No jobs? Create one
WCC Library now a one-stop shop for all small business needs
With a shortage of jobs for students after school, Washtenaw Community College is creating another option.
Business and Computer Tech Victoria Bennett has helped launch a program called LibraryBiz Connect that aids students starting their own business.
“There’s not a million jobs in this economy,” said Bennett. “We want to develop a way for people to make their own jobs.”
WCC spent $18,000 to update the Richard W. Bailey Library with resources for starting a business. The resources have gone a long way toward “cementing” the future, so to speak.
“We’re the largest concrete business resource center in the state,” Bennett, said, citing one example.
Some of the resources include one-on-one business counseling, classes and workshops, market research and loans.
The New Chelsea Market used the resources when trying to brand its new grocery store.
“It made us more aware of certain things,” said co-owner of the New Chelsea Market Kevin Riley. “We’re on Facebook and Twitter now. A business counselor helped us get a new product group.”
The grocery store wasn’t just starting — it’s been around for three years — but still benefited from LibraryBiz Connect.
“I highly-recommend it,” said Riley. “When you have a limited budget and you make mistakes, it costs dearly. You have to maximize every dollar. They help you select a new business, and market products. It’s another set of eyes for you, gives you new ideas.”
WCC students already in business, or looking to start a business, can use this free resource.
“It fits really well with our entrepreneur program and with skills based for self-employment that people learn here,” said Bennett. “If you fix cars, cook pasta or are in child care, you can start a business.”
Gather ye ‘hazelnuts’—your favorite band is coming
ROCK RIDGE MUSIC COURTESY PHOTO
Jett Beres’ life revolves around music and family. While his busy life as a rock star is consumed at times by the latter, it is the former that is showcased in some of his earliest memories.
“I can remember, very vividly, being somewhere between 2 and 3, and I can remember a couple things from that time: one is playing with superheroes, and two is listening on a little record player to three 45’s that I had,” Beres said.
He started strumming the bass in sixth grade, which eventually led him to his current gig—bass player and vocalist for the band Sister Hazel, the Florida-based band named for a minister that will play the Blind Pig March 19.
“We’re always on the road and we’re always writing and always recording,” Beres said. “We just keep it so that there’s fresh material for our fans every year to 18 months, which is kinda new for us, we used to have three-year gaps between records, but the record industry’s changing.”
Sister Hazel first hit the charts in 1997 with “All for You.” Because the song was so well-known, Beres said it defined them for years. But now the group has such a large song catalogue that new fans may not even know the song initially.
In addition to Beres, members of Sister Hazel are Ken Block (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), Ryan Newell (lead guitar and vocals), Andrew Copeland (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Mark Trojanowski (drums). Beres started the band with Block in 1994.
Their latest disc, Release, came out in 2009, and they’re already working on the next one.
“We were just in the studio cutting some tracks,” Beres said. “We kind of never stop writing. At some point along the way, we just realized we’re a career band.”
Not traveling to Ann Arbor with Beres will be his wife and children, but when he’s not on the road Beres, 39, describes himself as a “full-time family man.”
“I travel about 100 days a year, which seems like a lot when I say it, but you gotta think the other 265 that I’m home full-time,” he said.
And those aren’t just words. During the interview with The Washtenaw Voice he packed his kids in the car to take his son to karate and his daughter to a jazz class. That’s not to say working and being a dad is easy.
“I’m sorry; my son is wrestling my dog now,” Beres said after a sigh.
Although Jordan, 7, and Kai, 4, don’t travel with their dad, they do get to see the band perform every year at Walt Disney World. Both cite their favorite Sister Hazel song as 2006’s “Mandolin Moon.”
“Actually both of them, at different times, have come up on stage in front of very large audiences and sang that song with the band,” Beres said, making no attempt to conceal the pride in his voice.
In 2008 Beres released a book, “Starfish, a Lullaby” based on requests from fans who said their children loved Sister Hazel’s song “Starfish.”
Beres and the rest of Sister Hazel rely on communication with their fans, who call themselves “hazelnuts,” and host events like a “Hazelnut Hang” and “The Rock Boat” to stay connected to them.
“I think what the Hazel fans get that maybe other fans don’t is that we have encouraged and helped develop a community and communal atmosphere,” Beres said. “I think that’s a key to bands that are in it for the long haul.”
Sister Hazel’s been to Ann Arbor before, but Beres only remembers two things—the temperature and the name of the venue, the Blind Pig. He’s hopeful it’ll be warmer this visit during a show in which people can expect to hear all their favorite Sister Hazel songs.
“We keep the live shows fresh,” he said, “but the ones that we don’t change, some of the hits like “Your Winter,” “Champagne High,” Change Your Mind” and “All For You,” those are just so well-received by people, everyone’s singing every word, that it makes the tedious aspect of having played it a million times live, makes it fun.”
Local abstract artist highlighted in GalleryOne and the Library
RACHEL DETHLOFF THE WASHTENAW VOICE
A new GalleryOne exhibit titled “Jim Cogswell: Meanwhile” features the work of a local artist whose $10,000 painting was recently highlighted in the Richard W. Bailey Library. The exhibit runs Monday, Oct. 12-Friday, Dec. 11.
