$1.25 Million Mellon Grant Awarded to UMD’s Arts and Humanities College


This article orginally appeared on UMD Right Now:

UMD to help transform the future of digital scholarship and research on African American history and culture 

A $1.25 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund research, education and training at the intersections of digital humanities and African American studies at the University of Maryland. The grant will help to prepare a diverse community of scholars and students whose work will both broaden the reach of the digital humanities in African American history and cultural studies and enrich humanities research with new methods, archives and tools.

laborers_barbadosThe grant, Synergies among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture: An integrated research and training model, awarded to theCollege of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) and co-directed by the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy (Center for Synergy) and theMaryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), will support a faculty project director, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and staff in ARHU and the University Libraries. It also includes money to run workshops, to deliver public programming, to digitize materials from significant archival collections, to support faculty research and to integrate digital work into a number of innovative undergraduate curricular initiatives including UMD’s First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE)program, a new initiative to expose first-year undergraduates to rich research experiences, mentorship and social activities that are known to impact academic success.

“UMD’s project enhances the role of digital tools in African American studies, as well as the contributions of the field to digital discourse while also making a commitment to widening the reach of the digital humanities both within academic communities and outside the walls of the university,” said Mariët Westermann, vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The College of Arts and Humanities has made serious investments in digital humanities and African American culture and history, hiring faculty clusters in both digital humanities and African American literature and history, adding to the strong community of digital humanist and African Americanist scholars already spread across the campus’s many colleges.

“This venture could not be more timely or important,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “It builds on our vital strengths in the humanities, increasing access to important source material on race and culture in America, while creating a new generation of technology-savvy researchers.”

22_hunterclementine_wash_dayThe thematic focus of the project, African American labor, migration and artistic expression, incorporates the broad intellectual interests shared by a large group of prominent scholars, students and staff on campus, and represents some of the campus’s greatest strengths. Specific research projects will be undertaken in collaboration with The Center for the History of the New America, which houses the Archive of Immigrant Voices; The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Art and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora with its collection of over 50,000 objects that chronicle the development and understanding of the study of African American visual culture; and the UMD libraries’ recently acquired George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive, a preeminent research collection for the study of American labor history.

At UMD, digital humanities as a recognized field can be traced back to the founding of MITH in 1999, which has grown to international acclaim due to its transformational research at the intersection of technology and humanistic inquiry. The project will apply MITH’s innovative digital humanities incubator model to introduce scholars, students and cultural heritage professionals to new modes of research through a series of workshops, tutorials and detailed consultations. Strong in traditional arts and humanities fields as well, the university is also home to the Center for Synergy, the new humanities center at Maryland, which will provide an interdisciplinary bridge between departments and centers and facilitate the public facing events, curricular initiatives and websites connected with the project.

“This ambitious project enables scholars in the region to leverage the remarkable resources we have on campus,” said Bonnie Thornton Dill, professor ofWomen’s Studies, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, and principal investigator of the Mellon grant. “To explore the histories of the African American population in the U.S., scholars will work with the rich and diverse data sets and archives found in these interdisciplinary centers.”

histmss-027446-0001_pageone_photographyThese resources together offer a new lens and framework for thinking and teaching about Black life in America, specifically investigating the way in which migration has shaped the history of Black people, as both forced and free laborers, and linking those experiences to visual and material culture.

“Students and faculty researchers might investigate questions about labor activism among Caribbean Americans or explore visual representations of work as they examine the relationship of Black artists and the labor movement,” Ms. Thornton Dill said.

For more information, visit the College of Arts and Humanitieswebsite.

Smithsonian Releases More Than 4 Million Historic Freedmen’s Bureau Records Online, Crowdsourcing Project Begins


This article originally appeared on InfoDocket, from Library Journal:

On the 150th anniversary of “Juneteenth” (June 19), the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and FamilySearch announced the digital release of 4 million Freedmen’s Bureau historical records. In addition, a nationwide effort seeking volunteers to transcribe the handwritten entries has begun.

