University Library Newsletter Issue 11 May 2011


Table of Contents



Welcome to the first online issue of the University Library Newsletter. Here you’ll find news of upcoming library events and exhibits as well as articles highlighting your library’s collections, services, and accomplishments.

Despite the dire financial situation in California and for the University, the library is making notable progress on a number of exciting projects including completion of the McHenry renovation (this summer, at last!) and a growing digitization program that is positioning us to share some of our most valuable resources on the web.

I hope you'll enjoy this inaugural electronic newsletter and invite you to send me comments on it or any of the content (

As always, thank you for your support of the UCSC University Library. Have a wonderful summer!

Happy reading,

Ginny Steel

University Librarian


Moving Days for McHenry Library

June finds McHenry library in moving mode again. In carefully orchestrated stages, office files, computers, furniture, the general collection, and special collections and archives will be moved into the newly renovated “old part” of McHenry Library. Tens of thousands of books will be shifted by highly skilled professional library movers.  

To accommodate the move McHenry library will close June 10th.  It re-opens June 20th.  When the building re-opens access will again be via the original north-facing entrance. The Science & Engineering library remains open. 

We’re getting some new furniture in the public service areas of the combined building, specially designed to accommodate today’s technology and group study needs. But in the spirit of both continuity and recycling, many of the library’s original tables and chairs are being re-finished, re-upholstered, and re-used. Thank goodness for the decision, made decades ago, to purchase sturdy, well-made tables and chairs!

This long-awaited expansion will increase the number of “user seats” in McHenry Library from 669 to 1,413. For those who just love numbers, know that the expanded and remodeled library space encompasses 157,859 assignable square feet. 






Laurie R. King, best-selling mystery novelist, is shown peeking around the door of the Laurie and Noel King group study room, now budget analyst Cindy Firenzi's office.




Before fall quarter begins The Noel and Laurie King Group Study Room will be in use for its intended function, as will 21 other group study rooms. 

Thank you to all who contributed to the McHenry Library addition and renovation. YOU help make it possible for the library and its staff to provide instruction and serve the research, study, and recreational reading and viewing needs of the UC Santa Cruz community. 


Playing Games at the Library

by Lisa Wong

Did you know that UCSC’s graduate computer-game programs ranked seventh in the nation in the Princeton Review/GamePro Media 2011 survey? How does the University Library fit in? Read on to find out. 

Today computer games are not just the domain of teenage boys. They are changing how people teach and learn. They are a $10.5 billion industry. UCSC professors and students have been leaders in creating the future of games since 2006 when the campus initiated the first undergraduate degree program in computer game design in the UC system.  

Professor Jim Whitehead, one of the founders of the program, writes, “I knew that students needed access to examples of excellent game design in order to develop their critical skills as game designers. Just as English literature students read and critically analyze prose and poetry, Computer Game Design students play and critically analyze computer games.”   

Thus began the Science & Engineering Library’s collection of computer games. Professor Whitehead approached now-retired computer science selector, Wei Wei. She turned to me, Lisa Wong, a library assistant whose UCSC degree is in computer science. I became a member of a team of library staff members formed to locate, acquire, catalog, package, and circulate not only computer games but also the consoles on which the early games are played. This involved shopping on eBay and a working knowledge of Japanese, but those are other stories! 

Today the Science & Engineering Library at UCSC has a 670+ title collection of video games and game consoles that support the needs of students taking game design courses. This collection spans a range of game genres, but has particular depth in computer role playing games (RPGs), and 2D space shooters (STG, or Shmup). 

In a recent email Professor Whitehead writes, "A distinctive quality of UCSC's game library is that it's a lending collection. Unlike collections in other universities where the games are locked up in a room with controlled access, UCSC's collection is designed to be checked out and played. It is quite possibly the largest lending collection of video games in the United States."

