Announcement | Resumption of Limited Library Services

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stack of books

Though our physical spaces remain closed to patrons, the Library will begin phase one of a scaled return to in-person academic support on Monday, June 29, 2020. A small number of Library staff members will be onsite to scan materials for Fall 2020 courses and to retrieve books for contactless pickup.

Safety

To protect the safety of staff and patrons, we will be operating at minimum staffing levels with modified workflows to allow for social distancing and quarantine of materials. We will add staff and increase service levels as public health guidance allows.

Materials requested for pickup will be placed in bags on carts and quarantined, untouched, for a minimum of 72 hours. Please do not clean or disinfect library materials. It would likely damage the item(s) and is not necessary given the precautions Library staff are taking. The most current research tells us that 72 hours (three days) of quarantine is safe for circulating library materials.

How Long Will Requests Take?

Requests may take up to seven days. Quarantine protocols for handling physical materials will make requests for rush or expedited delivery less feasible for the time being.

Requesting Physical Materials

Current Brown faculty/instructors and students may request up to ten (10) items per week from our collections, including books. Materials available at the Rockefeller Library, the Library Annex, the Sciences Library, and Orwig Music Library should be requested directly through Josiah, the Library’s online catalog. Library staff will retrieve the items and email the requestor with instructions for pickup when the items are ready. Pickup for ALL items will take place in front of the Rockefeller Library. 

Requesting Special Collections

The John Hay Library will digitize special collections material for research and teaching needs. Requests from current Brown faculty and graduate students will be prioritized. Other requests will be fulfilled as time allows. This service is limited to members of the Brown community. To make a request, email hay@brown.edu or fill out the request form

Requesting Course Reserves and Course Packs

Faculty members should continue to use Online Course Reserves Access (OCRA) to request materials for course reserves and course packs. Once received, the Library will make the reserves available to students through the course site in Canvas. 

If you are using a course pack from a previous semester, the Library will make the content available in Canvas and/or OCRA. Email rock@brown.edu to initiate this process. 

Expanded Access to Digital Content and Services

The robust slate of online Library support, services, and resources made available during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be offered.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) for physical materials will not resume until a later phase, and (by agreement with our Ivy-plus partners) no earlier than September 1. We will continue to accept and fill ILL requests for articles and book chapters that are available electronically, which will be sent to patrons via email. We will also continue searching for electronic versions of requested books. 

Questions?

Email rock@brown.edu with questions. If you have a question about special collections, email hay@brown.edu

Announcement | PubMed Redesign

PubMed users will notice some major changes this week. As of May 18, the biomedical literature database is now defaulting to the new, redesigned interface. As always, the best way to see Brown University’s full text options is with the Library’s custom link.

New interface changes include:

  • Ability to cite references quickly in your preferred citation style format (AMA, APA, NLM, or MLA)
  • Option to share references via social media or a permalink
  • Responsive design for use on any device — mobile, desktop, or tablet — with the same features and functionality. On your mobile device, bookmark (or add to your home screen) this URL: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?myncbishare=brownu
  • Citations are initially sorted by the Best Match algorithm, but display preferences such as sort order and items per page can be adjusted using the “Display options” button.  

Most features remain – including clinical queries, the advanced search, MeSH database, search details (on the Advanced page now), and your MyNCBI account. Additionally, you’ll be able to export citations to citation management tools (e.g., EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley) through the “Cite” feature or by sending a batch of citations to your Citation Manager.  

Looking for the legacy interface? For a short time you’ll still be able to use it, at https://pmlegacy.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Please contact HealthSciLibrarians@Brown.edu for questions or instruction requests. 

The National Library of Medicine has created a page with links to PubMed tutorials and handouts. Take some time to explore the interface, and provide feedback to NLM at https://support.nlm.nih.gov/support/create-case/?category=plabs

Announcement | Summer Proctorships for Graduate Students

students viewing special collections

There are several Graduate School 2020 Summer Proctorships available at the Library!

The application can be found in UFunds. Once on the UFunds page, click on Graduate School COVID-19 Fund, then select “Graduate School 2020 Summer Proctorship Positions.”

Descriptions of the opportunities are available on the Graduate School websiteThe application deadline is May 13.

The proctorships available at the Library are:

Recipients of Summer Proctorship positions will participate in project-based, internship-style experiences. The goal is to offer graduate students whose research and study have been impacted by COVID-19 new professional and career development opportunities to enhance their experience and skills.

Eligibility: These proctorships are intended for PhD students whose total summer support would otherwise fall below the equivalent of three months of the standard academic-year stipend amount ($8,758.68). The time commitment expected is approximately 100 hours over Summer 2020. 

