June is here, which means the celebration of Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community and our allies. Finding information about our identities has long been a major part of coming out, and libraries in general have long had a role to play in providing resources to help community members better understand themselves and others who share their sexual orientation or gender identity and find facts critical for sexual health.
SU Libraries has a Research Guide devoted to LGBTQ+ Studies that lists a variety of resources available to all SU community members, whether gay or straight, trans or cis, non-conforming or expressive of their sexual identity in their own unique manner. The Research Guide is an excellent first stop for information about and for the LGBTQ+ community: resources available through SU Libraries, elsewhere on campus, and on the wider Internet and broader physical world. The guide, as well as those of us at SU Libraries, are here to help you with a paper, with your research, and with understanding your identity or that of a friend, family member, or coworker. We adhere to a high professional standard of protecting the privacy of students, faculty, staff, and community members who come to us with questions and always aim to be a safe space for you to explore LGBTQ+ topics, whether it is part of your academic career or as part of learning who you are as part of the LGBTQ+ community or how to be an ally to someone else who is.
by Brenna Helmstutler, Librarian for the School of Information Studies
When I originally selected the topic of subject librarian online engagement last summer to be published this month, I had no idea that its timing would be quite so relevant. I will offer my experience with online courses and discuss the various ways in which subject librarians can support online learning.
Since joining SU Libraries two and a half years ago as the iSchool Librarian, I have been actively involved in the core courses of the iSchool’s Library & Information Science online degree program offered through 2U. The platform used for the class is Zoom, with an additional 2U customized website, which is organized by course and contains space for documents and a message wall. My level of interaction with the courses is primarily focused around library instruction, purchasing electronic books, and virtual meetings.
As subject librarians, we are already experts in electronic resources within our areas of responsibility, and we regularly participate in trainings on the use of online learning tools, as evidenced by the Microsoft Teams and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra training we conducted before the in-person campus closure in March. We also have experience in offering face-to-face library instruction and have a Libraries Information Literacy Program which provides the foundation for how we offer library instruction across campus. Therefore, we are well-positioned to support online courses just as we do face-to-face.
Whether you are building an online course or taking one, here are some ways that subject librarians can support:
Library instruction. As with face-to-face instruction, online library instruction by the subject librarian during the class meeting is extremely useful to not only connect electronic resources to a course project, but also to connect the student to their subject librarian. Besides discussing resources connected to the course material, subject librarians can: a) develop learning outcomes to align with course and departmental learning outcomes, b) add activities within the session to reinforce concepts and encourage student participation, and c) customize the library session based on the needs of the course content and students.
Online tools such as polling and breakout rooms can be a great way to encourage participation. An assessment component can also be useful in evaluating effectiveness and in the revision process. As the session is repeated each quarter or semester, it is useful to make yearly revisions in collaboration with the course instructor to keep the content fresh and relevant. Universal Design for Learning concepts can be incorporated to ensure inclusivity and create a comfortable environment. If there is no class time available for a library session, it is possible for the subject librarian to develop or identify online tools such as videos or tutorials that could serve as an effective alternate.
Electronic resource purchasing. In addition to the sizable electronic resources collection at SU Libraries, subject librarians also purchase electronic books for courses and research needs when available, and we do so in the unlimited user format to accommodate any number of students who may need to access the book at the same time. If there is no exact electronic copy, we can assist in finding alternates within our existing collection.
Virtual meetings.Tools used to support the online class meetings tend to include a meeting component (e.g. Zoom) for scheduling and holding meetings, with or without a paid account. If this is not the case, other tools such as Microsoft Teams can be used. Subject librarians can meet with students and faculty while using screen-sharing and other features. It is yet another way to connect with your subject librarian when face-to-face is not possible.
Additional online support. Reference support is also available via SU Libraries’ AskUs. This service includes a variety of contact options such as live chat, text, email, and phone. Thanks to global collaborations, SU Libraries offers 24/7 service to accommodate time zones and questions that may arise at any time.
By: Giovanna Colosi, Librarian for the School of Education
When I offered to write a piece for the Libraries blog back
in the Fall of 2019, I had the intentions of writing about my journey into
librarianship as a second career. I joined the Libraries in July 2018 as my
first library job. I intended to discuss how scary it was entering a new profession
after a successful 20-year career in student affairs. I planned to share how I
chipped away at my second master’s degree at the I-School at SU while working
full-time and raising a family. I was going to talk about how exhilarating it
was that in midlife, instead of having a crisis, I had an epiphany and changed
the course of my career and life! That was what I was going to write
about. Then, Covid-19 happened.
