Library News Blog

Admirers of Roman antiquities know Giovanni Batista Piranesi (1720–1778) for his Vedute (Views) of the ruins of this mighty empire that ruled much of the known world in ancient times. We, in the criminal justice field, however, look to his Carceri d’invenzione (Imaginary Prisons) for an almost surrealist, Kafkaesque view of the dread and terror of incarceration. Michel Foucault, in his flawed but seminal work on prisons, presented a view of the power and control of these institutions that became oh-so-fashionable among scholars. Piranesi, however, anticipated Foucault’s theory by over 150 years with his graphic fantastic descriptions of the horror of these monstrous, fantasy prisons. Opiumeater Thomas De Quincy aptly described the Carceri in 1820: prisons “representing vast Gothic halls, on the floor of which stood all sorts of engines and machinery, wheels, cables, pulleys, levers, catapults … expressive of enormous power put forth, and resistance overcome.”

Piranesi began his etchings of prisons in 1745 with a first slate of fourteen prints. In 1761 he reworked the etchings and added two new images. He finished with sixteen numbered plates, each 15” X 21.” These deeply disturbing views highlight the horror and vast fantastic spaces of prisons.

Piranesi’s prison etchings inspired the writer Aldous Huxley (Brave New World, a book often referenced but rarely read) and Jean Adhemar of the Bibliothèque nationale de France to write an essay and critical analysis of the sixteen prints in the Trianon Press’s edition of the work published in 1949. Trianon issued 212 copies signed by Huxley, with twelve of them “hors commerce” lettered A to L. The Sealy Library was fortunate to acquire one of the 12 special copies, the “G” issue, of this outstanding work. We have found only two from the regular edition in American libraries, and seven in foreign libraries. The Sealy Library’s special copy is the only one in an institution.

We greatly await the opening of our new Special Collections and Rare Book Room, expected by the end of the year, which will provide the housing our unique materials deserve.

Larry E. Sullivan


Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter

CUNY-Wide Library Amnesty Program

Return your overdue library books without paying a fine!

To receive amnesty on library fines, all of the following must apply to you:

  • You return the book between Nov. 14–23, 2016
  • The book is from the Stacks (circulating) and in good condition
  • The book has an overdue fine only (no recall fines)

If you qualify, any fines that have accrued for the book you return Nov. 14–23 will be forgiven.

If any of the following apply to you, you are not eligible for library amnesty.

  • You have already returned the item before Nov. 14 and have a fine on your account
  • You have a recall fine on your account (the book is overdue and another patron has requested it)
  • You have lost or damaged the book
  • The book is a Reserves book

For additional information, ask the Circulation Desk in the Library in person or by phone: (212) 237-8000

Supermax Prisons: A Book Talk with Dr. Keramet Reiter

Thursday, November 10, 2016 • 1:40–2:55pm

New Building Student Dining Hall East

Dr. Keramet Reiter is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and at the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine. She received her JD and PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a master's degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She studies prisons, prisoners' rights, and the impact of prison and punishment policy on individuals, communities, and legal systems.

Her latest book is titled 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and The Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement. Originally meant to be brief and exceptional, solitary confinement in U.S. prisons has become long-term and common. Prisoners in solitary spend twenty-three hours a day in featureless cells, with no visitors or human contact for years on end. They are held entirely at administrators' discretion, with no judges or juries involved. In 23/7, legal scholar Keramet Reiter tells the history of an original "supermax," California's Pelican Bay State Prison, where extreme conditions sparked statewide hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013-—the latter involving nearly 30,000 prisoners. Reiter describes how the Pelican Bay prison was created—with literally no legislative oversight—as a panicked response to the perceived rise of black radicalism in California prisons in the 1970s. Through stories of gang bosses, small-time parolees, and others, she portrays the arbitrary manner in which prisoners are chosen for solitary confinement, held for years, and routinely released directly onto the streets. Here we see the social costs and mental havoc of years in isolation. The product of fifteen years of research in and about prisons, this book is instant required reading on a topic that increasingly commands national attention.

After the book talk, there will be a book raffle. Dr. Reiter will be available for book signing.

Refreshments will be served at this event.

Sociology Talk presented by the Department of Sociology. Co-sponsored by Lloyd Sealy Library.

Information about this talk comes courtesy of the Dept. of Sociology.

Graduate students,

Do you need one-on-one help with your research project or assistance finding appropriate resources for an assignment? Would you like to improve your research skills? If yes, then drop into one of the Library’s Walk-in Research Clinics and get the help you need just when you need it most.


