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Why I Love The Database Issues and Controversies

Why I Love The Database Issues and Controversies



TA Christine C. wants you to know that this database is the best.




Issues and Controversies saved my life last year. I was preparing for my APS debate on the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” and couldn’t seem to find a sufficient amount of reliable sources for both sides of the argument. How was I going to write my whole debate when I didn’t have enough reliable evidence to bolster my arguments? I would completely embarrass myself during the debate by having to cite my sources with “the website Republicans Hate Obama says” or “according to The Onion.”

I turned to the magical library databases and stumbled upon Issues and Controversies. After I typed in “The Affordable Care Act” on the search bar, the database led me to a vast amount of trustworthy websites and scholarly articles. Even better, Issues and Controversies had articles written from both perspectives and blurbs on every article titled “Supporters Argue” and “Opponents Argue” that gave me a concise and informative summary on the issue as well as ideas for arguments and counterarguments. Thanks to Issues and Controversies, the condition of my debate was saved.

Knowing what issues, domestic and international, are present and having a deep understanding of those issues allow us to become well informed and make stances of our own. The majority of our political stances are affected by our environment and it can often be difficult to clearly understand the other side of the argument when people around us paint the opponents as the “bad guys.” I personally recognize that going to a liberal school and living in one of the most liberal places in the country have shaped my political views. When biases become increasingly evident and ubiquitous, understanding both sides of an issues becomes more important. Issues and Controversies allowed me to look at a multitude of issues from a different perspective and critically think about my own biases.

Whether you need evidence for a school paper or want to learn more about the world around you, Issues and Controversies is a reliable and informative database to use. Think about issues in a new light and learn more about what was just on the news. Who knows? You might just learn something about the world and yourself.

By Christine C. ’17.

Check out Issues and Controversies here on our databases page.

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Books on Break!

Books on Break!

Thanksgiving Break is fast approaching! Obviously you’ll come check out books at the library to read, but with a whole week off, six books may not be enough. Fortunately, Casti library’s ebook collection is available 24/7 for all of your travel-friendly and emergency reading needs.

From fast paced historical mysteries to romance to deeply personal essays, our ebook collection has something for everyone.

Attempting to avoid an unwanted betrothal, 17 year old Peggy Fitzroy is catapulted into a world of royal intrigue, courtly deception, and Jacobite spies in 18th century England.

This unusual take on a Cinderella centers on Audrey McCarthy, whose chance for a life out of her small town relies on her winning an app development contest.

Sure to be loved by paranormal and post-apocalyptic aficionados, this book features a ghost hunter, Wasp, who makes a deal with a ghost to find out more about the world before the apocalypse.

Molly, a maid in the king’s castle, has visions which always come true. When tragedies strike the royal family, can Molly use her gifts to help them?

Jasmine, aspiring radio host, finds her plans thrown awry over and over by her dysfunctional mother and epileptic brother. But when she meets Wes, she wonders if maybe she can find happiness despite everything.

Featuring essays from around the world remembering what it was like growing up in war torn areas, this book is a powerful read.

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A Grim Fate for Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Censorship Based on Age Groups

A Grim Fate for Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Censorship Based on Age Groups

Sky, ’19 writes in defense of letting teens and kids choose for themselves what reading material they can handle.

We have all heard by now that the fairy tales we loved and knew growing up, are heavily edited versions of the originals. Even Wilhelm & Jacob Grimm, who published the most famous fairy tales, heavily edited the first edition of their stories. There was a recent survey {Source} that revealed that a lot of parents refuse to read most or some of the Grimm’s fairy tales to their children. We see a trend of this, of parents censoring books for their children, but how do we draw the line between what is acceptable for children to read and what is not acceptable for children to read, and should we be drawing the line at all?

Some people argue that some books should not be read by younger people because the complex themes in the narrative will not be appreciated or picked up on by younger audiences, not because of the content. There are also reading levels in some schools, where children are given a reading level based on a letter from A-Z  and not allowed to read below that letter, on the basis that the books would be too difficult for them to read. Is there a better way to seperate books by age group, and should they really be separated at all? It’s understandable that parents do not want their children to be exposed to older concept too young, but after a certain age is it still beneficial to not allow children or teenagers to not read certain books?

Parents are the biggest pusher of censorship of books and the banning of books in schools and libraries, {Source} but banning books limits people’s freedom to draw their own ideas from books. Literature can be very powerful,  and it is not necessarily a bad thing for children and teenagers to read books that challenge the ways they think about the world and what they know about the world. Do we really need to censor the violence and the gore out of the classics like the Grimm’s fairy tales, or the language out of Huckleberry Finn, because it might make a kid scared or worried? Even if teenagers or kids don’t understand or fully pick up on the themes of the book, shouldn’t they still be allowed to read them?

Reading facilitates new ideas and introduces new concepts, and teenagers and kids should be allowed to read books that appeal to them, regardless of the difficulty of the language or themes. Separating books by age groups and reading level, and censoring classics for younger audiences is not beneficial to anybody. It goes against the point of writing and reading; to be able to express, learn, and think about anything in any context or way. We need to stop separating books, and let kids and teenagers decide for themselves what is too upsetting, scary, or old for them to read.

