News from the Field

David Free

NYU Bobst Library renovation

A new phase of renovation at the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library at New York University (NYU) will transform two floors of the library building into a research commons for 21st-century scholarship. The renovation began in late May and is expected to be completed November 2010.

“The work styles that stem from dependence on digital content and online modes of work are at the center of the new research commons,” said Carol A. Mandel, dean of the Division of Libraries at NYU. “It will feature flexible, multi-purpose spaces and configurations meant to enhance and enrich research quality and productivity.”

Plan for renovated fourth floor of NYU Bobst Library.

The goal of the second phase of library renovation at NYU is to provide students and faculty a library experience that enhances and enriches the quality and productivity of their research, learning, and teaching. To that end, the library conducted original research and consulted additional studies that explore in depth how library space and service configuration match user needs.

In response, the library shaped a renovation program that plans to restore the best aspects of architect Philip Johnson’s late 1960’s design to provide visually attractive and stimulating spaces, especially views and natural light, amid open stacks; create a range and mix of reader spaces that foster a variety of learning styles; and improve lighting, acoustics, HVAC, access to electrical outlets, furnishings, and traffic patterns to maximize reader comfort and productivity.

For the more information and facts on the renovation project, visit the Bobst Library renovation Web site at

Library Advocacy Day travel grant winners

ACRL has chosen six winners of 2010 Library Advocacy Day travel grants. Reflecting ACRL’s commitment to fostering grassroots legislative advocacy, the association awarded $250 grants to the following ACRL Legislative Advocates to attend the June 29, 2010, event in Washington, D.C.: Douglas Dechow, instruction librarian, Chapman University; Julie Kane, head of technical services, Sweet Briar College; Marvel Ann Maring, fine arts and humanities reference librarian, University of Nebraska-Omaha; James Patterson, director of library services, Northwestern Connecticut Community College; Angela Rathmel, head of serials orders and claims, University of Kansas Libraries; and Daryl C. Youngman, assistant to the dean-collaborative initiatives, Kansas State University.

More information on Library Advocacy Day is available online at Registration for the ALA Annual Conference is not required to attend.

Details on the ACRL Legislative Advocate program are available at

University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty senate endorses open access

In April 2010, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Faculty Senate approved a “Resolution on Digital Commons Institutional Repository,” formally endorsing the open-access online archive for faculty scholarship and research managed by the UNL Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communications. The resolution stops short of mandating that UNL faculty deposit their works, relying on continued voluntary participation. The UNL Digital Commons ( was established in 2005 and currently hosts more than 40,000 documents, including 11,000 dissertations and 29,000 faculty articles, monographs, reviews, white papers, technical reports, conference presentations, musical scores, and creative works.

Open Access Week 2010

Open Access Week, a global event to promote free, immediate, online access to research, has been declared for October 18–24, 2010. This year marks the fourth Open Access Week celebration, sponsored by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

“Open Access Week has evolved from a one day student event on a dozen campuses to a truly global phenomenon,” said Jennifer McLennan, Open Access Week program director at SPARC.

“We’ve seen participation expand to include hundreds of university and college campuses, research institutes, funding agencies, libraries, and think tanks—all connecting the fast-growing global momentum toward openness with the advancement of policy changes on the local level.”

A new Open Access Week Web site ( details how participants—from research funders and producers to students and libraries—have taken advantage of the event to advance open access, and offers ideas for 2010. Organizations and individuals planning to participate, or interested in more information about Open Access Week 2010, can register on the site for access to regional and global contacts and resources.

Southern New Hampshire Academic Archive

Student research from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is now available worldwide in the SNHU Academic Archive, an online repository of student achievement, faculty research, and university archival material. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“The Academic Archive was created to make previously inaccessible faculty and student scholarly output freely available to anyone anywhere in the world,” said Alice Platt, digital initiatives librarian. “Making papers and presentations from SNHU faculty and students available online is a great benefit for individuals conducting research; particularly those in rural areas who do not have research libraries nearby.”

The flagship collection is a selection of student thesis projects and dissertations from SNHU’s Community Economic Development program. Dating from 1983 to the present, the projects tackle a range of issues such as housing, local agricultural development, child care, and HIV/AIDS. In addition to Community Economic Development research, the archive includes theses from the Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and select university publications. Academic Archive is an open access institutional repository developed with DSpace open source software and is freely available online at

Texas A&M, ProQuest partner for database access

The Texas A&M University Libraries has entered into an agreement with ProQuest to expand the institution’s electronic holdings by adding 120 new databases, representing a nearly 75 percent increase in content. The new package of electronic resources, ProQuest Comprehensive, will provide the university community with access to all the company’s current e-content, as well as all future content during the next five years. According to Texas A&M, the new bulk subscription model will save administrative time and money by reducing overhead through negotiating a single license for ProQuest content.

“Our users have an insatiable appetite for ProQuest resources, especially popular databases of primary research material, such as Proquest’s historical newspapers, dissertations and theses,” noted Carmelita Pickett, head of collection development and acquisition operations.

