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News from York College Library

Greetings from the Chief Librarian

York College Library in 2022-2023
Chief Librarian Njoki Kinyatti

I am pleased to announce that the library is moving in the right direction. At the beginning of spring 2023 semester, we opened the second floor for our users that had been closed during the pandemic. This created additional study space for students and faculty. Recently, we have noticed an increase in the number of students utilizing the library and we hope this trend will continue. On April 25th , we welcomed back to campus Queens Public Library for their annual library card drive, an event we are grateful to resume. As always, we continue to be dedicated to managing and providing seamless access to both print and online resources. Assisting students, both in-person and through our online chat service remains our priority.

I have some exciting news about additional e-resources in our holdings. During the past few years, we have managed to migrate the vast majority of our subscriptions from print journals to electronic formats. In addition, during the pandemic, we discovered that the usage data for ebooks was much higher than for previous years. Consequently, we decided to focus most of our collection development budget on ebooks in order to fulfill the college’s mission of providing quality collections and outstanding services for our academic community. For example, during the academic year 2020-2021 we spent $76,000, and in academic year 2021-2022 $63,000 on acquisitions specifically in electronic format. Library faculty and staff remain committed to assisting students, faculty, and staff with their research needs while also providing access to quality collections. We are excited to have returned to work on-site where we can once again communicate and assist students and faculty with their research needs both in-person and online. I encourage you to explore our resources by visiting the library and our website. Last but not least, I am happy to inform you that the Library was approved to hire an Assessment and Outreach Librarian in the coming academic year 2023-2024. The Outreach and Librarian will participate in outreach programs, plan, implement, and evaluate in-person and online experiences in order to facilitate authentic engagement with the library and its collections and services. With the additional faculty line, the library plans to continue expanding its services.

Congratulations and good luck to the class of 2023! We wish you every future success. We look forward to welcoming back returning students and first year students in fall 2023. I wish everyone a safe and restful summer holiday.

York College Library Graduate

Congratulations to the Library’s graduating adjunct librarian: Mr. Tokunbo Adeshina, MPA! 

Stefka Tzanova, Assistant Professor/Science Librarian  and OER Coordinator

Photo credit: T. AdeshinaThis Spring Tokunbo Adeshina graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration: Public Policy and Administration degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). He successfully completed his second Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Management and Operation. Mr. Adeshina is a York College alumnus.  He graduated in 2011 with a B.S. in Aviation Management.  He received the York Scholar Award after spending long hours in the Library not only as a student but also working as a College Assistant at the Circulation Desk. To no surprise he decided to pursue a career in librarianship and enrolled in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Queens College (CUNY). Mr. Adeshina received his MLS degree in 2015 and returned to York Library as an adjunct. Several years later he landed a full-time librarian position as Head of Access Services at Bronx Community College. His hard work in Access Services and Interlibrary Loan received recognition and he is the recipient of the STARS Atlas Systems Mentoring Award 2023. When interviewed for LibWire in 2015 Mr. Adeshina said that he would “one day like to become Chief Librarian of a major library”. We have no doubt, Tokunbo!

The York Library: How Did an Academic Department Become a Division (and back again)?

The York Library: How Did an Academic Department Become a Division (and back again)? 

— John Drobnicki, Professor/Head of Acquisitions, Collection Development and Library Webmaster  

When York College opened in 1967, the faculty were originally organized in a divisional structure, without traditional academic departments. The rationale for this was described in an official document of the time: “…York College has been initially set up in Divisions, rather than Departments (in an attempt to avoid what is usually a narrow departmental outlook)…”[1] There was the Natural Sciences Division, under Dean Lewis J. Bodi; the Humanities Division, under Dean Daniel Coogan; the Social Sciences Division, first headed by Prof. Nathaniel Siegel and later under Dean Sidney Rosenberg; and the Counseling and Student Development Division, under Dean Richard E. Gruen.[2]

The 1970 Charter which created the Senate at York College expanded the divisional structure at the College: “The academic divisions of York College are the Divisions of Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social Sciences. Other divisions of the College are Teacher Preparation, Counseling and Student Development, Library, and the SEEK Department.”[3]