More information

A Message from the University Library to Graduate Programs and Students | Access to Scholarly Resources during Campus Closure

Dear Department Chairs, Directors of Graduate Studies, and Graduate Students,

Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family
University Librarian

At the Brown University Library, we are well aware that the COVID-19 public health crisis is having an impact on graduate students’ ability to study for qualifying exams and carry out thesis and dissertation research. At Brown, as is the case at universities across the country, we know that suspending all onsite activity at the Library is contributing to these challenges.  

I am writing to let you know about the work we have been doing to strengthen how the Library supports graduate students under these circumstances, and to ensure that you are aware of the resources that are available to help you move forward with your scholarship.

Individual Research Help

You can connect directly with a Library expert in your area who can support your research, answer questions, provide you with digital content, and offer reliable scholarly guidance during this time of stress and uncertainty. 

Increased Digital Access

Significantly expanded access to digital content is being made available during the COVID-19 pandemic. More digital scholarly content continues to be made freely accessible, and we are regularly updating our list as this happens.

The Library offers several ways to access digital content:

  1. Through our existing systems
  • Search Josiah, the online catalog, for books, articles, and other materials that Brown owns or subscribes to in electronic formats.
  • Request items through Interlibrary Loan. Requests are continuing to be filled for articles available electronically.
  • Many items from our physical collection are now available electronically via HathiTrust. We have added a link to the HathiTrust version to the records in Josiah. You will need to login with your Brown University web credentials to access the content.
  1. By contacting a librarian

You can request items by emailing rock@brown.edu (general) and hay@brown.edu (special collections).

  •  Library experts can help you locate materials available at Brown and elsewhere.
  • If you are looking for a book that exists in electronic format to which Brown does not currently have access, we will purchase that item if it is possible to do so.  
  • Special collections librarians will seek to identify primary source material in digital format through other libraries and archives that can contribute to students’ research. They can also offer individualized consultations regarding research methods and organizing your digital research files. Special collections is working on other creative solutions to provide digital access to its collections and to connect students with digital content at other institutions. The more we know about student research needs, the better we can deploy to find solutions.

Access to Physical Materials

We recognize that electronically available materials, however abundant, cannot address all scholarly needs and that digital content can also pose accessibility challenges. At this time, most university libraries have discontinued physical circulation and loans. For the health and safety of our staff, we are unable to provide physical access to Library materials until the University authorizes onsite activities to resume.  

As the University announced recently, President Paxson has charged a Healthy Fall 2020 Task Force with charting a path to the safe reopening of the campus. As the principles, process, and timeline for reopening emerge, the Library will be able to provide more information on how and when we can resume physical access to general and special collections materials. Like you, we are looking forward to that day.  

***

As researchers and scholarly experts ourselves, and as dedicated partners for you and your academic programs, we keenly appreciate the challenges you are facing in moving forward with your graduate studies. The Brown University Library is committed to doing whatever is possible under the circumstances to help you. To that end, we will continue to explore new ways to provide more of the content you need. In the meantime, keep telling us what you need and we’ll do our very best!

With best wishes for your safety and wellbeing,

Joe

Joseph S. Meisel
Joukowsky Family University Librarian

Announcement | Hortense J. Spillers Papers Open for Research

The Pembroke Center’s Feminist Theory Archive and the John Hay Library are proud to announce that the Hortense J. Spillers papers are open for research.

Spillers is an American literary critic, Black feminist scholar, and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in English at Vanderbilt University. Her research addresses literary criticism, race and gender; linguistics; the African diaspora; Black culture; and sexuality. She is best known for her 1987 article, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” one of the most cited essays in African-American literary studies today.

The Hortense J. Spillers papers include handwritten diaries and journals on topics ranging from critical race theory and Moby Dick to the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Spillers’ first trip abroad in 1968. The collection also includes personal and professional correspondence with scholars such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Gayatri Spivak; and drafts of her talks, articles, and books, including “Isom,” “Conjuring,” and “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.” Materials in this collection date from 1966 to 1995.

Spillers contributed her papers to the Feminist Theory Archive in the name of the Black Feminist Theory Project, established by the Pembroke Center in 2016.

For information on how to access these collections, please contact the Pembroke Center Archivist at pembroke_archives@brown.edu.

Announcement | Digitization of Historic Campus Speeches with CLIR Grant

Speeches by Civil Rights leaders and other renowned public intellectuals will be preserved and made available for scholarship.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded the Brown University Library $23,215 from its Recordings at Risk program. One of 13 projects selected out of 34 to receive grants from the program, the Library’s proposal, “Brown University Archives Audio-Visual Collection: Global Perspectives from Campus Speeches,” will allow us to digitize and make available to the public a large selection of audio and video recordings of speeches by leading public figures invited to Brown between 1950 and 1995. 

