The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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UMass Amherst Libraries, as a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), affirms the statement issued earlier today by ARL that reads in part:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We stand with and in support of our professional colleagues in Ukraine and with all caught in the humanitarian crisis and military action—and with their family and friends.

The full statement may be read at this link.

At this time there are discussions occurring across the university to identify ways we may provide support for community members affected by this tragedy; it is my intention that the Libraries be part of that discussion, as we have significant resources available to further research, expand scholarship, drive thought leadership, and deepen personal understanding of the social, political, and cultural costs of this war.

I also want to recognize that this is a complex situation, and that while we support the Ukrainian people’s sovereignty and rights as members of the international community and condemn the unprovoked military action that is causing death and destruction on a scale unseen in Europe for decades, we are not ignoring the effects this war has had on people of color attempting to flee Ukraine and experiencing discrimination as they try to find safe passage out of the warzone. Our thoughts are unequivocally with all those affected by this violence.

In a show of support for and solidarity with the embattled people of Ukraine, the campus has asked Physical Plant to install blue and yellow lights on the 26th Floor of the Du Bois tower for the next week, in a similar fashion to those that we lit for health care workers in the early days of the pandemic. 

In solidarietate,

Sarah Hutton
Interim Dean of Libraries

The UMass Amherst Libraries invite all members of the Five College community to join in the celebration of this year’s Edible Book Festival on Friday, April 1, 2022.  This festival has been celebrated internationally on or around April 1 since 2000 in commemoration of the birthday of gastronome and author Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

This year’s Edible Book Festival will take place virtually. All members of the Five College community are invited to submit photos of their edible book-inspired creations by noon on Monday, March 28, 2022 using the Edible Book Festival 2022 Submission Form. Entries should draw their inspiration from a literary work (fiction or nonfiction), such as recreating cover art, depicting a scene or character, or other visualization of the content, and be mostly edible (occasional non-edible props permitted). Puns on titles are especially encouraged.

Four winners will be selected for Best Visual Presentation, Funniest/Punniest, Most Creative Use of Ingredients, and Best in Show. The Best in Show category will be selected by popular vote; the voting form will be made available on April 1 on the UMass Amherst Libraries website and social media.

Photos of each person’s entry will be displayed in an online gallery on ScholarWorks, the digital repository for campus.

The UMass Amherst Libraries host “Daniel Ellsberg: A Life in Truth,” a physical and digital exhibit drawing from activist and truth teller Daniel Ellsberg’s vast collection of documents, photographs, and artifacts. The Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center acquired the collection in 2019. The exhibit is located in two locations in the W. E. B. Du Bois Library until September 2022. It begins on Floor 25 in theReading Room of the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center (open M-F 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.) and continues on the Lower Level in the Learning Commons (accessible whenever the Library is open).

The exhibit documents Ellsberg’s 90-year life as an academic, activist, defendant, government contractor, Marine, pianist, Vietnam observer, and whistleblower.  From his middle-class upbringing in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan in the 1930s, to his education at the Cranbrook School, Harvard University, and the Marines; his work as a nuclear analyst at RAND; research for the U.S. Defense Department in Vietnam; and transformation to full-time activist following his release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971; the exhibit illustrates the cinematic sweep of Ellsberg’s life in fine detail. 

Selected digitized versions of material from the exhibit are also available via the Ellsberg Archive Project website, where it will be accessible to the public beyond its physical exhibit space.

The UMass Amherst Libraries have invested in three open access book publishing programs to bring thousands of new titles to patrons and the public at no cost to them. With the support of institutions like UMass Amherst, MIT Press Direct to Open (D2O) University of Michigan Press Fund to Mission (F2M), and Open Book Publishers will release at least 155 new books in 2022, which will be openly accessible to readers. With these investments, the campus community gains access to an additional 4,900 books published by MIT Press and the University of Michigan Press.

