The Library Channel: news, events, announcements

The Library Channel

Aug 30, 2021 ·

Students in need of a quiet place to study on the Tempe campus are invited to take advantage of a new service beginning August 30 at Hayden Library.

The new silent study option features 12 reservable seats in the Luhrs Arizona Reading Room, located on the ground floor of Hayden Library. Silent study reservations can be made through the online reservation system by selecting a seat, date and time. Students can reserve a study space up to 7 days in advance for up to 4 hours per day.

Face coverings are currently required in the Luhrs Arizona Reading Room.

Located on the first floor of the newly renovated Hayden tower, the reading room features some of the best views on the Tempe campus with ample natural light. All those with a reservation will be asked to check in at the information desk on level 1 of Hayden Library before their scheduled study time.

In addition to Luhrs, Hayden Library offers a variety of spaces for students to study, participate in group projects, video conference, etc. Students are encouraged to check with a library professional at the information desk on each level for additional guidance on where to study. 


Aug 27, 2021 ·

The Arizona State University Library has appointed Alex Soto to the position of director of the Labriola National American Indian Data Center, the library's dedicated Indigenous research, study and gathering spaces and services supporting scholarship, education and community engagement.

Services draw upon the center's notable collections of specialized and open stack materials by, for and about the Indigenous Peoples of North America, with a focus on Arizona and the southwest.

Soto, a member of southern Arizona's Tohono O'odham Nation, was previously an assistant librarian with the Labriola Center, and will serve as the center's first new director in more than 20 years and only the second academic professional in the center's history. 

The importance of information literacy and the role of reparative archives within tribal communities inspired Soto toward a library career, following years of success as a touring hip-hop musician and activist. These experiences now inform his vision for Indigenous librarianship and the Labriola Center at ASU, which is situated on the ancestral homelands of the Akimel O'odham and Pee Posh peoples. 

Under Soto's leadership, the center will expand its study, research and community spaces in Hayden Library, the university's largest library on the Tempe campus; develop programming and enhance partnerships for greater engagement and connection to the communities it seeks to support; and advance opportunities that prioritize Indigenous knowledge systems.

"ASU believes in leveraging our place in the Arizona communities we serve," said Jim O'Donnell, University Librarian. "We have a unique opportunity to build on the successes of Labriola to create a truly distinctive center closely tied to the people it represents and serves. We are lucky to have the ideal leader for this in Alex Soto."

Read the full story on ASU News.

Aug 23, 2021 ·

Everyone, no matter where they’re located, now has the power to visit Arizona State University's Map and Geospatial Hub, located on the third floor of Hayden Library, to explore and access its geographic information resources.

All thanks to a new tool: the 3D Explorer.

The 3D Explorer is an interactive 3D web scene that literally maps the ASU Library map collection, the Map and Geospatial Hub. With some powerful search and visualization features, the tool allows anyone, from anywhere in the world, to virtually visit and explore the thousands of maps and other materials housed in the Map and Geospatial Hub as if they were physically located in the space itself. 

“Especially during the pandemic, when it may be more difficult for some to visit the library in person, the 3D Explorer lets us bring library treasures directly to them,” said Matthew Toro, director of the Map and Geospatial Hub, who oversaw the project, which was led by the hub’s first fully remote intern. “The main driver for this project was really about expanding access to the ASU Library’s cartographic collections.”

The Map and Geospatial Hub is home to tens of thousands of maps, aerial photographs and other geographic information resources. These collections focus on the greater Phoenix metro region, the peoples and communities throughout the state of Arizona, the greater American Southwest and Mexico, but its collections cover the whole globe. 

Toro spoke with ASU News about the library’s new virtual research tool, the 3D Explorer, and how it allows people to get closer to library collections even if they can’t visit in person.

Aug 15, 2021 ·

Welcome! All of our libraries are open for the Fall 2021 semester. A Sun Card is no longer required to gain access to our buildings. 

In order to support the health and success of the entire ASU community, please note the following updates which are subject to change. Get in touch with us for further information about how the library might best support you. 

Face cover is strongly recommended

As of July 30, Arizona State University now strongly recommends that everyone on campus wear a face cover when inside a university building regardless of vaccination status.

Study rooms are open to full capacity

There is no longer a COVID-adjusted maximum capacity limit for library study rooms. A number of study rooms are reservable online.

Food/drink is OK

Food and drink are now permitted in all library buildings, except where otherwise indicated (such as reading rooms, audio-visual studios, etc.).

Library hours

All libraries will return to normal hours of operation for the Fall 2021 semester with Hayden Library open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Check library hours before you visit.

Reservation required for Makerspace

The Makerspace on the third floor of Hayden Library still requires an advanced reservation due to space capacity limits.

