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!

Student Publishing in the Arts and Humanities

Attention Arts & Humanities Student-Scholars and Student-Artists!

What do Hope students Michael Bertrand, Lauren Berka, and Katie Bode all have in common? Their names, academically speaking, are “up in lights.” All three are Humanities majors who have had their work published, while undergraduates here at Hope.

Here are the citations, with the three students’ names in bold:

Bertrand, Michael (2009) “God Might Be Responsible For Physical Evil,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 87: 513-515.

Huizenga, Tena A., Aunt Tena, called to serve: journals and letters of Tena A. Huizenga, missionary nurse to Nigeria Jacob E. Nyenhuis, Robert P. Swierenga, Lauren M. Berka, editors. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.

Bode-Lang, Katie (2002) “She’s heard it said that if it weren’t for the sky we should go mad,” Poets Under Twenty-Five, Beloit Poetry Journal, 52: 40.

Philosophy professor Joseph LaPorte says this about students and publishing: “Students need to know their opportunities. I think they don’t realize how much sustained work with the guidance of a professor can help them to publish . . . and thereby set them apart and how much all of this can put them in a position to develop their talents after Hope . . . in a satisfying career of service.”

If you are interested in pursuing publication for your own work, the library is happy to help you explore the possibilities. The library has created pages that highlight opportunities for undergraduate publication:

Arts & Humanities: Undergraduate Publishing Opportunities

In pursuing publication, keep in mind that not all journals are equal. A journal in which it is fairly easy to get published will not garner the same respect or attention from other scholars and writers as will one with higher standards. As you land on journal web pages (via the links provided, or through Googling), keep an eye out for the following: Sample articles, or creative works, from previous issues, available under the category “Archives” or “Earlier issues” or “Samples”; and Submission guidelines, often listed simply as “Guidelines” or “Submissions.”

The single best way to determine whether or not a journal is potentially a good home for something you have created is to browse issues. This will help you judge the quality of the journal and determine topic-wise and style-wise whether the journal editors would likely be interested in what you have written.

Even if you do not think you have something ready for publication, reading through specific journals’ missions may jumpstart an idea to develop into an essay. For instance, read the description of Dialog: The Undergraduate Essay Journal of Boston College and get inspired.

Finally, keep in mind that though there are an increasing number of publications open exclusively to undergraduate authors and artists, few mainstream journals exclude undergraduates from submitting. Mike Bertrand’s essay on God and evil appears alongside work of established scholars in the field. In many ways undergraduates live in the golden age of publishing: you have more options than anyone else to choose among.

Priscilla Atkins, Head of Reference and Instruction

Teaching Spaces in the Library

Many students frequent spaces in Van Wylen to complete the work they’ve been assigned in class, but did you know that there is also space available to teach class in the library? The Library Teaching Lab (LTL), TechLab, Granberg Room, and even the north end of the first floor can be reserved for class.

granbergOne professor that has used space in the library for teaching class is Susan Cherup of the Education department. Professor Cherup has used the LTL, TechLab, Granberg Room, Curriculum Library, and the second floor group area for her Exceptional Child, Classroom and Behavior Management, and Computers and Technology in Special Education classes.

There are several reasons why Professor Cherup likes using the library for class. “The staff is very accommodating, the space is very acceptable, the students love the big screen in the Granberg Room, and the LTL and TechLab are close together so students may work on a project and get help when need,” Cherup said. “Cup and Chaucer is nearby for a break.”cirric

Another professor who likes to use the library is Natalie Dykstra of the English department. Her 300 level English class, English 113 and Intro to Literature all meet in the library at least once a semester. In addition to the more traditional classroom spaces, she regularly uses the north end of the first floor.

Dykstra particularly likes to use the library when her students are in the beginning stages of writing papers. They can bring their laptops, talk with one another, and spend the entire class period researching so that when they leave, they have a good amount of information for their projects.

north end“I want students to use the library as much as possible,” Dykstra said. “It helps to work together when you’re starting a big project. It makes things more fun and interesting and creates a community of scholars.”

