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Announcing our 2023 Elevator Art Contest Winners!

Cornell University Library’s annual Elevator Art Contest gives Cornell undergraduate, graduate, or professional school students the chance to showcase their creative talents. Our theme and prompt for the 2023 competition is “backstory,” which Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as “a story that tells what led up to the main story or plot (as of a film).” What backstory has defined your life, or what backstory reveals an important aspect of the world? Selected artwork is featured on the elevators in both Mann and Olin Libraries. Please read on to learn more about the winning Mann entries!

Image of artwork "Julie Baby" on Mann elevator

Akhil Kang ’25, College of Arts and Sciences

An anthropologist and a human rights lawyer by training, Akhil’s art practice imagines queer folks living uninhibited, free lives. They work mostly with charcoal, and mixed mediums including oil pastels, acrylic colors and torn pieces of fabric. They have been neglected, denied, violated, rejected because of them being a dalit, so in their art – they use their queerness to imagine a carefree dalit-queerness.


Julie Baby

“I was inspired by my two friends who tried to recreate their first date (which was in the city of Bangalore) on my home’s balcony in Delhi, India. This balcony date occurred a few weeks before the devastating second COVID wave in Delhi in 2021. Most public places had been ordered shut by the government, and my friends were meeting after more than a year of being apart. I held on to this moment throughout the monstrous second wave to remind myself that touch survives and thrives despite all the loss in the world around us. I stumbled upon my friends’ intimate moment and almost felt like I was part of their backstory, too: their story of love, of desire, of longing, and of touch. I mostly work with charcoal and mixed mediums, including soft pastels, watercolor pencils, and torn pieces of fabric. In this piece, I used charcoal and chikan fabric (a type of cloth famously made in the city of Lucknow in North India).”

Image of Converge artwork on Mann elevator

Charlotte Tysall ’26, College of Arts and Sciences

I’m studying Biological Sciences in the college of Arts and Sciences and I’m working on a minor in Fine Arts. As of right now, I’m planning on concentrating in ecology and evolutionary biology, and I’ll be doing research this summer here at Cornell in this field. I’ll be going into my second year in the fall. In my freshman year, I was involved in Cornell Running Club which has become one of my favorite parts of school. Mann Library is one of my favorite places to work because of the scientific illustrations and plants you can see everywhere.



“At Cornell, you can talk to anyone and realize immediately how different your backstories can be. We’re all from different places, with different interests and beliefs. We’ve been through different struggles, and yet we’ve all ended up here. I think it’s great how we’re all united through our ability to come together through shared desires to learn and work hard despite our diverse range of “backstories,” and I illustrated this idea by relating it to a concept I had learned in my biology class: convergent evolution. It’s what happens when organisms with entirely different ancestors, traits, environments, etc., are faced with similar selective pressures that causes them to evolve the same types of morphological structures. Just like how we as students and faculty of Cornell differ greatly in our backgrounds, the organisms in the piece have entirely different niches, yet they’ve all developed some form of wings so that they have the ability to fly. Placing these different-colored and different-looking species together (scaled to roughly the same size) was my way of showing how things can end up in the same place when they all work towards a similar goal, just like we do at Cornell.”


Summer Workshops @ the Library

The hazy days of summer are upon us, and we hope everyone is able to enjoy some fun in the sun in the coming months! It’s also a great time to grow those valuable organizational and citation management skills with our Library summer workshops:


For the full listing of Cornell University Library workshops, visit:


Don’t see something you need? Complete our workshop request form to let us know if you need a specialized instruction session on additional topics such as business research (e.g. Bloomberg), specific databases (e.g. PubMed), data management tools (e.g. Open Science Framework, Excel), or design (e.g. Adobe products, poster design).

