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The UMass Amherst Libraries Mission Statement

Mission Statement

Mission Statement

As a gateway to knowledge, the Libraries are a key partner in teaching, learning, and research at UMass Amherst. Supporting freedom of inquiry, the Libraries foster a diverse and inclusive environment in which to engage with ideas and acquire the critical skills necessary for life-long learning. By combining the latest information technology with excellent public service, the staff guides and maintains a rich information environment, facilitates access to it, and creates a hub of campus and community scholarly activity.

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The New England Yearly Meeting Records Donated to UMass Amherst Libraries


The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce the recent gift of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (NEYM) Records. The Libraries’ department of Special Collections and University Archives will partner with the Archives Committee of the NEYM in on-going documentation of the meeting and its constituent bodies, preserving the Meeting’s distinguished past as well as its present and future activities.

Quakers, also known as Friends, have a long and dynamic history in New England. When they first arrived in the region in the1650s, Quakers presented both a radical alternative and a significant challenge to Puritan orthodoxy. As a relatively small but distinctive community, Quakers have espoused an egalitarian ethos rooted in the Quaker concept of inward light, which has led Friends into passionate advocacy for the abolition of slavery, gender and racial equality, and opposition to all war.

One of approximately two dozen yearly meetings in the United States, the NEYM currently comprises eight quarterly meetings and approximately 85 monthly meetings, which are the basic unit of organization for the Society of Friends. Like other yearly meetings, the NEYM has been diverse in spiritual practice, reflected in a history of separations and reunions. Most famously, New England Friends divided over doctrinal issues in the 1840s into separate meetings known as Gurneyite and Wilburite, and they remained apart for a century before the rifts were healed.

The New England Yearly Meeting Collection contains the official records of the NEYM from its founding in the seventeenth century to the present, along with records of most of its constituent Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meetings, and records of Quaker schools and trusts. As varied as the Quaker practice they document, these records include minutes of meetings for business; committee records; newsletters, financial records; some personal papers; and an assortment of photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and electronic records. Of particular note are the vital statistics recorded by the monthly meetings, including general information on births, deaths, marriages, membership, and obituaries, and specifically-Quaker information on removals (formal letters written as members moved from one meeting to another), denials, testimonies (beliefs and convictions), and sufferings (penalties Quakers suffered for adhering to their faith).

The Collection also includes several thousand Quaker books and pamphlets, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and notes from several individual monthly meetings.

The UMass Amherst Libraries will host a public exhibit of the New England Yearly Meeting Records in January, 2017. In the meantime the collection is open to researchers, and digitized selections from the collection are available in Credo.

Photo: Declaration of faith (remonstrance) by three Quakers imprisoned by Massachusetts Bay, August 1, 1657. Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries MS 902

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Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award

Deadline to apply is February 17, 2017

USRA 2016

The UMass Amherst Libraries invite submissions for the Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award. All currently enrolled undergraduate UMass Amherst students, part or full-time, are eligible. For more information and to apply by February 17, 2017, visit:

Papers, theses, design projects, multimedia, and artwork that present research on a sustainability topic (environmental, social or economic) will be considered. The first prize recipient receives a $1,000 scholarship and two second place winners receive $500 scholarships. Applicants must be nominated by a UMass Amherst faculty member. Projects created from spring 2016 through fall 2016 may be submitted for review.

The award promotes in-depth understanding of sustainability topics, research strategies, and the use of library resources, providing participating students with vital skills they will carry into future academic and vocational endeavors.  The award is funded by the UMass Amherst Libraries’ national award-winning Library Sustainability Fund.

The review panel consists of a Sustainability Studies Librarian, an undergraduate student, a faculty member, and a member of the Libraries’ Department of Development and Communication. Award recipients will be honored at a spring climate change event on April 1, 2017 at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library and their winning projects will be added to the Sustainability Student Showcase on ScholarWorks, the university’s digital repository.


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Users asked and the Libraries listened!

New Book drops at Science & Engineering Library and Robsham Visitor's Center

SEL book drop


There are two new book drops on campus that provide convenient, 24-7 accessible, UMass and Five College book and media returns:

The Science and Engineering Library - External book drop located at the North end of Lederle Low Rise near the short term parking spaces.

The Robsham Visitor's Center - External book drop located curb-side. (Please use this location for books and media only. All other items, such as electronics and reserve materials, should be returned directly to the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.)   Image 2



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UMass Amherst Receives $600,000 Grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for W.E.B. Du Bois Center

For Mellon Grant2

July 7, 2016

Patrick J. Callahan UMass News & Media Relations  413/545-0444

AMHERST, Mass. – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries a three-year, $600,000 grant to support a program for faculty fellows, graduate fellows and undergraduates from UMass Amherst and community colleges to engage deeply with the W.E.B. Du Bois archives through the W.E.B. Du Bois Center.

