"Harry Potter's World" Coming to Scholes Library

Illustration of an alchemy workshop;  Courtesy National Library of Medicine

Illustration of an alchemy workshop;
Courtesy National Library of Medicine

I’m pleased to announce that the Scholes Library will be hosting the “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine” exhibit from the National Library of Medicine, from August 31st through October 10th! The exhibit will be accompanied by opening and closing receptions, contests, a series of lectures and events, and much more.
The Harry Potter’s World exhibit is a traveling piece that focuses on the Renaissance traditions–scientific, philosophical, and mythological–that influenced the magic and culture in the world of Rowling’s books. Including images of primary sources on topics from alchemy to botany and magical beasts, the National Library of Medicine’s materials will be supplemented by items from our own collection. Items such as the Magiae Universalis Naturae et Artis (as seen below), a 17th century text from special collections, will be on display, tracing the relationships between alchemy, metallurgy, and chemistry.
A page from the Magiae Universalis

A page from the Magiae Universalis

We’re planning an extensive program of activities to accompany and enrich the exhibit, and there should be something for everyone. (Butterbeer! Costume contest! Music! Chocolate frogs! Prizes!) For right now, though, we’d like to reach out to all of you, our patrons and readers, and open the door to your involvement in this event.
As part of the Harry Potter’s World Exhibit, the libraries are seeking professors, staff, and community members of all walks of life to come speak on a topic related to Harry Potter–or to put on a demonstration of a relevant skill, or lead a workshop, or almost anything else you can imagine. While lectures directly about Harry Potter are obviously welcome, this concept is very flexible, and we welcome all proposals and suggestions. Maybe you want to take your inspiration from Professor Sprout’s Herbology class and talk about medicinal herbs; maybe you have some insights into the history of witchcraft in England; maybe you’re feeling crafty and want to teach people how to make their own wands. It’s all open!
Several other institutions have held lecture series while hosting this exhibit. Here are just a few of their titles, to help inspire you:

  • “Magic, Illusion, and Ghosts: The Marketing of Science and Psychotropics,” Dr. Glen Spielmans, Metropolitan State University
  • “Quick Quotes and Quibblers: The Role of the Media in the Wizarding World,” Lola Burnham, Eastern Illinois University
  • “Magic, an Anthropological Perspective,” Dr. Don Holly, Eastern Illinois University
  • “Character, Structure, Perspective…and a Castle: A Medievalist Reads Harry Potter,” Dr. David Raybin, Eastern Illinois University
  • “Immortality,” Dr. Thomas Duffy, Yale University

Obviously this is just a tiny selection of the possible range! Let your imaginations run wild; we’re eager to hear your ideas. If you have an idea, a suggestion, a question, a full-fledged proposal, or you’d just like to get involved in some way, please send me an email to sclippa@alfred.edu.
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Trading Cards from Harry Potter’s World Exhibition Courtesy National Library of Medicine

Trading Cards from Harry Potter’s World Exhibition
Courtesy National Library of Medicine

iArt Installation featured in Herrick Library!

iArt Installation 1
iArt Installation 2
Three students from the I-Art program displayed a fiber art sculpture on March 3rd-4th in the Book End Lounge. The fiber art was suspended from the central overhead lighting fixture and was a primary focal point for patrons entering the library.

Personal Librarian Dessert event a success!

Gourmet cupcakes, delectable cheesecake, freshly baked cookies, and tasty treats. These were the delicious desserts that were served last week as the Personal Librarians Program kicked off the fall semester with an informal meet-and-greet gathering in the Book End Lounge. The event provided an excellent opportunity for each of our AU librarians participating in the program to introduce themselves to first year students and for our librarians to get to know their students, as well.
Thank you to all who attended; you made the event a fantastic and memorable one!
Dessert buffet, Book End Cafe, Herrick Library.
Students and librarians engage in conversation in the Book End Lounge.
Mark Smith, Stephen Crandall, and Trevor Riley remind everyone to “Keep Calm and Ask a Librarian” by sporting their awesome new t-shirts!
Mark Smith, left, is the Director of Scholes Library; Stephen Crandall, center, is the Library Director and Collection Management Coordinator at Herrick Library; Trevor Riley, right, is the Engineering and Emerging Technologies Librarian at Scholes Library.
Eva Sclippa, right, is the Art Librarian and Instruction Coordinator at Scholes.
Ellen Bahr, left, is the Information Systems Librarian and Interlibrary Loan Coordinator at Herrick.
Laurie McFadden, center, is the University Archivist, Librarian, and Special Collections and Cataloging Coordinator at Herrick.
Brian Sullivan, middle, is the Instructional Librarian and Access Services Coordinator at Herrick.

