Chatham University's JKM Library

October 19, 2015
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A Very Chatham Halloween

The Ghosts of Chatham

As Halloween approaches, again comes the time of year for trick-or-treating, gorging on candy, and costume parties. It’s also the time of year that we are especially conscious of spooky things. Among various ghoulies like black cats, vampires, and witches, the most popular creatures of the night that dominate our imagination around Halloween are ghosts. It’s a great time for telling ghost stories, everyone knows at least one, and even Chatham has several that have been passed around over the years. Here is some history on “our” Chatham ghosts.

PCW students gathered on the lawn of Berry Hall I in 1914. Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

PCW students gathered on the lawn of Berry Hall I in 1914.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

The Ghost of Berry Hall

There are two versions of the Berry Hall Ghost (also known as the PCW Ghost) story, but they both are equally disturbing. The first version was published in the Chatham newspaper, The Arrow in 1926.

Back before the existence of Woodland, Laughlin, and even Dilworth Hall, the Berry family lived in the Berry mansion. George Berry was a member of the first Board of Trustees, and at the time his home was said to be the largest private residence in Allegheny County.

One night the nanny was sitting in the house’s tower with the family baby. There was a storm, and lightning struck the tower. The nanny screamed with fright, and jumped, dropping the baby. As the story goes, the baby rolled down the stairs and died. The departed baby was said to return occasionally, floating around and crying. Supposedly it used to visit the girls in what was then Room O, directly beneath the tower.

A view of the Berry Hall I tower.  Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

A view of the Berry Hall I tower.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

The second version of this story was actually part of the first year handbook in 1948. In this sanitized version, the nursery was in the tower, and the nanny heard a scream, only to find the infant missing from his crib. The infant was never found, and the tower was locked and boarded up. In this version, the ghost is a prankster, putting splinters in chairs to rip nylons, draining the soda machine, and clanging the radiators. There is even a joke about him playing a dirge on the organ. While creepy, this later tale is almost funny, and it’s interesting to see how the tale evolved from chilling to entertaining over the 20 year period.

Other Chatham Ghosts

Some of the other Chatham ghosts seem to have their grounding in location rather than fright. It is still a popular tale today that Andrew Mellon roams the Mellon building. The previous Laughlin House also was known for its resident ghost. As another story goes, one night a man had a flat tire in front of the Spencer House, and as he stopped heard the voice of an old woman screaming his name.

Portrait of Michael Late Benedum overlooking Benedum Hall.  Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

Portrait of Michael Late Benedum overlooking Benedum Hall.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

One of the more popular stories took place at Benedum Hall. The Benedum’s oldest son, Claude, was killed in World War I. Claude was thought to haunt the home, and then when it became a dormitory, pestered the girls living in the dorm. Some of his hijinks include turning the water off and on in what used to be his bathroom, curtains moving with no wind, and doors slamming open and closed. Typical ghost fare. One story even goes that a group of students were working on tutorials on the history of Benedum Hall when the marble table they sat at collapsed beneath them.

Students conversing in one of the Benedum Hall dorm rooms.  Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

Students conversing in one of the Benedum Hall dorm rooms.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

It’s unclear which of these stories have basis in truth, and which were made up to scare incoming first years. Nonetheless, the stories of ghosts on campus continue, so if you experience something a little spooky over the next few weeks, don’t worry. It’s just our longstanding residents, coming out for a visit.

Benedum Hall Gardens and Fountain.  Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

Benedum Hall Gardens and Fountain.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

August 5, 2015
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Library (and 24/7 space) CLOSED Monday August 10

The JKM Library, including the 24/7 study space, will be closed all day this Monday, August 10 due to a planned power outage.

Reference Librarians will be available to assist you with all your library and research needs during the hours of 8am to 10pm. To contact a librarian:

  • IM us at JennieRef, or use the chat box on our website.
  • Text us at (724) 919-4645
  • Email us at

To contact a specific librarian, use the following email addresses:

Please note that this power outage includes most campus classroom buildings and all computer labs. We have checked with IT, and it is extremely unlikely that any lab space or printers will be available for student use on Monday. If you need computer or printer access, please make sure to do so off-campus or get everything done the day before.

July 7, 2015
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Meet the JKM Library Staff: Kiera Mudry

Kiera Mudry:Kiera!

  • digs Pittsburgh’s music scene
  • can tell you all about Buffy
  • probably has a restaurant recommendation for you

What do you do here at The Jennie King Mellon Library?

