January 7, 2020
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The Year of Morocco Book Display

It’s the year of Morocco! The global focus of the 2019-2020 academic year here at Chatham has turned its eye to this multifaceted North African country. Morocco is located in an advantageous region of the world for trade and travel, which led to a fascinating blending of cultures, customs, goods, and people.

Year Of Morocco Book Display

The Year of Morocco first floor book display

The region of modern day Morocco was originally inhabited by Berber tribes and were under both Phoenician and then Carthaginian rule, acting as a critical resource in trade activity with the Iberian Peninsula. When Roman rule expanded and then collapsed, control of Morocco went back to the Berbers. Arab populations invaded in AD 684, adding yet another cultural element to the region.

Over the centuries, Morocco found itself in a unique position in terms of early globalization. As empires blossomed and crumbled, trade expanded and new religious and scientific thought was shared. Morocco’s physical location placed it in the middle of much of this change and movement. Leadership and rule of the region changed as influence in Europe and the Middle East shifted.

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November 21, 2019
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2019 Day of the Dead Celebrations!

Chatham’s Day of the Dead event series continues to be an exciting and successful celebration! Held for the first time in 2018, the series consists of two events that educate the Chatham community on the international holiday and offer opportunities to celebrate the traditions and act in the spirit of the day.

The series is sponsored by the Jennie King Mellon (JKM) Library, Modern Languages, the Multicultural Affairs Office, and the Counseling Center as part of Chatham’s Latinx Heritage Month celebrations. The events have been held in the JKM Library for the past two years.

Our first event this year, held on October 21st, consisted of a workshop run by students from Mildred Lopez-Escudero’s LNG261 Spanish language course, where attendees learned about the history and reach of el dia de los Muertos. The attendees created cempasuchil (paper flowers) together for addition to the ofrenda (altar). The group then worked together to decorate our 2019 dia de los Muertos ofrenda.

Previous to the event, the library sent out a survey to the Chatham community asking for ofrenda honoree nominations. After a final round of voting, the community selected the Tree of Life Victims, Victims of Gun Violence, and Trans Women of Color who were killed in 2019. These groups held a place of honor on our ofrenda this year.

At our second event of the series, Chatham University’s Counseling Services ran a workshop on grief. The discussion focused on sharing experiences and memories of loved ones who have passed and discussing ways to cope with grief. The group also discussed ways to honor those loved ones. This is the major element of el dia de los Muertos. Remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed allows communities to life up their ancestors, celebrate life, and cope with grief. It’s healing through celebration; honoring both death and life.

After the discussion, the group made paper Monarch butterflies and decorated them with glitter, rhinestones, and other embellishments. Some people wrote the names of their loved ones on their butterfly or messages of remembrance to send out into the universe. The butterflies were added to the ofrenda in honor of the attendees’ loved ones. Both events featured refreshments of traditional Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto (Bread of the Dead) to share. Both were prepared by university catering following traditional Mexican recipes.

Almost 60 people attended this year’s event series, an increase over last year. We love this event series and are excited to continue offering it in the future. A big thank you to the Jennie King Mellon Library, Mildred Lopez-Escudero and the Modern Languages Department, Elsa Arce and Counseling Services, and Randi Congleton and the Multicultural Affairs Office.

You can read more about our Day of the Dead celebrations in our blog post from last year’s events, as well as in this post on PULSE@Chatham. Click through our gallery of images to get a good look at what these celebrations entailed.

November 12, 2019
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Joy Harjo: 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

On June 19, 2019, Joy Harjo, member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, was announced as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. She is the first Native American to be honored with this title. Harjo is a celebrated author, poet, teacher, activist and musician. She has been awarded multiple high-profile honors and awards in addition to Poet Laureate, including (but not limited to) the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award.

She has received fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the Ruth Lilly Prize in Poetry. Her memoir, Crazy Brave, was awarded both the PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the American Book Award.

