Author Archive

Cook Library’s Connection to the Movie “Monuments Men”

RBR217v3-4_BookplateOADstamp_300dpiThe recent “Monuments Men” film directed by George Clooney and Grant Heslov tells the story of the experiences of just a few of the more than 300 Monuments, Fine Arts, & Archives (MFA&A) program men and women who worked during and after World War II to safeguard Europe’s historic and cultural monuments from war damage. Longtime archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Seymour J. Pomrenze, was one of many so-called Monuments Men.

Pomrenze and his older brother immigrated with their mother to the United States from the Ukraine after their father was killed during the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1919. He received a Master’s degree in history at the University of Chicago, later followed by a PhD in Jewish history. He worked for NARA as a reference assistant for approximately a year, from July 1941 to May 1942, before joining the United States Army. In December 1945, he was sent to Europe to help reorganize German archives under the auspices of the Office of Military Government, Wurttemberg-Baden.

With his background in Jewish history and his knowledge of German, Hebrew, and Yiddish, Pomrenze was given a special assignment as director of the Offenbach Archival Depot, a clearinghouse established by the U. S. Army to identify and restore books and archival material also seized by the Nazis to their rightful owners.  Upon arriving at the Depot, Pomrenze described these cultural heritage materials as “… the literary remains of a decimated Jewish civilization. And if a collection of stolen books could properly be called a library, then at the time it was the largest Jewish library ever assembled.[1]

The OAD restituted approximately three million items to their original owners. Unfortunately, because of massive loss of life or lack of marks of ownership, half a million unidentifiable items remained heirless. The U. S. Army transferred custodianship of these to the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc., the cultural arm of the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization. In turn, JCR distributed them to religious, cultural, and educational institutions in the United States, including the Baltimore Hebrew College, now known as the Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University (BHI). From September 1949 to August 1951 BHI received approximately twelve shipments of Judaica, including books, rare books, pamphlets, and periodicals. Based on distribution reports from JCR it is estimated that BHC received as many as 4,562 items altogether. In 2009, when the BHI collections were moved under the custodianship of the Albert S. Cook Library, the JCR books came, too.

When the BHI collection first arrived at Towson University, the JCR books were located in part among the circulating collection on the second floor or among the rare and special books located on the 5th floor of Cook Library in Special Collections and Archives. In most cases JCR books are identified by a JCR bookplate, usually located on the inside front cover of the book, as well as the round stamp of the Offenbach Archival Depot. Other marks of ownership reflect use of the books by libraries, schools, synagogues, and private individuals located all over Europe. In recent years the University Archivist and other Library staff have been working on transferring all JCR books to Special Collections & Archives to ensure their long term preservation. Additionally, they have developed programs to raise awareness of the collection and demonstrate their potential for use in the classroom. In addition to standing as artifacts of European Jewish Cultural heritage and the Holocaust, the books are useful for exploring the history of book publishing, the book arts, and to gain a better understanding the plunder of cultural heritage materials in modern times.

On Monday, April 28th (in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day) from 12-1pm in front of the College of Liberal Arts Room 4200, University Archivist & Digital Collections Librarian Nadia Nasr and Jewish Studies Librarian Elaine Mael will conduct a White Gloves Session whereby they give a brief overview of the history of the JCR books, discuss the significance of some related photographs, and give participants the opportunity to don a pair of white archival gloves so they can more closely examine the books for themselves and ask questions.

For more information about this collection, the schedule a White Gloves Session, or to view some of the JCR books please contact Special Collections & Archives at or 410-704-2093.

[1] Glickman, Mark. S. Col. Seymour Pomrenze: caretaker of the world’s largest Jewish library. JTNews: the Voice of Jewish Washington (September 26, 2011).

February 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

Librarians Offering Research Workshops

This Spring, librarians will be teaching free research workshops. So whether you want to get a refresher on how to cite your sources or learn how to research on the go with your tablet, there is a workshop for you.

Register now at

Modern Language Association Style (MLA) Citations with Lisa Woznicki
Tuesday, March 4th 4-5:30 – Cook Library 317
Citation work is an art that everyone can master, but not everyone is born an MLA “DaVinci.”  The MLA Citation workshop will guide attendees through MLA style paper formatting and the creation of basic in-text and bibliography entries.

