Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Candy Quest!

Where can you find new spaces, meet friendly faces, eat candy, earn a button, and enter to win a prize?  On the LITS Candy Quest, of course!

Jorge visits the Research Help Desk
Jorge departing the Research Help Desk after making a new friend and bagging some candy.

Here's how to participate:

  • New students, check the LITS bag you received at the August 29th M&Cs in the library for a red Candy Quest card.  Can't find the card? No problem! Pick up another copy at any of these LITS service points: the Circulation Desk, Research Help Desk, and Technology Help Desk.
  • Starting Wednesday, September 17 - Friday, September 19, visit each location on the card between 1-5pm, present your card for the person on duty to initial/check off that location, and get a piece of candy.
  • Once you've visited every location, fill in your contact information on the back of your completed card and bring it to the LITS Research Help Desk. You'll get a limited-edition button and be entered to win a gift certificate to Rao's or the Odyssey Book Shop.
Happy questing and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Monday, September 8, 2014

New Interlibrary Loan Webpage!

We would like to share some awesome changes to our Interlibrary Loan ILLiad webpages! 

First, you can now log into ILLiad with your standard Mount Holyoke login and password. You will still have access to your borrowing history and any pending requests. Second, ILLiad has a new look! The pages have been redesigned, but all of the features you are used to are unchanged. Please do change your bookmark to this new URL:

We're excited about these improvements, and we also look forward to continuing to provide you with the reliable and fast ILL service you're used to. If you have any questions or problems with your login, please email libill@mtholyoke.edu.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reflections on the Frances Perkins Center

During my archival internship for the Frances Perkins Center through the Mount Holyoke Archives & Special Collections, I referred to the central historical figure in my work as “Frances Perkins,” or sometimes “Frances,” which is what my boss, author Kirstin Downey, called her because Kirstin is a journalist by profession and connects personally with the legacy of Frances Perkins.  Chris Breiseth, Chairman of the Board of the Frances Perkins Center, refers to her as “Miss Perkins” because she preferred to be called “Miss Perkins” when they lived in the same house when Frances Perkins was a professor and Chris Breiseth was a student at Cornell University.  Board members Sarah Peskin and Leah Sprague just said “Frances Perkins.”  Tomlin Coggeshall, the grandson of Frances Perkins and founder of the Frances Perkins Center, naturally refers to her as “my grandmother.”  Even when I sat across from Tomlin’s husband Christopher Rice at dinner, I felt a bit star-struck when Christopher simply referred to the woman behind the new deal as “Tomlin’s grandmother.”  Personally, I have decided to say “Miss Perkins” because that was how her students addressed her.

As a volunteer for the events at College of the Atlantic and the garden party at the homestead, I learned that handing out nametags is a significant social advantage because the person who hands out nametags will learn everyone’s names.  At College of the Atlantic, after I handed out nametags on August 12th, I enjoyed listening to the speeches.  Former United States Senator George Mitchell delivered an inspiring speech about the historical and political significance of Frances Perkins, anchored in her home state of Maine.  I liked his joke, “Massachusetts used to be part of Maine.”  Kirstin’s speech was incredible; I loved her theme of Perkins’ roots in New England because everyone related to it.  She sweetly included my comment that although Frances Perkins enjoyed lobster, she would probably become a vegetarian if she attended Mount Holyoke now.  Vegetarianism is predominant on campus partially because it is the best way to reduce each person’s carbon footprint, and students care about the world.  Finally, it was wonderful to see President Lynn Pasquerella in Maine and to hear her voice in the video for the Frances Perkins Center; Mount Holyoke has a strong presence in Perkins’ legacy.

The homestead was probably the best part of my time in Maine.  In the house of Frances Perkins, where Tomlin and Christopher currently live, I was especially fascinated by the family’s book collection.  You can determine a lot about people through their book collection.  For example, Perkins closely read a book about code of conduct and sometimes distributed copies of it.  Below is a picture of me with her copy.  Near the books, there were several signed items from President Franklin Roosevelt.  I had previously seen his signature behind glass cases in museums, but Roosevelt’s signature appears all over the possessions in Tomlin’s house because his grandmother had a close professional relationship with the president. 

The homestead was the ideal place for the annual garden party, held this year on August 14th, because the garden is indescribably beautiful.  I have enjoyed a wide range of interesting tasks as an intern this summer in Washington, DC, but one of my favorites was picking a bouquet of flowers from the garden for decoration.  Then, the Frances Perkins Center gave awards for social justice to a few deserving recipients who live by the values of Frances Perkins.  After the ceremony, I ate dinner with members of the Board, as well as 92-year-old prominent historian William Leuchtenburg.  I told him upon departure, “I hope to become a historian, and when I am your age, I will tell people that I met you, and they will say ‘whoa!’”  He smiled approvingly.  It was my privilege to meet several exceedingly interesting people during my time as an intern at the Frances Perkins Center.  The following morning, as I was reading The Roosevelt I Knew by Frances Perkins, I ran into Tomlin Coggeshall in a coffee shop, so I asked, “Hi Tomlin, do you mind if I sit with you while I read your grandmother’s book?”  Characteristically of the friendly people at the Frances Perkins Center, Tomlin welcomed me to sit with him.

