D!BS room reservation service helps UConn students find space for group work

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The library’s new group study room reservation system, D!BS, has been in place for about a year and has been getting rave reviews from UConn students.

The online service allows students to log on and reserve one of 32 group study rooms at the library up to three days an advance, saving them the trouble of struggling to find a location for group work.

“It’s awesome because you know you’re guaranteed a quiet study place for a few hours,” said UConn junior Hayley Babineau. “I used it during finals which made things easier because the library would be really crowded and have no tables open so we would reserve rooms to make sure we had a place to study and wouldn’t have to waste time looking for a place to do work.”

“Being able to reserve rooms two days in advance is awesome.  The days I know I have a lot of work to crank out I usually D!BS a room two days early and get a great spot for me and my friends,” said senior Teresa Forenza.

Carl Strum, a UConn senior in the business school, uses the service frequently and has found that other students are adapting well to the new system.

“It works, and if you have to ask someone to leave a room [because you have a reservation] 99% of the time they understand. If not, I just show them my confirmation from D!BS. If I overstay my reservation and someone else asks me to leave, I do it too,” he said.

To reserve a room for a group of two or more students, just log onto the D!BS site using your NetID and password.  Select the number of people in your group, how many hours you want a room (1 to 3 hours) and when you want it (reservations taken up to 3 days in advance).  Hit ‘Search’ and a list of available rooms will appear- just pick one, enter some information, and you’ve got D!BS!

New library office helps students connect with UConn Police

Officer Eric Bard (left) and Sergeant Jason Hyland man the Babbidge Library Substation, which aims to improve communication between students and the police.

Officer Eric Bard (left) and Sergeant Jason Hyland man the Babbidge Library Substation, which aims to improve communication between students and the police. (Photo by Sarah Levine)

Level B at the Homer Babbidge library is now home to the Babbidge Library Substation of the UConn Police Department, a new office to help connect students to their campus police officers.

“We wanted to give the community more access by being in a centrally located area with a high presence of students,” said Officer Eric Bard, who works with the Community Outreach Unit of the police department.

The substation is located on Level B of the library, next to the Laura & Walter Broughton Leisure Reading Room and has been open for about a month.

The goals of the new office are centered on one main theme: communication.  The officers are hoping that the new library substation will encourage students to come in, whether it’s to ask them “what if?” questions, inquire about an issue they’re not sure about – basically any police-related issue.

Sometimes, students need to ask about a crime in a dorm or other area and have questions that can more easily be answered by the police than by someone like their hall director, said Sergeant Jason Hyland.

Beyond police-related matters, the officers really want the community to “sit down and get to know [them] as people,” said Hyland.

“If the door is open, come on in,” added Bard.

Both Bard and Hyland encouraged students to stop by and talk, even if it was just to say hello and have a simple conversation.

The officers are working to establish set office hours for student visits, but you can usually find them in the library from eight to noon or contact them to set up an appointment.  Right now, they are trying to balance management of the new substation with their other Community Outreach efforts, which include conducting safety presentations for various student organizations and participating in campus activities such as the health and wellness fair Fresh Check Day (This year, they will be running a DUI simulator. Stop by Fairfield Way April 23 from 1-4 p.m. to check it out!).

The office is also home to many brochures and information- ranging from the latest bus schedules to resources for sexual assault victims.  Students may enter and take any materials they need, no questions asked (although Bard and Hyland are happy to offer any help they can).

If your student organization is interested in a presentation by the UConn Police Community Outreach Unit, email pdstartteam@uconn.edu.  They are also open to any new suggestions of interesting and unique ways for students and the police department to interact.

New library exhibit brings an important part of Connecticut history to life

“These big corporations see us as numbers, not names. They’d just as soon write you off as look at you.”

“This was a booming area for manufacturing, now there’s nothing.”

“Winchester was an integrated part of the community, and the people who worked there were respected…”

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These quotes are all part of a larger story currently being told in a new exhibit on Level B of Homer Babbidge Library.

“Our Community at Winchester: An Elm City Story” is the story of the Olin-Winchester Repeating Arms plant, one of New Haven’s most important employers of the 20th century.

