I never thought I’d get excited about a water fountain.  But I am.

The library just replaced the first floor water fountain with an advanced filtration fountain that also has a water bottle filler.

We think our water fountain is pretty awesome.  Here’s why:

  • The UN General Assembly declared that access to clean water and sanitation is a human right.[1]
  • Unclean water and poor sanitation are the world’s second biggest killer of children.[2]
  • Bottled water corporations treat water as a private commodity from which to profit by selling water at the market price, rather than as a human right that must be universally available at prices all people can afford.[3]
  • People living in the slums of Jakarta, Manila and Nairobi pay 5 to 10 times more for water than those living in high-income areas in those same cities and more than consumers in London or New York.[4]
  • If you buy a 20oz. bottle of water at $1, that works out to 5 cents an ounce.
  • If you buy a gallon of gasoline for $3.59, that works out to 2.8 cents an ounce.
  • That’s why water is Big Business.  Water is cheaper to produce than gas, and it sells at a higher price.[5]
  • In 2009, 48.7% of all bottled water came from municipal tap water supplies.[6]
  • Between 2005 and 2009, the volume of tap water bottled grew by 66% while the volume of spring water bottled increased by only 9%.  Tap water bottling expanded at more than seven times the rate of spring water bottling.[7]
  • In 2009, Americans spent $10.6 billion on bottled water, and paid up to 1,000 times the cost of tap water.[8]
  • Independent testing of bottled water conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2008 found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand.[9]
  • Tap water is regulated by the EPA.  Bottled water is regulated by the FDA only if the water crosses state lines.  Bottled water sold within states is regulated only by state agencies.[10]
  • The FDA only has one bottled water inspector, so the industry does its own ‘inspections’.  The FDA regulations do not prevent bottling companies from drawing water next to industrial sites, underground storage tanks, or dumps.[11]
  • In 2006, more than 900,000 tons of plastic was used to package 8 billion gallons of bottled water.  Most smaller bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which generates more than 100 times more toxic emissions than an equivalent amount of glass.[12]
  • In 2000, Consumer Reports found that “eight of the ten 5-gallon jugs we checked left residues of the endocrine disruptor, bispehenol A, in the water”.[13]
  • In 2005, 28 billion bottles of water were sold, mostly in PET containers, according to the Container Recycling Institute.  In 2004, 85% of all non-carbonated PET bottles ended up in landfills or as litter.  That’s 24 billion empty water bottles, or 66 million every day.[14]
  • Water bottles will take up to 1,000 years to decompose.[15]
  • The Pacific Institute estimates that production of bottled water for U.S consumption in 2006 required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy used for transportation.  This released over 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.[16] 

Bottled water is no safer or better than tap water.  In many cases, it’s much worse.

Want clean water on the go?  Bring your own bottle.  Fill it here. 

Our fountain uses the Newport water supply[17], which is regulated by the EPA[18], and the Elkay WaterSentry Plus filter that conforms to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 and 53 for the reduction of Aesthetic Chlorine, Taste and Odor, Particulate Class I, and Lead.[19]

1. UN Resolution 64/292. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/64/292
2. http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/human_right_to_water.shtml
3. http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/bottled_water.pdf
4. From the UNDP, Human Development Report 2006. See The Right to Water, Fact Sheet No.35 from the United Nations: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet35en.pdf
5. http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/5-reasons-not-to-drink-bottled-water
6. http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled/bottled-water-bad-for-people-and-the-environment/
7. http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/briefs/bottling-our-cities-tap-water/
8. http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled/bottled-water-bad-for-people-and-the-environment/
9. http://www.ewg.org/reports/BottledWater/Bottled-Water-Quality-Investigation
10. http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/bottled_water.pdf
11. http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/
12. From the Berkeley Ecology Center.  See http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/bottled_water.pdf
13. http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/bottled_water.pdf
14. http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/bottled_water.pdf
15. http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/bottled_water.pdf
16. http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/bottled_water/bottled_water.pdf
17. http://www.cityofnewport.com/departments/utilities/water/quality.cfm
18. http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm
19. http://www.elkayusa.com/cps/rde/xbcr/elkay/WaterSentry_Plus_Manual.pdf


Latin America; Korean War; Middle East & North Africa


Encyclopedia of Latin America / Thomas M. Leonard, general editor. New York : Facts On File, 2010. (Publisher’s description)(Click here to access resource)

The encyclopedia of the Korean War: a political, social, and military history / Spencer C. Tucker, volume editor ; Paul G. Pierpaoli, Jr., associate editor and editor, documents volume ; Jinwung Kim, Xiaobing Li, James I. Matray, assistant editors. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2010. (Publisher’s description)(Click here to access resource)

