The Library Channel

Oct 04, 2017 ·

Historical treasures belonging to two Mexican-American families in the Phoenix area – the Hinojosa family and the Franco French family – are now part of ASU Library’s Chicano/a Research Collection.

“Everything [in their collections] is of historic importance because everything relates to the building of what we now call the Mexican community of Phoenix,” said Christine Marin, a former ASU archivist, who helped facilitate the archival donations.

ASU Library Archivist Nancy Godoy spent more than a year processing, preserving and making the donated items publicly available.

“Family collections, for me, personally, are very important because they tell so many different stories,” Godoy said. “So that’s priority for us, to make these collections accessible to the community.”

Read the full ASU Now story: A tale of two families

Sep 25, 2017 ·

When students at Arizona State University enter the library this week, they will be greeted by an unusual sign: “Don’t read these books.”

The sign, directing students to a display of books that have been banned or challenged throughout history, is intended to mentally jolt — cue the record scratch — even the most distracted Sun Devils.

This is the tongue-in-cheek tradition of Banned Books Week, an annual, cautious celebration of books and our right to read them.

“Banned Books Week is probably one of the most important events in the literary profession,” said Ashley Gohr, a First Year Experience librarian with ASU Library. “It’s a week when librarians, publishers, teachers and writers help to educate our communities by inviting deeper conversations about censorship and the power of words and storytelling, especially for marginalized communities.”

ASU Library is looking to open up the event this year to an even larger audience through social media, book displays and other activities that encourage thinking around free speech and about books as a powerful technology.

Gohr says that although the practice of banning books is very serious and concerning, the ASU Library events this week will offer “small acts of creative defiance” that are not only educational but fun too.

Language, sex and race

Books get banned, restricted or challenged for a variety of reasons, Gohr said, but offensive language, sexual content and racism are among the most common.

Just last year, more than 300 challenges to books were recorded by the American Library Association (ALA), a figure which does not include all the censorship attempts made to films, exhibits, newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, plays and performances.

Famously banned books include “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain (language, racism), “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie (language, violence, sexual content), and “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston (sexual content).

Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” was once described as “filthy” by some mid-nineteenth century booksellers.

The impulse to censor, Gohr says, is a direct response to the inherent power ideas hold and the strength of books to spread them.

“Books are thought of as dangerous, and they are! They contain ideas and stories that can change minds and lives,” she says.


#WordsHavePower is the tagline for this year’s Banned Books Week, an ALA-sponsored event that ASU Library plans to highlight with increasing force each year.

Plans to grow the annual event include a speaker series, a reading flash mob and public readings of censored work on all of ASU’s campuses.

This year, Gohr and fellow ASU Library staffer Ashley Barckett have been busy pulling books from library shelves — “as many as we can fit,” they say — to include in the Hayden Library banned book display.

The ragtag collection includes such classics as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Beloved” and sits alongside a reading nook where the ASU community is encouraged to linger, interact and explore the books “in question.” Banned book displays will be featured at several other campus libraries as well.

Additionally, Gohr and Barckett have put together a banned book scavenger hunt and set up a button-making station in the Hayden Library mkrspace, for those #RebelReaders who want to wear their Toni Morrisons and Ralph Ellisons on their sleeve.

There will also be a poetry slam in Hayden Library (room C41) on Thursday at 7 p.m., hosted by Amnesty International. 

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate the library as a place of access, discovery and inclusion — particularly at an institution like ASU,” said Barckett, a library information specialist. “Many of our international students come from countries that have different views on censorship, and books are still challenged and banned regularly in the U.S. This event is as relevant as ever.”

Barckett and Gohr say they will be wearing buttons and T-shirts throughout the week that signify banned authors and books, such as “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and the book-burning “Fahrenheit 451,” which, Gohr says, might be the most ironic banned book of all.

"It's about banning books," she said.

Sep 22, 2017 · Students

What are some of the books that have influenced your growth and development, or challenged you to think in new ways?

'Required Reading' is an open stack community curation project to feature the stories of ASU students and encourage new interactions with library collections.

Send us your top 10-20 list of meaningful books and tell us why they are significant. If your collection is selected as a winner, ASU Library will acquire all the titles you listed and showcase the collection at one of our libraries.

