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July 27, 2011

What is in Special Collections? Information Studies Resources

The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives features several robust Information Studies resources.

One of the highlights is the Miriam Snow Mathes Historical Children's Literature Collection, which includes over 12,000 children's books and periodicals published in the 19th century and up to 1960. The central purpose of the Mathes Collection is to provide the texts of works that are generally no longer available in children's library collections today–and to make them available for historical, literary and cultural study and consultation by scholars, students, teachers, librarians and the interested public. There is an especially strong concentration on neglected and forgotten works published in the United States, 1875–1950. The Mathes Collection is named for Miriam Snow Mathes, Class of '26, who had a continuing interest in the Historical Children's Literature Collection. Within the collection, researchers will find series, adaptations and retellings of classic literature, historical fiction, biography and biographical fiction, stories depicting ethnic, racial and religious minorities, fantasy and stories of travel and people of other lands.

University at Albany records offer another source of materials for scholars in this subject area. Special Collections and Archives houses the records of the office of the director of the University Libraries and the School of Information Science and Policy. The director’s records begin in 1916, the year the first professionally trained librarian began working for the school. The bulk of the collection dates, however, from after 1962, when the school became the State University of New York at Albany and resources began to be made available to dramatically expand staffing and collections. The School of Information Science and Policy records document the administrative, curricular, and social activities of the institution from its establishment as a one year undergraduate school for librarians in 1926 through its merger with the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy as a graduate school for information professionals in 1986.

In addition, Special Collections holds the personal papers of individuals who served as librarians including the Marcia Brown Papers, Jennie D. Lindquist Papers, and Sabra W. Vought Papers.

Sample documents within all of these collections include:

This is only a sampling of what is available in Special Collections. For more information, call (518) 437-3945 or use their online contact form.

Special thanks to Jodi Boyle for compiling the information and images. All images are the property of the University at Albany Special Collections and Archives Department and may not be reused without permission from the Department.

July 25, 2011

Researching the National Debt and Raising the Debt Ceiling

You may have heard a lot of talk in the media recently about the U.S. debt ceiling and the political wrangling going on in Washington D.C. over this topic. So what is the debt ceiling? Where did it come from, what is it for, and who controls or sets it? These questions as well as specific information about the latest debt crisis can be found below, along with some great resources on this topic within and outside of the University Libraries.

The United States Constitution allows Congress to borrow money on the credit of the United States. In the early years of our country Congress would authorize each individual debt issuance separately which made for a rather cumbersome and time consuming process. As World War I rolled around Congress needed more flexibility in issuing debt to respond to the increased involvement in the war. The Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 created a limit or “ceiling��? to the total amount of bonds that could be issued. In 1939 an aggregate limit was applied to all federal debt allowing the Treasury to issue debt needed to fund government operations as long as it did not exceed the stated limit. The most recent increase in the debt ceiling was made in February of 2010, it set the limit to $14.294 trillion.

You may be asking why this has everyone in Washington so nervous. The problem is that in July of 2011 the U.S. was set to reach and exceed the stated debt limit. This could be a crippling problem for the United States, most importantly because it would not allow the government to fulfill all of its financial obligations which would be a serious issue for the nation. There are ways in which the government could pay its federal debt; these include raising taxes, coining money, and selling federal assets.

Much of the debate is over whether or not to increase the federal debt ceiling and if there is a way or ways to avoid such actions. Both parties in Washington have supplied ideas on how to fix this latest debt ceiling issue, both with their pros and cons. One of the ways to limit debt increase is to cut sending but some argue that this would damage vital services around the country and the world, permanently damaging the reputation and economy of the United States. Not increasing the debt ceiling could cause irreparable damage to U.S. creditor ship around the world and would be disastrous to our economy as a whole.

Check out a few of these articles and websites related to the recent debate over the debt crisis in the U.S.

Also here are a few resources here at the University Libraries that can help you understand the debt ceiling and the debate surrounding it.

