Interlibrary Loan: The Library Service You Should Absolutely Be Using

You’ve probably stopped by our library once or twice and noticed that we have very few books on our shelves compared to most libraries. The actual number is somewhere around 1,100, but out of those, 737 are allowed to be checked out; the rest are meant to exclusively serve the medical curriculum that is taught at the College.

Being a specialized library, we realize that most of the books available for you to checkout probably wouldn’t be considered light reading. There was a point a couple of years ago when we did have a small leisure reading collection we maintained, though it functioned more as a Book Swap than a “bring this back by the due date” transaction. Should you find yourself interested in reading up on medical procedures, terms, or techniques, we’d be happy to point you in the correct direction – just stop by the front desk and ask one of our staff to help you find what you’re looking for on our shelves! For all our other avid readers who don’t quite fancy brushing up on their medical knowledge, we’d like to introduce you to (or remind you about) our Interlibrary Loan service!

Interlibrary Loan allows us to request books we don’t have from other libraries across the state. For instance, if you really wanted to read The Lord of the Rings, we could create a request to borrow that book from another library since we don’t own a copy of it. They would send it to us, and we would check it out to you for a few weeks. Afterwards, we would send the book back to the library we borrowed it from.  The books arrive by mail, so it can take a few days for a request to be processed and shipped to us by a library depending on how far away it is. Loan periods can vary; one library may let you have the book for a month, while another will only let you borrow it for 3 weeks. There are a few restrictions (textbooks and bestsellers are typically pretty hard to get a hold of), but generally most books can be requested through this service.

One super convenient part to this service is that we can have books delivered to us from the John C. Hitt library on UCF’s main campus! They have a very extensive collection, including fiction titles.  If there is a book you want to borrow from the main campus library, but don’t have time to get over to that side of town, we can request that the Interlibrary Loan staff over there send us the book for you through the courier.

Did we mention that all of this happens at absolutely no charge to you? All you need to do is register for an ILLiad account on our website, and we’ll take care of the rest. You can shoot our Interlibrary Loan staff an email with any questions you might have about the process.

As summer slowly but surely approaches, we encourage you to take advantage of Interlibrary Loan so that you can have plenty of reading material for road trips, beach trips, and long lunch breaks!

You Asked, We Answered: Popcorn!

Popcorn Day. Now with Magical Mix-Ins

Popcorn Day: Part of a complete afternoon snack!

It’s Thursday and we all know what that means – it’s Popcorn Day! This edition of You Asked, We Answered is all about that crunchy, buttery, delicious kernel. The question we get asked most often about Popcorn Day is: Why doesn’t the library make kettle corn (a sweet-salty mix of popcorn and sugar)? The answer is quite simple: Because it would ruin the popcorn machine! And no one wants that, right?

So, to appease those clamoring for something sweet and salty, this week we’re mixing things up with mix-ins! Come by the library at 3pm today to try something different. 

Popcorn seems to be a polarizing snack. We have noticed that people either love it or don’t care for it. If you are one of the few who are on the fence: Did you know that air-popped popcorn only has 31 calories per cup? Lightly buttered popcorn has about 133 calories per cup. That’s still less than most candy bars. And popcorn is a whole grain food, which means it has fiber to fill you up between meals, making it a great snack. Perfect for that afternoon pick-me-up!

Stop by the library today to try out our mix-ins, and let us know what you think – we do listen to you!

Happy Birthday, The Scoop!

This month marks one whole year of  issues for our bathroom newsletter, The Scoop!

It's a birthday party! Naturally, we had to get a cake.

It’s a birthday party! Naturally, we had to get a cake.

For those of you not on the second floor of the Medical Education building, The Scoop is the name of our monthly newsletter that features information on events going on at the library, app recommendations, and other useful information and tidbits. It is posted in the stalls of the bathrooms closest to the library, and is a fun way to engage our library patrons. The Scoop is also housed on our website, so you can download PDFs of each issue.

Depending on the season or month, the header of our newsletter might change slightly. What started as a fun deviation from the normal header last summer has become an almost regular game of dress-up that has elicited quite a few smiles. Our dapper cat mascot, whom some of our students have apparently affectionately dubbed “Scoop”, has donned a number of accessories to reflect appropriate occasions or themes.

