This winter break, enjoy a good book

As winter break draws near, many of us are looking forward to relaxing as we get ready for the new year. What better way to unwind than to curl up with a good book? We polled Temple Libraries staff members for the books they recommend you check out this winter:

Book cover for The Blind AssassinI recommend The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. You might know Atwood from The Handmaid’s Tale, but The Blind Assassin is by far my favorite of her novels. It’s a story within a story within a story. There might even be another story in there. It’s genre-bending, hard to classify, and the more I write about it, the more I think I’m due for a re-read.
—Beckie Dashiell, Editor, Library Outreach and Communications


Book cover for The Vanishing Half

I recently read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and thought it was such a page-turner. I always love a novel that pulls you into its world so much that you are still thinking about it even while you are not actively reading, and The Vanishing Half did that for me.
—Geneva Heffernan, Lead Administrative Specialist, Library Outreach and Communications
(Bonus: This ebook is available through the Libraries.)


Book cover for Useful Phrases for ImmigrantsI would recommend Useful Phrases for Immigrants, a short story collection by May-lee Chai. Temple University Press published her memoir, Hapa Girl, back in 2007 and I’ve followed her writing ever since. I particularly love short stories so I devoured this collection. Chai’s writing is so precise and emotional. She freights so much meaning and reveals telling details about her characters, sometimes in a single sentence. And I love that the collection provides so many vivid characters.
—Gary Kramer, Publicity Manager, Temple University Press


Book cover for Braiding SweetgrassBraiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer—A collection of essays on how botany and the teachings of Native America are connected. I particularly loved the traditional story of the three sisters (corn, squash, beans) and how that story is reflected in the garden (each helps the other grow) as well as supporting the body nutritionally. Kimmerer teaches at the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry and is also a member of the Potawatomi tribe. 
—Nancy Turner, Associate Director for Organizational Research and Strategy Alignment
(Bonus: Another ebook that’s available through the Libraries.)


Book cover for Such a Fun AgeI picked up Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid because another library staff member was reading it, and then couldn’t put it down. The novel takes place in Philly and the protagonist is a Temple alum, so reading it felt like a little local scavenger hunt. It also provides a really nuanced depiction of race, class, and privilege, and manages to do so with a lightness that still makes it—forgive me—such a fun read. 
Sara Wilson, Assistant Director, Outreach and Communications
(Bonus: This ebook is available too!)


Book Cover for the 7th Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleThe 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. This book quickly became possibly one of the best books I have ever read. I describe it as a mix of Agatha Christie and Groundhog Day. This book is full of twists and turns and I literally couldn’t put it down! Highly recommend if you like mystery, historical fiction, a twist of sci-fi, intrigue, and fast paced writing.
—Carly Hustedt, Bibliographic Assistant II, Access Services


Book cover for Tarka the OtterTarka the Otter by Henry Williamson. A wonderful book which is little known in this country: “one of the defining masterpieces of modern nature writing…that seeks to transcend the boundaries between the human and the animal worlds.” —New York Review Books (NYRB)
—Gregory McKinney, Librarian


Reading for Social Change: What We Can Do for World AIDS Day and Beyond

Guest post by Brittany Robinson, wellness education program coordinator with the Wellness Resource Center 

December 1st is World AIDS Day—a time to show support for those whose lives are impacted by HIV/AIDS and to remember those who have died from an HIV/AIDS-related illness. World AIDS Day has been recognized and helped raise awareness for 32 years. The 2020 theme is “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility,” which encourages us to  unite worldwide to reduce new cases of HIV, end stigma, and make the world a better place for folks living with HIV. This post is a collaboration between the Wellness Resource Center and Temple University Libraries.

Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV and about 14% are unaware of their status. Living with HIV can be challenging due to isolation and stigmatization, but this does not have to be the reality. We have the power to work individually and collectively to create change. Using kind person-first language, becoming informed about the realities of HIV, and addressing misconceptions can reduce experiences of shame and isolation. One way we can begin doing the work of educating ourselves and reducing stigma is by reading accounts that accurately portray the experiences of folks living with HIV/AIDS. 

How Does Reading Help? 

Reading provides us the freedom and space to explore perspectives and experiences that are different from our own. Research shows that reading can improve empathy and perspective-taking. 

Here are some suggested titles, available through Temple Libraries

Positive by Tom Bouden

Bouden’s graphic novel tells the story of a young woman, Sarah, who discovers that she is HIV positive. Readers are taken on a journey as Sarah learns to navigate taking medication, responses from friends, and stigma. This story focuses on how life with HIV can be and often is filled with love and joy. 

