Library News Blog

An easy online clicker alternative

Classroom clickers have a number of benefits: they take the temperature of the class’s understanding through instant polls, they punctuate lectures with an engaging activity, and they encourage participation from those who would rather not speak up in class. Clickers are typically simple handheld devices that let students vote in polls whose results appear in real time on the screen. A number of large lecture classes at John Jay require students to bring clickers to class; the Library maintains a full set of clickers as well. Unfortunately for me, the clicker plugin is not compatible with my PowerPoint software for Mac. However, I was happy to find GoSoapbox, a full-featured, web-based clicker alternative.

Most students want to hear about saving money on textbooksGoSoapbox enables instructors to deploy polls and short discussion questions quickly and easily. It’s ideal for classroom labs, where every student is at their own computer, though the web app is also mobile-friendly. Instructor accounts are free for classes of 30 students or fewer. Instructors can create polls and discussion questions for each class, and each class’ content is saved under the instructor’s account and can be accessed again later. All collected responses can be downloaded or emailed. 

In every library class session I’ve led this semester, I’ve set up GoSoapbox activities. Students simply sign into with an access code (e.g., libraryweek) and enter their name or nickname. Generally, students have no trouble logging in and understanding how to participate. GoSoapbox does not collect any further personal information and does not require students to create accounts.

I have found GoSoapbox to be an excellent addition to my active learning curriculum. In my class sessions, I try to balance hands-on activities that are extrovert-friendly (like a fast-paced, shouty keyword guessing game) with those that are introvert-friendly (like contributing an answer to a GoSoapbox poll that is not timed). The GoSoapbox polls and discussion questions encourage all students to contribute replies that show up instantly on the big screen. The web app has been useful for me as an instructor for spotting misunderstandings of course curriculum that might have otherwise slid by. In some classes, the discussion questions have served as an easy place for students to collaborate in collecting keywords and resources for shared paper topics or group projects. For the latter activity, I send their professor a link after class so students can access their lists again.

Overall, I’m very satisfied with GoSoapbox. The setup is seamless and fast for both instructors and students. It’s a great way to collect data quickly without intruding on students’ privacy, and it encourages engagement and participation.

You can see more samples from classes I've taught on my Emerging Tech in Libraries blog.

Robin Davis


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

In 2014, my article “Preserving the Historic Garden Suburb: Case Studies from London and New York” appeared in The Journal of Suburban Sustainability, a digital journal of the National Center from Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, where the paper was first presented. Soon after I began receiving monthly reports from Scholar Commons, a digital platform supported by the University of South Florida library, informing me of the number of downloads and their location. Interesting, I thought.

I posted this article and other essays and PowerPoints in CUNY Academic Works, the university’s digital repository, and now my monthly report includes information about those works also. Over the past two and a half years there have been a total of 1,398 downloads; the map shows the global distribution. “Preserving the Historic Garden Suburb” has been downloaded 682 times, and “Bombing for Justice: Urban Terrorism in New York City from the 1960s to the 1980s,” is at 391 (that article appeared in a volume found in the John Jay Library, and a total of 9 other institutions worldwide). I also posted an unpublished essay, “The City as Palimpsest,” about historic preservation, memory and the living city. There was no journal where I could place that, but since it went into Academic Works it has been downloaded 196 times at institutions from Yale and Columbia to the University of Nottingham and the National Technical University of Athens.

How do readers find these works? Most hits come through Google or Google Scholar, but many others come Academic Works itself, and I expect a growing number to come through OneSearch, a new tool for searching holdings in CUNY libraries found on the library’s home page. However they get there, researchers around the world have ready access to my work, and that is more than gratifying.

Jeffrey A. Kroessler


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

A portion of the Open Access exhibit currently on display in the Niederhoffer Lounge

Today’s scholars have integrated open-access practices into their normal research routines. Did you know that you are already an open access supporter? By searching for and using freely-available research outlets, self-archiving your articles and data, and/or choosing to publish in open access journals, you are taking part in the open access movement.

Whether you are new to open access or your actions already support the principles behind the open access movement, consider doing more.

