Thursday, September 22, 2016

Greetings from your new Library Director!

I thought you might want to know a little bit about me, since I'm neither a BSC alum nor from Alabama.

I was born in Richmond, Virginia, and finished high school in Charleston, South Carolina, before completing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the College of William and Mary. From there I taught all subjects of third and fourth grade at a private school in Hinesville, Georgia, for two years. Several years of being a student worker in a medical library led me to complete a library degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

I worked at the LSU Libraries, beginning in the reference department and interlibrary loan, then moved into and managed the library systems division. After 24 years of service, I left as Assistant Dean of Libraries. While at LSU, I was very active in collaborative campus IT projects and with the statewide academic library consortium.

I was an Associate Director in a 21-branch county-wide public library system for two years, then decided to return to beloved academia. I was Director of the Library for Southern Polytechnic State University until its consolidation with Kennesaw State University in 2015, where I was Director of Special Projects for the KSU Library System.

My research, publication, and service are mostly around library technologies. 
My latest hobbies are photography, listening to all genres and ages of music, and cooking.

I'm very happy to have found a new home at BSC. Come by and say hello!

Nancy Colyar

Monday, August 22, 2016

Welcome Back to the Hilltop!

We at your BSC Library are thrilled to welcome both first-year and returning students back home to BSC. We look forward to helping you with all your library needs: materials of all kinds for checkout; space to study, meet, or watch films for class; help creating or finding answers to research questions; interlibrary loan for materials we don't have in the library at BSC; and computers to help you create or print your work (or any other reason), all provided by the friendliest staff around.

Poster announcing: Attention (you, too, returning students!) A food policy reminder: Food that drips, stinks, stains, sticks; including all caf food, subway, pizza delivery creates mess in your library *and is not allowed. Tables have been provided in the lobby, or take a break and enjoy your meal outside. Your library staff & fellow patrons thank you for your cooperation.
We do want to remind you of our policies in the library, especially with regard to food and drink. While the policy hasn't changed from previous years, we will be enforcing the policy completely going forward. We certainly don't want to be food police, but we also want to keep the library a clean, bug free, and pleasant environment for everyone, and stinky, drippy, sticky, staining food causes messes and inconvenience for everyone. So, as a reminder, covered drinks and packaged snacks are OK, but caf takeout, Subway, pizzas, or any other meals are not. Please comply with the policy and don't make us turn into meanies!

We also want to remind you of the library schedule for the fall semester. Regular hours begin August 28:

  • Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight
  • Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Special hours will be posted on the library website.

Thanks for checking out the blog and we wish you the best year possible at BSC, whether it's your first, middle, or last!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

The library will be closed this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for the July 4th weekend (that's July 2-4). We will reopen at 8am on Tuesday, July 5th.

We hope everyone has a happy (and safe!) Independence Day!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Congratulations, BSC Library Award Winners!

Each year, the BSC Library sponsors two awards: the Library Research Award and the Library Art Purchase Award.  This year, the winners are Sophie Cheng and Timothy McOmber.

The Library Research Award is a cash prize recognizing the paper written by any current first- or second-year student that best demonstrates an advanced understanding and appropriate use of the Library's services and collections.  The paper must be submitted to the Southern Academic Review, BSC's journal of student scholarship, and must be approved by its editors for publication.  Sophie Cheng is the winner of the 2016 award for her excellent paper titled "Creating Play Spaces: Exploring the Use of Space and Place in Play Spaces." Congratulations, Sophie!

The Library Art Purchase Award goes to a student whose work is selected from the annual BSC Juried Student Art Exhibition, for acquisition and display in the Library building.  Proceeds from the Library's used book sale fund this award.  Timothy McOmber is the winner of the 2016 award for his inspired piece, "Origin."  Congratulations, Timothy!

Kudos to all the BSC students who've worked so hard on publications, presentations, performances, and creations this past year.  Your work makes BSC, and the world, a better place!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Final exams and library hours

The end of the term is almost upon us. For many of you, this means long nights and marathon study sessions fueled by copious amounts of caffeine. Luckily for everyone, the library is here to help with group seminar rooms and extended hours for the BSC community. 

