Van Wylen Library celebrates the launch of new systems, Alma and Hope Primo


Big changes have taken place in the library this summer, as two years of preparation culminate in an almost complete upgrade of library systems from the back end to the front. The library invites the campus to celebrate this transition with us at our launch party Monday, August 20, at 2 pm on the first floor of Van Wylen Library. Join us for refreshments, giveaways, an introduction to the new system, and a chance to check out our new Steelcase furniture.


Dean of Libraries Kelly Jacobsma highlights the collaborative efforts of all departments of the library during the transition. “Completing the implementation of Alma and Primo is a huge accomplishment for the library staff. It brings next-generation systems architecture so that the user will have a more seamless experience wherever they start their research.”


Hope College has partnered with six other Michigan academic libraries (Western Theological Seminary, Albion, Kalamazoo College, Michigan Technological University, Ferris State University, and Oakland University) through the Michigan Shared System Alliance in order to coordinate negotiations and share knowledge. Alma and Primo are an increasingly popular choice among academic libraries both domestic and international. Brian Yost, Head of Technical Services, shares the impact that the new systems have on both library staff and users: “Our new Alma system will allow us to create more efficient workflows in acquisitions, serials, cataloging, and electronic resource management that will result in providing better service to Van Wylen Library users.” This is a particularly positive upgrade for electronic resources. “In the past, several different systems were needed to manage the life-cycle of electronic resources. With Alma, nearly all of this can be done in one system, from initially purchasing resources to analyzing usage data to determine whether to continue a subscription.”


For users doing library-based research, Hope Primo replaces The MightyFind, Library Catalog (HopeCat), and the Journal Finder, and provides a new link resolver within databases. The goal is that this centralized search experience will result in more comfort within library research tools overall. Instead of having to jump between several different interfaces and remember what tool locates each kind of resource, Primo will offer a unified interface for the beginning stages of research and then provide links to specialized databases and additional resources through InterLibrary Loan. Have questions about Hope Primo? Stick around after the launch party for a hands-on workshop on the new system led by librarians Todd Wiebe and Jessica Hronchek at 3 pm in the Granberg Room.


In addition to the migration to the new system, the library has been busy updating the first floor of the library. Through a partnership with Steelcase Corp., we are trying out some innovative products that provide learning spaces for both individual and collaborative study. In April, we concluded an 8-month planning process with Ratio Architects to develop a master plan for library renovation. The plan calls for a new learning commons that brings together research, writing, and academic success on the first floor and re-envisioned technology spaces, classrooms and a Center for Teaching and Learning on the second floor. While a larger renovation will require fundraising, the Steelcase project allows us to experiment and demonstrate the difference that effective, active learning spaces can make in the lives of students and faculty.



New Library System Now Live!

If you happen to be doing library research today, you will notice a change on the library home page.  Our new search interface, Hope Primo is now up, replacing the MightyFind, Library Catalog, and Journal Finder. Here’s a short video introducing the major features of the tool. We hope that this centralized interface will create a more consistent search experience for all of our users.

As with any system transition, we are working to address any glitches as we discover them and make adjustments based on your feedback. Please let us know if you have questions or come across any problems by contacting us through askalibrarian or the “report a problem” links embedded in Hope Primo.
Look for more opportunities to learn and celebrate our new system as the semester approaches! There will be hands-on workshops on Wednesday, August 15th, and Monday, August 20th at 3:00, and a system launch party, also on Monday, August 20th at 2:00. We look forward to sharing our new system with you!

Library Systems Transition in July

The library is excited to share our new system with you beginning in mid-July! For those of you doing research this summer, here are just a few things we want you to be aware of over the next couple of weeks.


  • Beginning July 1st, HopeCat (“Books + Media” search) will be retired, and there is a minor blackout period before the new system, Hope Primo, goes live on July 17th.

  • Almost all library resources are still findable and accessible via The MightyFind and our databases. All of our services will continue, including InterLibrary Loan.

  • The only content with limited discoverability is print and microform holdings for periodicals. Please contact the Research Help Desk (x7904, if you need assistance in locating materials you think might be in print serials.

  • You will also not have access to your library account during the blackout. Record of your current checkouts will be automatically forwarded to your new account in Hope Primo/Alma. Please contact circulation ( if you have questions.


Thank you for your flexibility during this transition! Don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is anything else we can clarify. More announcements will be coming about the new system, training opportunities, and our launch party in August!

Library Support for the Hateful Things/Resilience Exhibit


Now through October 7th the DePree Gallery is hosting a dual exhibition, IMG_6443“Hateful Things / Resilience.” This exhibit features racist memorabilia from the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, in parallel with works by major contemporary African American artists. The exhibit is “intended to encourage thoughtful, sensitive, and scholarly dialog concerning the history of race in America and how it was portrayed and persists in visual culture and fine art.”