Who's Your Librarian?

Gnome Bibliomancer.
High Elf Loremaster.
Undead Espier.
If these don’t sound like names that belong in an academic library, you probably just haven’t heard about the Personal Librarians Program yet. Starting this fall, incoming undergraduates will have one of seven librarians assigned to them as their “personal librarian,” a sort of academic advisor for library and research issues.  This librarian will be their primary contact point for a vast range of research help, ranging from how to sign up for InterLibrary Loan to help developing a bibliography to figuring out how to use the printers. To help publicize the program, the participating librarians have agreed to reveal their secret identities taken on new personas, ones that capture the essence of their specialized skills.  Without further ado, allow me to introduce the FELLOWSHIP OF THE LIBRARIANS:

Brian_tradingcard Brian_tradingcard_back

Brian, the Information Literacy Librarian at Herrick Library, has also become the Bibliomancer, a magic user committed to helping students find their way through the world of research and library skills.  In more mundane terms, that means he plans and teaches many library instruction sessions.  He’s also a subject specialist in Astronomy, English, Environmental Studies, Geology, History, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, and Religion.

Ellen_tradingcard Ellen_tradingcard_back

Technology can be difficult to pin down, and it can be even harder to make different technologies work together. Fortunately, we have Ellen, the Technology Tamer and one of our two technology experts. She forges new paths through the information wilderness by setting up and maintaining the software and programs needed for our search interfaces to work, among other things. Subject-wise, she specializes in Anthropology, Biology, Communications, Criminal Justice, Global Studies, Modern Languages, Psychology, School Psychology & Counseling, and Sociology.

Eva_tradingcard_35x25Game Cards Design Kit

Where the Bibliomancer acts as a light in the dark to guide lost and confused students, the Citation Hunter leads expeditions–sometimes large classes, sometimes journeys with a single other soul–to assess and track down the best sources for a given topic. This can take the form of instruction sessions or one on one reference questions. And that 90% survival rate isn’t bad. Eva has a special interest in Art, Art History, Medieval and Early Modern Art, Medieval History, and Illuminated Manuscripts.


Grappling with the library’s voluminous image collection and with ever-changing image technologies, John the Imagemaster is to visual resources as Ellen the Technology Tamer is to our information systems. John captures new images for the collection and tames them, leaving them orderly and easily accessible for library users. He can also provide guidance on the various features of image use, such as creating Power Point presentations, using ARTstor or MDID to find images, or dealing with citations and copyright. His subject area of expertise is Visual Resources.


Whatever ancient lore or dark secrets reside in the history of this village and its scholars, Laurie the Loremaster has the keys to uncover them. She guards the archives, keeping the hallowed records safe from harm, and also easing the path for those who seek to learn their secrets. The tales of figures vanished in the mists of time still live on in her files. Laurie’s subject specialties are Athletic Training, Chemistry, Education, Gerontology, and Women’s Studies.


Someone has to build and protect the collections that these heroes navigate so deftly, and that someone is the Collection Defender. Steve manages the collection, ensuring both that it grows and flourishes, and that older and no longer relevant texts don’t gather dust on the shelves. As Library Director, he is also our fearless leader. Steve specializes in the subject areas of Business, Dance, Mathematics, Music, and Theater.


The newest member of our team, Undead Espier Trevor Riley gazes into the future, scrying to determine our upcoming technological needs. With his sidekick “Data” and the powers of technomancy, he then works to alter our current technology, honing it to meet the requirements of the days to come.  As the Engineering Librarian and subject specialist, he is also the go-to librarian for Engineering students with research questions.

