Library catalog updates & your saved searches

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:

Your saved searches: action required!

  • “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.
  • After May 23rd, go to the library catalog, and login.
  • One at a time, do a search for your query, and select any scopes or filters you want to apply.
  • Select the “Save query” pin, right above the search results.
  • Repeat for all your saved searches.
  • Check that all searches were saved under My Favorites > Saved Searches.
  • If you’d like, you can select to receive email or RSS notifications to new additions to your search.

Need help? Reach out to

End of semester library hours

Library hours through Monday, 5/16 as follows –

Regular hours through Wed. 5/11
Closed Thur. at midnight 5/12
Closed Fri. 5p, 5/13
Closed Sat/Sun, 5/14-5/15
Open Commencement day Mon. 5/16, 8:30-11a, 2-5p.

Regular hours through Fri. 5/13

Regular hours through Sat. 5/7
Open 10a-5p, Sun. 5/7 – Thur. 5/12
Closed Fri. 5/13


Now hiring – Acquisitions Specialist

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.

For more information about applying, click here.

Reference Assistant Spotlight: Yoela

Name: Yoela (they/them)
Year: Senior
Major: Religion

Favorite library resource: The stacks! Specifically rolling through the stacks to find book after book

Favorite place to study in the library: North stacks basement and miscellaneous second floor couches

Reason you wanted to be a reference assistant: I love the Reed library! A Reed librarian taught me how to find physical book copies my first year at Reed and I spent the rest of the year navigating the maze of books. I wanted to be a reference assistant to help future students and soak up more of that library glory.

Hardest thing about research: I always have a hard time finding a myriad of sources that approach a topic from different angles, while ensuring that they are all scholarly and peer-reviewed.

Favorite thing about Reed: Crunchy buildings, different colored leaves, gargoyles, nooks and crannies.

Cool class you’ve taken at Reed: Semantics of Love in Sufism with Kambiz Ghanea Bassiri. In the class, we explored the development of Sufism over time in the Islamic world and traced changing themes in the evolution of Islamic mystical thought.

Favorite hidden gem in Portland: Sellwood Riverfront Park!

Tales from the Archive: The Big Debate: Graffiti at Reed, 1980-2021

Graffiti at Reed has been a contentious debate for the past four decades amongst both students and faculty. Some have viewed it as a valuable expression of free speech and student autonomy. Others have considered its presence a nuisance, one that degrades the college’s quality and reputation. Most of Reed’s graffiti has taken on a political bent, though at times it has purely been comical. From the 1980s till now the Reed College Quest has been the primary arbiter between those in support and those against graffiti. 

The debates surrounding graffiti in the 1980s were varied, with one article from November 14, 1984, decrying its existence due to its obscene nature. While the author acknowledges that graffiti on campus can be humorous, she critiques its occasional breach into problematic territory. On one such occasion, a student wrote on a bicycle ad that “Women shouldn’t ride bikes anyway.” We can all agree this is a poor use of ink, especially in an era when women’s rights were increasingly threatened. This was the 80s, when Ronald Reagan and the nascent Evangelical right were becoming increasingly powerful, and along with them came attacks on women’s reproductive rights. In 1987, another article, “Metaphysical Graffiti”, praised graffiti’s prevalence. Written in response to the erasure of graffiti by other students and campus services, the author argues that graffiti at Reed is unique when compared to “regular outside of Reed graffiti” insofar as it is creative, witty, and intellectual. Hence, “graffiti at Reed [should not be] thought of as defacing property so much as an anonymous forum for the expression of a diverse number of views”.

The article then discusses how different departments at Reed have their own brand of graffiti, like the Chemistry department’s graffiti which featured a chemical formula to make “Five-Pronged Werewolf Slayer.” Instead of erasing graffiti, the author argues it should be preserved and designated to particular spaces. 

The 1990s brought about an era in which students were much less keen on graffiti’s ubiquity. This is, in part, due to dramatic increases in graffiti and general vandalism which occurred at the school during the era. The debate hit its peak in the late 1990s, with 1997 featuring almost monthly articles on graffiti’s prevalence. In February of that year, one article claimed that “graffiti as a means of social expression is tantamount to ethical cowardice insofar as the accountable party does not take responsibility for his/her viewpoints”. This was in response to the defacing of the new commons, which had recently been renovated. Another article published the same year, “Are We Gettin More Destructive?”, presented various arguments for why Reedies are “more destructive” than they once were, and argued that graffiti is the most obvious example of this increase in destructive habits.

