Library News Blog

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Image explaining what the in-library use survey is

Image of infographic highlighting 5 items from the survey

image summarizing key comments from the survey


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



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Image of infographic explaining the triennial in-library use survey

image of infographic explaining that across the years survey respondents use the library for individual study

infographic illustrating that over the years survey respondent visit the library often

infographic illustrating what respondents ranked as very important over the years.

infographic summarizing 2010 comment

infographic summarizing comments from the 2013 and 2016 surveys

infographic summarizing the 2019 survey


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



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
  • 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.  

-Jeffrey Kroessler



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.

Screen capture of a results page in OneSearch. "Filter my results" is highlighted.


Scroll down the screen looking for different filters until you see this one that you will explore further by clicking on Show More.

Screen capture of the topic/subject filter and show more option in OneSearch. There will be some subjects that will catch your attention like Attitudes and public opinion in our case. Mark them down (these magical boxes to put a check mark will appear when you hover over the words), and then at the bottom you click apply filters.

Screen capture of active filters in onesearch. Now you can see that you have less results but still too many. You go through subject/topic filter again and discover that there is a label college students that you mark down and apply.

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.

Screen capture of the number of results in OneSearch after applying filters. The number of results are now down to 105.

Happy Subject discovery in OneSearch!

-Maria Kiriakova




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.

Related resources:

Library citation guides:

-Jeffrey Kroessler


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.

-Jeffrey Kroessler


Larry Sullivan was appointed to the Working Group on Prison Libraries of the International Federation of Library Associations.

Kathleen Collins has a contract with the University Press of Mississippi for From Rabbit Ears to the Rabbit Hole: A Life with Television (projected publication Summer 2021). She has joined the editorial board of Bloomsbury Academic’s new book series, Podcast Studies, which will generate ten books that span the critical-practical range of podcasting.

Jeffrey Kroessler has received a contract from Fordham University Press for Sunnyside Gardens: Planning and Preservation in a Historic Garden Suburb. His commentary “Demarest be Damned” appeared in CityLand, a publication of New York Law School (Jan. 30, 2020), and the Daily News published his op-ed “What zoning is really for” (Feb. 29, 2020).


In 1667, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, minister to Louis XIV, appointed Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie to the newly created position of Lieutenant General of Police in Paris.  Reynie, who held his position until 1697, is considered the founder of the modern police force. At the time, Paris had installed street lights, the first in Europe to do so, and hence comes the designation of Paris as the “City of Light.” Reynie’s charge included policing the “nicer parts” of the newly lighted city. Reynie said that “Policing consists in ensuring the safety of the public and of private individuals, by protecting the city from that which causes disorder.”   

Reynie also suppressed the publishing and printing of seditious and salacious or pornographic writings.

But Reynie was also an avid collector of books and manuscripts, especially those of ancient Greek and Latin authors. We have, however, found that he had some other, very different books in his collection.

The Sealy Library recently acquired Reynie’s, personal, signed, copy of the 1670 edition of De Usu Flagrorum in Re Medica et Veneria et lumborum renumque…. (A Treatise on the Use of Flogging in Medicine and Venery), originally written in 1639 by Johan Meibom and Thomas Bartholinus. The latter was a Danish physician who claimed the discovery of the lymphatic system. The book has been called the authoritative text on flagellation for two centuries. Ostensibly, Reynie obtained this copy in order to suppress its printing and dissemination because of its “salacious” content. Reynie had to do his research on suppressing literature by reading such treatises.

The 1670 edition is known in about 23 copies worldwide, but Sealy Library’s copy is unique because of its association with Reynie, the first police commissioner in Europe.

The book had a long history in the history of censorship and even led to a synonym for literary indecency. In 1723, a London bookseller and publisher, Edmund Curll, published an English edition of De Usu… to which he added other “medical treatises.” In 1724 the authorities arrested him for selling this and other titles. He spent fourteen months in prison for this crime. Importantly, earlier in 1718, Daniel Defoe, the famous 18th-century author, coined the term “Curlicism” as the selling of pornography.

Sealy Library’s acquisition of this unique association copy reflects the international breadth and depth of our research collections.

