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Commencement Features Library Employee

BYU Photo


This year’s commencement featured a Library Information Technology Department employee, Marcos Gallo, as the student speaker.  

His boss tells us Gallo is fluent in four languages, is graduating with honors, has presented at a national political science conference on his research on human trafficking in Thailand, and is a real wiz with computers.  

The University Communications Office posted an interview with him. You can read it here https://news.byu.edu/news/focusing-people-and-moments-matter-most-qa-student-commencement-speaker.

The library is fortunate to have so many talented students who chose to work here. We wish all the graduating students well in their new endeavors.


Book Collecting Conference 2016



The A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting conference for 2016 was a great success.

On Thursday a small group of lucky participants were able to attend pre-conference workshops on bookbinding or paper making.




On Friday the conference kicked off with breakfast and a welcome from Russ Taylor, the Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.




Sessions included Mormon illustrators, Mormon fantasy authors, the library’s Yellowstone collection, herbal and botanical texts, and more. For a complete list visit https://adlbcc2016.wordpress.com/seminars/







Carol Reid Burr was the keynote speaker. After lunch she told the story of her mother, Rose Marie Reid, the famous swimwear designer.




In the afternoon there was a gallery stroll of the exhibition Rose Marie Reid: Glamour By Design.




The next A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference will take place in March of 2017.


About the Conference:

Because of the generous gift and ongoing support of the late A. Dean Larsen and his family, the L. Tom Perry Special Collections is able to sponsor this unique experience.

In the Spring of the year collectors and enthusiasts of rare books gather together at the L. Tom Perry Special Collections on the Brigham Young University campus to enjoy each others company and participate in the unique experience of the A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference.

Each year offers different and exciting workshops and seminars where  participants  see and learn first hand about many of the treasures located in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections.  Gifted and knowledgeable professionals share their expertise in the beautiful and comfortable surrounding of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.

Conference goers may select four out of the many seminars offered.  Add to these seminar sessions two breaks, morning and afternoon for refreshment and socializing; a delicious lunch with a wonderful speaker, and you have a delightful day of biblio-exploration!  And if you want even more, don’t forget the pre-conference workshops.




Train Wrecks and Tabernacles

The last century in Utah Valley has been a time of incredible change. The Harold B. Lee Library at BYU has a new exhibition, Life in Happy Valley: A Historic Survey of Utah County, featuring photographs and artifacts that tell the story of the area’s development. The exhibit starts with artifacts from the construction site of the old Provo Tabernacle: nails, coins, buttons, and a piece of china are on display. You can track the changes on the block, including fires and demolitions, through a timeline from 1851 to 2016.

MSS P 427 #27

Another section of the exhibit shows the development of transportation, specifically the railroads. Following the completion of the transcontinental railroad, freight lines and spurs spread out across the country. In Utah Valley several lines were built including the Utah Electric Interurban Railroad.  With trains the valley was no longer isolated. A person could go from the station near downtown Provo and, through connections, reach either coast in a couple of days. While rail travel made it comfortable to get to and from Utah Valley, it wasn’t always safe. In 1918 Mayor LeRoy Dixon of Provo was one of fourteen passengers injured in a collision between a Denver & Rio Grand Railroad locomotive and a Salt Lake & Utah Railroad train.

The exhibition looks at the two universities in the valley and the history of recreation. You can even see the original sign for Timp Haven.

Timp Haven

The exhibition is the work of Dr. Jay H. Buckley of the Department of History at BYU; Tom Wells, the Photo Archivist of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections; John Murphy, Curator of 20th & 21st century Mormon and Western Americana; and Cory Nimor, BYU’s University Archivist. The four scholars teamed up to bring the best of each of their specialties to the exhibition.


Behind the Scenes

Kendal Samurai


Few people realize that the majority of employees in the library are students. There are students who staff the Help Desks, students who reshelf the books and videos, and students who work for custodial to keep the building clean. The library staff are aware of the importance of providing a positive work experiences where students can learn new skills and develop strong work habits.

