Undergraduate Research Forum 2022

Library Student Workers Well Represented at Undergraduate Research Forum

Congratulations to all the presenters at this year’s Undergraduate Research Forum held on April 28th, 2022! The event is always an impressive showcase of student talent. Presentation topics ranged from adoption agency discrimination against LGTBQ+ families, grain size analysis of Bahamian beach sand to lab synthesis of Mesopotamian glass. Dean of Libraries Brian Sullivan and Director of Libraries Mechele Romanchock made sure to visit all presenters who work in Herrick Memorial Library and Samuel R. Scholes Library and hear about their work.

Dean Brian Sullivan (r) talking to Herrick student worker and poster presenter, Jocelyn Quintas (l)
and Dr. Julianna Gray

Scholes Library student employees pictured below: Josiah Alexander, Jaron Cheatham, Quinn Fowler, Tim Mayo, Michael Reid, and Molly Smith.

Herrick Library student employees pictured below: Daniel Farchione, Jocelyn Quintas, Eddie Sawin.

Welcome (Back) Haleigh Youll!

This past fall semester, Haleigh Youll joined the Alfred University Libraries as our newest team member, taking on the role of Public Services Assistant. She is quickly making her mark in the libraries! You may have seen her at the service desk of Herrick Memorial Library or one of her displays in the BookEnd Lounge.

What was your background before Alfred University?  
I graduated from Olean Highschool in 2017 and completed my undergraduate degree at Alfred University in December of 2020. I am currently taking classes online through the University at Buffalo for a Master of Library and Information Science and am planning to graduate in the spring of 2023.

I have had so many different jobs over the years, ranging from assisting teachers for dance classes, daycare, substitute teaching and even cleaning horse stalls for barns. As far as library experience goes, I was a work-study student in both of the Alfred University Libraries throughout my time as an undergrad. I loved every minute of it. After college, I spent some time working in public libraries but was eventually sucked back into the world of college libraries. As a bonus, I am also currently an Instructional Support Assistant at Alfred State College’s Hinkle Memorial Library too!  

What interests you about your current position?   

I think what interests me the most is how diverse my role can be throughout the libraries. I feel like I always have different projects to work on and can learn so many different skills. One day I could be working on a project to meet the needs of our student workers and the next I could be creating a display.  

What social media platforms do you use?   

I think most of the population fell on the TikTok train shortly after the pandemic hit so I would be lying if I said this wasn’t my most used social media app. While I don’t make any videos myself, I love to add funny sounds to videos of my dog Butters (@buildingbutters).  

Can you share one of your research tips? 

One of my favorite things to do when tackling a large amount of reading or research is using the search function (ctrl+F) and looking for keywords through the document. If I find the article looks highly valuable to the research or assignment, I am completing I’ll go back and read the whole thing. If not, I pass.  

Do you have any advice for current Alfred University students? 

Take the time to build relationships with your professors. Don’t be afraid to attend office hours or stay after class to ask a question. I know some of my favorite conversations and some of the best advice has come from stopping in to see a professor during their downtime.  

What do you like to do for fun outside of work?  

I am an animal lover at heart, so if I am not at work, I am spending quality time with my horse Chap, dog Butters or two cats Stella and Otis. The ideal day would be a long cold morning at the barn with Chap followed by an afternoon nap with Butters and the cats.  

What is something new you would like to learn? 

I will be moving into a new house very shortly that has a greenhouse in the backyard. I am hoping to learn how to manage a small garden. I think I am going to start out with pumpkins, yellow squash, and cucumbers but even that intimidates me.  

What do you appreciate about the Alfred campus and community? 

I appreciate how welcoming and family-like the Alfred area is. I have never walked down the street without seeing someone smile, or even entered a store without hearing a hello. Sometimes, if I’m having a rough day and take a walk around town and people watch because I know the energy of everyone else will make it better.


Free Coffee & Cookies During Extended Library Hours

Good luck with your finals! You’ve worked hard this semester and this is the home stretch.

AU Libraries are hosting extended hours in preparation for Final Exams (see schedule below). Starting Thursday, Dec. 2nd Herrick and Scholes Libraries will be offering free coffee, tea, and cocoa along with cookies to fuel your studying.

There are numerous reservable study rooms, group study areas, and walk-in spaces (no reservation required!) Rooms can be reserved here: https://alfred.libcal.com…

In addition, both Herrick and Scholes have 24-hour-access study spaces. These spaces are for AU students only, so show your AU ID at the front desk of Herrick or Scholes to obtain keycode access to these spaces.

