Grants and gifts

Lewis Music Library launches Music at MIT Oral History Collection website

Posted August 7th, 2013 by Heather Denny

A new library resource, the Music at MIT Oral History Collection, brings the history of music at MIT to life through in-depth video and audio interviews with MIT music faculty, staff, and former students. It shares the stories of performers, conductors, composers, music theorists, historians, acousticians, librarians, scientists and engineers, revealing their contributions to the musical life of the Institute and the world at large, as well as the effect music at MIT had in their own lives and careers.

Starting from the website’s index of interviewees you can:
  • Choose interviews by MIT affiliation (MIT faculty, staff, student, etc.) and by topic (composers, jazz, world music, etc.).
  • Select interviews to watch video, or listen to audio.
  • Search within transcripts by keyword, download PDF transcripts, and view biographical background information on each interviewee.

The resource is a culmination of over a decade’s worth of documentation by Forrest Larson, a staff member at MIT’s Lewis Music Library. The project was generously funded by MIT alumnus Lionel Kinney (’53). Learn more about the project.

Dambrogio named as MIT Libraries’ new conservator

Posted July 31st, 2013 by Heather Denny

Jana Dambrogio

Jana Dambrogio will join the staff of the MIT Libraries in September as the new Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator. In this role she will manage MIT’s special collections conservation program–planning and executing conservation treatments for the physical maintenance of rare books, archives, and manuscripts. She will also contribute to the Libraries’ overall preservation strategy.

Dambrogio comes from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) where she has been a senior conservator since 2004. In addition to her work at NARA, she brings an impressive array of experience from consultancies, fellowships, and internships at other well-known national and international institutions such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, the Vatican Secret Archives, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and Houghton Library at Harvard University.

“Jana is an experienced and innovative conservator who is prepared to continue the high level of commitment, notable ability, and passion for conservation that we have been fortunate to have in this position,” said Nancy McGovern, MIT Libraries’ Head of Curation and Preservation Services.

The Libraries conservator position is endowed by generous long-time MIT Libraries’ supporter Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. (Class of 1957).

MIT and Harvard libraries awarded grant to foster careers in digital stewardship

Posted June 26th, 2013 by Heather Denny

MIT and Harvard libraries will play a role in ensuring a new generation of library school graduates will be prepared for jobs in digital stewardship. The universities were jointly awarded a 2013 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that will fund a pilot program to help recent graduates gain the skills, experience, and network needed to begin successful careers.

“There’s a real gap between students graduating and the skills they need for available jobs. The program aims to bridge that gap,” said Nancy McGovern, head of curation and preservation services for MIT Libraries, and a co-author of the grant proposal.


The program will mirror a national digital curation residency program developed by the Library of Congress, but it will be the first of its kind in the Boston-area. Over the course of two years a total of ten residents will get hands-on experience in projects that involve digital library collections, long-term preservation, and accessibility of digital assets. Recent library school graduates will have a chance to apply for the program that will give them the opportunity to work with a host institution in the Boston-area, and network with other area institutions, industry leaders, and peers.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for the MIT Libraries to participate in raising awareness, and building community and competencies in this field,” said McGovern.

McGovern will coordinate the development of the program’s curriculum, in collaboration with Andrea Goethals, manager of digital preservation and repository services for Harvard Library, and lead author of the grant proposal. The first year of the grant will cover planning and preparation. The program will welcome the first cohort of residents in fall 2014.

MIT and Harvard will also work closely with a similar grant-funded project in New York led by the Metropolitan New York Library Council and Brooklyn Historical Society. See the full list of 2013 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant recipients.

Micah Altman wins Pizzigati Prize

Posted April 12th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Micah Altman, MIT Libraries’ Director of Research, has been awarded the Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest for his work developing software that encourages transparency and public participation in the electoral redistricting process. The award was presented today, April 13, at the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference of the National Technology Network in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The drawing of legislative districts has always been one of the least transparent — and most easily manipulated — steps toward democratic governance. Altman teamed up with Michael McDonald, Associate Professor at George Mason University, to find a way to break the political insider lockgrip on the electoral mapping process.

The initiative the scholars went on to launch, the Public Mapping Project, involved government and nonprofits across the country in an effort to develop redistricting software that any concerned citizen could use.

