Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Lloyd Sealy LibrarySkip to content

Lloyd Sealy Library

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Library News Blog

Kathleen Collins

The Graduate Studies office has long been offering workshops for graduate students on topics such as resume writing, statistics, and communication and leadership skills. Generally offered in the early evening to accommodate student schedules, these workshops are always appreciated by those who can fit them into their busy schedules, but too often they are not well attended. In an attempt to try to reach more students with the information they need to support their graduate level learning, Graduate Studies is now offering two of these workshops­—Using Library Databases for Research and How to Write a Literature Review—via Blackboard. Students can register and take the workshops, which are divided into modules, at their convenience. Badges signifying skills and achievements can be earned for use in ePortfolios or to share with outside organizations. 

A full complement of workshops are still offered in person at the start of each semester, and there are plans to add more online workshops in the future. You can register for these online workshops. For more information about how John Jay supports grad students, visit the Graduate Studies page.

November 2017

More from the Fall 2017 newsletter »

Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 4:45pm

Ellen Belcher

In preparation for our upcoming exhibit, “Rogues Gallery: Forty-Year Retrospective of Courtroom Art from Son of Sam to El Chapo” (Shiva Art Gallery, November 29 through February 2), I have been spending a lot of time with the Richard Tomlinson Collection of Courtroom Drawings. It strikes me that while many of us are familiar with courtroom drawings, we don’t know much about the process of courtroom artists.  

By Richard Tomlinson. An artist making a drawing in court.

As I reported previously in this newsletter (Spring 2012, p. 15), Richard Tomlinson worked as a courtroom artist for three decades. For quite a while, he worked covering New York City area trials full-time for Channel 5 WNEW news. He and other artists, working for other news outlets, would sit side by side, drawing boards in their laps at the front of the courtroom, surrounded by their art supplies, working quickly to capture all the action of the court proceedings within their allotted space on the courtroom bench.  Richard Tomlinson was well known for drawing in a small, confined area with a few materials in his pocket and a pair of binoculars next to him; others spread out onto every free area on the bench and floor. At the end of the proceedings, courtroom artists ran outside to waiting news photographers and cameramen, who would immediately shoot the drawings in natural light on the sidewalk. Other times, artists lugged their drawings to Midtown newsrooms on the subway (or sometimes by a speeding cab), where editors shuffled through them looking for the best shot to illustrate breaking news stories.  Now courtroom artists scan their drawings in their studios and email them to newsroom editors.  

Four sketches by Richard Tomlinson

Courtroom artists employ a range of materials to capture all the color, actions, and emotions of court proceedings quickly.  Sometimes the court appearance of defendants and witnesses is so brief that only a quick sketch can be accomplished, which is later colored in with details added from memory.   The paper has to be the right size and texture to capture and hold the action as well as the drawing media, and it must stand up to possible rough handling. Everyone develops their own distinctive style, which could change over time, or with each trial. While pastels and charcoal can be messy and easily smudged, they are by far the most used medium because of their ease of use in rendering quick, colorful, and expressive drawings.  Richard Tomlinson often did a charcoal sketch that he then filled in with colored oil crayon, pencils, or watercolor onto a thin, smooth—but very durable—vellum paper. Other artist materials include markers, pens, and gouache in any combination, all of which must correctly interface with the paper. 

While courtroom artists are dwindling in number due to the widespread introduction of cameras in the courtroom, the Special Collections has a growing collection of courtroom art, launched by the Richard Tomlinson Collection and now supplemented with gifts of the Elizabeth Williams Collection and Aggie Kenny Collection. Portions of all these collections will be on exhibit in the Shiva Art Gallery exhibit, opening on November 29. Examples from these collections will also soon also appear in our Digital Collections. 

A selection of resources on courtroom artists 

Church, M.. (2006). The art of justice: An eyewitness view of thirty infamous trials Philadelphia, Pa.: Quirk. Reserve (3 day loan)  NC953.8 .C47 A4 2006 

Dengrove, I. L. (1990). My days in court: unique views of the famous and infamous by a court artist. New York: Morrow. Stacks  NC 953.8 .D46 A2 1990 

 Hobman, P. (2015). Trial & image: Courtroom artists capture the colors and gestures of justice. ArtNews 115(2), 110-117. 

Library of Congress, Washington D.C. (2017). Drawing justice: The art of courtroom drawing.  Online exhibit.

Frost, Natasha. (August 2017). The dying art of courtroom illustration. Atlas Obscura Blog.

Williams, E.. (2014). The illustrated courtroom: 50 years of court art. Reserve (3 day loan) NC953.5 .U6 W54 2014 

November 2017

More from the Fall 2017 newsletter »

More from the Special Collections »

Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 4:32pm

Between the World and Me The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign against Lynching  Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of Between the World and Me (winner of the National Book Award), talked about books he recommended reading at a public event in 2015 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library).