Harjo has written nine books of poetry, a memoir, two award-winning children’s books, several screenplays, three plays, and a number of prose interviews. Harjo often centers native storytelling, histories, myths, symbols, and values. She also focuses on autobiographical, feminist, and social justice themes throughout her writing.

“I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to all the sources that I am: to all past and future ancestors, to my home country, to all places that I touch down on and that are myself, to all voices, all women, all of my tribe, all people, all earth, and beyond that to all beginnings and endings. In a strange kind of sense [writing] frees me to believe in myself, to be able to speak, to have voice, because I have to; it is my survival.” (The Poetry Foundation)

Service is important to Harjo in practice as well as in her art. She is the director of For Girls Becoming, an organization focused on arts mentorship for young Muscogee women. She is also is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Harjo does not restrict her creativity and art to writing. She is also an accomplished saxophonist, flutist, and vocalist and has released a handful of award-winning albums. Like her writing, her music draws from her native roots and collaborates with other native musicians. She tours regularly with her band, Arrow Dynamics.

Read more about Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo on the Poetry Foundation’s website and on her own website. You can check out a number of her works through the JKM Library. We recommend beginning with her acclaimed collection She Had Some Horses. Browse here!

September 10, 2019
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Book Recommendation: How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

In Jenny Odell’s How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, she makes a strong case for moving away from the capitalist idea that we need to be constantly optimizing, producing, and innovating. Instead, we should turn our attention back to our actual place in the world and try to reconnect with people, animals, and our bioregion in a way that repairs the harmful results of behavior capitalism has encouraged and even required of us.

With the rise of internet culture, student and credit card debt, the gig-economy, environmental and social crises, and late stage capitalism, we find ourselves increasingly burnt out and restricted. As a group, humans are disconnected and fractured. We spend so much time working or distracted by the internet and media that we regularly forget to look up.

According to Odell, removing ourselves from the attention economy and invasive addictive technology for a time allows us to refocus our attention. Her book does an amazing job at illustrating how powerful our attention is, both for destruction and for building. She uses successful acts of activism from the past as examples of the positive power of our combined sustained focus. Unfortunately, our attention is currently being drained from us at a rate impossible for us to maintain, hence the constant overwhelmed state. Due to that, we no longer know how to focus together as a group on shared goals.

Odell champions the idea that not every space, be it physical, digital, or mental, needs to have what capitalism would consider a net gain. Not every idea or thought needs to be profitable. Sometimes the important work is not that of optimizing, but of sustaining. To undo the harm of constant “innovation”, humans can learn instead how to be stewards of the spaces around them, offering only the amount of support needed for it to maintain a stable existence.

Odell brings in ideas from environmentalism, art, technology, psychology, philosophy, sociology, and more to illustrate her points. Part of the beauty of How To Do Nothing is watching Odell seamlessly blend together these multiple concepts into a cohesive message. Odell, a visual artists and professor at Stanford, is both highly academic and engaging in her discussion. How To Do Nothing is incredibly well researched without being dry.

Odell’s arguments feel plausible and urgent. This is important for a book discussing what might be considered by some as a breakdown of society. Those who read How To Do Nothing will see their world in a new light and, if Odell has been successful, be inspired to make changes to how they exist in it.

You can checkout Odell’s How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy from the JKM Library today!

June 17, 2019
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University Archives Displays Footage of 1966 Commencement Featuring Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara

The Chatham University Archives & Special Collections is pleased to share a selection from the Historical Film Collection featuring footage of the 1966 Commencement ceremony, the address given by then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and the protest that occurred outside the event venue.  Captured by WTEA News, a portion of this footage is currently on view through September 22 at the Heinz History Center as part of their engaging and thought-provoking exhibit, Vietnam War: 1945 – 1975.  The complete footage, including shots of an airport welcome by Chatham President Edward Eddy and extended views of the protests, is on view in the lobby of the Jennie King Mellon Library.  Stop by, use the headphones (or read the captions!), and take a few moments to consider this moment in history.

