Monthly Archives: February 2015

More eBooks, Better Research

Do you want a say in the library’s eBook collection? Thanks to our newest system for purchasing ebooks, now you can help us decide what to buy!

Searching for an eBook is no different than before. You can still view them when you look through our online catalog using HillSearch, but now you have access to substantially more titles. We have added over 12,500 new ebook titles to the catalog; these titles cover a wide variety of subjects, and most were published over the past two years. The ebooks haven’t been purchased yet, but that doesn’t matter – you can still use them immediately, and by doing so, you’re telling us that you want that title in our standard eBook collection. If other people use it as well, we’ll add it in.

This new system makes last-minute research easier. While Interlibrary Loan is always a useful tool, sometimes you need an extra source immediately. Using our eBooks gives you instantaneous access to a multitude of texts on a variety of topics. You’re also helping to make the library’s collections better by showing us what books are most relevant to students’ academic needs.

For instance, here are a few new ebook titles users have recently read:

    • Documents Decoded: The Great Depression and the New Deal
    • Lucid Dreaming, New Perspectives on Consciousness in Sleep
    • Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama : Staging the Superstitions of Early Modern Europe
    • Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States : A Guide for the Legal Sector
    • American Zion : The Old Testament As a Political Text from the Revolution to the Civil War
    • International Political Economy of New Regionalisms Series : Geopolitics of Regional Power : Geography, Economics and Politics in Southern Africa
    • Piers Plowman: A Modern Verse Translation

If you have any questions about eBooks, feel free to stop by the reference desk and ask a librarian!

Written by Gavin Damore ’16

Whose History? A Student Perspective

Over the past few semesters, librarian Liz Chase has worked closely with Professor Todd Gernes’s course, “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.” This course, Gernes notes, “uses the life of Frederick Douglass as a basis and lens for understanding 19th-century American history and culture. Douglass’ heroic journey from slavery to freedom … reveals a nation riven by race, region, economy and even differing conceptions of justice and morality.” The course also asks students to think about what it means to “do history,” and to question whose histories dominate our national narratives. We asked student Amanda Phillips ’18, to share her perspective on the course for Black History Month.

Whose History: A First Hand Look into the Past by Amanda Phillips 18

In Professor Gernes’s class, “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” students get a first-hand look into 19th century America, specifically the lives of slaves. The cornerstone history class allows students the opportunity to grow as historical thinkers by reading primary sources in the forms of autobiographies and contemporary news and documents, alongside helpful secondary sources.

We have learned at this point in the course that history is the piecing together of facts and stories that fit together to complete the puzzle of what actually occurred in the past. An example of this piecing together is the life of Frederick Douglass, whom the class is titled after. Douglass’s life spanned almost the entire 19th century (1818-1895), and by studying the lives of his contemporaries we are able to get a more wholesome view of the times.

In the context of this course, it is especially difficult to ascertain the truth about what happened to slaves in 19th century America. This is due in part to the vast illiteracy of slaves and to masters intentionally keeping slaves ignorant. Only studying Douglass’s life would provide us with a small piece of slavery in America, and by looking only at Douglass’s autobiographies we would be ignorant of the many people that helped him along the way. Douglass’s portrayal of himself in his autobiographies depicts him as a self-made man, whereas analysis of his biographies reveal that he could not have accomplished what he had without the help of others – his wife, for example.

We learn from this that there is bias in all that we read from the past. In order to create an accurate picture of the past, we must take the source into consideration when reading primary sources about slavery, as well as the publication date and social climate of the time in which any other secondary source on the topic of slavery was published. What is interesting about “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass” is that it allows us students to come to our own conclusions about the past while taking these points into consideration.



The Saint Andre Lecture Series Presents Author and Activist, Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J.

