Monthly Archives: August 2015

RS 100 Class Completes Poker Run in the Library


Library Technician, Latisha Taylor, answers cadet questions at the Info Desk on the 2nd floor of Jefferson Hall.

On 25 and 26 August, cadets enrolled in the Center for Enhanced Performance’s RS 100 course got a chance to spend some very active time in the Library, finding their way from one service point to another and learning about Library resources, services, and staff along the way. The Library Poker Runs are designed to get cadets familiar with the people here at the Library who can help them in their studies, and with the resources they can use to complete the assignments they’ll have throughout their time at West Point.


Bob Sorce, Interlibrary Loan Technician, explains how to obtain a copy of the a book not available in the USMA Library’s collection.

Cadets are given a checklist of locations in the Library (Welcome/Circulation Desk, Info Desk/Reference Librarian/Print Stations, and the Heritage Room) and are directed to complete a task at each checkpoint. The tasks help the plebes learn a multitude of research-related skills, such as how to search within our collections using Scout! – the Library’s discovery tool; how to renew books online; what to do when the Library doesn’t have an article or book they need (hint: Inter-Library Loan!); and the difference between primary and secondary sources. A highlight of the Poker Run is a visit to the Heritage Room, where this semester they got to see Custer’s demerits (all six pages of them!), hand-drawn plans (dating back to the 1870s) for the construction of the railroad tunnel underneath the Plain, and Howitzers feature the current Dean and Commandant.


Cadets look at a page of the “Demerit Book” while Rare Book Curator, Elaine McConnell, shares some insights on what cadet life might have been like in the mid-1800s.

After completing each task, the cadets draw a card, and the cadet team with the best poker hand at the end of class wins a prize from their instructor. Almost 100 cadets participated in this round of Poker Runs, and judging from discussions with them at the end of class, a fun – and educational! – time was had by all.

Content contributed by Laura Mosher, Reference Librarian; photos by Barbara Maroney, Facilities Support Assistant.

The Library Reads – “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

book_thiefI have to admit that I was reluctant to read The Book Thief due to its subject matter. After all, the book is narrated by death and takes place in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. But after holding the best seller list for over four years and being made into a movie, it seemed to warrant a read. The Book Thief is categorized as a young adult book for ages fourteen and up but is by no means childish. Told from the perspective of a nine year old German girl named Liesel Meminger, the book provides a sympathetic glimpse into what life might have been like for the German populace as the Nazi regime took hold. One of things I found most intriguing about this book was the humanization of the German citizenry. Many of the characters are lovable and you witnesses how their world is torn apart by the impending war and how they themselves are victims of the Nazi regime. I recommend The Book Thief because books provide both nourishment for mind and soul – in this story and in real life.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007)

The USMA Library has the audiobook and the DVD of The Book Thief

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Karen Shea Reference & Liaison Librarian