Category Archives: Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Edward C. (Ted) Goodman

(Ted Goodman in front of the replica of Henry Hudson’s ship the Half Moon. Photo by Joan Kissell.)

Among the many Hudson River 400th celebratory events and publications this year, one really stands out for Avery staff: Ted Goodman’s recently published book The Hudson River Valley Reader (Cider Mill Press).

Recently WAMC Northeast Public Radio /Roundtable featured an interview with Goodman about his new book. The podcast is available at: This month’s Staff Spotlight:

Who he is: Ted Goodman is the General Editor of the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, an online index to architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, interior design and city planning based at Columbia University, New York City.

Years at Columbia University: Goodman joined the Avery Index in 1984. He has been editor of the Index since 1986.

Before this: He received his M.L.S. in 1982 from the University of Pittsburgh. Ted is the Past President of the Art Libraries Society of North America, an organization whose 1000 members include architecture and art librarians, visual resources professionals, artists, curators, educators, publishers, and others interested in visual arts information.

In his spare time: In addition to The Hudson River Valley Reader, Goodman is also the editor of Abraham Lincoln: the Prairie Years and the War Years, the Illustrated Edition by Carl Sandburg (Sterling Publishing, 2007). He is the author of Fire! The 100 Most Devastating Fires and the Heroes Who Fought Them (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001) and is also the editor of Writing the Rails: Train Adventures by the World’s Best-Loved Writers (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001) and The Forbes Book of Business Quotations (Black Dog & Leventhal, 1997).

On Watch

Jeffrey Lynch is on the night watch at Butler Library. He regularly makes his rounds during the wee hours to gently discourage “campers,” students who leave all manner of personal belongings including pillows and lamps to claim a study space. During the time that Jeffrey has been on patrol, there has been a significant decrease in camping, especially during midterms and final periods. An excerpt from our interview is below:

How long have you been in your current position?
I have been working as a Library Supervisor I since the end of last semester.  During the academic year I work from midnight – 8 a.m., with summers off.

What do you do?
I survey the library to assess usage, and lead the overnight anti-camping patrol in Butler Library.  Additionally, I assist Interlibrary loan with some of their electronic document processing.

What did you do before coming to Columbia?
Before this position, I worked in Milstein Reserves, focusing on electronic document delivery and media reserves.  Before coming to CU, I worked in the non-profit sector.

What is the best part of the job? The worst?
I get to see a side of the library that is very different from what I observed while working during the day.  No worst part so far…I love my job.

How do you spend your spare time or what are your hobbies?
I enjoy volunteering, and currently volunteer with the Gay & Lesbian Center and NY Cares.  Also, I enjoy crossword puzzles and yoga.

Chris Sala, recipient of the New Directions Award, describes her tour of Dutch libraries

At the end of October, Chris Sala, Architecture Bibliographer, attended the Study Tour of the Netherlands sponsored by the International Relations Committee of the Arts Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA). She joined them thanks to the Librarian III/New Directions Award.

Five days. Five cities. Twelve libraries. Chris describes a few of the highlights of the tour:

At the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam the group was taken into the library’s special vault which houses over 95% of the 900 extant letters by the artist. Written to friends and family, the majority to his brother Theo, they contain many beautiful illustrations and sketches. The museum is in the process of publishing a new edition of these famous documents. This is a dual project in which a large portion of the letters will only be available digitally on the museum’s website.

Another memorable visit in Amsterdam was to the new Public Library designed by Jo Coenen. This beautiful atrium building is much more than just a library. It’s goal is to be a central force in the community, a cultural and community center that includes art exhibitions, a public theater, meeting spaces, literacy and language labs, and even a piano in the lobby for skilled patrons to play. The reference librarians roam their designated areas in stylish uniforms created by a famous Dutch designer. Interestingly, the gay and lesbian collection housed in the library is actually maintained by a private non-profit organization.

At the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven the library has taken a unique approach to incorporating archives into the museum’s public displays. The ongoing Living Archive series alternately offer a new perspective on an exhibition in the museum, shed more light on the background of an exhibition or acquired work, or may pass an opinion on the museum’s strategies. The museum has permanently devoted seven small spaces to this endeavor, thus providing the public with a somewhat unconventional way of accessing documentary sources.

The remaining activities were visits to the Special Collections Library of the University of Amsterdam; the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam, a private library whose mission is to promote the Hermetic tradition; the Netherlands Architectuur Intituut Library and the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum Library, both in Rotterdam; the Rijksbureau Kunsthistorische Documentatie and the Peace Palace Library, the largest international law library in the world, both in the Hague; the University Library at Utrecht University, a library with a black interior and red rubber furniture; and hard hat tours of the renovations to the Rijksmueum and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Staff Spotlight: Seth Kasten

WHO HE IS: Kasten, a native New Yorker, is head of Reference and Collection Development at Burke Library.

YEARS AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: This October marks his 35th year at Columbia.

WHAT HE DOES: Kasten specializes in the subjects of Liturgy and Sacred Music.

BEFORE THIS: Kasten pursued simultaneous degrees at the Columbia University School of Library Service and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary. As a student, he worked at the Manhattan School of Music Library. “So I suppose you could say that I have been here longer than 35 years.”

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: After the major renovation of Burke Library in the 80’s, the Pastor of Corpus Christi Church, the late Myles Bourke, attended the dedication ceremony of the new reading room. “He went around the room and blessed the books with a branch dipped in holy water.”

BEST PART OF THE JOB: Experiencing the satisfaction of the patrons and working with the largest collection in its field in the Western Hemisphere. Kasten enjoys the fact that the small Burke community allows him to get to know students on a first-name basis. “Of course, being part of the larger Columbia Libraries community allows me access to the wider world of all subjects beyond theology. I enjoy getting to know the other Columbia librarians.”

