Four is an Impressive Number

This past August I had the opportunity to meet with incoming students during the Student Success Conference. The Alfred University Libraries held a session titled 10 things you should know about the libraries before you start class. Anyone who has sat in on my introductory library sessions knows that I often ask the students if they know how many libraries there are in the village of Alfred. Often enough, one or two students will come up with the correct number: four.

The reason I ask this question is to provide an opportunity to talk about the different libraries available to them, and to discuss the strengths of each collection. I have to admit that I also ask the question because, as someone who lives and works in the village, I am proud of the number and happy that I can possibly surprise students (if that is even possible) with such a big number for such a small village. The question I ask is misleadingly simple, though. I could qualify the question with a possibly laborious introduction to the nature of libraries in the twenty-first century, i.e. what forms they take (physical or digital or both).

With the arrival over the past fifteen years of organizations such as the The Internet Archive and The HathiTrust Digital Library and, more recently, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), these resources expand the reach of libraries beyond the boundaries of any given village. I think I will keep the question I ask the students deceivingly simple (and possibly impressive) despite the fact that the question is complex.

By focusing the question on the four libraries in Alfred, I know that I am giving each student a good place to start and that, over time, they will discover the many remarkable collections that are available online.

-John Hosford

Additional information about the DPLA.

Digital Public Library of America

The National Digital Public Library is Launched! essay by Robert Darnton 


How to print from a personal computer to a library printer

Beginning this fall, you can print from a personal computer to a library printer without having to download any software or printer drivers! Below are step-by-step instructions. If you need assistance, ask for help at the library’s front desk.

1. Go to On the left-hand menu, hover your mouse over “My Printing” and select “Status.”

Go to and on the sidebar select  “My Printing” -> “Status”

2. Log into PaperCut using your Alfred University username and password. This is the same username and password that you use for AU email. Do NOT include as part of your username.


3. After logging in, select “Web Print” from the side menu.


4. Click the link “Submit a Job” to get started with choosing a document to print.

submit a job

5. Select the printer you’d like to print to. The three printers highlighted in the image below are the printers available in Herrick.  After selecting the printer, click the “Print Options and Account Selection” button to continue.

Herrick printers

6. You will now be able to indicate the number of copies you’d like to print. Choose a number and place it in the box labeled “Copies.” Then click the button “Upload Documents.”

number of copies

7. Select the file(s) you’d like to print by selecting the “Choose Files” button. This will open a dialog box where you can select your file(s). You can also see which file types are accepted for web printing. After selecting the files, click the “Upload & Complete “ button to start printing.


8. Your job should have been sent to the printer. PaperCut should display the status of your print job, as in the example below. Be patient for large files, which may take longer to print. To print another document, choose “Submit a Job” from this screen.


– Brett Arno and Ellen Bahr


Personal Librarian Dessert event a success!

Gourmet cupcakes, delectable cheesecake, freshly baked cookies, and tasty treats. These were the delicious desserts that were served last week as the Personal Librarians Program kicked off the fall semester with an informal meet-and-greet gathering in the Book End Lounge. The event provided an excellent opportunity for each of our AU librarians participating in the program to introduce themselves to first year students and for our librarians to get to know their students, as well.

Thank you to all who attended; you made the event a fantastic and memorable one!

Dessert buffet, Book End Cafe, Herrick Library.

Students and librarians engage in conversation in the Book End Lounge.

Mark Smith, Stephen Crandall, and Trevor Riley remind everyone to “Keep Calm and Ask a Librarian” by sporting their awesome new t-shirts!

Mark Smith, left, is the Director of Scholes Library; Stephen Crandall, center, is the Library Director and Collection Management Coordinator at Herrick Library; Trevor Riley, right, is the Engineering and Emerging Technologies Librarian at Scholes Library.

Eva Sclippa, right, is the Art Librarian and Instruction Coordinator at Scholes.

Ellen Bahr, left, is the Information Systems Librarian and Interlibrary Loan Coordinator at Herrick.

Laurie McFadden, center, is the University Archivist, Librarian, and Special Collections and Cataloging Coordinator at Herrick.

Brian Sullivan, middle, is the Instructional Librarian and Access Services Coordinator at Herrick.

What’s happening at Herrick?


What’s going on at Herrick? Why are there so many empty shelves? Where are those books going? What will be done with the space that becomes available?

Part of the project involves moving most of Herrick’s art books to Scholes.  Herrick built a collection of art books to meet a need in the distant past.  Now  those books are joining the books in the Scholes collection to make art research just a little easier. This has been an ongoing project for several years.

The other reason for all this activity is a re-evaluation of the entire library collection. It’s been many, many years since all the books in the library collection have been reviewed to see if they are still relevant and useful to AU students and faculty.