A collaboration with FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum, the Freedmen’s Bureau Project makes the records of freed slaves available and accessible by taking the raw records, extracting the information and indfreedmensbureau_colorexing them to make them searchable online. Once indexed, it will be possible to find an ancestor by going to the site, entering a name and discovering a family member.

The Freedmen’s Bureau was organized near the end of the American Civil War to assist newly freed slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia. From 1865 to 1872, the Bureau opened schools, managed hospitals, rationed food and clothing and even solemnized marriages. In the process, it gathered priceless handwritten personal information, including marriage and family information, military service, banking, school, hospital and property records on potentially 4 million African Americans. The records are the property of the National Archives and Records Administration, where they have been carefully preserved and protected for decades.

The goal is to have the records fully indexed in time for the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in fall 2016. It only takes a little training for anyone with a computer and Internet access to join the project. Technical assistance will be available at FamilySearch centers nationwide.

For more information about the effort or to volunteer visit this page.


About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

Legacy Wall & Diversity Exhibits


legacy wall.jpgIn February, The Ames Library is hosting the Legacy Wall, an interactive Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) history exhibit. The Legacy Wall will be on display on the entry level of the library, and can be visited during normal library hours.

The Legacy Wall features the stories of LGBT people from all walks of life throughout history who have contributed in more than 20 distinct fields. This exhibit tells the stories behind such figures as social justice pioneer Jane Addams, civil rights organize Bayard Rustin, British mathematician Alan Turing, US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, astronaut Sally Ride, iconic artist Michelangelo and Fr. Mychal Judge – the “Saint of 9/11.” In total, there are more than 100 featured excerpts. The Wall is based on the outdoor exhibit, the Legacy Walk, on North Halsted in Chicago.

Supporting Resources

20160128_155849In addition to hosting the Legacy Wall, several exhibit cases will feature registered student organizations and their history at IWU. The IWU Pride Alliance is a student-run organization dedicated to equality for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. They help to ensure the safety of and equality for all in the community. The Alliance was reactivated in 2003. Check out the display “Celebrate Diversity – IWU Pride: Then and Now” on the west side of the entry level.

20160128_155922In the display case across from the Library Services Desk, you’ll find the African Students Association (ASA), Black Student Union (BSU), Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA), and South Asian Student Association (SASA) featured in “Celebrate Diversity – ASA, BSU, SALSA, and SASA: Then and Now.” You can also learn about the first black and international students to attend Illinois Wesleyan.

20160128_155929ASA educates the campus about the various countries in Africa and their cultures. Our goal is to share appreciation for the traditions, religions, customs, food, dance, and music from various African countries.

Black Student Union is an organization that is here to teach IWU students about the black culture and to have a place for minority 20160128_155934students to feel unified.

SALSA’s mission is yo promote culture, heritage, and diversity for students of Illinois Wesleyan University and to spread and celebrate Latin American Heritage and pride, as well as the enhancement of Latino presence on campus and community service.

South Asian Student Association (SASA) is a group on campus designed to immerse oneself into the South Asian culture on the IWU campus. Regardless of cultural background or exposure, this group is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the different holidays, traditions, and cultural differences within the South Asian community.

20160128_160051Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited IWU twice in the 1960s? While you’re walking around looking at the various exhibits, check out our case behind the JWP Rotunda where you can see flyers, circulars, a signed program, and photos from his two visits.

20160128_155831Finally, to promote awareness and to celebrate diversity, members of the IWU community and telling you to READ some of their favorite authors. Talk a walk around the entirety of the entry level and see how many faces, authors, and books you recognize. Scan the QR codes and go straight to the catalog entry where you can request a copy of any of the books shown.


See those books on display? You can check any of them out!


Scholarly & Artistic Award for Students

Ames Logo

Are you a sophomore or junior working on a scholarly or artistic research project? Will that project be completed by the end of 2016-2017? Do you want to work with an Ames Librarian to bring your research to the next level? Then you should apply for The Ames Library Artistic and Scholarly Research award. This award provides a $500 funding opportunity for a student under the supervision of a faculty sponsor to propose a significant research or creative project in his or her specific field of study.

