The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Category: Announcements

The UMass Amherst Libraries congratulate Grace Rogers '23, the recipient of the 2022 Sir Harold W. Kroto and Steve F.A. Acquah GEOSET Award. Grace was awarded for her work as a medicinal chemistry intern looking into alternative synthetic approaches to the formation of benzoxazole, and she is currently studying abroad at Trinity College Dublin.

The award was established by Steve Acquah, Digital Media Lab Coordinator and Associate Research Professor of Chemistry, to continue the late Nobel Laureate’s legacy in research and outreach. It is given each year to a chemistry major who has demonstrated excellence in science communication through digital media.

“We find ourselves again at the end of another academic year, celebrating the achievements of students at UMass Amherst. This award reminds us of the importance of science communication,” says Acquah.

In June, Acquah will attend the unveiling of the Royal Society of Chemistry landmark blue plaque to recognize the Nobel-prize winning research by Prof. Sir Harry Kroto FRS at the University of Sussex (UK), as well as co-instruct an outreach Buckyball workshop for around 200 school children with the physicist, science communicator, and television presenter, Dr. Jonathan Hare.

As we reflect on the racist messaging received by our Black colleagues earlier this week, the Libraries would like to add our voice in response to this reprehensible act of cowardice and hate.

In a letter he wrote in 1909, W. E. B. Du Bois said, “You and I can never be satisfied with sitting down before a great human problem and saying nothing can be done. We must do something. That is the reason we are on Earth.” Du Bois’s intellectual legacy provides us with the moral and philosophical frameworks we need to confront the issues of our own time. Du Bois knew that the work of ending racism, colonialism, and socio-economic inequality would not be completed in his lifetime. His written works, and his tremendous archive, testify to this belief. 

As the custodians of Du Bois’s papers, we are guided by the principles embodied by Du Bois’s life and legacy. Committed to the values enshrined in his writings, we acknowledge that simply naming a building for the great man is not sufficient. We recognize that despite a life replete with achievements, accolades, and triumphs, Du Bois’s road was hard. He faced unimaginable personal losses, prejudice at the hands of those he depended on for knowledge and work, and, at the close of his life, an attempted character assassination at the hands of the US government. Throughout his career, Du Bois illuminated the suffering to which he and Black people across America and the world were subjected. In this way he foreshadowed the principles of the Movement for Black Lives, and showed that behind the faceless edifice of systemic racism lay real human experiences. 

In the words of Martin Luther King, “Dr. Du Bois has left us, but he has not died.’” We can and ought to keep thinking with Du Bois and using his words to inform, guide, and inspire our anti-racist work on campus and in our daily lives. Du Bois’s vast body of work, and the example of his life of leadership, empathy, and civic engagement, give us all the resources we need and more to understand the history that has led us to this point, and the ways we can move forward toward a more equitable, peaceful, and democratic future. 

In keeping with Du Bois’ legacy, we are encouraging you all to think, research, and read—to come into the Libraries and make use of Du Bois’ works and those of other thought leaders, represented in our collections of African American History and Culture in the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center, join the Du Bois Center mailing list to receive a weekly invitation to the ‘Breakfast with Du Bois’ reading group and to be kept informed about other events and programs at the Du Bois Center. 

The tower library with Du Bois’ namesake serves as a campus landmark and visible beacon of a safe space for intellectual discourse by members of our university community. We see it as a physical reminder of the towering presence of Du Bois himself, and an embodiment of his enduring fight against racism. Standing in solidarity with our Black students, faculty, and staff, we look to his work now to continue the fight.As we move into finals, we want you to remember that one of the ways we hold safe space for our community is through our Finals Fun programming. As a part of our Outreach Series, all Library locations  are providing spaces and activities for decompression and affirmation during a time which is already turbulent for our student community, where peer support and safety can be shared.

Sarah Hutton
Interim Dean of Libraries
May 6, 2022

The W. E. B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

The W. E. B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

We are pleased to announce the successful recruitment of Nandita Mani as our next Dean of Libraries. She will begin August 1.

