Meet Your Librarian, Betsy Fagin

Betsy Fagin (she/they) joined the City Tech Library as an Adjunct Reference & Instruction Librarian in the fall of 2022.

In a nutshell, what do you do at the City Tech Library?

I provide reference services and teach in-person library instruction classes at City Tech.

What is your academic and library background?

Academically, I earned my Masters in Library Science at the University of Maryland and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College. I’ve worked in academic and public libraries since my days as an undergraduate at Vassar College as well as in specialized libraries like Poets House and the National Art Library at the V&A Museum in London.

What made you want to become a librarian? Was there any event or person that influenced you?

I was very lucky to have a number of wonderful librarians in my life when I was younger who encouraged my curiosity and creativity. Libraries have always been places of exploration and discovery for me, spaces that can open worlds of possibility not only in the imagination, but in practical, material ways as well. I’ve always loved libraries.

What were your first impressions of life at City Tech? Were there any surprises?

After a few years of pandemic, it’s been a pleasant surprise to see how popular and how heavily used the library is.

What are some of your favorite City Tech library resources?

So far some of my favorite resources are the displays. I’m a big fan of browsing as a means to discovery and the rotating displays are a great way to find new things. The Banned Books Week display that’s up now highlights some of the targets of censorship and offers an opportunity to raise people’s awareness around the ways that open communication and access to information can create common ground and support mutual understanding.

What books, tv, films, and/or music are you currently listening to?

I’ve got a pile of books I’m reading with a few more on hold for me at my local public library. I just got my hands on Simone White’s “or, on being the other woman” and am very excited to dig into it.

What else would you like City Tech students and faculty to know about you?

In addition to my work in libraries, I’m also a poet (find some of my stuff in the library!) and a yoga and meditation practitioner/teacher.

Books Unite Us Censorship Divides Us

Freedom to Read Under Attack 

Read Banned Books decorative graphicBanned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, will be held September 18–24 this year. During this week, authors, booksellers, librarians, publishers, and readers come together to advocate for the right to read without censorship. The theme for 2022 is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”  

Free and open access to ideas and information is a critical element of our democracy. The observation of Banned Books Week pushes back against censors: people who try to remove or restrict access to books that they find threatening in some way.

Book challenges often come from parents who want to restrict access to materials they find offensive. They want to control what their children, and their neighbors’ children, can read in school classrooms and public libraries. Targets are often books by or about Black or LGBTQ people. Censors label these books as “obscene” or “harmful to minors” or even as tools for “grooming” children for exploitation. For example, the Proud Boys protesting at Drag Queen storytimes claim to be protecting children from the corrupting influence of fairy tales and glitter. 

Unfortunately, the intense political polarization of the past several years has resulted in an increase in censorship activity. Attempts to remove books from libraries, and attacks on librarians, are on the rise. According to the American Library Association, the number of banned and challenged books doubled from 2020 to 2021, reaching the highest number since tracking began. There were more than 729 attempted bans of 1,597 individual books in 2021. 

Another disturbing trend is that more states are passing legislation to ban books and to restrict what librarians and K-12 teachers can add to their reading lists and book collections. In states where these new laws are in effect, educators who attempt to share banned materials or even talk about bans are being harassed and threatened. Banned Books Week 2022 is an opportunity to applaud those who stand up for our freedom to read, even at a cost to themselves. 

For more information on book banning and censorship:

“How Efforts to Ban Books Impact Public Libraries” Discussed on WNYC’s “The Takeaway”

Why Are People Banning Books?

Book Bans? My School Doesn’t Even Have a Library (Opinion) 

Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Of the 1597 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

  • Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
  • Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  • Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
  • This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
  • Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit

If you want to read a banned or challenged book (including some of the ones listed above) and see what all the controversy is about, check out our display in the front area of the library!

This post was co-authored by Rachel Jones and Nora Almeida

What’s New in the Library Fall 2022

Welcome to a new semester! And welcome (or welcome back) to everyone who is returning to in-person classes or new to City Tech. 

Need a book, a quiet place to study or work on a project, or research help? The library is open and all of our in person services are up and running. Come visit us on the 4th floor of the Library building Mondays-Thursdays from 9-8pm and Fridays from 9-5pm.  

Learning or teaching online? We’ve still got you covered.

Get virtual help 24X7

Off campus or up late working on a project and need help? Just Ask us! 

You can chat with CUNY Librarians on weekdays and librarians from other institutions on evenings and weekends. 

Access Library Resources from Off-Campus

Use CUNY login credentials to access library databases, research articles, movies, and ebooks from off campus. 