The history of the plant and the stories of its workers are told in 35 display boards of oral histories, photographs and other documents such as newspaper clippings and company memos.   They chronicle the company’s creation in the late 1800s up to the aftermath of its closure in 2006. Like many large corporations, it has had its fair share of triumphs, struggles and controversies.

The elements of the exhibit, compiled by Joan Cavanagh, archivist and director of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association, tell the story of labor struggles, union battles, racial tensions and impact on the community brought on by the manufacturing giant.

winchesterEspecially compelling are the oral history accounts, which were collected by Dorothy Johnson and Lula White, two sisters whose father worked at Winchester. The accounts, both positive and negative, paint a picture of life for the various workers at the plant. Along with photos of the interviewees, quotes and background information give a vibrant overview of each of their individual experiences and often, struggles.

The exhibit will be on display until June 13, 2016. It’s definitely something to check out, whether you need a quick study break or just want to learn something new.

There will also be a reception and gallery talk April 18, 4:30-6:30 p.m. titled “Workers at Winchester: Community, Contradictions and Struggle” by Joan Cavanaugh, Archivist/Director of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association.

Paws to Relax this finals week with therapy dogs!

Once again, the library is bringing students the only positive aspect of finals week: dogs in the library!

Afternoons Monday through Friday, don’t be surprised if you hear the pitter patter of paws in Homer Babbidge, as humans will proudly accompany their dogs to the first floor to provide students some much needed stress release during finals week.

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Therapy dog Andy plays with students at the library.

The program, aptly named “Paws to Relax,” originated in spring of 2010, when a library staff member suggested bringing in therapy dogs for students during finals week.

Jo Ann Reynolds, the library’s Reserve Services Coordinator and self-proclaimed “dog person,” made a few calls in the canine community to help get the ball rolling, or in this case, the tail wagging.

Soon enough, registered therapy dogs from multiple organizations including Cold Noses, Warm Hearts, Allen’s Angels, and Tails of Joy were headed to Homer to help students de-stress during their exams.

On the first day of the program, Reynolds and the Laurel Rabschutz, owner of the first therapy dog Dooley, a Newfoundland, were worried about how students would know about Paws to Relax and whether it would be popular.

They soon found out that they need not worry. According to Reynolds, within minutes at least 30 to 40 students were surrounding Dooley and texting their friends to alert them to the dog’s presence.

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Therapy dog Luke getting tons of attention during finals week.

After the first semester of the program, UConn got a lot of publicity.  Newspapers, radio and television stations were all stopping by to document the dogs. Reynolds even had to institute a lottery system because so many therapy dog owners wanted the chance to visit.

The library staff is happy to offer this beneficial service for students.

“The dogs help them relax.  People tend to think of therapy dogs in nursing homes or other places, and don’t think of students as much. But they are also in an institutional situation away from their family and their pets,” said Reynolds.

Apparently, even science can back up how much we love dogs.

Reynolds continued, “Research has shown that petting an animal, even if it’s not your own, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and improves the general sense of well-being.”

Students have outwardly expressed their enjoyment of Paws to Relax. When staff put up a white board where students could write their opinions of the program, the responses were overwhelmingly positive.

“I just got out of a tough exam and seeing the dogs was the highlight of my day,” “Best idea ever!” and “I love coming here in between exams” were just a few of the many comments.

The staff also does their best to minimize the footprint of the dogs so that students who need to avoid dogs because of allergies or other issues can do so with ease.

If you want to take a study break with someone practically yelling “Pet me! Pet me!” check out this year’s schedule below.