Another hypothesis for the rise in graffiti was the closure of Commons’ lower level, a space traditionally used for student activities, which had the dual purpose of serving as a “natural outlet” for destructiveness on campus. Additionally, the lower level of commons was apparently used as a “sexual clearinghouse for the campus,” and because of its closure, students “have taken their excess sexual tension and channeled it into destroying the campus”. Another theory for the rise in graffiti is an increased number of students who are “volatile drunks and addicts [who] roam the campus,” who in their inebriated states wreak havoc on Reed’s infrastructure. While these are all compelling theories, the prevalence of graffiti certainly has not abated and continues to this day.

Graffiti at Reed in the twenty-first century has remained a staple of the SU and in campus bathroom stalls, and the occasional monumental design can be found on the side of buildings. To this day, both graffiti’s presence and its erasure by campus services is still being debated, with 2020 being a particularly controversial year due to the country’s political environment. While most graffiti has been tame, there have certainly been instances where graffiti has been used in harmful ways. If you want to see more pictures check out our digital collections, or visit special collections and archives, or email us at

Reference Assistant Spotlight: Nina

Name: Nina (she/her)
Year: Junior
Major: Sociology

Favorite library resource: The many esoteric databases and the zine library!

Favorite place to study in the library: The cubicle desks by the L2 Center Stacks.

Reason you wanted to be a reference assistant: I wanted to help make the library feel more accessible to students; the many resources are awesome but only if students feel confident utilizing them!

Hardest thing about research: Definitely finding the right question.

Favorite thing about Reed: This year I’ve really loved being back on campus and getting to see the leaves change. Reed has such a beautiful campus.

Cool class you’ve taken at Reed: I’m currently in Memory, Desire and the Modern Novel with Jay Dickson and it has a great reading list. Because the books are so good it’s a really enthusiastic class which is a fun change of pace.

Favorite hidden gem in Portland: An Xuyên Bakery on Foster, no question. Never misses.

Reference Assistant Spotlight: Ella

Name: Ella (she/her)
Year: 2022
Major: Psychology

Favorite library resource: Online journal articles

Favorite place to study in the library: Pollock Room

Reason you wanted to be a reference assistant: I wanted to learn more about library resources and help people access them.

Hardest thing about research: When articles don’t have the keywords you expect, which makes it hard to find what you’re looking for

Favorite thing about Reed: How pretty the campus is

Cool class you’ve taken at Reed: Developmental Psychology with Jennifer Corpus

Favorite hidden gem in Portland: Waffle window!

Book exhibit: Counternarratives: Critical Race Theory in Context

Counternarratives: Critical Race Theory in Context is a new book display that seeks to expand, contextualize, and nuance the conversations about theories of race and racialization in academia and contemporary debate. 

Unlike what liberal and conservative media would like you to believe, Critical Race Theory is NOT a catch-all term for anything written by or about people of color. It’s not diversity, equity, and inclusion training. It’s not books like How to Be an Antiracist or White Fragility on your parents’ coffee table. It’s not even academic scholarship written about race. 

CRT is a field of legal scholarship about race in America that emerged out of Critical Legal Studies in the latter half of the twentieth century advanced by scholars including Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Crenshaw.1 Since its inception, CRT has expanded and spread into other fields, especially education, and taken on new forms such as AsianCrit, LatCrit, TribalCrit, and Critical Whiteness Studies. 

CRT is part of a large web of scholarship and theory about race, racism, and racialization. It exists in conversation, disagreement, and solidarity with other expansive and interconnected fields of thought such as Black Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Black Feminism, Carceral Studies, and Critical Indigenous Studies. 

Crenshaw uses the term intersectionality to describe how different structures of oppression intersect to affect marginalized communities. Thinking about the ways these structures and forms of violence overlap is important, but so is their specificity. 

Likewise, we can think of these disciplines as intersecting and interwoven attempts to study racism, colonialism, and violence in their many forms. Many of the books on display here could fit into more than one of these fields as well as other disciplines or fields that are not represented here. However, each field has its own traditions, archives, and strategies for thinking about race. 

Contextualizing CRT within this larger constellation can help us be smarter and think critically about modern understandings of race and racism. 

You can access the materials within this exhibit through the Library’s Featured Collections. You can check out any of the materials in the display by taking the item and your library card to the front desk. You can check out ebooks by scanning the QR codes that take you to the catalog record.

Organized by Ben Read and Ann Matsushima Chiu. Special thanks to Sarah Bavier, Angie Beiriger, Nick Campigli, Lily De La Fuente, Tracy Drake, Kyle Napoli, Caroline Reul, and Bee Yermish. Images from W. E. B. Du Bois.

Janel George, “A Lesson on Critical Race Theory,” Human Rights Magazine, January 11, 2021,