Category Archives: News

Celebrate Black History Month

February is Black History Month and what better way to acknowledge African-American history than through scholarly research? The Libraries' are fortunate enough to house rare archives of many African-American men and women that made a difference in the course of history. 

One such online exhibit,"The Unwritten History," features digital reproductions of more than sixty individual pages from scrapbooks that document African-American history from the early-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Drawn from the Alexander Gumby Collection of Negroiana, this exhibition introduces visitors to the collection's remarkable curator, Alexander Gumby, and explores how and why he set out to preserve items that he felt could provide the documentary evidence for later histories of African Americans.

In addition to being noteworthy in its own right, the Alexander Gumby Collection of Negroiana complements several other collections held by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The Hubert H. Harrison Papers, H. Lawrence Freeman Papers, and M. Moran Weston Papers are all important repositories of documents and other items related to the political, cultural, and social histories of Harlem during the twentieth century. Numerous other collections such as the Max J. and Ruth Clement Bond Papers and the Robert Minor Papers document African-American history more generally. Additional collections feature extensive examples of the use of  scrapbooks as a documentary tool in US history, including the Chester Alan Arthur Scrapbooks and the George R. Van Namee Scrapbooks.

The Libraries are also home to the papers of Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones), American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, and music criticism.

“Like” the Libraries on Facebook!

by Jessica Gentile, Social Media Intern

Did you know many of Columbia’s Libraries and offices have official Facebook pages? Become a fan and keep up with the latest in library news!

Avery Library
Check out the latest resources, happenings, and news pertaining to architecture and fine arts.

Barnard College Library
Keep up-to date on library news and resources available at Barnard.

Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning
Learn more about Columbia’s leading educational technology group and all their latest initiatives.

Columbia Center for Digital Research and Scholarship
Check out the latest in research and technology from Columbia’s Center for Digital Research and Scholarship.

Continue reading

Researchers and Scholars – Apply for the Libraries Research Awards Program

The Columbia University Libraries (CUL) invites applications from scholars and researchers to a new program designed to facilitate access to Columbia’s special and unique collections.  CUL will award ten (10) grants of $2500 each on a competitive basis to researchers who can demonstrate a compelling need to consult CUL holdings for their work. 

For more information on how to apply, frequently asked questions, and more, please visit:

Meet Law Librarian Maxine Wright

Name: Maxine Wright

Title: Head, Collection Management


Library: Arthur W. Diamond Law Library

@Columbia Since: 1996

Education: BS, MS, MLS

About me: Organizing, managing, and preserving nearly one million items comprised over five floors of open stacks.  You may ask what is required to keep a large collection in pristine order; let’s start with a pair of comfortable shoes and stamina. That is, walking and climbing stairs is front and center. You are on your feet and sometimes tip toes (for the higher shelves) for most of the day.  Collection Management staff are rustling through the library tracking items, responding to searches, filing loose-leaf material, shelving, shifting, packing boxes for bindery and a myriad of other duties which fall under managing a collection.

The physical aspect is important however, an affinity for being highly organized and passion for connecting users to the collection is equally important. Users expect to find KF 9999 on the correct shelf in the correct order, current releases in place and pocket parts securely tucked in the back of treatises. We expect this too. Therefore, we strive to work toward a high level of accuracy when managing the collection at Arthur W. Diamond Law Library.

What’s new at my library:
Electronic paging for microforms and scanners.

Personal Favorites: Alumni weekend, Visitor’s Day and any other event which invites returning or prospective users to tour the library and the collection.

Recommended Resources: – lots of information on caring for a collection, classes and events.  

Ancient Text at Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library Shows Wrestling is the Oldest Sport on Record

 Not only was Columbia University the first college in the United States to offer wrestling, it is now home to the oldest known written instruction document on the sport.  The artifact, which proves wrestling to be the oldest sport known to man, was uncovered during an archeological dig in Egypt in the 1800s and was given to Columbia in 1907.  It dates between 100 and 200 A.D. and is guide for instructing two wrestlers through a series of standard moves and countermoves. 

