Library News Blog

We have just started subscribing to the   Docuseek2 Complete collection.

The renowned documentary distributors Bullfrog FIlms and Icarus Films, both founded in the 1970s, joined together to create this streaming video database.  It delivers 800 documentaries on many themes, especially those concerned with justice, sustainability and the environment, broadly interpreted.   All the titles have been indexed and are discoverable in OneSearch, the library’s main discovery tool.  We hope you enjoy exploring these documentaries and sharing them in class.  Here are just a few of those 800 titles: 

Death by Design (2017).  The deadly environmental and health effects of electronic devices. 

Addiction Incorporated (2014).   The tobacco industry.

Addicted to Plastic (2008).  Plastic pollution worldwide, and its effect on the marine environment.

StIll Waters (2018), shows a Brooklyn after-school program serving immigrant children.

The American Ruling Class (2007) A 'dramatic-documentary-musical' about class, power and privilege. 

Symbiotic Earth (2018).  Scientist Lynn Margulis challenged orthodoxies by showing that symbiosis is a key driver of evolution.  Symbiotic Earth explores the implications of her research in the context of climate change and extreme capitalism.

Anthropocene (2016).  Examines whether human impact has tipped the planet into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, with all of its political, social and behavioral implications.

The Antibiotic Hunters (2015).  Scientists are hunting urgently for new antibiotics -- a challenge that is taking them to some remote and unusual places.

The Angry Heart (2001).  Explores racism as a risk factor in the epidemic of heart disease in the African-American community.  

East of Salinas (2016).  The life of an undocumented third grade child of migrant agricultural labors in California. 

A dangerous idea: eugenics, genetics and the American dream (2017).  Examines the history of the US eugenics movement and its recent resurrection. 

Affluenza (1997).  Diagnoses the 'disease' of materialism and prescribes its antidote, simple living.


AVON (Academic Video Online)  has just arrived at John Jay!  This new streaming video database contains documentaries, performances, ethnographies, interviews, historic film clips newsreels & feature films from a large range of distributors, including Sony Picture Classics, Music Box, & Kino Lorber.  It delivers about 600,000 hours of streaming video, 63,000 titles in total.  The content comes from all over the world; non-English language films are subtitled in English.  Closed captions appear to be available for the English language content.

The Proquest interface allows easy searching; while the content plays on the Alexander Street platform.  All the titles have been indexed and are discoverable in OneSearch, the library’s main discovery tool. 

John Jay has never before had access to most of this content, in streaming, or any format; a few titles new to us include Citizen Jane, Antarctica: A Year on Ice, Hate crimes in the Heartland, The Deportation of Innocence, Patrimonio.

We hope you enjoy exploring the wonderful content of our new subscription!

Read about AVON—and get more film recommendations—from our Fall newsletter »



Welcome back to campus! We are pleased to unveil two new study spaces for students.

Pleasant room with desks and chairs

The Silent Study Area South, located upstairs, is a quiet study zone full of natural light where no talking is allowed. (The other Silent Study Area is located in the north wing of the library, also on the upper level.)

In addition, the Reserve Room Study Area is located in a new alcove off of the Reserve Room Computer Lab. 

We are also happy to bring new furniture into the Reserve Room Computer Lab.

Many thanks to Prof. Maria Kiriakova, Prof. Jeffrey Kroessler, and Geng Lin for coordinating these projects! Thanks to everyone else who made this possible.




When: Thursday, September 13th, and Friday, September 14th, 2018 from 1:30pm-3:00pm

Where: Kroll Atrium


Don’t have a NYPL library card yet?

As part of John Jay’s Weeks of Welcome, the New York Public Library has agreed to come to John Jay College so you can sign up for your own free library card! With your card, you gain access to over 250 NYPL databases from anywhere


Need to reactivate your existing NYPL library card?

Your NYPL library card has to be re-activated every 3 years. 

Without an activated NYPL card, you cannot access NYPL resources remotely (database collections, eBooks, and more).


Please feel free to drop by and spread the word!


The Lloyd Sealy Library's Reserve Lab will be closed from July 30 through August 26, 2018, as it undergoes expansion and renovation work. 

