Library Newsletter

The home of the Library's monthly newsletter.

July 2020 Newsletter


Dean Sternberg recently announced the College's new Community Book Program. The theme for this year is Oxy Reads Together: One College, One Book. Our entire community will read a common book and come together to discuss its themes and importance through shared programs. 

Our new president, Dr. Harry Elam has chosen the title for our first community book: Jacqueline Woodson, Red at the Bone: A Novel (New York: Riverhead Books, 2019). Oxy students are eligible for a FREE ebook edition. 

For students:

The College will purchase an e-book for each student wishing to participate. To claim your free copy, email We’ll send you a code and instructions on how to access the book.  Once you've received your code, please use it straightaway. This opportunity extends from today until August 15, 2020, when the codes will expire.

For staff and faculty:

If you will be participating in the Oxy Reads Together: One College , One Book. "Red At The Bone", the Oxy Bookstore has two options for you:

  1. Purchase a digital copy for $13.99 from our e-book site
  2. Reserve your hard copy today for $26.00 + tax.

Related events being considered:

  • Author events; an interview or lecture

  • Author teaches a masterclass to students

  • Faculty offer lectures, panels, or seminars on the author's work or related topics and/or include the book in their courses

  • Students lead programs of exploration and discovery aimed at broad participation

  • Student-curated physical and/or online exhibition

  • Library prepares a LibGuide providing information on the author and related subjects; includes a calendar of program information

Please note that the Community Book Program is not to be confused with the Core Program’s Summer Reading.  The Core Program asks incoming students to access or read common texts during the summer of their matriculation.  The Community Book Program is a co-curricular program, intended to engage our entire extended community in reading and discussion.  But the two have a lot in common; this year, the summer readings and community book are clearly complementary.


The CDLA, working with the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Summer Pedagogical Development Committee, has been working to support the shift to remote classes. For information about the Summer Pedagogy Institute, please see the following:

Our Instruction and Research Specialists are also available to help develop course-specific research guides that would highlight resources related to assignments (using the LibGuide platform). If you would like to make an appointment with a Specialist about these topics or any related matters, please schedule an appointment on or email a specialist directly (visit our Research Help page for contact details).


This Fall, the Library and CDLA will take part in Oxy's Orientation Week. In a virtual format, we will join SLICE to welcome and guide our students. With a focus on the people who make up the library and the supportive relationships students can build with us, we will introduce our services and resources. We are excited to connect with our students from the very start! This is a live session and asynchronous recordings and materials will be provided. The session is scheduled for Monday August 24.


In June, Oxy launched a new initiative designed to provide each new student with a personal contact at Occidental College during the summer prior to their matriculation. Wayfinders play a key role in providing new students with timely information, as well as answering questions and serving as a source of “pre-advising” support. In July, Wayfinders will help to introduce students to their faculty advisors. 

There are 70 - including several Library/CDLA staff - friendly, welcoming, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and student-focused Wayfinder volunteers, each serving as a primary point of contact for approximately 7-8 students, depending on staffing and enrollment numbers. Wayfinders regularly interact with their assigned students, answer questions about the Occidental experience and, when appropriate, connect students to relevant offices and individuals on campus. 

Responsibilities include: 

  • Participating in an online training session
  • Sending periodic emails to assigned students  
  • Responding to student questions and, when appropriate, connecting them with the relevant offices or individual on campus for further assistance
  • Being available for one-on-one and/or group meetings with students via Zoom or Blue Jeans
  • Communicating any concerns related to specific students with Academic Affairs and/or the Dean of Students office

While Wayfinders are primarily active during June and into early July, it is hoped that they will continue to stay in touch with their students (as needed or desired) throughout the summer months and possibly long afterward.  


Curbside Pickup Service

Faculty, students, and staff can request access to our circulating analog materials (books, DVDs, CDs etc.) by placing holds on items via the library catalog or by emailing requests to

Materials will be paged by library staff, checked out to the requester, and placed in bags with the name of the individual for pickup. Requesters will be notified by email when the items are ready and must schedule a pickup time by emailing Pickups will be offered twice per week: on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to Noon (except July 3rd, as Oxy will be observing the Fourth of July holiday) and take place on the patio at the main entrance to the Academic Commons. We will practice social distancing and require requesters to wear face masks. Returns can be placed in the book drop at the main entrance to the Academic Commons.  

Please Note: The Library cannot deliver materials to requesters. This is a pickup service only.

Digitization Services

Faculty, students, and staff can request digitization of print and media materials the library owns, including articles and book chapters, DVDs, and CDs by emailing requests to Depending on the size and complexity of the request, orders will typically be completed within one to two weeks. Requesters will be notified by email when the items are ready.

In addition, faculty, students, and staff may request digital copies of primary resources to support their research, teaching, and learning, should contact Special Collections and College Archives at

Faculty wishing the Library to digitize materials they own should make special arrangements by contacting

For more information about our current services, please visit


Need to return some library books? The Book Drop next to the main entrance is open 24/7 and we're checking it several times per week. If you drop off a book, it will likely be checked in within two or three days. 

What happens to the books after they're returned? To be safe, we're quarantining the books for 72+ hours before returning them to the shelves or checking them out to another patron. This follows best practices from the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and shared by the American Library Association (ALA):

“The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) recommends a 24 to 72-hour quarantine of returned books as the safest and most effective way to disinfect them. A study that is currently in preprint has just been released showing that COVID-19 will last on surfaces such as cardboard for 24 hours.”