DistrictBuilder, the software that eventually emerged out of this effort, runs on ordinary Web browsers. Anyone with a computer can access DistrictBuilder and use it to both create legislative maps that fairly divide political power, and evaluate the maps that legislators create. DistrictBuilder has already been used to support redistricting efforts in the states of Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Virginia and others.

In addition to being honored by the prize, Altman finds it rewarding to see a new generation of voters involved in the process.

“It’s been very gratifying to see students use the software to create legal districts and really engage with the political process,” Altman said.

The $10,000 cash grant is awarded annually to those who have created or led an effort to create an open source software product of significant value to the nonprofit sector and movements for social change. The prize is named after MIT computer science graduate and open source computing advocate, Tony Pizzigati ’92 who worked at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.

Langley joins MIT Libraries as Director of Development

Posted January 23rd, 2013 by Heather Denny

Kaija Langley has recently been appointed to the position of Director of Development in the MIT Libraries. Langley will lead the Libraries’ fundraising efforts, working closely with the Libraries’ senior management team and MIT’s Resource Development staff to identify and develop funding opportunities in support of library priorities.

Prior to joining MIT, Langley served as Associate Director of Philanthropy at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Boston. While at TNC she worked with major donors, and was involved in the critical mission of organizing fundraising efforts in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Before working at TNC, Langley worked as an Individual Gifts Officer at the Museum of Science in Boston for three years and, prior to that, as Community Outreach Specialist, and then Director of Development for Family Builders in Oakland, California.

“Kaija’s exceptional ability to build and develop positive, cooperative relationships as demonstrated in her work at TNC is noteworthy, as is her exposure to the exciting world of science in her years with the Museum of Science. She will bring great energy and enthusiasm to her role with MIT,” said Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries.

“Magnetic Resonance” on display in the Maihaugen Gallery

Posted October 2nd, 2012 by Heather Denny

The fall exhibit in the Maihaugen Gallery showcases a unique collection on view to the public for the very first time. Magnetic Resonance: Four Centuries of Science from the Vail Collection offers a look inside MIT’s Vail Collection—one of the world’s most important collections of books on magnetism, electricity, animal magnetism, and lighter-than-air travel.

The collection includes foundational texts in the history of science and technology, rare titles from the late 15th-19th centuries, works of popular science, and thousands of rare pamphlets and articles. It was given to MIT in 1912, by Theodore N. Vail, president of AT&T and a member of the MIT Corporation. The exhibit marks the 100th anniversary of the Vail Collection’s arrival at the Institute and celebrates the generosity of Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. (MIT 1957), who supported a three-year project to unlock the potential of this stunning collection. Every title has been fully cataloged, essential conservation work has been performed, and the Vail Collection can now be shared with the world. Visit the gallery, attend an event, or explore the collection online.

Vail Exhibit EventsEXHIBIT EVENTS:

Behind the Scenes: Conserving and Exhibiting the Vail Collection

Wednesday, October 17, 1pm–2pm, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) MIT’s book conservator, Nancy Schrock, discusses conservation treatment and  display of the Collection. The talk begins in the gallery and proceeds to the Wunsch Conservation Lab.


Witches, Magic, and Monsters: The Spooky Side of MIT’s Vail Collection

Friday, October 26, 3pm, Institute Archives (14N-118) A Halloween-inspired look at the creepier side of the Collection. Online registration required.


The Scientific Conversation and the Vail Collection: Gallery Talks & Tours

Thursday, November 8, 11am–noon, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130)

Wednesday, November 28, 3pm–4pm, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) Exhibit curator and rare books program manager, Stephen Skuce, leads a tour and talk about the exhibit.


MIT’s Vail Collection: From the Lodestone to the X-Ray

Friday, November 16, 10:30am, Institute Archives (14N-118) A presentation by rare books program manager, Stephen Skuce.

Developing future library leaders: The MIT Libraries’ Fellows Program

Posted September 27th, 2012 by Heather Denny

What will the future of academic librarianship look like? The MIT Libraries have a few ideas. With the launch of a new fellows program, the Libraries are taking an active role in shaping the future of the profession. The MIT Libraries’ Fellows Program was created to provide exceptional, early-career library professionals with the opportunity to contribute to program areas of distinction and strategic priority in a dynamic academic research library. Out of a pool of over 175 accomplished applicants, two fellows were chosen for two-year fellowship positions. Helen Bailey was appointed to the position of Library Fellow for Digital Curation and Preservation, and Mark Clemente was appointed to the position of Library Fellow for Scholarly Publishing and Licensing.

