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Open Access Week

Open Access Week decorative graphic

What is open access?

Open access refers to scholarly journals, textbooks, and data that are not hidden behind a paywall blocking students and researchers from accessing them for academic and research purposes. The purpose of Open Access Week is to raise awareness of the importance of having free access to information and to encourage libraries, schools, and other organizations to support and work to provide for greater open access to information and data.

What is the meaning of “Open for Whom?”

“As the transition to a system for sharing knowledge that is open by default accelerates, the question “open for whom?” is essential—both to consider and to act upon. Whose interests are being prioritized in the actions we take and in the platforms that we support? Whose voices are excluded? Are underrepresented groups included as full partners from the beginning? Are we supporting not only open access but also equitable participation in research communication? These questions will determine the extent to which emerging open systems for research will address inequities in the current system or replicate and reinforce them.”(continue reading more about this year’s Open Access Week theme here). [1]

Why is open access important?

Teaching the next generation requires high-quality textbooks and access to source materials and journals. Conducting novel research also requires being able to read and build upon the research of other academics and scientists. Ever rising textbook prices and exorbitant journal subscription fees make fulfilling these tasks more difficult as library, university, and student budgets are strained. The philosophy behind open access materials and information is that all of us succeed if we can read the articles and books necessary for our scholarly work.

What are the benefits of open access?

The most obvious benefit to open access is that everyone saves money, but open access can also have a huge impact on the economy and our technological advancement. Universities and libraries can allocate more funds toward other projects and personnel. Students can spend the money they would have spent on textbooks for other purposes or reduce the amount of debt they would have accrued from those textbook purchases. Barriers to data and research may keep humanity from our next big discovery so we must remove the paywalls if we want to advance as a species. Finally, open access may increase global economic output by $3.2 trillion. [2]

[1]Posted by Nick Shockey on June 4, 2019, at 11:30am and Blog, View. “Theme of 2019 International Open Access Week to be “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”.”, accessed Oct 18, 2019,

[2] “Open Data.” SPARC., accessed Oct 17, 2019,

Furman Alum Given SC Library Association Award

Jonathan Newton holding his awardFurman University Alum, Jonathan Newton (class of 2001), and professional library leader and advocate was honored at the South Carolina Library Association(SCLA) 2019 Conference with the Intellectual Freedom Award. Nominated by peers and colleagues from around the state, Jonathan was chosen for his “contributions in advocacy for South Carolina libraries and fighting for equality and intellectual freedoms for libraries, librarians, and citizens of South Carolina.”[1]

Jonathan worked in the Furman Library while he was a student, and he held multiple management and leadership positions in the Greenville County Library System. He was most recently the manager of the Five Forks Branch. He also serves as a board member for SCLA. Jonathan graduated from Furman University in 2001 with a B.A. in Asian studies, and he holds a master of library and information science from the University of South Carolina.

Congratulations Jonathan on this great honor and recognition of your hard work! We the faculty and staff of the Furman University Libraries are proud of your diligent work and library advocacy!



[1]2019 Award Winners Presented at the SCLA 2019 Conference.”, accessed 10/16/, 2019,

Photo Credit: Rachel Inabinet (class of 2004)

Colombian Immigrants Tell Their Stories

Oral Histories of Colombian Textile Workers in Greenville, South Carolina

Dr. Sofía Kearns, professor at the Modern Languages and Literatures Department has completed an exciting digital scholarship project: Oral Histories of Colombian Textile Workers in Greenville, South Carolina. Dr. Kearns, working with her research fellows Ingrid Ramos (2021), Marina Cox (2020), and Whitney Maness (2020) completed the project this summer. They then collaborated with the Libraries’ Digital Collections Center to make it available online.