These three programs illustrate how professional and scholarly book publishers are experimenting with different funding models in difficult market conditions.

The University of Michigan Press F2M model is based on shared investment by libraries, academic institutions and research funders to expand inclusive, equitable access to humanities and social science scholarship without financial burden for authors. Its eBooks are published on an open source, community-based platform, Fulcrum, from which students and others can download and use learning materials free of restrictions.

Janice Irvine, professor of sociology, UMass Amherst, whose book Marginal People in Deviant Places is forthcoming from Michigan says, “Publishing my book on a digital, open access platform is an exciting opportunity, and the University of Michigan Press has been enormously supportive of this process.”

Jenny Adams, associate professor of English, UMass Amherst, published her book Medieval Women and Their Objects with University of Michigan Press in 2016. “Now that it’s out there, more people have read it, more people have cited it, and more people—from high school honors students to my scholarly peers—know my work."

MIT Press D2O moves professional and scholarly books from a market-based, purchase model, where individuals and libraries buy single eBooks, to a collaborative, library-supported open access model. The UMass Amherst Libraries are among 160 libraries and consortia from around the world who have committed to funding the D2O initiative.

Emily West, associate professor of communication, UMass Amherst, who publishes Buy Now: How Amazon Branded Convenience and Normalized Monopoly with D2O next month, endorses the publishing model which opens her work to the general public—including policymakers who regulate monopolies. “Buy Now will be more accessible to instructors who will be more likely to assign my book knowing students won't have to buy it to read it, explains West. “Being open access makes it even more likely that I will reach these audiences and that my research will inspire and inform the society-wide deliberations about the nature and extent of platform power.”

Open Book Publishers, founded in 2008, is the largest open access book publisher in the United Kingdom. Its 238 academic and textbook titles, including several prizewinners, are available on its open source platform. Without institutional backing, it relies on sales and donations to continue publishing.

The UMass Amherst Libraries’ investment in open access book publishing programs advance the campus’s commitment to open scholarship. MIT Press, University of Michigan Press and Open Book Publishers each align with the guiding principles for the Libraries’ agreements as articulated in the Framework for Provider Agreements. The Libraries are engaged with various funding models to promote open access publishing.

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce that Jennifer Friedman has been appointed Associate Dean of Research and Learning.

Prior to joining the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries in 2016, Friedman worked in several different libraries, large and small, academic, public, and private, including Clemson, MIT, Harvard, and University of South Florida (USF). Friedman has navigated across library organizations via several positions in multiple departments, including the management of research services, collections, access services, and technical services. In her last position at USF, she was the Assistant Director of Research Services, where she is proud of her leadership role in the year-and-a-half-long collaborative project across the division re-evaluating the academic liaison program to develop a vision and strategic plan for the future of the program.

Over the course of her appointment of Head of Research Services and Interim Associate Dean of Research and Learning, Friedman has accomplished a significant amount of work in support ofthe Libraries’ Academic Liaisons Program, and has provided a nearly complete overhaul of our public facing research support and space management system in Springshare. Additionally, she initiated the Peer Research Consultant Program, which, prior to the pandemic, had students interested in librarianship training on research consultation and support. Shewill provide strategic direction as the Peer Leadership Program in the Learning Commons continues to develop. Friedman has played a key leadership role in multiple strategic planning processes, both within the Libraries and on campus. Her incredible depth of knowledge and experience at a diverse range of institutions has provided a wealth of perspective, support,and guidance not only in the Research and Learning Portfolio, but also in the organization as a whole. 

The UMass Amherst Libraries host an exhibit, “Botanicals: An Exploration of Wild and Cultivated Plants,” through Thursday, May 12, in the Mass Aggie Seed Library, in the Science and Engineering Library, Lederle Lowrise, Floor 2, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A reception will be held on Friday, April 22, 1-3 p.m. in the Mass Aggie Seed Library. Attendees must comply with UMass Amherst’s Current Guidance for Campus Events.