“The fellows will work with and learn from their MIT Libraries’ colleagues who are recognized leaders in these fields,” said Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries. “Developing programs which contribute to the wider academic and research library community, as well as the real-world opportunities here at MIT, will position these highly talented fellows to advance in both the profession and their careers.”

Helen Bailey, the digital curation and preservation fellow, will report to Nancy McGovern, Head of Curation and Preservation Services, a highly respected leader in the field of digital curation and preservation with a well-established national and international reputation. Under McGovern’s direction, Bailey will work on a range of activities related to the long-term management of digital content, including participating in the Libraries digital content management initiative, contributing to an ongoing scan of community standards and practice for digital curation and preservation, the development of outreach materials to raise awareness about good practice, and conducting an experiment to recommend a solution for a specific curation or preservation need.

MIT Libraries' Fellows: Helen Bailey and Mark Clemente

Mark Clemente, the scholarly publishing and licensing fellow, will report to Ellen Duranceau, Program Manager in the Office of Scholarly Publishing and Licensing (OSPL). Duranceau has led the Libraries efforts in support of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy and provides copyright and scholarly publishing assistance to the MIT community. She also consults broadly with universities on scholarly communication policies and practice. Working with Duranceau, Clemente will contribute to the work of the OSPL in the areas of copyright advocacy, intellectual property, open access, and rights retention. Clemente will participate in enhancing and expanding a repository collection of open access papers under the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy and will develop and carry out projects to advance the implementation of the Policy.

Bailey and Clemente both bring strong skills and backgrounds in library science to their new roles. Bailey has a B.S. from Florida State University, an M.S. in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Library and Archives Conservation. Since 2010 she has been a preservation specialist with the Dartmouth College Library. Clemente has a B.A. from American University and a M.S. in Library Information Science from Simmons College. He most recently served as a digital collections assistant at Boston College’s O’Neill and Burns Libraries.

Both fellows will have the opportunity to expand their skills and experience in ways that position them to excel and lead in the research library profession. The Fellows Program was made possible with support from The Director’s Fund for Library Excellence.



Study Sanctuary—Hayden’s Lipchitz Courtyard

Posted July 31st, 2012 by Heather Denny

Courtyard in bloom, photo by: Grace Liang

The Lipchitz Courtyard within Building 14 (adjacent to Hayden Library) is a hidden gem—a quiet, leafy retreat where you can find a sunny or shady spot to pull up a chair and read a book, or enjoy artwork from MIT’s Public Art Collection.  The courtyard contains three sculptures by 20th century Cubist artist Jacques Lipchitz.

The flower beds and planters in the courtyard are full of colorful flowers, thanks to the generosity of an MIT alumnus.  Stop by and see what’s in bloom!

Gallery talk on stained glass restoration and conservation Friday, May 11

Posted April 30th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Glass at MIT exhibition, Maihaugen Gallery, photo by: L. Barry Hetherington

Gallery Talk with Roberto Rosa

Roberto Rosa, Serpentino Stained Glass

When: Friday, May 11, 2pm

Where: Institute Archives (14N-118)

In conjunction with the Glass at MIT: Beauty and Utility exhibition, Roberto Rosa from Serpentino Stained Glass will discuss stained glass art and artists, and his work in the restoration and conservation of historic stained glass.

Rosa has restored windows in some of America’s most prominent buildings including the Massachusetts State House and Trinity Church in Boston. Most recently, he was the chief conservator for thirteen opalescent glass windows at Salve Regina University in Newport RI, designed by John La Farge.

After Rosa’s talk there will be time for questions and viewing the exhibit in the Maihaugen Gallery. This event is free and open to the public.

Spring has sprung in the courtyard!

