The Bercu Sisters

Dorothy and Harryette Bercu were sisters and Vaudeville performers across the West during the 1920s and 1930s. An exhibit featuring several of their Vaudeville props is on display now!

The Bercu Sisters












Harryette Bercu

Dorothy Bercu 




Their acts involved acrobatics, contortion, Mexican style dances, and tap dancing, and they often performed wearing extravagant costumes.








Vaudeville was a popular form of variety entertainment show in the United States from the 1890s through the 1930s.










Performances were typically lighthearted, comedic, and included numerous unrelated acts. Many early well-known American Hollywood stars worked in vaudeville, including Judy Garland and Bob Hope, and a number of the early performers, including the Bercu Sisters, were Jewish.

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The vaudevillian uncle, Ima Mistachkin



To learn more about the Bercu Sisters and see some of their Vaudeville props, visit the Anderson Academic Commons Main Floor!









Vaudeville Poster

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Fall Quarter 2018 – Finals Week

finals blog header

Keep your head up, DU! The fall quarter is almost finished and the library is here to support you during these stressful times. Check out some of the things we’re doing during Week 10 and Finals Week.


Changing Library Hours

Starting on November 12, AAC will be open 24 hours to give you more time to study. The building will open on November 12 at 7 a.m., and remain open until the regular close of business on November 19 (technically, 2:00 a.m. on November 20).

Stress Relief (November 14)

On November 14, University Libraries and the Health and Counseling Center are hosting a Stress Relief Event in the Anderson Academic Commons room 290 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will have therapy dogs, massage therapists, aromatherapy, crafts, and snacks.

Midnight Coffee (November 15-16)

Get your caffeine buzz on November 15 and 16 from 8 p.m. to midnight at AAC. The Front Porch Cafe will serve free drip coffee during those times to keep your study sessions going.

Zero Waste Finals (November 12-16)

Zero Waste Finals at the AAC will be November 12-16, and we’re aiming to achieve a high diversion rate!  What does that mean?  It means that the library is hoping to divert as much as possible of the building’s compostable and recyclable waste from the landfill.  Will you help us achieve our goal? The Zero Waste Finals table will be open on November 12, 14, and 16 from 11am-12pm, and on November 13 and 15 from 2-3pm.

Posted in News & Events

DU Art Professor adds to Beck Collections

University of Denver Associate Professor of Studio Art – Painting, Deborah Howard, recently donated her “Portrait Project: Child Survivors of the Holocaust” to the permanent collection of the Ira M. and Peryl Hayutin Beck Memorial Archives.  The project involved drawing 25 survivors of the Holocaust.  Four of the drawings are housed in the collection at Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel.  The remaining 21 drawings as well as study materials, photographs, and other associated artworks are now part of the Beck Archives.  The collection is significant not only for preserving the work of a DU faculty member and Jewish artist, but also as an educational tool. University courses studying the Holocaust and World War II, immigration, and sociology can all benefit from this collection.  The collection is slated for exhibit in the Anderson Academic Commons for April 1-June 30, 2019 and will coincide with Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, on May 2, 2019.

To view the collection record and finding aid please visit Deborah Howard’s Holocaust Portraits and Papers.


Yakov Neyman was a Holocaust survivor and a beloved member of the DU community. He owned and operated a hot dog cart on the DU campus from 2001 until his death in 2012.


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Open Access Week at AAC – October 22-28, 2018

OA Week banner

Open Access Week is an annual scholarly communication event focusing on raising awareness about the costs and limitations of the current publishing environment, and teaching instructors, students, and academics about education resource alternatives. Anderson Academic Commons will be hosting four events during Open Access Week to inform the DU community and start the conversation here. Read below for a schedule of events open to students, staff, faculty, instructors, researchers, alumni, and the DU community at large. Visit for more information about the international movement.

Please click here to register for these events. Food will be served.

