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News from York College Library

Contents & Overview

LibWire was introduced in 2013 and now serves as the current version of the York College Library Newsletter. Spring 2018 marks the start of a new online format for LibWire, and we hope you enjoy our new look! 

—Editorial team


Inside this issue:

Greetings from the Chief Librarian

York's Common Reader Program Library Exhibit

Updates & Announcements

ILLiad to Tipasa: News from Interlibrary Loan Service

Book Donation from a Queens College Emeritus Professor

York College Library's IT Project Deployment

"Dust-Wettability" & "Bindery Records"

OER at York College

Wall Street Journal + CUNY Online Access

Interview with York's New Librarian

Faculty Scholarship & Creative Works

Greetings from the Chief Librarian

chief librarian njoki kinyattiThe Library plays a central role in supporting York College's curricula and the research needs of faculty, students, and the college community. Library faculty and staff are committed to advancing the College's mission of enabling students to grow as learners and realize their academic and human potential. York College Library is a welcoming place and a popular destination for students who need assistance with research, or are looking for a quiet place to study or a place to collaborate with classmates. Students also use the library to work on assignments; use computers, scanners, printers and copy machines; borrow and return books; and visit the IT Help Desk. The Library continues to experiment with approaches to provide an atmosphere that meets the needs of all of our students—by adding new signage, moving around furniture, or creating new policies for use of study rooms, borrowing of laptops or use of computers (the Cardinal Reserve System will be going live in Spring 2018). 

The Library team strives to provide the quality services that students deserve, even as declining budgets continue to adversely affect our purchasing power for library resources. Our library instruction program is strong, and librarians continue to provide top-notch research assistance at the library’s reference desk and elsewhere. Our Higher Education Assistant, Senior College Laboratory Technician, CUNY Administrative Assistant, CUNY Office Assistants, College Assistants and work-study students provide support services behind the scenes, at the Library’s Circulation/Reserve Desk and on the library floor.

York Library has a strong presence on campus and off, with librarians participating in college governance, serving on senate committees, and participating in College, University, local, regional, and national events (see the Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works section of this newsletter to learn more about our librarians’ activities over the past year). 

The Library continues to work in partnership with the Information Technology Department to enhance student services. We appreciate all the departments that help us do our job better, including Academic Affairs, Student Development, the Information Technology, Public Safety, Buildings & Grounds, and Campus Planning Departments.

As we come to the end of another successful academic year, I would like to express my appreciation to a great team of Library faculty and staff. Thank you for your commitment and unfailing dedication to serve York College students, faculty, and the college community. I look forward to a successful 2018-2019—with, hopefully, a bigger budget allocation for library resources.  

Congratulations and Best Wishes to the Class of 2018! We look forward to welcoming back returning students and meeting new freshmen in Fall 2018. Have a restful summer holiday!

—Prof. Njoki Kinyatti, Chief Librarian

Common Reader Exhibit

York’s Common Reader Program Library Exhibit

York Library Presents

This year, students read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and were invited to post their thoughts about the book on a wall in the library.


The York common reader posters asks students to leave their impressions of the new jim crow

Poster created by Laura Pugliese, Institutional Advancement, York College

york common reader posters

Posters created by Laura Pugliese, Institutional Advancement, York College


—Prof. Christina Miller, School Media Specialist & Head of Reference

York Students Respond

student responses were written on post it notes on the wall

student responses included We shouldn’t be divided. We are all humans first

Dust–Wettability & Bindery Records

"Dust-Wettability" and Bindery Records

Sometimes, subject headings can be unintentionally humorous, such as “Basic input-output systems” (Are you sure this is for computer systems?), “Three-dimensional pens” (What does a one-dimensional pen look like?), or “Child Abuse–Study and Teaching” (Should we report the author to police?) are entertaining and can always serve as a conversation starter at a party or as a punch line to a joke about a cataloger’s work. If you ask me what are the funniest subject headings that I have seen, I would like to share with you two: “Dust–Wettability” and “Bindery records.” They look weird, but there are no other headings that could thrill me more this year. I don’t know what they precisely mean; however, their face-value interpretation can be used to summarize the two major projects done by the Cataloging Department this year.

books on shelves


(How wet is wet enough?)