Please submit a written statement for your collection (250-500 words) and select one of the four categories below that best describes it:

  • Books that make you YOU at ASU
  • The Sun Devil must-read books for a better future
  • Freshman Challenge: 21 books for the Class of 2021
  • My state of mind: Arizona and the Southwest

Submit your collection online:

Deadline to submit is November 30

All submissions must be complete to be judged. Submissions will be judged based on the quality of the statement and the collection.

Sep 12, 2017 ·

Arizona State University aims to position public libraries as key facilitators of citizen science, a collaborative process between scientists and the general public to spur the collection of data.

Through a new grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), researchers from the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and ASU Library will develop field-tested, replicable resource toolkits for public libraries to provide to everyday people contributing to real research, from right where they are.

Despite growing interest from public libraries to incorporate citizen science programming into their role as go-to community hubs, Dan Stanton, associate librarian for academic services at ASU Library, says there are no documented road maps, best practices or models to follow.

“Our project team is well equipped to address this need, as there is substantial expertise in the area of citizen science here at ASU,” said Stanton, co-investigator on the grant. 

Led by Darlene Cavalier, a professor of practice in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the grant brings together an interdisciplinary team of faculty and librarians to build on previous work around citizen science – a practice rapidly gaining in popularity, particularly at ASU.

In 2016, ASU hosted the Citizen Science Maker Summit, organized by Cavalier, who is also the founder of SciStarter, an online platform and ASU research affiliate, where more than 1,600 citizen science projects are registered online and open for support and participation. The projects include everything from observing or recording natural phenomena to developing software or instrumentation.

Cavalier also serves on the National Academy of Sciences committee on citizen science and is the co-founder of the Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST) network.

“We know from previous research that too frequently the lack of access to low-cost instruments, coupled with an unmet desire to feel part of a community, creates a barrier to entry for would-be citizen scientists,” said Cavalier. “We are grateful to IMLS for supporting our effort to understand how the characteristics and capacities of librarians, their local communities and the scientists who need help from those communities can be supported through public libraries.”

As part of the grant, ASU will partner with six Arizona public libraries representing a mix of urban and rural and youth and senior populations.

The toolkits that will be developed for the libraries will offer multiple entry points that acknowledge varying library capacities and diversity of patrons.

Risa Robinson, coordinator of the grant and the assistant director of learning services at ASU Library, says libraries are ideal conduits for citizen science.

“Citizen science represents the kind of low-cost but impactful programming public libraries have always provided,” she said.

“With the increasing demand for science literacy, the growing interest in citizen science and the library’s strong community anchor, this partnership makes sense.”

- Britt Lewis, ASU Library

Sep 08, 2017 ·

A little more than a year ago, in what quickly became the most memorable moment of the 2016 National Democratic Convention, speaker Khizr Kahn brandished a pocket version of the U.S. Constitution and offered to lend it to then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The simple but compelling gesture led to a sharp rise in the book’s online sales and searches, with many stores selling out of all their copies.

“At one point, last year, the Constitution was a top seller on Amazon,” says Brad Vogus, associate librarian for ASU Library.

For the 11th consecutive year, Vogus will be distributing those same $1 pocket Constitutions popularized by Kahn, in celebration of Constitution Day at ASU, slated for Monday, Sept. 18.

An annual national event, Constitution Day was established in 1956 as a way to commemorate our country’s most influential document and help foster habits of citizenship.

“The Constitution is our most important law document. It defines the fundamental law of our government,” says Vogus. “This event gives our students and the public an opportunity to learn more about it.”

Also, it’s the law, says Vogus.

In 2005, programs aimed at promoting a greater understanding of the Constitution became required of federally-funded schools and government offices.

This year’s program at ASU will shine a light on the hit musical “Hamilton” and the rivalry between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed in the show.

“Since the musical ‘Hamilton’ will be at Gammage this season, we think there will be great enthusiasm for this talk,” says Vogus.

The talk – Hamilton and ‘Hamilton’ – will be led by Peter McNamara, a professor of practice in ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and an expert on the political and economic thought of Hamilton.

Paying close attention to each man’s political views, McNamara will examine how the Hamilton-Jefferson rivalry ultimately helped shape the U.S. Constitution.