First off, find out who your personal librarian is here!

If you’re an incoming freshman, you’ll be receiving a packet in your campus mailbox at the start of the year telling you who your personal librarian is (and including a trading card of that librarian in character).  You can also pick up this information at freshman orientation on August 21st.

If you’re not an incoming freshman and are sad that you haven’t been assigned a librarian of your very own, never fear!  Any of these adventurers would be happy to help you, or even to serve as your library needs contact point for the rest of your Alfred University career.  Just find someone whose subject specialties match your needs and drop them a line using the contact information listed here.  You might not find a gigantic treasure chest full of loot, but your time as a student will probably be a LOT easier.

Hope to see you at orientation!

Art Auction in the Book End Lounge at Herrick Library


Coral Lambert and one of her students, Lily Montgomery, have mounted a week-long art auction in the Book End Lounge. The auction will support a trip to the Pedvale Sculpture Park in Latvia this summer. Coral and her students will be building a large Earth Work Sculpture and participating in the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art.

All are welcome to stop by Herrick Library to enjoy the art and/or to make a bid on any of the one-of-a-kind items on display. The auction will wind down on Friday, April 18th.

Art From Books, As Books

On a Tuesday morning at the end of January, nearly 100 students congregated at the Scholes Library, meeting in front of the circulation desk but quickly spreading out into multiple lanes of busy traffic throughout the building.  Though they were not here to work on research papers or look up biographical information on artists, they were here to begin a project centered around the library and its collections.  Every area of the library was opened to them, with rare and unusual items from the archives and special collections on display–but for inspiration, not information.


“One Hundred Steps,” Samantha Calkins


A glance at the typography of “One Hundred Steps”

The students were here as part of the Freshman Foundations program, a first-year experience for BFA students.  At the beginning of each term, Foundations students have a week to produce a work of art within parameters set by their professors, typically parameters about the format their work will take.  Unbeknownst to the students coming back from winter break, their professors had met with the librarians at Scholes during the fall term to put together a project that would bring students into the library and have them creating artwork inspired by and using library resources.  The assignment they settled on that fall was books; not just any books, but artists’ books–the perfect meeting of book and art.

Interior view of “Wolf’s Bite” by Kelsey Mayo


Cover, “Wolf’s Bite”

At the end of the week, we here at the library were invited to the Foundations classroom to see the finished books, and the results were truly impressive.  Using everything from books of patterns and decorative motifs to scans of magazines, encyclopedias, and survey texts, the students had created an array of artworks that ranged from traditional narrative books to the wildly experimental.
The forms, materials, and methods that students made use of were just as varied as the content.
"The World is Bigger Than Me or You -- and That's Okay," and accordion fold book by Mikaela Suders.

“The World is Bigger Than Me or You — and That’s Okay,” and accordion fold book by Mikaela Suders.

Scattered amongst the neatly side-bound volumes were creations that pushed the edges of what a book can look like, works that expanded in lengthy accordion folds or were cut to match the shape of their subject.  Some of the students’ works played with form in a way that affected the meaning or perception of the book as a whole, altering the movement from page to page.
Materials provided an even richer field of experimentation.  The majority of the works were made of paper, but others unfolded on sheets of fabric, plastic, or even glass.  Still others were made of traditional materials, but contained small samples of the unexpected–a sachet of lavender, an old map, a splash of glaze.
"What is in a Bottle," Ruby Wisniewski

“What is in a Bottle,” Ruby Wisniewski

Perhaps most rewarding for the librarians involved in the project, some of the works showed signs of inspiration from the materials in the library that the students had been perusing just a few days before.  Works like A Humument, the modified Victorian novel mentioned in our first post on artists’ books, echoed in the selectively concealed and revealed words of books like “Alice,” pictured below.
"Alice," Julianna Metz-Root

“Alice,” Julianna Metz-Root

Even more exciting, soon the students’ art and the works that inspired them will be able to sit side by side.  Within the next few weeks, the students’ books will be delivered to the Scholes Library and housed in special collections alongside our other artists’ books.  Once the books have been delivered and cataloged for our collection, they will be on display to the public–and be sure we’ll make an announcement as soon as they’re available!