October is here!


When October looms on the horizons of your calendar, it may conjure images of jack-o-lanterns or the costumes you might wear for Halloween; you might be inspired to research some of the historical details of Columbus Day; or you might look forward (with delight or dread) the beginning of the pumpkin-spice season. For these reasons and so many more, Copley Library is the place to be this month.

Did you know that October is Information Literacy Awareness Month? Proclaimed by President Barack Obama in 2009, this month is an opportunity to highlight some of the best work of librarians: assisting people in navigating the sometimes very complex landscape of the information age. In his proclamation, President Obama focused on the need to evaluate information, especially as we are inundated from all sides with myriad opinions and perspectives. (You can find the full proclamation on the White House site)

October is also Theological Libraries Month, initiated by the American Theological Library Association to celebrate the libraries and librarians who support theological and religious studies research. You’ll find that religion is a theme that comes up repeatedly in October.

Here, then, are some suggestions (and tips for finding more) to put your information literacy skills in action and find some great sources for the month, religious and not!

For costumes, start with some research. The Complete Costume Dictionary can help with the basics, and offers some tremendous images.The Costume Technician’s Handbook presents more details about the construction of costumes.



Transition your costume research into knowledge about the history of the Americas, and the historical events marked by the Columbus Day holiday. If you’re interested in Christopher Columbus, the man, we look for primary sources associated with Christopher Columbus and his voyages, such as: Select letters of Christopher Columbus, with other original documents, relating to his four voyages to the New World, edited by R.H. Major, and the Journal of Christopher Columbus (during his first voyage, 1492-93): and documents relating to the voyages of John Cabon and Gaspar Corte Real, edited by Clements R. Markham.


1493: Uncovering the new world Columbus created examines the ramifications of Columbus’ voyages for commerce, agriculture, ecology, and more, the world over.


If you’re interested in images – of Columbus, pumpkins, costumes, or anything else October inspires – check out the ArtStor database. (The non-book images on this post are from ArtStor!)

So visit Copley as you plan fall festivities. Develop your Halloween costume with pinpoint accuracy; investigate the history and short- and long-term effects of Christopher Columbus’ voyage; and use our databases to search for images.



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