Dr. Mani is currently at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is in her sixth year as Associate University Librarian for Health Sciences & Director, Health Sciences Library. She received her bachelor’s degree from Concordia University of Edmonton, Alberta, and subsequently earned a Master’s in Library and Information Science and a PhD in Instructional Technology, both from Wayne State University in Detroit.

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Dr. Nandita Mani fills the Dean of Libraries position at UMass Amherst on August 1, 2022.

In her role at UNC-CH, Dr. Mani led the development of the University Libraries’ data science framework, which articulated how the Libraries can contribute to campus-wide data-science initiatives. Her first-authored article on this topic appeared last year in the Journal of Library Administration. She was also part of the UNC Libraries’ Reckoning Initiative to build antiracism into the Libraries’ policies, procedures, and approaches. She has also overseen the Health Sciences Library’s fundraising efforts.

We want to express our appreciation to the members of the Search Committee: chairs Mari Castañeda and Tilman Wolf, Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Marilyn Billings, Jennifer Friedman, Krista Harper, Michael Mercurio, Brian Ogilvie, Kelly Smiaroski, and Xiaoyun Song. We also note with gratitude Sarah Hutton’s year of service as Interim Dean of the Libraries. She very capably led the Libraries through a difficult time.

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce the publication of a new open textbook, Radical Social Theory: An Appraisal, a Critique, and an Overcoming. The text was written by Graciela Monteagudo, Professor and Associate Director of the Social Thought and Political Economy Program (STPEC), and Aaron McBryar ’18, Lecturer Shemon Salam, Swati Birla ’06,’22PhD, Doug Hornstein ’18, Matthew Hewett ’20, Ashley Everson ’19, Manuel García ’18, Eli Bondar ’21, Arno Noack ’18, Alex Coats ’24, Chris Kennedy ’21, Artemis Duffy ’21, Ella Khorov ’20, Nellie Marshall-Torres ’21, Emily Parker ’20, Emily Van Regenmorter ’21, Leritza Ruiz ’21, and Lucia Solorzano ’20. 

The book was written thanks to support from the University Libraries Open Education Initiative, which is intended to help faculty transition to open educational resources (OER). OER are learning, teaching, and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license and permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation, and redistribution by others. OER are known to reduce the cost of textbooks and other course materials for students and improve upon their academic success.

“The open educational resources collected in this book were created and assembled through a joint effort by the students and faculty in the STPEC at UMass,” says Monteagudo. “STPEC students and faculty are interested in exploring the structural causes of poverty, the racial, sexual, and gender dimensions of capitalism, the role of gender and sex in productive and reproductive labor, and the connection between liberalism, colonialism, and racism. This text is the main resource for Introduction to Radical Social Theory, STPEC 189, a one hundred-level General Education course taken by over 200 students per year.”

Dear Parents,

Over the course of the spring semester for 2022, the UMass Amherst Libraries have met the research and scholarly needs of our students, and we have also engaged with more than 400 students through our Outreach Series. This initiative was started by our Student Success and Outreach Librarian, Annette Vadnais (who is also known as the Purple Hair Librarian), and Lauren Weiss, a staff member in library communications. You can learn more about the ideas and activities generated for the Outreach Series in this article in the Springfield Gazette, and I’m happy to note that the Outreach Series has fostered connections among our students in addition to those they forge in class. The Libraries provide a “third space” beyond just the dorm room and the classroom, and it gives students opportunity for social and creative growth. One of the major highlights of this semester was our second annual Bookstock, where we collaborated with six of the campus’s student a cappella groups for an unforgettable live concert. Over 100 attendees showed up to cheer on the performers, including friends, parents, and even prospective students. This is great fun for students (and library staff volunteers!), and it also helps personalize the library experience for everyone who participates.

On the topic of personalizing the library experience, did you know that your student has a personal librarian? It’s true! You can get a sense of who’s who based on your student’s major or area of study by looking at this list – and take note of the fact that we also have liaison librarians for the Athletics Department, the Writing Center, and Public Health Services as well! We also offer a free New York Times subscription to each student, which they can sign up for at this link.

