“Neighborhood Matters” Fall 2015 lunchtime movies announced

Posted by: Giordana Mecagni


Neighborhood Matters is a lunchtime series that celebrates the ways in which community groups have shaped the neighborhoods surrounding the Northeastern campus. This series is co-curated by the Northeastern Center for the Arts and the Archives and Special Collections at the Northeastern University Library.

 The Series’ fall series includes three films about the North End, Chinatown, and the impacts of the City’s 1974 school desegregation efforts.

Boston’s North End: America’s Italian Neighborhood

Tue, Oct 13, 2015
12:00 pm, Snell Library 90, Free Lunch

Special Guest: Maureen McNamara; Filmmaker

From 1870-1900, more than 4 million southern Italians left their home country, fleeing violence, social chaos, and widespread poverty. Boston’s North End tells the story of the individuals and families who found their way their way to Boston and settled in what became one of America’s oldest “Little Italy” communities.

The Struggle Over Parcel C: How Boston’s Chinatown Won a Victory in the Fight Against Institutional Expansionism and Environmental Racism

Tue, Oct 27, 2015
12:00 pm, Snell Library 90, Free Lunch

Special Guests:

Giles Li, Executive Director of Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCMC)
Tunney Lee, Chief Architect in Chinatown’s development and professor emeritus at MIT

The Struggle Over Parcel C was created by Mike Blockenstein with the Asian Community Development Corporation and Boston-area high school students and is part of A Chinatown Banquet. This series of short documentaries explores the history, culture, and politics that shaped Boston’s most densely populated residential neighborhood, Chinatown.

Tue, Nov 10, 2015
12:00 pm, Snell Library 90, Free Lunch

Special Guests
Donna Bivens, Director Boston Busing/Desegregation Project at the Union of Minority Neighborhoods (UMN)
Dr. Polly F. Attwood, Northeastern University’s Department of Education

Can We Talk? Learning from Boston’s Busing/Desegregation is a film that provides an intimate look at how people’s lives and the Boston community were changed by the 1970’s educational and racial crisis that garnered national attention.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events, Serendipity


Boston Public School Desegregation project commences

Posted by: Giordana Mecagni


Freedom SchoolThe 2014-2015 school year marked the 40th anniversary of Boston Public School (BPS)’s court-ordered school desegregation.  To commemorate this event, BPS is building a multi-grade curricular unit for students to study the city’s school desegregation and “busing” crisis.  Before this unit was created, students learned about integration efforts only through the case study of Little Rock, AK.  Neglecting to address, understand, and own Boston’s own civil rights struggles perpetuates the notion that the Civil Rights Movement targeted injustice and segregation only in the South, when in truth, Boston’s struggles were equally important and difficult.

To assist this effort, Northeastern’s University Archives and Special Collections is coordinating a multi-archive scanning project whose goal is to make available archival material that relates to what how and why busing happened in Boston, as well as the after effects it had on the community.  The goal is to create a digital library of material that can be widely disseminated for both curricular and scholarly use.

This effort has been made possible by a gift from the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), whose leadership has been essential to this project.

This School Desegregation and ”Busing”  Digital Library is a lightweight, nimble project that attempts to lay the technical and descriptive groundwork for cross-institutional collaboration through the technical infrastructure of the DPLA and Digital Commonwealth.  It also serves as the kernel of what all hope becomes a long-standing collaboration between BPS and local archives.   In an ideal world, all 57,000 BPS students visit an archive during their K-12 years.  Realistically, digitizing this material allows teachers unfettered access to a deep pool of primary source material which can inspire students to learn more about the history of their own city and become emerging leaders.

The BLC members initiating this effort are “University Archives and Special Collections at UMass Boston, the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, The State Library of Massachusetts’ Special Collections, and Boston College’s John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections.  Additional archival partners include The Moakley Archive and Institute at Suffolk University and the Boston City Archives.

Partner institutions are scanning material that illuminate the complexity of state- and city-wide politics, community activism and advocacy, and all parties’ reactions to national and local legislation.  The time frame covered originates with the Brown v. Board of Education decision (1954), works through the Civil Rights Act (1964), into and past the Morgan v. Hennigan case (1974), and the resulting citywide unrest.  The collection aims to illustrate the reaction of politicians, school staff and administrators, parents and community members to desegregation by busing.

To watch the growing collection of items that is Northeastern’s contribution to this effort, please visit the University’s Digital Repository.


Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Collections, Serendipity


6 Reasons to Love the New Furniture on the Third Floor

Posted by: Tom Petrini


Quiet floor studiers, rejoice! Thanks to a generous donation from Northeastern parents Maureen and Paul Petracca, the third floor now has 20 new tables, 80 new chairs, and additional outlets. The new furniture features subtle design improvements that make a world of difference for the student experience.