The event, to take place from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., in room C55 at Hayden Library, is free and open to the public. Resources and more information about Constitution Day are also available via the ASU Library guide.

Pocket copies of the Constitution will be given away before the event – but only while supplies last, warns Vogus.

Sep 08, 2017 ·

An online help service provided by ASU Library just got a big boost this semester.

Known as Ask a Librarian, ASU Library’s online chat is now fully equipped to connect students, faculty and staff at Arizona State University exclusively to ASU librarians.

The direct, digital connection to library professionals within the university is just one of many new library efforts to improve its quality of services for the ASU community.

“When you get help from a local expert, it makes a huge difference in the quality of information you’re receiving,” said Jennifer Duvernay, Associate University Librarian for Communication and Organizational Success. “I’m happy to report that ASU Library’s online assistance through Ask a Librarian is now 100 percent locally sourced.”

Reflective of its newly improved quality, Ask a Librarian is now operating within regular business hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, all questions that come through the online chat service after business hours will be converted to an email that Duvernay says will be answered as quickly as possible – again, solely by ASU librarians.

Students, faculty and staff looking for help after hours can also browse Ask a Librarian FAQs – a compiled list of answers to the most popular and recent questions, such as library hours, how to request materials and how to use online resources.

“ASU is a big place,” says Duvernay. “Our job at the library is to make sure you get the highest level of support you need to succeed while you’re here.”

Sep 06, 2017 ·

A new academic year is the perfect time to hit ‘refresh’ – and ASU Library has done just that with some of its services. To help get you oriented, here’s a helpful list of what’s new, what’s different and what you won’t want to miss.


  1.  New search: The new ASU Library One Search has been implemented to enhance and expand library services. While we are experiencing some early-implementation issues that are currently being addressed, we can guarantee that over time the new system will dramatically improve the online user experience through better browsing, sharing and customization of materials.
  2.  New mkrservices location: Now on the lower concourse of Hayden Library, mkrservices has a more convenient location for ASU makers. Come stop by and say hello!
  3.  Requesting materials: Getting the materials you need just got easier. Even if an item is checked out, you can still request it. All requests for checked-out items will automatically generate an Interlibrary Loan, and there will be no recall for the checked-out item.
  4. More direct assistance: Have a quick question or need help from a librarian? The ASU community now has direct, online access to ASU librarians through the library’s online chat service called Ask a Librarian. While the hours have changed to regular business hours – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday – the quality of service has been enhanced to ensure that all requests for assistance are answered promptly by a librarian or information professional within ASU Library. Online chat questions that come in after hours will be converted to an email that will be answered as quickly as possible.
  5. Longer checkouts: Faculty, staff and graduate students can now check out materials for 365 days. Undergraduate students may check out materials for 90 days and community members for 30.
  6. Automatic renewals: Materials for students, faculty and staff will now be renewed automatically.
  7.  Community cards: Purchasing a community card allows the public to check out up to 25 items with a loan period of 90 days.

Please see our library policies page for additional service changes and updates.

Aug 28, 2017 · Students

Research is a journey, and librarians hold the keys.

Whether you're studying for an exam, writing a paper or working on a research project, getting help from ASU Library can save you time, connect you with quality resources and get you a better grade.

Think of librarians as personal research trainers – they are here to support and coach you, so that you learn how to find exactly the information you need, efficiently.

Here are five ways to get help from ASU Library:

1. Talk with a Librarian. Feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Call, email or schedule a visit with a subject librarian. ASU Library has over 30 of them, and they are all experts in their fields. Specializing in everything from anthropology to visual literacy, subject librarians offer personalized, high-quality, one-on-one research support.

2. Ask a Librarian. Need help with a citation, or have a quick question? Don't panic. Help is just one click away – literally. Ask a Librarian is an online chat service that connects ASU students quickly and seamlessly to quality research assistance. Not automated in any way, ASU Library’s chat service provides live, online support from real library professionals.

3. Explore the Library Guides. Created by ASU subject librarians, the Library Guides offer curated links that can connect you with the best, most up-to-date information related to your subject or topic. These guides are an excellent way to help you get started with your research and can save you time.

4. Do an Online Tutorial. Think of ASU Library’s Online Tutorials as a general user manual on how to cite sources, find articles and use online research databases. These tutorials are a great way to learn citation styles (MLA, APA) or learn how to develop a research question.