I’m also proud to share with you all the names of the winners and honorable mentions of the 2022 Undergraduate Sustainability Award, which is made possible by the generous support of generous donors to the UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sustainability Fund. Each of the five winners will receive an $800 scholarship, and the honorable mentions receive $400 scholarships per group:

Winners:

  • Shakhi Begum ’22, for “What has Fast Fashion got to do with Sustainability?”
  • Theodore Eagle ’22, for “Toto, We’re Not in Hadley Anymore!: Environmental, Economic, and Cultural Complexities Surrounding the Adoption of No-Till Farming on Large-Scale Farms”
  • Adam Finke ’22, for “Community Food Action Plan”
  • Gwynnevere Klumpenaar ’22, for “Urban Greening Techniques in U.S. Cities:  Public Welfare or Social Warfare?”
  • Gregory Poelker-McKee ’24, for “Cooked Nature: What Three Classic Books on the American Lawn Can Tell Us About Our Current Struggle to Mitigate Climate Change”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Brady Bell ’23, Marley Norton ’23, and Ariel Fine ’23, for “Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors as a Treatment for Wastewater and Biogas Production at University of Massachusetts Amherst”
  • Kieran Tay ’22, Nicholas Sbalbi ’22, Michael Forozis ’24, and Flo Sabatini ’25, for “Undergraduates Raising Awareness for Anaerobic Digestion”

In addition, we’re looking forward to unveiling our new UMass Amherst Libraries website in the not-too-distant future. It will feature a cleaner design, one optimized for users to find the resources and information they need. That’s coming in June. Until then you can follow the UMass Libraries on Twitter – and check in on our resident peregrine falcons on Twitter, too!

Wishing you and your students a happy and healthy spring & summer,

Sarah Hutton
Interim Dean of Libraries

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Undergraduate Sustainability Award. 

The Undergraduate Sustainability Award promotes in-depth understanding of sustainability topics, research strategies, and the use of library resources, providing participating students with vital skills they will carry into future academic and vocational endeavors.

The competition was open to all currently enrolled UMass Amherst undergraduates. Five winners were chosen and received $800 scholarships. Two honorable mentions were chosen and received $400 scholarships per group. The awards are funded by the award-winning UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sustainability Fund. 

Winners:

  • Shakhi Begum ’22, for “What Has Fast Fashion Got to Do with Sustainability?”
  • Theodore Eagle ’22, for “Toto, We’re Not in Hadley Anymore!: Environmental, Economic, and Cultural Complexities Surrounding the Adoption of No-Till Farming on Large-Scale Farms”
  • Adam Finke ’22, for “Community Food Action Plan”
  • Gwynnevere Klumpenaar ’22, for “Urban Greening Techniques in U.S. Cities:  Public Welfare or Social Warfare?”
  • Gregory Poelker-McKee ’24, for “Cooked Nature: What Three Classic Books on the American Lawn Can Tell Us About Our Current Struggle to Mitigate Climate Change”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Brady Bell ’23, Marley Norton ’23, and Ariel Fine ’23, for “Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors as a Treatment for Wastewater and Biogas Production at University of Massachusetts Amherst”
  • Kieran Tay ’22, Nicholas Sbalbi ’22, Michael Forozis ’24, and Flo Sabatini ’25, for “Undergraduates Raising Awareness for Anaerobic Digestion”

UMass Amherst authors now can publish open access articles free of charge under a new agreement with Cambridge University Press (CUP). In addition, campus community members have access to more than 380 journals under this agreement. In January, the UMass Amherst Libraries joined North East Research Libraries Consortium (NERL) in a Cambridge University Press Read and Publish Agreement.  Research from NERL members accounts for over 25 percent of Cambridge’s U.S. originated output, and this agreement ensures a new and significant portion of research in Cambridge journals can now be published open access.

Open access publication has benefits for authors who reach more readers and retain their copyright, and benefits for readers who can use more scholarship without cost. To have an open access publishing fee covered, a UMass Amherst scholar must be the corresponding author of an accepted manuscript of original research in an open access journal. In addition, UMass Amherst community members have read access to all Cambridge University Press journals.  

