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The newest librarian on the staff at Drexel, Janice Masud-Paul joined the Libraries in December 2013. Since then, she’s hit the ground running growing the Libraries collaborations and support for research in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. She’s championed the Faculty Portfolios initiative with the college and is quickly becoming known on campus for her expertise.

What is does your job at the Libraries entail?
My title is Librarian for Health Sciences Research. I share liaison responsibilities for the College of Nursing and Health Professions with my colleague Gary Childs. Officially I’m now the liaison for Nutrition, Physical Therapy, Health Sciences, Couples and Family therapy, Behavioral Therapy and Doctoral Nursing, so I provide research instruction and collection development in those areas, but all of the health sciences librarians provide reference assistance to students and faculty. My position was created to offer more support for the growing research emphasis in the College of Nursing and Health Professions so I expect to offer more support in managing and organizing research data in the future.

How did you come to be a Librarian?
Circuitously. When I graduated from college I was slated for a fifteen-month corporate system’s analyst training program- but then the economy hit a minor recession and I was waitlisted. I took a class in systems analysis at the I-school while I waited for my corporate classes to start. When Drexel offered me a scholarship I decided to delay working fulltime and continue with graduate school. I interned with the economics department to help with Business research and found that I really liked being a librarian. When I graduated from the I-school, my first job was working as a corporate librarian for the marketing department of a software startup. I did research on their competition and to find new clients. I also participated in product testing. After a few years I began working as an academic librarian for the business college at Old Dominion University. But I’ve spent most of my career as a system’s librarian- managing the technology and technical staff that are needed to run today’s libraries.

What motivated your decision to join Drexel’s Libraries?
There were several reasons. At the time I had just completed my exams to become a registered dietitian and I thought this position description included an intriguing mix of my education and job skills. But I was excited about working for Drexel because I attended Drexel for both my undergraduate and graduate education and I always respected their cooperative education mission. I think that the students here are focused and take education seriously. Since I attended Drexel the college has gone through a rapid expansion and I was really impressed with their strategic plan and how they want to contribute to Philadelphia as a city. I’m a Philly native so that’s very important to me. Ironically, I think the thing that put Drexel back on my radar was their Witnesses to Hunger initiative. I was listening to NPR one day and heard about a program involving women taking pictures of their environment and daily lives to let the public know what it was like to be food insecure. I felt very proud that the program was connected with my alma mater because food insecurity and healthcare disparities are issues of concern for me and where I’ve chosen to invest free time. I was very impressed with the library staff during my interview and the way they approach librarianship. When the librarians spoke about their relationship with Drexel it was clear they were passionate about collaborating with faculty and students. New ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit seemed to be encouraged.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy librarianship in general because I have an insatiable curiosity and this profession enables you to investigate and learn about many different things --it keeps you on your toes and you never get bored. It can be like doing detective work. I enjoy learning about the many areas of research that our Drexel faculty pursue and appreciate the opportunity to work with our faculty and students. I love watching students when they comprehend a research concept and are actually able to find the information they’re seeking.

You have a strong background in nutrition, what motivated you to pursue nutrition?
It was the first career I considered out of high school but I didn’t pursue it because I was afraid of taking organic chemistry. As I watched folks in my community suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and other issues that are exacerbated by poor diets and I knew I wanted to do something to be part of the solution and possibly work in nutrition counseling. So after 25 years of working with libraries and technology I thought if I was going to change careers it was now or never. But when I did my dietetic rotations I found myself fascinated with intersection of technology, nutrition, data management and research. So rather than move away from my previous profession, I found myself looking for positions that combined my experience with my new profession. As a health sciences research librarian I work with faculty, staff and students to help them at all levels of research- from data collection, (finding information on their topic), helping them organize and cite data once it has been identified and hopefully allow others to reuse this data. My future will probably involve taking some additional courses in statistics but I’ve only been here for 8 months so I’m putting that idea on hold for a term or two.

What advice do you have for those of us who are always looking to eat a little healthier?
Well, I think everyone should learn to cook at least a little bit because it gives you more control over your choices. Recently, my mantra has been from Michaels Pollan’s book Food Rules: an eater’s manual. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” That advice helps to keep us away from processed foods, and reminds us not to eat when we’re not hungry (as a nervous eater that is particularly hard for me). Although I’m not a vegetarian, I try to eat vegan at least twice a week and eat fish a few times a week because those choices help to balance my diet. I’m physically active every day because it gives me energy and it’s more fun than dieting. I know that’s not rocket science but it’s easy to remember and focuses more on all the fabulous foods that are available to you rather than what you shouldn’t eat.

