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Library co-hosts Librarian of Congress visit

Dr. Carla Hayden

On Monday, April 24, the Morrison Library was graced by the presence of Dr. Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress. The Library also hosted a reception for Dr. Hayden to meet interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ and other campus leaders.

Along with being the first female Librarian of Congress, and the first African-American, Dr. Hayden is only the third person to come to the job from the public library system. A self-identified “accidental librarian,” her first library job was filing cards in a card catalog in a storefront branch of the Chicago public library.

Dr. Hayden’s focus as Librarian of Congress is increasing accessibility to the Library of Congress’ vast collection of unique items, which includes the world’s largest collection of sheet music, one of the largest photography collections, and many presidential papers and historic documents, including an annotated draft of the Declaration of Independence. Dr. Hayden’s use of the term accessibility is far from abstract; in her remarks, she described how during the recent unrest in Baltimore, where she was the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library from 1993 to 2016, she wished she could have provided children with access to the papers of Rosa Parks in order to help them understand the history behind the events that surrounded them.

When asked what young university graduates can do to help with the mission of increasing access to library materials, Dr. Hayden talked about meeting a young homeless woman on a recent visit to a teen mix center at San Francisco Public Library. The library provides less privileged people with a place to gather and also gives them a voice, she said. Graduating students have “so much to give and to show other young people coming up,” and should reach “ . . . not back, but pull somebody else with you.”

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Summer Reading List: Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
New York: Crown Publishers, 2011

The fantastic novel Ready Player One presents a world in which virtual reality technology becomes fully integrated with and inseparable from humankind’s lives. With the advancement of technology in our own world, there is a growing amount of hype and optimism around the diverse applicability of virtual reality but also a lack of thorough study of its implications. In about a generation’s time, virtual-reality technology should mature and if it indeed stays true to its current hype, it is our generation’s responsibility to conceive of some of its potential implications to better prepare ourselves for what’s about to dawn on us. Ready Player One serves as a cautionary tale as it explores those implications through the characters’ relationships, their sense of identity, and the greed for power.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

New Exhibit: A Country Called Syria

Items from the A Country Called Syria exhibit
When the library was approached with an offer to host an exhibition on Syria that highlighted its people and their rich history, we all thought it would be a good idea to showcase aspects of the country and the people other than the depressing ones covered in the news. The organization that approached us is called A Country Called Syria and consists of volunteers of Syrian-American heritage from southern California who gathered together a travelling exhibit depicting Syria’s history, culture and ethnic diversity in order to introduce people to the country behind the headlines.

Items from the A Country Called Syria exhibit

As the interim library liaison for the Middle East, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight UC Berkeley’s rich library collection on Syria along with the cultural artifacts we were lent. The region that makes up the modern country of Syria is one of the oldest cradles of human civilization, and our former Middle East librarians have done a fine job of building a collection covering its ancient history and diversity while at the same time also paying attention modern Syria with all its complexities. The aim of the exhibition is to highlight some of that diversity and complexity and give Syria and the Syrian a more accessible human dimension.

Items from the A Country Called Syria exhibit Items from the A Country Called Syria exhibit Items from the A Country Called Syria exhibit

Summer Reading List: Borderwall as Architecture

Borderwall as Architecture

Borderwall as Architecture
by Ronald Rael
Oakland: University of California Press, 2017

In timely fashion, Ronald Rael, a professor in the Department of Architecture, takes on the subject of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in his accessible new book that Architect magazine has described as “intrepid” and multi-dimensional: “[p]art historical account, part theoretical appraisal, and part design manifesto.” Through a series of essays by Rael and other contributors that are sometimes practical, sometimes polemical, and sometimes satirical, the wall is examined for its multiple meanings not only from a design perspective, but also from an environmental, economic, and social one, reflecting on the way the wall not only stands as a symbol of security that divides people, but also as an object that has the potential to bring people together.

For more about Professor Rael’s work here at UC Berkeley, see Cal’s #InThisGen pages.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Library Open to Graduates and Families on Saturday

Graduating students throwing their mortarboards in the air

Students with Cal IDs are welcome to bring their families into Moffitt Library and Gardner Main Stacks on Saturday, May 13 from 9am to 5pm.  Show your families your favorite study spots, the place where you had that inspirational moment, or where you met your best friend.

Summer Reading List: Forked

Forked: A New Standard for American Dining

Forked: A New Standard for American Dining
by Saru Jayaraman
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016

Written by one of today’s most vibrant social justice leaders, this book makes the case that economic justice is not just a moral imperative but also a viable business strategy. Saru has spent almost two decades organizing restaurant workers, and what she has learned about their low wages and exploitative working conditions are a must-read for all of us as consumers. But more important is her vision for what a sustainable, living-wage restaurant industry can look like, supported by profiles of companies who are already doing the right thing today.

For more information about Saru Jayaraman’s work, including her Mario Savio Memorial Lecture in 2014, we invite you to visit UC Berkeley’s #InThisGen pages.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Summer Reading List: A Crack in Creation

A Crack in Creation

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

A Crack in Creation discusses the origin and impact of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology co-invented by UC Berkeley biologist Jennifer Doudna. Hailed as the scientific breakthrough of the century, CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that can change the very way we live in a single generation and reshape our world in unimaginable ways–offering potential cures for diseases and solutions to world hunger while also raising a series of ethical questions about the consequences of being able to change our DNA.