A special presentation of the document was held last week at Columbia, with dignitaries from wrestling, politics, and academia, including legendary wrestler and coach, Don Gable, in attendance.

A replica of the document will be housed in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, OK, while the original will be kept in the care of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia.

New Equipment and Software Available in the Libraries!

Need to work on a Mac? Use Microsoft Word or Powerpoint? Finish a graphic design assignment? 

There are new computers and software options available throughout the libraries! In 300 Butler, in front of the Circulation desk, 16 computer kiosks have been replaced and the new computers now include Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite – that includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and more! 

Additional upgrades have also been made in the Digital Humanities Center (located in 305 Butler); 3 more Macs will be available in the Music & Arts Library (701 Dodge); and touch screen scanner stations will be available in Butler as well.


Locker Lotteries, Using the Business Library, Theater Architects and More …

Check out what’s going on this week at the Libraries:

Would you like an introduction that shows you how to navigate the libraries resources and services?  Come to one of three workshops offered by librarian Karen Green

Hoping to snag a Butler Library locker for the academic year?  Enter the Butler Library locker lottery by this Friday, September 9th.

The New York Times brings welcome news regarding the future of the Victoria Theater on 125th Street in Harlem designed by Thomas Lamb, one of the major theater architects of the first half of the 20th century, whose archive is one of the most heavily used collections in Avery Library’s Drawings and Archives.

Check out five things you need to know about researching in Watson Library

Meet the New Curator, Get Your Bearings in Butler, Free Cookies & More!

by Jessica Gentile, Social Media Intern

Check what’s going on at the libraries’ this week:

Avery Library celebrates the birthday of Charles Follen McKim, one of the most prominent American Beaux-Arts architects of the late 19th century. Check out his material in the Drawing & Archives department.

Meet Carolyn Yerkes, the new Curator of Avery Classics.

If you’re a new grad student studying history or the humanities, or just want a refresher course on what Butler Library has to offer, you’ll probably want to attend a "Get Your Bearings" orientation session and/or take a tour of the library some time next week. Be sure to check the schedule and drop on by!

The Digital Social Science Center discusses the Country Reports on Terrorism 2010, an annual Congressionally-mandated publication that provides loads of information and statistics about international terrorist organizations, which was just released last week.

Did you know there are fresh cookies available in the Journalism Library each week? In a Star Wars-themed Death Star cookie jar no less. Be sure to grab one on your next visit.

The Music & Arts Library urges you to spend the last days of summer with some opera. Check out the Morningside Opera’s production of "The Judgement of Paris" tonight!.

The Science and Engineering Library discusses all the awesome resources and equipment the Digital Science Center has to offer.

Check Out Photos of the New York Crystal Palace, New Educational Resources and More!

by Jessica Gentile, Social Media Intern

Check what’s going on at the libraries’ this week:

A new article in the History of Photography discusses Avery Library’s unique image of the New York Crystal Palace, a historic exhibition building from the 1850s.

Just in time for the back-to-school season, the Digital Social Science Center has lots of resources for educational reporting, including links to SchoolBook, an upcoming website created by the New York Times and WNYC.

Watson Library has a list of useful databases and resources to help MBA students working on the Parker Petroleum case study.


Find Out The Mayor’s Salary, Learn About The History of American Radio, and More!

Check what’s going on at the libraries’ this week:

Ever wonder what the mayor makes? The Journalism Library reports on the very transparent database tool SeeThroughNY lets you look up salary information for New York City government and public authority payrolls.

The Avery Architecture & Fine Arts Library walks you through the steps of accessing Sanborn maps with the new ProQuest Sanborn Maps Geo Edition. Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in libraries!

The Watson Business Library has posted their Fall 2011 Bloomberg workshop schedule. The one house session will teach you the basic navigation and searching skills necessary for using Bloomberg. Register today to reserve your spot! 

The Music & Arts Library suggests checking out American Radio History, an interesting, free collection of scanned, searchable, full-text periodicals related to broadcasting in the U.S.