Maureen Richards & Ellen Sexton


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

Issues & Controversies in American History

Although its name, Issues & Controversies in American History, suggests an exclusive focus on history, this recent addition to our databases has already proved to be helpful to students in a variety of courses. Covering a wide range of topics, from abolition to women’s rights, Issues & Controversies can be of use to students taking classes not just in American history, but also in Criminal Justice, Political Science and Government, as well as Africana and Gender studies. The collection covers topics that span from the Colonial Period to contemporary era. The featured subjects include Columbus’s Voyages to America, the Indian Removal Act, Universal Suffrage, Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and many other landmark events John Jay students explore in their classes.

Subject index list

What sets Issues & Controversies apart from other databases that cover similar topics is its neat organization, consistent throughout all topics, the easy one-stop access to primary sources, and an annotated list of additional sources students can add on to their research.

For example, the entry for the Civil Rights Act of 1965 offers a context and historical background. Like all other entries, it also explores contemporary arguments for and against the legislation, and assesses the impact of the policy. The accompanying bibliography easily directs students to additional sources that may be available through the Library, and an annotated selection of external websites offers yet more resources. The primary sources are not limited to the text of the 1965 legislation. They also include the earlier versions of the legislation, presidential speeches on the subject, and contemporary court opinions. All in all, a student who explores the Civil Rights Act of 1965 through the database will get a rather good understanding of the issue and will be better prepared to engage with the topic through subsequent class readings or discussions.

Like most library databases, Issues & Controversies allows for printing, saving, and emailing. It also generates citations, a tool ever more popular with our students.

You will find Issues & Controversies in American History under the letter I on the alphabetical list of databases on the Library home page.

Marta Bladek


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

In addition to pursuing scholarly activities, Library faculty regularly participate in professional development events within and beyond CUNY. Academic librarianship is a fast-changing profession; librarians have to keep abreast of new initiatives, technologies, and trends that shape how libraries operate and what kinds of services they provide. Below are just a few short reports that illustrate the scope of John Jay librarians’ continual professional development and how it informs the daily working of the Library.

Ellen Belcher: I am co-chair of the LACUNY Special Collections and Archivists Roundtable, as well as a regular participant in the Twitter chat #critlib.

Kathleen Collins: I participate in a couple of groups outside the official walls of CUNY: The Graduate Services Discussion Group, coordinated by New York chapter of Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) which was a significant player in instigating the role of a librarian dedicated to supporting graduate students at John Jay; and the METRO Library Council Special Interest Group (SIG) for Circulation & Reserves. Both of these groups allow for sharing of common challenges and learning about new and workable solutions. The group that informs my work (and also interests me) the most is the Copyright Committee organized by the CUNY Office of Library Services. We comprised of a core group of CUNY librarians promoting fair use and copyright awareness among CUNY faculty, students and administrators – at the moment we are putting the finishing touches on an updated university-wide guide to fair use.

Robin Davis: I organize the CollectiveAccess User Group SIG at METRO, which meets quarterly. I attend and lead workshops at the LACUNY Emerging Technologies Committee, mostly recently Introduction to Text Analysis. One organization that informs my work quite a bit is Code4Lib, an organization for librarians who work with code and technology.

Karen Okamoto: As a member library of the Information Delivery Services (IDS) Project, which is a resource-sharing cooperative based in New York State, I participate in regular trainings and meetings to improve our interlibrary loan (ILL) service. The IDS Project develops tools and workflow processes to reduce the turnaround time for filling requests. This means, in most cases we hope, faster delivery of articles and books to our patrons. One of the current issues we face is the eventual migration of our client-based ILL system, known as ILLiad, to a cloud-based platform in the coming years.


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

Primary and secondary legal resources

The Library offers a wide array of law related databases. One that keeps growing in breadth and depth, and does not lend itself to a simple description, is HeinOnline. This database contains the largest archive of online law review journals, all dating back to the first issue. However, it also provides access to over 30 other collections representing a mix of primary and secondary legal resources, such as U.S. Supreme Court cases, U.S. laws and regulations, foreign and international law materials, legal classics and world constitutions illustrated. This article will highlight three of the HeinOnline collections: National Survey of State Laws, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases and the newest collection, Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law.

The National Survey of State Laws requires little explanation. It enables you to quickly do a state by state comparison of many of the controversial laws in the United States. You can browse by one of eight categories, including “criminal laws”. You can also browse by selecting any of the 54 topics including drunk driving, gun control, illegal drugs and marijuana laws. This resource is updated regularly and includes previous editions making it easy to track how a law has changed over time. If you are interested in saving a comparison or inserting it in a paper, you can also print or download charts as PDFs.