Some titles will take gamers from the nineties back to the arcade, where they would spend hours trying to keep from getting taken out by Roxy and Poison in Final Fight; or snarling in frustration when a badly timed leap would take them face first into Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut in Street Fighter II. Others will bring back memories of staying up until the wee hours of the morning, trying to get past the grue in Zork or dying yet again in that tricky section of Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall.

Graphics have undergone a revolution since those old days. Those same gamers will be delighted by the stunning visuals in Final Fantasy XIII, or the interactive game play of Wii Sports.

Students can check out current and classic games consoles, including the current-generation PS3, XBox 360, and Wii, along with classic consoles NES, SNES, N64, and Atari Flashback. Additionally, the Science & Engineering Library houses a computer game room, where visitors can play games in the library on a variety of critically significant game consoles.

Maybe you’ll visit the Gaming Lab and play games at the library…just for old time’s sake. 


Lisa Wong manages e-resources at the UCSC University Library. For many years she was a dedicated gamer.

These campus webpages were referenced April 29th, 2011 for the writing of this article:

Common Questions and Answers About the Computer Game Design Program

Games and Playable Media

An article on this topic appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education April 24, 2011.


57 Million Users and Growing

graphic of Library mobile site page

Some days it does feel as if we serve 57 million users at our libraries, but no, that’s the number of people using the web from mobile devices.   The University Library’s Digital Initiatives team created a web site specifically for mobile web users:    Whether it is an iPhone, an Android, an iPad or another device, many of today’s library users expect to be able to easily access the library’s web site while on the go. 

The library's mobile site presents a clear, succinct version of the web site with access to the catalog prominently featured, just as it is on the library’s primary web site.  On an iPhone it is easy to create a home page shortcut to the new mobile site.

Next time you are wondering about whether the university library holds a title you want, give the mobile site a try…from your own mobile phone / camera / web browser / tunes repository! 


Building a Legacy—How a UCSC Professor Is Providing for the Library

By Astrid von Soosten

Photo of cherry blossoms at McHenry Library

Photo by Elise Herrera-Mahoney


UCSC faculty aren’t known for complaining about making too much money—who is?—but dogged determination, a vision, and lasting dedication can go a long way.

Professor Emerita Virginia Jansen and her husband George recently made known their estate intentions for UCSC and the McHenry Library. While the Library had long been aware that it was part of the Jansen’s estate plans, the degree of Virginia and George’s philanthropic commitment was a huge surprise. As it turns out, the largest portion of their estate will come to UCSC, with the most substantial part going to support library collections in ancient and medieval architecture as well as history, art history, and architectural history.

Their gift may be substantial. What enables a UCSC professor to make such a gift? We asked—Virginia’s response: “We would not be able to give back to the university in this way, had we not been turning around every dime twice for a lifetime. We also don’t know how much of it we may have to spend on care at a later point in life, but we are really happy to know that our future gift will make a difference for the University and McHenry Library—the library that dutifully and reliably supported my research over 35 years.”

The daughter of a surgeon, Virginia does not (yet) pale when having to think about the end of this life. In her mind it is just a part of life and she is very content that she has dealt with the material aspects of it while she is here to indulge in the joy of giving.


Let's Celebrate Now

Have you remembered the UCSC University Library in your will? If so, we'd like to know so that we can celebrate your generosity now. Don't be shy! Your gift intention can be as public or as private as you want. 

Contact Astrid von Soosten at or 831-459-5870


Exhibits and Events

Science & Engineering Library


June 1–August 31, 2011   Hawks of the UCSC Campus        

For this educational exhibit about hawks, the Science & Engineering Library is partnering with the UCSC Museum of Natural History to highlight the comparative collections of the Museum and the Library, and to show the interdependence between field research and the research that the Library collects and preserves.

“Hawks of the UCSC Campus” will present examples of the types of hawks that can be seen in the UCSC vicinity. The specimens are collected and preserved at the Museum, and the display will show the unique features of various hawk species.

