Education Through Film With SWANK Digital Campus

Swank digital campus

Reynolds library is pleased to announce campus-wide access to SWANK Digital Campus.  SWANK provides digital access to though-provoking films allowing educators to enhance the learning experience without taking up valuable class time.  Currently, Reynolds licenses nearly 30 feature films.

There are two things to keep in mind regarding viewing the films.  First, SWANK works only on Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers.  (It does not work with Chrome or Safari.)  Second, you’ll need to download a small software: Microsoft Silverlight in order to watch the films online. To access SWANK off campus, simply enter your MyReynolds username and password.  If you have any additional technology issues while using SWANK, please email or call Mary Hanlin, the Electronic and Web Resources Librarian, at mhanlin@reynolds or 804.523.5323.

If you are a Reynolds instructor and would like to know more about SWANK Digital Campus or to request a film, check out our SWANK FAQ.

Below is the list of feature films that we currently license. Start here and happy viewing!

Movies that We License:

  1. 1776
  2. Annie Hall
  3. A Beautiful Mind
  4. Blackfish
  5. Blade Runner: the final cut
  6. Blazing Saddles
  7. The Breakfast Club
  8. Coach Carter
  9. Contagion
  10. Crash (2005)
  11. Do the Right Thing
  12. Dr. Strangelove
  13. Easy Rider
  14. El Mariachi
  15. Fed Up
  16. Forks Over Knives
  17. Freedom Writers
  18. Fruitvale Station
  19. The Godfather
  20. Good Will Hunting
  21. The Great Gatsby (1974)
  22. The Great Gatsby (2013)
  23. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  24. Larry Crown
  25. My Sister’s Keeper
  26. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  27. A Raisin in the Sun
  28. Rain Man
  29. The Social Network
  30. The Grey Zone
  31. To Kill a Mockingbird

Mometrix – A New Test Preparation Resource

Think of joining the military but have never heard of the ASVAB?  Need to study for NCLEX?  Prepping for the GED?  Good news!  Reynolds has licensed a new resource that could definitely help you in your test preparation.  Mometrix offers test preparation resources, such as study guides and flashcards, for a variety of standardized tests and certification exams. It also provides many sample test, so that you know what kind of questions to expect on the exam.

To take a practice test, login to Mometrix using your  Reynolds user name and password and click on this image.



To access the study guides, login to Mometrix and click on this image.







Questions?  Feedback?  Contact any Reynolds library.

Yes, You Can

Student with a 100%
It’s pretty impossible to see, but that highlighted mark says 100.

Last Friday, a student stopped by my office to show me the paper that she’d expected to fail miserably, actually turned out better than she thought:  100%.  Her grade was the highlight of my day, not because I’d helped her with the research and MLA formatting and because she stopped by to thank me, but more so, because I remember just a month ago, how unsure she was of herself. Just a month ago, she’d admitted to me that she was thinking about actually dropping the class. Today, was a bit different.

“I think I might get an A in the class,” she whispered in slight awe.

“Really? What’s the lowest grade you’ve gotten so far,” I asked.

“An 88,” she responded.

I couldn’t help, but to crack up.

“What?”  she asked. “What?”

“Ummm. I think you might get an A in the class too, ” I said.

I’ve worked with community college students for almost ten years now, and often I’ve observed something interesting about you.  Often, you don’t see yourself the way that we see you.  You may not see yourself as smart and knowledgeable as you really are.  But you’re reading this right now, which means you’ve stuck with it even through your self-doubts.   You’re probably tired and ready for this semester to be over, but still, you study; you write; you show up.  You take that final exam and  finish that semester paper.  You have “grit,” and that in and of itself is a quality to be commended.

I have a suggestion, though. Besides being consistent and staying committed to school to the very end, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to see yourself as we see you: smart and unique, someone who is a student, yes, but someone who is also a scholar, a person that offers some distinct knowledge, a person whom we -Reynolds faculty and staff- can learn from.  (I cannot count the number of times I’ve learned something from a student while helping her/him with research.)

