Library News

Posted by Greta Browning on Monday, April 1, 2013 - 9:14pm
Studies Building on Lake Eden at Black Mountain College

A new exhibit titled, “Black Mountain College: Innovation in Art, Education, and Lifestyle,” is now on display in the 4th Floor atrium of Belk Library and Information Commons. Black Mountain College was an experimental school, located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, that only existed for 23 years, from 1933 to 1956. During that short time, it fostered many different artists including dancers, musicians, photographers, painters, and poets.


The exhibit has three display cases that follow the three major rectors, or elected leaders, of the college. The first explores the 1930s through John A. Rice, the founder of the college. The second looks at the 1940s and focuses on visual art through the leadership of Josef Albers. The final one examines the 1950s through Charles Olson, when writing became a central focus of the school.


Most of the artifacts on display come from the John A. Rice Papers and the recently added F. Whitney Jones Papers. Additional artifacts and images come from the Paul and Maryrose Carroll Beat Poetry Collection in Special Collections; the Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina; Joseph Bathanti; Elizabeth S. Rose; and University of Connecticut Libraries. Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate, and Professor of Creative Writing advised on the creation of the exhibit. The exhibit was executed by public history graduate student Rebecca Dion.


In addition to the exhibit, two up-coming related lectures will be given in April.  On Wednesday, April 3, Professor David Silver of the University of San Francisco will deliver a talk, “The Farm at Black Mountain College: A History in Five Acts with Lessons for Today,” at 5:00 p.m. in Belk Library Room 114.  On Thursday, April 11, writer Tom Patterson will give a talk, “Reconstituting Black Mountain: Reflections on the Black Mountain College Festival at St. Andrews College, 1974,” at 7:30 p.m. in The Great Hall, Living Learning Center at Appalachian State University.


For more information on Black Mountain College, see Black Mountain College: An Exploration in Community by Martin Duberman, Black Mountain College: Sprouted Seeds: an Anthology of Personal Accounts edited by Mervin Lane, or The Arts at Black Mountain College by Mary Emma Harris.


Click here for more information on John A. Rice Papers and the F. Whitney Jones Papers in Special Collections in Belk Library and Information Commons. These collections are available for use in the Dougherty Reading Room located in Special Collections, Room 432. The Dougherty Reading Room is open Monday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, call 828-262-7974 or email


Photo:  Studies Building across Lake Eden, Black Mountain College Campus. Courtesy of the Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

Posted by on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 2:25pm
The Farm at Black Mountain College

Friends of the University Library and the Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Program present:

The Farm at Black Mountain College: A History in Five Acts with Lessons for Today

A talk by Professor David Silver, University of San Francisco

Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Time: 5:00pm

Location: Belk Library, room 114

This talk presents the history of the farm at North Carolina’s Black Mountain College (1933-1956). Widely regarded as the most influential art school in the history of U.S. higher education, Black Mountain College’s faculty-student roster reveals a "who's who" of late 20th century artists and thinkers. At the same time, the college was heavily experimental in developing rich and collaborative living-learning environments--especially with their work program, which had students, professors, and staff working side by side to help the campus thrive and, at times, survive. Much of this work took place on the campus farm. Tracing the farm's physical existence, its personnel, its buildings and structures, and its produce, crops, and livestock, grown and raised for both college consumption and much needed income, Silver reveals the farm's vital role to BMC's work program and the college's goal to be self-sustaining and points towards some valuable lessons for today's "green campuses."

David Silver is an associate professor of media studies, environmental studies, and urban agriculture at the University of San Francisco. He teaches classes on media history, social media, and green media. He is currently on sabbatical working on a history of the farm at Black Mountain College.

Please contact Lynn Patterson ( or 828-262-2087) with any questions about the program.

Posted by Allan Scherlen on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 1:08pm
Make Hummus Not War movie poster

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Belk Library -- Room 114

Admission: Free, open to the public

Make Hummus Not War is a humorous film journey though the hummus bars and kitchens of Beirut, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and New York. Along the way the filmmaker encounters Palestinian and Israeli hummus cooks, chickpea farmers, political leaders, activists, Jewish settlers, and others for whom hummus is a near religious obsession.

The film will be introduced by Dr. Curt Ryan, who will also lead discussion on peace and cultural commonalities in the Middle East following the film. Dr. Ryan is associate professor of political science at Appalachian State, a scholar of Middle Eastern politics, and author of the books Inter-Arab Alliances: Regime Security and Jordanian Foreign Policy and Jordan in Transition: From Hussein to Abdullah.

The event is presented by ASU Library in conjunction with the ASU Humanities Council with grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities- NEH Bridging Cultures, Muslim Journeys grant and the Bivens Fund for Library Excellence. This is the third in a series of programs that compose the 2013 Muslim Journeys Program.

