Charles Library Hosts IASSIST 2023 Pre-Conference Workshops 

Guest post by Olivia Given Castello, Head of Business, Social Sciences, and Education 

Poster for workshops of IASSIST conference

On May 30, 2023, Charles Library buzzed with activity as it hosted a day of pre-conference workshops for the 48th Annual Conference of IASSIST (International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology), which took place in downtown Philadelphia May 31–June 2. 

IASSIST is a global organization of social science information and data professionals from various sectors who advocate for responsible data management and use, open science, and excellence in social science data service delivery. 

The pre-conference workshops attracted 53 librarians and data specialists representing 37 different organizations from 11 countries, highlighting the international reach and significance of IASSIST. 

This diverse group came together at Charles Library to explore a range of topics related to data literacy, management, and archiving. Staff members from Temple Libraries’ social science unit and research data services team worked with colleagues from library facilities, technology, and access services to organize logistics for the event. 

The day started with a warm welcome as Olivia Given Castello, head of Temple Libraries’ social science unit, and IASSIST 2023 Workshops Committee Chair Deb Wiltshire, of GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, staffed a welcome table with information on the event, the new library building, and the local neighborhood. 

Welcome desk in Charles Library, staffed by three people
Welcoming IASSIST attendees to Charles Library

In the morning session, attendees had the opportunity to participate in two workshops. “A Friendly Introduction to Python for Absolute Beginners,” presented by Kara Handren and Kelly Schultz from the University of Toronto, provided a hands-on introduction to Python programming, equipping participants with essential concepts and practical skills. Simultaneously, Kristi Thompson from Western University conducted a workshop on “Understanding Data Anonymization,” shedding light on the mathematical foundations and practical techniques of ensuring data privacy. 

The afternoon session continued with three more engaging workshops. Ericka Menchen-Trevino from American University led a workshop on “Analyzing Donations of Digital Trace Data,” which explored how researchers can collect and analyze individual digital trace data for both quantitative and qualitative research projects. Sonia Barbosa from Harvard University facilitated hands-on training in managing and sharing research data using Dataverse repository software. Subhanya Sivajothy from McMaster University delved into data visualization pedagogy, showing participants how to incorporate data justice, ethics, and accessibility into their teaching practice to educate students on approaching visualizations with a critical lens. 

Operations Specialist John Pyle and volunteer workshop assistants Adam Shambaugh, Fred Rowland, Van Tran, and Will Dean made sure the workshops ran smoothly in Charles Library’s instruction rooms. To enrich the experience further, staff members led tours of the state-of-the-art Charles Library and John Oram revved up live demonstrations of the BookBot. 

Workshop participants expressed their appreciation for a well-organized pre-conference event and the opportunity to tour our amazing building. 

This year’s conference in Philadelphia was organized by local partners University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Rutgers University, and Temple Libraries was a co-sponsor. Temple Libraries and all those who contributed to the success of the pre-conference were recognized and thanked during the conference’s closing ceremony. 

See Temple Libraries’ Support for Researchers page to learn about library services for finding, analyzing, managing, and sharing data. Submit an Instruction Request to schedule an educational session on data literacy or other data-related topic for a Temple class or research group. 

Thanks to the dedicated Temple Libraries staff members who helped make the day a success. It was a phenomenal team effort: 

  • Olivia Anton, Library Technology student staff member 
  • Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian 
  • Olivia Given Castello, Head of Business, Social Sciences and Education 
  • Will Dean, Research and Data Services Librarian  
  • John Oram, ASRS/Stacks Supervisor 
  • John Pyle, Senior Operations Specialist 
  • Fred Rowland, Arts, Humanities & Media Librarian 
  • Cynthia Schwartz, Assistant Director for Library Technology, and the Library Technology Services team 
  • Adam Shambaugh, Business Librarian 
  • Van Bich Tran, Public Health and Social Sciences Librarian 
  • Stuart Whisnant, Event and Tour Coordinator, and the Charles Rooms team 

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.


New Tool Helps Students Identify Library E-Books That Are Course Textbooks

During the first week or two of the new semester one of the most frequently asked student questions at Paley Library is “Does the Library have my textbook?”

Owing to the expense of commercial textbooks, students are hoping they can borrow a library copy instead of having to buy the book. Temple Libraries does not generally purchase commercial textbooks. Not only are they costly, but they are hardly conducive to the Library’s goal of building a research collection that contributes to great learning and research.

That said, on occasion we do have books in our collection that are also being used as learning resources by faculty. The problem is that one student in the course typically borrows that book, beating everyone else in the class to it, so it really doesn’t help much. To alleviate that situation, some faculty will place a physical book from the collection on reserve for students, but students can only borrow the book for a two hour period.

E-books are one way to overcome these limitation. Since they are always available online, and mostly accessible by multiple users, students can equitably use the e-book. The challenge for students is how to find out if we have their textbook in e-book format.

