Internet Archive’s #NationalEmergencyLibrary provides temporary digital access to 1.4M books

(from Internet Archive)

To address the immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million+ books in their lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later. 

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, to ensure that students have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar.

If you have additional questions, please read their FAQ.

How you can help:

  1. Read books, recommend books, and teach using books from the National Emergency Library
  2. Sponsor a book to be digitized and preserved
  3. Endorse this effort institutionally or individually
  4. Share news about the National Emergency Library with your social media followers using #NationalEmergencyLibrary
  5. Donate to the Internet Archive

If you have additional questions, please check out our FAQ or contact Chris Freeland, Director of Open Libraries.

Read the full announcement at: http://blog.archive.org/2020/03/24/announcing-a-national-emergency-library-to-provide-digitized-books-to-students-and-the-public/

Access National Emergency Library here.

The National Emergency Library has also been added to our Database A-Z.

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Library Status Update, 23 March 2020

DATE:            March 23, 2020

TO:                 Wendy Hensel, Provost

                        Deans’ Council

                        Senate Library Committee

FROM:          Jeff A. Steely, Dean of Libraries

SUBJECT:     Library Status Update

The University Library is committed to collaborating with faculty, staff, and students in this transition to online learning. Each year, more than 90% of the dollars spent on collections go toward electronic resources, including online databases, journals, streaming videos, and e‐books. These resources remain available in this crisis. We have also digitized important pieces of our special collections and archives. For many years, library professionals have developed online research guides and tutorials. We have facilitated remote assistance through a chat interface and an FAQ that remains available after hours. As a truly consolidated unit, we have also developed comfort with using tools such as WebEx and Teams to collaborate online. All of this is to say that we are confident in our ability to continue to provide excellent support for teaching, learning, and research in this challenging time.

Most library faculty and staff are now working remotely. No staff are working regularly at either Alpharetta or Decatur. Adhering to CDC guidelines for social distancing and hygiene, a few staff are choosing to continue working at least partial shifts in the other facilities. These team members are providing scanning services or assisting other staff members with acquisition of the technology resources they need to work from home.

We have taken several steps to enhance our ability to serve the GSU community:
 We have retained most of the familiar structure of our home page, library.gsu.edu, but have highlighted a revised set of featured tools to the top of the page.
 We have extended the hours of our chat reference service, beginning 30 March. We will monitor usage to determine if we need to add additional hours.
 For personalized faculty assistance, subject and campus librarians listed at library.gsu.edu/services‐and‐spaces/research‐services/librarians remain the first line of contact. Services include assistance identifying licensed or open instructional resources, providing a library instruction session, or help to request the purchase of e‐books or streaming videos.
 We have compiled a quick guide to tools and resources that may be of particular use for teaching and learning online at research.library.gsu.edu/onlineteaching.
 We have changed all workshops for the semester, including advanced research data services training, to an online format.
 Librarians are available for individual research consultations via web conferencing.
 We are continuing to process GSU interlibrary loan requests for electronic resources and filling requests from other institutions.
 Our copyright expert has updated her guide for using copyrighted material in instruction with specific recommendations when making this sudden change to online learning.
 We have developed a workflow for triaging requests for materials, with first priority going to materials required for instruction. Steps include identifying current online access, seeking to license online access, referral to the appropriate subject or campus librarian to assist in seeking possible alternative resources, and scanning essential print materials for including in an iCollege course. We will continue to adapt this process as the situation unfolds.
 We continue to offer desktop delivery (electronic) of select portions of physical materials to faculty and graduate students.
 We continue to monitor changes in the resources that vendors and other organizations are making available. A couple key partners could open a wealth of new resources in the next week or two. (See the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library as one example)
 We have extended all loan periods for borrowed materials, including books, AV materials, and technology, through the end of the semester. We will waive any fines during this period.

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The Library remains here for you online!

