[click to return to Agenda past issues] The Agenda - Published from the Office of the University Librarian
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Volume 25 Number 11 September 28, 2003

Special Collections Gets $10,000
For Lighting and Maps

   see caption
  An 1850 map of New Brunswick. This map was featured in the "Changing Landscape of New Brunswick" exhibition, held in Special Collections in the summer of 2002.

Thanks to the generous support of the Fred J. Brotherton Foundation, visitors to Special Collections and University Archives will soon be able to look at exhibitions a lot easier and view several important historic maps, previously too fragile and deteriorated for public use.

Earlier this month Special Collections head Ron Becker was advised that Special Collections' grant application to the Brotherton Foundation for $10,000 was accepted. The grant will fund the upgrading of the lighting in Special Collections' Gallery '50, on the first floor of Alexander Library, and the complete restoration and encapsulation of five significant New Jersey wall maps. The Brotherton Foundation, previously based in Florida and now relocated to Oakland, New Jersey, supports initiatives in research libraries.

The Special Collections exhibition program seeks to enrich the cultural and intellectual life of the university by showcasing notable library acquisitions, prominent collections, and historically or aesthetically significant artifacts. Over 4,000 people viewed one or more of the exhibitions Special Collections hosted in the last academic year.

Each exhibition features between 100-150 items on display. Many of these items are vulnerable to light damage. Yet the lighting in Gallery '50, which relies on spot lighting, tends to expose specific items to direct light for long periods of time. Over time, this may result in fading and discoloration of some items. With the grant, Special Collections exhibitions coordinator and archivist Fernanda Perrone will work with a respected consultant on museum and exhibition environments to install a surface track lighting system in Gallery '50 to better illuminate and preserve the items on display.

The maps to be preserved include two 1819 maps of the United States, an 1853 map of New Jersey, a 1847 map of Newark, and a 1874 map of Greenwood Cemetery, located in Mercer County. Over the years, the brittle paper and lacquer coating on these maps have cracked and begun to flake, forcing Special Collections to place them in storage and discontinue their use pending restoration. With the grant Albert King, Special Collections manuscripts curator and map librarian, will work with the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia, which will develop and implement a treatment plan for each map.

We commend Special Collections for acquiring this grant. Thank you as well to Julia Zapcic, Libraries' Director of Development, for introducing Special Collections to the Brotherton Foundation.

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Associate University Librarian
Serves as Example

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  Associate University Librarian Bob Sewell, second from left, stands with Anne Thomas (left), Alden Jacobs RC'43, and Ruth Simmons (right) at a exhibition opening in Special Collections and University Archives in September 1999.

Now it's official - Bob Sewell is a role model.

In the book "Straight From The Stacks: A Firsthand Guide to Careers in Library and Information Science" by Laura Townsend Kane (American Library Association: Chicago, IL. 2003), Bob Sewell, Associate University Librarian for Collection Services and Management, is profiled as an example of an administrator in academic libraries.

In the four-page profile, Bob discusses many aspects of his work in the Rutgers University Libraries. He identifies his greatest challenge as constantly striving to strike the right balance between the acquisition of electronic resources and 'traditional' print sources. He also speaks about one of the pleasures of his job - the diversity of tasks he may engage in or oversee on a given day. "I love to jump from deciding about what electronic resources we will acquire for the system, to allocating and monitoring the collections budget, to dealing with vendors, to acquiring and conserving rare books and manuscripts, to working with donors."

Bob also reveals that he initially planned to work as a professor of Japanese and comparative literature. He received a BA in Asian studies at the University of Wisconsin, an MA in Japanese from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Yet while he was engaged in graduate studies, he began working in East Asian libraries and discovered that he found the work engaging and interesting. He became hooked, and his career path changed.

Congratulations to Bob for serving as such a fine example for the next generation of librarians and libraries administrators.

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Personnel Changes
as of 09/18/03


New Brunswick Libraries

  • Charlene Houser, Business Manager III
  • Jill Morrow, Administrative Assistant III

Dana Library

  • Alejandro Arencibia, Library Assistant II


Special Collections and University Archives

  • Kristin St. John, Preservationist2


New Brunswick Libraries

  • Arlene Minch, Business Manager III

Public Services & Communications: Shipping & Receiving

  • Jerry Timmons, Library Utility Worker


New Brunswick Libraries

  • Raymond Balter, Library Assistant 2, to Douglass Library
  • Marilyn Herod, Library Assistant 2, to SERC
  • Ana M. Ramirez Luhrs, Library Assistant 2, to Annex
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East Asian Library
Receives Poet's Collection

The private collection of the late Pang-Chen Peng, prominent Taiwanese poet and author, has found a new home in the East Asian Library.

The collection comprises nearly 1,000 volumes, the majority published in Chinese, and was amassed by Mr. Peng over a 60 year career that included service as a colonel in the Mainland Chinese Army, chief of the Kiaoshiung Broadcasting System, director of the Chinese Poetry Society, and lecturer at Taiwan University and Taipai Normal College. Many of the books in the collection are anthologies of poetry and literary writings by Mr. Peng and reference books.

Now I am consuming the quietness. Solitude is beautiful,
                                 and being alone
Is also beautiful, for quietness is required for musing. At
                                 this moment
Firecrackers are exploding outside my window but in
                                 my hometown
It must be snowing outside.

Why am I a wanderer without a roof?
        Now my hometown has become something invincible
                                 and intangible,
Where a happy child spent his happy years.

Marion, I miss you very much at this moment. Will you
        Become indifferent to me just like my hometown that now seems

So strange and so far away.

From "The Chinese New Year's Eve"
By Pang-Chen Peng
Published by The Milky Way Publishing Company
In Selected Poems of Pang-Chen Peng

The Libraries are grateful to Marion Darell Peng, a poet in her own right and wife of the late Mr. Peng, who donated this collection to Rutgers. Congratulations also go to East Asian Library Head Nelson Chou, who worked with Ms. Peng to bring the collection to Rutgers.

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September 14, 2003
August 31, 2003
The Agenda Archive

Contributors for this issue were Ron Becker, Nelson Chou, and Margaret Hodes. Contributions for future issues of The Agenda should be sent to Harry Glazer, editor of The Agenda, at hglazer@rci.rutgers.edu.