For legal scholars and students of the law, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases has long been a coveted resource. This publication of the American Bar Association’s Division for Public Education has been around since 1973. Its purpose it to provide an analysis, in plain-language, of Supreme Court cases before the oral argument takes place. Each “preview” contains an introduction, a restatement of the issues and facts, a case analysis and commentary about the significance of the case. The format in many ways mirrors the case briefs that students are asked to create after a decision is rendered. Because it provides the background for each case in plain language, it is an excellent starting point for parsing through the complex facts and issues presented in these cases.

This collection can be searched by volume number, which is listed in reverse chronological order or by a case locator. The case locator allows you to search by docket #, case name, preview article, Supreme Court Term or subject. In addition to the “Previews” of each case coming up for oral argument, there are links to the oral argument transcript, the audio transcripts from Oyez and the official opinion issued by the court. If you are interested in studying U.S. Supreme Court cases, this database has much to offer.

Slavery in America and the World: History Culture and Law is the newest collection in the HeinOnline database. It is a great illustration of the variety of legal resources that are available on the Hein-Online platform. The stated purpose of this collection is to bring together all known legal materials on slavery from the United States and the English speaking world, but its focus is on slavery in the United States. It includes every federal and state statute on slavery, every slavery statute passed by one of the colonies and all reported state and federal cases on slavery. Having these primary sources collected in one place is clearly the strength of this database. The statutes and cases are easily accessed by jurisdiction and include a digital copy of Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, the 5 volume set edited by Helen Tunnicliff Caterall (also available in print at the library).

This collection also includes hundreds of 19th century books and pamphlets on slavery from the rare book collection of the Buffalo Public Library. These titles can be browsed by title or by using the Slavery Quick Finder. This specially created tool enables users to locate materials based on the documents position on slavery, document type (e.g., pamphlets, debates, poems & songs), jurisdiction or one of 60 topics including John Brown, slave revolts and the Underground Railroad. To find this tool click on the All Titles tab on the search interface. Take a look at this new collection and let us know what you think.

Maureen Richards


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


The Testing & Education Reference Center and Vault Careers Guide

As your students prepare for their post-John Jay life, these two career resources offered by the Library will help inform their future directions and decisions. Both resources can be accessed from our list of career and test preparation databases.

Homepage: prepare for your perfect career

The Testing and Education Reference Center provides information on undergraduate and graduate programs, practice tests for entrance exams and licenses, and career development tools. Among the over 300 practice tests and courses available, the Center includes professional tests for firefighting, law enforcement and social work and entrance exams including the GRE and LSAT. Students who are planning to pursue graduate studies will find the graduate scholarship search feature user-friendly and informative. The Center includes a search tool for graduate programs across the United States and a specialized search widget designed specifically for online degrees and distance learning programs. The career module features a resume building platform that guides users through the process of writing different types of resumes from functional to technical. Online career-tutorials include modules on how to use Microsoft Excel and Word 2010 effectively. The virtual career library features ebooks covering the job search process, resume basics and interviewing skills. Users must create a free account with this database before they can access all these features.

Vault: companies, internships, schools, interviews

Vault Career Guides is a one-stop career exploration and development platform featuring rankings and reviews of schools, internships and companies, and career guides for a wide range of industries. The school search feature includes graduate programs and a specialized search for law schools. Vault provides their own ranking of law schools and includes anonymous reviews from current and former students. Vault’s internship search platform allows users to perform a search by company or industry, location and form of compensation. The career resources module dispenses advice on resume writing, interviewing, creating cover letters, networking and other topics. It also provides detailed information on careers in specific industries and includes overviews of a field, earning potential, industry outlook, and the pros and cons of working in a given industry. Particularly useful for those who do not know what career path to pursue, Vault’s “Find a Profession” module maps a user’s personality traits, level of education, and interests to specific professions. Also valuable to job seekers is Vault’s special search for profiles of specific employers and companies. Users can create an optional account which allows them to set job alerts, and post reviews and resumes.

Karen Okamoto


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


Below is just a very brief example of the library monographic acquisition in the last four or five months. Some books are available in print and some online. As usual, please check the library catalog CUNY+ or go through the new tool OneSearch to find out how to grab the book off the physical or electronic shelf.

