Skip to Main Content

From the Stacks - #5 June 2023: Home

June 2023




Trip to Loc surplus books

Big Gulp of Free Books


Meet Crystal Boyce

Dr. alma

Resolving Long-Overdue Items


More Tech News

Scribble scrawl

Have fun!


NOVA Library Jobs



Library of Congress Madison Building


Trip to LoC Surplus Books

Diane, Liz, and Chrystie reserved a NOVA van and ventured out to LoC to shop for free books in the Surplus Book cages. This article is intended to prepare others for the journey.

  • Our contact at LoC Surplus Books is -

    Joseph Mahar 
    Head of Surplus Books Program, 
    Acquisitions Fiscal, Overseas and Support Division 
    Library of Congress 
    Tel.: (202) 707-9524

  • You do not need to bring boxes. LoC provides boxes and they pack the boxes with books. They also bring the boxed books to your vehicle at the curb.
  • Start early. Getting the key out of the high-tech security box at Annandale takes longer than one might expect.
  • The NOVA van moved like a camel or a water buffalo navigating deep mud. This means more than usual lateral motion. Precautions are recommended for those prone to motion sickness.
  • NOVA does not provide an EZPass, so plan a route into DC that avoids tolls.
  • Surplus Books is in the basement of the Madison Building (Room LM B-03)..
  • As in all federal facilities, one must pass through a metal detector and bags are screened on entry. You should bring an empty, clear water bottle to fill after you enter. There is a water bottle filling station near the Surplus Book section. The air in Surplus Books is dry and dusty. Bringing a mask may help those with allergies.
  • The Shell station at 11201 Main St, Fairfax, accepts the gas card that is attached to the van key, according to Emili Gomez at Fleet Services. Other stations may not accept it.
  • Public parking beside the National Capital Bank at 316 Pennsylvania Ave SE is $25.00 for the day. It is an easy walk to LOC from there. Take the gas card off the key and keep it with you.
  • There isn't time to eat, so have a big breakfast and bring energy bars for the trip home..

Selecting books makes for an intense day. The selection room consists of several long, tunnel-like cages. It may not be a good place for claustrophobic people. None of the three on the NOVA team finished a cage in its entirety during a three-hour stretch due to the number of books available. Nevertheless, it is a fun and rewarding task for those who love enriching NOVA Library collections.




Look Who's New!

Hi everyone! I’m the new Instruction & Technology Librarian at the Annandale campus and this is where I tell you all my quirks and secrets (insert villain laugh that sounds oddly like Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove). My pronouns are she/her/hers, I’m queer, my politics are leftist to liberal depending on the topic, I’m coming to NOVA from Hawai’i/Illinois/Leesburg (it’s complicated), and I get to go home to my kiddo and dog at the end of the day. Kiddo (she/they) is 12 and the pup is a 4 ½ year old super mutt who wants nothing to do with anything under 75°.

Crystal and Rory

I’ve been working in libraries since I was 16 but didn’t figure out I wanted to be a librarian until kiddo was born. I did my coursework 100% online with a new baby (you can become addicted to stress; did you know that?). My program ended with a study abroad course in London and a cross country move to Illinois. I was working on a PhD while we lived in Hawai’i, but COVID-related circumstances, an impending loss of in-state tuition benefits, and other big life transitions meant I left the program ABD.

I’ve only ever worked in 4-year academic libraries with local administration and leadership, and I’m slowly building an understanding of multi-campus partnerships, distributed workflows, and the unique needs of community college students and their faculty.

That’s a very small, not-at-all random sample of me, so let’s jump to the awkward question phase.

What’s a movie or show you will watch over and over and it never get old?

Jurassic Park, The Lord of the Rings trilogy (not The Hobbit even though the cast is great), and The Fifth Element are a few of the movies that I will absolutely never get tired of. If they were on VHS, I’d have burned through several copies of each by now, like I did with The Adventures of Milo and Otis when I was a kid. I’ve watched the entirety of Firefly, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Supernatural multiple times each. I’d rewatch all the new Doctor Who and Sherlock if they were on any of my streaming services. If you haven’t watched Steven Universe, you should. That show is amazing.

What are your top one or two unexpected skills?

I have a general belief that I can do just about anything creative, which means I have a whole slew of hobbies that I rotate through. I tend to binge on one for a few months before it gets set aside for a while, years possibly. I recently got back into sewing, which means I finished a quilt I started in 2016 and taught myself how to make my own clothes. So far, I’ve made a bunch of shirts and three pairs of pants. I may or may not be a fabric goblin, so any excuse to buy pretty fabric will get my adrenaline pumping and force my grown-up, budget-conscious brain to go into overdrive.

If you could do anything during a typical evening, what would you be doing?

I’d love to have a regular group of friends able to get together for snacks, drinks, and board games. I’ve got so many games that are great for groups, and I have a love of organizing (yes, an actual love of organizing ALL THE THINGS) and baking. I’ve been known to make upwards of 15 different types of cookies for the holidays in addition to pies, cakes, and other confections. I prefer playing board games like Pandemic, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Catan, and other games that vary in set up and difficulty and have immensely different game play each go round. I recently got a copy of Radical Queer Witches which is Cards Against Humanity without the bigotry and hate.

What’s something you think your co-workers ought to know about your work style?

I am an external processor which means I’m frequently hanging lists and pictures or talking something out (yeah…sometimes with myself). I’m neurodivergent and have learned a lot of ways to work with my brain over the years, and sometimes that looks like a bunch of post-it notes all over my desk. If it’s in a drawer, there’s got to be a big reason for me to remember it, otherwise it’s just something that got printed and then forgotten about. I’m also a systems thinker, which means I tend to look for the relationships between things to understand them. Everything and everyone is connected, even nebulously, and those connections have just as many surprising impacts as they do obvious ones.



Dr. Alma

Updating pre-Alma overdue loans to lost




ChatGPT is Fabricating Information

  • Research shows ChatGPT is capable of not only fabricated citations, but whole articles and bylines that never existed.
  • This propensity, known as “hallucination,” is now seen as a significant threat to the integrity of information.

A Problem For Every Industry, Not Just Journalism





Hello everyone! Were you able to guess last edition’s song?  The answer was Whip It by Devo!

The pictures below each represent a song that has a day associated with it in June. Have fun guessing the song-and if possible, the day associated with it!!  The answers will be in the next edition!


Vacant Full-time Positions

By M. Todd

Active / Advertised



AL = one Collection Development/Lead Librarian and one LS1

AN = no vacancies

LO = one LS2 in circulation / reserves

LTS = one LS2 in cataloging

MA = one LS2 in circulation

MEC = no vacancies

WO = no vacancies