Constitution Day 2020 : Columbia VOTES


Each year, Columbia College Chicago celebrates Constitution Day on September 17th.  It is a day to learn about the Constitution, its history and to understand how it has and continues to shape the direction of our country.  This year, the Constitution Day event will be held on ZOOM, and the focus is on the importance of the student vote.  The Library is collaborating with Columbia Votes to encourage our students to fully participate during this important election year.

Columbia Votes is a college-wide initiative launched by Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, Associate Professor in the Communication Department. Voter Registration Geniuses Anna Busalacchi and Ally Longo (students working directly with Columbia Votes) will be presenting. Our goal for this event is to encourage all students to vote. This program is designed to help with the voting process, including registration, voting by mail, where/when to vote, etc. We recognize the importance of student voices to the future of democracy. Every vote counts. 

Formal presentations will begin at 10am and 10:30am, with time for Q&A during each session.  Attendees will be able to join and exit as schedules permit. This program is open to the Columbia College Chicago community.  #VOTE


Or join webinar with the following methods:

Phone one-tap: US: +13126266799,,98439216534# or +13017158592,,98439216534#

Join by Telephone

For higher quality, dial a number based on your current location.

Dial:  US : +1 312 626 6799 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 646 876 9923 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 6833

Webinar ID:        984 3921 6534

International numbers

Original first page of the U.S. Constitution. Source: United States National Archives

New Library Search and Systems!

image of the new library search interface on the homepage

We are happy to announce that a new Library Search has launched on the library homepage.  The new Library Search features a drop-down menu so you can select the format of material you are looking for – Books, Articles, Video, Audio, Journals, and Newspapers. You also have the option to search Everything – all formats – in the system.

While an Everything Search will connect you to most of the materials and resources provided by the library, there are a few things it will not connect you to like our image databases or statistical and data analysis databases. If you are searching library resources but not finding the materials you need or expect, do not hesitate to reach out to a librarian using the Ask a Librarian chat or email on the library website.

The following video provides more information on the features and functionality of our new search:

Why did we create a new Library Search?

Earlier this summer, the library launched a new catalog and discovery system to help Columbia College Chicago students, faculty, and staff find and access library resources. This change was driven by our state-wide library consortium, CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois). All 90+ libraries in the consortium are now using the new catalog and discovery system.

A new library search was created to better connect users to the new catalog and discovery system.

Any more changes?

In addition to the changes that have already happened, there is one more change to anticipate in the future. This change will provide us with a new authentication system for accessing all the library’s online resources – our streaming video, articles, e-books, streaming audio, databases, etc. The new authentication system will connect to your Columbia Office 365 account which means that access will be more seamless than before. The library will be part of the college’s single sign on system.

This new authentication system will also change the direct links you use to access library materials. For example, if you use a direct link to a library film, e-book, or article or if you share library links with students via Canvas, these links will need to be updated. You don’t need to do anything now – all your library links will continue to work through the Fall semester and into January. We will provide additional updates via the blog and website when you need to begin changing your library links.

As always, you can direct any questions about the changes to library systems or to the new Library Search to our Ask a Librarian chat or email.

Launching This Summer: A New Library Catalog System

text based image announcing a new library catalog system

If you attended a library session during Faculty Development Days, you probably heard about the new library catalog system that is launching this summer.

In case you missed it, here is what you need to know:

