Holidays – St. Thomas Libraries Blog
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Libraries, News & Events

Find Love at the Library

Are you ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day, library-style?!

It seems that love is in the air everywhere you look this week, including at UST Libraries! Stop by this week to join us in these heart-felt (pun intended!) celebrations:

Go on a Blind Date with a BookIMG_1930

Have you ever been on a blind date with a book? Stop by this week to try it out…titles are wrapped up so you won’t know what you’re getting, but isn’t that the fun of finding a new book?

All titles have been hand-picked by library staff. Happy Reading!

All Week, OSF Rotunda Reference Desk


Therapy Pets

Who doesn’t love a good snuggle with the ever-popular UST Libraries Therapy Pets?

This time, the dogs and bunnies will have some Valentine’s swag with them just perfect for you to take a snuggly selfie with you and your friends!    #ustlibfindlove

Thursday, Feb. 11, 6-8pm in the OSF Rotunda

Libraries, News & Events

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours reminder

Happy Thanksgiving!  Just a reminder that the Libraries will have shortened hours or be closed over the next several days, so please plan your work accordingly.

O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Wednesday Nov. 27:  7:30 AM — 6 PM
Thursday Nov. 28: Closed
Friday Nov. 29: Closed
Saturday Nov. 30: 10 AM — 6 PM
Sunday Dec. 1: 12 noon — 2 AM (normal hours)

Keffer Library (Minneapolis)
Wednesday Nov. 27:  8 AM — 10 PM (normal hours)
Thursday Nov. 28: Closed
Friday Nov. 29: Closed
Saturday Nov. 30: 9 AM — 5 PM
Sunday Dec. 1: Closed

Ireland Library
Wednesday Nov. 27:  8 AM — 5 PM
Thursday Nov. 28: Closed
Friday Nov. 29: Closed
Saturday Nov. 30: 12 noon — 5 PM
Sunday Dec. 1: 12 noon — 10 PM (normal hours)

Schoenecker Law Library
Wednesday Nov. 27:  7:45 AM — 5 PM
Thursday Nov. 28: Closed
Friday Nov. 29: Closed
Saturday Nov. 30: Closed
Sunday Dec. 1: Closed

Full Library Hours calendar

Have a great holiday!


Database Highlights & Trials, Libraries, Music

Listen to Hometown Musicians at the Library

Sad because the Minnesota Orchestra  is still locked out and we are all missing out on their music? You can partially fill the void by listening to Minnesota Orchestra recordings on audio CD’s or via online streaming audio.localmusic

The Music Resource Center (rm 103, Brady Education Center) has about 25 audio CD’s available for check-out, including all of the critically acclaimed Osmo Vanska recordings of the Beethoven symphonies (and yes, they indeed are wonderful). For online options, try Naxos Music Library, which also has many recordings of the orchestra.

Interested in other local classical ensembles? More recordings from many other hometown ensembles are available either for checkout at the Music Resource Center or for online listening via Naxos Music Library and DRAM, including:

Want to listen really close to home? The Music Resource Center has CD’s and DVD’s of St. Thomas musical groups in concert, faculty recordings, prominent organists in recital on the Chapel’s fine Kney organ, and the popular Christmas concerts. And check out the Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s online recordings via Naxos.

Happy hometown listening!

Business & Economics, Database Highlights & Trials

Happy Valentine’s with Euromonitor Passport!

Welcome to Spring Semester, business researchers!

We’re less than one week away from Valentine’s Day, and I thought it was a good time to share some interesting Valentine’s-themed nuggets of note our vendor has shared with us that will (hopefully) help you to fall in love with one of our favorite market research databases: Euromonitor Passport GMID!

First, the Dashboards in Euromonitor Passport GMID reveal that the US is the largest market in the world for chocolate confectionery.  Good news for chocolate lovers, but growth in this market has declined since 2009.


Secondly, Mars is the dominant player in the confectionery market after overtaking The Hershey Company in 2008 (I’m excited to see Lindt and Ferrero on this list, personally).

And finally, if jewelry is more your style this Valentine’s Day, new data available for Passport Industrial reveals that Tiffany’s is the largest producer of jewelry in the US.

Continue Reading

Business & Economics, Libraries, News & Events, Uncategorized

It’s baaaack: The PNC Christmas Price Index!


Did you know?  Each holiday season, your favorite UST business librarians anxiously await the release of one of our favorite traditions:the PNC “Christmas Price Index!”