1966 Commencement Footage in the JKM Library Lobby

So, why was the Secretary of Defense speaking at the Chatham commencement?  Keep reading…

But first, a little background on McNamara.  Born in 1916, McNamara received degrees from the University of California and from Harvard Business School.  Disqualified from combat during WWII due to poor vision, he served in the Army Air Force developing logistical and statistical systems for a variety of war activities.  Following the war, McNamara rose through the ranks of the Ford Motor Company, serving as company president for one month before accepting an appointment in the Kennedy administration as Secretary of Defense in 1961.

Sec. McNamara at podium at 1966 Commencement, PCC003, Chronological Photograph Files, Chatham University Archives

McNamara is known for the controversial role he played in escalating US involvement in the Vietnam War.  Under McNamara’s leadership, the number of American troops—originally sent to Vietnam to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam—increased rapidly.  A fabricated “attack” on the American military in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 allowed the US military to justify increased engagement in the region and McNamara led President Johnson, Congress, and the American public to believe that this further escalation was necessary to prevent the expansion of communism. McNamara is believed to have privately questioned US military involvement as early as 1965 and he launched a secret investigation of the US commitment to the war.  Records of this investigation were leaked to the public in 1971 and are known today as the Pentagon Papers.  Having recommended, in a memo to President Johnson, that US involvement should be scaled back, McNamara resigned and became President of the World Bank.

US involvement in Vietnam continued and the sentiment of the American public soured.  In 1965, 64% of the American public approved of US involvement in Vietnam. Four years later, approval numbers had sunk to 39%, with 52% considering the war to be a mistake. Months and months of regular US troop deployments turned into years, while news broadcasts delivered a gruesome reality of war casualties and wounded soldiers into living rooms across the country.  Television broadcasts also presented the war’s impact on the Vietnamese population, many of whom became refugees after their homes were destroyed.

Newspaper Clipping showing protesters outside Chatham College 1966 Commencement ceremony.

In this video, captured by WTAE Channel four, you’ll see the anti-war protesters picketing in front of Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland, where Robert McNamara was gave the commencement address for Chatham College’s Class of 1966.  Kathleen McNamara, his daughter, was a member of the graduating class.  The video begins with McNamara’s arrival to Pittsburgh, where he was greeted by a crowd of cheerful people, including Chatham President Edward Eddy.  There is a stark contrast between the airport greeting and the footage of the protesters, who marched outside the commencement venue carrying signs decrying the military activity in Vietnam.  Protest signs were written in both English and Vietnamese.

The speech given by Sec. McNamara, titled “The Age of Protest,” acknowledges the controversies surrounding the Vietnam War.  McNamara’s speech discusses freedom of dissent as a “privilege” available to the American public, but only an aspiration for the citizens of Vietnam. In his speech, McNamara presents the victimization of both the East and the West through the “bureaucratic tyranny of technology and autocracy that’s gradually depersonalizing and aliening modern man himself.”

1966 Chatham Commencement materials on display in the Heinz History Center’s Vietnam: 1945-1975 exhibit.

The Chatham University Archives is honored to loan material to the Senator John Heinz History Center for their exhibition on the Vietnam War.  Combining material from the New York Historical Society and  the Detre Library & Archives’ rich collection, the exhibit presents this tumultuous period in world history with both a global and a local perspective.  In connection with the exhibit, the Heinz History is presenting a series of lectures by journalists, academics, and writers offering a variety of perspectives on the war and its aftermath.  The complete footage of the 1966 commencement address by Sec. Robert McNamara is on view in the library of the JKM Library, Chatham University, and the text of the speech is available through the Chatham University Archives.

June 17, 2019
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Book Recommendation: The Stranger

Image from Goodreads

Imagine it’s 1942. You’re French. Einstein has already refuted the absolutist notions of time and space, Darwin’s findings have nearly dismantled creationism, and Freud has speculated that there’s a subconscious realm where much of the mind’s processes are at work. Nietzsche fathomed nihilism, addressing the question: what would happen to a post-religious society? Worse yet, the Nazis have risen; you’ve been warring with Germany for three years.

