Library Technical Services
It was a Wednesday in March. It was the time of year when blossoms were just beginning to sheepishly emerge, sneaking a peek from bare tree limbs and rising from the seemingly lifeless soil of a few gardens. The seasons hadn’t officially changed but things were changing. The playful shrieking of children could be heard later and later in the evening. Night wasn’t falling as quickly. Shadows weren’t as long. If you weren’t too preoccupied as you traveled, a whiff of fresh cut grass or somebody’s barbeque chicken (or ribs?) could be detected in the air. The tinkle of an ice cream truck’s melody floated in the distance and mingled with the faint buzzing of a hedge trimmer. Peals of laughter were bouncing from decks, porches and lawns. It was pleasantly warm but not hot. Spring hadn’t sprung yet but it was real close. It was so close you could almost taste the sweet strawberries, the plump cherries and the juicy peaches that were just around the seasonal corner. Yep, spring was definitely crouching. The days, weeks and even months prior to this particular Wednesday in early March had caused me some concern.
I could sense something, a feeling that seemed to intensify as time went by. I can’t recall when it began. At some point I was increasingly aware of a sense of urgency and discontentment. Certain activities, social gatherings and associations weren’t as enjoyable. For some reason unknown to me at the time, there was a nagging feeling of unease that followed me no matter where I went, or what I did, or who I was with. It felt as though time was running out. It felt like unfinished business. I remember times of being at one of the finest parties or clubs in town - beautiful, popular, well dressed, finger popping, loud talking, no pain feeling, fun having people populated the walls, pompously posed at the bar and pulsated on the dance floor but curiously, it just wasn’t as much fun anymore. I heard the greetings, all the chatter, the giggles, and chuckles, I even responded, but I wasn’t listening. I heard the deafening music but it didn’t move me. I was amidst all these people but I felt very isolated and alone. Despite all the good times I’d had before; teasing, competing, flirting, trash talking, and flaunting (the fact that I was one of, if not the best dressed in the place) - it was not the same. I danced. I nodded my head. I smiled. I even got high. I pretended to participate with this populous, but I felt detached. That feeling was plaguing me. It was indiscriminate. It would creep up on me while I was alone with my thoughts, when I sat in a meeting at work or when I was with friends or relatives laughing and getting high. It wasn’t unwelcome. It was gentle but persistent. It wasn’t dark and scary but it loomed like an airy shadow, brushing me, beckoning for me and whispering to me - there must be more to life than this. Is this it? Is this all there is? I had no answers. I just had that feeling.
I rushed home from work that Wednesday because I had made arrangements to meet Sam. I changed my clothes quickly; I had already planned what I’d wear. I didn’t realize it then but in retrospect, I recall a kind of relief after the brief conversation I had with Sam the week before. I was eager to hear more from him. I didn’t want to go alone; I wanted somebody, anybody, to go with me, so I asked Judy, one of my running buddies to go with me. We got there a few minutes past the time. We recognized the place right away, even though I’d never been there before. It was just as Sam had described “a little place, one door from the corner.”
The door whined a little as we cracked it open. I don’t think anyone inside noticed. At first it seemed that Judy and I were the only ones there, but someone else was there, we could hear them. As we looked for available seats we heard the low drone of collective voices. The drone was intermittently, individually, intersected by “thank you,” “yes Lord,” “hallelujah.” We heard low moans, and occasional soft clapping. They were praying. They were praying out loud. They were on their knees praying and they prayed for another fifteen minutes or so. Then someone, a lone individual belted out a very slow song. The others joined in. The song ended. They were still kneeling. A single soul prayed aloud and as that single soul prayed some of the others clapped and a few echoed certain words of the prayer. After a short while, the words of the pronounced prayer ended, with a soft spoken amen. After the prayer ended, they all rose from their knees and the red-carpeted floor to reveal the now seated congregation of the Greater Glory Church of God In Christ. The voices had faces. From that moment on, I forgot that my running buddy was next to me. I forgot time. I forgot the feeling that had plagued me.
Sam, my former co-worker, the Pastor of this church, did not sit down, he mounted the pulpit. His face lit up with a smile that went from one side of his face to the other, it almost made his moustache disappear. His face was shining like new money. He clapped and started singing another song. This song was a lot faster. The congregation didn’t miss a beat; they lifted up their voices right along with his. Someone scrambled to the dark, upright, saloon looking piano. Someone else darted to the drums. They had to squeeze themselves, with practiced agility, into a tight corner in front of the teeny pulpit. Tambourines chimed in. Sam picked up a guitar, strapped it on and strummed it feverishly; he never stopped singing in the process. I watched and listened in awe as this group of only a few people stood singing, clapping and praising God. They seemed blinded to my unfamiliar presence and unaffected by any of life’s adversities. There was no pretense here. There were a variety of faces but each bore the same gleam of genuine contentment and peace. That little church didn’t seem structurally sound enough to accommodate or withstand what was sweeping through it. It was as though the place could explode at any moment. The song and the music stopped, eventually, and when it did Sam picked up a big black worn Bible that swelled from pages that curled at the corners and he began to teach.