Reservation required for reading rooms and archival materials

The Wurzburger Reading Room in Hayden Library and the Design & the Arts Special Collections Reading Room will continue to operate by appointment

Visiting the Labriola National American Indian Data Center on the West and Tempe campuses are by appointment only. 

Walk-ins welcome

Hayden Library's Data Science and Analytics Unit, Map and Geospatial Hub, and Labriola National American Indian Data Center second-floor space do not currently require a reservation before visiting. (However, it is recommended to reach out to Data Science in advance:

Hours of operation for the Data Science Lab and the Map and Geospatial Hub are 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and hours of operation for the Labriola Center, on both the West and Tempe campuses, are 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Need help?

Get your questions answered via chat, text, email or by phone via Ask a Librarian

Aug 14, 2021 ·

All Around You is the latest art exhibit to arrive at the Downtown Phoenix campus Library’s Vault Gallery just in time for the Fall 2021 semester.

A collection of images by local photographer Julia Letcher, the exhibit features close-up photographs of bees and flowers, in addition to Arizona landscapes.

Letcher, who became interested in photography at a young age, asks the rhetorical question: “Who wouldn’t want to be a photographer if they were an Arizona native?” 

Growing up in Arizona, she says, has given her the greatest opportunity to photograph – everything from wide open desert scenes to small-scale insects.

“It has always been extremely important to me, as a photographer, to look around, taking in the beauty of my current surroundings,” says Letcher. “The world around us has been more interesting to me to photograph rather than people. There is beauty everywhere.”

The exhibit will be on display until early December.

Jackie Young, the Vault Gallery’s curator and a user services specialist for the ASU Library, says the gallery presents a unique opportunity to collaborate with the local artist community and make the library a vibrant, socially embedded space where students are exposed to diverse perspectives.

“Over the years, art has always been a part of the downtown library,” says Young. “New art reinvents the library space in a new way every time we have new artists.”

Aug 05, 2021 ·

Stacey Erdman
The Arizona State University Library and its partner organizations were selected by the Institute of Museum and Library Services as the recipient of a 2021 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program award, totaling $249,974, with the aim of advancing digital preservation practices among under-resourced organizations.

ASU Library’s partner organizations include the Sustainable Heritage Network, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, the Association of Hawai’i Archivists, Northwest Archivists, Inc., and Amigos Library Services. 

The three-year grant, led by Stacey Erdman, Digital Preservation and Curation Officer and Acting Digital Repository Manager for the ASU Library, who will serve as the Principal Investigator and Project Manager of the multi-organizational project, will deliver an innovative digital preservation training program to practicing librarians and archivists struggling to provide ongoing care for their digital collections.

Erdman, here to discuss the award – its significance and functionality – says the project stemmed from her involvement with the Digital POWRR Project. (POWRR stands for “Preserving [digital] Objects with Restricted Resources.”)

Question: How did this grant proposal come about?

Erdman: I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with the Digital POWRR Project since its inception in 2011, which has provided research, outreach and advocacy in the digital preservation field, specifically focusing on under-resourced cultural heritage institutions. POWRR’s work over the past decade has included the highly regarded POWRR Tool Grid, a white paper detailing the testing of various digital preservation tools and systems, a one-day workshop and a two-day professional institute (one of which was graciously hosted at ASU Library in summer 2018). I served as the Technical Coordinator on the first research grant and provided curriculum design, community coordination and instruction services for the education-focused grants. 

The professional institute grant focused on practical hands-on technical training and cohort-based learning, and provided a gentle introduction to assessment procedures through the use of a tool we developed called the POWRR Plan. Attendee feedback demonstrated that practitioners in the field have an interest in working collaboratively with peers to assess organizational capabilities, stages of growth and maturity, and measures they can take to properly care for their unique digital collections.

During the time I served as a POWRR Instructor, I also was awarded a scholarship to attend the NEDCC’s Digital Preservation Assessment Training program, where I learned how to employ the framework that they had recently developed. As part of my training, I performed a digital collections assessment at Ripon College. This training really demonstrated the power of formal assessment processes to me, and made me think critically about how it could be operationalized as a supportive training program that could benefit organizations who were struggling to care for their digital collections.

Q: Did you develop this proposal with members from the partner organizations?

Erdman: Digital POWRR has built relationships with many wonderful partner organizations around the country during the course of the past decade. Partners help us publicize events and connect us to the professionals who would benefit the most from the training. For this grant, six partner organizations will sponsor a small cohort of six individuals drawn from their membership to participate in this training program. Project staff will work with the partners to screen participant applications, and will help with the final selection of participants. By locating training within cohorts drawn from existing communities of practice, it is hoped that participants will feel a greater sense of familiarity and comfort. Additionally, partner organizations may ask their participants to later work on using their new expertise to help operationalize a peer assessment program/relationship system within their own membership.

