Recommend a Good Book!

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We’d like to know what you consider a “good read” — a book you’d recommend to any student. It could be fiction, non-fiction, about any subject…

Please recommend these books at: https://montana.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_6uvPhBSW2DJnmu1 (This is a secure Qualtrics link and will not result in spam)

Why? The MSU Library’s collection, the popular reading area in the center of the Library Commons (1st floor), needs to be refreshed this summer. It was created in fall 2013, thanks to input from faculty, staff and students. For the past two years we have featured student recommendations in that area. These books have been wildly popular: in the first year (2013-2014), the collection had an overall circulation rate of 87%.

To recommend a book (or several), please use the link above to give us the title(s). We will purchase the books this summer and display them for browsing and checkout in the popular reading area (beside Brewed Awakening) by the start of fall semester. They will be available for all MSU students, staff, and faculty to check out – as well as Montana community borrowers.

Our (soft) deadline for these recommendations is May 11th in order to process the books in time for fall. If you have any questions or other ideas for us, please let us know – or fill out the comments box in the survey.

Thank you for helping to promote reading at MSU. Come and check out the Bobcat Browse collection yourself!

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Public Elevator Closed (June 22-August 15)

Beginning on Monday, June 22, Facilities Services is closing the library’s public elevator in order to rebuild the motor. This improvement will be implemented before the start of fall semester, and the public elevator will be available for use again after August 15.

In the meantime, please come to the Borrow Desk for information on special services. Our staff elevator can be used to access additional levels, and your library staff is available to escort you to other floors.

We are sorry for the disruption of public elevator service. Your access and safety are our highest priorities, so if you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

People unloading boxes out of the elevator for the Library move 1949/1950

Unloading the 2nd floor elevator during the 1949/1950 MSU Library move

What is the sound of one bear sleeping?

The Acoustic Atlas is teaming up with the National Park Service to record sounds and interviews related to scientific research in Yellowstone National Park. NPS correspondent Jennifer Jerrett reports on her recent fieldwork for the publication Yellowstone Science.

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. NPS photo by Jim Peaco.

One of the year’s first brown bear sightings in Yellowstone National Park happened this past March. The bear had roused itself from its wintery slumber and, for a few nights, fed on a bison carcass at the edge of one of the ponds at Blacktail Lakes. I thought there might be a chance, if I got very lucky, to record the bear eating if I set up inside my vehicle on a pullout up above the ponds.

I arrived at Blacktail  Lakes around 11:00 p.m. and slowly eased  the vehicle into the pullout, trying not to disturb the bear down in the valley with the headlights. Throwing a sleeping bag over my lap and positioning the bear spray in the cup holder, I hung the microphone out the car window, put on my headphones, and waited…

I sat there in the vehicle listening to the rhythm of my own breathing for a minute or so until it dawned on me that the rhythm seemed a little off and what I was actually listening to was the grizzly breathing: the slow, steady, breaths of a resting bear. Surprisingly, there were no other cars traveling the road that night, so it was just me…and the bear…in the darkness…breathing—both of us probably feeling a little sleepy.

Coyote howls split the quiet of the night, bringing me squarely out my reverie. As the otherworldly reverberations faded away (my heart still pounding), I waited.

And then, there it was. The bear roused. I heard some soft shuffling of bear feet on last year’s grass, a pause, then the squeak, snap, and crack of bones…followed by some very crunchy chewing.

It’s easy, especially listening to a recording like this, to think of grizzly bears only as fierce carnivores; “red in tooth and claw.” But it might surprise you to learn that a recent literature review indicated that Yellowstone grizzlies are stunning generalists when it comes to food.[1]  They are the ultimate omnivores of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), eating more than 266 species in 200 genera from 4 different kingdoms (Plantae, Animalia, Fungi, and Protista). The study found that grizzlies consumed at least 36 species of invertebrates and 24 of those were different species of ants! In fact, ants are one of the very few species documented in every GYE grizzly bear scat-based diet study from 1943-2009. Even more surprising, one soil type was also a documented food source. Scientists are still unsure why grizzlies eat geothermal soils, but one hypothesis is that since the soil contains high concentrations of potassium, magnesium, and sulfur, it may serve to restore mineral deficiencies.[2]

Learn more about Yellowstone grizzlies on the Yellowstone National Park website, and keep your eye out for the bear issue of Yellowstone Science coming out later this fall.

[1] Gunther, K.A., R.R. Shoemaker, K.L. Frey, M.A. Haroldson, S.L. Cain, F.T. van Manen, and J.K. Fortin.  2014.  Dietary breadth of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Ursus 25(1):61-73.

[2] Mattson, D.J., G.I. Green, and R. Swalley.  1999.  Geophagy by Yellowstone grizzly bears.  Ursus 11:109–116.

