newsId: 911B01D9-5056-AF26-BEC041D9808D0211
Title: Librarian Profile: Kathryn Ray
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Abstract: This article in our series of librarian profiles focuses on Reference Librarian Kathryn Ray. In addition to providing research guidance on a wide number of topics, Kathryn is also an expert on Washington, DC history.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 08/28/2015
Content:

If you have visited the first floor of Bender Library, chances are you have seen Reference Librarian Kathryn Ray in action at the Research Assistance Desk, helping AU students track down the resources they need for projects and papers. Kathryn has been an instrumental part of the team since she came to the Library in 2003. Between her extensive knowledge base and her wealth of library experience with 23 years spent at DC Public Library, she brings a special energy to her work. Kathryn received her B.A. in American Studies from Mary Washington College, her M.S. in Library Science from Catholic University, and her M.Phil. in American Civilization with a concentration in DC History from George Washington University.

Given her interests as a student and her background as a DMV local, it makes perfect sense that she is now an expert on DC history. She is also eager to share that knowledge. In addition to creating the Subject Guide on DC History and Local Area Studies, Kathryn has been published several times, including a chapter on the Tenleytown neighborhood for the book, Washington at Home, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Her knowledge of the history of Tenleytown was particularly useful when she participated in the Tenleytown Heritage Trail working group.

Where can you find her?

Kathryn logs a lot of hours at the Research Assistance Desk, where she helps students, personnel, alumni, and community users with their research efforts. She can also be found in College Writing classes each semester, “teaching students the power of information.” Every year during All American Weekend, Kathryn works with other Library personnel to offer the extremely popular AU Neighborhood Bus Tours. These tours fill up completely each year, even as the Library offers more and more tours to meet the demand. Kathryn helped to develop the guide for these tours, which explore the historical background of popular sites in the neighborhood surrounding AU, such as the former homes of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, Embassy Row, the National Cathedral, and Civil War forts.

Why she loves her job

As Kathryn puts it, “Working with students is very satisfying. I want to empower them by introducing resources and teaching research skills. It is a collaborative relationship because they are always exposing me to new ideas as well. Before working as a Reference Librarian, I didn’t know much about the Fibonacci sequence or Beowulf. That is a fun part of my job—the research questions that come in can be about anything!”

In the Community

In addition to her love of sharing information and learning new things, Kathryn is also actively involved with the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia and edits their book, Know the District of Columbia.Kathryn and her husband are also big fans of the Washington Nationals. “I grew up as a Senators fan and we’ve been season ticket holders for the Nats since day one.” When she isn’t working on scholarly pursuits or catching baseball games, Kathryn is taking ballet classes at the Washington School of Ballet, getting in some after-work Zumba, or biking around the city. As if that wasn’t already a full schedule, she rows on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers five days a week as a part of the Rock Creek Rowing group. The schedule may be intense—they hit the water at 5:25 a.m.—but for Kathryn “there is something magical about seeing the sunrise over the Kennedy Center, monuments, and cherry blossoms from the water.”

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Title: Secret Lives: Matt Barry
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Abstract: The ninth article in a series of profiles offering a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at our Library personnel. Meet Overnight Operations Coordinator Matt Barry and learn about his secret life as a college student and veteran.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 08/20/2015
Content:

When most Library personnel are asleep, Matt Barry is here keeping an eye on things. As the Overnight Operations Coordinator, Matt oversees the building and patrons each night from 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Between the unusual hours and his work as a non-traditional student, Matt does not shy away from a challenge. He is enrolled in a B.A. program in History at American University and now has only one course left before he graduates.

Matt is also one of the 3 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the United States today. Attracted to military service as a kid, Matt greatly admired his older cousin’s service in the Marines and loved visiting battlefields with his history-buff dad. Growing up in New Jersey near the Monmouth Battlefield State Park, Matt loved visiting this “battlefield in suburbia” and reading history books. Reminders of the Revolutionary War are dotted throughout the northeast, and since moving to the DC area, Matt has also been able to visit some of the nearby Civil War sites. “As Americans, we’ve been blessed with a largely peaceful existence within our own country and these historic sites are important. They speak to the way that we memorialize the events of the past and provide us with a glimpse into history, right in our own backyards.”

Immediately after high school, Matt enlisted in the Marines. At the age of 17, he went off to Parris Island in South Carolina for 2 weeks of training, the longest he’d ever been away from home. Initially, the stressful environment was traumatic, but it quickly started to feel normal as Matt adapted to the demanding new schedule. He found that the training was not only practical, but also included social and cultural components. After completing training, he was serving his country and attending community college at the same time while residing in New Jersey, until the events of 9/11 changed everything.

In 2002, he received notice about mobilization and one Friday in January 2003, he was placed on active duty – beginning that Monday. “My priorities shifted very quickly. I called my parents, then my girlfriend, and the rest of the weekend is a blur.” First sent to Camp Pendleton in California, within 3 weeks of being mobilized, Matt was in Kuwait. About a month after he arrived, the war began. Suddenly, his chemical response training was put to use, as the base was under missile attack for the first couple of days. Matt describes the experience of his tour in the Middle East as “large spans of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror.”

After being demobilized around his 21st birthday, Matt returned to college, eventually transferring to American University in 2006. He also took on a part-time job at the Library, before being hired for a full time position within a few months. For Matt, returning to school was a culture shock. “The unpopularity of the Iraq War made for some uncomfortable class discussions, because there were often strong, emotional responses being voiced, but on the whole, everyone was still welcoming.”

As a student of history, Matt has discovered an interest in memoirs and other personal accounts. “That shared experience over generations, a shared lineage that transcends time, allows me to see what I have in common with soldiers from different nations and time periods. At one time, each of us is a person isolated from home, surrounded by strangers who become friends, and enduring hardships that make us stronger.” Since Matt has been on campus, he has watched how AU worked to improve the experience of veteran students, of whom there are now more than 100 on campus. The Veterans of American University student organization advocates for student veterans and provides them with a peer support network. AU also offers the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, which helps to make college for affordable for veterans. There is even a Veterans Lounge in Asbury, providing these students with a space that facilitates connection among student veterans.

Asked for any advice that he would share with other student veterans or veterans thinking of returning to school, Matt had this to say: “Remain flexible. If it takes a little longer to meet your goals, that is okay—it will happen. Your experiences in the service will give you the fortitude to finish your degree.”

Matt’s Recommendations

With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge
A US Marine's memoir of his fighting in the Pacific theater of World War 2. It is visceral. It is shocking. And itis easily one of the finest war memoirs ever written.

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornfischer
A wonderfully written narrative history of Taffy 3, an outgunned and outnumbered US Navy force tasked with protecting vulnerable troop transports in the Philippines. They find themselves facing the might of the Imperial Japanese Navy, including the Yamato, one of the largest warships ever built.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
The American humorist Bill Bryson decides to reconnect with his home country after spending decades aboard by hiking the famed Appalachian Trail. He teams up with an old college buddy and a combined outdoorsmen skill of "What do you mean I shouldn't eat these berries I found?" to conquer all 2100 miles of it. 

The Lego Movie
Everything is, in fact, awesome.

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Title: 5 Little Known Archives and Special Collections Tidbits
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Abstract: Already home to some of our rarest and most unusual items, there is even more to Archives and Special Collections than most people know. Take a look at some little known facts about your Library.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 08/19/2015
Content:

1) Our rarest collections are protected by a gas fire-suppression system.

Halon is a liquefied gas that is used to extinguish fire by disrupting the combustion process. When the halon evaporates, it leaves no residue. This quality makes it ideal for the protection of rare and sensitive materials. While systems like these were introduced in the 1960s, by the 1980s it was discovered that halon is an ozone-depleting substance. Consequently, its production and import were banned under the Clean Air Act of 1994, but existing systems were deemed legal. We purchase recycled halon to recharge our existing system, so that we can protect our books and still stay green.

2) We have the best view of campus from the Archives Reading Room.

Archives and Special Collections is located at the front of Bender Library on the third floor. The windows in these offices and the Archives Reading Room overlook the quad, allowing visitors to enjoy our beautiful arboretum campus in all seasons. AU’s campus photographer and others regularly stop by to take photographs from this expansive viewing spot.

3) Our oldest item is a book from 1468.