The Spring 2016 Paws to Relax schedule is as follows:

Monday

1 p.m.: Cooper the German Shepherd and his human Nancy Benway
2 p.m.: Sophia the Goldendoodle and her human Layla Berger
3 p.m.: Iggy the Portuguese Water Dog and his human Laurel Rabschutz
3:30 p.m.: Dooley the New Foundland and his human Laurel Rabschutz

Tuesday

1 p.m.: Bella the Pug and her human Judith Pepin
2 p.m.: Tegan the Welsh Spring Spanish and human Claudia Eberly
3 p.m.: Dante or Virgil the Mini Australian Shepherds and human Linda Robinson

Wednesday

1 p.m.: Fenway the Labradoodle and human Jean Woods
2 p.m.: Suzie the German Shepherd and human Gery Bakaj
3 p.m.: Chase the Golden Retriver and his human Michelle Volz

Thursday

1 p.m.: Sebbi the American Cocker Spaniel and his human Karen Tuccitto
2 p.m.: Penn the Labradoodle and human Susan Stewart
3 p.m.: Mia the Shetland Sheepdog and her human Terrie Carpenter

Friday

1 p.m.: Meka the Keeshond and humans Diane & Ted Baricak
2 p.m.: Bo the Lab Mix and human Christine Anderson
3 p.m.: Spumoni the Great Dane and human Tracy Powell

Making students’ voices heard at the library

Two UConn students are helping to make sure their peers’ voices are heard on a very important topic: the library.

Erika Elechicon, a political science and communication double major and the USG Vice President’s Chief of Staff, is the undergraduate student representative to the Vice Provost’s Library Advisory Committee.  Michael Ambroselli represents the graduate student population.

Kelley Friedhoff, an undecided freshman, sits in the new Learning Resource Center in the library which opens for students on 11/7.

The students serving on the Provost’s Library Advisory Committee are working to represent UConn students in important library issues.

In this role, Erika and Michael sit in on important meetings with the Library’s Vice Provost, Martha Bedard, and faculty representatives from various academic departments. The committee of approximately 15 faculty, students and administrators discusses issues regarding the library and how to handle them.

“It’s important to have a voice at a meeting attended by so many big decision makers,” said Elechicon. “These decisions affect all of us and we need to represent our views.”

Elechicon is doing just that. She contributes to major discussions on library issues, such as the effects of the state’s proposed budget cuts and the adoption of open source textbooks, things that could have major consequences for students in the future.

Michael Ambroselli, the graduate student representative to the committee, agreed with Elechicon.

“Decisions made with respect to the library directly affect all students and faculty, so it is important for us to be able to provide direct feedback and input in such matters,” he said. “Since the committee advises the Vice Provost for University Libraries, this committee is the most direct route to for us to learn about all matters concerning the library, and to provide feedback.”

Both Elechicon and Ambroselli chose to participate in this committee because they realize how important the library is for all students at UConn.

“The library represents the cornerstone for all scholarly and research activity at a research institution such as UConn,” said Ambroselli.

“The library isn’t just a place to sit and study, it’s a resource for students and faculty,” said Elechicon.

 

 

Library to host Art + Feminism Edit-a-thon

“We change knowledge, we change the world.”

This mantra is a guiding principle of Dr. Alexis Boylan in co-organizing UConn’s  Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon.

Founded on the weekend of International Women’s Day in 2014, this annual event called upon participants at dozens of locations worldwide to edit and create Wikipedia articles on women and the arts. The event aims to address inequalities that have existed in women’s representation on the site.

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Participants work at the Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (By TheDasherz – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38782052)

To help fix this problem, UConn will host their own Edit-a-thon on March 6, and students, faculty and other members of the UConn community will work tirelessly for eight hours to give women artists more visibility on the web.  Boylan, who is an assistant professor of Art & Art History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) believes it is a great opportunity for members of the UConn community to make a difference.

Since Wikipedia is crowdsourced, said Boylan, it has been representative of society for a long period of time.

“And historically,” she said, “it has been important to prioritize white male creativity, knowledge and ownership.”

The Edit-a-thon is looking to have members of the UConn community do something about it.

Boylan thinks that UConn is a perfect place for the Edit-a-thon because it is “an incredibly smart campus that cares about knowledge, and people here are willing to give their time to something they care about.”

Boylan added that, especially in the past two years, members of the UConn community have been a presence in the conversation about education and diversity, and this event will be another way to demonstrate leadership in this area.

Faculty, students and anyone who is interested are invited to attend the Edit-a-thon on Sunday, March 6, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Electronic Classroom 2 at Homer Babbidge Library. In case you weren’t already tempted enough, the event is free and pizza will be provided. Participants are not required to stay for the entire Edit-a-thon, and they may bring a laptop to use if they wish, but it is not required.

