Announcement | Brown Library publishes “Race &” in America digital book series

Free and open publication documents and expands series exploring origins, history, and legacies of anti-Black racism in the U.S.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] Over the course of the 2020-21 academic year, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown, in partnership with the Office of the Provost, undertook a systematic investigation of the foundational and enduring contemporary effects of anti-Black racism in America. Drawing on the expertise of Brown scholars from a range of fields and scholarly perspectives as well as the University’s historic strength and leadership in scholarship on race, the pioneering “Race &” in America panel series generated critical engagements with society’s most fundamental and urgent questions. Investigating the role that racism plays in American public health, democracy, punishment, and more, the informed and illuminating discussions deepened knowledge and awareness in the service of promoting a more just and inclusive community and world. The “Race &” in America digital publication series amplifies the impact and extends the reach of this important and timely panel series.

Developed by the Brown University Library’s Digital Publications Initiative and in close coordination with Tricia Rose, Chancellor’s Professor of Africana Studies, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives, and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the “Race &” in America digital publication series re-presents the compelling original panel discussions with expanded content and resources in an innovative, interactive format, designed to heighten understanding and broaden these critical conversations. “The ‘Race &’ series and its creative digital presentation reflect two core elements of CSREA’s vision: to foster dynamic intellectual community on crucial issues and ensure long-lasting access to ideas,” said Rose. “By offering an array of Brown faculty reflecting on the importance and complexity of the way race defines American society from slavery to genetics to art, and making it available through this interactive, digital platform with enhanced content, we’re able to contribute to ongoing conversations on these critical issues.”

The “Race &” digital publication is a remarkable example of Brown’s dedication to its mission of creating and sharing knowledge in service of society. According to Richard M. Locke, Brown University provost: 

Brown is committed to conducting and disseminating widely consequential research designed to elevate awareness of pressing societal issues and contribute to meaningful change. The “Race &” in America series is emblematic of this commitment. Over the course of a year, we have shared Brown’s faculty expertise in the interwoven areas that define and perpetuate anti-Black racism in the U.S., and through this engaging digital delivery, we’re able to amplify and extend the impact of these important contributions.

As an open access publication, the digital series provides enduring, barrier-free access to information, and has been developed with universal design principles for equitable use by all persons, including those with disabilities. In addition, the series features responsive design — readable on all digital devices, from smartphones to desktops — and robust highlighting, annotation, and sharing tools that encourage deep reader engagement and allow users to interact with one another.

Each of the eight volumes in the digital series includes:

  • A recording of one of the 90-minute panel discussions that took place throughout the 2020-2021 academic year
  • Student Voices podcast episodes in which Brown University students engage the panelists in follow-up discussion 
  • Recommendations for entry-point materials on the subject
  • Multimedia resource collections of readings, online exhibitions, podcasts, and other materials referenced during the panel discussions
  • Suggestions for further exploration

“The ‘Race &’ in America series is an important step forward for Brown’s leadership in both scholarship on race and digital scholarly publications,” said University Librarian Joseph Meisel. “It ensures that the penetrating perspectives and fresh critical analyses advanced through this remarkable academic initiative are not simply preserved as a video link on some website, but rather rendered more fully in a format that sustains and broadens the impact of this essential work for education, further research, and public understanding.”    

The digital series consists of eight volumes:

Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative — a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, generously launched with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — creates exciting new conditions for the production and sharing of knowledge. Widely recognized as accessible, intentional, and inclusive, Brown’s path-breaking Initiative is helping to set the standards for the future of scholarship in the digital age.

Questions about the “Race &” in America digital publication series or the Library’s Digital Publications Initiative generally can be addressed to Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor (allison_levy@brown.edu).

Announcement | Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas

“Return of Indians,” Mosquito Shore registry of enslaved Indians, 1777. CO 123/31/125. The National Archives, UK.

The Library has been contributing to a community-centered database project led by Professor Linford Fisher that seeks to document the many instances of Indigenous enslavement in the Americas between 1492 through 1900. Formerly entitled, Database of Indigenous Slavery Archive (DISA), the project is now named, Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas.

Since the summer of 2019, with guidance from Professor Rae Gould and Lydia Curliss, Physical Sciences Librarian and member of the Nipmuc Nation, the team has been working with Native partners from twelve different tribal nations in the southern New England area. Together, the collaborators decided to change the project name to one that reflects the efforts and goals to decolonize the project and become more community and Indigenous centered.

Rather than simply make accessible the records of Indigenous people who were enslaved, the project is designed to offer a decolonizing framework that explores the 21st century impact of enslavement that has ruptured the relations of Indigenous people, families, and nations. In short, stolen relations. The project recovers the stories of Indigenous enslavement in order to bring to light the stories and to contextualize them within the larger context of settler colonialism.