It is very interesting that the York Library would be considered a division rather than an academic department. The Board of Higher Education – the predecessor of the Board of Trustees – made the libraries of the City Colleges academic departments all the way back in 1938; all librarians in the City Colleges had faculty status by 1946; and librarians received faculty ranks in 1965. The City Colleges of New York officially became the City University of New York (CUNY) in 1961.[4] However, individual campus governance documents take precedence over the Board Bylaws, because the Board votes to approve campus governance documents.  It was not until September 1972 that the College discontinued the divisional structure, and faculty were reorganized into traditional academic departments under individual chairpersons.[5]

A student using a microfilm machine in the York College Library in 1972.


A student using a microfilm machine in the York College Library in 1972.

Photo by Marta Franco. Courtesy of York College Library Archives.

[1] “Minutes of the York College Faculty Meeting,” Sept. 18, 1968, 1, York College Library Archives.
[2] Ibid., 3-4.
[3] York College of The City University of New York, Charter, York College Senate [1970], Article XI, Section 2, York College Library Archives.
[4] John A. Drobnicki, “CUNY Librarians and Faculty Status: Past, Present, and Future,” Urban Library Journal 20 (2014).
[5] Robert D. Parmet, Town and Gown: The Fight for Social Justice, Urban Rebirth, and Higher Education (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2011), 83.

ChatGPT and Chat Reference: Convergent or Divergent

ChatGPT and Chat Reference: Convergent or Divergent 

Junli Diao, Assistant Professor/Head of Cataloging & Serials

When one day Springshare builds alliance with ChatGPT, what will be left for reference services? This is the question I frequently asked myself after reading the article “ChatGPT and Its Possible Impact on Library References Services” published online on February 23, 2023 in Internet Reference Services Quarterly by Professor Xiaotian Chen at the Bradley University Library.

In this article, Professor Chen designed five prompts with progress levels from easy to difficult and from general to specific. These five prompts include finding Bradley University library hours, best library databases for finding law reviews and legal cases, best library databases for finding law reviews and legal cases at Bradley University, and writing an article on chatbot and writing an article on chatbot with Literature Review, Methods and Analysis. ChatGPT did a good job in answering questions requiring general subject knowledge and provides a formal writing that even goes beyond the prompt’s requirement and include Introduction and Conclusion not mentioned beforehand. When ChatGPT failed in answering questions that is contextualized in institutional knowledge, ChatPGT added “my training data only goes up until 2021 and my creators have not updated me with this information” or “To determine the best database for your research needs, you should consult with a librarian at Bradley University.”

From the answers explained by ChatGPT, it seems that its magic power is confined by the absence of using up-to-date institutional knowledge as the training data. Following this thread, one may ask a question like, “What can be used as the best, state-of-the-art training data to enable ChatGPT to provide reference services within a library?” In this article, Professor Chen also compared ChatGPT’s performance with traditional library chatbots available in three different academic libraries. Out of curiosity, I tried one of the chatbots, but when I asked for resources on geography, I was directed to psychology. Apparently, in terms of intelligence, ChatGPT beats any of the three library’s chatbots without any sweat; but the absence of being trained with institutionalized data documenting interactive activities between librarians and users takes the wind out of ChatGPT’s sails. Who has the best recorded, live interactive data between librarians and users to feed ChatGPT? The best answer could be SpringShare. When ChatGPT and SpringShare’s rendezvous starts, an exciting era for reference services begins.


Chen, X. (2023). Chatgpt and its possible impact on library reference services. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 1-9.

Read Any Good Books Lately?

