New in the Birnbaum Library

Over the summer, the Birnbaum Library underwent the following renovations:

The Collaboration Theatre moved to a new location at the top of the stairs on the second floor.

New Group Areas:

We created space on the east side of the second floor of the library to accommodate approximately 100 more seats. This was accomplished by weeding and consolidating the collection, removing stacks and relocating microfilm cabinets. The area was re-carpeted, and furniture from the student union was relocated.


All new outlets were installed on the second floor of the library in the new group study areas and along the outer walls by the windows. Altogether 544 outlets and USB charger were installed (272 electrical outlets and 272 USB ports).

New in the Mortola Library

This summer has been a  busy time in the Mortola Library making improvements for the start of the Fall 2017 semester.  As a part of the new Campus Wellness Initiative, we are making three FitDesks available so that students can keep active while studying.  We will also be increasing the therapy dog visits to every other week during the semester instead of just at the end of the semester.  During 24/7 exam time in December, the library will have cots available as napping stations to help improve sleep options for students.  In terms of the library building itself, new blinds were installed during the summer along with and new computer chairs.  Utilizing previously collected space use data, the library also created two new computer collaboration stations for small group work and added a large collaboration table that will seat 8 people.  We’re excited to have everyone back and look forward to a great 2017-18 academic year!

March Events in the Birnbaum Library

To commemorate Women’s History Month, join us in the Birnbaum Library Fishbowl during common hour (3:25-4:25) on Thursday, March 23 as comics creator Elvis Bakitis discusses their work in the independent zine Homos in Herstory and offers an interactive zine-making workshop. On the following Thursday, March 30, join us for a common hour film screening of The Beauty Myth: The Culture of Beauty, Psychology and the Self with Naomi Wolf.

Dr. Edward J. Mortola Centennial

This year marks the centennial of the birth of Dr. Edward J. Mortola, Pace’s third president and only university chancellor, who was born on February 5, 1917.

Dr. Mortola gained international recognition during his years of leadership at Pace, a period of phenomenal academic and physical growth. He came to Pace in 1947, recruited by President Robert S. Pace, son of founder and first President Homer St. Clair Pace.

Born in New York City, Dr. Mortola received a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in 1938, majoring in mathematics; a master’s degree in education in 1941; and a Ph.D. in education in 1946. Prior to joining Pace, he served as a graduate fellow (1938-1939) and assistant registrar (1939-1941) at Fordham University’s School of Education; a mathematics instructor at The Cooper Union and at Townsend Harris High School (1941-1942); and as assistant registrar and registrar at Fordham, and part-time faculty member at St. Peter’s College (1946-1947).

During World War II, Dr. Mortola entered the U.S. Navy as an Ensign and taught at the Midshipman’s School at Columbia University. He also served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C., and during his last year of service was director of the Registration Division of the U.S. Armed Forces Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. He attained the rank of Commander before returning to civilian life.

Dr. Mortola was then recruited by Dr. Robert Pace, joining Pace as assistant dean in 1947. He served, successively, as dean (1949), provost (195-54) and vice-president (1954-60), before being appointed to succeed Dr. Pace as president in December 1960. His inauguration on January 19, 1961 took place one day before that of President John F. Kennedy.

Dr. Mortola led Pace during its greatest period of academic and physical expansion, vastly increasing its size and scope. In 1984 he retired as president and was named chancellor. He remained chief executive officer of Pace until February 1987, when, upon reaching his 70th birthday, he became Pace University Chancellor, a position created just for him by the Board of Trustees. He retired completely from Pace in 1990 and enjoyed more than a decade of retirement before passing away on October 22, 2002.

Just prior to retirement, Dr. Mortola was interviewed for Pace Magazine. He looked back on his years at Pace as follows: “The job never failed to be thoroughly enjoyable; indeed, it has been fun. The constant change, growth and development of the University and its people have provided the stimulus to devote my life fully to Pace. These have been good years at Pace and good years for me, as I have seen so many staff, faculty and alumni chalk up such remarkable achievements. My tenure at Pace has been one in which many people have shared in bringing Pace forward, a tenure in which remarkable loyalty and support have always been present.”