Use these same credentials to login to “My Library Account” on the library website. If your preferred name isn’t associated with your library account, you can change that! 

Tech Loans 

In coordination and support from the ASAP program, the library is offering a limited number of PC laptops for 7 day loan to all City Tech students. Laptops are available to borrow in the Multimedia Resource Center in the library.

Need Something We Don’t Have?

Interlibrary Loan has expanded its services! Faculty, staff, and now students can request books not available at CUNY through ILL. We are also continuing to fill article and individual book chapter requests and deliver them electronically. ILL is great for scholarly research and course assignments.

Your CUNY login is connected to your ILL account, so you’ll have one less password to remember!

Questions? Email us:

Library Instruction Offerings 

Are you assigning papers or projects that require library research? You can request a library instruction session for your in-person or online synchronous class. 

Are you teaching asynchronously or want your students to learn research skills at their own pace? Share the library’s tutorials and research guides with your students. The library is automatically embedded in Blackboard courses and you can add library widgets to your OpenLab site. 

Contact your library subject specialist to find out more about subject-specific resources and support for your asynchronous class.

For general questions about library instruction, contact Prof. Rachel Jones, library instruction coordinator.

Features Eresources 

The library has amazing video collections to help with your teaching and learning (and entertainment!). Browse streaming video collections from Swank and Kanopy or explore the amazing catalog of Academic Video Online.

We’ve also added new databases from HeinOnline on Civil Rights and Social Justice and LGBTQ+ Rights to our collections, as well as the CUNY-made Northeast Slavery Records Index (NESRI). 

Don’t forget to use your City Tech email to sign up for (or renew) your free access to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal!

New Research Guides

Library faculty have created a number of new research guides for the City Tech community. Research guides are a great place to: start your research; learn about resources we have in a particular discipline or media format; and get tips on how to search for, evaluate, and cite sources.

Media Browsing 

The Multimedia Resource Center (MRC) is piloting an open browsing program. Students can enter the back staff area and browse the library’s collection of VHS cassettes, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and vinyl records. For more information, contact Prof. Junior Tidal –

Course Reserves

You can place textbooks and required readings for your courses in the Library’s Reserve Collection for your students to use in the library.

Please place your requests as soon as possible as we purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. Request materials to be placed on reserve using this form. 

Questions?  Email us:

Support for Scholarly Publishing 

Complementing our workshop series, the library provides individualized and small group assistance supporting scholarly publishing. In addition to our Scholarly Publishing Clinic, a monthly office hour available for virtual consultations on the first Tuesday of the month at 3 PM, consultations are available on demand. Contact Monica Berger at Learn more about how the library supports scholarly publishing.

Don’t Be a Stranger

Have questions about library resources and services but not sure how to reach us? Want to make sure you get the latest updates about changing policies, new resources, and digital tools available through the library? 

Subscribe to the Library Buzz blog to get the latest in your inbox or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @citytechlibrary. 

Faculty: Get Support for Your Scholarly Publishing 

Get support for your scholarly publishing! Did you know that we can help you learn how to:

  • pick the best journal or publisher for your article or book and avoid predatory publishers;
  • retain your rights as an author (and better understand your journal contract and how you can share your work);
  • create Google Scholar and ORCID profiles and Google Scholar alerts;
  • obtain evidence related to the impact of your research for your PARSE and get an overview of bibliometrics;
  • why Academic Works helps your scholarship be read and cited more and the many benefits of open access; and
  • stay organized with citation managers like Zotero?
Before Publishing After Publishing This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is noun_Scientist_114579.pngYour Scholarly Profile
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is noun_workshop_1726228.pngWorkshops and Events This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is noun_Unlock_13480.pngOpen Access, Fair Use,
and Copyright
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is noun_literature_2684636.pngOther Resources

Scholarly publishing office hours are by appointment every first Tuesday of the month this semester at 3 PM via Zoom or phone. Use this form to give us advance notice of your question. Consultations are also available by appointment. Email Prof. Monica Berger to schedule your consultation and discuss your preferences for shared communication. You can reach out to your subject liaison in the library as well.

In addition to our regular workshops and consultations, teach yourself and find related resources on the library’s scholarly publishing page. 

Call for Papers: Science Fiction and the Archive: The Seventh Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium

Call for Papers:

Science Fiction and the Archive: The Seventh Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium

Date and Time:

Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 9:00AM-5:00PM EST


Online via Zoom, Sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY.


