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The Wizard Behind the Curtain

For the Furman University Libraries to function, a lot of the work goes on behind the scenes. Meet the wizard behind the curtain, Rebekah Ostini.  Rebekah is the Coordinator for Content Management who oversees acquisitions, coordinates the purchasing of new materials, creates and maintains access to electronic resources, and handles the serials. In addition to adding to our collection, she preemptively troubleshoots ejournals to ensure a smooth academic experience. She is a graduate of Bob Jones University, a pianist, a devoted Christian, and a loving mother of three boys, all under six.  If you have the pleasure of meeting her, give her a high-five.

by Gabe Fresa, Library Intern, Summer 2018

SC Voter Registration Deadline Extended

The South Carolina voter registration deadline is extended 10 days in the wake of massive flooding from Hurricane Florence.  According to an article in The Post and Courier, South Carolina voters in all 46 counties have until October 17 to register in person, online or by mail. Pick up a SC voter registration form at the Research Assistance Desk if you are interested in registering to vote in Greenville County.

Visit the latest book display in the James B. Duke Library. Titles include:



Fall Break Hours

The James B. Duke Library will be operating under an altered schedule during Fall Break.

October 6  Saturday  1:00pm-5:00pm
October 7  Sunday  1:00pm-5:00pm
October 8  Monday  9:00am-5:00pm
October 9  Tuesday  9:00am-1:00am

Furman students playing a round on the new Furman University golf course, built in 1957. – Furman University Special Collections and Archives

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month


From September 15th to October 15th, organizations around the U.S. will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the many contributions that Hispanic Americans have made to our society.

Do you need to brush up on your Spanish or Portuguese? Mango Languages offers courses in Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), and Portuguese. Mango Languages is an online language learning resource available for free to Furman students, faculty, and staff. It can be accessed via the All Databases link on the library’s homepage. Create a free account to get started.

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, Mango Languages is offering several specialty courses:

To help you practice Spanish and Portuguese on the go, iPhone and Android apps are available for free download linked to your Mango Languages account.

Happy learning, and ¡Que tengas un feliz mes de la herencia hispana nacional! (Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!)

CLP: Desegregation of Greenville Public Library

CLP – Desegregation in Greenville: The Public Library Story
Dr. Wayne A. Wiegand, historian and co-author of The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism will visit Furman University on October 3rd. Dr. Wiegand will speak about the integration of public libraries in the South during the civil rights era. For the Greenville story, he will describe the role of the “Greenville 7” and “Greenville 8,” African American high school and college students, whose efforts in 1959-1960 made all the branches of the Greenville Public Library system open to all of its citizens. Please join us for this event.
Wednesday, October 3rd, 7:00 p.m.
Watkins Room, Trone Student Center
Co-sponsored by:
The Friends of the Furman University Libraries
Greenville County Library System
Furman University Center for Inclusive Communities
For more information, read the Furman News story “Library Historian Wiegand to Speak about Greenville Desegregation October 3” and visit the exhibit in the James B. Duke Library.

Meet the Scholar of the Month!

Congratulations to Barrie Clark (’20)! She is the lucky winner of the Scholar of the Month contest.  As Scholar of the Month, Barrie wins a private study room in the library for the month of October.

Perks of the private study room:
• floor to ceiling dry erase wall
• super-duper comfy chair
• large study table with 4 chairs
• FitDesk
• bookcase to store your belongings
• access to a microwave

Would you like to be the Scholar of the Month in November? You can enter electronically by clicking the purple button. One entry per person per month.

We will randomly select one winner from all entries on the first day of November and email the results to all who entered. The Scholar of the Month will also be announced on the library’s blog, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. Fine print: the Scholar of the Month contest is limited to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.  Sorry, Freshmen!

Celebrate Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Visit the banned books display in the James B. Duke Library.

What is a GONGO?

Most people have heard of NGOs, but have you ever heard of GONGOs? GONGOs (rhymes with “bongos”) are “government-organized non-governmental organizations.” Yes, it’s an oxymoron. Meant to be distractions, these are often run by authoritarian countries as a way to adulterate criticism from human rights groups and other watchdogs. As the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe put it: GONGOs are “fake organizations that will shill for the government in an attempt to distract from repressive failings. GONGOs defend countries’ policies, attempt to delegitimize genuine civil society voices, and consume time, space, and other limited resources that could be used for real, meaningful dialogue.”

So how can you determine if an organization is a GONGO? How can you evaluate if a think tank has an agenda beyond what it might declare on its website? This tip sheet provided by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy aims to help journalists ask critical questions before citing a think tank’s research or experts. Quoting a think tank without identifying its leaning or motivation is a disservice to your audience and could undermine your story.

Republican Senator Nominated to Supreme Court

September 18, 1945

The prospect of a vacancy on the Supreme Court generally stirs speculation about which incumbent members of the Senate might be eligible candidates. Given the increasing contentiousness of the Senate review process for high court vacancies, some believe that selecting one of the Senate’s own members might smooth the road to a speedy confirmation.  This raises the question: “How often are senators chosen for seats on the high court?”

In all of the Senate’s history, only seven incumbent members have moved directly to the Supreme Court—the most recent being in 1945. Seven others were seated within a few years of leaving the Senate—the most recent being in 1949.

In the summer of 1945, the retirement of Justice Owen Roberts presented a political challenge to Harry Truman, who had been president for only three months. The seven remaining associate justices had gained their seats as Democratic appointees of President Franklin Roosevelt. In a gesture designed to improve relations with Republican congressional leaders, the new Democratic president decided to appoint a Republican.

President Harry S. Truman, left, congratulates new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, former Senator Harold Burton of Ohio.

In making his decision, President Truman consulted with Chief Justice Harlan Stone, the Court’s only Republican, to see if Ohio Republican Senator Harold Burton would be acceptable. Truman and Burton had become friends when they served together on the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program. Chief Justice Stone welcomed the appointment on the theory that Burton’s Senate experience would be useful in helping the Court determine legislative intent as it reviewed statutes.

Truman’s decision was not entirely altruistic. In sending a Republican to the Court, the president knew that the Democratic governor of Ohio was prepared to replace Burton in the Senate with a Democrat.

Three years later, in 1949, Truman named his former Senate seat-mate, Indiana Democrat Sherman Minton, to the Supreme Court. Minton had come to the Senate with Truman in 1935 as part of a 13-member all-Democratic freshman class.

During his seven years on the Court, Justice Minton occasionally strolled onto the Senate floor to listen to debate. Today, he is remembered as the last member of Congress—incumbent or former—to receive a Supreme Court appointment.

List of Senators Who Served on the Supreme Court 

Further Reading
200 Notable Days: Senate Stories 1787-2002. Richard A. Baker. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006.

200 Notable Days: Senate Stories 1787-2002 includes essays about the landmark days that shaped the Senate as an institution. Arranged chronologically, this book of days collectively reveals the character of the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.”