Charles Dickens- 200th Birthday Celebration!

February 7, 2012 marks the bicentenary of Charles Dickens.

According to a literary exhibit at Southern Methodist University, this Victorian author “was born February 7, 1812, and wrote more than 34 major novels until his death on June 9, 1870. Two hundred years after his birth, his literary legacy remains unparalleled. His 19,000 published editions ranks behind only the King James Bible and Shakespeare in number of editions published.”

From the exhibit catalog: “The world loves Charles Dickens because Charles Dickens loved the world. He was a man who would today describe an automobile ride with the same gusto as he described a mail coach ride; a broad minded man whose religion and philosophy embraced all of mankind, not merely the Englishman; a man who believed that foreigner and countryman were both works of the same Divine Creator; a man who believed and taught that all men were brothers. Although considered a Victorian, he was actually a man that transcended time periods. This is why the star of Dickens does not show any signs of waning.”

His books remain topsellers in the age of the Kindle.

Explore the myriad ways you can experience this great literature at JSRCC libraries- print books, online books, downloadable audio books, videos, streaming videos, and more!

Listen to audiobooks on your iPhone or other mobile device

Visit the library’s OverDrive Digital Media Collection web site to download and listen to audiobooks on your iPhone, Windows Phone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or other portable device.  This media collection includes over 1000 titles.  Fiction titles include:  drama, historical fiction, literature, mystery suspense, poetry, and science fiction & fantasy.  Nonfiction titles include: biographies, current events & politics, and history.

To download the OverDrive app for your mobile device visit the OverDrive Media Console web site.

If you need assistance on checking out audiobooks from the OverDrive collection or downloading audiobooks on your mobile device, contact the Reference Desk.

What is the oldest book in the library??

Thanks, Jason for your great question! Our staff has been busy working on it and here is what we’ve found:

First we have to come up with a working definition of “book” because in today’s library a book can take many forms- print, digital, audio, and more.

It is difficult to track the oldest print book on the library’s physical shelves by using the catalog. The oldest book by publication date in our library is:

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, which was originally published in 1776- however our copy is a 1937 reprint.

We all agree that the oldest print books we own were published in the early 1900s (original copies, not reprints). Here is one of our oldest original books at JSRCC Library: The South in the Building of a Nation, published in 1909 right here in Richmond.

We also have access to online books with publication dates going back as far as the 1500s. Digitization of ancient books makes these astounding collections accessible with a few mouse clicks on some of the library’s research databases. Look at English Verse Drama to pull up online copies of  dramas from the 16th century and beyond,  including the works of the great William Shakespeare. African-American Poetry, 1760-1900 will provide a reading from early American books of poetry.

Many university libraries own special collections and archives that include very old books (early publication dates and original copies, not reprints). Community college libraries generally do not own the special collections found in college and university libraries. To ensure the well-being of rare books and manuscripts, extensive climate control and security is usually needed.

Now with the ability to digitize these old books, you can read them through your computer. To visit some special collections online in the Richmond area, look at Special Collections at VCU Libraries, University of Richmond, and Library of Virginia. Most of these digitized collections include photographs, manuscripts, maps, and other items, as well as books. Go even further, over to Charlottesville, and you’ll have access to one of Virginia’s best special collections libraries at the University of Virginia.

In a future post, we’ll explore the question, “What is the oldest book in the world?”

Thanks again for a great question, Jason!

Print books, ebooks, and audio books make great holiday gifts


Not sure what to get a family member or friend this Christmas?  Books, in any format, make great gifts for the holidays or any occasion. For family & friends who own ebook reading devices, consider purchasing ebooks.  And don’t forget audio books for those who prefer listening to books. For more gift ideas, check out these sites:

Audiobook of the Year 2010

Audies are annual awards recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association. Don’t miss this year’s Audie Winner, Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales! Here’s complete information on audiobooks at JSRCC Library.

 A review from Audiofile Magazine:

Nelson Mandela [Ed.]
Read by Gillian Anderson, Benjamin Bratt, LeVar Burton, Ricardo Chavira, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, et al.

What a special collection of preserved and retold folklore, creation stories, and fables from Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and all over the African continent! Some of the stories lend themselves better to a more dynamic reading, and those are the most successful ones in this format—CCH Pounder reading “Sannie Langtand and the Visitor” is a standout, as is Don Cheadle’s performance of the charming “Fesito Goes to Market.” Not all of the celebrity narrations and individual productions are as successful—it’s particularly distracting when words are obviously dubbed in, for example—but as a whole, the collection is funny and magical, enhanced by wonderful music from Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela (and don’t miss the illustrations, included in a bonus PDF). That this is a benefit production makes it even more special—bravo.