The recataloging of the Children’s/Curriculum Materials Center (CMC) Collection totally wrapped up in November, 2017. The entire CMC Collection used to be classified with Dewey Decimal Classification until 2002; after that incoming juvenile books carried Library of Congress Classification (LCC) numbers. To avoid user confusion and keep a consistent classification system, in 2014 Professor Todd Simpson and Professor Christina Miller initiated recataloging pre-2002 CMC Collection books with the LCC. Professor Junli Diao took over this project in 2015. More than a thousand outdated and incomplete CMC records have been updated. All the records have been combed through to make sure the books’ most recent author’s number has been assigned. The CMC Collection was built in 1972, when Professor Lucienne Maillet was the Chief Librarian. At that time, the CMC held over 3,000 fiction titles, as well as a significant number of textbooks, curriculum bulletins and children’s magazines. Of course, as you can imagine, recataloging a collection built in the1970s was not so pleasant as cataloging handsome new books. It was a dusty project. Through our collaborative efforts, we made it!

“Bindery records.”

(Any subject headings named as “item records” or “holding records?”)

Periodicals came into the library in loose format and all the separate issues were tied up with a piece of string at the end of the year. This, of course, created some difficulties in management and access. For better protection and easier access, the library decided to allocate a small amount of money to start binding periodicals. Ronnie G Gomez, the Cataloging Librarian at Queens College’s Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library offered us training since York has never done any binding before. Cataloging Assistant Lesly Previl and Professor Junli Diao went to Queens College twice. They learned the binding workflow in Aleph and contacted Paul Parisi to do a demonstration via webinar on how to handle the software ABLE, which manages the flow of materials between the library and the service provider. College Assistant Hsiao Liang at the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library gave us hands-on training and taught us how to prepare binding slips and package the materials. Five periodical titles, comprising 80 volumes, were selected as a trial project. They were picked up by the binding company in June and shipped back to us in August 2017!

—Prof. Junli Diao, Head of Cataloging & Serials

About LibWire

Editorial staff:

Junli Diao

Christina Miller

Meredith Powers

Todd Simpson

Graphic design & layout:

Junli Diao (print)

Meredith Powers (online)


wall street journal access ad

The City University of New York has joined The Wall Street Journal in a collaboration that will provide students and faculty full access to WSJ.  WSJ provides career advice and ties real-world examples into what you learn, giving you the opportunity to enhance your educational experience and stay ahead.

Wall Street Journal Access benefits include:

  • Unlimited access to
  • WSJ mobile and tablet apps
  • Curated WSJ newsletters

Activate your membership at

Once your account is active, you can use any app at

  • iPad & iPhone
  • Android tablets and phones
  • Apple Watch
  • Google Newsstand, Amazon Kindle Fire, Flipboard App

—Meredith Powers, Electronic Resources Librarian

Recent Book Donations

Book Donation from a Queens College Emeritus Professor

books on shelf

It is fairly common for a college library to receive books when a faculty member retires, cleans out their office, or downsizes from a large house. But it is somewhat unexpected to receive a donation from a faculty member from another institution.

In February 2018, the York College Library received a large donation of twenty-two boxes of books (523 volumes) from Dr. Jon A. Peterson, who taught in the History Department at Queens College from 1966 to 2005, when he retired and became Professor Emeritus. Not surprisingly, Dr. Peterson first contacted the Queens College Library to see if they could use any of his books, but since they were founded several decades before York (and have benefited from what one can describe as very healthy budgets over the years), Queens already owned a large percentage of the books. Thankfully for York, QC’s longtime history librarian, Dr. Rolf Swensen, suggested that Dr. Peterson contact York.

Dr. Peterson and his wife drove to York in two cars packed with boxes, and Travis Hilton, Junli Diao, and John Drobnicki went down to the gate on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard to unload the cars and transport the boxes up to the Library.  (To be more precise:  up-hill to the Library!)

A noted specialist on urban history, local history, and immigration, Dr. Peterson is the author of The Birth of City Planning in the United States, 1840–1917 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), which is recognized as a classic text for those interested in both the Progressive Era and urban studies. As one would expect, among the books donated were many titles on American history, urban studies, immigration, city planning, New York City, and Queens history. The Library is very grateful for the donation, and books that were not needed by the Library were eagerly taken by students.


—Prof. John A. Drobnicki, Head of Acquisitions & Collection Development

Interlibrary Loan Update

ILLiad to Tipasa: News from Interlibrary Loan Service


York College students, faculty and staff use the Library’s InterLibrary Loan (ILL) service when they need to borrow materials that are not available in our own collections. The library has used OCLC ILLiad, an interlibrary loan management system, for several years. As of spring 2018, there are 533 registered ILLiad users at York. Recently, OCLC announced a move from ILLiad to a new ILL management system, Tipasa, in an effort “to ensure our member libraries are positioned for success.” ( The major difference between ILLiad [Image 1] and Tipasa [Image 2]  is that the former is client-based and the latter, cloud-based, thus, more flexible in mobility for librarians to manage the business. As a result, York College ILL users will need to get ready for the change which is scheduled for September 30, 2019.