Because the team is largely collecting archival documents about indigenous enslavement that are written by the colonizer, it is essential to indigenize the presentation of the database so that there is a decolonizing context around the language from archival documents. For example, rather than simply list “tribe” affiliations, as is sometimes listed on the original document, the database will provide information on how archival documents often include terms that diminish the nationhood and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples (such as the word “tribe”). And in many cases, the tribal/national affiliation of enslaved Natives was completely erased. The project intends to reassert the nation-to-nation relationship that tribes have, and center that context alongside the data.

In this early phase of the project, the database is not yet public — though the project website is public. The team is working with tribal partners and a group of researchers to identify, enter, and interpret relevant historical and oral historical materials, and is currently looking to partner with individuals and institutions who are willing to send materials they have or join the research team to input materials directly. Please visit the project’s Contribute page or contact Linford D. Fisher to learn more.

Stolen Relations has been generously funded and supported by the following entities:

Library staff members working on the Stolen Relations project:

  • Ashley Champagne, Digital Humanities Librarian, Center for Digital Scholarship, Brown University (Project Manager)
  • Lydia Curliss, Physical Sciences Librarian, Academic Engagement, Brown University Library (Nipmuc)
  • Birkin Diana, Digital Technologies Developer, Brown University Library
  • Patrick Rashleigh, Data Visualization Coordinator, Center for Digital Scholarship, Brown University
  • Ben Tyler, Publications and Design Specialist

Event | Performing Objects and the Objects of Performance in the Global Early Modern: A Virtual Interdisciplinary Symposium

Join the John Hay Library and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World for Performing Objects and the Objects of Performance in the Global Early Modern: A Virtual Interdisciplinary Symposium, taking place over two sessions on June 14 and 15, 2021 from 9 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Professor Holly Shaffer of Brown’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture will moderate. 

Register to attend.

Visit the Performing Objects and the Objects of Performance website for more information. 

Symposium

Symposium participants will convene to bring forward new or under-explored theories of performance in the study of the global early modern, with a focus on performance in relation to objects of historical analysis. These objects may be archival materials, the individuals or collectivities that produced these materials, or conceptual and abstract knowledge-objects.

Papers by invited scholars will be published on the Performing Objects and Objects of Performance website in advance. Each of the two symposium sessions will be divided between discussion of the papers and presentations by participants on relevant objects digitized from the John Hay Library’s collections.

Panelists

  • Claire M. L. Bourne (Penn State)
  • Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden University) 
  • Matthew Melvin-Koushki (University of South Carolina) 
  • Anthony Ossa-Richardson (UCL) 
  • Kishwar Rizvi (Yale University)

Discussion topics

  • How can performance, as a theoretical rubric, illuminate the interaction within and among such categories of object, as well as between object and subject — both historical subjects and historian subjects?
  • How do objects represent, enact, or mediate performance? In what ways can one object surrogate or perform as another?
  • How do objects circulate performances across distances of space and time?

Kenneth Molloy, John Hay Library/Center for the Study of the Early Modern World Fellow

The symposium is the culmination of a fellowship project by Kenneth Molloy, PhD Candidate in the Department of Theater Arts & Performance Studies, the fourth John Hay Library/Center for the Study of the Early Modern World Fellow. Kenneth’s fellowship was conducted with support from Holly Snyder, Curator of American Historical Collections, Lincoln and Hay Collections, and History of Science at the John Hay Library.

Event | “Just Like the Men”: The 19th Amendment and the Racial Legacies of Women’s Suffrage with Laura Prieto

The Library invites you to join us via Zoom for a talk by Laura R. Prieto on Thursday, March 18 at 12 p.m. Join the talk.

Although national women’s suffrage organizations declared victory with the Nineteenth Amendment, many women in the United States continued to be denied the right to vote for decades afterwards. This talk explores why and how the ballot remained limited to white, native-born U.S. citizens, in 1920, while Black women and men in the South, colonized subjects in Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and others had to continue their struggle for political equality.

Laura Prieto

Laura R. Prieto (B.A., Wellesley College; A.M., Ph.D., Brown University) is the Alumni Chair in Public Humanities and a Professor of History at Simmons University in Boston. She teaches American history, gender and women’s history, public memory, and methodology. Her current research studies colonizing and colonized women across U.S. empire in the Pacific and Caribbean. She has written on transnational nurses, Protestant missionaries, anti-imperialists, and suffragists from the 1890s through the 1940s. Her earlier books include At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in America and Crossings and Encounters: Race, Gender, and Sexualities in the Atlantic World (co-edited with Stephen R. Berry). 