In their book, Doudna and fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg tell the compelling story of this discovery and wrestle with those questions about what we will do with this new technology that gives us the power to reshape our evolution.

There are many compelling reasons for why this is a worthy contribution for any booklist, but for Berkeley the justification is even richer. UC Berkeley has been ground zero for this entire technology, with contributions from others around the world. Secondly, the ramifications of this technology are so widespread that only a campus with broad excellence in all areas is adequate to engage the range of implications that this technology offers.

(Visit UC Berkeley’s #InThisGen pages for much more about Professor Doudna’s work on CRISPR.)

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Library working to make course content more affordable for students

Affordable Course Content

The UC Berkeley Library strengthened its commitment to making course materials more affordable for students by joining the Open Textbook Network, which supports access to freely available and openly licensed textbooks and course content.

The high and ever-increasing cost of textbooks is a significant concern for Berkeley students. Textbook prices have risen 88% in the past decade, according to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and many textbooks cost upwards of $200. Print course-pack costs further compound student financial burdens.

Berkeley will work with the Open Textbook Network to advance the use of open practices on campus by offering resources and workshops to explain and expand adoption of open textbooks. The Library received the financial support to launch this program from The Arcadia Foundation. Not only do open educational resources (often called “OERs”) reduce student costs, they also have a positive impact on student success by providing access to assigned course materials from the very start of class. The Open Textbook Network also maintains the Open Textbook Library, a premiere resource for peer-reviewed academic textbooks. All Open Textbook Library textbooks are free and openly licensed for use, adaption or modification.

 

Other new initiatives to improve the student experience

Joining the Open Textbook Network is one of several important initiatives the Library has embarked upon with campus partners to address course content affordability issues. In cooperation with the Associated Students of the University of California, Educational Technology Services, and the Center for Teaching & Learning, the Library launched an informal working group in Fall 2016 to explore how we might reduce student costs for assigned course materials. The working group obtained a charter for two pilot programs that will run in Fall 2017.

With the first piloted service, the Library will process participating instructors’ syllabi to locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed or acquired resources that otherwise students would have had to purchase as print course packs. With the second service, the Library and its partners will offer grants and programmatic support to instructors to enable them to adopt or create open books or textbooks, thereby reducing student expenditures on high-priced materials.

“Not only will this partnership reduce student costs, but also it can advance pedagogy through the development of new and innovative course content,” says Richard Freishtat, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. “I’m very excited to see what new teaching and learning approaches arise from this collaboration.”

These efforts align with campus-wide action by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, which concurrently established a new task force to identify strategies to educate the campus about the cost of course content, and encourage practices that lower costs for students.

“While the campus has long been investigating the issue of course content affordability and has made progress, much work still needs to be done,” explains Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education Cathy Koshland. “We must further reduce course content costs and utilize accessible digital library resources to provide an equitable and engaging learning environment for our students.”

Kicking off the affordability discussion

First up on the slate of related outreach are two open discussions to be held with faculty on May 5th and May 8th. Freishtat and the Library will discuss the landscape for course content affordability issues at UC Berkeley and the campus-wide efforts being undertaken to address them. Registration is available through the Academic Innovation Studio’s events page.

Learn more or participate in the pilots

For more information about the Library’s membership in the Open Textbook Network, or with questions about the two Fall 2017 pilot programs, please contact Rachael Samberg, the Library’s Scholarly Communication Officer.

To explore programmatic support for the adoption or creation of OERs, please contact Richard Freishtat at the Center for Teaching & Learning.

To locate open and affordable educational resources or learn more about them, please visit the Library’s Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials.

Music Library gem takes main stage

Hargrove Music Library

Berkeley’s Hargrove Music Library holds many special materials. (Photo by Alejandro Serrano for the University Library)

A unique manuscript in the Library is the basis for an upcoming performance at Zellerbach Hall — in which a version of the opera not heard for 270 years will be performed. Le Temple de la Gloire, with a text by Voltaire and music by Jean-Phillippe Rameau, is scheduled at Cal Performances this weekend (April 28-30). California alumni magazine created a video that features Hargrove Music Library curator John Shepard, who discusses the Rameau piece and gives a tour of the library’s treasures. “Music helps us understand how people felt in their own time,” Shepard says.

Movies @ Moffitt: My Love Affair with the Brain, May 3

My Love Affair with the Brain
Spend Wednesday evening of RRR week learning more about your brain, and how it can thrive! This delightful documentary follows renowned brain scientist and UC Berkeley professor emerita of anatomy Dr. Marian Diamond, introducing us to her groundbreaking accomplishments at a time when so few women entered her field, as well as her entertaining teaching style and charming personality.

Wednesday, May 3
Doors @ 6:30pm, show @ 7:00pm
405 Moffitt Undergraduate Library
Free; open to UCB students only (UCB student ID required).
Movies @ Moffitt happens on the first Wednesday of each month of the semester.

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