1
Jul14

Recommended Reading from Staff at Snell

Posted by: Nina Shah

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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

19
Jun14

R&I Librarian Donna Kennedy Retires after 37 Years

Posted by: Will Wakeling

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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

12
Jun14

Research in the Archives: Ashley Brewer

Posted by: Giordana Mecagni

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The following is a guest post from Ashley Brewer ’18, a double major in History and English.

Last semester [Fall, 2013], as the final paper for my history course on Dissent in Modern America, I drew up a research proposal on the historic impact of bisexuals on the Gay Rights Movement. I structured this paper around the Bisexual Resource Center collection in Snell Library’s Archives and Special Collections department, partly because of how exhaustive and thorough it was as a source, but also because finding research on the history of the bisexual community was almost impossible. I was surprised to discover that the concept of bisexual erasure extended to the academic community as well; many of the few existing sources were merely self-help guides or scientific studies, with barely a footnote on the subject of the community’s history. Without Northeastern’s Archives, I would not have been able to write my paper at all.

The archive collection itself was received from the Bisexual Resource Center in 2005 and 2007, and consists of 11.5 cubic feet of conference minutes, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, articles, publications, survey results, and, my personal favorite, an extensive scrapbook of the 1993 March on Washington. The documents are not restricted to BRC records but rather cover a wide range of organizations and publications, and one pamphlet in particular details the history of the bisexual community more clearly and concisely than any of the other sources I was able to find. The Archives staff was enthusiastic and extremely helpful, and for future projects I will definitely check there first before venturing over to the Boston Public Library. I cannot begin to express how incredibly essential Snell Library’s Archives and Special Collections department was to my research, and I highly encourage others to take a look and see what they have to offer.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Information and Society, Serendipity

27
May14

Scholar OneSearch: New Release

Posted by: Jen Ferguson

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Update, 6/10/2014The new version is up and running.  As of Monday June 9, you should see these changes in Scholar OneSearch.

The latest version of Scholar OneSearch will be released in early June. We’ve made several enhancements to help make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for. Here’s a taste of what we’ve been working on.

Permalinks. Each resource now includes a permalink under the ‘actions’ drop down menu. These are handy for adding persistent links to library resources in syllabi and course sites on Blackboard.

 

A date slider has replaced the date facets.  The slider gives you more control when narrowing down the publication dates of materials you seek.

More visible call numbers and a ‘find it’ feature linking to Snell Library floor maps help simplify the task of locating items in the library.

Last but not least, check out our new virtual browse!  It’s the next best thing to browsing through the library stacks.

 

Look for these features and more in next week’s release. What features would you like to see in future releases of Scholar OneSearch? Let us know!

 

Posted in: Research Online

2
May14

The Snell Survey: What You Told Us

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian

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Many thanks to all of you who answered the library survey earlier this year! Have you been wondering about the results? Here are some highlights:

Who responded?

The survey was carried out at the end of the fall 2013 semester and the demographics were:

  • 601 respondents
  • 90% undergraduates
  • Largest percentage by college: Engineering, 22% (By the way, this corresponds almost exactly to attendance numbers. According to the card swipes, 25% of those entering the Snell Library are from College of Engineering, more than from any other college!)

Why the library?

One of the questions we were most interested in was What are you looking for when you come to the library?

The top 5 answers: (respondents could choose more than one)

  • 82.9% Printers
  • 74.8% A quiet space free from distractions
  • 72.2% Tables to spread out
  • 71.8% Power outlets
  • 71.1% Open 24/7 hours

While “quiet” is high on the list, that doesn’t always mean solitude. 53% want “group rooms I can reserve in advance“, 45%  want “a place where everyone else is working, which motivates me“, and 34% want “a place to work and connect with others.” 21% want “plug in monitors for my group to look on together.”

Other things you are looking for when you come to the library: software, research and technical support, and of course, books and journals. Click on the chart at left for details.

Where do you like to work?

Here, in order of preference, are the floors respondents like to use at Snell Library:

  • First place: Level 3
  • Second place: Level 2
  • Third place: Level 4
  • Fourth place: Level 1

Why is Level 3 the winner?  You told us: “Quiet but not too quiet,” “Quiet but not intimidating,” and “It is still OK to eat and whisper/talk quietly if you have to ask someone a question.” 

One person hedged, “prefer 3rd but I need the computers from 2nd. PLEASE add computers to 3rd floor.” We’ve heard this suggestion before, but wiring would be needed for us to move workstations to level 3, so in the meantime, you can borrow a laptop from the Help & Information Desk on the first floor and take it to your favorite location.

Click for larger view

We also asked what type of seating arrangement you prefer.  See the chart at left: the individual desk and carrel slightly edged out group tables as the preferred piece of furniture. Either way, respondents disliked lounge-style seating most.

31% of you said, by the way, that when you come to the library you stay for four hours or more. So that explains a lot, because when you’re really hunkering down for long periods, you need comfortable furniture!

 

 

 

What equipment do you use?

  • We were also curious about what equipment you are using when you come to the library and how often. We learned that an astonishing 71% of respondents said they use their own personal laptop to the library twice a week or more. As far as other equipment goes, not surprisingly the print stations were next, with 65% using them twice a week or more, followed by the Infocommons desktops (22%), followed by personal tablets (18%).

Your suggestions and comments
The survey asked for open-ended comments and suggestions, too. It turns out we can never have enough outlets. And some of you would like more books and longer hours for Argo tea. But the main emphasis of your comments was on space and furniture, especially tables to work and study. This word cloud tells the story:
wordcloud of suggestions

The laws of physics make it hard for us to create more space–and that’s a problem campus-wide!  But we hope to answer your expectations with the space we do have: to organize Snell Library in practical ways that maximize the inspirational atmosphere, and help you flourish at Northeastern.

Posted in: Library News and Events