Library News Blog
Photo: Reception for the Brownsville Boys exhibit
Associate Dean and Chief Librarian Larry E. Sullivan published the book The Brownsville Boys: Jewish Gangsters of Murder, Inc. (library record) in December 2013 with the Two Ponds Press. The book, with all its plates, framed, is on exhibition in the President’s Gallery through May 30 and was featured in the New York Times on March 20. His co-authored (with Brenda Vogel) article, “Reachin’ Behind Bars: Library Outreach to Prisoners, 1798-2000,” first published in 2003 and then again in 2009, has been reprinted in John Kleinig and Charles Sturts’ edited volume Prisoners’ Rights (Ashgate 2014). In January, Sullivan spoke on the importance of Special Collections for criminal justice libraries at the American Librarian Association Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the recently published (April 2014) Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Annual: Global Perspectives (library record), to which Ellen Sexton and Maria Kiriakova contributed articles.
In January, Marta Bladek presented a paper, “From Russia, with Ambivalence: Young Women Immigrants in Recent Russian American Fiction” at the annual Modern Language Association convention in Chicago. She wrote about “DORA: The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment” for the Scholarly Communication Column in College & Research Libraries News (75.4:191-93). With Karen Okamoto, she published “What’s Theory Got to Do with It? Applying Educational Theory and Research to Revamp Freshman Library Workshops” in College & Undergraduate Libraries (21.1:19-36).
Robin Davis presented “Mug Shots, Rap Sheets, & Oral Histories: Building the Digital Collections at John Jay” in January at at METROcon, the annual conference of the Metropolitan New York Library Council. With Marta Bladek, she presented a poster, “Murder Mystery Challenge!”, at the CUNY games festival in January.
Janice Dunham reviewed the following titles for Library Journal: Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability, Vols 7-10 [Country Studies] (6/1/2013, p.136) and The Pocket Legal Guide to Patents (4/1/2014, p.110).
Jeffrey Kroessler published “Beyond the Bridge: the Unfinished Staten Island Parkways of Robert Moses and the Preservation of the Greenbelt” in New York History (Winter/Spring 2013) and “Preserving the Historic Garden Suburb: Case Studies from London and New York” in Suburban Sustainability (2.1 2014). He also had op-eds published in the New York Observer and the Daily News in defense of historic preservation in New York. Justice in New York: An Oral History, in which he interviewed major figures in criminal justice, is now published online in full in the Lloyd Sealy Library Digital Collections.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 5:45pm
On February 19, 2014, the College commemorated the 30th anniversary of the appointment of Benjamin Ward as the first African American New York City Police Commissioner. This was marked by a special Lloyd Sealy colloquium, moderated by Sam Roberts of the New York Times, with panelists David Scott, former chief of department at the NYPD, Herbert Sturz of the Vera Institute, and Martin Horn of John Jay College. It was preceded by opening remarks by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, President Jeremy Travis, Chief Librarian Larry E. Sullivan, noble’s Vice President Gregory Thomas, and Mary Ward-Markane, the daughter of Benjamin Ward. Larry E. Sullivan highlighted the Benjamin Ward Papers, a collection first donated to the Library in 2009 and later expanded in 2011 and 2012. A selection of these materials was exhibited, including letters to Ward from Governor Carey, Mayors Lindsay and Koch, commemorative photo albums of noble and NAACP events, and numerous photographs of Ward at different stages of his illustrious career. Apart from correspondence, photographs, articles and speeches by Ward, the Benjamin Ward Papers include the manuscript of Ward’s memoir Top Cop and a transcript of an interview with Ward by the Columbia University Oral History Office. Benjamin Ward, it must be recalled, assumed command of the NYPD during a period of heightened crime which he confronted with a vigorous campaign of drug-, prostitution- and gambling-related arrests. He came to national attention for his emphasis on community policing, which at the time was embraced across the country as a better approach to policing. His career was not without controversy as evidenced in the notorious 1988 Tompkins Park Square Riot that took place under his watch as Commissioner and his handling of a highly charged 1972 Harlem Mosque incident that occurred while he was the Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs.
