Library Director Earns National Award
by Sue Angell ’99
Director of Libraries Ray English
Ray English, the director of libraries at Oberlin since 1979, earned high praise from his peers in February by being named the 2006 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The honor comes from the Association of College and Research Libraries, a professional organization representing more than 13,000 academic librarians.
English was nominated by a group of colleagues for the award, which in part acknowledges his efforts to promote open access to research. “English’s greatest impact as a librarian, and the area of his work that stands out, is his advocacy for open access to the results of scholarly research,” says award committee chair Les Canterbury. “The breadth and depth of his knowledge of issues related to dissemination of scholarly output, and his commitment to access to information, led to his leadership role in information policy-setting arenas.”
A primary leader of the ACRL scholarly communications program, English has influenced, as an expert contributor, national policy on public access to federally funded research, including the recent National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy.
Under his leadership, Oberlin became the first private, liberal arts college library to join OhioLINK. In addition, he participated in a cooperative effort with four other Ohio private colleges in establishing a new consortium, the Five Colleges of Ohio, which received a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for library resource sharing. He also coordinated a $475,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to incorporate information literacy into the liberal arts curriculum of each of the Ohio Five schools. Finally, he was co-project director of an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership grant to create a library diversity intern program at Oberlin, which received the 2002 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.
“It’s a wonderful honor to be recognized by my peers in this way,” says English. “I’m very grateful that I’ve been in a position to make contributions that are perceived to be important for the profession.”
The award, which carries a $3,000 prize, will be presented during the annual conference of the American Library Asso-ciation in June. ATS
Mudd library’s Reading Girl may be too absorbed in her book to care about her appearance; luckily she had local stonecarver Nick Fairplay on hand to clean and restore her to her natural state. Following an intensive three-stage cleaning process, which included a thick slather of clay, the Reading Girl’s features and dress details stand out more clearly than ever. “She’s an amazing example of Victorian carving,” Fairplay says. “Such clear, high-quality Carrara marble is very scarce.”
Century Home Gets an Environmental Makeover
Can you Hear Me Now?
Professor Lynne Bianchi and neuroscience major Katie Au ’06 are investigating changes that take place in the auditory centers of our brian as we age. How could these changes interfere with our hearing.
The ABC television show Miracle Workers includes Oberlin alumnus Billy Cohn ’82, a pioneering cardiovascular surgeon in Houston, Texas, in its elite team of health professionals working to help people with debilitating medical conditions.
Video conferencing and voice-over tools are revolutionizing the teaching of foreign languages. Using Skype, a voice-over IP tool that makes computer-to-computer long-distance “calls,” students in Oberlin’s International Learning Center are learning Arabic by speaking directly with people in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Professor Theater and Dance Roger Copeland was praised by Vanity Fair for his latest film, The Unrecovered, a feature-length, fictional narrative about the psychological aftermath of 9/11. In an essay appearing in the magazine’s February issue, contributing editor James Wolcott writes: “for a word guy, Copeland knows how to tease the maximum meaning out of images and juxtapose them to achieve magic realism.”
Project Winter Term
From a month-long celebration of Mozart to fossil studies on the ocean floor, winter term again offered students a remarkable array o study opportunities. Some took part in campus projects, such as a course taught by Iranian activist Mehrangiz Kar; other students, such as Matthew Adler ’07, interned in Washington, DC, with the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.
What many historic homes lack in
modern amenities they make up for in charm, but in the case of 132 Elm Street in Oberlin, turn-of-the-century modesty hides a host of environmentally friendly renovations.
Built in the 1880s, the Elm Street property, which sits next to the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, began a transformation last summer that was spurred by student designs in the classrooms of environmental studies faculty Kathryn Janda and David Orr.
As with the Lewis Center, technologies and design approaches for the house were selected to serve the educational mission of the program. But whereas the Lewis Center exemplifies “high-tech” architecture on a grand scale, the house demonstrates the green renovation of existing buildings on a smaller scale.
Technologies in the house were “specifically chosen so that any homeowner could easily use them in their own renovations,” says Associate Professor of Environmental Studies John Petersen. Amenities include high-efficiency florescent T-5 lighting, high-efficiency airtight windows, and cabinets and countertops that were recycled from other campus projects. A composting toilet, dual-flush toilet, and waterless urinal expand on the Lewis Center’s use of wetland-based wastewater treatment.
The first floor of the building houses teaching and research labs, plus a greenhouse added to the front of the property. Outfitted with high thermal efficiency windows and a two-foot thick concrete floor that serves as heat storage, the greenhouse will be used to explore aquatic and terrestrial systems ecology. The property’s landscaping will be nourished by rainwater collected and stored on the rooftop.
“The facility provides much-needed laboratory space for a variety of ongoing, systems-level projects on wetland restoration, ecological engineering for wastewater treatment, sustainable agriculture, and watershed dynamics,” says Petersen.
When in full use next year, the teaching and research labs will emphasize the application of “green chemistry,” relying on a recirculating hood device that uses a filtration system to clean the air, plus an ion chromatograph that will analyze water quality for dissolved nutrients without the use of toxic materials.
“Part of our goal in this project was to explore various opportunities for environmentally sensitive renovation,” says Petersen. “We hope that lessons learned in this project can be applied elsewhere.” ATS
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