$10,000 Grant Will Help the Rider University's Moore Library Recover from the Coronavirus Pandemic
Rider University’s Moore Library has been selected as one of 200 libraries nationwide for the American Library Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries opportunity, an emergency relief program to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Rider University will use funds to anchor itself in the community as a strong humanities institution. The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the library deliver excellent programs and services related to culture, history, literature, and other humanities subjects.
More than 370 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA. View the full list of selected libraries.
The participating libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include public libraries, academic/college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special and prison libraries. The recipients represent 45 states and Puerto Rico and serve communities ranging in size from 642 residents in Weir, Kansas, to the city of Los Angeles. Libraries were chosen with an emphasis on reaching historically underserved and/or rural communities.
Librarian Dr. Sharon Whitfield stated, “The pandemic exacerbated Moore Library’s growing issues to support humanities curriculum through library materials and programming. Yet, the library remains committed to being a supportive place and providing a vehicle for students to engage in out-of-classroom learning experiences. What better place to offer these experiences than the university library, where faculty, staff, and students of all disciplines can come together to engage each other and synergize around important humanities topics. This grant will allow us to continue to offer humanities programming.”
Rider University’s Moore Library will use the grant funds to offer immersive topical exploration in the following areas: Holocaust/Jewish Studies, Black/African American History, the Refugee Experience, the Racial Justice Movement, and Homelessness/the Houseless. Each topical exploration will begin with a virtual reality experience using Oculus headsets. “Our hope is to launch our first topical exploration in April”, said Dr. Whitfield. During the first topical exploration, virtual reality headsets will transport attendees to Anne Frank’s Secret Annex. For more information about the topical exploration of Anne Frank, go to: https://guides.rider.edu/holocaust/annefrankVR
“Libraries have faced significant hardships throughout the pandemic —from budget cuts to staff furloughs to building closures — especially in our communities of the greatest need,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “This crucial support from NEH will enable our beloved institutions, and the dedicated people who run them, to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”
American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021."
March Madness at Saint Peter's University
2022 was always going to be a special year for Saint Peter’s University. Founded in 1872, Saint Peter’s has been engaged in a yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary, with projects and events centered around the sesquicentennial theme of “opportunities for generations.” May 2021 through July 2022 also marks the “Ignatian Year,” the 500th anniversary of the conversion of the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a further occasion for celebration and reflection on our institutional history and identity. So this March, as the Saint Peter’s University men’s basketball team stole headlines and shocked sports fans around the country, it all seemed a bit like divine providence, like part of a greater plan. 2022 is our year!
Librarians and library staff were swept into March madness as soon as the Saint Peter’s men’s basketball team won the MAAC tournament by defeating Monmouth University in a thrilling game held at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The Peacocks were going to the big dance! Just making the tournament felt like a win for our small program, but what were our chances against one of college basketball’s “blue bloods,” the #2 seed Kentucky Wildcats? The oddsmakers had Saint Peter’s losing by 18 points. Most of the library staff were around when Saint Peter’s made the tournament in 2011, losing to Purdue by 22 points in the first round. Could this year, this very special year, be any different?
On March 15, students, faculty, and staff stood outside the O’Toole Library at noon to cheer the men’s basketball team as they walked from the Yanitelli Center to their bus on Montgomery Avenue, waiting to transport them to Newark airport then off to Indianapolis to face Kentucky in the first round. The game was thrilling, and we were glued to our televisions. When the score was tied at halftime, university president Eugene Cornacchia, who was at the game, tweeted a picture of a medallion with hands clasped in prayer, asking “Do you believe?” We did! Having witnessed these student-athletes in the library and on the court, we were familiar with their tenacity and their selfless, tough-minded approach to the task at hand. So when the game was over and the sports world seemed in shock and disbelief, we were proud as Peacocks! The madness continued in Indianapolis, as Saint Peter’s defeated the 7th seed Murray State by 10 points. The Peacocks had made history as the first MAAC conference team to make the Sweet Sixteen, and the next game would be held 90 miles away from campus, in Philadelphia.
Librarians and library staff participated in campus watch parties and were on campus to welcome the Peacocks back to the Run Baby Run arena on Sunday, March 20. We were also happy to welcome our student-athletes back to the library, as they returned to classes and schoolwork in the days prior to their Sweet Sixteen trip to Philly. KC Ndefo, Hassan Drame, and Fousseyni Drame were especially gracious, taking a moment from their academic pursuits to snap photos with giddy librarians. (“Thanks for watching the games,” Ndefo said humbly.) And once again faculty, staff, and students stood outside the library on a brisk spring afternoon, to cheer the team on they walked to the awaiting bus. The #3 seed Purdue Boilermakers were favored to beat Saint Peter’s by 13 points, but once again the odds didn’t seem to matter as the undersized Peacocks persisted with pesky defense and great playmaking by coach Shaheen Holloway. This time, unlike in Indianapolis, the stands seemed to brim with Peacocks fans, not just a strong contingency of Saint Peter’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni but many others who were now rooting for the underdogs from Jersey City. The fans would not be disappointed.
The Peacocks made history that day, as the first 15 seed to ever emerge from the Sweet Sixteen to advance to the Elite Eight.
If you’re familiar with the madness of March, you know that midnight is always looming, and all Cinderella stories come to end leaving us stunned and deflated but still amazed at the spectacle and magic of the big dance. Had that all been real? As Jersey City major Steven Fulop remarked after the Peacocks’ loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels, “Today’s game changes very little for us. We couldn’t be prouder of the Peacocks men’s basketball team. You showed the best of our city to the world, and we love you for that.” On April 1, Jersey City formally celebrated this amazing NCAA tournament run with a parade where players and coaches were awarded keys to the city. It was a terrific celebration of a special group of men who achieved a truly historic accomplishment in a very special year for Saint Peter’s University.
Chapters Council Roster
Alison Marie Larsen
Eric Anthony Edwards
Carrie E. Dunham-LaGree