Rebecca Brenner
Mount Holyoke ’15
Intern in Alexandria, VA, for Frances Perkins Center and Mount Holyoke Archives & Special Collections

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

From the Archives: The First Course Catalogue and the History of Admissions

Mount Holyoke is a college with a long and far-reaching historical legacy, and even today we continue to honor many of our earliest traditions. Yet while we have maintained our core values of diversity, academic excellence, and purposeful engagement, much has changed about Mount Holyoke's format and practices since 1837. Taking a look at the very first course catalogue for the 1837-1838 school year reveals how much the institution has grown.
Cover of the original 1837 catalogue

One notable change is that while today we have President Lynn Pasquerella, in the seminary's first year Mount Holyoke was led by Miss Mary Lyon, who was called a principal and teacher instead of president. The list of Trustees also reveals the familiar names of Deacons Andrew W. Porter and Daniel Safford, for whom two of our residence halls are named.

The seminary had only three class years--Junior, Middle, and Senior--which students were placed into based on their test scores, rather than their age. The founding year started with 116 students, though many of the students would not graduate, since it was typical for women to enroll in a seminary for only a short time. Each year followed the same curriculum, and while they were designed to be followed for a year, students could advance to the next year once they proved their mastery of the subjects.

Admissions requirements
The requirements for entering the seminary's Junior class were being 16 years old and having "an acquaintance with the general principles of English Grammar, a good knowledge of Modern Geography, History of the United States, Watts on the Mind, Colburn's First Lessons, and the whole of Adams's New Arithmetic." The list of subjects each class studies is given in the catalogue, and it is noted that the list will likely expand in coming years, so "preparations to enter the Junior class should be full and thorough."

When students first arrived to the seminary, it was not actually guaranteed that they would be admitted. First, they took a series of exams to demonstrate their academic preparedness. An emphasis is placed on the importance of being present at the seminary as much as possible; students were generally required to stay the whole year, and were asked not to miss any weeks of class during their Senior year.

Students were required to complete assigned domestic chores, as part of Mary Lyon's method of keeping the cost of attending the seminary low: $20 a term, not including fuel and lights. But the catalogue emphasizes that the institution would not teach domestic skills to the students, and instead make use of those skills students had already learned from their mothers.

The Seminary's original 116 students all came from the East Coast, except for Mary E. Hayes from Ohio, with the majority from Massachusetts and Connecticut. While this group of students was not very diverse, Mary Lyon founded the Seminary with the intention of providing a rigorous liberal arts education for middle class women who could not afford to attend more expensive institutions.

Today, Mount Holyoke looks very different from Mary Lyon's time. We now have four class years instead of three, the tuition is slightly higher than $20 per semester, and there are hundreds of different classes in a variety of subjects to choose from. Admissions applications are no longer sent directly to the President. Mary Lyon might not have envisioned this future for us. But in our 177th year, Mount Holyoke has grown into a diverse, inclusive, and academically premiere college for all women.

See the full 1837 course catalog at the Alumnae Quarterly!

Find the Archives on social media:
Youtube - new!

Megan Haaga, Class of 2015, is a student assistant in the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Calling All Seniors: everything you need to know to get a carrel of your own!

The word is out! Senior carrels will be assigned on Sunday, September 14, from 10am to noon in Whiting Alcove (6th floor-South). Carrels will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis so line up early to get the carrel of your choice! Student Supervisors from Access Services will be handing out numbers at the main library door beginning at 10am. 

This carrel could be yours, Class of 2015 students!
Be sure to take a walk through the library and check out the many carrel locations. Proxy forms will be available at the Circulation Desk for seniors that can't be here for the sign-up so get a friend to wait in line for you while you sleep in.

If there are any carrels unassigned after noon on Sunday the sign up will continue at the Circulation Desk in Access Services until 2am. 

A few carrels have been modified for accessibility so if you see a reserved sticker that carrel is unavailable. It's best to have a few different carrel choices in case the one you want is already taken when you arrive. Any carrels unassigned on Monday, September 15, will be available for assignment at the circulation desk to remaining seniors.

If you are a student that has accessibility needs, please contact AccessAbility Services.

Keep Calm and Ask LITS, part 5!

When classes begin on Wednesday, remember that LITS has so many services for your success at MHC! For example, there are librarians and instructional technologists here to help you with one-on-one consultations. Today Samantha Levreault, Class of 2017, shares her story of how a LITS staff member helped her succeed with an Environmental Studies assignment:

"Last spring I took Intro to Environmental Studies. During the class, we had Caro Pinto
come in and talk with us students about how to research for our commodity paper assignment. She showed us how to use the Discover search on the LITS website, and how to effectively gather our data. After her lecture to the class, I was able to do a lot of research on my own, but as I started writing the paper, I felt a bit -- well, actually -- I was VERY lost in figuring out how to organize all the data I had gathered. 

So to organize my thoughts, I set up a meeting with her and brought in all the research I had done. The notes I had taken were very good and I cited my sources just as she had showed us in the class she spoke in. When I met with Caro, I wasn’t euite sure of myself because I hadn’t ever done a research paper like this before. She had me show her what I had done so far and helped me figure out my next steps. By the end of our short 10-minute meeting, I felt confident in my ability to organize the data I had collected. I found writing my paper to be easy because when I was in the research stage I had written down notes about what each source had to offer in case I needed to go back to the books. The paper turned out fantastic, and I now have a feeling of security for the next research paper I will be asked to write!"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Textbook Costs Getting You Down?

Good News! 

LITS is committed to making expensive textbooks accessible to students for three hour loans. As a policy, LITS orders one copy of each required textbook that costs over $90. To see which textbooks are currently available to borrow, just search our Library Catalog for Reserves off of the LITS homepage. We recommend doing a title search for the most accurate results - use the drop down menu to the left of the Search box to switch to a  "Title begins with" search

Screen shot of course reserves search box
If you don't see your textbook in the catalog just yet, don't worry! Textbook requirements are updated frequently on ISIS; be sure to also check there to see the updated required textbook lists. We also check this list frequently to make textbooks available to YOU.