When They Are One: Inclusive Language Practices at CSI

When They Are One: Inclusive Language Practices at CSI

by Professor Anne Hays, Evening/Weekend Instruction Librarian

On May 3rd, 2016, the Library participated in an event created by Professor Christine Martorana of the Writing Program, and Jeremiah Jerkowitz of the LGBTQ Resource Center called “When They Are One: Language Practices at CSI”. The event invited participating departments to create an interactive activity designed to engage students in language inclusive practices, and the tables were set up in the 1P atrium. The stated goal of the event was to “prompt a dialogue on campus regarding the ways in which our written and spoken language can better reflect and respect the diversity of our community” and also to “give students the tools to be more critical, reflective, and purposeful language users.”


CUNY Librarians take Havana

IMG_6425CUNY Librarians take Havana

by Professor Maureen Garvey, Evening/Weekend Instruction Librarian

In January 2016, I was very fortunate to be a part of a 10-member delegation of CUNY librarians to Cuba. The week-long visit included a mix of just the right balance between social and community projects and 8 professional visits to large, culturally important institutions; Universidad de la Habana (University of Havana), Casa de las Americas (Latin American art museum), Biblioteca Pública de Rubén Martínez Villena (the central public library in Havana), Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba José Martí (the national library), Biblioteca Médica Nacional (the national medical sciences library), Museo Nacional de la Campana de Alfabetización (the museum for the campaign for literacy), Archivo Nacional de la República de Cuba (the national archives), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes- Arte Cubano (the fine art museum).

Never have I heard the word patrimony used so often. Cubans take the preservation of their cultural heritage very seriously. It was a wonderful thing to see such value placed on the kind of work that we do. Of course, even with this high regard, they face challenges too. What was most striking to us were the similarities in our professional lives, despite the very particular working conditions in Cuba. Everyone we visited was gracious in sharing a glimpse into their organization. They too were dealing with competing for limited funding, persuading state officials of their budgetary requirements, providing broad access while preserving resources, and supporting the needs of their users amidst inadequate infrastructure.


The central library of the University of was very recognizable to us, as academic librarians. They were undertaking a large project to digitize 90k catalog cards to create an online publically accessible catalog (OPAC). They also have an open access institutional repository where they encourage (and sometimes must persuade!) faculty and students to deposit articles and theses. They have a social media presence. They provide information literacy programs. Just as we observe, their students are technologically adept but require help with research and adapting to the demands of academia. (Of course, all education is tuition-free. Students must do 3 years of work placement upon graduation in exchange for their undergraduate degree. Post-graduate degrees do not require further service.)

At the public library in the old town, we met dedicated and inspiring librarians who have created a warm and welcoming public amenity. They have a well-equipped room for users with special needs, a fantastic children’s library and a well-used open circulating collection of literature from North and Latin America, Western Europe, and Russia. The public library is also in the process of digitizing their card catalog to increase access. Currently, public libraries rely tremendously on the expertise of librarians and their deep knowledge of their collections to aid in resource sharing. Regla, the head of adult services, had wanted to be a doctor as a child. Possibly influenced by a childhood friendship with Ernest Hemingway, she became a librarian, ‘a doctor of the soul’, as she saw it. Adrian, the children’s services librarian, was a Cuban Mr. Rogers, honored by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) for his incredible service.


Card catalogs were in use almost everywhere, along with ongoing efforts in various stages to digitize them and provide access online. Mostly, that computer access is available onsite only. Which brings us to the main impediment to modern library and information services in Cuba- the lack of technological infrastructure. Whether it is a server issue, bandwidth, or simply not enough hardware to give users access (only 2 scanners at the national library for their newspaper digitization project, no OPAC anywhere, 1 computer terminal with the catalog at the university and the public library) the lack of technology is holding back Cuban organizations from preserving and sharing information. Whatever one’s politics, it’s undeniable that the blockade has had a devastating impact on Cuba in all facets of life. It was evident at every institution we visited. Cubans are proud and dignified, the library professionals we met no different, but they were candid in sharing how this impeded their work and their mission. There are humanitarian projects to help them and they rely on their few allies but it was fascinating to see geopolitics playing their part in academic database subscriptions. The national medical sciences library has to find amenable Latin American neighbors to provide banking services to allow them to make purchases from US companies like Wiley, Springer and Ebsco, so their students and working professionals can have access to the latest scholarly research.