—Prof. Di Su, InterLibrary Loan Librarian


illiad interface

tipasa interface


OER at York College

Open Educational Resources (OER) at York College

York College joined its CUNY peers when it launched its first OER courses in the fall. The Library played a leading role in promoting the new initiative.

oer in stylized font

What is OER?  Why OER? Why now?

“Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise - that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits no-cost access, use adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restriction” (Hewlett Foundation). OER typically refers to educational resources  released under Creative Commons license and are typically available in electronic format. OERs can include, but are not limited to, textbooks, course readings, syllabi, lesson plans, tests, quizzes, games, data sets, and virtually any other materials used for educational purposes. OERs provide access, affordability, and education equity and have proven to have a crucial impact on student retention. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook costs rose 82% between 2002 and 2012, despite the fact that the Consumer Price Index rose only 28% during the same period. This can result in students selecting courses and majors based solely on textbook costs.

CUNY embraced the OER initiative in 2010 when six community colleges were the first to establish “zero textbook” courses. Thanks to a  $4 million grant from the State of New York,  in the Summer of 2017, CUNY Libraries at all campuses were able to join the OER movement and convert educational resources used in high enrollment courses to OER materials. The  ultimate goal is to create “Zero Textbook Cost” degree programs. As many as 300 courses and 2,000 sections are to be converted to OER this year alone across all CUNY campuses. At York College, the pioneering departments include Biology, English, and World Languages, Literature, and Humanities (Italian), launching the first eight courses with total of twenty sections in Fall 2017. This spring, two more Departments, Chemistry and History, - are about to join the ranks—bringing the number of OER courses to twelve, with thirty-three sections in total.

The Library, supported by the Office of Academic Affairs, hosted two workshops for faculty in October, 2017, to facilitate the adoption and development of OERs. The first workshop was led by Lumen Learning representatives, who gave a demonstration of their signature products: Waymaker Personalized Learning, Lumen Online Homework Manager, and Candela courses. Jean Amaral, Knowledge Librarian at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, gave a great interactive presentation, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About OER But Were Afraid to Ask,” where she introduced the audience to the pedagogical foundations of OER and Zero Textbook Cost course redesign.  In order to promote the new initiative among faculty and keep the OER momentum, the Library will offer a module of three walk-in workshops for faculty: OER Intro and OER @CUNY, Copyright and Creative Commons Licenses, and OER in the Disciplines. For more information check out the OER research guide. Stay tuned and try your hand at converting a course to OER. You can do it! We are here to help.

—Prof. Stefka Tzanova, Science Librarian

image source: Tjane Hartenstein

Interview with New Librarian Meredith Powers

meredith powersWhere are you from?

I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, and I moved to the NY area in 2009. I ended up attending City College, where I worked in the library cataloging and materials processing department. I’ve spent the last 6 years living in Brooklyn, and I love my neighborhood and my community.

What brought you to librarianship? What kinds of libraries have you worked in?

I used to volunteer for the summer reading program at my local public library when I was a kid, but I never thought about becoming a librarian until I spent a few years working in the library at CCNY. Everyone there was very supportive and encouraging, so I ended up enrolling in the Library & Information Science program at Pratt Institute.

I continued to work at CCNY while taking classes, but Pratt has so many partnerships with museums and cultural institutions in NYC that it wasn’t long before I ended up undertaking a fellowship at the Frick Art Reference Library. At the Frick, I worked as a web archivist on a grant-funded project to preserve art resources. I also started working at Teachers College, where I learned a lot about administering acquisitions, eresources, and interlibrary loan, as well as managing projects in general. By the time I graduated from Pratt, I was ready to move on to more of a public service role. Conveniently, Brooklyn Public Library was hiring, so I took a job as a young adult librarian in my neighborhood branch. In the end, I realized that I valued research, scholarship, and teaching as much as public service, so I’m delighted to be part of York College Library where I get to do all of these things!  I also like that I’ve kind of come full circle–from where I started as a work study student at City College to a full time librarian here at York.

What was the last book you read purely out of interest?

I just read the hard-to-describe Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac, which is kind of a wildly discursive mix of psychological theories, Argentinean sex comedy, revolution, philosophy, academic posturing, and 90s computer hackers.

book coverTell us about your recent book.