Cogswell’s painting “Meanwhile O Reader,” an oil-on-canvas piece based on the letters in its title, was lighted as a permanent feature in the Bailey Library at Washtenaw Community College in August.
The piece was commissioned by the WCC Library Art Selection Committee, which formed in 2006 and is led by Victor Liu, dean of Learning Resources.
The committee issued a nationwide proposal request to explore artistic styles and mediums. After receiving more than 25 entries, the committee selected four finalists to give presentations on campus in April 2007.
The commission was awarded to Cogswell, who is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design.
The painting, measuring 36-feet long and five-feet high, speaks to the engagement with text, information and knowledge, which is fitting for a library, Liu said.
The painting cost $10,000, $6,000 of which was from a WCC Foundation grant. Liu pointed out that a commissioned art piece of its size and caliber would normally run closer to six figures.
“In essence, this is more a labor of love on Professor Cogswell’s part for situating art in educational institutions,” Liu said.
GalleryOne, in conjunction with the Bailey Library, will host a reception and lecture for Cogswell on Nov. 11, with remarks from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Bailey Library, the lecture from 6-7 p.m. in LA 175 and the reception from 7-8 in GalleryOne, room 108 of the Student Center building.
Library revs up resources, reconsiders procedures
MICHAEL WESTHOFF THE WASHTENAW VOICE
As the Richard W. Bailey Library and Computer Commons sees record-high use with record-high enrollment, it adjusts with new approaches to ease the strain—and curtail a repeat of student confrontations.
“We’ve always been busy, but this semester we have noticed that a lot more students really show up,” said Victor Liu, dean of Learning Resources, from his office on the first floor of the Bailey Library. “The number of heads coming in and out has greatly increased.”
One result of the increase is an increase in resources; the college will add 40 new computers to the second floor Computer Commons in early October, tentatively Oct. 2. The Commons has had around 160 computers since 2002.
“When we moved into this building in 2002, we thought, ‘Oh, what a huge Computer Commons,’” Liu said. “Now all the sudden it doesn’t seem so huge anymore. All of the students really need to use computers on campus to do their homework and research, so we really have to increase the number of workstations.”
When the college first built the Computer Commons, it left room for expansion, said Dan Taylor, public computing coordinator for the library.
“With increased enrollment we decided to go forth and do it,” Taylor said. “We definitely needed the expansion.”
The Computer Commons will add eight new Macs to bring the total Mac stations to around 40. Four of the new Macs will add to and replace the two video editing stations, which are outdated and overused.
“We are upgrading and changing them, because the stations are used for both video editing and animation students who need to come in and do their assignments,” Taylor said.
“Right now they get used quite heavily, because the students do the kind of assignments that don’t just take 10 minutes—they take hours and hours.”
There will also be 32 new PCs, bringing the total to around 160.
The first floor of the Bailey Library seats 250, but the space issue has mainly been with group-study rooms, of which there are 11.
“Especially during certain periods of the semester like around midterms or finals or the beginning of the semester, there are a lot more people coming in, and they really want to use group study rooms, which are first-come-first-serve,” Liu said. “We could always use more student study space, but basically we are confined by the configuration here.”
To use the spaces in the most efficient way possible, the library has made a policy that if there is only one student in a group-study room, it reserves the right to ask that person to leave and use the study carrel instead.
“That happens pretty often,” Liu said.
“Students like to have a lot of space to spread out, and they are just going to have to consolidate the space they have and share the space that is available,” said Bethany Kennedy, director of access services at the library.
More and more groups have to study within the library common space, and starting last year the library began to experience student conflict over noise level.
“We have two sets of demands,” Liu said. “One is students who want dead quiet, and the other is more of the group study type, so there are competing demands.”
To keep conflict under control, library staff periodically walks around about every hour, though sometimes less or more if needed, and asks louder groups to keep the noise down.
“We started last year, but we will continue to be more vigilant this year,” Liu said. “This year, knowing that there will be a lot more students coming in, we want to do a conscientious effort about doing walk around and monitoring the noise level.”
In Winter 2009, the library asked Campus Safety and Security to visit more frequently to help monitor noise level and conflict, but decided it was better for the library staff to complete the regular walk around.
“The library staff is more attuned to the needs of students – they deal with them day in and day out,” Liu said. “But now and then, when people get hot about fighting for a group study room and they’re using abusive language, we’ll call security over. That doesn’t happen very often.”
The library’s research material has not experienced much strain, however, mainly because the library has shifted its funds from print to electronic resources over the last few years.
“With the needs of students nowadays, they want resources online,” Liu said. “We have 18,000 electronic journals spread out over about 45 research databases, so that’s more than enough to support the needs of students.”
But library reserves, the textbooks faculty provide for students to use on a two-hour basis, are “being utilized heavily,” Kennedy said.
“You would think there would be fewer people coming into the library because they can access so much online, but libraries nationwide don’t see that trend at all,” Liu said. “Libraries have always served as not just a provider of resources; there’s always this idea of library as a place, meaning people want to come into the library because they want to be around resources or around people in group study – that want to be in that space to do work.
“Library as a sense of place for studying seems to be very important, and continues to be important to students.”