Extended Library Hours for Final Exams 2021:

Scholes Library:
Thursday, Dec. 2nd 8:00 am – 12:00 am
Friday, Dec. 3rd 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday, Dec. 4th 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Sunday, Dec. 5th 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Monday, Dec. 6th 8:00 am – 12:00 am
Tuesday, Dec. 7th 8:00 am – 12:00 am
Wed., Dec. 8th 8:00 am – 12:00 am
Thursday, Dec. 9th 8:00 am – 12:00 am
Friday, Dec. 10th 8:00 am-4:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 11th Closed
Sunday, Dec. 12th Closed

Herrick Memorial Library:
Thursday, Dec. 2nd 8:00 am – 1:00 am
Friday , Dec. 3rd 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday, Dec. 4th 2:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sunday, Dec. 5th 2:00 pm – 1:00 am
Monday, Dec. 6th 8:00 am – 1:00 am
Tuesday, Dec. 7th 8:00 am – 1:00 am
Wed., Dec. 8th 8:00 am – 1:00 am
Thursday, Dec. 9th 8:00 am – 1:00 am
Friday, Dec. 10th 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 11th Closed
Sunday, Dec. 12th Closed

New electronic, primary source collection: Black Life in America

Alfred University Libraries has a new, primary source collection: Black Life in America from NewsBank. This electronic resource explores the African-American experience as recorded by the news media from 1704-1975. Black Life in America includes over 400 African-American publications and draws resources from over 19,000 U.S. and global news sources. The collection offers perspective into centuries of African-American history and culture.

The new Black Life in America database is part of AU Libraries’ ongoing commitment to create more inclusive collections via actively adding the work of BIPOC scholars to library collections and adding resources to support anti-oppression research and work.

To explore the Black Life in America database, users will need to interact with the website directly. You can find Black Life in America in AU Libraries’ Databases A to Z or via this permanent link

The Black Life in America interface can be explored via traditional searching methods, such as using keywords and Boolean operators—it can also be searched via location, using a map to identify and narrow down publications from specific regions and locales. 

Black Life in America groups resources into the following historical eras: Arrival in America (Beginning-1783), Antebellum (1784-1860), Civil War (1861-1865), Reconstruction (1866-1877), Jim Crow (1878-1922), Great Migration (1923-1944), and Civil Rights Movement (1945-1975). Within each era, users can find curated information of activist groups and protests, court decisions, education, government, labor, laws and legislation, literature and the arts, military, notable people, religion, science and technology, society and culture, and unrest and acts of violence. There is also era-specific curated information within each historical section. 

For more information on how to search and navigate the Black Life in America database, please watch the following video from NewsBank: https://bit.ly/3isu1Iq.


Alfred University Libraries welcomes Melina Sanchez as the Evening Reference Assistant in Scholes Library. As an AU Alum and a former Library Student Assistant herself, Melina is very familiar with the academic needs of college students. In the role of Evening Reference Assistant, she is responsible for library services, assisting students with their research questions and facilitating the use of Scholes Library as well as acting as a supervisor and job mentor to the student employees working evening shifts. Melina brings a strong commitment to customer service and student development to the role.

Q&A with Melina

Melina Sanchez

What was your background before Alfred University?  

I graduated from Alfred University in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a minor in Writing. During my sophomore year, I began my journey as a student worker at Herrick Library and then was promoted as a student supervisor during my Senior Year. Currently, I work in the Social Work arena and as the Evening Reference Assistant in Scholes Library

What interests you about your current position?    

What interests me about my current position is being able to work with college students and help them grow in their college journey. Also, being a resource to the college campus and community.  

Do you have any advice for current Alfred University students? 

Don’t underestimate the seasons you go through; they prepare you for what’s ahead and always enjoy a good laugh.  

What do you like to do for fun outside of work?    

Outside of work I enjoy writing, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.  

What is something new you would like to learn?    

I would like to learn gardening and baking.  

What do you appreciate about the Alfred campus and community? 

I appreciate how welcoming the Alfred community and campus are and the different opportunities the town provides for individuals to grow.  

Please join the Libraries in welcoming Melina!

AU Libraries Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month! This month “is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.”

To celebrate, Scholes and Herrick each have curated displays in their front lobby areas, showcasing offerings from the AU Libraries collections. 