In an attempt to help you see yourself a bit more clearly, and taking a cue from the Kindness Girl blog, we’re committing to a small gesture this exam week.  While studying in the library, if you find a little card in a study room or sitting on a computer keyboard that says, “To you, the Reynolds Student,” open it up.  Or if you discover a sticky note just sitting there on a dusty, old book, and it gives you a little boost, take it, pull it out during your exam and read it every so often.  (We promise it contains no answers to exam questions.)  If you are a student who discovers no notes of small, good hope this week, please accept this blog post as our  attempt to say it how it is: You can do this. And if you cannot see that in yourself, know that, we see you, and your success, so very clearly.  If you cannot see that, for this week only, see yourself through our eyes.


Five Things You Might Not Know About Reynolds Library

#5. We’re not here to shush you (and we offer ideal spaces where we won’t shush you).

How do you learn?  Do you read a book?  Do you use the internet?  Do you collaborate with classmates?  Or is it all of the above?  In the past, reading in quiet libraries was a common way of learning something new.  Now, however, there are multiple channels for learning.  Reynolds Library recognizes this shift, and we want to build a community that supports 21st century learning.  The way we balance the needs of individual learners and groups is through access to our study rooms.  If you need to collaborate and study with others, ask for a group study room.  If you need to watch a video on the Internet, check out a pair of our headphones at the front desk.  The bottom line is that we want you to learn however you learn best: whether it’s with a group or by yourself.  The main library supports a quiet scholarship, but our study rooms allow for learning through collaboration and conversation.

#4. We’re more than just books.

Do you need to charge your iPhone or do an assignment using Visual Studio or other unique software?  Do you have to use a peer reviewed article for an assignment and don’t know where to get one?  Do you just want to watch the final season of Breaking Bad while also reading a few graphic novels over Spring break?   At Reynolds library, books are just a fraction of the content that we offer.  Nowadays, we focus most of our budget on licensing library databases.  Library databases provide quality online resources (articles originally published in print) that you can access 24/7 and anywhere you have an Internet connection.  We also provide some computers with software used in specific classes.  Check out the full list here.  We also provide bestselling fiction books and popular videos for you to check out.   We want you to use this stuff!  If there’s anything that we don’t provide, let us know.  Though we may not be able to purchase all requests, we always welcome your input.

#3: We can save you money and time:

Have you ever done research on the Internet, discovered a potentially great article, clicked into it, and then gotten something like this:

Cost of article

Information, as you likely know, isn’t always free, especially when you are Googling it.  However, when you use library resources, you’ll never see a link like the one above, because you have access to millions of articles as a Reynolds student.  Even better, by using our library databases (instead of going to Google first) you’re less likely to get a paper that your professor is going to hand back to you with a low grade or a request to rewrite your paper.  (It always take more time to write a paper twice.)  Unfortunately, not everything about Reynolds library is free.  If you need to print at the library, make sure to bring two dollars in cash with you the first time you visit.  Our library staff will walk you through the process.

#2. We’re good at what we do:

Just a few more facts about our library databases: we subscribe to over a hundred databases and we pay a ton of money to provide access to them. Unfortunately, library databases can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming.  Enter the Reynolds librarian (who you can find at the Reference Desk at all three campuses)!   There is always a Reynolds librarian on duty to help you and the good news is we’re trained to help you with your research and citation questions.  All Reynolds librarians have master’s degrees in library science, and we are skilled at finding great sources for your particular research needs.  Come to us first before you start writing your research paper to gather great sources.  Come to us later when you have completed a rough draft of your paper to get help with your MLA or APA citations.  Just ask us!  (And if you can’t come in personally, don’t hesitate to call us or use our 24/7 online reference service.)

#1. Your success is our number one priority.

