USMA Library Staff Members Participate in West Point’s 2023 Community Fair
Written by Laura Mosher, Image by Jennifer Chess
For the 10th year, members of the staff of the USMA Library will participate in West Point’s Community Fair, an event held each summer to welcome newly assigned personnel and families to West Point and provide information about the activities and services available at West Point and throughout the Hudson Valley. At this year’s fair, to be held on Wednesday, 26 July, in the Eisenhower Hall ballroom, librarians from the USMA Library will staff a table that will highlight services and resources available to the West Point community and will engage with new military and civilian faculty and staff who stop by to learn about the library.
While our staff members have been very busy this June and July providing briefings to the incoming faculty members in their liaison department about library resources and services, attending the Community Fair allows us to meet the spouses and families of those new faculty and staff members. Conversing with these spouses and family members allows us to share even more about the resources they have access to at the USMA Library while their family is assigned to West Point. And since there is no longer an MWR Library here on post, we also speak with families about the local public library system and advise them on how to obtain access to the resources and programs that those libraries provide, both in Highland Falls, right outside the gate of West Point, and in Cornwall, just 10 minutes north of post.
As we have done during past community fairs, we plan to reinforce with faculty and staff members that we are here to assist them with their efforts to educate cadets: we’re happy to provide targeted research briefings in classes, capstone research support, and assistance with research on assignments cadets must complete for their classes. We’ll also answer faculty members’ questions about accessing scholarly materials needed to support their teaching and research, and help them with their own publication questions if necessary. In addition, we’ll help parents and kids connect to the local public libraries that offer the best children’s programs along with the popular reading materials and book club activities they would typically access at an MWR library.
Participating in the West Point Community Fair is a highlight of our summer here at the USMA Library – it’s wonderful to see so many new faces, and to welcome all the incoming families by letting them know how we can help them with library resources and services while they’re here! Stop by and say hello to our librarians when you attend the fair – we’d love to meet you!
Librarian Laura Mosher Prepared Cadets for SLE Library Tours
Written by Laura Mosher, Images by Barbara Maroney
During the first two weeks in June, West Point welcomed over 1100 rising high school seniors to the academy as part of the Senior Leaders Experience (SLE), a week-long immersion into the academic, military, and social life of a West Point cadet. The SLE sessions were led by current cadets, and a member of the cadet command team, CDT Leyton Elmore, reached out to the USMA Library to request support for his squad leaders in their efforts to communicate the role of the library in cadet life here at West Point. Together he and Ms. Mosher, USMA Library’s Cadet Engagement Librarian, decided on a “train-the-trainer” approach in which squad leaders would use their own experiences, plus information provided by Ms. Mosher, to introduce their SLE students to the library.
On Friday 2 June, the USMA Library hosted a library tour brainstorming/briefing for the SLE squad leaders in the Haig Room in Jefferson Hall. The squad leaders met with Ms. Mosher to spend time discussing what they liked about the library and how it supported their academic needs as cadets, with a goal of collecting facts and anecdotes to share with their SLE participants.
During the brainstorming session, the squad leaders - in response to questions from Ms. Mosher - talked about several ways the USMA library helps them succeed academically: we have a vast collection of electronic resources that allow them to access the scholarly resources they need for their papers and research; every plebe is paired with a personal librarian to assist them with finding the sources they need for their assignments; there’s the Café on the first floor that gives them a spot to grab a drink and snack to take upstairs for their solo study sessions; and we’ve got collaboration rooms available for group study and presentation preparation. Squad leaders also took turns highlighting both the utilitarian aspects of cadet life – library printers can be counted on when they need to print out their papers for submittal, and the top floors are very quiet, so “climb all the stairs to get away from people!” – and the artistic aspirations that cadets have a chance to pursue: our program “A Night at the Haig,” with slam poetry and spoken word and musical performances, was a crowd favorite.
Every squad leader was provided with a pocket-sized “Library Tour Talking Points” handout to which they could refer during their tours, and left the brainstorming session with many things to share about how these aspiring cadets would benefit from library services and resources if they attend West Point.
Librarian Lisa Gomez Awarded Twila Snead Commitment to Excellence Award
Written and Images by Lori Mullooly
USMA Librarian Lisa Gomez has won the Twila Snead Commitment to Excellence Award. This award, presented by the Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC), is designed to recognize an outstanding SENYRLC member library, cultural heritage organization, program, service, or staff member.
Lisa Gomez is the Exhibition Librarian as well as liaison to the Department of History. She worked directly with the Department of History and the cadets from the Black History Project to create and host the exhibit Foundations: Black Experiences of West Point at the USMA Library in 2023. This exhibit was created to celebrate Black History Month and remained on display through March 2023.
Foundations is a particularly consciousness-raising exhibit that highlighted historically significant holdings at West Point. Lisa’s goal was to create an updated historical record that is inclusive of cadet experiences that are also rich in historical context and represent the many diverse stories and voices of West Point and the greater Army. Over 1,700 patrons visited the physical exhibit. Lisa digitized the entire exhibit to ensure greater access, which remains permanently available on the USMA library website here.