We have several rooms available for checkout for those of you keen on studying in groups. All of them have a whiteboard, and a few of them contain A/V equipment for those of you who need to practice presentations or watch a movie for a class. Click here to check out the room availability, and you can follow the link on that page if you would like submit a reservation request.  

Please note, there is a 3-hour time limit on the room checkouts, and if you would like to make a reservation on short notice, please call the Circulation Desk directly (205-226-4740)!

Also, beginning on Thursday, May 12, the library will have extended hours, as follows:

Thursday, May 12: 8am-open all night*
Friday, May 13: open until 10pm
Saturday, May 14: 9am-midnight
Sunday, May 15: 2pm-open all night*
Monday, May 16: open 24 hours*
Tuesday, May 17: open 24 hours*
Wednesday, May 18: open 24 hours*
Thursday, May 19: open until 10pm
Friday, May 20: 8am-5pm
Saturday, May 21: CLOSED
Sunday, May 22: CLOSED
Monday-Friday, May 23-27: 8am-5pm
*The Circulation Desk will be closing at 1am on these nights, and will reopen at 8am the following morning.

The library will be open only to BSC students, faculty, and staff during exams (beginning Thursday, May 12th). Community patrons will be welcome again on Friday, May 20.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Join us for Honors Day, May 5th

Honors Day is fast approaching!

As described in the press release from BSC's Communications Department:
Honors Day, a celebrated annual tradition in which seniors demonstrate the results of their studies on the Hilltop, is free and open to the public. During the Convocation, BSC students from all classes will be recognized for outstanding academic achievements and leadership roles; honors will also be bestowed on faculty and staff.
Image of Rev. Caitlin E. Harper '09, Honors Day Convocation Speaker
Rev. Caitlin E. Harper '09 
Convocation, which includes a processional of graduating seniors and faculty in regalia, begins at 10 a.m. in Munger Hall Auditorium on the campus and is followed by a full day of student presentations, musical performances, and other demonstrations of scholarly and creative work.
This year's Convocation will feature an address from Rev. Caitlin E. Harper '09, "Staying Animated in an Anesthetized World," about rejecting traditional narratives about adulthood in favor of incorporating liberal arts education.

Harper is a 2009 graduate of the College with a major in religion and received her masters of divinity from Emory University in 2012.

A schedule of events can be found here.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Big Read T-Shirt and Book Raffle!

Attention BSC Students!

In honor of the last week of The Big Read program you can enter your name in a lottery to win two great prizes:  
  • a copy of the Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson, with a preface by Billy Collins
  • a t-shirt from award-winning American artist Lesley Dill 
Come by the Library and put your name in the jar--it's in front of the Reference Office.  While you're there, be sure to take a selfie with Emily!

From The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, 1960.


HE ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!

Many Thanks to Ms. Stacey Thornberry who wrote the grant to bring The Big Read to BSC.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Arabic Studies and the BSC Library

Question: What do the following have in common?

  • Love in Two Languages
  • Sleeping in the Forest
  • Moroccan Folktales
  • My Soul Is a Woman: The Feminine in Islam
  • The Pistachio Seller 
  • Bent Familia

Answer: They are among the many dozens of books and films related to Arabic language, literature, history, politics, religion, and culture that the BSC Library has recently acquired... all thanks to a Mellon grant procured by Birmingham-Southern to fund Arabic Studies at the College!

The BSC Library is pleased to be a part of this important initiative to build classes and teaching resources related to Arabic Studies.  With the input of BSC faculty, we have been building our collections throughout the academic year to support students interested in learning about Arabic language and cultures.  Most of the books and films are available for checkout and all are listed in the library catalog.

Want to know more about BSC's Arabic Studies program?  Join the Modern Foreign Languages faculty and students for Zaytuniyat (Arabic Culture Day) on Wednesday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second floor of the Norton Center.  A flyer is available here.  Hope to see you there!

Image from manuscript for Qissat Bayad wa Reyad tale,
late 12th century (Source: Wikimedia images)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Join us for The Big Read

Birmingham-Southern College will host a series of events in April on campus and around the metro area to further understanding of the work of Emily Dickinson in conjunction with the Big Read Birmingham project.