Brown University students on the College Green, 1969

103 cassette tapes, 198 film reels, and 44 VHS tapes–345 items total–will be digitized through use of the funding. This substantial set of materials document changing intellectual and social currents across the United States and the world on topics including social justice, politics, education, and the media–all of which still resonate today. There is a particularly fascinating set of recordings from Civil Rights leaders, notably Ralph Abernathy, Shirley Chisholm, Martin Luther King, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph. 

Over the next nine months, outside vendor George Blood LP will convert the media into digital files. A team of Special Collections staff and students will review the digitized files and create accurate and complete descriptive information. The final content will be uploaded into the Brown Digital Repository, where it will be available for research in October 2020.

Announcement | Daniel G. Siegel ’57 Gift and Fellowship

Daniel G. Siegel ’57

The Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of books and manuscripts from the personal library of Daniel G. Siegel ’57, a member of the Library Advisory Council, a board member on the Friends of the Library, and a long and dedicated supporter of special collections at Brown. Mr. Siegel has twice received the Library’s highest honor, the William Williams Award–once as an individual for his generous gifts to special collections and once as a 2012 member of the Library Advisory Council for its support of the renovation of the John Hay Library.

Comprising over 3,000 books and 100 manuscripts, the items included in this recent gift focus mainly on American literature, American history, and the history of science, but also encompass a broad range of other subjects. The gift is particularly strong in association copies, which document the various ways in which intellectuals and activists interacted with ideas and with one another. 

Outstanding Highlights of the Gift

First edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass inscribed by Whitman and Oscar Wilde

Highlights of the gift include:

  • A first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass inscribed by Whitman and Oscar Wilde
  • Lydia Maria Child’s Letters from New York inscribed to Margaret Fuller
  • King George III’s copy of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson’s copy of the report on the Dred Scott case
  • Typescript of Philip Roth’s early short story “The Conversion of the Jews”
  • A letter from Albert Einstein discussing the Rosenbergs’ trial and Stalinist purges
  • A draft of the constitution of the Confederate States of America with annotations and corrections by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens
  • First editions of 19th century Russian novels
  • A complete set of pamphlets by visionary rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
  • Liberia Herald, vol. 1, no. 1, Monrovia, Liberia, March 6, 1830
Liberia Herald, vol. 1, no. 1, Monrovia, Liberia, March 6, 1830

Areas of Distinction

The gift expands on the existing holdings in Special Collections in nearly every direction, adding works of significant interest to alcohol and addiction studies, the development of the American West, the history of technology and its uses, natural history and materia medica, the Civil War era, women’s rights, religion, and social reforms of all kinds.

Access to the Materials

The collection is currently in-process. Available titles can be browsed here.

A Lifetime of Collecting and Giving

The materials in this gift reflect Mr. Siegel’s expansive vision of collecting and are an invaluable addition to the John Hay Library’s resources for research and teaching. The items in this gift join those from previous gifts from Mr. Siegel, which include the only surviving manuscript of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and foundational works in the history of science.

Manuscript of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

Daniel G. Siegel ’57 Fellowship

To honor Mr. Siegel’s breathtaking generosity and the impact of his giving on special collections at Brown, the Library has established the Daniel G. Siegel ’57 Fellowship, a specialized component of the John Hay Library Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

The fellowship review committee will select one John Hay Library Undergraduate Fellow to be the Siegel Fellow, whose research focuses specifically on the collections of American literature and/or history at the Hay. Like the other fellows in the cohort, the Siegel Fellow will spend ten weeks in the summer building research skills using primary sources to develop an original project. Projects can take the form of a traditional research paper or may be creative or digital in format. Projects do not have to be completed by the end of the summer; the fellowship can serve as a start for a senior thesis, be a further exploration of work begun during a course, or allow a student a non-evaluative framework within which to explore a new topic. Fellows will work primarily in the Hay’s Gildor Family Special Collections Reading Room and will participate in a wide range of relevant workshops, with topics such as the history of the book and letterpress printing. All fellows will present their projects at a showcase in the fall.

Announcement | Network of Women Writers and Readers Crux of John Hay Library’s Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy


The John Hay Library is now home to renowned recording artist, writer, and activist Janis Ian’s collection of personally inscribed works of science fiction and fantasy, many by women and LGBTQ authors. 

Janis Ian holding guitar
Janis Ian

Providence, R.I. [Brown University Library] The John Hay Library at Brown University is delighted to announce the acquisition of Janis Ian’s personal library, including collections of books of contemporary science fiction and fantasy authors inscribed to her. Among these authors are Anne McCaffrey, George R. R. Martin, Mercedes Lackey, Mike Resnick, Nancy Kress, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Harlan Ellison, Jane Yolen, Tanith Lee, Diane Duane, and many others. In all, the Library received approximately 200 volumes from Ms. Ian’s collection.

