Monthly Archives: April 2017

Women’s Power | Women’s Justice


On this Theme Thursday we’ll go back to the class of 2016’s summer reading book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot.

51vllt2frql-_sx334_bo1204203200_Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.” from Amazon.

New Issue of Res Publica Available

Res Publica – Journal of Undergraduate Research is a publication of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honorary Society. It is funded by the Illinois Wesleyan University Student Senate.

Thanks to the hard work of the editorial board for preparing the 22nd volume of this publication. Editors include Robert Perez, ’17 and Molly Johnson, ’17. Associate Editors include Sam Kasten, ’17, and Brianna Bacigalupo, ’18.

Check out the newest volume available in Digital Commons.

Women’s Power | Women’s Justice


On this next to last Theme Thursday, we feature the works of N.K. Jemisin, who is the first black author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel, which is perhaps the highest honor for science-fiction and fantasy novels.

From the Atlantic, “Her winning work, The Fifth Season, has also been nominated for the Nebula Award and World Fantasy Award, and it joins Jemisin’s collection of feted novels in the speculative fiction super-genre. Even among the titans of black science-fiction and fantasy writers, including the greats Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany, Jemisin’s achievement is
singular in the 60-plus years of the Hugos.

“The Fifth Season is a stunning piece of speculative-fiction work, and it accomplishes the one thing that is so difficult in a field dominated by tropes: innovation, in spades. A rich tale of earth-moving superhumans set in a dystopian world of regular disasters, The Fifth Season manages to incorporate the deep internal cosmologies, mythologies, and complex magic systems that genre readers have come to expect, in a framework that also asks thoroughly modern questions about oppression, race, gender, class, and sexuality. Its characters are a slate of people of different colors and motivations who don’t often appear in a field still dominated by white men and their protagonist avatars. The Fifth Season’s sequel, 2016’s The Obelisk Gate, continues its dive into magic, science, and the depths of humanity.”

Exam Hours & Quiet Floor

To assist our students as they prepare for finals, the library is adding the third floor as another Quiet Floor, beginning April 16 and running through May 2.  The fourth floor remains as the Quiet Floor throughout the academic year.

The Thorpe Center, location of the ITS Help Desk and our graphic design software and Macs, will not be designated as Quiet space. In addition, the Library will open at 10:00 a.m. on April 23 and April 30.

Women’s Power | Women’s Justice


On this Theme Thursday we look into one of the most classic works in children’s literature, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. “Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume, entitled Good Wives. It was also successful.

“The two volumes were issued in 1880 in a single work entitled Little Women. Alcott also wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little 511d9s5xsfl-_sx346_bo1204203200_Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: “domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine’s individual identity.” Little Women “has been read as a romance or as a quest, or both. It has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth”, but also “as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well”.

“According to Sarah Elbert, Alcott created a new form of literature, one that took elements from Romantic children’s fiction and combined it with others from sentimental novels, resulting in a totally new format. Elbert argued that within Little Women can be found the first vision of the “All-American girl” and that her multiple aspects are embodied in the differing March sisters…” from Amazon.

Photos of 19th-Century Black Women Activists Now Available

A couple days ago, a visually compelling thread on Twitter exploded with thousands of shares and likes and dozens of users submitting their own contributions. The thread (a series of connected tweets for the Twitter uninitiated) has become an evolving photo essay of women activists standing up to walls of militarized riot police and mobs of angry bigots. The photos feature subjects like Tess Asplund, Leshia Evans, and Saffiyah Khan, and historical inspirations like Gloria Richardson and Bernadette Devlin. Many of the subjects are unknown or unnamed, but no less iconic. These images, from all over the world, of women standing defiantly and often alone, against heavily armed and armored, mostly male power structures inspire and, in the case of children like Ruby Bridges, can break your heart.

Read more here.

Sister Cities Display in Ames

Fact Fridays – Evaluating Wikipedia

Everyone uses it but maybe you don’t want to admit it. Wikipedia is a great resource for familiarizing yourself with a new topic, and for non-academic purposes it’s great for understanding a new thing. You probably know you can start with Wikipedia, but when working on academic assignments, your research should go beyond and incorporate scholarly sources.

But maybe you just want to learn about something not related to course work. How do you start to evaluate what you’re reading? Lucky for you, Wikipedia has a great resource on evaluating their articles. Check it out!

Women’s Power | Women’s Justice


On this Theme Thursday, we focus on Pioneer Work in Opening Medicine Women, which focuses on women in medicine and shines the spotlight on their accomplishments, specifically Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman doctor.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman ever educated in an American medical school. This is a story of success by perseverance and personal sacrifice. She has no funding: she goes on. She has no mentors: she goes alone. She has no money for a cab: she walks. She
wears out her shoes and avoids places where she can’t look shabby. She loses an eye, and gives up her dream of being a surgeon, embracing general medicine instead. She endures insults, humiliation, and profound loneliness. But she believes she is making a future possible for American women doctors, so nothing, nothing stands in her way for long. And I thought medical school was hard! The old farts who harassed us women med students in the 1980’s could only dream of tormenting us like 19th century gentlemen tormented her. I would love to be able to thank her, both for making life better for women, and for her beautifully written and amazingly upbeat book about breaking the bonds. ” from Amazon.

Information Literacy Tops The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2017 Top Trends

Every year The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a report that identifies top trends facing academic institutions for the year. This year, information literacy made the top of the list. The Association of College and Research Libraries provides the following definition of information literacy: “Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” In choosing information literacy as a top trend, The Chronicle noted the significant role fake news played in the 2016 presidential election. Teaching information literacy skills is one of the best ways to counter the fake news epidemic. Fake news cannot survive the scrutiny of independent research, skepticism, and reason. Moreover, information literacy is an essential component for developing students’ critical thinking abilities which lies at the heart of a liberal education.

The Ames Library maintains a strong Information Literacy Program and information literacy became part of Illinois Wesleyan’s 2014 Strategic Plan. All library faculty partner with departments and programs to offer information literacy instruction. Library faculty also maintain on-call and office hours for students to either drop in, or make an apportionment, to discuss any research or information literacy concerns.