“Botanicals” is an exhibition of original linoleum block prints by New Hampshire artist, Monica Rico. The collection will feature botanical prints and textiles, each hand-printed from hand-carved blocks.

Monica Rico is a printmaker, organic farmer, local food system advocate, community organizer, and mom of boys. Originally on a science-based career path, it took her many years to get comfortable enough with the idea of making mistakes to allow herself to make art. She made her first block print in a workshop taught by a friend in the fall of 2018 and became consumed with the practice. Today, she has the privilege to homeschool her youngest son and make art as her full time occupation. She works from her home studio in Henniker, New Hampshire.

The Mass Aggie Seed Library is open for seed borrowing and donation for all on a self-service basis during the hours the Science & Engineering Library is open. It houses a collection focusing on organic, open-pollinated, and heirloom vegetable and flower seeds, as well as a collection of books to educate the community about seed saving. Additionally, seed-saving tools are available for loan to encourage and support seed-saving efforts.

The Seed Library is made possible through a generous grant from the UMass Amherst Sustainability, Innovation & Engagement Fund (SIEF).

The UMass Amherst Libraries host an exhibit, “Unseen Labor,” through May 2022, in the Science and Engineering Library in Lederle Lowrise, Floor 2, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A reception will be held on Friday, February 4, 2-4 p.m., in the Science and Engineering Library. Attendees must comply with UMass Amherst’s Current Guidance for Campus Events.

The exhibit is a library community-organizing art project created by UMass Amherst metadata librarian Ann Kardos, and consists of cross stitch and embroidery pieces that share stories about libraries, the theme of unseen labor, the work that metadata librarians do, projects they are proud of, and more. The exhibit represents approximately 35 creators from a wide variety of libraries: academic, public, museum libraries, and archives, and from all over the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Metadata work is not typically seen as creative work, but rather work that is guided by national standards, best practices, policies, and guidelines in order to produce and maintain standard records for library resources that can be shared between institutions and vendors.

Metadata librarians create and maintain millions of library resources for patrons, with whom they may rarely (if ever) interact, and they provide valuable backend support for their public-facing colleagues. The project asked library metadata creators to examine stories and experiences that would center their unseen labor, both physical and emotional. The exhibition catalog can be viewed online at openbooks.library.umass.edu/unseen-labor-exhibit.

Ann Kardos has been a metadata librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 2017, where she works as part of a small team of dedicated individuals supporting access to approximately seven million records in the Five College Catalog. Kardos learned how to cross stitch as a child and took it up again during the pandemic for stress relief. In November 2021, she had an original embroidery piece on display at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, as part of the Badass Herstory exhibit curated by artist and activist Shannon Downey, who goes by the name Badass Cross Stitch.

Margaret L. Crist, former Director of the UMass Amherst Libraries, passed away on December 15, 2021 at her Amherst home.

Born in Kansas to Roy and Leona Crist, Margo grew up on the family wheat and cattle farm. She graduated from McDonald Rural High School, then earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas. In 1969, Margo earned a master’s in library science from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and moved east later that year to work at the Boston Public Library, where she stayed for nearly a decade. Both as a research librarian, and later as branch librarian in Charlestown, she took great pleasure in providing services to senior citizens.

For the next seven years, Margo served as regional administrator for Central Massachusetts Regional Library System, headquartered in the Worcester Public Library. In that post, she Initiated the founding and co-directed the establishment of the Central/Westem Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing (C/W /MARS), a network which links 40 mostly small, rural member libraries allowing them to share efficiencies of automation and greatly expand the resources available to library patrons.

Margo brought those valuable insights into her next position: assistant director of the Boston Public Library, from 1987 to 1990, and then to her alma mater, the University of Michigan, where she served as assistant director of libraries from 1990-1997, supervising public services.