Albert Camus published his debut novel, The Stranger, in this context. The soccer-loving philosopher writes an apathetic, emotionless protagonist who searches for meaning in a meaningless world. Camus prescribes a set of absurdist strategies for dealing with love, grief, and violence. In short, he suggests one ought to refrain from investing in such matters.

Though Camus personally rejected the term ‘existentialist,’ he is often grouped with his existentialist contemporaries. Like them, Camus rejected the notion of a universal purpose. No overarching truth or religion suits existentialists, nor do they accept the notion of a comprehensive moral code befitting to all. Fundamentally, they believe human flourishing is a myth; life is nothing more than a waiting room, and the room is full of hardship, loss, and setbacks. Ironically, from this rejection of Meaning arises a new purpose. The existentialists’ simple commandment is to treat life as something to conquer. Do not get bogged down with other people or expectations or feelings or morality. Existentialists urge: do what you want to do, precisely when you want to do it.

All of these philosophies are instantiated in Meursault—a man who traipses around avoiding his feelings to a nearly sociopathic degree. He makes sense of his world by suspending his passions. In the opening pages, for example, when the reader discovers that Meursault’s mother has died, the protagonist treats the event as a mild annoyance. One might expect that this degree of flippancy could only arise from someone who despises his parentage. Yet Meursault does not seem angry. Rather, he appears dispassionate, reacting as if his own mother were not the one dead.

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April 16, 2019
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8th Annual International Edible Book Festival

On April 1st 2019, the Jennie King Mellon Library held its 8th Annual International Edible Book Festival, co-sponsored by Chatham University’s Food Studies Program. The entries were delightfully creative and absolutely delicious. And while every year we are impressed with the Edible Book creations submitted by participants, we were extra blown away this year. The competition was incredibly tough! We saw 12 Edible Book creations and enjoyed record breaking attendance with over 50 folks joining us for some yummy fun!

Family fun at the JKM Library’s 8th Annual International Edible Book Festival

The event was held in the Jennie King Mellon Library lobby. Our planning committee included Reference and Outreach Librarian Jocelyn Codner and food studies graduate student Jordan Mason, with support from Falk School Administrative Assistant Hallie Jensen. Hallie is always a huge help during the logistical planning of this event.

The International Edible Book Festival is an event celebrated in libraries around the world. It began in 2000 by two women who wanted to combine love for literature with love for food and cooking. It is traditionally celebrated on or around April 1st in honor of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

Folks who decide to submit an Edible Book select a favorite book, or perhaps just a book that sparks inspiration, and they craft a food item or beverage that creatively interprets and represents that book! A few ways to accomplish this could be in a clever name (puns encouraged), the way the food item is decorated, the ingredients in the food item, or perhaps by featuring a particular food item that was featured in the book itself. The result is fun, delicious, and literary. Participants bring their Edible Books to the event, and attendees and judges get to taste and judge each entry!

JKM Library book display featuring food writing, cookbooks, and more to celebrate Edible Books.

At our Edible Book Festival, we offer five prize categories:

  • Most Sustainable (ingredients must be clearly marked as being organic, local, sustainable, etc)
  • Most Creative Literary Interpretation
  • Best Tasting
  • Crowd’s Choice
  • Grand Prize

This year’s official judges included Assistant Professor Marc Nieson and Archivist and Public Services Librarian Molly Tighe, who both have volunteered to judge in previous years, and new judge Assistant Professor Sarah Shotland. They selected the winners of Most Sustainable, Most Creative Literary Interpretation, Best Tasting, and the Grand Prize. The 50+ attendees all voted on Crowd’s Choice. Keep scrolling to see who the big winners were and what kind of amazing Edible Books were submitted this year!

This year’s amazing judges, (left to right) Sarah Shotland, Marc Nieson, and Molly Tighe

“Call Me by Your Bundo” by Erica Cohen and Sarah Fink.

Most Sustainable Winners Erica Cohen and Sarah Fink for “Call Me by Your Bundo”.