Our collections date from the 15th century to the present. The oldest item is a volume of sermons by Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo that was printed in Cologne, Germany by Ulrich Zell circa 1468. The text, Incipit Sermo Beati Augustini Episcopi de Conmuni [sic] Vita Clericorum, is bound in a very rare and expensive material, Moroccan goat hide, with the lettering done in pure gold.

4) We have copies of the original plans for campus including the one prepared by Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm.

Take a look at the AU campuses that could have been! AU initially consulted with the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. the father of American landscape architecture, who designed Central Park in New York and the U.S. Capitol grounds. The Olmsted firm’s design from 1895 was abandoned in favor of a more classical and formal design by Henry Ives Cobb dating from 1898.

5) We have a few artifacts including a snow globe featuring Chairman Mao and the shovel used by President Eisenhower for the groundbreaking of the original SIS Building.

Though Archives and Special Collections mainly collects audiovisual materials, books, and documents, we have acquired a variety of memorabilia and three dimensional artifacts over the years including several examples of freshman beanies, memorabilia created for AU’s 100th anniversary, and plaques and signs from buildings.

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Title: Take a Break from the Heat with these Sea-Themed Film Selections
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Abstract: Take a trip to the beach without ever leaving DC! Library Media Services has a great selection of films waiting to transport you to the sea or shore.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/31/2015
Content:

1965Beach Blanket Bingo DVD 10337
50s teen idols Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon star in this camp classic. Get ready for retro swimwear galore and cheesy special effects as the “Beach Party Gang” embarks on an absurd adventure.

1966Endless Summer DVD 10265
This classic surf documentary follows two American surfers as they travel around the world, chasing warm weather and waves. Enjoy the gorgeous visuals and the fun surf rock soundtrack.

1975Jaws DVD 98
If you’re looking for a scarier seaside experience, sink your teeth into this tightly paced horror classic, in which a massive great white shark terrorizes vacationers in a picturesque Northeastern resort town.

2001Y Tu Mamá También DVD 454
Take a road trip to Boca del Cielo beach alongside two teenage friends, Diego and Tenoch, and their alluring travelling companion, Luisa, with this nuanced tale of exploration and change.

2003Finding Nemo DVD 836
Enjoy the gorgeous animation of this deep-sea adventure about a young clownfish named Nemo, who is separated from his family and must find his way home.

2004The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou DVD 5101
Wes Anderson whimsy, Portuguese-language acoustic David Bowie covers, and big name stars, like Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett come together in this homage to underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau.

2009Undertow [Contracorriente] DVD 8696
Set in a tiny Peruvian coastal village, this film explores themes of sexuality and identity through the story of Miguel, a young fisherman, haunted by the ghost of his drowned lover, Santiago.

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Title: AU Library has got Game(s)
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Abstract: This summer, spend your next rainy day playing board games with some friends! The AU Library has more than 80 games to choose from at the Reserves and Technology Borrowing Desk.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/24/2015
Content:

Here’s the Verdict (AUGAME 46): games are the best summer pastime! GO! (AUGAME 43/44) to the basement of the library and you’ll be transported to a Bazaar (AUGAME 48), or maybe Camelot (AUGAME 50), or even an Andean Abyss (AUGAME 34) by checking out one of the games in our sizable collection! Stop the War on Terror (AUGAME 27) or make some Easy Money (AUGAME 41.) The possibilities are endless. Check out some of our favorites below:

Timeline (AUGAME 39)—Which was invented first: eyeglasses or the light bulb? Test your knowledge of the recent past with Timeline, a fun and easy card game about inventions and historical accuracy.

Dixit (AUGAME 51)—A strikingly designed and easy to learn game, Dixit should be at the top of your list of games to play this summer. Grab a few friends and enter an abstract world, concocting clues based upon cards featuring beautiful drawings; see who can trick their opponents and guess their way to victory!

Pandemic (AUGAME 05)—In this board game, players work cooperatively instead of competitively. With each player in a randomly selected role, they must work together to stop the spread of four diseases in separate regions of the world. The Pandemic: On The Brink (AUGAME 06) and Pandemic: In The Lab (AUGAME 07) expansion sets are also available for checkout.

Settlers of Catan (AUGAME 08)—The game that arguably started the recent table top trend, Settlers of Catan pits you against your friends in a race to colonize the island of Catan. While creating roads, settlements, and cities with your collected resources, you must also effectively block your opponents from building across the board.

Tales of Arabian Nights (AUGAME 38)—If you’re a fan of “choose your own adventure” books, this game’s for you. In Tales of Arabian Nights, you’re the hero/heroine and you’ll choose your own destiny. There is a winner, but the game is less about who wins or loses and more about the story that gets told and events that unfold. Will you fulfil your destiny?

Agricola (AUGAME 24)—Consistently voted one of the best games by boardgamegeek.com; in Agricola you’re a farmer trying to expand your farm. You choose which plants/materials you want to harvest/collect and whether or not to expand your family to help with work on the farm. At the end of 14 rounds, the best and most stable farm wins.

Twilight Struggle (AUGAME 17)—The HIGHEST ranked board game on boardgamegeek.com, Twilight Struggle is a thematic card-driven game for two people. The game focuses around the tension of the Cold War, as one player represents the United States and the other represents the Soviet Union.

Labyrinth (AUGAME 30)—Labyrinth takes one or two players inside the Islamist Jihad and the global war on terror. Similar to Twilight Struggle, the two person version has one player representing Islamist Jihad and the other player representing the United States. Easy to play and with a broad scope, Labyrinth will leave you thinking about the ideological struggles at hand.

Remember: if you’re looking for some old classics, we’ve got those too. From Twister (AUGAME 13), to Scrabble (AUGAME 19), Risk (AUGAME 02), Chess (AUGAME 15) and, of course, Monopoly (AUGAME 11), our collection has so much to offer. Cool off in the MudBox Cafe with a few friends and spend the afternoon playing board games!

Check out the Board Games board on our Pinterest page to explore all current titles in our collection, as well as to see their availability. If you find a game you like, just drop by the desk on the Lower Level of the Library. Since the games are kept behind the Reserves and Technology Borrowing Desk, it is important to have not only your AU ID, but also the call number of the game. All games are available for a 3-day loan with no renewals. Games must be returned directly to the Course Reserves desk; if the desk is closed, they may also be returned to the Information Desk on the first floor. Games should not be returned to the front book drop or the Borrowing Desk. Overdue fines are $1 per day.

For more information on the Library’s games collection, you can go to the Course Reserves and Technology Borrowing desk. You can also contact us by calling 202-882-3231 or e-mailing elela@american.edu.

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Title: We All Scream for Ice Cream
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Abstract: These steamy summer days may have you wilting, but they do make cooling off with a frozen treat even more satisfying. July is National Ice Cream Month, so curl up with one of these titles and a big sundae.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/14/2015
Content:

These steamy summer days may have you wilting, but they do make cooling off with a frozen treat even more satisfying. July is National Ice Cream Month, so curl up with one of these titles and a towering cone of sorbet, frozen yogurt, or ice cream.

Of Sugar and Snow: a History of Ice Cream Making by Jeri Quinzio (Ebook)
Frozen desserts have a longstanding history as popular confections. In this book, Quinzio starts with the partially frozen wine slushies that became popular in 16th century Italy and brings the reader along on an exploration of the social history of ice cream.

Sweet Carolina by Foy Allen Edelman (Ebook)
Even if you don’t own an ice cream maker, Edelman’s overview of North Carolina confections offers plenty of frozen treats that are easy to whip up on a hot summer day, like Coffee Ice Cream, Orange Icebox Cake, and Frozen Strawberry Pie.

Pure and Modern Milk: an Environmental History since 1900 by Kendra Smith-Howard
While most consumers know that ice cream, butter, and cheese are produced with milk, there are many other commercial uses for dairy by-products, like the milk proteins used in house paint and bath soap. Howard’s investigation of the historic use of dairy products is an illuminating look into this industry.

Perfect Scoop: Ice creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz
This cookbook is a Library employee favorite—and for good reason! While most of the recipes require an ice cream maker, many do not (like the Nectarine Granita and Watermelon Popsicles.) Lebovitz offers a mix of classic and unusual recipes (think Saffron-Pine Nut) with clear, easy to follow instructions.