Jill Belli, Wanett Clyde, Jason W. Ellis, Kel Karpinski, and Lucas Kwong

Continuing the explorations and conversations of the previous two symposia on “Race” and “Access” respectively, this year’s City Tech Science Fiction Symposium is focused on the idea of the “Archive.” The potential of the SF Archive as an inclusive and celebratory concept is increasing, and we hope this symposium will be a space to facilitate its expansion through our conversations and collegial debate. Of course, an archive (little a) can refer to practical considerations of Library-based Special Collections like those in the City Tech Science Fiction Collection and others, including the collected materials, cataloging, and providing access. However, we are also thinking of the Archive (big A) in terms of canonicity, cultural preservation, reading lists, and bookstore shelfspace. These latter considerations raise questions about what does and doesn’t get included within what we might call the SF Archive as well as who does and doesn’t get a say in those selections. Therefore, the SF Archive is a broadly based concept that encompasses Libraries and Special Collections and the larger cultural space of fandom, social media, and the marketplace, all of which involve the exchange of cultural capital, influence by different forms of gatekeepers, and conversations on many levels by different readers about what SF should be valued, recognized, and saved.

The SF Archive changes over time. Perhaps most exciting for the present are the many initiatives to excavate our shared cultural histories for SF that had been overlooked or forgotten but certainly deserving of inclusion, such those by writers of color, women, and LGBTQ+ persons; and efforts to bring global SF to wider audiences thanks to growing networks of readers and scholars versed in the original language of a text and those wanting to experience those stories through translation.

Also, Analog Science Fiction and Fact will announce the winner of their second Analog Award for Emerging Black Voices at this year’s symposium (

We invite proposals for 10-20 minute scholarly paper presentations or 40-60 minute panel discussions related to the topic of Science Fiction and the Archive. Please send a 250-word abstract with title, brief 100-150-word professional bio, and contact information to Jason Ellis ( by October 31, 2022. Topics with a connection to the SF Archive might include but certainly are not limited to:

  • What is an/the SF Archive?
  • What is the relationship and interaction between SF archives as physical places and the larger concept of an SF Archive?
  • What constitutes the SF Archive?
  • Who decides what goes into the SF Archive?
  • What role does generation or age play in forming the SF Archive?
  • What media is included in the SF Archive?
  • How can the SF Archive be inclusive and representative?
  • What lineages or clusters of SF based around geography, country, language, identity, culture, etc are in or should be included in the SF Archive?
  • What barriers are there to building awareness or inclusiveness of an SF type within the larger SF Archive?
  • What role do digital technologies and social networks play in creating the SF Archive? How do these relate to other technologies of archive formation, including journals, magazines, zines, and conventions?
  • How are archives depicted in SF? What do these archives hold and what role do they serve within their respective narrative? Can SF depictions of archives serve as a model for the SF Archive?

Like last year  (, the symposium will be held online as a Zoom Webinar. This facilitates a larger and wider audience. Therefore, there are no geographical limitations for participants, but the time for the event’s program will follow Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5:00).

This event is free and open to the public as space permits: an RSVP will be included with the program when announced on the Science Fiction at City Tech website ( Free registration will be required for participation.

The event is sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY.

The Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction is held in celebration of the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, an archival holding of over 600-linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and scholarship. It is in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library (Library Building, L543C, New York City College of Technology, 300 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201). More information about the collection and how to access it is available here:

Fall 2022 – Build a better library website and receive $20

The Ursula C. Schwerin Library is conducting a participatory web design research study. If you are 18 or older and interested, please fill out the survey here:

Selected participants will receive a $20 gift certificate to the City Tech bookstore for participating. 

For more information or questions, please contact Prof. Junior Tidal at

Streaming films at the City Tech Library

Movie Theater” by roeyahram is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Did you know you can stream films through the library’s film platforms?

The library has subscriptions to three main streaming platforms, Academic Video Online (AVON), Kanopy, and Swank to support coursework. These platforms have a variety of documentaries, major theatrical releases, independent films, and more!

AVON has a variety of films, but it’s strengths include news clips and historical footage.

Kanopy has a wide collection of PBS content, independent films, and documentaries.

Swank is largely theatrical releases.

These resources can also be accessed using the “Collection Discovery” tab in the library catalog (OneSearch), which will prominently display available films to the City Tech community.

Screenshot of the Collection Discovery tab in CUNY's OneSearch

For more information, users can consult the Kanopy and Swank research guides.

For other questions, film requests, or more, you can contact Prof. Junior Tidal, Web Services & Multimedia Librarian.

Call for OER project proposals, AY 22-23

Dear City Tech Faculty,

Exciting news! New York State and CUNY have reinvested funds to support open educational resources (OER) at the University. Our short-term initiative, which many City Tech faculty have participated in from 2017-2022, has been re-upped with tax levy funds for this fiscal year 2022-2023. In short, we will continue to be able to fund and support faculty creation and use of OER. Research conducted at City Tech and other institutions shows a correlation between assigning zero-cost OER and positive student outcomes: higher retention and comparable or better grades.

