Category Archives: about the library

CWAA Mythbusters

The Center for Writing and Academic Achievement (CWAA) is located on the third floor of the library and offers free peer tutoring and writing consultations. Our subject tutors strive to help students understand course material, apply concepts on assignments, and perform well on exams, while our writing consultants work closely with students to enhance their writing. We’re out to bust some myths and misconceptions about the services we offer. Read on to see what the CWAA can do for you!

  • Myth: You need to be doing poorly in a course to seek help.
    Fact: It can be beneficial to attend a tutoring session simply to maintain a consistent understanding of the material. This might mean coming in even if you’re doing well in the class to stay on the right track.
  • Myth: You need to have a completed paper in order to work with a writing consultant.
    Fact: We encourage students to come in during any stage of the writing process. Whether you are still working on developing ideas, focusing on incorporating evidence, or fine-tuning your thesis, we can help alleviate your concerns and suggest new methods to better prepare you for the next paper.
  • Myth: Group tutoring sessions are not as productive as individual sessions.
    Fact: Sometimes learning from your peers is just as effective as learning from a tutor. Having a conversation about the material can create a clearer understanding of the content, and may even offer a new perspective.
  • Myth: If you come to the CWAA, you can get answers to your homework or an A on your paper.
    Fact: We emphasize comprehension over getting the answers. Our goal is to encourage the learning and writing process. We want to help students understand critical concepts so they can apply them independently in the future. Therefore, the tutors will not give you answers, but instead help you develop the necessary skills to reach the answer on your own. Likewise, meeting with a writing consultant will not guarantee you an A on your paper, but rather will empower you to communicate efficiently and become a more confident writer.
  • Myth: All Writing Consultants are English majors.
    Fact: Our staff consists of consultants from all disciplines, including political science, biology, religious studies, and economics. Each consultant enrolls in a semester-long course prior to working in the center to develop a skillset for assisting students with writing in any subject.
  • Myth: Attending a subject tutoring session can serve as a replacement for going to class.
    Fact: Tutoring should be used as a supplement to lecture material, not as a replacement.
  • Myth: You can only meet with a writing consultant on a paper for a course.
    Fact: Writing consultants are also trained to help with nonacademic writing, such as scholarship essays, personal statements, and cover letters.
  • Myth: You need to set up an appointment in order to meet with a writing consultant.
    Fact: Writing consultations are on a walk-in basis, so making an appointment is not necessary! However, if you’d like to meet with a professional tutor, limited appointments are available through the CWAA website.

Students who come to the CWAA know the benefits of tutoring. As one student said, “Walking into the CWAA, I was thoroughly confused on the material, but when I left I felt as though I had a much clearer understanding, and felt significantly more confident walking into class the next day.” Another student commented on an experience with a writing consultant, stating that “the [consultant] really made me think about… what would make the paper stronger, instead of telling me what to do.” Ultimately, the goal of CWAA subject tutors and writing consultants is to facilitate learning and encourage confidence. Our schedule for writing and other subjects can be found on the CWAA website. We hope to see you soon!

Your CWAA Mythbusters are Senior Tutors Joe Conti, ’18, Cassie Daisy, ’18, and Olivia Peterson ’18.

What Can I Book?

You can check out a book, but you can’t book a book…

So what can you book in the Library? You can book group study room and book appointments with a librarian, all online.

Library study rooms are bookable online through the College’s R25 Live Calendar:

    • Study rooms may be booked up to one week in advance
    • Study room bookings may not be renewed
    • Study rooms may be booked for no longer than two hours
    • No bookings will be taken over the phone
    • Walk-ins will be booked as space permits

Study rooms are in high-demand as the semester progresses, so advance booking is preferred. Visit the page “Book a Study Room” for more information about each of the group study rooms, equipment available, and instructions.

For more information or assistance booking study rooms, please contact the Circulation Desk at 508-565-1313.

One-on-One Consultations with a librarian are bookable through LibCal:

  • You can select the calendar for a specific librarian, or view the availability of the entire Reference team.
  • When booking, please include brief information about your assignment and research questions.
  • We can assist with finding sources, evaluating sources, and citation information.
  • Consultations generally take place at either the InfoCafe or in the new Huddle Space, both on the first floor of the Library.

For more information or assistance booking a one-on-one consultation, please contact the Reference Desk at 508-565-1203.

The MacPhaidin Library Turns 20

Come celebrate with us over the next year as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the construction of the MacPhaidin Library. Construction began in late May of 1997, and the library opened at the beginning of the fall semester in 1998.

Follow along with us as we share pictures and stories of the construction and opening of the library over the next year in the newsletter and on our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest).

The images above were taken on September 3, 1997 when the college had an official tree topping-ceremony to celebrate the start of construction. Members of the college community were invited to sign a beam that was then raised into place in the library during the tree-topping ceremony.

What is a tree-topping ceremony? We wondered, too. Here’s an article from Slate explaining the history of the tradition.

Welcome Allison Keaney!

Allison Keaney is the new Head of Open Access Systems and Services.