Posted April 19th, 2012 by Heather Denny

A favorite study spot is open for the season. Tables, chairs, and shade umbrellas have returned to the Lipchitz Courtyard in Building 14 (adjacent to Hayden Library). Enjoy the flowers in bloom, pull up a chair and read a book, or take in the artwork from MIT’s Public Art Collection. The courtyard contains three sculptures by 20th century Cubist artist Jacques Lipchitz.

photos by: Grace Liang, L. Barry Hetherington

Pick up the Spring issue of BiblioTech

Posted April 6th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Inside this issue:

  • Read about MIT Libraries support for Open Access on campus, and beyond
  • Find out why the Libraries are working with famous MIT professor Noam Chomsky
  • Learn how students are unraveling the mystery behind a medieval music manuscript
  • Meet the Libraries new Associate Director for Technology
  • Learn about therapy dogs visiting the Libraries
  • Discover new exhibits and upcoming workshops

All this and more in the latest issue of the BiblioTech newsletter. Pick up a copy at any library location or download a PDF. Subscribe by contacting

MIT Libraries Receive Papers of Distinguished Linguist, Philosopher, and Activist Noam Chomsky

Posted February 9th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Noam Chomsky, photo credit: MIT News

MIT’s Libraries were recently chosen to be the stewards of the personal archives of noted linguist, political activist, and Institute Professor emeritus Noam Chomsky. The significant collection spans a long and distinguished career, beginning when Chomsky joined MIT in 1955 in the Research Laboratory of Electronics, through his years as a professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, then as Institute Professor.

Often referred to as “the father of modern linguistics,” Chomsky revolutionized the field of linguistics and paved the way for transformational grammar and universal grammar. His book Syntactic Structures (1957) was considered groundbreaking. He also made significant contributions to the fields of psychology, cognitive science, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.

“It’s fitting that Professor Chomsky’s papers will remain at MIT as a resource for future generations of scholars. He revolutionized the way we think about the linguistic sciences and the cognitive mechanisms of language acquisition, and his ideas in many realms have had profound influence on scholarship and public discourse here at MIT and worldwide,” MIT President Susan Hockfield said.

Over the years, Chomsky has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Kyoto Prize in 1988 and the MIT Killian Award for the academic year 1991-1992. Most recently, he won the Sydney Peace Prize in 2011. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Over the last fifty years, Noam Chomsky has not only created the building blocks of linguistic theory and understanding, but has built a remarkable and unique department of Linguistics that has nurtured several generations of linguists who have taken their MIT experience into and across the globe. It is wonderful that Noam’s papers, which span this long period of growth and development, will be available to scholars for many years to come,” MIT Dean of Humanities Deborah Fitzgerald said.

The collection also reflects Chomsky’s political activism and outspoken support for freedom of speech and social justice. He was once quoted as saying, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all” (Guardian (UK), Nov.23, 1992).

He has authored numerous works on the topic, including American Power and the New Mandarins (1969), Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (2006), and Hopes and Prospects (2010).

The addition of Chomsky’s personal archives, and a large portion of his personal library, augments a small existing collection of Chomsky’s papers already in the care of the MIT Libraries’ Institute Archives.

“With this addition, the collection will be a complete archival resource that will provide researchers with unique insight into Professor Chomsky’s thinking, and the development of the field of linguistics, as well as his views on significant issues in social activism from post-WWII through current day,” MIT Institute Archivist Tom Rosko said.

Staff from the MIT Libraries and Institute Archives and Special Collections are in the beginning stages of transferring material to the Archives. Initial work in organizing the Chomsky collection will occur this year, with additional work on improving access to the collection, including online access to portions of it, continuing over the next several years. When the work is done, scholars will have unprecedented access to an enormous depth and breadth of material from one of the world’s most renowned linguists and top intellectual minds.

“Glass at MIT: Beauty and Utility” Opening Feb.10 in the Maihaugen Gallery

Posted February 1st, 2012 by Heather Denny

Please join us for the opening of the MIT Libraries’ latest exhibit GLASS AT MIT: BEAUTY AND UTILITY

Date: Friday, February 10, 2-4pm
Location: Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130)

A new exhibition in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery explores glassmaking as revealed in glassware from MIT laboratories, blown glass from the MIT Glass Lab, and stunning stained glass windows from the Libraries’ Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation Collection. Tools, early photographs, and selections from rare books demonstrate the combination of artistry and engineering that goes into the creation of glass.

This event is free and open to the community.

