Wednesday, May 11, 2016

LITS Student Employee Profile: Malosree Maitra on the LITS Web Team!

For seven of her eight very busy semesters at Mount Holyoke, Malosree Maitra has been a member of the LITS Web Team, tackling a wide variety of programming tasks, learning one new technology after another, and rising to every challenge we've presented her. We asked her to answer a few questions about her experience.

Malosree Maitra

Kolkata, India

Class Year:


Student Employee Position:
Web Programmer

When did you start working for the LITS Web Team?
Spring 2013

How did you hear about the position, and why were you interested?
I saw it posted on JobX. I applied because I'd learned a bit of programming during a gap year after high-school and was interested in an on-campus job that was unrelated to my major!

What is your favorite LITS Web project thus far? Least favorite?
My favorite project was the Digital Signage system that is currently being used by different departments for running slideshows at locations across campus. I don't really have a least favorite project.

How do you think this position has helped your professional development?
Starting with my first job interview ever and ending with a snippet of my code being accepted as part of a contributed Drupal module, this job has been a very important part of my Mount Holyoke experience. I have unexpectedly learned a lot about how modern web development is carried out and how our college website is built and run.

Favorite class at MHC?

Career goals?
I will be attending graduate school and want to pursue a career in neuroscience research.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Return of the bunnies!

Finals got you frantic? LITS can fix that. Join us for our Spring Study Break Tea, a.k.a. Tea and Buns!

Come to the Stimson Room on Library Level 6 this Wednesday, April 27 from 4-5pm. There will be snacks, button making, soothing sound generators, and - most importantly - baby bunnies! Take a break, cuddle a bunny, and feel all your finals stress melt away . . .

Image credit: Mary Stettner (with apologies to Edvard Munch and Mary Cassatt)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Download older Moodle materials by June 12, 2016

In order to comply with copyright law, LITS must turn off student access to Moodle course sites a few weeks after grades are due.

If you wish to save copies of any Moodle materials from a Spring 2016 course site, please do so by Sunday, June 12, 2016. If you have an extension and require access to a course site beyond this date, please contact the course instructor.

Image credit: opensourceway via Compfight cc

Monday, April 18, 2016

Poetry all around

April is National Poetry Month! Need some ideas for getting your poetry fix?  Read on . . .


You'll find all of the library's most recently acquired poetry books in the lovely Stimson Room on library level 6.  This welcoming space - with lots of comfy seating - also houses the most recent issues of our print literary magazines and currently features a display of books by this year's Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Competition poet judges.


Not only can you search the Five College Libraries Catalog to find collections by your favorite poets, you can also use the Advanced form to search for all works in the genre "poetry" and discover books by writers who are new to you.

Poems are often published individually or in anthologies featuring the work of multiple poets, too. Doing an author name search on the poet of your choice in Discover Supersearch's Advanced form is a good way to find poems published in magazines.

Columbia Granger's World of Poetry is another tool you can use to find poems by a favorite poet published in anthologies.  It includes the full text of some 250,000 poems, selected commentaries on poems, biographies of leading poets, and selected essays on the history and criticism of poetry, too.

Make poems come to you

Sign up to be emailed a Poem-a-Day (text and audio) for free from, the web site of the Academy of American Poets.  Tip: double-click in the "sign up" box, then enter your email address. Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine, also offers a Poem of the Day podcast service featuring poems read by poets and actors. Both services include contemporary as well as classic poetry, so it's a neat way to learn about new poets.

Join in the fun!

April 28 is Poem in your Pocket Day where you select a poem, put it in your pocket, carry it with you and share it with others you meet during the day. Tweet your poem, too, with hashtag #pocketpoem. You can download poems for your pocket here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Evolution of Mount Holyoke Literary Magazines. Part II

When Mount Holyoke’s literary magazine Tempo came to a close in 1953, students looked for another successful outlet to serve as the next generation of student-written publication. For many years Mount Holyoke published a first-year literary magazine designated specifically for that year's incoming class, thus they were named after that year's class animal, whether it be a sphinx, lion, griffon, or pegasus. Pegasus' magazine became particularly successful and consequently became Mount Holyoke’s official literary magazine in 1955. The promotion from first-year magazine to the stand alone magazine was very different from previous efforts to expand the audience. Instead of creating an entirely new literary magazine, students looked to an already successful outlet and chose to expand upon it.

