The QC Library is pleased to inform library users that they will no longer need to remember another username and password to access interlibrary loan (ILL). Users can now access the interlibrary loan (ILL) system (ILLIAD) using their CUNY Login Credentials. Your CUNY Login credentials follow the pattern: Firstname.LastnameNN@login.cuny.edu, where “NN” is the last 2+ digits of your CUNY EMPLID.
When users select Interlibrary Loan from any access points on the QC Library website or catalogue, OneSearch, they will see a Login to ILLIAD button. By selecting that button, users will be prompted to login with their CUNY Login Credentials.
Now accepting applications for the Spring 2023 Open Educational Resources Faculty Fellowship!
The Queens College Library is pleased to invite applications for the Spring 2023 cohort. To date, more than 100 Queens College faculty from 33 departments have participated in the OER Faculty Fellowship, developing their pedagogical practice in an interdisciplinary environment while saving QC students an estimated $1.5 million in textbook costs. We are excited to expand our community!
Wondering what an archivist does? In this post, Pamela Padilla, the library’s Shirley Klein Rare Book and Manuscripts Graduate Fellow, provides a sneak peek of her work processing the Alexander Kouguell Papers. Kouguell, a world-class cellist, taught at Queens College for over 68 years and sadly passed away on October 2, 2022. He donated his papers to the Queens College Library just a couple of months ago, in August 2022.
Most librarians will agree that archival science is an important branch of library work, but despite the deference there is often the question of what exactly an archivist does. There are many aspects to an archivists’ profession such as reference work, collections care, and management of new/existing material, but today I will be focusing on processing—an invaluable part of collections care.
This was the case with the Alexander Kouguell collection, which required extensive processing. Not every collection has these processing demands, but the Alexander Kouguell Collection is diverse not only in its content but its mediums. Music manuscripts required rehousing, documents required de-framing, and photographs required sleeving. Several scrapbooks had to be vacuumed to mitigate any risk of mold, and their contents were well worth saving.
Dr. Kouguell’s career as a professor at Queens College began in the 1940’s and lasted over 60 years, with an additional 10 as an adjunct lecturer. His collection offers its viewer a snapshot of his life, from his honeymoon photos to his participation in Queens Colleges faculty orchestra throughout his tenure, but his extensive career as a cellist also offers a cultural snapshot of NYC throughout half a century. The preservation of his life and history serve as a reminder of the impact that can be made by a singular person.
It’s usually the case that people unfamiliar with the profession may ask “Why rehouse anything? Aren’t the folders/envelopes/plastic slips that these materials come in enough?” and our answer to that is that they usually aren’t. Photographic negatives, photographs themselves, or oversized papers aren’t typically argued against when discussing rehousing, but even paper requires special care. Paper isn’t what it used to be and hasn’t been since the mid 19th century—its lower quality leads to an inevitable yellowing and breakdown due to acid hydrolysis, or the breaking down of the cellulose that keeps the paper together. This process threatens paper and its contents.
The processing of collection often begins before the first object is rehoused. That is, it begins with the acquisition. An archivist ensures that their institution has an appropriate level of copyright and intellectual control through of a deed of gift. By ensuring the proper acquisition of a collection from a donor through a mutually agreed upon deed of gift (assuming the donor is one outside of the institution), an archivist has begun the processing of this collection.
The processing of an archival collection takes time, patience, and (surprisingly enough) a bit of elbow grease. It’s how we rehouse our materials to maximize their longevity and how institutions ensure they have the intellectual control needed to make collections accessible.
Pamela Padilla is a second-year candidate in the Dual Degree program in Library Science and History (MLS/MA), pursuing a Certificate in Archives and Preservation of Cultural Materials. Padilla is one of three graduate students participating in the Archives Fellowship Program at Queens College Library over the 2022-2023 academic year. Fellows carry out real-world projects in Special Collections and Archives, receiving stipends, mentorship, and professional development opportunities.
by Max Thorn, Instruction Librarian and Carlo Minchillo, Research & Information Services Librarian
The Queens College Library (QCL) cares about serving students better. That’s why we recently undertook a survey asking students about their experiences using the library. We kicked off the survey with two events in the library asking students to fill out the survey—and handed out hundreds of snacks as we talked with students! Then we emailed the survey to the campus community and kept it open for two weeks. In the end, we received 1,475 responses! It’s safe to say this represents our largest sample of student feedback in living memory. Three lucky respondents were randomly selected to each win a grand prize of $50 cash card and a bag of QC merch. Congratulations to Eden Barzvi, Hagar Masboob, and Caleb Carman!