To start the evaluation process the library staff identifies older books that haven’t been used for 20 years or more.  Then faculty members in each subject area evaluate the possible removals to ensure that we don’t lose important works in the subject areas which support our curricula, just because those books haven’t been used recently.

The next step is to identify which books might be of use to others.  We send many of the items we remove to Better World Books, which supports literacy initiatives in developing countries.  They sell used books through their web site to fund those initiatives.  So its a win-win situation.  We feel better about the books leaving the library, because we know they may now get into the hands of someone who will use them.  And literacy is something near and dear to our hearts, so we’re happy to support efforts to improve literacy world-wide.

All of this evaluation and “slimming-down” of the collection will create a fair amount of new floor space — what will it be used for?



The top floor of the east wing (next to Alumni Hall) is slated to be transformed into a new space for the Center for Academic Success and the Writing Center which will come together to create special areas for writing assistance, tutoring, testing and other services.  When combined with the ITS HelpDesk and the library services already in place, it will make Herrick a “one-stop-shopping” location for academic support services.

We’ve still got a lot of work to do before the Center can be created at Herrick.  I want to give a shout out to the many faculty members who have volunteered their time to do this important review of the Herrick collection.  THANKS!!!

– Steve Crandall





Who’s Your Librarian?

Gnome Bibliomancer.

High Elf Loremaster.

Undead Espier.

If these don’t sound like names that belong in an academic library, you probably just haven’t heard about the Personal Librarians Program yet. Starting this fall, incoming undergraduates will have one of seven librarians assigned to them as their “personal librarian,” a sort of academic advisor for library and research issues.  This librarian will be their primary contact point for a vast range of research help, ranging from how to sign up for InterLibrary Loan to help developing a bibliography to figuring out how to use the printers. To help publicize the program, the participating librarians have agreed to reveal their secret identities taken on new personas, ones that capture the essence of their specialized skills.  Without further ado, allow me to introduce the FELLOWSHIP OF THE LIBRARIANS:

Brian_tradingcard Brian_tradingcard_back

Brian, the Information Literacy Librarian at Herrick Library, has also become the Bibliomancer, a magic user committed to helping students find their way through the world of research and library skills.  In more mundane terms, that means he plans and teaches many library instruction sessions.  He’s also a subject specialist in Astronomy, English, Environmental Studies, Geology, History, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, and Religion.

Ellen_tradingcard Ellen_tradingcard_back

Technology can be difficult to pin down, and it can be even harder to make different technologies work together. Fortunately, we have Ellen, the Technology Tamer and one of our two technology experts. She forges new paths through the information wilderness by setting up and maintaining the software and programs needed for our search interfaces to work, among other things. Subject-wise, she specializes in Anthropology, Biology, Communications, Criminal Justice, Global Studies, Modern Languages, Psychology, School Psychology & Counseling, and Sociology.

Eva_tradingcard_35x25Game Cards Design Kit

Where the Bibliomancer acts as a light in the dark to guide lost and confused students, the Citation Hunter leads expeditions–sometimes large classes, sometimes journeys with a single other soul–to assess and track down the best sources for a given topic. This can take the form of instruction sessions or one on one reference questions. And that 90% survival rate isn’t bad. Eva has a special interest in Art, Art History, Medieval and Early Modern Art, Medieval History, and Illuminated Manuscripts.


Grappling with the library’s voluminous image collection and with ever-changing image technologies, John the Imagemaster is to visual resources as Ellen the Technology Tamer is to our information systems. John captures new images for the collection and tames them, leaving them orderly and easily accessible for library users. He can also provide guidance on the various features of image use, such as creating Power Point presentations, using ARTstor or MDID to find images, or dealing with citations and copyright. His subject area of expertise is Visual Resources.


Whatever ancient lore or dark secrets reside in the history of this village and its scholars, Laurie the Loremaster has the keys to uncover them. She guards the archives, keeping the hallowed records safe from harm, and also easing the path for those who seek to learn their secrets. The tales of figures vanished in the mists of time still live on in her files. Laurie’s subject specialties are Athletic Training, Chemistry, Education, Gerontology, and Women’s Studies.


Someone has to build and protect the collections that these heroes navigate so deftly, and that someone is the Collection Defender. Steve manages the collection, ensuring both that it grows and flourishes, and that older and no longer relevant texts don’t gather dust on the shelves. As Library Director, he is also our fearless leader. Steve specializes in the subject areas of Business, Dance, Mathematics, Music, and Theater.


The newest member of our team, Undead Espier Trevor Riley gazes into the future, scrying to determine our upcoming technological needs. With his sidekick “Data” and the powers of technomancy, he then works to alter our current technology, honing it to meet the requirements of the days to come.  As the Engineering Librarian and subject specialist, he is also the go-to librarian for Engineering students with research questions.

