Currently viewing the tag: "Ginn Library"

One of the Ginn Library research librarians, Ellen McDonald, asked members of the faculty to tell her what they have been reading in this snowy winter.  This is not an assignment for students (current or incoming)!  But if you happen to be curious about what they recommend, feel free to peruse the list.

From that page, you can also click through other Ginn Library resources, which will give you insight into what students consider important in their academic work.

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Fletcher’s Ginn Library reference librarian, Ellen McDonald, and I share something in common: we both have had two Fletcher careers.  In Ellen’s case, both careers (separated by a long gap) were in the library.  I asked her to reflect on the amazing change to the library’s role in the sharing of information from her first career to her second.

Libraries are undergoing rapid change and Fletcher’s Ginn Library is no exception.  Thirty years ago, the central feature of the library’s Reference Room was eight sections of 72-drawer catalog cabinets.  Computers were tucked into a small room which contained four boxy terminals.  Students worked at the Reading Room tables or settled into individually assigned study carrels in the stacks.  The on-duty Reference Librarian could be found seated at a centrally located desk with a phone and small ready-reference book collection at hand.  The general rule of library etiquette was QUIET.

Today, Ginn Library looks and feels very different.  While quiet study space continues to be one of the library’s main attractions, Fletcher students today also require collaborative work space.  One of the major features of a Fletcher education is networking: sharing knowledge and the creation of lifetime bonds.  Changes in technology, research, teaching, and learning have created a very different context for the missions of academic libraries.  As scholarship has grown more interdisciplinary, so has the library’s space evolved to facilitate this transition.  Today, Ginn is filled with furniture and spaces that are easily adapted to changing research and study styles.  The lower stacks area is now a group study lounge, equipped with large screens and whiteboards.  The group project areas are abuzz with students interacting, teaching one another in peer-to-peer workshops and collaborating on group assignments.

Information abundance due to mass digitization means that librarians have more work guiding users to the right sources — scholarly content can get lost in the internet flood.  Increasingly, librarians serve as curators of information, determining what to collect, store and deliver…and what not to collect.  With information-on-demand and instant information gratification the rule of the day, googlized students are less likely to need the fact-checking skills of a Reference Librarian.  Increasingly, students and professors turn primarily to Ginn’s librarians for in-depths consultations about research papers, Capstone Projects, internships, dissertations and field work.  Many of these reference transactions have moved from a reference office and phone to an online chat or e-mail.  Some of our GMAP students prefer the technological synthesis of old and new interactions that Skype offers…a digital “face-to-face” meeting.

Ginn Reading RoomThe impact of digital technology pervades most every library function.  The library’s oak catalog disappeared twenty years ago and large portions of the collection have followed it into the virtual world.  The ability to digitally obtain material via interlibrary loans has exploded the physical limitations of the library’s collection.  Ginn has less need to store large runs of journals, as digital libraries and resource-sharing consortia proliferate.  But walk into the Reading Room, and you’ll be transported back in time to Fletcher’s beginnings when the photograph to the right was taken.  Some things will never change.  The walls here still contain the same treaty collections, state papers and legal treatises.  Portraits of former deans still line the walls.  The library as a physical place continues to be a hub of learning and a connection to our past and shared history.  Despite all that has changed over the decades in Ginn Library, visiting alumni will discover a library space that continues on as the heart of the Fletcher School — a place for connection, collaboration and contemplation.

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Sitting in the Admissions Office, it can be difficult to gain real knowledge of all that’s going on at the School.  And whatever I don’t know much about, I usually don’t write about.  So I was lucky that the World Peace Foundation agreed to write a series of blog posts to describe their very interesting work.  Here is the first post, written by Bridget Conley-Zilkic, the WPF Research Director and Assistant Research Professor at Fletcher.  Two more posts will appear on the coming two Wednesdays.

World Peace Foundation

One of the most fragile books on the shelves at Tufts University’s Tisch Library must surely be Jonathon Dymond’s excessively titled piece An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the Principles of Christianity and an Examination of the Philosophical Reasoning by Which It is Defended with Observations on the Causes of War and Some of Its Effects (1834), donated to Tufts Library in 1861.  Its cover is a time-worn blue and gold; its pages have already faded from yellow to light brown.  Is it possible that the founder of the World Peace Foundation (WPF), Edwin Ginn, pulled this same book off the shelves when he was a student at Tufts in 1858-1862?  And would Ginn be proud to know that the foundation he created in support of world peace in 1910 came “home” in a manner of speaking to Tufts University’s The Fletcher School in 2011?  For Ginn was not only a Tufts almnus and trustee, his name also graces the library at The Fletcher School, founded by his donation.