By Sky Y. ’19


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Microhistories: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About One Thing

Microhistories: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About One Thing

Did you know that there are around 400 varieties of potato in their native Andean mountains? Or that there’s a place in Tennessee that exclusively studies the natural decomposition of human corpses–by leaving them out on a farm, in a variety of interesting predicaments? Or that for 600 years in European history, bathing was looked upon with extreme suspicion and to be avoided as long as possible?

I love facts like this, random little tidbits of history that shed unexpected light onto one specific thing that matters more to human history and culture than you ever imagined it did. Books that focus on the story or history of a specific thing, event, place, or even concept, are called microhistories. Generally written in an engaging and easy style, these narrative nonfiction pieces are not only fascinating but often unexpected, and hugely entertaining. Ever wanted to know the history of the chicken? What about the fork? Or red hair? Maybe you didn’t before, but now you probably do.

Fortunately the Castilleja library collection has plenty of microhistories currently on display to keep you informed and entertained. Some of my personal favorites?

At Home by Bill Bryson covers the history not only of every day objects in your house, but how and why they came to be there.

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett looks at the natural and cultural history of rain, discussing how humans have performed religious ceremonies to bring rain or to stop it, how perfume is made from the rain soaked Earth in India, what a mackintosh rain coat is, and more.

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky covers the history and influence of the only rock we eat.

Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim is an irreverent and informative history of cultural attitudes and attendant accessories of that time of the month.













So stop in the library and check out a book on the story of something you never realized you wanted to know about!

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Book Trends: Graffiti

"Spin graffiti" by jaqian from Dublin, Ireland - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons .

“Spin graffiti” by jaqian from Dublin, Ireland – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons .

While we were squeeing over our new books at the start of the year, we noticed a trend–graffiti. Magical murals that change before your eyes; street art as a means of self-expression or rebellion; graffiti as a mutual interest that forms the basis of a friendship–or more.

Graffiti and other forms of street art have gotten a lot of attention recently online and in the news, especially with the opening of Banksy’s Dismaland, and the public art coming out of social movements such as Black Lives Matter. Considering that, it’s not surprising that graffiti artists are showing up more in our new books. Below, we’ve rounded up some novels to get you started in this new trend, as well as a nonfiction book on street artists to get you up to speed with graffiti in the real world.


cover of Into the Dangerous World by Julie Chibarro

Into the Dangerous World by Julie Chibarro



Into the Dangerous World stars Ror, who was raised in a commune by her father. When Ror’s father burns the commune down with himself inside, she ends up in Manhattan and falls in love with Trey, the leader of graffiti crew Noise Ink. Ror’s loyalties are divided between her love of street art and Trey, the wishes of her deceased father, who wanted her to study classic art, and a teacher who encourages her to go to college.





the cover of Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, featuring a young African American woman

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older



In Shadowshaper, Sierra Santiago’s summer plans involved friends, art, and hanging out in Brooklyn. But when a zombie shows up at a party, and murals start moving before her eyes, Sierra’s plans inevitably change. She discovers that her family have powers, and they can connect with the spirit world through their art. These powers, like all power, are coveted by others, and Sierra is drawn into a battle for her family, her heritage, and her life.





cover of Now That You're Here by Amy K. Nichols

Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols



For Now That You’re Here‘s Danny, the job was simple: get the directions, pick up the stencils and paint, and tag the walls. But just when he realizes the directions come from an extremist group and gets in trouble with the cops, he falls into an alternate universe. In this world, his parents are dead, his friends hate him, and Eevee, the beautiful girl he remembers kissing once, is in love with quantum physics and might be his only chance of getting home.





cover of The Street Art Book: 60 Artists in Their Own Words by Ric Blackshaw by Liz Farrelly

The Street Art Book: 60 Artists in Their Own Words by Ric Blackshaw and Liz Farrelly




The Street Art Book collects the words and artwork of sixty different street artists. These artists work in a variety of media, from posters to spray paint to charcoal and soot, and their reasons for creating stem from political statements and protests, to neighborhood beautification, to self-expression. This book is a great introduction into today’s street art scene.

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No Library This Summer? Think Again!

No Library This Summer? Think Again!

photo 2Worried that you’ll miss the Casti Library this summer? You don’t have to! Our collection of more than 1000 ebooks is open 24/7. You’ll be able to log in whenever you like.

Ebooks are readable on many different devices and apps. Learn more on our FAQ or stop by the library to talk to one of your librarians before you head out on summer vacation. We can also show you how to download audiobooks from your public library. You should also take a look at the column near the entrance of the library, where your classmates and teachers have posted book recommendations and their own plans for summer reading.

So what’s in the digital library? Something for everyone, we hope! From childhood classics to YA to adult; from science fiction to historical fantasy to contemporary realism; from popular bestsellers to spectacular under-the-radar releases; the collection has a lot to choose from. If you need a book recommendation, click on the purple square to your right and look at our recommended reading booklet, Pinterest account, NoveList Plus, and recommended other sources for finding great books.

If you are doing an internship or academic enrichment program this summer, you’ll be happy to know that our databases are open all summer as well! You may even find them fun to peruse for pleasure reading. 2014-15 Library TA Kiana B. ’16 will tell you all about how great databases are for finding information on fun topics you never knew people wrote about. Click on the blue square to access all the library’s databases.

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