  • Public Debt and Economic Growth by Alfred Greiner and Bettina Fincke (DEWEY HJ 8015 G745X 2009)

  • One Nation Under Debt: Hamilton, Jefferson, and the History of What We Owe by Robert E. Wright (DEWEY HJ 8106 W75 2008)

  • The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process by Allen Schick (DEWEY HJ 2051 S3424 2007)

  • Government at Risk: Contingent Liabilities and Fiscal Risk edited by Hana Polackova Brixi and Allen Schick (DEWEY HJ 192.5 G68 2002)

I hope we have helped to clarify some questions about this hot button issue; it affects all of our lives so it is important to be aware of the facts and the debate. Browse some of these items and if you have any further question or need a recommendation for further reading you can contact the bibliographer for Political Science, Public Administration & Policy, and Law, Richard Irving. You can email him at rirving@uamail.albany.edu or call him at (518) 442-3698, he will be happy to answer any and all of your questions in this regard.

Blog post created by Benjamin Knowles

July 22, 2011

Timely Titles in Criminal Justice Reference

Here at the Dewey Library we try and have the most up to date reference collection for use by the campus community. Every once in a while we try to highlight a few of the newest books in our collection to make sure students, faculty and staff are aware of the fresh material available to them at the library. Criminal justice students may be interested in these new additions to the reference collection. Here are the books, along with their location in the library, and a brief synopsis to make it easier to decide which to use first!

New York Code of Criminal Justice: A Practical Guide by Kenneth Del Vecchio, Heather Byrne, and Mohamed H. Nabulsi. (DEWEY REF KFN 6100 A3 2009)
This publication serves to clarify New York’s criminal statutes, and assist those trying to apply these statutes in the real world. This book is designed to be used by all types of criminal justice practitioners from students all the way up to lawyers and judges. In short it is designed to transform the penal codes to be understandable as well as educational, and hopefully even interesting.

Public Safety and Law Enforcement by A.S. Forbes (DEWEY REF HV9950 F65 2010)
This book is part of the “Filed Guides to Finding a Career��? series and is designed to outline various public safety careers. The book is broken down into specific careers and each chapter explains the career and the necessary training as well as expertise necessary to gain employment in the given career. Each chapter follows this same format and employs helpful diagrams and pictures to make sure the career is explained thoroughly.

Prentice Hall's Dictionary of American Criminal Justice, Criminology, and Criminal Law by David N. Falcone (DEWEY REF KF 9223 A68 F35 2010)
This dictionary was created to encompass all relevant words and phrases related to the study of criminal justice. Though the dictionary was designed for criminal justice students specifically, it is also accessible enough for practitioners as well as lay persons. The reference book also contains a list of major criminal appellate cases as well as brief biographical segments about the U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

Encyclopedia of Victimology and Crime Prevention edited by Bonnie S. Fisher and Steven P. Lab (DEWEY REF HV 6250.3 U5 E55 2010 V. 1 and V. 2)
This encyclopedia is dedicated to the study of victimology and crime prevention specifically in how these two relate to criminal law. The encyclopedia offers a Reader’s Guide to help navigate the numerous heading and subjects contained within the two volumes of this work. Entries are broken up in to anchor essays and headword entries, the essays drawing out a topic with the headword entries condensing much of the information known about a specific topic.

These four books represent some of the newest items we own at the Dewey Library in the area of Criminal Justice. They are certainly not all of the new materials, but they give a broad look at some key areas in the field as a whole. If you have any other questions about new materials or simply want a recommendation for further reading make sure to contact the Criminal Justice Bibliographer, Mary Jane Brustman. Her office is located on the Uptown Campus, her email address is mbrustman@uamail.albany.edu and her phone number is (518) 442-3540, do not hesitate to contact her with any questions or comments.

Blog post created by Benjamin Knowles

July 18, 2011

Dealing with Rejection

Guest Blogger Katie Farrell provides us her thoughts on the job search process. Check out her previous posts regarding staying sane while searching for jobs and navigating the job interview process, and turning down a job offer .

If you’re looking for a job, chances are you’ve dealt with rejection. Whether you scored an interview and thought you nailed it or received a generic rejection letter with no interview, rejection can be difficult to deal with especially if it keeps happening over several months. Since December, I’ve dealt with my share of rejection and although it hurts every time, there are things that make it more bearable. Here are some tips when it comes to dealing with rejection and moving on.