Van Wylen Library has created a companion display of library resources to support the exhibit. It includes many of the books that are referenced in the Hateful Things exhibition, as well other resources highlighting the work of the Contemporary African American artists who are featured in Resilience, including Sanford Biggers, Faith Ringgold, and Romare Bearden. These materials can be browsed in the library or checked out for further research. Additional resources, including streaming videos, are available at

The exhibit also features a limited edition pop-up book by prominent IMG_6440contemporary artist Kara Walker, entitled Freedom : a fable : a curious interpretation of the wit of a negress in troubled times. In much of her art Walker uses powerful black silhouettes, many of which utilize racial stereotypes to confront the viewer around issues of slavery, power, race, gender and sexuality. This particular piece “tells the story of a female slave whose life after emancipation veers far from her dreams of meritocracy, revealing that Freedom, a Fable is not just the title of the work but is also the lesson to be learned.”

This piece was commissioned by the Peter Norton Family in 1997 and donated to Hope College by David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton as a part of a significant gift of art and art books given to the Kruizenga Art Museum and Van Wylen Library. If you would like to view this book in person or show it in a class, contact Jessica Hronchek.

Please come explore these materials and deepen the campus conversation around this important topic!



Info in the Arts: New Naxos App

naxosimageFor those of you who haven’t used it before, Naxos is the library’s primary tool for online streaming classical music.  It contains over 100,000 CDs from 100s of labels such as Naxos, Sony Classical, Albany, and Inova.

Naxos has recently released a new version of its app, available for apple and android.  Use this app to easily stream their content on your smartphone.  To use, simply create an account through their website and download the app.  You can use the app to create search for Naxos content, browse recent additions, or listen to public playlists that Naxos has created.  Looking to get in a festive mood?  They even have holiday playlists (listed in the Seasons folder).

Note: We have a limited number of seats in Naxos, so please log out of the app when you are done using it, to make room for others!  Contact Jessica ( if you are regularly having trouble getting in.

— Jessica Hronchek, Research and Instruction Librarian, Visual and Performing Arts

Info in the Arts: Online Resource Smorgasbord

There are all kinds of fantastic arts-related tools hiding out there on the open web.  Here are a few random favorites of mine:

Chinese Painting and Calligraphy at the Seattle Art Museum – This is a fantastic online interactive exhibit of 150 works of painting and calligraphy.  Not only are the digital images high quality, but there are translations of the texts and seals, extensive descriptive essays, bibliographies and provenance.

Internet Broadway Database – Created and maintained by the Broadway League, this documents all shows performed on Broadway.  It provides fairly exhaustive information about opening night cast and production staff of original performances and revivals.  You can also learn about venues and easily track the Broadway performance histories of any of the professionals documented in this resource.

An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals 1490-1920 (LOC) – A classic from the Library of Congress, this primary source collection mostly has dance instruction handbooks but also includes scores for dance music, etiquette guides, and even anti-dance treatises.  The collection is mostly made up of texts published in the US but also contains some European works.

Liedernet Archive – In spite of its utilitarian and old-school appearance, this is a great place to start when looking for song texts and translations.  What is impressive for a web tool this old is that it is still being updated.  Keep in mind that translations are done on a volunteer basis, so I would use it paired with our more academic translation books in the reference section.

— Jessica Hronchek, Research and Instruction Librarian, Visual and Performing Arts


Info in the Arts: Music in the Visual Arts

Image of madonna and child with Angels by Pedro SerraDo you have an interest in the intersections between music and the visual arts?  If so, you should check out the Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM).  Don’t be intimidated by the French name!  This free online database indexes over 2,100 depictions of musical instruments in works of art ranging from the 14th to the mid-20th century.  The database makes it easy to browse or search, by instrument, artist, location, or many other facets.  Many of the records include images or links to the artworks on other websites.  So, curious about how the bagpipe has been depicted throughout history?  Take a look at RIdIM!

— Jessica Hronchek,  Research and Instruction Librarian, Liaison to the Visual and Performing Arts.

Info in the Arts: Digital Theatre Plus now more than plays!

digital theatre plus logoIf you haven’t stumbled across this yet, I wanted to make you aware of a newer resource that the library subscribes to, Digital Theatre PlusWe subscribed to this last year to support the theatre department with a streaming drama resource.  It is a growing database of major plays, including contemporary British theatre productions and portions of the Broadway Theatre Archive, a collection of plays produced for television.  However, it has started to expand to support of other forms of performing arts.  It currently contains two musicals, Into the Woods, and Merrily We Roll Along.  This summer it added a collection from the Royal Opera House that now has six operas and three ballets.

If you have courses in which you want to engage with drama, music theatre, opera, or dance, consider this as a resource, particularly for easy out-of-class viewing of streaming performance.  Or just consider it an option if you are looking for some entertainment this weekend!

– Jessica Hronchek, Visual and Performing Arts Librarian

Update: If you are a Hope student or faculty member and need to use this resource off campus, please contact or x7904 and we will provide you with a username and password.