-Larry E. Sullivan


Our new research guide, Remote Resources for a Distance Learning Environment is a one-stop spot providing information on how to access the many and varied digital resources available to John Jay students, faculty and staff.  In addition to Lloyd Sealy Library online resources, you will find links for free (temporary) access to a multitude of electronic books, textbooks, videos and more from publishers and institutions in order to help students during this COVID-19 crisis.

You will find information on where to go and how to access your library's electronic resources--digital textbooks, ebooksjournals, magazines, newspapers, videos, tutorialsereserves and more.  You will also find links to college wide student and faculty resources (technological and more) to promote success in distance learning now that we have moved fully online.

The Lloyd Sealy Library librarians are committed to helping our faculty locate remote resources in order to accomplish their teaching goals as well as helping our students succeed!  You may not be able to visit our library in person, but please know that we are here for you providing reference assistance through emailchat and text.  Please see the Librarians are Here! tab of this guide for more details.


We want to highlight some of the things you can do online, away from campus, via the Library.

You can:

  • Learn how to find and evaluate sources using:
  • Contact a librarian via email, phone, or chat for further research assistance.


Faculty:  We have an Online Teaching Toolbox for you!  

Below are more detailed updates related to specific Library departments and functions:


Circulation services

Fines and fees are being suspended for the duration of this health emergency. All items coming due will be renewed automatically (patrons should check their account to make certain). Physical items, including books, are not circulating; requests and holds are suspended.


Electronic resources

Most of the library’s resources are available online.  To find online ebooks, articles, videos and more use OneSearch and limit your results to Full Text Online .  Alternatively, you can limit your search to  one of our over 150+ databases here or learn more about our streaming documentary or feature film collections by using this link.


Interlibrary loan (ILL)

Interlibrary loan services will be limited to requests for items that can be delivered to you electronically, such as articles and book chapters (if electronic resource licensing permits ILL). Please note that at this time, several libraries are not scanning physical items such as print books, print journals and microform. We will process these requests for our patrons, but they likely cannot be filled. There may be a delay in filling requests due to staff shortages and library closures. 

If you are a John Jay patron with an ILL book checked out, please do not return books at this time. We are requesting renewals for patrons; you may receive an email about your loan period being extended.

For libraries that currently have our materials, we will be providing automatic renewals.

Please email libill [at] if you have any questions.



Physical reserve items are unavailable while the library remains closed.

Faculty: If you are currently a user of eReserves and have been requesting that material be posted by the reserves librarian, please continue to do so by completing the online form on this page. Email questions to Please note that due to a potentially large influx of requests and shortage of staff, we will initially limit the number of posted items allowed per class. If you already use Blackboard for other teaching activities, you can upload readings there without the help of a librarian. Please consider using Blackboard instead of becoming a new user of eReserves, so that you can maintain control over when, how quickly and how many readings you can post. If you are a current user of eReserves and have your own username and password, you may email with any questions.

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How to link to library licensed resources

The library’s licensed electronic content is available from outside the college by way of our proxy server prefix address which  is:  
If you have trouble accessing library content from off campus put this prefix BEFORE the permanent URL of any library licensed content.  For example, for access to the JSTOR database, use:
When someone clicks on your hyperlink, the prefix will activate the log-in script, and the user will be asked to enter their JJ email user id and password.  After that information is entered successfully, the licensed content item should appear on screen.      The URL can be pasted into an email, onto your website, into facebook, twitter, etc.  Test your link off-campus before sharing it!


Special Collections

The Special Collections has suspended all in person researcher visits while the library is closed. We are available to respond to all inquiries at, and will promptly answer all questions. When it is safe for us to return to campus, we will offer expanded services to researchers, including students according to the emerging best practices for providing remote access to special collections and archival materials. These services will include on demand research, collection searching and digitization to support remote research as best we can. Please visit our Digital Collections and the Library's Primary Source databases and Research Guide to find archival and historic materials already digitally available. We are also constantly updating the John Jay College Archives COVID-19 Pandemic Response Timeline

Please continue to check the John Jay College website for further updates.