A self-made man and publisher of educational textbooks, Ginn was part of an emerging international movement at the turn of the last century that traced its conceptual roots to Immanuel Kant’s notion of “perpetual peace” based upon a “league of nations.”  While not all were pacifists, many participants in the movement believed that advancing international commerce, democracy, law, and diplomacy would provide the building blocks for a definitive era of global peace.

The WPF was established in lines with this approach for the purpose of:

“…educating the people of all nations to the full knowledge of the waste and destructiveness of war and of preparation for war, its evil effects on present social conditions and on the well-being of future generations, and to promote international justice and the brotherhood of man, and generally by every practical means to promote peace and good will among all mankind.”

A poster from The World Peace Foundation archives.

A poster from The World Peace Foundation archives.

Edwin Ginn died on January 21, 1914.  He did not live to witness the horrors of World War I, let alone those of World War II.  But since his time, two of the three pillars of world peace that he identified have been constructed: inter-state cooperation through the United Nations and other bodies, and mechanisms for the lawful and nonviolent resolution of international disputes.  By contrast, his third goal of disarmament has not been achieved.

Meanwhile, especially in the last half century, the number and intensity of violent conflicts has fallen, and their nature has changed.  Today, war is often pursued by non-state actors, including informal globalized networks, and most violence takes place within countries, with blurred boundaries between armed conflict, crime and the enforcement of government will.  These shifts in the trends of warfare deeply challenge the conceptualization and work of peace; a fact that animates the program of the World Peace Foundation today.

Beginning in 2011, with the move to The Fletcher School, Alex de Waal was brought on board as the executive director, and soon thereafter he hired Bridget Conley-Zilkic as research director and Lisa Avery as administrative assistant.  The WPF today aims to provide intellectual leadership on issues of peace, justice and security.  We believe that innovative research and teaching are critical to the challenges of making peace around the world, and should go hand in hand with advocacy and practical engagement with the toughest issues. As the Foundation enters its second century, our underlying theme is reinventing peace for the globalizing world.

In our next blog essay, learn about our on-going projects.

It is hot hot hot today, but on another day, when a walk outside would be more enjoyable, I’m going to saunter over to the gallery at the Aidekman Arts Center to check out two new exhibits.  The first is The Boston–Jo’burg Connection — interesting art with an interesting back-story.

Rounding out my cultural field trip will be a second exhibit — photographs by university photographers.  Though most of the pix are not closely linked to Fletcher life, I like to imagine that our students get out into the greater community now and then.

If you visit Fletcher this summer, consider leaving a little time to wander around the Tufts campus and check out the Arts Center.  But if you don’t have time to cross campus, you don’t need to go culture-free.  The Fletcher Perspectives exhibit of student photography is conveniently located in Ginn Library.

Perspectives is a student-run organization and it has just emerged from a year’s hiatus.  The photos currently on display represent a variety of styles and locations, including this one from Turkey.

No plans for a visit this summer?  Check out the complete collection online.

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An amusing notice crossed my inbox recently, inviting the community to a Social Hour at 5:30 today in the Ginn Library.  The weekly Social Hours are a time when students, along with faculty and staff, come together for a little eating and drinking, and a lot of conversation.  (Prospective students can join in following the Admissions Information Sessions each Thursday, starting next week.)  Most of the Social Hours take place in the Hall of Flags, which already makes the Ginn Library venue a little unusual.  But the invitation goes further, inviting us to break (almost) all the library’s usual rules.  According to the notice, Ginn — staffed by librarians and tech experts who usually endeavor to maintain library decorum — will,  for one hour, be the site of:

Food!
Brazilian BBQ from Oasis Brazilian

Drink!
Ca$h Bar

Swag!
From representatives of Tufts organizations (GIS, Tufts Online, Scholarly Communications, ESTS, etc.)

Exhibitionism!
Beatles Rock Band

Gambling!
iPod Shuffle and other prizes raffled amongst rockers (see above)!

With food, drink, swag, exhibitionism, and gambling in Ginn Library, the message is clear:  for one hour this week, community trumps research and assignments.

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