By Betsy Peck Learned, Interim Dean



The Library Learning Commons staff thank all of our students and faculty for making our year an exciting and productive one! To all of our graduating seniors, we wish you the best of luck in finding the job of your dreams, a second degree, or just a lazy, fun-filled summer!

Highlights of our year include:

  • Welcoming our new partners in the Center for Student Academic Success to the building—Associate Provost Bob Shea, his assistant Jane Magliocco, and the Advising and Peer Mentoring staff—Morgan Cottrell, Liz Niemeyer, and Karen Johnson.
  • A new Mary Tefft White Cultural Center with the latest digital technology and moving glass walls for noise control.
  • Bright and cheerful new digs for Student Accessibility Services on the first floor of the library.
  • Partnering with the Center for Teaching and Learning on faculty development initiatives including the Faculty Writing Retreat, and Open Educational Resources.
  • Collaborative library programming with Rogers Free Library in Bristol including shared Talking in the Library events and a memoir writing workshop.
  • Completing our first full year of our library blog, Connections including student writers!

Meet The Learning Commons: Three Libraries

By Alexis den Boggende, Connections Intern



Roger Williams University has a vast collection of books and journals which are kept in the three libraries on campus: Architecture, Law and the University Library. Each library has something special to offer, whether it is through its collections, or the knowledge and help that our librarians have to offer Roger Williams students.


The Architecture Library is a beautiful library open to all students, not just Architecture and Historic Preservation students. It’s a good study space, located across from the Main Library. The library houses more than 24,000 books, and computers that allow everyone access to the collections. Students may also be interested in the periodicals and journals that the Architecture Library has to offer, which totals more than 200 titles. Additionally, students may use the online databases from the University Libraries website. Here, they will discover links to databases by major, which includes Architecture and Urban Design, Art and Architectural History, and Historic Preservation. These databases provide a multitude of scholarly articles and academic databases that students may access easily. The Architecture Library is open all week and has extended hours during finals.


The University Library is the center of all things literary on campus. It is open daily and has extended hours during finals. With a new Information Desk and a separate MediaTech desk for technology help, there are a lot of great resources at the University Library. MediaTech will help you with technical issues with your laptop, phone, and more and has a small collection of equipment for check-out. If a student needs a desktop computer, the University Library can help–there are many computers on all three floors that any student may use, along with printing, scanning, and copy services. The many talented librarians at the University Library will help you locate appropriate books and periodicals for your research assignment. There are more than 220,000 books in the University Library. The library has three levels: first floor, for group collaboration on projects that may require talking and socializing. The second floor is for quiet study sessions, with minimal talking. The third floor is reserved for silence, which provides a great place to sit down and get work done, whether it be reading for class or writing a paper. Each floor offers incredible study spaces, like private cubicles, couches and private study rooms for group projects. The new Mary Tefft White Cultural Center is a beautiful addition to the University Library, where distinguished speakers often come and give lectures. Often, the library holds exhibits, with past exhibits of Truman Capote and Nathaniel Philbrick including archival materials and their work. Like the Architecture Library, students may also search the library catalog online and explore its many databases.



The Law Library is open to all, not just law students. It is a great spot for legal research, with over 200,000 volumes that are open for students to use, along with a online databases that may also be of help. The Law Library offers more than 10 study rooms that students may use for individual study or group projects, along with computers that they can access research on as well. The library houses multitude of legal documents that students should take advantage of, including state and federal documents and reports, documents and records from the Supreme Court and other government documents.

University Archives Annual Commencement Exhibit



The University Archives Annual Commencement Exhibit for 2016 celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of Roger Williams College. A visual timeline highlights events from 1956-2016, and includes facsimiles of founding documents and newspaper articles, as well as commencement photos from 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, and 2006. The exhibit will open Friday, May 13.



Roger Williams College awarded its first four-year degrees on June 4, 1970. Commencement exercises were held on the campus green in front of the library (now the Gabelli School of Business). James Payson Dixon, President of Antioch College, delivered the Commencement Address.



Marshall and Mary Howe Fulton received the Roger Williams College Award  in 1972 for their service to the College.  The award was first introduced in 1970.

Short Takes: Poetry Collections in Brief

By Maggie Daubenspeck, Connections Intern


This past April’s National Poetry Month encouraged us to consider some of this season’s new releases. The good folks at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux were kind enough to send some of the poetry books off their list—from first books to established writers.



