Author Archives: Scott Walter

COVID-19 Library Services Page Now Available

We have collected information related to the current provision of library services on a new COVID-19 Library Services Update page. This page will be frequently updated with information on library services, as well as other services provided through the Ames Library, e.g., technology assistance, tutoring.  Please visit this page regularly for new updates or contact your liaison librarian with any questions.

Ames Library Closed to the Public (March 17 – 29)

Following continuing review of our response to the coronavirus epidemic, the university has made the difficult decision to close the Ames Library to all members of the community, as of its scheduled closing at 4 pm today. The Ames Library will remain closed to the public until March 29th, with a review of future plans to be conducted in line with campus decisions regarding the return to in-person instruction on the Bloomington campus. We understand the challenges this places on our students, faculty, and staff, as they prepare for the transition to online learning.

As of March 17th, all library services will be delivered digitally, and there will be no provision of library services on-site, including circulation of print materials, media materials, or technology.

Access to the library’s robust collection of digital content, including journals, databases, media, and research assistance continues, and can be easily accessed through the library’s guide to remote library resources and services. Please note that the extraordinary challenges we are currently confronting means that some services, including any circulation or interlibrary lending of physical materials, are not currently available. The library will be open limited hours (March 17-20), by appointment only, for faculty members seeking assistance in moving their courses online.

Additional details of library services available during our closure will be available on the library web site tomorrow. If you have questions before this resource is posted, please contact your liaison librarian.

Please watch the library home page and Twitter account for ongoing updates to library resources and services.

Thank you for your help, flexibility, and understanding during this extraordinary event. While we understand the challenges these changes present, we believe it is the best way to ensure the health and well-being of our library faculty, staff, and students, as well as the campus and Bloomington community. We look forward to returning to normal library operations as soon as possible.

Changes to Library Access and Services – Update

Following the March 15th communication from university leadership, access to the Ames Library is currently “limited to faculty who need to use resources to move their instruction to an alternative mode and to a select group of staff for cleaning.” Currently, this plan is in place through March 29th, but may evolve with changing circumstances. Additional information on availability of specific library resources and services will be made available as soon as possible.

All IWU students, faculty, and staff, are strongly encouraged to observe CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and to make use of our rich collection of digital resources, services, and tools, as an alternative to visiting the library in person.

We appreciate your flexibility during this challenging time, are available to assist you by remote means, and look forward to welcoming you back to the Ames Library as soon as we can.


Adjusted Hours and Access for March 14 – 29

Following the university’s announcement of an extended Spring Break and a move to online-only instruction following the break, the Ames Library has adjusted its service hours and access policies for the period affected, March 14th – 29th. During this time, we will be limiting access to the Ames Library to current IWU students, faculty, and staff, and to current students, faculty, and staff at CARLI member libraries. Access to the Ames Library will be by card-swipe or by presentation of a current ID card from a CARLI member library.

We will review these hours and access policies as more information is made available about the university’s plan for resuming on-campus instruction (or extending the period of online-only instruction) after March 29th. Please visit the library’s Hours page for the most up-to-date information about library hours, and watch this space for any additional changes to library services during this time.

New Guides to Digital Resources Supporting Teaching and Learning

In response to the continuing expansion of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Illinois and across the United States, the Ames Library and Information Technology Services are working in close collaboration with university leadership and our campus partners to provide resources that will make it easier for our students, faculty, and staff to make use of a wide array of resources and services that we provide to help you to teach, learn, and conduct research in the online environment.

As you return to your classes, please take a moment to explore our new guide to accessing library resources, services, and assistance from a distance, as well as the ITS guide for faculty members making use of the university’s online teaching platforms. While these guides will be useful in a number of situations (e.g., leaves, breaks, study abroad), we believe they will be especially helpful as part of the coordinated response across the university to ensure the health and well-being of our campus community.

Paradise Lost Read-a-thon (March 21st)

Join faculty, staff, and students from across the IWU community on March 21st for a full reading of Paradise Lost, one of the longest poems ever written in the English language, and one which the BBC called “a work of unparalleled imaginative genius that shapes English literature even now.”