Monday October 22, 6-8pm: Paywall: The Business of Scholarship film screening and panel discussion; Special Events Room AAC 290

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship explores the current publishing model and need for open access to research and science. Academic publishing has become a $25.2 billion industry where academic publishers are reaping the rewards and the profit. This film will be followed by a panel discussion of faculty and interested parties to connect the film’s goal with how we do research here at DU and in Colorado. Dinner will be provided.

Tuesday October 23, 4-6pm: OER Basics Workshop; The Loft AAC 340

Open educational resources: Not just “free, as in food,” but also “freedom, as in academic.”

Open educational resources [OER] are textbooks, worksheets, test banks, etc., released under a license which allows free distribution and modification.  Here “free” means not only “zero cost” — as in “free food” — but also “not subject to the control of others” — as in “academic freedom.”  OER can thus have real consequences for social justice, as we use them to shield students from today’s insanely overpriced commercial textbooks, while also enhancing faculty members’ academic freedom in the classroom and enabling [encouraging!] innovative pedagogy.  All of this freedom would be rather useless unless there were a large and thriving ecosystem of OER and tools to work with them — which there is, as we shall discuss.

The first half of this workshop will be led by Jonathan Poritz, Associate Professor of Mathematics at CSU Pueblo and the Chair of the Colorado OER Council. The second half of the workshop will be led by Meg Eastwood, focusing on finding OER in your subject area and gauging their quality.

Thursday, October 25, 3-4pm: Creative Commons Workshop; The Loft AAC 340

Creative Commons is a set of open licenses that allow creators to share their works legally and freely. “Creative Commons began in response to an outdated global copyright legal system. CC licenses are built on copyright and are designed to give more options to creators who want to share. Over time, the role and value of Creative Commons has expanded” (Creative Commons). Learn more about CC including how to earn the CC Certificate.

Thursday October 25, 4-5pm: Assignment Remix; The Loft AAC 340

Get rid of the “disposable” assignment and create something new with your students. Open pedagogy encourages remixing and revising assignments that can be used to help current students as well as future students This workshop will explore what open pedagogy can look like in your classroom. Instructors are encouraged to bring an assignment they would like to remix and revise to make it open.

Register here. Contact Elia Trucks,, with any questions or concerns.

Posted in News & Events

Banned Books Week 2018: September 23 – 29


Each year, libraries and bibliophiles everywhere observe Banned Books Week and celebrate the freedom to read. Books are constantly challenged for presenting controversial, unorthodox, or unpopular elements, and the book community comes together annually to fight censorship and protect intellectual freedom.

The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom publishes a Top 10 list of the most-challenged books each year. The 2017 list can be found below, with links to each title that the University of Denver currently has in our collection. Celebrate your freedom to read and check one out this week!

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
    Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
    Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
  3. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”
  4. The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
    This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
  5. George written by Alex Gino
    Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.
  6. Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
    This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
  8. The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
    Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.
  9. And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
    Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.
  10. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

Find out more about Banned Books Week at the Official Banned Books Week ALA website. Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.

Posted in News & Events

Spring Quarter – Week 10 and Finals

spring quarter finals digisign(1)

Stay cool during finals, DU! Spring quarter is coming to an end and we at the Anderson Academic Commons are here to help you be successful. Don’t stress about finals, we’ve got you covered.

Changing Library Hours

Starting on June 1, AAC will be open 24 hours to give you more time to study. The building will open on June 1 at 10 a.m., and remain open until the regular close of business on Thursday June 7 (technically, 2:00 a.m. on June 8).

Stress Relief (May 30)

On May 30, University Libraries and the Health and Counseling Center are hosting a Stress Relief Event in the Anderson Academic Commons room 290 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will have therapy dogs, massage therapists, aromatherapy, crafts, and snacks.

Midnight Coffee (June 3-4)

Get your caffeine buzz on June 3 and 4 from 8 p.m. to midnight at AAC. The Front Porch Cafe will serve free drip coffee during those times to keep your study sessions going.

Zero Waste Finals (May 30-June 5)

Zero Waste Finals at the AAC will be May 30 through June 5, and we’re aiming to achieve a high diversion rate!  What does that mean?  It means that the library is hoping to divert as much as possible of the building’s compostable and recyclable waste from the landfill.  Will you help us achieve our goal? More details including specific hours will be updated here.