Here he is in his summer gear, the outfit that started it all:


There was also that time he masqueraded as the Dark Knight for Halloween:


He was cozy in snow drifts in December:


And accompanied by a friend in February:


This month, he’s appropriately dressed for his birthday party:


Did you know that the Hitt Library on UCF’s main campus also has a bathroom newsletter?  Appropriately titled “InSTALLments”, their newsletter is available in every bathroom on all 5 floors of the library. Like ours, PDFs of each issue can be downloaded on their website.  Their newsletter has been around since Fall 2006, so we have a long way to go before our archives are anywhere near the size of theirs. We’re up to the challenge though!

Our Scoop Team, from left to right: Natasha, Shalu, and Kerry

The Scoop Team, from left to right: Natasha, Shalu, and Kerry

So, what other looks will our cat debut in Volume 2? What new apps will we review? We hope you’ll keep reading and look forward to finding out. Our Scoop Team really enjoys putting together the newsletter and is pretty thrilled it’s been so well received. If you have content suggestions or want to see anything in particular covered in one of our issues, please let us know by sending an email to us at!



Tech Talk Thursday: Mobile Devices Battle it Out to See Who is Toughest

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If you have ever messed up your smartphone or tablet by dropping it in water (we won’t ask) or even on the floor, you might be wondering what other devices are out there that can withstand such beatings.

Consumer Reports has the answer. The products rating experts have compiled a list of mobile devices that survive even after taking a licking. Here is a summary of the toughest of the tough:

 Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S 5

  • can survive in about 3 feet of water for 30 minutes
  • Active model is shock-resistant

Digital camera: Olympus Stylus TG3

  • waterproof to 50 feet
  • can withstand a drop from 7 feet

 Tablet: Sony Xperia Z3 compact tablet

  • designed to survive in several feet of water
  • can withstand dust and dirt

Action cam: Ricoh WG-M1

  • waterproof to 32 feet
  • shock resistant
  • cold resistant

Wireless speaker: TDK Life on Record A33

  • not meant for swimming but has a weatherized chassis to protect from water


You can check Consumer Reports on their website, or for UCF patrons, go the Hitt Library’s website.

What’s ‘supp? Find out if your supplements are really working for you

A while ago we told you about a great database called Natural Standard. Recently that database was re-branded and re-released as Natural Medicines. A new, better-fitting name notwithstanding, this is still a terrific database that everyone should keep bookmarked.

Natural Medicines database provides clinically relevant, bottom-line-focused information and ratings on over 90,000 commercial dietary supplements, natural medicines, and complementary alternative and integrative therapies.

If you ever wondered whether that gingko you’ve been taking for memory, or that St. John’s Wort you thought about trying are worth a trip to the drug or health store, try Natural Medicines Effectiveness Checker. It gives you a quick comparison of the effectiveness of different natural medicines for specific conditions. You can also check interaction between drugs and supplements.

I personally used this database (as Natural Standard) quite frequently for its Pregnancy and Lactation Checker feature during both of my pregnancies. You can search for safety data on specific integrative therapies that have been studied for use during pregnancy and lactation. Now you don’t have to worry about whether goji berries are safe to consume during pregnancy (hint: probably not!).

For those of our readers not affiliated with UCF COM, Natural Medicines does have a free consumer website you can check out here.

Wait, I Can Borrow That?

If our library is any indication, library services aren’t entirely what they used to be. We only have around 1,200 or so physical books, but did you know that the items that get borrowed from our library most frequently are actually technology related? Librarians are working really hard to expand the functions of libraries, and find new ways to attract patrons. One way to do this is by providing innovative new technologies in order to bring the library into the 21st century. It’s not just about providing books anymore! We wrote a bit last year about two Florida Libraries expanding their range of services, the Melrose Center at the Downtown Orange County Library, along with the University of South Florida’s library, to include cool things like recording studios, camera equipment, and drones.

In case you weren’t aware, patrons in our library (that’s students, faculty and staff) can check-out laptops, laptop chargers, mice, and even camera tripods from us (amongst a slew of other things – email for details). In fact, this past month, the items that circulated the most out of our entire collection of books and technology were Dell laptop chargers – they were borrowed 89 times!

