Staff Interests


Northeastern Welcomes Convenience Store Vending Machine

Posted by: Dylan Sessler


Gone are the days of running to the corner store in desperation only to find it closed. Gone are the times when you arrive at the library fully prepared for a day of studying only to realize you forgot your phone charger.

This semester, Snell Library has a new addition to the first floor near Argo Tea; a vending machine offering essentials such as highlighters, medicine, and caffeinated gummy bears. This is the first location of the Northeastern-based start-up, The Lobby Shop, which offers a convenient solution for the busy lives of college students and professionals.


Founded by three NU undergrads, The Lobby Shop was born after a chance meeting at IDEA, Northeastern’s venture accelerator. Co-founders Beth Hutchings and Dylan Sessler came to their IDEA orientation with a plan to take college essentials and offer them in a vending machine. Midway through the meeting, freshman Evan LaBelle stood up and pitched an idea eerily similar to their own.  A few days later they were officially partners of The Lobby Shop.


Supported by IDEA, Maureen Timmons, and their coach Jordan Vallino, the three students developed their product list to incorporate the common necessities in the following categories:

  • OTC medicine
  • electronics accessories
  • hygiene products
  • school supplies
  • everyday essentials

The machine will also feature a rotating selection of fun and useful items that students will be able to vote on.

After receiving contract approval and gap funding this past summer, the trio installed their machine in the back of Argo Tea in Snell Library to offer urgently needed items in a central location on campus. The Lobby Shop team plans to bring their service to residence halls at Northeastern and other universities to provide safe and convenient access to products students need at all hours of the day.

“The reality is that Boston isn’t a 24-hour city” Beth notes, “and most of our lives don’t end when stores close. Especially if we have another winter like last year, we want as many people as possible to have access to things they often need around the clock.”


Posted in: Library News and Events, Staff Interests, Tech Alerts


Lawsuit Against the MBTA for Unlawful Censorship of Condom Campaign Ads

Posted by: Claudia Willett


Did you know that in 1994, the AIDS Action Committee sued the MBTA for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms?  Seems hard to believe, but you can read all about it in our Archives and Special Collections, which has received a donation of new material from former AIDS Action Committee Director Thomas McNaught (1991-1996).

This donation adds to the existing AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts Records in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

While processing the new materials I noticed the photo of Captain B. Careful on the Boston Common. It stood out  for a few reasons. His sheer ingenuity for costume design. The huge smile on his face even though it was noticeably cold outside.

Captain B. Careful, Condom Campaign. AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. (M61, Box 42, Folder 14.)

Less tangibly his image stood out to me because he symbolizes a continuity in Boston’s legacy of advocating for the power of knowledge and striving toward equal rights and opportunity for all. 

In 1992,  AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC)  introduced New England’s first public service television AIDS prevention campaign directed at gay men.

They also launched the United States’ first statewide transit campaign for AIDS awareness by placing condom posters on 437 buses throughout Massachusetts ultimately leading to a legal battle with the MBTA.

Highlights of the collection include:

  • photographs and press
  • outreach material regarding the condom campaign
  • materials on the AAC’s education and prevention campaigns
  • documentation regarding the AAC’s lawsuit against the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms in 1994

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Information and Society, Staff Interests


Recommended Reading from Staff at Snell

Posted by: Nina Shah


Nothing is better than kicking back with a good read over the summer, so some of our staff at Snell Library have compiled a list of summer reading recommendations that are sure to fit a wide range of tastes. Enjoy and happy reading!

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

“Extraordinary miniatures, very original, take your breath away at first reading (and the second, third…)”

Recommended by Will Wakeling, Dean of University Libraries

Find it at Snell Library




Southern Reach Trilogy, by Jeff Vandermeer

“These are nicely written in a creepy, weird fiction style, so they have overtones of science fiction and Southern Gothic. The unfolding mystery plot is fascinating so far, with very good, evocative writing.”

Recommended by Amanda Rust, Assistant Head of Research and Instruction

Find it at Snell Library: Annihilation & Authority

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

“Clever author Atkinson proposes alternative lives (and deaths) for a child born during a snowstorm in 1910.”

Recommended by Julie Jersyk, Research and Instruction Librarian

Find it at Snell Library



The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce

“Retiree Harold Fry embarks on a cross-country journey on foot to hand-deliver a letter to a dying acquaintance… ‘Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human.’”