  • When? June 24th is the go live date for the new system.
  • Why now? We are members of CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois) and as members we obtain benefits including a shared catalog system that makes I-Share (our interlibrary loan service) possible. While we know this isn’t ideal timing to launch something new, this change has been in the works for almost 2 years. The timeline was planned by CARLI and the new system vendor and they have decided to stay the course.
  • What will change? The new system provides many benefits, but a few things have to change in the process:
    • Single sign on. You will now be able to access your library account by using your Columbia credentials. No need to track down your 14 digit library barcode number.
    • I-Share. Our interlibrary loan service remains, but you will access it through the new system. If you are familiar with using I-Share currently, things will look different but the service is largely unchanged.
    • Permalinks. Permalinks are static links to library resources. They are important if you want to share links to library resources with Columbia faculty, staff, and students or if you want to link to library resources from your Canvas course. Permalinks have a special prefix that allows users to authenticate into library resources from on or off campus. All permalinks will change, so if you are currently using a library permalink, this will need to be updated before Fall semester. You can request help generating permalinks with our link request form. Update: There has been a delay from the vendor implementing the new authentication system. Permalinks will now need to be changed in January before Spring semester. All current library works will continue working through the end of January. 
  • What won’t change? 
    • Library resources. The library’s resources (books, ebooks, films, streaming media, and databases) remain, but the interface you search and access them through is changing.
    • Library services. While some of our services are changing because of social distancing requirements amid the COVID-19 pandemic, no service is changing because of the switch to a new catalog system.

Please do not hesitate to contact a librarian through chat or email if you have any questions about these or any other changes.

Textbooks: What Do I Do When The Library Is Closed?


Were you using the library’s collection of textbooks on reserve? 

While Columbia College’s campus is closed, including the library, you may be wondering how you are going to access those textbooks you need to complete your assignments for your (newly) online courses.

The library can help you in several ways:

  • Email or chat with a librarian to find out if chapters of the book can be scanned by library staff. Unfortunately, not all textbooks are available for this service, but some of the most heavily used textbooks are.
  • Check to see if the textbook is available as an ebook through the library. Learn how to search for ebooks on the library website with this short video:
  • If the above options are not available, we may be able to acquire an electronic copy of the book (ebook) which you will be able to use from the browser of your personal computer. Email or chat with a librarian so they can check on the availability of an electronic copy of the book.
  • Several eTextbook publishers are making it possible for you to access up to 7 textbooks for free for the Spring Semester. Follow the VitalSource and RedShelf instructions posted here:

Additionally, the library has put together a research guide for students transitioning to online learning: Learning Online: Library Resources for Students. In addition to information about ebooks and textbooks, the guide also provides information on getting assistance from a librarian, research support options, and finding scholarly articles and streaming video.


Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Online Library Services during COVID-19 Closure

hands typing on a computer

The library is here for our students, faculty, and staff through the suspension of in-person classes at Columbia College because of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The library is currently closed and will remain closed until at least April 6, 2020. However, many library services will continue virtually including research assistance and online access to databases, ebooks, streaming media, and more. Due dates and fines will be not be enforced while in-person classes are suspended.

Virtual library services can be accessed from the library website:

For students, we have compiled a resource guide to support online learning:

Learning Online: Library Resources for Students

For faculty, we have compiled a resource guide to support teaching online:

Teaching Online: Library Resources for Faculty

If you have additional questions about research or library services or if you encounter difficulty accessing online library resources, check our FAQs, chat with a librarian, or email a librarian. 

For updates related to COVID-19 closures, please visit our Ongoing Library Services and COVID-19 Updates page.


Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Changes to Library Spaces and Service Points


During the winter break, the library made some space and service changes in order to provide more streamlined assistance to students, faculty, and staff.

The biggest change is the removal of the Ask Desk – a research help desk – on the 2nd Floor and it’s consolidation with the Service Desk on the 1st Floor. Now there is one point of service for information and research questions as well as book, media, and equipment checkout.

With one Service Desk, the library can better leverage our staff and student workers. There will always be a person at the Service Desk who will help you with your information needs or guide you to someone who can.

In addition to the removal of the 2nd Floor Ask Desk, previous changes to library spaces include:

  • More seating on the east side of the 4th Floor – next to the windows overlooking Michigan Avenue and Grant Park.
  • Typewriter moved from the 2nd Floor to the 4th Floor.
  • Creation of a Stress Relief Area on the east side of the 3rd Floor with puzzles, games, and legos.
  • 3D printers and vinyl cutter moved to from the 2nd Floor the 1st Floor.
  • Wepa printing stations on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Floors.

If you have questions about any of the recent changes to library spaces and services, please send us a message via chat or email (available on the library website:


Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Green Screen Now Available In The Library


A green screen room is now available for students in the library!