Notes from the field: listening to sea otters

A friendly sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium. Photo by Jeff Rice.

A friendly sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium. Photo by Jeff Rice.

Scientists say that mammals have the most complex and varied vocalizations in the animal kingdom. Yet, other than the ubiquitous babel of humans, there are just not a lot mammal recordings out there. At least compared to most other vertebrate species. We hear bird calls every day, but when was the last time you heard a meadow vole, or a trowbridge shrew? Or a sea otter for that matter?

Recently, I found myself at the Seattle Aquarium where a young sea otter named Mishka was calling for her breakfast. If you are like me, you may not have heard a sea otter before. This is partly because the animals themselves are rare—they are listed as endangered in California and Southwest Alaska—and they aren’t known to make a lot of sounds to begin with.

Aquarium curator of birds and mammals Traci Belting told me that sea otters are typically very quiet: “If you were to find an entire raft of otters, you could be watching them for an hour and never hear a sound. There could be a hundred animals in the group and you’ll never hear anything.” When they do vocalize, she says, it is usually between individual otters and may include grumbles and growls, and intermittent sneezes. Pups are less shy. You can hear Mishka’s occasional calls at the aquarium until she grows out of the habit and becomes a much more taciturn adult. Take a listen to what are referred to as sea otter “pup screams.” 

Special thanks to the Seattle Aquarium for allowing me to visit the aquarium to record their sea otters. These audio recordings are available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/.

6/3 Workshop: EndNote Citation Management

Free workshop Wednesday, 6/3, from 12-1 p.m. in the Innovative Learning Studio of Renne Library.

EndNote is now available for free for MSU users. See how EndNote X7 makes formatting citations and managing bibliographies easy! Learn to search, import records, add notes, find articles, manage PDFs, and format papers using any one of thousands of citation styles. This workshop covers how to get EndNote, share references, and use both the desktop and online version.

Registration is recommended but not required. Walk-ins welcome as long as there is room. Bring your own laptop and install EndNote during the workshop.

Register and see more library workshops here.

Montana Field Guide features library’s mammal recordings

Screenshot of the state's Montana Field Guide

Screenshot of the state’s Montana Field Guide

Many of the library’s mammal recordings are now available as part of the state’s Montana Field Guide. The guide is a collaboration between the Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The website features more than two dozen audio samples from our collection, including rare recordings of the American Beaver and the Mountain Goat.

Browse our entire mammal collection on the Acoustic Atlas.

 

5/20 Workshop: EndNote Citation Management

Free workshop Wednesday, 5/20, from 12-1 p.m. in the Innovative Learning Studio of Renne Library.

EndNote is now available for free for MSU users. See how EndNote X7 makes formatting citations and managing bibliographies easy! Learn to search, import records, add notes, find articles, manage PDFs, and format papers using any one of thousands of citation styles. This workshop covers how to get EndNote, share references, and use both the desktop and online version.

Registration is recommended but not required. Walk-ins welcome as long as there is room. Bring your own laptop and install EndNote during the workshop.

Register and see more library workshops here.

Do wolf howls change with the seasons?

A wolf from Yellowstone's Druid Pack mid-howl (Photo: NPS Photo)

A wolf from Yellowstone’s Druid Pack mid-howl (Photo: NPS Photo)

Recently, the Acoustic Atlas entered into a new partnership with the National Park Service and its publication Yellowstone Science. Over the next two years, radio reporter and science editor Jennifer Jerrett will be producing a podcast series featuring new scientific research in the park. These podcasts will be jointly featured by the Park Service and the Acoustic Atlas, along with many of Jerrett’s Yellowstone field recordings.

Look for these fascinating stories and sounds in the coming months. Meanwhile, take a listen to Jerrett’s story this week for the national radio program Living on Earth. It features researchers Doug Smith and John Theberge, who are investigating how wolf howls may change with the seasons. “People come from all over the world to see and hear wild wolves in Yellowstone,” reports Jerrett. “And this latest research into wolf ecology, communication, and behavior, offers an opportunity to move further, beyond seeing and hearing, to take another tiny step closer toward understanding the mind of the wolf.”

Listen to the full story on PRI’s Living on Earth.

5/4 Workshop: EndNote Citation Management

Free workshop Monday, 5/4, from 2-3 p.m. in the Innovative Learning Studio of Renne Library.

EndNote is now available for free for MSU users. See how EndNote X7 makes formatting citations and managing bibliographies easy! Learn to search, import records, add notes, find articles, manage PDFs, and format papers using any one of thousands of citation styles. This workshop covers how to get EndNote, share references, and use both the desktop and online version.

Registration is recommended but not required. Walk-ins welcome as long as there is room. Bring your own laptop and install EndNote during the workshop.

Register and see more library workshops here.