Comparison of 1977 edition of
Pegasus with Spring 1978
Pegasus proved to be one of the most successful official literary magazines, and is still today Mount Holyoke's longest standing publication. The 35 years, from 1955 until 1990, that Pegasus was in production even surpassed The Mount Holyoke Monthly’s 26 years. During this time, the magazine evolved drastically and experimented with new design formats, art content, and photography. The Spring 1978 edition of Pegasus is a particularly interesting example of their experimentation towards format and presentation. This edition is more than double the size of previous magazines and includes large pictures of student art in a folio format. The editor's note mentions that this unique edition was an experiment in lowering costs of printing by typesetting and printing the entire magazine themselves. The folio style did not continue, however, and the next edition in summer 1978 returned to the previous booklet format. Pegasus introduced another format change beginning in the late 1960s where they enlarged the booklet slightly to better present student artwork.

The Common Wages
(1971- 1995)
Despite the success of Pegasus and its dynamic changes to keep the magazine modern and inclusive, the need for a new magazine arose in 1971. Since Pegasus lacked the space for stories longer than a couple pages, The Common Wages was developed to hold longer stories and writing samples that would not fit in Pegasus. While these two magazines were in publication, a third literary magazine was born called Vida. Vida was developed as a specialized magazine for bilingual students in collaboration with the Latina club on campus called La Unidad. Vida offered bilingual students the opportunity to submit writing in languages other than English and to expand the literary community at Mount Holyoke through a variety of cultural content.

Funky Lady
Canary Wine


In 1990 the long standing Pegasus was replaced with an all new magazine called Arsis, a word derived from the Greek poetic device meaning “to raise one’s voice.” The name was chosen to represent students' desire to “reflect a wide range of voices and ideas from the Mount Holyoke community” through their magazine. Arsis was also different visually, as the editors chose to make it “a smaller, annual-like style, and nothing too glossy.” Between 1993 and 1999 there were a series of name changes that were all short lived. The first name change during this period was from Arsis to Canary Wine in 1993. The new name was inspired by a sweet wine from the Canary Islands, which “like art, intoxicates those who drink it in.” Canary Wine lasted until 1996 followed by Funky Lady and then Calliope in in 1999. From 1999 until 2001 Mount Holyoke literary magazines made a brief hiatus while a new literary magazine was being designed.

The Blackstick Review
(2004- present)
Mount Holyoke literary magazines started back up in 2001 with a “new, eclectic, entirely student-run publication showcasing a myriad of paintings, photographs, poems and prose compositions,” titled Verbosity. While Verbosity was ongoing, another literary magazine was introduced called The Blackstick Review, reviving the name from Mount Holyoke's literary club Blackstick that was in existence from 1909 to 1961. In addition to publishing physical magazines, The Blackstick Review was also the first online literary magazine, making student writing available to all wherever they had internet access. This was a huge development for Mount Holyoke and the creative student community.Verbosity and The Blackstick Review continued simultaneously until 2013 when Verbosity ended. 

Today, Mount Holyoke's active literary magazines include The Blackstick Review and Moneta. So if you are interested in reading the student writing on campus, check out these two great publications!

Author Brittnee Worthy is a student Archives Assistant in Archives and Special Collections. To explore Mount Holyoke's literary magazines in person, visit Archives and Special Collections in the basement of Dwight Hall!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

...and the prize for creativity goes to...

LITS would like to congratulate Amy Chen, class of 2017, on her outstanding creative submission to the Emily Silverman '81 Student Prize competition. Amy's pieces are being prepared to hang on the wall along the 4th floor hallway of Williston Library near the Information Commons... look for them soon!