Dr. Kearns’ students in her Latin American Civilization course in Fall 2018 also contributed to the project with preliminary transcriptions and translations. Each oral history video shows a Colombian “pionero” (pioneer), telling their own story of involvement in the textile industry, and of immigration to the US. They call themselves pioneers because they were the first Colombians to establish themselves here in Greenville since the late 1960s. The thriving Colombian community in Greenville, SC is known to be the oldest Hispanic community in the Southeast.

This project has been possible through the generous support of several Furman offices and departments, including the Office of Undergraduate Research and Internships, the Office of Community-Based Research, and the Modern Languages and Literatures department. The initial guidance into the process of collecting oral histories by Drs. Erik Ching and Courtney Tollison in the History Department, and Dr. Tami Blumenfield, former colleague in Asian Studies and Anthropology, was fundamental at the start of this project. Likewise, this project wouldn’t have happened without the support of the wonderful staff at the Writing and Media Lab and the Digital Collections Center in the James B. Duke Library.

Queer Zine Viewing Party

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and the Furman Libraries are hosting a Hands-On Queer Zine Viewing Party in Special Collections, 2nd floor, James B. Duke Library, on Wednesday afternoon, October 9th, from 4:00-5:30.

Stop by to have a look at this major new acquisition of over 400 LGBTQ+ zines, comix, and small press publications from the last 30+ years, newly-acquired this summer to mark the growth of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program from a minor to major!

Queer Zines laid on a table with their covers showing

Win a Private Study Room!!!😎

The library has created a private, upgraded study room reserved for the “Scholar of the Month” and their friends.  Perks include:

Want to become the Scholar of the Month? You can enter electronically by clicking on the purple button below. One entry per person per month.

We will randomly select one winner from all entries on March 1. Say goodbye to hunting for a vacant study room. Say hello to privacy, comfort, convenience, and storage space!

fine print: The Scholar of the Month contest is limited to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.  Sorry, Freshmen!


Banned Book Trivia Night

Tuesday, September 24th, 5:30pm-6:30pm

Library Room 043


The Furman Libraries invite you to join us for an informative fun trivia event. Come test your knowledge of banned books, learn what banned book week is all about, and win some prizes while doing it!

This event is open to faculty, staff, and students!

1st Place Prize: Make Orwell Fiction Again Tote Bag. 2nd through 7th Place Prize: Speak out for banned books buttons. Everyone gets a "I read banned books sticker"


Call or email Miles Dame for more information: x3203 or








Introducing Miles Dame

The fourth and final of our new employee introductions is about Miles Dame, the Outreach Assistant. Miles’ primary responsibilities are providing support to the outreach librarians, managing the library’s Instagram and blog, overseeing outreach student assistants, and serving as the liaison to all Furman staff members.

Miles is a former fourth-grade teacher, and graduate from North Greenville University. Before Furman, he worked for the Greenville County Library System at the Taylors, Five Forks, and Fountain Inn branches. He is currently exploring his options regarding library school and hopes to begin work on his masters in library and information science in the fall semester of 2020.

There are so many great aspects of working at Furman University that he had to list a few. Miles said, “I really enjoy how beautiful the campus is! It’s not too far from my home so it’s nice to ride my bicycle to work every so often. I also feel very welcomed and want to thank everyone for making me feel included in the library!”

He is very excited to be able to assist students with their research. One of his favorite aspects of working in the public library was interacting with patrons and helping them find the right resources to meet their needs. He’s also very eager to take on the planning, writing, and posting for the blog and Instagram accounts.

When not working Miles enjoys reading, baking, playing video games, hiking, creating art, playing board games, and spending time with friends. Currently, he is reading The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull and The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. His signature baked good is banana bread, and his favorite place to hike is anywhere in the mountains. Miles is currently playing Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch and EA’s Battlefront II.


Introducing Sarah Ward

Continuing our series of blog posts about new library staff members, today I would like to introduce you to Sarah Ward. Sarah is the Furman Library’s Financial and Acquisitions Assistant. In this role she keeps track of the budget for material purchases and shares budget reports. She also orders and pays for library materials including electronic and physical items.