Tuesday              Nov. 1            5-6 pm                    Lloyd Sealy Library Classroom

Tuesday              Nov. 8            5-6 pm                    Lloyd Sealy Library Classroom

Thursday            Nov. 10         5-6 pm                      Lloyd Sealy Library Conference Room

Wednesday        Nov. 16         5-6 pm                     Lloyd Sealy Library Classroom

Thursday            Nov. 17         4:30-5:30 pm          Lloyd Sealy Library Classroom



For more information, contact Graduate Studies Librarian,

Kathleen Collins, at

October 24 - 30, 2016 | Everywhere 

This week we showcase Open Access publishing with an exhibit in the Library’s Niederhoffer Lounge.  Please do visit our physical exhibit, and/or our online Library guides on Open Access . Find out how John Jay professors are sharing and preserving their research outputs on CUNY’s institutional repository Academic Works.   


Maureen Richards & Ellen Sexton

John F. Timoney (1948-2016) rose through the ranks of the New York Police Department to become Chief of Department and then First Deputy Commissioner under Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (1994-1996). He was later Police Commissioner in Philadelphia and Chief of Police in Miami. Chief Timoney was also a John Jay College alumnus, graduating in 1974 with a degree in History. In 2010, I sat with John Timoney for an oral history interview, during which he discussed his career in the NYPD and the transformation of the department under Bratton, especially the introduction of Compstat. Read this interview in our Digital Collections.

Jeffrey A. Kroessler

Associate Professor

Lloyd Sealy Library

More resources about John F. Timoney from the Lloyd Sealy Library

John F. Timoney yearbook photo, from Lloyd Sealy Library Digital CollectionsBeat Cop to Top Cop: A Tale of Three Cities, Timoney's 2010 memoir published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, is available at the Library: Stacks HV7911 .T563 A3 2010 (catalog record).

"Police Leadership Lessons Learned Along the Way," a 2007 panel featuring John F. Timoney and other law enforcement officials. The panel recording is available as a DVD under call number: Media Reserve DVD-JJ8051 (catalog record).

"A New Beginning?: Exploring the Criminal Justice Challenges Over the Next Four Years," the 4th annual Harry F. Guggenheim Symposium held at John Jay in 2009. Panel 4, "Privacy, Civil Liberties and Homeland Security," features John F. Timoney and others. The panel recording is available as a DVD under call number: Media Reserve DVD-JJ8162 (catalog record).

John F. Timoney's yearbook photo (left) from the 1974 John Jay yearbook. Source: John Jay College Archives, Special Collections, Lloyd Sealy Library.

The library has just started a new subscription to Kanopy, a video-streaming service for educational institutions providing on-demand access to more than 26,000 films of all genres and across the disciplines. It includes documentaries, feature films and instructional films. An unlimited number of users can watch a film simultaneously making it ideal for whole-class assignments. Award-winning collections include titles from PBS, BBC, Criterion Collection, Media Education Foundation and more.

UPDATE: Please note that as of 4/19/2018,  we had to curtail our Kanopy service for financial reasons.  We can offer access to additional Kanopy titles only to faculty for use in their classes.   Faculty needing access to new titles are asked to email the media librarian  Ellen Sexton  esexton at

Try Kanopy »
Requires a John Jay login when accessed off-campus



In last Fall’s Classified Information, I reported on our acquisition of The Records of the Fortune Society. Since that time, the Fortune Society gifted more records to the Library and the collection is now 80 linear feet of records. In accessioning the collection, we have been finding many gems in the collection which were on exhibit at the event celebrating the gift, on April 11, and will soon be displayed in the Library. We thank David Solomon, Sherrie Goldstein and JoAnn Page and everyone at the Fortune Society for making this gift happen.

Fortune Society image

David Rothenberg standing with staff and a supporter outside the Fortune Store, which sold prisoner-made objects. The store opened in 1969 and closed in 1973 when the NY-DOC no longer allowed the sale of prisoner-made items.


Fortune Society image

Fortune News, December 1973 featuring drawing by Gary McGivern, then incarcerated at Green Haven Prison; his papers are in the Lloyd Sealy Library.