Advanced Google Searching with Sara Arnold-Garza
Wednesday, March 5th  12:00-1:00pm – Cook Library, Room 317
Do you like the ease of using Google, but need high quality information for your papers or presentations?  This Cook Library workshop will help you learn how to use various Google products to access credible and appropriate resources.  There will be time for lots of questions and practice.

Getting Psyched: Library Research for Psychology Students with Kim Miller
Wednesday, March 5th  5:30-6:30pm – Cook Library, Room 317
Join Cook Library’s psychology librarian for an hour dedicated to helping students navigate tools and resources for research in psychology. Whether you’re stumped by a research paper for your psychology class, working on your thesis, independent study, or honors project, or need tips and tools for staying organized, this session is for you! This workshop will be an open session driven entirely by student interest, so come prepared to share your burning questions or most pressing problems.

Due Diligence: Company & Industry Research with Shana Gass
Tuesday, March 11th 5:00-6:00pm – Cook Library, Room 317
Save time and effort with these key sources for company and industry research.

Library Research in the Health Professions with Carissa Tomlinson
Thursday, March 13th 4:00-5:00pm – Cook Library 317
Writing a research paper and don’t know where to get started?  Need help navigating tools and resources specific to your field in the health professions?  Want tips and tricks on the research process and staying organized?  Spend an hour with a librarian for the health professions and leave feeling confident that you’re on the right path towards success!

APA Citation Style with Carissa Tomlinson
Tuesday, March 25th 3:30-4:30pm – Cook Library, Room 317
Trying hard not to plagiarize, but not sure what you’re doing?  Not sure where to put that pesky comma?  Volumes and issue numbers got you down?  This Cook Library workshop will cover both reference list and in-text APA citations for a variety of different materials.  There will be plenty of time for questions and practice.

 Getting Started on Your Research; Finding Context for Your Topic with Lisa Sweeney and Sarah Espinosa
Wednesday, March 26th 3:30-5:00pm – Cook Library, Room 317
Practice searching online and print resources to discover critical background information on your research topic, then get expert help using and citing those resources in an academic paper.

Library Resources and Research in Education with Claire Holmes
Wednesday, March 26th 7:00-800pm – Cook Library, Room 317
Research paper? Literature review? Annotated bibliography? Children’s literature text set or author study? Lesson plans? Whether you are new to Towson or just need a brush up, this is the workshop for you. Meet the education librarians and learn to navigate the specific library resources that are key to your success as a student and as an educator.

Research in the Real World: How to Find People, Places, and Things using Government Websites with Joyce Garczynski and Carl Olson
Thursday, March 27th 4:00-5:00pm – Cook Library, Room 317
Ever wonder how to do a background check on someone or find out who owns the house next to you? Are you interested in loans, grants or benefits, or worried about your credit, identity theft, or scams? Come to this workshop  to learn all about the free government websites that you can use to help get you the information you need in your everyday life.

Like a Boss: Business Article Research with Shana Gass
Monday, March 31st  3:30-4:30pm – Cook Library, Room 317
Optimize your article searching to find news, scholarly articles, and other information using the Cook Library business databases.

Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) Citations with Lisa Woznicki
Wednesday, April 9th 4:00-5:30 – Cook Library 317
If you can’t tell the difference between a footnote and a football, this CMS Citation workshop will give you valuable guidance in using this citation style.  The session focuses on the ins and outs of creating footnote/endnote and works cited entries as well as the specifics of CMS paper formatting.

Research To-Go: Using Tablets for Research with Laksamee Putnam & Kim Miller
Thursday, April 24th 3:30-5:00pm – Cook Library, Room 512
This workshop, held in Cook Library’s new iPad-equipped classroom, will highlight tips, tricks, and apps useful for research and academic success. In addition to show-and-tell with some of our favorite productivity apps, attendees will learn more about navigating the library’s resources from mobile devices. iPads will be available for use during the session, but students, faculty, and staff attendees are also encouraged to bring their own devices.