Allison Keaney is the Open Access Systems and Services Librarian. She oversees the circulation department including course reserves. Her prior library positions have included academic, public and special libraries. Allison holds a B.A. in History (concentration Military History) from UMass Boston, and is completing a MLIS degree at Clarion University. She has also taken several courses towards a Certificate in Genealogical Studies through The University of Toronto.  Outside of work, Allison enjoys reading, genealogy, cooking, and fixing things in her 167-year-old house. Most of all she enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 daughters and 4 cats.

May 2017 Hours

The MacPhaidin Library

The Library will close at 4:30pm on Friday, May 12th, and will be closed Saturday and Sunday, May 13th-14th.

During the rest of May, the library is open 8:30am-4:30pm Monday-Friday, closed on the weekends and will close at 12pm on Friday, May 26th and remain closed until the morning of Tuesday, May 30th for the Memorial Day holiday.

Spring 2016 Library Finals Hours

In addition to our regular hours, the library will be open:

Friday, April 29:  7:30am – 10:00pm

Saturday, April 30:  10:00am – 10:00pm

Sunday, May 1:  10:00am continuously until Thursday, May 5 at 1:00am

Thursday, May 5:  7:30am continuously until Sunday, May 8 at 1:00am

Sunday, May 8:  10:00am continuously until Friday, May 13 at 4:30pm

Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15:  CLOSED

Monday, May 16 – Friday, May 20:  8:30am – 4:30pm

Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22:  CLOSED


For information regarding library hours or service, please click here or call Circulation at 508-565-1313.


Library Study RoomsThere are 13 Group Study Rooms in the Library and they are under increasingly high demand. Some students have asked to be allowed to book the rooms in advance using an online system. On March 14th, 2016, we are starting a pilot program using 5 of the Group Study Rooms which can now be booked in advance using the online calendar system 25Live. The remaining 8 rooms will continue to be administered as they have in the past and will be available for walk-up use or booked in advance, by calling or stopping by the Circulation Desk. As always, group study rooms are primarily for group use and individuals may use rooms only when groups are not using them.

The pilot program will run through the end of the spring semester and then we will assess the various likes, dislikes, successes or frustrations of the program before we determine if it will continue or expand for Fall 2016.

Visit the page “Book a Group Study Room” for more information. To book a study room, log into myHill and click on the “Library” tab. There you will find a link to book a room in the “General Library Services” box.

HARI: A New Way to Research

4520018121_806712ef8f_oIn person webinar: join colleagues in the Library DisCo at 11:30am on 3/14.

This webinar will open at 11:30am on Monday, March 14th. To access the webinar at this time, click on the link; a download of “Zoom_launcher.exe” should start automatically. On a Windows computer, click on the downloaded file in your browser, then click “Run.”  On a Mac, you will be prompted to download a .zip file of the Zoom Launcher.  Once that is saved, double-click on the .zip file and then double-click “ZoomusLauncher” to install.  The webinar room will be live at 11:30am on Monday.

We are in the process of implementing a new, patents pending inference engine for Stanford in collaboration with a Silicon Valley start-up that is a completely new way to extract meaning and knowledge across multiple sources.  In effect this discovery environment produces inferential semantic relationships among millions of digital documents (articles, books, websites, — any digital  text really) in a wide and expanding range of subject and genres with clear links to the documents if licensed and to information about the documents enabling purchase on demand, potentially a pay-per-view option.

The method, Hyper-Association of Related Inferences (HARI has been developed by an Italian mathematician named Ruggero Grammatica, a friend. The technology combines machine learning, natural language processing, and a succession of algorithms. HARI ingests enormous amounts of ie-texts efficiently, then uses algorithms to determine relationships among concepts, providing a tool for browsing or discovery. (This is at least a thousand times more difficult to put into words than to grasp when you see a demonstration.)  There is an instantiation that has ingested and analyzed 22+ million Medline entries, though more interesting and extensive results arise when full texts are analyzed.

One way to think of it:
Google provides specific answers to specific queries. It’s like a library, such as the library of Congress, in which, instead of gaining access to the stacks, you write down the name of a book, give it to a librarian, and are then given the book for which you asked and only that book.

HARI, by contrast, is like browsing in library stacks. One will find specific information that was sought, but other connections among related concepts will be exposed, and some, perhaps many, of those will be unexpected.

The HARI engine is based on NLP, AI, and custom algorithms that allow the processing of huge amounts of text based information and the extraction of concepts (not keywords).  The concepts are then correlated and identify relationships and inferences on the chosen topic, ultimately revealing the full texts containing the concepts.  It is a semantically based process that can be “tuned” by the end user both in the front end of a search and once results are obtained.

This complements our existing list and link type of search engine tools that academic users, both students and faculty, typically use today. HARI returns a more in-depth, visual result from each search.   At any moment the user can explore any of the concepts displayed and new streams of correlations are presented suggesting new paths of investigation.  And through use of the links, a researcher might be directed to licensed source documents or to a pay per view interface.  The benefits to publishers would be substantial; we wish to engage with you and others to elaborate and extend HARI dramatically.  The benefits to students and professors as well as many other professionals who make use of information resources hiding in thickets of content are also dramatic.