We invite proposals from new and returning faculty (find more guidance on faculty eligibility below)!

Goals for the OER initiative at City Tech:

  • Provide students with long-term access to course learning materials (before, during, and after the course runs).
  • Support active learning and effective online instruction.
  • Help achieve curricular consistency across multiple course sections.
  • Help achieve coherence between sequential courses in programs.
  • Provide instructors with ready to use teaching resources that can assist with flexible teaching/learning modalities.

Considerations for participating in OER funded work this academic year:

  • Course selection:
    • We encourage converting courses that are gateway, high enrollment, part of a course sequence, required courses for a major or minor, pathways, etc., interdisciplinary in nature, course curriculum that is underrepresented, or inadequately represented by existing textbooks on the market.
  • Priorities for funding OER projects:
    • Priority 1: Develop zero-cost OER for a course that previously required a paid textbook (this may include first time experimental pilots to assign OER in place of paid course materials).
    • Priority 2: Develop zero-cost OER for supplemental/ancillary teaching and learning materials (e.g., study guides, review modules, lessons, discussion questions, class activities, lecture outlines, writing assignments).
    • Priority 3: Make substantive updates to already assigned zero-cost OER (must be openly licensed materials authored by the applicant or another scholar).
    • Priority 4: Develop zero-cost OER for a course with a recommended text but that does not require paid materials.
  • Faculty eligibility:
  1. Full-time faculty that coordinate or regularly teach at least one section of a course, and have consulted with course / discipline coordinator and department chair.
  2. Part-time faculty on 1-3 year re-appointments, with the approval of course / discipline coordinator and department chair.

Note: there is potential for multiple faculty to collaborate on creating a zero-cost O.E.R.

  • Faculty commitments / compensation:
    • Faculty compensation will include project work and faculty development training: faculty stipends typically range from $1,300 – $5,000 (and a minimum of $500) depending on scope of work, and calculated on the average non-teaching adjunct hourly rate.
    • Faculty professional development will be conducted online / via Zoom.
    • Project work must be completed during the 2022-2023 academic year. For reference, the latest deadline for large-scope projects is June 15, 2023.

Please fill out a project proposal application by Thursday, September 15th, 2022. If you have any questions or things you’d like to discuss, please get in touch with OER Librarian, Cailean Cooney ( or Interim Chief Librarian, Anne Leonard (

Download a PDF version of this call.

To qualify as zero-cost OER, faculty can select course materials that are:

  1. Open educational resources that are Creative Commons (openly) licensed, including but not limited to open textbooks
  2. Public domain materials
  3. Freely available web resources that do not violate copyright
  4. Library-licensed digital resources, including articles and ebooks

Welcome new faculty!

Welcome to City Tech! Here’s some information about the City Tech library for anyone who is a new member of the instructional staff. Fall library hours are 9am – 8pm Monday through Thursday, and 9am-5pm Friday. When you have questions about anything research- or library-related, ask a librarian via 24/7 chat or email, or visit us on campus and stop by the reference desk whenever we are open. The City Tech library is on the 4th floor of the Library building.

Use OneSearch to search for books, eBooks, journal articles, and other media in our libraries and across all CUNY libraries. Find scholarly articles, book chapters, streaming media, and much more in the library’s databases. If you need a specific article or journal, you can browse journals by title. All electronic resources are available remotely; use your CUNYFirst credentials to log in and search. Use your City Tech email address to set up free digital newspaper subscriptions to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Need something we don’t have? Use CLICS to request books from other CUNY libraries. For books, articles and other media that CUNY libraries do not own, use interlibrary loan .

Library instruction and class visits to the library: Get to know the library subject specialist for your department. If your course has an assignment requiring library research, contact your subject specialist or use this form to request a library class. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the library class visit policy. All sections of ENG 1101 visit the library for an information literacy lesson and introduction to college-level research. Library instruction for other courses is by the instructor’s request. The library offers remote and in-person workshops as well as subject guides and tutorials that you and your students can use to learn on your own time.

The library supports scholarly publishing. Academic Works is the CUNY-wide institutional repository for scholarly works. Watch for announcements about scholarly publishing workshops that take place throughout the academic year.

Stay in the know about library happenings! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Subscribe to the City Tech Stories podcast and the LibraryBuzz blog.

Check out our FAQ for more, and hope to see you in the library soon!

Prof. Anne Leonard, Interim Chief Librarian, Fall 2022