A selection of the Benjamin Ward Papers remains on display in the Niederhoffer Lounge of the Library.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 5:42pm
Opium “does more honour to medicine to any other remedy whatever.” Charles Alston, professor of Botany and Materia Medica at Edinburgh University, wrote this statement in a 1742 article. Alston was the first person in England to grow poppies for his experiments and lauded in print all the beneficial effects of the flower. He did not, however, mention its addictive properties. A fellow Edinbourgeois, the surgeon Charles Young wrote one of the first treatises on opium partly in response to Alston’s uncritical praise of the drug. In the preface to his 1743 Treatise on Opium, Young said that “opium is a poison by which great numbers are daily destroyed.” Although Young was correct in his mention of opiate addiction, it didn’t stop him from using it or prescribing it to treat coughing, diarrhea, toothache, prolapsed hemorrhoids, and many other ailments. Most particularly, he advocated opium to alleviate “lowness of Spirits” and melancholia. Indeed so.
Young was an outstanding surgeon during the period of the Scottish Enlightenment. He was the only surgeon elected to the prestigious and very intellectual Ranken Club. He did not have a medical degree, but that was not unusual at the time. His medical practice and his philosophy were based in empiricism, which should be expected of a contemporary of David Hume. This empirical viewpoint is illustrated in the title of the book, where Young says his study is “founded Upon Practical Observations.”
The Sealy Library recently acquired Young’s important treatise on a drug used and abused for centuries. John Jay is one of three libraries in New York City to own this book, and the only non-medical library. Once again, we must emphasize the importance of such historical works to the study of our discipline.
Larry E. Sullivan, Chief Librarian
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 5:38pm
The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (A.R.T.) is pleased to announce its May 2014 Programming Event, developed and co-sponsored by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice's Department of Art and Music and Lloyd Sealy Library:
Book 'Em: Insider Theft from Libraries and Archives
Insider theft is a particularly difficult problem for libraries and archives. Employees who passed background checks when hired might have concealed collecting obsessions or might develop a gambling or substance abuse habit. Once motivated to steal, they know their institution’s security system – and its loopholes. And it can take years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of irrecoverable losses, before insider thieves are caught. Our speakers will discuss their experiences discovering and investigating insider thefts from governmental, university, and private libraries and archives. They will analyze the security measures that failed in these situations and describe subsequent policy and technological changes designed to prevent further insider theft within a limited security budget.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
6:00 PM - 6:30 PM Reception
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM Program
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Harren Hall, Room 630
899 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(Enter with photo ID at 59th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues)
Larry Sullivan, Associate Dean and Chief Librarian, John Jay College and former Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress and former Library Director of the New-York Historical Society
Travis McDade, Curator of Law Rare Books and Associate Professor of Library Service, University of Illinois College of Law and author of Thieves of Book Row: New York’s Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Ended It
Jeanne Willoz-Egnor,Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science, 144 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor, Room 213, New York, NY 10011 Director of Collections Management, Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, Virginia
Jennifer Comins, Archivist for the Carnegie Collections in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University
A.R.T. would like to thank the John Jay College of Criminal Justice's Department of Art and Music and Lloyd Sealy Library for graciously co-sponsoring this program. Thanks especially to Erin Thompson, Professor of Art Crime in John Jay's Department of Art and Music, for initiating and coordinating this program.
A.R.T. Members: $5.00
CUNY Students, Faculty, and Staff: Free (Registration Code Required)
Online Registration Required. Please register via the event announcement on the A.R.T. website no later than midnight on Tuesday, May 6. Please note that you MUST pay in advance online in order to attend this program. (You DO NOT need to have or create a PayPal account to pay online). If you have any questions or concerns regarding payment, please email email@example.com.
Please be advised that there are no refunds; your registration dollars go towards supporting future A.R.T. Programming Events.
Please note that in attending this event, you automatically grant your consent for the event to be photographed or video-recorded.
Please do not contact the host venue for any reason. All inquiries for this ART Programming Event should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a person with a disability and require special accommodations to attend this event, please notify email@example.com. Special needs requests will be compiled for our host.