February 3, 2014 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Media Collection Services Have Moved to the 3rd Floor

Beginning this semester, services associated with the Library’s Media Collection will be coordinated through the Circulation Department.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • All media items can now be checked out at the 3rd floor Circulation Desk using a valid TU OneCard.
  • If you wish for us to have a media item held for you at the Circulation Desk, place a request via the Library Catalog or Cook OneSearch (use the “Request” button).
  • Listening and viewing stations are located on the 3rd floor near the Circulation Desk.
  • Headphones are available for checkout at the Circulation Desk using a valid TU OneCard.
  • CDs and LPs are available for checkout by students, faculty, and staff.
  • DVDs and VHS are available for in-house use by students (faculty may check out video materials for up to 3 days).
  • Assistance with the Media Collection is no longer available on the 2nd floor. Please visit the Circulation Desk for assistance.
  • Use Cook Delivers to borrow and return media materials
  • Use the Media Request form to reserve a video for use in your classroom.


Information for faculty

Additional information about Media Collection services for faculty, including classroom use and reserves, is available on the Library’s website.

January 30, 2014 at 10:26 am Leave a comment

Welcome to Spring Semester!

Welcome new and returning students, faculty, and staff! We hope you had a fantastic January so far and we’re glad you stopped by.

We have lots of great resources to help you start the spring semester off right:

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.  We hope you have a fantastic spring semester!

January 27, 2014 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Learn about Islamic Culture at Upcoming Book Discussions


Towson University’s Albert S. Cook Library will host a series of five scholar-led book discussions on Islamic culture on Sundays in February and March at 4pm in Cook Library Room 507.

In the Country of Men: 2/2/2014

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood: 2/9/2014

House of Stone: 2/16/2014

Broken Verses: 2/23/2014

Dreams of Trespass: 3/2/2014

 To register to attend one or more of these sessions and find out how to obtain copies of the books, please contact Joyce Garczynski at or 410-704-5168.

For each of these book discussion you attend, you can enter a drawing to win dinner for two at:

The Helmand Restaurant

806 North Charles St.

Baltimore, Maryland 21201


January 26, 2014 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Join Us for Our Spring 2014 Events!

What do murder in Baltimore, Yellow Wall-Paper, and the Space Shuttle all have in common?

They are all the subjects of Spring 2014 lectures and discussions at Cook Library!

You can download a pdf of the calendar here or below.

Please contact librarian Joyce Garczynski at or 410-704-5168 if you have any questions.


January 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

JSTOR Life Sciences Now Available

indexCook Library has recently added the Life Sciences package to the JSTOR database.

Life Sciences comprises the largest collection of journals in the field sciences, and broad coverage of the health sciences. At more than 160 journals and 8 million pages, the collection is JSTOR’s largest, spanning more than 340 years of science history and research in the sciences. Disciplines include aquatic science, botany, developmental & cell biology, ecology, paleontology, and zoology.

Notable Titles:

  • American Naturalist
  • American Journal of Nursing
  • Journal of Cell Biology
  • Radiation Research
  • British Medical Journal

Visit JSTOR for more information.


January 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Cook Featured in National Video

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), created a video highlighting Cook Library’s implementation of the Muslim Journeys project.

This video includes commentary from Towson University students who participated in An Evening of Islamic Art and Culture at the Walters Art Museum on November 14th and Librarian Joyce Garczynski who is coordinating the project.

View the video on the NEH’s website or below

January 6, 2014 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

Minimester Hours



Jan 2 – Jan 26

Regular Hours

Monday-Thursday……………………………………………..7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Friday……………………………………………………………..7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.




Special Hours

January 20 (Monday) Martin Luther King……………CLOSED

January 23-24 (Thursday – Friday) …………………..8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Jan 25 (Saturday) …………………………………………CLOSED

Jan 26 (Sunday) …………………………………….12 noon – 8 p.m.


Spring Semester Begins Monday, January 27, 2014

When library is closed, you may use the

book drops located outside the front door or near the loading dock to return books.

January 2, 2014 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Take a Brain Break at Cook!

island-coloring-15Need a quick study break?

Stop by the Relax Your Brain Table near the entrance of the 3rd floor of Cook Library!

You can play a game, color a picture, read a magazine and do other fun craft activities.

December 10, 2013 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

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