Vital Signs: Essential AIDS Fiction by Richard Canning 

Canning has organized a collection of powerful short stories that speak to the struggle, bravery, and resilience of folks living with HIV and AIDS. 

Available Resources 

Temple’s Tuttleman Counseling Services has specially-trained therapists and support groups for Temple University students. 

Temple’s Wellness Resource Center has workshops and resources centered around healthy sexuality, stigma reduction, and social change. 

Philadelphia FIGHT provides inclusive and patient centered comprehensive primary care, and HIV primary care, research, education, and advocacy to folks living with HIV and those who are susceptible. 

AIDS United is a national organization with a mission of ending HIV in the United States. They offer blog posts, free webinars, and other resources for folks interested in improving the state of HIV nationally. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a wealth of information to help folks understand the basics of HIV, prevention methods, living fully with HIV, stigma reduction, and more. 

Reading for Social Change: #1Thing We Can Do For A Safer Tomorrow

Guest post by Liz Zadnik, associate director of the Wellness Resource Center

* Take Care While Reading: Mention of intimate partner abuse *

October is recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month—a time to honor individuals and families who have experienced abuse, as well as for communities to join together in efforts to create positive change. The 2020 theme is #1Thing, as in one action we can each take to move us toward a world free of interpersonal violence. Today’s post is a collaboration between the Wellness Resource Center and Temple University Libraries.

Image of woman running in front text reading #1Thing, Awareness + Action = Social Change

While millions of Americans experience some form of intimate partner violence during their lifetime, it is often something they endure alone. Making something visible—speaking these truths—can minimize the shame and isolation so many may experience. One way we can start this collective conversation is by reading the accounts of folks brave and generous enough to share their lives with us.

How does reading help us in our collective efforts to create a safer world? 

Emerging research has found reading literary fiction can help readers with empathy and compassion. The skills of empathy—perspective-taking, staying out of judgement, identifying emotions, and then communicating recognition of those emotions—are strengthened as we bear witness to the perceptions, thought processes, and worldviews of characters.

Here are some suggested titles, all available through Temple Libraries:

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Machado’s memoir of her experience with an abusive partner weaves together themes of sizeism, heterosexism, and cultural understandings of love and worthiness. Incredibly candid, Machado approaches a difficult subject with wit and a combination of narrative tropes—including classic horror—to create something entirely unique.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

A classic text that won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction, The Color Purple shares the stories of women connected through their pain, growth, and bravery. The powerful novel offers a journey that is inspiring and life-affirming.

Milk and Honey and The Sun And Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur 

Kaur’s poetry seeks to raise awareness of domestic and family violence and how social norms contribute to victim-blaming, shame, and pain. Unflinching and honest, each offering evokes a range of emotions and asks the reader to open their heart to something new. 

Resources Available

Temple’s Tuttleman Counseling Services has specially-trained therapists and support groups for Temple University students who have experienced different forms of interpersonal violence.  

Philadelphia’s Domestic Violence Hotline connects folks with multiple organizations in the area for crisis intervention, safety planning, resources, and referrals. All conversations are free, confidential and anonymous: 1-866-723-3014

The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers support to anyone in the United States and also has a chat feature available any time, 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-799-7233.


A welcome interruption: Winners read and inter-university contest announcement

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, Temple University Libraries celebrated the winners of our second-ever creative writing contest, which explored the theme of “Interruption.” The contest winners and select finalists joined us virtually from around the city, region, and even the world to read their winning pieces via Zoom.

The event featured readings by:

The contest’s overall juried winner, Kristen Loughlin, was unable to join us for the live event, but you can view a video of her reading her winning short story, Bar Lines, on the Libraries’ YouTube page.

And in case you missed the reading, you can check it out at any time on our website.  

A new writing contest opportunity for Temple students

As we wrap up our own contest, we are excited to announce Temple Libraries’ participation in Short Édition’s first-ever inter-university contest. (Short Édition is the French publishing house who we partner with for our contests and who makes the short story dispenser we have in Charles Library).

The Long Story Short Award writing contest is open to all students at university partners (that’s us!), and submissions will be accepted from October 5 to November 19. 

Submissions are limited to 7,500 characters (not words, so take note!). There are cash prizes, and select submissions will be published across 300 Short Édition short story dispensers worldwide.

Learn more at the contest website, and good luck! We hope to see an Owl take the top prize!

Your fall 2020 guide to Temple University Libraries

Photo outside of Charles Library, with people wearing masks and Owl statue

Charles Library, photo by Betsy Manning for Temple University

While things look a little different at Temple this fall, the Libraries are committed to providing you with important resources, materials, and services as you embark on a new semester. 