Ask us who we work for, and you might think we’d say Reynolds Community College.  In reality many of us might say that we work for the students of Reynolds Community College; we work for you.  Librarians don’t have all the answers, but if you come to us with a question, any kind of question, know that we are going to help you solve it or to get you to the right person to help you solve it.  Why?  Because we know it’s sometimes hard to ask a question, that you may feel embarrassed or unsure.  But when you ask, we also know that you’re trying, that you care about your success and consequently we care too.  Good luck on your new semester, but please remember that you don’t have to do it on your own.

Why I love my ugly headphones, and why it relates to good web design

If you’re one of those people at the Gold’s Gym on Willow Lawn that can lithely run with those tiny, white Apple headphones, I secretly resent you.  In theory, I like Apple headphones for their suave and hipstery connotations.  But in practice, I dislike them because I have big ears and a pirate-like gait. Apple headphones, combined with running, just don’t stay in my ears.

My colleagues and I encountered a similar challenge this past year.  Lots of people liked our old website.  And the site worked well for some people. (They tended to be the people that had used the site for the longest time).  The problem was that the majority, especially new users, couldn’t navigate our byzantine site very well.  I’d find myself explaining to students the four steps it took to find a library sub-page.  Or, I’d need to check something on the site using my iPhone and I’d have to pitch and squint to find exactly what I needed.

The new site attempts to address those issues by making three major changes.  First, the site now functions fully regardless of the device that you are on. The first image is the old site on an iPhone; the second is the new site.  A key difference is that you can do everything on the mobile version that you can do on a regular PC (including searching).  Also, the old mobile version was only six pages. The new mobile version encompasses the whole site.

Old Site New Site


Second, the site uses more visual nodes in an effort to make highly used content easier to find.  An experiment: find the link to citing sources in the two graphics.  Which took more time to find?


Third, the site attempts to do away with as much library jargon as possible.  What makes more sense to us: “Interlibrary Loan” or “If We Don’t Have It?”, “Popular Databases” or “Best Bets.”

This project is over a year in the making, and it has been a deeply collaborative effort.  Starting in August of 2013, armed with data from Google Analytics, a small group of library web soldiers (a.k.a. “The Digital Initiative Committee”), identified key user needs.  From there, we spent a great deal of time exploring other library websites and determining what we would like to incorporate into our new design.  In January, we created several mock-ups, and then evaluated three (web) templates; ultimately, we selected the design that we felt would be most supportive to our students.  In March, using Camtasia, we recorded library staff and students actually navigating the new redesign and made changes based upon those usability studies.  In May and June, we shared the site with more students (during library orientations) and received additional feedback.  Finally, in July, we shared the site with Reynolds faculty and staff.  This was a very recursive, but essential process.  We sought feedback.  We made a change.  We sought more feedback.  We made more changes.  Faculty and student input mattered and will continue to be the fundamental determinant for our site decisions.

So here we are: not at a perfect site –there’s no such thing- but hopefully at a more functional and usable site: an ugly headphones kind of website.  We hope this site works for you, but if not, the best way to change it is to let us know that change is needed.


Mary Hanlin ( and the Digital Initiatives Committee (not a rock band, just yet, but almost as cool as one).

Lisa Bishop

Maureen Hady

Suzanne Sherry

Kate Goodfellow

Denise Woetzel



Website Redesign – Feedback Needed from Reynolds Faculty and Staff

Web RedesignFor the past year, Reynolds Library has been working on a library website redesign. The mission of the new site is to
provide an intuitive and instructional conduit for academic research.

The redesign incorporates some of the newest web standards (such as html5 and CSS3). Additionally, the new website is responsive which means that the layout of the website adapts to the device that you are on. The library has received significant feedback from students and library staff. Now, it’s your turn!

Please review our developing website at offer constructive feedback using this link by July 25th. All input allows the option of complete anonymity. Feel encouraged to share this site with others. The more input we get, the better we can refine the site. Finally, though the site has been tested on multiple browsers, screen sizes and portable devices there are always outliers. If you discover a visual “bug” using a certain browser or portable device, please include that information in your feedback. It is essential that we test this site in every way possible.  Happy viewing!