Sarah has primarily worked in libraries. Prior to working at Furman University, she began volunteering at libraries while in elementary and high school. During college she worked in the library at Anderson University. She also worked for both the Tri-County Technical College and Anderson County Libraries. In these roles she served in the children’s department and in the cataloging and acquisitions department.

When asked what aspect of her new position she is most excited about, she said “the shift to Alma”. She thinks that once we get through the transition things will work much more smoothly. Sarah’s favorite part about working at Furman University is walking into work every day. She loves how pretty and peaceful the campus is. “Everyone is so friendly!” she told me during our interview.

Sarah was born and raised in Pickens county. She attended Anderson University where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in English literature. When she’s not at work she enjoys reading, hiking, and watching roller derby; she used to play! Sarah is a fan of historical fiction and high fantasy. Currently she is reading the Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien. Other authors she enjoys include Ellen Hopkins and Anne Tyler.


Introducing Paige Dhyne

Paige Dhyne is the new Furman University Science Librarian. She comes to Furman all the way from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Paige is a first generation master’s degree holder. She has a B.A. in writing and a B.A. in film/video production with a minor in biology from Grand Valley State University. She earned her M.S. in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a focus in academic libraries, science librarianship, and bioinformatics.

I asked Paige how she knew she wanted to work as a librarian, and this is what she had to say: “It wasn’t something I had considered before, but I found out about librarianship while doing an undergraduate writing consultation for a fellow student’s personal statement for library school. Then, suddenly I knew!”

Her previous library experience includes work at a non-profit library focused on LatinX communities and culture; she worked on summer programming and in ESL instruction. She worked in a public library for one summer helping with their summer reading program. Paige has also worked with undergraduate students at an R1 research institution; in this role, her primary responsibilities were teaching information literacy for undergraduate students, providing reference services, and supervising student workers in the undergraduate library.

When not at work, Paige spends her time reading, playing video games, weightlifting, baking, and thrift shopping. She is currently reading The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, and she is an avid player of Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch game. A few other bits of trivia about Paige include: her favorite color is green, her favorite season is fall, and her favorite movies are Howl’s Moving Castle and About Time. When asked about her favorite food, her response was: “It’s all good!” She also recently adopted a cat named Tulip from the Barker Rescue Project.

Paige first heard about Furman University through our music librarian, Patricia Sasser. During an ALA conference, Patricia overheard Paige discussing science librarianship with another attendee, and so Patricia gave Paige one of her business cards. Paige later rediscovered that business card, and here she is. Part of what attracted her to Furman was her desire to work as a subject librarian. She went on to say, “It’s almost like Furman found me!”

In her role as the science librarian, Paige will direct the operations of the science library and oversee student assistants. She will coordinate collaborations between science departments, the main library, and the science library. She will instruct science and information literacy sessions and assist students and faculty with their research. She is passionate about science communication. In the spring semester, she will begin teaching in FYW and WR classes. When asked what she is most excited about in her new position, Paige replied, “Working with and getting to know students. Getting students excited about seeing the science library as a research space.”



Win a Private Study Room!!!😎

The library has created a private, upgraded study room reserved for the “Scholar of the Month” and their friends.  Perks include:

  • exclusive access to the upgraded study room for one month (think of it as your own office in the library for the month of March)
  • comfy lounge chair
  • large study table with 4 chairs
  • bookcase to store heavy textbooks, rain boots, Yeti mugs, etc.
  • floor-to-ceiling dry erase wall
  • FitDesk

Want to become the Scholar of the Month? You can enter electronically by clicking on the purple button below. One entry per person per month.

We will randomly select one winner from all entries on March 1. Say goodbye to hunting for a vacant study room. Say hello to privacy, comfort, convenience, and storage space!

fine print: The Scholar of the Month contest is limited to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.  Sorry, Freshmen!