If you plan to visit us in person, we encourage you to check our website for the latest information on what to expect when visiting our library locations. And whether you are on campus or off, we are here for you with:

One-on-one research help

Librarians are here to offer personalized assistance as you work on your research papers and projects. No matter what you are studying or what major you pursue, we have a librarian who specializes in your field

Getting in touch with your librarian is easy: you can chat, email, or schedule a virtual appointment. For more ways to get in touch, visit our Contact Us page. 

Access to collections

We provide access to a broad range of physical and online materials—from books, databases, and journals to ebooks, archival materials, and movies—all searchable through our website:

If you are looking for fully online materials, we have highlighted those on our website.  

Online learning opportunities

The Libraries are more than just a place for books! We host specialized online learning opportunities, such as workshops on everything from writing a winning conference abstract to copyright basics to 3D printing. We have a full slate of workshops scheduled for the fall around the theme of change and action, and we hope you’ll join us. 

And check out our Beyond the Page public programming series, which is going virtual this semester with a variety of readings, concerts, conversations, and more. 

As always, our events and workshops are free and open to all.

Here are a few more tips to help you start the new school year off right:

Photo of tables and chairs  in Charles Library spaced to promote physical distancing

Physically distanced study space on the third floor of Charles Library, photo by Betsy Manning for Temple University

Alone in Charles Library: Makerspace Manager Takes Part in University-Wide Effort to Make PPE

About nine months ago, the new Charles Library opened on Temple Main Campus. This forward-thinking academic library in the heart of campus was a cause for much celebration, and it quickly became an integral hub for gathering and collaborating, study and research, creating and exploring. 

And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In mid-March, Temple made the decision to move all courses online and closed most university buildings. That included our brand new Charles Library.

photo of the empty Charles Library atrium

The empty Charles Library atrium

Charles Library is empty now of people, save for one: Makerspace Manager David Ross. In the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio on the third floor of Charles Library, David is putting the 3D printers, laser cutters, and other equipment in our production-oriented facility to work.

David is part of a university-wide task force comprised of Temple faculty, staff, and students that assembled to answer the question: what can we do to help address the critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals?

Named the Temple University COVID-19 Assistance Team (TUCAT), this cross-disciplinary effort began in March and is still ongoing. The team spans across the university, from the College of Engineering and College of Science and Technology to Tyler School of Art and Architecture to Temple Libraries, Temple Health, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The team members are practicing social distancing and working separately to avoid any further spread. 

So what’s it like to be in Charles Library alone? David says it’s a bit lonely, though there are a few perks, including:

  • My own bathrooms (PLURAL)
  • Listening to Music or NPR super loud in a library!
  • Being asked to turn on computers, or get items for staff…So I get to walk through the office spaces and see coworkers’ desk personalities. Some of these are really fun— one person has an amazing LEGO set, a few have forests growing across their desks 
  • I have the pick of the litter for reading material and games and such—makes for nice breaks
  • I dance! I bet the security guards watching the video love seeing me act a fool
David demonstrating a completed face shield

David demonstrating a completed face shield

David’s primary focus in the Makerspace is creating face shields. In other spaces across campus, team members (who may or may not also be dancing while they work) are making other components, as well as assembling, cleaning, and packing the PPE for delivery. The team also donated a number of iPads and helped develop a system to remotely run the iPads in order to help doctors maintain social distancing.

While we aren’t the only organization employing our Makerspace to make PPE, the Temple task force made the early decision to take a faster and safer approach. The team determined that 3D printing the face shields themselves wasn’t feasible on a mass scale, because the process can be expensive, slow, and prone to error. 

Instead, David worked closely with Professor Tonia Hsieh from the Department of Biology and came up with the idea to use 3D printers to create molds, from which many face shields could then be quickly cast. What’s more, the material used for casting—a flexible resin—can be cleaned and reused, making it ideal for use in hospitals.

Photo of molds

Face shield molds


David pours material in shield molds

David pours material in shield molds

The Temple team has shared their unique process, including designs and molds, with universities and partners across Philadelphia and even Delaware, which according to David, turned the project “from a Temple effort to a Philadelphia effort.” The team has also created a how-to guide so that “this can grow from a Philly effort to an American effort to even a global effort,” David notes.

In reflecting on the experience, David says that “one of the best parts of this for me was being allowed to use new types of casting materials and learning new methods for making this process efficient.” He also notes Charles Library’s role as being a natural place for facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and that “without cross-disciplinary work, the project would never have happened.”  

Extra Seating in Charles Library for Finals

We know that preparing for final exams and papers is stressful enough without having to worry about where to study. Head on over to Charles Library, which is open 24/7 starting December 5th at 8 a.m. For final exams, we’re also opening up more study spots and seating options.

Extra seating on the third floor of Charles

Extra seating on the third floor of Charles, photo by Geneva Heffernan

Check out the following rooms, which you are welcome to use any time they’re not booked (schedules are posted outside each room):

  • 113
  • 202
  • 210 (complete with desktop computers!)
  • 381
  • 401

New bean bag chairs by the BookBot viewing window

New bean bag chairs by the BookBot viewing window, photo by Geneva Heffernan

We’re also setting up extra seats and tables in the first floor event space and throughout the building. And be on the lookout for the comfiest new option around—bean bag chairs! 

From all of us here at the Library, good luck with finals.

New Semester, New Look at the Libraries

Charles Library, photo by Betsy Manning for Temple University

Welcome to the fall 2019 semester! While Temple University Libraries has a new Main Campus building (Charles Library, heard of it??!) and a new website, we are committed as ever to getting you the materials, resources, and expert help you need as you start a new academic year at Temple!

First off, we hope you’ll stop by the new Charles Library building, where you’ll find a variety of specialized and flexible spaces. Explore all the cool things you can do in the new Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio, including 3D printing and experimenting with virtual reality. Watch the BookBot in action, grab a snack at the new cafe, then stay up all night in the 24/7 study area. There’s so much more to this state-of-the-art building—come see us in person

If you want to learn more about Charles Library, we’ll be offering tours from 9:00 am–4:00 pm as well as a staffed info table the first two weeks of the semester. No need to register: just stop by and get to know your new library.

Once you’ve scoped out your syllabi, head over to our comprehensive Research Guides for each of your course subjects, as well as our How Do I…? guides for help with basic tasks and services. 

Or maybe you are looking for new ways to learn or spend an afternoon? Check out the Libraries’ Beyond the Page public programming series for a variety of free programs, concerts, workshops, and more, many of which will take place in Charles Library’s new event space

Here are a few more tips to help you start the new school year off right:

Libraries Launch New Website

On Monday, August 19, 2019, Temple University Libraries will launch a new website culminating two years of work and research. The timing of this launch is paired with the opening of the new Charles Library. This new environment serves to enhance discovery of library resources, and promote the use of services and amenities both online and within our walls. The last time the libraries’ website received a major overhaul was about seven years ago, in 2012.

An overarching goal of the website redesign and restructuring was to create a consistent look across all of our web platforms. Last summer, we launched our new Library Search as the first step in this process. Launching the new website on an open source and flexible platform is the second step. The new website will have a seamless integration with Library Search, and website content will be discoverable alongside book, article and database information.

We also continue to build out Library Search as we prepare for the changes to how users will navigate our collections. This will include the option to retrieve items from the BookBot and to browse our collections in the order that they would have appeared in the old stacks.

We sought to build a website that incorporated input and feedback from all of the communities that we serve. Over the course of the project, we conducted several in-person user-testing sessions with library patrons as they passed through the halls. We also did an online survey and looked at web analytics for our most popular pages.

A project of this scope has an impact that will reverberate throughout our community, and we are committed to persisting links to library resources. We thank you for your patience with this development, and we look forward to working with you into the future.

Farewell, Paley Library!

Saying goodbye to Paley, photo by Brae Howard

On May 9, the Libraries hosted a “Goodbye to Paley” open house. Paley has been the library’s home on Main Campus since 1966, and has meant so much to the Temple students, faculty, staff, community members, and visitors who have walked through its doors.

Library staff performs hits from 1966, photo by Betsy Manning for Temple University

Around 250 people joined us to celebrate, to reminisce, and to say goodbye to Paley. Our open house featured an SCRC photo exhibit, zinemaking station, video booth for sharing Paley memories, library furniture sale, live music, and more. Dean Joe Lucia also offered remarks on the history of Paley and the shifts we’ve seen in academic libraries since the 1960s, when Paley first opened. It was a fitting send off as we prepare to open a new 21st century library across the street.

At the end of the day, we officially closed Paley Library in order to begin the move to Charles Library. The move process will continue throughout the summer, as we work toward opening the new library for the fall semester in August.


Images of Paley Library from the SCRC, photo by Brae Howard

While Paley will no longer function as a library, the building will live on as “Samuel Paley Hall.” It will be the new home for the College of Public Health and will continue to house the Center for Academic Advising and Professional Development for the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Technology.



While we will miss Paley dearly, we are excited about completing the move to Charles and opening the new state-of-the-art facility to the public.

Library furniture on sale, photo by Brae Howard