The PNC CPI tracks how much it would cost to buy each of the 78 gifts in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  PNC has been doing this every year since 1984, so they really know their stuff.   For those of you who aren’t some of my amazing Finance students, this CPI is a play on the “Consumer Price Index,” which tracks the changes in price of goods and services like housing, clothing, food, and transportation that reflect American consumers’ spending habits.

PNC makes a fun website every year depicting their CPI and allowing us to discover the costs of each individual gift; this year we get to hop aboard the “Index Express” railway.  As we travel through “Fluctuation Farm,” “Inflation Station,” “Index Falls,” and “Percentage Peak” to hear how the golden rings, partridges in pear trees, ladies dancing, and more are faring in the markets.

CPI Express

And the results? The 2011 CPI increased by 3.5% over last year – to (drummers drumming please):


The largest increases were for the poultry this year: the Two Turtle Doves (25%) the Partridge in the Pear Tree (14.2%), the Swans-a-Swimming (12.5%), and Geese-a-Laying (8%).  The Four Calling Birds were left out of this trend, with a 13.3% decrease. Four French Hens remained constant at $150, as did the price of Ladies Dancing ($6,294.03) and Lords-a-Leaping ($4766.70), although the dancers did get a large salary increase last year.  And, as some of you who follow the markets might predict, the cost of everyone’s perennial favorite, Five Golden Rings, is at $645 – a decrease of 0.8% from last year.


If you do a Summon search on the Twelve Days of Christmas, there are nearly 73,000 items – which is an increase of over 325% from last year!  Included are thousands of books, videos, music, and more to help get you in a holiday spirit (and perhaps help you out of finals doldrums?) from some our favorite authors and artists.  Check them out!

Happy Holidays!

Business & Economics, News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library

Holiday CPI

Yes, you’ve all been waiting for it – the annual CPI. Consumer Price Index? Oh, no. It’s the Christmas Price Index®!  

Compiled every year by the PNC Financial Services Group, this CPI tracks how much it would cost to buy each of the gifts in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (did you know, there are 78 of them?)

Despite the down economy, the 2010 CPI increased a surprising 9.2% over last year. Big increases were seen in the Five Gold Rings (30%), as well as higher costs for wages and benefits for some of the entertainers. The Twelve Drummers and Eleven Pipers both went up 3.1%, Lords-a-Leaping increased 8%, and the dancing Ladies saw a 15% rise (note that none of these performers had a raise last year.) The Maids-a-Milking did not receive an increase, as the federal minimum wage stayed flat at $7.25 an hour.

What about the wildlife, you ask? Bird prices increased due to rising costs of feed and demand for certain fowl. The biggest increase was for the Three French Hens (up 233%) and the Turtle Doves (up 78.6%.)

 Interestingly enough, if you do a Summon search on the Twelve Days of Christmas, there are over 22,000 items, including classic New England activities for the holidays, a newspaper article on cruise lines, an article from Mathematics Teacher, and an article from Australian Doctor. And there are 45 books, from such authors and illustrators as Anne Geddes, John O’Brien, Jack Kent, and one of my favorites, Jan Brett.

Happy Holidays!

Archbishop Ireland Library, News & Events

Las Posadas

Las Posadas (“The Inns”), a nine-day (novena) celebration with origins stretching back to Spanish colonial times, begins December 16 and ends December 24.

An annual tradition for many Mexican Catholic and other Latino communities — in El Norte notably New Mexico and California — the musical drama enacts the rejection Mary and Joseph posada_burroendure trying to find a place where they can stay and the Child can be born. Each evening a procession is led by children portraying Mary and Joseph. Even a burro can have a role, as at left, in bearing the Virgin Mary, when the procession arrives before different houses in the neighborhood. The couple pleads in song to be allowed in but are refused. For eight successive nights, they are turned away (the Devil often playing his part), until finally on Christmas Eve the doors are thrown open. The festivities move inside to the joyful smashing of the pinata, the singing of Christmas carols and feasting on seasonal delicacies.

Of course, we imagined such a celebration would generate the easy path to untold Internet riches.” Not so, as we discover, surprisingly, and confirm in this article’s very first sentence (below), published in 1980, but, still, matters have only modestly improved in our digital realm.