“Make Room! Make Room!” by Dan Nolting

Most Creative Literary Interpretation winner Dan Nolting for “Make Room! Make Room!”

“Game of Scones” By Kate Emory

Best Tasting winner Kate Emory for “Game of Scones”

“Jack and the Beanstalk” by Suhui Dong and Yuchun Tung

Crowd’s Choice winners Suhui Dong and Yuchun Tung for “Jack and the Beanstalk”

“Dune” by Sarah Birmingham

Grand Prize winner Sarah Birmingham for “Dune”

Our Most Sustainable winner was “Call Me by Your Bundo” by Erica Cohen and Sarah Fink. This Edible Book played off of the books Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman and A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by E.G. Keller (presented by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver). It was a playfully decorated carrot cake that won for it’s sustainable ingredients and it’s socially sustainable message. Our Most Creative Literary Interpretation was “Make Room! Make Room!” by Dan Nolting, which drew its inspiration from the book Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison (later turned into the 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green). Dan created a multimedia experience with his scifi steam-punk Edible Book that included a looping video with sound to accompany his lime coconut jello shots. The Best Tasting award went to “Game of Scones” by Kate Emory, obviously inspired by A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R. R. Martin. This Edible Book featured scones with four different delicious flavor profiles to represent four major families in the book series. The winner’s of the Crowd’s Choice award was “Jack and the Beanstalk” by Suhui Dong and Yuchun Tung for their stunning crepe cake flavored with matcha, rum, and red bean paste decorated with candy meringues and adorable illustrations and figures. And finally, the Grand Prize was awarded to Sarah Birmingham for “Dune”, inspired by the science fiction novel Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert. Sarah’s Edible Book involved handmade pumpkin sherbet (pun intended), handmade cinnamon beignets, and (most impressively) handmade chai gummy worms!

Our 2019 winners!

Click through the gallery to see additional Edible Book entries and more photos from the festivities! We hope this inspires you to join us next spring for our 9th Annual International Edible Book Festival.

February 27, 2019
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Where Do You Volunteer?

Not long ago, the JKM Library posed a question to the Chatham community: where do you like to volunteer? We received lots of awesome responses, including some folks asking for specific suggestions and other folks offering them up readily. We’re proud to see that this is a community who enjoys giving back.

Below are the responses you offered along with links so others can look into how they too can get involved. We hope that this inspires you to spend a free afternoon offering your time to an organization you feel passionately about over your Spring Break next week!