This talk is open to the public and will be captioned.

Announcement | John Hay Library unveils transformative vision for special collections at Brown

Six dynamic and interconnected areas of focus build on current collection strengths and forge a path for building distinctive collections that support expansive and imaginative inquiry with a commitment to community engagement, environmental sustainability, and social justice.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] After a year-long process of critical self-study and reflection led by Amanda Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, the John Hay Library is launching a new collection policy, designed to guide highly strategic collecting at the Hay. The policy development process involved staff members at the Hay as well as consultations with a wide array of stakeholders at Brown and in key external communities.

When Ms. Strauss joined the Library in 2019, she was charged with creating a focused plan for the Hay, in alignment with Library and University goals and priorities, that would inspire faculty and students and transform the Hay into a center of academic excellence and a prominent destination for scholarly research. A serious commitment to representing diverse perspectives, experiences, and methods would be a fundamental part of that plan — necessary work for a world-class institution that facilitates free and open inquiry. According to Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian, “Under Ms. Strauss’s leadership, the John Hay Library is reaching new heights in advancing education, research, and public knowledge while also becoming a far more inclusive institution that speaks to a much broader range of human experience. This kind of scholarly vision and intellectual organization is what distinguishes outstanding special collections research libraries at world-class universities like Brown.”   

The policy consists of six areas of focus for collecting as well as three research themes in the sciences that are purposefully interconnected to create a holistic basis for research, education, and public engagement that encourages the kind of expansive and imaginative inquiry for which Brown University is renowned. They also establish a profound and more cohesive intellectual context for a remarkable set of existing collections, allow for strategic and sustainable collecting, and create a path for reparative and community-based collecting.

  • Global Lavender Voices celebrates the lived experiences, contributions, accomplishments, and culture of LGBTQIA+ communities, both in the United States and internationally.
  • Ideology & Power provides coherence and promotes public access to more than 200 years of original material that documents the evolution of political, social, and religious ideologies and that sheds light on the complex ways in which ideology influences social and political power structures.
  • Military & Society traces the social, political, economic, and cultural influence of world militaries during war and peace. 
  • Performance & Entertainment documents the history and creative process of performing arts and provides a window into public life and popular entertainment in the Americas through plays, dance, film, music, photography, and pornography. 
  • Popular Literature aims to reflect the imaginative worlds of North American authors and readers from the 18th through the 21st centuries. The Hay holds preeminent research collections in weird fiction, science fiction, and fantasy.
  • The University & Beyond augments the robust and growing collections of Brown’s institutional records and student life by tracing the unique and enduring global imprint of the University’s programs, faculty, and alumni.

Overlapping with these six areas of collecting focus are three prioritized research themes in the sciences: Climate Change, Collections as Data, and Health and History. The new policy recognizes the importance of using primary sources in scientific research and has already been strengthening its collections in STEM-related areas. According to Dr. Megan Ranney, who interpreted an item related to gun violence for the Hay’s exhibition Collecting with Distinction: Faculty Insights into Recent Acquisitions, “As both a scientist and scholar, I know how important it is to capture memorabilia of public health and medical debates in real time. I’m thankful for the foresight of Ms. Strauss and the John Hay Library in capturing so many documents, images, and other original materials. Future generations of students and researchers will be able to use our collections to understand our mindset behind many of our biggest societal struggles, such as gun violence. We are lucky to have this vision.” 

The Hay is already well known for supporting both humanistic and scientific inquiry through its renowned collections in the history of medicine and alcoholism and addiction, and in the history of mathematics and the “exact sciences” starting in 1180 B.C. Climate change is a theme that is present across a range of Hay materials that will be given new visibility and intentional development going forward. 

“A Representation of the Great Storm at Providence, Sept. 23rd 1815,” 1816.

Ms. Strauss emphasizes the importance of including special collections in teaching and research at Brown: “The Hay is a vital resource for the transformative, creative, intellectually independent work that is a hallmark of Brown. Our collections, though rare and unique, are meant to be actively used, and their use has never been more important than in this critical point in our nation’s history. The resources we steward are essential for scholarship that builds new knowledge in service of a more just and equitable society.”

The collection policy also provides a geographic framework for present and future collecting. Currently, Western Europe, North America, and Latin America are robustly represented. The collections also contain important material from East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Postcolonial Anglophone and Lusophone Africa. Going forward, collecting will focus on transnational movements and material created within the Global South or its diaspora. Growth of collections in these areas will occur in close partnership with the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Department of Africana Studies, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. 