Q: Can you share any further details about the grant or the training program you’ll be developing at this time?

Erdman: The grant is a three-year award that serves dual purposes. It is primarily a training program, but it also serves as a research project. I am serving as the Principal Investigator for this grant and will also be the project manager. In the process of creating the proposal, I have already assembled a small team of expert collaborators, drawn across the digital preservation landscape, who will serve as advisors or peer mentors to the cohorts that we select for the training opportunity. We will collaborate on the creation and delivery of educational resources for the participants (all through remote technologies), and will provide ongoing support to participants as they complete their three different (self and peer) assessments. I will also be responsible for overseeing the project’s final deliverables, including compiling the participant’s case studies and assessments into an ebook, and writing a white paper that summarizes mentor and participant feedback regarding the assessment process and frameworks utilized, including suggestions for ways peer assessment programs can be successfully operationalized within existing communities of practice. 

One exciting feature of the program is that participants will be compensated for their time and participation in this project with a stipend of $3,000. We will also provide their home institutions with a small “tech startup” subaward of around $900, so that they can make small technology-related purchases to jump-start their preservation initiatives.

Q: Why is this grant award significant to libraries, in general, and to the ASU Library, specifically?

Erdman: Providing training on assessment procedures and practices is beneficial for practitioners, their collections, their organizations and the profession overall. In the words of Susan Swartzburg, “it is the responsibility of every institution that holds unique collections, regardless of its size and resources, to properly care for its collection.” Most libraries and archives either create or acquire digital materials, and don’t always have specialized staff able to care for these materials. Organizations serving BIPOC populations, or who are resource-constrained, often have the most unique collections that are most at risk of loss. I feel a deep sense of duty to do everything I can to help equalize the playing field in the digital preservation community, so that preservation does not become the province of the elite. Additionally, by immersing myself in the world of assessment procedures and practices, I expect my own body of knowledge and skills to grow in this area, which will undoubtedly prove to be helpful for my position here at ASU, especially as we start to think about working towards CoreTrust Seal and Trusted Digital Repository certifications down the road.

Jul 19, 2021 ·

The ASU Library's Course Reserve service has a new name: Course Resource Services.

Course Resource Services works closely with instructors to search, select, manage and organize learning materials, and integrate them directly into Canvas (or other learning management systems) using the Library Resource Organizer (formerly ASU Library Reading Lists).

The Course Resource Services team can help connect instructors to appropriate library content and collections, including materials owned by instructors or freely available online; digitize library-owned material, in compliance with copyright guidelines, to increase their access; and link to content from the library's existing collection of electronic resources (e-books, journal articles, streaming media and other digital materials).

Contact us to start preparing for your fall semester courses.

Course Resource Services also addresses textbook affordability concerns by making it easier for instructors to connect students to content that is freely available to them, whether it is using our library collections, using open education resources (OERs), or increasing awareness of university-wide textbook initiatives. Show your students you care about the rising cost of education by working with us to reduce their textbook costs! 

Jun 09, 2021 ·

The ASU Library has partnered with the ASU Center for Child Well-Being, within the Watts College for Public Service and Community Solutions, on a new collection of 64 books designed to support Arizona's nearly 100,000 children of parents who are incarcerated.

Over 2.7 million children in the United States are directly impacted by the incarceration of a parent or loved one, and many lack resources to manage the associated feelings of shame and stigmatization. 

The "Empathy Through Literacy" collection, located on the main floor of Noble Library, is intended to help children cope with their feelings and understand that they have done nothing wrong. Shari Laster, Head of Open Stacks Collections at the ASU Library, said the books in this collection are available for request and quick delivery to an ASU Library location that is convenient to them. 

Read the full ASU News story.

Jun 04, 2021 ·

Photo by Deanna Dent
The ASU Library remains committed to supporting the health and success of the ASU community.

As of July 19, 2021, access to university library buildings no longer requires a Sun Card.

Face coverings are strongly recommended for those who are vaccinated, food/drink are now permitted in the library, and furniture has been restored in libraries where it had been removed to allow for physical distancing. 

With summer session hours in place, be sure to check library hours before you visit. 

Need support?

The ASU Library can help you with whatever you need. While you can connect with library support via a variety of platforms, this is generally a good place to start: Ask A Librarian.

Need services?  

The ASU Library is home to some cool research and collab spaces, including the Labriola National American Indian Data Center and the Map and Geospatial Hub. While all library research and archive units remain open, this summer you will need to make a reservation for some of them:


Visit Ask A Librarian to get all your library questions answered.

Jun 02, 2021 ·

Courtesy of Chelsea Niven
Two local artists exploring themes of unity, joy and initiation are exhibiting their work this summer at the Vault Gallery, part of the Downtown Phoenix campus Library. 

