheet at the library service desk, pack yourself a lunch, and beware of falling bricks! (Or at least chips of brick… the truth is sadly less entertaining than the legend.)