Ice Cream Time by Nick Didkovsky (streaming music)
The record label categorizes this album as Classical/Electronic, but the weird, complex, discordant, and highly textured sound of these computer-meets-instrumental compositions make this difficult to fit neatly into any genre category.

Ice Cream Reporter (Ejournal)
As the CEO of a highly successful multinational ice cream corporation, you are no doubt wondering how to keep up with the latest industry news. Worry no more—AU Library subscribes to "The newsletter for ice cream executives."

Ice Cream Wars (streaming video)
When Häagen-Dazs was introduced to the UK, the dominant force in the ice cream market was Wall’s, a company that had been producing vegetable fat based ice cream since the days of dairy rationing during the World Wars. This BBC video explores the marketing strategy and struggles of the upstart brand.

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Title: Secret Lives: Christine Weidner
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Abstract: The seventh article in this profile series offers a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at Christine Weidner, a student worker turned Library Operations Specialist, who is about to depart for the next step in her academic career—an MA/PhD program!
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/07/2015
Content:

Christine Weidner is about to make a major transition. She is leaving her job as Library Building Operations Specialist at American University, leaving the East Coast entirely, for an MA/PhD program in English at the University of California Santa Barbara. In this program, she will be specializing in affect theory with emphases in modernism and global studies.

As you might expect, she is excited and a bit nervous. A life-long East Coast resident, Christine grew up in Johnstown, PA, a small city about an hour and a half away from Pittsburgh. As a rising high school freshman, she visited DC as a part of the National Student Leadership Conference. During this conference, she and the other students stayed in the dormitories on the AU campus. When she returned home for the summer, Christine knew that she wanted to come to college at American University.

She began her college career with a major in International Relations, but with each passing semester, she accrued more and more credits in Literature, until it clicked that she had found her passion. For Christine—“Literature is extremely interdisciplinary, providing an avenue of access to a variety of disciplines, including politics and international relations, while offering a methodology that intrigued me. Every day, we’re reading and accessing written information reflexively and this act is worth studying.”

Christine’s experience in a film class taught by Dr. Jeff Middents left her with a profound appreciation for the intersections between film and literature; an interest that influenced her choice in graduate programs. The program at Santa Barbara encompasses both literature and film studies, allowing Christine to further explore her fascination with the “shifting conversation between high and low forms of art, completely different genre expectations within both forms, and the emotional effect of consumed material. Both literature and film shape our definition of intimacyand our construction of beliefs.”

The AU Library has been a “huge part” of Christine’s academic life thus far. She began working at the Library as a student assistant during her sophomore year and accepted a full time position upon graduating in 2014. As a young professional, Christine describes some of the biggest challenges she faced as “extending my education beyond graduation and discovering my identity away from grades and class schedules.” Her job at the Library gave her a “chance to be around people who aren’t afraid to be passionate about their professional work and hobbies.” During her year off, Christine audited two courses, spent lots of time reading books and watching films, and realized along the way that she longed to return to academia.

Her time at the Library provided Christine with a greater familiarity with the academic resources available to her at AU, resources that she found invaluable in her search for an ideal graduate program. She researched the work of various scholars in her field, looking for work that inspired and excited her. As an undergraduate, Christine worked with faculty, particularly in the Literature Department, who nurtured her intellectual interests and left her with a strong desire to teach others. “I want to be the kind of professor that I had at AU—passionate, spreading a desire for knowledge, and sharing what I love with other people.” Recognizing the impact that these instructors had on her goals, she knew the importance of good mentors and focused on searching for a graduate program with advisers who could “help me to become my best self.”

As one of the pleasures of working in academia is watching the next generation of scholars grow and blossom within an intellectual environment, the Library takes great pride in seeing our student workers develop into young professionals and academics. In her time here, Christine has moved from student assistant to library professional to PhD candidate—and we are excited to watch her future unfold.

Christine's Recommendations:

NW by Zadie Smith. I wrote my thesis on Smith’s first novel, White Teeth, but NW is equally as enjoyable, while still being vastly different because of its experimental style. Smith uses the rich culture of her native northwest London to narrate the friendship of two girls whose lives both converge and diverge from their birthplace.

Interpreter of Maladie by Jumpha Lahiri. This collection of short stories rightly won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. While the stories vary in content, each confronts the pleasures and anxieties of intimacy. My favorite story is “Sexy” in which a child claims sexy “means loving someone who you don’t know.”

Kiss of the Spider Woman is a 1976 novel by Argentine writer Manuel Puig. This metafictional novel focuses on the conversations between two prison inmates and explores their burgeoning relationship as they recount films they’ve seen to each other.

Dil Se is Mani Ratnam's 1998 Hindi film depicting the supposedly discordant themes of love and terrorism. The film dramatizes the fraught attraction between two characters occupying central and peripheral political positions. Gorgeous cinematography (including a dance scene on top of a moving train filmed without any CGI) and astounding music by A.R. Rahman make this a transfixing film about deferred desires.

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Title: Fin-tastic Collection Highlights for Shark Week
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Abstract: Sink your teeth into our Shark Week collection highlights. AU Library has picture books, streaming videos, and scholarly works relating to everyone’s favorite apex predator.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/02/2015
Content:

Close to Shore: a True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence by Michael Capuzzo
During the summer of 1819, a series of fatal shark attacks along the Jersey Shore set off a public panic. These attacks changed the accepted scientific belief that sharks were not dangerous to humans and are often credited with inspiring the book Jaws by Peter Benchley.

In Harm’s Way: the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of its Survivors by Doug Stanton
When this Navy cruiser was torpedoed and sank in 1945, the survivors of the initial attack faced a number of dangers, including shark attacks. Out of a crew of almost 1,200, there were only 317 survivors This book connects the larger narrative with the stories of 3 survivors.

TEDTalks: Simon Berrow - How Do You Save a Shark You Know Nothing About? (streaming video)
Marine biologist Berrow speaks about near-extinct basking sharks, a non-aggressive and enormous filter feeding breed of shark. Although long hunted for their oil, little is known about basking sharks, something that Berrow is attempting to remedy by studying these creatures.

Surviving the Shark: How a Brutal Great White Attack Turned a Surfer into a Dedicated Defender of Sharks by Jonathan Kathrein and Margaret Kathrein (ebook)
As a 16 year old, Kathrein was attacked by a great white shark while surfing at a popular Northern California beach. As an adult, he raises awareness of sharks, advocating for these threatened animals. His biographical account of these experiences is inspiring.

Sea of Sharks: a Sailor’s World War II Survival Story by Elmer Renner and Kenneth Birks
During WWII, a small Naval minesweeping ship was capsized by a typhoon in the waters of Okinawa, Japan. Stranded for days without food and water, the powerful story of the survivors is told through Renner’s first-hand account.

Saving the Oceans: Shark Reef (streaming video)
This PBS program takes a look at the threats faced by sharks, particularly the shark fin trade, and the research efforts underway by marine biologists to collect data that may be used to protect these increasingly endangered fish.

Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections between Cities and Oceans by Timothy Beatley (ebook)
Dive into the complicated relationship between urban areas and the oceans in this engaging book. While the movement to ‘go green’ becomes increasingly visible, Beatley provides a look at what it means for cities to ‘go blue’ and build a more sustainable connection to the world’s oceans.

Framing the Ocean, 1700 to the Present: Envisaging the Sea as Social Space edited by Tricia Cusack
This collection of essays tracks the shift in the cultural perception of the ocean, from the widely held 18th century view that the sea was a dark and empty place, to present-day connections between marine science and art. This volume pulls together works on an array of topics, employing a broad range of approaches, such as post-colonial and feminist theory.

How Many Sharks in the Bath? by Bill Gillham
Toddlers can get in on the fun of Shark Week with this colorful counting book.

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
Little ones will get a kick out of this story, in which two favorite toys go head-to-head in a series of competitions to see who comes out on top.

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy
This award-winning and beautifully illustrated book takes the reader to the Farallon Islands, only 30 miles away from the Golden Gate Bridge, to show a day in the life of great white sharks.

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Title: Once Upon a Library
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Abstract: June 24th is International Fairy Day. Delight your inner child with some of the Library’s fairytale-related material.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/23/2015
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June 24th is International Fairy Day. Delight your inner child with some of the Library’s fairytale-related material.

