AU Libraries Commitment to Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression

Alfred University Libraries stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and global movements responding to the systemic racism and anti-Black violence that recently claimed the lives of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and innumerable others. We recognize that this movement is intersectional and essential to dismantling oppression. We appreciate and endorse the statements of Alfred University and the American Library Association, which show support for all marginalized communities, especially the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community.
Affirming that Black Lives Matter engages with our Libraries’ value of supporting “intellectual and cultural diversity” and recommits us to the strategic goals of recruiting and retaining “a diverse and talented staff” and to developing “library programming that makes the libraries a center for intellectual discussion.” We recognize, however, that this is not enough.
The Libraries acknowledge that an ongoing history of oppression occurs not just in areas such as policing, housing, employment, and healthcare, but also in library services, where there are many examples of libraries being complacent or complicit in the oppression  of BIPOC. Alfred University Libraries do not claim immunity from complicity in this history of systemic racism.
Current events show us that unvoiced support for marginalized communities is only slightly better than no support at all, so we are actively adding our voice. However, this is only the first step. We also commit to “walking the walk” in order to create a more equitable, inclusive, and empowering environment, and a more just society. As a start, we will take the following concrete steps:
Creating a more inclusive environment:

  • Solicit feedback from students on “What would make you feel more welcome and/or comfortable in the Alfred University Libraries?” Partner with the Institute for Cultural Unity to ensure students from marginalized groups are aware that we are asking for their feedback.
  • Require all library personnel to participate in implicit bias and bystander intervention training (see Appendix).
  • Strongly encourage library personnel to participate in Psychological First-Aid (PFA) and Safe Zone training (see Appendix).
  • Evaluate the library search and hiring process to reduce bias and increase equity and to incorporate best-practices.
  • Integrate anti-racist and/or anti-oppression values and language into the AU Libraries Mission, Vision, and Values.

Creating more inclusive collections: 

  • Actively add the work of BIPOC scholars to library collections.
  • Add resources to support anti-oppression research and work to library collections.
  • Solicit suggestions from students on collecting library materials by and/or about BIPOC.
  • Whenever possible, ensure that library displays include works by marginalized creators/authors.
  • Expand collaboration with student groups for library displays and events.

Educating ourselves:

  • Begin a discussion group for library personnel focusing on works from a list of anti-racist resources or a list of anti-oppression readings focused on libraries and librarianship (see Appendix).
  • Create a resource guide focused on anti-oppression (see Appendix).

We commit to regularly evaluating our progress and continuing to build on this statement and commitment. We welcome input from our patrons and our community on additional steps we can take as we work toward improving ourselves as professionals and as the Alfred University Libraries.
AppendixExample Trainings and Resources
To guide the implementation of the actionable steps in our commitment, Alfred University Libraries recommend these examples and resources to be used as appropriate.


Drawing of a germ

Libraries response to COVID-19

As of Wednesday, March 18, Herrick Library and Scholes Library are closed for an indefinite period of time.
Even though our buildings are closed, the Alfred University Libraries are still here to assist you!
The Herrick Library and Scholes Library webpages remain the gateway to millions of articles, ebooks, videos, databases, and other resources, most of which are not freely available elsewhere.
In addition, we have created a guide for Alfred University Libraries Remote Support that contains the most essential information for connecting with our resources, services, and people, including:
– Tips for accessing electronic resources remotely
– Accessing our print collection
– Accessing materials on Reserve
– Continuation of Library Instruction to classes and one-one research assistance
We will continue to update our online guide with additional information throughout the remainder of the Spring semester.
Please feel free to reach out to us with your questions and needs at We are here to support you and help you have a successful semester.
The Alfred University Librarians and Library Staff