The Paradise Lost Read-a-Thon is co-sponsored with the Department of English, and anyone wishing to take part should send a message to Professor Joanne Diaz to sign up for a reading slot (or two, as it is a very long poem) by March 16th.

The read-a-thon will take place on the first floor of the Ames Library.

Spring Break Hours (March 6 – 15)

Our Spring Break Hours begin Friday, March 6th, and continue until March 15th. Please be sure to check the Library Hours page for a complete list of service hours during the break. Our electronic resources, of course, remain available to you 24/7, and don’t take holidays or weekends off.

Apply Now for The Ames Library Scholarly and Artistic Research Proposal Award

Applications are now open for The Ames Library Scholarly and Artistic Research Proposal Award. Offered each year, this award provides a funding opportunity for an IWU student, under the supervision of a faculty sponsor, to propose a significant research or creative project in their specific fields of study, and complements the broader opportunities offered at IWU for undergraduate research.

First awarded in 2009 to Rachel Miller (’09) for an essay prepared for the “Spanish for Social Justice” course taught by Professor Carolyn Nadeau, this award has supported undergraduate research conducted both as part of coursework and as part of independent research outside the classroom in fields including Hispanic Studies, History, and, most recently, Environmental Studies.

Details about the award are available on the library web site, and applications are due by March 1st. Please contact your liaison librarian with any questions about how to apply for this award.

Winter Break Hours (December 13 – January 7)

Our Winter Break Hours begin Friday, December 13th, and continue until the start of the Spring term in January. Please be sure to check the Library Hours page for a complete list of service hours during the break. Our electronic resources, of course, remain available to you 24/7, and don’t take holidays or weekends off.

Best wishes to all for a restful break, and we look forward to seeing you in the library soon!

Top 10 Library Stories of 2019

The Ames Library looks back each December on some of its most significant activities of the previous year, especially as those relate to library collections, services, and people, and their contribution to teaching, learning, scholarship, and community engagement at Illinois Wesleyan University. 2019 was another year of great change here at Ames, and one during which we set the stage for even more exciting work in 2020. While no list could capture everything library faculty, staff, and students do for our campus and community, here are the “Top 10 Ames Library Stories” for 2019.

(10) Leadership Changes

University Librarian Karen Schmidt retired after more than a decade leading The Ames Library. During her time at IWU, Dr. Schmidt was a leader on campus, established critical partnerships with Information Technology Services and The Writing Center, and demonstrated the potential for libraries as an opportunity for addressing issues in the community through her leadership in collaborative work with the McLean County Museum of History, West Bloomington Revitalization Project, and others. Following a national search, Scott Walter came to campus as our new University Librarian and University Copyright Officer in May.

(9) New Artwork in the Library

The Ames Library is not only a center for books and journals on campus, but also one of our largest showplaces for the university’s art collection. Following his 2018 appearance on campus, we acquired a set of prints by cartoonist Keith Knight that added not only to the art collection, but also to our ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive library collection and to allow the library to serve as a center for campus discussion of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Also in 2019, library staff continued work on a comprehensive inventory and digital collection of university art work that we hope to make available for use in 2020. Until then, you can get a sample of what the digital collection will look like in the Ames Library Art Collection (which includes all the winners of the Ames Library Student Art Purchase Award).

(8) Grant Explores Scholarly Publishing at IWU

Illinois Wesleyan was one of a dozen institutions joining the Library Publishing Coalition in a Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Grant to study journal publishing workflows in library-based publishing programs. The Ames Library was selected for inclusion in this project based on its leadership in supporting scholarly journal publishing, including the publication of undergraduate research journals, in the small liberal arts college environment.

(7) Native Voices Exhibition and Programs

In collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Student Nurses Association, and others, The Ames Library hosted the national touring exhibition from the National Library of Medicine and American Library Association, “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health in Illness.” More than 300 people attended library programs associated with the exhibition, including a large opening event, and an instructional program on the “medicine wheel.” With a focus on exploring how members of native communities combine traditional and Western practices in support of community health, the exhibition provided an opportunity for discussions across the curriculum and co-curriculum of health and society, and provides a valuable starting point for library engagement with our Annual Intellectual Theme for 2020-21, “Health, Healing, and Humanity.”