As a Reference Associate, my job is to help you track down any and all information that you would need help finding when you’re in the library or Asking-a-Librarian from home. I’m like the Sherlock Holmes of the library.

What made you choose your current profession?

It might be cliché to say that I have always wanted to be a librarian because I love reading, but my love of reading was what helped me find my passion for research. I chose this profession because nothing makes me happier than to help someone find that hidden piece of information that they have been searching for.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An actress – I always loved an audience :)

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of working with reference is the fact that I get the chance to help others find what they are looking for, as well as learning more about the subject areas myself! It’s cool to be able to help someone out and to expand my own knowledge base.

If you could do one thing to change/improve the JKM Library—with no worries about time or expense—what would you do?

I think a mobile food cart in the foyer or something along the lines of a small café on the first floor would definitely be a great addition to the JKM library. Especially because some people view their coffee as going hand in hand with a long night of studying in the library.

What do you like to do on your days off?

I am a huge television series person. I love to tackle full series of shows when I have time off from school and work. One of my favorites that I have finished this year is Buffy the Vampire Slayer :)

What’s the last thing you checked out?

I’ve been doing a lot of research in my History of Children’s Literature class so the last book I’ve checked out was the Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature. It’s a good read for those interested in authors and aspects of early to modern day children’s literature.

What book do you think everyone should read? Why?

I’m going to suggest The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. The story is chilling, raw and honest. I definitely would recommend any title by Lamb, but this one has just always stuck with me.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Pittsburgh?

My favorite thing about living here is the variety of food that you can try out in and around the city. I love having so many different options and because Pittsburgh has so many different neighborhoods, you can always find something new to eat. Also, the music scene! :)

What’s one thing you think everyone should do while they live in the city?

Visit all of the museums that Pittsburgh has to offer – especially the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Anything touristy is actually really cool to go visit or try out. Pittsburgh is always surprising me and I’ve lived close to the city my entire life! You should also go to the Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room in downtown and try their bacon candy with a margherita pizza.

Tell us some surprising things about yourself:

  • I was active with voice and piano lessons when I was young and even starred in a play as Sara Crewe in A Little Princess at 11 years old.
  • I completed my undergraduate Capstone project on the “Paul is Dead” hoax regarding The Beatles and the infamous rumor that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-a-like. (I was a Communication major with a focus in Media Studies.)
  • I’ve seen a lot of really excellent concerts, featuring artists such as Steely Dan and Hall & Oates. I love to catch as many shows as I can for fun. :)

June 9, 2015
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Summer Reading Preview

The summer reading list for first-year Chatham students has been posted! The contents of the list were chosen by your friendly neighborhood librarians, and include entries from different subject areas. There’s something on this list for everyone (and several things that I’ll be adding to my own summer reading list). Here’s a preview of some of the titles; make sure to access the complete list to see some other choices.


The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth GapCover: The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
Matt Taibbi

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the Occupy movement, The Divide focuses on the myriad ways that wealth—or lack thereof—affects the rights afforded to US citizens (as well as the way this system impacts the immigration debate). Mass incarceration, stop-and-frisk, and the contemporary landscape of the US justice system provide evidence for Taibbi’s portrayal of a system that privileges wealth above all else.


Cover: Eating Together: Food, Friendship, and InequalityEating Together: Food, Friendship, and Inequality
Alice P. Julier

What is the social impact of shared meals? Julier (director of the Master’s program in Food Studies here at Chatham) writes about the intersection of social eating experiences and social inequality, examining the literal and figurative aspects of who has a seat at the table.



The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 YearsCover: The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
Sonia Shah

The Fever addresses malaria as a subject with various historical, scientific, and socio-political resonances. Alongside anecdotal evidence of the way the disease is approached and conceived of in malaria-afflicted areas, Shah takes on the ineffectual attempts of various global organizations to curb its effects. The Fever offers a deeper understanding of the way malaria has shaped and continues to affect human history.


Citizen: An American LyricCover: Citizen: An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine

From microaggressions to overt racial violence, Citizen addresses life in “post-race” America. Rankine meditates on the ways that this constant narrative of otherness impacts daily life and, in some cases, even personal safety. Composed of prose poems, verse, essays, and images, Rankine’s work is a form-agnostic witness account of contemporary race and racism in America.


