Category Archives: Ames Highlights

More art in the library

By Way of Constantinople

We are pleased to announce an expansion of artwork on the entry level of the library. We received many comments about how bare the walls looked after last fall’s exhibition of works by Myanmar artists. Through another collaboration with School of Art faculty, 15 of the previously-stored works in the Campus Art Collection are now on public display. This is a teaching collection containing over 1,300 items.

The Thorpe Center on the library’s 3rd floor also has numerous selections from the larger collection, and all works contained within The Ames Library are available for public viewing.

Many of the new additions to the entry level are by Arrah Lee Gaul, a prolific artist of landscapes and portraits, who died in 1980 at the age of 92. Miss Gaul chose Illinois Wesleyan as a beneficiary in her estate because of her devotion to her father, a Methodist minister who served Philadelphia churches from 1883 until his retirement in 1931. The Rev. Christian Lee Gaul, was proud of the doctor of philosophy degree he was granted by IWU in 1899 after fulfilling requirements in the non-resident degree program.

To learn more about the Gauls and this donation, listen to this 1981 recording by Flora (Harris) Armstrong, Trustee and member of the Class of 1943. The Spring 1982 IWU Bulletin also covered the story.

Other new additions from the Campus Art Collection are prints by Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso. A recent addition to the works by Chinese artists is also on display. A new scroll was donated last year by Roger Sheldon, Class of 1964. Two scrolls are on display between the Ford Instruction Lab and the Social Justice & Diversity Room at all times but are rotated every six months to minimize light damage.

Readings for Labor Day

It’s been 140 years since the first Labor Day holiday was planned and celebrated in New York City. Labor organizers, municipalities, and states adopted the holiday over the next several years, until it became a federal holiday in 1894.

The late 1800s were a chaotic time in the US, as everyone was in some way effected by the huge transition from a largely agricultural society to an industrial society. The 1880s saw an influx of labor strikes, with workers challenging poor or dangerous working conditions and long hours. In the May of 1894, thousands of workers at Pullman Palace Car Company went on strike. Later that summer, a federal judge issued an injunction against a sympathy boycott and President Cleveland sent troops in to enforce the boycott. With the arrival of federal troops, the Pullman strike ended violently. Congress had just passed legislation in June, making the first Monday in September a holiday to recognize and celebrate the contributions of laborers, which Cleveland signed into only a few days before sending troops to Illinois.

That sympathy boycott might not have been necessary. The local and national organizations behind the strike and boycott had refused membership to Pullman’s two thousand African-American porters. Marginalized and minoritized persons were typically barred from joining labor organizations at the time, and thus had a completely different experience in their fair labor battles.

Legislation since then has continued to intentionally exclude women and People of Color and conversations around labor often erase the roles non-white men played in securing labor protections.

This Labor Day, in addition to enjoying the time with friends and family, check out some of the resources Ames Library has that shine a light on the pivotal contributions of BIPOC men and women in the labor movement.

Covering the last four hundred years since Africans were first brought to Virginia in 1619, Trotter traces black workers’ complicated journey from the transatlantic slave trade through the American Century to the demise of the industrial order in the 21st century. At the center of this compelling, fast-paced narrative are the actual experiences of these African American men and women. 

Filipino farmworkers sat down in the grape fields of Delano, California, in 1965 and began the strike that brought about a dramatic turn in the long history of farm labor struggles in California. Their efforts led to the creation of the United Farm Workers union under Cesar Chavez, with Philip Vera Cruz as its vice-president and highest-ranking Filipino officer.

Since the 1950s, Latina activist Dolores Huerta has been a fervent leader and organizer in the struggle for farmworkers’ rights within the Latina/o community. A cofounder of the United Farm Workers union in the 1960s alongside César Chávez, Huerta was a union vice president for nearly four decades before starting her own foundation in the early 2000s. 

Self Care in the Library

The fall semester is underway. For many of us, it’s the first time since 2020 that we’re sitting in full, in-person classrooms. The past several years have been challenging and we are not the same.

Open, honest conversations about mental health have helped reduce stigma – sometimes we need help from others, and we always need to take care of ourselves and our communities. Self care is something most of us could practice more often and The Ames Library is committed to creating a community of care at Illinois Wesleyan. One such way is through our new Self Care Station.

Visit our Self Care Station on the entry level (vending machine room) to grab a snack, play a board game, read tips from Ames, find some fun or self-care reading, and learn about some resources available on campus. Or take a look at our Self Care LibGuide where you can learn about resources in Ames, tips for evaluating mental health information online, and find links to campus partners.

For the first half of September, we are highlighting BIPOC authors from our Popular Reading Collection in the Self Care Station. September is National Literacy Month and reading for fun is an excellent way to practice self care. Reading has been shown to improve memory, reduce stress, build self-esteem, and allow an individual to develop or improve skills.