Posted Monday, April 28, 2014 - 11:39am
John Jay students, here's your chance to win up to $3,000 for your research! This year's John Jay + Rubin Museum Writing Competition has upped the prize money. Get a free leg up — your library is here to help you out!
Check out our guide to Rubin Museum & art history resources, specifically created with this competition in mind.
From the announcement:
1st prize: $3,000
2nd prize: $2,000
3rd prize: $1,000
2 Special Mention Prizes: $500 each
Posted Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 11:54am
What did you do in the Library today? Think deeply about life. Sleep.
What can we do to make this library better for you? More access to electrical outlets…Why are they still located in walls?
These were some of the questions and answers from our second triennial survey of “in-library use,” conducted November 18-23, 2013. 294 library users (90% undergraduates and 9.8% graduate students) took the time to fill out a paper survey handed to them at the Library entrance. The results showed that our library users are a serious bunch: 51% came to the Library to study or work individually; 44.4% used a library computer for academic/course work and only 11% used a computer for Facebook, YouTube or other “fun” activity. Almost all students engaged in multiple activities (see Chart 1). They also came often: 24.4% came to the Library 4 or more times per week and 47% came 2-3 times per week.
Our users rate our services highly: Our top rating went to quality of databases and electronic resources where we scored 4.4 out of a possible 5. Even where we were rated lowest—on availability of electrical outlets—our users still scored us 3.68 out 5. These results were very similar to what we found in our first survey in November 2010: the students who come to the Library come frequently, and they come because they like what they find here. (Other surveys, discussed in earlier issues of Classified Information, have shown that the student body as a whole thinks well of the Library).
Click to view larger
To get meaningful information from this survey about how we could improve our “in-library” services, therefore, we turned to the last, open-ended question, “What can we do to make this library better for you?” Out of the 294 respondents, 124 took the time to write something (a total of 191 separate comments/complaints), and from the number of exclamation points and the length of the responses, it was obvious that the students cared and wanted to be heard. (See Chart 2) When we coded the answers we found that the single largest source of complaint was the lack of Microsoft Office—21 students complained about that (11% of the comments), followed by the need for more computers (19) and more outlets (18). It’s striking (though not surprising in this era of mobile devices) that fully 9.42% of the comments were about outlets; one student said, “More access to electrical outlets, specially at desks. Why are they still located in walls? they should be conveniently placed on desks.” Comparing the 2013 comments with the 2010 comments, there were fewer complaints about noise and Library hours, but more complaints about outlets and computers, even though we had added both outlets and computers after the 2010 survey. Students also continued to ask for more space to study individually and in groups.
We were concerned to note that, in addition, there was an increase in the number of complaints about staff and about long lines, and we realized that our ratings on “customer service” had fallen slightly from 2010. We wondered if this change might be related to the establishment of community hour in 2012. To examine this more closely, we analyzed separately those surveys that had been filled out during community hour and found that, in fact, the students visiting during community hour rated the Library slightly lower on every single measure with quality of customer service dropping to seventh place from third among the community hour respondents.
So what did we do in response to what the students told us? We are increasing the staff at the Circulation and Reserve desks from 1–3pm; we have added Microsoft Office to 16 computers in the Reference area on the Library’s upper level; and we have put in a Student Technology Fee proposal for mobile charging stations to try to address the lack of electrical outlets. We cannot expand the walls of the Library, but we have made our space needs known to the College, and are converting stacks space to study space where possible. We continue to listen hard to the voices of our users.
Professor Bonnie Nelson, Associate Librarian for Information Systems
Posted Monday, April 14, 2014 - 4:21pm
All outstanding fines will be forgiven until March 31, 2014.
Return your overdue books and media without penalty!
You must come in to the Library in person to have your account cleared.
CUNYfirst is coming on April 1, 2014. To help smooth the transition, the Lloyd Sealy Library wants to help you remove your library blocks.
Don't wait! This is a one-time offer. (Seriously.)
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 10:05am
Explore the library's new subscription to the PBS Video Collection!