The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’tCover: The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t
Nate Silver

Silver takes on the art and science of forecasting, analyzing the various reasons—from a mastery of statistics to a healthy understanding of uncertainty—why some predictions are successful while others are not. The Signal and the Noise investigates forecasting from multiple vantage points, using examples of correct and incorrect predictions from sports, politics, economics, and more.


Source: Music of the Avant-garde, 1966-1973
Edited by Larry Austin and Douglas Kahn

Cover: Source: Music of the Avant-garde, 1966-1973This volume reproduces issues of the avant-garde periodical Source, which published a variety of experimental music bits and pieces. Introductory material provides some historical context, followed by the downright weirdness of the content itself, with pieces from John Cage, Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, Nam June Paik, Harry Partch, and others.



The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-First CenturyCover: The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-First Century
Brian O’Neill

An affectionate tribute to Pittsburgh that also deals some tough love in response to some of the city’s ongoing problems. O’Neill includes the stories of Pittsburgh natives in his analysis, attempting to capture the character of a city situated somewhere between the East Coast and the Midwest both in terms of physical location and regional character.

May 26, 2015
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App Review: Clio – Your Guide to History

Clio logo

© Clio

Equal parts guidebook, GPS locator, and crowdsourced data platform, Clio is an app designed to help you discover local history. Named after the ancient Greek muse of history, Clio uses your location to provide information about nearby historical and cultural sites. Whether you’re a hardcore history buff or are just looking to get to know your city a little better, the network of professional and amateur contributors at work on improving Clio can point you to the important, unique, or just plain weird historical features of a city. You can also add your favorite historical sites to the map for everyone to see!

For new residents, Clio could help you catch up on your Pittsburgh history in no time. While on the Chatham campus, I found 43 sites within 10 miles of the JKM Library. Although there were a handful outside of the city proper, most were concentrated within an area easily navigable on foot or using public transit. Beyond addresses and navigational content, entries tended to provide a robust about of information about individual sites; the records that I previewed included detailed historical descriptions (occasionally including citations), images, hours of operation, contact information, and links to outside resources.

Pittsburgh map view | ClioIn addition to currently operational historical sites such as monuments, historic buildings, and museums, Clio includes “Time Capsule” entries that point to sites where things happened or—particularly relevant to Pittsburgh—where things used to be. A pin at 6th and Wood downtown, for example, identifies it as the site of a “Protest Against Gimbels Department Store, 1935,” while another pin on South Bouquet Street marks the location of the former Forbes Field. Whether you happen to be roaming the city or would like to plan your own historic Pittsburgh outing, Clio could be a useful tool for finding the hidden history all around the city.

Users can create accounts to help build the site database by adding and revising entries. All additions are subject to verification and approval, but the review process seems fairly transparent as revisions (even those by Clio administrators) are displayed in a change log at the bottom of the entry. According to the FAQ, entries are published under a Creative Commons license that acknowledges the creator.

Because you can either search for a location or allow the app to use your GPS coordinates, Clio would work well both for travelers and for local exploration. In its best formulation, this crowdsourced data model could lead to some degree of local flair in terms of the sites included and their descriptions—after all, there’s no better way to learn about a city than from the people that live there!

Available for iOS and Android, and on the web.

May 21, 2015
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App review: OverDrive

Overdrive logo

For us voracious readers, any place is a good place to check back in with our latest read: on the bus, in line at the coffee shop, maybe even during those lulls in conversation with our friends. And for those of us who find physical books sometimes burdensome to carry around (A Game of Thrones is 835 pages!), e-readers are a must-have. But did you know that you can check out digital titles for your e-reader or phone from your local public library?

Overdrive bookshelf

OverDrive Bookshelf

OverDrive is a free app which, through access to your local library’s collection, allows you to check out and download digital copies of their works. The downloaded file will self-delete when the borrowing period has expired; no physical return is needed, so no late fees will be incurred!

The vast menu of options has featured collections (such as Award-Winning Young Adult Titles), but can also be browsed by genre or searched by keyword. The app allows you to place titles that interest you into a wish list for later, which is convenient for titles that are not immediately available, though you can also place those titles on hold and secure yourself a place on the waitlist.

