Campus Library

OK, they call it a “Resource Center” or something. But really it’s the Library. So I’m here now. First time this quarter.

Which makes sense for me: I live in a library and anyhow I’ve been here any number of times already. So here’s the news: M. Sullivan’s Precalculus (1988) sits on the shelf uncharged to any 148 student. Also Sullivan/Sullivan’s Precalculus (1996), which was the one I actually looked over more carefully (because I spotted it first). Sure enough: on the stuff we’ve been working on, it’s the same book, only better (easier page layouts, less about the calculator, mentions |x| = \sqrt{x^2}, …). Now, look. I know some of you haven’t got the book. Let’s get with the program here.

Larson/Hostetler/Edwards Precalculus looks to be a pretty close equivalent to our text; there are quite a few with the same title (or College Algebra) that would be well worth at least taking a look at. Certain terminological and notational clashes are to be expected: Vancil’s C. Alg. has relative max and min in place of our local max and min, for example. Finding out about things like this is altogether a good thing: College is for Scholarship. OK, it’s not Big State U. (Since College is for Scholarship, it follows that a Great University is a life-support system for a Great Library. The Math Library of any big University is, well, put it this way: way better than mine … which is itself way ahead of Home Campus CC‘s … )

So get thee to the Library, doggone it. If How Mathematicians Think (Wm. Byers, 2007) is still on the shelf next time I’m here, I’m nabbing it (Chapter 5, “The Idea as an Organizing Principle”, looks particularly interesting). I’d take it tonight but my pack’ll be full (of E. G. Begle’s last book [Critical Variables in Mathematics Education], J. Gray’s Worlds Out of Nothing: A Course in the History of Geometry in the 19th Century, E.J. Barbeau’s Polynomials [from Springer’s Problem Books in Mathematics series], and a DVD about Ada Lovelace [To Dream Tomorrow, 2003]). Probably the E. T. Bell book too. I’ve got well-worn copies of a couple of his others …


  1. W1ng5Up

    Math books in the library? Undergrads exploring library math text resources? What a novel idea! How silly of me to accept the confines of wrote mechanics in the classroom, while the realm of a Research Assistant beckons. Bravo! You have again stepped out of the box. You have the honor of being the first instructor in my exploration of academics to light the way for a wandering math student.

    Why is library research encouraged/expected/required for the student of communications, humanities, even science disciplines, yet math is not so honored until its pinnacle of study is reached post-grad?! What power it must wield to both threaten to overwhelm, and liberate at once!

  2. why? beats me. the first college class i ever had
    (comp lit c190, intro to film) had as a first assignment
    a collection of questions (about movies, natch) to be
    answered via research in the reference section of
    the main library (one of those Greats i mentioned).

    nowadays you could probably find most
    of the answers with “google”. but it’s still
    a great exercise (and i stole the idea when
    i taught humanities classes).

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