Reunion 2022: Mann Library Open House

In November 1952 a new library opened its Art Deco doors on Cornell’s upper campus, and the Ag Quad has never been the same since. We warmly invite Cornell alumni and their families to drop by Mann Library’s Open House to help us celebrate our 70th anniversary and all the ways this library has grown, thrived, and yet stayed true to its classic roots through the big changes of the digital age. Sun-dappled study corners, flexible hi-tech collaborative spaces, rich collections, rare book treasures, engaging exhibits featuring soil bioart and a look at soil as living treasure–you’ll find it all here, along with an early birthday cake and other treats, served for this special occasion at our circulation desk! Family-friendly—all are welcome.


Activities include:

The Good Old (& New) Books

As classes wrapped up for the spring 2022 semester and students hit the books, class notes, and computers in the library for their home stretch through final exams, Mann’s spring 2022 stressbuster raffle challenged them to name three books or book series they loved reading as children. Over three hundred responses later, we have a sweet view of both the common threads and special experiences that made up the literary landscape of childhood for the 2021/2022 crop of Cornell students who’ve spent time in our library spaces this year. Below we’ve put together a little summary to describe some of the fun features of this wonderfully lettered terrain—a nice insight into some of the important influences shaping the minds of our rising generation of engaged thinkers, impassioned doers, wickedly good-humored adventure lovers, and future leaders of the world. Thanks for participating, students–we love what you shared with us!


Five most cited books:

  • The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein (1964)
  • Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne; illustrated by E. H. Shepard (1926)
  • Good Night Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle (1969)
  • Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak (1963)

Five most cited series:

  • The Magic Treehouse, by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan
  • Junie B. Jones, by Barbara Park
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket (pen name of Daniel Handler)

Most common author cited:

  • Dr. Seuss (pen name of Theodore Seuss Geisel)

International titles:

  • Swami and Friends, by R.K. Narayan (author of Indian literature in English, 1906-2001)
  • The Story of the Root Children, by Sybille von Olfers (German language author, 1881-1916)
  • The Adventures of Tintin, by Belgian cartoonist Hergé Georges Remi (1907-1983)
  • Rodhatten og ulven (Red Hat and the Wolf), by Fam Ekman (Norwegian, 1946-)

Honorable mention: Rin Rin the tripping Tadpole, aka Rin Rin Renacuajo, a well-known character appearing in Colombian children’s stories and nursery rhymes created by poet Rafael Pombo (1833-1912).


Books of poetry:

  • Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends, also by Shel Silverstein

Five oldest books cited:

  • Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carol; illustrated by John Tenniel (1865)
  • Heidi, by Johanna Spyri (1880)
  • Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up (also known as Peter and Wendy), by J. M. Barrie; illustrated by Francis Donkin Bedford (1911)
  • The Velveteen Rabbit, or, How Toys Became Real., by Margery Williams; illustrated by William Nicholson (1922)
  • Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey (1948)

Other frequently cited popular classics (cited multiple times):

  • Curious George series, by Hans Augusto (H. A.) Rey and Margret Rey (launched 1941)
  • The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)
  • The Snow Day, by Ezra Jack Keats (1962)
  • Berenstain Bears series, by Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain (launched 1962)
  • Frog and Toad series, by Arnold Lobel (launched 1970)

Five newest books/series cited:

  • The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt; illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (picture book, 2013)
  • Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo (teen/young adult fantasy/fairy tale series launched 2012)
  • The Familiars, by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson (children’s fantasy & magic chapter book series launched 2010)
  • Jane in Bloom, by Deborah Lytton (teen/young adult fiction, 2009)
  • Dork Diaries, by Rachel Renée Russell (illustrated children’s chapter book series launched 2009)

Other cited new books that Mann staff members wish had been around when they were young:

  • Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett and illustrated by Brett Helquist (children’s art mystery novel, 2004)
  • Mysterious Benedict Society series (children’s mystery/detective series launched 2007)
  • Sheep, by Valerie Hobbs (children’s book about a dog, 2006)
  • The Sisters Grimm series, by Michael Buckley; illustrated by Peter Ferguson (children’s fantasy series launched 2005)
  • The Miraculous Journal of Eduard Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo (2006)

Service Interruption Reminder

A quick but important reminder for on-campus Cornellians and other library visitors—Cornell University Library is in the final stages of transitioning from our 20-year-old library management system to an new, open source system with modern functionalities and improved sustainability.  Please remember that borrowing services such as on-site checkouts, new requests for contactless pickup, retrieval from the Annex, and library-to-library delivery will be unavailable from Monday, June 21 through Thursday, July 1. 