In addition to resources within Alfred’s collections, the Association of Research Libraries has compiled a resource listing events, news stories, online collections, and exhibits from its member libraries. The AU Libraries have compiled a list with more information and resources celebrating Native American Heritage Month below.

Film, Radio and Television
American Archive of Public Broadcasting
Public radio and television programming related to Native Americans.

PBS Native American Heritage Month
Through dance, family traditions, art, and music, these stories show both the contemporary diversity and long history of Indigenous people across the land we now call the United States. 

NPR celebrates Indigenous communities
Stories, podcasts and more from NPR media and news outlets.

Online Resources and Exhibits
Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)
Virtual exhibitions at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA)

Native American Heritage Month, Exhibits and Collections
The official .gov website lists exhibits and collections from the Library of Congress, National ARchives, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, as well as curated social media offerings. 

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture produces online exhibitions illustrating themes and ideas related to Native American material culture. Some online exhibitions complement the exhibitions on view in the galleries, others are created specifically for the Web.

Research Resources
American Indian Records at the National Archives
Find information relating to American Indians from as early as 1774 through the mid 1990s. 

Indigenous Research & Knowledges in North America, University of Colorado Boulder
An overview of indigenous knowledge and starting points for exploring these knowledges by geography, format of materials, or theme. This guide intentionally centers materials created by indigenous peoples. Some resources from our archival collections or other databases contain valuable documents by indigenous peoples among other documents authored by settler colonialists, colonizing governments, or non-indigenous scholars. 

Update on the AU Libraries Commitment to Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression

In the summer of 2020, Alfred University Libraries made a Commitment to Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression. In this commitment, we affirmed our support for the mission of the Black Lives Matter movement, recognized the role libraries have played in creating and perpetuating systems of oppression (we are not immune), and committed to action items — both short-term and long-term — designed to strengthen the inclusivity of AU Libraries. Our commitment was intended to be a living document, supporting a sustainable and ongoing process of change. 

One year on from the initial publication of our commitment, we want to update the Alfred University community on our progress and lay out where we plan on going next. 

2020-21 Progress:

  • All professional library personnel participated in a retreat focused on implicit bias and microaggressions, with a focus on how these manifest in libraries and colleges/universities.
  • All professional library personnel participated in a retreat focused on Psychological First-Aid (PFA) training, with a focus on how the approach can be used to support the students, staff, faculty, and others in the Alfred community.
  • All professional library personnel were encouraged to participate in Safe Zone training.
  • A Student Advisory Group was established with the mission of providing a dedicated venue for student input and feedback on where the Libraries are doing well and where there is room for improvement. All AU students are welcome to participate in the group, but the focus is to provide a space to platform the voices of the marginalized students in our community. 
    • The Student Advisory Group helped facilitate progress on several action items in the Commitment, including soliciting suggestions for collection development; evaluating spaces, services, and policies; and collaborating with students on library displays and programs.
  • Integrated dedicated training and best-practices to reduce bias and increase equity in the search and hiring process for a new librarian. Documentation and lessons-learned from this process will inform future searches.
  • Dedicated collection development funds to build the Libraries’ collections of BIPOC scholars and works focused on DEI and anti-oppression work. 
    • Physical materials were purchased from a Black-owned bookseller: Kizzy’s Books & More.
  • Created a resource guide focused on anti-oppression: https://libguides.alfred.edu/antiracism.
  • In collaboration with the Seneca Nation and the Institute for Cultural Unity, the Alfred University Archives developed a land-acknowledgement statement for Alfred University recognizing the history of the land we are on and the historical and continuing relationship with the Native Peoples of this area.
  • Identified “inclusion” as one of three focus areas for the 2021-2024 AU Libraries Strategic Plan.
  • Wrote a brief article for the SUNY Librarians’ Association (SUNYLA) newsletter about the process of developing and implementing the AU Libraries Commitment to Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression with the intention of providing inspiration and insight for other institutions considering developing similar statements/commitments.
    • Adams, K., Bahr, E., Dannick, S., and Romanchock, M. “Making a Commitment to Address Racial Injustice: One Library’s Experience.” SUNYLA News 51(1). SUNY Librarians Association, February 2021. 