  • Animal Friends: This organization cares for homeless animals and provides animal healthcare, training, food, therapy, education, and more!
  • Best Buddies: Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Carnegie Public Library: Want to give back to you community through a local public library? Check out the list of ways you can help at a CLP branch local to you!
  • Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank: The food bank aims to feed people in need and mobilize the community to eliminate hunger. They have multiple ways you can get involved, and each is important to their goals.
  • PAAR (Pittsburgh Action Against Rape): PAAR has offered services for more than 43 years, making it one of the oldest rape crisis centers in the country. Train to provide crisis support via their hotline (1-866-363-7273), offer support in person at police stations and emergency departments, and provide education and coping strategies to survivors. Help PAAR assist victims of sexual abuse and end sexual violence in our community.
  • Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse: This local non-profit inspires creativity, conservation, and community engagement through reuse. They operate a non-traditional art supply shop where people can donate used art and craft supplies, as well as shop for these unique items all in the same location. They also facilitate hands-on creative programming that educates the public about the benefits of reuse for the environment, community, and self. They have many ways you can volunteer!
  • Days for Girls: This organization makes it possible for women and girls around the world to live their lives uninterrupted by their menstrual cycles. In some places, women and girls do not have the resources or ability to access personal hygiene products, but Day for Girls makes reusable flannel pads and education for menstruating folks so they do not have to miss school or work days and can work toward their life goals uninterrupted and with less risk. Volunteer to sew reusable pads or distribute kits!
  • Prevention Point Pittsburgh: Prevention Point Pittsburgh (PPP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing health empowerment services to people who use drugs. PPP offers needle exchange services, comprehensive case management services, assistance to drug treatment, individualized risk-reduction counseling, health education, condom and bleach distribution, overdose prevention with naloxone distribution, and free HIV, Hepatitis C, and STD screening in collaboration with Allies for Health + Wellbeing, formerly the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. Contact them to see how you can help.
  • Humane Animal Rescue: One of the largest animal welfare associations in PA tasked with providing enhanced services to domestic and wild animals alike. They provide all aspects of care to abandoned, neglected, and injured animals; reunite lost pets with their caregivers or seek new families for them; educate the community on humane care and interactions with all animals with the goal of reducing pet overpopulation and negative relationships with native wildlife; reinforce a standard of living for animals and prevent cruelty; and provide assistance and medical care to injured, orphaned, or ill native PA wildlife with a goal of returning them to their natural habitat.
  • PMI Pittsburgh: Are you a project manager  or are looking to enter that field? PMI Pittsburgh allows project manager professionals to collaborate and gain value in professional development locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Little Sisters of the Poor: The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Catholic organization that offers support and care to impoverished elderly populations. Volunteer to support the organization and help those they seek to care for.
  • Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP): HELP is designed to prevent delirium in patients age 70 and older who are hospitalized at UPMC Shadyside. Volunteers spend quality time interacting with patients, offering services to improve the quality of the patient’s stay, while watching for signs of delirium.
  • 412 Food Rescue: 412 Food Rescue aims to combat two issues: food waste and food apartheids. Volunteers take extra food from various business and institutions and redistributes it where it is most needed. Volunteers also help with education and gardening programs, events, administrative tasks, and more!
  • Lawrence County Historical Society: Lawrence county is located over an hour north of Pittsburgh. Its historical society preserves its history and historical sites, acquires artifacts related to county history, and encourages interest in county history with education and events.
  • Animal Friends of Westmorland: Another wonderful Animal Friends group, this organization helps abandoned, abused and neglected animals. They also educate the public to spay and neuter, spread awareness on embracing pet adoption, and inspire others to become animal advocates.
  • Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh: This local organization offers  innovative and integrated health care, education, and social services for children and youth with special health care needs.
  • Girl Scouts: Girl Scouts provides leadership and community development for young girls and teens through immersive programs. Volunteer to give back to the next generation!
  • East End Cooperative Ministry: EECM supports its community from many angles. It offers programming for children and teens, soup kitchen services, shelters and housing, health recovery services, therapy, and much more. They offer many ways for community members to volunteer.
  • Planned Parenthood: PP offers affordable and accessible reproductive health services and education, birth control, cancer and STD screenings, and more! Folks of all genders are eligible for their services.
  • Climate Reality: This organization is dedicated to community action concerning climate change both locally, nationally, and globally. Join the local chapter to get involved today!
  • The National Aviary: Located right here in Pittsburgh is our country’s national Aviary! Volunteer to help those visiting from near and far make the most out of their visit to this amazing institution.
  • Jubilee Soup Kitchen: This local soup kitchen provides hot meals every day to those who have fallen on hard times. Volunteers help make them a success!
  • Haiti: Haiti has been devastated by natural disaster time and time again. There are several organizations set up for those interested in taking a trip to the country to help them get back on their feet, but make sure you do your research before signing up! Habitat for Humanity in Haiti is a good option.
  • Local Churches: If you belong to a religious organization, there are usually volunteering opportunities set up through them in your community. This is a very easy and fun way for you to give back to your community with folks you already know for a cause you are passionate about. Check in with your faith leader to see how you can get involved!
  • Literary programs: There are a plethora of excellent literary-based programs working locally, nationally, and globally to promote reading and literacy to a variety of populations. You can volunteer to make sure underprivileged children get free books, prisoners get access to important books and information in their prison libraries, you cna support the creation of literary programs around the country and around the work, or you could volunteer to do story time at your local public library. Interested in volunteering for a literary program but don’t know where to start looking? Ask JKM Librarian Jocelyn Codner!
  • Political campaigns: Perhaps folks weren’t serious when they mentioned volunteering for certain political campaigns on our question sheets, but regardless of their intentions, volunteering for the political campaign of a candidate you back is a valuable use of time. This is especially true for local campaigns where the immediate impact can be great. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the local races occurring and the candidates running. Maybe volunteer to work a phone bank or canvass a community on the weekends! Change starts on the local level.

