The Big Read

                February 2nd marks the start of a community-wide event, The Big Read. Now, you may ask, “What in the world is The Big Read?” The Big Read is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest. The program is “designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read provides competitive grants to support innovative reading programs in selected communities.  Through The Big Read, selected communities come together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 36 selections from U.S. and world literature.” (

            Every year, about 75 communities are chosen to take part in the program. To date, more than 1,000 grants have been awarded to communities in the U.S. to host Big Reads since the program’s 2007 national launch.

            This year, Evansville’s chosen book described by USI’s news release about the event is, “The Grapes of Wrath, a novel that depicts economic hard times and environmental issues faced by those who lived through the Great Depression, was selected for the community read as it closely relates to the world we live in today. I read this book back in high school and it was one of my favorites. It is a great story of how people overcame economic hardship, drought on a farm, and hopelessness. This novel is very inspiring and would be a great read for any student. Whether you read the entire novel or just a couple chapters, I encourage all students to try to take little time out of their day and explore this novel.Image

             As I mentioned, Rice Library will be encouraging students to read The Grapes of Wrath during The Big Read. So in order to help students indulge in this novel they will have the book available at all times so students can read it whenever works best for them. The Grapes of Wrath will be set aside on reserve at the front desk for all students. All you have to do is ask for the reserve version of The Grapes of Wrath at the front desk and it will be all yours for 24 hours and you can take it home, as well. Pretty easy, right?

             Some of you may not be huge readers, I understand. Even if you don’t have the urge to read The Grapes of Wrath on your spare time, there is another way you can participate in The Big Read. There is also a movie version of The Grapes of Wrath. Like the book, Rice Library will have the movie on reserve, as well, so that you can enjoy the story in a different form. This will be available for an entire week! I’m thinking a Grapes of Wrath viewing party is in order!

              Starting February 2nd there will be multiple events for The Big Read. Each event will be promoting people getting involved in reading The Grapes of Wrath, as well as making it easier for people to do so. Some of the events are as listed:

  • February 2nd , 2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
    • A panel of USI faculty will discuss the relevance of the book and books will be distributed
  • February 21st, 7:00 P.M.
    • Showing of The Grapes of Wrath movie in Forum 1 on USI campus
  • March 2nd, 2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
    • Closing panel of The Big Read at Evansville Vanderburgh Library

There are also multiple book discussions at public libraries throughout The Big Read so be sure to check those out as well. All of the events are listed at this URL:

             I  hope that many of you will do your best to participate in The Big Read this year. It is a great event that expands literacy across our country and helps people become more familiar with our greatest works of literature. Be sure to stop by the library on February 2nd or after to pick up a copy of The Grapes of Wrath and be a part of one of the biggest reading events of the year!

Read on,

                        Austin Viano

ProQuest Central, A New Way To Research

                As college students, most of us are faced with the daunting task of writing endless research papers a couple times a semester.  It is difficult for most students to do well on these papers due to lack of preparation. I, for one, had this problem in the past, but once I learned how to conduct my research properly the paper took care of itself in no time. Most students have used Rice Library’s research databases to gather information before starting their paper. However, Rice Library has just added a new database that may just make searching for information a whole lot easier for all of us!

                Proquest Central has just been added to the list of databases that Rice Library offers. Most students’ first reactions to this would be, “Oh boy, another database for me to spend countless hours on (in a sarcastic voice, of course)”. Nevertheless, this database may just be the best thing to ever happen to you, in an academic sense.

                So what is Proquest Central? And what makes it so much better than all the other databases we have used in past research projects? First and foremost, Proquest Central is a compilation of 28 different databases that you will have access to all at the same time. For example, there are databases for accounting and tax, career education, family health, health management, science journals, and telecommunications. And that is just skimming the surface.

                While accessing Proquest Central, students are able to either search all of the 28 databases at the same time or they can narrow their search down to one database at a time. For example, I am a business administration major so I may want to look up information about specific companies. To do this, I would simply click on the Hoover’s Company Profiles database and conduct my research from there, simple and easy.

                Most of us have use the Proquest Research Library that Rice Library offered in the past. However, it is no longer available by itself through Rice Library. Don’t freak out though, it is actually just combined with Proquest Central and you are able to access it through Proquest Central. That way you don’t have to worry about going back and forth between two different databases.

                All in all, I have found that Proquest Central is a great addition to the databases services that Rice Library offers. Students can virtually find just about anything they are searching for through Proquest Central. I am very confident that this database will provide students with the information they need, but in a simpler and quicker fashion. I hope that all of you explore this database and utilize it to its fullest when you are assigned that 15 page research paper. It may just make surviving through it a little easier.