When the physical University Library spaces are closed, the Library remains here for you online! All of the online databases, journals, streaming videos, and e-books the Library subscribes to remain available. The Library’s FAQ provides answers to commonly asked questions, Research Guides continue to provide help with research projects, and library personnel are staffing chat reference to answer specific questions (Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM & Friday: 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM).

Use the Library home page, lib.gsu.edu, as your starting place for online library support. Look for “The Library is ONLINE!” for key links.

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“Teaching with Librarians”: New Series of Talks Focuses on Librarian/Faculty Teaching Collaborations

In March and April, the Library will host four teams of faculty and librarians (and one archivist!) in a series of informal talks about their innovative teaching partnerships. In these Teaching with Librarians” sessions, faculty, graduate student instructors, and library colleagues are invited to attend to learn more about the planning, processes, obstacles, and successes each team has experienced, and to participate in a discussion of lessons learned, techniques developed, and ideas spurred by these presentations.

Each talk will take place in the CURVE on Library South 2 in the downtown Atlanta library. These talks are free, and each session will also be recorded with the link made available after the talk. Light refreshments will also be served. For further details about each session and registration links, see below.

  • Friday, March 13, 11am – 12pm: Using APA PsycINFO and the PICO Framework in Education Instruction, with Denise Dimsdale (Education Librarian) and Dr. Sarah Carlson (Learning Services, College of Education and Human Development), who will discuss how they developed two classroom activities to help students with​ choosing a topic for ​working on annotated bibliography and literature review ​assignments. The first activity involves a unique approach to using the APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms within the APA PsycINFO database to identify available topics, ​and how to narrow down topic searches to obtain a more doable list of results (e.g., using filters). The second classroom activity involves using a modified version of the PICO (Population, Intervention/ Investigation, Comparison, Outcome) framework ​to guide students for narrowing down their topics of interest even further, thinking of how to group their topics of interest into subtopics. Each will be presented with an example and student feedback.
  • Friday, March 27, 1:30pm – 2:30pm: Incorporating Tableau into an Undergraduate History Course, with Joel Glogowski (Nursing, Health Professions, & Data Services Librarian), Kelsey Jordan (Science & Data Services Librarian), and Dr. Jeffrey Young (History)  will discuss their experiences with incorporating Tableau software into an undergraduate History course. The presentation will cover Dr. Young’s curriculum development process, examples of student work, and the library’s role in student success.
  • Friday, April 10, 1:30pm – 2:30pm: Producing Ancillary and Supporting Materials for the OpenStax Sociology Textbook, with Jennie Law (Reference & Instruction Librarian, Perimeter College) and Dr. Kathy Dolan (Sociology, Perimeter College – Clarkston) will discuss their experience with an Affordable Learning Georgia mini-grant to produce ancillary materials for the OpenStax Sociology textbook. Their collaboration created a repository of OER supporting materials which are accessible to faculty and students around the globe.

Sarah Carlson and Denise Dimsdale
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“How happy I was when working for women’s rights”

We recently received a message from Margaret Curtis recounting the strange experience of seeing, for the first time, a thirty year old photo of herself from our collections. Curtis’s email, about the joys of activism and pains of defeat, is a moving reminder of the importance of the lives and stories preserved in our collections. I hope you’ll come out to our upcoming Fighting for Lady Liberty event and exhibit to learn more about the local women who fought to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia. Curtis has graciously allowed us to share her message (below):

I had a surreal experience yesterday. I received a copy of the GSU annual report, which Dan opened first. He showed me a photo and I asked who it was. “You,” he said, and I said that couldn’t be right. I was quite sure that wasn’t me, but I recognized the locket, which I always wore because it had the pictures of our two granddaughters in it.

 I realized that what made the photo so unlike me was that the woman in the photo was obviously very happy. The ERA had not been defeated yet because the bottom of the photo showed that it had been made in 1981. I definitely remembered how happy I was when working for women’s rights and realized I had not been anything like as happy since then. 