Here’s why we think you will love the new study space:

1. There’s more usable study space

With visits to Snell Library increasing each year, The Petraccas’ gift funded the reconfiguration of thousands of square feet — answering the demand for more study space! The new tables and chairs are perfect for quiet study on the third floor.

2. The clean, modern look

The new chairs and frosted partitions give this new study space a clean, modern, aesthetic. And of course, these features aren’t just nice to look at; they are functional, too!

3. These are some comfortable chairs

Yup, that’s a cushion, and it is super comfortable. The chairs are lightweight while offering plenty of plush support.

4. The partitions prevent large groups from forming on the quiet floor

Groups don’t always mean to be noisy… But it happens. The new partitions remind students that the third floor is for individual and quiet “parallel” study, not group gatherings and conversations.

5. The partitions encourage table sharing

Some students like to spread out, (you know who you are) and hey, we understand. It’s nice to see all of your study material at once. However, we also know how it feels when you can’t find space in Club Snell, especially during midterms and finals. The new partitions will prevent single studiers from occupying an entire table during busy periods, leaving more room for their peers!

6. You get more privacy

Though it is small, the partition does create privacy. The person across from you can’t see what you’re working on, and you won’t be distracted by your table-mate’s rainbow of post-its or choice of study snack.

Come try out the new furniture on the third floor! We’d love to hear what you think. Comment here or tweet us @ClubSnell. Enjoy the new study space, and we’ll see you soon!



Posted in: Library News and Events, Serendipity


Professor of History Gerry Herman Retires After 50 Years at Northeastern

Posted by: Andrew Begley


Just try to name a University committee that Gerry Herman hasn’t been involved with over the past half-century. Handbooks and contracts? He reviewed them. Strategic Plans? He helped plan them. Technology and distance learning initiatives? He championed them.

Herman first called Northeastern home as a graduate student in 1965. Since then, he has been on the cutting edge of  incorporating media into the  study and teaching of history. He taught courses on topics ranging from Western and World History to the History of Flight and Space Travel. Herman has given new meaning to the term “University Service,” serving as University Copyright Officer (1988-2012), Special Assistant to the Provost (1979-1987), and Special Assistant to University Counsel (1987-2012) in addition to chairing a host of committees and task forces. Herman has also been integral to the success of Holocaust Remembrance Week, serving on the Holocaust Awareness Committee from 1983-2013. Professor Herman retired from the University on July 1, 2015, but his impact will surely be felt for many years to come.

Herman’s professional papers and records (the Gerald H. Herman Papers) are preserved in the Archives and Special Collections Department in Snell Library.


Herman teaching an honors seminar in 1984.

Professor Herman in 1975.

Herman and President Richard Freeland at the inaugural NUTV broadcast, April 1997.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, History, Serendipity


Summer Reading Suggestions

Posted by: Emily Nehme


Now’s the time to start tackling your summer reading list! Whether you’re staying in town or going on an elaborate trip, you’re bound to have some down time. Why not spend that time taking advantage of Snell Library’s thousands of available books, e-books, journals, and more!

Snell Library staff have suggested some of their favorites to get you started:


The Darkest Minds
By Alexandra Bracken

Recommended by Ernesto Valencia

“When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.”




By Jim Ottaviani and Leyland Myrick

Recommended by Sarah Sweeney

“This is a lovely and fascinating graphic novel that illustrates bits and pieces of various works by Richard Feynman, the famous physicist.”








By R.J. Palacio

Recommended by Jen Ferguson

“This New York Times bestseller, available in Snell Library’s Favat Children’s Collection, tells the story of Auggie, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Told skillfully from Auggie’s point of view as well as the perspectives of others in his life, this fast read will transport you back to the glories and agonies of childhood.”






Bagombo Snuff Box
By Kurt Vonnegut

Recommended by Mark Sivak

“If people are looking for a good book for a plane ride, I recommend Bagombo Snuff Box, which is a collection of short fiction by Kurt Vonnegut.”








The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
By Carson McCullers

Recommended by Molly Dupere

“Set in Georgia in the 1930s,  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter follows four residents of a small town, each a loner and all struggling with feeling misunderstood within the confines of their lives. Independently, the four seek the company of another local, a def-mute who is himself an enigma in the town, but upon whom each character projects what they want him to be – a sounding board for what’s going on in their heads, often to heart-breaking effect. The plot is both simple and complex, and a must-read for any fan of Southern Gothic literature.”



Not what you’re looking for? Browse our collections online using Scholar OneSearch to find your new favorite read!



Posted in: Serendipity