Tuesday, March 3, at 7-9 PM in the Martin Auditorium

SrPrejeanSister Helen, a Roman Catholic Nun, is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph and a leading advocate of the movement to abolish the death penalty in the United States. After joining the Sisters, she spent her first years teaching religion to junior high school students. During this time, Sister Prejean realized that serving the poor is an essential part of the Gospel, and she moved into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans and worked at the Hope House from 1984–1986.

deadmanwalkingAs an element of community outreach, she was asked to correspond with a death row inmate, Patrick Sonnier, at Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana. She agreed and became his spiritual adviser. She began to correspond with additional death row inmates as well. After witnessing Sonnier’s execution, she wrote a book about her experiences. The result was Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. The book later became a major motion picture, an opera, and a play for high schools and colleges. The book also became a turning point in the national debate over the death penalty.

Now, Sister Prejean splits her time between counseling death row prisoners and informing the public about the injustice of the death penalty. Through her work with the incarcerated Sister Prejean realized that many innocent men were on death row. This realization inspired her second book, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, released in 2004. For more information about exonerated death row inmates, see The Innocence Project.

To read more about Sister Helen’s work visit her website. Sister Helen invites us to consider:

“The death penalty is one of the great moral issues facing our country, yet most people rarely think about it and very few of us take the time to delve deeply enough into this issue to be able to make an informed decision about it. This website is my invitation to you to take that time, to learn, to explore and to reflect. I hope you will accept my invitation.”

For more information on Sister Helen Prejean, the Film and her work, see our libguide.

Many professors have enabled the streaming version of the film Dead Man Walking in their course elearn pages. If you are interested in watching the film, check with your professor to see if this option is available to you. If you are a professor who would like to add Dead Man Walking to your course, contact Heather Perry.

Rare Disease Day

KatieBrandtFebruary 28th is International Rare Disease Day. There are 7,000 Rare Diseases, each of which affect fewer than 200,000 people. One in ten Americans is affected by a Rare Disease, but sadly, there are limited resources for fighting these conditions.

Boston had a celebration of Rare Disease Day on Monday February 23 at the Statehouse; the event seeks to raise awareness of these diseases and the need for more research into combating them.

We are fortunate that one of the speakers at Rare Disease Day will be at Stonehill in Early March, Katie Brandt. Katie lost her husband Mike to Frontal Temporal Degeneration (FTD) and has become an advocate for FTD, rare diseases, and the needs of caregivers. She was profiled in Sunday’s Globe. Katie is coming to Stonehill to speak to the students in the learning community, “Through the Looking Glass,” about her experiences and the “social saftey net.”

Katie shares the story of the obstacles her family faced, and her mission to spread awareness, so that FTD does not have the last word in her story. Like so many, Katie and Mike fell in love during college and married soon after. They attended graduate school, bought a home and started a family. But during Katie’s pregnancy she noticed something was very wrong: generally outgoing and gregarious, Mike became withdrawn and sullen. After a medical odyssey including 8 misdiagnoses, Mike was diagnosed with FTD, a terminal diagnosis, with no treatment, no cure, and a terrible prognosis. Mike was 29.


As his disease progressed, Mike lost his ability to walk, talk and even swallow. At the age of 33, he lost his life. Determined to fight back against FTD, Katie began facilitating an FTD support group and working with a cutting edge team at Massachusetts General Hospital that seeks a greater understanding of and treatment for FTD. In her speech at Rare Disease Day 2014, Katie called for action: “Let’s start a conversation today that’s too loud to be ignored.”

National Rare Disease Day has events going on all over the country. However, the work on finding a cure for rare diseases is not just limited to Rare Disease day. The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) supports patients with rare disorders, their families, and caregivers. “NORD is committed to the identification, treatment, and cure of rare disorders through programs of education, advocacy, research, and service.” Without the work of NORD and other similar organizations treatments for these diseases would not be investigated.

Rare diseases touch all kinds of families and people of every age. Searching for treatments is time consuming and very expensive. One example of the challenges that families touched by rare diseases face is seen in the story of Eliza O’Neill. Born with the genetic disorder Sanfilippo syndrome, five year old Eliza needs a cure now; without one she will soon die. Even though the O’Neill’s have raised millions of dollars, time for Eliza is running out. To read the lengths that the O’Neill’s have gone to trying to save Eliza read the story here. For more about rare diseases you can search Academic Search Complete for basic information or PubMed for more comprehensive medical literature on each disease.



Library Resources for Snow Days

If you are listening to the weather reports and worrying about the impact of snow on your classes, the library has some resources that may be helpful.