Another way to re-energize a library is to start providing things that one wouldn’t necessarily associate with libraries. Recently, a survey was sent out across the mailing list of the Florida Library Association, asking about what sort of things our fellow libraries let patrons borrow that could be considered “non-traditional”. The responses received were pretty unique, and a far cry from just electronics; here are a few of the really interesting answers:

  • Vegetable seed packets
  • Ukuleles
  • Umbrellas
  • Exercise equipment
  • Power Meters
  • Museum Tickets
  • Cake Pans

It’s not just libraries in Florida either. Plenty of other libraries are finding ways to connect with their communities by providing them access to things they may need, but never thought to ask for. At one point in the Toronto Public Library, you could even check-out a person for half an hour.

We’ve just finished preparing to start lending out our first “non-traditional” item. Here’s a picture of our stylish new Rolling White Board!

Our New Rolling White Board

“ROBOTKat” makes his first mainstream appearance in Health Sciences Library advertising!

This board has a 24 hour checkout period and can leave the library (but not the Medical Education building itself). It even comes with a package of markers. An item like this really speaks to the “Information Anywhere” part of our library motto.

What are some non-traditional items you’d like to see our library let you borrow? Leave us a comment on this post, or send us an email at!


Apple’s Spring Forward Event Big Topic Recap

In case you missed it, Apple held an event on Monday to make some announcements about the new products it will be soon releasing. So naturally, we fired up our Apple TV and connected it to the big screen in the library to broadcast to anyone interested. We had a bit of fun live-tweeting portions of the event on Twitter.

This one happened a little later, too:

Image courtesy of Tech Radar

Image courtesy of Tech Radar

Seriously though, the Apple representatives had a few interesting things to talk about and unveil during this event, including the long-awaited Apple Watch, which we previewed back in September.  Apple’s first smartwatch will come in three different models, the Watch, the Sport, and the Edition. These styles also dictate the price of the watch; the Sport starts at $349, the Watch at $549, and the Edition at $10,000. The watch will connect with your iPhone (specifically iPhone 5 and above), and you can download apps for it via the Apple Watch Store; a new iOS, 8.2 has just been released in preparation. It boasts an 18-hour battery life time and will connect via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It can play music, act as a fitness tracker with heart-rate measurements, receive messages and communications, and make payments via Apple Pay, amongst other features that make use of its connection to your phone. And, of course, being a watch, it can tell time for you. The watch releases on April 24; pre-orders begin on April 10. has an excellent and in-depth review of the device and all it has to offer on it’s website, so be sure to read all about it.

Image courtesy of Engadget

Image courtesy of Engadget

One of our fun tweets referenced the fact that Apple is also releasing a new MacBook, and it’s even thinner than the MacBook Air. Weighing in at just 2 pounds, it features a 12-inch screen with Retina display and a ultra thin keyboard which runs the width of the entire machine. New “Force Touch” (cue the Star Wars jokes) technology allows the trackpad of the device to be pressure sensitive instead of clickable. Apple has also removed the fan which is typical in laptops to keep them cool, and done away with all ports except the headphone jack and a dual charging/USB connectivity port. New colors are available as well that you’ll recognize if you have an iPhone 5 or above – silver, space gray and gold. The laptop will start at $1,299. Here’s what Engadget has to say about the device.

We were also really interested in the possibilities of using Apple’s new open-source software platform, called ResearchKit. In essence, it’s meant to allow medical researchers to create diagnostic iPhone apps. People downloading the apps for use can essentially become a part of studies and tests without ever having to set foot into a laboratory. This of course means that a lot of potentially highly sensitive information will be transmitted through these apps, which could get complicated in terms of ethics and privacy, but Apple has insisted that only the researchers will have access to the information, not Apple. 5 apps are already available in the App Store that have been developed using the ResearchKit, and you can read all about their features here.

Oh yes, and if you’re an HBO fan and happen to have or want an Apple TV (the price has been lowered to $69 from $99), you can watch all your favorite HBO shows using HBO Now, a cable subscription-free version of HBO that will stream videos to your device for $14.99 a month. Just in time for Game of Thrones season 5.