Programs will look at Dickinson's poetry via literary analysis, creative writing, visual art, and more and include the Jefferson County Library Cooperative, Hoover Senior Center, Desert Island Supply Company, Creative Scholars, and Wordsmiths. Participants at many events will receive free copies of the featured book, The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.

"We chose these poems for their broad appeal to a number of audiences and because there are so many ways to look at them," said BSC librarian Stacey Thornberry, the project's organizer. "We wanted to find ways to look at Dickinson's work that are relevant to our community here in Birmingham, and also to spark an interest in poetry in general."

BSC received support from the National Big Read, Books-A-Million, and from the Alabama Humanities Foundation; All Big Read events hosted by BSC or other community organizations are free and open to the public.

Lesley Dill. "The Poetic Body: Poem Gloves,"
1992. Smith College Collections, SC1992:47b
The centerpiece of campus events will be an exhibition by the New York-based artist Lesley Dill, whose sculpture, photography, and performance draw inspiration from and include Dickinson's text. Her pieces have been widely shown and are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of Art.

A selection of Dill's works will be on display at the Durbin Gallery from April 4-28; the gallery is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday; the official opening reception is Friday, April 8 from 6-8 p.m. Dill will give an artist's talk on Thursday, April 7 at from 4-5 p.m. in the Norton Theatre on campus and she'll also hold printmaking workshops for BSC students on Thursday, April 7 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. and on Friday, April 8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Members of the public may be permitted to attend the workshop if space is available; call 205-226-4750 to inquire about reservations.)

On April 5, BSC will host keynote speaker Dr. Michelle Kohler, a professor at Tulane University, who will talk on "Fatal Promptness: Dickinson, Clocks, and the Disarray of Time." The event, which will be held in the Norton Theatre at 11 a.m., is free and open to the public.

Birmingham-Southern faculty will also lend their expertise to the Big Read:
  • On April 4, Robert E. Luckie Jr. Professor of English Dr. Sandra Sprayberry, along with her Contemporary Poetry class, will read and discuss Dickinson's poetry at the Avondale Branch of the Birmingham Public Library and lead a workshop for participants to create their own poetry.
  • Dr. Lucas Johnson, who directs BSC's Writing Center, will lead a workshop with assistance from BSC students at Desert Island Supply Company's afterschool writing program on April 6; then the students will lead the workshop April 13, 20, and 27.
  • Professor Emeritus of Library Science Dr. Guy Hubbs will lead a discussion on life during the Civil War, which heavily influenced Dickinson's Poetry, at the Hoover Senior Center on Wednesday, April 6 at 12:15 p.m.
In the BSC library, visitors will be able to take in an exhibit about Dickinson in the library's exhibition space (in front of the Reference Librarian's office), and, coming soon, can take a selfie with the Belle of Amherst.

(Text of this post is largely taken from the BSC Department of Communications' news release about The Big Read.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Interlibrary Loan Saves the Day!

Getting Material From Other Libraries

The week before Spring Break a student came to the reference desk looking for a book that she discovered while reading material for her research paper.  She asked if the BSC Library had the book listed on the bibliography at the end of the article.

We checked the BSC Catalog and found that we didn’t own it.  The student was pretty disappointed.  The story could have ended there.  The student could have just said “Oh, well, I’ll find something else” but instead, there was a happy ending. 

Because she came to the reference desk the librarian was able to tell her that she could request the book through Interlibrary Loan.  When the student returned from Spring Break, she checked her email and discovered that the book was waiting for her at the Circulation Desk.

Interlibrary Loan is a service that allows the Library to borrow material from other libraries for our students and faculty.  There is no charge and materials usually arrive in about a week. 

There are several ways to request materials through Interlibrary Loan, the easiest of which are:  
  • Fill out the Interlibrary Loan form on the Library web page found in “Request Forms”; or,
  • Fill out the request forms while searching in Discovery or other databasesHere's an example:

Be sure to talk to the Library staff if you have any questions about Interlibrary Loan.  We are always happy to help.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Break Hours

Spring break is upon us, and the library will have shortened hours:

Saturday-Sunday, March 19-20: CLOSED
Monday-Thursday, March 21-24: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday-Sunday, March 25-27: CLOSED (Easter weekend)

We will resume our regular spring schedule (which can be found here) on Monday, March 28.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Movie suggestions needed!