The library has added thousands of streaming video titles to our catalog. Faculty can link to these videos in course eLearn pages, or you can simply browse HillSearch to find films.  Our collection contains films covering a wide range of topics.

If you are using resources from off campus, you will to need to authenticate to gain access to resources. To set up a username and PIN go to the your library account link. You will need the barcode on your HillCard.  If you don’t have this information, call the circulation desk at 508-565-1313. Please remember that if the campus is closed, the Library is likely also closed. You can email and we will respond as soon as possible.

 The library has also recently added thousands of electronic books to our holdings, and we have tens of thousands of journal titles available in full text in our Electronic Resources. With all of this material, everyone should be able to access something relevant and interesting amidst the snow.

If you have any questions, we are always happy to help.


Email Etiquette

Email is not a text. The standards for how you should compose an email about professional or academic topics are actually more akin to the business letters of days past than to the text messages or chats you use for quick communication with friends, family, and acquaintances. Here are some quick do’s and don’ts to have in mind when emailing for professional or academic reasons:


  • Include a short, relevant subject line
  •  Include a formal salutation on professional/academic emails; when in doubt, “Dear Mr.” or “Dear Ms.” is a good choice.
  • Be clear, direct, and concise.
  • Use exclamation points sparingly.
  • Remember that humor can be hard to convey via email.
  • If you are making a request or asking for a favor, give people ample time to respond.
  • Sign your emails.


  • Send an email in pink comic sans
  • Address someone as “Hey!”
  • Email someone at 3:45am and expect an immediate response
  • Ask for a recommendation the day before the application deadline
  • Use emojis or text abbreviations

If you’re interested in what professionals in the business world have to say about millenails and email etiquette, here are some places to start:

11 Email Etiquette Rules Every Professional Should Know
Email Etiquette for Students

5 Business Email Etiquette Faux Pas



Historic Snow Storms at Stonehill

historicsnow2With 40 inches on snow on the ground and more in the forecast, you might be wondering how this winter compares to others in the region. This recent storm set a record for the snowiest 7 day period, but the blizzard of 2015 was only the 6th biggest in Massachusetts history. For the biggest, you will have to go back a dozen years to February 17, 2003 when 27.5 inches got dumped on Boston, but the timing and the fluffy nature of the snow from that storm make it nowhere near as memorable as the Blizzard of ’78. You have undoubtedly heard your parents talk of this great blizzard that all storms compare to. The Blizzard of ’78 hit hard during rush hour, making it extremely difficult for people to get home, and clogging the roads with abandoned vehicles.

historicsnow1Several other top 10 storms occurred during your lifetime. Number 4 the “April Fool’s Day Blizzard”, hitting in 1997 just days after temperatures had been in the 60’s. Number 5 was Nemo, dumping 25 inches on Boston. Nemo’s hurricane force winds made it seem much worse than many storms. There was a state of emergency declared, and many lost power.

historicsnow3But none of these storms compares to the Great Blizzard of 1888, which dumped up to 50 inches of snow on the area. The storm’s 80 mph winds blew the snow into 40 foot drifts! With this blizzard occurring in mid-March (11th-14th), and 1997’s April Fool’s blizzard in April, we have several more weeks to go before we are sure the snow is over.

To read more about historical snow storms, and to see pictures of what clean up looked like see the historical Boston Globe,and historical New York Times

Like the students pictured in these archive photos, after our recent storm many current Stonehill students enjoyed sledding down Donahue, building snowmen outside of their dorm buildings, and (less enjoyable) shoveling out their cars. The cold and snowy conditions during the thick of the storm, however, kept many students inside with classes cancelled and not much to do!

To pass the time while stuck inside, remember that the library has a large collection of recreational DVD’s for your viewing pleasure as well as streaming videos available through Kanopy – and if the power goes out, we always have plenty of books!

