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Jeanne Kasperson Research Library

Mission

The Jeanne X. Kasperson Research Library is dedicated to higher learning and to supporting those who seek to expand their knowledge.  The primary mission of the Library is to support Clark University’s extensive environmental research programs.  This includes but is not limited to programs conducted under the aegis of the George Perkins Marsh Research Institute, the School of Geography, and the Department of International Development, Community Planning and the Environment.  The Library is committed to serving the educational functions of the University and the broader community in order to further research related to sustainability and global environmental change, international development, and risk and hazards to society and the environment.

Collections

The Kasperson Research Library offers one of the most extensive collections in North America on environmental risk and hazards, environment and development and the human dimensions of global environmental change. In addition, the library’s collection includes holdings in international development, water resources, technology, energy policy and sustainability. Over 35,000 books, technical reports and government documents make up the current collection. The library also receives journals and newsletters related to its areas of specialization and maintains data boxes containing grey literature on a wide range of topics from Air Pollution to Food Security and many more.

Special collections include the Worcester Refugee Archive, a repository for materials and resources related to Worcester’s refugee and forced migrant communities. The collection includes published and unpublished materials on the history, resettlement, community health, livelihoods and material culture of individuals, groups, refugee community organizations, and agencies based in and around Worcester.

Services

The Kasperson Library is a non-lending research library so the materials are sure to be here when you need them. To make long term projects easier, patrons are allowed to compile and set aside books and other materials at the library for the duration of their research project. The library staff are available and happy to help with all your research needs:

  • Personalized research assistance
  • Reference help
  • Comfortable space for individual study or small group projects
  • Provide library orientation tours/classes for incoming and current students
  • Coordinate class assignments around Kasperson Library resources
  • Compile and set aside materials for classes
  • Copying/Printing/Scanning

Jeanne X. Kasperson earned a master’s degree in English from The University of Chicago in 1962 and a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in 1967. After working in academic libraries at The University of Chicago, the University of Connecticut, and Michigan State University, she joined Clark in 1977 as a Research Librarian for the Hazard Assessment Group and subsequently served as Research Librarian for the University’s Center for Technology, Environment, and Development, and later the George Perkins Marsh Library. For the years 2000-2002, Professor Kasperson was on leave from Clark with her husband and Clark Professor Roger Kasperson, conducting research at the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden.

Throughout her career, Professor Kasperson was also an active researcher, pursuing scholarly interests in the general areas of risk analysis and global environmental change. In 1993, she was promoted to research associate professor in Clark’s George Perkins Marsh Institute. She was the author of more than 80 articles, books and technical reports, editor of several journals and recipient of many research grants. She is also recognized by her colleagues as a key contributor to much of the research undertaken by the George Perkins Marsh Institute. She was co-editor of the Nature and Society section of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers with Roger Kasperson. Professor Kasperson was particularly fond of words and tracking down information that others believed could not be found, leading some colleagues to believe that when she walked through the library “books talked to her.”

Jeanne X. Kasperson was a key member of a highly productive research group at Clark University, first at the Center for Technology, Environment, and Development (CENTED) and later in its successor the George Perkins Marsh Institute. This group worked primarily on risk and hazard issues and later on global environmental change. Jeanne’s role was a combination of researcher, bibliographer, and repository of deep knowledge on the relevant literature, and writer and editor.

Her publications have a prominent place in risk/hazards and global change research. Her early research with other group members focused on hazards theory and methodology, substantially extending the earlier natural hazards paradigm. Perilous Progress: Managing the Hazards of Technology, published in 1985, summarized theoretical work and case study applications. Subsequent assessments with Robert Kates profiled the state of hazards research in the mid-1980s. In the latter part of the same decade, she co-authored a series of works addressing the “social amplification of risk,” an integrated analytic approach addressing how society processes and responds to the flow of hazards and hazard events. During the 1990s, she collaborated with Roger Kasperson and Bill Turner on a comparative study of nine environmentally endangered regions around the world, resulting in Regions at Risk: Comparisons of Threatened Environments published in 1995 and a series of related regional monographs published over the next five years. In 2001, she and Roger Kasperson published Global Environmental Risk, a work exploring the use of risk analysis to understand global environmental change. A work is currently in preparation collecting significant work of Jeanne and her husband Roger, which will be published in 2003 by Earthscan Press.

Contact Information

Jeanne X. Kasperson Research Library

Visiting Address
Kasperson Library Staff