1.) Give yourself fifteen minutes: When you first hear the news, it’s okay to freak out. Cry, scream, throw things (but don’t break anything valuable), or do whatever you need to do to get out those emotions. But only do it for fifteen minutes. Rejection is hard and it’s not good to keep all of your angst bottled up inside. If you give yourself fifteen minutes to just feel really upset about things, chances are, you’ll feel a lot better when that time is up.

2.) Talk to someone: Talk about how you feel with someone you trust and know won’t judge you. Sometimes you just need someone to listen to you when you’re upset. Pick someone who will make you feel better about yourself and remind you of your good qualities. Just make sure you talk to these people after your fifteen minutes of freaking out are over.

3.) Treat yourself: Whether it’s buying a delicious cupcake or watching your favorite movie, treat yourself to something small that will make you feel better. Applying for jobs is hard work and although you didn’t get the job, you still need to reward yourself for the effort.

4.) Exercise: Now that you’ve indulged yourself, it’s time to get moving! For me, a good run is a great way to burn off some steam and clear my head. Studies have shown that exercise helps decrease stress and rejection is pretty stressful. Do whatever kind of exercise you like. If exercising is too intimidating, go out for a walk and clear your head. Trust me, you’ll feel much better when you do.

5.) You’re not alone: This may sound terrible but I feel a little better knowing that I’m not the only one struggling to find a job. It reminds me that it’s not because I’m an unattractive job candidate, it’s just that there are so many applicants for every open position. Knowing this helps me put things in perspective and reminds me that there are a lot of smart and talented people that deserve jobs out there; there just aren’t enough jobs.

6.) Move on: It’s especially hard to move on if you were convinced you would be offered the job and then were told that they had chosen someone else. It may feel like you hit a plateau and have no more energy to keep applying. If this is the case, give yourself a day to reflect and come to terms with the rejection but after that, you have to keep going! Rework your cover letter, look over your resume again, and start searching for more jobs. It’s okay to feel upset when you’re rejected, just don’t let it consume you.

Rejection is the hardest part of the job search but it happens to everyone. Just remember that you’re not alone. Keep applying and good luck!

July 13, 2011

What is in Special Collections? Social Welfare Resources

The Libraries' Special Collections Department has a wide variety of resources that may be of interest to social welfare researchers. Here are brief summaries of some of the more relevant archives:

Records, 1941–2002, 9 cubic ft. (APAP–129)
The Capital Area Council of Churches (CACC) was founded in 1941. The majority of records in this collection are board minutes (with organizational constitutions, Director's Reports, and some committee minutes) reports, newsletters, administrative files, subject files, and some correspondence. There is also a collection of clippings from local newspapers. Meeting minutes and other documents show the origins of this organization. Many of the records show the degree to which the organization was concerned and involved with issues and events of local, national and international concern including World War II, the anti-Communist fervor, the Civil Rights Movement, the Abortion debate, the evolution of the State University of New York system, urban blight, and fair housing.

Sample records:
A photograph depicting the bestowing of the 1947 annual Christian Citizenship Awards from the Capital Area Council of Churches. The organization selected the awardees, including Mary Ellen Tellian (second from left), a student at the New York State College for Teachers (now the University at Albany, SUNY), for their leadership, community service, and inter-church activities.

An undated brochure from the Capital Area Council of Churches describing the organization's mission and member services.

Records, 1879-2001 (APAP-131)
The Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS) was formed in 1960 as a statewide network of community based Mental Health Associations. MHANYS is an affiliate of the National Mental Health Association. The purposes of MHANYS are to promote mental health, to improve care and treatment of persons with mental disabilities, and to help prevent mental illness. MHANYS seeks to fulfill these goals through public education and citizen advocacy. The collection includes records of MHANYS's predecessor organizations, board files, administrative files, publications, project files, and related material.

Sample records
The summer 1996 issue of the Families Together! newsletter. Designed for families with children with special emotional, social, and behavioral needs, it was published by the Parent Support Network, a project of the Mental Health Association in New York State.