Fund for Jewish Music History established at MIT’s Lewis Music Library

Posted July 25th, 2011 by Heather Denny

Lewis Music Library, photo by L. Barry Hetherington

MIT Libraries is pleased to announce the creation of the Dr. Karl and Mrs. Margaret Grünbaum Fund for Jewish Music History at MIT’s Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library. The fund was established with a gift from Michael Gruenbaum ’53 and his sister, the late Marietta Grünbaum Emont, in memory of their parents.

The Grünbaum family’s personal experiences with the Holocaust were at the heart of their decision to make the gift. Michael and Marietta’s father was killed in the Holocaust and they were imprisoned with their mother at the Terezin concentration camp. They later immigrated to the United States in 1950, at which point Michael enrolled at MIT. While at MIT, Michael worked part-time at the then newly-established music library with MIT’s first music librarian, Duscha Weisskopf, also a Holocaust survivor. Weisskopf spoke at MIT at a private dedication for the Fund earlier this summer.

Funded by Holocaust reparations received by the family, the Grünbaum Fund will enable important scores, recordings, video and written material by or about Jewish musicians, composers and writers to be purchased and shared with a new generation of students. Numerous materials have already been acquired and been made available to the Library’s users. The collection will continue to grow in the coming years and serve as a valuable intellectual asset for the MIT and Jewish communities.

The Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library is located in Building 14E-109 and is open to the public.  Summer hours are Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

DSpace@MIT in the MIT Faculty Newsletter

Posted April 27th, 2011 by mit-admin

DSpace@MIT is featured in the latest issue of the MIT Faculty Newsletter.  Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert, shares the latest facts and figures about MIT’s growing digital repository.

Did you know that collections in DSpace@MIT are accessed from nearly every country in the world at an average rate of over 30,000 downloads a day?  In 2010 alone there were 11.2 million total downloads.  Read the article About DSpace@MIT.

Data Visualization Tool Developed at MIT Gets Library of Congress Support

Posted February 9th, 2011 by Heather Denny

MIT Libraries receive grant for work on “Exhibit 3.0” software

Exhibit has been used by to help demonstrate new ways of visualizing government data.

A $650,000 grant from the United States Library of Congress will fund work on a new version of Exhibit, the popular open source software tool developed at MIT that helps with searching, browsing and visualizing data on the Web.  The MIT Libraries, in collaboration with the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Zepheira, LLC will redesign and expand upon features of the tool to create “Exhibit 3.0”.  The goal is to provide an enhanced tool that is scalable and useful for data management, Web display and navigation; particularly for libraries, cultural institutions and other organizations grappling with large amounts of digital content.

“This innovative work has already made a considerable impact on digital content communities whose data is diverse and complex. The visualizations bring new understanding to users and curators alike,” said Martha Anderson, Director of Program Management at the Library of Congress.

Exhibit was originally developed as part of the MIT Simile Project, a collaboration of the MIT Libraries, the MIT CSAIL, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to explore applications of the Semantic Web to problems of information management across both large-scale digital libraries and small-scale personal collections. Exhibit runs inside a Web browser and supports many types of information using common Web standards for data publishing.

Since its release, Exhibit has been used by thousands of websites worldwide across a range of diverse industries and institutions.  Most recently Exhibit has been used by, an Open Government Initiative by President Obama’s administration to increase public access to high value data generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

The Exhibit 3.0 project will redesign and re-implement Exhibit to scale from small collections to very large data collections of the magnitude created by the Library of Congress and its National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP).  The redesigned Exhibit will be as simple to use as the current tool but more scalable, more modular, and easier to integrate into a variety of information management systems and websites—making it valuable to an even larger audience of individuals and organizations publishing information on the Web.

In addition to the Library of Congress, the MIT Libraries and other organizations that manage large quantities of data will collaborate on the project for their own collections.

“Libraries are dealing with more and bigger collections of digital data every day, and tools like Exhibit pave the way to making them more useful and easier to combine in new and valuable ways. We’re grateful to the Library of Congress for helping us take Exhibit to the next level and getting it into the hands of librarians and others who work in data-intensive fields,” said MacKenzie Smith, research director at the MIT Libraries and the project’s principal investigator.

Users of the software and software developers will be encouraged to contribute improvements to the open source tool and the project will also incorporate research by students at MIT’s CSAIL that will focus on improving the user experience working with data in Exhibit, and incorporating new data visualization techniques that allow users to explore data in novel ways.

