2018 Recipients of the Libraries’ Outstanding Student Employee Award

Several individuals from a student workforce of more than 300 were recognized with the 2018 Outstanding Student Employee Award. These students have demonstrated exceptional commitment to their work and are recognized for their numerous contributions to our Libraries.

Molly Boord (General Studies), Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Kate Burt (School of Engineering and Applied Science), Digital Scholarship

Daniel Casanova (Teachers College), Science, Engineering, and Social Science Library

Anna Duong (Columbia College), Arthur W. Diamond Law Library

Brandon Harrington (Union Theological Seminary), Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Crystal Herrera Pereira (General Studies), Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Rebecca Potts (Union Theological Seminary), Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Kelly Powers (Columbia College), Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Sabina Espinal Soloranzo (Columbia College), Thomas J. Watson Library of Business and Economics

Congratulations to the award winners and a heartfelt thanks to all of our student employees, without whom our work in the Libraries would be incomplete.

What’s Happening with Barnard Library in Spring/Summer 2018

Great news! Barnard’s new Milstein Teaching and Learning Center opens in September 2018. Because moving presents some logistical challenges, including restoring books and archival materials to their shelves and the library catalog, the Barnard Library will suspend access to some services and resources for a time this summer. If you are a Barnard library user, please familiarize yourself with these key dates between May and September

We Are Your Library

So much of our work in the Libraries involves tools, data, exciting technology, incredible materials, and rare collections. We are harnessing technology in new ways and expanding our ideas of what materials have a place in our acquisitions and archives.

For all the changes in the information landscape, what continue to be most valuable are the human interactions. People with specialized skills make exciting things possible for researchers and learners. The future of the library is long, and the continuum of that arc is our people. Increasingly, we hold subject area expertise, including foreign language skills, and advanced digital literacy. We are what make the Columbia Libraries dynamic and sustainable.

“One of the great things about having librarians, faculty, and students working together is that they all bring different skills to the table. We get to play, we get to invent, we get to push the envelope, we get to ask questions about the library’s future. I come here every day excited to see what we will come up with next.” – Alex Gil, Digital Scholarship Coordinator

Learn more about our staff!

Libraries Receives CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant for Bob Fass Collection

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) today announced that Columbia University Libraries has been awarded a Recordings at Risk grant to support the digitization of the recently acquired Bob Fass collection.

Bob Fass, pictured here in his New York City-based WBAI studio. Courtesy of Lost Footage Films.

Columbia will preserve and provide access to almost two decades’ worth of audiotapes from the archive of groundbreaking broadcaster Bob Fass. A pioneer of “free form” radio for seven decades, Fass is best known for his late-night program Radio Unnameable. During the sixties it featured unscripted appearances by poets and musicians like Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, and social activists like Abbie Hoffman and Timothy Leary – a forum where listeners could interact with their idols and one another. In 1968 alone, Fass broadcast live events like the “Yip In” at Grand Central Station, Columbia University student protests, and the Chicago Democratic National convention. Once digitized, these recordings will be a major resource to study mobilization of dissent via mass-media in late-twentieth century America.

Recordings at Risk is a national regranting program that supports the preservation of rare and unique audio and audiovisual content of high scholarly value. Generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Recordings at Risk will award a total of $2.3 million between January 2017 and April 2019.

ReCAP Accessions 15 Millionth Item

The country’s largest offsite library shelving facility, the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP), now holds over 15 million items. ReCAP’s 15 millionth item, “Object lessons & the formation of knowledge : the University of Michigan museums, libraries, & collections 1817-2017,” was accessioned April 27, 2018.

In September, the consortium members launched a Shared Collection Initiative, expanding Columbia’s catalog by 7 million records. Columbia faculty, students, and staff now have access to the expanded collection through the Columbia catalog, CLIO. Users can locate additional items in CLIO and request direct delivery to campus.

Ed Cleary (right) and Ian Acker (left), ReCAP staff members, accession the 15th million item, Object lessons & the formation of knowledge : the University of Michigan museums, libraries, & collections 1817-2017.

ReCAP was created in 2000 to support its members’ goals of preserving their library and archival collections and providing access to researchers. ReCAP consists of a preservation repository and resource sharing services, jointly owned and operated by Columbia University, the NYPL, and Princeton, and located on Princeton’s Forrestal Campus. More than 15 million items are currently in ReCAP’s care and used to fulfill approximately 250,000 requests for materials each year, from its partners and from libraries around the world.