Recommended by Ernesto Valencia, Systems Librarian



The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

“A magical and inspiring story about navigating through life’s challenges, following your heart, and accomplishing your dreams.”

Recommended by Nina Shah, Library Development Officer

Find it at Snell Library



A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, both by Deborah Harkness

“The first book is wonderful—so much fun—a mystery set in academia with witches and vampires and other creatures of the night! The story is fast-paced and well-executed and ends far too quickly. The second book is at least as good as the first!  Great books for the beach or a long flight to some place fun!”

Recommended by Janet Morrow, Head, Resource and Discovery Services


Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

“This fascinating book is composed of long segments in the voices of six individual characters from different time periods, in totally different writing styles. Mitchell truly inhabits the main characters in each of the six segments, making them sound and feel authentic, and very different from one another. There are plenty of little overlaps and connections among the stories, too, which make for another level of enjoyment as you try to find those along the way.”

Recommended by Rebecca Bailey, Research and Instruction Librarian

Find it at Snell Library

What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell

“Journalist Malcolm Gladwell has pieced together a collection of essays about human psychology and social behavior, many of them about sort of weird or unexpected phenomena.”

Recommended by Karen Merguerian, User Engagement and Assessment Librarian

Find it at Snell Library



Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development, by Mel King

“Published in 1981, Chain of Change traces the story of the Black Community of Boston from the 1950s to the 1970s through the eyes of one of the South End’s most vocal residents, former Massachusetts State Representative Mel King. It also proposes a strategy for the future (the 1980s): a Community Development Plan that included decentralization, education, and coalition building.”

Recommended by Giordana Mecagni, Head of Archives and Special Collections

 Find it at Snell Library and other NU locations


Posted in: Read, Listen, Watch, Serendipity, Staff Interests


R&I Librarian Donna Kennedy Retires after 37 Years

Posted by: Will Wakeling


Donna Kennedy, R&I Librarian, Snell Library
I am both delighted and disappointed to announce that, after working 37 years with Northeastern University Libraries, Donna Kennedy has decided to retire from the University, effective July 1st, 2014.

My delight is in knowing that, after years of a strong and productive commitment to her working career, Donna will now have the time to pursue a quite active engagement with her hobbies and, most important, numerous children and grandchildren. My disappointment is in knowing that the Library and University are losing a colleague who has always brought energy, a solid commitment, and a rare expertise to her work and, most especially, to the curricular and research needs of the student and faculty communities.

Soon after arriving at the University in 1977, Donna was instrumental in developing services and collections at the former Burlington Campus Library to accommodate and enrich the experiences of a significant population of adult students enrolled in University College (later College of Professional Studies).

When the Burlington Campus Library closed, Donna returned to Snell Library to, at first, lead the Access Services Department and, finally, as a Research and Instruction Services Librarian, to anchor the outreach and research support to the significant education program at the University.

Donna’s achievements will long be valued and remembered by us and, I’m sure, by the many, many students and faculty to whom she has given expert assistance over the years. We hope to see some of these old friends at the event on June 24th. On behalf of all Library staff, I wish Donna a long and very well deserved retirement.

—Will Wakeling, Dean, University Libraries

Posted in: Library Memories, Library News and Events, Serendipity, Staff Interests


Meet Your New GIS Expert!

Posted by: Julie Ryu

Kevan Grimaldi

Kevan Grimaldi

College of Professional Studies graduate Kevan Grimaldi has returned to Northeastern as a new GIS assistant. She followed a lifelong interest in maps and geoscience into an undergraduate program in Earth science at Dartmouth College, where she got her first taste of geographic information systems (GIS). After finishing at Dartmouth, she became a full-time GIS user for a private navigations company, and later entered Northeastern’s own masters program in geographic information technology.

Kevan’s new role at Snell will be to support faculty, staff, and students in their respective GIS-based endeavors. She plans to offer both one-on-one consultations for specific projects and workshops and training on general GIS use, and will be available by email and appointment. Ask at the Digital Media Commons Information desk on the second floor of Snell to get connected with Kevan.

When not immersing herself in geospatial data, Kevan enjoys orienteering, reading, and various pursuits through involvement in the Society for Creative Anachronism, including calligraphy and illumination, archery, and homebrewing. She looks forward to meeting and working with her fellow Huskies on their geospatial projects. Welcome, Kevan!


Posted in: Library News and Events, Staff Interests