Developing In-House Digital Tools in Library Spaces collects use cases of libraries and librarians who have taken the software development process into their own hands. When we conceived the idea of collecting these chapters, Laura Costello (co-editor) and I were working on library technology projects as part of a team of librarians, developers, and designers. For the most part, library service relies on contracted vendors to host, distribute, and control content; our data collection strategies and discovery/recommendation tools are also dependent on third party vendors. We noticed, however, that many libraries were creating, testing, and supporting their own tools to better suit their particular communities, whether by using developer tools available through library service providers or building out their own tools from scratch.  Each chapter focuses on different library-created products and their development, and most of them include details on organizational structures, barriers, and collaboration between departments, as well as user feedback and testing. Our goal was to help empower librarians to create and develop their own software solutions and technologies by exposing the process for different projects in different kinds of libraries.

What Masters program are you in?

I am currently enrolled in the Masters in Data Analytics and Applied Social Research program at Queens College. The program focuses on research and analytic skills, specifically how to use data to answer questions and support decision-making. The data half of the program emphasizes advanced analytic skills, including data handling, manipulation, interpretation, and analysis; the applied social research side emphasizes the research process with a theoretical and practical approach. Overall, the program is grounded in sociology but the focus is on conducting independent projects using a variety of research methods and designs. My main goal for this program is to take new analytical and programming skills and apply them towards evaluating and improving library services for York College Library.

—Prof. Todd Simpson & Meredith Powers

Recent Works from York College Library Faculty

Library Faculty Scholarship & Creative Works


Costello, L., & Powers, M. (Eds.). (2017). Developing in-house digital tools in library spaces. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.


peer-reviewed journal articles

Diao, J. (2018). Conceptualization of catalogers’ judgment: A preliminary study. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 56, 298-316.


Diao, J. (2017). The absence of public libraries in Imperial China: An alternative interpretation of Chinese writing. Library and Information History, 33, 195-214.


Megwalu, A., Miller, C., & Haller, C. (2017). The library and the common reader program: A collaborative effort to college transition. Reference Services Review, 45, 450-459.


Sheidlower, S. (2017). Accommodating the disabled in library one-shots at York College/CUNY. Codex: The Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL, 4(3), 64-82.


Zhang, Y, & Su, D. (2018). Overview and evaluation of selected general business databases. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 23, 103-111.


other articles

Diao, J. (2018). Cataloging backlogs: Perennials, seaweeds, or others? College & Research Libraries News, 79(3): 142-143.



Costello, L., Powers, M., & Haugh, D. (2017). Pedagogy and prototyping in library makerspaces. In E. Kroski (Ed.), The makerspace librarian’s sourcebook (pp. 29-49). Chicago, IL: ALA Editions.


encyclopedia articles

Kinyatti, N.  (2018).  Mali.  In S. M. Shaw, N. Staton Barbour, P. Duncan, K. Freehling-Burton & J. Nichols (Eds.), Women’s lives around the world: A global encyclopedia (Vol. 1, pp. 219-226).  Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.


Simpson, T. (2018). White, Ellen Gould Harmon. In S. E. Hendrix & U. Okeja (Eds.), The world’s greatest religious leaders: How religious figures helped shape world history (Vol. 2, pp. 716-720). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.


grants and awards

Powers, M. (2018). PSC-CUNY. Topic modeling and Library of Congress Subject Headings. $5,248.


book reviews

Drobnicki, J. A. (2018, April). [Review of the book The Holocaust: An encyclopedia and document collection, edited by P. R. Bartrop & M. Dickerman]. Choice, 55(8), 944.


Miller, C. (2017). [Review of the book Fiction Core Collection, edited by K. Spires, G. Toth & M. Huggers]. American Reference Books Annual, 48, 214.


Miller, C. (2017). [Review of the book Integrating Children’s Literature Through the Common Core, Standards by R. L. Wadham & T. A. Young]. American Reference Books Annual, 48, 99.


Powers, M. (2018). [Review of the book The big ones: How natural disasters have shaped us (and what we can do about, them by L. Jones). Library Journal, 143(5), 105-106.


Powers, M. (2018). [Review of the book Nutritious delicious: Turbocharge your favorite recipes with 50 everyday superfoods, by editors at America’s Test Kitchen]. Library Journal, 143(1), 118-119.


Powers, M. (2018). [Review of the book Return of the sea otter: The story of the animal that evaded extinction on the Pacific Coast, by T. McLeish]. Library Journal, 143(4), 99.


Powers, M. (2018). [Review of the book Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the making of a masterpiece, by M. Benson]. Library Journal, 143(6), 73.


Sheidlower, S. (2017). [Review of the book Creating inclusive library environments: A planning guide for serving patrons with disabilities, by M. Kowalsky & J. Woodruff]. Public Services Quarterly, 13, 272-273.


Sheidower, S. (2017). [Review of the book Public knowledge: Access and benefits, edited by M. A. Drake & D. T. Hawkins]. Public Services Quarterly, 13, 23-24.


