The Library Channel: news, events, announcements

The Library Channel

Aug 13, 2019 ·

Are you a student, staff or faculty member at ASU interested in collaborating on research and/or building your data research skills?

Then we want to hear from you! Tell us about your interests, goals and level of experience so that we can better match you with opportunities in data science.

Based in Hayden Library and affiliated with the Biosocial Complexity Initiative, the Unit for Data Science and Analytics provides opportunities for project-based work and learning. Whether you’re a student, faculty member or researcher, all are welcome to join us for Open Lab, a weekly event in our data science lab, to get connected with ongoing and available projects that engage machine learning, data visualization, text and data mining, network analysis and more.

All disciplines and skill levels are welcome. Take the survey.

We also mentor students and teams in formulating their own experiments and studies. One of our main goals is to cohort students and set them up with project experience that they can use in their academic and professional careers.

Learn more about data science at ASU.

Aug 05, 2019 ·

Need to pick up a book but can’t make it to the library?

Get it delivered!  

Secure, self-service book delivery lockers are now available in Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus to allow for the quick and convenient picking up and returning of library materials.  

The pick-up and return lockers in Armstrong Hall are a new service of the ASU Library.  


So, how do the lockers work? 

  • To request locker pick-up, select “Armstrong Hall” for your pick-up location. 

  • When your materials are ready for pick-up, you will receive an automated notice alerting you to the locker where your materials have been placed.  

  • Don’t forget your Sun Card! You’ll need it to retrieve your materials. 

  • Head downstairs to the lower level of Armstrong Hall to pick up your items from your assigned locker. You will need to slide your Sun Card to open the locker.  

  • Additionally, most library materials can be returned to the lockers. 

The lockers are only accessible during Armstrong Hall building hours.

For more information on this new service, visit the ASU Library’s FAQ page

Jun 27, 2019 ·

High school students engage in summer program of coding, 3D design

For Jesse Lopez, the opportunity to partner with Upward Bound, a federally-funded academic program for college-bound students from underfunded communities, was a chance to pay it forward, since Lopez had once participated in the program himself. 

“I came from a culturally rich but super broke L.A. community, so Upward Bound introduced me to the idea of attending college and helped me every step of the way in high school to be accepted and attend UC Santa Barbara,” said Lopez, who completed residential summer programs with Upward Bound at Harvey Mudd College and UC Davis throughout his high school years. 

Now, the director of student success for the ASU Library, Lopez is working to increase academic support services for one of Arizona State University’s fastest-growing populations: first-generation students, who make up 35% of ASU’s undergraduate and graduate student population.  

Lopez says partnering with Upward Bound is one way to support first-generation students by giving them the skills they need before they even enter their first year of college.  

“This was the ASU Library’s second summer hosting Upward Bound, and this year we offered a curriculum based in technical literacy with a focus on coding and 3D design,” said Lopez. “A lot of these students come from schools that don’t have makerspaces or technical literacy programs, and few of them know coding or have had experience on 3D printers. What better environment for them to learn these skills and how to apply them than in the library makerspace?” 

Awash with 3D prototypes, vinyl cutters, sewing kits, microcontroller kits and projects near-finished and others abandoned, the Hayden Library makerspace is truly a laboratory for learning — in all of its glorious stages.  

There is a lot of tinkering, and it can be messy.

“Messy learning is the best,” said Victor Surovec, coordinator of maker services for the ASU Library. “Our goal is to get everyone in here playing and having fun. When you make, you take in a lot of knowledge. You’re engaging with the material in a dynamic way, so you’re constantly having to adapt. The maker mindset is a good mindset for learning.” 

Each weekday morning over the summer, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m, the makerspace comes to life with the sounds of 27 soon-to-be high school sophomores spending a good portion of their summer vacation learning how to code and create.  

During their first week of classes, the students learned how to design and build 3D paper masks.

The mask-making was led by Surovec’s fellow maker Sarah Lankenau Moench, assistant professor of costume technology in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre within ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, who regularly uses the library makerspace to engineer costumes and other stage materials, lead workshops and stay informed about the various free resources available to ASU students. 

"Learning how to create a mask means taking a 2D design and translating that into a 3D object. It's sculpture!" Lankenau Moench said. "Masks are manageable in size and can be made with a variety of materials. They can be playful, evocative and expressive. I gave the students the option of starting with mask patterns designed by a company called Wintercroft. Having a pattern meant everyone had the opportunity to go through the process of sculpting their materials."

Under her instruction, the Upward Bounders incorporated various maker technology into their masks. Some students layered on digital elements, such as lights, fans and thermostats. (“If their mask gets to a certain heat, their fan will automatically turn on,” said Surovec.) While others devoted more time to painting their mask.

