The Celebration of Purim

Hamentashen, a traditional Purim sweet (CC image by Rebecca Slegel)
Hamantaschen, a traditional Purim sweet (CC image by Rebecca Slegel)

The observation of Purim begins the evening of February 28th through March 1st.

Purim is a holiday that represents a tangible victory over an enemy. Many things are done to commemorate this victory. The Book of Esther is read both on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. People go around in costume to show their happiness, a festive meal is eaten, and charity is given to help those who otherwise couldn’t celebrate this occasion. People give out packages of food to friends (usually in the form of a dessert) to celebrate camaraderie.

For more on the history and celebration of this holiday, see “Who is that masked man?” Happy Purim!

Contributed by: Edward Shabes, Library Assistant, Midtown


(Originally posted in 2016)

Using Images on Blogs and Social Media (or: Pictures on the Internet Aren’t Copyrighted, Right?)

So you’ve written a blog post (or want to make a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post). You’re proud of the writing, any external information you referenced is properly sourced, and you’re feeling good about posting it for all the world to see. But first, you want pictures to illustrate your excellent prose. Just go to Google, right? After all, if it’s on the internet, it’s free for all to use!

Copyright symbol held by a person
Copyright symbol. Public domain image from user 3dman_eu onPixabay.

Well….nope. Most pictures you find on the Web are, in fact, under copyright! It doesn’t matter if they don’t have that little © somewhere on them – they are still copyrighted the moment they are created. What does that mean for you? It means that, without the copyright holder’s permission, you can’t just take something you found on one internet site and stick it into your blog post. This is a violation of copyright, and something that could potentially get you into legal trouble.

“What about fair use?”, you cry. “My blog post is educational!” That’s great, but it’s not quite enough. It’s possible that under the principles of fair use, you would be able to use copyrighted images. Take a look at each and weigh whether you think your use falls under these fair use guidelines from the U. S. Copyright Office:

  1. Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. Nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
  4. Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Fair use is kind of vague, so just because you think your work falls under it doesn’t mean that the copyright holder does.

Man wagging his finger in disapproval
Image by Ahd Photography on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 (

Say that you’ve determined your use of images in your blog post is not quite fair use, so you can’t actually put them in your blog post. What can you do? There are plenty of public domain (that means NOT under copyright) and Creative-Commons licensed images (that means you can use the image, without permission,  as long as you attribute the source and link to the license, and maybe a couple of other restrictions if you’re a commercial entity or want to make modifications) out there!

Man holding both hands in air on mountain
Imagine the freedom you’ll feel not worrying whether you’re violating copyright! (Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash)

Here are some websites that have these kinds of images:

You can also search by Usage Rights on the Advanced Search of Google Images.

There are so many places to get licensed and (truly) free images, there’s no need to pull copyrighted images off of random websites and possibly get yourself in trouble.

Just a note about this post: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.


U. S. Copyright Office (n. d.). Copyright in general. Retrieved from

U. S. Copyright Office (n. d.). More information on fair use. Retrieved from


Contributed by Carrie Levinson, Scholarly Communications Librarian, Midtown


Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Lunar New Year!

The Lunar New Year, or “Chinese New Year” falls this year on Friday, February 16th, 2018. Traditionally, this holiday marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated throughout the course of a week or longer ending with the Lantern Festival.  This year it starts from 2/16 to 3/2, 2018 and it is the year of the dog. Those born under the dog are considered “communicative, serious and responsible in work”.  During the holiday families clean their homes and gather for festive meals and revelry. Learn more about Spring Festival traditions by reading another of our blog posts in Celebrating the Lunar New Year.


Staff Profiles: Heather Hilton

Bay Shore Librarian Heather Hilton

As a Long Island native, it is an honor to work for Touro College School of Health Sciences in Bay Shore NY. Being afforded the opportunity to interact with all of the aspiring professionals and assist them in their research as a librarian fills me with joy.

I became interested in the field of Library and Information Science when I returned to Stony Brook University to earn my Bachelors of Arts in Humanities as an adult student. I learned that I love information and assisting others in locating their own resources. As an undergraduate student, I was allowed to take two graduate level courses in Library Science and these cemented my love of the field and strengthened my resolve to continue my education.  Attending Queens College in Flushing I earned my Masters of Library Science.

Continue reading

Vilna Discovery: Planning a Workshop

On the 8th of January 2018, the Association for Jewish Libraries’ New York chapter, NYMA (AJL-NYMA), held its annual Reference Workshop on the Vilna Discovery of lost Jewish documents at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Front entrance of YIVO by Gryffindor – This panoramic image was created with Autostitch. Stitched images may differ from reality., Public Domain.


As a Judaica Librarian I have been attending these workshops for years, but this one was special. It was the first one I helped put together as Reference Workshop Co-coordinator for AJL-NYMA. I accepted the position shortly after the AJL annual conference last year and naturally had no idea what I was going to do or how to do it! Continue reading

Which Way to the Bookstore? Contains new and updated information.


If I had a nickel for every time a student walked into the Midtown library expecting to buy a textbook, I’d have a pocketful of change. Why do they come to this place, where shelves are lined with so many books, yet I cannot sell them a single one? Doesn’t that sound like a bibliophile’s bad riddle? (OK. Here’s one. What do you get when a librarian tosses a billion books into the ocean? …A title wave!) No seriously, where is the bookstore? Continue reading

Super Bowl 52 – An Informal American Holiday


The “big game” has turned into an annual event for many Americans.  Super Bowl Sunday, for some time now, is not just about a football game.  It’s about the two cities and teams involved, the pre-game festivities, the food, the commercials, the half-time show, the post-game, and, of course, the house cleaning when the party ends.

Here are some topics that will keep any fan (or non-fan) entertained leading up to, during, and after the game.  Which category do you fall under? Continue reading