Sometimes the students get more than they expected. Over the course of the last few weeks students have been working to promote and display many of the amazing Japanese items the library has in its collection. Student employees had the opportunity to look at 15th century Japanese ghost scrolls and to help photograph a 400-year of suit of armor.

Contributions to The Friends of the Library help us acquire unique items that open the door to a world of discovery for our students.


Emma Scroll


The World is Our Campus: Adapting Our Collections to Keep Up With World Events



The nature of a university is that its students and faculty have interests in a wide variety of fields. Some subjects are easy to access, for example if you want to read the works of naturalists in the western United States you are in luck. We host the journal Western North American Naturalist on our library’s servers. (You can see a list of other journals we host at https://journals.lib.byu.edu/spc/.) Oher topics require us to look further afield. Recent events have driven interest in research materials related to North Korea. In response the library was able to acquire access to NK News.

NK News


“NK News is an independent, privately owned specialist site focused on North Korea. NK News has no affiliation to any political organization or country. The site aims to be a one-stop-shop on North Korea, bringing together news, opinion & analysis, research tools, data, and subject specialists in one convenient place.”

This is just one example of the library’s ability to adapt and support the reserch needs of the students and faculty at Brigham Young University. You can follow the library’s acquisition of new databases by visiting http://lib.byu.edu/feeds/electronic-resources/, once there you can subscribe to the RSS feed.

Your Contributions Bought This

St Johns Bible

Thanks to the many kind contributions of the Friends of the Library, the L. Tom Perry Special collections was able to complete its set of the heritage edition of the Saint John’s Bible.

The Saint John’s Bible is considered by many to be the most significant bible created in the last 500 years. It is the first complete hand written illuminated bible produced in centuries. Saint John’s University commissioned Donald Jackson to produce a one of a kind work. Jackson in turn enlisted the help of a team of calligraphers and illustrators who worked for years to finish the project.

Because of its size the Bible is divided up into 7 volumes. The original pages of the bible and their illustrations are, as yet unbound. From time to time, sections are on display at museums, universities, and church’s across the United States. A limited number of fine press facsimile editions of the Bible have been produced. Named the heritage edition, these fine press copies are available for sale. Kind donors pitched in to purchase most of the volumes and the Friends did their part so that we could have a complete set. These heritage editions are remarkable works in and of themselves. They are equal in size to the original measuring almost 24 inches tall and a yard wide when open. Where the original was made with vellum, the heritage editions are printed on fine paper with remarkable attention to detail. For example, where the original pages have a little bleed through of ink from the back of the page the heritage edition have reproduced that look by printing the pale image of the preceding page behind the text.

Because of their size, the quality of the paper, and the leather bindings each book weighs about thirty-five pounds. The library has two large hard travel cases that allow us to take a pair of books on the road to open houses at other institutions.

In 2013 curators from the L. Tom Perry Special Collections took examples to the Gerald R. Sherratt Library at Southern Utah University. The books were a hit with students from design classes. They also took them to the George Sutherland Archives in the Utah Valley University Library.

SJB UVU Visit 3

The library often puts one of the volumes on display in the foyer of Special Collections on level 1. Each day a student employee opens the display case and turns the page to prevent the book from fading.

SJB UVU Visit 2

The Friends of the Library purchased volume 2 of the Saint John’s Bible, titled “Historical Books.” It contains the books Joshua through 2 Maccabees. You can see a virtual version of the volume by clicking on the link below.


St Johns Open House

For more information on the Saint John’s Bible you can visit their homepage at http://www.saintjohnsbible.org/

Work in Progess

The southwest corner of the library's Reading Room is looking a little rough these days.

The southwest corner of the library’s Reading Room is looking a little rough these days.

Typically the library is a bright clean place where students spend their time, which is why it is a bit of a shock to walk into the Reading Room these days. A section of lights have been removed from the ceiling and the carpet tiles have been pulled and sorted into neat stacks along the wall. There are a variety of industrial machines in the area and from time to time workers enter and are busy building new infrastructure. In the end it will all be worth it as we work to improve what is already one of the most popular places to study on campus. All the work should be done before fall semester and we are looking forward to sharing several new features with our student patrons. We’ll pass along more details on the work as things are completed.