Professor Tony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and Professor of Africana Studies, has been collaborating with the Hay in support of his work as the Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. He explains the critical role the Hay has been playing in the CSSJ’s The Global Curatorial Project to collect oral histories and memories of formerly enslaved peoples: “We are at a critical juncture in the archival and collections world as the issue of repair — and therefore restitution of objects — spark debate about how to collect with equity and respect for the histories and voices of populations who were, and in some instances remain, dominated by forms of historical injustice. The Hay is a remarkable partner in this work. Its expert staff has been partnering with us and our colleagues in places like Senegal in debates and discussions about collections and how to think anew about stewardship as a plural effort in archives.”

Through its renewed focus on the Global South, the Hay could unintentionally replicate structures of colonialism and racism. To ensure ethical, intentional, and equitable collecting, five guiding principles for collecting were defined within the policy. These principles emphasize community engagement and shared authority and stewardship of material; as such, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is articulated first among the guiding principles. Recognizing systemic, structural, and institutional racism, the Hay is applying an anti-racist framework to its collecting, and building a system of continual evaluation of new and existing collections, modes of collecting, and the impact of collections on our community. This framework is consistent with the Library’s commitment to becoming actively anti-racist.

The Hay endeavors, through its collections and services, to ensure that the diverse array of students, scholars, and visitors who visit its physical and virtual spaces feel welcome. This importance is underscored by the fact that the Hay is open to the public (under normal operating conditions) and is situated amidst the vibrant and diverse Providence community.

In conjunction with Brown’s Sustainability Initiative, the Hay is committed to Sustainable Collecting and Stewardship. The Hay will assess the current and future environmental and fiscal impacts of acquiring, preserving, and providing research access to rare, unique, and fragile material in all physical formats. 

Through Community-Engaged Collecting, the Hay will build and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with diverse communities locally at Brown, within Rhode Island and New England, and nationally and globally. As part of the relationship, community members may advise and guide collecting policies, practices, and access principles to determine whether their historical material remains within their community or under what terms collaborative stewardship of donated materials would operate. 

The Hay is attuned to and respectful of its Local Contexts, seeking to be an active member of the Rhode Island research community and to build collections, especially those related to Rhode Island and regional history, that complement — but do not compete — with peer repositories. 

The Hay recognizes the value of Institutional Collaboration with academic centers and departments within the University and strategic partnerships with external repositories and organizations. These partnerships provide intellectual guidance for collection development as well as theoretical, cultural, and other valuable insights that will improve the reputation and relevance of the Library and its collections.

Barazoku, Japan’s first commercially circulated gay magazine.

Following a collecting pause during the development of the policy, the Hay is now actively, strategically collecting. The recent acquisition of José Rivera’s papers extends its holdings of contemporary, major LatinX playwrights. The collection of Japanese LGBTQIA+ magazines, such as Barazoku (薔薇族) and Fūzoku kitan (風俗奇譚), is one of the largest of its kind in the US, including many rare issues not found in other stateside repositories. The Jewelnel Davis Collection of mystery novels by Black women writers strengthens and enriches the popular literature at the Hay. 

Weird Tales magazine cover. Jan. 1942.

The scholarly work being done at the Hay broadens understanding of the materials we hold in critical ways. For example, The Racial Imaginaries of H. P. Lovecraft, an online exhibit created by the 2020 Brown University Library Exhibitions Proctor, Alberto Alcaraz Escarcega, Political Science Ph.D., examines the interconnectedness of Lovecraft’s work and his problematic beliefs about race. Lovecraft, whose papers are held by the Hay and fully digitized, is considered to be the founder of weird fiction. He remains an influential literary figure whose body of work continues to be revisited, referenced, and revered; understanding the full context of his writing is necessary in a contemporary landscape.

The Hay’s new collection policy provides the underpinning that will elevate the Hay as a destination research library whose collections, fellowships, exhibitions, and programming will attract a global cohort of researchers, and ensure that the Hay realizes its full potential as a vital campus resource for active, interdisciplinary research and exploration. This framework does not set limits on collecting so much as it empowers the Hay to maximize the scholarly and reputational value of its acquisitions and to fulfill its mission to support free and open inquiry, experimentation, and creativity in a welcoming environment with equitable access to collections, exhibitions, and programming to a global community of students, scholars, and the public.

Media and other inquiries, please contact Jennifer_Braga@brown.edu.

Announcement | Four New Projects Selected for Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative

The University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, together with the Digital Publications Advisory Board, are pleased to announce the selection of the next four long-form scholarly works to be developed as part of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative.

