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April 2017

From The Archives: Dimensions of History

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist

Students enrolled in History 203, Dimensions of History, with Dr. Carrington-Farmer have been working on two local history projects this semester. After learning about paleography, they had the opportunity to transcribe 19th century letters. Primarily written to John Brown Francis, the letters make up the bulk of the Francis/Herreshoff Collection which was donated to the University Archives by Henry Brown in June 2016. The Collection also includes several binders containing news clippings, promotional material, and other printed documents related to the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. You can view the letters and the students’ transcriptions at http://rwupresents.omeka.net/exhibits/show/francis-herreshoff-corresponde/project.


Students also spent time at the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, helping to improve accessibility to its Collection of Ambrose E. Burnside material. All students worked together to create an index of Burnside related news items from the Bristol Phoenix, complete with article transcriptions. They also worked in small groups to inventory the Burnside-related artifacts held at the Historical Society, including his field desk and sword, and to research his family, military career, rifle factory, property in Bristol, and public memorials in Rhode Island. Students will present their findings on May 10, 2017 at 7 PM at the Bristol State House.


2017 ACRL Conference Calls Librarians to Action

by Susan McMullen, Professor – Research Services & User Engagement Librarian

The Association for College and Research Libraries 2017 Conference was held in Baltimore, Maryland from March 22nd to the 25th. This year’s conference broke attendance registration records, attracting 3,499 face-to-face library professionals and more than 246 virtual attendees from all 50 states and 31 countries. With its theme, At the Helm: Leading Transformation, the conference offered over 500 programs in a variety of session formats including contributed papers, panel discussions, workshops, lightning talks, and poster sessions. The conference also served as a call to action as American Library Association president, Julie Todaro, urged all participants to reach out to their legislators to preserve library funding.

Library professionals examined current trends and explored new paths forward in areas such as higher education funding and costs, information literacy, competency-based education, digital preservation, data curation, open access, scholarly communication, collection development, assessment and evaluation, planning and designing library spaces, and social justice issues. For those wishing to delve deeply into an issue, six full-day pre-conferences were offered in the areas of assessment, law, information literacy, digital learning objects, and open textbooks.

The conference featured three distinguished keynote speakers.  The opening key note was given by data journalist and information designer, David McCandless. He spoke about the power of data visualization for helping us understand the world and reveal new patterns, connections, and stories.  Many have called data the “new oil“, but David calls it the “new soil” because everything blooms from this soil. As a “data detective”, he usually starts off with a good question and sees what grows out of the data.   Author and cultural critic, Roxanne Gay, read from her new essay detailing what she believes is the “Age of American Disgrace.”  She wants to believe there is “grace beyond this American disgrace” and that to achieve real change we must be willing to think differently and act differently. Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, delivered an inspirational closing keynote address that was the highlight of the conference.  Nominated for this prestigious role by President Obama, Hayden is the first woman and the first African-American to serve as Librarian of Congress.  In her role as CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, she famously kept the library open during the riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.  In her new role, Hayden hopes to make the Library of Congress’s priceless collections available to everyone.

In the spirit of open access, The Conference Proceedings are freely available at http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/conferences/confsandpreconfs/2017/ACRL2017_A.pdf



RWU Library After Dark

By:  Anne Alix, Library Staff

photo: Russell Beauchemin (rbeauchemin@rwu.edu)


The University Library is a hub of activity throughout the day, always open regardless of any campus closings.  Activity starts around 7:30 AM and goes on until 2:00 AM, Sunday through Thursday (6PM on Friday, 8PM on Saturday).  During the daylight hours, when you step into the Library there is a buzz of activity and chatter… lots of people stopping in between classes, printing, meeting up with classmates to compare homework just before a class, ideas being born out of group collaborations on projects.  It is a hub of social activity… but stick around as the sun starts to set and the transformation begins.


So, what really goes on “after hours” in the Library?   One could compare this to the movie “Night at the Museum.”


After the dinner hour a new place begins to evolve as a more determined crowd starts to slowly file in.  Backpacks are full, coffee cups replenished, uniforms of pajama pants and sweatshirts are worn, lots of snacks are on hand, study rooms come alive, books find their way off the shelves and projects are born.  This crowd is serious–this crowd is here for the long haul.


Starting on the first floor, you will see many groups working together with intensity.  It is no longer the social hub seen earlier in the day as students hunker down with white boards and markers mapping out project plans.  As you make your way around the first floor, you will see students filing into seats to use computers, arduously working their way through homework and research.  The printers light up with activity as papers are completed and a look of relief washes over the faces of students as they gather their final projects.  The Mary Tefft White Center fills with students working together on group projects or occasionally with interesting guest speakers and audiences.


Media Tech stands on guard to “save the night” and calm the panic when a late night laptop dies or a deleted paper needs to be retrieved… and then there is the Information Desk where dedicated staff stand by ready to assist with finding a book, an article, research material or to simply offer an encouraging word to break up the intensity of the night.