If You Can Tell, Poems by James McMichael

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

February 2016


If You Can Tell is James McMichael’s seventh collection of poetry, composed of eight poems of varied length. In this new collection, McMichael explores “God and the Word” and what it means to exist. Religious themes carry throughout his work as he writes about his mother’s illness, failed relationships, and death. His collection examines whether McMichael is devout or questions his faith and the Word of God. McMichael has been previously known for his sixth book of poetry, Capacity, which was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award for Poetry.



Observations, Poems by Marianne Moore

Edited by Linda Leavell

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

April 2016


Marianne Moore was a Modernist poet known for her precise language. This edition of Observations is based off of the original text published in 1925. This collection of modernist poems pre-dates the dramatic revisions done by Moore in 1925 when she cut “fifty-four poems to forty.” Her poetry, full of wit and irony, also inspired Elizabeth Bishop to challenge the accepted views of society. This devout Presbyterian plays with meter during the rise of free verse and continuously edited all of her works up until her death in 1972.



The Swimmer, Poems by John Koethe

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

March 2016


John Koethe’s The Swimmer, dedicated to Mark Strand, is full of questions and honest answers about what it means to be living. In his tenth collection, Koethe takes the reader around the world through his lyrical poems exploring the individual. From listening to Frank Sinatra to visiting the Louvre to reading Elizabeth Bishop, Koethe dives into the unconscious mind to find the truth. He calls out poets by name and shares their influence on him in his own writings. Koethe has previously won the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the Frank O’Hara Award for his writings.




Standing Water, Poems by Eleanor Chai

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

April 2016


Standing Water is the first book of poetry Eleanor Chai has published with her own work. Chai has been both an editor and advisor to both poets and artists for years. Her lyrical collection is filled with precise language and follows a narrative on Chai’s own life. The image of Little Hanako is explored along with the image of a mother not present in the author’s life. Chai plays with meter and rhyme throughout her poems which all vary in size and length. Each poem studies how we look at our world.

Rhode Island Red Cross Visual Timeline Collaboration with RWU

The American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter is celebrating 100 years of service to the Rhode Island community. The chapter was chartered September 16, 1916 on Aquidneck Island in Newport. As part of the year-long celebration, the Red Cross has partnered with Roger Williams University to create a visual timeline highlighting milestones and achievements of the organization in Rhode Island over the last century.Faculty member John Farmer and graphic design students worked together on the 12-panel “A Century of Service Traveling Exhibit.”

The University Library is hosting the display from May 2 – 14. The exhibit will be touring various venues throughout the state, culminating in a special evening event in Newport at Tennis Hall of Fame on September 17, 2016.
For more information about the travelling exhibit, visit http://www.redcross.org/news/event/local/ri/Century-of-Service-Traveling-Exhibit




Student Partners:
Nick Corey
Augustina Dickinson
Ryan Cripps
Frank Tobitsch
Ryan Henriksen
Brianna Hardy
Kevin Cameron
Wakidi Hala

From the Nightstand: Professor Edward J. Delaney

Interview conducted by Brittany Parziale, Connections Intern

Edward J. Delaney photo

Edward J. Delaney, Professor of Creative Writing and Editor of Mount Hope magazine, has taught at RWU since 1990.



Current Reads


Currently reading Literary Publishing in the 21st century edited by Wayne Miller, Kevin Prufer, and Travis Kurowski. This collection of narratives describes the transformation in the world of publishing brought about by technological developments, market pressures, and changing reading habits through a wide range of perspectives.




“I am reading it to help with the literary publishing course I teach. But I also find it very interesting and insightful on a personal level.” As the editor of Mount Hope, the student run magazine operating out of Roger Williams University, Delaney finds himself gravitating to works about publishing and about the history of the modern publishing era. Also, to keep up-to-date, he regularly reads multiple magazines, including: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Paris Review, and scores of smaller literary journals.


Memorable Reads


James Joyce’s Ulysses. Multiple works by Don DeLillo. Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem. William Kennedy’s Ironweed. “You read a good book and find that your priorities in life at the moment change a little . . . Those are the types of books that stick with me.” Several books from childhood also remain memorable such as The Catcher in the Rye, and William Saroyan’s The Human Comedy. Delaney remembers reading Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun, an anti-war novel, in his freshmen year of high school, and finding it “a very powerful read, telling the shocking story of the effects of war.”


