April 23, 2018
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National Poetry Month 2018: Suggested Reads!

April is National Poetry Month, and we at the JKM Library have a soft spot in our literary hearts for poetry. This month, student workers Alie Davis and Carina Stopenski worked together to design and curate our Main Book Display. Items selected ranged from classics like Sylvia Plath to Chatham students’ chapbooks and everything in between.

While all the poetry collections on display are worth checking out and exploring, Alie Davis has selected three that stand out to her. Read her bite-sized reviews below for poetry collections you can check out today!

Andrea Gibson’s first book, Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, inspires action in all of its readers. This collection is brimming with brutal tenderness. Gibson covers topics that are relevant to the current political climate. This collection is full of poems about gender, love, violence, and an overwhelming optimism for surviving no matter what.

 

Lori Jakiela, a local Pittsburgh poet, released her chapbook, Big Fish in 2016. This collection sings with humor, playfulness, and light, but does not shy away from the hard things. Jakiela writes about landscape, motherhood, and giant fish sandwiches. Big Fish is a rich collection to dive into and swim through.

 

Lighthead by Terrance Hayes is his fourth collection to be published. Always blurring the line between story and song, and reality and dream, Hayes engages with how we ground ourselves in the everyday and how we construct experience. Musical and dream-like, Lighthead offers meditations on desires and history. Masterful precision of language and sound moves this collection to a Must-Read for all.

April 16, 2018
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Meet the JKM Library Staff: Ryan Woodward

Ryan Woodward, Reference Associate

Name: Ryan Woodward

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

I’m a reference associate on nights and weekends.

What made you choose your current profession?

I have always been a fan of the library. As a graduate assistant in my master’s program, my office was in the library where I helped students find resources for their papers and projects and found the library to be a natural fit for helping students reach their research goals.

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

Either a carpenter like my dad or a veterinarian because I loved animals. Both required math and science skills far above my abilities in those areas.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Occasionally, I am able to help a student in an area of particular interest to me (music, history, the humanities) and I’m able to have conversations about their research, make recommendations on sources, or just discuss their interests beyond just helping them locate a book or article.

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

Maybe have in-house IT help to assist students some of their technology issues. I can help a bit, but sometimes if they’re coming to me with tech questions, it is likely on an issue that is best addressed with the Help Desk.

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April 4, 2018
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Archives Exhibit “Nature & Nurture: The Rachel Carson Legacy in Pittsburgh” on view at Heinz Hall

In conjunction with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming performance of Silent Spring, a symphonic tone poem created to honor the 50th anniversary of the publication of the seminal Rachel Carson book, the Chatham University Archives is presenting an exhibit titled Nature & Nurture: The Rachel Carson Legacy in Pittsburgh.  On view in Heinz Hall from April 6 through April 22, the exhibition presents highlights from the collections of the University Archives that explore the roots of Rachel Carson’s interest in science and writing and the legacy of celebrating her achievements though music.

Chatham Archives exhibit Nature & Nurture: The Rachel Carson Legacy in Pittsburgh at Heinz Hall

Widely recognized for The Sea Around Us, Silent Spring, and countless articles that brought attention to the detrimental effects of widespread pesticide use, Rachel Carson’s connection to music isn’t frequently discussed.  However, music played a major role in Rachel’s upbringing, as her mother taught piano lessons to local children in the family home and many days were spent setting Mother Goose rhymes to music.

Nature & Nurture exhibit essay in Pittsburgh Symphony Concert Program

Rachel remained a classical music fan throughout her lifetime, even writing liner notes for the National Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Claude Debussy’s Le Mer and speaking at an orchestra benefit luncheon.  As a student at Chatham (then Pennsylvania Female College), Rachel evoked the sound of piano music in her literary club award winning essay, Broken Lamps.  This essay is available online through the University Archives at this link.

Nature & Nurture exhibit from University Archives in Heinz Hall

The exhibition, Nature & Nurture: The Rachel Carson Legacy in Pittsburgh, spans Rachel Carson’s experience as a student and a few of the local, musical  events that have honored her work as an environmental pioneer.  The display includes photographs, programs, and documents from the 1995 Opus: Earth symphony concert to benefit the Rachel Carson Institute and the World Wildlife Fund.

Opus: Earth Program Cover

Of particular note is a score to Silent Spring inscribed “in honor of Rachel Carson to her Alma Mater Chatham University” by the composer, Steven Stucky.  The score was presented during an on-campus discussion of his piece and the legacy of Rachel Carson in 2011.

Score for “Silent Spring” inscribed to Chatham by composer Steven Stucky

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is generously offering discount codes for students, staff, faculty, and alums.  Contact Student Affairs for more information.  You won’t want to miss the special pre-concert lecture by Dr. Patricia DeMarco, former head of the Rachel Carson Institute and our region’s foremost Rachel Carson scholar.  Dr. DeMarco’s lecture will occur on Friday, April 20, 2018.