As he taught it struck me that it didn’t matter to him that this church didn’t have colossal, picturesque stained glass windows. He didn’t seem to care that this tiny storefront building wasn’t an edifice admired by historians and architects. Sam was a young, devoted, zealous, humble servant, committed to the spreading of the gospel. He was a new pastor, grateful for the opportunity to work in God’s vineyard, even though the parcel he labored in held only a few souls in the hand clapping, foot stomping, tongue-speaking Pentecostal section. The furniture in the church didn’t match, the piano, the pulpit, and the pews, were all wood but of different types and colors. It didn’t matter. Sam taught as though hundreds were sitting there listening on furnishings of the finest material and design. He taught a lesson on salvation. He taught it as though it was a matter of life or death, of Heaven or Hell, of coming clean or going away dirty. That day, that Wednesday in March after the praying and the singing and the music stopped, I sat and listened as Sam taught, read, quoted, and convinced from that worn Bible with curled pages. The teaching pricked my heart and transformed it. I believed what was taught. That Wednesday I asked Jesus Christ to be Lord in my life. I confessed the fact that I was a sinner and asked Him to forgive me of all my sins. I availed myself to instruction on how to live a life that pleased Him. I changed that day.
My outward appearance had not been altered, I was still a five feet ten and a half inches black female but inwardly a one hundred and eighty degree metamorphosis took place. When salvation came it felt as though a huge burdensome invisible cage door had been flung wide open and when it did I stepped from its confines into a new and sweet freedom. I showered that Wednesday in March. The clothes I wore to the church that day were laundered but this had nothing to do with the fresh, brilliant cleansing that started from my heart and spread, penetrating every fiber of my consciousness; it purified, and sanitized. I felt a tender kinship, an overwhelmingly powerful connection with every living creature, especially to those human beings that made the same decision to know and follow Jesus Christ too. I was now a member of a family too immense to calculate, spanning centuries, limitless to borders or languages but not too immeasurable to include me – me, little me and anyone else that cared to be a part. I felt weightless now; mysteriously freed of an invisible ponderous burden, I seemed supernaturally buoyant. It was as though I floated to the very top and met God face to face and He smiled, welcoming me. The warmth of unconditional love flooded and enveloped me like a cozy snug blanket. Even though this experience was unfamiliar, unbelievable and inexplicable that did not obstruct the unmistakable impression that a thick heavy fog and been lifted. There was an uncompromising clarification and illumination. Now, everything seemed crystal clear. The chaos was gone; it was replaced with order and solid purpose. I felt aligned and assigned. A massive gaping hole had been custom filled. I had a sense of being entire, intact - whole. The puzzle pieces of my life were no longer haphazardly scattered, they were all in proper place. I felt a tremendous sense of unquestionable, impregnable security and hope.
Where I lived did not change but the way I lived from that moment on did. I was grateful for this freedom, this cleansing, this love, this illumination, this change, this salvation. That gratitude motivated and compelled me to better know and obey my Divine benefactor. My entire life changed that day. That day which wasn’t quite spring, the season that for some, symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings was the day that I experienced a new beginning and rebirth as a brand new Christian, a person who was now born-again.
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doer (This one is for my book group.)
Doer’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. He has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and those who will be here after we’re gone.
Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a paean to the extraordinary human capacity to transmit stories from generation to generation and a novel about stewardship—of books, of our shared planet, and of the human heart.
The nameless narrator of Foster is a little girl whose parents, impoverished Catholic farmers already overwhelmed by too many children and the father's bad habits, farm her out to distant relatives she's never met when her mother's belly is "hard with the next baby." When her father drives her after Mass one summer Sunday "deep into Wexford towards the coast where my mother's people came from," she has no idea what to expect — whether she'll be worked hard or treated kindly, and for how long.
“Ed Yong! What strange sensory power does this man have, that he's able to roam the vast universe of animal science, homing in on the most fascinating discoveries? Every page finds the reader mouthing quiet whoas, as the world she thought she knew opens out into a hundred others, improbable, strange, and fabulous. I don’t know how to put into words the awe I felt while reading this book—for the incredible sensory diversity of our planet, and for Ed Yong’s talents.”—Mary Roach, author of Stiff
A wilderness of stars by Shea Ernshaw
The first is a teen fantasy about a girl that is growing up in a world where there are dangers outside of her valley such as plague and she has to find a way to cure that disease and along the way she meets friends that help her and she also has a destiny to being the last astronomer.
The 86th village by Desir Senal Gopal
The 86th village takes place in India where there are warnings about an impending flood and a mysterious orphan girl shows up and the village is not sure about her especially with her mysterious past.
One to a million by Adiri Jaigirdar
On to a million is about four ladies that are passengers on the Titanic, a thief, an acrobat, an artist and an actress that work together to try and steal a priceless gem that would give them success. It is historical fiction.
Old God's time by Berry Sabastian
Old God's Time is an adult novel about a retired cop that needs help from former co-workers solve an old mystery and confront his past.