More description of the film: Could a regional love of hummus be the recipe for peace in the Middle East? This was the question on director Trevor Graham's mind when he set out to film Make Hummus Not War, a documentary about the Middle Eastern conflict you don't see on the nightly news.

One of the oldest-known prepared foods in human history, hummus is claimed by multiple Middle Eastern nationalities. So when Trevor Graham, a self-described hummus tragic, learned of a 2008 Lebanese plan to sue Israel for acting as if it had proprietary rights over the dish, he was intrigued and hungry for more. With Israel, Lebanon and Palestine fighting once again - over who 'owns' the hummus heritage - he set off on a personal journey into a colorful culinary history.

“Hummus and chickpeas are a symbol of our common humanity. I want this movie to say ‘We have more in common than divides us.’” Trevor Graham [filmmaker]

For more infomation contact: Allan Scherlen, Belk Library -

Posted by on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 12:51pm

Revisiting of Mughal Miniature: Traditional and Contemporary Practices in Pakistan
Wednesday, March 20, a 5 p.m. in 114 Belk Library. 

Ali Raza, Assistant Professor of Art and an artist who teaches painting at Appalachian State University, will give a talk titled "Revisiting of Mughal Miniature: Traditional and Contemporary Practices in Pakistan" Wednesday, March 20, a 5 p.m. in 114 Belk Library.  

Trained as a painter and printmaker, Ali Raza currently practices in multiple media. He has been actively exhibiting his work internationally and spends his time between Pakistan and the U.S. In the last few years he has shown his work in the U.S., UK, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Canada, Austria, and UAE.

This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the ASU Humanities Council and Belk Library as part of the programming for the NEH Bridging Cultures, Muslim Journeys grant.

Posted by on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 5:51pm
March Recommended Reading

Need a book break? Belk Library recommends books to reinvigorate your brain from the hard study and stress of March, midterms, and making Spring Break memorable. Grab your hammock or a comfy chair near the Fox Popular Reading Room's fireplace and take a tiny journey.


Librarian Megan: Canada by Richard Ford.

Read it because: The first sentence is "First, I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later."



  the diary of Olive Dame Campbell

Library Technician John D.: Appalachian Travels :  the diary of Olive Dame Campbell edited by Elizabeth M. Williams.

Read it because: Edited by our wonderful librarian Betsy Williams, this moving, detailed account of life coming to the Southern Appalachian region a hundred years ago as an outsider gives a rare, personal perspective of our mountains and people back when ASU was just a ten-year-old teacher's college. 


Librarian Georgie: Heat : an amateur's adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta maker, and apprentice to a Dante-quoting butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford.

Read it because: Bill Buford leaves The New Yorker to work as a line cook at Mario Batali’s restaurant, then goes to Italy to study pasta-making and butchering, and ends up telling the history of Italian cooking and its impact on high cuisine today – funny and brilliant food writing.


In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Librarian Jennie: In Defense of Food : an eater's manifesto by Michael Pollan.

Read it because: Open up your eyes about what you put in your mouth! Simple rules for healthier eating - it changed the way I eat.



 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Librarian Lisa: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Read it because: The plot twists and turns make this thriller difficult to put down.



Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

Library Technician Jason: Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey.

Read it because: Wrote the way that cowboys actually spoke in the old days, with intrigue, romance, and action. Good western and intro to Zane Grey.



 Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

Librarian Jon M.: Drop Dead Healthy : one man's humble quest for bodily perfection by A. J. Jacobs.

Read it because: It is a funny, lighthearted look at living healthier through a barrage of food fads, exercises, mental techniques and experiments.



Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst

Librarian John W: Kingdom of shadows: a novel by Alan Furst.

Read it because: Beautiful.  Evokes pre-WWII Europe.  But later on asking myself, "Why so depressed?"  It's that the Nazis are coming, of course.



  This is How you Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Librarian Amanda: This is how you lose her by Junot Díaz.

Read it because: I could not put down Junot Díaz's latest collection of short stories. Díaz's prose is enticing, poetic, and at times raw. The charming and tragic narrator Yunior will melt your heart as he navigates immigrant life, Dominican culture, love and loss.



Need more? See the 1st floor Reference Desk for a rotating selection of literature loving librarians to lead you on your way. We also have access to the book review and readalike database Novelist Plus here.

Posted by Allan Scherlen on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 1:26pm
Prince Among Slaves movie cover

The award-winning film Prince Among Slaves will be shown Tuesday Feb 26, 2013 at 7:00 PM in Belk Library room 114.

The event is presented by ASU Library in conjunction with the ASU Humanities Council with grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This is the first in a series of programs that compose the 2013 Muslim Journeys Program.  It is also shown in celebration of Black History Month. The film will be introduced by ASU Instructor, Ray Christian, who will also lead discussion following the film.

Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Belk Library, room 114

Admission: Free, open to the public

The film is based on the true story of Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori, an African prince and devout Muslim slaved in the American South.

In 1788, the slave ship Africa set sail from West Africa, headed for America with its berth laden with a profitable but highly perishable cargo—hundreds of men, women, and children bound in chains. Six months later the survivors were sold in Natchez, Mississippi. One of them, a twenty-six-year-old man named Abdul-Rahman made the remarkable claim to the farmer who purchased him at the auction that he was an African prince and that his father would pay gold for his ransom. The offer was refused and Abdul-Rahman did not return to Africa for another forty years. During his enslavement he toiled on the Foster plantation, married, and fathered nine children. His story also eventually made him the most famous African in America, attracting the support of powerful men such as President John Quincy Adams.

After forty years of slavery, Abdul-Rahman finally reclaimed his freedom, but he defied the order to return immediately to Africa, and instead traveled throughout the northern states, speaking to huge audiences in a partially successful attempt to raise enough money to buy his children’s freedom. Finally at the age of sixty-seven, and after raising funds to free two of his children, Abdul-Rahman returned to Africa, only to fall ill and die just as word of his arrival reached his former home of Futa Jalloo in present-day Guinea. Abdul-Rahman survived the harsh ordeals of slavery through his love of family and his deep faith as a Muslim.

For more information, please contact Allan Scherlen,, 828-262-2285.

Posted by John Boyd on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 8:45am
Xiaorong Shao

Dr. Xiaorong Shao, Information Literacy Librarian at Belk Library and Information Commons, and two colleagues from the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Dr. Xiaofei Tu and Dr. Wei Xie, have been awarded a $100,000 grant from the United States State Department to share English reading and film resources and lectures on US politics and culture with students and faculty at Northeastern University (NEU) in Shenyang, China.

The team’s work with Northeastern University will revive a partnership initiated in 1981. Besides funding development of an English reading and film library at NEU, stocked with material relevant to American politics and culture, the grant will support lectures by a total of ten speakers (five American scholars from Appalachian and five scholars from China) on different topics relevant to American studies and will help fund student and faculty exchanges between NEU and App State.

Dr. Shao hopes that the people who have been involved with the program will be its enduring legacy. “We hope that that faculty members and students that have taken part in the lectures and exchanges will maintain an appreciation of the relationship between Chinese and American culture, and continue informing the public through their work.”

Posted by on Monday, February 11, 2013 - 12:31pm

It's February, and you know what that means--it's time to show your library love.


Meet our matchmakers!

Our subject experts can give you advice on a wide range of topics.  These librarians can introduce you to interesting and attractive information in your field of study or any subject you adore.

There's nothing wrong with online dating.

It can be hard to figure out the best way to get books and articles.  See our article databases and e-research tools to find the best databases for you or try APPsearch, our new research tool, to find books, media and articles.

Need some one on one time?

Schedule a RAP session for personalized research assistance.

Not ready to commit?

We don't have to meet in person.  You can chat or text a librarian any time.

Love libraries?

We know you love us (and we love you!), but if you want to get books and articles from other libraries, we're totally cool with that.  ASU students and faculty can borrow materials from other libraries through interlibrary loan.

Whisper sweet nothings.

Have ideas, suggestions or compliments?  We'd love to hear them. Tell us all about it. We can't promise that we'll give you the best dating advice, but we're great at helping you find the perfect article or book.

Posted by on Friday, February 8, 2013 - 9:42am
Map It is now available in APPsearch

So many of you asked us, "Why is there no Map It option in APPsearch!?" We're sorry for the delay. When making a major software migration like this, there are inevitably a few bumps along the way. But we have worked with our vendors and are happy to announce that MapIt! is now appearing in APPsearch.

One difference you may notice is that the Map It button does not appear on the initial results listing screen, as it does in the Classic Catalog. However, if you click on the title of any item, you will be taken to a page that does include the Map It button. The button will open a map of the library with the shelf highlighted where your book is located.

Many thanks to our friends at StackMap for getting this working for us!

Posted by on Monday, February 4, 2013 - 2:56pm
Islamic Studies image

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) has awarded Librarian Allan Scherlen and Kim Hall (P&R, and chair of ASU Humanities Council) the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf Muslim Journeys Grant.

This grant provides Belk Library with books, video, and a Islamic Studies e-resource (valued at approximately $2500) to enhance the library's capacity to engage audiences in reflection on and conversation about Muslim cultures and to address the public's need and desire for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.  In complying with requirements of the grant, the recipients (in primary collaboration with the ASU Humanities Council and further collaboration with the Watauga Public Library, the ASU Lifelong Learning Institute, and the Muslim Students Association) will host a series of talks, forums, film showings and book discussions to be held during 2013.

Stay tuned for more information on the events planned.