While traveling slowly up the center stairs the still of the night is noticeable as you make your way to the second floor.  There you will see folks tucked away in cubicles writing, reading, and studying.  Tutorial Support Services is a buzz of activity as peers assist with final reviews and editing of papers or tutoring in Math and Science. This will start to quiet down as they prepare to close their office at 8 PM (3 PM on Fridays).


As you climb the final steps to the third floor, there is a sense of calm as you feel the silence of that floor.  When walking down the aisles between the bookshelves, overhead lights methodically turn on with each step.  There is a stillness among the bookshelves as students peppered around in cubicles and all along the outer walls, focus and concentrate.  When you stop to take notice, you can hear a pin drop.  Everyone around you is intent on their task.  You become unconsciously motivated by the concentration around you and it is easy to get “into the zone”.


As 2 AM nears, there is a slow exiting of students from the library, some often expressing that they wish they had just a little more time to finish their work.  But it is time to close up shop and let everyone get some rest.  It is time for the library to be locked up and to wait once again for the morning crowd to stroll on in.



Did You Know…???

The library has 3 group study rooms located on the third floor.  See the Library Information Desk to book a room, or reserve a room online.  The rooms accommodate 4 people comfortably and are equipped with Smart Board technology.

Meet the Learning Commons Staff: Philip Williams

Philip Williams is the Technical Services Specialist for the University Library. He was interviewed by Mary Wu, Digital Scholarship and Metadata Librarian.

Photo: Megan Lessard/University Libraries/Roger Williams University

How did you get your start in libraries?

I began working in libraries as a student assistant in the Phillips Memorial Library at Providence College. After graduating, I decided to continue working in libraries because of my positive experiences in them, and because I wanted to learn more about the field.

What do you like best about working in the library? 

I really like being surrounded by books and other library resources, and I enjoy working in an academic environment.

What drew you to RWU?

I saw the position of Technical Services Specialist at RWU as a unique opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of libraries. I’m excited to be able to assist the University Library behind the scenes in the Technical Services Department.

What does a Technical Services Specialist do in the library?

As the Technical Services Specialist, I help facilitate the Cataloging Department workflow through the cataloging and processing of new acquisitions and I assist with library digital services in areas of metadata creation, digitization, and digital asset management.

Do you have a favorite genre of books or media that you enjoy the most?

 I like to read fiction, history, philosophy, and religion. I’ve recently read the Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick, and I subscribe to National Geographic.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel.

Outside of work, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy?

I really enjoy reading, playing the guitar, cooking, and walking.



2017 Visiting Distinguished Writer – Rick Moody

by Adam Braver, Author-in-Residence and Coordinator of Literary Programming (University Libraries) Associate Professor (Creative Writing)


The fifth annual Bermont Fellowship in Fiction and Nonfiction took place over April 2-3, 2017. The program, administered through the University Library and endowed by an alumnus, brings a distinguished visiting writer to the campus community for two days–both to give a workshop to students who have been selected through a blind submissions process, and to give a public reading.

Photo: Megan Lessard/University Libraries/Roger Williams University

The 2017 Visiting Distinguished writer was Rick Moody.


Photo: Adam Braver/University Libraries/Roger Williams University

Hosted by Kathy Quinn, Moody worked with four students (Nicole Andresen ’19, Alexis den Boggende ’17, Hannah Little ’20, and Adrienne Wooster ’19), as well as alumnus Bradley Bermont. The following evening, in partnership with RWU’s Talking in the Library series, Moody gave a public reading at Rogers Free Library.

Photo: Megan Lessard/University Libraries/Roger Williams University

Photo: Megan Lessard/University Libraries/Roger Williams University


In addition to the generosity of the Bermont family, the fellowship weekend also was supported by Kathy Quinn and the Anthony Quinn Foundation, the Mary Tefft White Talking in the Library series, and Rogers Free Library’s Friends of the Library and their Jane Bodell endowment.

Photo: Megan Lessard/University Libraries/Roger Williams University

Photo: Megan Lessard/University Libraries/Roger Williams University

Photo: Megan Lessard/University Libraries/Roger Williams University


See Rick Moody’s full reading below:

Video Courtesy of RWUEDU

Manjula Padmanabhan, Talking in the Library – Video & Photos

The spring semester Talking in the Library event was held on Tuesday, March 28th at 5:00 PM in the Mary Tefft White Cultural Center.   The Library hosted a lecture by the author, comic book cartoonist and playwright, Manjula Padmanabhan. She won the 1997 Onassis Award for Theatre, for her play HARVEST. In addition to writing novels and short stories, Manjula created Suki, an Indian comic character, which was serialized as a strip in the Sunday Observer. She lives in the US.

This lecture was held in association with the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation.


To read more about Manjula Padmanabhan please see:  http://rwu.libguides.com/c.php?g=619019

Please view Manjula Padmanabhan’s lecture below

Video Courtesy of RWUEDU



All photos: Megan Lessard/University Libraries/Roger Williams University