A 1999 photograph of a rally on the New York State Capitol steps in Albany for increased mental health services.

Records, 1928-2000, 10 cubic ft. (APAP-126)
The New York Public Welfare Association, founded in 1870, is a non-profit organization acting as an agency of the public welfare districts of the state in order to establish ways for obtaining the most economical and efficient administration of public assistance. To achieve this goal, the New York Public Welfare Association studies issues of public welfare administration, provides its members with an opportunity to exchange ideas and to benefit by the advice of experts in the field and suggests and develops better ways of providing for those individuals who need public welfare services. From the 1930s through the 1990s, committee meetings were always a focal point and numerous correspondence, minutes of meetings and meeting agendas are maintained which clearly illustrate the evolving nature of public welfare in New York State. The annual conference was crucial to the success of the organization for it allowed public welfare officials the opportunity to meet, share ideas, and collaborate collectively on important issues. As the 1960s and 1970s progressed, issues such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security were often discussed in correspondence, meetings, and agendas. In the 1980s and 1990s, correspondence, meetings, and agendas often reflected such topics as welfare fraud, managed care, child support, and related issues.

Sample record:
The New York Public Welfare Association's Medical Assistance Committee's 1992 annual report highlighting its work on long-term care, trust laws, and the issue of Medicaid cost containment.

(more collections after the break...)

Records, 1970–1974, 1981–1985, 1991, .17 cubic ft. (APAP–096)
The records primarily document the organization's history in the early 1970s and the early 1980s. The organization's founding is well documented by meeting minutes, correspondence, and the group's constitution and by–laws. The most complete documentation of the organization is during the early 1970s. The collection includes sporadic coverage of membership lists, legislative issues of interest to the organization, and programs organized by the group. The collection also includes single copies of the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) newsletter, the NABSW newsletter, and Black Caucus the Journal of the National Association of Black Social Workers.

Records, 1974-2001, 14.05 cubic ft. (APAP-111)
The New York StateWide Senior Action Council records document the issues faced by senior citizens in New York State over the course of almost three decades. The bulk of the records consist of subject files in the areas of health care, Medicare, and social security issues. In addition to topical material, these records document the fundraising activities of the organization and its various sub-groups. Notably included are publications issued by the organization, including the Sentinel newsletter (1992-1996) and the Senior Action newspaper (1977-1991). The bulk of the material, found in the subject files, is useful for documenting issues about which NYSSAC was active. NYSSAC's work with New York state legislators, as well as government and private agencies in advocating for seniors and social justice issues, and their outreach efforts in education and advocacy, are well documented throughout the collection. Records of the activities of Executive Directors Michael Burgess and Bonnie Ray are the most prominent in the collection.

Blog post provided by Brian Keough and Jodi Boyle. All images courtesy of M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives

July 11, 2011

Researching Disaster Relief Services

In recent months the United States has seen some of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history. Most notable are the floods that plague North Dakota, and the tornado that has caused serious damage in Joplin, Missouri. The flooding in North Dakota has caused over 10,000 people to be evacuated from their homes and has left relief workers scrambling to save what is left of the towns affected. The tornado in Joplin Missouri has caused the deaths of over 116 people making it the most deadly tornado in Missouri history. These disasters highlight the need to be well informed on natural disasters and what can be done to prepare, manage, and rebuild in response to these events.

The need for social services in the aftermath of a disaster is vitally important, but those of us unaffected by the disaster only see news reports concerned with the damage and the death toll. Often outsiders are caught up in the media blitz after a disaster, and requests for financial help. This does not mean that there is no need to highlight social services and their role in disaster relief, rather outside observers should become aware of the need for these services and how they impact the lives of those directly affected by natural disasters. Below is a list of UAlbany resources and outside resources related to disaster relief. Use these resources to get a broader perspective on the role of social services, especially related to natural disasters.

