New library programs expand Burke’s role on the Hill

By Katharine Fuzesi ’17

For hundreds of years, libraries have served as more than book storage units. In many ways, they are intellectual hubs, facilitating and inspiring the diffusion and growth of knowledge. Burke Library’s  new fall programming seeks to continue that tradition of teaching and inspiring community members.

One of Burke’s newest programs, Apple & Quill, is spearheaded by Director of Research and Instruction Services Lisa Forrest.  Apple & Quill is a creative arts series held in the newly renovated first floor of Burke. While the series exclusively features creative writers this semester, the program will play host to a variety of media including music and visual arts/

This fall, the series has invited four faculty-student duos to read their creative pieces.

After the first event, which took place on Sept. 11, Research and Outreach Librarian Kristin Strohmeyer and Forrest were pleased with the energy and spontaneous atmosphere created by the event.

At a basic level, the program hopes to bring community members into the library and to make use of the new first floor space.   Forrest also hopes the series will help Hamilton community members make connections and foster creativity.

The series will be recorded for future teaching and resource opportunities with the help of Hamilton’s Digital Humanities Initiative and audiovisual services.

A unique feature of the program is that following the readings, students are encouraged to participate in open-mic opportunities.  During these segments, members of the student body can share their own original pieces of writing.

Many students, including Sarah Sgro ’14, are very enthusiastic about this experience.  Before sharing her poetry and flash fiction during Wednesday’s open-mic, Sgro said, “I’m excited to see how my work coalesces verbally… I’m also just really excited to read with Tina because she’s my advisor and because I really admire her work.”

The next event, featuring Professor of English and Creatie Writing Doran Larson and Emma Laperruque ’14, will take place on Nov. 13.

Another new program hoping to draw student interest is Briefly@Burke, which reimagines the librarian workshop. Strohmeyer emphasizes that all sessions are 30 minutes or shorter and focus on pertinent and practical issues students face. Held Sundays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., the workshops essentially answer some of the most frequently asked questions relating to libraries and research at Hamilton. This Sunday, Oct. 13, Briefly@Burke  addresses the topic: “Do we own this? How to figure out what the library owns or has access to.”

Burke has also established the Your Personal Librarian Program to give underclassmen who have not yet been assigned a librarian a contact with whom they are comfortable enough to ask for answers and resources.

All of these new programs stem from the idea that a library and librarians should be more than “at your disposal.”  Burke’s new mission statement is “To create an information-rich environment that encourages intellectual exploration and empowers students to engage with and create knowledge and make informed decisions.”

It is clear that all of this new programming arises from the desire to make students aware of the resources available to them and to integrate the library into the larger Hamilton community.


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