I had never seen the photo before so am amazed that you had it in your archives. I felt so grateful to have a look back and to remember the person I used to be, and also to have had the opportunity to do something that was so obviously good for my soul. I guess the defeat of the ERA was a sort of loss of innocence for me. I found it unbelievable that by defeating it, Americans were saying that it is OK to take what a person has a right to away from them on the basis of their gender […]

 Thanks for giving me a trip back in time, when I was having the time of my life. 

With love and gratitude,

Margaret

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Fighting for Lady Liberty Exhibit Showcases Local History and Current Fight for the Equal Rights Amendment

ERA: The Battle’s Not Over [button], circa 1980s

Edit 3/18: This year’s event, “ERA: ABSOLUTELY YES!” will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Women’s Collections at GSU and had been scheduled for April. However, with guidance from the University System of Georgia, the university has announced that campuses will remain closed to students and the public through the semester and all face to face events will be postponed.  Out of an abundance of caution regarding the current coronavirus situation we feel that it’s in everyone’s best interests to postpone the event until the middle of September.

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Collections in GSU’s archives, we’re pleased to feature a special exhibit on the history of the Equal Rights Amendment. This exhibit will present a history of the ERA, with a focus on the fight for ratification in Georgia. On Tuesday, April 14th the exhibit will open with a panel discussing the past and future of the amendment, and we’ll be handing out replicas of vintage ERA buttons that will feature in the exhibit.

To get a better idea of the thinking behind the exhibit we recently spoke with Samantha Harvel, who is working on the exhibit with Michelle Asci, Morna Gerrard, and Hilary Morrish. Harvel brings curiosity, a fresh perspective, and commitment to equality and social justice to this project. She began working in Special Collections as a freshman honors student during her undergraduate degree in History and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. A former Miss Georgia State winner, Harvel is now a graduate student in the History Department, recipient of Our Mother’s Fund award, and enjoys music and baking during the scant free time she has between projects. We’re thrilled to have her back in Special Collections as the primary curator of the ERA exhibit!

Harvel working on the ERA exhibit

What are you working on right now? 

I am working on an exhibit celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Collections at Georgia State University.

What’s the exhibit going to be about? 

It’s about the ERA tracing its creation in 1923 to the present day, but especially focusing on the women who were fighting for it in Georgia.

What is the ERA?

The ERA stands for the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect from discrimination on the basis of sex. It was passed by Congress in 1972, but it hasn’t been ratified by enough states. It specifically mentions sex, which is otherwise not mentioned in the constitution. 

What did you know about the ERA before you started working on the exhibit?

I knew it existed… (laughs). The first I’d heard about it was seeing “Yes ERA” buttons and related imagery associated with historical feminism, but no one ever really explained what it was. I learned some of the background during a screening we had here of a documentary about the amendment, Equal Means Equal. Other than that, I pretty much knew nothing coming into this, so I had to do several weeks of intense research to make sure I had enough background information.  

I think a lot of people don’t know about it. The wild thing is, I was a WGSS minor, so I studied feminism and women’s movements and I still had never heard of this. 

Has the ERA passed in Georgia?

No. It has been voted or pushed down more than four times. I was looking at the papers of GA legislature Cathey Steinberg, one of the primary sponsors of the ERA the second time around, and one of her documents mentioned four times, and that was in the 80s.

Supporters and opposition observe as the Georgia Senate votes on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, Atlanta, Georgia, January 21, 1980.

After your preliminary research, how did the archives shape your understanding of the ERA fight in Georgia?

The first research I did in the archives was listening to oral histories. I felt it was most important to hear what mattered to those women: what things stood out to them enough to talk about it years later, which parts most excited them, which parts were the most frustrating, what do they remember the most. I used that to guide what I decided to talk about in my exhibition panels and which collections I should be looking at. For example, a lot of the women recalled how ridiculous they felt the rhetoric of the other side was. I really wanted to talk about that rhetoric, especially since it’s a lot of the same stuff we’re seeing today.

