Category Archives: Librarian’s Perspective

Come See Works by Our Newest Stonehill Authors

image1This fall, through the FLPP partnership program, students in Stephen Pinzari and Heather Perry’s Children’s Literature class tried their hand at creating an original children’s book.  Each student studied the elements of literature and design then selected a genre in which to create their own children’s book. The works of these debut authors will be on display at the library and may perhaps inspire others to try their hand at authorship.

The students covered many diverse topics, from sibling jealousy to the plight of the Piping Plover. One student wrote an ABC book profiling amazing women of the world.  They employed a variety of techniques from original poetry to sequential story telling. The creativity and wide range to topics explored was truly impressive.

Throughout the course of the semester the students had the opportunity to work with professional artist, Greg Marathas, to learn the elements of design. The authors applied these elements to their illustrations to most effectively communicate their messages. The students used a variety of artistic techniques to create the illustrations for their books. One students used photography to bring a fire station to life, another skillfully manipulated photos to create just the right mood to celebrate the joy of a new family member. Another student painted the backdrop for two friends on an exciting adventure. Students effectively used their artistic skills to bring their stories to life.

The students used a program called Blurb, which guides you smoothly through the creation process.

Two new authors reflected on their experiences:

  1. Kelsey Friedman who wrote on the adventures of two caterpillars said:

    The most important part to me in making my children’s book was the illustrations. Growing up I always found art as a way of expressing myself so creating a book where I could represent that for other people to see was a great experience.

  2. Kristina Colon said:

    I have a passion for diversity and inclusion. I believe children at a young age should learn and be exposed to situations that they might encounter in the future. The book I created, Color Me Diverse, explains in a short, yet simple way what it means to be diverse.

I was very impressed with the creativity and originality of these student creations, and I am sure you will as well.  The books will be on display at the library in front of the circulation desk; the books do not circulate, but you are encouraged to come and take a look at the students’ hard work!

Students taking Children’s literature this semester, or planning to take it in the future, can take inspiration from the work of this cohort of students.

By Heather Perry

Writing in New Media

New media jpg“Let’s face it, writing in the 21st century is accomplished online.” That’s Professor Anna Brecke premise for her course, “Writing in New Media”, WRI 110. This course explores reading and writing across social media and other web spaces through genre study, cultural analysis, and real-world practice. Through posts, tweets, blogs, emails, and texts students will hone valuable skills necessary in the twenty-first century workplace and in everyday life.
Librarian Joe Middleton will be helping WRI 110 students with the research for their major writing assignment. Although students will prepare a written proposal, an annotated bibliography, and a written overview of their work, the final result of this traditional process will not be a traditional paper. Rather, each student will choose a different new social media platform to present his or her work. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube or other social media may be used.

Writing and Peer Tutoring

lizchaseStudents in Devon Sprague’s Writing and Peer Tutoring class are working with librarian Liz Chase as part of the Faculty Librarian Partnership Program. In this class, students take part in a practicum that prepares them to work as writing tutors in the CWAA. Throughout the course, students enhance their own writing process through weekly posts, short narrative pieces, and research-driven assignments.

During their meetings over the summer and fall, Devon and Liz worked to scaffold the major research assignment for the course, an Applied Theory Essay. This essay gives students an opportunity to connect the theory they’ve read to the practice of tutoring; students are also encouraged to bring their own disciplinary experiences and interests to their research, which could focus on topics as varied as writing as a process, the rhetorical nature of texts, feminism, queer theory, or multiliteracy theory.

Over the course of the assignment, students will have an initial class session with Liz Chase in which they begin the process of brainstorming a research question and developing search strategies. Students will pursue their research independently, then meet with Liz individually to discuss their progress, the sources they’ve found, the questions they have, and the gaps in their research they’d like to fill. A significant portion of students’ grade on the final assignment will evaluate their research process, research question, the quality of their scholarly articles, and how they are incorporated into their final paper.

Ultimately, the goal is for students to develop a reflective, deeper, and more intentional approach to tutoring. Additionally, original and outstanding essays may be submitted for consideration for publication, or to the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing as a presentation proposal.


