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Jan 19 2022 - 10:00 AM
Fall 2021 Semester Report: Public Services Plus


Catalog to cat pun, book to room booking, music to mushroom, we enjoyed a rich and rewarding return to life at the Gottesman Libraries this Fall. Staff came onsite as we, eager to greet new students and welcome back members of Teachers College, resumed full opening hours in early September. We provided a robust program of services to our patrons, poised for both onsite and remote opportunities, guided by the needs of our users and continuing safety protocols of the College. While we remained a "digital first" library in terms of library acquisitions and research resources, we created a positive, welcoming, and conducive space for our students, faculty, and staff to engage with each other; develop ideas and continue conversations; and create a greater sense of community.


The Semester opened with physical library tours and new student orientations arranged in collaboration with the Office of Graduate Student Life and Development. We provided a series of workshops focusing on our new catalog, Educat+, powered by Primo, a new search and discovery platform for holdings at the Gottesman Libraries and beyond. Our workshops aptly were entitled: Research Basics; Research Tools & Strategies; Exploring Research; Research Options; What Kind of Researcher Are You?; The Literature Review; Research, Advanced; Introducing Zotero; Using Educat+; Accessible Navigation; Cited Reference Searches; Managing Citations with Mendeley; Scoping Reviews; Mastering Educat+; Using Grants Databases; Systematic Reviews; Archival Research; Exploring Children's Literature; and The Lit Review, Revisited. Many included a cat motif, playing upon the name of our catalog (not ignoring the love for felines. Who, after all, would not want a library cat, electronic or.... ?)

Beyond tours, orientations, and workshops, we regularly promoted databases to increase awareness of library research resources in areas of interest: School's In Session (again drawing attention to Educat+) in September and October; A-Z of Research, November (a consolidated listing of subscription databases); and Holidays and Celebrations, December (looking forward to Winter Break after a productive semester!).

The Education Program hosted engaging book, artist, and guest talks. mostly via Zoom, on a variety of themes. We coordinated book talks by leaders in the fields of education, psychology, and the applied health sciences with offices and programs of the College to celebrate faculty and alumni work, both literary and scholarly: Class Dismissed, with Kevin McIntosh; Teaching with the HEART in Mind: A Complete Educator's Guide to Social Emotional Learning, with Lorea Martinez Perez; Toward Sustainability Through Digital Technologies and Practices in the Eurasian Region, with Judith Parker and Ganiya Tazhina; Like Words Falling onto the Page: Demystifying the Academic Writing and Publishing Process, with Felicia Moore Mensah (onsite); MicroIntervention Strategies: What You Can Do to Disarm and Dismantle Individual and Systemic Racism and Bias, with Derald Wing Sue and contributors; Reclaimative Post Conflict Justice: Democratizing Justice in the World Tribunal on Iraq, with Janet Gerson, Dale Snauwert, and Betty Reardon; Correctional: A Memoir, with Ravi Sankar; Assemblages of Violence in Education: Everyday Trajectories of Oppression, with Boni Wozolek (onsite); and Willful Defiance: The Movement to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline, with Mark Warren and guests.

We concluded a series of art-related guest talks with stories and reflections by Isabel Correa on Human Nature Entanglements: Exploring Creativity Beyond Human, delivered at the opening of her eponymous art exhibition in Offit Gallery in mid December. Virtual guest talks grew abundantly, thanks to the second annual Artivism program, a collaboration with Adelphi University and Sing for Hope. They featured the following speakers: Alexander Sorokin, Sensory Safety in an Art Museum; Alyssa Wright, Theater as a Tool for Social Change Fundraising; Emmanuelle Sinardet, Recognizing & Dignifying: Restorative Art in Conflicts; Joyce Sanchez Espinoza and Eli Art, Unjust Democracy; Eirini Linardaki, Occupy Art Project; Teachers College doctoral student Cynthia Tobar and artist Eirini Linardaki, Public Art as a Commune; Paz Tanjuaquio, Movement Matters; Aphrodite Desiree Navab, Freeing Up the WindUp Dolls; Susan Campos-Fonseca and Rodrigo A. Carazo, Constructoras Sonoras; Art Jones, Christina Zaccarini & Nahshon Jackson, Classroom at the Intersection of Art, History, and Social Justice; Cindy McGuire and Ann Holt, ArtsAction Group: Artful Coalitions Through Socially Engaged Art; Nina Bellisio, Talisman Projecct: Artifacts of Growth Mindset; Bruce King and Margot Fine, Maine Inside Out; and Teachers College Associate Professor of English Education Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, From Vortex to Pecce: Poetry as a Pathway of Resistance.