Charrise Barron, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Music

The Platinum Age of Gospel by Charrise Barron, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Music, surveys the American national gospel music scene from 1993 to 2013, tracing a shift away from discourses rooted in the lived experience of race-based suffering toward a post-racial orientation that catered to mainstream audiences—a dramatic shift tied to revised theologies of salvation and sanctification. Barron’s interdisciplinary digital project, deeply engaging the fields of religion, Africana studies, and ethnomusicology, will present gospel music in a way that has never been experienced before—as an interactive, multimedia exploration of the sounds as well as the sights of gospel.

Laurel Bestock, Associate Professor of
Archaeology and the Ancient World &
Egyptology and Assyriology

Art, Secrecy, and Invisibility in Ancient Egypt by Laurel Bestock, Associate Professor of Archaeology and the Ancient World & Egyptology and Assyriology, argues that partial, periodic, or total invisibility of art was precisely that quality that allowed art to be personal and to engage in social relationships, not just between living people but also across the divide of death and between the human and the divine. In looking at the complex life-histories of hidden objects in Egypt, with shifting capabilities and relationships over time, Bestock takes advantage of the digital environment to examine the role of vision in manipulating relationships of knowledge and power both in ancient Egypt and the modern day. 

Tina Campt, Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and
Professor of Modern Culture and Media

The Sojourner Project: A Black Studies Mobile Academy by Tina Campt, Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Professor of Modern Culture and Media, in collaboration with the Practicing Refusal Collective, an international Black feminist forum of artists and scholars, foregrounds dialogues on blackness, anti-black violence, and black futurity in the twenty-first century. Structured as a digital academy that intentionally aims to exceed the literal and figurative walls of the university, The Sojourner Project convenes transnational and diasporic conversations, workshops, and art activations that create multi-directional encounters with histories of struggle and practices of refusal that have emerged in different black communities. 

Kevin Escudero, Assistant Professor
of American Studies and Ethnic Studies

Imperial Unsettling: Indigenous and Immigrant Activism towards Collective Liberation by Kevin Escudero, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies, examines the relationship between Indigenous CHamoru activists in Guåhan (Guam) and Asian immigrant community members’ participation in contemporary social movement activism in the Pacific. Developing Imperial Unsettling as a born-digital publication will allow Escudero to create an immersive experience for the reader by integrating the book’s long-form narrative with oral histories of Guåhan decolonization activists, archival documents related to key historical moments in the decolonization movement not easily accessible to folks residing off the island, and lesson plans on the movement for use by teachers on and off the island.

With continued support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative seeks to advance humanities scholarship by providing a university-based approach to the development, evaluation, and publication of born-digital scholarly monographs. With oversight from Brown’s Digital Scholarship Editor, projects that are selected by the Initiative’s Digital Publications Advisory Board are developed as digital works that draw upon the capabilities of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. These scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication.

The Initiative’s first born-digital scholarly monograph, Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, co-edited by Tara Nummedal, Professor of History, and Independent Scholar Donna Bilak, was published by the University of Virginia Press in July 2020. Two other projects were recently accepted by leading university presses:

  • Italian Shadows: A Curious History of Virtual Reality by Massimo Riva, Professor and Chair of Italian Studies (forthcoming with Stanford University Press); and 
  • Islamic Pasts and Futures: Horizons of Time by Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies (forthcoming with MIT Press). 

Other digital works currently under development include: 

  • The Sensory Monastery: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes co-authored by Sheila Bonde, Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Professor of Archaeology, and Clark Maines, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Wesleyan University; 
  • At a Standstill, Moving: Gesture, Temporality and the Interval in Performance by Rebecca Schneider, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; 
  • Chika Sagawa, Japanese Modernist Poet by Sawako Nakayasu, Assistant Professor of Literary Arts; and
  • Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past by Renée Ater, Provost’s Visiting Professor of Africana Studies.

To learn more about Brown’s digital scholarly publication program, contact Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy (allison_levy@brown.edu).

Spring 2021 Library Spaces and Operations

Library staff working in the Rockefeller Library while observing health guidelines.

Welcome back!

Welcome back to your Brown University Library! We hope you enjoyed a safe, restful, and rejuvenating Winter Break.

From January 4 – 26, 2021, distant circulation will be available at the Rockefeller Library. Following the Quiet Period, seats for individual study will be available by reservation starting on January 27 at the Rock, SciLi, and John Hay Library. Reservations can be made up to one week in advance, beginning January 20.

During the Spring 2021 term, the Library will work to meet critical student and faculty needs in the same manner in which we operated during the Fall 2020 term. We are:

  • Opening space for individual student work on a reservation basis
  • Providing enhanced digital access to materials for courses and scholarship
  • Circulating physical materials on a pickup basis
  • Supporting education and research through remote consultation with the Library’s experts

These services are described in more detail below.  We will continue to adapt as circumstances change, and provide updates to the campus community accordingly.

Safety Is Everyone’s Priority

Operations are founded on the most up-to-date, reliable safety protocols to ensure a healthy environment for our patrons and staff. It is up to all of us to keep each other healthy and safe.

When you come to the Library, please:

  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose at all times
  • Maintain social distance
  • Sit in your reserved seat only
  • Sanitize your study space when you arrive and before you leave 

Please follow all other Healthy Brown steps to keep yourself and our community well. If you aren’t feeling well, please make use of our robust slate of digital resources.

We extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to everyone for following these steps!

What You Need to Know

This list highlights important information, with links to additional details.

WHAT SPACES WILL BE OPEN?

  • Select study spaces in the Rockefeller Library, Sciences Library, and John Hay Library are open on a reserved seating basis.
  • Orwig Music Library will be closed to users until further notice. Orwig materials will continue to be available by request.
  • The cafés in the Rock and SciLi are closed for health and safety reasons. You may bring a personal water bottle. We ask that no food is brought into the libraries unless medically necessary.

WHEN WILL THE LIBRARY BE OPEN?

  • Library spaces open to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students on Wednesday, January 27
  • Hours vary by location. See Library Study Spaces below for details.

How do I reserve a seat?

  • To enter a library, students are asked to first make a reservation for a seat using LibCal.
  • Reservations can be made for two hour time slots with a half hour in between for self “Clean in / Clean out” with provided sanitizing wipes. Four hour reservations can be made in the Absolute Quiet Room and Foyer on Level A of the Rock.
  • Four-hour time slots can be reserved for designated areas at the Rock. 
  • Watch the LibCal video tutorial below.
  • Reservations can be made up to one week in advance.
  • Graduate and medical students may reserve carrels on a monthly basis. Alternating sides of each carrel will be used on different days of the week. To apply, fill out the Library Carrel Request for Graduate Students form.
  • To maximize the availability of limited library seating for students, we ask that faculty and staff continue making use of online services and pickup circulation and leave seats and carrels available for the students.

HOW WILL I GET LIBRARY MATERIALS?

  • Requests for materials will continue to be made through Josiah, the online catalog, for general collections, and through Aeon for special collections materials.
  • All requested materials will be retrieved by staff for contactless pickup
  • For everyone’s safety, we ask that patrons do not enter the stacks. 
  • If materials are available digitally, they will be delivered to you via email.

Contactless Pickup

Based on current research, the Library will no longer be quarantining materials (with the exception of returned materials).

Materials requested for pickup will be placed in bags on carts for contactless pickup in bins arranged by last name in the Rockefeller Library lobby. You will be notified by email when the materials are available, usually within 24 hours. You may retrieve this material any time the Rock is open – no reservation required.

Please do not clean or disinfect library materials. It could damage the item(s) and is not necessary given the precautions Library staff are taking.

HOW DO I GET HELP?

  • Library staff are standing by online to help students and faculty. Please use the Ask a Librarian service for questions and to get research support. You can also email rock@brown.edu (general) and hay@brown.edu (special collections) with questions.
  • Staff onsite will be primarily engaged in helping to keep our study spaces safe and healthy. They will not be providing in-person Library services.

HOW CAN I LET YOU KNOW WHAT I THINK?

Library Study Spaces

ROCKEFELLER LIBRARY

Hours:

  • Monday – Thursday 12:30 – 10 p.m.
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 12:30 – 5 p.m.

Spaces with reserved seating available in 2 hour blocks:

  • Sorensen Family Reading Room (Level 1: Rooms 130, 130 A and B, 132)
  • Finn Reading Room (Level 1: Room 134)
  • Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio (Level 1: Room 155)
  • Window Seating (Level 1: Room 141A)
  • Landing Lounge (Level A: Room AS3)
  • Absolute Quiet Room Anteroom, between the AQR and restrooms (Level A: Room A17)
  • Table Seating adjacent to the Oversize Art Collection (Level A: Room A41)
  • Wernig Graduate Study Center (Level 2: Rooms 218 and 220) — Graduate and Medical students only
  • Corner Window Study Area (Level 2: Room 224)

Spaces with reserved seating available in 4 hour blocks:

  • Absolute Quiet Room
  • Lower Foyer (Level A: Rooms A07, A08)

Carrels:

Levels 3 and 4

SCIENCES LIBRARY

Hours:

  • Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.