Nocturne by Alyssa Wees
Nocturne combines elements from stories such as the phantom of the opera and beauty and the beast. A young ballerina in the 1930's is trying to pursue her career and she is helped by a mysterious benefactor that lives at the theater.
These I think are good picks because they are stories about people dealing with issues and how they solve their problems whether it is looking for treasure, a cure, a chance at success or confronting their past. Most of the novels came out recently as of the beginning of this year and last year. I am going to read them from my local KCLS library at Federal way 320th. Enjoy these exciting reads!
When news of ChatGPT was first announced, three Highline College (HC) librarians (Deb Moore, Hara Brook, and Allison Reibel) partnered with Mattias Olshausen in HC’s EdTech department to experiment with it as a source for information resources. We wondered “could someone ask ChatGPT a reference question and get quality resources on their topic?” It turns out the answer is no. That’s right - we’re not going to make you read to the end of this article to find the answer to this mystery. However, read on to discover why the answer is no as well as better options for students seeking information resources.
After conferring with artificial intelligence (AI) experts, we verified that the purpose of ChatGPT and other similar products is to create textual (and code) passages, not to collate and evaluate existing information sources. (Information sources are already collated in places like the internet and library databases, and an AI technology to find sources most likely does exist (or soon will), but not in ChatGPT. Also, although some evaluation is built into the peer-review process, evaluation is ultimately the responsibility of the information user.) Emily Bender (UW Professor in the Department of Linguistics, faculty director of the CLMS program, and director of the Computational Linguistics Laboratory) writes that tools like ChatGPT are designed to “create coherent-seeming text. They do this by being cleverly built to take in vast quantities of training data and model the ways in which words co-occur across all of that text. The result is systems that can produce text that is very compelling when we as humans make sense of it. But the systems do not have any understanding of what they are producing, any communicative intent, any model of the world, or any ability to be accountable for the truth of what they are saying” (source).
In addition to gathering information from AI experts, Deb, Hara, Allison, and Mattias experimented with ChatGPT to see what types of information sources it would give us. We asked ChatGPT a typical student question: “Need books and articals about climate change and agriculture for assignment.” (Note: we purposely included a typo and worded the question this way to see if typos and word choice would make a difference in the results. They don’t appear to.) This exact question was asked by Mattias on 1/20/23 (using his HC email address) and by Deb on 2/3/23 (using her personal gmail address). We’ll refer to the results as Mattias’s and Deb’s results for simplicity’s sake. Mattias’s results showed 4 books and 3 articles, while Deb’s showed 4 of each.
There were only 2 sources in both Mattia’s and Deb’s results that appeared to be the same or similar. One of these appeared exactly the same in both results lists:
"Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security" by Annual Review of Environment and Resources
The other one had the same title, but different authors, as shown below:
Mattias: "Climate Change and Agriculture: Impacts and Adaptation" by K. Boote, J. Hatfield, and P. Thorburn
Deb: "Climate change and agriculture: Impacts and adaptation" by International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
After researching both sources, we determined that neither can be proven to exist, which matches what our AI experts told us. There was a website that listed a journal’s special issue on climate change and agriculture, but the authors listed in Mattias’s results (Boote, Hatfield, and Thorburn) weren’t the authors of any of the articles in the special issue. Furthermore, there’s no evidence that these three people ever co-authored an article together. There are instances of these names being attached to publications about climate change, but not the titles listed above.
We searched for articles with the title "Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security" in the publication Annual Review of Environment and Resources, but there were 0 results. Likewise when searching for the article titled "Climate change and agriculture: Impacts and adaptation" in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, there were 0 results.
One final note is that ChatGPT made up partial citations for sources, not even including all of the necessary information for a citation: author, article title, publication, volume and issue numbers, date, etc. Were a student to search for information sources using ChatGPT, they would end up with manufactured sources which might then take them hours to try to track down, ending with not finding anything. The key takeaway for people who’re thinking that ChatGPT might help them with their research is that they’d be better off using other existing chat reference services, such as the one available to HC students and staff: Chat with a Librarian. A link to this service is on the HC Library’s website, and everyone is welcome to use it. During the hours when the HC librarians are available online, questions asked through Chat with a Librarian will be directed to them. But this service is also available 24/7, and questions are answered by a librarian somewhere in the world (how cool is that?!).
If you have any additional questions about research or EdTech-related topics, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org (to reach all of the librarians) or email@example.com (to reach all EdTech-ers).
Thank you to all the library staff who supported numerous library events and popups this quarter, including:
Building 25 Open House, January 25
A special thank you to our guest readers and all who attended in person or virtually. Want to read Spring Quarter? Let us know!
Library Student Focus Groups, March 10
MLK Week Library Pop-Up Library, January 17
Math Week: Day 1, Spin the Pi Wheel, March 13
It’s a stereotype that library staff love cats, but some of us have dogs also. Play along with us and learn more about Howie and Ginger.
Howie and Ginger have submitted three statements about themselves.
Your task: guess which statement is a lie.
Submit your guesses here by March 31: https://forms.gle/3S5oNJ7s5hykiies7
The winner will be chosen from all correct guesses and will win a fabulous, practical Highline College Library gift.