Tree of Smoke Book Review


Cover art courtesy of

Tree of Smoke
by Denis Johnson

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With the onset of PBS’s broadcast of the Ken Burns film series, The Vietnam War, it’s a good time to revisit some of the novels written about the war. Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke is one of the great ones. Winner of the 2007 National Book Award, the novel follows four main characters through their experiences in the war from 1963 to 1970, with a conclusion which takes place in 1983. Two of the characters are brothers of low rank in the military. The other two are high ranking: an uncle and nephew involved in the secret service. Although the book does a good job relaying the wartime atmosphere, especially the constant uncertainty, it does a great job of relaying the sense loss and grief. This book is not for the timid and it took me awhile to get through it, but it is definitely worth the effort.  Denis Johnson was awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction this past July. He passed away on May 24, 2017.

Barb Evans Photo 11-20-13

–Submitted by Barbara Evans, Reference Librarian


Open Access Week: October 23-29, 2017

OpenAccessWeek_logo“Open in order to…” serves as a prompt to move beyond talking about openness in itself and focus on what openness enables—in an individual discipline, at a particular institution, or in a specific context; then to take action to realize these benefits.–Nick Shockey, Open Access Week blog

Beginning in 2008, open access week strives to open up research to more of the scholarly and general community. The key tenets focus around increasing access to knowledge, facilitating collaboration, and raising your own research visibility to the greater world.

To view past videos of Open Access discussions, see their website.

There is also a list of events available in the United States, or view the map to see past and present events from around the world.

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Resource Spotlight: HeinOnline Immigration Law and Policy

HeinOnlineThe Immigration Law and Policy database from HeinOnline offers a compilation of important historical documents and legislation related to immigration in the United States as well as current hearings, debates and recent developments in immigration law. This database includes BIA Precedent Decisions, legislative histories, law and policy titles, extradition titles, scholarly articles, an extensive bibliography, and other related works.

Containing 1,580 titles and over 2,100 volumes, this is a great place to send students working on sociology, political science, current events, law, hot topics in the news, and even for personal interest.

If you have questions about using the database, please contact us!

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

FREE for you: New York Times Digital Edition!

Good news! The library has a brand new subscription to the New York Times digital edition This is the web version of the New York Times, rather than a database version. It includes full access to all articles dating back to 1851 right from a mobile device or a computer. You can register to have free, personal access through this new subscription.  Here are the steps:

  • Using a or email account, create a personal account for full access to NYT from 1851-present.
  • Account registration works best in a Chrome browser.
  • You only need to register at this link once. After that, you can go directly to and login with your personal account.

Access to the New York Times in text form for student research is still available through the library’s newspaper databases.

–Written by Marge Schildknecht, Public Services Librarian

10 Tips for keeping your items (and you!) safe

100px-Australia_road_sign_R3-2.svgIn honor of National Cyber Security Month, we thought we would do a post on safety.

When you are studying and concentrating, it is easy to become distracted. The last thing you need is to lose your work or study materials through theft or inattention.  Here are 10 tips to help keep your stuff safe and private in the library and online:


  1. Keep personal items with you at all times,even when just going to the printer or restroom.  This includes bags, purses, phones, laptops, flash drives, and other items.
  2. Do not put purses or bags on the restroom floor where others could quickly grab them.
  3. Always log off of your library computer before you leave the library so that no one else can access your account.
  4. Report any suspicious or disruptive behavior to the Reference Desk, Computer Help Desk, Circulation Desk, or any library staff.  Do not confront any suspicious or disruptive person yourself.
  5. For emergencies, call the ECC Police at X-7777.  For non-emergencies, call X-7778.


6. Strong password strategies (try Diceware or 1Password). Easy passwords equals easy access!

7. Secure your text and calling options: if you don’t have an Apple device, look for online software and apps that can encrypt your information.

8. Update software: often your updates contain critical patches for security issues. Do this regularly!

9. Use a browser that allows you to be anonymous. Tor Browser is one such option.


10. Pay attention at all times to your surroundings.  Don’t be glued to your screen but rather make sure you are keeping physical space and virtual space as private as you can.

ECC has a website devoted to safety issues, including weather, fire, and lockdown procedures.  See the ECC Campus Safety site for more information.

*Some of the online tips providing by the Library Journal article on Protecting Patron Privacy.
–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

October is National Cyber Security Month!

The Internet touches almost all aspects of everyone’s daily life, whether we realize it or not. National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, provide them with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident.–Department of Homeland Security

Ways to get involved:

Go here to participate in community efforts such as recognizing human trafficking, terrorism and other crime, becoming prepared for an emergency, and more.

Participate and follow social media:

Also try the hashtags #CyberSecurity and #CyberAware on Twitter.

At the library:

  • We created a research guide on Cyber Security that will link you to books, databases, and the latest news.
  • Here are items we have in our print collection.
  • Ebook Central contains some works on cyber security and other cyber crimes such as identity theft.
Maria2016(2)–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Banned Books Week: September 24-30, 2017

Banned books 2017
Photo via http://www.

Words Have Power.

How do we know that words have power? These quotes are just an example:

There is only one way to avoid criticism: 
do nothing
say nothing
and be nothing.–Aristotle

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.–Winston Churchill

One day or day one. Your choice. –Anonymous, various

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.– Mark Twain

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.–F. Scott Fitzgerald

There is nothing permanent except change.–Heraclitus

When ideas fail, words come in very handy.– Goethe

I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.— Thomas Jefferson

There are no facts, only interpretations.– Friedrich Nietzsche

Happiness equals reality minus expectations.– Tom Magliozzi 

What’s being challenged?  See this video from the American Libraries Association or check out the list of Top 10 Challenged Books.  According to the American Libraries Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, there was a 17% increase in book censorship complaints in 2016.*


banned books pyramid of transparency_updated

Want to continue the conversation or learn more?

Follow on social media @BannedBooksWeek or on Facebook. Use the hashtags #WordsHavePower or see this site to become a #RebelReader.

Search in your local library catalog or at the ECC library for the following Subjects, or do a keyword search on banned books here:

Prohibited Books
Challenged Books
Banned Books Week

*Source: Jacoby, M. (2017). Banned Books Week celebrates our right to read. Retrieved from 
 —Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian, with contributions from Jana Porter