As the semester draws to a close, are you having trouble with a research paper? On our “Ask Us” page you’ll find options to reach a librarian via 24/7 chat, text, email, and face-to-face appointments. Whether it’s Psychology 101 or anything in between, we have research guides to help you with your subject!
Finals are coming right up, and with it our popular 24-hour library service from December 13 at 8 a.m. until December 21 at 8 p.m.
Our sincere thanks to everyone who filled out our survey. Your feedback will help us better serve you this academic year and beyond.
The Queens College Library is co-sponsoring with the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies a Research in Praxis Discussion Series with Emily Drabinksi, Critical Pedagogy Librarian at the CUNY Graduate Center and President-Elect of the American Library Association, who will give a talk entitled, Essential to the Public: Libraries at the End of the World. The event will take place on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 5pm.
On Thursday, November 17, 2022, Her Majesty Queen Diambi Kabatusuila Tshiyoyo Muata of the Democratic Republic of Congo visited Queens College campus. A CUNY alumna—she holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Staten Island—Queen Diambi stopped by the lab of Maral Tajerian and Sebastian Alvarado (Biology) and joined a reception in her honor in the library.
Ahead of the World Premiere of Action Songs/Protest Dances at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, the Queens College Library is honored to present a discussion on the live music and dance performance with its choreographer and director Edisa Weeks. Weeks, an Associate Professor of Dance at Queens College, discusses the power of dance and its relationship to political action, her experience as the first artist in residence in the Kupferberg Arts Incubator, and how the research she performed in the James R. Forman Library Collection at the Queens College Library helped shape what became Action Songs/Protest Dances.
The interview was conducted via email between Weeks and the Queens College Visual & Performing Arts Librarian, Assistant Professor Scott R. Davis.
Action Songs/Protest Dances is inspired by the life and work of civil rights activist James Forman. While rooted in an historical figure, the production is also firmly about the present and contemporary struggles to address social justice within the United States. What do you believe the medium of dance is uniquely able to contribute toward facilitating such conversations?
As an artivist (artist/activist) dance is my medium of choice for addressing issues in society. Dance serves many functions. It can be a spiritual practice, a source of exercise and catharsis, an economic signifier, as well as a way to affirm a cultural identity and cultivate a sense of belonging. I’m interested in how dance can comment on society. I believe that dance can re-vitalize the everyday to reveal something new about ourselves, and the revelation is a seed, an energy, a spark that has the power to enact change.
One of the joys of dancing is it releases serotonin into the brain, which makes people feel good. Communal singing also releases serotonin. On a more basic level, movement helps develop our brains. For example, research is finding that when infants learn to roll from their stomach onto their back, it helps to develop the pituitary brain, crawling develops the mid brain, and walking develops the frontal brain. Our bodies are hard-wired for movement! Dancing has often been integral to protests. The Toyi-Toyi dance was a part of rallies and gatherings in the movement to end apartheid in South Africa. In America in the 1960’s the twist, the mashed potato, the watusi, which emerged from the Black American community, were picked up by White mainstream culture to become an expression of freedom and rebellion against the conservative, repressive social norms of 1950’s America.
Archival research does not often immediately come to people’s minds when thinking of contemporary dance. How did your research within the Forman Archive at the Queens College Library inform your work in this production?
One of my mentors was George Bass who was a playwright, poet, director, and educator. He also was Langston Hughes’s personal secretary. George emphasized a research-to-performance method for creating original devised work. This method for devising work appeals to me as I’m fascinated by history. I enjoy scratching beneath the surface to understand the meaning and reasoning for why something exists. I’m interested in knowing what our deepest, darkest, and sweetest desires are, and in creating a work that interrogates those desires, I can begin to process, understand and possibly transform them.
I was intrigued by one of the boxes in the Forman archives, which is filled with social and political pamphlets, what we would now call zines. Several of the pamphlets featured the bold, psychedelic lettering and colors that were popular in the 1960’s. I immediately knew I wanted the poster for Action Songs/Protest Dances to be a throwback to 1960’s art.