The green screen room is located on the 2nd floor of the library. The room has:

  • 1 green screen measuring 8.5′ x 10′
  • 4 moveable lights
    • 2-Westcott uLites with softboxes
    • 2-Emart dimmable LED lights with softboxes.
  • 1 PC with Adobe Creative Suite
  • 1 Canon DSLR available for checkout from the 1st floor desk

Students wishing to use the green screen can ask library staff at the 1st or 2nd floor desks for access to the green screen room. Access is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and is available during all library hours.

NEA Big Read: Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat

Brother, I'm Dying book cover

The Columbia Library, in partnership with the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, hosts the NEA Big Read from March 21 through May 17, 2019, and will include a variety of programs, book discussions and other events throughout Chicagoland. All events are free and open to the public.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read is designed to broaden our world through reading. Columbia’s Library, the only Chicago institution awarded a 2018-19 NEA Big Read grant, received $15,000 for its selection Brother, I’m Dying, a 2007 award-winning memoir by Haitian-American novelist, Edwidge Danticat. The book chronicles the intergenerational sacrifices immigrants often make to create a better life in America for their families.

The NEA Big Read 2019 kicks off on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m., at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan Ave. with Views of Global Migration: Haiti, featuring an historical perspective on Haitian migration by Mario Lamothe, assistant professor of African American Studies – Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago. LaMothe uses oral history and journalistic accounts to narrate Haitian immigrants’ physical transformation during their captivity in American detention facilities.  The event coincides with the MoCP’s current exhibition Stateless: Views of Global Migration, which closes on March 31.

Ms. Danticat will visit Columbia to give the NEA Big Read keynote address, “The American Dream Reconsidered,” which will explore the concept and meaning of the American Dream in the current political environment. Ms. Danticat will be interviewed on stage by Professor Karen Richman, Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame and author of Migration and Vodou. The event takes place on Thursday, April 25, 6 – 8 p.m. at Film Row Center, 1104 S. Wabash, 8th floor. A Columbia student panel on activism, moderated by Columbia College adjunct professor Stan West, takes place prior to the Big Read event, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Film Row Center.

Ms. Danticat will also participate in the NEA Big Read community event “What Makes American Great: Immigrant Policy and Chicago,” which reflects on the role of immigration in shaping Chicago and the U.S. Ms. Danticat’s presentation will include a response panel, featuring noted policy-makers and academics, followed by a celebration of Haitian culture (music, dance, food, and drink). The event takes place on April 26, 6- 9 p.m. Film Row Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.

Brother, I’m Dying was selected for the NEA Big Read because it provides an opportunity to explore questions about our nation’s values and identity in the 21st Century. The backdrop for these programs is the decision of the Trump Administration to end the Temporary Protected Status of Haitians living in the United States that was granted following the 2010 earthquake that decimated Haiti. Chicago was founded by the Haitian explorer Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable and there are currently over 120,000 people of Haitian descent that live in the area.

The events are being presented in partnership with the Haitian Congress, Haitian Consulate General of Chicago, Haitian American Museum of Chicago, DuSable Heritage Association, Midwest Association of Haitian American Women, Haitian Nurses Association, Haitian Book Club, and Concerned Haitian Americans of Illinois. Other NEA Big Read events will take place in public libraries, public schools, and universities in the Chicago area throughout the months of April and May.

For more information about NEA Big Read events and programs, visit

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.


Photo courtesy: National Endowment for the Arts.

Exploring Clave Rhythms: Sam Rodriguez


Sam Rodriguez with drumsWhen one looks at the arc of Caribbean history over the last 500 years, particularly in countries like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba, it is striking just how much of the history is defined by conscious efforts to divide, and not to unite, the people and cultures of the region. We see it in efforts by national governments to prioritize the Spanish and European cultural influences and traditions over those that descend from Africa. We see it in colorism that favors lighter skin over darker skin. We see it in efforts to drive forward with rapid urbanization at the expense of rural and indigenous economic and cultural traditions. And we also see it in efforts to stem the onslaught of American imperialism that crushes local cultural values and traditions.