Overdrive audiobook interface

OverDrive Audiobook Interface


  • The app is compatible with Kindle software, so many OverDrive titles can be downloaded directly into your Kindle account, and be read on a Kindle, the Kindle Cloud Reader, or a Kindle app on any device. However, you don’t need to use Kindle technology to enjoy OverDrive: the app comes with its own reader interface.
  • If you download a title to a Kindle app, the app also syncs across your different devices. The Kindle cloud ensures that you will be able to access the title on whatever device you are using—it will even find the last page you read! (The OverDrive app does not sync across devices, but most titles can be downloaded more than once, and to more than one device.)
  • OverDrive makes accessible tons of audio content, including audio books, comedy and drama performances, and foreign language learning exercises. The app has a listening interface built into it on which to play your audio downloads. Many titles can also be transferred to mp3 players and some can even be burned to CD, though the digital rights vary from work to work.
Overdrive reading interface

OverDrive Reading Interface


  • The interface can be a little fussy on a very small screen (e.g. a smartphone). It might be more worth your while to load your account up with books on a computer, and then pull the books from your account into your phone and tinier devices.
  • Popular titles can have long waitlists. (Silver lining: if the title you know you want is not available, you can browse the collection and find something you didn’t know you wanted!)


  • A compatible device. The app is available on iPhones and iPads, Androids, Windows phones, the Chromebook, Kindle Fires, Nooks, and, of course, your computer.
  • A user account with Carnegie Public Library. If you already have a CPL account, find their OverDrive page here. Click here if you would like to open an account.
  • Your hometown library may also participate with OverDrive. Check the full list of participating libraries here.

May 14, 2015
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UPDATED: May 18 Upgrade = Off-Campus Access to Library Resources Restored

alertUpdate 5/18/2015 2:10pm: The upgrade is complete, and off-campus access to library databases is now working. If you have any difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone: 412-365-1670, by email:, or by IMing us on our website here:


On Monday, May 18th, we will be upgrading EZproxy, which is the tool that allows you to access our library databases from off-campus. This will mean that access to the databases from off-campus will be spotty at best and possibly down all day.

If you normally have to log-in using your Chatham username and password while on-campus (this often happens for computers connecting to the wireless, as well as the occasional desktop computer), that access will be affected as well.

We hope to have the upgrade completed in as timely a manner as possible. Thank you in advance for your patience.

May 11, 2015
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App Review: CP HAPPS from City Paper

CP HAPPS logo, © Pittsburgh City Paper

CP HAPPS logo, © Pittsburgh City Paper

Trying to keep up with what’s going on in and around the city this summer? For warm-weather events and year-round happenings, check out CP HAPPS. Brought to you by the folks who publish the independent weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, CP HAPPS is billed as “Pittsburgh City Paper’s Event & Entertainment Guide.” It works as an interactive expansion of the paper’s event listings, so you can check out what’s happening throughout the city while you’re on the go.

There are several different ways to browse for events within the app. The first is a list view that lets you choose by type of event. Following the catch-all “CP Listings,” categories include “Live Music” (with a separate category for “Classical, Jazz & Blues”), “DJ’s,” “Theater & Performance,” “Discount Tickets,” “Comedy,” “Art,” “Food & Drink,” “Sports,” and “Trivia.” You can browse by specific dates, or just take a look through the upcoming listings. If there is sponsored content it will float to the top of the list, which can be irksome when it consists solely of sponsored happy hours; be sure to scroll past to view the list of suggested events arranged in chronological order.

“Pittsburgh Fireworks” by Julia Wolf on Flickr, made available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

Pittsburgh Fireworks” by Julia Wolf on Flickr, made available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

If you’re looking to see what’s going on nearby, the map view is even more useful. This view will default to the current day, but make sure to tap individual events to check the date—ongoing events that list dates in the description only (I’m looking at you, trivia nights) will always appear on the map! Regardless of this little glitch, this view may be extra useful if you’re new to the Pittsburgh area or are in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Because the map function relies on your current location, you can even get GPS directions right to event locations.

Throughout the app you can select events to get more information and bookmark them for the future. The Activity tab lets you look at your bookmarks, as well as any notifications you’ve received. The Groups tab brings a social component to the app, allowing you to notify and chat with friends about cool things that are coming up on the calendar.

A criticism of the app is that it requires users to create an account or log in with Facebook. Remember, also, that in order to use the map and group functions, you will have to allow the app to access your location and/or contacts.

Overall, though, the CP HAPPS app is a good mobile addition to the already indispensable City Paper listings. Don’t forget to click the More tab for headlines, contests, and more!

CP HAPPS is available for iOS and Android.