The John Hay Library is the Brown University Library’s repository for rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other special collections. Its holdings of U.S. and Canadian poetry, plays, and vocal music dating from 1609 to the present day are considered to be among the largest and most comprehensive of their kind in any research library, including significant clusters in women’s writings, LGBTQ literature, science fiction and fantasy, and modern first editions.

cover of The Dragonriders of Pern
Cover of “The Dragonriders of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey, part of the Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the John Hay Library

The Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy will take its place alongside unique items like the only surviving manuscript of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the preeminent collection of H. P. Lovecraft’s papers, and a robust array of writings by more recent masters of speculative fiction such as Caitlín Kiernan and Samuel Delany.

Heather Cole, Curator for Literature and Popular Culture at the Hay Library observed, “The Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy substantially increases our holdings of women science fiction and fantasy authors. In addition, the fact that the books were owned by Ms. Ian—most with inscriptions—provides a wonderful record of a network of women writers and readers, something that is not always easily captured in library collections. Already a broad area of strength at the Hay, our materials in the science fiction and fantasy genres are significantly enhanced by this exciting acquisition. Brown students and researchers are certain to make great use of these materials, furthering scholarship in the many important areas of inquiry that are supported by this collection.”

Title page of “The Dragonriders of Pern,” inscribed by author Anne McCaffrey to Janis Ian

A Grammy Award-winning singer and musician, Janis Ian has been writing and recording music for five decades with a total of ten Grammy nominations in eight different categories. She has been at the forefront of numerous social movements, using music as a force of change, and has impacted the lives and works of artists from Nina Simone to Johnny Cash to Joan Baez. Artists including Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Trevor Sewell have recorded duets with her.

Janis and her wife Pat are currently downsizing while Janis continues to make music and write children’s books, the first of which is the recently published The Tiny Mouse.

Ms. Ian’s library was cataloged by Mary Jo Duffy of Temporary Culture (Upper Montclair, New Jersey), who acted as Ms. Ian’s representative in the sale. Proceeds will benefit the Pearl Foundation, which endows scholarships for returning students.

Items in the Janis Ian Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the John Hay Library

The collection is currently in the process of being cataloged. Over 160 titles can now be found in the Library’s online catalog, with more titles being added each month.

Announcement | Wall Street Journal Access

Brown University Library and The Wall Street Journal 

Brown University Library and The Wall Street Journal have partnered to provide school-sponsored WSJ memberships to all Brown University students, faculty, and staff. Through the partnership, readers have complete and personalized digital access to The Wall Street Journal and the WSJ app.

How to activate your complimentary WSJ membership: 

Students, faculty, and staff at Brown University can activate their complimentary memberships by visiting WSJ.com/Brown, logging into their school portal, and creating an account on the registration page. Those who currently pay for an existing membership may call 1-800-JOURNAL, and mention they are switching to their subscription provided by Brown University. Partial refunds will be dispersed. 

About The Wall Street Journal 

The Wall Street Journal is a global news organization that provides news, information, commentary, and analysis. Published by Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal engages readers across print, digital, mobile, social, and video. Building on its heritage as the preeminent source of global business and financial news, the Journal includes coverage of U.S. & world news, politics, arts, culture, lifestyle, sports and health. It holds 38 Pulitzer Prizes for outstanding journalism. 

Exhibit | Fort Thunder & Lightning Bolt: Old Mill / New Music

From humble beginnings as a studio space rented by four RISD guys in the fall of 1995, rose the now mythic Fort Thunder collaborative, located in a dilapidated mill building on the west side of Providence. While there were other decrepit mills nearby, with funky names like Munch House, Box of Knives, & Pink Rabbit, also filled with RISD & Brown students who hosted concerts, Fort Thunder is the one that lives on in popular memory. Its young residents put Providence on the map with their unique underground art & music scene, and inadvertently inspired lasting changes in the city’s preservation community, when they fought the redevelopment of the historic property in Eagle Square that they had called home for almost 7 years.

The display features multi-media options with reproductions of Fort Thunder concert posters & handouts from the collection of Shawn Greenlee, RISD ’96, Brown MA ’03, PhD ’08, as well as recordings by some of the Fort’s bands, like Lightning Bolt & Forcefield.  There are also images, maps, ephemera & photos related to the mill building (formerly the Valley Worsted Mills/American Woolen Co.) & the “Save Eagle Square” movement.

This exhibition participates in Year of the City: The Providence Project, a year-long exploration of the history, life and culture of Providence’s 25 neighborhoods through exhibitions, performances, walks, lectures and conferences produced by more than 50 different curators.   https://yearofthecity.com/

Dates: April 29 – November 3, 2019
TimeLibrary Hours
Location: Orwig Music Library, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, Providence