The Reserve Lab will reopen for the Fall 2018 semester with additional seating and space for students. 

In the meantime, students can use the computers, printers, and scanners on the Library's upper level. To consult the Reserve Desk for textbooks and other materials on reserve, see the Circulation Desk (front desk). 



In the wake of several of the deadliest mass shootings in United States history, HeinOnLine, a legal database of both historical and current legal content, has introduced a new collection—Gun Control and Legislation in America—bringing together more than 500 titles dealing with gun control issues.

The 2nd Amendment

Included are periodicals, federal legislative histories, congressional hearings, reports by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Supreme Court briefs, an extensive bibliography, and a selection of external resources to further research on this subject.

Use this new database to explore the many issues related to gun control including:

Browse Gun Control and Legislation in America now »

If you have questions or feedback, please send an email to

Image source





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LexisNexis Academic has migrated to a new platform called Nexis Uni as of January 2019. Select Nexis Uni (LexisNexis) on our dropdown menu of popular databases or search our list of  databases by title.

Screenshot of Nexis Uni

Use one of the links below to learn more about the new interface.

Top 10 Nexis Uni Features to Explore (pdf)

Nexis Uni Search FAQ (pdf)

How to Search from the Home Page (YouTube)

How to Use the Advanced Search Form (YouTube)

How to Select Sources and Create Permalinks (YouTube)

How to Annotate and Share Documents (YouTube)

Navigating Your Profile Settings (YouTube)

If you have questions or feedback please contact our electronic resources librarian at


Recommended reading

Sharp book coverSharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean (2018) is not a collection of truncated biographies of celebrated writers Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Zora Neale Hurston, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Lillian Hellman, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm. It’s a skillful and compulsively readable narrative of these women in relief, set against the often bumpy terrain of their time and their relationship to feminism and to each other. Dean observes elements of and relates deep-dive tales of these writers’ careers that are not written about elsewhere, at least not with such rich context. These are not odes or hagiographies, but honest portraits that cleverly reveal the breadth of the iconoclasm and humanity of the women. Rather than deliver a discrete set of linear narratives, Dean discovers surprising and telling ways their paths parallel and cross. Kathleen Collins


Gospel of Trees book cover Educated book coverTara Westover’s Educated (2018) and Apricot Irving’s The Gospel of Trees (2018) are two recent coming of age memoirs that have received a lot of critical praise. Set worlds apart—in the mountains of Idaho and in Haiti, respectively—they both feature strong-minded young women who grow up in the shadow of their charismatic fathers’ beliefs. Although Westover’s and Irving’s narratives are about leaving the father behind, they also touch on the complexity of familial love and the many transgressions it withstands. Westover’s trajectory from a scrap metal junkyard to a Cambridge Ph.D. illustrates the power of education, or learning how—not what—to think, as she puts it. Irving’s nuanced reflection on her family’s missionary tenure in Haiti, on the other hand, confronts the enduring effects of colonization, as well as the power and race inequalities that persist in its aftermath. Marta Bladek


Horse Walks into a Bar book cover

A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman.  A cocktail of  the stream of consciousness, jokes and tears in one glass. One evening of a stand-up comedy act by one man is described on almost 200 pages. Are you laughing at the man or with the man because he has no tears anymore? Did he plan this evening or is he improvising on the spot? This book is not a light reading although it is impossible to put it down until you read it all. Maria Kiriakova


Campus Rape Frenzy book coverKC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr., The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities (2017) [Stacks LB2345.3 .R37 J65 2017]. This book is filled with horror stories of male college students falsely accused of sexual assault and how campus disciplinary procedures condemned them despite inadequate or even exculpatory evidence. The authors trace the history of how Title IX came to be weaponized in the area of sexual relations between students, and offer many examples of how the process went awry. At the same time, they do not in any way minimize the reality of the crimes of rape and sexual assault. Jeffrey Kroessler