Mathematics and Statistics Professor Alexei Oblomkov is the first UMass Amherst author to benefit from the CUP agreement. His article, “Virasoro constraints for stable pairs on toric 3 –folds,” was recently accepted by Forum of Mathematics, Pi.

“This journal is becoming the most prestigious journal in pure mathematics,” says Oblomkov. “Leaders in the field publish their most influential work in the journal, in part to promote open access and in part for its strict refereeing process. It is fantastic that UMass now supports authors publishing with this journal.”

The Libraries are working to facilitate participation in high quality open scholarship for faculty and students through provider agreements using different funding models. The CUP agreement is the first of its kind the Libraries have signed with a traditional subscription-based publisher that funds open access scholarship, with no financial burden on either reader or author. In this model, researchers and scholars are excluded from fee-free publishing or access if they are not affiliated with an institution or funder that can pay on their behalf. To address this, CUP has declared its intent to make all of its journals open access by 2025, and it participates in the Research4Life initiative to subvent open access publishing fees for those from less economically developed countries for whom paying them is a barrier to publication. CUP is a good match with the Libraries’ Framework for Provider Agreements, which was adopted by the Libraries in February 2021.

For more information about publishing under this agreement or participating in open scholarship, contact Christine Turner, Scholarly Communication Librarian.

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to coordinate efforts for the Pioneer Valley’s participation in the annual international City Nature Challenge (CNC). The Challenge consists of a submission period from Friday, April 29, to Monday, May 2, 2022, during which participants submit observations (such as photos or audio evidence) of any wild organism in the Pioneer Valley* using the free mobile app iNaturalist, and a crowdsource-based identification period from Tuesday, May 3, to Sunday, May 8, 2022.

According to the CNC website, the Challenge was started in 2016 by citizen science teams at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco “as a fun way to capitalize on their home cities’ friendly rivalry and hold a citizen science event around urban biodiversity.” Additionally, the wildlife information gathered during the Challenge “gives scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of urban locales throughout the world.” Last year, more than one million observations were made.

This year marks the third year that the Pioneer Valley is officially participating. Melanie Radik, librarian in the Science and Engineering Library, is spearheading organization efforts with an information guide and the following workshops for interested participants:

 

*Please avoid landscaped areas planted by people, pets, zoos, etc.

Lester Grinspoon Reconsidered: Celebrating a Pioneer of Drug Policy and a Legacy of Social Change, a symposium honoring the Harvard psychiatrist who became a celebrated advocate for reforming marijuana prohibition laws and for recognizing marijuana’s potential benefits both medicinal and recreational, will take place at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday, June 24, 2022. The Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center (SCUA) and the UMass Amherst Libraries are hosting the day-long event in the Campus Center, on what would have been Grinspoon’s 94th birthday. It will feature the renowned psychologist, neuroscientist, and author Carl Hart, who will give the keynote address. Registration is now open at the symposium website.

Planned with the Grinspoon family and longtime friend and activist Allen St. Pierre, UMass class of 1989, the symposium brings together some of the country’s most prominent experts and activists, many of whom knew Grinspoon, worked with him, or were inspired by his work, and includes those whose work takes a visionary approach to the role that marijuana and psychedelics can play in society. Three panels will explore where drug policy has been, including the journey to (more or less) cultural acceptance; where it is now and impacts on scientific research and business and industry; and what lies ahead for cannabis and psychedelics in medicine, policy, and the culture at large.

Starting things off in the morning, two of Grinspoon’s sons, astrobiologist David Grinspoon and physician Peter Grinspoon, will welcome attendees with a talk about their father; the afternoon will feature a multifaceted tribute to Grinspoon. Confirmed participants to date include NORML founder Keith Stroup, Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann, current DPA executive director Kassandra Frederique, physician Genester Wilson-King, Grinspoon’s collaborator James Bakalar, researcher and nurse Melanie Dreher, expert on youth and drugs Marsha Rosenbaum, activist and lawyer Richard M. Evans, and cannabis industry consultant Kris Krane, as well as the Grinspoons and former NORML executive director St. Pierre.

The symposium will culminate in a keynote address from Professor Hart, author of Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, followed by a reception.