Columbia Magazine Comic about Curator for Comics & Cartoons Karen Green Nominated for an Eisner Award

Our favorite comic is up for an Eisner Award! “A Life in Comics,” published in the Summer 2017 issue of Columbia Magazine, was created by cartoonist and Teachers College alum Nick Sousanis and traces the unconventional path taken by librarian Karen Green which led to an unconventional career as Columbia Libraries’ first-ever Curator for Comics & Cartoons. The illustrated feature is nominated in the “Best Short Story” category of the Eisner Awards, an annual prize given for creative excellence in American comics. The winners are decided by professionals in the comic industry and will be announced at the 2018 Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA, in mid-July.

For more on Karen’s work in the Libraries as both Curator and Librarian for Ancient & Medieval History, check out our own profile of her day-to-day in Butler Library and her offbeat collections.

Congrats to Columbia Magazine, Nick, and Karen on their well-deserved recognition!

Columbia Libraries Partners with Design for America to Address Stress Culture in Butler Library

The Design for America project with Columbia Libraries is a student-led effort working alongside administrators and staff in Butler Library with a mission to improve the student experience at Butler. Based on the results of a survey of more than 200 current students, DFA x CU Libs has prioritized promoting healthy study habits, comfort, and wellness in Butler, with current emphasis on room 202. In the space, you’ll find newly-added footrests and seat cushions for a more comfortable study session as well as posters and stickers that encourage self-care and wellness during even the most hectic weeks of the semester.

Butler 202 is a resource for you as finals approach and the semester ramps up. Please visit Butler 202 to experience some of these ideas in effect, give us your feedback, and tell us what you would like to see in the future!

Visit bcdfa.com to learn more.

Columbia Libraries Launches Website for the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry (LCAAJ)

Columbia Libraries is very pleased to announce the launch of the website for the digitized data of the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry. An accompanying guide to the use of the digitized materials with many supplementary materials is also available.

The LCAAJ archive is an extraordinary resource for research in Yiddish studies that can shed much valuable light on language, ethnography, literature, folklore and music, anthropology, linguistics, Germanic and Slavic studies, and aspects of Central and East European history. The archive consists of over 600 interviews conducted between 1959 and 1972 with native speakers of Yiddish during a long-range comparative study to document the effects of physical, linguistic, and cultural channels and barriers on the geographic fragmentation of the Jewish and diverse non-Jewish populations that coexisted in Central and Eastern Europe before World War II. The LCAAJ project collected its interviews at essentially the last moment, when a diverse body of native speakers was still alive, aiming to address both the challenge of an endangered linguistic and cultural legacy, and the special potential that Yiddish provides for studying language and cultural contact and change.

The LCAAJ archive consists of over 600 interviews conducted between 1959 and 1972 with native speakers of Yiddish, documenting the effects of physical, linguistic, and cultural channels and barriers on the geographic fragmentation of the Jewish and diverse non-Jewish populations that coexisted in Central and Eastern Europe before World War II.

This two-year project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, digitized approximately 140,000 pages of interview documents containing data from the interviews, carried out optical character recognition (OCR) and mark-up of the printed responses to enable their content to be searched and manipulated, and made all the digitized content freely available to scholars via the Digital Library Collections at Columbia. Additional work, funded by the Libraries, allowed for complete reprocessing of the full LCAAJ archive for scholarly use. This source for historical, literary, or anthropological research, for the study of languages in contact, and for the evolution and differentiation of language communities, is now available to a worldwide community of scholars.

The written materials accompany more than 5,700 hours of recorded interviews that Columbia Libraries has already digitized through generous support from NEH, private foundations, the New York State Conservation/Preservation Program, and Evidence of Yiddish Documented in European Societies (EYDES, a project of the German Förderverein für Jiddische Sprache und Kultur), through which the audio is publicly available. The long-term goal is to eventually link the written content to the audio recordings of the interviews and make the entire audio and written corpus available to students and scholars in an integrated form.

The interviews contain a wealth of comments about Jewish culture and history from a place and time that is largely out of our reach today. Bringing the LCAAJ archive into the digital environment will exponentially increase its value to historians of Jewish Studies and European history, linguists, anthropologists, and students and teachers of Yiddish. The availability of this data will greatly facilitate the online work of scholars to continue and enhance the important mapping work begun in the first three volumes of the printed Atlas, which were published by Niemeyer in 1992-2000.

As part of the launch of the project, an exhibition called “Yiddish at Columbia” will be mounted in the Chang Octagon Gallery in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library in early March. Additional events will be announced at a later date.

Let there be light!

Winnie Xuan Zhu, ’17GSAS, captured the stacks of Lehman Library in a photo she titled “Let There Be Light,”offering her thanks to Lehman staff.

“Recalling the past year, most of the time I spent was in Lehman, which was so unforgettable. [I’d like to] say thanks for all your work and the great environment in Lehman.”

Thanks to Xuan Zhu for her kind words!