Villarreal, Mary MacGregor. “Celebrating Las Posadas in Los Angeles.” Western Folklore, 39.2 (April, 1980): 71-105.
UST affiliates see:

As with almost any conceivable topic, we come across numerous ‘hits’ here and there, but little to make much of. Even the Wikipedia article gets tagged as in dire need of expert revision. On the other hand, the persistent searcher does find a link to a new master’s thesis.

 Patrick Cox. “Ecclesiology of Las Posadas.” [Master’s thesis]. St. Norbert College (De Pere, WI), 2007.

Finally, for the curious, here is a link to words and music. As expected in folk performance, there are many variations in traditional Las Posadas. Below is an image of one written down version. posadas_music09


Archbishop Ireland Library, News & Events

Advent Notes

adventskranzHistory of the Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a fine example of domestic rituals which while outside ecclesial practice are nonetheless – by their widespread adoption – sometimes interpolated into Church services even though clearly not part of ordinary rubrics.

As with the Christmas tree, the Advent wreath appears to be this kind of broadly adopted Germanic custom. At least on the web, there is considerable variety in representing its origins. Wikipedia has a fair summary (some detection reveals that most ‘data’ below originates from less than authoritative sites).

The ring or wheel of the Advent wreath of evergreens decorated with candles was a symbol in northern Europe long before the arrival of Christianity. The circle symbolized the eternal cycle of the seasons while the evergreens and lighted candles signified the persistence of life in the midst of winter. Some sources suggest the wreath–now reinterpreted as a Christian symbol–was in common use in the Middle Ages, others that it was established in Germany as a Christian custom only in the 16th century, and others that the Advent wreath was not invented until advent309o845the 19th century. This last theory credits Johann Hinrich Wichern(1808-1881), a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor, as the inventor of the modern Advent wreath. During Advent, children at a mission school founded by Wichernwould ask daily if Christmas had arrived. In 1839, he built a large wooden ring (made out of an old cartwheel) with19 small red and 4 large white candles. A small candle was lit successively every weekday during Advent. On Sundays, a large white candle was lit. The custom gained ground among Protestant churches in Germany and evolved into the smaller wreath with four or five candles known today. Roman Catholics in Germany began to adopt the custom in the 1920’s, and in the 1930’s it spread to North America[1]. In Medieval times advent was a fast during which people’s thoughts were directed to the expected second coming of Christ; but in modern times it has been seen as the lead up to Christmas, and in that context Advent Wreathserves as a reminder of the approach of the feast. More recently, some Eastern Orthodox families have adopted an Advent wreathwith six candles symbolizing the longer Advent season in Orthodox tradition.

For this out of the ordinary instance of East adopting a Western tradition,

Those cursed with wanting to know more, in an appreciably more academic vein, may feel compelled to consult the folllowing:

The People’s Work: a Social History of the Liturgy. Frank C. Senn. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006.
Irland Library BV178 .S46 2006

The Liturgical Year. Prosper Guéranger. Wesminster, Md: Newman Press, 1948-50. 15 volumes.
Ireland Library BT4207 .G7. Volume 1 (Advent)

Original French edition: L’Année liturgique (Paris, 1841-1901), completed by Lucien Fromage. T.1 L’Avent.

Business & Economics, Charles J. Keffer Library, Recently Read

E-Books, Goats, Zhu Zhu Hamsters: What’s The Hot Gift This Holiday Season?

Contrary to a discussion I had with friends at breakfast this morning, e-books seem to be hitting their stride in the US marketplace.  And though they probably won’t ever reach the fever pitch of a holiday season must-have toy, such as this year’s Zhu Zhu Hamster, more people want them.

In September the US saw e-book sales grow to $15.9 million, up 170 per cent from a year ago.  Gartner, a global leader in technology insights (to which all UST students have access), wrote in its September report “A New Ecosystem Defines E-Book’s Second Chapter” that the technology is getting a “second take,” and that this one will stick.   Gartner reports that the global e-book market is forecast to be as much as $2.3 billion by 2013.  Mobile device compatibility, as with netbooks and smartphones, is among factors driving demand.

Or it could be that grown-ups want tiny high-def camcorders, which are selling strong.  Or goats, as reported by The Times.  Goats, along with toilets, are very popular gifts for the less fortunate among buyers in the UK.  (The goats are then donated to recipients in less developed countries, via Oxfam, which has facilitated 200,000 such donations in the last five years.)

What are you planning to give this holiday season?  What are you hoping to receive?