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. 

Keep Calm and Ask LITS, part 4!

LITS is full of services to help you be successful at Mount Holyoke! But don't just take our word for it... here's Jordan Rios, Class of 2015, describing how LITS has helped her throughout her MHC career:

"Where do I begin? LITS has been a tremendous resource for me here at Mount Holyoke College! It has served as a wonderful study space, a wellspring of knowledge and information, as well as a help center! 

I have utilized many of the resources LITS provides: Circulation, Inter-Library Loan, the Diagnostic Center, the Technology Help Desk, the Research Help Desk, and Rao's Café. I've also relied on LITS for everyday use of things such as computers, printers, copiers, and even phone chargers! In short, LITS has been an invaluable resource and a major presence in my life as a student here at Mount Holyoke College! I encourage all incoming and current students to learn more about LITS and to use the multitude of resources it provides! You'll be glad you did!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Keep Calm and Ask LITS, part 3!

Today's the big day! Welcome to all of you new students arriving on campus! We are Library, Information, & Technology Services and we are here to help you succeed at Mount Holyoke! All week we're featuring success stories from current students so you'll know more about our many services. Since today is a day of great change and excitement, we know you naturally may be feeling a little nervous or stressed. Kimberly Dildine, Class of 2016, is here to tell you how LITS can help with those feelings too:

"I am grateful for LITS’ sense of humor. I often come to the library to work on something stressful, to get a change of scenery and a new start on a difficult assignment. LITS helps relieve some of that stress and gets me to smile with small doses of lighthearted comedy. Charging stations for electronic devices are marked with “Never Fear/Charge” signs, a witty play on the college’s new slogan. Jorge, our favorite goose with a love of bread products, has worn many hats for LITS, including a Mario hat, a witch hat, a crown, a top hat, and a hipster beanie, thanks to Mary Stettner, Librarian and Instructional Technology Liaison. 

LITS staff are often heard thinking up silly memes and funny sayings. Last April, every bathroom stall in the library was equipped with a newsletter claiming that hammocks would be installed and eye masks provided to improve student napping, the Archives would be guarded by a dragon, and that an unnamed LITS employee had volunteered to take on the position of library ghost. I am glad that our library is not only a place to come to for answers and quiet study space, but also a place where we can laugh."

There's nothing like the Ryan Gosling meme to brighten your day! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Keep Calm and Ask LITS, part 2!

Welcome new students! All this week we're sharing stories from current students about how LITS has helped them succeed at Mount Holyoke; we offer so many services for success and we want you to know all about them! For example, did you know that there are library and instructional technology liaisons for each department who are here in LITS to help you? Today's story is from Tiffany Privat, a Frances Perkins Scholar and Class of 2015, who met with the English Department liaison:

"One of the ways LITS has helped me during my college career is by teaching me about the myriad of resources available to utilize while doing research. I consulted with Mary Stettner, a librarian and instructional technology liaison, while writing a paper which bridged concepts of nineteenth century and present-day feminism. It was extremely beneficial to receive her advice and insight. It created an awareness that was helpful in projects following, as well. I love books and have always felt comfortable in libraries; I thought I knew best how to find and access what I needed. Mary helped me to push further and extend my searches past what was apparent. Her specialized knowledge and focused instruction continues to help me when I am researching or contemplating a topic on which to write."

Faculty: what you need to know about Moodle this fall

Here's a roundup of the things you'll want to know about Moodle as you're getting ready to teach this fall. 
  • Need to move stuff from an old Moodle course site to a new one?  It's easy and we have a video tutorial explaining how to do it!: 
  • Once you've got your site set up, you'll want to make it visible to students. We upgraded to Moodle version 2.6 in May 2014. For the most part the new version doesn't look very different from the old one, but the place you go to make your course visible to students has moved: it's now toward the top of the Edit Settings menu in your course, rather than way down the page: 
    You can read more about making your course visible to students on our help site. 

  • One of the most common questions every fall is this: "How do my Five College students get to MHC's Moodle, and how do they make sure they're in ours, and not the Moodle on their home campus?" For courses that are taught at Mount Holyoke College, students should always go to, whether this is their home campus or not.  More information for Five College users is also available on our help site. 
Feel free to pass on links to these pages, quote the text to your students as needed, and contact your LITS Liaison if you need help. In general, please don't hesitate to write to your individual liaison or to all of us at if you need Moodle assistance.

Speaking of which, we've redesigned our moodle help pages in response to faculty feedback; come check them out!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Keep Calm and Ask LITS, part 1!