Badran, M. (2011). Gender and Islam in Africa: Rights, Sexuality, and Law. Washington, D.C.: Stanford, Calif.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Stanford University Press. Stacks HQ1170 .G426 2011

Barbagli, M. (2015). Farewell to the World: A History of Suicide (Revised and updated English ed.). Cambridge, UK: Polity. Stacks HV6545 .B24513 2015

 Barker, T. (2015). North American Criminal Gangs: Mexico, United States, and Canada (2nd ed.). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. Reserve HV6439 .N67 B37 2015

Beatty, P. (2015). The Sellout (First ed.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Stacks PS3552 .E19 S45 2015

Berg, M., & Seeber, Barbara Karolina. (2016). The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Stacks LB2331.7.B47 2016

Bonn, M., & Furlough, Mike. (2015). Getting the Word Out: Academic Libraries as Scholarly Publishers. Chicago, IL: ALA. Stacks Z716.6 .G48 2015

Breyer, S. (2015). The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities (First ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Stacks KZ6250 .B74 201

Brottman, M. (2016). The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men's Prison.    New York, NY: Harper. Stacks HV8482.M3.B76 2016

Dreisinger, B. (2016). Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons around the World. New York, NY: Other Press. Stacks HV8705 .D74 2016

Fleisher, M. (2015). Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. Ebook and Stacks E185.86 .F56 2015

Flores, J. (2016). Caught Up: Girls, Surveillance, and Wraparound Incarceration. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. Ebook and Stacks (on order)

Fong, M. (2016). One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Stacks HB3654.A3 F66 2016

Gup, T. (2008). Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life (1st Anchor books ed.). New York, NY: Anchor Books. Stacks JK468.S4 G87 2008

Haberfeld, M., Lieberman, Charles, & Horning, Amber. (2014). Introduction to Policing: The      Pillar of Democracy. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. Reserve HV7921.H2933 2015

Hannan, D. (2016). A Doomed Marriage: Why Britain Should Leave the EU. Devon, UK: Notting Hill Edition. Stacks HC240.25.G7 H36 2016

Hinton, E. (2016). From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America. Cambridge, MA; Harvard University Press. Reserve HV9950.H56 2016

Kingsley, P. (2016). The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe's Refugee Crisis. London: Guardian Books. Stacks HV640 .K56 2016

Mohr, M. (2016). Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing. New York:  Oxford University Press. Stacks PE3724 .S85 M65 2016

Obermayer, B. & Obermayer, F. (2016). The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich & Powerful Hide Their Money. London: Oneworld. Ebook

Pai, H.(2016). Angry White People: Coming Face-to-Face with the British Far Right. London, UK: Zed Books. Ebook

Pierce, M. (2016). Twelve Infallible Men: The Imams and the Making of Shi'ism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Ebook

Rid, T. (2016). Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History (First ed.). New York: W.W. Norton and Co. Stacks T14.5 .R535 2016

Rios, V. (2011). Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys. New York, NY: New York    University Press. Ebook and Reserve HV7254 .A7 O25 2011

Scalia, A., & Ring, Kevin A. (2016). Scalia's Court: A Legacy of Landmark Opinions and Dissents. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. Stacks KF213.S32 R56 2016

Urbina, M., & Espinoza Alvarez, Sofia. (2015). Latino Police Officers in the United States: An Examination of Emerging Trends and Issues. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas. Ebook and Stacks HV7936.C83 U73 2015

Varoufakis, Y. (2016). And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future. New York, NY: Nation Books. Stacks HC240 .V37 2016

Whalen, R. (2016). Murder, Inc., and the Moral Life: Gangsters and Gangbusters in La Guardia's New York. New York, NY: Fordham University Press. Ebook and Reserve HV6452.N7 W43 2016

White, M., Fradella, Henry F. (2016). Stop and Frisk: The Use and Abuse of a Controversial Policing Tactic. New York, NY: New York University Press. Ebook and Reserve HV8080.P2 W45 2016


