Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover!

human library promotional image

Are you interested in hearing real-life stories exploring how members of the Columbia community were able to overcome discrimination in gender, religion, sexual preference, race, class, identity, age, lifestyle choices, or disabilities? If so, you need to check out the Human Library this Wednesday, April 18, 12 – 3 p.m., in the Columbia Library, 624 S. Michigan, 3rd Floor North. Available books at Columbia’s first-ever Human Library include: Multiracial Blended Family, Disabilities, LGBTQ, Mental Health, Civil Rights Activist, Vietnam Vet, Synesthesia, and Body Issues.

The Human Library is a place where real people serve as “human books” to share their stories and experiences with “readers” through one-on-one conversations. The Human Library provides an opportunity for people to challenge stereotypes and prejudices. Participants walk away with a mutual understanding of being human beyond a single identity.

The Human Library was developed in Denmark in 2000. It has become an international movement taking place in over 70 countries. The Human Library Chicago, which brings regularly scheduled Human Library events to the Chicago area, is always looking for volunteers to tell their story. For more information visit


Image from The Human Library.


Research Consultations


Did you know?

The library offers appointments for personalized in-depth consultation services to support the research needs of Columbia College faculty, students and staff. This service is intended to give you in-depth assistance in identifying and locating the resources most useful for the project at hand.

During a research consultation you will have a one-on-one, in-person meeting with a librarian. Meetings typically last 30-45 minutes and can focus on navigating library resources and databases to find books, articles, statistics and demographic data, images, and more.

Common research consultation requests include guidance for:

  • WRII research papers/projects
  • Theses
  • Capstone projects
  • Faculty research and literature reviews

To schedule a research consultation with a Columbia College Chicago Librarian, please complete the request form on the library website:


Photo by on Unsplash

Rey Andújar: Exploring Dominican Poetry

rey andujar event promotion

Chicago performance artist, poet and scholar, Rey Andújar is scheduled to appear at the Columbia Library, 624 S. Michigan, on Thursday, April 25, 7 – 9 p.m. What he’ll actually do is anyone’s guess, according to Columbia College instructor, Jesus Macarena-Avila. In theory, Dr. Andújar will present a lecture on Dominican Poetry to Macarena-Avila’s Caribbean Art, Literature and Music class and the public. In practice, Macarena-Avila says, “It could be a lecture, a performance, or something completely unexpected.”

Macarena-Avila says. “It could be a performance based on poetic literature inspired by Buddhism or street urban culture. With Dr. Andújar, expect the unexpected. It can open a discussion on the contemporary literary pathways that Dominican writers are exploring.” The program is co-sponsored by the Columbia Library, and Illinois Latino Voice, a local social media organization focused on Latina/o/x community affairs and Poesia en Abril, a program initiated by Contratiempo, a local literary journal focused on Latin American writers and Latina/o/x cultural criticism.

Dr. Andújar is a true Renaissance man. He is the author of several award-winning works of fiction, including Saturnalia, a short story collection that captured the Ultramar Literature Prize NYC in 2010, Candela, a novel, won the PR Pen Club Awards in 2009, and Amorcidio, a short story collection, was conferred the FIL-Santo Domingo Fiction Award in 2006. Dr. Andújar is also Artistic Associate at Aguijón Theater, where he wrote and performed the critically-acclaimed play, Adverses. His 2006 performance work Ciudadano Cero was part of the prestigious Festival Internacional de Teatro Santo Domingo. Another performance piece, Antípoda, was presented in Santo Domingo, Paris, and various U.S. cities and Mexico.

Dr. Andújar was born in the Dominican Republic, lives in Chicago, and teaches Latin American History and Literature at Governors State University. He holds a PhD in Caribbean Literature and Philosophy. His research and performances explore the connection between body, language and literature. He is inspired by a multitude of sources: Caribbean traditions, mediation, and urban culture has influenced his performances.

Macarena-Avila uses his class to bring prominent individuals and scholars on Caribbean, Latin American and Latina/o/x art, literature, music and crossing over to other fields of study such as cultural anthropology to Columbia. Following Dr. Andújar’s presentation, there will be a Q&A session and book signing of Saturnalia. Light Cafecito refreshments will be served.


Rey Andújar image from Aguijon Theater

National Library Week 2018



National Library Week  (April 8 – 14, 2018) is an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren’t just places to borrow books or study—they’re also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies and develop their skills and passions.

Libraries of all types have long been evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Diverse groups including elected officials, small business owners and students of all ages depend upon libraries and the resources they offer. Resources like e-books, digital resources and maker labs,  and services such as research, instruction, and access to collections locally and worldwide are just a few ways libraries and librarians are transforming to lead their communities. Community members can also develop their own leadership skills at the library, with endless opportunity to build skills and confidence through resources and programming.

The theme for 2018 National Library Week is “Libraries Lead.” Misty Copeland, principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (the first African-American woman ever to be promoted to the position) is this year’s National Library Week Honorary Chair.

This year marks the 60th Anniversary of National Library Week.  Read more about the 60-year history of National Library Week at American Libraries magazine.

There are celebrations each day across the country acknowledging National Library Week and the importance of libraries:  They include:

  • Monday, April 9: State of America’s Libraries Report released, including Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2017.
  • Tuesday, April 10: National Library Workers Day, a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers. #nlwd18
  • Wednesday, April 11: National Bookmobile Day, a day to recognize the contributions of our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities. #bookmobileday2018
  • Thursday, April 12: Take Action for Libraries Day, a national library advocacy effort observed for the first time in 2017 in response to proposed cuts to federal funds for libraries.#fundlibraries

Two ways that Columbia’s Library is celebrating National Library Week is:

1. Our Friends of the Library Signature Showcase program featuring Associate Professor Sam Weller (English Creative Writing Department) TONIGHT at 6:30pm in the 3rd Floor North Reading Room.  He will be discussing the new edition of his book, Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews (Hat & Beard Press, 2017).