Brian Sullivan appointed dean of libraries

Alfred University announces the appointment of Brian Sullivan to the position of dean of libraries. Sullivan, who had been serving since 2018 as interim director of libraries, takes over for Steve Crandall, who retired after a 41-year career at the University.
Sullivan has been at Alfred University for 11 years, serving as instructional librarian at Herrick Library from 2008-12 and as information literacy librarian, also at Herrick Library, from 2012-18.
As interim director, Sullivan’s responsibilities included: managing all day to day operations; collaborating with Crandall to co-lead the strategic planning and assessment process; assisting the dean with managing the libraries budget; facilitating professional development for library faculty and staff; and coordinating all aspects of general library operations and facilities management.
His duties as instructional and information literacy librarian included leading development of the Alfred University Libraries reorganization plan; managing the library’s instructional program; chairing the Libraries Assessment Team; and leading the Task Force on Information Literacy and Assessment.
Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Fredonia in 2000 and a Master of Library Science degree from the University at Buffalo in 2003.
He has taught a variety of library instruction sessions at Alfred University since 2008, including Writing I and II and First Year Experience, and in 2014 and 2015 taught an honors course, Create Your Own Religion.
Sullivan came to Alfred University in 2008 from Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL, where he was head of Public Services from 2006-07 and instructional services and electronic resources librarian from 2005-06. He was librarian at Hamlin (NY) Public Library for a year, in 2003.
Sullivan earned a master’s degree in theological studies from the Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College in 2002. He served as a theological library consultant at the Golisano Library, Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan, from 2016-18. He also served as an instructor at the Seminary during those years, teaching classes in library research for Seminary students and leading Doctor of Ministry dissertation workshops and new graduate student library orientations. His prior teaching experience also includes new graduate student orientations and graduate theology library orientations at Ave Maria University.

AU Libraries announce upcoming systems migration

The AU Libraries are pleased to announce an upcoming systems migration in early July that will improve services to the campus. A new library services platform, called Alma, manages all of the libraries’ back-office functions, including circulation, the acquisition and cataloging of print and electronic resources, and resource sharing within SUNY.
The library staff have been working over the last year to prepare for this transition. While we expect disruptions to be minimal, we appreciate your patience and understanding as we make this upgrade.
Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 11.35.44 AM
Library patrons will have access to an improved public search interface called Primo which has several new features:
* Mobile-friendly design
* An integrated search of physical and print materials at both Scholes and Herrick (videos, articles, books, databases, etc.)
* The ability to save favorite searches or articles as well as manage personal accounts for renewals and other circulation functions
* The ability to search across the collections of all SUNY Libraries (and beyond) with links to request materials for inter-library loan
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any of the librarians.

We're hiring: Public Services and User Experience Librarian

Samuel R. Scholes Library of Ceramics
Public Services and User Experience Librarian
The Samuel Scholes Library of Ceramics at Alfred University seeks a forward thinking, team oriented, customer service focused librarian to serve within a specialized academic library. Primarily serving undergraduate and graduate programs in Art and Design and Engineering and Science, Scholes Library also provides integrated library services with the Herrick Library at Alfred University.
The Public Services and User Experience Librarian position is a 12 month, administrative (non-tenure) position reporting to the Director of Scholes Library. This key administrative position is responsible for planning and coordinating all public facing operations including circulation, student worker hiring, training, and scheduling, all service desk operations, reference desk scheduling, user experience enhancements, and policy development.  This position also serves as assistant to the Director in reporting and providing library statistics.  Working in a fast paced, highly collaborative environment, the Public Services and User Experience Librarian serves as a key operational link to all departmental areas within Scholes Library and public face of the library as a whole.
Primary activities:
The Public Services and User Experience Librarian is responsible for the management and maintenance of circulation in the library. This includes the systems and technologies that control circulation—such as our circulation policies and LMS (Aleph)—as well as oversight of stack maintenance, shelf-reading, and other procedures that allow circulation of the physical collection. This individual will also collect public services statistics for the Library Director.
The person filling this position has an important supervisory role in the Public Services department. This individual is responsible for the hiring, scheduling, training, and supervision of approximately 35 student assistants and part-time reference assistants. They also have responsibility for developing and updating procedures and manuals related to the student workers.
The Public Services Librarian works closely with the Library Director in several areas of library administration. In an outward facing capacity, the librarian in this role communicates with patrons and other external constituencies for all operational and service matters. Within the library, they gather, report, and analyze data across all units, as well as develop internal procedures and policies as necessary.
In concert with their role collecting statistics for the Library Director, the Public Services Librarian is responsible for facilitating assessment efforts within Scholes Library and mapping this work to relevant university-wide strategic planning as appropriate. This individual will have a significant role in library assessment, both in Scholes and across the libraries.
User Experience
The Public Services and User Experience Librarian is dedicating to improving user experience for our patrons, monitoring current public service trends, leading initiatives to develop and expand services, and assisting patrons with special requests as appropriate. They are the public face of the library, coordinating guides, signage, tech support, and other front line patron needs, as well as orientation sessions on request.
Reference/Concierge Services
As part of the outward-facing user experience aspect of this position, the Public Services Librarian is responsible for reference services in the library. They coordinate the scheduling of librarians and part-time assistants at the reference desk, participate in the reference rotation, ensure that the reference desk is staffed at all scheduled hours, and provide “concierge” service to all patrons.

