News from the Field

David Free

Choice celebrates 50th anniversary

This year, Choice magazine marks a milestone of true significance: 50 years of publication. The premier source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources in higher education, Choice is a publication of ACRL. Launched in 1964 out of office space at Wesleyan University’s Olin Library under the leadership of founding editor Richard K. Gardner, Choice originated as “a monthly current book selection guide to aid colleges and junior colleges in strengthening their library collections with the best of academic materials.”

Over the years, Choice has remained committed to this vital collection development service, expanding coverage to accommodate new subjects and formats of interest to the academic community, most notably a vast array of new digital and Internet resources. With Choice and Choice Reviews Online (CRO), the contribution to the academic library community has grown in recent years beyond reviews, with highlights including bibliographic essays, the Outstanding Academic Titles list, forthcoming titles lists, and other notable features.

“As we enter our 51st year, we look forward to continuing to present informed reviews and high-quality editorial content via Choice magazine and Choice Reviews Online, as well as to serve our market in a host of new ways. It’s a time of great celebration, challenges, and new ideas—in other words, the perfect time for Choice,” said Mark Cummings, Choice editor and publisher.

Choice’s 50th anniversary is being commemorated in a number of ways, including the posting of distinctive features and reprinted materials about Choice’s history and evolution on CRO throughout the year, a 50th anniversary edition of Choice, commemorative gifts at conferences, social media giveaways, and a variety of special offers designed to invite new and past subscribers to experience Choice and CRO at discounted prices.

Sheehan appointed RBM editor

ACRL has named Jennifer K. Sheehan as the next editor of RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage (RBM). Sheehan is currently a member of the RBM editorial board and brings in-depth knowledge of the world of rare books and manuscripts to the biannual publication. She will serve as editor-designate starting immediately, with her term as editor beginning in July 2014.

Exhibitions Manager at The Grolier Club, Sheehan has served the ACRL Rare Book and Manuscript Section (RBMS) as a member of the Publications and Communications Committee, Membership and Professional Development Committee, and Scholarships Committee. She has also served as a peer reviewer for Collaborative Librarianship and the Journal of Library Innovation. Sheehan has published on special collections and preservation management topics in a variety of journals including RBM and has contributed several book chapters on related issues. Prior to joining The Grolier Club in 2013, Sheehan served as curator of rare books at the University of North Texas, where she also teaches as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Library and Information Sciences.

UNC celebrates 7 million books

A rare 16th-century book with modern resonance has become the 7 millionth volume in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s (UNC) library. A public celebration in March 2014 marked the acquisition of a 172-page book of Latin poetry published in 1573 by Juan Latino. Scholars have described Latino as the first person of sub-Saharan African descent to publish a book of poems in a Western language. The volume is a gift from the Winston-Salem-based John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation. Through its foundation, the Hanes family has funded each of the library’s millionth volumes.

Latino was born around 1518 in either Africa or Spain. He was a slave in a noble Spanish household, serving as a page to the family’s son. While accompanying the young duke to classes, Latino learned Latin and Greek. He eventually earned his freedom and became a professor of Latin Grammar in Granada. His surname Latino or Latinus reflects his mastery of the Latin language. The volume will all become part of the Rare Book Collection in UNC’s Wilson Library.

NCSU Hunt Library awarded Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries

Cited for “the creative and bold vision that went into designing an innovative model for a research library as a high-technology research platform,” the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University (NCSU) has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries (SPIRL).

“Our vision was to give NC State a signature library that would help us recruit the very best students and the very best faculty and to serve the community as an inspiring place of excellence and passion and ideas and vision,” says Susan K. Nutter, vice provost and director of libraries at NCSU. “We could not be more honored that our vision and hard work have been awarded the Stanford Prize.”

Judged by an international panel of library and academic leaders, SPIRL was established by the Stanford Libraries in 2013 to single out for community attention and to celebrate functionally significant results of the innovative impulses in research libraries worldwide.

UCSD Library to digitize materials documenting birth of Nuclear Age

The papers of physicist and inventor Leo Szilard chronicling the birth of the Nuclear Age and the work of the Manhattan Project will soon be digitized by the University of California-San Diego Library. Szilard played an essential role in the development of the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project, yet he was also a passionate advocate for global arms control and argued for using the bomb as a deterrent—not as a force for destruction. The library will digitize Szilard’s materials, which extend from 1938 to 1998, thanks to a $93,000 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

More than 50,000 items will be digitized through the project, including some 550 photographs, as well as several hours of video and audio recordings. The papers include correspondence with numerous fellow scientists with whom Szilard collaborated, including Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Jonas Salk, Edward Teller, and Linus Pauling. Also included are a variety of biographical materials, such as immigration papers and passports—Szilard was born in Budapest, emigrating to the United States in 1938—and biographical articles and sketches.

EBL unveils new LibCentral

EBL—Ebook Library, a ProQuest business, has reinvented its LibCentral administrative and acquisitions module, enabling libraries to tailor their e-book experience to fit their own and their users’ unique needs. The new LibCentral helps libraries streamline workflows, making discovery, selection, acquisition, and management of e-books simple. With sophisticated tools, it provides the library granular access and permission settings along with insight into overall collection and demand-driven acquisition usage. Created through collaboration with customers, LibCentral is a substantial step in the integration of ProQuest’s e-book businesses (EBL and ebrary), and will become the base of the combined e-book platform. LibCentral offers mediated or unmediated options for Demand-driven Acquisition (DDA) titles with custom loan and download lengths by access model, supporting just-in-time collection development. More information on EBL is available at

Alternate version of this month’s cover featuring a view of Fremont Street in Las Vegas, circa 1909

Image courtesy of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

ACRL releases Snapshots of Reality

ACRL announces the publication of Snapshots of Reality: A Practical Guide to Formative Assessment in Library Instruction by Mary Snyder Broussard, Rachel Hickoff-Cresko, and Jessica Urick Oberlin.

Through ten practical chapters, Snapshots of Reality works from the assumption that classroom-based assessment does not have to take away from invaluable instruction time, nor does it have to be an overwhelmingly complicated task. The book outlines the concept of formative assessment, “bite-sized” assessments that help the librarian get a snapshot of the students’ level of understanding in relation to the learning target(s). These mini-assessments are usually learning tools themselves and can be assessed quickly enough that they can be adjusted on the spot to meet the immediate needs of learners.

Snapshots of Reality explores the adaptation of formative assessment theory into something that works for the library one-shot and more advanced instructor-librarian collaborations. It also includes three sections detailing 48 FAST (Formative Assessment Snapshot Technique) ideas for use before, during, and after instruction sessions, as well as a guided planning template to help librarians seamlessly bring formative assessment into the library classroom. This book is appropriate for all types of academic libraries, school libraries with strong information literacy programs, and library and information school collections.

Snapshots of Reality is available for purchase in print and a variety of e-book formats through the ALA Online Store and; and by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the United States or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.

Tech Bits …

Brought to you by the ACRL ULS Technology in University Libraries Committee

Infographics are powerful tools for illustrating the impact of library services and resources. One easy-to-use infographic tool is This free, web-based program allows you to choose from a variety of visual themes (called vhemes) and customize those themes for your purposes. The program is currently in beta and requires a free registration to create and share visualizations. Like a template in Microsoft Word or Powerpoint, the visual themes come with a color palette, word elements, and shapes that can be customized. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to try different looks. You can share finished infographics online or download them as JPG files. You could also recommend this tool to users needing to display data, who are comfortable trying out new computer programs.

Carolyn Cunningham University of Texas-Austin


Copyright 2014© American Library Association

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