Cinderella, choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev
Filmed at the stunning Opéra national de Paris, this ballet interpretation of the beloved fairy tale will awe you with the dancer’s technical expertise, amuse you with hilarious depictions of the wicked stepsisters, and charm you with beautiful sets and costumes.

Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall
This star-studded musical fantasy film weaves together story lines from several Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales and gives them a dark twist. Meryl Streep took the Best Villain title at the MTV Movie Awards for her portrayal of the Witch in this movie.

Russian Fairy Tales, translated by Norbert Guterman & compiled by Aleksandr Afanasev
Explore the world of Russian folktales in this volume, which collects more than 175 works and enchanting illustrations. Discover the near-immortal Koshchei the Deathless, Baba Yaga, a powerful witch who lives in a hut supported by chicken legs, and a host of other intriguing supernatural figures.

The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth
As the title suggests, these fairy tales were unknown until 2009, when von Schönwerth’s collection of folklore research was discovered by a Bavarian writer. This collection brings together 72 of these stories, featuring key fairy tale components, such as magical animals, royalty, and quests.

Grimm Legacies: The Magic Spell of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales, by Jack Zipes
If you are interested in a scholarly approach to fairy tales, this text provides an examination of the cultural influence of the Grimm Brothers’ work. Zipes also considers how adaptations of these stories have changed over time and how that reflects societal shifts.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Cathrynne Valente
Charming story, prose, and illustrations come together in this book, which tells the story of a 12 year old Midwestern girl, whisked away on an incredible adventure to Fairyland. Valente’s style calls to mind the whimsy and humor of Lewis Carroll.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire
Fans of Wicked with enjoy this retelling of Cinderella through the eyes of one of the stepsisters. Set in 17th century Holland, this tale blends elements of reality, such as Dutch mercantile culture and portraiture, with fantastic elements drawn from the fable.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book One, by Bill Willingham
A collection of fairy tale and folklore figures come to inhabit New York City, after being pushed from their magical homeland by a powerful foe. This volume collects the first two graphic novels in the enormously popular Fables series, giving the new reader an ideal jumping-off point.

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Title: American University Named One of the "Best Places to Work in IT"
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Abstract: American University ranks No. 44 among large organizations in IDG’s Computerworld Best Places to Work in IT, an annual ranking of the top 100 organizations.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 06/22/2015
Content:

American University ranks No. 44 among large organizations in IDG’s Computerworld Best Places to Work in IT, an annual ranking of the top 100 organizations that challenge their information technology staffs, while providing the most competitive benefits and compensation. AU ranked No. 4 out of the top 100 for Career Development, based on staff satisfaction rankings and a mature mentorship program. 

The list is compiled based on a comprehensive questionnaire regarding company offerings in categories such as benefits, career development, training and retention. In addition, Computerworld conducts extensive surveys of IT workers, and their responses factor heavily in determining the rankings.

“I am so proud that American University was once again recognized as a Best Places to Work in IT, standing out as one of the few higher education institutions included among the corporate giants,” remarked Dave Swartz, chief information officer. “Our excellent benefits package and commitment to professional development allow us to attract and retain top quality employees seeking a diverse and supportive environment.”

Swartz continued, “AU employees have been encouraged to take advantage of the tuition remission benefits offered not only to them, but also their spouse or domestic partner and children, to advance their education. On top of that, over 40% of the staff within the Office of Information Technology have elected to participate in our Mentorship Program, where they are paired with a colleague to receive or provide help in achieving their goals.”

This recognition by Computerworld reaffirms the assessments of recent accreditation teams, which remarked, “This is a season of unparalleled strength and advancement at American University. AU is more focused on its mission, more diverse in its student body, more strategic in all decision making, more robust in its financial health, and more clear about its future than perhaps at any time in the past.”

AU has made a firm commitment to employ technology to empower excellence. Under the leadership of Swartz, the team continues to build and strengthen a robust, reliable, and secure framework of information and communication technology to support our activities as a world-class university.

"The 100 organizations on Computerworld’s 2015 Best Places to Work in IT list realize that attracting and retaining a highly-skilled technology workforce leads to competitive advantage,” says Scot Finnie, editor in chief of Computerworld. “In a tight market for tech talent, these outstanding employers attract the best and brightest IT pros with generous salaries and top-drawer benefits, then deepen their teams’ engagement with challenging, business-critical projects built around cutting-edge technologies. As a result, these winning organizations are best positioned to take advantage of the digital transformation sweeping through every industry.”

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Title: 10 Epic Summer Blockbusters Available at the AU Library
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Abstract: Summer is the season for big budget blockbuster releases and a great time to re-watch some of your favorites, or see some classics that are new to you. Stop by AU Library Media Services to borrow one of these titles.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/11/2015
Content:

1979—Alien DVD 885

It may be hot outside, but you’ll get the chills watching this classic sci-fi horror film, as the crew of the spacecraft Nostromo discover something dangerous on a seemingly empty planet. Sigourney Weaver takes on the ground-breaking role of a female action star as LT. Ripley.

1986—Top Gun DVD 2959

If you’re feeling the need… the need for speed, check out this action-packed movie about Navy pilots in training. Featuring Tom Cruise as “Maverick,” Val Kilmer as “Iceman,” and a soundtrack with some major 80s hits, this is an iconic summer blockbuster.

1987—RoboCop DVD 8164

A cyborg cop cleans up the streets and seeks revenge in this dystopian action sci-fi movie—sound over the top? It is. This summer blockbuster also has a subversive side, weaving in satire and dark humor alongside the explosions and one-dimensional villains.

1988—Who Framed Roger Rabbit? DVD 1096

When cartoon star Roger Rabbit is framed for murder, he hires a down and out private detective (Eddy Valiant, played by Bob Hoskins) to clear his name. Winner of four Oscars, this film was the first of its kind to blend live action and animation.

1989—Batman DVD 4701

Directed by Tim Burton, this take on Batman is dramatically different than the more recent Dark Knight trilogy. The scene of Jack Nicholson’s Joker unleashing chaos on Gotham, set to the music of Prince, is reason enough to borrow this blockbuster.

1990—Die Hard 2: Die Harder DVD 446

Bruce Willis returns as John McClane, a tough and sarcastic New York cop, saving the day on Christmas Eve yet again. This movie brings all the action, explosions, and one-liners of the original to the Washington Dulles Airport. Yippee ki yay.

1991—Terminator 2: Judgment Day DVD 4989

This sequel pits robot against robot, as the T-800 Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, goes up against the more advanced T-1000 model. The stakes are high, as the Terminator attempts to protect the future leader of the human resistance movement from assassination.

1993—Jurassic Park DVD 4901

Refresh your memory before going to see this summer’s Jurassic World with the first film in the series. Directed by Stephen Spielberg, based on a book by Michael Crichton, and packed full of animatronic dinosaurs, this film actually premiered right here in DC—at the National Building Museum.

2001—Moulin Rouge! DVD 297

Romance, excitement, spectacle, and style all converge in this Baz Luhrmann film, set in Paris during La Belle Époque. This Oscar-winning musical features Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor as star-crossed lovers and holds nothing back in terms of dazzling sets, costumes, and musical numbers.

2008 - Iron Man DVD 2763

Robert Downey Jr.’s wit and charisma make for an ideal Tony Stark in the movie that launched the Marvel Universe cinematic onslaught of recent years. Start at the beginning of this saga and watch genius playboy billionaire Stark become a superhero.

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Title: Building Partnerships with Technical Services
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Abstract: Bender Library currently supports four partner collections across campus, which are all housed and maintained by their respective departments, but incorporated into the library’s catalog so that their materials are easy for AU users to find and access.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/02/2015
Content:

Did you know that the American University Library partners with other on-campus library collections in order to make their content more accessible to the university community? These partnerships support research and learning at AU by expanding each collection's presence as an educational resource. Each of these micro-libraries are part of our Campus Partner Collections.

What are Campus Partner Collections?

The AU Library currently supports four partner collections across campus: the Career Center Resource Library, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) Gender and Sexuality Library, the Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition, and Research (CLEAR) Resource Collection, and the Visual Resource Center (VRC) Collection. These collections are all developed, housed and maintained by their respective departments, but incorporated into the library’s catalog so that their materials are easy for AU students, faculty, and staff to find and access.

How do I find resources held by Partner Collections?

