Category Archives: Library Collections

Gleeson Library Remembers: John Ashbery


American poet John Ashbery  passed away on Sunday September 3, 2017 at age 90. In his acclaimed career, Ashbery published more than 20 volumes of poetry, most noted for their intricacy and controversy. He has won almost every major American poetry award, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Griffin International Award, and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant.

“I tried each thing, only some were immortal and free.” – John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Ashbery is remembered by the public mostly for his reflective work titled Self -Portrait in a Convex Mirror, and this where his legacy most strongly lives on. These poems are rooted in radical and complex ideas, yet portrayed with simple and non-grammatical line structure. The stream of lines and stanzas move and flow without having to do with one another, but later unite to present the bigger picture. Many memorial think pieces have been written about Ashbery in the wake of his death, but you may want to check out the article about Ashbery written by Matthew Zapruder in the San Francisco Chronicle, available through the library’s subscription to Access World News.DSC_3606

Gleeson Library staff has prepared a display to honor Ashbery and his works just past the circulation desk. Please feel free to stop by, browse, and pick up a physical copy of a couple of his books. You can also browse his books in the library’s catalog, and use the “request” function to place a hold on any of interest to you. If the work you’re looking for is checked out or not available, for example the single volume Some Trees, you can request a copy for a later pick at Link+, an easy-to-use consortium Gleeson Library belongs to.

The display will be up until September 17, 2017, but you can always view the ebook of his work The Tennis Court Oath, listen to a recording of Ashbery’s work through the LA Public Library Aloud series, or watch one of the streaming videos through the library’s collections that features Ashbery:


IT: Clowns, Coming of Age, and Comedy

Fall is quickly approaching, so what better way to get into the spooky season than with Stephen King’s IT. This haunting tale just celebrated 31 years of print, alongside 27 years since the IT miniseries aired. Keeping with the twisted 27 year theme, Warner Bros. has recently released their own take on this frightful classic. I went to one of the first showings in San Francisco this past weekend after speeding through the paperback book.

Bill Skarsgård nails his performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the 2017 adaptation of IT. Illustration from the San Francisco Chronicle.

In short, in both the book and the new movie, horrifying and vivid details superbly frame the mysterious 1957 town of Derry, Maine, where peculiar is the norm. 27 years after a rather odd and grotesque murder, we flash forward to another brutally haunting murder. Michael Hanlon solicits the help of his childhood friends a.k.a The Losers Club. Familiar with this freakish trend, they unwillingly venture back to Derry to eradicate this evil once and for all.

King’s story digs into fears we harbor as children that never really leave us. If you’re ready to reprise repressed childhood memories while being totally frightened like I was, this horror staple is for you. The book’s point of view alternates between each member of the Losers Club’s youth and adulthood. I still cannot tell if I like this style or not. Quite ambitious on King’s part and executed moderately well, 700 pages in, the style of the book may either leave you annoyed or bored of the adult Loser’s Club, who seem to be sticking around only to give voice to their childhood counterparts. Having read the book in about two weeks, I found some parts absolutely thrilling while others dragged on. This book is available to check out at USF through Link+, an easy-to-use consortium that Gleeson Library belongs to; books can be requested from another library and sent to the building for pick up in as little as 2 days.

Don’t want to wait for Part 2 of IT, the movie? You can always read IT, the book. Just sayin’.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 11, 2017

2017’s reboot of IT is terrifying. Director Andres Muschietti’s retelling of this story is divided into two parts: the first, focusing on the kids’ encounters and a “Chapter 2” sequel planned for a later release date. This adaptation follows the book more closely than ABC’s 1990 miniseries of the same title. The plot of both novel and movie is about IT’s ability to continue living by keeping the characters’ biggest fears present. The screenwriters change only a few details of the Losers Club’s original story to keep the scares and plot relevant to the new time period of 1986, while maintaining the plot’s integrity. Most notably, the movie also lacks the amount of mysticism that is extremely prevalent in the book. Muschietti has stated, “I was never too crazy about the mythology…”

Watching this film brings a mix of familiar cringy childhood nostalgia and an “edge of your seat” feeling that something is not quite right, even once the movie ends. The movie’s high intensity scenes are equally balanced by the Losers Club’s amazing performances, crass humor, and preadolescent behavior. The subtle scary aspects of the story build up the anticipation for the bigger battles between the Losers Club and Pennywise. The 2017 adaptation of IT sparked much needed excitement to hit the box office following a less than exciting summer movie season, and brings together a perfect blend coming-of-age themes and quintessential scary movie components to kick off this fall’s lineup of scary movies. A more in depth review can be found in the database Access World News (a database brought to you by Gleeson Library), written by Peter Hartlaub from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Image: We All Float Down Here by Carl Glover

Happy Constitution Day!