What are some of your favorite resources to recommend to those doing research in nursing or health fields?
As a dietitian I really like the Evidence Analysis Llibrary (EAL) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The EAL literature reviews are written by dietitians for dietitians or other researchers interested in nutrition. Subject experts review the methodology used in nutrition studies and grade the study conclusions based on the strength of their evidence. Nutrition science has developed an undeserved reputation of changing its recommendations every five minutes, but part of the problem is that the media dumbs down study results or don’t put the conclusions of one trial in context with other studies. I also really like DYNAMED as a point of care tool. This is a new database for me; I didn’t use it as a nutritionist or in my previous life as a reference librarian. The studies included are filtered for specific clinical applications and since it’s designed to be used at the point of care you keep your searches simple and drill down to your topic. It offers thorough summaries on conditions, multiple evidence quality rankings for studies, and provides clear criteria for measuring evidence strength.

What changes have you noticed in the field of librarianship and where do you see it headed? How has it already changed what you do?
When I graduated from library school (now the College of Computing and Informatics) the emphasis was just beginning to shift from print to electronic resources, but the systems side of librarianship was always where I was most comfortable. Now most of our journals and the tools we use are in an electronic format. Many are more designed for the end-user rather than using the information professional as an intermediary. In addition, in the past 25 years, the volume and type of data available to the general public has exploded. So I think our role is gradually shifting from teaching end- users the mechanics of using certain resources for finding information to helping them make decisions on what data is relevant, and valid especially on the Internet. They need to know how to discern possible conflicts of interest in the authors of studies and websites. Librarians are collaborating directly with faculty to design series of courses that build this knowledge into the curriculum. The growing number of hybrid and online courses also nudges librarians to package more instruction and tutorials in video and other formats that can be used remotely and accessed when and where the students/faculty need it. As a research librarian I personally see my role growing in areas of data organization and helping researchers store raw data in ways that make it easier to re-purpose. 

Photo by Jaci Downs Photography


Students were always a key priority for former Drexel library director Jane Griffith Bryan who held the position from 2005 until her passing in 2008. On Thursday, May 22, 2014, her family carried on her legacy of supporting student learning with a gift that enabled the renovation and dedication of the Jane Griffith Bryan, ’67 Group Study Room.

During her tenure, Jane embraced technological advances, streamlined ILL services, added the 24-hour Bookmark Café and encouraged staff to focus on direct engagement with clients. In addition, Jane spearheaded the Drexel Votes campaign, helping to register a record number of new voters across campus.

Jane graduated from Drexel’s library school in 1967 and worked at the Free Library of Philadelphia as well as the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University Libraries before rejoining the Drexel community in 2005.

Former colleagues, family and friends gathered at W. W. Hagerty Library on the morning of May 22, 2014 to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the study room. Jane’s husband James Bryan, daughter Sophie Bryan and sister Elisabeth Griffith, were all in attendance. Following the ceremony, the Libraries hosted the annual Library Celebration Awards. One of the awards, dedicated to library student workers, is named in memory of Jane Bryan.

For more information about group study room dedications, please contact Kerry DiBlasio, director of development at kerry.diblaso@drexel.edu.

Pictured: Elisabeth Griffith, Sophie Bryan, James Bryan at the ribbon cutting on May 22, 2014.


Work to advance the Libraries mission was recognized at the fifth annual Library Celebration Awards hosted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at W. W. Hagerty Library. More than 40 people were in attendance to recognize work that helped to embed the Libraries across campus, expand the Libraries programming, showcase the resources of the University Archives, and reflect a model library organization.

In total, five members of the library staff and two student workers were recognized for their 2013 achievements at the annual awards event.

The Library Celebration Awards were established in 2010 to recognize individuals or teams who have advanced the values of the Libraries through exceptional accomplishments. This year the awards categories were made more specific to parallel the 2012-2017 strategic priorities. In addition to the Libraries staff, student worker(s) are also recognized with the Jane Bryan Student Worker Award, named for the Libraries’ previous director. The award recognizes a student’s dedication and services to the Libraries.

