Library News Blog
PROBLEM: How do you wear a protective face mask yet use your voice clearly?
How do you maintain a safe social distance yet participate in shaping your community?
Despite the challenges of COVID, it’s easy to vote in the upcoming election. We’ve put together a brief guide with links to help you navigate.
Start by making sure you are registered to vote. The guide provides links to register to vote and/or check your registration status online.
This year, you can vote by mail with an absentee ballot. Alternatively, you can vote in-person - either early or on election day. The guide provides links to the absentee ballot application and is an easy place to find the dates and locations of in-person polling places for both early voting and Election Day voting.
In addition, we provide links to help you make informed decisions about the candidates and any ballot measures up for a vote. Our guide helps you find biographical information, policy and issue viewpoints, positions and beliefs, and who exactly is helping to finance a candidate’s campaign.
Your vote and your voice make a difference. Check out our Voting 2020 guide and vote!
By Peggy Teich
Posted Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 12:16pm
CUNY libraries continue to automatically renew books and waive late fees and fines for items that are due while libraries remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. All items are being automatically renewed for the duration of the pandemic. Please disregard any messages that an item is coming due. You don't have to return books while libraries remain closed.
However, those who wish to return books borrowed from the John Jay College Library or any CUNY library may do so by depositing them in our book drop located at the College’s 524 West 59th Street entrance by the Public Safety desk before the turnstiles. Interlibrary loan (ILL) patrons may also return non-fragile ILL materials via the book drop. Please wear a mask to drop off items and practice social distancing. You do not need to make an appointment with Public Safety if you are only returning books, but the best time to do so is between 9am and 9pm.
If you have further questions please contact us.
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2020 - 9:12pm
Since 1998, Rodrigo Hicks shared his joyful personality, generous character and incredible work ethic with the library. He worked part-time in the evening, first in the Circulation Department then later with Interlibrary Loan. Thanks to Rodrigo’s meticulous work scanning and processing library materials, we were able to share our extensive collections with patrons around the world. Rodrigo was also responsible for processing books that arrived for our patrons and returned them to their home libraries. While he worked diligently, Rodrigo would take the time to share a word or two with colleagues and students. Our memories below illustrate how he touched many lives and brightened our days. Here, we share our fond memories of Rodrigo and pay tribute to a dear colleague. (Compiled and written by Karen Okamoto)
Posted Monday, July 20, 2020 - 8:57pm
This summer, all libraries in CUNY are transitioning to a new software system, Alma. We will be joining more than a thousand libraries around the world that have already adopted this state of the art end-to-end integrated library system for managing the acquisition, cataloging, circulation and sharing of resources in all formats (print, electronic, and digital). In order to ensure the smooth transition of millions of records to the new system, the CUNY libraries have to take a pause in July for processing and cataloging any new materials and creating records. OneSearch, the discovery system that is the public face of Alma, will be still searchable but will not display any new records or updates until August 10th. Please be patient and contact us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 11:36am
Text description of the 2019 in-library use survey: 5 highlights
What is the in-library use survey?
Every 3 years, the John Jay College Library distributes a paper survey to those present in the Library during a one-week period in the fall. The survey seeks to gather information on how patrons use the library, what they value about the library, and ideas on how we can improve it. Here we present some highlights and key findings from our most recent survey.
- 1020 respondents.
- 95% of respondents agree and strongly agree with the statement: "The library is important to my academic success."
- 68% use the Library for quiet individual study.
- 87% affirmed that quiet spaces for individual study are very important.
- 72% visit 2 or more times per week.
More individual study spaces, better chairs, more electrical outlets...
These are the three most cited suggestions from respondents. We are exploring ways to address these concerns by designing better signage for quiet study areas, applying for funding to increase the number of electrical outlets and working with other campus offices to improve study areas.
- Karen Okamoto
Posted Monday, April 6, 2020 - 9:43pm
Text description of the Triennial In-Library Use Survey Infographic
The John Jay College Library distributes a paper survey every 3 years to visitors within the LIbrary. The survey poses a similar set of questions as a way to track changes in user opinion, behavior and expectations. With a decade of survey results now available, here we highlight some of the data that remains constant and some of the changes we've noticed over the four survey periods spanning from 2010-2019.
1. A place to study individually.
One area that remains constant across the years is respondents' reasons for visiting the Library. Most visitors use the Library for individual study, followed by computing and printing.
2. Library users visit often.
Across the years, respondents have indicated that they visit the Library often: 2 or more times per week.
3. What's very important for Library users.
Over the years, what has been ranked as "very important" for respondents has changed slightly:
- A place to work individual has increased slightly in importance.
- Providing more electrical outlets is increasing in importance.
- Software availability and computers are slightly less important.
Summary of comments: 2010-2019
- 172 respondents
- 30% of comments were about noise
- 294 respondents
- 31% of comments were computer-related i.e. providing Microsoft Word on more workstations
- 406 respondents
- 21.66% of comments were computer-related i.e. providing more computers and workstations with MS Word
- 1020 respondents
- 22% of comments suggested more quiet individual study space
- Karen Okamoto
Posted Monday, April 6, 2020 - 9:10pm
The Lloyd Sealy Library is closed. The Lloyd Sealy Library is open.
Our physical space is shuttered for the duration, but our digital resources remain accessible, and our librarians are always available.
To navigate this uncertain terrain, we have made changes to our policies and procedures to ease burdens on our patrons. We have also tried to highlight the resources available in our collection and beyond.
- All items on loan will be automatically renewed through the end of May, and if the situation warrants, beyond.
- No fines will be accrued, and any imposed during this pause will be forgiven.
- We have removed all items on hold and all items that have been requested.
- Patrons may contact the library through email at email@example.com.