“Impressive data-interactive sites abound on the Web, but right now you need a team of developers to create them.  Exhibit demonstrated that authoring data-interactive sites can be as easy as authoring a static web page.  With Exhibit 3.0 we can move from a prototype to a robust platform that anyone can use,” said David Karger, computer science professor with CSAIL.

The project began in January for a period of one year.  For more information see

MIT Undergraduate student wins Knovel University Challenge

Posted December 8th, 2010 by Heather McCann

Monica Isava, an MIT undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering, recently won an iPod nano in Knovel’s University Challenge! More than 10,000 students from 40 countries entered the contest. Pictured above are: Monica Isava and Angie Locknar (Mechanical Engineering Librarian).

Although the contest is over, you can still use Knovel in your own research! Knovel offers fulltext access to many leading science and engineering reference works. Try it for yourself!

Study Sanctuary—Hayden’s Lipchitz Courtyard

Posted August 12th, 2010 by Heather Denny

The Lipchitz Courtyard within Building 14 (adjacent to Hayden Library) is a hidden gem—a quiet, leafy retreat where you can find a sunny or shady spot to pull up a chair and read a book, or enjoy artwork from MIT’s Public Art Collection.  The courtyard contains three sculptures by 20th century Cubist artist Jacques Lipchitz.

This summer the flower beds and planters in the courtyard have been replanted and new patio umbrellas installed, thanks to the generosity of an MIT alumnus who’s interested in keeping the courtyard an inviting and well-used community space.  Now it’s even more of an oasis.  Come check it out!

To learn more about the public art in and around Hayden Library and other locations on campus see the List Visual Arts Center’s interactive map.

Historic Rare Book Collection "UnVailed"

Posted May 25th, 2010 by Heather Denny

A bookplate featuring the portrait of Theodore N. Vail, who donated the collection to MIT in 1912.

Records for the Vail Collection – one of the world’s foremost rare book collections on electricity, electrical engineering, magnetism, and lighter-than-air travel – are beginning to appear in Barton, the Libraries’ online catalog.  This historic collection comprises some 25,000 volumes and includes materials dating as far back as the mid-16th century, but it’s been hidden for decades because electronic catalog records hadn’t been created.

A generous gift from Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. (Class of 1957) has made it possible to fully catalog the Vail Collection, and perform essential conservation work.

As these materials are cataloged they can be explored via the Vail RSS page which has a listing of Vail titles (with links to Barton catalog records), or by subscribing to the Vail Collection RSS feed.  Due to the delicate nature of these materials they cannot be checked out, but are available for room use in the Institute Archives.

Technology & Enlightenment in the Maihaugen Gallery

Posted February 2nd, 2010 by Heather Denny

A new exhibit opens in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery on Wednesday, February 3. Technology and Enlightenment: The Mechanical Arts in Diderot’s Encyclopédie explores one of the most important and controversial publications of the eighteenth century, Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers.

This massive work became infamous in its day as an enlightened attack on French and European religious dogmatism and monarchical inefficiency and injustice. Containing over 2,500 elaborately engraved plates, it documented the mechanical arts and technology, placing equal importance on the manual trades as the arts and sciences.

Curated by Jeffrey S. Ravel, MIT Associate Professor of History, and Kristel Smentek, MIT Assistant Professor of Art History, the exhibit features fascinating images chosen from the 32 original folio volumes owned by the MIT Libraries, as well as multimedia components illustrating the Encylopedie’s significance.  The exhibit is open to the public Mon.-Thurs. during gallery hours, and runs through July 2010.

Read all about it–inside the Fall issue of BiblioTech

Posted November 24th, 2009 by Heather Denny

Inside this issue:

  • Learn about new and improved places to study in Barker & Dewey Libraries
  • Connect with the Libraries on your mobile phone
  • Read about the Libraries’ book that traveled into space
  • Discover how a generous gift from an MIT alumnus is revealing a hidden collection in the Libraries
  • Learn how Rotch librarians are helping to archive and share thousands of digital architectural images
  • Follow the latest Libraries exhibits, events and more

Get a PDF copy of BiblioTech or subscribe by emailing

“Power Supply” Exhibition–Opening Reception Oct.23

Posted October 19th, 2009 by Heather Denny

Power Supply: Energy Resources in the MIT Libraries is a new exhibit in the Maihaugen Gallery that showcases “energy resources” in the Libraries that have supported and resulted from research and education throughout the Institute’s history. Included are books and articles from historical collections, examples of rich working collections, theses by MIT students, and video (below) highlighting MIT’s current efforts in energy research.