Modernism and Movement

mcpherson.pic_Students in Professor Scott Cohen’s Modernism and Movement class are studying the works of Virginia Wolf, Joseph Conrad, Jean Rhys, and Jules Verne and investigating how their works represent a response to advancements in technology during that era.

They’re viewing those classic works through the lens of late 19th century and early 20th century artifacts – such as maps of an expanded London subway system, photographs from expeditions to the Congo and historical news reports about the development of the telegraph and air transportation.

This exploration is being made possible, in part, through modern technological advancements that allow them discover access archival material, share it and, ultimately, create new knowledge.

As part of the FLPP program, students in Prof. Cohen’s class meet frequently in the Library’s DisCo – the Flynn Discovery and Collaboration Space – to take advantage of the room’s tech rich features which allows them to wirelessly share and collaborate on information they have gathered on their iPads. With the cooperation of the college’s IT Department, each student has been provided with an iPad for the course.

Much of the archival material students are examining comes from digital collections in libraries, universities and museums around the world. Other items come from the library’s proprietary databases – such as JSTOR. Prof. Cohen and Librarian Trish McPherson are working together to collect those resources on the class OneNote page – which provide a repository to primary source materials for easy access.

As the students begin work on their final projects for the course, they’ll work with Ms. McPherson to locate scholarly works that will help inform their research.


Conflict Analysis and Resolution

sml_jane_swiszcz[1]Professor Anna Ohanyan’s students enrolled in her International Conflict Analysis and Resolution class are using the Library’s Armed Conflict Database, along with several open source datasets websites, to gather quantitative data, a major component of the research paper.

Reference Librarian Jane Swiszcz is paired with Prof. Ohanyan this semester through the Faculty Librarian Partnership Program, and works closely with Prof. Ohanyan to find resources that will benefit class and keep them informed on current conflicts, and the methods used to hopefully resolve the situation.  While searching for datasets for the class LibGuide, Jane discovered a new website that reported on the use Private Security companies in conflicts, adding a new dimension to conflict research.  


Spain Today

heatherperryStudents in SPA 337 Spain Today with Juan Carlos Martin are exploring issues facing contemporary Spain.  More than just beautiful beaches, exciting futbol, and wonderful food, Spain is a modern economy facing a number of challenges, including changing demographics, high unemployment, and a changing economy. The course explores Post-Franco Spain, and students are performing research on a topic that delves more deeply into their subject matter. Students will develop a research question, explore their topic extensively, and report their findings in a paper and a presentation, written and delivered in Spanish. Students in Spain Today rise to a considerable challenge, because for most of them, they are researching, writing and presenting in a language that is not their first.

Students are working with librarian Heather Perry and using many of the library’s databases and other resources to explore issues such as the impact of globalization on the Siesta, the role of the Plaza Mayor in Spanish life, and the impact of energy efficiency policies on air quality. Resources for a wide variety of topics such as the demographic challenges facing Spain as its population becomes Europe’s oldest can be found at This class utilizes many of the library’s films including Pan’s Labyrinth to bring to life many of the issues important to understanding contemporary Spain.


Librarians’ Pets on “Photo Doggies for Anthony”









Every so often, a photo circulates on Facebook. Usually, it contains someone holding a sign that says “I don’t believe this will go viral so my mom (dad, teacher, etc.) is posting it. ‘Like’ to show me how fast things travel online!” Perhaps predictably, the images get shared, re-shared, liked, re-posted, and quickly circulate. Others are a little more fun (“If this gets 1,000,000 likes our parents say we can have a puppy!”).

Over the holidays, another type of viral post circulated Facebook. This one was for a Facebook event called “Photo Doggies for Anthony.” It’s a virtual event, one meant to raise the spirits of a little boy at Phoenix Children’s Hospital who is undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Librarians Liz Chase and Katie Brenner both posted photos of their dogs, Loki and Flower. At this point, the site already had hundreds of posts, and it continues to grow. CNN did a video piece on the site, and it now has over 500,000 posts.

Loki at Christmas