Animal Vegetable Miracle book coverBarbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2018) [Stacks S521.5 .A67 K56 2008]. Most of us can’t lead lives that allow us to commit to eating only locally-sourced food for a year as this family did. This book presents a new perspective on where our food comes from and offers small practical changes we can make to our diets and food shopping for a healthier planet and body. I particularly recommend the recipes for strawberry & rhubarb crisp and asparagus & mushroom bread pudding, both of which use ingredients that grow on the East Coast in April. All of the recipes and updates on the family are also available on the companion websiteEllen Belcher


Odyssey book coverAlthough reading The Odyssey might be a well-worn path for many, I nonetheless suggest reading Emily Wilson’s lively new translation (2017). What is so impressive about Wilson’s translation is her ability to use contemporary language in a way that is not distracting. The prose flows seamlessly, and Wilson’s skill as a translator shines clear. Highly recommended! Matt Murphy



Tell me a Mitzi book coverI have been reading Tell Me a Mitzi by Lore Segal to my daughter for at least 8 years. Three stories about a family with two kids, their daily routines, illnesses, seeing a President, visiting the grandmother across town. That’s all  but is unbelievably charming.  Very New York stories that bring you comfort and never get boring. If it is all imagination or reality, you can decide by yourself. Or just look at Harriet Pincus illustrations and create your own mitzi. Maria Kiriakova

Exit West book coverExit West by Mohsin Hamid (2017) is the most moving novel I’ve read this year. A meditation on immigration and human relationships, the story considers the forces that push people to leave their homes—and the hardships and pleasures they endure in new lands. Hamid portrays his characters with great tenderness as they make difficult decisions. A wonderful, touching read. Call number: Stacks PS3558.A42169 E95 2017. Robin Davis


More from the Spring 2018 newsletter »


Maria Kiriakova

By the time you read this, Spring will have arrived. It will have brought sunshine and flowers and the possibility of new beginnings. Thinking about new plans, the Library would like to start an ideas list for the “library of the future.” In the last decade, many innovations in the world of academic libraries have already come to fruition on our campus: easy remote online access to the millions of library resources (databases, ebooks, full-text journals); streaming videos; getting instant help from professional librarians through email and chat; the ability to search hundreds of databases at once through the Google-like OneSearch; inserting the library toolkit (along with an embedded librarian) into a Blackboard course... Just to name a few wonders. In the library’s physical world, the books are constantly updated and shifted; the lab is equipped with new computers and is open around the clock during finals period; scanners and print stations are available on both floors; countertops have been built and high stools added for laptop users; the classroom has been upgraded with new projection screens... The list goes on.

We would like to collect data on what faculty and staff would like to see in the library of the future. Let us know about what you have experienced yourself or read about other libraries around the country and the world. Please send your thoughts to us by email or to any of the librarians at the Sealy Library. 

More from the Spring 2018 newsletter »


Ellen Belcher & Matt Murphy

In addition to anxiously awaiting the opening of our new state-of-the-art Special Collections Room, we have been busy acquiring and cataloging some interesting items. Below is a selection of what we have acquired in the last year. All of these items are available to researchers by appointment in our current Special Collections Room. Please contact Ellen Belcher with any questions about these or anything in our Special Collections.

Woman police officer

At left: c. 1890s “Oh you policewoman….” Broadside-valentine with a caricature of a policewoman. A digital copy of this broadside will be uploaded to our Digital Collections.

Rare books and broadsides recently acquired

1889 (New York) Police Signal Telegraphs: The Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company, New York. This title is freely digitally available through SMU Libraries. This catalog offers the latest state-of-the-art (at the time) alarm and communication systems to police and private security firms. It also features the company’s offering in horse drawn police patrol wagons. 

1901 (New York) Volunteer prison work. A small pamphlet by Maud Ballington Booth, describing her efforts to help incarcerated men reenter society, specifically through the opening of “Hope Halls,” which acted as halfway houses. Apart from being a well-known prison reformer, Booth helped co-found Volunteers of America. 

Advertisement1905 (Philadelphia) Jacob Reed’s Sons Uniforms Police & Firemen. This catalog includes a variety of uniforms, badges, insignia, whistles, handcuffs, leggings, hats, helmets and nightsticks. This copy is marked with pencil marks, presumably made by an agency choosing uniforms and accessories for their force. (See image at right.)