The MIT Community is invited to an opening reception on Friday, October 23, 1-3pm in the Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130). Check out the exhibit and enjoy refreshments with friends!

“enChanting Musical Artifacts” lecture on MIT World

Posted March 23rd, 2009 by Heather Denny

In the lecture enChanting Musical Artifacts in Unlikely Places: Rare Resources in MIT’s Lewis Music Library, Michael Scott Cuthbert, Assistant Professor of Music at MIT, MIT World logoand Nancy Schrock, Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. Conservator for Special Collections at the MIT Libraries, reveal some treasures from MIT’s early music collection which, while often incomplete or damaged, sing volumes about their origins and use.

Cuthbert demonstrates that when it comes to medieval and renaissance music manuscripts, there’s really no substitute for the real thing. His discussion covers several recent additions to MIT’s Lewis Music Library.

View a video of the lecture online at MIT World, a free and open site that provides on demand video of significant public events at MIT.

A New Exhibit Takes Flight in the Maihaugen Gallery

Posted March 17th, 2009 by Heather Denny

FOF exhibit header

For centuries humans have been fascinated by the concept of flight. From simple attempts to fashion human wings to the serious science of space exploration, our fascination with flight has been constant and compelling, and has literally known no earthly bounds. This allure is the focus of a new exhibit in the MIT Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery.

The Fascination of Flight showcases both the dream and the reality of flight through historical materials, archival records, and current collections owned by the MIT Libraries.

The exhibit also highlights the pioneering work of the Institute’s faculty, students and heroic graduates and acknowledges their contributions to the science of powered flight.

The MIT community is invited to an opening celebration for the exhibit on Wednesday, April 1 from 1-3 pm.

MIT Libraries Receive Audubon Lithographs

Posted January 23rd, 2009 by Heather Denny


The MIT Libraries were recently given 37 hand-colored lithographs from John James Audubon’sViviparous Quadrupeds of North America. The rare lithographs were generously donated by Mr. Ron Juster and family, in honor of Josh Juster, M. Eng. 2004. Several of the prints from the collection can be viewed in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery where they are on display as part of the Celebration of Gifts exhibit.

The prints embody one of the 19th century’s most artistically successful attempts to catalog, illustrate, and promote understanding of the natural world. Following the monumental success of his publication Birds of America, naturalist and artist John James Audubon (1785-1851) attempted to produce accurate illustrations of every quadruped native to North America. In an effort to limit such a massive undertaking, he decided to include only viviparous animals (those that give birth to live young). The result was 150 paintings that are widely celebrated for both their scientific accuracy and their artistic beauty.

The Celebration of Gifts exhibit runs through February 19th in the Maihaugen Gallery, adjacent to the Institute Archives (14N-118). Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Arthur D. Little, Inc. Archives Come to MIT

Posted October 14th, 2008 by Heather Denny

Arthur Dehon Little (1863-1935) attended MIT as an undergraduate student in chemistry from 1881 to 1884 and was a co-founder and editor of the student newspaper, The Tech. The firm he founded in 1909, Arthur D. Little, Inc., grew into one of the world’s foremost independent consulting and research organizations with an unmatched reputation for excellence in devising novel solutions to challenging problems and leading the way in management systems development. Over its lifetime, the company worked with MIT on numerous research projects and employed a number of MIT graduates and researchers. Arthur D. Little, Inc.’s longstanding relationship with MIT made the Institute Archives a fitting home for ADL, Inc.’s archives.

The Arthur D. Little, Inc. Collection was purchased at auction by the ADL, Inc. Alumni Association and given to MIT in 2002. It was recently made available to the public in the MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections. Selected items from the ADL Collection, as well as several items on loan from ADL alumni, will be on display through October 31 in the MIT Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery. An online exhibit Scatter Acorns That Oaks May Grow” is also available. The exhibit takes its name from the ADL, Inc. motto, Glandes Sparge Ut Quercus Crescant.