Interrupting Racism: A Student Perspective

anikaOn Thursday, February 12th at 4pm, Anika Nailah will lead “Interrupting Racism: What do YOU have the power to do?” Her work teaches us how to become more thoughtful and intentional community members and speak up against instances of racism. “Using performance, images, and guided activity, Anika will share her journey across the USA to interrupt racism via the National Liberation Poetry Tour Experience.” In preparation for Ms. Nailah’s program, we asked Chanel Mazzone ’16, to write a piece on her own perspective on what it means to “interrupt racism.”

Interrupting Racism, by Chanel Mazzone ’16

As members of the Stonehill Community, which finds its values deeply rooted in the Congregation of the Holy Cross, it is our mission to uphold certain beliefs such as our calling to create “a more just and compassionate world”. In light of recent media news (i.e. the death of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others like him), I find it to be undeniable that racism still exists and is detrimental to society as a whole. We must become more aware of what our own actions are that may contribute to racial injustices if we are committed to bringing about a more just and compassionate world.

Essential to interrupting racism is recognizing it in the form of racial microaggressions. Microaggressions are defined as slights, snubs, or insults, intentional or unintentional, that convey negative attitudes to people based on their racial identity. They are a huge source of racial injustice today. The assumption that a student may have been offered a scholarship based solely on their racial background is an example of a familiar microaggression directed towards students of color. To interrupt racism, we must first consider our daily interactions. How might we be practicing harmful behaviors, like microaggressions, that put down or deliberately exclude a certain racial identity? These are questions we need to ask ourselves throughout the day – whether it is in conversation, through our body language, or in our social media comments. To create this just world, we must think before we tweet, speak, or even, yak. We must actively think about what identity we may be excluding or speaking negatively about and inspire others to do the same. Once we can recognize this then we can be “upstanders”, unafraid to educate and inspire others live in accordance with their professed values.

Imagine what our world would look like if everyone was more cognizant of their words and actions and insisted on that standard in their relationships. At Stonehill, we must not be bystanders, but courageous and aware members of the community. A more just and compassionate world begins with us.

If you are interested in learning more about Anika Nailah, visit her website. For more on interrupting racism, consider checking out a book such as this one, or videos such as Taking a stance against racism and discrimination, available from the Library.

Now What?

We have all been there, you are looking at Google or Wikipedia and find the perfect source for an assignment, but when you click on the link, you hit a paywall. You don’t want to enter your visa card number for a journal article, but you don’t want to keep looking either. What do you do?

As a Stonehill Student you have access to thousands of dollars in subscriptions to academic journals. When you are looking at the item you need, take the title of the journal (not the title of the article) and search for it in the HillSearch catalog.


In this example you would search for “Mayo Clinic Proceedings,” not “Is Coffee Harmful?” If you find the title in our collection you can access the full text through our subscription databases. If you are off campus or not logged on to HillSpot, you will need to authenticate to the system. For more about how to do that go to the your library account link. You will need the barcode on your HillCard. If you don’t have this information, call the circulation desk at 508-565-1313.

What if we don’t have it as part of our collection? There are many journals that we do not subscribe to, so you will not always find what you need. Many times articles are put on the web by their authors or publishers for free. Anecdotally I find that about 20% of the time you can find the article by putting the title of the article into quotes and Googling the title. This works best using Chrome or FireFox, as IE will sometime give you an error message. Google is far better at this than Bing.

If the first two techniques do not work, order the item via ILL. ILL is free and open to all Stonehill Community members. ILL articles tend to come quite quickly, often within 48-72 hours, and arrive in your email. ILL books are mailed and generally take about a week, although some can be faster. If you have never done an ILL, it is not too late to try. To set up an ILL account go to your ILL Account .

Go On a Blind Date … with a Book

IMG_6792This February, why not go on a blind date with a book? You could discover your new favorite book, or just find something fun to read. And if it doesn’t work out, we have a lot more options to choose from!

Your librarians picked a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, even a little poetry, and a range of new publications and old classics. We’ve wrapped them all, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you’ve checked the book out (that’s the blind date part). However, to give you a sense what you’re picking, we’ve written a few helpful keywords on each one. Some books just have their genre (“nonfiction”) while others might have a little more information (“knights,” “adventure”). You get to decide how open you are to an unexpected new story.

So visit us this February for your own blind date with a book; you never know, you might find that perfect book!