Hidden Historical Treasures

While finding buried treasure may seem like a childhood fantasy, that very thing happened during the recent renovations on campus.

Michael Cowan was assisting with the recent fire alarm retrofit in the Grant Building and happened upon a bit of BYU history completely by chance.

“I set my flashlight down and the beam was shining through a hole in the brick,” Cowan said. “I saw pages and a blue cover so I investigated further and found that the walls in that area are literally stuffed with them.”

To university archivist Gordon Daines’ delight, Cowan had uncovered pamphlets of BYU’s course catalog, some dating back as far as 1938.

“As far as I can tell they were used as a type of grout stop in the masonry walls under the main staircase,” Cowan shared.

Cowan has found other out-of-the-ordinary things.

“While crawling around many of the older buildings at BYU, I have found many interesting objects including many old Daily Universes as early as 1965 and, funny enough, a partially consumed bottle of whiskey that dates back to the 70s,” Cowan said.

Student Employee to Intern at the Library of Congress


Karen Glenn, an archival assistant in L. Tom Perry Special Collections, will spend part of the Summer as an intern at the Library of Congress through the Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program. This is a very competitive program, and Karen is one of the first BYU students to participate.
Karen found out about the internship through an email sent out by her Congressman, Dan Lungren. As a member of the Joint Committee on the Library, Congressman Lungren could nominate one college student from his district for the internship, and after a lengthy application process and interview, he selected Karen. She has been assigned to work with a curator in archival management, and at the end of her internship Karen will present her findings to Congressman Lungren and Librarian of Congress James Billington.
An International Relations major graduating in April 2009, Karen was hired in Special Collections six months ago.
“Working in Special Collections made me fall in love with library archival work,” Karen said. “I am very excited for the opportunity to work in our national library after graduation.”
Special Collections curator John Murphy wrote one of the reference letters for Karen’s application.
“Karen is very bright, and she has a natural ability and talent for librarianship and all things archival,” Murphy said. “She has met all of my expectations as a student employee, and she has the skills to thrive in a professional environment. Typically these internships are awarded to graduate students, so Karen has distinguished herself and the university by being selected. It is a great honor for our library to send a student of this caliber to the Library of Congress.”
After her internship and some more work experience, Karen hopes to continue her education in a Masters of Library and Information Science program somewhere on the East coast.

Library Marks a Digital Milestone

On Wednesday, May 23, the library cataloged its 1000th electronic thesis. There were no bands playing and no one threw confetti, but it marked a fundamental change in the way libraries work.

For generations graduate students have taken copies of their theses and dissertations to be bound and then the library cataloged them and put them on a shelf. And that is where most of them stayed. The majority of these publications are rarely, if ever checked out. Now the library’s Electronic Theses & Dissertation (ETD) system puts graduate students’ work online in electronic format where researchers can and more importantly do see it. Instead of a thesis being looked up once or twice in a decade, the electronic versions are being looked at hundreds of times. This system has changed the impact of graduate student publishing. It used to be that the library collected the best works from around the world and brought them to Provo. Now the library is sending work from Provo around the world.

Some examples of the change in the visibility of BYU graduate students work can be seen by following the thesis of Brent Weight. Weight’s thesis was featured in a news article in 2003 on the establishment of the ETD system.The printed copy of weight’s thesis has been check out of the library a couple of times, but users of the BYU computer network have viewed his thesis over 300 times. Even more interesting is that researchers outside of BYU have viewed Weight’s work almost 800 times.

Some graduate students work seems to attract even more outside attention. Kazumasa Aoyama’s work, Using A Diglot Reader to Teach Kanji: The Effects of Audio and Romaji on the Acquisition of Kanji Vocabulary has been viewed over 16,000 times by researchers outside of BYU.

When people talk about the Internet and what that will mean to the library of the future they don’t have to speculate. At BYU the library of the future is here. There are still books on the shelves, but the information systems of the future are already falling into place. Beyond the online service for graduate student publications The Harold B. Lee Library offers a similar service for faculty using the DSpace system.

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