Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Elsevier and the University of California

Our University of California (UC) colleagues (and their students) are shouldering a tremendous burden on our behalf as they stand up to Elsevier. What may be less apparent is why their opposition is so important. In recent decades through mergers, acquisitions, and a rebranding of their business strategies, Elsevier has increased their control over scholarship by offering products, services, and data to governments, funders, higher ed institutions, learned societies, libraries, multilateral agencies, and ranking agencies. This has resulted in substantial dependence on Elsevier to extract and analyze data, and to determine what counts as prestigious and of high-quality. This is the domain of scholars (who provide our time, labor, and monies) yet Elsevier (and other publishers) are often seen as authorities of quality. Elsevier’s recent profit margins rest comfortably at or above 30which come at the expense of library book budgets and learned societies. Scholars must work collectively to limit corporate authority (in prestige and pricing) given the damage to research integrity and financial sustainability for universities, libraries, and students (e.g., textbooks). (See the Armacost Library Manifesto; additional citations available upon request.) 

As responsible stewards, Library faculty have resisted Big Deals, defended patron privacy, developed an open-access repository, and begun to discuss how to challenge this emerging model of business. (See the Armacost Library Manifesto.) With the support of our new Associate Provost and Director, we ask that you join us in support of our UC colleagues to rebalance power in the circulation of our own scholarly communications. 
  • Upload your scholarship and creative work to Our House in InSPIRe, as permitted by your contracts 
  • Support libraries as they negotiate fair contracts; back them up when negotiations fail. 
  • Support mission-driven, academic-led publishers with your content 
  • Support mission-driven, academic-led publishing with your labor. 
  • Support mission-driven, academic-led initiatives by committing funds. 


Les Canterbury 
Lua Gregory 
Shana Higgins 
Bill Kennedy 
Janelle Julagay 
Paige Mann 
Sanjeet Mann 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

You like free?

October 21-27, 2019 is Open Access (OA) Week!

You see open access (OA) and open educational resources (OER) everywhere...

Screenshot of Primo's search results showing a search filter for open access (OA) and a search result that is OA

 Visual link to How Do I? questions and answers about open access (OA) and open educational resources (OER)

Visual link to the Faculty Guide to OER

Do you like free? Well, when a scholarly article or book is made freely available online for anyone to use, that scholarly item is considered to be open access (OA). When something is OA, that means that it's free to use and free of most restrictions that prevent its use. Since the vast majority of scholarly article publishing is authored and paid for by universities, many scholars want to see their scholarship free for anyone to use. Many educators also want OA since that makes it easier to get information to their students.

Do you like free textbooks? Well, when textbooks, videos, and other educational material are made freely available for anyone to use, those items are called open educational resources (OER). If you'd like to learn more, join us in Larsen 222 on Monday, October 21 at 12:30pm to learn how liberal arts institutions like the University of Redlands are making OER happen on their campuses. Current students, faculty, and administrators are invited!

This year, faculty have an opportunity to apply for a grant to support the use of OER.

If you have any questions, please call 909-748-8022 or email library [at] redlands [dot] edu.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

National Friends of the Library Week

The inner workings of libraries can be mysterious. This is no accident. Librarians and library staff work hard to make most of our processes invisible to the communities we serve in order to make the experience of using the library's services and resources smooth and seamless. While we at Armacost strive to continue to maintain that mystery, we also want to be sure to acknowledge community members who help us do our best work.

One of the most discreet forces behind the functionality and progressiveness of libraries is an organization created to support and oversee the continuation of the library’s services to the community. Most county, special collections, and city libraries fondly know them as the Friends of the Library. With monthly meetings that are sometimes open to the public, the Friends of the Library work hard to oversee the collection at the library, generate funds through book sales and other events, and can help to better the library’s global and social presence and involvement.

For academic libraries, such as the Armacost Library here at the University of Redlands, there is an advisory board composed of the Director of the Library, faculty, students, and other members of the university community. The responsibility of discussing what direction the library is going in and making plans to better the overall environment and goals of the library are left to this capable council of members. Sometimes, they decide where the art of the library will go and whose art ought to be hung on the walls. Other times, they advise staff on updates to hours or circulation policies.

For example, in the past, the Library Advisory Board for the Armacost Library gave valuable input when the library discussed renovating the learning commons. They also advised on the Armacost Community Agreement and various job descriptions for the staff currently working at the library. They, not only, impact the structure of the library, but also create future opportunities for the community it serves. Their input d​uring the migration to our current Integrated Library System (aka: the library catalog) was especially important.

Although the Library Advisory Board hasn’t been active for a while due to shifts in the library, Annie Downey, current Associate Provost and Director of the A​rmacost Library and Learning Commons, is planning to reconvene the Board this academic year and looks forward to working with this group of UofR community members who are “dedicated to the library” and she hopes to do many more projects with them. Current Librarians also note that they create a connection with the library and campus. Also, there are members of the library community interested in leading them into furthering their goals for the Armacost Library and the University of Redlands.

Whether it is at a public, special, or academic library, those who support, protect, and better the use of the library for their community will always be those who raise awareness for their cause. The mission of the Armacost Library include providing services to all walks of life on campus and beyond. 

Conveniently, the Armacost Library is open to the public due to the government documents available on the 4th floor of the building. However, a non-Redlands faculty member, student, or staff member are required to have library cards to check out the information. Accessing the library and viewing the documents require nothing but a curious mind.

So, come and witness the hard work that the Library's Advisory Board, Librarians, Library Staff, and Student Library Clerks put in to make this dream work.

Monday, October 07, 2019

What Is A Seminary Library?

Graduate School of Theology (GST) students on Redlands’ Marin Campus in San Anselmo, CA  need a wide range of resources to support their research, work, and ministries. From ordination exam study guides to spiritual direction handbooks, the collection at the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) Library is not a typical library collection because the students here at the seminary are not your typical students.

Not everyone graduates to get behind the pulpit. Instead, they channel their passion into chaplaincy, education, or in establishing non-profits or grassroots campaigns. Students often research, address, and speak out about traumas or problems they’ve witnessed in their communities. They want the academic background for designing solutions and healing processes. As their librarian, I’m proud to be a sounding board for their research topics and to introduce them to the variety of sources they can synthesize into innovative dissertations and projects.

One reason many students choose this graduate institution over others is the freedom to take a panoply of courses from all the member centers and schools of the Graduate Theological Union. These seminaries and centers merged their libraries to create one of the largest, most diversified theological libraries on the West Coast, the Graduate Theological Union Library. The San Francisco Theological Seminary library is a branch of this library, which means that all physical and electronic resources are shared between the libraries and their patrons. Moreover, Graduate School of Theology students get free walk-in access to the UC Berkeley libraries.

Studying amidst castles seems like a fantasy, but it’s daily life for the students here on campus. They enjoy views of the Hogwarts-like seminary buildings and Mt. Tamalpais as they roam the library’s halls and the labyrinth outside the library. Geneva Hall houses not only the library, but also one of the chapels, faculty offices, and a few classrooms. Functionally and geographically, the building is at the heart of the campus.

If library smells are dear to your heart, the book smell here will make you especially happy. There is a rich archival collection housed here, featuring artifacts, missionaries’ diaries, and rare books.

If you have questions about the library or find yourself researching an advanced religious or theological topic, please call, email, visit, or chat.

-Stephanie Miller
Branch Librarian
Graduate School of Theology - Marin Campus; home of the San Francisco Theological Seminary