Regular book displays were curated by library staff, with lead design by Trisha Barton, to encourage readership of books held in the collection. Highlighting resources on educational topics and themes of special interest, monthly Staff Picks comprised Re(Starting), curated by Rachel Alvater (September); Witchcraft, by Lucy Skrebutenas (October); Restorative and Transformative Justice, by Grace Handy (November-December). Reflecting current affairs, education, or learning environments, Everett Cafe displays comprised: Digging the Earth, Tending the Soil (September-October), on organic farming (note that free local Gala apples were donned during the first two weeks of term); and The Entangled World of Fungi (November-December), a prelude to the innovative art exhibit, Human-Nature Entanglements: Exploring Creativity Beyond Human, by Teachers College doctoral student and designer Isabel Correa. In addition, we launched a new display, known as RocketShip Launch: New and Now, featuring recent award-winning children's books; New and Now is curated by Rachel Altvater, Library Associate whose expertise in school librarianship lends great insight and care into top picks for the newly acquired "rocket" display book cases located near the Juvenile Collection on the second floor.

Daily News from Around the World was restored to the large screen in Everett Cafe, inspired by curation of front pages from Newseum. Historical news displays, drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, featured on the Library Blog to highlight interesting topics and relevant library holdings. Among the historical news curations for "Today In History" were: Elias Howe Patents the Sewing Machine; Constitution Day; Tolkien Publishes the Hobbit; Fleming Discovers Penicillin; Sputnik Launches; AA Milne Publishes Winnie the Pooh; John Dewey Is Born; 1 World Trade Center Opens; Armistice Day; Georgia O'Keeffe Is Born; Life Magazine Is Published; World AIDS Day; Ada Lovelace Is Born; and the First Modern Crossword Puzzle.

Select live musical performances also returned to Everett Cafe, often with applauding audiences gathered around during peak late afternoon or early evening hours. We hosted Wadsworth Strings, a classical trio of professional musicians and our longest-running ensemble; as well as the following Teachers College student musicians: QinQuan Zhang, nimble on classical piano / keyboard; Jose Lomeli, returning musician, delicate on classical guitar; and Vivian Ngo, for a captivating new sound: Indie pop, vocals and keyboard.

Art exhibits were entitled Warping the Future: How Craft Led to the Digital World As We Know It, a continual virtual display by commissioned artists Renata de Gaui and Francesa Sewaya for the 2020 Myers award. Human-Nature Entanglements: Exploring Creativity Beyond Human, by Isabel Correa, in collaboration with Lead Designer Trisha Barton, opened just prior to Winter break; this exhibit "looks into biodesign as a creative space to reimagine humans’ relationship with nature, and it presents an array of material explorations in shape, texture, and color resulting from an entanglement with mycelium (the underground networks of mushrooms), technologies, bioplastics, waste, and other materials."

We tackled initiatives in book acquisitions, conservation, and exhibitions, also funded through the generous support of the Myers Foundations: 56 book selections for art and art education; the newly restored Tudor Room, with selections of furniture and window treatments; completion of lighting installation; and proposal for hanging historical portraiture, as well as recommended usage guidelines for 271 Grace Dodge); research into framing options for diptychs (The Marriage, Fisherman's House) and triptych (The Wood and Its Animals) in the Ziegfeld Collection on International Children's Art (for permanent display in the library), as well as works in the Passow Collection of Israel Children's Peace Art (proposed 2022 Offit exhibition).


Owl_RothmanResearch and Information

Research librarians provided highly tailored library information sessions for a dozen courses, onsite and via Zoom, focusing on key tools and strategies for discovering and navigating literature. Among the sessions delivered by Senior Librarian Allen Foresta and Lorraine LaPrade, Research and Instruction Librarian, were:

  • Judith Kuriansky, CCPX (Special Seminar) Psychology at the United Nations, Tuesday, September 21, 6:15-7pm; 11 attendees (Lorraine LaPrade)

  • Alexander Karp, MSTM 6037, Professional Seminar [Mathematics Education], Thursday, September 23, 8-9 PM; 7 attendees (Allen Foresta)

  • Felicia Moore Mensah, MSTC 5001, Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods, Tuesday, September 28, 5:30-6:30 PM; 20 attendees (Allen Foresta)

  • Jane Dickinson, HBSD 4120, Pathophysiology of Diabetes and its Related Complications, Tuesday, September 28, 8-9 PM; 9 attendees (Allen Foresta)

  • Nancy Green-Saraisky, ITSF 4009, Introduction to Research Methods in International and Comparative Education, Wednesday, September 29, 3-3:20 PM; 26 attendees (Allen Foresta)

  • Nicholas Limerick, ITSF 5001, Advanced Ethnographic Methods, Wednesday, September 29, 5-7 PM; 12 attendees (Allen Foresta and Lorraine LaPrade)

  • Jackie Simmons, C&T 5500, Master’s Project – Ed.M. [Curriculum and Teaching], Thursday, September 30, 7:10-7:55 PM; 8 attendees (Allen Foresta)

  • Mindy Hecht, BBSR 5582, Research Design in Movement Science and Education, Monday, October 11, 5:10-6:10 PM; 20 attendees (approx.) (Allen Foresta)

  • Yoo Kyung Chang, MSTU 4000, Core Seminar in Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design, Thursday, October 14, 8:30-9 PM; 100 attendees [hybrid course] (Allen Foresta)

  • Multi, HBSV 4902, Research and Independent Study in Nutrition Education, Wednesday, November 17, 1:15-2:15 PM; 4 attendees (Lorraine Laprade)