Encyclopedia of the modern Middle East & North Africa / Philip Mattar, editor in chief. 2nd ed. Detroit, Mich. : Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. (Publisher’s description)(Click here to access resource)

Crime and punishment; environmental history; religious history


Crime and punishment around the world.Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2010. (Publisher’s description)(Click here to access resource)

Encyclopedia of American environmental history / edited by Kathleen A. Brosnan. New York, N.Y. : Facts On File, 2010. (Publisher’s description)(Click here to access resource)

Encyclopedia of American religious history / Edward L. Queen II, Stephen R. Prothero, and Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr. ; Martin E. Marty, editorial adviser ; book producer, Marie A. Cantlon. 3rd ed. New York, NY : Facts On File, 2009. (Publisher’s description)(Click here to access resource)

[Library lessons] Choosing a topic


We have a section of our Smart Student Library Guide that is devoted to choosing a topic.  There are some examples there to get you started on thinking about how to narrow your topic.

The guide is really helpful, but I also want to throw in my two cents here.

Does this sound familiar?  You are told that your paper has to be on a certain topic (usually the topic of your course).  You could write a book about it, it’s so big.  But instead of trying to narrow down your topic, you go look for an article.  If you can find an article, you could build your paper around that, and – voila! – your topic will magically be narrowed in the process.

I wish.

I have written too many papers to know this will happen.  Your professors have written and read too many papers to know this will happen.  You really have to narrow down your topic a bit in advance, or your research time is going to be wasted, and you’re going to have a hard time writing anything.

Figure out your topic first.  Sure, you might get started and then realize that, no, this topic bores you to tears and you’d rather switch to this other topic you’ve discovered along the way.  That’s okay.  (As long as your professor doesn’t mind you switching topics.)  Just don’t try to research a really general topic and hope to find one perfect article and build a paper around it.  That’s really hard.  Don’t make things harder on yourself.

Be bold. Stake a claim.  Find evidence to support it.  You might find that taking a stance and arguing a point is actually kind of fun.

[Library lessons] Research steps


Research steps?  Really?!?!  Don’t you just sorta think about your topic?  Or just go Google it or something?

Well, that’s one way of doing research.  That’s usually not the approach that is the fastest, or gets you the best results, but, hey, we’re not going to stand in your way of doing it that way!

If you want to try a more efficient way, we’ve got some concrete steps you can follow.  These might be the sort of steps that are “common sense”:  if you’ve done a few research assignments before, you know how this works.  But it’s like anything else you want to do efficiently: having a checklist makes it better.*

Until you’ve done something so frequently that it has become second nature to you, it’s a good idea to follow a checklist.  Save your brain for the heavy lifting, like reading, analyzing, and writing.  Let us help you with the Research Basics.

*(For more on checklists, check out Atul Gawande’s The checklist manifesto.  Believe it or not, it’s really fun to read!)

[Library lessons] It’s research time!


If you’ve ever assembled a piece of furniture, you have probably learned that here are two ways of doing it:

  1. You ignore the directions and do it yourself, just using your ‘common sense’.  This approach usually means that you are going to have to take things apart and put them back together several times, until you figure out the best sequence.
  2. You read the directions and get everything done in the best order, with the right pieces, on the first attempt.

Doing research is like building furniture.  Sure, some of it is common sense.  Here at the library, we’re interested not only in getting things done, but in being efficient, too.  If you want a quick overview of the best approach to doing research, with the steps all neatly explained for you, check out our Smart Student Library Research Guide.

This guide walks you through some basic steps.   The guide is particularly designed for students who are new to library research here at Salve Regina University, but it’s a helpful overview for all students.

One of my favorite features?  There’s an “assignment calculator” on the first page.  You enter what day you’ll start working on your assignment, and what day it is due, and the guide will give you an estimate of when you should meet certain goals on your way to finishing your assignment.

As always, if you need any help, be sure to contact us.

[Tech tips] Qiqqa


Qiqqa is a free software program designed for academics and the way we need to use PDFs.  It’s available for Windows and Android.

I couldn’t imagine going through graduate school without it.  Seriously.  It’s that good.

Qiqqa helps organize your PDFs in a library.  It uses GoogleScholar to help you quickly import citation information into the library, so you don’t have to type it.

You can annotate your PDFs and produce annotation reports that can make paper-writing a breeze.

You can backup your data online and sync your data across computers.

It is hands-down one of my most favorite pieces of software – ever  – and if you are a Windows user and you haven’t taken it for a spin, you are missing out on one of the secret weapons available to you in your academic career.

(If only this had been available when I was an undergraduate!)

Want to learn more?  Check out my instructional video (below), and visit Qiqqa.com.

(Watch the video in the full screen view so you can see what I’m demonstrating.)