The holdshelf has moved to the lobby for summer intersession. You can pickup your Reed, Summit, and ILL holds from the shelves by the east entrance of the library. Items are already checked out. Questions? Email email@example.com.
We’ve made some updates to the library catalog! On May 23rd, Reed Library updated our catalog software. The updated version is much easier for us to manage and maintain, allows us to add content faster, and gives us more options to meet your needs. It also isn’t all that different! Most features will work the same as you’re used to.
Check out some things that we’re excited about in the updated version:
Search Reed, Summit, and Articles by default. Want to limit to just Reed materials like books, ebooks, and journals? Select the “Reed Library Only” dropdown.
Search or browse electronic and print journals together in Journal Search.
“Saved searches” will NOT automatically transfer with the update. Before May 23rd, copy your saved searches and keep them safe. After May 23rd, you’ll need to recreate your search, following the instructions below.
Don’t want your saved search anymore? No need to do anything.
Don’t have any saved searches? No need to do anything.
“Saved items” and any labels you’ve added will be copied into the updated catalog; no need to save and recreate these.
How to keep your saved searches
Before May 23rd, login to your saved searches in My Favorites in the library catalog.
Copy your saved search list, and paste it somewhere safe like a text file or google doc.
During the week of Oral Exams, library staff will contact you about your thesis formatting requirements.
As soon as possible after your exam: make any edits required by your orals board and formatting corrections required by the library. Once these corrections are made, you can submit your final thesis PDF to the online form.
Save your final thesis as a PDF. Gather any additional files that you will want to upload with your thesis.
Decide if you want to include your thesis in the electronic archive. For more information see this website.
There are few things more iconic to Reed College than Humanities 110. At its best, the course defines the Reed experience: intellectual rigor, lively classroom discussions, and a preference for thoughtful feedback over grades. It is also one of the places where the conflict between Reed’s left-leaning student body and the institution’s insistence on maintaining its academic traditions becomes most clear.
Early Days: 1920s-1940s
The Humanities is rooted in the educational philosophy of Richard Scholz, Reed College’s president from 1921-24. Scholz aimed to introduce more structure to the educational program designed by his predecessor, William Foster, while maintaining academic rigor and interdisciplinary perspectives.
Under the Scholz presidency, students were required to take a pair of courses in their freshman year, one in history and one in literature. Each presented a broad survey of Western culture until about 1763 AD.1 By the mid-1940s, these courses were condensed into a single class: Humanities 11. In the fall semester, freshmen read the Greek and Roman canon, before shifting to medieval Europe in the spring. This structure remained virtually unchanged for thirty years.
Black Student Union Protests: 1960s
In the mid-1960s, the college received a $275,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to fund minority recruitment. While the grant was successful at diversifying what had once been a homogeneously white student body, Black students reported a lack of support on campus and feelings of alienation from their white peers. This tension led to the creation of the Black Student Union (BSU), which organized for the creation of a Black Studies center and a reevaluation of the Humanities program.2
BSU’s frustrations with the classical Humanities syllabus reached their peak in 1969 when several Black freshmen began boycotting registration in the course. BSU representatives argued that “Black freshmen… did not want to take a course entitled ‘Humanities’ that omitted the contributions of black people to civilization.”3 While the BSU boycott never gained the traction to significantly impact the Humanities curriculum, it planted the seeds for an ongoing conversation regarding the pedagogy and content of the course.
Reed Union: 1970s
In early March of 1971, several freshmen staged a walkout during a Humanities lecture. While the walkout was apparently without warning (or clear demands), it led to the organization of a Reed Union* on the Humanities curriculum.4
Unfortunately, the Union was mired in a lack of clarity regarding exactly what students wanted from the Humanities. While faculty and administration focused on rebutting requests to do away with the Humanities requirement entirely, the majority of students were interested in building a more engaging and pointed curriculum.5
For several years following the protest, the Humanities curriculum saw an unprecedented level of experimentation. From 1973-78, freshman Humanities were split into three courses: 120, 130, and 140. All three were organized around the same areas and time periods (archaic and classical Greece in the fall, and Medieval and Renaissance-era Europe in the spring), but differed slightly in scope and theme.6
Despite adjustments to the syllabus, students remained unsatisfied. Some complained that the class was overdesigned, and too vast in scope to allow for any real depth.7 Continued dissatisfaction with the lack of real writing instruction led graduate student Julianne Murray to introduce a peer-review “dorm writing” program with the support of the college.8
By the end of the decade, the three-track system was phased out and replaced with a version of the syllabus that was nearly identical to the 1960s curriculum.
New Perspectives: 2000s
By the early 2000s, the bulk of criticism came from within the Humanities faculty rather than students. One party sought to hold onto traditional texts while recontextualizing old materials and incorporating secondary sources more in line with a modern understanding of the classical world. This view was advocated by Philosophy professor Peter Steinberger in a 2004 Reed Magazine article, in which he referred to Humanities as “a matter of new wine poured into old bottles.”9
Others sought a much more drastic overhaul of the syllabus. A 2008 internal review of the Humanities program points to the events of September 11, 2001, as the catalyst for faculty’s growing desire to incorporate more diverse materials, especially from the Islamic world. Some suggestions included a more directly comparative syllabus (for example, a unit on epics might feature Gilgamesh, Genesis and Exodus, the Iliad, and the Aeneid) or a shift from classical Greece and Rome to another time period, civilization, or cosmopolitan center.
