Author Archives: Scott Walter - Page 2

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.

Pantagraph Joins “Fact or Fiction” Open House

Image Credit: David Proeber, The Pantagraph

The Pantagraph joined more than 100 students and faculty at this Fall’s “Fact or Fiction” Course Cluster Open House, where students in over a dozen different courses shared research posters, oral presentations, and creative work around the subject of this year’s Annual Intellectual Theme.

Chris Sweet, Information Literacy Librarian and Associate Professor in The Ames Library, has coordinated programming across campus in support for the “Fact or Fiction” theme, which is closely associated with the skills and concepts associated with the library’s award-winning instructional services program. As he said: “It’s not just politics and ‘fake news.’ It’s about learning to be a good critical thinker and consumer of information. How do you evaluate what you see and read?”

More information on, and photos of, the Fall 2019 Open House are available on the Pantagraph site.


Extended Hours for Finals – Fall 2019

The Ames Library will be open extended hours on December 6th – 8th to help you prepare for final exams, presentations, and projects. We will be open this weekend from:

  • Friday, December 6th: 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
  • Saturday, December 7th: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
  • Sunday, December 8th: 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 a.m.

Please visit the Library Hours page for a complete listing of our semester, finals, and break hours.

Fact or Fiction Course Cluster Open House (December 4th)

Student presents at Course Cluster Open House 2018

Please join us on on Wednesday, December 4th, from 11am to 1 pm, for an Open House for students and faculty participating in the Fact or Fiction Course Cluster. Each year, faculty in programs across the curriculum design courses and assignments aligned with Illinois Wesleyan University’s Annual Intellectual Theme, a strategic initiative designed to bring the campus community together around a common intellectual experience. Experiences such as these have been identified as a high-impact educational practice and provide important opportunities to advance the library’s mission to “[foster] inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge, intellectual and ethical integrity, excellence in teaching and learning, and respect for diverse points of view.”

Fact or Fiction is IWU’s intellectual theme for 2019-20, and invites multidisciplinary study of the critical need in the contemporary political environment for “an informed citizenry … equipped to discern between fact and fiction.” Students in Fall 2019 cluster courses such as Human Nature (Gateway 100), Human Nutrition (HLTH 230), Artificial Intelligence (CS 338), and Visual Ethnographic Methods (ANTH 380)  explored issues of inquiry, critical thinking, and the construction of knowledge as part of the “Fact or Fiction” discussion, as well as the connections between these issues and the intellectual skills and concepts associated with The Ames Library’s information literacy program. At this week’s Open House, more than 100 students from 15 different courses will present research and creative work based on the annual theme.

With one-hour sessions scheduled to begin at 11 am and 12 pm, we encourage all members of the IWU community to join us at the Course Cluster Open House to learn how our students have engaged with the ideas and issues at the heart of the “Fact or Fiction” discussion and how this experience supports our mission as a liberal education institution to “[foster] creativity, critical thinking, effective communication, strength of character and a spirit of inquiry.”

Open Access Week (October 21 – 27)

The Ames Library joins libraries, museums, scholars, and scientists in celebrating efforts to provide open and equitable access to scholarship and scientific research during Open Access Week 2019.

“Open Access,” according to SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), of which Illinois Wesleyan University is a member, refers to “the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.” While early discussions of open access focused on access to research-based articles, the movement now encompasses open access to scholarly monographs, textbooks, and data sets through related work around “open data” and “open educational resources.” The Ames Library has made a long-term commitment to promoting open access as part of its core commitments to equity, educational affordability, pedagogical innovation, and promotion of our students’ education as content creators and managers of their own intellectual property rights. In the contemporary information environment, an understanding of the commercial environment surrounding one’s own intellectual work, as well as one’s right to manage one’s own copyrights and personal data, is an essential component of a liberal education.

Students and faculty wishing to learn more about open access, to employ open access resources in their classrooms, to share their work through open channels, or to integrate education about open access into their student learning goals, can find resources through the library’s guides to open access resources and open educational resources. You can also make your own work “OA” by contributing it to our digital repository, Digital Commons, which houses the work of IWU faculty, as well as undergraduate research projects, journals and other peer-reviewed work, and more. If you would like to integrate education about copyright, scholarly communications, or the movement toward “open” in science and scholarship into your courses, please contact Stephanie Davis-Kahl, Collections and Scholarly Communications Librarian, or your liaison librarian.


Evans Observatory Time Capsule Opened During Homecoming

Image: Lewis Marien, The Pantagraph

University Archivist Meg Miner and Provost Mark Brodl joined friends and alumni during Homecoming 2019 to open the Evans Observatory Time Capsule. Read more about the event in this article from the Pantagraph.

If you missed the unveiling, don’t worry; items taken from the time capsule are on display on the main floor of The Ames Library. Other materials taken from throughout IWU history are available in the University Archives.