We are thrilled to welcome new students to Mount Holyoke this week, and to introduce them to all of our services for success here in LITS! So that all of you new students can get to know all of the ways we in LITS can help you, we've asked returning students to share their LITS success stories with you this week. First up is Ruilin Fan, Class of 2017:

"I am a rising sophomore and the services that LITS offers has helped me tremendously over my 
past year as a scrambling and panicky firstie. For me, the library was the place to be for studying, socializing, and even occasional napping during finals (the couches are so comfortable!). Just as 
any MoHo student, I ask LITS for help when I need guidance navigating in a body of literature for 
a research project, when I need to access a much-needed book, and when I just have the most 
random question to put on the Ask LITS board.

"Once I was caught in a New England thunderstorm without an umbrella and with my computer in a non-waterproof backpack. After being drenched in rainwater, the said PC refused to turn back 
on as it made angry grumbling noises. It was LITS Tech Help on the fourth floor that nursed my 
abused computer back to health. Just twenty minutes later I was able to take my again working 
computer back to classes!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mount Holyoke Receives Original Frances Perkins Letters

During July and the first half of August, I worked in Alexandria, Virginia, interning for the Frances Perkins Center, based in Damariscotta, Maine, arranging and logging the Perkins papers of author Kirstin Downey for transport to the Mount Holyoke Archives & Special Collections. I was the first intern for the Frances Perkins Center, and they would like more interns from Mount Holyoke in future years. While I thoroughly enjoyed my internship, it was difficult to explain my work set-up to people because my organization, supervisor, and workplace were in three different locations.

At the end of July, Kirstin and I drove through Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to obtain original Perkins letters from the grandson of a significant contemporary of Frances Perkins. The Mount Holyoke Archives & Special Collections is thrilled to receive a new collection of original letters from Frances Perkins. Elizabeth Middleton Maddock, the best friend of Perkins at Mount Holyoke, saved their correspondence during Perkins’ time as Secretary of Labor. Also, Maddock maintained a scrapbook of Perkins’ achievements, which is now a compelling representation of the New Deal Era. In late July in Trenton, New Jersey, Maddock’s grandson gave a box of these items to Kirstin and me to present to Mount Holyoke. It has been my privilege to arrange and log these new materials, especially the hand-written letters. 

I have heard that the smartest people have the worst handwriting – this rule definitely applies to Perkins. She was undeniably brilliant, and her handwriting is nearly unreadable. Sarah Peskin, Secretary for the Frances Perkins Center, ended an email to me, “Good luck with Perkins’ handwriting.” Fortunately, author Kirstin Downey is the best at deciphering Perkins’ seemingly illegible scribbles. It is enthralling for me to archive these original letters, though I probably learn more from the typed ones.

One particular typed letter captured my attention because it addressed the swimming pool at Mount Holyoke. As a Mount Holyoke student, I enjoy swim classes in the Physical Education Department. In March 21, 1950, Perkins wrote to Miss Mildred Howard, Chairman of the Physical Education Department, “The members of my class are particularly delighted that a first-rate swimming pool is to be a part of the physical education building. The Class of 1902 started the fund for a swimming pool… We did it with great enthusiasm, partly because nobody wanted it.” She continued, “If there are any plaques or ribbons or other mementos of donors to be scattered around the new building, we want to be sure that the plaque says the right thing about the class of 1902.” I do not know if there are currently plaques, ribbons, or other mementos, but I know that I will remember Frances Perkins and the Class of 1902, whenever I go swimming this year.  

While most of the new material is from Perkins to Maddock, there are a few letters from Maddock to Perkins, including a heartwarming poem around the time that Perkins retired from public life, “May you stow your New England conscience / Bid duty a stiff goodbye / Let the world handle its own mistakes / Or anyhow let it try.” From Maddock to Perkins, one Mount Holyoke woman to another, these words convey a sense of conviction.  Perkins led her life with a sense of duty that social justice would be her vocation. Ultimately, Maddock acknowledged Perkins’ accomplishments in her position and encouraged her to rest.  Maddock concluded, “And it cheers me up to no end / That you are in this world today / A huskey steadfast friend.” Many of us have cherished Mount Holyoke friends; Maddock’s friend just happened to impact millions of people by advancing social justice, creating economic security, and saving countless lives.

Finally, Kirstin and I enjoyed studying the scrapbook, including news clippings and pictures that Kirstin had never seen before in her extensive research. Although I have previously seen similar images, mainly on the Mount Holyoke Archives & Special Collections Twitter page, I pay special attention to images of Frances Perkins when she graduated Mount Holyoke College in the Class of 1902.  As I enter my senior year, I know that my classmates and I aspire to promote positive change for society in the same meaningful way as Perkins. She wrote that “social justice would be my vocation,” and I hope when I see her image that the Class of 2015 will live up to her legacy. 