Can make the event?  Check out the finding aid for the Collection on Rachel Carson or contact the Chatham University Archives & Special Collections to learn more about Rachel Carson `29 and her local legacy.

March 28, 2018
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7th Annual International Edible Book Festival: Read ‘Em and Eat!

Another year, another AMAZING Edible Book Festival! The International Edible Book Festival is a celebration of food and literature, combining both into tasty fun! This year, we had an incredible variety of sweet and savory dishes ranging from cleverly simple to technically impressive. There was also liberal usage of props, much to our delight! It was exciting, to say the least. The event was again co-sponsored by the Food Studies Program and hosted in the Jennie King Mellon Library lobby. Our planning committee included Reference and Outreach Librarian Jocelyn Codner and Food Studies students Lore Pinder and Rachel Waugh.

Participants 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 that particular food item was featured in the book. The result is a fun and delicious Edible Book. Participants bring their Books to the event, and lucky attendees get to taste and judge each entry!

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March 12, 2018
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Placing Holds on JKM Library Items

Ever found a great JKM library book while doing research from your dorm, office, or home? Wish you could have placed a hold on that item so you could pick it up later?

Well now you can!

Look for a link to “Place hold” when searching our library catalog via the Books+ tab on our website. When you are prompted to login, enter your Chatham username and password, and then you’ll be able to place a hold for the item. We will pull it from the shelves and hold it for you for 14 days.

Please be aware that if someone else finds the item on the shelf before we have a chance to pull it for you, they will be allowed to check it out.

Lastly, for items that are checked out or missing, use E-ZBorrow (for books) or ILLiad (for books not available in E-ZBorrow, as well as DVDs and CDs) to order them from other libraries instead of placing a hold. You’ll get them much faster that way.

Any questions? Ask a librarian!

January 22, 2018
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Meet the JKM Library Staff: Andrea Georgic

Andrea Georgic, Reference Associate

Name: Andrea Georgic

What do you do here at The Jennie King Mellon Library?
I’m a Reference Associate. I help students find the information they’re looking for.

What made you choose your current profession?
Two things made me want to be a librarian. The first was all the time I spent with my grandma in the children’s section of our public library while growing up. The second was discovering how much I enjoy finding and managing data and information.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A vampire slayer!

What’s your favorite part of your job?
I really enjoy helping students learn how to use the library’s many resources.

If you could do one thing to change/improve the JKM Library- with no worries about time or expense, what would you do?
Expand the modern fiction selection.

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January 12, 2018
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Chatham Leadership: The Presidency of Cora Helen Coolidge

The Chatham University Archives invites you to explore Chatham Leadership: The Presidency of Cora Helen Coolidge, an exploration of a president whose ceaseless dedication to women’s education steered Chatham through one of its most tumultuous chapters.

Presented as an extension of Chatham Leadership: A Presidential Timeline, this exhibit aims to convey both the impact Coolidge had on Chatham as well as the profound and indelible impression she had on the lives of students from her era.

The exhibit is on view in the lounge of the Women’s Institute in Braun Hall, and we encourage your to stop by and explore the legacy of President Coolidge.

Pennsylvania College for Women President Cora Helen Coolidge

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November 20, 2017
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Indigenous Heritage Month, Euripides, and the Chatham University Archives

Some may wonder what the Euripides and Indigenous Heritage Month have in common.  Others might ask what Chatham’s University Archives, which collects and preserves the history of the university, could have to help to connect the Athenian tragedian and campus-wide Indigenous Heritage events.  Well, look no further than the Drama Department records from 1992 when students and faculty member Patricia Montley performed an adaptation of Euripides Trojan Woman set in Central America as Cortes seizes control of the Aztec empire.

Publicity Photo, 1992 Chatham Theatre

According to Dr. Motley’s program notes, a Euripedes’ The Trojan Woman is one of the most frequently performed of all the classical tragedies, particularly for audiences affected by war and in eras when war is celebrated.  The decision to set the play in Central America in 1992, the 500-year anniversary of Columbus’ journey to the “New World,” allowed for reflection on “the foolishness of waging aggressive war and the transience of military might.”

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November 13, 2017
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Connect with the Library on Instagram and Spotify

There are so many opportunities to connect and interact with the Jennie King Mellon Library online and in person, and we recently added two more: Instagram and Spotify! Our new Instagram account (@jkmlibrary) features library news, updates, and shenanigans. Be sure to follow us for #NewBookTuesdays and #BookfaceFridays. You’ll also get to know our staff and librarians better, as we post fun pictures of our recommendations, displays, and exciting library life.

And yes, you heard correctly, the library has a Spotify account. What is Spotify? It’s a music streaming service that allows those with accounts to listen to over 30 million songs for free and create and share playlists. Library staff members love music of all genres and styles. We’re hoping to share our love of music with the rest of the Chatham community in a way that enhances your experience at the library and allows you to get to know us better.