Website Redesign Feedback Needed

Although, final production date is contingent upon your feedback, the library hopes to publish the site before fall semester. The success of the future site, depends upon your candid input now.

Remembering Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou



Angelou, Maya. All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes. New York: Random House, 1997. Print.

Angelou, Maya. And Still I Rise. 1978, Print.

Angelou, Maya. Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer. New York: Random House, 2006. Print.

Angelou, Maya. Even the Stars Look Lonesome. New York: Random House, 1997. Print.

Angelou, Maya. The Heart of a Woman. New York: Random House, 1981. Print.

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Random House, 2002. Print.

Angelou, Maya. I Shall Not Be Moved. New York: Random House, 1990. Print.

Angelou, Maya. Letter to My Daughter. New York: Random House, 2008. Print.

Angelou, Maya. Mom & Me & Mom. New York: Random House, 2013. Print.

Angelou, Maya, Maya Angelou, Maya Angelou, Maya Angelou, and Maya Angelou. Poems. New York: Bantam Books, 1997. Print.

Angelou, Maya. Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas. New York: Random House, 1976. Print.

Angelou, Maya. A Song Flung Up to Heaven. New York: Random House, 2002. Print.

Feelings, Tom, and Atha Tehon. Soul Looks Back in Wonder. New York: Dial Books, 1993. Print.

Angelou, Maya. Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now. Hingham, Ma: Wheeler Pub, 1994. Print.


New Databases @ Reynolds!

Reynolds library has recently licensed several excellent databases that will serve to support student success.


With Access World News students can search a comprehensive collection of newspapers (including the Richmond Times Dispatch).  Coverage is provided for —local, state, regional, national and international content and it includes almost one thousand hard-to-find local and regional titles, the majority of which are unavailable elsewhere.

America’s Historical Newspapers is an excellent resource for students seeking primary sources.  This databases chronicles three centuries of American history and provides content dating as far back as 1690 and as recently as the 1990’s.

National Geographic Archives provides full access to National Geographic magazine.  This is an amazing resource, not only for its thorough and in-depth journalism that NatGeo is known for, but also because all of its amazing pictures can be used for educational purposes.natgeo

Culture Grams is an easy-to-use database that captures vital statistics and unique cultural values of countries?  Do you want to know the literacy rate in Chad or the left expectancy in Mongolia?  Are you doing a PowerPoint and would like to use pictures capturing the day-to-day life of Bangladesh?  Start with Culture Grams.

Additionally, Reynolds has licensed Lippincott Nursing and Health Assessment videos

In sum, we’ve added some great resources for you and your students.  All four databases are available on and off campus; when coming in off-campus just enter your MyReynolds username and password.   And for regular access to all of our online resources, check out our A to Z list.

And if you have suggestions requests of databases or new materials, know that we’re here to support you and your students.



Database Trials: Access World News (News Bank) and America’s Historical Newspapers

acessworldnewsBetween now and March 28th, Reynolds Libraries is evaluating two databases: Access World News and America’s
Historical Newspapers.

Access World News, which also often called NewsBank, focuses on current newspaper sources and includes access to relevant local content like the Richmond Times Dispatch.  NewsBank  really focuses on students using its content, so you may be able to find a great article in a simpler and more intuitive manner.  

 America’s Historical Newspapers offers historical newspaper articles as they appeared in print.  Users can browse by era or search by specific publication source like the New York Times.  This might be a great place for finding primary sources.  The bottom line: take a look, mosey around, and  let us know what you think!

 Database Trial Feedback:  

New @ Reynolds: Writer’s Reference Center

Writer's Reference CenterReynolds Library has licensed a new database that serves as an excellent starting point for writing better papers.  Writer’s Reference Centercontains hundreds of articles on writing effectively.  The database focuses on the mechanics of writing, but it also includes excellent resources like a vocabulary builder and dynamic citations samples in MLA and APA format.  Good writing takes time, patience and a step-by-step process.  Writer’s Reference Center is the perfect resource to begin that  process.