In her exhibition "What Unites Us," Nasim Nourian examines human interconnectedness, and for newcomer Chelsea Niven, winner of the 2019 Eric Fischl Vanguard Award at Phoenix College, the Vault Gallery marks her first curated exhibition, titled “Inchoate Amelioration.”

Although the downtown library remains closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions, Jackie Young, the gallery’s curator and senior library information specialist, says students and library staff have been happy to see the return of new art to the Vault Gallery.

“Over the years, art has always been a part of the downtown library. It makes a significant difference in the mood and tone you feel when you’re here,” says Young, who in a typical year, will bring at least three new art exhibitions into the gallery space as a way of enhancing the library’s connection to its local community and increasing students’ exposure to diverse perspectives. “New art reinvents the library space in a new way every time we have new artists.”

The Vault Gallery has been something of a blessing for students in need of a mental break while studying in the library as well as for emerging artists seeking opportunities to share their work. 

“For the artists, many times, it’s the first opportunity they’ve been given to exhibit their work at a gallery,” she says.

Here to talk about their summer exhibitions at the Vault Gallery and their approaches to making art are Chelsea Niven and Nasim Nourian, whose work will be featured at the Vault Gallery through August. Nourian immigrated to the United States from Tehran, and Niven was born and raised in the Southwest.

Question: Have you always made art?

Nasim Nourian: I used to draw and paint when I was a little girl. My first art work was this gigantic green spider on the wall of our living room, which as a toddler I was extremely proud of, but also upset my mother to no end. I was successful in repeating the same mistake when I was a teenager and I painted a life-size Persian Miniature painting on the back wall of my closet. This time, mom did not let me get away with it so easily. So I locked away my artistic talent in that closet and gave up art altogether. In my culture, art was considered to be just a hobby, not a ‘serious’ career. I did not paint or draw for almost three decades until the passion was rekindled when I took an art course at a community college and it all rushed back to me like the dam had been broken.

Chelsea Niven: I have been making art for as long as I can remember. It has always been something that’s a part of me and how I express my emotions. I wouldn’t feel like myself if I didn’t create art.

Question: Can you describe your artistic process?

Nourian: I am moved by what I see around me. It could be a stranger's face or movements. It could be a loved one moving about their daily routine, or it could be a random photo I see on social media. Whatever the source of inspiration, it stays with me, in my head, as a form of a picture. And it stays with me until I put it down on paper or canvas. These pictures are persistent and sometimes annoyingly so, and I feel the urge, almost a calling, to create an art work. 

As artists, just like any other creative genre, we want to be liked. I feel uplifted when people “like” my art. And yes, I’ve been influenced, especially when creating commissioned art, by whether it will be liked or not. But the process, even to this day, is at times obscured by uncertainty. Will I be able to express what’s in my heart? Will the final work be authentic enough? Am I finished or do I need to work on it a little more, another hour or another day?  I’ve been told that it's through the process that we grow and I believe this to be true. When I don’t feel all those fears come up when I start a project, then it's not worth it. So, I let it all come up … and then through it all, something authentic emerges that I call art.

Niven: My art process has been changing and expanding so much, and I am sure will continue to do so. People have asked me where I get my inspiration from and honestly, it all depends on what I am doing. Is it a commission piece? Or am I just trying to use some of the paint that I have left over? Sometimes I have an idea in mind and just do a quick sketch of what I want to create. When I begin, I just let it flow. There are also times where I have nothing in mind and just listen to music and let whatever my vision is come to life. I tend to go into a trance and get lost while I am working on my art. It’s an escape for me in this busy world.

Question: Is there a particular subject you are currently drawn to in your art?

Nourian: Well, I always like human forms and portraits. I’m drawn to the paintings of Alice Neel right now and her naked approach to expressionistic portraits.

Niven: I wouldn’t say I’m drawn to a specific subject. I like my art to inspire people, fill them up with a sense of happiness, and evoke joy and deeper thought. My paintings are almost interactive. If you look at it from different perspectives, it shifts and changes in color. It highlights the importance of the bigger picture in order to see the harmony and come to a better understanding of one another.

Question: What do you think is the function or the power of art in society?

Nourian: The power of art is the power to express oneself like no one else can. It is the uniqueness and the exceptionalism of every single human being exactly as it was intended.  

Niven: Art is supposed to make people think and help them connect with their inner selves as well as others. The other important part of art is that it connects us to people around the world. Someone who speaks Mandarin can look and understand a painting the same as someone who speaks Portuguese could. That is one of the many beauties of art, it’s a universal language that brings together humanity and shows that we all carry the same emotions and basic ideals. I think this aspect of art is something that we, as a whole world, need to acknowledge and put into practice while interacting with people in our everyday lives. Art can teach the world to have more compassion.