"It is so inspiring to come back several weeks later and see the explosion of creativity that came out of each student reflected in their masks," Lankenau Moench said. "The maker movement has made it possible for anyone to discover their inner artisan."

At the end of the program, each student took home the mask they designed and made, along with their very own Arduino electronics starter kit — a tool that both Surovec and Lopez say they hope will get used often.

“Giving them each an Arduino kit to take home is a way of continuing to provide them the access and opportunity needed to master the skills they learned here,” Lopez said. “They can keep applying them to new projects.”

Surovec added, “Working on a project can be an incredible motivator for learning.” 

- Britt Lewis, Communications and Donor Relations

Jun 11, 2019 ·

No more paywall!

Digital subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal are now available to all current ASU students, faculty and staff.  

Once you have activated your subscription, you can access Wall Street Journal content via the web, as well as via apps for smartphones and tablets. 

Here's how to activate your free digital subscription:  

  1. Go to the WSJ registration page: 
  2. Enter your first and last name 
  3. Select an Account Type from the dropdown: Student, Professor, or Staff 
  4. Enter your ASU email address and create a password. The email address and password will allow access on other devices outside of the university network. 
  5. Click Create to complete registration and create your WSJ subscription. 
  6. Once you have an account you can go directly to:  

If you are a student, your account will stay active until your graduation date. Faculty and staff will need to validate their memberships once a year from the ASU URL: 

If you already have a personal paid subscription, you can call 1-800-JOURNAL (1-800-568-7625) to switch from your paid subscription to the membership through ASU, and you will be refunded the remaining balance. 

Have questions about this new resource?  Please contact Ask a Librarian for help via live chat or email. 

Did you know? ASU faculty, students and staff also have free digital access to the New York Times.


May 31, 2019 ·

Michelle Miranda-Thorstad doesn’t remember exactly how she discovered Drag Queen Story Hour, but she recalls having an immediate interest in it.

At the time, she worked for the Maricopa County Library District, where together with Christopher Jay Hall, or Miss Nature, she facilitated her very first edition of the Drag Queen Story Hour in a privately rented room in the library. 

“We did a small story hour and got just two families there,” said Miranda-Thorstad. “One of our little guests came in full costume, walked in and said, ‘I’m a princess.’ The amount of confidence was just so great for such a little person.” 

Miranda-Thorstad is a Senior Library Specialist with the ASU Library who spends much of her time outside of her full-time job working to support and advance LGBTQ+ families in the Phoenix area.

Originally launched in San Francisco in 2015 by Michelle Tea of Radar Productions, Drag Queen Story Hour is now an official nonprofit organization inspiring and supporting more inclusive children’s story hours around the country – all led by drag queens and kings. 

Despite Miranda-Thorstad’s early interest in the story hour, she wouldn't begin regularly hosting one for another two years, after joining forces with David Boyles, an Instructor in the ASU English Department, who specializes in popular culture, digital literacy and visual rhetoric.

She met Boyles at a training offered through the GLSEN Network, a nonprofit organization that works with schools to make them safer places for students in the LGBTQ+ community, and the two began working together. 

In February 2019, Drag Story Hour - Arizona was born. (Check out their Facebook page.)  

“Working with Michelle on Drag Story Hour - Arizona has been an incredibly rewarding experience,” said Boyles. “The community has given us a great response and it's shown the need for this type of event. We need more events and programming that are aimed at our LGBTQ+ youth and families, and make them feel seen and included.”

Their first story hour event was held at the Downtown Chandler Public Library, where Boyles visited frequently as a child.

“Doing our first event at the Downtown Chandler Public Library was very emotional for me because that is the library I grew up going to and it meant a lot to me to be able to bring this event to that space,” he said. “And it was made even more special because my friends from the Arizona Clinic Defense Force showed up to make sure our guests were safe.”

Since February, Boyles and Miranda-Thorstad have hosted four story hours. Board members of Drag Story Hour Arizona are Edie Lopez, Lenore Filipczuk and Christopher Jay Hall.

“About 57 people attended the first event. I was just amazed,” said Miranda-Thorstad.

Drag Queen Story Hour aims to capture “the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood, and gives kids glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer role models.” 

“The story hour is all about inclusion,” says Miranda-Thorstad. “It’s about creating a safe space for same-sex families. We try to be as gender non-conforming as possible. Phoenix needs programs like this. It’s my hope that the story hours will one day live at public libraries.” 

The next event for Drag Story Hour is Sunday, June 2, as part of a fundraiser by Haircuts for Humans at Public Image to benefit the Arizona Trans Youth and Parent Organization. 

Looking for some inclusive books for children? Here are a few that Michelle Miranda-Thorstad recommends:  

And Tango Makes Three

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous

Sparkle Boy

Worm Loves Worm

Donovan’s Big Day 

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

May 02, 2019 ·

Following the direction of the Society of American Archivists and other leading organizations, the Arizona State University (ASU) Library is pleased to announce its endorsement and adoption of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials.  