Thanks to everyone who submitted entries and to the donor of the prize, Emily Silverman '81, for her continued generosity in furthering the intersection of art and ideas in the LITS Complex.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Evolution of Mount Holyoke Literary Magazines. Part I

Many of you may be familiar with Moneta, the Mount Holyoke literary magazine. You may not know, however, that Moneta was not always the literary magazine of Mount Holyoke College. In fact Mount Holyoke has an expansive history of literary magazines, with each embodying their own take on the creative outlet.

The Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke Monthly
Mount Holyoke literary magazines began with what was originally known as The Mount Holyoke. This publication dates back to 1891 and continued successfully for many years. However The Mount Holyoke was very different from the literary magazines we have come to know today. Instead of a collection of only student writing, it served as a combination of newspaper, student writing, and alumnae content, making it an all-encompassing publication. By 1917 this composite form of student writing branched out into various singular publications, such as The Mount Holyoke News, Alumnae Quarterly, and, Mount Holyoke’s first stand-alone student literary magazine, Mount Holyoke Monthly. Mount Holyoke Monthly became the primary platform through which the original literary club, known as Blackstick, published student works they felt were worthy of recognition. At this point, however, Blackstick was very selective, choosing only the best and most notable works to be published. As a result, content primarily consisted of work that received awards and recognition by either faculty or writing contests. For this reason, the works in Mount Holyoke Monthly are an excellent source for reviewing what would have been considered notable student writing at the time.

The Challenge
The selectivity of Mount Holyoke Monthly’s content may have contributed to the addition of a new literary magazine, or in this case journal, on campus in 1932 called The Challenge. While still a publication of student works, this new literary magazine held a different and more specialized theme to its content. In the introduction, The Challenge states that its primary purpose is to “challenge some of the existing problems on the college campus and at the same time to present some interesting and constructive ideas” and to “promote sincere and intelligent thinking.” Many of the articles hold up to the name and challenge the thinking of the Mount Holyoke community. For instance, one article, titled "On Law and Order," challenges how the student community is "all too ready to complain... however, when an opportunity arises to reconstruct these phases of our community life, we are unwilling to assume any degree of responsibility or readiness to act." Much of the content in The Challenge is also influenced by the state of the economy as it began in the midst of the Great Depression, which was from 1929 to 1939. The editor of The Challenge remarks that the works in this journal are a reflection of a group of students who “feel an intellectual, cultural and social stagnation, as in the outside world we all feel the economic depression.” This literary journal was received with interest and criticism by faculty and students before ending in 1936.

As time went on, Mount Holyoke Monthly evolved into a new student literary magazine named Pangynaskean in 1942. Although Blackstick was still a contributor to Pangynaskean, content became less selective around this time. Therefore, independent writing became even more common and progressed towards the open and expressive form of literary magazine we know today. Like The Challenge, Pangynaskean was also influenced by WWII and therefore strived to include "the humor and lighter spirit" that students requested from the new magazine. The editor comments on the "justifiability of a purely creative effort during war-time" in the opening issue, saying that while "the arts and their outlets seem to lose their is certain that sooner or later, when it [the war] is ended, the demand for creative work and thought will be greater than ever." For this reason, The Challenge and Pangynaskean are great sources of student writing influenced by war. 

In 1948 Pangynaskean came to its end and was followed by Pan and then Tempo in 1951. Both were very similar to their predecessor, however, the need to increase student subscription, participation, and criticism lead to the new design and names. Tempo’s first edition describes its hope to make the revamped magazine “a campus wide interest” and its attempt to “counteract the feeling that the magazine is primarily published for English majors,” which shows the developing interest in making a magazine open to all kinds of content and student expression. This aim to extend student contribution continues into the 1950s when Mount Holyoke literary magazines once again take an old magazine and make it into something new. Literary magazines from the 1950s to the present will be continued in The Evolution of Mount Holyoke Literary Magazines Part II blog post next week.

Brittnee Worthy is a student Archives Assistant in Archives and Special Collections.

To explore Mount Holyoke's literary magazines in person, visit Archives and Special Collections in the basement of Dwight Hall!