None of these suggestions made it off the drawing board. Objections included “the potential paucity of texts in each of these syllabi” and their lack of canonical relevance, as well as a reluctance to cast off the expertise of experienced Humanities faculty. While the writers of the report eventually came to the decision to continue the study of Greece and Rome, their attitude toward it reads as ambivalent at best. By this point, it seems to have been clear to students and faculty alike that the persistence of Classical studies in Humanities was at least on some level a case of “institutional inertia.”10
Reedies Against Racism: 2010s
By 2016, long-simmering tensions within Humanities 110 reached a turning point as protests led by the student group Reedies Against Racism (RAR) broke national news. RAR had many demands: they wanted the campus designated as a legal sanctuary for immigrants, better support services for students of color, divestment from the college’s operating bank Wells Fargo, and a revival of the long-defunct ethnic studies program. But at the center of the discourse–both off and on-campus–lay a single, polarizing request: a fundamental reevaluation of the Humanities 110 syllabus.12
RAR advocates were ultimately successful at convincing the administration to move their periodic review of the Humanities program forward by a few years. By 2018, the spring semester of the Humanities curriculum had been completely overhauled to incorporate two new modules: one focused on Mexico City, and another on the Harlem Renaissance.13
What Comes Next?
While the new syllabus seems to have resolved some concerns about the lack of diversity in Humanities, new challenges have come to the fore. The Religion department–a long-standing pillar of Humanities lecturers–withdrew from the course entirely in 2018. Religion professor Kambiz GhaneaBassiri explained the department’s reasoning in a Quest interview, in which he argued that the new, modular curriculum was too broad and “[did] not allow [time] for close examination of relationships between different people, societies, and cultures.” As a possible solution, GhaneaBassiri proposed a tighter syllabus, still classically focused but more diverse in scope, which could emphasize interactions between the Persian empire, India, Central Asia, Greece, and Europe.14
Students have filed a number of complaints of their own. A number of reflections printed in the Quest since 2018 bemoan the emphasis on form over content, the use of colonial texts,15 and a general lack of self-criticism in conferences regarding approaches to potentially triggering texts.16 Others echo the Religion department’s concerns about the limited amount of time allowed for each module.17
Of course, it’s not all bad: the incorporation of different mediums (including films and music), as well as increased opportunities to issues like gender, sexuality, and ethnicity in a relatively contemporary context, have been well received by students and seem to have improved engagement in the course. The sheer volume of Humanities discourse in the Quest implies that, at the very least, the course is doing its job at shaping Reedies into powerful critical thinkers.
Interested in learning more about the Humanities or RAR? Reach out to us–we’d love to hear from you! The archives team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Reed Unions are panel-style discussions between students, faculty, and administration. Most recently, community members discussed Reed’s divestment policy and response to the climate crisis at a Reed Union in 2020. While Reed Unions have no formal authority, they are a valuable avenue for communication between students, faculty, and administration who are often isolated from each other.
 Internal review of the Humanities 110 program. October 31, 2008.
Reed College seeks an innovative and service-oriented Acquisitions Specialist to procure current and out-of-print materials, in all formats and languages. In this position, you will collaborate with a team of library specialists and subject librarians to support students and faculty engaged in research, inquiry, and coursework throughout the curriculum.
Reed College offers an exceptional benefits package, including comprehensive and cost-free medical and dental insurance for you, and a 60% discount on medical and dental insurance for your dependents, 403(b) retirement plan with 10% employer contribution (after one year of service), educational assistance for employees and their children, 22 days of paid vacation, paid holidays, half-day Fridays in the summer, and many other campus amenities. This is a full-time, non-exempt role with work hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a one hour unpaid lunch. Starting hourly rate for this position is $22.44 per hour.
Who You Are
You have experience working in a library or you know that you want to focus the next chapter of your career in library services.
You are highly organized and you care about the details. You do your best to dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
You enjoy library technologies and are eager to learn more.
You are comfortable making educated decisions based on researching options and evaluating the information available.
You cultivate relationships and enjoy working with others as part of a team. Your colleagues would describe you as collaborative.
You thrive in an ever-changing environment. People would describe you as adaptable when challenges arise.
You are self-aware and understand your own culture, identify, biases, prejudices, power, and privilege.
You are an advocate for diversity with a commitment to fostering an accessible, equitable, and inclusive environment and workplace.
You have a bachelor’s degree, or two years of library technical services experience, or any combination of education and experience that provides the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the job.
Ideally, you have first-hand experience using library systems such as Alma, Gobi, and Connexion.
What You’ll Do
Order new purchases of books, DVDs, CDs, scores, and other materials in a variety of languages and from a variety of general and specialized library vendors.
Create and update order records in the library’s integrated library system (Alma).
Search and import existing bibliographical records from OCLC Connexion into the library catalog.
Monitor and review accuracy of order fulfillment.
Process payment of invoices and assist in monthly credit card reconciliation.
Communicate with vendors about a wide range of issues including orders, invoices and payments.
Select and track use of budget resources including gift endowments and funds.
Perform copy cataloging for some monographs.
Process donations to the library.
Receive, sort, and distribute library mail.
Lead and contribute to annual collection maintenance projects.
Reed students, staff, and faculty can return books to the library lobby bookdrop during winter break. There is also a bookdrop on the loading dock behind the library for anyone without swipe access to the lobby. Questions? Email email@example.com.
The library will be closed for the duration of winter break, 12/18-1/23. Requests for Reed Library books, Summit, and ILL will be fulfilled and placed in envelopes, sorted by preferred last name, on the library lobby shelves by the east entrance. Questions – email firstname.lastname@example.org