Category Archives: News

General announcements from the USMA Library.

Fall 2014 Service Announcements


Later this fall, our primary welcome and circulation desk will move to the first floor of Jefferson Hall. Construction has been ongoing since late summer on the new desk and service area. This new location will allow us to enhance both service and security for Jefferson Hall. Once the move is complete, materials will be checked out and returned on the first floor (no more climbing up the stairs to return a book). The new desk will serve as a primary welcome point for anyone visiting Jefferson Hall where staff can provide assistance and guidance on services, events, and policies. Outside guests visiting the library will also have a new checkpoint for registration and clearance. Eventually, with our new collection security perimeter incorporating the first floor rotunda, we will also reprogram the elevators to be able to move freely to all floors (no more switching cars on the second floor). We hope these changes will make it easier for guests and researchers to use and gain information about library services while increasing overall facility and collection security.


This past spring, guests to Jefferson Hall may have noticed the newly configured flexible use space on the second floor adjacent to the Reference Desk in the northwest corner of the floor. This space formerly housed our print reference collection and now affords us a flexible use area for exhibits, collection engagement, cadet study, and a place for support activities to other building events. The reference collection formerly in this location has been either assimilated into the general collections (where we are already seeing higher use of these materials and they are available for circulation), or consolidated into a smaller ready reference collection that remains next to the Reference Desk. We have installed new easy-to-move-and-configure tables, chairs and other seating. The space is already seeing high use from cadets throughout the day and evenings.


This summer the Library published our annual program review which includes information about our activities during the 2013-14 academic year as well as a look ahead at our goals and objectives for the coming academic year. The review is available for download on the USMA Library website.


Per force protection policies put in place this past year, all visitors in Jefferson Hall should be in uniform, or have valid DoD identification displayed at all times. Outside guests should be accompanied by West Point personnel at all times.


Hours for operation for USMA Library and Jefferson Hall are always posted on our website. Please note that there can be adjusted hours based on the schedule for the Corps of Cadets.

Special Collections and Archives is now available for research 0800-1600 Monday through Friday. For best service, advance coordination of resources to be consulted is advised. More information is available.


We’d love to keep you up-to-date throughout the year on library news and programs. You can follow our blog, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

RS 100 Classes Complete Poker Runs in the USMA Library

Librarian Darrell Hankins helps Plebes learn to search the Library’s resources with our Scout! Search tool.

Librarian Darrell Hankins helps Plebes learn to search
the Library’s resources with our Scout! Search tool.

On 25 and 26 August, cadets enrolled in the Center for Enhanced Performance’s RS 100 course got a chance to spend some very active time in the Library, finding their way from one service point to another and learning about Library resources, services, and staff along the way. The Library Poker Runs are designed to get cadets familiar with the people here at the Library who can help them in their studies, and with the resources they can use to complete the assignments they’ll have throughout their time at West Point.

Rare Book Curator Elaine McConnell tells cadets about some of the unique resources in the Library’s Special Collections and Archives Division.

Rare Book Curator Elaine McConnell tells cadets about some of the unique resources in the Library’s Special Collections and Archives Division.

Cadets are given a checklist of locations in the Library (Circulation Desk, Reference Desk, Reserve Room, and Special Collections & Archives Reading Room) and are directed to complete a task at each checkpoint. The tasks help the plebes learn a multitude of research-related skills, such as how to search within our collections using Scout! – the Library’s discovery tool; how to renew books online; what to do when the Library doesn’t have an article or book they need (hint: Inter-Library Loan!); and the difference between primary and secondary sources. A highlight of the Poker Run is a visit to the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room, where this semester they got to see Custer’s demerits (all six pages of them!) and hand-drawn plans (dating back to the 1870s) for the construction of the railroad tunnel underneath the Plain.

Librarian Michael Arden advices cadets as they search for books and  journal articles using the Library website.

Librarian Michael Arden advices cadets as they search for books and journal articles using the Library website.

After completing each task, the cadets draw a card, and the cadet team with the best poker hand at the end of class wins a prize from their instructor. Almost 100 cadets participated in this round of Poker Runs, and judging from discussions with them at the end of class, a fun – and educational! – time was had by all.

Narrative by Laura Mosher; photos by Barbara Maroney

USMA Library 2013-15 Program Review Available

201315LibraryProgramReview_Page_01The USMA Library 2013-15 Program Review is now available from the library website. The review is prepared annually each summer as both a look back at the previous academic year and a look ahead to the next. The document includes:

  •  A look at our upcoming work on organizational and service design.
  • Mission, Vision, and Goals
  • Brief snapshots of activities from the 2013-14 academic year.
  • Statistics and graphs of service and collection metrics.
  • Reports on our 2013-14 academic year organizational objectives.
  • A strategic awareness and vision for the future of academic library services and the profession of academic librarianship.
  • Assessment data and review.
  • Information on liaison support to academic departments.
  • Our 2014-15 academic year organizational objectives.