Library Programs Support Cadets During TEEs
Written by Lori Mullooly, Images by Barbara Maroney
Therapy dogs and homemade cookies proved to be a winning combination, as several hundred cadets visited the library during the last Study Day before TEEs. Cadets spent time with furry ambassadors Annie and Wrigley from Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause. Cadets also took their chances with our Call Number Cookies Spin and Win prize wheel. Winners searched for Library of Congress call numbers and earned giant homemade cookies.
Later in the week, cadets were invited to stop by and write a note of thanks to someone who helped them this year. Thank you, cards, envelopes, and pens are on the second floor, and were available until graduation.
Written by Lisa Gomez, Images by Jennifer Chess
The mini masterpieces of tiny art showcased during USMA Library's Magnificent Miniatures Exhibition last fall had a renaissance on Friday, April 21st, 2023. A pop-up display with the small canvases depicting art inspired by West Point or any subject of the artist's choosing, was featured during the 8th Annual John Calabro Night of the Arts hosted by the Department of English and Philosophy and the Center for Humanities.
CPT Philip Tarvainen, Instructor for DEP, had the idea to include the tiny art in CNOTA one day while viewing the Magnificent Miniatures Exhibition during its original run. He contacted the tiny art program creator, USMA Events and Programming Librarian Lori Mullooly, who enthusiastically agreed that CNOTA's mission to honor Colonel John Calabro's lifelong commitment to the arts, specifically supporting cadet creativity at West Point was the perfect platform to present the cadet's artwork.
The United States Military Academy's Tiny Art program was a highly successful passive program that resulted in the most original cadet artwork the library has ever exhibited at 95 canvases. Creating a pop-up display from the original cadet artwork provided a second opportunity for cadets and the greater West Point community to engage with the exhibit and for external visitors at CNOTA to have the chance to view the art and interact with the personal expressions of experience the cadets conveyed with their individual voices within the broader story of life at West Point. As exhibit designers, it was a pleasure to tap into our creativity and aesthetic sensibilities to arrange a display in a new space with accessibility considerations that would maximize the artwork's shape and size while also being visually pleasing.
What was particularly fun about the curation of this display was that we could showcase the winners and the runners-up of the Tiny Art Program that was voted on by USMA cadets, faculty, and staff. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with the Department of English and Philosophy and the Center for Humanities on this fantastic annual event and look forward to participating again in the years to come!
First Annual Evening at the Haig highlights cadet spoken word and musical artistry
Written by Lori Mullooly, Images by Jennifer Chess
Cadets, faculty, staff, and guests gathered for the First Annual Evening at the Haig on April 7th in the Haig Room at the USMA Library. The open mic event, which was hosted by the USMA Library, the USMA Department of English and Philosophy, and the Cadet Humanities Forum included music by the Jazz Forum.
The event was an opportunity for cadets to celebrate their peers’ artistic talents and share their own. Cadets performed original works to music, shared thought-provoking and reflective poems, sang with the Jazz Forum, and more. Many cadets took the mic and the show lasted over two hours.
A special Audience Appreciation Award went to CDT William Lopez, who performed three original numbers. Dr. Matthew Salyer (DEP) served as MC for the evening. Panelists MAJ Haleigh Kirchenheiter (DEP), Ms. Celeste Evans (USMA Library), and Ms. Susan Lintelmann (USMA Library) provided comments to the performers.
Open mics are a way for cadets to engage in interests outside their usual academic pursuits and provide an outlet to speak out, educate, and explore with their peers. For the Library, the event was a way to provide a safe environment for cadets to share their creative works. “Events like these speak directly to our mission statement, which is to provide a place for cadets to engage with knowledge, ideas, and one another,” said Lori Mullooly, Events, and Programming Librarian. “I was so moved by the level of support each performer received from the audience,” she said.
CDT Cora Haefner, CIC of the Creative Writing Forum Club, echoed this sentiment. CDT Haefner, who helped to plan the event, performed her own work and said “I was overwhelmed by tonight’s response, and not just their response to my piece, but the sheer number of audience members who raised their hands at the end to share - a yearling’s poem about academic life, a female plebe’s song about her grandfather, and an old grad’s tribute to the fallen, and so many more. So I’ll admit I shed a few tears, but not without many laughs among friends, old and new.”
For the event, Exhibition Librarian Lisa Gomez displayed original historical poetry, notebooks, personal narratives and papers, and books of published war poetry from the USMA Library Archives and Special Collections. This exhibit highlighted the unique experience of being a cadet and soldier through poignant prose and introspective fragments of poetry.
Cadet reaction to the event was so positive that there are plans to offer the Evening at the Haig Open Mic every semester moving forward.
Photo one: CDT Cora Haefner, CIC of the Creative Writing Forum Club
Photo two: Winner of the Audience Appreciation Award, CDT William Lopez
Photo three: CDT Nicole Wanga performing her own original music
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