“Constitution Day” celebrates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. On this day, 230 years ago, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gathered in Philadelphia, PA to sign this landmark document. The Constitution established our national government and fundamental laws, and continues to guarantee basic rights for U.S. citizens. The Bill of Rights became part of the U.S. Constitution in 1791.

Check out Gleeson Library’s Constitution Day Guide to online resources.


Gleeson Zine Library: a new collection

The Gleeson Library has a new, small (but growing!) collection of zines.  What are zines?  Zines are self published magazines.  They are a great means of self expression for artists, writers, and anyone passionate about a topic.  Zines are created in a variety of ways with drawings, comics, collage, hand written, or typed text.  They are typically produced with a limited number of copies and are often just run off on a photocopier.  Because they are self published they can make a space for marginalized voices to be heard.  Common themes include art, poetry, comics, short stories, memoir, cultural criticism, politics, and social commentary.


The new Gleeson Zine Library is located on the second floor in the big reading room near the front of the Library.  We have zines on a variety of topics with some emphasis on social justice and critical theory.  Anyone in the USF community can check out the zines for 30 days, and they can be renewed up to 3 times.

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We are planning a few workshops on zine making and are looking for ways to partner with USF classes and groups. Keep a lookout here for upcoming events! We encourage submissions by members of the USF community.

More information at the Gleeson Zine Library Guide

Library Liaisons Are Here to Help You

Have you ever wondered which subject-specific databases the library has? There’s a librarian for that! Interested in bringing in your class to learn some research skills? There’s a librarian for that too! Is there a book missing in our collection that is essential to your subject? We can purchase it! These are just some examples of the magic behind library liaisons. Unfamiliar with the program? Then read on!

The Library Liaison program is a service that connects you with a librarian who has expertise in your subject area. To learn more about this resource I spoke with two librarians, Erika Johnson, the Head of Acquisitions and Collection Management, and Joe Garity, a Reference Librarian and the Coordinator of Library Instruction.

I asked them to describe the liaison program in terms of its benefits as a library service. Erika put it this way: “Liaisons are the conduit between academic programs and the library. This critical outreach function ensures that we are best serving the specific research and information literacy needs of students and faculty in each discipline.”

Often people have questions or need help with research and don’t know who to ask. A goal of the liaison program is for faculty, staff, and students to get to know a librarian…

Joe said: “Often people have questions or need help with research and don’t know who to ask. A goal of the liaison program is for faculty, staff, and students to get to know a librarian who knows their subject area and can work with them. So when classes come to the library for research instruction or when students make one-to-one appointments for help, their subject liaison librarian is the person who meets with them.” This translates to resources available outside the classroom that are meant to help faculty and their students thrive and ensure academic excellence.  

So what are these resources? Well, for starters, it’s one-on-one meetings with a librarian. Here, faculty meet with their liaison to help with research needs. Students can also utilize this service. Then there’s information literacy classes, Joe’s domain, where the goal is to get students comfortable with the library’s research services. In this classroom-like session students learn about library resources, including how to navigate our catalog and databases. Students also learn how to research specific subject areas. You can also take a tour of the library and hear about the building itself and its many services beyond the liaison program. For more on library instruction and tours, click here.

And then there’s the collection development portion, which is one of Erika’s primary roles. The library, in line with the University’s mission, strives to acquire materials that will help faculty and students achieve successful academic careers. We therefore need the input of faculty when it comes to the library’s collection. Erica helps faculty “with ordering or cancelling library materials and soliciting their feedback on other collection management projects.”

Library Liaisons are here for you! Whether it’s for research support, library instruction classes, or recommending materials for our collection, we’d love to hear from you.