Wouldn’t it be great to get some of these things in our Library Technology Lab to try out? We’ll be sure to keep you posted if any of that is on the horizon.



Tech Talk Thursday: The Latest Throwback in Technology

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An interesting new wearable is soon to be released. There are those who think that I might be referring to Apple’s new entry into the smartwatch field. The release of that new device is indeed imminent. In fact Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has said that the Apple Watch will be released in April. To that end Apple will be holding a “Spring Forward” special event on Monday, March 9 (the very day after we all spring forward in time and lose a precious hours of sleep). During this event Apple is expected to release new details about Apple’s forthcoming smartwatch.

But, while I am certainly interested in Apple’s new device, the wearable of which I speak is the Runcible, a new smartphone that saw its public premiere this week during Mobile World Congress. What is so interesting about another smartphone? First take a look at a couple of pictures.

The front

The Front

The back

The Back

Pictures from

This new smartphone/wearable is a throwback of sorts to the day of the pocket watch. It is in fact a modern smartphone outfitted with all of the technology expected including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE. The Runcible, a creation of a company called Monohm, runs the Firefox OS. The makers of this smartphone feel that the other smartphones of today immerse us in notifications to the point of overwhelming us. The Runcible, while technically capable of providing these notifications, chooses to take a step back and allows us to stay connected to the data that we need through our smartphones while not losing focus with the real world around us.

For more information on this new phone click through the following links.



Your Prescription for March: Get Some Vitamin Zzzzzzzzz

March 2-8 is National Sleep Awareness Week! 

Sleepy Cat

This cat definitely has the right idea

Students: are you taking catnaps between classes in your car or in the library (you know who you are)? Staff and faculty: are you getting drowsy during your 10am meeting? I know I’m guilty. This month, let’s all focus on getting some much needed sleep.

The National Institutes of Health has helpful guidelines on how much sleep we should all be getting, how to get your sleep cycle back on track, and how to tune in to your body’s clues for more sleep (hint: falling asleep at the wheel):

  • 50-70 million Americans are affected by sleep-related problems
  • The cumulative effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders can lead to hypertension, diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart attack, and depression
  • Adults (even medical students) need 7-8 hours of sleep every day
  • Napping does not provide all of the benefits of night-time sleep – you cannot make up for lost sleep
  • You might be sleep deficient if you feel like you might doze off while studying or watching TV, sitting in traffic for a few minutes, or sitting quietly after lunch

Here are some helpful strategies for getting more sleep:

  •  Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Try to keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends, or try to limit the different to no more than an hour to avoid disrupting your body’s sleep-wake rhythm
  • Limit alcoholic drinks and caffeine before bed – the effects of caffeine can last 8 hours!
  • Be physically active every day, especially outside
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark to promote sleep
  • Avoid artificial light from TVs, laptop screens, phones, or tablets before bed – the light can signal your brain to stay awake
  • Try some relaxation techniques like meditation, or take a hot bath, before you go to bed

Check out Your Guide to Healthy Sleep from the National Institutes of Health.

Good night!

Spotlight on Health: American Heart Month Resource Roundup

Healthy LifestyleWith only about a week left in February and American Heart Month, we wanted to compile a list of great resources and information floating around on the internet to do with heart health and battling heart disease for your reference. Happy browsing!


The Basics:

About Heart Disease – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Heart Disease – Mayo Clinic

What Are Heart Disease and Stroke? – American Heart Association

Warning Signs of Heart Attack, Stroke, & Cardiac Arrest


Understanding Your Risk:

Heart Disease Risk Factors – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Heart Attack Risk Assessment – American Heart Association

Heart Disease Risk Questionnaire – Siteman Cancer Center


Live a Heart Healthy Life!:

Getting Healthy – American Heart Association

Dietary Guidelines for Americans – United States Department of Agriculture – United States Department of Agriculture

Physical Activity and Your Heart – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Stress and your heart – MedlinePlus


Other Interesting News and Facts:

Being active a few days a week lowers risk of heart disease, stroke in women

Paramedics may be first source of treatment for stroke patients

Spotlight on Health: National Cholesterol Education Month

Did you know…Certain chocolate is better for your heart health?

Interactive Cardiovascular Library