Other duties:

  • Participates in professional activities, serves on appropriate campus committees, and performs other College and University duties appropriate to administrative status
  • Participates in professional development activities on and off campus
  • Participates in strategic planning for campus libraries
  • Assists with group information literacy instruction as needed
  • Other duties as assigned

Qualifications: An ALA accredited MLS or equivalent degree is required; experience working in Circulation, Public Services and/or Reference Services in an academic library is preferred. Very strong technology skills and experience with administrative functions of an integrated library system are highly desirable. This position requires a strong customer service orientation, as well as excellent oral and written communication and supervisory skills. Subject background or coursework in art or engineering is a plus. This is a 12-month, non-tenure position requiring professional contributions to campus committees as assigned. This position also requires professional development and participation in collaboration within the greater SUNY Library community.
To apply, please submit the following to the address below: (Email & PDF preferred). Application review begins November 16, 2015 and will continue until the position is filled.

1) A letter of introduction outlining how your qualifications and experience match this opportunity;
2) Current Resume/Vitae;
3) Names, email, and phone numbers of three appropriate references

Email materials to:
or mail to:
Alfred University
Office of Human Resources
Greene Hall
Alfred, NY 14802
Alfred University, Alfred, NY, actively subscribes to a policy of equal employment opportunity, and will not discriminate against any employee, student or applicant because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, gender identification or expression, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, military or veteran status, domestic violence victim status, criminal conviction status, political affiliation or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Protected veterans, minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Introducing Our Hogwarts Professors

“Yer a wizard, Harry!”
Happy birthday to Harry Potter! In Rowling’s books, July 31st, 1991 was the day that Hagrid showed up to introduce Harry to the wizarding world. It seemed like July 31st would be a fitting day to introduce you, our readers and patrons, to the professors of Hogwarts University. This is our line up of speakers for the Harry Potter’s World series, roughly in their order of appearance on the schedule. You can find the full schedule of events–including the Opening Reception and Halloween Ball!–at our site here:
John D’Angelo
Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
Favorite Subject: Potions
Patronus: Monkey
Potions Lecture – “What If Magic Were Real?: Modern Technology, Love Potions, Veritaserum, Elixirs of Life, Liquid Luck, and Liquid Death”
Thursday, September 3rd  • 7:30 pm  • Scholes Library Second Floor Classroom
Kevin Ferst
Hogwarts House: Hufflepuff
Favorite Subject: Herbology
Patronus: Porcupine
Herbology Lecture – “Counteracting Spells Using Classic Chinese Herbal Formulas”
Thursday, September 10th • 7:30 pm  • Herrick Library Seminar Room
Cheryld Emmons
Hogwarts House: Hufflepuff
Favorite Subjects: Herbology and Potions
Patronus: Owl or snake
Herbology Lecture – “How to Identify Plants”
Sunday, September 13th • 4:00 pm • Scholes Library Second Floor Classroom
Beth Johnson
Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw
Favorite Subject: Muggle Studies
Patronus: Rat
Muggle Studies Lecture – “But It’ll Be Fascinating to Study Muggles from the Wizarding Point of View!”
Sunday, September 20th • 4:00 pm • Herrick Library Seminar Room
David DeGraff
Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw
Favorite Subjects: Charms and Flying
Patronus: Adelie penguin
Arithmancy Lecture – “Time Turners and Time Travel are Totally True”
Sunday, September 27th • 4:00 pm  • Herrick Library Seminar Room
Danielle Gagne
Hogwarts House: Slytherin (despite the sorting hat’s attempt to put her in Hufflepuff)
Favorite Subjects: Muggle Studies, Care of Magical Creatures, and Dark Arts
Patronus: Elephant
Charms Lecture – “Invisibility”
Thursday, October 1st  • 7:30 pm  • Scholes Library Second Floor Classroom
Bridget Riley
Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw
Favorite Subject: History of Magic
Patronus: Cat
History of Magic Lecture – “The Hereford Mappa Mundi: Features and Creatures”
Sunday, October 4th • 4:00 pm • Scholes Library Second Floor Classroom
Laurie McFadden
Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
Favorite Subject: History of Magic
Patronus: Leopard
History of Magic Lecture – “If These Walls Could Talk”
Thursday, October 8th • 7:30 pm • Steinheim Castle
And, for the heck of it, and because you’ll be hearing a LOT from me in the coming Harry Potter-filled weeks/months, here’s me, your “Harry Potter’s World” coordinator and local Ravenpuff:
Eva Sclippa
Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw (with Hufflepuffian sympathies)
Favorite Subjects: Potions and Care of Magical Creatures
Patronus: Pterodactyl

