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Alternative Media and Literature

Kelley Kreitz's Pace University class

Cataloging Is Political

Columbia Libraries Online Catalog

  • Conduct a catalog search on a topic of your choice
    • Repeat the search adding the word "zines."
    • Run the same searches in the Pace catalog and NYPL
  • Cataloging exercise (using your own zine)
    • Title
    • Creator
    • Content descriptors
    • Date and place of publication
    • Physical description
    • Freedoms & restrictions
    • What is missing from the above, e.g., pronouns?
  • Zine catalog record elements
    • Library of Congress Subject Headings
    • Summary
  • Do zines belong in a library catalog? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Conscious & Unconscious Bias

Who decides?

Selection of materials and formats

Areas of interest and expertise



The library is PEOPLE.

photo: Barnard Library staff from @barnlib Twitter banner


Deep Trance Hypnosis: Become a Billionaire. Photo from Your Inner Billionaire Series 3.Question Authorship

Who is responsible for the work?
Who is it for? Who isn't it for?
Who funded it?
How did the creator or funder get their position?
Who isn't positioned to create or fund this type of work? 
How is the work described? Who describes it?
Using what/whose language?
Who made this very guide?
How is it arranged?
What does it privilege?


Graphic by Dorothy Joseph licensed for reuse: paper dollar bills swirling around a dollar coin with depicting the Statue of Liberty.

Search Engine Comparison

Bing, DuckDuckGo, Google

In group of two or three:

  • Which results are closest to the top?
  • Is paid content clearly identified?
  • Are your results the same as each other's?

graphic: DuckDuckGo surveillance logo

New York Area Archives and Special Collections

This is a very short list of archival repositories that are close to Barnard's campus. For more help locating archival collections, navigating finding aids and scheduling research appointments with other archivists, or for an introduction to archival research, schedule a consultation with archives staff. You can also use the ArchiveGrid to search across finding aids and catalog records for archival collections in over 1,000 archival repositories, with some coverage outside of the United States. For non-U.S. archives in the Americas, I recommend the resources gathered by Archivistas en Espanglish (Latin America) and (Canada).


Making Textbooks Affordable

Making Textbooks Affordable

All students deserve to be able to access course texts. The high costs of textbooks and other course materials prohibit access and perpetuate inequity, and Barnard librarians are partnering with students, faculty, and staff to increase access. The Barnard Library recommends the following strategies for students to access course texts at no cost, as well as advocating that faculty make their texts more accessible via the Library.

The following are some ways you can find affordable texts through the library and beyond. For more information, please check out the libraries Making Required Texts Affordable page on the library website.

  • See if the item has been placed on course reserve by your professor.
    • Reserve items are available for a limited time (usually two hours). You can use the libraries scanners at no cost to make copies.
    • For more information on course reserves, check out the library's FAQ
  • Check the CLIO, the library catalog, to see if a copy of the book is available through one of Barnard or Columbia Libraries. For education related item, you might also try the library catalog for Teacher's College.
  • You can request books and other materials from libraries outside the Columbia system through two services: 
    • Borrow Direct allows you to borrow books for up to 16 weeks with no renewal. Books take 3-4 business days to arrive.
    • Interlibrary Loan can be slower, and loan periods are often shorter than Borrow Direct, but there are more libraries to choose from if your particular item is difficult to find. One advantage of Interlibrary Loan is that you can use it to request a scanned chapter of a book. 
    • Here’s a helpful chart that compares the services offered by Interlibrary Loan and Borrow Direct.
  • The New York Public Library You will find NYPL titles listed in CLIO, which can be recalled from offsite, but in some cases it might be faster to visit one of the branches yourself. Additionally, some materials may only be used at the research branches of the NYPL while others may be checked out. This requires the extra steps of getting a library card and going off campus for non-online materials. The closest branch to Barnard's campus is Morningside Heights.
  • The Barnard FLIP Library is a collection on the fourth floor of the Milstein Center that provides textbooks and other course materials for low-income and/or first-generation students. It is a collaboration with the Columbia First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) and was inspired by Columbia’s FLIP Library, which is housed on the fourth floor of Butler Library (see below).
    • Student who identifies as low-income and/or first-generation and attends Barnard College, Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, or the School of General Studies may check out materials from the Barnard FLIP Library for an entire semester.
    • Use this form (students must provide their UNI) to receive semester-long borrowing privileges. Books can be checked out at Circulation just like any other books from the Barnard Library.
    • The Columbia First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) maintains a lending library of textbooks and other course texts inside the Milstein Undergraduate Library on the fourth floor of Butler Library. 
  • Students with financial need or insecurity can consult with the Dean of Studies about alternatives for getting access to course texts.
  • Students have recommended the Barnard Buy Sell Trade Facebook group as well as textbook rental (via services like Chegg and Amazon Textbook Rentals). The Barnard Library has not reviewed any of these services.
  • Though not course-related, the Beyond Barnard's Career Development Office has a library of books related to interview prep, workplace etiquette, women in leadership, specific careers, general career guidance, and graduate school guidance that students can borrow.