Just like in the US and elsewhere, we saw how STEM subjects attract funding. The best-equipped and most recognizable facility was the national medical sciences library. And it’s no wonder, as Cuban doctors abroad are the countries number one source of income, above tourism. The medical library provides a fantastic service, including publishing 23 open access scholarly journals, a well-developed portal for medical specialties, with content created by medical professionals and information infrastructure overseen by information professionals, and also a conference hosting service.


The national library had just undergone a long term renovation and the 1957 building was beautiful, including restored original furniture. They produce a striking monograph series showcasing prints in the collections. They also are undertaking several major digitization projects, of newspapers, the card catalog, and other archival materials. Again, technology was an issue. They do not yet have the capacity to put online what they have digitized.

Other highlights included a visit to the National Literacy Museum, which houses artefacts from the 1961 nationwide, year-long, and highly successful campaign to eradicate illiteracy (which was then at 23%, now .2%); the mosaic-covered village of Jaimanitas created by the artist Josè Fuster; the Fine Art museum holdings and special library; and the national archives.

Without exception, the information professionals we met were proud, dignified, passionate, and warm as well as resilient and resourceful. It was reaffirming to see such value placed on patrimony and higher education, and to witness others nobly struggling to provide equitable access to resources.



2016 LACUNY Institute – Race Matters: Libraries, Racism, and Antiracism

2016 LACUNY Institute – Race Matters: Libraries, Racism, and Antiracism

by Professor Maureen Garvey, Evening/Weekend Instruction Librarian

LACUNY Institute, the annual day-long conference organized by the Library Association of CUNY, was held at Brooklyn College on May 20. This year’s theme was Race Matters: Libraries, Racism, and Antiracism.

From opening remarks, through two keynote speakers and many concurrent panel sessions it was an inspiring, thought-provoking and challenging day, sparking a very necessary conversation.

april-hathcockIn a beautiful opening talk drawing appropriately from both theory and lived experience, April Hathcock (Scholarly Communication Librarian, NYU), pointed out that that race matters in our profession, when 87% of librarians are white. As such, she noted that neutrality is not a just choice, in the face of such facts. She further stated that we have seen an increased focus on diversity in hiring, but we also require a subsequent focus on inclusion, to support more people of color who enter the profession, to remain and succeed. “Acknowledging these issues is not perpetuating them, as some maintain. It is a first step toward change.” As we were reminded by April, Frederick C. Douglass taught us that power will concede nothing without demand.

MitchellSJacksonMitchell S. Jackson’s keynote (author, recipient 2016 Whiting Award) was a blistering trip through his upbringing in urban Portland, Oregon in which he deftly used the stories of people he knew, alongside his own, to illustrate that ‘revision’ is possible for everyone, and to urge us to consider our role in making this revision possible for all those students and patrons that appear before us.




Other sessions covered a huge range of subjects from inequality in publishing, both scholarly and literary, to repairing our unjust taxonomies, microaggressions, antiracism and whiteness, and the social justice potential of specific collections. CSI was represented by our Chief Librarian, Dr. Wilma Jones who presented and participated in a roundtable session of chief librarians on “Diversifying the Library Profession.”

unspecifiedSeveral CSI Library faculty played a large role in bringing this event to fruition. Professors Jonathan Cope, Anne Hays, and Mark Aaron Polger were all on the planning committee. Altogether, it was a great day.  A shout out to Professor Ellen Sexton of John Jay College, who coordinated the catering for the event. For what I heard, several people acclaim as the best conference lunch ever!

The library community looks forward to seeing action and discussion that will grow from this terrific event.

Greetings and Happy Fall from the Chief Librarian

Greetings and Happy Fall from the Chief Librarianwilma-fall2016

I am pleased to bring you updates from last academic year and highlights of new resources and services in the CSI Library.  First and foremost, I am happy to report that we successfully recruited two library faculty members for the positions of Electronic Resources Librarian and Evening/Weekend Instruction Librarian. These two new librarians have expanded our reach in many dramatic ways, the results of which you have certainly already felt or seen. Their bios are available in this newsletter, and you will see why.