A lot of women got involved through their churches, which I thought was really cool. Not all of them were these “crazy career, bra-burning feminists” [laughs], but a lot of them were working or stay at home moms and housewives. There was a campaign called Housewives for the ERA.

Were there any specific Oral Histories that made an impact on you?

My favorite is Margaret Curtis. She wrote over 500 letters to the editor to the different Atlanta newspapers. It got to the point where they sent her a letter that said we only accept one letter by an author per week. So she started ghostwriting for other people. All of her friends and family would let her use their names. We’re actually going to be using her typewriter in the exhibit. She’s funny, has a quick wit, a stay at home mom, religious, and was very involved in the fight for the ERA in Georgia.


Letters to the editor, numbers 114-166, 1980-1981

How was the rhetoric of over the fight for the ERA similar to the political rhetoric we hear today?

If you’re familiar with the bathroom bills, that had to do with transgender people, there’s a panic over the idea of gender neutral restrooms or men and women sharing bathrooms in any capacity, based on the bigoted and fundamentally incorrect opinion of people that think trans women are men. A huge thing reiterated in the archival materials is the idea that having the ERA will eliminate separate sex bathrooms, that we will only have coed bathrooms. There’s also women in the draft, which is still brought up to this day. If we have full rights for women should they have to register for the draft? Also, the issue of gay marriage, there was a panic that if the ERA passed it would lead to the allowance of homosexual marriage.

Letter to Cathey Steinberg

So the ERA’s about more than just voting?

It’s protection from any discrimination on the basis of sex. So for jobs, wage was definitely a factor. The equal pay act had been passed but had not been effective. Interestingly though, when the ERA was first introduced, labor movements were against it. Women had just won some protections, but family life was very different at that time. Women who worked outside the home were still primarily housewives, but with a job. They had all these responsibilities, had children, but they didn’t have a lot of legal rights. So many in the labor movement were worried that the ERA might strip away those small wins.

Button stating what women made compared to a dollar made by men

What surprised you as you searched through these primary sources?

The most recent surprising thing to me is how much the rhetoric sounds like crazy internet conspiracy theories (laughs). I was reading an anti-ERA document yesterday where a woman who was the president of the local Eagle Forum, which was a big conservative organization, was warning legislatures that the ERA would allow men and women to attend “heterosexual massage parlors”…it didn’t make any sense. These crazy theories came out, kind of a “fake news” type of thing, that honestly was probably harder to disprove at that time, where someone would send a letter to a legislature that claimed to be an official report about the effects of the ERA but was in fact made up of ridiculous theories. But it was everywhere: in newspapers, in little pamphlets being handed out, in the documents the women in the anti-ERA organizations were sending it to legislatures.

Anti-ERA Flier

Was there anything you found that made you angry?

Something that made me upset yesterday was some very violent anti-Semitic language used towards Cathey Steinberg. Someone sent her very nasty messages written on a newspaper, which she scanned. This kind of goes into the internet conspiracy rhetoric, the person was saying we don’t need a Jewish conspiracy to control our minds and that the ERA was a ploy by Mossad, the intelligence agency in Israel.

It’s also frustrating to me that so many people who opposed the ERA were women. The main driving forces that ran Stop ERA, the major organization dedicated to defeating the ERA ran by Phyllis Schlafly (S.T.O.P. stands for Stop Taking Our Privileges), were affluent and middle class women who viewed this movement as a threat to their privileges. It’s infuriating to see people arguing against their own rights. They would really play into men’s idea of women to get them to reject the amendment. They would make themselves seem weak, even though they’re women running a national organization. I read their guidebooks which dictated they had to dress in a certain way, and sit pretty, and talk in a certain tone so as not to offend the men, and they would bring the men pies and jams… These are strong women that used stereotypes to manipulate powerful men, which is cool but also infuriating.