Keep on researching,

Austin Viano

Rice Library Offers Perfect Service For Students

A new semester brings new classes, new challenges, and new opportunities to succeed. We all struggle at the beginning of the semester to get back in the rhythm of things. However, I want to help you get through that early semester winter blues and get a good start.

                One thing that helps me to get a good start with the semester is simply taking good notes and staying updated with my classes.  Rice Library has just the service to help you do that. About a year ago, Rice Library received 40 iPads from the IT department that students can check out for an ENTIRE WEEK. Since then, the Provost paid to bring in  an additional 20 iPads as well! Students can take it home, take it to class, heck, they can even take it to Australia if they want, as long as they bring it back within a week and there is no damage of course.


                Now you might be asking, “Why would I even want to check out an iPad and what am I going to do with it?” I think the real question, however, is “What aren’t you going to do with it?”  As we all know, with Apple the possibilities are endless. A few examples are listed below:

  1. Take the iPad to class and use it to pull up a lecture PowerPoint to aid in note taking if your professor moves along too fast
  2. Check your Blackboard easily with the pre-downloaded Blackboard App
  3. Watch Netflix after a long day of class and studying
  4. Stay in touch with the pre-downloaded social media Apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  5. If you use Dropbox, there is a pre-downloaded Dropbox App that will allow you to have access to all your documents anytime and anywhere
  6. Last but not least, download any App that you want, whether it is to help you earn straight A’s this semester or just become a master of Candy Crush

I bet by now you are already putting on your winter coat to rush to the library to check out one of the iPad. First, let me tell you a little about how the process works. All you need to do is come into the library and ask one of the student workers at the Checkout Desk if you can borrow an iPad. Then you will need to fill out a liability form, basically the same form that you fill out when checking out laptops. Next they will give you your own iPad with a case, charger, and carrying bag that will be yours for the next 7 days. At the end of the 7 days, or earlier if you are finished enjoying it, bring it back to the front desk and you will be on your way. And, to make it even better, if you want to check out another iPad right afterwards all you have to do is wait 24 hours and you can come right back and get another one! Pretty darn easy, right?

                There is always a privacy issue with these kinds of things so I want you to know that all of your information will be safe and will not be kept whatsoever. When the iPads are turned in they are wiped clean completely. They delete all the downloaded Apps and completely delete any information that may have been entered into the iPad. So, for instance, if you ordered a new book off Amazon from the iPad your credit card number and other information will not be on there anymore, period.

                I hope that you enjoyed this blog and every single one of your check out this great service that Rice Library is providing for students like you. Now if I were you, I wouldn’t waste any more time reading this blog and run to the library right now to get your iPad because they are going like hot cakes!

Austin Viano – New Social Media Marketing Assistant

Hello everyone,

                My name is Austin Viano, your new David L. Rice social media marketing assistant.  I am currently a senior here at USI, so yes I am about to graduate and it is very very sad. I am also on the cross country team and track team for USI. We are those guys that are running around campus in nothing but short shorts when it gets warm out in the spring. Here are a few facts about myself that you might enjoy:

  1. I am from Illinois, the real home of Lincoln
  2. Obviously my favorite president is Abraham Lincoln and he gave speeches in my little town a few times while he was running for Senate
  3. I love Seinfeld, not just because it is the best show ever made but because me and Jerry Seinfeld both believe Superman is the best Superhero, hands down
  4. My favorite ice cream is Moose Tracks and if you share that love we will most likely be best friends
  5. I am an Eagle Scout (Scouts Honor) and I was in the coolest Boy Scout Troop on the planet
  6. Sourdough pretzels are my favorite snack so if you want to leave a bag somewhere in the library for me to find I would really appreciate it
  7. I enjoy hiking very much and Mt. Kilimanjaro is next on my list
  8. I once lathered my hands in chap stick in hopes that it would substitute as lotion… didn’t work
  9. I am a great pancake maker. So good that they should have put me in the box of the “Perfect Pancake” product instead of the actual Perfect Pancake Maker
  10. I really enjoy reading when I have time. My favorite books are Lone Survivor, Harry Potter Series of course, any James Patterson novel imaginable, Water For Elephants, and Nothing to Lose Everything to Gain

My goal as the new social media marketing assistant here at Rice Library is to connect you with services offered here at Rice Library and make your experience here the best possible. Don’t be shy to ask me anything. If you have any suggestions for the library, problem, or comment let me know and I will help you to the best of my ability.

Be sure to follow us at @RiceLib on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Our Instagram name is @ricelibrary as well!

                Read On,

                                Austin Viano