Need a book? If you anticipate needing an item from the Mann Library collection or any other library collection on campus between June 21 and July 1, please come check it out in person before next Monday, or plan on visiting us after July 1. You will still be able to place scan requests for articles and book chapters. 


Have a book to return to the collection? Items that are returned after June 21 will be processed as soon as possible, but may still appear on your account until July 16. No fines will be incurred. Items with due dates between June 14 and July 12 have been automatically renewed so that nothing needs to be returned during the service outage. The new due dates will be reflected in My Account. 


If you have any questions or extenuating circumstances for borrowing a book from the Mann stacks between June 21 and July 1, please contact us at For questions about items from the stacks at other libraries, you can get more information and contact info at:

Written in Petals: The Language of Flowers in Victorian Europe

White lilies for grief. Snowdrops for hope. Daisies for innocence. Red roses for love, yellow for friendship. Floriography – sending messages with flowers – is an ancient art, rooted in the symbolism of China, Egypt, and Assyria.  In 19th century Europe a floriography-centered literary genre blossomed and a publishing industry that produced poetry, dictionaries, essay collections and often exquisite botanical art flourished. Drawing from a collection of gems donated to Mann by garden writer Isabel Zucker ’26, this new online exhibit at Mann Library provides a tour of the Language of Flowers as a cultural phenomenon that flourished during the Victorian era. As this display reminds us, what we humans see in nature—in this case flowers—reveals much about how we see and relate to ourselves.

Viewable online at

Hot Summer News: Updates on Services at Mann

A hot summer is underway on the Cornell campus, but cool Mann Library is open! Here is an overview of our summer services, including important information about service interruptions with Cornell University Library’s transition to a new platform for online library services (including the library catalog, equipment loans, and new acquisitions). 

Borrowing from our stacks

  • BorrowDirect and Interlibrary Loan are now officially paused until July 1.

  • The request service for contactless pick-up of books from Mann (and all Cornell libraries) will pause from June 17 until July 1.

  • Various circulation services such as on-site checkouts, new requests for contactless pickup, retrieval from the Annex, and library-to-library delivery will be unavailable from June 21 until July 1.

  • For up-to-date information about these interruptions, please see

Equipment loans at Mann

  • Again, because of the Library’s transition to a new catalog, equipment loans at Mann are unavailable until July 1.

Study spaces and lockers

  • Individual and group study rooms are available to book via our website, but as a reminder, rooms are limited to grads and undergrads.

  • Use of all other study spaces in the library building no longer requires a reservation, and our doors are open to all who wish to enter during our normal hours of operation (no card swipe access required). For Mann’s summer hours, check out our hours page.

  • Fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff are no longer required to wear masks in campus buildings or social distance.

  • Unvaccinated Cornellians and all non-Cornell visitors must continue to wear masks and follow Cornell’s social distancing requirements when in Mann Library spaces. We are following Cornell University-wide rules in this regard; to see those, we encourage you to visit Cornell’s Public Health Requirements pages at

  • Public computers are being re-installed in our spaces shortly. We will update this page when they are available for use.

  • Lockers are currently not available for use.

As the summer proceeds and Mann continues to get reset for a normal fall semester at Cornell, we’ll be posting updates about our spaces and services. So check back often for the skinny. And stay cool and hydrated in the meantime. It’s been a sizzler of a summer so far—and July is still ahead!