I was now at home trying to write about a positive time and
transition in my life. I sat at my kitchen table staring at my laptop for
several hours trying to collect my thoughts and jot down some ideas. All while
my 18-month-old son spun around dancing to “Baby Shark” for the hundredth time
and my 11-year-old daughter asked me another question about fractions, or
simple machines, or if she could leave “school” early to phone her friends. And
while my dog barked incessantly because he was wondering, “Why are all these
people around now, all the time?!” Suffice it to say, it’s been a challenge.
I continue to work during this pandemic. So, not only am I still
learning how to be a great librarian, I am also learning how to do it while
being a single mom, working at home full-time, and trying not to feel guilty
about not always having a spectacular day.
I have come to the realization that many of the strategies that helped me
during the time I went back to school to obtain my MLIS are helping me now, so
I wanted to share those insights with you.Being Organized:
Being Organized: When I went back to school to obtain my MLIS I had to be uber organized. Having a day planner, color coordinated calendars, and a to-do list was a must. I find that now, more than ever, being organized helps with some of the added stress we are all dealing with.
Self-Care: Going back to school was a hard decision, especially because I was also working full-time and I was a non-traditional student (read, OLDER!). So, I needed to take care of my mental and physical health. I did lots of yoga and ran. During this time of social distancing I have also begun practicing meditation, and while I cannot get out and run as often as I would like to, I take advantage of tons of free workouts on YouTube.
Let It Go: Like Elsa in Frozen, sometimes you just need to let it go. By that I mean that when I was in school, I soon realized I could not do it all nor do it perfectly every time. I am a perfectionist so If I received an A- because I couldn’t get to all the readings, I had to tell myself that it was ok. If I had to take a day off work because my child was sick, and I missed an important meeting, I had to tell myself it was ok. This continues to be a very difficult thing for me to do. But now it is more important than ever that we cut ourselves some slack. We cannot always get everything done on our to-do list when we are home. Things will come up at home that just don’t come up on campus. Give yourself some grace. Take a deep breath, and let it go.
These are some lessons I have learned. Although I could
likely share more, my daughter just came to me in tears because she got Nutella
on her favorite Scrunchie. This balance and agility may not be something we
learn explicitly in grad school, but it’s part of the application of knowledge
in real-life situations. Stay the course, take care, and if all else fails, let
The following videos are available online and drawn from the American Library Association’s Film and Media Roundtable’s selections of top titles named in 2019 and 2020. These are recommended for high school and adult viewing. “McQueen” age 18 and above.
After Auschwitz (2017, dir. Jon Kean) 83 minutes. Passion River Films. Chronicles the inspiring story of six Jewish women who survived the Holocaust. A testimonial to their struggles and accomplishments following liberation from the camps, and migration to new lives in a post-war America. Available at SU via Kanopy database
The Departure (2017, dir. Lana Wilson) 87
minutes. Allied Vaughn. A Japanese Buddhist monk counsels suicidal
people. His empathy and devotion to helping others takes a toll on his
health, well-being and family. Available at SU via Kanopy database
Finding Kukan (2016, dir. Robin Lung) 75 minutes. New Day
Films. A look at the life of Li Ling-Ai, the uncredited female film
producer who co-produced Kukan, the 1942 Academy Award-winning documentary film
on China that was lost for years. Available at SU via Kanopy database
McQueen (2018, dir. Ian Bonhote and
Peter Ettedgui) 111 minutes. Bleecker Street Media.
Follows the life and career of fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen and his
rise from tailor to helming his own successful fashion house before taking his
own life. Available at SU via Kanopy database –Age
restricted – Age 18 and over.
My Love Affair with the Brain (2016, dir. Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg) 57
minutes. Bullfrog Films. [The late] Dr. Marian Diamond, a
barrier-breaking neuroscientist, shares her love of the human brain and its
limitless potential. Available via Docuseek2
Quest (2017, dir. Jonathan
Olshefski) 104 minutes. First Run Features. An intimate
portrait of a North Philadelphia African-American family and their community
filmed over a period of years. Available at SU via Kanopy database
Rebels on Pointe (2017, dir. Bobbi Jo Hart) 90
minutes. Icarus Films. Celebrate “the world’s foremost all-male
comic ballet company” with a look into Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte
Carlo. Shares the ups and downs of the professional and personal lives of
this tight-knit troupe. Available via Docuseek2
The Indians That Rocked the World (2017, dir. Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso
Maoriana) 103 minutes. Kino Lorber. This film reveals the
contributions of pioneering Native American musicians to popular music. Available
at SU via Kanopy database
Untouchable (2016 dir. David Feige) 105 minutes. Blue Lawn Productions. After
discovering his daughter had been sexually abused, a Florida lobbyist works to
pass some of the toughest sex offender laws in the nation.The film interweaves
the heartbreaking stories of men and women who are caught in the struggle of
being branded sex offenders and trying to reintegrate into society.