The Grinspoon symposium is being held to celebrate Lester Grinspoon’s life and legacy, to raise awareness of the drug policy archives held in SCUA, and to foster the use of and scholarship in those collections, including Grinspoon’s own papers. The Lester Grinspoon Fund was established to support processing and digitizing his papers. 

For more information, including bios of the participants, and to register, please visit the symposium website

About Lester Grinspoon

Lester Grinspoon, M.D., (June 24, 1928 - June 25, 2020) was born in Newton, Mass., served in the Merchant Marines, and graduated from Tufts University and Harvard Medical School. He trained at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute but later turned away from psychoanalysis. He spent 40 years as a senior psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and was an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard, where he co-founded and edited the Harvard Mental Health Letter. In the mid-1960s, struck by the rising popularity of marijuana and its reputed dangers, Grinspoon began to examine the medical and scientific literature about marijuana usage. To his surprise, he found no evidence to support claims of marijuana’s harmful effects, and his resulting 1969 Scientific American article drew wide attention. His research ultimately convinced him of marijuana’s benefits, including enhanced creativity and medicinal uses; his interest took a deeply personal turn when his young son, undergoing treatment for the leukemia that eventually took his life, found that marijuana eased his severe nausea. 

Grinspoon served on the board of NORML; testified as an expert witness in some high-profile court cases; and published numerous influential articles and books including Marihuana Reconsidered (1971) and Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine (1993; with James B. Bakalar). He also wrote or cowrote books on schizophrenia—an early research interest—psychiatric drugs, cocaine, and amphetamines and was an early prescriber of lithium for bipolar disorder, and he was a dedicated antinuclear activist. More information on the Lester Grinspoon Papers, donated by Grinspoon in 2013, can be found on the SCUA website

SCUA’s collections on drug policy also include the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Records, the Marijuana Policy Project Records, the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) Records, and others, and they continue to grow. 

About Carl Hart

Carl Hart, Ph.D., is the Ziff Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University. Professor Hart earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming and has published numerous scientific and popular articles on neuropsychopharmacology. His books include the textbook Drugs, Society and Human Behavior (with Charles Ksir); High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, which won the 2014 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award; and, most recently, the acclaimed Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear. Professor Hart has appeared on podcasts, radio, and television shows, and in documentary films including the award-winning The House I Live In. For more information, see his website.

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce the publication of Living Languages - Lenguas Vivas - Línguas Vivas: a new, open access, multilingual journal solely dedicated to the revitalization and sustainability of endangered and minoritized languages. The journal is an initiative of Luiz Amaral, professor in the languages, literatures and cultures department, who collaborated with colleagues from different universities, including the journal’s co-editor in chief, Professor Gabriela Pérez Báez from the University of Oregon. The journal was launched on February 21, 2022 with a special online event to celebrate International Mother Language Day.

The goal of the journal is to promote scholarly work and experience-sharing by bringing together language revitalization practitioners from a diversity of backgrounds, whether academic or not, within a peer-reviewed publication that is not limited to academic contributions and is inclusive of a diversity of perspectives and forms of expression. Living Languages seeks to publish contributions on practical and theoretical issues directly related to actions that support language sustainability and/or revitalization in indigenous and minoritized contexts.

To achieve its goals, the journal publishes papers in three linguas francas (English, Spanish, and Portuguese), plus in any language that is being revitalized. The inaugural volume of Living Languages features 13 contributions that include a paper in Chikashshanompa’ and English (from North America) and one in Kaingang (from South America), plus a variety of other papers written in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

In its resolution 71/178 adopted in 2016, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared its deep concern for the current state of “the vast number of endangered languages, in particular Indigenous languages” and stressed “that, despite continuing efforts, there is an urgent need to preserve, promote, and revitalize endangered languages.” The hope of Living Languages’ editors is that the journal serves as an instrument to share experiences and local knowledge to support minoritized language revitalization efforts in different parts of the world.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the UMass Amherst Libraries have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to supporting and advancing open scholarship with policy, guidelines, and investments in staffing, infrastructure, and scholarly content.