The grant underwrites UMass Amherst faculty and graduate student fellows who will receive support to travel to related archives and work together in a yearly seminar that will incorporate visiting scholars and faculty in the humanities and social sciences with interests related to Du Bois, his contemporaries and his intellectual descendants. Faculty and graduate fellows will share their research through public lectures at UMass Amherst and affiliated institutions.

Additionally, the grant will facilitate the participation of community college students in the UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College’s “Ideas that Change the World” course. This course will be offered at five community college campuses by UMass Amherst instructors. As part of the course, the students spend a full day on the Amherst campus visiting the Du Bois archives, and meeting with students and faculty from the honors college. They will also make a site visit to the Du Bois home site in Great Barrington, where UMass Amherst faculty and students have been conducting archaeology since 1983.  

The grant affords access to the work and words of Du Bois to a new generation of students and faculty, says Whitney Battle-Baptiste, director of the Du Bois Center and associate professor of anthropology at UMass Amherst. “Du Bois’ ideas have never been more relevant, and the grant positions UMass to expand the impact of the research and scholarship his wisdom has inspired.”

“The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant is a welcome testament to the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, to our library and its special collections,” says Katherine S. Newman, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our faculty and students’ work exemplifies research excellence, especially in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. It also recognizes the extraordinary quality of the Commonwealth Honors College as an educational institution, particularly the ongoing work of its ‘Ideas’ instructors to incorporate Du Bois into the core seminar’s required readings.” Newman says the grant recognizes the work of Battle-Baptiste and a cadre of affiliated faculty who have been teaching Du Bois for decades.

“The lecturers in the honors college are excited to begin incorporating the materials of the Du Bois Center in their UMass offerings through the ‘Ideas’ course,” says Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, dean of Commonwealth Honors College. “We look forward to offering the course to community college students under this exciting new partnership.”

The W.E.B. Du Bois Center was established in 2009 to engage the nation and the world in discussion and scholarship about the global issues involving race, labor and social justice. It was founded under the direction of Jay Schafer, director of UMass Amherst Libraries. “The center was created to present an interdisciplinary approach to the intersections among African-American culture and history, social justice and labor relations,” says Schafer. “It opens this research to new insights and evaluation in light of the issues confronting people throughout the world today.”

By making its resources readily available and accessible to the public, the center upholds the scholarly tradition and spirit of its namesake, W.E.B. Du Bois, a Massachusetts native son, who was pivotal to the social and political debates on race, class and culture of the 20th century.


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The Libraries Announce 2016 Du Bois Library Fellowship Recipients

John Hyland and Nicholas Rinehart


As part of our mission to support scholarship emanating from the life and teachings of W.E.B. Du Bois, the UMass Amherst Libraries Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the W.E.B. Du Bois Center are pleased to announce the 2016 Du Bois Library Fellowship recipients, John Hyland and Nicholas Rinehart.

Since 2011, the Du Bois Library Fellowships have provided early-career scholars with support for conducting research in Special Collections. Fellows are selected on a competitive basis based upon the potential of the proposal to contribute to scholarship, its exploration of the major themes that characterize Du Bois’ scholarship and activism, and the need for the use of SCUA’s unique collections. Full-time graduate students, faculty, or independent scholars with a PhD are eligible to apply.

John Hyland has taught at Haverford College since receiving his doctorate in English from the University of Buffalo in 2014. His project, “The forest of melody: Black Diasporic Poetics and the Sounding of the Environment,” draws its title from the closing chapter of The Souls of Black Folk, “Of the Sorrow Songs,” where W.E.B. Du Bois details the spiritual landscape and physical geography of the slave songs. After discussing the songs as “the sifting of centuries,” and their music as “far more ancient than the words,” Du Bois refers to the entire repertoire of the sorrow songs as a “forest of melody.” Taking its cue from this metaphor, which gestures toward the deep interrelations of the sonic, the ecological, and the phenomenological, Hyland’s project attends to the ways that black cultural production is embedded within environmental concerns and forms ecological thinking.

Specifically, Hyland will study the interdependencies of three seemingly unrelated aspects of Du Bois’ vast body of work: his interrogations of the environment and its relation to race; his theorizations of language and black diasporic subjectivity, particularly as they relate to phenomenology; and his elaborations of black diasporic soundscapes.

Nicholas Rinehart is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University. His project surveys Du Bois’ longstanding preoccupation with theater and with dramatic literature more broadly. By examining published and unpublished playlets, pageants, play collections, and theatrical criticism—in addition to internal materials related to the founding of the KRIGWA Little Negro Theater and assorted correspondences with theater scholars, critics, students, and producers—Rinehart’s research demonstrates that renewed attention to such dramatic work forces a reconsideration of long-held assumptions about Du Bois’ aesthetic practices and ideologies. It is precisely through his theatrical and related critical projects that Du Bois articulates an aesthetic theory uniting the politics of racial uplift with “art for art’s sake.”

