A year of special programming about climate change, now underway at Mann Library, is highlighting faculty work and student opportunities in this critical area of study.
Next week, the library will host a talk by Matt Pritchard, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Engineering, about glacial change in Alaska and Greenland. The lecture, “Glacier Change in Greenland and Alaska Since the Pioneering Cornell Expeditions Led by R.S. Tarr,” is Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 4 p.m. in 160 Mann Library. It is open to the public.
Pritchard will draw on century-old photographs from Cornell professor R.S. Tarr’s expeditions to Alaska, in collections being digitized at Cornell University Library through the College of Arts and Sciences’ Grants Program for Digital Collections. The talk will open the new Mann Gallery exhibit “Historic Ice,” featuring some of the expeditions’ photographs on display through January 2016.
The library’s dual roles – in helping to digitize these images and hosting an interdisciplinary event making use of them – inspired Mann Library’s first-ever yearlong themed series.
“The library is the perfect place for a cross-disciplinary communication of ideas,” said Eveline Ferretti, public programs administrator at Mann. “We’re not just a repository, but a place where knowledge is created and exchanged. The spirit of this program is to work with faculty to spotlight their work on climate change and help promote a discussion.”
The first events in the series, an exhibit of photographs and a public lecture by environmental photojournalist Gary Braasch in October, was co-sponsored by Cornell Plantations, the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the Department of Development Sociology.
Mann Library users recently voted on which two of Braasch’s displayed photographs – depicting people working creatively to help fight climate change – the library should purchase for its permanent collection.
“We’re trying to show that things can be done – it’s a dire situation, but it is not hopeless, and action is needed. As part of a community of scholars, you have the opportunity to effect change,” said Jenny Leijonhufvud, instruction and outreach specialist at Mann.
Next semester’s events are expected to include an interactive display of videos showing how New York state farmers are experiencing and responding to climate change, assembled by the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture directed by Allison Chatrchyan; and a talk by Toby Ault, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, about the impact of drought and mega-droughts.
Melanie Lefkowitz is a staff writer and editor at Cornell University Library.