- Live chat with a librarian has been expanded to all hours the library would have been open, including Saturdays and Sundays. The Ask a Librarian link is on our home page and here.
We have brought together information about digital resources in a new guide, providing information on using our eBooks, video collections, databases, and open access resources. It also includes information about publishers that have made their collections open to all. Professors may elect to substitute an open access text for an assigned volume now locked away in our reserve room or to locate essays collected in an assigned reader.
We will be available to serve faculty and students throughout this unprecedented health crisis. And we look forward to returning to the library for business as usual.
Posted Monday, April 6, 2020 - 1:58pm
This white box, the first thing you see on the library website, can be a fascinating tool when you start exploring it in detail. You get frustrated first. Stay calm, examine it carefully and realize that you can work with it and achieve amazing results.
Many times students come to the library looking for assistance in writing research papers without having a specific topic in mind. That is when OneSearch filters can come handy.
Let’s look at the Subject/Topic filters. Those are identifiers/labels/tags that tie the avalanche of search results together and guide you through the maze so you can discover some gems in the depth of the results list instead of just picking up the first three documents from the top.
Here is an example of how a broad topic search can be fine-tuned with the assistance of Subject/Topic filters. Type in your search: capital punishment
You get half a million results. Stop (instead of scrolling down) and look for help.
Scroll down the screen looking for different filters until you see this one that you will explore further by clicking on Show More.
You have limited your initial search on a broad topic of capital punishment to a narrow one – what is college students’ attitude towards capital punishment? And your results are also limited to a manageable number that you can easily sift through.
Happy Subject discovery in OneSearch!
Posted Friday, April 3, 2020 - 8:40pm
Every syllabus I see has a section about plagiarism, with explicit warnings about the punishments plagiarists might expect should they be found out. Every syllabus also highlights citation, with instructions about which format is acceptable. But the connection between the two is couched as, “Cite your sources, or else.”
We all know plagiarism is a mortal sin in academia. I know of one college president who was forced out when it was discovered that he had copied whole cloth sections into his literature review in his Doctorate of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. An anonymous tip to a local newspaper set the scandal in motion, and reporters at the student newspaper consulted Dissertation Abstracts and found even more evidence of misappropriated work (the man had alienated just about everyone on campus anyway). His explanation: the errors must have crept in when he migrated from one citation format to another. This was someone who approved dismissing a foreign student and sending her back to her country for plagiarizing.
Professors bring their classes into the library to learn how to use our resources and how to cite sources. I point out the Citation button on our homepage, and the links to APA, MLA, and Chicago guides. I ask students which format their professor expects them to use, and then ask why it is important that they cite sources. “PLAGIARISM!” is always their answer. So, is that because your professor thinks that you all are lying, cheating, and fundamentally dishonest curs? Few students had looked at it that way.
But avoiding plagiarism is not why a writer must cite sources. The reason, I explain, is so that the reader, in this case the instructor, can follow a writer’s train of thought. The sources cited provide a trail of inquiry into the topic. I point out that the instructor is evaluating students’ thinking as well as writing, and that citations are the only evidence available. Are the conclusions justified based upon the sources consulted? Does the evidence lead to other, equally plausible answers?
Students appreciate this perspective, for it puts a positive spin on their research, rather than an assumption that they are all sinners poised to fall into the hands of an angry professor.
This should be the starting point for any discussion of citation.
Library resources make citation easy. Every database has a link for citations, as do all items in our collection. Click the cite button, and the citation is generated in APA, MLA, or Chicago (some databases offer additional options). These generated citations ought to be accepted for student work, though because they can include errors, students – and faculty – should proofread them before copying and pasting.
Students are not preparing original research for publication; they are submitting a 5-page paper for class. Have they cited their sources? Terrific. Is a comma out of place in the citation? Please.
Library citation guides: https://guides.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/c.php?g=288322&p=1922429
See the “Why Citing Sources is Important” tutorial in the Academic Integrity section of Credo Instruct: https://guides.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/c.php?g=986704&p=7136158
Posted Friday, April 3, 2020 - 10:00am
With the physical library closed, our circulating collection is inaccessible. This means that items placed on reserve are also inaccessible, putting many students in a difficult situation. Many rely on using the textbooks on reserve, scanning pages as needed. Now, unless someone had the foresight (and copyright permission) to scan an entire text, they are out of luck. Basing assignments entirely on an assigned text all but guarantees that many students will fall behind and be unable to complete assignments.
With that in mind, instructors should identify alternative readings and modify assignments accordingly. Suggesting that students summarize Chapter 7 is impossible for someone without the ($200) text. Instead, ask them about the specific content covered in the chapter, and present them with options as to where they might find similar information.
For many topics covered in a textbook, our digital reference works will do nicely. Under Databases by subject, select Encyclopedias and Dictionaries. Found there will be academic reference works, many with substantial entries. The beauty of these entries is that each provides a basic definition, examples, and usually a discussion of controversies associated with the topic.
As one example, look up “bystander effect.” Britannica Academic has a solid article. Gale eBooks has more than a half dozen: a three-page entry in the Encyclopedia of Social Psychology; a two-page entry in Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology; an entry in the Glossary of Social and Behavioral Sciences. There is also “Bystander intervention,” a five-page piece in Encyclopedia of Psychology and Mental Health and “Bystander apathy,” two pages in Encyclopedia of Street Crime in America. Sage Knowledge Collection also showed many results.
A possible assignment would be to ask students to compare the information found in two or three of these. If there is a question on an exam, point the class to these resources. In many instances, covering the material is what matters, not where it comes from.
For more assignment ideas, see the Library’s Information Literacy guide. For additional digital resources available during this remote teaching and learning period, see our Remote Resources for a Distance Learning Environment guide.
Posted Friday, April 3, 2020 - 9:59am