Download Books to your SmartPhone or Blackberry!


Since 2007, JSRCC Library users have been able to check out and download OverDrive audio books to enjoy on a personal computer or MP3 player. The VCCS OverDrive download site is available 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Popular and classic downloadable books are offered in a variety of subjects, including mystery, romance, science fiction, business and careers, self-improvement, and more.

Now, VCCS Libraries offers even greater access to the OverDrive download service through a mobile device-optimized website coupled with software for downloading and listening on the go. A mobile version of the VCCS OverDrive download site is now available. This mobile version allows easy browsing, searching, and checkout from your Smartphone, Blackberry®, or other web-enabled device. Windows Mobile (5 or newer) users can wirelessly download audiobooks to their mobile device using OverDrive® Media Console for Windows Mobile. Android™ device owners can install a beta version of OverDrive Media Console to download OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks. To download audio books on your mobile device, you’ll also need an Internet connection and a MyVCCS login.

Visit with your mobile device to try it today.

Community College Times goes online only

The Community College Times, a bimonthly newspaper published by the American Association of Community Colleges, is ceasing its print edition and moving to a freely available online-only format ( As a printed product it has been, frankly, ignorable on the library’s shelf, but the web version is dynamic and interesting–if you’re into community colleges. Check out the article “Why two-year colleges are the frontline of the president’s recovery plans” and browse around a little while you’re there. RSS feeds and email alerts are available.

The Bard’s Birthday!

shakepseare31On April 23, 2009 people around the world celebrated the 445th birthday of William Shakespeare. Be sure to take a moment to reflect on what this great wordsmith has meant to readers everywhere:

Shakespeare Resource Center

Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

 Check out a print or online book from one of your JSRCC libraries in the call number range: PR2750-PR3105

Complete Works of William Shakespeare  (print)    (electronic)

A Life of William Shakespeare (audiobook)

Shakespeare A to Z

Shakespeare for Students

Tales from Shakespeare (NetLibrary)

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

Ebook of the Month: Barack Obama

obama-ebookCheck out NetLibrary’s December ebook of the month, Barack Obama,The New Face of American Politics by Martin Dupuis and Keith Boeckelman. 

“Written by Martin Dupuis and Keith Boeckelman, this book examines Barack Obama’s meteoric rise to fame and what it means for American politics. The roots of President-elect Obama’s politics and presidential campaign strategy are traced in this detailed political biography, ascending from his successful run in 1996 to represent Chicago’s South Side in the Illinois Senate, through his partial term as the junior U.S. senator from Illinois beginning in 2004, to his campaign for the presidency. Dupuis and Boeckelman analyze in illuminating detail the critical ways in which the political calculus so brilliantly deployed in Obama’s 2007-2008 national campaign was shaped by the lessons he learned from the successes and failures of his previous local and statewide campaigns.

With his election as the first black president, Obama has captured the world’s imagination because his story reflects many of the most positive beliefs that permeate American culture: that underdogs can triumph, that the American dream of success is open to immigrants and their children if they work hard, that racism is fading. He also appeals to Americans searching for common ground in an era of political division and hyperpartisanship and gives them hope that wealth, nepotism, and negative campaigning are not the only tickets to success in contemporary politics.”

For further information or assistance in using NetLibrary ebooks, contact the Reference Desk. You can also check out the library’s handout on creating  a NetLibrary account and basic getting started instructions.

Foreclosure Survival Guide – Ebook of the Month

foreclosure-ebookCheck out NetLibrary’s November ebook of the month, Foreclosure Survival Guide by Stephen Elias. 

“The No. 1 topic of conversation in the news and around the office today and tomorrow? Foreclosures. They rose in the U.S. by over 79 percent last year—and over two million more are expected in the next two years. Written by a practicing lawyer who has helped hundreds keep their homes or come out of foreclosure financially sound, Foreclosure Survival Guide provides practical solutions and information that can help readers make the best decisions possible.”

For further information or assistance in using NetLibrary ebooks, contact the Reference Desk. You can also check out the library’s handout on creating  a NetLibrary account and basic getting started instructions.