Maria Kiriakova


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

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

Streaming video content for the John Jay community has increased significantly with a new license to access the Kanopy collection. This is an extensive collection of 25,000 documentaries, movies and educational videos, from the Criterion Collection/Janus Films, New Day Films, Collective Eye, PBS, BBC, Strand, Kino Lorber, The Great Courses, Stash Media, and more. The content ranges widely across time and place, comes from every continent, and covers almost every conceivable topic. Titles include The Battle of Algiers, Unlocking the Cage, Seven Samurai, Faat Kine, Out in the Night, Tuya’s Marriage, The Farm, Broken on All Sides, Night and Fog, Mishima, La Haine, El Norte, War Don Don, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Bronx Obama, Through a Lens Darkly, Waste Land, Ken Burns Central Park Five, Blue Gold – World Water Wars, N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman, Live Nude Girls Unite!, PBS The African Americans, Eyes on the Prize, My Name is Salt, City of Life and Death, Shakespeare Behind Bars, and much, much more. Training videos include In the Line of Duty and The New Detectives technical series. The interface appears similar to Netflix, with a simple search box, and options to browse by subject and genre. Faculty teaching courses on criminal justice, history, film studies, gender studies, environment, journalism, and sociology may find browsing the collection especially rewarding.

We chose a patron driven acquisition model; you choose and play the videos you want, we pay.

The terms of our license permits the John Jay community to stream works for viewing in class, during student club meetings and other non-commercial admission-free events attended by the college community, as well as privately at home. Clips can be made and shared, URLs for clips or for the entire movie may be embedded in Blackboard, a website, or emailed to students to watch at home.

The best way to search for content is on the Kanopy platform at Unfortunately, for logistical and practical reasons, the 25,000 titles will not be appearing in the library catalog, nor in our OneSearch discovery tool. Users wishing to make and keep watchlists and/or clips can do so by creating an account on the platform.

Enjoy watching!

Ghosts of Attica

Now available as streaming video.

A grim documentary of the prisoner-led rebellion and its brutal repression resulting in the deaths of 29 inmates and 10 guards, and the ensuing decades-long legal battle against New York State. Includes graphic images. With archival footage and interviews with survivors, lawyers, guards and relatives. Access is available through our familiar user-friendly Alexander Street Press platform.

New on DVD

We augmented our Latinx holdings with the following titles.

Las Marthas

Available at the Reserve Desk; please ask for DVD-1422

Las Marthas follows two young women as they prepare for an elaborate rite of passage, the annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas. Laurita, a 13th-generation debutante descended from Laredo’s original Spanish land grantees who questions debutante society’s class system geared toward girls like herself; and Rosario, a high-achieving, Mexican-raised and U.S.-schooled outsider struggling to understand the elite society’s unspoken rules.

I wonder what you will remember of September

Available at the Reserve Desk; please ask for DVD-1426.

“Cecilia Cornejo presents a haunting personal response to the events of September 11, 2001, informed and complicated by her status as a Chilean citizen living in the U.S.” —from the distributor.

Adelante Mujeres

Available at the Reserve Desk; please ask for DVD-1423.

“Spanning five centuries, this comprehensive video, produced by the National Women’s History Project, focuses exclusively on the history of Mexican-American/Chicana women from the Spanish invasion to the present” —from the distributor.

Corpus: A home movie for Selena

Available at the Reserve Desk; please ask for DVD-1424.

“This classic rerelease from award-winning filmmaker Lourdes Portillo (Señorita Extraviada, Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo ) is a complex tribute to Selena, the Tejana superstar gunned down in 1995 at the age of 23 by the president of her fan club, just as she was on the brink of blockbuster crossover fame. While the story of her murder, which was filled with sex, glamour and betrayal, caught the attention of many outside the Chicano community, this film moves well beyond the sensational to present a nuanced feminist analysis of Selena’s story.” —from the distributor.

Antonia Pantoja Presente

Available at the Reserve Desk; please ask for DVD-1425.

“Antonia Pantoja (1922-2002), visionary Puerto Rican educator, activist, and early proponent of bilingual education, inspired multiple generations of young people and fought for many of the rights that people take for granted today. Unbowed by obstacles she encountered as a black, Puerto Rican woman, she founded ASPIRA to empower Puerto Rican youth, and created other enduring leadership and advocacy organizations in New York and California, across the United States, and in Puerto Rico” —from the distributor.

About the Library’s video collections

Our video collections include feature films, documentaries, training videos and much more. Many works are available in streaming format, from our Kanopy, Films on Demand, Alexander Street collections.  The best way to find content is to search on each of the platforms—unfortunately not all titles are currently indexed in OneSearch or the library catalog CUNY+. All of the DVDs, VHS, the Alexander Street titles and half of the Films on Demand titles may be found with OneSearch. But Kanopy and Films on Demand should be searched on their own platforms. Please see the guide to our media collections.