February 19, 2019
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Chatham Archives Presents “Commencement 1936” in JKM Lobby

Walking around the JKM Library, you may have noticed a curious video running on a loop in the JKM Library near the Popular Books table. Or perhaps, you’ve only heard about the interesting video and are worried about missing out? Fear not! We’re happy to share the clips of the video so that off-campus community members, alums, and the general public can enjoy it as much as  students, staff, and patrons who frequent the JKM Library. Ready?

Archival Film on View in the JKM Library

The video is one of several that the University Archives & Special Collections digitized recently as part of its preservation program.  The Archives works with local specialists equipped with film ovens (used to warm decaying film before running it through players) and all sorts of reformatting equipment to create  preservation-quality, digital versions of footage on obsolete formats. The Archives is continually working to make more material available and we have plans to preserve more archival films in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Part 1 of the film features footage of the 1936 Commencement ceremony, the oldest known footage in the Archives. Running just over two minutes and with no sound, the footage shows graduates filing into the ceremony area  between Laughlin and Buhl Halls. At the time, Laughlin was a library and Buhl had yet to be expanded to the size we know today. The film shows the college glee club performing under the direction of Earl B. Collins, audience members watching from the windows in Buhl Hall, and a view of the audience seated above the ceremony area.

 

The program from the 1936 commencement that lists the names of the graduates, the commencement speaker, and other details from the day can be viewed as part of Chatham’s Commencement Programs online collection. Click here for the 1936 Commencement program.

The second half of the film, which runs just under one minute, is a bit of a mystery. The footage appears to show Arthur Braun, then President of the Board of Trustees, as well as Dean Mary Marks. However, the rest of the individuals are—as yet—unidentified. Any ideas?

Additional audio and video material from the Chatham University Archives is accessible online from the Historical Film Collection (click here) and the Historical Audio Collection (click here). Researchers and those interested in seeing additional material are encouraged to reach out to the Chatham University Archives here.   Even more material is available for viewing pleasure on the Archives Facebook (@chathamarchives) and Instagram (@chathamarchives), where we’re posting as part of the 150th anniversary of Chatham’s founding with #150Throwbacks.

February 6, 2019
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The Wray and Olkes Book Collections at the JKM LIbrary

Have you ever checked out a book and noticed it was marked with a sticker that says, “Wray”? Or what about that collection of books on the small bookshelf near the elevator on the third floor marked “Olkes Collection”? Have you ever wondered what Wray and Olkes mean?

The JKM Library has, in addition to our main circulating collection, smaller collections of books that are focused on certain topics, aimed at certain age ranges, or were donated by certain people. We give these collections of books different names in order to honor the person who donated the items or to make it clear that there is something special about the items in the collection. For example, our Curriculum Collection is comprised of books for young readers and includes picture books, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction, young adult fiction and nonfiction, and graphic novels appropriate for those age ranges. In the case of the Wray and Olkes collections, these are items donated by Professor Wendell Wray and Dr. Cheryl Olkes respectively.

Wendell Wray, a library and information science professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, was an avid book collector. The first African-American man to graduate from the then Carnegie Institute of Technology’s library science program with a master’s degree in 1952, Wray was an influential voice in the library profession. After graduation, he went on to be one of the first African-American men to be hired by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Raised in Beltzhoover, Wray’s resume includes military service during WWII and working at the New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the inner city outreach program the North Manhattan Library Project. Wray returned to Pittsburgh in 1973 to take a position as a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh in the library school. He was honored the same year with the Distinguished Alumni award from Carnegie Tech. He moved to California in 1988 upon his retirement, where he spent the rest of his life until his death in 2003.

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