IN HIS SPARE TIME: Kasten leads the Men’s Schola Cantorum, a small group that sings Gregorian chants that he founded fifteen years ago. He also sings with two church choirs and is studying the clavichord. Kasten’s interests have extended to the culture of India, and he has visited the subcontinent seven times.

Sachie Noguchi’s travels to Japan

Japanese Studies Librarian Sachie Noguchi recently returned from a three-week trip to Japan. She received training for Year 2 of the Tenri Antiquarian Materials Workshop for Overseas Japanese Studies Librarians at Tenri Library along with 6 colleagues from the United States and 12 from Europe. Training this year included the study of manuscripts and print versions from mainly the Edo-period (1600-1868).

Noguchi attended three meetings in Tokyo: the Image Use Protocol Conference, a meeting for scholars, librarians, and Japanese publishers to develop best practices for using visual images from Japan; Post-Japan Studies Information Specialists Training (JSIST), a program planning meeting to discuss possible future training programs for Japanese Studies librarians from overseas sponsored by the National Diet Library with funding from the Japan Foundation; and the Japan Art Catalog (JAC) Project meeting, where the Freer Gallery (depository of Japanese and oriental art), Columbia (depository of Western art) and the NACT (National Art Center Tokyo) which operates the JAC program met to discuss the program.

Noguchi also visited a number of libraries that are rich in research materials including the Museum of Modern Japanese Literature, the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum at Waseda University, and Hosei University Nogami Memorial Noh Theatre Research Institute.

Trip to Argentina and Uruguay, by Pamela Graham (April 17th -26th)

Book fairs in many parts of the world are highly popular and energetic events. This was definitely the case in April in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the 34th International Book Fair took place. Pamela Graham, Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian and the acting director of Area Studies and the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, recently traveled to the Book Fair as part of a group of about a dozen librarians from the U.S. Below is a description of her trip.

“The Fair set aside the first four (tranquil) days for library, publishing and other information professionals, after which the event opened to the general public (not so tranquil). This year there were over 1,500 exhibitors and participants from 48 countries and by closing day on May 12th over 1 million persons had visited the fair. I was able to purchase materials and learn more about regional and provincial publishers and spoke with more established publishers about trends and priorities in their programs. I also had the chance to meet with our long-term vendors based in Argentina and spent some time reviewing books with them. The last few days of my visit to Argentina were spent going to bookstores and the offices of several NGOs working on human rights issues.

A side trip to Montevideo, Uruguay, about a 45 minute flight from Buenos Aires, offered the opportunity to visit several archives. I was the guest of the Archivo General de la Nación and toured their facility. My program of activities included visits to several smaller archives housed at the Universidad de la República, the country’s largest and oldest university (founded 1848). The Center for Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies and the Center for Uruguayan Interdisciplinary Studies have extensive collections related to the period of military rule in Uruguay, 1973-1985. Their holdings included specialized newspapers and serials, along with oral histories of individuals involved in political opposition movements. The main University Archives has been assembling papers and documents related to faculty members who were persecuted or disappeared during military rule. The head archivist at the Archivo General attended last fall’s human rights documentation conference at Columbia and I look forward to maintaining contact with colleagues in this country. The visit to Uruguay ended with an afternoon at the famous bookstore of Linardi y Risso, our main approval vendor.[see photo]

ReCAP Coordinator Zack Lane

The ReCAP Coordinator is a new position to problem-solve and streamline the movement of materials to and from CUL’s high-density storage facility. ReCAP (Research Collections and Preservation Consortium) is now CUL’s largest library with more than 2.7 million volumes.

The initial phase of work will be to gather and distribute information among staff involved with ReCAP. The ReCAP website
( will be the initial forum to distribute relevant documentation. Updates will be regular and clearly indicated. There is also a second ReCAP page for patrons:

The ReCAP Coordinator will be responsible for training new and existing staff for ReCAP procedures.

Zack eagerly awaits suggestions, questions and comments. Please contact him at zl2114@columbia, (212) 851-5621 or in person at the idesk from 4-5pm every Wednesday.

A Year in Starr for Visiting Librarian Jongchang Yi

The year is passing quickly for Jongchang Yi, who traveled from Korea to join the staff of the C. V. Starr East Asian Library as a visiting librarian last December. Yi’s residence at Starr is part of the Columbia University’s Visiting Librarian Program, which provides learning opportunities through an educational program of work experience and research.Yi is a librarian and Assistant Chief of the Rare & Old Books Department at the Central Library of Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. There he was working as a member of the New Library Building Task Force Team, participating in the Yonsei Library Building Construction Project, focusing on library planning.Yi has been supporting the development of the Korean Collection at Starr. His other accomplishments during the past year have included revising and expanding an iPod tour of Starr with Hee-sook Shin, and updating the Korean Studies portion of the Library’s website.Yi sees his program as an opportunity to examine the practical role of a subject librarian in an academic library. During the fall, he plans to investigate the other libraries at Columbia in detail.Amy V. Heinrich, Library Director, finds him a welcome addition to the Library’s staff. “Jongchang’s interests and skills fit well with our goals,” Heinrich said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to explore what we do and how we do it.”

A Warm Welcome for Undergrads

Anice Mills, Undergraduate Services Coordinator in Butler Library, recently gave a welcome party on a grand scale. From August 27 to September 1, she single-handedly organized the undergraduate student orientations for the libraries, welcoming 1600 students from Columbia College, Engineering & Applied Science, and General Studies. Continue reading