Opening celebration for MIT Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery

Posted March 17th, 2008 by Heather Denny

exhibit1.jpgOn Friday, April 18, from 1-3pm the MIT Libraries will host a community celebration in honor of the opening of the Maihaugen Gallery. The newly constructed exhibit space will showcase some of the extraordinary items from the MIT Libraries’ collections.

The first exhibit: A Celebration of Gifts will feature rare and unique items donated to the Libraries by MIT alumni, faculty, and friends. Among the treasures that will be exhibited to the public for the first time are items from the collection of the Institute’s founder, William Barton Rogers. The exhibit will also include original notebooks from Harold “Doc” Edgerton, several rare books including a first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and a book of illustrations from the 1553 volume Historiae animalium by Konrad Gesner. Also featured will be items from the personal library of architect Charles Bulfinch, balloon prints from the Vail Collection, books by architect Santiago Calatrava with original artwork, works from the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, and other items given to the Libraries.

The new facility is located adjacent to the Institute Archives (14N-118). The celebration will begin at 1pm with remarks by Ann Wolpert, director of the Libraries. Refreshments will be served. Please join us!

Photos by: L. Barry Hetherington, Bottom photo: Copyright Harold E. Edgerton 1992 Trust

Folk music and jazz purchased on the Pierce fund

Posted February 29th, 2008 by Christie Moore

Here are some recent music titles that have been purchased with an endowed fund that was established in honor of John N. Pierce ’54 (see history of the fund, below). Click on an image to see its Barton catalog record:

Bluegrass Reader
The bluegrass reader / edited
by Thomas Goldsmith.
ML3520.B58 2006
Miles Davis
Davis, Miles. Miles Davis.
M85.D3857 2006
[score & audio CD]
Ballad of John Axon
MacColl, Ewan. The ballad of
John Axon: a radio-ballad about
the railwaymen of England.
1475467 [precat]
Body blow
MacColl, Ewan. The body blow:
a radio-ballad about the
psychology of pain.
1475477 [precat]
On the Edge
MacColl, Ewan. On the edge:
a radio-ballad about teenagers
in England and Scotland.
1475478 [precat]
Ratliff, Ben. Coltrane: the
story of a sound.
ML419.C645.R37 2007
Jenny Vincent
Smith, Craig. Sing my whole life
long: Jenny Vincent’s life in folk
music and activism.
ML420.V379.S65 2007
Talking Feet
Seeger, Mike. Talking feet:
buck, flatfoot, and tap: solo
Southern dance of the
Appalachian, Piedmont, and
Blue Ridge Mountain Regions.
GV1624.A7.S44 1992
Talking Feet DVD
Talking feet: DVD
1484452 [precat]

History of the Pierce fund: In 1987, Mrs. Alice Pierce established an endowed fund in honor of her late husband, John N. Pierce ’54. Arnold (’57) and Margit Orange and other donors have contributed generously to the fund. Mr. Pierce spent many hours in the Music Library between classes, and this is a particularly meaningful way for his family and friends to honor his memory. The income from the fund was first used to purchase materials in early music and blues; in 2007 the scope was expanded to include jazz and folk.

The Lewis Music Library is located in Bldg.14E-109 and library hours are posted on the web.

Fall 2007 issue of BiblioTech hits newsstands

Posted November 8th, 2007 by Heather Denny


Read about MIT Libraries’ news in the latest issue of BiblioTech.  In this issue:

Get a PDF copy of BiblioTech or subscribe by emailing your name and address to

Vail Balloon Prints to be Digitized

Posted October 31st, 2007 by Heather Denny

balloon2small.jpgThanks to the generosity of Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. ’57, the MIT Libraries will begin a project to digitize its Vail Balloon Print Collection.  The prints are part of the Vail Collection, originally collected by George Dering, and purchased and given to the Institute in 1912 by Theodore Vail, former president of AT&T and member of the MIT Corporation.

Consisting of over 1200 items, the collection is replete with wonderful images providing visual documentation of man’s vision of flying vehicles and human flight.  Images range from the fanciful to depictions of real events, such as the balloon sent up by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783.  Broadsides, articles, and clippings recount the history of man’s efforts to fly over the last three centuries, relating or commenting on individual efforts – some celebratory and other detailing the fatal results of failures.

The digitization of this premiere collection of prints will allow the world to better access these treasures; it is also a critical first step in their long-term preservation.  The project will also serve as a model for future digitization projects within the Libraries.