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Take One: December 9, 2013 (supporting our community and an anonymous challenge)

As we wind down to the end of this year, I want to bring again to your attention the opportunity we have to support ourselves and our community by giving to the United Way Campaign. I asked Elizabeth Teskey, the Library's representative to the UW campaign, how we were doing this year. Pledge cards were sent to 341 Library folks. As of last Friday, 44 cards have been returned, for a 12.9% participation rate. Last year we hit 20% participation rate, one of the highest for the university. Library support raised to date is $6,664.80.

Take One: November 25, 2013 (on giving thanks)

Traditionally Thanksgiving is a time to think upon and celebrate the very good things in our lives. And because Thanksgiving is coming late this year, it also overlaps with the first day of Hanukkah. The occurrence of these two events has helped me think anew about giving thanks. First, from the Jewish faith comes the term Dayenu, which means “it would have been enough” or “it would have been sufficient.” Dayenu is a song that is sung as part of Passover about being grateful to God for all of gifts bestowed upon the Jewish people.

Take One: November 18, 2013 (Google, fair use, and libraries)

As we have noted in earlier Take Ones, the Authors Guild has sued Google, HathiTrust, and a number of major research libraries, including Cornell. In its 2005 suit against Google, the Guild claimed that Google had committed copyright infringement by scanning copyrighted books without the permission of the rights holders and then made them available for search in its Google Books product.

Take One: November 4, 2013 (Books and their future)

I love it when colleagues send me interesting articles to read and by coincidence I’ve recently received two recommendations on the fate of the book. First, Laurent Ferri sent me this intriguing piece from 2011, “How books will become machines,” by Fredéríc Kaplan, who holds the Digital Humanities Chair at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and directs its Digital Humanities Lab (

Take One: October 29, 2013 (library facilities in the digital age)

This weekend we hosted the Library Advisory Council fall meeting here in Ithaca. The meeting’s focus was on library facilities in the 21st century. Lance Heidig’s presentation on the Lincoln materials and Ben Ortiz’s tour of the Hip Hop Exhibit primed the pump on the incredible draw of primary source materials that are only available here at Cornell. Mary Ochs provided a tour on Saturday evening of Mann Library, with particular emphasis on the newly renovated Bissett Center.

Take One: October 14, 2013 (Wow!)

I had planned something else for this week’s Take One, but having just come back from the CUL Talent Show I am just in awe of the incredible array of artistic talent possessed by library staff, from singing and dancing, to playing a wonderful array of instruments, to poetry, photography, cooking, woodcarving, birdmaking, textile and bead art, printmaking…and more. I’ve taken piano lessons for ten years now and still cannot consistently maintain a beat, so I appreciate how much effort goes into developing artistic talent.

Take One: October 7, 2013 (United we stand)

Returning late Friday night from a week of traveling on Cornell business, I breathed a sigh of relief to be back home in Upstate New York. I love the natural beauty of gorges and waterfalls and glacier-carved Finger Lakes. But I also love that Ithaca is such a caring community. Its citizens are generous, engaged, and supported to an extent I’ve not witnessed in other places I’ve lived. I’m not the only one who feels this way. In a half hour or so of talking to Library staff several months ago, I learned the following:

Take One: September 30, 2013 (Staff Engagement, take two…or three)

Diversity, teamwork, transparency, innovation, fairness, empowerment, recognition... these are just a few components of a healthy organizational climate. In Ithaca, we hear over and over again that Wegmans is a great place to shop because it’s a great place to work.

Can we say the same about CUL?

Take One: September 23, 2013 (Remembering Gettysburg & celebrating 8 million volumes)

Abraham Lincoln thought no one would really care about the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. He told us so in the Address itself: The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

Take One: September 16, 2013 (Banning Books and unintended consequences)

Every year, the American Library Association sponsors banned books week to draw attention to book censoring. The week of Sept 22-28 will be the 31st time the ALA has brought attention to the one of our most prized rights: the freedom to read. A highlight of each year is the listing of books that have been censored or banned in schools, libraries, and other places. ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded 464 challenges in 2012, up more than 25% from the year before.