(6) The Kindred Collection

The Dave Kindred Papers were opened for public use in Fall 2019, providing access to the research and working materials of award-winning sports writer Dave Kindred (’63). With reporter notebooks, Olympic scrapbooks, and research materials and correspondence related to Kindred’s many published works, the Kindred collection will support teaching, learning, and research in areas such as journalism, sports management, history and sociology of sports, and more.

(5) The Light Board Studio Opens

The library collaborated with Information Technology Services to open the Light Board Studio in Fall 2019, a technology-enhanced learning space equipped with an illuminated glass board designed for use in digital capture of lectures, student presentations, and more. The Light Board Studio joins the One-Button Studio, opened in 2018, as one of the new media and digital teaching and learning spaces available in the Thorpe Center. The Light Board Studio has been employed extensively by faculty and students in the Department of Biology in its inaugural term, and sets the stage for the launch of additional, technology-enhanced learning spaces in the library in 2020, including the Sound Stage and the Podcast Studio (coming soon!).

(4) Experiential Education at the Library

Ames Library faculty and staff support a number of high-impact educational practices employed at Illinois Wesleyan, including first-year experience programs, writing-intensive courses, undergraduate research, and community engagement (see below). The latter practices, in particular, demonstrate the impact on student learning of experiential education, or educational activities that allow students to “learn by doing.” 2019 was a banner year, not only for library contributions to these campus-wide programs, but for the provision of experiential education experiences in the library itself. During the Summer, we provided an internship site for a student from the Kent State University Master of Library and Information Studies program pursuing a concentration in Archives and Special Collections who, among other projects, helped to organize and describe a collection of materials donated by Marjorie Kouns (’79), and conducted a preservation assessment of the Leslie Arends Congressional Collection. During the Fall, we collaborated with faculty members in the departments of English and World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, to work with students preparing public exhibitions of library materials as part of their coursework. As the university continues in 2020 to promote campus-wide efforts supporting high-impact educational practices through initiatives such as the Center for Engaged Learning, the library is poised not only to continue as an essential support for these programs, but to continue growing as a site for experiential education.

Image credit: Carmela Ferradans

(3) Action Research Center Moves into the Library

In June, the Action Research Center moved into The Ames Library, following the path blazed by other campus partners, including Information Technology Services and The Writing Center. The Library and ARC have collaborated for years around course-integrated and community-based projects at the intersection of information literacy, data literacy, and community engagement, and, with this change, the stage is set for even greater collaboration around high-impact educational practices across the curriculum and co-curriculum in 2020.

(2) Titan Central

Throughout the summer, colleagues from the library and partners across campus planned and piloted the launch of Titan Central, a student information service modeling a new commitment to campus-wide collaboration in support of student success. With initial programming and data collection for the “soft launch” this Fall, Titan Central will be a model for continuing library leadership in the development of the university’s “Center for Engaged Learning” initiative in 2020.

(1) Fact or Fiction?

While the Ames Library has supported the IWU Annual Intellectual Theme since its inception, the nature of this year’s theme – Fact or Fiction?–  provided an unusually robust opportunity to engage students and faculty across the curriculum is issues related to information literacy, media literacy, data literacy, and the contributions each make to efforts in the classroom and in daily life to construct new knowledge and evaluate claims made in the contemporary political environment. While our engagement with the theme will continue in 2020, a high point for the year came with the Course Cluster Open House, where more than 100 students from 15 different classes presented their work in the Ames Library (and to our colleagues from the Pantagraph).

Image Credit: David Proeber, The Pantagraph

2019 was an exciting year, as we engaged new partners, piloted new programs, and laid the foundation for library engagement with the university’s emergent strategic planning process. We look forward to even more opportunities to work with the IWU community in 2020 to demonstrate the critical contributions that libraries and librarians make to the distinctive mission of the liberal arts college.