2. Training for the Human Library Project on Thursday, April 12 from 12-1pm, in the 3rd Floor North Reading Room.  The Human Library is designed to “build a postitive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices throught dialogue.  It provides an opportunity where real people are loaned to readers, and a place where difficult questions are “expected, appreciated and answered”.

Volunteers are needed, so if you are interested in participating, contact Norman Alexandroff at  Want to know what to expect? This video will give you an idea of what to expect:

The History and Impact of Hip-Hop

dj kool herc

The birth of hip-hop can be traced back to a birthday party in the Bronx on August 11, 1973. While DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell) had been developing his signature “break beat” style for several months, the huge crowd at his sister’s birthday party really responded. Today, hip-hop is a global juggernaut that has transformed the world.

Even if you’re not a fan of hip-hop, its emergence as an unstoppable cultural force is a remarkable story you need to discover. It’s a story that touches on everything from cultural imperialism, cultural appropriation, globalization, and geo-politics, to social change, youth culture, black nationalism, feminism, alternative media, and more.

To get the full story, visit the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR), located at 618 S. Michigan, 6th floor. Highlights include:

Pulse of the People: Political Rap Music and Black Politics (Lakeyta M. Bonnette)

When Music Had a Conscience: The Artists, Organizations, and Historic Events that Inspired and Influenced the Golden Age of Hip Hop from 1987-1996 (Tayahhah Lee McQuillar).

Chicano Rap: Gender and Violence in the Postindustrial Barrio (Poncho McFarland)

Hip-Hop and Social Change in Africa (Ni Wakati)

Hip Hop Japan: Rap and the Culture of Cultural Globalization (Ian Condry)

Inventos: Hip Hop Cubana (Eli Jacobs Fantauzzi) — Award-winning film on Cuba

Afro-Columbia Hip-Hop: Globalization, Transcultural Music, and Ethnic Identities (Christopher Dennis)

Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asian America (edited by Ajay Nair and Murali Balaji).

Global Noise: Rap and Hip Hop Outside the USA (edited by Tony Mitchell).

Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race, and African Migration (Adriana N. Helbig)

Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World (edited by Eric Charry)

Black, Blanc, and Beur: Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World (edited by Alain-Philippe Durand)




Image: Campbell, Clive/DJ Kool Herc from (Public Domain)

Mark Your Calendar: April Events at the Library



5C Comedy Open Mic Night

April 4th, 6-9pm

Have jokes? Need an audience? Come on down to the Library’s 5C Comedy Open Mic night! Sign up at 6 p.m. for a five-minute slot. The show starts at 6:30 p.m.

Public Domainia: Nature Gone Wrong Double Feature

April 4th, 6-9pm

Out the Vault and Into the Stacks presents a triple feature of films devoted to the beauty of nature gone horribly wrong. Join us for a mini-marathon of works in the public domain, including The Killer Shrews, Creature from the Haunted Sea, and The Giant Leeches. Terrible movies! Snacks! Monster Fun!

Library Signature Showcase: Sam Weller

April 9th, 6:30-8:30pm

The Friends of The Library welcome Sam Weller (Professor, English/Creative Writing) who will discuss and sign copies of the new edition of Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews.  This edition also includes a new final chapter by Weller about Bradbury’s legacy since his death in 2012, and essays by Margaret Atwood and Frank Darabon.

Build Your Art Empire

April 12th, 6-8pm

Join the library and several Columbia community visual artists for a discussion of tactics and approaches to starting and forging a successful art-related business (which is a boring way to say make art, make money, make more art, and have fun!).

The Human Library

April 18th, 12-3pm

Do you want to hear or tell stories about gender, religion, sexual preference, race, class, identity, age, lifestyle choices, or disabilities? Volunteer to be a book or come and check out a book. The Human Library helps build dialogue and understanding in our community. Individuals volunteer as human ‘books’ and audiences ‘read’ the book through one-on-one conversations about that individual’s experience. Contact Norman for information.

Apocalypse, USA Reading

April 20, 6-8pm

Join the library for an evening of readings by Columbia and Chicago community authors. A semester long celebration/elegy of apocalyptic art, media and writing, ranging from the serious to the playful, the reverent to the irreverent.

Rey Andújar: Exploring Dominican Poetry

April 25th, 7-9pm

An informal conversation with Chicago performance artist, poet, and scholar, Rey Andújar. Rey will discuss and read from his book, Saturnalia making connections to contemporary Caribbean culture. Following Dr. Andújar’s presentation, there will be a Q&A session and book signing of Saturnalia. Light refreshments will be served. The program is part of Jesus Macarena-Avila’s course, Caribbean Art, Literature and Music.


Library 2nd Floor: the new look


Be prepared for a new look and feel on the 2nd floor of the Library.  When you enter from the stairs or elevator you’ll notice what’s missing — the giant old reference desk!  What’s new?  Clean, open space and a more inviting ASK Desk.  What hasn’t changed? Same friendly, informed librarians!

We’ll be completing the look and feel over the next few weeks and we’d love your input.

The deconstruction…


The new look…RefDeskNEW

Come check it out!