In 1997, Margo came to the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts to become director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, making it her job to merge the future with the past. By the time Margo arrived at UMass, she had a national reputation as an innovator who knew how to bring libraries into the information age and reimagine their role in both the public and academic arenas.Margo had studied how libraries can serve users from many different angles, and she set out to make the library more user-friendly, installing the first computer stations on the main level for the public to use a then-new research tool, the Internet.

Margo championed both technological advancement and unique resources available only in print. She believed librarians were teachers of information literacy: educating patrons how to search for, capture, evaluate, and use information. Margo believed these lifelong skills were the underpinning of critical thinking and problem-solving.

Throughout her career, Margo was active in professional organizations to explore and expand the work of libraries, including the American Library Association, American College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, the Boston Library Consortium, and the Five Colleges Libraries.

Those who worked under Margo remember her as a leader who applauded accomplishments and who took a hands-on, helping approach to challenges. At work and in her personal life Margo was forthright and collaborative; as a colleague she was courageous and articulate; in conflict she was formidable. Friends knew her to be wise, discreet, and a non-judgmental counselor, intent on healing and empowering others. Plus, she enlivened any party!

Margo’s life partner, Joe Hopkins, was also a professional collaborator. When they met in the late 1970s, he was serving as Director of the Worcester Public Library. Over the years, they read, traveled, skied, biked, and danced together. When they returned East after seven years in Michigan, they built a house together in Amherst that was a place for family gatherings, and also functioned as part retreat and part entertainment venue. In her retirement, Margo became Joe’s caregiver after he suffered a stroke. It was a role she filled with affection and respect for her partner, and for the many generations of the Hopkins family who loved her.

After Joe's death, Margo resumed traveling, including to the Middle East, Peru, the Galapagos Islands, and Africa. She attended the annual Shakespeare Festival in Stafford, Ontario and the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Music, too, was a sustaining joy, from the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Sundays at Tanglewood to singing with the local chorus. Margo was always on the move—from Jazzercise and yoga to daily walks with her neighbor’s dog, Lassie.

Margo’s family, friends, and close neighbors will forever miss her laugh, her intellect, and the joy and love she shared during her lifetime.

Margo is survived by her sister Judith (Robert) Whaley; her nephews Richard (Diane) Whaley, Alan Whaley, Philip (Frances) Whaley; and Christopher (Kim Phan) Robertson; and grandnieces Rachel, Chaii, and Jordan Whaley; and Ava Robertson as well as the entire Hopkins family.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her life partner Joseph Hopkins, a sister Caroline Louise Crist, a brother Kenneth (Kenny) Crist who was a Vietnam casualty, and a nephew Ryan Robertson.

The family plans a celebration and remembrance in 2022.

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The University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries’ Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center has acquired the Benjamin LaGuer Papers. LaGuer, who passed away in November of 2020 at the age of 57, spent two-thirds of his life in prison in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, convicted of a crime which he steadfastly denied he committed.

The initial collection — more than 20 boxes of legal papers, letters, photographs, video recordings of extensive press coverage, audio cassettes of conversations with the inmate, radio interviews and ephemera — capture some of the complexities at the intersection of race, justice, media and politics in Massachusetts and the United States. They also tell a story about higher education behind bars. LaGuer earned most of his credits toward a bachelor's degree as a UMass student. After transfer to the prison in Norfolk, he earned a degree in Liberal Studies from Boston University, graduating magna cum laude.

Joy James, a scholar who has written on LaGuer’s role, and the role of race, in Deval Patrick’s 2006 gubernatorial election, called the acquisition “an important contribution to Ben's memory and attempts for justice." James’ brief correspondence with the inmate is in the collection.

The Benjamin LaGuer Papers join other important collections at the Libraries’ Robert S. Cox Research Center that document the experience of incarceration and illuminate the legal system from a black inmate’s point of view. These collections include the papers of Tiyo Attalah Salah El, a prison abolition activist serving a life sentence; Frank “Parky” Grace, who was a founding member of the New Bedford Black Panther Party and was wrongly convicted of murder and released from prison after a decade; and Frankie Ziths, whose collection documents the activities of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners and the Black Panther Party’s efforts to free political prisoners across the country.