New Course: Navigating Today’s Information Chaos

In 1987, a weekday edition of the New York Times contained more written information than the average person was likely to encounter in a lifetime in seventeenth-century England. Imagine what we could say about the amount of information we encounter in our daily lives today–if you can! For a citizenry to be constructively engaged, it must be well-informed. Yet, as more information floods the information landscape, worrisome material also spreads, often quickly. What puts some information into the “worrisome quality” category? What makes it valuable? A new course led by librarian Ashley Shea, Head of Instruction Initiatives at Mann Library, aims to help students master these questions for a lifetime of success as critical thinkers, professionals and citizens.


This new 1-credit course will equip students with the skills needed to navigate today’s vast sea of (dis)information. By analyzing different information platforms, students will develop a nuanced, critical approach to finding, evaluating and using information responsibly in the digital age. Will meet on Fridays, 11:15 am – 12:05 pm.


1200, or “Information Chaos: Navigating Today’s Information Landscape,” will cover the theoretical, methodological and practical concepts and skills needed to understand and evaluate today’s vast information landscape. The course will focus primarily on information systems in the U.S., although several prominent examples of international information systems will also be included. At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Compare various information types that exist and articulate the value(s) and problems(s) of each;
  • Recognize the structural and ideological differences between various information systems (I.e., News sites, academic databases, federal repositories, etc.) that produce and disseminate information;
  • Translate complex research questions into a search strategy with appropriate search tools and platforms;
  • Apply various assessment tools to evaluate the credibility of information;
  • Utilize citation management software to organize information conceptually and thoughtfully;
  • Demonstrate understanding of attribution by properly citing the work of others.

Most of the readings and videos for this class will be open education resources (OERs) that are openly licensed and freely available online. In addition to assessing the quality of information available to researchers today, the topic of access to information will be an important component of this class. By making materials that are freely available to anyone regardless of location or means central to class assignments, the course will underscore this point.


As a 1 credit course, ALS 1200 will involve a final assignment: Students will be charged with creating an infographic that profiles a chosen information platform to effectively communicate its key features (scope, scale, history, financing, verifiability, transparency) for a broad but robust assessment of its quality as an information resource. We look forward to seeing what they come up with as newly minted pathfinders on the information frontier!


Visit ALS 1200 information & registration

Fledgling alert! Turning a blind window for young hawk survival

Big Red and Arthur’s baby hawks above the Athletic Field on Tower Road have fledged and are busy testing their wings around the Ag Quad. During this time, large window areas pose a particular risk to their survival as inexperienced flyers are unfortunately prone to mistaking any reflection (of trees, sky, etc.) they may see in large exterior windows for the real thing.


What can we do to help these vulnerable teenagers avoid catastrophic collision? Keeping the blinds lowered in the large windows in Mann’s various individual and group study spaces is one good strategy. Mann staff will be lowering the window blinds each morning for the rest of the summer. We are hoping that our study room users will help us in this effort by keeping the blinds down while using these rooms. Or, if you find it necessary to raise the blinds, we ask that you be sure to lower them again when leaving the space. We thank you for your help getting these young birds through their risky teenage years!

It’s a Women’s World Cup Soccer Summer!

The summer soccer thrill has started. While only one national women’s soccer team will win the World Cup title on July 7, between now and then the whole world will share in the excitement, glories and, yes, agonies, of the tournament, played on a global stage. You in? Following our usual tradition when it comes to this world sport, in the Mann Lobby we will be streaming almost all matches that fall during our summer hours of operation—that means all games between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and between 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Friday, and generally most games that fall on Saturday afternoon between 1:00 though 5:00 p.m. We’re hoping that we’ll see many of you soccer lovers in the lobby in the next few weeks—and that we’ll catch at least some of you wearing your favorite national team colors. Let’s hear it for the beautiful game!


View the full World Cup tournament schedule.