GETTING STARTED AT THE GC: A GUIDE FOR NEW STUDENTS

The following guide was compiled by the 2021-2022 Student Reps as a way of helping incoming students get acclimated to life at the GC.

1. Access to Libraries and Workspaces: Where to work in the city and how to access the scholarship you need for your research:

Mina Rees Library at the Graduate Center: first door on the right when you enter the GC building and online at https://library.gc.cuny.edu. Some things to know:
ILL: Interlibrary Loan is an amazing resource for requesting scans of book chapters (up to two chapters per book) and journal articles not available through CUNY. You fill out a form and will receive an email once the requested scan is available for download. During non-COVID times, you can order physical books from other libraries, which are then shipped to the GC. Currently, the Library is offering an ebook search service to help fill this gap in service; you’ll need to fill out the form here. ILL can be accessed from the main Mina Rees Library homepage under “Services.”
Subject librarians: Subject librarians are a great resource for field-specific research advice or putting in requests for books to buy. Here is a directory of subject librarians at the GC. Unfortunately, Alycia Sellie, the subject librarian for art history, is on sabbatical for the 2021–22 academic year. The interim email for any questions is: ref@gc.cuny.edu. 

The VRC: Study space in the Art History department on the third floor of the GC, around the corner from the main office
Some students prefer this space to the Library. There are open-access computers and printers as well as a reference collection of books and magazines. There are also shelf spaces you can reserve in the VRC. If you are interested, please email the student reps at: gcarthistoryreps@gmail.com.

NYPL: The NYPL has various branches across NYC
Stephen A. Schwarzmann Building: Flagship location, also closest to the GC. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs (Room 300, on the left end of the Rose Main Reading Room) contains many non-circulating materials on art and architecture.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center: located on the grounds of Lincoln Center, has all materials related to performance and dance, and some nice study spaces.
Even if you don’t think you’ll want or need to visit an NYPL branch in person, obtaining a library card will allow you access to all their online research databases, which in many cases are much more generous than those offered by Mina Rees. Apply for your library card online.

MaRLI Card: This is a program that grantson-site access and borrowing privileges to NYU and Columbia libraries. (Further information and email to apply is here) The application process is lengthy and complicated, and you must demonstrate a specific need for materials in either NYU’s or Columbia’s library. The best trick is to find around five books related to your current research needs at either NYU and Columbia that aren’t in the collections at the GC or NYPL, and make a case based on this list. Very niche subjects and material in languages other than English are usually your best bet.

Museum study spaces:
Thomas J. Watson Library at The Met: open for researchers beginning September 7. To register online as a researcher, use this form
The Museum of Modern Art Library is currently closed to the public and not scheduling research appointments at this time

2. Catalogues and databases:

Mina Rees (https://library.gc.cuny.edu): is extremely limited, even for PDFs and ebooks. Unchecking the filter “Books” and “Book Chapters” when reviewing search results does help.

NYPL (https://www.nypl.org): much more comprehensive access to databases and online journals

WorldCat (https://www.worldcat.org): shows you locations of a book anywhere in the world, great for ordering physical books through the ILL once this service resumes

Hathi Trust (https://www.hathitrust.org): currently both the GC and NYPL offer cardholders emergency access services to scanned books in Hathi Trust’s collection; you’ll need to login from the homepage.

Internet Archive

BNF

Documents of Latin American and Latino Art (ICAA)

MoMA and The Met make many of their exhibition catalogues available online

Getty Virtual Library

Academia.edu: Sometimes authors post full PDFs of their books and journal articles there

3. Citations Engines

Zotero: free and easy to use. You can store all your references in here, and it will even automatically generate citations for you if you have the book’s ISBN or a DOI for the article. Use this from the beginning, and you will thank yourself later

4. Access to Museums with CUNY ID:
Free access to the following museums with CUNY ID:

  • The Frick Collection
  • The Whitney Museum of American Art
  • El Museo del Barrio
  • MoMA
  • And more, see here: https://www1.cuny.edu/sites/cuny-arts/free-access/

5. CUNY Zoom and Dropbox accounts:
CUNY provides access to business accounts for Zoom and Dropbox. 

To login to your account, click SSO login and then enter “cuny” as your domain. This will then redirect you to a CUNY login page. Use your login email (this is different from your graduate center email!), which looks something like this: firstname.lastname12@login.cuny.edu. The numbers are the last two digits of your CUNY Empl ID. 

Top tip: Collect all your CUNY passwords and login information in one document. There are about five different combinations you need for CUNYfirst, Blackboard, your email, the Library, etc., and you need to change your passwords every few months.

6. Free Printing at the GC

Free unlimited printing from computers in the student lounge and in VRC: login with your CUNY credentials. The printers should be automatically connected.

Free unlimited printing in Mina Rees Library: The Library has office-style printers that easily print large quantities. It’s easiest to print from the computers there by either emailing your files to yourself or transferring them on a USB, and select the first printer that shows up. Or you can directly upload files to this website, but it is less reliable. Then log on to one of the many computers in the circular desk area by the printers and release the documents from there.

There’s also a great KIC scanner in the printing area, which is good for quickly scanning large portions of books.

7. The Graduate Center Building

There’s a cafe at the bottom of the building and a canteen on the eighth floor. They are not open during COVID, but they serve excellent (!) and cheap food for lunch.

Administrative offices (Bursar, Registrar, Student Affairs) are mostly on the eighth floor. It is worthwhile stopping by in person to clarify any pressing issues.

8. International Students
Make sure to check in with the International Student Office on the seventh floor or via email to:

Get your I-20 signed before you travel (very important!)

Get your I-94 checked every time you re-enter the country

Make sure they have all up-to-date documents (passport, visa, other immigration things) on file

For any specific questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch directly with Flora at fbrandl@gradcenter.cuny.edu.