Posted in News & Events

Big data is watching you – “Choose Privacy Week” helps you understand what you can do about it


By Meg Eastwood, Science and Engineering Reference Librarian

Big data wants your data – how do they get it? If you’re using a service that’s freely available on the web, YOU and your data are the product used to make money and stay in business[1]. Librarians chose the theme “Big Data is Watching You” for this year’s Choose Privacy Week (May 1st – 7th, 2018) over five months ago, but the recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica story makes this year’s theme even more timely. In a nutshell, the Cambridge Analytica story began with a personality quiz on Facebook – if you took the quiz, you gave an app called “This Is Your Digital Life” permission to access to your Facebook data. The app’s developer, Aleksandr Kogan, eventually provided that data to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm. Cambridge Analytica had access to this data when they helped Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign teams buy online ads targeted at specific voters.

While you could easily spend hours reading about the Facebook Cambridge Analytica story[2], Choose Privacy Week is all about letting you know that the modern world is full of privacy concerns. We’re not trying to scare you off the internet completely, we just want you to understand how your data gets collected and used behind the scenes.

Let’s start with Facebook – what data do they collect about you? One user downloaded their Facebook information and discovered records of calls and texts made with their Android phone. The personality quiz that led to the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal isn’t unique – the internet is full of tempting-looking quizzes that privacy experts warn could be created by identity thieves looking to steal your personal information, or it could be a big data company looking to mine your data.

Google may have access to even more information about you than Facebook does, thanks to their suite of products including Gmail, Google+, YouTube, Chrome, and more. In 2013, Google combined their privacy policies across these services, allowing Google to pool data on your activities across all these products. A judge ruled that Google was legally allowed to do this, because the judge believed that people understand that they’re the product when they sign up for free services. Google’s analytic bots essentially have access to every word you type in all of their services, as highlighted when a glitch caused some Google Doc users to be locked out of their documents when the scanning program mistakenly decided the documents violated Google’s terms of service. Additionally, Google has more trackers embedded in websites you visit than either Facebook or Twitter, according to a study by the Princeton Web Transparency & Authority Project.

Google and Facebook aren’t just harvesting your data – they’re putting you to work for them. Facebook users tagging themselves and friends in photos helped Facebook build a facial recognition software that is far more accurate than the software used by the FBI. Every Google search you type in helps Google refine their spell checker. While I’m not usually a fan of Mashable articles because of the overwhelming number of ads, this Mashable article gives a great overview of the work you do for social media companies.

The big data privacy problem extends beyond Google and Facebook – email in general is not secure. The story of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails dominated the news during the 2016 Presidential election – my personal favorite stories on the topic revealed John Podesta’s tips on cooking risotto. The moral of the story is that personal information you send through work email could someday become public information (or, like those who worked for Enron, your emails could become part of one of the most studied text corpuses in computer science history). If you decide to take a break from email and do some shopping instead, companies are hungrily waiting to harvest data on your shopping habits to help sell you more stuff through predictive analytics. If you decide to become a luddite and get rid of your computer, don’t forget to wipe the hard drive multiple times to prevent your personal information from being retrieved after the computer leaves your possession. Computer forensics is actually an evolving field that can be used to solve crimes, detect forgeries, and more.

If you’re concerned about the fact that big data is watching you, I recommend you start with this eight-day data detox kit to understand your data footprint and what you can do to protect your personal information online. Find more resources like this kit on the Choose Privacy Week tools page. And follow the #ChoosePrivacy hashtag this week to learn more!

[1] The idea of “If You’re Not Paying for It, You’re the Product” isn’t new – see this Quote Investigator article about the origins of the saying

[2]For more details on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, The Atlantic provides a good three paragraph summary, and The New York Times provides a longer overview. Cambridge Analytica defends themselves in this press release, and Facebook wrote a blog post to explain what information they provide to advertisers. Wccf (Where Consumers Come First) tech provided an interesting breakdown of the Facebook blog post.


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