Journals We Subscribe to (check Minerva for print and online access):

  • Disaster Prevention and Management

  • Disasters

  • Disasters, Preparedness and Mitigation in the Americas

Books at the Dewey Library:

  • When Their World Falls Apart : Helping Families and Children Manage the Effects of Disasters by Lawrence B. Rosenfeld (Dewey Library / HV 553 W48 2010)

  • Helping Families and Communities Recover from Disaster : Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina and its Aftermath edited by Ryan P. Kilmer (Dewey Library / HV 551.4 G85 H45 2010)

  • Creating Spiritual and Psychological Resilience : Integrating Care in Disaster Relief Work edited by Grant H. Brenner, Daniel H. Bush, Joshua Moses (Dewey Library / HV 553 C74 2010)

  • Disasters and Public Health: Planning and Responseby Bruce W. Clements (Dewey Library / RA 645.5 C527 2009)

  • Disasters and Democracy: The Politics of Extreme Natural Events by Rutherford H. Platt (Dewey Library / HV 555 U6 P53 1999)
  • Disaster Relief Blogs:

    If you have any further questions about disaster relief services or any other social welfare topic, contact Elaine M. Lasda Bergman, Social Welfare Bibliographer at: (518) 442-3695 or ebergman@uamail.albany.edu.

    Blog post created by Benjamin Knowles

July 7, 2011

It’s Okay to Say No

Guest Blogger Katie Farrell provides us her thoughts on the job search process. Check out her previous posts regarding staying sane while searching for jobs and navigating the job interview process.

In today’s competitive job market and unrelenting recession it doesn’t seem like a good idea to reject a job offer. But that’s exactly what I did a couple months ago and I’m here to tell you that sometimes it’s better to say no.

I did not have the experience this particular employer was looking for and was very surprised when they called me for an interview. Not sure of what the job was (I apply for so many jobs sometimes I forget individual job descriptions), I looked at the job description again and my heart sank. The job itself seemed like a terrible fit for me and I did not have the specific qualifications they wanted. The closer the interview was, the more I was convinced I would crash and burn. And crash and burn I did (or so I thought).

I admit I went into the interview with negative thoughts, so I was already biased but when I was actually at the interview, I didn’t have a good connection with the interviewers and the feeling in my gut only became worse. When they asked me specifics about my qualifications, I felt uncomfortable because it was very obvious to me I did not have what they were looking for. However, I plodded along with my answers, feeling more uneasy with every response. Those were some of the longest 40 minutes of my life.

When I left the interview, I felt defeated, not because I knew I blew a great opportunity but because I felt like I did a bad job and even though the position was not one I was interested in, I still wanted to make a good impression. I was convinced I wouldn’t get the job but told myself that if for some odd reason they offered it to me, I would decline the offer (but I was completely convinced I wouldn’t have to deal with this situation). I’d like to also point out that this job was not only a bad fit for me but it only lasted a year and a half and required me to move 4 hours away to a significantly smaller city.

Surprisingly, they called me the next day. I had my speech all planned for when they told me they had selected another candidate. However, that is not what I heard on the phone. They were making me an offer! My head started spinning and I could barely hear what was happening. Here, someone on the other end of my phone was offering me something that I had wanted for so long, a full-time job with a paycheck. All I had to do was say yes and my goal at finding employment would have been met. It would have been so easy to say yes but I knew in my gut that I couldn’t accept this offer. There were so many reasons that I couldn’t accept this job but the one I relied on the most was this overwhelming feeling that told me not to take the job. I was once told by someone that if you are ever in a position where you must decline an offer, just say, “Thank you for the opportunity but this just isn’t a good fit for me.��? And that is exactly what I said. It wasn’t offensive, it didn’t go into detail, but it got my point across and I’m so thankful I heard that advice. I later wrote them a formal thank you letter, never explaining why I didn’t take the job, just reiterating the fact that I was thankful for the opportunity and it was a very difficult decision to make.

At first I questioned my decision. Why would I not take the only job I was offered after months of searching? It felt backward and some days I was convinced I would never get another job offer again. But when I pictured myself at that job, I knew I had made the right decision. I know not everyone can afford to decline a job offer but if your gut is telling you no and you can wait a little longer, then declining the offer may be a good idea. Now that I’ve had more time to reflect, I am positive that I made the right decision and want to let everyone know that sometimes saying no is the best solution.

Blog post created by Katie Farrell