BIPOC authored books available to borrow in the Self Care Station

The following Community of Care statement was suggested by the the Mental Health Policy Task Force, which was convened in the summer of 2022 to respond to the Student Senate Mental Health resolution. While student attendance in class isn’t our top concern, The Ames Library is committed to connecting to and sharing campus and local resources that promote mental and physical health. Through the Self Care Station, we will connect the library and information literacy to campus conversations related to mental and physical health.

“Mental health and physical health are key components of student wellness, and IWU faculty and staff recognize our role in providing an academically rigorous environment that supports wellness while also providing resources. As a campus community it is important for us to establish mental and physical health promotion practices, destigmatize mental health challenges, normalize care seeking, and provide access to qualified, licensed practitioners that can assist in early identification of and assistance with mental health challenges, whether acute or chronic. We recognize that we live in an ever changing world that has caused more stress on college students than ever before. Information on Arnold Health Services and Counseling & Consultation Services can be found at”

Welcome Class of 2026!

Welcome to our new students, Class of 2026 and transfers, and welcome back to our returning Titans! We have news to share!

Our most exciting news is that we have two new library faculty colleagues, Professors Laura Spradlin and Crystal Boyce-Gudat. Laura serves as our Electronic Resources & Systems Librarian. Crystal serves as liaison to students and faculty in Accounting & Finance, Business Administration & Marketing, Environmental Studies, History, Kinesiology, Sports & Wellness, Political Science, and Sociology & Anthropology.

We’re also excited to welcome Professor Billie Jarvis-Freeman, Interim Director of the Writing Center. In addition to working with Writing and Student Success Tutors, she’s teaching a Gateway course this fall: Vampires, Ghosts, and Others.

If you’ve been in the library recently, you’ve seen some of the paintings exhibited on the entry level. They’re part of a larger exhibit “Resistance and Resilience: 21st Century Burmese artists envision Myanmar’s future,” co-exhibited in the Wakeley Gallery at the School of Art. Read more about the works and the public talk related to them here.

We’ve enjoyed two events welcoming faculty back to campus – the Scholarship & Creative Work Celebration, and the New Faculty Orientation. The Center for Engaged Learning can be reserved and the finishing touches are being put on the new Thorpe Center for Curricular and Faculty Development, located on the third floor. Thorpe Center programs will encourage reflective discourse and the sharing of views and experiences among faculty, as they relate to issues involving the theory and practice of teaching, course development, academic program design, and scholarly inquiry.

Our services have returned to pre-COVID operations – white board markers are freely available and typically live near a white board. If you can’t find any, check with the Library Services Desk on the entry level. All our seats have returned as well.

Myanmar in Transition Art Displayed in Ames

The IWU Annual Theme, “Power of Place,” invites the IWU community to reflect on how our thoughts, values, perceptions, and actions are influenced by how we conceptualize place and our place in the world.

If you’ve been in Ames Library recently, you may have noticed a number of new art pieces on the walls of our entry level. Displayed here and in the Wakeley Gallery in the Ames School of Art is “Resistance and Resilience: 21st Century Burmese artists envision Myanmar’s future.”

This powerful, 36 piece exhibit features paintings from Thukhuma. Thukhuma is a collection exploring art, culture, education, and politics in Myanmar, with a focus on transition in the 2010s. Thukhuma means art or culture in Pali, the liturgical language of Myanmar’s dominant Theravada Buddhist tradition. It also connotes uniqueness.

Paintings from Thukuma will be on display until 13 October 2022. Additionally, Dr. Catherine Raymond, Director, Center for Burma Studies and Professor of Art History, at Northern Illinois University will speak in The Ames Library’s Beckman Auditorium on September 13th at 4pm. Following her talk, “Art and Politics in Contemporary Myanmar,” at approximately 4:20 she will lead a gallery walk through the works exhibited on the Entry Level and then in the School of Art’s Wakeley Gallery. There will be a reception in the School of Art’s foyer afterwards. There will also be a Reception at the School of Art for Homecoming, September 24, 2-4PM. 

Consider the place in time that these works were created: artists such as Aung Htet Lwin and Shine Lu painted what they saw and how they felt as their country, Myanmar – previously known as Burma – began transitioning from military rule to a military-backed civilian government in the 2010s – the military retook control in 2021. The paintings in this collection, all produced between 2012 and 2015, touch on the diverse dimensions of contemporary society, reflecting rural and urban life, religious beliefs and practices, disparate ethnic groups and identities, and openly political stands. The artists draw inspiration both from traditional motifs and modern artistic styles, demonstrating the power of place and how it evolves over time.

With a history stretching back some 8,500 years, the nation began to emerge in the 9th century when the Kingdom of Pagan unified the regions which would become modern day Myanmar. Borders expanded and contracted over the centuries; the third Anglo-Burmese War saw the total annexation of Burma to British rule, where it was made a province of India in 1886. Burma achieved independence on 4 January 1948 at 4:20am (chosen for its auspiciousness), opting not to join the British Commonwealth. The name was performatively changed to Myanmar in 1989.