It is a privilege to work with the team that makes our library services, collections, and facilities the best that they can be each day. This report captures some of our efforts in doing so. We look forward to a productive 2014-15 academic year.

Haig Room Reopened

Haig Rm 2The wood floors in the main Haig room, the piano room, as well as the hallway and entranceway have been sanded and refinished.  The cherry-wood chairs used for special events have been repaired and refurbished.  The terrazzo tile in the rotunda has been washed and waxed.  The pantry area and the hallway chair storage rooms are being refreshed and reoganized to better support the many special events which take place throughout the year.

Library Transitions to Summer Hours

Effective Friday, June 13th, USMA Library will transition to our summer hours. We will now be open Monday through Friday from 0700-1630. We will be closed all Saturdays, Sundays, and on Independence Day.

Effective Monday, August 11th, we will begin our Reorganization Week hours, and effective Monday, August 18th, we will resume full hours of operation for fall semester.

As always, all hours of operation are posted to our website.

Library Transitions to STAP Hours

Beginning Monday, May 19th and running until Friday, June 13th, USMA Library will transition to STAP operating hours:

  • Sundays: 1300-2100
  • Mondays: 0700-2100
  • Tuesdays: 0700-2100
  • Wednesdays: 0700-2100
  • Thursdays: 0700-2100
  • Fridays: 0700-1630
  • Saturdays: CLOSED

USMA Library will be open 0700-2100 on Memorial Day, though primarily in support of special events. Limited service is available that day.

Library summer hours will begin on Saturday, June 14th.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Traveling Exhibition “Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings” Opens

USHMM ExhibitA traveling exhibition from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings is now open for the West Point community and their guests on the second floor of the Jefferson Hall Library and Learning Center. This exhibition is sponsored by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Point, in partnership with the U.S. Military Academy Library and will be at West Point until June 11, 2014.

Due to security and access restrictions in place for Jefferson Hall and the central area of West Point, the exhibition is not open to the general public.

On May 10, 1933, just a few months after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany and a full six years before World War II, university students across Nazi Germany burned thousands of books in an ominous “cleansing” of the “un-German spirit” from German culture. Writings by scores of German and foreign authors, including Helen Keller, Ernest Hemingway, and Sigmund Freud, were consumed in spectacularly staged bonfires. Americans quickly condemned the events as hostile to the spirit of democracy and the freedom of expression. Their orchestrated book burnings across Germany would come to underscore German-Jewish writer Heinrich Heine’s 19th century warning, “Where one burns books, one soon burns people.”

The exhibition provides a vivid look at the first steps the Nazis took to suppress freedom of expression and the strong response that occurred in the United States both immediately and in the years thereafter. The exhibition focuses on how the book burnings became a potent symbol during World War II in America’s battle against Nazism and concludes by examining their continued impact on our public discourse.

“Americans were deeply offended by the book burnings, which were a gross assault against their core values,” said U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. “Their response was intense, in fact so strong that throughout the war the government used the book burnings to help define the nature of the enemy to the American public. Unfortunately, the systematic murder of Europe’s Jews was not seen as a compelling case for fighting Nazism.”

The exhibition concludes with the postwar years, exploring how the Nazi book burnings have continued to resonate in American politics, literature, and popular culture. It features postwar evocations of book burnings, including a McCarthy-era speech in which President Eisenhower urged Dartmouth graduates, “Don’t join the book burners”; films such as Pleasantville and Field of Dreams; episodes of The Waltons and M*A*S*H; the death threats against Salman Rushdie; and the public burning of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

It’s National Library Week!

This week, the USMA Library joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide in celebrating National Library Week.  It is a time to take note of the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. This year’s theme is “Lives change @ your library.”

In honor of National Library Week, we would like to share the American Library Association’s Declaration for the Right to Libraries, which outlines thoughts and beliefs on why libraries are essential to a democratic society.

UntitledDeclaration for the Right to Libraries

In the spirit of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe that libraries are essential to a democratic society. Every day, in countless communities across our nation and the world, millions of children, students and adults use libraries to learn, grow and achieve their dreams. In addition to a vast array of books, computers and other resources, library users benefit from the expert teaching and guidance of librarians and library staff to help expand their minds and open new worlds. We declare and affirm our right to quality libraries -public, school, academic, and special – and urge you to show your support by signing your name to this Declaration for the Right to Libraries.

LIBRARIES EMPOWER THE INDIVIDUAL. Whether developing skills to succeed in school, looking for a job, exploring possible careers, having a baby, or planning retirement, people of all ages turn to libraries for instruction, support, and access to computers and other resources to help them lead better lives.

LIBRARIES SUPPORT LITERACY AND LIFELONG LEARNING. Many children and adults learn to read at their school and public libraries via story times, research projects, summer reading, tutoring and other opportunities. Others come to the library to learn the technology and information skills that help them answer their questions, discover new interests, and share their ideas with others.

LIBRARIES STRENGTHEN FAMILIES. Families find a comfortable, welcoming space and a wealth of resources to help them learn, grow and play together.