No technical experience is needed, according to Kathy Labadorf, WGSS Librarian and co-organizer of the event with Boylan. A wide variety of skills are needed including research and editing, and staff will be on-hand for assistance.

Boylan and Labadorf hope that the impact of the event will reach far beyond the day itself.

“Wikipedia is a living entity, and you can still participate long after the event by editing and adding articles,” said Boylan.

“In today’s world, education is about being a contributor as well as a receiver of information, and this event promotes that,” Labadorf said.

To RSVP for the event, please visit the Storrs Edit-a-thon Wikipedia page.  There, you can register for the event as well as add suggestions to the list of articles that need improvement or expansion.Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 12.00.41 PM

New Liquid Galaxy technology can take you around the world in seconds

11/5/15 Library Developments By Zhelun Lang Liquid Galaxy based Google Earth helps research.

The new Liquid Galaxy technology at Homer Babbidge library promises a diverse range of educational uses. (Photo credit: Allen Lang/The Daily Campus)

UConn students and faculty can now visit the pyramids at Giza, the Amazon rainforest, or the Roman Coliseum all without ever leaving the library.

A Google Liquid Galaxy has just been installed at Homer Babbidge, located on the first floor near the computers, replacing what was previously a print station. It consists of a center console with five monitors facing you in a semi-circle.  Users can type in locations on the touch screen and instantly view places around the world in this immersive Google Earth experience.

“It’s like seeing the world without actually taking a vacation,” said Alec Suprenant, an undergraduate senior who works in library’s IT department and helped with the installation of the technology.

Other universities are beginning to implement the technology as well, and can provide inspiration to students at UConn as they come up with innovative ways to use the Liquid Galaxy. For example, an art history professor at UNC Chapel Hill is using it to better understand the landscape where a medieval aviation experiment took place.

Many different subject areas can find uses for the Liquid Galaxy. For example, geography students can get the literal “lay of the land” and map out changes over time. Those interested in urban planning or architecture can look at cities around the world, while history classes can visit faraway historical sites with a touch of a button. Archaeology professors can virtually transport students to a dig site. Journalism students can even do research or fact checking for their stories by virtually visiting other locations, like the professional journalists at Storyful.com do.

The Liquid Galaxy is sure to inspire future research projects, educational presentations, and new ways of learning and teaching. Many industries are also starting to employ the technology, so students can benefit from learning how to use it early on. For example, real estate companies have been able to virtually showcase properties, and tourism and hospitality workers can give guests an inside look at various resorts and vacation spots.

Or, if none of this appeals to you, looking up your house is always fun.

“I would estimate that when people first see the Liquid Galaxy, about 60 to 70 percent of them look up their house first,” said Suprenant.

Paws to Relax returns for finals week!

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You may be checking out a million articles on Buzzfeed about adorable dogs this finals week, but what is better for easing stress than getting to play with ACTUAL, REAL LIFE DOGS?

Paws to Relax understands your struggle, and to help you out they will be on Level 1 of Homer Babbidge Library every day during finals week!  The dogs are registered with national organizations dedicated to improving human health through the use of service and therapy.

Here’s the schedule, so you can visit your doggie of choice (or just go see them all):

Monday, December 14th
1:00 – 2:00  Gerri & Suzie (German Shepherd)
2:00 – 3:00  Michelle & Vinny (English Mastiff)
3:00 – 4:00  Nancy & Cooper (German Shepherd)

Tuesday, December 15th
1:00 – 2:00  Paula & Bella (Schnoodle)
2:00 – 3:00  Devon & Rosie (Corgie Mix)
3:00 – 3:30  Laurel & Dooley (Newfoundland)
3:30 – 4:00  Laurel & Iggy (Portuguese Water Dog)

Wednesday, December 16th
1:00 – 2:00  Sandra & Ginger, Nutmeg or Andy (Golden Retrievers)
2:00 – 3:00  michelle & Chase (Golden Retriever)
3:00 – 4:00  Betsy & Barney (Golden Retriever)

