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


The Theater Offensive: 25 Years of Gay Theater, Bold Pride, Conscious Intersectionality, and #BlackLivesMatter

Posted by: Kieran McGhee


Northeastern’s Special Collections and Archives preserves The Theater Offensive Records, a prominent gay theater troupe that has long been a defining presence with the Boston gay community. Founded by Abe Rybeck in 1989, the Theater Offensive boasts that they are “Twenty-Five Years BOLD” this year. From  the OUT on the Edge festival, to championing AIDS Awareness in the Fenway in the early 1990’s, to the queer cabaret band, Adult Children of Heterosexuals, the Theater Offensive celebrates their fearlessness and has never shied from political activism and social justice, making this collection wholly unique and incredibly modern – even with its quarter century time stamp.

                   Political stickers from the late 1980’s, from the United Fruit Company Series.

This collection offers a backstage look at what it takes to run a gay theater troupe in Boston. This includes not only the fights for funding, but the overwhelming social justice obligation of being a member of such a massive and vocal community. For over twenty years, the Theater Offensive has taken that responsibility in stride, which is showcased in this collection’s festival posters, photographs, strategic planning for outreach, and demand for community presence.

Posters for plays depicting black gay life, from the Other Festivals and Production Series

People of color, especially people of color within the LGBTQA community, deserve and need to have their stories told. The Theater Offensive collection showcases how they have been boldly telling these stories for years and makes one realize how we are only just now starting to listen.

As this collection reflects, the Theater Offensive will continue with the message they have chanted, sung, and marched for since 1989: #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackGayLivesMatter, #BlackTransLivesMatter as they did proudly at Boston’s Annual Gay Pride Parade in June, 2015.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections


Snell Stacks are the Tip of the Iceberg

Posted by: Amira Aaron


Have you seen these new signs in the stacks?













We want to remind the Northeastern community that the most recent material on a topic is likely to be found in the Library’s online collections and not on the shelves. Scan the QR codes on the signs or go directly to Scholar OneSearch to be connected with an extensive online collection. Thousands of electronic books and journals are available to faculty, students and staff.

As more and more print information resources move online, Snell Library is able to offer to the Northeastern community a rich array of electronic resources including books, journals, primary source materials, multimedia works, and digitized archival collections. All of these are available on a 24/7 basis from any location, including a growing number of mobile devices, and most offer powerful search functionality and immediate access to the full text.

The Library’s focused transition from print to electronic collections supports the Northeastern University Global Network and is discussed in the Collection Development Policy (March 2013), which was approved by the Faculty Senate Committee on Library Policies and Operations.

And, speaking of online collections, the Library continues to expand the richness of primary source and other materials available to the Northeastern community. We are pleased to announce the recent availability of the following digital Gale Cengage newspaper collections:

  • 17th – 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers gathered by the Reverend Charles Burney (1757 – 1817) represent the largest single collection of 17th and 18th century English news media.
  • 19th Century British Newspapers contains full runs of influential national and regional newspapers representing different political and cultural segments of British society.
  • 19th Century U.S. Newspapers provides access to primary source newspaper content from the 19th century, featuring full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.
  • Artemis Primary Sources is an integrated research tool that unifies extensive digital archives (including the collections above, the Illustrated London News Historical Archive [1842-2003], and the Times Digital Archive [1785- 2009]) and enables scholars to make new research connections.

Stay tuned to this blog for more announcements of new digital collections and primary source materials.

Posted in: Collections, Online Collections, Research Online


Boston Library Consortium signs letter to President Obama about Open Educational Resources

Posted by: Hillary Corbett


In June, the White House called for suggestions from the public for its third Open Government National Action Plan, to be released later this year. The purpose of this plan is to increase transparency in government as well as support open research and learning tools, which were identified as areas for development in the first two National Action Plans. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an international group of academic research libraries, has responded to this call with a letter advocating for increased support for the development of open educational resources. The Boston Library Consortium, of which Northeastern University is a member, has added its name as a signatory of this letter. We are proud to voice our support for open educational resources!

Open educational resources (OERs) are freely accessible learning objects that support teaching and learning at all levels – from kindergarten through higher education. Because they are openly licensed, educators can customize OERs or create mashups of different resources to provide their students with the material that best meets their teaching objectives. OERs include textbooks, audio and video materials, tests, software, interactive modules, and much more. Many are peer-reviewed either before or after being publicly released, so teachers can be assured of their quality.

OERs benefit students as well as educators—they serve as free alternatives to costly traditional textbooks. A recent NBC News story about the astronomical increase in textbook prices (more than triple the cost of inflation since 1977) quotes an incoming Northeastern first-year student on the struggle to afford college textbooks. OERs would help him and thousands of others get a high-quality education at a more affordable price. The Open Education Group, which conducts an ongoing review of empirical research on the use of OERs, reports that studies show students and educators using OERs are satisfied with the quality of these resources and that learning outcomes are equivalent to or better than those in classrooms using traditional resources.

Instructors and students, are you interested in learning more about open educational resources? Check out my guide to OERs and textbook alternatives, and please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

Posted in: Information and Society, Research Online, Scholarly Communications