The 2014 Award Recipients Are:
Nancy Bellafante, Libraries Champion Award
Jay Bhatt, Exceptional Service Award
Anita Lai, Libraries Champion Award
Kevin Rabuck, The Jane Bryan Student Award
Ian Richmond, Exceptional Service Award
Holly Tomren, Professional Contribution Award
Jesse Weber, The Jane Bryan Student Award

The Jane Bryan Student Award: Jesse Weber & Kevin Rabuck
Jesse WeberThis year, the Jane Bryan student worker award was being given to of Jesse Weber and Kevin Rabuck, two long-time student workers who have accepted promotions this year to the rank of Evening Supervisor. Both have stepped up with professionalism, modeling good customer service for the student workforce and at times serving as the only library staff on duty. Their dedication truly represents outstanding service to Drexel and the Libraries.
Pictured: Jesse Weber

Exceptional Service Award : Jay Bhatt, Liaison Librarian for Engineering
Bhatt, JayJay models the Embedded Librarian concept, taking his knowledge and talents to where his faculty and students congregate and offering coaching, guidance and services onsite. Through his participation and attendance in events and projects from Drexel Smart House meetings, to advising students on how to build a concrete canoe – Jay embeds in a variety of unique and innovative ways.

If you ask a group of engineering students about their liaison librarian – 9 out of 10 will be able to tell you that it is Jay Bhatt. Jay is dedicated to his work and passionate about learning. Last year he was recognized by the Graduate Student Organization for the exceptional service that he provides to researchers
Pictured: Jay Bhatt and Danuta A. Nitecki.

Exceptional Service Award : Ian Richmond, Systems Analyst
Richmond, IanIan Richmond has been a dedicated employee of the Libraries for many years. During the ceremony, Ian was honored for his exceptional service to keep the Libraries automated systems up and running when he assumed leadership for the department last February. Ian went far and above his responsibilities during the vacancy of two critical positions in the systems department. His dedication included quickly learning technical architecture and details of the Libraries information systems, understanding administrative protocols while also handling vendor relations. He spent 3 - 4 weeks worth of additional work to troubleshoot and resolve hardware problems that caused mission critical shutdowns – resulting in many late nights and weekends dedicated to the library. His work ethic, kindness and quiet dedication kept the libraries systems department running during a challenging time.
Pictured: Ian Richmond & Danuta A. Nitecki

Professional Contribution Award: Holly Tomren, Metadata Services Manager
Tomren, HollyHolly Tomren’s professional activities help the Libraries to develop and provide leadership in digital collections discovery. Holly is a member of numerous professional organizations and a recognized leader in her field, having been named an emerging leader by the American Library Association prior to joining Drexel. Last year as Head of Metadata Services at Drexel, she was asked to join OCLC’s E-Resource Advisory Council, which includes only 17 individuals from around the world. OCLC acknowledged Holly’s work by including a quote from one of her conference presentations in the publicity for WorldCat KnowledgeBase. The Institute of Museum and Library Services has also acknowledged Holly’s expertise by appointing her as a digitization grant reviewer.
Pictured: Holly Tomren & Danuta A. Nitecki

Libraries Champion Award: Nancy Bellafante, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning
Bellafante, NancyNancy Bellafante implemented the Libraries module in Blackboard Learn and the open-source Guide on the Side, providing innovative new ways for the Libraries to facilitate learning. Nancy has also deepened relationships with campus agencies such as the Writing Center and English Language Centers and built new partnerships with the STAR scholars program, IRT’s online learning team, and Residential Living, among others. Nancy has gone above and beyond the Libraries’ hopes for this position, and has been able to enhance her colleagues’ ability to serve the broader undergraduate community.
Pictured: Nancy Bellafante & Danuta A. Nitecki

Libraries Champion Award: Anita Lai, Archives Technician
Lai, AnitaAnita Lai’s work in the last calendar year has extended the Libraries’ impact across campus. She has built a successful exhibition program in the Main Building that has caught the attention of many individuals across campus. Anita created four exhibitions for the case, one per quarter, and each day hundreds of students, faculty, and staff pass by the exhibition cases, and several staff members have contacted Anita to ask for more historical images or information as a result of these exhibits. Recently, Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., the Founding Director of the Center for Hospitality & Sport Management asked if the Archives would permanently install Anita’s exhibit on the history of Drexel’s cookery program in the Academic Bistro. In adapting the Archives’ exhibition program and enhancing presentation of images and text through her impressive design skills, Anita has championed the Libraries’ mission to effectively foster learning outside of the classroom.
Pictured: Anita Lai & Danuta A. Nitecki