Many of the books he mentioned are available here at the Lloyd Sealy Library, and all are available through CUNY libraries. They are listed here with their call numbers and/or links to their pages in OneSearch.

  • Collected Essays by James Baldwin (in particular, "The Fire Next Time")
  • The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life, His Own by David Carr
  • The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: The Era of the Civil War by James McPherson
  • Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960 by Arnold R. Hirsch
  • Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America by Beryl Satter
    • Available at York College, Baruch College, and 9 other CUNY libraries (OneSearch record)
  • "Confederate States of America — Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union"
  • Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court nomination That Changed America by Wil Haygood
    • Available at Hunter College, Baruch College, and 8 other CUNY libraries (OneSearch record)
  • American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia by Edmund S. Morgan
  • Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life by Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields
  • When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings
  • Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign against Lynching by Paula J. Giddings
  • Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household by Thavolia Glymph

August 22, 2017

Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 4:04pm

iPhone and Android charger cables

The Library now offers Apple and Android chargers as well as a surge protector, all available for 3-hour checkouts.

The iPhone/iPad (Lightning) and Android (Micro-USB) chargers are available at the Reserve Desk on the Library's lower level or the Reference Desk on the upper level.

Happy charging!


Related: Where can I plug in?

Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 4:02pm

Library homepage screenshot

The Lloyd Sealy Library launched an updated look for the website on August 7, 2017. We have refreshed the color scheme, improved mobile responsiveness, increased accessibility, and simplified the main search box. Once the semester is underway, you'll also see an interactive "Chat with a librarian" box on the homepage during chat reference hours.

A "Preview" site was available for public testing and feedback for two weeks prior to the launch. The website's new look was also tested for usability with 19 John Jay students in Spring 2017.

Think something's missing? Have a comment or critique? Let us know what you think! We value your comments:

Library homepage feedback

About the search box: The biggest change is the search box on the home page. We have simplified this search box to make finding library materials even faster and easier using OneSearch, based on the data we collected in a usability study. All search options, including CUNY+, are still available. (More about OneSearch.

Previous (2010-17) vs current search box (2017)


Another important update: OneSearch also has a new look in time for Fall 2017, courtesy of CUNY's Office of Library Services. John Jay implemented the new user interface on August 21, 2017.

We value all feedback about the library website from library users! Feedback form (anonymous) »

Website contact: Robin Davis, Emerging Technologies & Online Learning Librarian, Library Web Committee chair

Posted Monday, August 7, 2017 - 10:34am

"Hot off the press!" Read the most recent reports from CQ Researcher featuring issues faced by the world today.


CQ Researcher

Access CQ Researcher »

CQ Researcher explores a single hot issue in the news in depth each week. Topics range from social issues to environment, health, education, and science/technology. Reports on international topics such as torture, nationalization of energy resources, and peacekeeping around the world are also featured. We have access to coverage from 1923 to the present.

Hot topics in CQ Researcher

July 24, 2017

Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 - 2:44pm

Go to Foreign Policy magazine database »

We are happy to present a new database: Foreign Policy magazine, covering 1970 to present and its website. FP focuses on leading global issues in national security, technology, markets, and energy & resources.

Screenshot of FP website: top article is about Trump's visit to Poland

Screenshot of FP

Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 11:23am

Go to database »

This archive contains manuscripts, books, broadsheets, and periodicals from 1790–1920. The collection covers Europe, North America, India and the Antipodes. It includes raw data about crime, its solutions, and the popular response.

Screenshot of database: search primary sources option

Screenshot of database

Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 11:20am

Screenshot of researcher Jay Albanese

We have purchased an outstanding collection of streaming video content in which criminologists describe their research in a way that is accessible to undergraduates. We have Meda Chesney-Lind talking about feminist criminology and abortion law, Robert Agnew on general strain theory, Joan Petersilia, Terrie Moffitt and many other active researchers describing their work, and other core criminal justice ideas. Students can see and hear e.g. a forensic anthropologist explaining how she identifies victims at mass crime scenes. Racial disparities, crime mapping, research methods, transnational crime, and the criminal investigation process are some of the many topics covered. Some films take us inside forensics labs, correctional facilities, and court rooms. Others show case studies, and/or connect research to policy and practice. In a few of the shorter clips, people working within the criminal justice system talk about their careers.

We hope these virtual guest speakers will be memorable for students, and help them see connections between what they are learning and the practice of research.

