Dispersing Seeds: Education Program, Summer 2019

| September 1, 2019

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The End of Summer
— by Edna St. Vincent Millay
When poppies in the garden bleed,
And coreopsis goes to seed,
And pansies, blossoming past their prime,
Grow small and smaller all the time,
When on the mown field, shrunk and dry,
Brown dock and purple thistle lie,
And smoke from forest fires at noon
Can make the sun appear the moon,
When apple seeds, all white before,
Begin to darken in the core,
I know that summer, scarcely here,
Is gone until another year.

One very hot sticky day in late August, our staff visited the New York Botanical Gardens to tour the LuEsther Mertz Library; William and Lynda Steere Herbarium; and Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory. Intrigued, we witnessed traditional methods of conserving plant specimens (involving large wooden presses, school-like glue, and handy needle/thread), and the important influence of Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician known for the modern system of naming organisms, whose first editions reside in the rare books room. We examined fine leaf samples from Charles Darwin’s travels; watched the sophisticated scanning, complete with metal dusting, of dead plant specimens; and learned about current research into genomics at the lovely leafy treetop level. Topics wed together through botanical history and living, breathing lab — from the cultivation of the apple tree, to the discovery of mysterious ferns  — effectively planting seeds of inspiration and hope for the future of learning, teaching and research — indeed libraries. We grasped that highly specialized libraries thrive because of the rarity of their collections and their proven leadership. Just ask the NYBG staff what moves them to work at there and the unanimous answer is, “The Collection.”

At the NYBG we also visited Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marxon display through the end of September 2019.  A sign outside the herbarium quotes the influential Brazilian landscape architect, cum painter, print maker, ecologist, naturalist, and musician, “Nature is such an indefatigable teacher!” Widely considered “a force of nature in Brazil”, Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994), encouraged us to shift our compass in realizing that forces larger than humanity can also drive education (stay tuned for the Fall Everett Cafe book display, Learning from Parks).

There is a natural affinity between teachers and librarians, rooted in education. Our goal in the Education Program is to inform students, faculty and staff about the latest thinking in education, in ways that engage members of the community with one another and with a broad range of educational experts. The Program also provides understanding of work being done throughout Teachers College. So, if you ask our Services Team what moves us, the unilateral response will be, “The Patron” (though admittedly, our collections are pretty phenomenal in reflecting the historic commitment to advanced study in education, psychology, and the health professions in their local, national, and international dimensions).

Summer settled quietly in and gently passed, attuned to the needs of our students, faculty, and staff. We offered greater focus on instructional offerings and displays-exhibits. Workshops included: If We Knew What We Were Doing; The Lit Review; Funding Your Research; What Kind of Researcher Are You?; Who’s Citing Whom?; An Introduction to Course Reserves; and, in coordination with the Office of Student Affairs, New Student Orientation: Welcome Workshop 1. Library tours were conducted at the beginning of Summer Session A and following the Welcome Workshop at the end August, and we also provided a special tour in June for the Peace Corps fellows.

Along with news-worthy book displays Teaching About Species and Getting In Or Getting Out: College Admissions, special news displays on a variety of educational topics featured once a week in Everett Cafe and Learning at the Library’s “Today in History”: Remembering Harold Ordway Rugg; Grace Hoadley Dodge Is Born; William Young Patents the Ice Cream Freezer; Tribal Rights of the New Saturday Night; Anne Frank Receives A Diary; Summer Solstice; The First Newbery Medal; Zip Codes Are Introduced; World Population Day; Twitter Launches; Apollo 11 Lands in the North Pacific; Remembering Frank W. Cyr; The Purple Heart; Horace Greeley Publishes the Prayer of Twenty Millions; Hurricane Katrina Hits New Orleans. We continued to curate daily news from around the world each day in Everett.

Other displays comprised Staff Picks, curated each month by the Gottesman Libraries’ staff to highlight resources on educational topics and themes of special interest. We did Labor, by Rachel Altvater; The Pedagogy of Hip Hop, by Jasmine Sykes-Kunk; 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing, by Annette Mims; and Crossing Borders: Literature in Translation, by Clara Ruiz.

We hosted a few musical performances by Wadsworth Strings, our longest running classical musical ensemble, as well as the Shane Bordeau jazz trio — also long term participants of the library’s music program in Everett Cafe.

Curated by Edlab Studios, insightful art installations in Offit Gallery, third floor, comprised From Negative to Positive, by recent TC alumna Carolina Cambronera-Valera (through May), and Reflections: TC Art from the Dow, Castellon, and Ziegfeld Collections (through August). The latter exhibit was inspired by staff who proposed arranging historical pieces of art using light and dark perspectives.

Each month we highlighted databases on a topical theme and in support of College offerings: Alumni Resources (May), for our new graduates; Environmental Education (June), connecting events in the Learning Theater and the Hollingworth Science Camp; Reading and Writing (July), for the ongoing Teaches Reading and Writing Project; International and Comparative Education (August), for the College’s academic program.

As seeds disperse from the parent plant through the help of the wind or birds, so we rely upon the library’s patrons to help grow the program. We sincerely thank the Teachers College community for being an integral part, and we look forward to an exciting Fall season of continuing collaborations and partnerships.

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Education Program Summer 2019

Offerings Attendees
Talks
     Book n/a
     Guest n/a
     Film n/a
Instructional 19 135
     Tours 6 35
     Workshops 8 100
     Online Discussions n/a n/a
     Self Guided 5 n/a
Live Musical Performances 4 n/a
Displays & Exhibits 108 n/a
     Special News 15 n/a
     Regular News 85 n/a
     Book Collections 6 n/a
Installations – Gallery 2 n/a
Total 131 135

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