Thursday, December 17th
1:00 – 2:00  Michelle & Chase (Golden Retriever)
2:00 – 3:00  Karen & Sebbi (American Cocker Spaniel)
3:00 – 4:00  Laura & Penny (Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix)

Friday, December 18th
1:00 – 2:00  Katherine, Pat & Kammi or Chumai & BamBam (Keeshond & Coton de Tulear)
2:00 – 2:30  Laurel & Dooley (Newfoundland)
2:30 – 3:30  Laurel & Iggy (Portuguese Water Dog)
3:30 – 4:00  Kristine & Duncan (Labrador Retriever)

Library pilots new Mobile Collaboration Stations

collaboration station screen

Sick of doing group studying and projects all huddling around a small laptop screen? Head over to the library!

This week, two “Mobile Collaboration Stations” where introduced to Level 1 of Homer Babbidge.  These stations, paid for through the student technology fee, consist of a large computer touch screen on a rolling stand that can be transported to anywhere on the first floor.

The stations are made to encourage collaboration and convenience.  The touch screen is ideal for using the station like a white board or going through presentations or charts with a group so that everyone can see and participate in whatever is being reviewed.  Student groups can already be seen rolling one over to their own little corner, or testing out the touch screen white board in their spare time.

If they do not want to utilize the touch screen, students can check out a mouse and keyboard from the iDesk on the Plaza Level.

At this point, the stations are only available on the first floor and must be returned to their dock by the Q center after use. However, if people find them useful for academics, library staff will consider adding more to other floors.

Stop by Level 1 and check them out today- they have arrived just in time for all of your group studying sessions for finals!

Subject Specialists- helping you every step of the way

Subject Specialist Kathy Labadorf assists a student with his assignment.

Subject Specialist Kathy Labadorf assists a student with his assignment.

As the semester starts to wind down, that scary due date on your syllabus for that final research paper, presentation or other big assignment gets closer and closer. But don’t worry- you don’t have to go through this alone. The library employs “subject specialists” in over 60 subject areas. They can help you with multiple stages of your paper, from choosing a topic to managing your citations. I sat down with Kathy Labadorf, Reference Librarian and the subject specialist for Women, Gender and Sexuality studies, and she informed me of all that she and her colleagues have to offer students.

  1. Come in as soon as you get the assignment.

Kathy’s most important piece of advice? Don’t wait until the last minute. As soon as you have the specifications for the assignment, come see a librarian. They can conduct what is called a “reference interview” with you where they can ask questions to help you specify or narrow down your topic.

“We want to get you to a place where you have something to start with,” she said.

  1. Find out where to look.

Kathy’s rule of thumb is, “If you can’t find what you’re looking for in 20 minutes, come see us.”

Since the librarians hand pick a lot of the databases and sources that the university offers, they can easily make connections between different information sources to help you find research to support your topic. They know which databases will be good for you and can help you with keywords and search tips. They are constantly searching for new information and are happy to share their findings with you.

According to Kathy, “everything is interesting to a librarian.”

  1. Find out which sources you should trust.

The subject specialists can also help you to evaluate the sources you find. They teach “information literacy” to students to help them learn how to identify things like bias, timeliness and authority that can distinguish a good reference from a bad reference.

Kathy and the other specialists also recognize that you may need some non-scholarly sources as well.

“These can bring in different perspectives. For example, a lot of information and statistics about women come from data from different NGO’s,” she said. The librarians can help you evaluate the legitimacy and value of sources like these.

  1. Make a plan.

Kathy will often do exercises with students like “mind maps” to strategize the organization of research papers.

“We want to make sure you walk out of the door with a plan,” she said. “We want to open the door for you and give you a starting point to continue on.”

  1. Ask from home.

Did you know that you can chat online with a librarian? If you have a quick question, or don’t want to trudge through the snow in the winter to the library, UConn librarians are available to chat on the library website to discuss any questions you may have. If the chat is offline, you can also consult the searchable FAQ, call the library, or send an email.

So if you have a big assignment and don’t know where to start, the subject specialists can help. They are located on the first floor of the library- stop by today!