The Personal Librarian

Stefka Tzanova, Assistant Professor/Science Librarian  and OER Coordinator

Berkley Publisher

In the summer of 2022 I found “The Personal Librarian” by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray on the New Books shelf in my local NYPL. My curiosity peaked even though I didn’t expect to meet a friend I have been longing for. As uneventful summer days passed by in quarantine, I realized how much I was missing the piles of books in my office and the small chat with friends about an anticipated upcoming exhibit, concert or book launching. There she was waiting for me – my new friend Belle da Costa Greene - a light-skinned Black woman with no formal education, who became  J.P. Morgan’s  personal librarian and rose to fame in the rare books and fine art rarified circles. While passing herself for white during the first half of twentieth century when racism and misogyny ruled segregated America, she build unmatched professional reputation with natural intelligence, endless hours hard work, impeccable style, wit, and determination. Reading the book I was overcome with vivid memories of my first visit to the Gothic campus of Princeton University, where Belle started her career as  library assistant and rare books curator. I was immersed in the unique atmosphere of the Grolier Club. I remembered how my breath was taken away when I entered the Morgan Library’s Rotunda and Historic Library for the first time. Belle da Costa Greene, “the smartest girl J.P. Morgan knew”, was instrumental in building his private collection of rare books and manuscripts and transforming it into public institution. During her tenure that lasted half a century at Morgan Library, Belle became one of the most prominent librarians and library directors on the New York scene. Her unmatched knowledge as librarian, curator, bibliographer, scholar and fine arts expert earned her honor and recognition few professionals have achieved during their lifetime. That recognition was a Pyrrhic victory for Belle – she never married since her love affair with the art historian Bernard Berenson, another titan in the fine art world, was left doomed in a world of prejudice and discrimination.  I had so many questions to ask Belle when we got together again on the pages of “An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene’s Journey from Prejudice to Privilege” by Heidi Ardizzone. I am so exited in anticipation of our next meeting “Belle da Costa Greene: A Librarian’s Legacy” at Morgan Library and Museum in Fall 2024.

Summer Reading

- Meredith Powers, Assistant Professor/eResources Librarian

The weather is warming up and the semester is ending – it’s the perfect time to find something good to read this summer! Whether you need something to take on your travels, to the beach, or just to fill those summer thunderstorm afternoons, this list should have you covered. That said: Although there are plenty of hot newly-published book recommendations for summer reading 2023, this is not that list. The books on this list are a little older, they’ve been out for longer, but we’re all a little busy – maybe you haven’t gotten to any of them yet. That’s okay! While it can be fun to read the huge summer blockbuster at the same time as everyone and their book club, it can be equally satisfying to go back, pick out something you overlooked, and enjoy a book for its own sake on your own schedule.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers 

This 2021 debut novel from celebrated poet and professor of English Honorée Fanonne Jeffers deserves all the praise it has garnered (Kirkus Prize finalist, New York Times Best Books 2021, Washington Post Best Books 2021, 2021 National Book Award longlist, and more). The sprawling epic tale of one Black family spans centuries, from slavery through the Civil Rights Movement and all the way through to the present. Don’t let the length of the novel hold you back – it is beautifully written, and the story carries you along for the entire journey.

Black Cake, Charmaine Wilkerson 

This 2022 debut novel traces the story of a family through its complicated, fascinating matriarch. If you like untangling relationships and moving between the past and the present, this sweeping family epic full of secrets is sure to be a favorite!

Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel 

Another 2022 novel, this story of love, art, and human understanding shifts between the past, the present, and the future. Very much a pandemic novel, this is a quiet, slow-build story that poses questions about the nature of reality.

How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question, Michael Schur & Todd May 

A pleasant, lightweight philosophy book that manages to serve up a ‘best of’ overview of philosophical thought with plenty of levity. If you’re a fan of Michael Schur’s television work (The Good Place, Parks & Recreation, etc.) you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, Katherine May 

The opposite of a summer beach read, Katherine May recounts a year of uncertainty and depression, and how she found restoration through the quietness and solitude of the coldest season. Part memoir and part essay, this book also explores cultural histories and practices from cold climates. Summer reading for people who are tired of the summer heat!

Finally, if you do want to plan to read this year’s summer blockbuster, you should check out your local public library branch for even more recommended reading! Queens (, Brooklyn (, and New York Public ( libraries all offer extensive programs and reading lists for kids and adults of all ages!