Our playlists are specially crafted by librarians and library staff, and while they are certainly educational, they’re also a lot of fun. We create new playlists regularly for different purposes. A playlist could correspond with one of our in-library displays, be a Staff Spotlight playlist of recommendations put together by just one staff member, or something that our student workers have crafted!

Our Native American Heritage Month book display is on the first floor of the JKM Library.

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November 1, 2017
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The Year of Indonesia Library Displays

Every year, Chatham University chooses a Global Focus, and the 2017-2018 school year is the Year of Indonesia. In order to highlight Indonesian culture and society, the JKM Library has partnered with Dr. Greg Galford on displays that celebrate Indonesian culture and help educate our Chatham community.

The first is a display of beautiful Javanese batiks purchased in Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Dr. Galford. Each of the batiks on display are incredibly beautiful, but one in particular features golden wax detailing that is truly stunning. The batik has been the source of some controversy over the years concerning the appropriation of Indonesian culture by many of its neighbors. A 2009 New York Times article detailed the struggle for cultural ownership of the batik between Indonesia and Malaysia. This was just one of many conflicts between the two nations. In September of that year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO, made the decision to add the batik to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list, meaning that its cultural meaning and significance is now protected and attributed to Indonesia (Gelling, 2009).

According to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the batik is deeply rooted in Indonesian culture and plays a big part in the lives of Indonesians. Different intricate patterns are worn for everyday activities, special events, marriages, pregnancy, and other life events. Batiks feature at the birth of a child and the death of an elder. They are even incorporated into entertainment, such as puppet shows. The incredible designs drawn by craftsmen are indicative of the wide range of cultural influences Indonesia has been exposed to over the centuries. You will see elements of “Arabic calligraphy, European bouquets and Chinese phoenixes to Japanese cherry blossoms and Indian or Persian peacocks.” (Indonesian Batik, 2017)

The process includes drawing beautiful designs on fabrics in hot wax which then helps to control which part of the fabric accepts the dyes and colors. This process is repeated on the same piece of fabric until the desired design is achieved (Indonesian Batik, 2017). The results are breath-taking. You can see video examples and up-close images of this process on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage website.

In another article by the New York Times that discussed the attempts to revive the batik tradition in the 1990s, batik historian T.T. Soerjanto explains how the tradition dates back 2,000 years and was first mentioned in the 15th century in the court records of Pakubuwono V, the King of Solo (Rabin, 1990). Take a look at the detailed fabric scans below of some of the batiks we have on display. Come in person to see our gilded batik in all its glory.

You can find our batik display on the first floor of the library hanging on the wall partition near the elevator. Feel free to get up close and even touch the fabric, but please proceed with care.

The second display is a collection of 18 books on Indonesia, provided by Dr. Galford. These books, which are both fiction and non-fiction, range in topic from history to civil engineering and infrastructure. While you are more than welcome to enjoy these books in the library, please do not remove them from the building. Below is a full list of titles in case you are interested in finding a copy for yourself!

  • Under Construction: The Politics of Urban Space and Housing During the Decolonization of Indonesia by Freek Colombijn
  • Island of Bali by Miguel Covarrubias
  • Planet of Slums by Mike Davis
  • The Traditional Architecture of Indonesia by Barry Dawson and John Gillow
  • Balinese Dance, Drama & Music: A Guide to the Performing Arts of Bali by Wayan Dibia and Rucina Ballinger with illustration by Barbara Anello
  • The Indonesia Reader: History, Culture by Tineke Hellwig and Eric Tagliacozzo
  • The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher J. Koch
  • Behind the Postcolonial: Architecture, Urban Space and Political Cultures in Indonesia by Abidin Kusno
  • The Appearance of Memory: Mnemonic Practices of Architecture and Urban Form in Indonesia by Abidin Kusno
  • The Past in the Present: Architecture in Indonesia by Peter Nas
  • Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation by Elizabeth Pisani
  • Creative Batik by Rosi Robinson
  • A Nation in Waiting: Indonesia’s Search for Stability by Adam Schwartz
  • Indonesia: Peoples and Histories by Jean Gelman Taylor
  • Indonesia: A Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit by Justine Vaisutis
  • Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace
  • The Living House: An Anthropology of Architecture in South-East Asia by Roxana Waterson
  • Krakatoa: The day the world exploded by Simon Winchester

We hope you enjoy Chatham’s Year of Indonesia! Take a moment to view our displays the next time you find yourself on the first floor of the JKM Library.

 

References

Indonesian Batik. (2017). Retrieved from https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/indonesian-batik-00170

Gelling, P. (2009, September 14). Score One for Indonesia in the War Over Batik. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/world/asia/15iht-batik.html?mcubz=0

Rabin, R.C. (1990, February 18). The Intricate Patterning of Batik. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/18/travel/the-intricate-patterning-of-batik.html?pagewanted=all&mcubz=0

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