In the 1990s we received a gift of The Records of the International Association of Women Police (IAWP). In March 2016 we received an additional 38 linear feet of records which had been previously stored at the University of Illinois Archives. This gift fills many gaps in the history of the IAWP, which celebrated their centennial in 2015. An unexpected surprise was that the boxes also contained the papers of two previous IAWP presidents, Dr. Lois Lundell Higgins, IAWP president 1956-1964 and Felicia Shpritzer, IAWP President 1972-1976. We will be processing and describing this collection over the next months. We thank IAWP Historian, Georgina Bellamy and U. Illinois Archivist April Anderson for facilitating the transfer of this important collection.

Lieutenant Felicia Shpritzer’s papers document her 34 years of service in the NYPD. Included in these papers are documents related to her successful lawsuit against the NYPD to allow women to sit for the sergeant’s exam. Lt. Shpritzer also has an early John Jay College connection; she earned a MA in Police Science at the College of Police Science at Baruch College.

New York Times excerpt

The police give in, name 2 women sergeants. (1965, Mar 13). From New York Times (1923-Current File) (Link).

Dr. Lois Lundell Higgins was a criminologist and policewoman with a long career in many Chicago criminal justice agencies. Her papers document her life, her extensive work in youth crime and drug abuse prevention, as well as her editorial work on Chicago Police Department publications. It must be in the latter role that she acquired 50 rare photographs and hundreds of large format negatives of the Chicago Police Department dating from the early 20th century through the 1960s.


First meeting of the Chicago Association of Detective Sergeants, 1918.


Early photo of policemen assigned to an unknown Chicago precinct.

In January, 2016, John Jay professor Elizabeth ‘Zabby’ Hovey and I met in San Francisco Bay Area to review her father’s papers, The Scott Hovey Papers, 12 boxes of which arrived to the library later in the month. Scott Hovey’s papers relate to his work in setting up early electronic systems and computer programs to facilitate communications and emergency response. The bulk of the papers document Hovey’s administrative and programming work on emergency response systems which integrate all first responder agencies and immediately identify a caller’s location, a concept he called “Enhanced 911” or “E-911.” These files document the implementation of E-911 for the city of Saint Louis, MO and Alameda County in California. We will be processing and describing these papers over the next months. A May 2013 Oral History interview with Scott Hovey by Jeffrey Kroessler is in the final stage of processing and will soon be available on our digital collections. We thank the Hovey family for donating this important collection.

Digitization Update

The Special Collections has been moving ahead on our project Digitizing Policing project, also reported upon in our last Classified Information. Nearly all of the images in the Joseph P. Riccio Jr. Collection of Historical Police Images are now fully cataloged and digitally available ( We have created a new website for Law Enforcement News ( to allow readers to follow the progress of digitization of this serial.

At present, the 1975–1985 issues are available on the Internet Archive; individual issues are linked from this page. While table of contents are indexed for most issues (1981–2005) on Criminal Justice Periodicals Index, we have decided to feature the interviews with police and criminal justice executives which regularly appeared in the ‘centerfold’ of every issue. Metadata has been added in the form of searchable subject headings on the interviewees and agencies featured in each issue. These interviews as well as the other articles allows readers to follow details and frank discussion over three decades of development and change in criminal justice. The entire run of Law Enforcement News will be fully digitally available by the end of June. We are regularly uploading collections and items to our digital collections. Follow this link for a full list of collections:

New Special Collections Room Update

Contractors have been hard at work building the suite of rooms south of the Haaren Hall atrium which will eventually be our new Special Collections Room. We have been discussing and planning this room for more than a decade, and it is exciting to watch it take shape. We look forward to our grand opening, perhaps by the end of 2016. We thank Marc Harary and Kishel John for managing this project.

For more information on these or any of our Special Collections, please contact me at or ext 8238.

Ellen Belcher

More from the Spring 2016 newsletter »

Think Check Submit

A new tool to help prospective authors choose a journal,, has been developed by a consortium of reputable publishers and scholarly communication non-profits. Rather than credentialing journals to trust and which to avoid, think check submit encourages authors to use a checklist and trust their own judgement as to the appropriateness of a journal for their work. Here is their checklist:

  • Do you or your colleagues know the journal?
    • Have you read any articles in the journal before?
    • Is it easy to discover the latest papers in the journal?
  • Can you easily identify and contact the publisher?
    • Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the journal website?
    • Can you contact the publisher by telephone, email, and post?
  • Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses?
  • Are articles indexed in services that you use?
  • Is it clear what fees will be charged?
    • Does the journal site explain what these fees are for and when they will be charged?
  • Do you recognize the editorial board?
    • Have you heard of the editorial board members?
    • Do the editorial board mention the journal on their own websites?
  • Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative?

Ellen Sexton

More from the Spring 2016 newsletter »