Ames LogoThe goals of the award program are to increase opportunities for student learning, information literacy, and critical thinking skills through the creation of knowledge; and to foster information literacy skills through the extensive and sophisticated use of the library services, resources and collections, in collaboration with the liaison librarian.

This award program is open to students in all academic disciplines; all forms of undergraduate research and artistic activities are eligible for support, including those that receive academic credit.  Students must have achieved sophomore or junior standing at the time they apply for the award; senior students graduating in May of the application year are not eligible to apply.

The deadline to apply is March 1, and the award is announced at the honors convocation in April. More information and access to the application procedures and cover sheet may be found here.  The Library Advisory Committee makes the selection of the winner.

If you have any questions, contact your librarian.

Legacy Wall in Ames Library


The Legacy Wall, a traveling exhibit featuring stories of LGBT individuals who have made a significant impact in the world, will be coming to The Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University Jan. 31 through Feb. 13. An opening reception is scheduled for Jan. 31 from 4 to 6 p.m.

The interactive Legacy Wall features biographies of people who have made contributions in a number of fields. Some of the individuals featured include author Oscar Wilde, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, British mathematician Alan Turing, and Father Mychal Judge, a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

legacy-wallThe Legacy Wall exhibit was created by the Legacy Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit intended to inform, inspire, enlighten and foster an appreciation for the role LGBT people have played in the advancement of world history and culture. Victor Salvo, the founder and executive director of the Legacy Project, will present remarks at the Jan. 31 opening reception. Other speakers include IWU Provost Jonathan Green, Equality Illinois Field Fellow Marcus Fogliano, Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner and Rev. Kelley Becker, associate pastor of First Christian Church, Bloomington, representing Not in Our Town, one of the sponsors of the exhibit.

The Legacy Wall is brought to Illinois Wesleyan as part of the “Queer Lives” Speaker and Performer Series at IWU funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Other Illinois Wesleyan sponsors include the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, IWU Pride Alliance, and The Ames Library. Organizers said awareness of the roles LGBT people have played in shared human history helps boost the self-esteem of LGBTQ youth who are raised without the benefit of historically significant role models. The goal of the Legacy Wall exhibit is to use the lessons of history to spark conversations and to promote a feeling of safety and belonging in the classroom. The exhibit includes data linking the teaching of LGBT-related content in schools with lowered incidences of bullying between students.

The exhibit may be viewed on the entry-level floor of Ames, which is open Sundays 12 noon to 1:30 a.m.; Monday through Thursday 7:45 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.; Friday 7:45 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

By Emily Phelps ’19

Coming Soon to a Bookshelf Near You…


Goodreads looked at the books set for publication in 2016 that users were most frequently adding to their “to-read” lists and came up with the following titles. Pre-order them through Amazon to keep up with your Goodreads network.

Coming in February


“The High Mountains of Portugal” by Yann Martel

"The High Mountains of Portugal" by Yann Martel



Publication date: February 2

“Life of Pi” author Yann Martel’s first book since 2011, “The High Mountains of Portugal” begins in Lisbon in 1904, when a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal that takes him on a journey to find a mysterious artifact that could redefine history.

Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist finds himself on the same quest, and fifty years later a Canadian senator finds himself following their footsteps as well. Martel’s beautiful story spans decades and mixes modern fable with heartwarming bedtime story.

Find the book here »


“Glass Sword” by Victoria Aveyard

"Glass Sword" by Victoria Aveyard



Publication date: February 9

The highly anticipated sequel to No. 1 New York Times young-adult best seller “Red Queen,” “Glass Sword” follows Mare Barrow, a member of the lower class whose blood is red, unlike those of the elite silver-blooded class. However, she still manages to wield the same superhuman powers as those in the Silver class, making her seem like an imposter — albeit a dangerous one — to the royal court.