1919 (Ottawa) Annual Report of the Canadian Criminal Identification Bureau to the Chief Commissioner of the Dominion Police. This report documents an initiative which began sharing of fingerprint records between police agencies in North America. 

1928 (Detroit) Annual report of the Detroit Police Department Women’s Division. It is interesting to note that Detroit was not represented in the meeting of the heads of the “women’s bureaus” in 1927. (See image below.)

1956 (Warwick, NY) New York Training School for Boys, Disciplinary Practices. A small pamphlet discusses ways to deal with behavioral problems of boys incarcerated at this reform school. Includes sections on “What a Boy Does Not Like” and “What a Boy Likes” with emphasis on confidence building and conflict resolution. 

Women posing for photo

(Above) “Heads of Women’s Bureaus Gather in Convention.” 12th Annual Convention of Policewomen, Cleveland, Ohio. Police Journal August 1927 p. 19. (Periodicals HV7551 .P57)


Book, The Black Traffic in White Girls

(Above) 1912 (Chicago) The Black Traffic in White Girls. White Slavery as Now Practiced in America, Including Detailed Descriptions of the Customs and Manners of the White Women Slaves and Wives of Asia, Turkey, Egypt, etc. This book is one of many cheap paperbacks on “White Slavery” marketed to a variety of readers. In its description of sex workers and sex trafficking in Chicago, it served both as a warning to parents of women who sought independent lives in the big city and as soft-core porn to those interested in specifics of sex work practices.


Prison print

(Above) 1823 (Paris) Les hermites en prison, ou, Consolations de Sainte-Pélagie A work by Etienne de Jouy (the pseudonym of Victor-Joseph-Etienne de Jouy) and Antoine Jay, both of whom served time in Paris’ Sainte-Pélagie prison. The work is chiefly a discussion of penology, but of note is a chapter on New York’s notorious Newgate prison, accompanied by this illustration depicting the prison.

Photo of carriage

(Above) 1880s? Photo of men posing in and on a horse-drawn carriage labeled “Hecker Bunch.” On August 1, 1883, The New York Times reported on a large fire which started and spread from the Hecker and Co. Flour Mill at 464 Water St. Perhaps this photo is related to that event? A fireman lays on top of the carriage.

Manuscript (archival) collections recently acquired

April 1833. A hand written account of Sing Sing Prison for the month of April 1833 signed by Dr. Robert Wiltse, warden, A. Graham, John Sing, commissioners, on May 18, 1833. 

1905-1913 Notebook of the Chief Marshal of Dover, N.H. Detailed notes on arrests and raids, mainly related to enforcing prohibition laws in New Hampshire. 

January 20, 1913. American Fire Apparatus, 1 Madison Ave. Estimate for installing fire escapes and fire fighting apparatus for Manitou Putnam Company, property owners of 17 East 74th Street. 

1931–1935 Joseph “Specs” Russell Papers. See Larry Sullivan's article in this newsletter with more information on this collection. 

1960–2000s Joyce ‘Rocky’ Flint Collection on Jeffrey Dahmer. Documents collected by Dr. Kathleen Fitzgerald as a result of her collaboration with Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother to write a book, which was never completed. 

Elizabeth Williams Collection of Courtroom Drawings. Additions to our existing collection of Elizabeth Williams’ courtroom art, many of which were on exhibit in the Shiva Gallery this past Fall. 

Aggie Whelan Kenny Collection of Courtroom Drawings. A new collection of courtroom drawings, many of which were on exhibit in the Shiva Gallery this past Fall. 

1960s–2004 Jeremy Travis Personal Papers. Papers collected during the career of Jeremy Travis at Yale, NYU, NYPD, NIJ, DOJ, Urban Institute, and under Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chuck Schumer and Ed Koch, before he became president of John Jay College in August of 2004. 

1951–1960s Jack LaTorre Collection Ten boxes of files related to the NYPD investigation of the March 8, 1951 homicide of Arnold Schuster. 


More from the Spring 2018 newsletter »