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Lloyd Sealy Library

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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Murder Mystery Challenge 2014

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

For the second year in a row, the Lloyd Sealy Library doubled as a Time-Traveling Detective Agency to solve a cold case using real historical sources. Forty-five first-year students worked in 17 teams to solve the Murder Mystery Challenge, led by Peer Mentors from the Student Academic Success Programs (SASP). The teams built up their library research skills as they solved each clue—finding a 1921 New York Times article about a Midtown murder, for example, or hunting down a book in the stacks by call number.  Student feedback rated the activity highly. Responding to the survey afterward, one student wrote, “It was a fun and educational experience, although I think having the Challenge in the library might have possibly distracted other students at the library by piquing their curiosity as to what we were up to!” Another student wrote that she wished the Challenge had more clues. On a scale of 1-4, students rate the fun level as a 3.75.More importantly, students reported that they learned library skills—“I learned how to navigate the library,” “I learned how to do an APA citation,” and so on—and the work they turned in supports their claim.

Basic library research skills were covered: finding a newspaper article; finding a scholarly article; finding a source in the article’s footnotes; searching for a book in the library catalog; finding the book in the stacks; and citing a book correctly in APA format. In addition, bonus questions asked students to find a secret message hidden within the APA citation and to post photos on various social media channels of their team looking “sleuthy” with Lil Jay. (See photos at left.) In total, the most points students could get was 125. Eleven teams scored over 100 points — not bad for junior gumshoes!  We awarded prizes to the top 3 tiers of the point spread. Prizes included Amazon gift cards, a VIP lunch in the Faculty Lounge, Starbucks cards, movie passes, and New York Times swag. 

This fall’s Murder Mystery Challenge was an improved version of last year’s. Revisions were based student feedback. In 2013, students felt the Challenge relied too much on using computers, as they had to read clues on a special website, find information online, and input their answers in a page-by-page web form. This year, the clues and answer fields were included in a colorful printed packet, along with some “hint” materials, like a map of the library. As with most library research in the 21st century, many clues did instruct the students to find information online—but encouraged the students to take turns at the computer. Using a paper packet felt more like completing a scavenger hunt than filling out a form. In addition, teams had 4-5 students last year, but some students felt left out because there wasn’t enough for everyone to do. So this time around, students worked in teams of 2-3, which created a more intimate and intense setting for team learning. 

The Murder Mystery Challenge was created as an event for first-years in partnership with SASP. It was organized by Robin Davis, Marta Bladek, Nancy Yang (SASP), and Shelley Germana (SASP). Robin Davis wrote the Challenge using a real 1922 trial transcript held in the library, and prizes were sponsored by the Faculty-Student Engagement grants from the Division of Student Affairs, paid for through the Student Activity Fee and with support from the Office of Student Life.

Keep an eye out next fall for the Murder Mystery Challenge! 

Robin Davis

More from the Fall 2014 newsletter »

Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:39pm

The updated library classroom

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

This fall, the Library classroom has undergone some major changes. A new projection system that includes four interactive whiteboards, along with the comfortable new chairs, will definitely improve the learning experience of students. The 36-seat classroom is mostly used for library classes and workshops taught for courses for which students are required to complete an extensive research project. While 100-level sessions introduce students to the academic library and basic searching principles, higher-level sessions aim to prepare students to undertake more complex projects involving specialized resources within and beyond the Library. Now, freshmen and seniors alike will get to learn about the wealth of information sources in a visually attractive setting that allows for a more engaging, interactive instruction, well suited to the increasingly multimedia-rich content of library databases.

The interactive whiteboards, a high-quality projector, and sound system were purchased with Tech Fee funds. After the Library’s proposal had been accepted, we thoroughly researched vendors and their products, making multiple site visits to assess available systems prior to purchasing. CLSS Director Raymond Jiggetts provided his expertise and feedback all along; he also oversaw the installation itself.

The model we ultimately chose accommodates a variety of teaching styles: because the interactive features are optional, it supports the more traditional instruction methods while also allowing for more experimental kinds of classes. All librarians have been trained in using the new boards and their fall semester workshops have benefited from this new technology.

Thanks to the Office Planning and Capital Projects, we have been able to complement the projection/sound update with the addition of bright new chairs. Exchanging our old, well-worn chairs with new ones wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of Holly Kallman, Sara Cuya, and Kishel John, who guided us through the process, assisted in the chair selection, communicated with vendors and oversaw the delivery. We are grateful for all their help.

Marta Bladek

More from the Fall 2014 newsletter »

Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:35pm

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

Larry Sullivan’s review of the Morgan Library and Museum’s exhibition, Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul was published in the Spring 2014 newsletter of the Society for the History of Authorship, Publishing, and Authorship (SHARP). His review of the Morgan Library’s exhibition Marcel Proust and Swann’s Way: 100th Anniversary appeared in the Spring 2013 sharp newsletter.