Thanks to Brian Boling, our Media Services Librarian, we now have a new tool that makes it easier for students to find out if one of the books for their course is available as a library e-book.

“E-books At Temple University Libraries” looks through all the books available at the bookstore for the current semester and shows any match for an e-book available through the library.

screenshot of the library's e-book - textbook tool

Library’s E-book – Textbook Tool










There is a search or browse list that students can use to locate books by their faculty members name or course name.

screenshot of the library e-book to textbooks

Search/Browse feature of the textbook ebook collection






We hope that students will use this new tool to determine if the library has an e-book version of their textbook. Temple University Libraries provides access to many thousands of book in electronic format. We also hope that faculty and students will make use of them to advance student learning and research.


Paley Library Construction FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Temple University students will notice a substantial change in Paley Library as they return for the fall 2016 semester.

Almost the entire east side of the first floor of Paley Library is closed for a construction project.

This FAQ has information about the impact of this project on Paley Library and its resources and services throughout the construction.

That section of Paley is where I always study. Why did you close it?

The decision to close the east side of Paley Library’s first floor was a University administration decision. In order to create more space for the Fox School, a decision was made to move advising staff out of 1810 Liacouras Walk. Those advisers are being relocated to the first floor east of Paley Library. In closing the first floor east, the Library administration is complying with a request from the University administration.

We need more study space, not less? What happened to all the chairs and study carrels?

Despite the construction there is no loss of study seats in Paley Library. All of our carrels and soft seating have been relocated to other spaces throughout the building. Many of the popular individual carrels will be found on the second and third floors.

What about the computers on the first floor?

Unfortunately the construction project meant the loss of approximately 50 desktop computers. For now the bulk of our desktop computers are on the west side of the first floor, with a more limited number on the second and third floors. Many more students now bring their own computer to Paley Library, but for those who need to use one while here we will be introducing Chromebook computers for loan from our Media Services Desk. Look for an announcement.

Does the construction project affect any of the services at the desk in the Tuttleman Building?

No. The construction project will have no impact at all on any Temple University Library services. Whether it’s access to books on reserve, asking a librarian for help choosing a database, DVDs in Media Services, using primary research materials in the Special Collections Research Center or getting help with a research project at the Digital Scholarship Center, Temple students will experience no change in the high quality services they always receive from Temple Libraries.

How long is the construction project expected to last?

The project is expected to be completed by mid-November 2016. However, it is possible the new area will not be occupied by staff members until the start of the spring 2017 semester. The timeline on this remains undetermined for now.

What if the construction makes Paley too noisy for quiet study

We are dealing with an active construction zone in our building from 7:00 am until 2:30 pm, weekdays. There will be noise. The entire project will be enclosed within walls that separate it from the rest of the building, which will help, but there will still be some noise. If you feel there is too much noise, speak to a library staff member at any service desk. There are numerous other quiet spaces in Paley, so seek them out.

How do I get one of the magazine or journal issues that were on the shelves in that area?

We do plan to re-install the shelving and make all those issues available for browsing once we are able to get back into the corridor. Until then, request a magazine or journal issue at the main service desk in Paley Library, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

UPDATE – Sept. 13: The current periodicals are now available in the corridor that leads into the east side of the first floor.

Will I still be able to get to the photocopiers when I need them?

The corridor where the photocopiers are located will remain open to the community during and after the completion of the construction project. If for any reason that area is temporarily unavailable, there are additional photocopiers on the second and third floors.

UPDATE – Sept. 13: The photocopiers are now re-installed in their original location on the first floor east.

Does the project affect the hours that the Paley Library will be open this fall?

No. The Paley Library hours are not affected by the construction project.

What should I do if I have concerns about Paley Library during the construction project?

Temple University students are always welcome to share their concerns or suggestions about any aspects of library services with members of the Library Administration team. The office is located on the mezzanine level of Paley Library and is open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. You can also contact us through our virtual suggestion box.

In the News: Upholding Net Neutrality

On June 14, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit voted to uphold the FCC’s Open Internet Order governing net neutrality, or equitable speed and access to non-commercial content. A victory for cultural and educational institutions, this ruling responds to the concern that internet service providers could give preference to paid entertainment and commercial content over educational and informational content. Last week’s ruling, however, ensures that internet providers cannot favor content from certain providers over others. In other words, the internet will remain an open platform in which all internet traffic is treated equally.

According to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), this ruling is especially important for institutions like libraries that value and rely on open access to educational and cultural resources. An appeal is likely but for the time being, net neutrality remains.

Read more about the ARL’s reaction here.

New Study Points to Learning Effectiveness of Open Textbooks

There are many good reasons to use open textbooks instead of costly commercially published textbooks. The obvious one is that it saves students a great deal of money. Faculty support that but may be hesitant to adopt an open textbook for their course over concerns of quality and impact on learning.