Available via Kanopy database
Michael Pasqualoni also encourages checking out the unique aesthetic used in this unusual exploration of intersections between animal life and humans in cities:
Rat Film(2017, dir. Theo Anthony). 83 minutes. Cinema Guild. A documentary that uses the rat as a passageway into the dark, complicated history of Baltimore. Available via Kanopy database
Want to nominate a documentary film that has moved you
during this time of COVID 19 life at home? American Library Association’s Film
& Media Roundtable, Notable Videos Committee, encourages nominations toward
2021’s curated list of top 15 titles.
Documentary films that explore the sciences, medicine, performing arts
or experimental cinema are especially welcome.
Visit the committee’s suggestion
form for nomination criteria and to recommend one or more titles. http://www.ala.org/rt/vrt/notablevideos
The records for the Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) submitted by the Graduate School for Winter 2019 (December graduates) have been successfully uploaded into SURFACE, Syracuse University’s institutional repository, with submissions from 25 different departments:
Anthropology; Biology; Biomedical and Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Design; Earth Sciences; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Exercise Science; Food Studies; Higher Education; Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation; Mass Communications; Mathematics; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Media Studies; Philosophy; Physics; Political Science; Psychology; Public Relations; Reading and Language Arts; School of Information Studies; and Teaching and Leadership.
Forty (40) dissertations were submitted and their records have been added to SURFACE. Almost all authors selected Open Access options.
25 items are already full open access and available on SURFACE.
9 additional items will be open access in SURFACE at the end of an embargo period.
3 SURFACE records were created for dissertations that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are available in ProQuest.
3 SURFACE records were created for dissertations that were not submitted as Open Access, and which are currently embargoed in ProQuest.
The Kenya archive collections comprise a large variety of
materials which are mostly primary source government documents. Many of the
materials were at one time confidential and belonged to the colonial government
of Kenya up to the early 1960’s. Other
types of materials include a large number of microfilm reels of newspapers,
journals, and papers of assorted social organizations. Syracuse University Library is the sole
repository for the complete collection on the Kenya National Archive of
materials up to the time of independence from colonial rule in Kenya.
Duplicates of selected portions of the collection are held at various other
archival institutions around the world, including the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) in Chicago;
the National Archives of Kenya in Nairobi;
the National Archives of Great
Britain , London; and some U.S. universities such as University
of Michigan and University of Illinois.
Location and Use of
Kenya National Archive microfilm collections are currently housed on the 3rd
floor of Bird Library in cabinets with other microfilm collections. Microfilm readers/scanners are nearby. When viewing the microfilm, a scholar can download
pages onto a USB drive for printing at their leisure. The expert staff at the service desk on the
third floor are available to help scholars with any technical or access assistance.
Syracuse University Libraries offer Interlibrary Loan to scholars in the
continental U.S. for up to 4 reels of the Kenya National Archive collection at
How the collection came to
collection was produced in the 1960’s through a joint grant with the National
Science Foundation, the government of Kenya, and the Program of Eastern African
Studies of Syracuse University, which is no longer in existence. The East
Africa Program was developed in 1962 as a very strong component of the Maxwell
School, attracting a number of scholars of the African continent, including
Eduardo Mondlane and Fred G. Burke (Gregory 1984). The Kenya documents were
microfilmed by Syracuse University faculty in the East Africa Program, their graduate
students, and the Chief Archivist of Kenya in the mid-sixties.
story of how the documents were chosen, found, collected, and received by the
scholarly community is full of suspense and political intrigue. It is a lesson
in international and scholarly diplomacy. To find a thorough description and
history of the collection, look at Robert Gregory’s article in Syracuse
University Libraries’ Associates Courier, Vol. XIX, Number 2, Fall 1984, pp.
29-59. You can also view the article through the Syracuse University Libraries’
repository. The collection of approximately 1,369 microfilm rolls was then sent to the
Syracuse University Libraries in 1966 and 1967 to preserve the records of the
colonial government for research purposes.