Editorial by Phyllis Schlafly

A lot of their concerns had to do with traditional “Christian values.” They felt that we were placed on this earth for a very specific role, which is serving our husbands, and we don’t need a constitutional amendment to protect us when that’s what our husbands do. They also were concerned, and to me these were valid (though disproven) concerns, about alimony, and about social security benefits for widows. There were also of course things like homosexual marriage, coed bathrooms, and women in the draft. A frequent topic was “do you want your man sleeping in barracks or sharing a foxhole with a woman?” I recently came across what was supposedly a testimony by a brigadier general, where he stated something to the effect that “Israel only has 3% women involvement in the military, and other countries only have 2%… we have 8% and I think that’s why our military is weak, so do you really want more? I have two daughters and two sons and I can say that I would never want my daughters to have to be around those men and I would never want my sons to have to depend on my daughters.” It was like, wow, what a way to insult your daughters on a nationally distributed pamphlet.

How are you selecting which items to feature at the exhibition? What kind of stories do you want to tell?

The hardest part right now is trying to choose between the great fliers in this collection: do I pick something visually dynamic, a flier with great information, or something specifically about the rally at Sparks Hall that directly connects these issues with students at Georgia State.

Has there been anything particularly heartbreaking to leave out?

Given the space, I would love to have panels on more of the women that have donated their papers on the ERA. Their stories are so interesting and so varied that they would connect with so many different types of people. We include a limited selection of pictures and articles written by these women, but I don’t have the space to fully tell their stories: where they come from, why they did what they did, what they felt when they lost, or if they kept going. That information really humanizes these stories. But it is available to the public and posterity through our collections!

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Get RDS@GSU Data Certified this semester!

The Georgia State University Library’s Research Data Services (RDS) Team offers a wide variety of workshops on data analysis tools & methods, mapping & data visualization, finding data & statistics, and survey design. This Spring 2020 semester the RDS Team is offering 70 workshops — the most offerings we’ve had in a single semester to date. We’re even offering some “Data After Dark” evening workshops this semester to better accommodate campus researchers’ needs.

Why should you attend the Research Data Services (RDS) Team’s data workshops?

Data skills — even just basic data skills — are highly valued by today’s employers — being called “the most lucrative skill[s] to have” and “the most valuable skill[s] you can learn.” So, attending our data workshops will give you a leg up once you’re out there looking for a job.

Best of all, our data workshops are all free.

You may be thinking, “So what if they’re free?” Well, we researched how much workshops on our various topics would cost out in the real-world market, and what we found may make you re-think that “so what” reaction:

  • You could expect to pay $110 on average for a 1.5-hour workshop (the typical length of our workshops).
  • You could pay as low as $61/1.5-hour workshop, or as high as $200/1.5-hour workshop.

In other words, our free workshops are clearly quite a bargain and something you should be taking advantage of while you can…

Need even more incentive to come to our data workshops?

Okay, how about this for an incentive:

You can get RDS@GSU Data Certified!

  • Learn about our various Research Data Services (RDS) workshops on data analysis tools/softwaredata analysis methodsdata visualization and mapping, and finding data.
  • Find RDS workshop listings on the Library Calendar.
    • look for the logo with the GET DATA CERTIFIED seal (see image at top of this post), or
    • filter by: Category = Data Services Workshops.
  • Attend a minimum of five unique RDS workshops in a semester.
    • Workshops do not require registration — the first 25 people who arrive will be able to attend.
    • Attending a Data in the ATL talk *does not* count as a workshop toward the certificate.
  • If you’ve attended a minimum five unique RDS workshops by the end of the semester, you’ll be invited to a ceremony where you can mingle with others committed to getting RDS@GSU Data Certified *and* receive a custom certificate signed by our Dean of Libraries and the Leader of the Research Data Services Team (see example below).

Yes, it’s that easy! And by getting RDS@GSU Data Certified, you demonstrate to potential employers that you are committed to growing the data skills that they look for in hires. Here is what some of the RDS@GSU Data Certificate awardees have said about the experience:

The certificate is a great opportunity to become a more competitive candidate while applying for a job. The workshops were very interactive.

