What’s happening at Herrick?

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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.

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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?

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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

 

 

 

Art From Books, As Books

On a Tuesday morning at the end of January, nearly 100 students congregated at the Scholes Library, meeting in front of the circulation desk but quickly spreading out into multiple lanes of busy traffic throughout the building.  Though they were not here to work on research papers or look up biographical information on artists, they were here to begin a project centered around the library and its collections.  Every area of the library was opened to them, with rare and unusual items from the archives and special collections on display–but for inspiration, not information.

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“One Hundred Steps,” Samantha Calkins

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A glance at the typography of “One Hundred Steps”

The students were here as part of the Freshman Foundations program, a first-year experience for BFA students.  At the beginning of each term, Foundations students have a week to produce a work of art within parameters set by their professors, typically parameters about the format their work will take.  Unbeknownst to the students coming back from winter break, their professors had met with the librarians at Scholes during the fall term to put together a project that would bring students into the library and have them creating artwork inspired by and using library resources.  The assignment they settled on that fall was books; not just any books, but artists’ books–the perfect meeting of book and art.

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Interior view of “Wolf’s Bite” by Kelsey Mayo

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Cover, “Wolf’s Bite”

At the end of the week, we here at the library were invited to the Foundations classroom to see the finished books, and the results were truly impressive.  Using everything from books of patterns and decorative motifs to scans of magazines, encyclopedias, and survey texts, the students had created an array of artworks that ranged from traditional narrative books to the wildly experimental.

The forms, materials, and methods that students made use of were just as varied as the content.

"The World is Bigger Than Me or You -- and That's Okay," and accordion fold book by Mikaela Suders.

“The World is Bigger Than Me or You — and That’s Okay,” and accordion fold book by Mikaela Suders.

Scattered amongst the neatly side-bound volumes were creations that pushed the edges of what a book can look like, works that expanded in lengthy accordion folds or were cut to match the shape of their subject.  Some of the students’ works played with form in a way that affected the meaning or perception of the book as a whole, altering the movement from page to page.

Materials provided an even richer field of experimentation.  The majority of the works were made of paper, but others unfolded on sheets of fabric, plastic, or even glass.  Still others were made of traditional materials, but contained small samples of the unexpected–a sachet of lavender, an old map, a splash of glaze.

"What is in a Bottle," Ruby Wisniewski

“What is in a Bottle,” Ruby Wisniewski

Perhaps most rewarding for the librarians involved in the project, some of the works showed signs of inspiration from the materials in the library that the students had been perusing just a few days before.  Works like A Humument, the modified Victorian novel mentioned in our first post on artists’ books, echoed in the selectively concealed and revealed words of books like “Alice,” pictured below.

"Alice," Julianna Metz-Root

“Alice,” Julianna Metz-Root

Even more exciting, soon the students’ art and the works that inspired them will be able to sit side by side.  Within the next few weeks, the students’ books will be delivered to the Scholes Library and housed in special collections alongside our other artists’ books.  Once the books have been delivered and cataloged for our collection, they will be on display to the public–and be sure we’ll make an announcement as soon as they’re available!

New e-book collection at Herrick

For patrons who prefer reading and doing research online, there is great news!

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Herrick has recently subscribed to EBSCOhost’s eBook Academic Collection, which contains about 120,000 e-books! This is in addition to the 10,000 e-books already available through our general EBSCOhost eBook Collection and is included in the over 370,000 e-books offered in total.

Our new Academic Collection consists of a variety of multifaceted eBook titles that pertain but are not limited to academic subjects such as: art, business and economics, education, language arts, literary criticism, medicine, performing arts, philosophy, poetry, political science, religion, social science, and technology and engineering.

Titles are added to our extensive collection each month, ensuring that users have access to the most current resources that are relevant to their research needs. All titles are available to users with free, equal and unlimited access.