One of the books in the archive “The Making Of Black Revolutionaries” by Forman, a guidebook for anyone interested in the civil rights movement and understanding what is involved in social justice struggles. Forman writes about how the pressure of being on the front lines advocating against oppression and for social change can take a toll emotionally and mentally. Forman had multiple times when he was brutally beaten by the police and members of the White Citizens Council, for being a Black man who did not genuflect, who was advocating for justice, and questioning oppressive systems in America. Forman had several mental breakdowns, yet was able to recover and keep working for social betterment. Hearing about his struggles with mental health really resonated during the pandemic, as the creative team was navigating the isolation and stress of the pandemic; as well as the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and too many others. I hesitate bringing up mental health as it can be perceived as a weakness and used to denigrate and diminish a person’s relevance, however, we need to discuss mental health so we can find pathways for care-taking, healing, and wellness. These discussions resulted in the song Pattern Map by Spirit McIntyre, which is about letting go of toxic isms; and the song Body on the Line by Martha Redbone which discusses how Forman, “often put his body on the line” during the civil rights movement and got beaten and arrested in the effort to register people to vote.
I would describe the process of creating Action Songs/Protest Dances as a Sankofa practice. Sankofa is a symbol and term used by the Akan Tribe in Ghana, West Africa. The literal translation of the word is, “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.” In this work, we are going back in history to lift up the work of James Forman and bringing his words and advocacy forward through song and dance.
Did you discover any particular items within the archive that led to unexpected encounters or connections?
An unexpected connection was learning that Forman had worked with human rights activist Ella Baker. They both advocated for empowering the average person to become involved in the governance of their community. They did not believe in charismatic leadership, for if the charismatic leader is removed the work towards social improvement often ends with the leader. If people do not have a say in the laws, land, and resources in their community; they will be controlled by other people who don’t necessarily have their best interests at heart.
Forman was trained as a journalist and wrote several non-fiction books including: High Tide of Black Resistance; Sammy Younge Jr.: The First Black College Student to Die in the Black Liberation Movement; The Making Of Black Revolutionaries, so it was a pleasant surprise to realize that Forman also did fictional writing and wrote short stories.
In addition to conceiving, directing, and choreographing Action Songs/Protest Dances you also commissioned five original songs for the production. What was the process of collaboration with the contributing composers?
The dancers, composers, and I reside in different cities, New Orleans, Albany, New York City, and we started working on Action Songs/Protest Dances during the pandemic, so being able to connect through zoom, and work online was essential. I worked with student interns Kathreena Bunch and Paolo Cecilia Silva in compiling a dossier about James Forman based on information in the library archives. It included his bio, links to his writings, and quotes by Forman. The dossier was shared with the creative team and it was a springboard for discussions. Several quotes became the lyrical inspiration for the songs.
The process of creating the songs was very collaborative. Each composer was paired with two dancers and we had several meetings where we discussed James Forman, actions that he was involved with, and current social justice issues that we want to draw attention to. What was important for the creative process is to identify what was resonating with the composers and dancers, and especially what the dancers were invested in embodying.
In 1969 Forman wrote “The Black Manifesto”, which is an expression of rebellion rooted in the despair of a people who had given up hope of “integrating” into the mainstream socioeconomic systems and structures in America. It demanded that Protestant and Jewish organizations pay $500 million in reparations for crimes perpetrated against generations of blacks during slavery. Over 40’s years later America still has not come to terms with the legacy of enslavement, and how to pay reparations.
Composer Taina Asili was paired with Brittany Stewart who is a Queens College Dance Alumni. For the project, I am integrating three current QC Students, three QC Dance Alumni, and two professional Dancers with my company DELIRIOUS Dances. What resonated with Brittany is issues connected to financial literacy for the Black community as well as issues of wellness and Black Joy. Taina wrote “Reparations” a joyous song about the need, the demand for reparations.
Another issue that was identified was decriminalizing sex work. We met with members of Sex Workers Outreach Project who explained why they are advocating for decriminalization and not legalization; and with Carol Leigh (aka Scarlot Harlot ) who in 1978 coined the term “sex worker”. We are still working on decrim song, as we need more time to connect with people involved in the advocacy to decriminalize sex work, to clarify who we are writing the song for, is it a song that is a rallying cry for sex workers to be sung and danced at rallies; or is it a song and dance to educate people about why decrim needs to happen.
Since the creative process for the songs was entirely virtual, I have not met composers Spirit McIntyre and Taina Asili in person. I’m incredibly excited for Thursday, November 10 which is when the composers, singers, musicians, and dancers are physically coming together for the first time!
This production is the result of your involvement in the inaugural Kupferberg Arts Incubator. As an artist residency initiative to support and advance the work of artists of color what was your experience producing Action Songs/Protest Dances within this context?
This question makes me think of how the US Supreme Court currently has several cases that are challenging the need for affirmative action. If education institutions remove affirmative action, then they also need to remove the practice of legacy. I also think of writer Toni Morrison who stated,
“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”
That being said, the experience of producing Action Songs/Protest Dances has been joyous. A give and take of listening, discussing, and dream-storming with an incredibly talented, smart, and generous gathering of artists.