Ellen Sexton


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

The Library Department surveyed the John Jay College faculty on their library use in the Spring 2016 semester. 216 people responded to the survey.


  • Most importantly, 87.5% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the Library. If we assume that those who responded to the survey were those who cared most about the Library (either positively or negatively) then the fact that our users are pleased with the Library was confirmation that we have generally been serving their needs well.
  • The respondents were not just fans of the Library but were also very heavy users. 74% use the Library’s website at least once a week.
  • The investment that John Jay and CUNY have been making in online journal collections, databases and linking is paying off. 89% of surveyed faculty can usually or always access the electronic journal articles they need.
  • Only 23% of those teaching 100-200 level courses and 38% of those teaching 300-400 level courses felt that their students always or usually discovered and used appropriate information sources, yet only 32% and 23% (respectively) scheduled library classes for their students.
  • Of those instructors who did schedule library classes, 66% thought the sessions contributed very much or a lot to students’ achievement of course objectives in 100-200 level courses, and 68% felt that way about 300-400 level courses
  • Too many faculty are unaware of many of the resources and services we currently offer, but were pleased to learn about them and want to know more.
  • Faculty want more services from the Library—especially those that help with navigating the new publication landscape. 125 faculty members wanted individual reference consultations, 121 asked for assistance with copyright and author rights and 110 wanted guidance on measures of journal quality.

Of those responding a surprising number took the time to write comments

e.g., 88 wrote answers to the question “How could the Library better serve you and/or your students?”

  • Nine people asked for better or longer hours.
  • Four asked for more staff
  • Three wanted improvements in the physical facility; e.g.,
    • “Better physical conditions. The Library looks terrible and does not serve students well.”
    • “The library space needs to be redesigned. It is a difficult place to work…. Our library should be our ‘jewel in the crown.’ The librarians fit that description. The library itself does not. We should have quiet places for students to read and do their work… Less time and money on ‘lounges’ where students sleep and more on the library which is integral to our students’ future success.”
  • Four had serious or minor complaints
  • Nine thought we were just great and wouldn’t change a thing; e.g.,
    • “The Library is the best-run department in our college. The librarians are always willing to assist faculty and students with patience and with a smile. Many thanks for their years of great service.”
    • “I am extremely satisfied with the library.”
  • But 18 thought we should be doing a better job of letting people know about what we offer:
    • “Efforts to raise awareness of all of these resources that are available, with specific focus on the ability of students and faculty to use the electronic and web-based resources available.”
    • “More outreach-many students do not know the services the library provides”
    • “This survey suggests library services that could help my teaching and research that I never knew of before. Provide faculty tutorials on services.”
    • “Better announcement and support messages”
  • “Advertise services to students (beginning of semester, around midterms, finals week)”


  • Faculty place a high value on the resources they know about and want to learn about what else we have to offer.
  • We should not reduce our efforts in traditional services like reference, ILL, and reserve. Our faculty consider them critical.
  • The effort we have put into our online presence—the Library website, electronic resources, linking resources with metadata, providing services to online classes—has been worthwhile and has been noticed by the faculty.
  • Ease of accessing and navigating some digital resources (particularly ebooks) has room for improvement and we need to continue pushing the vendors to improve.
  • We do need to focus more on marketing/outreach. Respondents were much more aware of the New York Times digital subscription service than of many other library resources – this was one resource we had marketed a lot, in various different ways, and the effort clearly paid off. CLICS is one service we might want to target for more marketing.
  • Faculty would appreciate more help navigating the new digital/publication/research landscape. They would like one-on-one consultations with a reference librarian, help in learning about newer resources, assistance with questions about copyright and authors’ rights, help in managing and archiving their research data, guidance in understanding impact factors and measures of journal quality. All of these supports would enhance the scholarly productivity of our faculty and are now being provided by better-staffed libraries.


We hope to repeat this survey every three years, but there is no need to wait until then to express concerns, compliments, or suggestions. Feel free to talk to any of the Library faculty or contact Prof. Marta Bladek, Head of Public Services.

The full report on the Faculty Survey is available on Academic Works.

Bonnie Nelson


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