Collectively, the Campus Partner Collections hold more than 6000 books, periodicals, and DVDs for exclusive use by the AU community, and finding them is easy! Partner collection items are included by default in WRLC Catalog and SearchBox results, but can also be searched separately:

To search a particular collection in the WRLC Catalog, select “advanced search,” and then “more limits.” Scroll down in the “location” field, select the desired collection:

  • AU Clear
  • AU: CDI Gender and Sexuality Library
  • AU: Career Center Butler Pavilion
  • AU: Visual Resources Center, Katzen Arts Center

Click “Set Limits,” and enter your search as usual.

Where are the Partner Collections located?

  • CDI—Center for Diversity and Inclusion Gender and Sexuality Library: Mary Graydon Rm 201-2.
  • CLEAR—Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition, and Research: Asbury Hall, North Wing, Basement.
  • Career Center Resource Library: Butler Pavilion, 5th floor.
  • VRC—Visual Resource Center Collection: Katzen Arts Center, Rm 142.

Can I borrow Campus Partner Collection materials?

Significant portions of the Career Center, CDI, and CLEAR collections all circulate. Loan policies and periods vary by collection, but the majority of circulating items can be borrowed for a week or more. Students, while you’re visiting partner collections for check-out, be sure to check out other incredible services, including interview preparation (Career Center), engaging workshops and events (CDI), and personalized language coaching (CLEAR). Although books in the VRC’s Kassalow Collection do not circulate, they are available for immediate research and general browsing.

How does the library support Campus Partner Collections?

The Library’s Technical Services unit works with partner collections to catalog and physically process materials. We can handle materials in foreign languages, unconventional formats (e.g. equipment) and classify materials according to custom organizational schemes to suit the needs of your learning community. If desired, materials can be set to circulate from these remote locations for a variety of loan periods. On a regular basis, the library generates inventories and circulation reports to share with collection managers to inform their decision-making and help them maintain dynamic collections for their primary users.

How do I partner with the library?

Does your department maintain an in-house collection that you’d like to make more discoverable to the AU community? If so, please contact Robert Kelshian, Director of Access Services, (202) 885-3282, to discuss a potential library partnership.

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Title: Librarian Profile: Alayne Mundt
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Abstract: Dedicated to making information more accessible, Resource Description Librarian Alayne Mundt works through the codes and standards needed to make the Library catalog useful and useable.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 05/21/2015
Content:

Resource Description Librarian Alayne Mundt is driven to help others. In her work at AU, she strives to make information more accessible to researchers, but before settling down in the DC area, she explored a number of avenues for her interest in service. While working on her BA (as a double major in English and Religious Studies) at the University of Oregon, Alayne’s interest in Judaic Studies led her to study abroad in Israel for a year. Her time there was deeply “enriching,” allowing her to learn Hebrew and more about the architecture and history of Israel. Later on, Alayne joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Nepal. While there, she taught English to 4th and 5th graders and helped to train primary school teachers. The experience was eye-opening for this Oregon native: “the poverty was intense, child labor was common, and I wanted to help.” Although the culture shock was initially overwhelming, Alayne developed close ties to the friends she made in Nepal, including the members of her host family, “the warmest, most wonderful people on Earth.”

Upon her return to the U.S., Alayne moved to San Francisco and took a job making swords for an armory. As a part of this job, Alayne learned to fence, a hobby that she would love to pick up again. She spent some time making and repairing epees, foils, and sabers, before realizing that she wanted to become a librarian. Alayne switched coasts to attend Simmons College in Boston, where she received her M.S. in Library & Information Science and then relocated to the DC area. She “never expected to stay on the East Coast” but discovered that she likes “living in a place with such a rich history.”

Where can you find her?

When she isn’t speaking at conferences, working on committees, or researching her next article, Alayne can be found in the Technical Services unit within the Library. The behind-the-scenes work at libraries is a mystery to many. Books, films, databases, and journals are added to the AU Library collection all the time, but from the time an item is requested to when it arrives on the shelf, there is an unseen process that must take place. Part of that process is ensuring that our users are able to locate these new materials. Alayne strives to make all of our resources easier to find. Resource description work can encompass a variety of important tasks, such as creating entirely new catalog records for unusual resources such as board games and data sets, making library metadata (information about data) easier for researchers to find by employing web technologies to connect resources across institutions, and maintaining consistency between name changes using controlled vocabularies. Alayne uses this example “if someone is searching for information on Cary Grant, search results should also include materials associated with the actor’s birth name, Archibald Leach.” Conversely, this work allows users to better differentiate between people, places, and things with the same name. For example, if a researcher is looking for information about former president John Adams, it will be easier for her to separate that data from material concerning minimalist composer John Adams. Alayne’s attention to detail and thoroughness mean that the materials in our collection are easier to find through the catalog for anyone doing research at the AU Library.

Why she loves her job

While Alayne was drawn to librarianship initially because of her love of reading, she does not shy away from the increasingly digital aspect of the job. In fact, she finds it exhilarating to be in the profession during a time of great change and growth. The specialization of resource description is “changing very rapidly, which makes it an exciting time to be in the field.” Her attraction to helping others is evident in Alayne’s enthusiasm for improving access to information. She describes her work as “helping to provide broader, better access to Library services and making Library resources more easily searchable and discoverable.” In addition to the satisfaction of sharing information, Alayne “is so grateful for the collaborative nature of this Library; the openness about sharing ideas and working together to improve services. The people here are dedicated to making our Library the best we can for our students.” In addition to the joy she finds helping students, Alayne even finds the fun in her commute which she spends listening to Mötley Crüe, getting pumped up to start cataloging books!

In the community

Alayne serves on a number of committees, including the Senate Committee for Information Services, the WRLC Metadata Committee, the library’s Digital Strategies Group, and as the Vice Chair of the University Library Faculty Committee. She works with Acquisitions Librarian Stacey Marien to write a regular column for Against the Grain, a journal about libraries and publishers. Their column, "Let's Get Technical," addresses practical solutions to technical problems, and they presented together at the 2014 Charleston Conference. All of her work in the broader academic community helps to give Alayne a fresh perspective on solving the puzzles of resource description. The types of materials found in the modern library are changing, as are the methods that library patrons use to find information. Alayne’s expertise and capacity for inductive reasoning make her a perfect fit for the challenging field of resource description.

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Title: Secret Lives: Dawn Fairbanks
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Abstract: The seventh article in a series of profiles offering a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at our Library personnel. Meet Processing and Serials Specialist Dawn Fairbanks and learn about her secret life as an opera singer.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 05/12/2015
Content:

Dawn Fairbanks, Processing and Serials Specialist by day, opera singer by night, grew up in rural New Jersey, singing in school choruses. Her love of music drew her to the French horn, an instrument that she took up at the age of 9 and played through college. Dawn’s interest in artistic forms found other outlets during her time at Susquehanna University in central Pennsylvania. Since childhood, Dawn recalls that she was “always scribbling in notebooks and writing stories.” Her love of writing drew her to pursing a BA in Creative Writing and then attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, where she received her MA in English Literature.

After finishing her Master’s program, Dawn relocated to Vermont, attracted by the natural beauty of the state, the snow, and the bucolic setting that reminded her of the area where she was raised. While there, she began singing in a church choir, where she met the leader of the local Gilbert & Sullivan troupe, who invited her to perform in an upcoming production of Princess Ida. Dawn performed the role of Lady Psyche, Professor of Humanities, in this comic opera with a ‘war of the sexes’ theme. As Dawn recalls “it was the most fun I’d ever had.” After that, she was hooked. She continued to sing with the Gilbert & Sullivan troupe after this first performance, and also sang with the Green Mountain Opera Festival for the next four years, before moving to the DC area with her family.

Although Dawn had tapped into a newfound love of singing, her daughter Chloe gave her the push she needed to take this interest to the next level, encouraging her to sign up for formal instruction. Dawn began working in a vocal studio and taking lessons. She is now part of the American Center for Puccini Studies (ACPS), an organization that performs works by composer Giacomo Puccini, offers educational opportunities for singers, and provides community outreach and service. “There is always something in the works!” Dawn explains, as she mentions that she is wrapping up a 6 week aria workshop. In addition to gigs with ACPS, she continues to sing in her church choir, enjoys taking in local performances, works here in the Library, and finds time for her family.