LIBRARIES ARE THE GREAT EQUALIZER. Libraries serve people of every age, education level, income level, ethnicity and physical ability. For many people, libraries provide resources that they could not otherwise afford – resources they need to live, learn, work and govern.

LIBRARIES BUILD COMMUNITIES. Libraries bring people together, both in person and online, to have conversations and to learn from and help each other. Libraries provide support for seniors, immigrants and others with special needs.

LIBRARIES PROTECT OUR RIGHT TO KNOW. Our right to read, seek information, and speak freely must not be taken for granted. Libraries and librarians actively defend this most basic freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

LIBRARIES STRENGTHEN OUR NATION. The economic health and successful governance of our nation depend on people who are literate and informed. School, public, academic, and special libraries support this basic right.

LIBRARIES ADVANCE RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP. Knowledge grows from knowledge. Whether doing a school assignment, seeking a cure for cancer, pursuing an academic degree, or developing a more fuel efficient engine, scholars and researchers of all ages depend on the knowledge and expertise that libraries and librarians offer.

LIBRARIES HELP US TO BETTER UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER. People from all walks of life come together at libraries to discuss issues of common concern. Libraries provide programs, collections, and meeting spaces to help us share and learn from our differences.

LIBRARIES PRESERVE OUR NATION’S CULTURAL HERITAGE. The past is key to our future. Libraries collect, digitize, and preserve original and unique historical documents that help us to better understand our past, present and future.

For more information about how libraries contribute to our American way of life visit the American Library Association webpage.

Four USMA Library Staff Members Recognized at Dean’s Ceremony

Four USMA Library staff members were among those recognized at the Dean’s Ceremony held on 28 February 2014.

Manja Yirka and Thomas Lynch were welcomed as the Library’s newest employees; Manja as Serials Librarian for the Materials Processing Division and Tom as Reference Librarian for the Information Gateway Division.

Manja1 Tom Lynch (far left) and Manja Yirka (second from left)

Laura Mosher was honored for her ten years of service as a Reference Librarian with the Information Gateway Division.  Along with her regular librarian duties at West Point, Laura serves as a liaison to the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department, and also volunteers with the Army Nordic Team as one of the Team’s Officers in Charge.

laura2 Laura Mosher receives commemorative plaque and 10 Year Pin from BD Trainor

Associate Director of Systems, Christine Bassett, was recognized for her role in implementing a print management system that has already reduced paper waste by 75% within the Library. For this accomplishment, she was awarded a Dean’s coin. Christine, who is leaving West Point, was also thanked for her two years of service at the USMA Library. She is taking a position as IT Manger with the Tacoma Public Library System.

Christine2 BD Trainor thanks Christine Bassett

Photos provided by Anthony Battista/DPTMS VI

Library Access Policies Adjusted

In order to harmonize with recent changes to access polices for the Central Post Restricted Area, we have now adjusted access policies for Jefferson Hall. These changes can be found on our website and in new DPOMs that have been just completed.

Going forward, the following individuals are authorized unescorted access within the Library:

  1. Military personnel in uniform (all approved uniforms with the exception of physical fitness uniforms). Equivalent uniforms worn by other Service and international military personnel assigned to or visiting West Point in an official status are also permitted.
  2. Military personnel, their spouses, and family members (14 years of age or older) in civilian clothing provided that they display their CAC/DoD identification card on their outer garment at all times in Jefferson Hall. Spouses or family members in this category without DoD or West Point issued identification are not eligible for unescorted access.
  3. West Point and USMA DoD civilian employees, ODIA employees, Association of Graduates employees, contractors, their spouses, and family members (14 years of age or older) provided that they display their DoD/West Point/ODIA/Contractor identification card on their outer garment at all times in Jefferson Hall. Individuals or family members in this category without DoD or West Point issued identification are not eligible for unescorted access.
  4. Registered and credentialed attendees of Superintendent-approved, Dean-approved, or Librarian-approved events/appointments held in Jefferson Hall. This includes members of the general public who request to use the collection under 44 USC 19 – 1909 governing open access to government collections, and researchers with scheduled appointments to consult materials held in Special Collections and/or Archives. Individuals in this category must display the name/identification badge provided to them at all times while in Jefferson Hall. This badge is valid only for Jefferson Hall and does not permit unescorted access through the Central Post Restricted Area.

Users in categories 1, 2, and 3 are also authorized access through the Central Post Restricted Area. Users in category 4 are not authorized access through the Central Post Restricted Area and must accompanied by appropriately credentialed personnel while outside of Jefferson Hall. This includes arriving to or departing from the Library.

Library staff will approach building visitors without visible identification. We will also have badge holders available at the service desks for individuals who have ID, but don’t have a way to appropriately display it. The Library administrative office is acquiring some visitor badges which we will assign as needed to Library guests. Event coordinators for events in the library will be asked to make sure their event guests wear their event badge at all times within Jefferson Hall. Questions can be directed to the Library administrative office.