I started teaching at Queens College in 2010, which is also when the Rosenthal Library acquired James Forman’s personal papers. I was incredibly excited as James Forman was the first person I heard criticize capitalism as an exploitative economic system. I remember feeling shocked, as I grew up playing monopoly and believing that capitalism was good and the “American Way”. Since 2010 I’ve been wondering how I can lift up James Forman’s voice, work, advocacy and sacrifices during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s. Then in 2020, the pandemic happened, followed by the murder of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I began wondering how as a choreographer I can engage with the protests that were happening across the nation and help address injustices in America. The Kupferberg Center for the Arts Incubator provided the opportunity to create Action Songs/Protest Dances, which celebrate the life and words of James Forman; and through music and dance advocate for America to be a truly great nation.
Action Songs/Protest Dancespremieres at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts Saturday, November 12th at 8pm and Sunday, November 13th at 3pm. Tickets are $20. Queens College students receive a 50% discount.
This last week of October, we are once again celebrating Open Access Week!
What is Open Access?
Open access is all about distributing scholarly research without financial or other access barriers. This helps readers, especially those who don’t have access to institutional subscriptions, and it helps authors, who can gain a broader audience for their work.
Open access can be achieved in many different ways. While you may have heard that many publishers offer open access, either by default for all publications or selectively via a “hybrid” model, open access can also mean making your work available in an institutional repository, like CUNY Academic Works, or a subject repository, like arXiv (or one of many others, depending on your field!).
Open access does not always involve paying a fee as the author.
Many open access publishers do not charge fees
Open access via self-archiving in a repository is free, and almost all publishers allow it
You can learn more about open access in this set of guides covering related issues, or you could contact the library’s scholarly communication librarian! I can answer questions about publisher policies, evaluating prospective publishers, depositing to CUNY Academic Works, making yourself and your work more visible, and more.
In the words of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition):
Openness can create pathways to more equitable knowledge sharing and serve as a means to address the inequities that shape the impacts of climate change and our response to them.
This year’s focus on Climate Justice seeks to encourage connection and collaboration among the climate movement and the international open community. Sharing knowledge is a human right, and tackling the climate crisis requires the rapid exchange of knowledge across geographic, economic, and disciplinary boundaries.
Keep an eye out for CUNY events related to open access and climate justice. While schedules did not align in a way that allowed these events to happen during the designated Open Access Week, these issues continue to be relevant, and we plan to offer something soon.
Events: Understanding New Guidelines for Federally Funded Research
The library is holding an event on October 26, 2022 on the new guidelines for federally funded research! Please join us. There is more information in the event blog post.
The Queens College Library is pleased to announce that we have a one-year subscription to the online version of the MLA Handbook!
This is an essential resource if you are writing a paper or an article and need to cite your sources in MLA style. The Handbook provides clear and detailed explanations of each element needed for a citation, with plentiful examples.
The MLA handbook will help you to compose your Works Cited page, properly cite your in-text citations, and format your work more generally. As the authoritative resource on MLA style, it answers typical questions (“What order do the elements go in this citation?”), complicated questions (“How do I cite a work without a title?”), and everything in between.
A collaboration between the Department of Special Collections and Archives and the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies provided students a special opportunity to gain real-world experience in the library’s archives during the summer 2022 term.
In the course, “Library Science 790.3 Advanced Archival Practice,” students developed advanced proficiency in archival appraisal, arrangement, and access through embedded fieldwork. Under the supervision of course instructor Caitlin Colban-Waldron and with the assistance of Head of Special Collections and Archives Annie Tummino, students engaged in a hands-on project from beginning to completion, processing portions of the archival collection of artist Barbara Rosenthal. The class was held in the Charles J. Tanenbaum Room, funded by the Pine Tree Foundation of New York for use as a special collections classroom.
Barbara Rosenthal, a QC alumnus and multi-media artist, whose donated work and materials served as the basis for all practical coursework, was an invaluable resource to the students as both a unique and compelling subject and as a rich source of information and context for the materials themselves. By the end of the term, students completed processing work on specific sections of the larger collection and will be able to translate coursework into tangible skills and outcomes for inclusion in their professional résumés.
The course is one of several initiatives developed by the Department of Special Collections and Archives to fulfill its strategic mission of “training the next generation of archivists.” Barbara Rosenthal’s collection is an exciting new addition to the archives, encompassing a lifetime of record-keeping, notes, drafts, versions, and materials for every project in many media, plus household, family, and moment-to-moment life-recording and professional correspondences.