“I have an interest in reading literary fiction and nonfiction of all kinds, ranging from historical context to biographies.” He enjoys short stories just as much as books, finding them “best when you want to get the entire reading experience in one sitting.” For Edward Delaney, it’s easy to be able to set aside time for pleasure reading. “I wanted to be a writer because I love to read; and a lot of the reason I read is because I write. Reading is an important part of my day. Every day.”


Upcoming Reads


Viet Thang Nguyen’s The Sympathizer. It tells the story of a Vietnamese, French communist spy living a double life in Los Angeles. “Primarily, I am interested in reading this because it recently won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It’s important for me to know what is being considered as among the best work out there right now.”


Essential Reads


“I don’t think there is an essential read, because no one needs to read any one book. So many different books speak to different human experiences. I don’t think any one good book can speak to everyone the same.”




















Celebrating Reading Through Campus and Community Partnerships

Although the Roger Williams University campus and heart of downtown Bristol can seem like separate worlds at times, in fact it is only a six-minute drive between them. Through its open talks, lectures, and forums, the University Library has taken pride in sharing the campus learning environment with our Bristol neighbors. In order to further our relationship with the intellectually curious residents of Bristol, the University Library recently has been creating a series of partnerships with Rogers Free Library. This past year, jointly the University Library and Rogers Free were able to host Talking in the Library(s) event in the fall and the spring. The fall program welcomed novelist and short story writer, Jim Shepard, and the spring saw a packed house for novelist Claire Messud. In support of both of the events, RWU students and Rogers Free patrons alike engaged in the works of both authors, coming together in advance of each writer’s appearance to discuss the books. Additionally, Professor Ted Delaney hosted regular film screenings and discussions on Tuesday nights. “The expanding collaboration between Roger Williams University and Rogers Free Library is a great benefit for the local community,” says Rogers Free Circulations Supervisor, Cheryl Stein. “Increasing interaction and exchanging of ideas among students, faculty and members of the community has brought an ever widening world to all involved.”


So what else is on tap with the partnerships taking place at Rogers Free?


From May 11 – June 22, Rogers Free will host a memoir writing workshop that was developed by Rogers Free staff in conjunction with RWU interim Dean of Libraries, Betsy Learned, and University Library writer-in-residence, Adam Braver. It will be led by Susan Tacent. (http://rogersfreelibrary.org/memoir-writing-workshop/)


On October 5, 2016, novelist Dawn Tripp will be reading and discussing her latest novel, Georgia, a fictional account of the life of painter Georgia O’Keefe. (7 PM at Rogers Free. A partnership between RWU’s Talking in the Library / Mary Tefft White series, and Rogers Free’s Jane Bodell fund through their Friends of the Library). The appearance will be preceded by a book group discussion, with the date TBD.


April 3, 2017, as the 2017 Bermont Fund Distinguished Guest Writer, novelist, short story writer, memoirist, and critic Rick Moody will be speaking. (7 PM. A partnership between RWU’s Talking in the Library / Mary Tefft White series and Bermont Fellowship, and Rogers Free’s Jane Bodell fund through their Friends of the Library). The appearance will be preceded by a book group discussion, with the date TBD.


Also on the horizon will be programming in collaboration with RWU’s John Howard Birss program that celebrates the anniversary of a great book. The coming academic year will honor the 50th anniversary of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Stay tuned for details on upcoming programs . . .


Advocacy Seminar Students Take the Hill

By Maggie Daubenspeck, Connections Intern


In mid-March of 2016, five members from the Advocacy Seminar class and their professor, Adam Braver, visited Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of the seventy-two-year-old Mohammad Hossein Rafiee Fanood, an imprisoned scholar and chemist in Iran. The Seminar works in collaboration with Scholars at Risk to serve as case minders on behalf of international scholars who are imprisoned for issues directly correlated to violations of their freedom of expression. Maggie Daubenspeck, Abby DeVeuve, Diandra Franks, Jen Gonzalez, Grace Napoli, and Adam Braver scheduled a total of thirteen meetings to be completed in a single day.


Tuesday Evening – March 15, 2016

The team arrived at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport at 10:00 pm, successfully navigated the Metro, and made their way to their Dupont Circle hotel. Being surrounded by the sights and sounds of the city made their mission real: they were in the nation’s capitol as participants of the democratic system—there to talk to members of congress and other officials about an issue of great importance.

But could they have an impact?