Music is a big part of family life for Dawn. The whole family sang together with the Gilbert & Sullivan troupe their last year in Vermont, her husband has participated in local theater, her younger daughter helps broaden her musical tastes by making playlists for the car, and Chloe, who nudged Dawn into pursuing her passion for opera, is now a performer in her own right. Dawn proudly shares that the 21 year old AU student just sang lead in the Gilbert & Sullivan Society at Oxford University.

Dawn also has excellent advice for any AU students interested in seeing local performances or getting into opera. Aside from the “huge, huge CD collection and excellent opera selection” at the AU Music Library, she suggests looking for smaller regional venues, which often have reasonably priced tickets, such as the ‘Music at Redeemer Series’ at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Bethesda. She also recommends checking out local venues that offer special student pricing, like the Kennedy Center’s ‘Specially Priced Tickets,’ and DC area groups, like the Inscape Chamber Orchestra, made up of “local, young, insanely talented performers.” On a different note, Dawn’s younger daughter Mollie, whose passion has become human rights, highly recommends the Library’s free Exploring Social Justice series, which features speakers who have had personal and profound experiences with injustice and have demonstrated the capacity to forgive and to live the rest of their lives committed to witness and advocate within their spheres of influence.

Music & Performance Recommendations from Dawn:

Inscape, Sprung Rhythm (CD 10397)

Le Comte Ory
From the Met website: "Jokes, misunderstandings, and gender-bending disguises—including knights dressed as nuns— abound in this hilarious tale of deception and seduction." There's a wonderful scene with the three stars all in bed together....perfect for anyone who thinks opera is stuffy!

Don Giovanni
Aaaaaand...more seduction! What is it with opera?! The themes are familiar to all - jealousy, attraction, and a boss who has all the fun while leaving you underpaid and unappreciated - all set to Mozart's sublime music.

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Title: Spotlight on VHS Collection Preservation in the AU Library
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Abstract: Experts estimate that the VHS format will be essentially inaccessible by 2025. Luckily, the AU Library’s Media Services is working to digitize VHS titles in our collection that are at highest risk of being lost in the near future.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/22/2015
Content:

The AU Library’s Media Services department was born out of the invention of the consumer-friendly videotape and the sudden availability of recordings for instruction. This filmmaker-friendly technology was revolutionary, as it triggered a boom in creative production worldwide and a new market for established television producers and film studios.

Between the early 1980s and early 2000s, AU Library’s Media Services department built a collection of 8,000 VHS titles with an emphasis on supporting classroom teaching. The collection includes documentaries, theatrical performances, C-SPAN coverage, feature films, television series, and other genres. The popularity of the VHS format declined with the invention of the DVD and by the early 2000s the format was completely antiquated. It is now facing a crisis: of the thousands of VHS tapes acquired at AU, about 30% of the collection has never been released on DVD or in streaming format. To make matters worse, industry experts estimate that the various forces converging against the VHS format (age of tapes, irreparable and irreplaceable equipment) will make it essentially inaccessible by 2025.

So what is being done about the VHS tape crisis at AU?

Following the guidelines described in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright law, Media Librarian Chris Lewis, Visual Media Collections Coordinator Molly Hubbs, and student assistant Sophie Brichta have been poring through the VHS collection to identify the distribution status of each item and digitizing titles that are at highest risk of being lost in the near future. For VHS titles available on DVD, the tapes are sent to storage and the DVD is added to our queue of items to purchase. If a VHS recording continues to be requested for teaching or research and no DVD or streaming version is available, then the tape is digitized and made available for onsite use.

Ms. Hubbs has assembled a video digitization workstation to ensure that high production standards are met throughout the preservation workflow. She processes video recordings with quality control tools and saves files in a high resolution format. She also creates backups of all files in order to ameliorate the risk of digital rot and other potential disasters. For each digitized file, a DVD “access copy” is also created, cataloged, and made available for teaching and research needs. After digitization, VHS originals are sent to storage.

Campus VHS recordings are equally at risk

The abundance of on-campus recordings of commencements, guest lectures, sporting events, and other historical moments has not been overlooked. Ms. Hubbs has been working with the University Archives and various departments on campus to collect and digitize video materials unique to American University’s history. Over 200 items have been inventoried from the Audio Visual department’s collection of commencement and convocation ceremonies and dozens have already been digitized and preserved. Some of these vintage films will be added to an AU YouTube channel. Outreach has begun across campus to locate neglected and forgotten VHS recordings. If you have tapes or know any faculty, staff members, or alumni with a collection of unique campus materials on VHS, ¾” tape, or even film, please contact us at mhubbs@american.edu or clewis@american.edu and they will work with you to preserve that material.

More about the crisis of VHS and other magnetic tape formats

Though VHS tape is a relatively stable medium, the playback equipment is less reliable, rubber and nylon parts are deteriorating and replacement parts are scarce. The retirement of VHS technicians and lack of a viable market and training opportunities for videotape technicians further exacerbates the problem. There are still a few manufacturers of VHS playback equipment, but those players are usually squeezed into VHS/DVD combo units, and the quality of the parts is generally of a lower consumer grade suitable for a short operational life. The likelihood of an older tape getting stuck and damaged in a perfectly clean recently manufactured player is considerable. In a word, the VHS tape is all but obsolete.

So if a VHS tape hasn’t been released on DVD, is it really of any interest and is it worth saving?

You might be surprised by the myriad of reasons that recordings go out of release. Commercial profitability is the most obvious and that pertains primarily to feature films and other mass market releases where a studio or television network still owns the rights. More common are the problems endemic to educational distributors. Many educational distributors have gone out of business and their entire inventories have slipped into limbo. Other instances include, distribution rights to a video that didn’t get renewed, purposely or neglectfully, or issues such as music licensing or a legal dispute preventing a title from being re-released. In some cases, such as with major television networks, the distributor discontinued selling VHS or DVD copies of their content altogether.

And yet the demand for some of this content for teaching needs remains high. Often, a given documentary has come to be regarded as a classic or provides such a powerful illustration of a concept or topic that nothing released since compares to the original. Here at AU, along with a growing number of institutions around the globe, we preserve these essential programs before our window of opportunity to save them closes.

About Preservation Week from the American Library Association website:

“Preservation Week (April 26-May 2) was created in 2010 because some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care. Eighty percent of these institutions have no paid staff assigned responsibility for collections care; 22 percent have no collections care personnel at all. Some 2.6 billion items are not protected by an emergency plan. As natural disasters of recent years have taught us, these resources are in jeopardy should a disaster strike. Personal, family, and community collections are equally at risk.”

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Title: Composting 101: Help AU Get Greener with this Primer on Composting
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Abstract: Since the program’s inception in 2012, the Library has played a pivotal role in expanding the organic waste collection program across campus. Join the effort to reduce waste on campus by taking a look at our primer on composting.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/22/2015
Content:

Since the program’s inception in 2012, the Library has played a pivotal role in expanding the organic waste collection program across campus. Library personnel participated in the pilot phase of compost collection. In spring 2013 the Library maintained its leadership by being the first academic building on campus to deploy the now ubiquitous orange bins on campus. Today, the Library’s organic waste stream is one of the least contaminated of those in campus buildings.

Unfortunately, due to the increased contamination of organic waste collection bins across campus, the University’s composting program is struggling. When non-organic materials such as glass or plastic bottles are tossed into compost bins, the organic waste cannot be composted safely and efficiently. As a result of the high level of waste contamination at AU, local waste processing facilities neither have the capacity nor desire to process the University’s organic waste. Helen Lee, the University’s Zero Waste Coordinator, has been working with other parties in the region to find an alternative compost facility. She has also been collaborating with other local universities in similar situations to find alternative solutions to this challenge of contamination. In the meantime, the AU community can improve waste sorting practices to ensure that organic waste collected on campus is not contaminated with other items. Organic waste, which should be tossed in the compost bins, includes materials such as:

  • paper coffee cups
  • food scraps
  • sandwich wrappers
  • napkins
  • dishes and utensils labeled ‘compostable’ or ‘biodegradable’
  • anything made from plant material can be composted

Things that never belong in a compost bin include:

  • glass
  • metal
  • plastic

Waste collection bins in the Library have been marked with diagrams to aid in sorting, so if you are unsure where to throw your Subway sandwich wrapper, check the signs above the collection bins. Separating waste now will enable AU to demonstrate to potential new compost facilities that we have a clean stream and will be a good source of organic waste. When all students, staff, faculty and visitors sort trash appropriately into the collection bins, we can achieve the University’s zero waste goals.