It's that time of year again! The library needs your suggestions for our SGA Movie Collection! If it's a recent movie that has just hit the shelves, or something older and more obscure that you're sad we don't already have, or anything in between, we want to know about it. We've placed our Suggestion Box at the Circulation Desk, so please drop by to toss in your ideas, or send them to us at

A HUGE thank you to SGA for providing the funds to expand our collection!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

New Database Trials in the BSC Library

The Library is providing access to several databases on a trial basis through the end of March, via our Database Trials page!

Several of these databases provide access to primary source documents and archival material, including:

  • American Fiction, 1774-1920 (from Gale)
  • Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920 (from Gale)
  • Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity (from Gale)
  • Declassified Documents Reference System (from Gale)
  • Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library (1475-1900) (from Gale)
  • African American Communities Database (from Adam Matthew)
  • AM Explorer: Americana (from Adam Matthew)
  • Popular Medicine in American, 1800-1900 (from Adam Matthew)
We also have trial access to Data-Planet Statistical Datasets, which provides access to an extensive repository of statistical data and allows users to search and manipulate the data in multiple ways.

For more information and to access these trials, visit the BSC Database Trials page at (access is restricted to the BSC community and you will be prompted to log in with your BSC credentials from off campus).  The Library welcomes your feedback!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Need to learn a new language?

Mango Languages: Watch Your Language
Ever wanted to learn Irish for St. Patrick's Day? Going to Haiti for service credits and want to impress your friends and respect the locals with your knowledge of Haitian Creole? Would you like to supplement your Modern Foreign Languages coursework with some specialized skills for law or medicine?

Look no further than the Library's subscription to the Mángo Languages. Mángo offers a fun interactive way to learn languages from anywhere you have access to your library account. It uses real conversations and films you might see in a theater to teach and help you retain a new language. Rest assured, these aren't (mostly) useless sentences, like "Le singe est sur la branche;" we're talking more "Quelle houre son vol arrive?"

The pronunciation is localized -- learn how to pronounce "Donde es el baño?" like a Honduran, rather than a Spaniard. Plus, the list of languages doesn't stop at the essential: Spanish, Mandarin, French, or German. Learn Tagalog, Scottish Gaelic, Biblical Hebrew, or Shakespeare English.

You don't have to be anchored to a desk or laptop, either: take it with you on your mobile device! Try Mángo Languages today! (Create a Mángo account if you want to keep track of what you've learned.)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sign up or drop in for tutoring!

It's never too early in the semester to benefit from one of BSC's free peer tutoring sessions!

To make an appointment for a one-on-one tutoring session, click here.

No appointment? No problem! Stop by the library during the drop in hours listed below. All subject tutoring except for Music Theory takes place on the ground floor of the library.

AccountingMonday, 7-9pmSeminar E
Thursday, 7-9pmSeminar E
BiologyMonday, 7-9pmSeminar G
Tuesday, 11am-NoonSeminar G
Wednesday, 7-9pmSeminar G
Thursday, 11am-NoonSeminar E (note room change)
ChemistrySunday, 7-9pmSeminar G
Tuesday, 11am-NoonSeminar G
Tuesday, 8-10pmSeminar G
Thursday, 11am-NoonSeminar G
Thursday, 7-9pmSeminar G
ChineseWednesday, 7-9pmSeminar F
EconomicsWednesday, 7-9pmSeminar E
FinanceMonday, 7-9pmSeminar E
Thursday, 7-9pmSeminar E
Music TheoryMonday, 7-9pmHill Music Room
PhysicsMonday, 7-9pmElectronic Classroom
Tuesday, 11am-NoonElectronic Classroom
Thursday, 7-9pmElectronic Classroom
PsychologyTuesday, 4-7pmSeminar F
SpanishMonday, 6:30-9pmSeminar F

Questions? Contact Stacey Thornberry at or 226-4750.

Don't forget to visit the Writing Center and the Math Lab! Both have drop in tutoring times. Writing Center appointments can be made by emailing Dr. Lucas Johnson at