Spaces with reserved seating available:

  • Friedman Study Center (Level A: Rooms A01, A01A and B, A04, A05, A08, A09, A18, A21, A24)
  • Mezzanine Level (Room 201)

Please note that upper Library floors will be closed to users until further notice.

JOHN HAY LIBRARY

The John Hay Library opens to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students January 27.  Visits by appointment through LibCal only.

  • Study in the Willis Reading Room (first floor) for a 2 hour block: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  
  • Research in the Gildor Family Special Collections Reading Room (first floor) for a 1 to 3 hour block: Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
  • Closed Saturday and Sunday

For study in the Special Collections Reading Room, please make a LibCal reservation and Aeon request. Reserve materials through Aeon one week (5 full business days) in advance of your appointment. Brown faculty may conduct research in the Special Collections Reading Room.

ORWIG MUSIC LIBRARY

Orwig Music Library is currently closed. Orwig materials are available by request through Josiah.

Reservations

STUDY SPACE SEATING

The web-based LibCal reservation system will be available for reservations starting on January 20 for all students to reserve a seat for January 27. Reservations can be made up to one week in advance. 

Please make a reservation before going to a library. 

Please make only one reservation per day to allow for equitable access to the limited number of de-densified seats. Seat reservations are for two-hour blocks of time with a half hour in between.

Carrel reservations will be made on a monthly basis, using alternate sides of each carrel on different days of the week to ensure safe distancing.

Once you place a reservation, you will receive a confirmation email. When you go to the library for your confirmed time, please bring a printout of the confirmation or be able to show it on an electronic device. Queue up outside, maintaining six feet of space with others in line. A security staff member will check your reservation confirmation before you will be allowed to enter the building. 

We ask that patrons bring only a personal water bottle into Library buildings.

GRADUATE AND MEDICAL STUDENT CARRELS

Graduate and medical students can make a reservation for a carrel using the Library Carrel Request for Graduate Students form. Reservations are for one month at a time. Carrel use will be on an alternating schedule to ensure safe distancing between carrels.

CLEAN IN / CLEAN OUT

We ask that all patrons clean your designated area when you arrive and before you leave, using provided disinfectant wipes.

FACULTY, VISITING SCHOLARS, AND STAFF USE OF LIBRARY SPACE

We ask that faculty and staff allow students only to reserve seating and carrels in the libraries. We will continue to provide digital delivery and distant circulation of materials for faculty and visiting scholars.

Faculty members with individual Faculty Studies will receive a Faculty Study Card via email. Please print the card, queue at the Rock, show the guard the card, and proceed to your study. You will need to bring the printout of this card with you each time you go to the Rock to access your study.

GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANT ROOMS

Graduate TA’s may also access a limited number of small study/collaboration rooms to conduct your online sections. Registration is required through 25Live. Please follow all safety protocols including Clean in / Clean out.

CLASSES IN LIBRARY SPACES

At this time, the only classes scheduled to be held in Library spaces will be on floors of the Sciences Library that are managed by other campus units. Students will be asked to identify themselves as members of the class upon entry to the building.

Library Materials and Services Requesting Library Materials

REMOTE ASSISTANCE

An array of research support is available to you.

While staff will not be available for in-person library assistance, Library experts are standing by online to help students and faculty. Staff onsite will be primarily engaged in helping to keep our study spaces safe and healthy. Please use the Ask a Librarian service for questions and to get research support. You can also email rock@brown.edu (general) and hay@brown.edu (special collections) with questions. 

Library Video Tutorials

There are a number of videos on the Library’s YouTube channel that provide information about how to use the Library, conduct various aspects of research, and more.

This Is Your Library

We look forward to welcoming you in person, without restriction, when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we are committed to providing the same standard of support and collaboration that is essential to the academic success of the Brown University community. We are doing all we can to make resources, materials, and expertise available to you. Please do not hesitate to make a connection with your Library. We are eager to support you and to be an integral part of your academic experience at Brown. You belong here. This is your Library.

Announcement | Library Services for Fall 2020

stack of books

Library Services during Fall 2020

The Library is thrilled to welcome students into our large study spaces for independent work during the Fall 2020 semester. Staff onsite will be primarily engaged in helping to keep our study spaces safe and healthy. They will not be providing in-person library services.

We are continuing to provide a robust slate of online services, detailed below. If you have any questions, you can email rock@brown.edu (general) or hay@brown.edu (special collections). You can also chat with a Library expert through the Ask a Librarian service. Many other services, resources, and updates can be found at library.brown.edu and here on our news blog.