Along with hundreds of other collections in the Robert S. Cox Center documenting the fight for social change in the US, the LaGuer Papers provide a unique and valuable resource for understanding the history of social justice and for building tools to effect positive change.

“Bringing Ben’s papers to the Libraries reflects our commitment to preserving the voices of people whose stories aren’t typically reflected in the historical record,” says Aaron Rubinstein, head of the Robert S. Cox Center. “Opening these materials to students, scholars and the general public will continue the important conversation about race and the justice system in this country.”

LaGuer was a thinker and a writer who never stopped growing intellectually. As part of his advocacy, LaGuer devoted hours to writing the story of his own drama, especially the events and repercussions of a few days in July 1983 that put his life on an unimaginable course.

Items immediately available include the trial transcript, police reports, forensics, court filings, judicial decisions and legal correspondences, along with extensive press coverage of each phase of LaGuer’s battles.

More information on the Benjamin LaGuer papers can be found here: http://scua.library.umass.edu/laguer-benjamin/. Other reference materials can be found online:

Zoom Memorial, May 1, 2021 (YouTube)

Tragedy Times Two (YouTube) Contains new evidence that police arrested the wrong man.

Benjamin LaGuer and the Cruel Reality of Medical Parole (Commonwealth Magazine)

Ben LaGuer, 1963 - 2020. A self-made spirit in his own voice (Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon)

Unprecedented Miracles (from UMass Amherst Libraries’ Bookmark Magazine, Winter 2021-22) Password: Ben

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce that Theresa Dooley has been appointed to the two-year term position of Open Education Librarian in Scholarly Communication. She will begin her new role on January 3, 2022.

During her two-year position as the Open Education Librarian, Dooley will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for open and affordable course content throughout the Libraries and across the campus. She will oversee and support Library-led open education initiatives (OEI), including the OEI grants funded by the Libraries and the Provost’s Office, and will promote the use of OER among the campus and other constituencies. One of her initial strategies will be to focus on education, outreach, and advocacy within the Libraries and then connect this work to the Libraries’ mission in close collaboration with multiple library partners. She will also represent the university on the statewide Open Education Advisory Council

Dooley earned her MLIS from Simmons College in 2020. Prior to that, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Stony Brook University. Subsequently, she has earned a Certificate in Open Educational Resources (OER) Librarianship from the Open Education Network (OEN) and a Creative Commons Certificate from Creative Commons in 2021. Before joining UMass Amherst, Dooley gained experience in scholarly publishing as the Senior Production Editor and Project Manager for The Sheridan Group of Waterbury, VT from 2011 to 2018.

Dooley joined the UMass Amherst Libraries in 2018 as the Learning Commons Supervisor and Training Specialist in the Student Success and Engagement Department. During her tenure as a Learning Commons supervisor, Dooley developed a peer-mentoring staffing program for students working in the LC, designed and implemented a training curriculum for Library staff and students working in the Learning Commons, and created lasting relationships between the Libraries and campus partners such as IT User Services and IT Computer Classrooms. 

While participating in the OEN’s Certificate in OER Librarianship, Dooley created a five-year action plan that maps out strategic open education initiatives for the Libraries, building upon existing resources and partnerships, connecting with the Libraries’ and university’s strategic plans, and once again placing the UMA Libraries at the forefront of this work. 

A few of Dooley’s recent accomplishments in the open education area include collaborating with campus partners in the Becoming an Open Education Influencer (BOEI) program in working with staff from Nelson Mandela University through Open Education for a Better World to create a self-guided course that would train learners in how to become international Open Education Influencers, as well as leading workshops educating faculty on the importance of OER through the Boston Library Consortium (BLC).