10 Years After Katrina: Commemorating Libraries and Librarians

Reblogging Title and Excerpt from American Libraries

August 29 marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast and became the costliest—and one of the deadliest—natural disasters in US history. Over recent weeks, stories have been recounting the damage to structures, institutions, families, and communities; offering tribute to the people lost; and showing how far we’ve come and how far we have left to go toward recovering local economies and populations, improving government services, and healing.

Jefferson Parish (La.) Library’s (JPL) Grand Isle branch (left) destroyed after Hurricane Katrina, and the newly rebuilt Grand Isle Library (right) that opened in 2012. JPL was one of the library systems the State Library of Louisiana communicated with following the storm. Photos: Jefferson Parish Library
In this six-part series, American Libraries looks back at the stories of libraries and librarians in the 10 years since Katrina.

Read the entire series at American Libraries. Also, the HVAC system at the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library was only finished being repaired this month after ten years of using a temporary system.  Read about the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library’s recovery.


Upcoming Free Workshops & Webinars

By: Natasha Crespo

The fall term is kicking into gear and hopefully all new and returning students, staff, and faculty are as well. We’ve been waiting for it and have free workshops and webinars (for those of you unable to come to campus) available to teach you new skills or update your existing ones.

Check out workshops for Prezi (and other dynamic presentation tools), learn how to do an advanced web search and use Google Scholar, create your e-portfolio and a website, and learn to use Zotero for making bibliographies and in-text citations easier.

Upcoming September workshops:

Workshop Date Time Location (Room) Campus
Advanced web search, Google Scholar 09/14/2015 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Crown 111 Main
Zotero 09/15/2015 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Crown 111 Main
E-portfolio tools, Google Sites 09/16/2015 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Crown 111 Main
E-portfolio tools, Google Sites (webinar) 09/16/2015 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Virtual Session Virtual Session
Prezi 09/17/2015 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Crown 111 Main


This workshop covers the basics of setting up an account and using an interactive template to create your first Prezi presentation. No prior experience is necessary for this workshop.

Advanced web search and Google Scholar:

This covers how to use Google’s advanced search features, Google Scholar, and Google Books to find the information you need from reliable web sites.  Learn how Google works, about the filter bubble, and alternative search engines.

Google sites and other e-portfolio tools:

Graduation requirement or not, e-portfolios are a tool to highlight your work and help land that first job.  This workshop will get you started creating a Google Sites e-portfolio and introduce several other free e-portfolio builders.

Zotero – Citation management tool:

Save all your sources–books, articles, and web sites–in one place and automatically create bibliographies and in-text citations using a tool that lives in your web browser. Add anything you’re viewing with one click.

Please register at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled research workshop/webinar and be on time.


There will be workshops and a webinar offered in October as well.

Workshop Date Time Location (Room) Campus
Zotero 10/12/2015 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Crown 111 Main
Advanced web search, Google Scholar 10/13/2015 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Crown 111 Main
Prezi 10/14/2015 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Crown 111 Main
Zotero (webinar) 10/14/2015 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Virtual Session Virtual Session
E-portfolio tools, Google Sites 10/15/2015 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Crown 111 Main

We Have Family in Iraq: Letters from Dominican Sisters in Iraq during ISIS offensive, 2014

It has been just over a year since ISIS took hold of Mosul, Iraq and surrounding cities, forcing thousands, including The Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena – Iraq, to flee to neighboring cities.  In a series of letters to the greater Dominican family, Sister Maria Hanna, O.P. describes the fighting, the exodus, ISIS’s takeover of the convents, the plight of the refugees, and the conditions in the displaced persons camps one year later.

You can read the letters in Constellation, our online repository of scholarship.  They were first published online by Sinsinawa Dominicans, Inc.  We present them as a reminder of the hardships the Sisters, Christians, other minorities, and all Iraqi citizens endured during the ISIS offensive, as a celebration of the charity and love shown by the Sisters, and as a call to always keep our Sisters and those they serve in our thoughts.

Below are excerpts from the letters, and a movie of the Sisters talking about the ISIS takeover.

“Some parts of Iraq are controlled by the government and others are not. We are – like the rest of our people – unable to understand what is really happening. But we know for sure that this situation is not leading to any common good. There are many political groups and sects, however peace and prosperity of the country as a whole is not in their agenda.”   June 23, 2014, as ISIS began its offensive

“Our exodus started at 11:30 pm, and before that we decided to pray and have the Holy Communion so that if the ISIS entered the house, it will not be defiled. But on the last minute, we decided to leave one piece in the tabernacle praying it will protect the house and the town.
When we arrived to the intersession of Mosul-Erbil, we were shocked to see a huge mess of cars driving very chaotically to Erbil. The view was beyond describing, as words cannot fully capture it. Men, pregnant women, children, handicaps and elderly were moving toward Erbil. There were Christians, Muslims Shiites, Yezeds and Shabak; some people were on foot, some were riding trunks of pick-up, lorry trunks, and motorcycles.”  August 8, 2014, as the Sisters were forced to flee to Erbil

“Despite the loss and pain our community is experiencing, we rejoice in the reality that our sisters have decisively chosen to live life, never letting despair extinguish the light within them, and in the midst of overwhelming hardship, two sisters renewed their vows yesterday evening and two postulants received the habit, becoming novices.
It was a day where the contradictions of life and death converged; we witnessed simultaneously death and resurrection. This was a sign of hope and God’s presence among us, and it gave us courage to continue our journey with our people who are still displaced, weakened, and impoverished.”  September 9, 2014, as the Sisters were reunited in Erbil and Ankawa

Constellation Is Back and It’s Better

, Dominican’s online repository of scholarship, is back.  And, it’s better.  Though it never really went away, it has received a facelift, has more functionality and includes many new items.  The previous instance of Constellation has been decommissioned and all content migrated.

New items include the masters’ theses from students who, in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, studied at Villa Schifanoia, an Italian estate, and publications on the history of the Dominican order from the Mary Nona McGreal OP Center for Dominican Historical Studies.

Constellation is still a consortial repository, allowing Dominican to partner with other institutions in LIBRAS to share knowledge and resources and ensure that the great research done at our liberal arts schools is preserved and shared.

This revitalization of Constellation comes in conjunction with a change in title and responsibilities for me.  I am now the Scholarly Communication and Digital Initiatives Librarian and will devote most of my time to Constellation and other online collections, and to working with faculty, students and staff on publishing, copyright and open access.

Look for more posts about the repository and scholarly communication, and feel free to ask me any questions:
Caroline Sietmann

What is the song of Summer 2015

As the summer is winding down, many new songs have entered into the scene and some have gained massive popularity.  Each year, there is that one song that defines the summer.  In 1992, it was Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back and 1998, Brandy and Monica collaborated to bring the massively successful hit, The Boy Is Mine.  The first summer in the new millennium brought music lovers Bent by Matchbox Twenty.  And, perhaps one of the most important summers in recent memory, Summer 2003 introduced the world to Beyonce Knowles as a solo artist with her hit, Crazy In Love. As summer 2015 comes to a close, we’d love to hear what everyone thinks the summer song for 2015 should be.