I thought the RDS@GSU Data Certification incentivized my participation in the RDS workshops. The workshops themselves were great and it definitely helped me brush up on prior skills and knowledge.

Certification looks amazing on resumes, I also found what was covered useful to my practice of SAS & SPSS.

It is essential for me as a student majoring in Epidemiology. I will be involved in research, and the only way to answer some of the world’s health problems is making sense out of data. I’m confident this certificate will prove useful for me in getting a job. The entire program is flexible, and the materials are very helpful in understanding the course content.

So, get RDS@GSU Data Certified! 

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Show off your data literacy skills — and win $$$ — at the GSU Undergraduate Get Data Lit! Contest!

Are you a GSU undergraduate student? Do you get annoyed with news/memes/opinions that are not backed up with any data/statistics, or that offer data/statistics that are questionable or misrepresented? Do you get fired up to look for data/statistics to refute what you’re seeing, or to verify it, or to explore it more deeply? If so…

The GSU Undergraduate Get Data Lit! Contest with $$$ prizes is for YOU!

$$$ Prizes $$$

  • 1st place: $100 Amazon gift card
  • 2nd place: $75 Amazon gift card
  • 3rd place: $50 Amazon gift card

Contest in a Nutshell:

  1. Aspiring contestants (GSU undergraduates only) find something they saw via social media/media that makes them want to take a deeper dive into data/statistics/scholarly research related to it.
  2. They find data/statistics/scholarly research sources to dig deeper into the item they picked – for example, sources to refute it, or verify it, or dig deeper into its nuances.
  3. They submit entries, and 10 are selected to compete in the contest.
  4. Contestants give 10-minute presentations on the Library’s CURVE interactWall, followed by 5 minutes of questions from the judges.
  5. Three contestants are awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes of Amazon gift cards, and all contestants are given certificates of participation.

HELP SESSIONS – February 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14, from 11:30am-12:30pm here in CURVE – See example presentations + get one-on-one help for your entry!

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GSU’s Downtown Library gets greener!

There is no doubt that many of you have seen a recent upgrade to the trash and recycling receptacles in the library.  As part of the Library’s sustainability initiatives, we have been working with the Office of Sustainability and students to find ways to make our library more sustainable.  This past fall the Library submitted a proposal to the Sustainability Fee Committee, funded by the $5 sustainability fee, and was approved for $35,000 to replace a majority of single stream bins and trashcans with new tri-stream bins that allow for trash, mixed recycling and glass.  These bins are located throughout the library in the public spaces as well as staff and faculty offices.  The tri-stream bins are located at each elevator bank in both Library North and South as well as the link on each floor. 

Each bin has three slots to sort and separate your waste.  The left hand slot is for anything that cannot be recycled; the middle is for mixed recycling such as plastic, aluminum, and paper; and on the right, you can now recycle your glass bottles and containers. We hope that you will take advantage of these new bins to help GSU meet its sustainability goals and move toward its larger goal of becoming a catalyst for creating a culture of sustainability at GSU.

Coming soon, students will have the opportunity to recycle batteries, small electronics, and ink cartridges as well!  We would love to hear your ideas for making our library more sustainable!  Share your ideas with us at https://library.gsu.edu/about/feedback/

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Graduate Student Creates New Arrangements for Unpublished Johnny Mercer Songs

As part of the Rialto Series, The Georgia State University Library will be hosting a Johnny Mercer Tribute Concert on Friday, February 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm at the Rialto Center for the Arts in downtown Atlanta. South African trumpet player Marco Maritz, who over the past few semesters has been working as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives, has crafted new arrangements for some of Mercer’s unpublished songs. These song ideas exist in the archives as anything from arranger’s lead sheets to undated draft lyrics and musical notation on scraps of note paper and are now being heard by the public for the first time. The vivacious Maritz, who has been known to burst into GSU’s archives early the morning after a late night of playing with local jazz ensembles, shared some insight into working in the Mercer archives to create these new arrangements.