How the collection is used
Because of the wide diversity of materials within the
collections, most of which is not fully indexed, scholars are encouraged to
visit Syracuse University Libraries and peruse the collections themselves. To prepare scholars for the collections, many
of the indexes that were produced have been digitized, and are part of the Libraries’
digitized collections (Kenya National Archive
Guides). On-site orientations
are offered to visiting scholars who are using the collections in our Libraries
for the first time.
extremely valuable collections have served a number of scholars from around the
world as well as faculty and students at Syracuse University, such as Professor
Martin Shanguhyia, Department of History. Dr.
Shanguhyia makes extensive use of the collection for his classes as well as for
his own research investigations. In any given year, 16-20 scholars from other
institutions may access the collection. Every single scholar who has used the
collection goes away with more information than they knew existed on their
topic and are armed with citations and microfilm numbers to access the KNA
sources via Interlibrary Loan or in-person for further research.
Some challenges and closing remarks
are many challenges facing the future of this rich collection, primarily in
terms of preservation and access. One ongoing concern is the gradual
deterioration of the quality of the content, given the age and nature of the microfilmed
materials. In terms of access, there is also a question of how to make the resources,
including their guides and indexes, open and accessible to a wider group of
scholars. There is also the real and unresolved issue of ownership and corresponding
rights to the documents themselves that must also be discussed between a number
of stakeholders around the world, most importantly between Syracuse University
and the Kenyan Government.
Robert Gregory ably described in his 1984 article in the Library Courier, East Africa in general and Kenya in particular is
a fascinating study for African scholars. The tensions, often violent, between the
occupying colonizers of the British Empire and the struggles of liberation of
the peoples of the African nations, such as the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya
(Gregory, 1984, 32) are documented in a number of sources. (Maxson 1993) Despite the fact that it is from the
perspective of the occupying, colonial forces, the Kenya National Archive
collections gives the scholar a glimpse of the effects of British occupation on
an African nation and the struggle of Kenya’s citizens to survive and prevail
in all its complicated, bureaucratic, and heart-breaking details.
Gregory, Robert G. “The
Development of the East African Collection at Syracuse University”, The Courier, 19.2 (1984) 29-59
Maxson, Robert M. Struggle for Kenya: The Loss and Reassertion of Imperial Initiative,
1912-1923 1993 Cranbury,N.J.: Associated University Presses
A delegation from the Kenya National Archive visited
Syracuse University Libraries from December 9 – 13, 2019 to learn how the
Syracuse University collection of the Kenya National Archives is maintained and
accessed. The delegation consisted of
Mr. Frank Mwangi, Director of the Kenya National Archives, Nairobi and
Assistant Directors, Naftal Chweya and Richard Wato. There were an additional three members of the
delegation visiting other research institutions in the U.S. at the same time.
Syracuse University Libraries’ employees Darle Balfoort and Bonnie Ryan worked closely with Director Mwangi and Assistant Directors Chweya and Wato to search the Kenya National Archives guides and bibliographies. The delegation also met with Professor Martin Shanguhyia, History Department, and his graduate assistants. Director Mwangi hopes that their visit may open future discussions between the Kenyan government and Syracuse University on the preservation and conservation of the University’s Kenya National Archive collections.
Photo above shows from left: Mr. Richard Wato, Assistant Director, Kenya National Archives; Darle Balfoort, Library Technician and Maps Assistant; Mr. Naftal Chweya, Assistant Director, Kenya National Archives; Bonnie C. Ryan, (recently retired) Social Science Librarian; Mr. Francis Mwangi, Director of Kenya National Archives.
of primary source publications relating to the history and study of social,
political, health, and legal issues impacting LGBT communities. Documents are
from the collections of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, GLBT Historical
Society, New York Public Library, and the Lesbian Herstory Educational
Foundation, Inc. Content includes newsletters, papers, government documents,
manuscripts, pamphlets, and more.
Newspapers from the
Middle East and North Africa published between 1902 and 1972, digitized as part
of a Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance project. This is an open
access collection, with partial financial support from Syracuse University
E-Book Packages, frontlists (new titles are added as they are published):
2020 titles published by SAGE Publishing, active on the SAGE Knowledge platform
by Abby Kasowitz-Scheer, Learning Commons Librarian.