The PBS Video Collection from Alexander Street Press assembles hundreds of the greatest documentary films and series from the history of the Public Broadcasting Service into one online interface. A core of 245 titles, selected for their high quality and relevance to academic curricula, covers many educational disciplines, including history, science and technology, diversity studies, business, and current events. This collection includes access to the films and series Frontline, NOVA, American Experience, Odyssey, and films by Ken Burns and Michael Wood.
Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 4:19pm
For the first time, the John Jay Library is consolidating its unique digital resources into one online, publicly-accessible collection. The Lloyd Sealy Library Digital Collections will launch in the spring 2014 semester as a premier repository for digitized criminal justice history materials. Researchers will find audio clips of Ed Koch speaking about subway crime, mug shots of notorious Murder, Inc. criminals, trial transcripts from 1920s New York murder cases, and much more in the coming collections.
The Lloyd Sealy Library is well known for the strength of its criminal justice and social sciences collections. Under the leadership of Chief Librarian Larry Sullivan, formerly the Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, the Special Collections has grown particularly robust, providing valuable material for researchers of criminal justice history in New York City and around the world.
Since the turn of this century, the Library has put a great deal of effort into making these collections accessible online. The Crime in New York 1850-1950 project made available selected photographs from the Burton Turkus Papers and Lewis Lawes Papers, as well as hundreds of trial transcripts from the County of New York. The Library has also digitized nearly 100 rare books with the Internet Archive. In-house, we have made high-quality scans of items from the John Jay College Archives. For the first time, these digital materials will all be browsable, searchable, and downloadable in one place—in addition to brand-new material.
Prof. Jeffrey Kroessler, our Circulation Librarian, is contributing his in-progress project, Justice in New York: An Oral History. With the generous support of John Jay supporter Jules Kroll, Prof. Kroessler— sometimes accompanied by Prof. Sullivan—has interviewed dozens of New York City’s leading figures in criminal justice, including former mayor Ed Koch and former police commissioner Patrick V. Murphy. These interviews, rich as both historical reference and anecdote, are a vibrant resource for researchers and passersby alike. In the spring, the full interview transcripts, along with audio clips, will be available online for the first time in the Digital Collections.
More digital research materials are also on the way, the most timely of which are selections from the John Jay College Archives. As the College nears its 50th aniversary in 2014–15, the Library will digitize and catalog more materials from the College’s history. The Archives mea- sure 400 linear feet of records containing images of student life, news clippings, yearbooks, and more. Under the guidance of Interim Special Collections Librarian Ellen Sexton, and with support from other departments and offices at John Jay, a curated selection of materials from the Archives will be available in the Digital Collections.
Teaching with the Digital Collections
With more material available, the Digital Collections will be of high interest to researchers and fans of history—and also for teaching faculty. These rich online resources are an engaging and relevant gateway for students learning how to conduct research using primary sources. As the Library saw recently in the Murder Mystery Challenge, students can find great satisfaction diving into historical materials both gruesome (murder scene photographs) and enlightening (court case records). These materials give students the chance to grapple with the complexity and ambiguity of the historical record. Moreover, research today requires advanced digital literacy skills, and the Library strongly supports incorporating digital research in classroom assignments. Technical details The chosen content management system, CollectiveAccess, provides robust search and browsing functionalities with a focus on thorough metadata. The Digital Collections will mirror the Special Collections, with each physical collection manifested as one digital collection. Many items will be freely downloadable, following the Library’s commitment to public knowledge.
The Library is working daily to improve the system and load in more material. We plan to launch next semester—keep an eye out for the launch announcement!
Posted Friday, February 21, 2014 - 1:39pm
The Library just got a free trial to the online database Psychological Experiments Online.
This database "pairs audio and video recordings of quintessential experiments in psychology with thousands of pages of primary-source documents. It's packed with exclusive and hard-to-find materials, including notes from experiment participants, journal articles, books, field notes, and final reports in topics from obedience to authority and conformity to operant conditioning."
You can also access Psychological Experiments Online from the list of databases by title on the library's homepage.
The trial will end on March 27, 2014 so please let us know what you think by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Monday, February 3, 2014 - 11:23am