The collection consists of over 120 hours of film, with lectures from the University of Essex, documentaries from Passion River, the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Intelecom Learning, Twofour Tights, and interviews with researchers created by OHCP. All videos are tagged with a type label; lecture, tutorial, interview, documentary, video case, in practice, or key note. Each video and video segment in the collection has been assigned a persistent URL. Users can create their own clips with unique URLs for sharing with students via Blackboard, email, etc. Rolling text transcripts accompany each video. The videos are housed on the Sage Knowledge platform, which also includes reference book content from Sage and CQ Press. Users can conduct a single search across the platform to discover both video and text content; and some cross linking connects the two. We have purchased access to the collection in perpetuity.

Show a clip during class time, or assign as homework to reinforce the concepts introduced during the day! Flip the classroom and assign a video for students to watch at home before a class discussion or exercise. Or challenge students to find a relevant clip or screenshot to embed in their e-portfolio, PowerPoint or Prezi presentation.



Please see our Media guide for more about the Library's collections of documentaries, feature films, training films, and more, in streaming and DVD formats. Please contact the librarian responsible for media, Ellen Sexton, with questions, comments, acquisition suggestions.

Posted Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 3:00pm

By Ellen Belcher

scanned book

Image: Double page spread of Souvenir Photo Album of the Rouckavishnikov Correctional Institution for Young Offenders. Showing young offenders with equipment for shoe-making and black-smithing.

Criminal justice, broadly defined

The Special Collections has recently acquired a number of new pamphlets and other publications, following our mission to collect broadly and deeply on the topic of criminal justice, broadly defined. The selected titles listed below (organized by date of publication) illustrate very well how broadly criminal justice is defined in our collecting. Many of them record divergent opinions of the causes and solutions for criminal behavior; others record grisly crimes and murders (see image below). We acquired an early publication on fire suppression, as well as a few titles on reform and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders (see image above). All of these are available in our Special Collections Room by appointment, and some of them are available digitally on various platforms. Contact us at to read any of these.

scanned book

Image: Life and confession of Reuben A. Dunbar, convicted and executed for the murder of Stephen V. and David L. Lester (aged 8 and 10 years). Page 24.

1564, Pius IV (Pope). A papal brief on homicide [in Latin]

1784, Edinburgh. Young. Observations upon fire: with a view to the best and most expeditious methods of extinguishing it, upon a new plan, with or without water.

1808, London(?). A comparative statement of the number of criminal offenders committed to several gaols in England and Wales…

1842, Boston. Sue(?) Fialto, or The chain of crime: a tale of guilt and passion. PQ2446 .M32 1843

1847, London. Neilson. Statistics of crime in England and Wales for the years 1834–1844.

1851, Albany. Life and confession of Reuben A. Dunbar, convicted and executed for the murder of Stephen V. and David L. Lester, (aged 8 and 10 years,) in Westerlo, Albany County, September 20, 1850. See image at right.

1853, Philadelphia. Opinion of Horace Binney, Esq., upon the jurisdiction of the coroner. KFP526 .C65 B565 1853

1858, London. Reformatories and ragged schools: Their comparative economy: A paper read Thursday, October 13, 1858.

1870, New York. The Third Annual Report of the Midnight Mission.

1871, Tallack. Humanity and humanitarianism: with special reference to the prison systems of Great Britain and the United States, the question of criminal lunacy, and capital punishment. HV8982 .T3

1876, Tatlock. The church’s duty in reference to the criminal classes: a sermon preached in St. John’s Church, Stamford, in aid of the Stamford Association Auxiliary to the Prisoners Friends’ Corporation of Connecticut. BV4464.7 .T38 1876

1886, Boston. Stetson. Literacy and crime in Massachusetts; and, the necessity for moral and industrial training in the public schools. HV6166 .S74 1886

1890, Moscow. Photographie Française. Souvenir de la Visite de Mrs les Members de IV Congrès Pénitentiaire International de St. Petersbourg, Asile Urbain Roukavichnikoff á Moscou. [Souvenir Photo Album of the Rouckavishnikov Correctional Institution for Young Offenders. Distributed at the IV Congrès Pénitentiaire International, St. Petersburg] See image at top of page

1900, Gettysburg, PA. How to Hypnotize in Court and Jury-Memory Systems-Fluency of Mind, Tongue and Pen.

1908, London. Hollander. Crime and responsibility: Presidential address delivered before the Ethological Society. HV6028 .H64 1908

1916, Stearns. What recent investigations have shown to be the relation between mental defect and crime.

1924, Chicago. Yarrow. William Hale Thompson and certain stag party. HQ146 .C4 Y37 1924


Ellen Belcher

Read more from the Spring 2017 issue of Classified Information, the Library's newsletter

Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 4:36pm