Wednesday Morning – March 16, 2016

The day’s first hitch was the late breaking announcement that all Metro transportation would be suspended due to maintenance. This news forced the group to have to rejigger their transportation and logistical planning. Somehow that seemed part and parcel of a day of advocacy in D.C., always being ready to rethink, readjust, and refine expectations.

But by 9:15am, the entire team was sitting down in the office of Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) in the Rayburn Office Building. The idea of meeting with congressional members on the Hill initially may have been intimidating, but once in action, the group was ready, relaxed, and motivated. After all, a man’s future was at stake.

The team then split up into two separate groups to tackle a series of morning meetings, toggling between House and Senate offices at the Hart and Cannon buildings. While scrambling to different meetings in different buildings was initially confusing, the students soon became experts at navigating the legislative passages, making sure to include small breaks for team meetings to discuss all they were hearing, and continually strategizing for upcoming conferences. Before lunch, Team One met with Representative Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), the staff of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Bob Menendez (R-NJ). Team Two focused on an extended meeting with a law clerk from the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Throughout the morning meetings, the students were met with mixed reactions, particularly on strategies specific to addressing human rights issues in Iran. What became more and more clear: most members were willing to lend some form of support, but they preferred someone else to take the lead.


Wednesday Afternoon – March 16, 2016

The entire team attended a meeting at the State Department with Democracy, Rights, and Labor (DRL). This meeting proved to be very informative as the group sat down with the Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby, Foreign Affairs and Near Eastern Affairs Officer Matthew Hickey, and Iranian Affairs Officer Emily Norris. In addition to helping the team further understand the relationship between the nuances and complexities of human rights in Iran and the case against Dr. Rafiee, the meeting also introduced new speaking points to present in the day’s remaining meetings on the Hill.

By far, the most promising meeting of the day came at the end of the schedule. Following a spirited and up-tempo meeting with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and his staff, the team left Senator Whitehouse’s office with a strong indication from the Senator that he would draft a letter in support of Dr. Rafiee’s release. Finally, the students had found a representative willing to take the lead.

Other meetings to round out the day included the staffs of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ).


Wednesday Evening – March 16, 2016

With all the meetings finished, the exhausted but happy team met over dinner to discuss and compare the details from the various meetings, as well as the overall experience. A plan was set up to send out follow up emails, and to write a final report for Scholars at Risk about the findings, allowing the parent organization to engage further with some of the representatives, as needed.

By 10:15pm, the team was in the air, and en route back to Rhode Island. A full day of meeting directly with government officials about Dr. Rafiee’s situation made the students feel hopeful that the case would receive the much needed attention that might help contribute to a positive outcome—further highlighting the responsibility of those who live in cultures that are granted freedom of expression to speak up for those who don’t have that right.

Preservation News from the Archives

By Heidi Benedict, University Archives


As this week is Preservation Week, the Archives would like to share some of the projects from the past academic year:

Quill 1961-12-15-1

The Hawks’ Herald: For more than 5 years work-study students have been digitizing student newspapers, from as far back as 1961 when it was called The Quill. At this point almost all the student newspapers through 2011 have been completed. You can access them on the library website at http://docs.rwu.edu/student_pubs/.


CyberViewX v5.14.25 Model Code=58 F/W Version=1.13

Slide Collection: About 7 years ago , the Archives inherited an extensive slide collection, including shots of campus buildings, aerials, and Commencement. These slides have now been digitized.



Campus Renderings: In 2003 the University architectural illustrator Gary Barron created hand-drawn pencil renderings of campus buildings. Megan Lessard, Archives and Digital Services Specialist, created digital copies of these drawings for the Archives. The original drawings hang in Facilities.


Yearbooks: Work-study student Victoria Ramos has been using the copy stand to photograph yearbooks for preservation purposes only. She has completed digitizing yearbooks from 1970-1980. Those wishing to view yearbooks must still visit the Archives to do so.

Contact Heidi Benedict if you’d like access to the slide collection or campus renderings.

Did You Know? – DVDs

Did You Know . . .

The RWU Library has a DVD collection which includes popular titles. Check out our collection online, or ask the Library Information Desk for a printed list of selected entertainment films. DVD’s can be checked out for three days.

This year’s Oscar picks have come in and the DVD collection now features titles such as; The Danish Girl, The Martian, Inside Out, and Spotlight.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 1.28.29 PM

(Images retrieved from redbox.com)