Ellen Belcher completed her dissertation Embodiment of the Halaf: Sixth Millennium Figurines from Northern Mesopotamia and graduated with a Ph.D. from the Art History and Archaeology Department of Columbia University on October 15, 2014. In January 2014, she presented the paper “Identifying Late Halaf in the Syrian Jazirah” at the annual conference of the British Association of the Ancient Near East at Reading, UK. With Karina Croucher (Bradford University, UK), she co-presented the paper “Exchanges of Identity in Prehistoric Figurines” at the 9th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, in Basel, Switzerland on June 9, 2014. She delivered another talk on “Identifying Female in the Halaf: Prehistoric Agency and Modern Interpretations” at the European Association of Archaeologists Annual Conference in Istanbul, Turkey on September 12, 2014.

Marta Bladek published “Bibliometrics Services and the Academic Library: Meeting the Emerging Needs of the Campus Community” in College & Undergraduate Libraries (21.3/4).

Julie Turley’s short story “Testing” appeared in the summer 2014 issue of Gambling the Aisle. Her story “Night People” is in the current issue of the literary journal Phantom Drift.

Jing Si Feng, Maureen Garvey, and Louis Muñoz joined us as adjunct librarians. Marilyn Rivera joined our Technical Services Department on a full-time basis.

More from the Fall 2014 newsletter »

Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:31pm

Detail from Lawes’ edition of “Fairburns Abstract of the New Metropolitan Police Act, Passed June 19th, 1829...”

Detail from Lawes’ edition of “Fairburns Abstract of the New Metropolitan Police Act, Passed June 19th, 1829...”

From the Fall 2014 newsletter

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton has consistently stated that he follows Sir Robert Peel’s nine principles of policing. These ethical standards of policing were set forth in early nineteenth century England and include the idea of community policing, the proper use of force, the protection of citizens, and proper and civilized ways that the police interact with the public. Peel, the “father of modern policing,” was Prime Minister of Great Britain twice and a politician and statesman all of his life. Peel created London’s police force in 1829. The first police were almost immediately termed “Bobbies” or less generously, “Peelers.” The creation of the police force was promulgated in “The Metropolitan Police Act of 1829.” This information is not new to historians of England or of the police. But we have found in the Warden Lewis Lawes of Sing Sing Archives in the Lloyd Sealy Library a unique “grangerized” edition of “Fairburns Abstract of the New Metropolitan Police Act, Passed June 19th, 1829...” This is an extra-illustrated copy of a common pamphlet. The term “grangerize” comes from James Granger (1723-76), whose five-volume Biographical History of England included many blank leaves so purchasers could illustrate the volume to their own liking. The technique was used as early as the 17th century, but the term “grangerized” stuck. Our fascinating copy includes Warden Lawes’s bookplate (with the prison librarian bearing Lawes’s likeness), a manuscript from Peel, an illustration of a “Metropolitan Police Man,”, five steel engravings of Peel, and a colored engraving of a “Bobbie” questioning a young street urchin that he accuses of loitering (left). This outstanding little book illustrates once again the treasures found in the Special Collections Division of the Lloyd Sealy Library.

—Larry E. Sullivan, Chief Librarian

More from the Fall 2014 newsletter »

Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:27pm

Sign that says Charge your device here! with several outlets

Recently installed in 2018: A charging table with Qi (wireless charging), USB ports, and outlets. 

Find this charging table in the Niederhoffer Lounge (first floor).

Check out Lightning and Micro-USB chargers at the Reserve Desk or Reference Desk.



Charging table, 4 chairs, near books

Our charging table is located on the library's upper level by the scanners.

Tech specs: 4 Apple Lightning, 3 USB-C, 4 outlets.


Charging hub at Lloyd Sealy Library

Charging hubs are now on multiple tables throughout the library!

Tech specs: power outlets and USB outlets.

Check out Lightning and Micro-USB chargers at the Reserve Desk or Reference Desk.


In a recent In-Library Use Survey, students gave us the lowest ratings for power outlet availability in the Library. It was a big problem. So Prof. Karen Okamoto (ILL Librarian) put in a Tech Fee proposal, compared different products, and now have many more outlets for students to use. Power up, John Jay!

Updated March 7, 2018

Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 3:44pm

Due to necessary electrical work in Haaren Hall, the Library building will be closed on Sunday, October 26, 2014.

All online resources will remain available but may suffer brief interruptions.

From 12pm to 5pm on Sunday, a John Jay librarian and lab assistant will be available for consultation in room 1404N, the computer lab in North Hall.