5. Ask the Information Desk. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone. If you’re feeling lost, visit any of ASU’s nine library facilities and ask someone at the ASU Library Information Desk. They will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. All you have to do is ask!

Journey on, young grasshopper – and remember, ASU librarians are here to support and guide your success.

Aug 25, 2017 · Events, Exhibits

The work of visual and sound recording artist Tony Obr and the poetry of Tanner Menard will be featured in a First Friday event, to take place from 6-9 p.m., Sept. 1, at the Downtown Phoenix campus Library.

Obr is a friendly face at the Downtown Library, where he has worked since graduating from ASU’s Herberger School with a bachelor’s in fine arts and digital art, which is on exhibit through the end of the Fall 2017 semester in the library’s Vault Gallery.

“A continual investigation lies at the heart of my creative practice,” Obr explains. “An exploration that leads to refinement, the precision distilled from this process that then leads to more exploration. Continual inquiry, questions that lead to more questions, all this drives a creative evolution.

“The process of discovery is more important than the discovery itself, and a truth is revealed through this process. The images in this collection reveal truth through patterns. Patterns observed in both the natural and constructed domains. Patterns of form, but also dynamically evolving patterns of movement and growth. Cloud formations, flocking behavior, rivulet movement, shell growth, as well as imagined cityscapes, urban design and impossible architecture.

“The images here are all algorithmically generated digital patterns that surround us. The work here suggests a study of the dynamic continuum between symmetry and asymmetry that is influenced by an underlying logic. Even within the complex and the asymmetrical there exists patterns beyond the scope of what we can immediately perceive.”

Obr is a musician, sound designer, composer and educator as well as an artist. He often works at the confluence of art, technology and performance, focusing on innovative uses of sound in musical and non-musical contexts.

Obr’s work frequently centers on the development of interactive systems for electronic music performance, dance performance and art installation. He plays live electronics and woodwinds in the performance art, experimental noise and free-improve ensemble Datura. He also plays with saxophonist Keith Kelly in their duo Slender Loris. Since 2013 he has worked as chief sound designer, and has developed interactive sound systems for Grisha Coleman’s echo::system.

As an educator, Obr has taught electronic music and sound design courses at Paradise Community College since 2014. As a composer, he works under the moniker of tsone. His compositions can be characterized as ranging from warm, gauzy, electronic detritus to blasts of impenetrable walls of sound.

Obr’s work has been released on a number of international recording labels, including: Home Normal, txt recordings, Tessellate Recordings, Stereoscenic, Tsuku-Boshi, Audiotalaia, Dark Era Tapes, and Pocket Fields.

Menard, whom Obr met when he was a composer in residence at ASU, is a poet and composer whose current work embodies his mestizo Indigenous and French lineage. Poems are his method of survival, a linguistic medicine of ambiguity which is certain that love prevails. His poetry is the DNA of his queer hybridity, a double helix of gender and identity.

As a composer of experimental music, Menard has been published and anthologized in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan on labels and netlabels such as Full Spectrum Records, Rural Colours, Tokyo Droning, Install, Slow Flow Rec, H.L.M., Archaic Horizon, Kafua Records and Milieu Music. Menard's poetry has been published in The Squawkback and Rabbit and Rose online journals. He currently serves the Snake Band Tribal Councilman for the Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas.

All of Obr’s work on exhibit is for sale as limited edition series of 20 archival pigment prints. For inquiries, please send an email to:, or visit

Many of the images are stills taken from animations. Scanning the QR codes next to the prints in the gallery will take you to a video of an animation associated with it.

The event will be Friday, Sept. 1, from 6-9 pm in the lower level of the University Center building, 411 N. Central Ave, on the Downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.

Aug 14, 2017 ·

As of Aug. 17, the Luhrs Reading Room in Hayden Library will open by appointment only due to the relocation of ASU Library’s distinctive collections to off-site storage.

The change in service is part of the upcoming renovation of Hayden Library.

Materials should be requested at least 3 business days prior to your visit, and unfortunately, the library will not be able to accommodate walk-in patrons who have not made an appointment in advance.

To request materials, please email or call (480) 965-4932. Appointments will be scheduled Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For updates on the Hayden Library renovation, visit