Requesting Physical Materials

The Library is pleased to announce an expansion of circulation services. Materials requested will be available for pickup any time the Library is open. It is no longer necessary to make a reservation for pickup. (Reservations to study in the Library are still required.)

Current Brown faculty/instructors and students may request up to ten (10) items per week from our collections, including physical books. Materials held 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 and picked up in the Rockefeller Library lobby. 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. 

If you reserve space in a library, please continue to make use of Josiah (and Aeon for special collection) to request materials. Please do not enter the stacks.

Contactless Pickup — Available without Reservation during Open Hours

Materials requested for pickup will be placed in bags on carts and quarantined, untouched, for a minimum of 72 hours. The most current research tells us that 72 hours (three days) of quarantine is safe for circulating library materials.

You will be notified with the date the material will be available. Once available, the requested materials will be pre-checked out to you and placed in bins arranged by last name in the Rockefeller Library lobby. You may retrieve this material any time the Library is open — no reservation required. 

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.

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

Brown University graduate and undergraduate students and faculty: the Special Collections Reading Room opened on an appointment-only basis on September 23, 2020, Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments must be made at least one week (5 business days) in advance so that staff can adequately prepare materials.

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. 

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. 

Requests for Digital Material

Contact us at the following email addresses to request items, ask research questions, and connect with a Library expert:

Expanded Access to Digital Content and Services

As a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of the Library’s content providers have expanded Brown’s access to digital content in order to support online research, learning, and teaching. In addition to the 2 million+ digital books and journals available through the Library’s subscriptions, we are excited to share many additional resources from our partners.

How Long Will Requests Take?

All 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.

Faculty and Student Support

We are providing online services, including research consultations and instruction. Subject librarians can be reached by email and on chat, which is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Not sure who to ask? Email most questions to rock@brown.edu and email questions about special collections to hay@brown.edu.

Additional resources:

Returning Physical Material

Please return physical materials to the Rockefeller Library, through the book return drop located to the left of the front doors.

You can keep the items in your possession until you are able to return to campus. This includes items obtained through Borrow Direct, easyBorrow, and ILLiad. Fines and late fees will be waived.

Safe Staffing

To protect the safety of staff and patrons, we are 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.

Questions?

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

Announcement | Library Welcomes Biology and Medicine & Alpert Medical School Students and Faculty

photo of front of Alpert Medical School

Welcome, from the Brown University Library! We offer a variety of services to Brown students and faculty in the sciences that can help with teaching and research.

We can assist you with:

  • Planning and conducting research (such as literature review services, finding funding, using LabArchives Electronic Lab Notebooks, and writing data management plans)
  • Publishing and sharing research (organizing citations, ensuring compliance with journals and funders’ public access policies, and measuring researcher and publication impact)
  • Teaching information literacy, advanced searching, and digital curation skills
  • Providing orientation to library resources and services for your departments, divisions, and students.

For the most comprehensive information about the Brown University Library hours and resources, start at https://library.brown.edu/. Focused resource and service guides are at:

Brown librarians have been working remotely through the pandemic, continuing to provide research consultations and instruction. For upcoming Library workshops, see the Library calendar. To find out more information, or schedule a consultation, please contact us at HealthSciLibrarians@brown.edu.   

We look forward to working with you!

Announcement | New Publication on Chinese Rare Books in the Brown University Library

An Illustrated Catalogue of Ancient Chinese Books in the Brown University Library by Li Wang

Prestigious Chinese publisher, China Book Company, has published An Illustrated Catalogue of Ancient Chinese Books in the Brown University Library by Dr. Li Wang, the Library’s Curator of the East Asian Collection. The volume contains detailed bibliographic and research information on all Chinese rare books found in the Library published before the end of the Qing dynasty (1912). Most of the 256 books in the Catalogue are part of the Gardner Collection at the Rockefeller Library, though several of the books are held at the John Hay Library. 

This published work is a result of many years’ dedicated efforts in special collection management and providing Library patrons with an effective reference and research tool in Chinese and East Asian studies. In the Preface, the author expresses his sincere gratitude to many people who have helped and supported the long journey of research, especially Prof. Gardner and his family, former East Asian Collections curators and staff, other library colleagues, East Asian Studies faculty at Brown, students and scholars, and other friends, both domestic and international. 

The publication is a milestone in the development of the East Asian Library at Brown. 2020 marks the the 120th anniversary of the birth of Charles S. Gardner (Jan.1, 1900 – Nov. 30, 1966). This new book is not only a scholarly summary of Gardner’s legacy, but also a way to pay homage to this devoted and pioneering scholar in East Asian studies and cross-cultural exchange.