We have added multimedia to the exhibit for smart-phone users through the use of Quick Response (QR) codes, which are two-dimensional barcodes. When a QR code on an exhibit case is scanned by a smart-phone app using the phone’s camera, the code links to a sound or video file. For example, one can listen to the call of the Red Shouldered Hawk, or watch a video of the Red-Tailed Hawk catching prey.

For those without smart phones, handouts are provided that point users to free as well as library-licensed resources for the same sounds and videos, for those who wish to experience the multimedia files later on a computer.

QR codes have the potential for many applications in the library. For example, QR codes can link library users in our stacks to online resources that are related to the print resources on the shelf in front of them.

Science librarians Christy Caldwell and Christy Hightower are at the forefront of using the codes in the University Library.


Monday, October 3rd, Opening of Natural History of the UCSC Campus   


McHenry Library


Until June 9th, Artists, Authors, and Aristocrats: The Production of Medieval Manuscripts.

During Winter Quarter 2011 the students enrolled in History of Art and Visual Culture 135f, taught by Dr. Elisabeth Remak-Honnef (Rare Book and Humanities Librarian) organized, prepared and installed an exhibit on the history of the medieval book. This project took the place of a final exam. 





Students examine single leaves from the 12th-15th centuries 



Here is what Dr. Remak-Honnef writes about the class:  

"I have taught this class to upper division students on a regular basis since 2001. The class meets twice a week in McHenry Library and includes lectures and hands-on assignments using facsimiles and some original manuscript leaves.

Over the years, the Friends of the UCSC Library have helped to purchase several valuable facsimiles of illuminated manuscripts.

"It is important for students to have the chance to examine 'the real thing,' and since we have only one complete original medieval manuscript in Special Collections, we rely heavily on our two Otto Ege portfolios of original single folios dating from the 12th to 16th centuries.

"The items that students selected from the University Library’s main stacks and Special Collections provide a glimpse of what the course attempted to cover in a quarter: a survey of about 1,000 years of the evolution of book production and use in Europe. Concentrating primarily on medieval illuminated manuscripts, the class looked at different types of books to examine how they were made, for whom they were made, how they were used, how and why they were decorated, and also how they have survived. As part of their coursework, the students wrote the descriptive captions for the items on display as well as longer essays on single manuscripts. They also prepared short reports on such aspects of book production as parchment preparation, pigments and gilding, scripts and paleography, writing materials, and binding techniques.

Having a group of students curate an exhibit is like having 25 cooks stirring one pot of soup; it requires faith and good nerves.

"Themes vary from class to class: Last year the focus was on the libraries where the books were produced and where they currently reside; the year before that it was 'bibliophiles and biblioclasts' because the class was really interested in how books were broken and single leaves were circulated.

"The focus of this current exhibit, entitled Artists Authors and Aristocrats, is on the role of artists in the production of medieval books. (More than half of the students in this class were art majors.) The cases contain facsimiles of about twenty illuminated manuscripts, grouped primarily by subject matter and function. Two of the cases also contain original artwork made by students in the class, including several handmade books and lithographs. Some of the facsimiles are recent acquisitions to the library, including illuminated copies of The Legend of Alexander and Dante’s Divine Comedy from the 14th century, and a 9th century picture poem in praise of the holy cross."




Sunday, November 20th, 3 p.m.  Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Reading. UCSC Music Recital Hall.

This year the featured poet is US Poet Laureate and 2011 Pultizer Prize winner Kay Ryan. The event honors poet, teacher, and film critic Morton Marcus whose poetry archive is housed in Special Collections. The University Library is co-sponsor of this event. 

A selection of material from the Archive will be on display in Special Collections before and after Kay Ryan's reading. Ms. Ryan will be signing her books at the event.


Editor:  Lettie Bennett, Associate Director of Library Development
Contributors:  Ginny Steel, Lisa Wong, Elisabeth Remak-Honnef, Christy Caldwell, Lettie Bennett
Proofing: Mark Engel
Layout of email message:  Richard Wohlfeiler
Photo of Morton Marcus by Jana Marcus