A new study by three researchers, one of whom is David Wiley, the prominent advocate for open education, may help to convince faculty that there is value in adopting open textbooks – and not just because of the savings for students. Open textbooks, in this study, proved beneficial to student learning.

A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of postsecondary students” is by far the largest study of its kind conducted to date—nearly 5000 postsecondary students using OER and over 11,000 control students using commercial textbooks, distributed among ten institutions across the United States, enrolled in 15 different undergraduate courses. So what did the researchers learn?

In three key measures of student success—course completion, final grade of C- or higher, course grade– students whose faculty chose OER generally performed as well or better than students whose faculty assigned commercial textbooks. The article does discuss the challenge of identifying and using appropriate measures of student learning, but the findings should encourage faculty who may be averse to open educational resources.

The findings support the experience of Temple University faculty that have participated in our local Alternate Textbook Project. Their evaluations of student outcomes often confirm that replacing the commercial textbook with alternate learning content (including licensed library content in many cases) leads to improved student engagement with learning materials which results in better academic performance. If you are interested in additional information about open textbooks, OER or our Alternate Textbook Project contact Steven Bell, Association University Librarian(bells at

Temple Library Operations During Papal Visit Weekend

Will the Temple Libraries be open during the Papal visit weekend?

If so, which ones and what will the hours of operation be? Here is a listing of our operations from Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28.

Paley Library will be open throughout this period as follows:

Friday – 9 am to 5 pm
Saturday – 9 am to 7 pm
Sunday – Noon to 2 am
Monday – 8 am to 2 am

Please be aware that even though Paley is open it will be operating with limited staff and services. The only service desk location that will be staffed is the Access Services desk in Tuttleman. You will only be able to enter the Library through the Bell Tower entrance.
All guest computing services are suspended from Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28 at 1 pm. No applications for guest computing or guest borrowing will be accepted during this period.

Those with research questions can obtain assistance through our virtual Ask-a-Librarian service. It will be available 9-5 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Science and Engineering Library located in the Engineering Building is closed  from Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28 at 1 pm.

The Ambler Campus Library is closed on Friday, September 25, open from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, September 26 and then closed for Sunday, September 27 and the morning of Monday, September 28.

The Health Sciences Libraries, Ginsburg and Podiatry, will be closed Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28 at 1 pm.

All other service units such as the Special Collections Research Center, Media Services Desk, Blockson Collection, etc. are closed until Monday, September 28 at 1 pm.

For more information please call the Access Services Desk at 215-204-0744.

Even Harvard Must Reckon with the Scholarly Publishing Crisis

With an article titled “The ‘Wild West’ of Academic Publishing”, Craig Lambert, writing in the January-February 2015 issue of Harvard Magazine, details the challenges that even universities with the resources of Harvard face as they attempt to navigate the scholarly publishing crisis.

Lambert examines two specific challenges. First, how can the existing 105 university presses survive in an environment where it is increasingly difficult to sell more than a few hundred copies of a scholarly monograph. Second, how can higher education bring sensible reform to a badly broken system of scholarly article publishing that has faculty giving away content to publishers (both commercial and non-profit societies) that sell back the content to academic libraries at subscription prices that cannot be rationalized.

Is open access publishing a possible solution? Lambert dives into the question, and offers some possibilities by profiling a few experiments in approaching scholarly publishing in an entirely different way. This article provides insight into the scholarly publishing crisis, and could well serve as material for a conversation in academic departments where there are concerns about the future of scholarly publishing.

Complete Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open educational resources (OER) are freely available learning materials that are becoming more popular as a strategy for providing students with an alternative to costly textbooks. Knowing that their students are already challenged by the cost of higher education, many faculty are looking for ways to help students save money. Adopting openly accessible textbooks and other open learning content is one way to do that. But it also has other advantages, the primary one being that it can enhance student success by making learning materials affordable. Research has shown that many students don’t buy an expensive textbook or they try to share it with other students. That detracts from learning.

How do you get started with OER if you are interested in learning more about the resources and how to integrate them into a learning environment? Campus Technology recently published a good introduction to OER in the August 2014 issue. “Complete Guide to OER” starts with a definition: “Teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain…and includes full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, texts, software, and other materials used to access knowledge.”

It then provides a good overview that includes four myths about OER, six tips for using OER, six arguments for OER, 18 sites for finding OER, ideas for spreading the word about OER on campus, and some information about OER formats.

The other way to learn more about OER and how it’s being used at Temple University is to explore our Alternate Textbook Project website. The Temple University Libraries has offered support for faculty to replace their traditional commercial textbook with other materials, including OER. There are examples of projects and links to additional resources. If you would like to learn more about the Alternate Textbook Project or OER, please contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian.