Library Opens at the Graduate School of Journalism


by Abigail Beshkin

April 2000 Columbia University Libraries opened a library at the Graduate School of Journalism on Feb. 7, with a new collection of periodicals, reference works and circulating volumes designed to meet the needs of student journalists preparing to enter this rapidly changing field.

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The space is designed to hold 2,000 circulating volumes, 500 reference volumes and over 40 current periodical titles, all of which will be acquired over time. The collection will include works essential to emerging writers - - books on the craft of writing; style and usage manuals; and works on journalistic ethical and professional issues. The library will also acquire historical and biographical works on important journalists, publications and publishing families.

At the same time, the new collection will reflect the diverse, multi-discipinary interests of journalism students, and take into account the breadth of knowledge journalists are expected to have. The library will house book-length works of outstanding journalism on a wide range of topics including politics, arts and culture, science, business and international affairs. In addition, to support the School's emphasis on using New York City as a news laboratory, the library will also include materials about city and state history, government, politics and social issues, as well as selected literary works about the region.

"Creating a library for journalists is always a challenge because by nature journalists have to be generalists, learning a little bit about a whole range of subjects," said Tom Goldstein, dean of the School of Journalism. "Our new library will allow emerging journalists to explore multiple topics, but will also offer them the periodicals and guides they need to keep current with developments in the field. We also invite all members of the University community to visit the library and explore the world of journalism."

Designed to function as a portal to the rest of Columbia's libraries, the journalism library will emphasize non-duplication of resources that can be found elsewhere. The collection will periodically be reviewed, and lesser-used items will be transferred to Lehman Library at the School of International and Public Affairs, which will continue to house a research-level collection of books and periodicals on journalism, mass communications and media studies.

The magazine and journal collection at the journalism library will encompass important magazines covering general news, science, business and the publishing world, and will include academic journals in the field of media studies, mass communications and journalism education. The newspaper collection will represent the New York City region, as well as key U.S. metropolitan areas outside of New York. All periodicals will be available on a current issue-only basis, with back issues housed at other Columbia libraries.

"There are so many resources available to journalists," said Elaine Sloan, vice president for Information Services and University Librarian. "It's exciting for us now to be able to bring many of them together in a place devoted to the field of journalism and communications."

The collection will also include key academic works in the fields of mass communication and media studies in support of the school's Ph.D. program in communications. Selected reference works related to research in mass communications and the social sciences will be available.

The library will also be a place to learn from the work of faculty members and past students. At the new library, students will be able to find the last five years' worth of student master's projects, with tapes of radio or television pieces available from reserves. An author-title index to the projects will continue to be available on the library's Web site, and master's projects from before the past five years will be housed in Lehman Library.

In addition, a special section will be established to display works by current and past faculty members, as will student-created publications (such as the Reuters Forum Journal and Bronx Beat).

A University Library was housed at the Journalism School until 1995, when it was reconfigured to create a Lecture Hall, which, since its opening, has attracted a number of world-class speakers. The new library is in the School's reading room, which was renovated to make room for the new collection. A reference librarian will be on site for 10 hours a week, and the Journalism Library will be open the following hours Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m.; Friday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. until 8 p.m., with hours varying during summer and intersession periods.

"At the Journalism School, we train students to get out into New York's neighborhoods, to talk to people and really find out what's going on," said Goldstein. "But we also want our students to know intimately the incredible printed resources available to journalists. Having a library, and a reference librarian who can steer students toward the most relevant resources, will be a tremendous asset to our faculty and students, and to our program."

Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism was founded in 1912 and offers programs leading to a master's of science and a Ph.D. in journalism. The School also runs the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program in Economics and Business Journalism and the National Arts Journalism Program for working journalists. The School of Journalism administers some of the most prestigious prizes in journalism, including the Pulitzer Prizes; the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize; the National Magazine Awards; the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes; the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards in television and radio journalism; and the Alfred Eisenstaedt awards for magazine photography.

The Columbia University Libraries hold collections of more than 7 million volumes, 3 million microforms and 28 million manuscript items serviced through 21 libraries, including Butler Library, Lehman (Social Sciences and Social Work), Watson (Business and Economics), C.V. Starr (East Asian), Avery (Architecture and Fine Arts), the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the branch libraries for the sciences and engineering. An active digital library program complements the Libraries' growing collections and rich array of traditional and electronic information services.

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04/2000