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Monroe C. Gutman Library Update

By Susan Fliss, Associate University Librarian for Research, Teaching and Learning;
Director and Librarian of Monroe C. Gutman Library

Graduate School of Education facade

The Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) is in its third year with a new dean, Jim Ryan. Dean Ryan's vision for the school is clear in the school's new Capital Campaign motto, Learn to Change the World and in his description of the school’s mission: “Our goal is to change the world through education. It may sound idealistic, but this is precisely our mission. It is what motivates the work of everyone at the Harvard Graduate School of Education — from faculty and staff, to students and alumni, to our partners and supporters. It inspires our teaching and our research. It fuels our work with teachers, principals, and leaders in education both here and across the globe.”

In step with this mission, the Gutman Library team supports the HGSE and Harvard learning community in many ways.

Art Gallery

Gutman Library’s floor gallery space is available for art exhibitions and related displays. We endeavor to use this space for exhibitions that speak to HGSE’s core focus on education and also welcome inquiries for exhibitions on a range of topics from Harvard affiliates, community organizations, and local artists.

Book Talks

Gutman Library hosts the Distinguished Author Series. Authors present and discuss recent education publications to facilitate conversation within the HGSE community. Authors include faculty, alumni, current graduate students, and other associates.


Rebecca Martin joined the Gutman Library team this fall as the Collections Strategist & Scholarly Communications Librarian. Rebecca leads the strategic development and evaluation of collections for the Gutman Library, supporting the evolving teaching, research, learning and practices of the HGSE community. In addition to collection development, Rebecca focuses on expanding scholarly communication initiatives at HGSE by educating faculty and students about the research lifecycle and the value of participating in, sharing and preserving open access scholarship.

Special Collections

Since July 2014, Christopher Carden, Gutman Library’s Hidden Collections project cataloger, has been steadily making progress adding the Public School Reports Collection’s New England holdings to the HOLLIS catalog. Housed in the Gutman Special Collections Department, the collection comprises over 10,000 titles documenting public education in the United States from the early 1830s through the early 1950s. It includes comprehensive sets of annual reports from state and municipal boards of education and government agencies. While the materials are not typical of rare book collections, the Public School Reports Collection is a unique, comprehensive national resource that documents public education on the local and state-levels. Before the Hidden Collections grant, these materials were not discoverable in HOLLIS and most researchers had accessed this collection through shelf-browsing supervised by Library staff.  By the end of October, all of the holdings from Massachusetts and Maine will be discoverable via the HOLLIS catalog.

Harvard Teacher Fellows

A new initiative in collaboration with Harvard College, Harvard Teacher Fellows prepares graduating seniors for a teaching experience. This initiative will engage the Library in delivering library services, on site and at a distance, for the Fellows. The Library will be the resource for these novice teachers’ understanding of and best practices for information literacy instruction. See The Harvard Crimson article, “To Teach A Teacher: Harvard’s Alternative to Teach for America,” for more information.

Curricular Support

  • In collaboration with the faculty director of the Technology, Innovation, and Education Master’s program, we designed and delivered “Head Start: Harvard’s Library Resources,” an online library research orientation integrated into Summer Foundations, the program’s pre-matriculation curriculum to prepare students for graduate study.
  • In August, 679 Master’s students arrived for the start of their nine month degree programs. We connected with them by providing research orientations and LibGuides customized to support research in each of HGSE’s 13 Masters’ Programs, which range from Mind, Brain, and Education to School Leadership. This is our third year providing Masters’ orientations, and we find many students are better informed about and skilled at researching. Their reference and research questions are indicative of information literacy competencies. In our last assessment, 90% of respondents said they had used tips and techniques outlined in the library research orientations.
  • Incoming Doctor of Philosophy in Education students also received a research orientation and were assigned a “Personal Research Librarian” as their go-to person for research questions and for proactive assistance in moving through the different stages of the research process more efficiently.
  • The Library’s Academic Writing Services Teaching Fellows assist HGSE students to advance academic writing competency and confidence. During the summer, HGSE admitted international students were able to participate in an online workshop to develop their academic writing skills. When they arrived in late August, 360 incoming students attended “Writing Like an Educator” workshops covering academic writing structure, style and strategy. The Teaching Fellows offer individual writing consultations throughout the year.  
  • During the academic year, as students develop their research questions, many take advantage of our drop-in research service or schedule a consultation with one of the research librarians. The consultations provide students with an opportunity to meet individually with a librarian, or several may come together to consult about a group project.

Article written by Susan Fliss.
Article published on October 21, 2015.