First off, find out who your personal librarian is here!

If you’re an incoming freshman, you’ll be receiving a packet in your campus mailbox at the start of the year telling you who your personal librarian is (and including a trading card of that librarian in character).  You can also pick up this information at freshman orientation on August 21st.

If you’re not an incoming freshman and are sad that you haven’t been assigned a librarian of your very own, never fear!  Any of these adventurers would be happy to help you, or even to serve as your library needs contact point for the rest of your Alfred University career.  Just find someone whose subject specialties match your needs and drop them a line using the contact information listed here.  You might not find a gigantic treasure chest full of loot, but your time as a student will probably be a LOT easier.

Hope to see you at orientation!


Hey Mister .. Got A Match? Scholes Library Looks to Protect and Display a Gift of Historic Value


Scholes Library is anxious to display and preserve a bit of history and is currently seeking donations to protect and display a most wonderful gift.

This past April, Scholes Library was honored to accept a donation of historic significance.  The gift is a rare, 2 volume text titled “Traité Élémentaire de Chemie,” (Elementary Treatise of Chemistry)  by Antoine Lavoisier (1793).

This title is of particular historical importance for several reasons, including its widely recognized place as “the world’s first textbook in Chemistry.”   Lavoisier is often referred to as “the father of modern chemistry” and is credited with developing the first experimentally based theory of the chemical reactivity of oxygen.  Laviosier is also co-author of the modern system for naming chemical substances.   The donors are Alfred alumnus Roger Eiss (’64) and his wife Francoise Bourget.  A fuller story on this item donation and its history may be found here.

Scholes Library takes great pride in this acquisition and has pledged to protect it, display it and make it available to researchers.   To this end, the library has received a “matching gift” opportunity from an anonymous donor.  Should the library be successful in securing donation of $1,200+  for this purpose, our donor will contribute an equal amount allowing for the purchase of an archival quality display case to preserve our newest treasure.  A quality, environmentally protected casing will allow us to establish a permanent exhibition of the 2 volume set (and display its historically significant illustrations) within the Scholes Library Special Collections Area.

2013-11-15 09.29.01-1

We love our student employees!

The end of the academic year is a good time for us to reflect on the many benefits of having student employees in the libraries. Graduation is a bittersweet time for us – we’re excited to see many of our students moving on to the next phase of their lives but we also know that their shoes are going to be hard to fill.

Brian and Natalie at Herrick's front deskThe benefits of having student employees in the libraries are many! It’s no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t maintain our current service levels and open hours without the help of student workers. Together, Herrick and Scholes Libraries are open almost 200 hours per week during the academic year. During any given semester, we employ nearly 100 students. In addition to staffing our front desks, students serve in a variety of other roles in the libraries, from preparing materials for circulation to doing data entry, assisting with projects, shelving, and much more.

The relationship between student workers and the libraries is symbiotic: students gain valuable work experience and we benefit in numerous ways from having them here. After all, most of our patrons are students, and our student employees are their peers. Natalie Skwarek, who supervises students at Herrick’s front desk, notes that, “because student workers are students, our patrons, who are also mostly students, feel comfortable approaching them with comments and questions.” Student employees frequently find creative and unconventional solutions to problems, and make suggestions for improving library services.

Because our student employees are here to learn, and not just to work in the libraries, we do our best to provide a supportive work environment. This means giving constructive feedback, and ensuring that each student has an opportunity to grow. Librarian Brian Sullivan, who coordinates Herrick’s front desk, says, “I believe in empowering student workers to come up with creative solutions to the various situations they encounter at the front desk. This gives them opportunities to build their problem solving and leadership skills while they are here.” Herrick's front desk

Steve Crandall, Director of Herrick Library and Dean of Libraries, describes the libraries’ approach to student employment, saying, “We try to do everything we can to make it a real job, not just a way to collect work-study money. We make sure that the students know how important they are to us. We try to be clear about expectations and provide good training, infusing it with humor to make it memorable.”

Connections between the libraries and their student workers often endure beyond graduation. “The relationships we foster with our student workers can prove helpful in securing future employment,” says Dave Snyder, Access Services Coordinator at Herrick. Prospective employers regularly contact library staff for references and Snyder says that, because he works so closely with the students, he can often relay a story that illustrates a student’s positive character traits and capacity for growth.

As we move towards the start of a new academic year, we look forward to hiring a new group of students who will become part of this ongoing cycle. If you are an incoming student who is interested in working in the libraries, we invite you to stop by to see us after you’ve arrived on campus.

- Ellen Bahr