"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
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

Mayan Hearts: New Artist's Book

Just a quick note for those interested in artists’ books–or in Mayan art and culture, for that matter.
The Smithsonian Libraries very kindly passed on to us an extra copy of the artist’s book Mayan Hearts by Robert Laughlin, an anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History and specialist in the Mayan language of Tzotzil.
Mayan Hearts has its origins in the 16th century, at least, when an anonymous Dominican friar created a Tzotzil-Spanish dictionary. The original dictionary was lost in 1914, when the Mexican revolutionary army used its housing library as a stable (removing and destroying the books in the process), but a copy had been made shortly beforehand on the orders of Bishop Francisco Orozco y Jimenez. Upon encountering the dictionary in the vaults of Princeton University’s library, Laughlin was struck in particular by the Tzotzil use of heart-related metaphors to discuss emotion, and sought to illustrate and compile these evocative turns of phrase.
You can encounter these Mayan metaphors and their modern illustrations–by Uruguayan artist Naul Ojeda–in our Special Collections room, along with the rest of our artists’ book collection.

New books on Japanese art

Researchers, fans, and students of Japanese art and culture–rejoice! Scholes has just added 24 new books on Japanese art to the collection (with more on the way)!
This exciting addition is due to a grant secured for the library by Professor Meghen Jones and myself (Art Librarian Eva Sclippa). The grant, from the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, was awarded to help the Scholes Library update and expand its collection in the subject area of Japanese art. Upon arriving at Alfred University this past year, Dr. Jones quickly drew my attention to the limited scope of our offerings on the topic; upon further research, we discovered that over 75% of our books on Japanese art were published prior to 1975–the collection was desperately in need of revitalization. We’re very grateful to the NEAC for the support of this grant.
The books are currently out on the new books shelf in the lobby of the library, just as you walk in the front doors. We encourage you to browse them and see if any catch your interest; there are some really beautiful items out there! Here are some short profiles of a few especially interesting ones, selected entirely on my personal whims:

Kimono: A Modern History

Terry Satsuki Milhaupt
Reaktion Books, London, 2014
ISBN: 1780232780
The kimono is one of the most famous items or images associated with Japanese culture, and certainly with traditional Japanese clothing. But how much do you actually know about them? How did they become such an iconic garment? How are they used and worn today? And, regardless of all those other questions, do you want to see lots of beautiful pictures of really beautiful kimonos?
Of course you do. Go pick up this book.

Utamaro and the Spectacle of Beauty

Julie Nelson Davis
University of Hawaii Press, Hawaii, 2008
ISBN: 0824831993
If you want to go a bit further back in time in your studies of Japanese art, Davis’s book on Utamaro is one great way to do it. Utamaro was one of the most famous artists of the ukiyo-e (“floating world”) genre, known especially for his portraits and images of beautiful women. In this work, Davis considers Utamaro and his art in the context of the period, particularly the commercial print market.
Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art
John Carpenter
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2012
ISBN: 0300184999
Earlier still are the lavish artworks in the Rinpa style, featuring bold, colorful images and plenty of shiny gold. This book reproduces images of Rinpa artworks beautifully, allowing the reader to sink into their luxuriousness. Carpenter also studies the influence of the Rinpa aesthetic on Western art.
The Brittle Decade: Visualizing Japan in the 1930s
John Dower, Anne Nishimura Morse, Jacqueline Atkins, Frederic Sharf
MFA Publications, Boston, 2012
ISBN: 0878467696
Japan may be more famous for the screens of the Rinpa aesthetic or the woodblock prints of the Edo period, but turning some of your attention to a less-studied era may be rewarding. In The Brittle Decade, the authors explore the vibrant art of Japan in the 1930s, a period full of curious mixtures of old and new–like a kimono patterned with images of tanks.
Of course this is only a small sampling of the new materials we have for you! Come in and take a look at the new books shelf, hopefully before they’re all checked out.
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