The award categories presented this year were:
• The Exceptional Service Award celebrates an individual who showcases dedication and service, going above and beyond their job to provide exceptional service.
• The Professional Contribution Award recognizes an individual who made significant contributions to the profession, positioning the Libraries as a leader in the field.
• The Libraries Champion award is given to an individual demonstrating an entrepreneurial spirit through initiating a new program that extends the reach of the library to its stakeholders.


Helping faculty to improve the student academic experience, the Libraries provides access to assigned readings through our Course Reserves service. This service seamlessly integrates with Blackboard Learn to provide a simple way for students to access course materials. It also reduces faculty effort by providing a way assign readings and also ensures adherence to copyright laws and license restrictions.

The Course Reserves service offers ethical and legal eResource linking, scanning of book chapters, and video streaming. Physical reserve items can also be made available at Hahnemann Library, W. W. Hagerty Library, or Queen Lane Library.

For a limited time, the Libraries reserves team will enter data for titles added for the first time into the course reserves system. This additional service is especially useful for faculty who have not yet used the system. If you are interested in taking advantage of this additional help, you can learn how to get started here.

To utilize this service, or with questions, please contact the Course Reserves team at reserves@drexel.edu. Act soon, while Course Reserves are year-round, the additional data entry offer ends on June 20, 2014.


John Wiggins was appointed as the chair of the Data Collection for Library Managers Committee of the Library Leadership and Management Association beginning on July 1, 2014. During the one-year appointment, Wiggins will lead a committee of 15 library professionals.

The committee seeks to identify and disseminate information about the effective collection of measurement data in libraries and also provide resources for individuals looking to develop skills in measurement data.

The Library Leadership and Management Association is a division of the American Library Association. For more information about the committee, please visit their website.


Photograph of Richard SnyderFormer Drexel University Libraries director, Richard Snyder passed away on April 9, 2014. He was 87 years old. Snyder was the library director from 1964 – 1989 and made significant contributions to the library organization during his tenure, including helping to design W. W. Hagerty Library and develop the University Archives.

From the time he arrived in 1964 until his retirement 25 years later, Richard Snyder's service as Director of Drexel Libraries was characterized by careful planning to meet the information needs of Drexel’s students and faculty. Snyder earned his Master’s in library science from Indiana University, where he began his career as a science librarian. He then worked at the library of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, becoming Associate Director of Libraries in 1962. Two years later, he moved to another tech school, the Drexel Institute of Technology.

In 1970, Snyder created the Library Building Program Committee to plan for a new facility. At the time, Drexel’s library building (now known as the Korman Center) was only 11 years old, but Snyder recognized that it would not remain sufficient for Drexel’s scholarly needs for six decades, as had the original library in the Main building. Rather, Snyder foresaw the changes that information technology would bring to libraries and determined to plan for the future.

Richard Snyder with President HagertySnyder served as treasurer of Documentation Abstracts, Inc. (DAI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to abstracting the literature of the emerging discipline of information science. DAI published the journal Information Science Abstracts. Snyder also deserves much of the credit for the creation of a university archives, which began in the 1970s, and for the Libraries’ becoming a depository for federal and state government documents. In the era before the quick and inexpensive distribution of government documents on the internet, libraries such as Drexel’s played a key role in providing access to the publications and forms of the federal government, a key component of a successful democracy.

Richard Snyder retired as Director of the Libraries in 1989, having ushered the institution into the new era of information. He was a large part of the design and planning for W. W. Hagerty Library, which opened in 1983. More information about Snyder can be found in the University Archives.

Article by: Rob Sieczkiewicz and Jenny James Lee.


“The times they are a changin’…”

Fifty years ago [January 13, 1964 to be exact], Bob Dylan released his third studio album, so titled. It was his first to feature only his own original compositions. It captured a feeling of the times, its ballads addressing social and political turmoil. The lead song’s verse included the prediction that “The order is rapidly fadin/And the first one now will later be last/For the times they are a changing.” For some the raspy sounds of its poetry became an anthem of change.