Ongoing Projects:

  • Continue working with the Student Advisory Group to hear, discuss, and integrate student suggestions and feedback for library collections, events, projects, services, displays, and policies.
  • Continue soliciting feedback from the student body on “What would make you feel more welcome and/or comfortable in the Alfred University Libraries?”
  • Require all professional library personnel to participate in bystander intervention training.
  • Strongly encourage all professional library personnel to participate in Safe Zone training.
  • Integrate anti-racist and/or anti-oppression values and language into the Alfred University Libraries Mission, Vision, and Values. 
  • Begin a reading and discussion group for library personnel focused on anti-racism and anti-oppression.

New Action Items:

  • Expand the Libraries’ anti-oppression efforts to explicitly incorporate other marginalized populations, such as the LGBTQ+ and disability communities. 
  • Include the Alfred University land-acknowledgement statement at the start of all library programs.
  • Develop documentation of equitable hiring procedures — based on the 2020-21 librarian search process and continued evaluation of best-practices — to inform future library searches. 
    • Along with notes about the aspects of the search which improved equity, this documentation should include notes on the trouble-spots which were identified during the search and suggestions for addressing them in future searches. 

AU’s Newest Librarian: Maria Planansky

Alfred University Libraries welcomes Maria Planansky to the position of Collection Management Librarian.

In this role, Maria will oversee acquisitions, cataloging, serials, donations, and electronic resources management across Samuel R. Scholes Library and Herrick Memorial Library and coordinate on State University of New York consortia-wide initiatives for collection management.

Maria will also work as the liaison to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the Sociology, Criminal Justice and Political Science programs.

What was your background before Alfred University?

For undergrad, I went to Beloit College, which is similar in a lot of ways to Alfred. Both are smaller schools very focused on experiential learning. At Beloit I studied Political Science and Philosophy and continued with that after graduation: I worked at a social science research organization for many years and later taught high school social studies and humanities. More recently, I earned a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Dominican University. While in school, I worked at Dominican University’s Crown Library and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago.

What interests you about your current position?

So much! The heart of the Collection Management Librarian role is making sure library resources serve students. That means ensuring that students are active participants when it comes to choosing what we include in our library collections.

What social media platforms do you use?

Instagram is my favorite, but Twitter is a close second. I’m not on TikTok, but this basset hound has me rethinking that decision.

Do you have a favorite research or tech tool?

I have favorite research advice.

Earlier this year, sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom wrote an essay on Dolly Parton, called The Dolly Moment. It is really, really good. A week or so after that essay was published, she wrote about her research approach: read around the subject. In McMillan Cottom’s words, “Reading around a subject is about going beyond the object of study to unpack, examine, or pick apart what the person or the object of study represents. That is usually where the good stuff is.”

For straight-up research tools, though, I use Primo’s citation generator. It makes everything so much easier! Citations can be tricky, and Alfred has a great Citation Help LibGuide that’s full of resources.

What are you reading or listening to?

Earlier this summer a friend recommended the novel Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters. It was fantastic! I’ve also been reading novels by Louise Erdrich, one of my favorite authors, and I’m pretty excited for Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You. This past weekend we had the Otis Redding and Carla Thomas album King & Queen on repeat. It was a good weekend.

Promoting Climate Resilience through the Library

Librarians Kevin Adams and John Hosford applied and won funding for the American Library Association grant: Resilient Communities – Libraries Respond to Climate Change.

The grant comes with funding as well as film screening rights to support Alfred University Libraries as we design resources and programs that will create educational opportunities and public forums for community members to come together to learn, build connections, and grow toward a more sustainable and prepared future.

Alfred University Libraries are happy to present the new virtual Climate Resilience Information Hub. The virtual information hub includes movies, books, databases and articles, and open web resources. Due to COVID-19, not all materials in this hub are available to the broader community. If you need help accessing specific items, please contact Kevin Adams at adamska@alfred.edu.

Over the course of the 2021 Spring semester, Alfred University Libraries will host virtual film screenings for the broader Alfred community, which will be paired with programming to allow film viewers to come together and discuss topics like climate change and community preparedness. Details on film screenings and programming are forthcoming.

Information Literacy & Library Instruction

The Libraries are offering Information Literacy and Library Instruction sessions for all courses at Alfred University. We can provide anything from a basic library orientation to an advanced information literacy sessions.

We are happy to work with you to create a customized session that fits your learning objectives and the needs of your students. For more on the options available to you, check out this menu: Information Literacy Instruction Menu.

To request a library instruction session, please contact your liaison librarian or use this form: Information Literacy Instruction Registration Form.

Image: Two classroom participants consulting information.