Maritz finalizing his Mercer arrangements

What did you know about Johnny Mercer going into this project?

Maritz: Initially, Kevin (Fleming, GSU’s Popular Music and Culture Archivist) introduced me to Johnny Mercer, I didn’t know who he was at the time. Later on I discovered he was quite a phenomenal vocalist and songwriter and really had an amazing career. This was pop music, it was like the Beyoncé of that day. It resonated with the people of that time period, that’s why [Mercer] did so much commissioned work and was writing so much, because it was in demand. I think he knew exactly what the people wanted to hear. I tried to find things that resonated with me in the songs I selected for this concert.

Song 1: Be Happy

Maritz: The melody reminded me of the song ‘Bare Necessities’ (laughs), and the lyrics sound very similar to something that Dr. Seuss might have written. For this song the lyrics weren’t complete. For the B section, I had to work out how to let it flow more smoothly and also the melodies… I had an idea of what to go off of but I altered it a little bit and added my own chords to this arrangement.

How do you write lyrics like Johnny Mercer?

Maritz: I altered lyrics to see what would work the best. On the original sheet there was an idea, a few options from which to choose… there were a couple of different alternative lyrics I could have used from the B sections but it didn’t fit very well. Kevin also helped to see what would work to smooth it out.
Fleming: We looked at other songs in The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer book that dealt with being happy. The main thing was to fit the music. It’s not necessarily writing new lyrics, it’s just kind of modifying a bit. I look at it as Mercer might have done the same thing once he got to the stage of applying the music to the lyrics, so I don’t see it being too far fetched from what Mercer might have done.
Maritz: Like the B section, there’s a part where it says, ‘Don’t be a grumble grouch/ because your shoulders will slouch/ and you’ll end up in a psychiatric couch.” In that sentence alone you can see there’s a lot of flow-iness. To put it into a musical context, the B section in jazz is usually between six and eight bars and what was there didn’t really fit, so we spent time to see how we could make it work and we changed little things. I think that’s probably why it wasn’t published. The A section was perfect, it’s really smooth, the B section was the hard part. What I decided to do on the arrangement specifically, I wanted the band to be a part of this journey… this song is a very positive song, it’s about being happy. We’re going to end the concert with this song to send that message out. I decided to use some techniques to let the band sing, like in the old days band members, usually horn players, sing naturally with the band, these call and response figures, but in big band you don’t see it too often. So there’s an interaction of the band itself and the audience. This is also a duet song. The two artists Joe [Gransden] and Tierney [Sutton] will play off each other by alternating the melody.

Song 2: You Knock Me Out

Maritz: With this one, I just liked the melody, it was very cheesy. Jazz songs always end up being love songs or sad songs, but I thought it would be nice to put in a cheesy one. For this one I altered the melody and wrote a big sax solo, which was my biggest joy. It kind of reminds me of Count Basie’s version of “All of Me”… where the sax’s are really playing laid back, so I thought let me put something like that into context with this piece. I like that big vibrato sound you can get out of the sax and I thought with this tempo… it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book that will work just fine.

Song 3: Fate Moves in Mysterious Ways

Maritz: This was already published but not arranged for big band. This is the only one I have a recording of him singing it. I decided it to turn into a ballad for Tierney Sutton. The lyrics on this one “Fate moves in mysterious ways/ its wonders to perform/ fate chooses its oddest of days/ to turn from cold to warm.” It has a nice flow, the ballad will fit into the concert quite nicely. The only thing I did that was different, I added a section where the sax’s give a statement and then the melody goes over to the trumpets and trombones. This is a more modern arrangement than the old school style.

How did working in the archives affect your arrangements?

Maritz: This project has taught me so much more than arranging things, it taught me to focus on the artist specifically and see his creativity level over his time period and to put it into my own writing style. I’ve learned so much… I think my perspective has changed a lot. I would have never imagined I’d be here two years ago. I’m very thankful to the Johnny Mercer Foundation for giving this platform to students to explore and having the freedom to do so.

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