A collaborative effort between archives professionals and Native American community stakeholders in North America, the Protocols were developed as part of an effort to promote best practices in the preservation and use of Native American archival materials held by non-tribal organizations. The Protocols address ten issues, including the importance of consultation with Native Nations in policy decisions regarding Native Nations cultural materials, understanding Native American values and perspectives, rethinking public accessibility and use of some materials, and providing culturally responsive context for archival collections.  

In 2018, the Society of American Archivists endorsed the Protocols as an external standard, an act that signaled to the archives profession that the Protocols should be used by institutions following SAA standards.  

“On behalf of the ASU Library and the Labriola National American Indian Data Center, I am pleased to formally acknowledge the Library’s adherence to the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials. ASU is proud to recognize and honor these Protocols,” said Joyce Martin, Curator for the Labriola Center at the ASU Library. “With this endorsement the ASU Library aims to adopt these best practices in the care and use of Native American archival materials.” 

The endorsement of these Protocols by the ASU Library will help to further ensure appropriate processes and direction for the acquisition and management of materials relating to Native Nations. This means that the ASU Library will collaborate with relevant Native American communities when appropriate, will copy and share materials with Indigenous Nations upon request, and will promote reciprocal training, among other practices outlined in the Protocols. 

In alignment with the ASU Charter, the Protocols represent a further step forward for ASU in taking greater responsibility for the communities it serves in Arizona and beyond. 

Apr 26, 2019 ·


Your paper is due at midnight. Your roommate just got dumped and needs to talk it out. And the status of your group project is a mystery to all.

Don’t worry. You’ve got this.  




Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. ASU librarians. Helping you succeed is not just a thing they’re good at – it’s in their job description. Let them help you. They want to help you. It’s why they’re here.
  1. Online help.  Your questions about citations, keywords and research databases already have answers, and you can find them on our FAQs page, where librarians are also available for online chat. Relax – if you have a connection to the internet, there is hope.
  1. Group study rooms. Maybe it’s time to figure out what’s going on with your group project. Several types of group study spaces are available at our libraries to support those necessary conversations and collaborations. Gather your group and get it done.
  1. Quiet and silent study. No signs of your roommate quieting down any time soon. Have no fear – ASU Library quiet and silent study is a thing, and it’s here for you. It’s a magical place where devices go silent and your thoughts thank you.
  1. Counseling. Not a library service, but a great resource nonetheless, offered to ASU students who may be feeling like they need to talk to someone. You’re not alone. Also, you may want to suggest it to your roommate.

Relax, take a breath. You’ve got this.

Apr 22, 2019 ·

Last fall Google turned 20. 

Today's ubiquitous search engine is now older than the majority of Arizona State University’s freshman class — many of whom have never experienced a Google-less world.

“Technology has changed everything,” said Israel Zaldivar, a student in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. "Everyone focuses on doing a Google search. Many students aren’t aware of all the resources we have access to.”

Zaldivar is part of a new library peer mentorship program — the ASU Library Barrett Mentors — aimed at helping Barrett students develop university-level research skills.

As a Barrett Mentor, Zaldivar and his fellow library mentors, Max Hernandez and Lauren Barnes, do everything from conducting workshops on how to use Zotero, an online citation management system, to engaging in lunch-hour conversations with other Barrett students on how to determine the most appropriate research database or develop a thesis question.

“Research is a general skill that applies to many fields, but a lot of students don’t have these skills,” said Hernandez, a sophomore at ASU who is double majoring in accounting and computer science with a minor in sustainability. “By providing support, we’re making sure that students are prepared and equipped for the work they’ll be encountering at the university.”

The Barrett Mentors are paid student worker positions, embedded within the Barrett community for ultimate student accessibility, with the goal of discussing and modeling research skills with and for their student peers in both casual and formal settings.

A good percentage of his classmates at Barrett, Hernandez says, are first-generation college students, unaccustomed to the resources and services of an academic library. 

Figuring out how to navigate those resources is half the challenge of being a college student, he says.

“Even for non-first-generation college students, college is kind of a new experience,” Hernandez said. “It’s much easier to do a quick Google search and pick the first three articles. We want to show them that the library can be accessible and what sources are valid and what sources are not valid. They know what they want, they just don’t know how to find it. We’re helping people discover all the stuff the library has.”

All the stuff includes 740 online databases and more than 200 million print and digital resources, including 150,000 journals and over 4 million print volumes; a center for data science and geospatial research; a makerspace; more than 100 study rooms; and some of the world’s leading rare materials collections.