The Edward and Doris Mortola Library on the Pleasantville campus and the Mortola Courtyard on the New York Campus were both named in his honor. A centennial celebration is to be held at the Mortola Library on February

Corporate Reports Collection

Did you know that the Birnbaum Library has a large collection of corporate reports (Annual Reports, 10K, etc.) in both paper and microfiche? The collection, which includes filings by Bear Stearns and Enron among many other companies, should appeal to anyone doing historical company research. For more information, visit the reference desk or our online research guide.


Fake News vs. Real News Workshop

Got questions about how to tell real news from fake? Come to a short workshop at the Birnbaum Library to learn about the fake news trend. We’ll go over tips to help you develop your news analysis skills. Don’t get duped! Wednesday, December 7, 12:30-1pm, E101 computer lab. Contact Sarah Cohn, with questions.


Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on November 20 as a way in which to commemorate people who have been murdered as a result of transphobia. To learn more about the transgender community, take a look at the displays on the second floor of the Birnbaum Library; check out some of our new books on trans issues; and remember that the LGBTQA & Social Justice Center has additional educational, health and community resources, including a lending library.

Gender Failure by [Coyote, Ivan, Spoon, Rae]A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High by [Corbett, Ken]

Homer S. Pace, Keeper of the Books

The Pace Study is located on the 16th floor of 41 Park Row, a landmark building built in 1854 and extensively renovated in 1888 that served as the original home of the New York Times and was purchased by Pace College in 1951. The Study served as the office of Robert S. Pace, Pace’s second president and son of co-founder Homer S. Pace. Today it is used for small meetings of special significance to the University. The Study’s many valuable books and objects reflect the varied interests of Homer Pace, an accountant by vocation and a collector by avocation.

Homer loved to travel, as is evident from his choice of books. The Study collection contains a number of geographies and books of travel and exploration. Among the geographies are a 1681 German-language geography of Asia, a 17th century Dutch-language geography, Mallet’s Histoire de l’Univers, dating from 1686-86, and a universal geography in Latin dating from 1697. The books of travel are an excellent contemporary history of the age of exploration, with many volumes dating from the Golden Age of the 17th century. Among these are Dampier’s Voyages, 1698-1705, Hawkesworth’s (Capt. Cook’s) Account of Voyages, published in 1773, and Alexander Hamilton’s New Account of the East Indies, 1732.  In tribute to these adventurous men, engravings of four famous explorers, Cordoba, Mendoza, Columbus and Magellan, hang in the Study.

Homer’s collection of rare books reflects his life-long fascination with words. Included are several historic examples of lexicography, among them: Huleots Dictionarie by John Higgins, the oldest volume in the collection, dating from 1572; John Harris’ Lexicon Technicum; Nathan Bailey’s An Universal Etymological English Dictionary, published in 1721; two early editions of A Dictionary of the English Language, by Samuel Johnson, considered the greatest English dictionary of the 18th century; a complete 21-volume set of A New English Dictionary of Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), “the emperor of dictionaries,” in the words of H.L. Mencken; and a ten-volume 1906 edition of The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, considered by many lexicographers to be America’s greatest contribution to the field of dictionaries.

Thanks to archivist Ellen Sowchek for providing the information and the photograph of Robert S. Pace in the Pace Study.



The Curious Case of the Missing Trump Books

You may have noticed that in the weeks leading up the 2016 Presidential Election, the Birnbaum Library has displayed books by and about the leading candidates, political parties and the electoral process. Our core values include democracy, diversity, intellectual freedom, and social responsibility[i]. Therefore, our goal in selecting material was to be as balanced and impartial as possible and to encourage students to take seriously their rights as citizens. When shortly after the display went up two books attributed to Donald Trump were turned backside-front so that his familiar pout no longer greeted onlookers, we respected the freedom of expression exercised by the anonymous culprit. However, when a few days later the Trump books disappeared altogether, we were reminded of recent incidences of college students demanding censorship[ii]. As we conclude our fruitless search for the missing books, we are left with no choice but to reorder them. The unintended consequence of an act of vandalism and suppression of speech: more royalties for Donald Trump.