Information Technology Update

Modern equipment is now available at the York library to facilitate student services

Mohammed Jahed Sarwar,  System Administrator and Liaison to the IT department

Library now serves iPads - a mobile platform based on iOS

During the academic year of 2022, York College library received 20 iPads which are increasingly popular. iPads are generally very easy to use once you connect to York network. In addition to familiarizing yourself with York wireless device policy, you should also familiarize yourself with the CUNY Central security policy (CUNY Security Policies and Procedures). York Information Technology (IT) department is responsible for configuring all York wireless devices. York IT will also add the Find My iPad application to our asset tracking system and register your iPad with Alma library management system. The IT department will also tag your iPad with a York bar code to ensure compliance with inventory regulations. York IT also set up a default Wi-Fi connection.

The default iCloud backup is not compliant with CUNY Central security practices and protection of University nonpublic data. If your iPad is lost, stolen, or damaged and you don't have a current backup, your data, videos, photos, and music may be lost. York IT is not able to enforce backups of your data outside of email as it applies to all wireless devices. You should notify Information Technology immediately if your iPad is stolen or lost. A report must also be filed with Public Safety as soon as possible. Read the policies on wireless devices so that you are familiar with protocols if your device is stolen or lost (York College Wireless Device Policies). If students add additional configurations or applications, they are responsible for them.  If  you discover a useful application for everyone who uses an iPad at York, please inform the Circulation Desk so we can consider it for standardization for new deployments. We encourage you to contact our Circulation Desk at ext. 2033 if you have any technical issues with your iPad. Hence, library staff can escalate the open work order of your pertinent issue to the IT support team to resolve it. It is the user's responsibility to provide accessories such as chargers and headphones.

Library laptops have been refreshed based on the Windows operating system

A total of 20 high performance library laptops Dell Latitude 5410 (Intel Core i7 10th Gen; 16GB) were refreshed  by the IT department during the 2022-2023 academic year. At the Library Circulation Desk, students can check out laptops for 2 hours (extended if needed). While connecting to York network users can open/save documents to their network drive as well as print from their laptops. The Library print release stations have CardinalPrint authentication system that is very user-friendly and more secure. There is however some security, configuration, and support information that anyone connecting to York network should be familiar with  - York College security policy and the CUNY Central security policy.

New multifunction copiers have been installed at the Library 

We have been partnering with Ricoh products for more than 12 years. To provide high-tech multifunction electronic equipment in our Library in Spring 2023 we have upgraded our six copiers (Ricoh IM5000/IMC6000) with the latest technology. 

Multifunctional printers with intelligent black and white or color technology are powerful, reliable, and constantly updated so users can enjoy high quality printing. Additionally, the  productivity is improved due to features such as high scanning speed and a wide range of finishing options.

Ricoh multifunction printers have a 10.1" Smart Operation Panel combined with touchscreen controls, that makes it even easier to use. With print speed as high as 60 pages per minute, this range is ideal for a wide range of business sectors and needs. In addition to the print speed performance, the range offers impressive scanning speed between 120 and 240 images per minute in color and black and white.

A scan-to-cloud function is part of Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment, which allows storing documents on the cloud. By using it, users will be able to scan documents directly from their multifunction printer to cloud programs such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Office 365, Evernote, and SharePoint.  It is expected that the IT department will be in contact with the vendor's integration team to enable this new feature in the copiers (RSI Standard Package) shortly.

Cyber security is becoming increasingly important. With layered security features that guarantee risk-proof document management, your data and printing will be protected. Besides ensuring that you have access to the latest apps and features, Ricoh Always Current Technology also ensures that the device is always running the latest security updates.

If you have any technical questions, please generate a self-service work order at  Those seeking assistance with borrowing an iPad, a laptop, or calculator can find information at the Circulation Desk.


IM 2500 IM 3500 IM 4000 IM 5000 IM 6000 Copier Printer Facsimile Scanner. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2023, from 


iPad Support — York College / CUNY. (n.d.). Retrieved December 31, 2022, from


Queens Public Library: College Outreach Event

 Mohammed Jahed Sarwar,  System Administrator and Liaison to the IT department

QPLQueens Public Library and York College Library of City University of New York (CUNY) recently collaborated to enhance accessibility of library services to students in need. The objective of this outreach effort was to foster student engagement with library resources.

