programs & events

The 2013 Digital Humanities awards came out relatively recently, offering an array of amazing projects to peruse — some public, some academic, all worth a gander.  It is worth highlighting that the best InfoGraphic award covered statistics on why “Humanities Matter” [PDF]  — making the infographic a meta-DH project of sorts.

As a follow-up to the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities’ “Quantifying Digital Humanities” infographic from 2012 (PDF), The Humanities Matter! starts a more expansive effort by the Center and 4Humanities to gather statistics and create infographics about the humanities. The Humanities Matter! is part of the 4Humanities Humanities Infographics initiative, including Infographics Friday online posts.

Another DH-for-fun award went to Serendip-o-matic — which acts as a federated-serendipitous-search engine:  insert a block of text, and the applet finds related images culled from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Europeana digital Libraries.

If you are curious about Digital Humanities at St. John’s, the next CTL Interdisciplinary Roundtable discussion will focus on Digital Humanities, on Monday April 7th; where Jen Travis will facilitate discussions about “projects and pedagogies of this emerging field.”  If you are interested in learning more about creating infographics, or using them as an alternative research project, the University Libraries are hosting an edutech workshop on infographics on Wed. April 2nd.  Does unearthing the treasures of the DPLA sound appealing?  Does making your own a mash-up of the DPLA resource-data sound sound intriguing ?  If so, join us Wednesday, April 9th, for a workshop on DPLA and engage with new treasure trove of primary resources and the meta-data that makes it tick!

Tuesday September 3, 2013

D’Angelo Center, Room 407


Wonder what it was like to be a freshman in the late 19th century, during the Roaring 20’s, at the brink of World War II, or in the midst of the transformative 60’s? Join the St. John’s University Archivist, Dr. Blythe Roveland-Brenton, for a brief presentation with historical photographs and memorabilia.

Vincentian Yearbook, 1960

Vincentian Yearbook, 1960


Curated by Claudia Sbrissa and Blythe Roveland-BrentonBook Arts: Student Work Inspired by Special Collections Material

St. Augustine Hall, 3rd Floor

October 22 – December 3, 2012

Since 2005, Claudia Sbrissa, associate professor of fine arts, and Blythe Roveland-Brenton, archivist and special collections librarian, have partnered in an undergraduate project for a Book Arts class. The project, entitled “A Special Collection,” utilizes the library’s Special Collections as a source of inspiration and information. The assignment requires the students to research and figuratively deconstruct a book of their choosing. The end result is the creation of a unique book inspired by the University’s Special Collections.

During library visits, students have the opportunity to view and learn about a wide range of books from Special Collections – from incunabula (books produced during the first fifty years of the invention of printing) to art exhibition catalogs, from late 19th-century Japanese crepe-paper fairy tales to Barry Moser’s Pennyroyal Caxton Bible published at the end of the 20th century. The books feature novel cover material, multimedia inserts, and a variety of binding styles.

The items in this exhibition represent a small sample of the work created by students in the Book Arts class together with material drawn from Special Collections that inspired them.

St. John’s University is hosting two contemporary Caribbean authors, Diana McCaulay and Yolaine M. St. Fort, for an afternoon of readings, conversation, and book signing. Please join us for this special event on the Queens Thursday, April 19.

Diana and Yolaine will be on the Queens campus at the Belson/Finley Hall Law School Atrium, 4th Floor from 1:45 PM –3:00 PM during the Common Hour for readings, discussion, and book signings of their works.

Lunch is included. Click here to RSVP.  Students can earn 4 MVP points for attendance at this event — remember to bring your STORMcards!

For further information about the event on the Queens campus, contact Mary Siconolfi at 718.990.1869 or email

To complement this event, a special exhibition of “Notable Caribbean Authors” will open on Friday March 30th on the fourth floor of the Queens Campus Library.  It features highlights of the life and works of Diana McCaulay and Yolaine M. St. Fort, along with the writings and edited works of other Caribbean writers, such as Jamaica Kincaid, Michelle Cliff, Merle Hodge and Erroll Hill.

Macaulay’s and St. Fort’s works are available now via reserve for loan at the Service Desk in the Library (St. Augustine Hall).

For more information about the authors or the event, please click HERE.


This event is sponsored by sponsored by The President’s Multicultural Advisory Committee; The Office of the Provost; Division of Student Affairs; Committee for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS); University Libraries; Academic Affairs Committee (SGI); Haraya, the Pan-African Students Coalition; Caribbean Students Association.

In partnership with: Caribbean Cultural Theatre

An exhibition of original children’s book illustrations is on view at the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery in Sun Yat-sen Hall from now through March 3rd.  The main gallery features notes, sketches and books of eight contemporary illustrators.  This show is curated by Daniel Da Silva of the Fine Arts Department.