The Texas A&M Libraries are online at and ProQuest at

Merrimack College Library receives “green” grant

The McQuade Library at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts received a $6,000 federal “How Green is My Library” grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Library Services and Technology Act. The grant will promote environmental literacy at Merrimack College through funding “green” materials for the library’s collections and funding programs that will engage the campus community in conversations about sustainability.

The grant will support adding to the library’s growing collection of environmental books, DVDs, and multimedia kits; a “Greening Merrimack” Web site to connect the college community with information, tools, and resources related to sustainability; and promote information literacy instruction in environmental courses.

Scopus for iPhone

Elsevier has developed a new iPhone app, Scopus Alerts (Lite), to provide mobile access to the searching and alerting features of Scopus. The new app, which is available on iTunes and the Apple App Store globally, gives iPhone users the ability to find and display abstracts and reference information from the Scopus database, which covers 18,000 journals produced by more than 5,000 publishers worldwide. Features of the new app include the creation of search and citation alerts as well as the ability to save favorite abstracts and add notes. The app also allows users to share search results and links to favorite articles via e-mail and Twitter. Scopus Alerts (Lite) is available free of charge to Scopus customers and can be downloaded from

Digitized farm newspapers

The University of Illinois Library is now providing online access to its collections of historical agricultural newspapers. Farm, Field, and Fireside offers facsimiles of farm newspapers published in the United States, mainly within the Midwest. To date, the repository contains more than 230,000 pages of farm newspapers, with another 70,000 pages in the works. More titles will be added to the repository as funding becomes available.

Together with the introduction of rural mail delivery, the telephone, and the automobile, farm newspapers have played a key role in the modernization of rural America. Distinct from the general small-town or rural press, farm weeklies were aimed at a local, regional, or national audience of farmers and their families, with the goal of disseminating information and dispensing advice. Farm newspapers were instrumental in the formation of rural public opinion and in connecting farmers to broader social and economic currents in American life. More than 75 percent of Midwestern farmers subscribed to one or more agricultural papers in 1913.

The repository is freely available at

New Spanish language resource from EBSCO

EBSCO has announced the release of Referencia Latina, a new general reference resource for the rapidly growing native Spanish-speaking population in the United States covering issues in Latin America and Spain, as well as U.S. and global affairs. Designed to assist native Spanish-speaking users with their general research needs, Referencia Latina includes a 49,000 entry Spanish-language encyclopedia, 2,500 evidence-based graphical health reports, as well as 50,000 images, most with Spanish-language captions. Referencia Latina also contains a Spanish-English dictionary, an atlas consisting of more than 330 Spanish-language maps, more than 100 reference books, and dozens of general interest magazines. The resource also provides a Spanish-language interface, making content readily accessible for non-English speakers with limited online research experience.

Hot on the Web

The following are among the top ten most read articles on C&RL News online during April 2010.

  1. “Embedding library resources into learning management systems” by Emily Daly (April 2010).
  2. “Making the best of the worst of times: Global turmoil and landing your first library job” by Rachel Cannady and Daniel Newton (April 2010)
  3. “Understanding resistance: An introduction to anarchism” by Joshua Finnell and Jerome Marcantel (March 2010)
  4. “Data curation: An ecological perspective” by Sayeed Choudury (April 2010).
  5. “Steal this code! Please!: Creating HTML widget generators for libraries” by Nina McHale (March 2010).

Visit C&RL News online at to find your favorite current and past articles. And discover something new.

It’s All in the Cards

The University of South Carolina (USC) Libraries recently said goodbye to a piece of its history with It’s All in the Cards, a yearlong celebration of the library’s card catalog. Not updated since April 1991, the physical catalog suffered from a lack of use in the Internet age. So the decision was made to remove it to make room for student study space. But instead of letting the catalog go quietly, USC librarians organized a series of events to celebrate its history and value to the libraries.

In fall 2009, the libraries hosted a boat race during Welcome Week where students, faculty, and community members made boats out of the cards and raced them on the reflecting pool in front of the library. The library also sponsored a “What can you make with catalog cards?” contest, which drew a variety of entries, one of which involved a student covering his Isuzu Trooper with catalog cards.

Spring 2010 events included an Art Invitational, with artworks made from the cards; a Flash (card) Fiction contest, inviting short works of fiction inspired by a single catalog card; and a contest to guess how many cards were in a filled exhibit case.

In addition, Interlibrary Loan Librarian Amber Gibbs created a dress made entirely of catalog cards for a recycled fashion show called Runaway Runway. The show featured nearly 50 dresses all made from recycled materials and was sponsored by the Columbia Museum of Art. Gibbs won the top prize in the show for her dress, modeled here by Aime Dillard, interlibrary loan assistant and graduate student in the USC School of Library and Information Science.

Visit for complete details on the celebration, including links to images of many of the events.

Copyright © American Library Association, 2010

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