Hyland and Rinehart will receive a stipend of $2,500 each for a four-week residency during the 2016-17 academic year. At the end of their residency, the fellows will deliver a public talk presenting their research.

In addition to the Du Bois Papers, the UMass Amherst Libraries house over four million volumes and a rich suite of electronic resources to support advanced research in the humanities. Comprehensive, searchable guides and finding aids to SCUA’s collections are available online at

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UMass Amherst Libraries and Boston Library Consortium are hosting the 22nd Annual ALADN Conference

ALADN 2016 Boston, “Steeped in History,” June 1-4


UMass Amherst Libraries and Boston Library Consortium are hosting the 22nd Annual ALADN Conference, ALADN 2016 Boston, “Steeped in History,” June 1-4.

Every year, 200 members of Academic Library Advancement and Development Network (ALADN) from academic libraries across the United States and Canada gather to share innovations, best practices, and organizational successes related to fundraising for libraries, including communication and marketing strategies.

ALADN is a professional network of North American academic library fundraising professionals, university librarians, and deans who work to raise money from individuals, corporations, and foundations to fund library resources, products, programs, and initiatives. 

Donor and alumnus Ken Feinberg ’67, is a keynote speaker at the conference and his papers are housed in Special Collections and University Archives.

Visit our Facebook Event for additional information.  

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Pop-up Library Book Return

TODAY! 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Click here for details!

book return1

Roots Café, Commonwealth Honors College & Berkshire Dining Hall, Southwest

POP-UP LIBRARY BOOK RETURN! Thursday May 5, 11-3 

Return your library books at these locations:

Roots Café, Commonwealth Honors College

Berkshire Dining Hall, Southwest

Avoid having to drive to the library and risk a parking citation!

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Simon Neame Named UMass Amherst Dean of Libraries

Simon Neame cropped

Simon J. Neame, associate university librarian and director of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia Library (UBC) in Vancouver, has been named dean of libraries at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He begins his new duties Aug. 1.

Neame succeeds Jay Schafer, who is retiring as director of libraries after 12 years in that position and 15 years with the libraries.

As dean of libraries, Neame will be responsible for the W.E.B Du Bois Library, the Science and Engineering Library in Lederle Graduate Research Center, the Image Collection Library in Bartlett Hall and numerous programs and services and a staff of 128.

Katherine Newman, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, said Neame has the experience and vision to lead the UMass Amherst libraries in this challenging time of technological change.

“Simon understands the importance of a great library to a great research university and the citizens it serves. He is a leader who has proven that he can meet the demand for new information services, from open education, to data management, to providing information literacy training and research support. No less impressive is his history of working collaboratively with a spectrum of institutions and constituencies. We know Simon is the best person to continue on the path that Jay Schafer has blazed for us,” Newman said.

“We will celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Jay Schafer before he departs this summer.  He is beloved by everyone at UMass,” Newman noted.  “I’m pleased to say that he is as enthusiastic as the rest of the campus about his successor.” 

At UBC, Neame oversees 33 professional librarians and 114 support staff as associate university librarian, learning and engagement. His budget responsibilities include the Barber Centre, the Walter C. Koerner Library for humanities and social sciences, the Woodard Library for health sciences, science and applied science, the Music, Art and Architecture Library, access services and the library’s teaching, learning and community engagement programs.

As director of the Barber Centre, he manages an operating budget of $1.9 million and associated endowments and capital funds totaling $2.5 million.

Since 1998, Neame has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility at UBC, starting as reference librarian in the science and engineering division. He served as instructional programs librarian in the information services division and as an adjunct faculty member in the the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. He joined the Barber Centre in 2003.

Neame chairs the province-wide British Columbia Digitization Coalition and has published numerous articles for professional journals.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Victoria and a master’s of library and information studies from UBC.

Neame was chosen in a search that began when Schafer announced his plan to retire. The search committee was chaired by Bruce Croft, interim dean of the College of Information and Computer Sciences, and Gretchen Gerzina, dean of Commonwealth Honors College.

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The Falcon Cam is Live


A new falcon season has begun! It appears that the female parent from last year has returned. Check out the Falcon Cam and follow us on facebook and twitter for up-to-date news.

Peregrine Falcons have successfully nested on the roof of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst for the past 13 years. A live webcam was installed in 2013 thanks to the UMass Amherst Facilities Planning Division, UMass Amherst Information Technology, the Libraries' Systems and Web Management Department, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), and the Friends of the Libraries.

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