As an academic librarian, I’m often asked by school
librarians and others, “What should students learn in high school in order to
be prepared for college-level research?” I began exploring this topic along
with other academic and school librarians from the Central New York area in a
group called “Bridging the Gap,” initiated in 2015 by the Central New York
Library Resources Council (CLRC) and organized by the OCM BOCES School Library
In my own experience working with first year students and
other undergraduates, I see a wide range of skills and experiences. I
acknowledge that our students come from a variety of high schools and
communities within the U.S. and abroad. According to the American Library
Association’s State of America’s Libraries 2019: School Libraries
Report, 91% of all public and private K-12 schools in the United
States have school libraries, and only 61% of schools have full-time
I try not to make assumptions about the types of library
instruction or resources students have been exposed to before they arrive at
Syracuse University. When I teach first-year students, I focus on basic information
and skills to help them with general library use, as well as upcoming research
assignments in the context of the SU Libraries’ Information Literacy Instruction Program.
I recently co-presented on “academic inquiry and research”
along with colleagues from Mohawk Valley Community College and Hamilton College
at the 2019 Leatherstocking Conference & Technology Showcase for school
librarians and other K-12 educators. I offer this (slightly edited) list of
tips to help high school students prepare to do research using libraries in
higher education institutions:
Know the difference between types of sources: Students should understand that there exists a wide range of resources available to them that can provide information from a variety of perspectives. They should look beyond free web resources and utilize subscription databases (available in many high schools), books, journals, videos, etc.
Identify keywords related to research topics: It’s not enough to search using one word or phrase representing a research topic. It’s important for students to identify questions and then generate a list of words or terms to use in a series of searches to explore their topics from multiple angles.
Be familiar with the concept of Interlibrary Loan: If your library doesn’t have something, there’s a good chance they can request it from another library and make it available to you.
Spend time on college library websites before you arrive: High school seniors should explore their college library website to see what resources and services will be available to them. (Thanks to the school librarian who attended a presentation I gave last year for this helpful tip!)
Recognize research as a process that allows students to explore interests and develop their voice: The research process is more productive and interesting when students are engaged and use the opportunity to develop their intellectual curiosity. As students move through their college experience, they will begin to see that their work and their voice can be part of larger intellectual discussions.
Ask for help! This is the most important piece of advice I give to new college students as well as all researchers. Librarians and library staff are ready and willing to answer questions and consult with students on all aspects of research process (e.g., identifying research topics, finding and accessing information, evaluating sources, citing sources, etc.). At SU Libraries, we provide multiple options for contacting staff, including in-person, email, phone and even 24/7 chat.
It’s important to note that academic library staff is
available to teach and reinforce information literacy skills when students get
to college, but some general familiarity with and understanding of the above
concepts are helpful. Academic and school librarians should continue to work
together to make sure students are exposed to information literacy concepts and
information resources and to discuss how best to help students establish good
library use and research habits they can take with them to college.
One of the primary missions of libraries is to provide easily accessible information to their communities, ultimately protecting patrons’ freedom to read. At SU Libraries, there is a team of individuals from across the Libraries who work towards optimizing the Libraries’ discovery layers. These discovery layers include systems like our Libraries’ catalog and single search system, Summon, which help to facilitate access to the various types of information and materials available within and through the Libraries. This Discovery Team is hard at work behind the scenes monitoring updates to our systems and keeping an eye on new product developments that will enhance services and our users’ abilities to “discover” resources.
The Discovery Team is organized into two subcommittees, the Communication, Outreach, and Assessment Team (COAT) and the Configuration Team. The primary mission of the COAT subcommittee is to reach out to the campus community for usability testing around our discovery systems. The feedback they gather is then shared with the Configuration Team, who make responsive changes based on the input of our users. This process is designed to be iterative to facilitate the consistent monitoring and improvement of our systems. By ensuring high functioning systems that help our users easily search for and find items, such as books and journal articles, we are increasing the usefulness and discovery of the Libraries’ collections.
A recent initiative of the Discovery Team has been to recommend purchasing a new piece of software called StackMap. This is an online mapping tool designed to help library users more easily locate physical books and other print items in our collections. For example, if you wanted to find the book “Marie Curie: a life” at SU Libraries, you could go to the Libraries’ website and type in the title of the book into the search box on the homepage. Later this semester, when StackMap is launched, you will see a button that says “Map It”. When you click the button, a map of the Library will display with the specific location of the book highlighted and explicit directions telling you how to get to it. Look for the launch of this new mapping software by March of 2020.
The Discovery Team welcomes input on how we can improve our systems and make it easier for users to find the Libraries’ resources. To submit feedback, email email@example.com.