To browse through our eBook Academic Collection, please click here:  http://ezproxy.alfred.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?authtype=ip,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=e000xna

–Natalie Skwarek

DVD Collections at Herrick Library

Did you know that Herrick Library has over 3000 DVDs available for 3-day check out?  Alfred University students, faculty and staff may borrow up to 3 DVDs at a time.  Library users from the community who have purchased memberships can also borrow DVDs.  Although most people check the movies out, they can also be viewed in the library, both at a special station or on library laptops (ear buds and headphones are available at the front desk for use in the library.)

Much of the collection has been built from the suggestions of AU students and faculty, so it’s got a little bit of everything. Want more detail?

Check out our movie list: http://herrick.alfred.edu/index.php/movies

So what kind of movies will you find in Herrick’s collection?

We have new movies

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We have old movies — or as we like to call them — Classics

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We have TV Series

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We have movies from all over the world

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We have some special interest movies — for example we have several Anime titles like this one

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We also have just plain old mindless-entertainment-stress-relief movies like this one

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Remember, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, please send Steve Crandall a recommendation at fcrandall@alfred.edu or drop a note in the Suggestion Box.       We count on our users to help build this collection, so let us know what you’d like to see.  ENJOY A MOVIE TODAY!

— Steve Crandall

Artists’ Books at the Scholes Library

You’d expect a library of art and engineering to have many books about art, but what you might not expect–or be aware of–is that the Scholes Library also has a significant collection of books that ARE art.  More commonly called “artists’ books,” these volumes are works of art in and of themselves, and often are not restricted to the typical book format.

"The Sick Rose," a poem from Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake.

“The Sick Rose,” a page from Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake.

How you define the history and chronology of artists’ books depends largely on how you define artists’ books themselves.  Illuminated manuscripts have existed for centuries, of course, some merging art and text in ways that would now be clearly recognized as belonging to the world of artists’ books.  However, William Blake’s work in his Songs of Innocence and Experience is widely considered the most direct ancestor to the modern artist’s book.  Unlike medieval illuminated manuscripts, which were generally highly collaborative, each copy of Songs of Innocence and Experience was written, printed, illustrated, and bound by Blake and his wife.

Some contemporary artists’ books could still be considered illustrated narratives or collections of poetry, like Blake’s work, but the majority do not present their content in such a linear fashion, or even draw such distinct lines between form and content.  This may in part be due to the artist’s book’s strong historical connection to–and development from–the Dadaist movement, in which they took their place alongside performance art and published manifestos as a core part of the movement.

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Every Building on the Sunset Strip, a Ruscha book in our collection that, according to the Getty’s “Pacific Standard Time” blog, “reinvented the artist’s book.”

The modern artist’s book, however–that is, the artist’s book as we know it today–can be in large part credited to the avant-garde and postmodern artists of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, most notably among them Dieter Roth and Ed Ruscha.

We happen to have significant collections of the works of both of these artists right here at the Scholes Library!  A walk into our special collections room (after speaking with one of the librarians on duty) will reveal several works by Ruscha and Roth, including Ruscha’s Some Los Angeles Apartments and Roth’s Stupidogramme.

Ruscha’s work in particular plays with the format of the book, frequently expanding it into the accordion folds seen in Sunset Strip.

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This alteration, denial, or subversion of the book form appears frequently in the works we have in our collection.  The accordion fold, for instance, is crucial to the functioning of Scott McCarney’s Memory Loss.  Printed on both sides and barely two inches wide when shut, Memory Loss reads differently depending on which angle you choose to view it from, seemingly orphaned words leaping across the folds of the paper to construct sentences along the length of the book.

Still other works maintain the standard book form, humument1but use art to explore writing itself.  In A Humument, Tom Philips took as his starting point an obscure Victorian novel by W.H. Mallock, A Human Document.  By altering every page with painting and collage, he created an entirely new work, and brought out meanings from the text that the original author never would have intended–but which he nevertheless wrote.

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A page from A Humument.

If you’re interested in learning more about artists’ books, I’d also recommend checking out A Century of Artists’ Books.  Written by Riva Castleman and published on the occasion of the MoMA exhibit of the same name, it is an excellent introduction to the art form.  And, of course, feel free to search the Scholes collection for yourself!

-Eva Sclippa