Research librarians regularly consulted with students, providing general overviews and orientations on using EDUCAT+, boolean searching; comparisons of keyword versus controlled vocabulary searching; and how to find peer reviewed articles. Examples of topics in individual sessions, also hybrid in delivery, include:

  • the existing chasm between community colleges and research universities

  • shifting business models, product innovation, and changes in customer and user experience

  • tourism in postcolonial settings, especially industry trends through a de-colonial, theoretical lens

  • the demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and media habits of school leaders and school district leaders

  • deconstructing “Innovative Schools”

  • recommendations for accessing local news and other relevant data on PreK advocacy by teacher unions, teachers, elected officials, and nonprofits

  • literature on interventions for promoting infant sleep safety to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), especially as it pertains to tobacco (smoking and vaping) cessation

  • leadership competencies, like coaching, in response to the changing workplace, global pandemic, and social movements

  • how and why adjunct faculty in urban community colleges address teaching improvement

  • data sets and qualitative data that inform policing reform, mental health, or human resources

  • techniques of preventing sexual harassment in public spaces, specifically immersive theater

Still_Life_Ziegfeld.jpegWe attended to steady in-person and phone queries, as well as questions submitted through online support, Ask a Librarian, and live chat. These questions pertained to research and reference, archives, circulation and patron accounts, general information, and more -- in short, keeping us on our toes, as always!

To strengthen research resources and support the work of the academic programs, we participated in the coordinated selection of approximately 150 relevant e-books for the collection, using grant monies awarded for a two-year period (2020-21 and 2021-22) from the New York State Department of Education, arranged through the New York Metropolitan Library Council. Areas focused on support for fairly new academic programs at Teachers College: dance education; diabetes education & management; and women, gender & psychology in education, in addition to established programs: special education, computing & education; and communication-media-learning technologies in education.


Circulation The_Reader_D'Amico.png

From September 1st through December 31st, the Services Team checked out 1,336 books, including those borrowed on interlibrary loan and processed by Technical Services. We checked in 1,398 items, including books and other materials having extended loan dates due to the pandemic. We anticipate substantial returns of library books over the coming weeks as members return onsite for in person courses.

Historical Collections and Archives

Maintenance of the historical collections continued, as the Services Team worked diligently to unpack and re-shelve 500+ boxes containing approximately 13,000 treated books from the closed stacks in the basement and subbasement. In coordination with the Offices of Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety, as well as TERS, Inc., we worked to improve the physical facility to control climate, reduce humidity, and repair and repaint needed areas.

Archival research queries reflected ongoing interest in Teachers College alumni, including students from Chile and China; the papers of Paul Monroe and records of the International Institute of Education, Annual Reports of the President, Horace Mann yearbooks, and the Teacher Education in East Africa Project.

We collaborated with Professor Detra Price Dennis and her research team on building the digital collection, Understanding Teachers’ Culturally Responsive Strategies to Emergency Remote Instruction; digitized the set of letters written by Catherine ' Fair' Scott Rose to Joan Hollobon (representing life in East Africa, 1965-1969, coinciding with Rose's involvement in teacher education); and discussed options and solutions to better integrate specialized collections into the catalog for ease of discovery and use.

Room Res.png

Room Reservations

Usage of physical space within the Gottesman Libraries proved substantial throughout the semester, and the library was occupied! Statistics for the reservations made through the library room reservation system show that the most popular spaces on the second floor known as "collaboration space" where "talking is encouraged" are Rooms 202 and 203, with seating for 4-5 persons, followed by room 102, seating 8-10. Use of large classrooms, Russell 305 and 306, conversely was much less, most likely due to social distancing and the convenience of large virtual group meetings via Zoom.



We continued to serve on Columbia University Libraries committees: Access Services, Planning, and Strategy; Diversity and Inclusion; and Learning and Reference Support Strategies.

We began recruitment for a Special and Digital Collections Librarian, as well as a new Research and Instruction Librarian, and filled more than a dozen Library Associate positions, as well as a Lead Designer.

We participated in the Budget Planning process, providing details to meet needs in selective areas: collections and staffing.

In coordination with Teachers College Information Technology and the Digital Futures Institute, we planned, piloted, and sent communications to faculty and the community about Leganto, our new course reserves software. Integrated with Canvas, the College's learning management system, and our library system (Alma and Primo VE), Leganto softly launched on November 30th and will be fully rolled out in Summer 2022.

The "Ursa Majors Team", comprised of a few willing participants (Taruan Agrawal, Rachel Altvater, Jennifer Govan, Gillian Rothchild, and Iraida Torres-Irizarry) completed the Scavenger Hunt organized by the Office of the Provost; we provided images of our mascot, "Osito Russell" (large teddy bear on the second floor); a staff meme on meeting; collages of our favorite morning drinks and newly made library origami; answers to historical TC trivia; and outreach to the Office of Graduate Student Life and Development on fun questions.

Images, Courtesy of Teachers College, Columbia University

Posted in: ReportsLearning at the Library|By: Jennifer Govan|356 Reads