The event featured a range of services, including free library card registration, information on student volunteer opportunities at Queens Public Library, and complimentary Queens Public Library materials. These services highlighted the benefits of library membership and motivated students to actively participate.

The event took place on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at York College Library, located at the third floor entrance of the Academic Core Building. The event was carefully planned to cater to the convenience of students.

Mr. Jean E. René, the manager of Central Library Programming & Outreach at Queens Public Library, and Mr. Mohammed J. Sarwar, the library's information systems administrator, were among the key organizers of the event.

Overall, the Queens Public Library: College Outreach Event was a successful community engagement strategy that motivated students to leverage library resources. Events like this are essential to sustaining the relevance and accessibility of libraries in communities.

Faculty Scholarship

York College Library Faculty Scholarship, AY2022-2023

Peer Reviewed Articles 

Diao, J. (2023). Titles and keywords: “Great love isn’t two people finding the perfect match in one another!” Journal of  
          Information Science,

Su, D. (2022). Coping with constant obsolescence: A lifelong task. International Journal of Librarianship, 7(2) December
          2022: 147-154. 

Other Articles 

Diao, J. (2022, Spring). Printing at home during the pandemic: A memoir. LibWire. Retrieved from

Drobnicki, J. A. (2022). Alan Fredericks. Wikipedia. Retrieved from 

  Drobnicki, J. A. (2022, Spring). All of my academic heroes are fading away. LibWire. Retrieve from

Kinyatti, N. (2022, Spring). Greetings from the Chief Librarian: York College Library in 2021-2022. LibWire. Retrieved from

Sarwar, M. J. (2022, Spring). The story behind York College and Cisco partnership. LibWire, Retrieved from

Sarwar, M. J. (2022, Spring). York Library and IT Services transforming into virtual services. LibWire. Retrieved from

Su, D. (2022, Spring). The new normal. LibWire. Retrieved from

Tzanova, S. (2022, Spring). Library exhibit: Library owls – From Athena’s Owl to Purdue OWL. LibWire. Retrieved from

Tzanova, S. (2022, Spring). York College Library Graduate. LibWire. Retrieved from


Adeshina, T., Diao, J., Drobnicki, J., Kinyatti, N., Powers, M., Simpson, T., Su, D., & Tzanova, S. (Co-presenters). (2022,
          December 8). Welcome to the York College Library. Presented at a York College Professor 101 session. [Virtual]. 

Diao, J. (2023, April 26 and May 8). Build a professional learning community (PLC) to increase technical services librarians'
          teaching preparedness: The logic model.
Presented at the CUNY Cataloging Committee Meeting and the
          CUNY Electronic Resources Management Meeting. [Virtual}.

Diao, J. (2022, November 16 and December 12). Assessing and improving technical services librarians’ teaching
          preparedness: Building a professional learning community.
Presented at the CUNY Cataloging Committee, the CUNY
          Electronic Resources Management Committee Meeting, the CUNY Acquisition Committee Meeting, and the CUNY
          Council of Chief Librarians. [Virtual] 

Tzanova, S. (2022, July 19). Welcome to York College Library: New Nursing Students Orientation. [Virtual].

Research Guides 

Drobnicki, J. A. (2022). Legal careers. Retrieved from 

Honors, Grants and Awards 

Diao, J., Tzanova, S., & Bishop, A. (2022, August 12). ACRL-LA Research Award (Winning article “Wikipedia and
          Scholarpedia: A comparative case study and its implications to information literacy” published on Codex: The Journal
          of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL and co-authored by Junli Diao (principal investigator), Stefka Tzanova, and
          Anthony Bishop. 

Kinyatti, N. (2022). Coordinated Collection Development Aid (CCDA). Grant in $10,297.00 received from New York State

Sarwar M. (2022). The HEO-CLT Professional Development Fund. Award in $3,000.00 received from PSC-CUNY.

Library Exhibits

Tzanova, S. (2023, January). Selection from the Collection on Black Women in Science [Library exhibit]. York College
          Library, Jamaica, NY.

About LibWire

LibWire 2023 is published on behalf of York Library by Stefka Tzanova and Junli Diao