Some final thoughts on the program: Joe feels the goal “is to give the library a human face, someone who is available to engage with when doing research,” while Erika implores: “Library Liaisons are here for you! Whether it’s for research support, library instruction classes, or recommending materials for our collection, we’d love to hear from you. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve our liaison services, please email me at or get in touch with your liaison.”

Next time you are putting together your syllabus, don’t forget your liaison! When searching our catalog and your required book isn’t there, don’t forget your liaison! When students ask questions about citing sources, don’t forget your liaison!  

Be sure to check out all the benefits of the liaison program and find your liaison on our website. I invite you to meet your liaison, and hope to see you in the library.

Access to Bound Periodicals

Gleeson Library was busy this summer with construction projects and much has changed! Several USF departments have moved into the library and new study spaces and classrooms have been created. As a result, a few of our smaller collections have shifted into new spaces within the library, but the greatest impact was on our bound periodicals. In order to accommodate the new operational needs of the building, it was necessary to relocate our bound periodicals – roughly 95% of our print periodicals collection – to an off-site storage facility.

Though this relocation of bound periodicals is permanent, Gleeson Library is committed to providing fast and efficient access to these materials. Faculty and students can request specific articles from our periodicals through our document delivery services. Additionally, we encourage faculty and students to search for full-text access to articles via Fusion as there is some duplication of content between our bound periodicals and electronic databases.


A small portion of unbound periodicals remain available in the library. Current newspapers and popular magazines are still located in the south half of the second floor. There is also a small collection of unbound materials that are temporarily located in the northwest corner of the second floor at the end of the H call number range. Once new shelving has been erected, the permanent location of unbound periodicals will be in the northeast corner of the second floor.

Do you have any questions or comments about this change in service? Leave a comment here! You can also talk to us in-person at the library, call us at 415-422-2662, or chat with us online.


“People at USF could be Diggers if they wanted to –“

With institutions around the city celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, I got to thinking about our own campus’ proximity to the Panhandle and to the Haight Ashbury neighborhood. I wonder how the experience of the USF community was touched or shaped by its location during that summer…

Gleeson Library has copies of the St. Ignatius Calendar & Bulletin from 1967. In the May Bulletin of that year, James E. Straukamp, S.J. wrote an article drawing some comparisons between the Diggers of 17th century England and the Diggers of 1967 San Francisco.


He calls these local Diggers “our neighbors” and writes about their efforts related to communal food production, non-violence, and “a society of love and cooperation.” Although Straukamp mentions that he interviewed “Apache” and Art Lisch, unfortunately he doesn’t give much space to describing those contemporary Diggers. Much of the article is focused on those he is most familiar with, the 17th century Diggers who also believed in a non-violent society free from private property. To read the full article from The St. Ignatius Church Bulletin, click here.

The Diggers were also featured in an article in the March 10, 1967 issue of the Foghorn.


News Editor, Tom Sandborn includes a description of one of the Diggers’ food giveaway events in the Panhandle, quotes from Diggers on their philosophy, and remarks on the Diggers from Father Leon Harris of the All Saints Episcopal Church on Waller. You can read the full Foghorn article or browse the full Foghorn digital archive in Gleeson Library’s digital collections.

These articles merely hint at the ways that USF students, staff, faculty, and St. Ignatius parishioners were exposed to what was happening in 1967. There was also the time when Jefferson Airplane performed in the USF gym, and the Vietnam War protests on campus, and well, I have no doubt our alumni have quite a few stories to tell about the Summer of Love at USF.

Update: Take a look at the Summer 2017 USF Magazine where “Dons recount their college years and the Summer of Love” in From USF With Love: Dons Remember the Haight-Ashbury Era, 50 Years Later by Nicole Meldahl MA ’16

For more on the Diggers & the local scene:

McKenna, Kristine, and David Hollander. Notes from a Revolution: Com/co, the Diggers & the Haight, 2012. Print book available at Gleeson Library

See some digitized ephemera, posters, and publications in the Digger Archives

Browse the Foghorn digital archive in Gleeson Library’s digital collections

Coyote, Peter. Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle, 2015. Print book available at Gleeson Library

Stanyan Street Meets Haight & Ashbury (1960–1969). St. Ignatius College Preparatory webpage