Green Team Recommendations:

Our fabulous eco films Pinterest page has a great mix of films and television series (including Captain Planet and the Planeteers, if you’re feeling nostalgic.)

Both of these resources can help you start composting at home, with details on how and where to set up a bin and the science behind how composting works:

Composting by Bob Flowerdew

Perfect Compost : A Master Class With Peter Proctor

If you’re interested in learning more about waste processing in general, and best practices for reducing landfill use, this is an excellent book on the subject:

Lean Waste Stream: Reducing Material Use and Garbage Using Lean Principles by Marc Jensen

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Title: Concrete Greens: Urban Agriculture and Food Security
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Abstract: American University’s emphasis on green practices echoes the continued national interest in urban gardening, and the University offers many ways to become involved on campus.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/17/2015
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While AU’s lush greenery already serves as a feast for the eyes, on April 15, Campus Beautification Day, the Library Green Team began cultivating a new garden plot near the SIS building for plants that are not only ornamental, but also edible.

Though gardening and urban life might seem somewhat antithetical to one other, urban agriculture has been on the rise in many major US cities. This urban farming, in addition to providing coveted glimpses of green amongst concrete city structures, also works to alleviate the detrimental health effects of food insecurity in economically disadvantaged urban areas.

Urban agriculture, specifically the cultivation of edible gardens, offers a new way of empowering communities with limited access to viable food options. Community garden advocate Ron Finley, in a 2013 Ted.com talk, offered inspirational words about his work planting gardens in the food desert of South Central Los Angeles. Commenting on the powerful yield of the edible garden, Finley proposed that "[t]o change the community, you have to change the composition of the soil. We [people] are the soil. Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do. Especially in the inner city.”

Finley’s gardens crop up in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs and his work confronts the incongruous conceptions of urbanity and food deserts. According to the USDA, food deserts are defined as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.” Finley succinctly summarizes the detrimental impact of food insecurity in areas like South Central Los Angeles where, in his estimation, "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

Issues of food security extend far beyond the city limits of Los Angeles as a persistent national concern. Even in Washington, DC, there is startling disparity concerning food availability in the nation’s capital. According to the USDA's 2013 report on household food security in the United States:

  • 13.4 percent of all households in the District of Columbia were food insecure in 2011-2013. That is an increase of 1.4 percent from 2010-2013 when 12 percent of all households were considered to be food insecure.
  • Among the 13.4 percent of District of Columbia households struggling with hunger, 5.2 percent were considered to have "very low food security," a 0.7 percent increase since 2010-2012. People that fall into this USDA category had more severe problems, experiencing deeper hunger and cutting back or skipping meals on a more frequent basis for both adults and children.

Combatting these harsh realities is not easy, but many of DC’s residents are working to improve food security in impoverished parts of the nation’s capital. One such resident is Gail Taylor, a policy activist profiled in a September 2014 Washington Post article. Taylor, with the aid of American University’s free law clinic and council member David Grosso, drafted a bill restructuring city tax regulations that currently hamper urban farmers’ ability to sustain economically viable businesses.

Other organizations, such as the nonprofit DC Greens, are working to change the landscape itself by facilitating partnerships and empowering existing actors and residents to manage green solutions for at-risk communities. While community gardens have an established historical precedent in urban areas, these programs also highlight informal household food growing that uses private property such as back yards, front yards, pots on balconies, and fire escapes to grow edible produce.

American University’s emphasis on green practices echoes the continued national interest in urban gardening, and the University offers many ways to become involved on campus. Towards the rear of AU’s campus near the athletic fields is a pre-existing community garden where students can learn the ins and outs of urban gardening. In recent years, the Community Garden has donated extra food to a local food bank while simultaneously providing the educational tools necessary to spread urban garden practices by bringing 70 middle school students to AU to teach them about gardening and sustainability.

The Library Green Team hopes that cultivating this small plot simultaneously encourages students to consider issues of food sustainability in areas like DC where there is always room for another gardener to get a bit dirty in the interest of improving food security.

Interested in learning more about urban gardening and other related issues? Check out these materials and more in the Library’s collections:

A Community of Gardeners
This documentary by Cintia Cabib explores the vital role of seven urban community gardens as sources of fresh, nutritious food, outdoor classrooms, places of healing, links to immigrants’ native countries, centers of social interaction, and oases of beauty and calm in inner-city neighborhoods.

The World’s First Rooftop Farm: Mohamed Hage
This episode of The Green Interview features Mohamed Hage, who is turning the flat rooftops of Montreal’s industrial buildings into fertile farms that feed thousands-and he’s making a profit in the process. Hage, a self-described "technology geek" turned urban farmer, explains the genesis and genius of Lufa Farms.

City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America by Laura J. Lawson
In this critical history of community gardening in America, the most comprehensive review of the greening of urban communities to date, Laura J. Lawson documents the evolution of urban garden programs in the United States.

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Title: DC Community Gardens have their Roots in Victory Gardens
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Abstract: Of the 36 community gardens in Washington DC, an estimated 1/3 are former victory gardens, planted during the World Wars. Learn more about local history through our DC History and Local Area Studies subject guide.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/10/2015
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Tucked into the northwestern corner of campus is AU’s community garden, a small plot run year-round by student group AU Community Garden Club. In the summertime, this garden is lush with squash, peas, and greens, and is a testament to AU’s commitment to sustainability. In addition to our campus plot, there are dozens of other community gardens in DC, some even within walking distance from campus. These gardens are often not only rich in produce, but rich in history as well.

One example is the Glover-Archbold Park Community Garden, which is located less than a mile down the New Mexico Avenue hill. The garden is just under three acres large and is home to an expansive 150 garden plots. It is also a former “victory garden,” or a garden that was planted during the early 20th century’s World War era to help increase the public food supply. This garden can reportedly trace its roots to the spring of 1943, when 400 acres of land were given to DC’s “District Victory Garden Committee” to be allocated among 6,000 DC gardeners. According to 1943 estimates from the Department of Agriculture, there were about 18-20 million victory gardens throughout the United States at that time. Families planted gardens not only in the spirit of self-sufficiency, but also as a way to calm anxious nerves and to provide stability during wartime. Of the 36 community gardens in Washington DC, Community Garden Data from 2010 estimated that about a third were former such victory gardens.

To learn more about DC history, check out the DC History and Local Area Studies subject guide, where researchers can read about and explore DC’s historic neighborhoods, culture, and green spaces.

Aside from our comprehensive subject guide, there are some fascinating resources in the AU Library collection, with more information on victory gardens and community gardening.

Char Miller’s "In The Sweat Of Our Brow: Citizenship In American Domestic Practice During WWII—Victory Gardens" from the Journal Of American Culture, v. 26, issue 3 (access available to AU Community only)

Cultivating Victory: the Women's Land Army and the Victory Garden Movement by Cecilia Gowdy-Wygant (access available to AU Community only)

City Bountiful: a Century of Community Gardening in America by Laura J. Lawson

If you’d like to get involved with local community gardens and garden-related organizations, consider these options:

AU’s Arboretum (hires interns every summer)

AU’s Community Garden

City Blossoms

Common Good City Farm

DC Department of Parks & Recreation

DCGreenWorks

Love and Carrots

Three Part Harmony Farm

Washington Youth Garden

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Title: Librarian Profile: Jenise Overmier
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Abstract: The sixth article in our series of librarian profiles focuses on Instruction Librarian Jenise Overmier. Her commitment to public service and education make her an enthusiastic instructor, well-equipped to handle a range of research questions.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/27/2015
Content:

Instruction Librarian Jenise Overmier knew that she wanted to work in librarianship early on in her college career. Her deeply held belief that education should be accessible for all people prompted her journey down this path. As a student at the University of Montana, she pursued a course in Liberal Studies that allowed her a broad overview of the humanities, something that is often handy at the Research Assistance Desk. From there, she was drawn to the University of Texas in Austin because of their unique course offerings in conservation and archival studies. After completing her Master of Science in Information Studies, Jenise took some time to travel around the world, exploring national parks here in the U.S., as well as Iceland, Turkey, and France, before relocating to Washington, DC.