Not only do both Cherup and Dykstra enjoy teaching in the library, but both have found that their students seem to enjoy the experience as well.

“The way it’s laid out is great, the furniture is comfortable, and students love it,” Dykstra said. “It gets them out of the classroom and changes the pattern.”

— Bethany Stripp, Library Student Blogger

New JSTOR Collections Added

jstor_logoOne of the research databases Hope College subscribes to is JSTOR. This nonprofit organization began in 1995 with the intent of preserving scholarly writing in digital and print form. By making this information available on the Internet, libraries would be able to save space, keep information constantly available to everyone with no risk of loss, and give smaller schools such as Hope access to large collections.

“JSTOR is very useful to Hope students, faculty and staff because the collections provide highly reliable access to scholarship published in over one thousand highly respected academic journals across all of the academic disciplines,” said Gloria Slaughter, Technical Services Librarian at Van Wylen. “Because of JSTOR’s pricing model, a small institution like Hope College can afford to provide access to hundred of years of scholarly literature. The research, teaching and learning needs of our Hope students, faculty and staff are greatly facilitated by providing access to these interdisciplinary and historical collections.”

Recently, Hope gained access to the Arts and Sciences VI and VIII collections. The Arts and Sciences VI collection will include a minimum of 120 titles once the collection is complete in 2010 from subject areas such as economics, education, linguistics, and political science. Economics and political science journals such as The World Bank Economic Review and the World Policy Journal address global economics and relations, while education journals such as Phi Delta Kappan focus on education policy. The Arts and Sciences VIII collection, which will be complete in 2011, will contain a minimum of 140 titles in history, language and literature, art and art history, and education. Some of the literature and history journals to be added include international titles such as English in Africa and the Scottish Historical Review. It will also include rare 19th and 20th century American art periodicals from places such as the Brooklyn Museum.

— Bethany Stripp, Library Student Blogger

EasyBib Trial

Update: The library has subscribed to EasyBib, which is now available on our Citing Sources page.

Hope College Libraries are exploring new options for assisting students and faculty with their citations. Here is an interesting option that you might like to explore.

For the next month, the library has a trial to a service called EasyBib. This website allows you to enter your citation information into a form, which then creates the citation in the standard style of your choice (APA, MLA, Chicago). Current to the most recent editions of each style, you can create citations for a wide variety of materials. It also has the ability to save lists of citations, export them to Word, and create footnotes and parenthetical references from a citation. My personal favorite feature is its ability to use the ISBN number for a book to auto-fill the citation fields.

To try out EasyBib, simply register for a user account and enter in the trial coupon “hopebib.” We would appreciate any feedback that would help us decide if this is a resource we should add to our library services.

Library Book Sale Begins Oct. 28

Van Wylen Library’s fall book sale will begin on Wednesday, October 28 and last for approximately two weeks. The sale will include books that have become outdated, duplicates of what the library already has, and material that is now accessible online.

Materials at the sale are very affordable. Hardcover books will cost $2, while paperbacks will be $1. Items for sale will be located on the north end of the first floor where the study tables and newspapers are. The book sale follows the same hours as the library, which are 8 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday. Proceeds will be used to help purchase books and update resources in the library, so be sure to stop by the library and check out the selection!

Open Access Week

open-access-week_usVan Wylen Library is participating in Open Access Week, which runs from October 19-23. Previously just a national day of action, the week is now an international “opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of open access issues and express support for free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research,” according to the movement’s website,

Proponents of Open Access believe that scholarly research, particularly research that has been publicly funded, should be freely available online. Currently, many scholarly articles–the type of articles you use to write your research papers–are only available by subscription. If you’ve ever tried to access one of Hope’s databases while you’re off campus, you’ve noticed that the library website has prompted you to enter your 1Hope username and password. That’s because the library has paid a subscription fee to the journal so students can have access to it. Once you graduate, though, you lose your access to this research. These costly subscriptions also limit what else the library can do with its budget.