Highlights of new initiatives implemented in 2014/2015 include the introduction of OneSearch – our new federated search to CUNY Libraries’ resources that retrieves a variety of resource types with a single search; the introduction of semester-long calculator loans – a resounding success; the creation of the Technology Support Center – a dedicated space for laptop and calculator loans, as well as support for printing and other library technology issues; and the implementation of an Events Calendar (htttp://www.lbrary.csi.cuny.edu/events) that lists exhibits and programs taking place in the Library – check it out!

We strengthened our collections in the new programmatic areas at CSI, namely TESOL, East Asian Studies, Arabic Studies, Physician Assistant, and Legal Studies.  In addition, the collections for programs under review for accreditation—namely, Social Work, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Physical Therapy, and Nursing—all received special attention.   As such, our journal holdings increased by 11,455 unique titles and our book collection expanded by 57,000 titles, primarily in e-book format.

Looking ahead, we have several exciting projects to roll out this year.  The first is CUNY’s institutional repository, Academic Works @ CUNY, which went live this semester.  A team of librarians here at CSI will be in touch with you (students, faculty, and staff) to get you hooked on depositing your works into this open access repository.  The second is the Blackboard/Library Integration Project, which we have been yearning for since BB was implemented.  It’s been a treat for us to create a webpage that provides key access points to library resources—now available to you directly in Blackboard!  More information about these two projects are detailed in articles on the following pages.  In addition, we have been in pilot mode with NJVID, a video repository program, which aims to provide ample storage for live-streaming multimedia and interactive tutorials.  This has been a spirited collaborative project between Media Services and Offices of Technology Systems that we hope will become a staple at CSI.

As always, I do encourage you to explore some of our databases.  Two new e-resources recently added were E-Marketer (a database that provides insights and trends relating to digital marketing, media and commerce) and Euromonitor: Research Monitor (a business reference database offering high quality research on industries, countries and consumers worldwide). We were also able to augment the following resources with additional titles: Ebrary, IEEE Xplore, Films on Demand, JStor, Springer Link eBooks, and Salem Press.  Go on, explore to your heart’s content!

That’s all from me for now.  I trust that you are having a productive semester so far!


Wilma L. Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Dean and Chief Librarian

Ten Resources to Tweet About


  1. There are 800+ titles of textbooks on Reserves for two-hour loans for use in the Library. Many titles are textbooks for introductory courses.
  2. Graphing Calculators(TI-84) are now available for 15-week loans (i.e. the whole semester) and can now be checked out from the Technology Support Center.
  3. The new Technology Support Center, located on the first floor of the library in room 109A, provides access to laptops, graphing calculators, and scanners.Mike
  4. Breaking news! All printers on the first floor have all been consolidated to one location in the reference room, and are strategically located six feet away from the Tech Support Center.   The same has been done with the copy machines—all four of them are less than six feet away from the Tech Support Center.
  5. Check out the K-12 Text Collection located on the 2nd floor, in west wing of the building.  These K-12 Texts include over 600 titles in print (and hundreds more online in the eBrary e-book database).
  6. A selection of the DVD Collectionis available to circulate for three-day loans.  Over 100 titles are available, including The Blind Side, Argo, The Wolf on Wall Street, Habla con Ella, The Help, Hurt LockerShawshank Redemption, Anna Karenina, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind, Hannah and her SistersBiutiful, Monsieur Lazhar, Los Abrazos Rotos, No, Kon-Tiki, and more.
  7. Check out our live-streaming video databases, Films on Demand and Kanopy (Media Educational Foundation) at  http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/streaming-video/.  They include over 19,000 educational and documentary videos and video-clips.
  8. Graduate students can now enjoy two of 10 group study rooms that have been specifically designed for seminar and collaborative group sessions.  They include flexible furniture, seating for up to 12, a large white board, and a 42” LCD monitor screen.
  9. The third floor, which is zoned as the silent floor, is the best kept secret at College of Staten Island Library.  Enjoy the quiet space at individual carrels or large study tables.
  10. Scrapbooks made out of abandoned papers at printers have been neatly stapled into 6-paged booklets for anyone’s use.

–Wilma Jones