Tomalee Doan, associate university librarian for the ASU Library, who oversees engagement and learning services across nine libraries, says student mentorship and leadership opportunities are helping steer a changing library infrastructure, focused on active, adaptive and informal learning spaces, where students come first.

“Many of our undergraduate students are part of the most diverse generation ever seen before in the United States,” Doan said. “The question of how to best support their success, their varied learning styles and unique contributions, is driving a number of new and interesting initiatives at the library, many of them student-led.”

Read the full story on ASU Now.

- Melovee Easley and Britt Lewis

Apr 04, 2019 ·

If you’re interested in data, or if you are passionate about sustainability issues like food, water and climate, then this competition is for you!

The Sustainability Storytelling Competition is a 24-hour challenge to create maps, analyses and stories from sustainability and humanitarian data hosted on Resource Watch.

You’ll get the opportunity to explore connections between different resources as well as develop and demonstrate your skills in data visualization and telling stories from data.

The winning team’s data story will be featured on the Resource Watch blog, with YOU as the author! You’ll also be introduced to experts on your issue within the World Resources Institute, which has consistently been ranked as one of the top environmental think-tanks in the world.

The competition hackathon is set to take place at the Tooker House makerspace from 3 to 5 p.m., April 12, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 13.

Both undergraduate and graduate students at ASU are welcome to register. No programming experience is required.

Participants will form teams of up to five people and will work with more than 260 datasets to tell a story using one of the provided prompts. Mentors from the World Resources Institute and ASU will be available to help teams craft their narratives and answer data questions.

More information here.

Apr 02, 2019 ·

Julius Caesar’s own account of his nine years at war may be “the best bad man’s book ever written,” writes University Librarian Jim O’Donnell in the introduction of his new translation of Caesar’s work, “The War for Gaul.” 

Caesar was a bad man, certainly, writes O’Donnell, but the book he wrote was magnificent – “clear, vivid, and dramatic, a thing to be remembered and read for the ages.”

Here, O’Donnell, a distinguished classicist and professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, discusses why he’s inviting readers – “brave readers” – to take an unflinching look at an unnecessary war, led by a politically ambitious and amoral man, who, among other things, was a master of language.

“There is no denying that this is a great work of literature, one of the greatest,” writes O’Donnell, “and at the same time, there should be no denying that it is a bad man’s book about his own bad deeds.”

Question: Most people don’t think of the legendary Caesar as also being a great storyteller (who apparently exceeded in time management). What about his book is significant? 

O'Donnell: First of all it's a great yarn. Let your imagination play with what it was like for a bunch of landlubber soldiers who'd never seen open water outside the Mediterranean try to navigate by the thousands across the English channel and only then learn about what tides and currents can do. Caesar is very dry about it all, but vivid nonetheless. 

But it's also a book that obvious gets a lot of its interest from the fate of its author. The Caesar we meet in the story and the one who writes down the year's doings every winter back in Italy wasn't yet the Caesar of history, so we get to see him on the make, spinning his yarn to play back home, staging what are almost 'media events' to impress the voters. It's a "you are there" moment of huge importance in world history.

Q: You’ve written that Cormac McCarthy would be an ideal writer of the story of Caesar in Gaul. How do you distinguish yourself from other translators of Caesar?

O'Donnell: I keep it short, like Caesar: clean, crisp. I thought it was time to strip away some of the chatty helpfulness of other translations and let Caesar write the book he wanted.

Q: Your translation includes a map of Gaul and comes with year-by-year introductions for each part of the story. How do these elements work in the retelling of Caesar’s story?

O'Donnell: Caesar is the magician who wants us to look where he wants us to look. I'm the guy who wants you to see how he's doing his tricks and what he's really up to. The introductions are meant to put you in his mind as he wrote, juggling military and political realities and looking to make some serious money out of his time in Gaul as well. I think you can enjoy the book more if you know all the things he doesn't want to tell you while he's telling you the ones he does.

Q: What did you learn in the process of translating Caesar’s story? Were there any surprises along the way?

O'Donnell: The book we get from the ancient manuscripts is in eight 'commentaries', basically one for each year of his time in Gaul. But he never wrote one for the last two years, so that got filled in later by one of his colonels, a man named Aulus Hirtius. By the time I got to that part, I'd been translating for a good while, rocking and rolling with Caesar's prose, when suddenly –  when you start that last book – it's like going off-road in the mud in a Volkswagen beetle. The story is there and that's important, but I hope my translation makes it as clear as the Latin does that Caesar is the great writer here and Hirtius is, well, a better colonel than he is a writer. My notes try to show just how clunky he can be and to let the reader then really feel how great Caesar –  the writer – was. (Caesar the general and politician? Make up your own mind.)

O'Donnell will lead a talk about his new translation of Caesar's "Gaul" at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 10.