But she’s not an imposter, and Mare escapes the royal court, discovering along the way that she’s not the only one of her kind.

Find the book here »



“A Gathering of Shadows” by V.E. Schwab

Publication date: February 23

Kell is a traveler-magician: He can travel between parallel universes within the same magic city. The second book in Schwab’s “A Darker Shade of Magic” series, with Kell now rid of the shadow stone, he must pass between the parallel Red London and Grey London and protect them both from Black London before it rises again.

Heavily doused in magic and fantasy, “A Gathering of Shadows” is a book of adventure, heroism, friendship, and good vs. evil.

Find the book here »




“Hidden Bodies” by Caroline Kepnes

Publication date: February 23

In the last ten years, Joe Goldberg has hidden four bodies on his unwavering quest to find love, and he’s gotten good at it. Now Joe has moved to Los Angeles for a new start and makes a life for himself there, but his secrets may not stay hidden. And if his new girlfriend finds out, she could be the next casualty.

An eerie yet satirical tale of a sociopath looking for love, “Hidden Bodies” is Caroline Kepnes’ sequel to her critically acclaimed book “You.”

Find the book here »

Celebrate Diversity with Ames in February


In conjunction with a traveling diversity exhibit, the Ames Library will be celebrating Black History Month in February by highlighting your favorite authors.

We’re looking for individuals who want to highlight authors that speak to issues of diversity, or who have helped you understand or cope with issues related to diversity, in an upcoming exhibit in The Ames Library. All you have to do is have your photo taken with a book of your choice and provide a brief quote as to why you’ve chosen that author. We’re hoping to have authors from all walks of life represented. We’re using read-poster-boycethe READ poster formatting (see here for examples), and will be superimposing your image on a decorative background, and printing out the image for display in the library.

As an example, I’m going to highlight Octavia Butler, a black, feminist, female sci-fi writer who won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. I’ve chosen to highlight Butler because the themes in her writings helped me challenge myself and resonated with some of my own frustrations in life.

Faculty & Staff: I’ll come to your office areas at a time that is convenient for you.

Students: I’ll have a space set up in Ames to take your photo.

If you’re interested in participating, please contact me at cboyce@iwu.edu or 309-556-1551 to set up an appointment.

Thanks for your interest!

Ames Librarian Highlights Early History of Bicycling



Just back from sabbatical, where he has been researching the history of bicycling, Information Literacy Librarian Chris Sweet was featured on WGLT’s Sound Ideas, and spoke to a crowd of 160 yesterday at Peoria’s Riverfront Museum. Great work!

WGLT article – http://wglt.org/post/central-illinois-bicycle-industry-drove-1890s-boom#stream/0

Peoria Journal Star article – http://www.pjstar.com/article/20160108/ENTERTAINMENT/160109485/0/SEARCH

I-Share Down; 1/10, 6-10am

Don't Panic - Ames is here to help.

The library’s catalog, VuFind, and the I-Share catalog will be unavailable for approximately 5 minutes between 6 and 10 am on Sunday, January 10. Searching in MegaSearch may also be impacted briefly.

This service interruption is necessary in order to perform operating systems maintenance. If you have any problems connecting after 10am, please contact the Library Services Desk at 309-556-3350 or on the entry level of The Ames Library.

Take a break from your class reading!


We know, we know. You just got back from the holidays and you’re already overwhelmed by the amount of work you’ve been tasked to do for your new classes.

Well did you know that in addition to maintaining an academic collection, The Ames Library also has a regularly rotating collection of Popular Reading materials available for checkout. You can find this collection on the entry level by the Library Services Desk. It’s a great collection for in-person browsing, but if you want to see what we have before making the trek over to Ames, things just got a lot simpler.

Follow this link or go to the Popular Reading Collection page on the library’s website (under Help & Services). We’ve got over 400 titles available to choose from, including everything from Isabel Allende to James Patterson to Paolo Bacigalupi to Judy Blume.

Check out this collection whenever The Ames Library is open.