Where can you find her?

Jenise can be found all across campus, providing in-class research instruction for College Writing students, helping users at the Library's Research Assistance Desk, serving on a variety of teams and committees, and lending a helping hand in Archives and Special Collections.

Her background in preservation allows her to contribute to Special Collections projects, such as rehousing fragile materials and analyzing collections for preservation processes. "I love working with my hands I am so fortunate that Susan [McElrath, University Archivist] has welcomed me into the archives."

When she is off-campus, Jenise can often be found relaxing in one of the many beautiful parks around town, reading, enjoying the fresh air, people watching, and "trying to coax squirrels into being [her] pets."

Why she loves her job

The idealism and energy of college students is a major perk of working at AU for Jenise. In her role as Instruction Librarian, she works with a number of freshmen and several of the College Writing professors, with a primary aim of helping these students build a foundation of information literacy. When asked about her favorite part of the job, she responds "I am all about the students! AU students are committed to their studies and incredibly passionate about making the world a better place. I love introducing them to tools they'll be able to use throughout their lives, like different research methods and how to synthesize information to strengthen their academic projects."

In the Community

Always eager to be more involved in interdepartmental collaborations, Jenise is a part of the Faculty Senate Social Media Guidelines Committee, the Library Green Team, the External Diversity &Inclusion Committee, and multiple marketing teams. By establishing connections with other departments and units at the university, Jenise continues to learn more about the institution and gains new insight into making the Library even better.

"Libraries are community centers. We've got something for everyone, whether you need help with a research project, a safe space to study, or something in between. I've always felt at home in them and I want to ensure that our students and community members feel that way too."

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Title: Clocks and Clouds Provides a Showcase for Outstanding Undergraduate Research
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Abstract: Launched in 2012, American University undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds is a publication dedicated to giving undergraduate students an opportunity to do more with their research.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/24/2015
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Serving the AU community with our collection of over 767,923 volumes, 333,242 e-books, 25,000 sound recordings and 16,000 videos, the American University Library offers the resources our students need to achieve academic success. The AU Library collection totals over 106,881 journal subscriptions, 557 print journals, and over 403 databases covering a vast range of subjects. With access to this wealth of resources, AU students are able to produce outstanding research and embark on ambitious projects, the likes of which can be seen in undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds.

Launched in 2012, American University undergraduate research journal Clocks and Clouds is a publication with a mission. The team that works on this journal is dedicated to giving undergraduate students an opportunity to do more with their research by highlighting how their work can reach a broader audience and have an impact outside of the classroom. A joint effort between the School of International Service and the School of Public Affairs, this journal focuses on research relating to political science, international relations, and public policy. In an increasing interdisciplinary academic environment, this does not limit Clocks and Clouds to the work of students in SIS or SPA. Additionally, while the journal exclusively publishes undergraduate work, students may submit articles up to one year after graduation.

By providing AU undergraduate students with a chance to have their work appear in a peer reviewed journal, Clocks and Clouds is able to serve as a stepping stone toward submitting work to national publications and making presentations at research conferences. Although Clocks and Clouds only publishes a select few of the submissions received, this selection process offers an excellent learning experience for any students submitting work. The journal’s panel of peer reviewers provides students with thoughtful feedback and suggestions on how they can improve their work and writing.

Working at Clocks and Clouds is another way for students to gain experience and make connections. The journal puts each of their reviewers through a rigorous training process; no small feat with a staff of more than 20 students. Through their work as reviewers, these students gain insight into the processes of research and writing, develop copy editing skills, get a sense of the scope of research in their chosen field, and enjoy networking opportunities on campus. While the journal requires that applicants for reviewer positions have taken, or are taking, a “Research Methods” course, freshmen may apply as ‘junior reviewers,’ allowing them to grow into a peer reviewer position as their college career progresses. As Clocks and Clouds expands and grows, the journal is hoping to recruit more students from the fields of marketing and communications. Students interesting in working as reviewers for the journal can visit their online application form.

Curious about the title of the journal? It references a quote from philosopher Karl Popper: "All clouds are clocks, even the most cloudy of clouds." The Clocks and Clouds website explains further: "Philosopher Karl Popper’s “clocks and clouds” metaphor describes the two ends of the spectrum of predictability in social science: Clouds represent the disorderly and irregular, and clocks represent the predictable and rational. By providing a venue for top undergraduate research, Clocks and Clouds aims to find the clocks amidst the clouds."

Volume 1, released in spring 2012, is available online. The next issue of Clocks and Clouds will be released on April 17th and copies will be available at the 18th SIS Undergraduate Research Symposium. Anyone interested in getting involved with the release, obtaining back issues, or learning more about the journal can email clocksandcloudsau@gmail.com.

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Title: Éirinn go Brách! Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these Library Recommendations.
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Abstract: Get into the holiday spirit of St. Patrick’s Day! Below are some fun and relaxing ways to celebrate this holiday and learn more about Irish culture.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/03/2015
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Once classes resume after Spring Break, we will all need a little pick-me-up to get back into our routines. What better way to do that than to get into the holiday spirit of St. Patrick’s Day! Below are some fun and relaxing ways to celebrate this holiday and learn more about Irish culture.

Books

The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day, by Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair [GT4995.P3 C76 2002]
A quick and comprehensive account of the ways that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated and how these traditions originated. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to understand it!

St. Patrick’s Day: Its Celebration in New York and Other American Places, 1737-1845; How the Anniversary Was Observed by Representative Organizations, and the Toasts Prepared, by John D. Crimmins [E184.I6 C9]
This book discusses the traditions and celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day from the first celebration in Boston in 1737 to the first parade in New York City. This book is also available as a free E-Book via Google Books

St. Patrick: The Life and World of Ireland’s Saint, by J.B. Bury; foreword by Thomas Charles-Edwards [http://bit.ly/1sDOyvf]
This biography points out possible discrepencies in some periods of St. Patrick’s reported history. It is an interesting perspective on the life and times of St. Patrick, the man behind the holiday.

Traditional Irish Cooking: The Fare of Old Ireland and Its History, Andy Gravette and Debbie Cook [http://bit.ly/1ynpxFR]
This fantastic cookbook not only has a plethora of delicious recipes, but also gives insight into the life of those who love these meals. Try a few of them out with friends or solo for some fun in the kitchen.

Irish Countryhouse Cooking, compiled by Rosie Tinne [http://bit.ly/1yhhs74]
A tasty way to try something new and old, these traditional meals range from easy to make to more complicated for experienced foodies. Why not add some green dye to your dishes to get even more festive!

Films

The Wind that Shakes the Barley [HU DVD 3374]
This film centers around two brothers and their respective places in the conflict between Britain and Ireland during the time of the Irish War of Independence.

Gangs of New York [HU DVD 590]
Leonardo DiCaprio plays an Irish American adult seeking vengeance against “Bill the Butcher” who killed his father years before in this film directed by Martin Scorsese.

Once [HU DVD 3745]
Set in Dublin, Ireland, Once is a guy-meets-girl story with a musical twist.It provides a great way to get your romantic movie fix while also experiencing Ireland’s rich culture.

Music

“20 Best Irish Pub Songs” by Noel McLoughlin [http://bit.ly/1yhAY3f]
This compilation includes some popular favorites such as “Whiskey in the Jar,” “The Wild Rover,” and “The Galway Races.”

“Traditional Irish Music” [http://bit.ly/1DIP13h]
Make sure to be logged into your AU account to access this set of songs from Sean Talamh. Some songs listed include “Belfast Mill,” “Valse Ronde,” and “The Humours of Flinn.”

“Celtic Dances: The Legend,” contributed by Liz Knowles [http://bit.ly/1Cszxgg]
If dancing is more your speed, enjoy the Celtic sounds that get the Irish to their feet. The Naxos Library, where this music is located, also has hundreds of other Irish classics for which to search!

Events

D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade [http://dcstpatsparade.com/]
On March 15th, 2015, the 44th annual D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade is taking place on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, N.W. The parade route is easily accessible from the Federal Triangle, Archives-Navy Memorial and Smithsonian metro stations. Come out of winter hibernation to celebrate the holiday with others in the D.C. area.

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