An ancillary exhibition draws from the St. John’s University Libraries’ collections and was curated by librarian/archivist Dr. Blythe Roveland-Brenton with the assistance of graduate assistants and interns, Gaetano Bello, Audrey Belanger, Joseph DeLorenzo, and Megan Margino.  The exhibition includes a selection of illustrated books from the Children’s Historical Collection of the Special Collections Department. They range in date from 1807-1923. A facsimile of the first picture book intended for children, John Amos Camenius’ Orbis Pictus (originally published in 1658) is also on exhibit.  The early texts, with their black and white woodcuts and engravings, exemplify the stern tenor of many children’s books before the mid-nineteenth century. By the later 19th century, attitudes toward children changed as did printing technology.  Beautiful and colorful books illustrated by talented artists became abundant.

Also on view as part of the libraries’ exhibition, is a sample of Caldecott Medal winners from each decade.  Since 1938, the American Library Association has honored artists of the most distinguished American picture books with this award.  It is named for the nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott.  One of his books is part of the exhibition in the gallery.  The Caldecott winners on display are from the Libraries’ Youth Collection, housed on the fourth floor of St. Augustine Hall.

The Queens campus library is kicking-off “Banned Books Week” with a challenged book exhibit on the 4th floor of St. Augustine Library; the display cases feature the top 10 titles from the most-challenged books of 2010 and a sampling of the 20-most-challenged novels of the 20th century.

Copies of  some of the books that made these lists are also available for check-out as well; see the bookshelves behind the 4th floor information desk (where you will also find our “leisure reading” books, part of the McNaughton Collection.)

Tote and T-shirt, Challenge map and QR code for contest

The Libraries are also hosting a virtual  “Challenged Book Challenge” where we ask you to indicate the reasons why books made it onto these most-challenged lists.  Participants in the challenge can be entered in a drawing for either a “Free your mind, read a banned book” t-shirt or a “I read banned books” tote bag, just provide some contact information on the last question of the challenge (click picture at left for enlarged photo).

We will be posting answers to the challenge questions next week, on our Banned Book/Intellectual Freedom LibGuide,  and hosting discussions on banned books, intellectual freedom and the social justice issues surrounding information access over the following two weeks, so save the dates now: Thursday October 6, from 2-3 pm and Wednesday October 12, from 5-6 pm.   Discussions to be held in St. Augustine Library, Room 305; All readers and discussants welcome!

Caution: The 10 most-challenged books for 2010

Caution: top-most-challenged novels of the 20th century

Crafting the Bible: From Scriptoria to Printing Houses

New Exhibition at Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery, Sun Yat-sen Hall


Monday, April 4 – Monday, May 2, 2011

Leaf from a Paris manuscript Bible (circa 1310) Part of the Otto Ege Collection of Original Leaves from Famous Bibles, Special Collections, St. John’s University Libraries

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday Noon – 5 p.m.
Sunday and Monday: Closed



Original Bibles, leaves, and facsimile editions from St. John’s University Libraries’ Special Collections Department constitute one part of the current exhibition in the gallery.  The works represent more than sacred and inspirational texts – they are historical artifacts and works of art. One gains a fuller appreciation of the development of the book in the form we recognize today through an understanding of the history of the production of the Bible.

The items on view span the eighth to the twentieth century, represent various techniques and materials, are in diverse languages, and were intended for an array of audiences. They range from one-of-a-kind manuscript Bibles written and decorated in monastic scriptoria, through the first printed masterworks by Gutenberg and his contemporaries, to modern private press editions. Among the highlights of the exhibited works from the University’s own collection are: a Bible printed in 1492 just prior to Columbus’ discovery of America; a manuscript Ethiopian Psalter in ancient Ge’ez script with its leather carrying satchel; the so-called “Gun-wad Bible” printed in 1776 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, few of which survived the Revolutionary War; a Bible for the Blind (1850) with raised Roman letters given to “indigent blind individuals” by the Bible House in New York City; and Barry Moser’s exquisitely hand-crafted Pennyroyal Caxton Bible published in 1999.

Additionally, a collection of individual leaves from famous Bibles (1121-1935 A.D.) is on display. The leaves were compiled and described by the late Otto F. Ege (1888-1951), Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Art, from incomplete and damaged Bibles he had amassed during his lifetime.

Special Collections holds numerous distinctive items available for study by students, faculty and other researchers. They were acquired over the course of the University’s rich history through purchase and as gifts from generous donors. More information about Special Collections can be found at

Also on display in the gallery are reproductions of the Saint John’s Bible.  The original seven-volume illuminated manuscript took a team of artists and scribes over a decade to complete.  It was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and Saint John’s University of Minnesota.  For more details about the Bible and the project visit

Blythe E. Roveland-Brenton, Ph.D.
Co-curator of Crafting the Bible: From Scriptoria to Printing Houses

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