In addition, from 12pm to 5pm on Sunday, you can contact a librarian...

  • by phone: 212-237-8246
  • by text: 917-746-6391
  • by email
  • on chat

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 9:26am

Screenshot of Digital Loeb Classical Library

The Digital Loeb Classical Library is an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing, virtual library of Greek and Latin literature including all the classics. The Lloyd Sealy Library has the full print collection (located by the Niederhoffer Lounge), but now you can access the Digital Loeb Classical Library — from anywhere you have access to the internet.

From Aeschylus to Aristotle, Herodotus to Homer, the Loeb Classical Library has long been the trusted resource for reading Greek & Latin literature in the original side by side with the modern-day English translation. 

Go to the Digital Loeb Classical Library

Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 3:41pm

Introducing 'Lil Jay!

Celebrate John Jay College of Criminal Justice's 50th Anniversary with Li'l Jay! Whether he is studying hard, serving students, or out in the world spreading fair-minded ideals, Li'l Jay embodies the John Jay spirit and is a fierce advocate for justice.

Check out authentic 50th Anniversary editions of Li'l Jay from the Library for a week at a time. Ask for a Li'l Jay at the Reserve Desk and check him out using your John Jay ID. Then snap some pics of Li'l Jay anywhere and with anyone, sharing using the hashtags #jjcliljay and #jjc50!


  • Check Li'l Jay out for a week at a time from the Library Reserve Desk. (If he's overdue, you'll get a library fine of $1.00/day.) Take good care of him! 
  • Share Li'l Jay on social media with the John Jay community using #jjcliljay and #jjc50.
  • Each week, the best Li'l Jay pic will be featured on the John Jay College home page
  • Exercise your creativity, your ingenuity, and, naturally, your good taste. Would you want your grandmother to see it? If not, don't share. These pics may be used for promotional purposes. 
  • These rules are printed on Li'l Jay's carrying box. 

Happy snapping! 

Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 2:25pm

The CUNY+ Catalog is undergoing a scheduled upgrade to serve you better. The catalog contains records for our books, ebooks, and other media holdings. The upgrade is overseen by the CUNY Office of Library Services.

Search is not available July 10–12, 2014.

Renewals and item requests are not available July 10–24, 2014. All items that would have had a due date during this interval have been given extended loan periods and are now due July 25 or later.

You will still be able to check out and return books at the Library's Circulation Desk during open hours. Please note that during the upgrade period, the circulation status of books as shown in the catalog will not be up to date and may be incorrect.

We are sorry for any inconvenience! The upgraded catalog will be more reliable and offer you better service.

Access to digital resources like academic journals is not affected. Note that the John Jay Library offers thousands of ebooks that you can read anywhere at any time.

Posted Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 12:39pm

Due to restricted budgets, the library has had to make difficult decisions about our database offerings and will no longer subscribe to Rosetta Stone. We regret any inconvenience this causes. (Updated July 2016)


Archived information:

It's the perfect time to catch up on reading and learn a new language! Have you ever regretted not taking the time to learn your ancestral language? Are you planning a vacation and wishing you could converse like a local?   Or, are you a linguaphile looking for your next challenge?

Now, anyone with a current John Jay email address can use the Rosetta Stone Library Solution to study up to 30 languages. Key features include:

  • 50 hours of foundational instruction
  • Core lessons to build reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
  • Focused activities to refine grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation

To access Rosetta Stone from any device, click the link above, or:

> Go to the library website at

> Select Rosetta Stone from the dropdown menu of popular databases or from the A–Z list of databases.

> If you have not already set up a user account, set one up by entering a valid email address and selecting a password. Enter the language you wish to study when prompted. Then click on the "First Time Users" link to make sure your device is compatible.

> Click Launch Rosetta Stone and start learning.


After you have set up your account, you can continue building your language skills anytime and anywhere you have internet access by following these steps:

 > Return to Rosetta Stone from any device through the link on the library website (see above).

 > Enter the email and password you used when you created your account and enter the language you wish to study when prompted.

Languages offered: Arabic • Dari • Dutch • English (American and British)  • Farsi • French • German • Greek • Hebrew • Hindi  • Indonesian • Irish • Italian • Japanese • Korean • Latin • Mandarin • Pashto • Polish • Portuguese • Russian • Spanish (Latin America and Spain) • Swahili  • Swedish • Tagalog • Turkish • Urdu • Vietnamese 

Please keep in mind that although you can access your account from any device --including smartphones and tablets -- you must always sign in through the link on the library website. You cannot access this product through apps.

Enjoy and please provide the Library with your feedback, or contact us if you have any questions.

Posted Monday, July 7, 2014 - 2:02pm