Sheidlower, S. (2017). [Review of the book Ten characteristics of quality indexes: Confessions of an award-winning indexer, by M. Towery]. Public Services Quarterly, 13, 101-102.


Simpson, T. (2017). [Review of the book Musicals in film: A guide to the genre by T. Hischak]. American Reference Books Annual, 48, 427-428.



Diao, J., Powers, M., Simpson, T., Su, D., & Tzanova, S. (Co-presenters). (2018, March). Welcome to the York College Library. Presented at a York College Professor 101 session, York College, CUNY, Jamaica, NY.


Powers, M. (2017, October). Creating and modifying open educational resources: A cost benefit analysis for low-budget, no-budget libraries Poster session presented at the Open Access Symposium at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY.


Sheidlower, S., & Tzanova, S. (2017, August). Welcome to the York College Library. Presented at Occupational Therapy New Students Orientation, York College, CUNY, Jamaica, NY.


Tzanova, S. (2017, August). Welcome to the York College Library. Presented at PHS New Students Orientation, York College, CUNY, Jamaica, NY.


edited a column

Powers, M. (2018). Column Editor (“Problem Solved”) in Serials Review.


research guides

Powers, M. (2018). Anthropology. Retrieved from


Powers, M. (2018). Citations and plagiarism. Retrieved from


Powers, M. (2018). Find funding: Grants, scholarships, and fellowships. Retrieved from:


Powers, M. (2018). Getting started with research. Retrieved from


Powers, M. (2018). Scopus. Retrieved from


Powers, M. (2018). Wall Street Journal digital access. Retrieved from


Tzanova, S. (2018). OER (open educational resources). Retrieved from


Tzanova, S. (2018). Academic works. Retrieved from


Tzanova, S. (2018). Pharmaceutical science. Retrieved from


lesson plans

Diao, J. (2018). Teaching Occupational outlook handbook for students in career development: A lesson plan. Retrieved from


blog posts

Su, D. (2017 September 21). IL Instruction overload. Retrieved from


Su, D. (2017 September 11). Open access and ScienceDirect/Scopus. Retrieved from


library exhibits

Drobnicki, J. A. (2017-). Faculty book display (Ongoing). [Library exhibit]. York College Library, Jamaica, NY.


Miller, C., & LoPinto, J. (2018). Faculty and staff art [Library exhibit]. York College Library, Jamaica, NY.


Miller, C., & Powers, M. (2017). York College Common Reader Program [Library exhibit and book display]. York College Library, Jamaica, NY.


Tzanova, S., & Miller, C. (2017). Hidden gems: Big books from the library’s oversized collection [Library exhibit]. York College Library, Jamaica, NY.


Tzanova, S. (2018). Earth Day [Library exhibit and book display]. York College Library, Jamaica, NY.


book displays

Simpson, T. (2017). Selections from new acquisitions in honor of women’s history month [Book display]. York College Library, Jamaica, NY.


Simpson, T. (2017). Selections from the collection in honor of culinary arts month [Book display]. York College Library, Jamaica, NY.


Simpson, T. (2017).  Selections of biographies and autobiographies from the collection [Book display]. York College Library, Jamaica, NY.

Information Technology Update

York College Library's IT Project Deployment

york library computers and chairsThe Library department has significantly improved technology and service delivery to its users, by adding more computers, upgrading equipment, and continually monitoring and diagnosing issues with hardware and software. The IT department replaced 40 old (Dell 755) computers with new (Dell OptiPlex 7050) computers, which have also been upgraded to the Windows 10 operating system. As the existing Library computers were also upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10, they had memory upgrades from 4GB to 8GB, and now also offer the latest version of the Microsoft Office suite.

Although users could already connect their smart devices to the campus wireless network from inside the Library, there will be a new option available for those who left their device at home: the IT department is purchasing twenty Surface Pro tablets for the Library, which will be available for use by checking them out from the Circulation Desk. The devices are currently being configured by IT staff.

Another important forthcoming improvement will be Cardinal Reserve, which will allow users to reserve a computer or a group study room in the Library. You may have already noticed the software installed on Library computers. Library faculty and staff are working closely with their IT department counterparts to decide on the policies and deployment.

IT is also replacing and upgrading printers in the Library using Tech Fee funds.

Thanks, as always, to Peter Tighe (Chief Information Officer), Greg Vega (Director, Service Delivery Unit), Claudio Lindow (Deputy Director of IT), and their dedicated staff for helping to provide the Library with hardware, software, and support.


—Mohammed J. Sarwar, Systems Administrator