Open access is a complicated issue and Van Wylen Library is getting involved in a number of different ways:

  • The Library Committee is studying open access so that it can better understand the issues and make recommendations to faculty and the library.
  • Hope subscribes to two Open Access databases, BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and will help pay for the author’s fees that are often associated with publishing in Open Access journals, if faculty choose to publish there.
  • President Bultman signed an open letter from over 57 Presidents of liberal arts colleges supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act (S. 1373). The FRPAA would be a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers. The federal government funds over $60 billion in research annually. Research supported by the National Institutes of Health, which accounts for approximately one-third of federally funded research, produces an estimated 80,000 peer-reviewed journal articles each year, according to the letter.
  • There are two displays with information about Open Access located on the first floor by the Cup and Chaucer and by the circulation desk.


Summer 2007 Brings Changes

Summer 2007 Brings ChangesThe Van Wylen Library staff was really busy this summer making a number of improvements to both the building and collections. Many of the changes were based on information gathered during student focus groups and faculty surveys.

One of the biggest changes is a face lift to the 2nd floor of Van Wylen to create a more open design.

  • The public computers were moved to create more workspace and so that two or three students can work together.
  • The video and DVD collection was moved to make more room for large study tables and casual seating on the 2nd floor. Many popular movies have been added to the collection.
  • The microform for the ERIC collection and the New York Times were relocated to the basement since these collections are now available electronically.
  • The library, CIT and the bookstore collaborated to introduce Copy Works, offering improved and convenient copy services to campus. The Media Services desk on the 2nd floor of Van Wylen will function as an arm of Copy Works, handling color copying and large format posters. Look for new lower prices on color copying. For your convenience several bookstore items will be available for purchase including CDs, DVDs, DV tapes, resume paper and more.

To create more workspace for students, eight project rooms were created throughout the building and equipped with white boards and work tables. Four are equipped with network connections.

The wireless access points were increased and upgraded to make wireless more reliable. Users should now be able to get a reliable wireless connection from most locations throughout the library.

On the 1st floor, the browsing collection was moved to make it more visible. The browsing collection now includes some popular music CDs. We will continue to improve our offerings of popular books, music and videos.

Several new electronic products were added, including the highly coveted Web of Science,as well as two new music databases, DRAM and Naxos.

Several students working at Van Wylen this summer collaborated to create a short video highlighting library services and the advantages of using the library for class assignments. You can view the video from the library’s website (requires QuickTime). Speaking of videos, we produced our first screencast, a brief tutorial on accessing databases from off-campus. Click here to watch this tutorial.

An upgrade to the Library Catalog software was installed and users will see additional improvements in the interface this academic year. You may notice differences in how the catalog searches and displays your results. Keyword searches are now ranked by relevance.

We would like to thank the Physical Plant and CIT staffs for all of their work that made these changes possible.

Library Acquires Book Scanner

Library Acquires Book ScannerScanning and copying large format materials is now possible at the Van Wylen Library using the new Indus book scanner.

The book scanner is different from other scanners and copiers because it scans with the book face up. Books don’t need to be flipped over to turn to the next page. This means that you can copy over twice as fast as a traditional copy machine. With a 17 x 24 inch scan area, you can copy or scan larger materials.

There are several other advantages to using the book scanner. It helps to preserve fragile library materials such as bound journals from the late 19th and early 20th century. Images can be saved to a USB drive or burned onto a CD and later incorporated into reports or presentations. Materials normally too large to scan or photocopy, such as artwork and maps, can now be preserved digitally. The scan software allows users to manipulate the scanned area and therefore create cleaner images and adjust for the curve of thick books.

While images can be printed in either black and white or color, we hope that library users will save paper by scanning images to a digital storage device. The book scanner complements last year’s installation of multi-function printers (MFPs) by giving users another option, particularly for large format materials.

The book scanner is located on the 2nd floor of Van Wylen Library. It is publicly accessible and instructions are posted near the scanner. Users however may want to ask for a quick orientation before using it for the first time.