Names of places are as much a reflection of place as physical elements of a place. While you enjoy the paintings in Ames Library and in the Wakeley Gallery, consider how traumatizing the changing of a country’s name might be to its people. Learn more about the history of Myanmar, its politics and culture, and look anew at the paintings. Do you see them differently?

Freedom in the Black Diaspora: A Resource Guide for Ayiti Reimagined

This guide is a comprehensive starting point for finding curated resources in the Library of Congress on the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), Haitian Creole (Kreyòl Ayisyen), the United States occupation of Haiti, and Black internationalism, as well as links to external websites that center important narratives in Haitian history. (“Ayiti” is the Creole spelling of Haiti.) Sections of the guide include Haitian History: Primary Resources; Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Secondary Sources; Celebrating Black Joy: Haitian & Haitian American Stories; Haitian Creole; and External Websites.

Patrons using The Ames Library will also find almost 2000 resources listed in the online catalog and thousands more in article databases and digital collections. For help exploring this topic and others, you can schedule an appointment with a librarian or stop by during office hours. 

A black man with handlebar mustache and goatee Faces te camer but is seated in three-quarter profile, left leg crossed over right. He is wearing a three-piece suit, bowtie and holds a pair of gloves in his left hand, resting on his leg. The caption in the source reads "Cincinnatus Leconte, President of Haiti. 1911-1912. Haitian Collection,1775-1950. Library of Congress Manuscript Division."
Cincinnatus Leconte, President of Haiti. 1911-1912. Haitian Collection,1775-1950. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

Get enlightened in the library this winter!

Counseling & Consultation Services placed two Sunbox lamps in the library to assist with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Both are in the East wing of the building in a room that’s a little hidden: it’s behind the book stacks in the center of the wing’s outer edge. There’s one on the 3rd floor and one on the 4th floor.

Just 20–30 minutes with the Sunbox can boost energy and improve your mood! They are available at any time the library is open on a first come, first served basis–no reservations are needed. Detailed information regarding the use of the Sunbox is posted by each lamp.


Welcome to Fall Semester, 2021!

Abby Mann, Online Learning Librarian

Welcome to our new students, Class of 2025, and welcome back to our returning Titans! We have news to share!

Our most exciting news is that we have a new library faculty colleague, Professor Abby Mann, who joins us as our new Online Learning Librarian. Abby will be working with the departments of English, Women’s and Gender Studies, World Languages & Cultures, and the School of Art, School of Music, School of Theatre Arts. She joins us from UNC-Pembroke, where she was an associate professor of English. Welcome, Abby!

Another welcome addition to the library is several of our colleagues from Information Technology Services, including our new CIO Leon Lewis, have moved into the library’s lower level offices. More to come about the location of the ITS Help Desk!

If you’ve been in the library recently, you’ve seen some of the changes we’ve made over the past year on the entry level to establish the Center for Engaged Learning on the east side of the entry level. New paint and new carpet were installed in early summer, and new furniture is in the process of being installed as I type. To highlight student art, we’ve moved several works of art from our Art Purchase Award collection to the entry level as well. I am hopeful we can have a celebration for the space later in September, when the furniture installation is complete.It’s been repainted and new carpet installed, and the library acquired “The Corner Office” from Lizette Toto, ’21 for the west side of the entry level. It is gorgeous, and complements the space perfectly.

We’ve enjoyed two events welcoming faculty back to campus – the Scholarship & Creative Work Celebration, and the New Faculty Orientation. It was great to see our colleagues, catch up, and not say “You’re on mute” during our conversations. We’re also planning a faculty panel that will feature the faculty who received Open Educational Resources (OER) Exploration Grants last summer, and the reports detailing their work will be available on Digital Commons soon.

A few services have returned to pre-COVID operations – print reserves are available again, we are open our regular hours, and we no longer quarantine materials after they are returned. We chose to retain access to several ebook and streaming video resources acquired through our consortium since they proved to be useful and valuable additions to our suite of resources.

Juneteenth book talk with Opal Lee

Opal Lee coverpage

The city of Boulder will sponsor a talk with Opal Lee–the Grand Mother of Juneteenth.
At 94 years young–Opal Lee leads a campaign with Carmelo Anthony, Sean Combs, and 
Pharrell to make Juneteenth a National Holiday.  

This virtual talk happens–Saturday (June 19th–!0:00).  
It will also be recorded and posted on youtube.
You can register for the program HERE.

Harpercollins will publish Opal Lee’s  poignant picture book biography soon.

Opal Lee coverpage

NYT artist–Keturah Bobo is the illustrator.  The pictures are stunning.  
The text is lyrical and engaging.  And it includes a a red Juneteenth punch recipe
from Texan and famous Diva Chef–Angela Medearis. 
Will you pre-order the book HERE?



The Ames Library is Open!


The library is now open!

Thanks to Physical Plant staff for keeping our building safe and beautiful!