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

From the Archives: Mount Holyoke Women and the Great War

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, died of a bombing attack in Sarajevo. This assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir triggered a war so ghastly that it soured the old saying "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." In 2014, tributes to the 100th anniversary of the Great War describe it as “bloody,” as “futile,” and as a “carnage.” A century of ill-will later, the slogan of WWI as “the war to end all wars” can only be looked on in an ironic light.

In 1917, the United States entered WWI in the name of democracy and civilization. As the first armed conflict yet to be backed by the might of modern propaganda, the war gained relevance in all aspects of American life. Mount Holyoke, like many other institutions at the time, rallied for the war effort. According to a newspaper clipping in the archives’ war collections, Mount Holyoke students pledged under the “star and spangled banner” to prepare themselves “mentally and physically” for the war by exercising, sleeping with the window open, and by cultivating “a willingness to profit from the wisdom and experience of others.”

More specific actions were also taken. “College girls,” as Seven Sisters students were called in a pamphlet issued by the central propaganda agency during the war, rationed, learned useful skills in “war courses,” studied to become dentists and engineers, and took up work usually done by male employees of the college. A newspaper clipping from January 1918 reported Mount Holyoke students shoveling snow on campus at six o’clock in the morning, completing a task until then had been done by male staff members.

Mount Holyoke also pioneered in establishing a “war garden” on campus. In the spring and summer of 1917 alone, Mount Holyoke “farmerettes” cultivated 14 acres of land, and grew bushels of vegetables that were worth $1,733. In the summer, the students rose daily at five o’clock, and sprayed, weeded, hoed, picked, and gathered in the field all morning. In the afternoon, Mount Holyoke farming squads helped out on other South Hadley farms, did housework, and participated in rallies for the war. Watching the “white clad” young women clear debris from the car track in a storm, a man said, as reported by the Alumnae Quarterly in 1918, “What them women can’t do…”
Mount Holyoke "Farmerettes" at work

Besides farming, Mount Holyoke students also served the war effort in many other venues, including sewing dressings and bandages, campaigning for donations, and participating in conservation. As of June 1918, twenty-four alumnae had departed for the front for various war-related services.

Outside of the college, women were needed in industrial production. Mount Holyoke Economic professor Ethel Dietrich wrote, in her capacity as the Special Investigator of the Ordinance Department, that the war presented the United States with a shortage of 250,000 skilled workers as of August 1918. Though “Rosie the Riveter” and “Wendy the Welder” only become cultural icons after WWII, WWI also relied on women for industrial production. A pamphlet issued by the Committee of Public Information stated that “the shining shield of the war” was “the varied opportunities of work for women. Female chemists, translators and “women with technical training and mathematical minds” were in great demand.

Despite the senseless violence, the innumerable lives lost, the grim disillusionment that followed, and the acrimony which eventually led to another world war, the Great War did facilitate progress. During the war, the women’s suffrage movement gathered momentum in North America as well as Europe, as women proved themselves as equals to men in intellect and civic virtue on the home front. While women had always been equal contributors in production and earnest activists in politics, the Great War afforded women a chance to be finally recognized for their labor and talents.

Besides the war effort, Mount Holyoke women also ardently contributed to the peace effort. Evelyn Eaton, class of 1919, wrote in a letter of her excited fellow classmates who heard a rumor that the war had ended in October 1918. The commotion in the hallways woke all the young women, and they marched to Mary Woolley’s house singing “Star Spangled Banner” with two flag bearers heading the parade. The students, though still without confirmation that the war had indeed ended, listened to an impromptu lecture on college students’ responsibilities in postwar reconstruction in good spirits.
Mount Holyoke Students on Armistice Day

I remember once looking through the class files of the classes that attended Mount Holyoke during the Great War. One photo, of a woman in Laurel Parade bearing a sign that reads “Three Wars Later, We Are Still Working for Peace,” stood out at me as earnest, optimistic, engaged, and empowering. Maybe WWI was good for something—it legitimized women’s rightful role in the world of work as well as in the world of politics. Soon after the end of the war, women in the United States gained the vote with the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920. The Great War accelerated the fight for women’s rights, a fight that continues still today.

WWI taught us to cherish peace. Perhaps this time around we will do a better job, with women’s voices and efforts better incorporated in the safeguarding of it.

Ruilin Fan, Class of 2017, is a Student Assistant in Mount Holyoke College's Archives and Special Collections.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Introducing LITStagram!

Hipster Jorge wants you to follow LITS on Instagram, or, as we like to call it, litstagram! Check out daily photos of LITS behind the scenes as documented by our fabulous student workers.

Hipster Jorge hanging with students outside Rao's
Hipster Jorge hanging with friends outside Rao's
Anatomy of Hipster Jorge
The anatomy of Hipster Jorge