This morning the theme came to mind as I read this month’s In Circulation articles. They offer insights into small activities that may seem to some as revolutionary reordering of what libraries do. They are among our original compositions to engage with the upheaval around us triggered by fundamental changes in how information is stored and accessed, in behaviors for utilizing evidence in research processes, and in environments to stimulate creativity and knowledge flow. The academic library line-up of fifty years ago is rapidly fading—big collections are being eclipsed by big data, librarians waiting at reference desks are moving out to places where the work of study and research occur, a secure front door is re-conceived as an inclusive interactive experience to enter the virtual library. The Drexel Libraries staff are out front in today’s changing times working to recycle collections, to flag where our expertise can be found, and to creatively redesign our website.

I hope you’ll enjoy our ballads for this month and join us in humming new tunes about change.

Danuta A. Nitecki
Dean of Libraries


Last year, there were more than 1.6 million visits to the Libraries’ website and nearly 2.1 million downloads of electronic articles, books and datasets. This makes the website the most visited of the Libraries’ five locations, providing access to the largest collection of resources. Just like a physical facility periodically needs updating and renovating, it is time for reconstruction to the entrance of the virtual library.

For the library staff, preparing for a redesign of such a popular and dynamic learning environment takes careful planning – and a tight timeline. The redesign involves a number of experts, including staff from the library systems department.

The website interfaces with thousands of academic content providers and data repositories, serves as a connection to librarians through chat services and provides tools to easily discover support information useful for study and research. But the website is not just a pretty interface, it offers an interactive environment for students and faculty to connect with data and information and create new knowledge.

“Our team is well underway in designing the Libraries’ new website, ” Spencer Lamm, manager of discovery systems says, “and in particular we are focusing on building a consistent structure for the site which will provide easier, more intuitive and reliable access to library services.”

Planning for the new library website began last summer after Spencer Lamm joined the Libraries as manager of discovery systems. Spencer had previously led a redesign of the TriCollege library catalog, Tripod, and he has set an aggressive timeline for the Drexel Libraries redesign with a plan to launch in fall 2014.

“Once the website is up and running it will provide the framework for us to explore new methods for delivering content and providing access to library services, all in support of the academic research process” Lamm says.

A new Drexel Libraries website will launch in fall quarter. The Libraries has already met with several stakeholder groups to plan the initial organization of information provided through this site. If you are interested in participating in future user testing, please provide your contact information to libsys@drexel.edu.


For many years now, students and faculty have been able to interact with the Libraries without physically leaving their homes, classrooms, or offices because the resources and services of the Libraries are easily made available online. This spring, the Libraries will expand this concept further – inviting students and faculty to physically interact with librarians without leaving their departments, offices or classroom buildings.

For the past several terms, liaison librarians have been working to identify the high traffic areas and research hubs within their schools and colleges. They have been unobtrusively positioning themselves with a laptop in school and college lounges and study rooms, some have sent emails advertising their presence and others may have placed a tabletop sign.

Beginning soon, the Libraries will mark its presence in campus spaces with a large flag, helping to indicate the availability of expert research guidance.

“I am excited to better market this embedded placement of our valuable expertise in areas where it can be of the most use,” says Danuta A. Nitecki, dean of libraries. “The Libraries is a partner in teaching, learning and research and embedding its expertise in areas where these activities take place will further support thoughtful collaborations and strengthen research. We aim to bring the Libraries to Drexel students and faculty rather than expect them to come to us.”


Last month we talked about collection management and the need for deselecting, or weeding, and it might cause you to wonder what happens to all of the weeded items? Items removed from the collection are given to Better World Books, an organization that allows libraries to sell items online or donate them to other organizations.

As of July 2013 the Libraries donated nearly 780 books to Better World Books, of which 576 were recycled and 203 were reused by another organization or individual. Better World Books estimates that the Libraries’ donation saved 12 trees, 5,995 gallons of water, 1,651 pounds of greenhouse gases, a cubic yard in landfill space or 2,549 kilowatts of electricity.

Founded in 2002 by three friends from the University of Notre Dame, Better World Books’ mission is to promote literacy. The company sells new book titles, supports book drives and collects used books from over 2,300 college campuses and 3,000 libraries nationwide. The organization has partner programs around the world that receive donated materials and in total they’ve diverted more than 73,000 tons of books from landfills while raising over $15 million in funding for literacy and education. For more information, visit betterworldbooks.com.


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