Perhaps the one exception to the deep divisions that mark Caribbean history is the universal impact of clave rhythms in the music and cultures of the region. “Clave rhythms can be found in the music of all Caribbean musical traditions,” according to the world-renown percussionist Sam Rodriguez.  “Clave rhythms are the heartbeat of the music of Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and even Brazil. You can hear it in reggae, reggaetón, dancehall, bomba, plano, rumba, salsa, Afro-Cuban jazz, Afro-Brazilian jazz, Haitian drumming, and even in more modern styles like rap and hip hop,” Rodriguez says.

“Clave rhythms are used to keep the tempo of almost all of the music and dance from the region. It’s a five-stroke pattern. There’s a 3-2 clave beat, and a 2-3 clave beat,” Rodriguez says.

Clave rhythms descend from the many musical traditions from sub-Saharan Africa. The word clave comes from the Spanish word for ‘code,’ or ‘key,’ and they function as the rhythmic “keys” that drive the music. “Claves” is also the name of a percussion instrument in Afro-Cuban music

Rodriguez, who was born and raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, a neighborhood with a deep and rich Puerto Rican cultural heritage, learned clave rhythms banging on pots and pans in his kitchen. “My mother was born in the city Caugus, (in the central mountain range of Puerto Rico), and my father was born in the city of Toa Baja (on Puerto Rico’s Northern Coast). The music was central to who they were. I grew up listening to a lot of Fania Records, a label based in New York City. The Fania All-Stars, which was a rotating group of musicians, were very influential in popularizing salsa music in the United States,” Rodriguez says.

“I started playing and collecting various percussion instruments at an early age. I played in churches, and at Roberto Clemente High School, where I was in the first graduating class. I played all over town in a variety of Latin bands and garage bands. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, there were lots of really cool venues for Latin bands to play in Chicago. You’d hear them in the parks, churches, and clubs playing everything from Cuban, Brazilian, and Costa Rican music, to just about everything else.” “I got to study with lots of different percussionists growing up,” Rodriguez says.

Eventually, Rodriguez became one of the most in-demand percussionists in the country, playing and touring around the world with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, and Pitbull. “I’ve played everything from calypso, salsa and Latin jazz, to the blues, R&B, rock, and pop. Over the years, I’ve collected over 300 percussion instruments from around the world. Back in the day, I use to do a lot of commercial jingles, whenever someone needed the sounds of an unusual percussion instrument. Now they make all of those sounds digitally on synthesizers,” Rodriguez said

Rodriguez is also a cousin to one of Chicago’s most famous muralists, Gamaliel Ramirez, who died tragically in Hurricane Maria, which decimated Puerto Rico in September 2017.

Rodriguez will provide a workshop on clave rhythms as part of Jesus Macarena Avila’s Caribbean, Art and Music class, on Wednesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. in the Columbia College Chicago Library, 624 S. Michigan, 3rd Floor North Reading Room. The event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsors include the Humanities, History and Social Sciences Department, the Columbia Library, and the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Media sponsorship is provided by the Illinois Latino Voice, and graphic design is provided by Iniguez Design Studio


Image courtesy of Sam Rodriguez

Your Campus Card = Your Library Card

Campus card

Welcome, incoming First-Year students and new Transfer students! One of the highlights of Orientation is picking up your shiny new Columbia College ID card.

Not only will you be able to add “Columbia Cash” to your card to make purchases in the Bookstore or pay for printing in the Library and other Campus labs, your Columbia College Chicago ID (aka your “Campus Card”) is also your Columbia College Chicago Library card!

Your Campus Card is all you need to check out books, movies, and CDs and access a variety of online databases – including articles and streaming movies – available to you through the Columbia College Chicago Library. Review all your borrowing privileges:

In addition to checking out books from your Columbia College Chicago Library, you can also use your Campus Card to request books from other libraries located all over Illinois. Here’s a quick explanation of how to do this:

For more information about how your Campus Card works: