Banned Books Week (September 22 – 28)

Each year, the Ames Library joins the American Library Association, along with “librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types,” in celebrating intellectual freedom and the freedom to read during Banned Books Week.

Founded in 1982, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Island Trees School District v Pico (1982) that “the First Amendment limits the power of junior high and high school officials to remove books from school libraries because of their content,” Banned Books Week reminds us that attempts are made every year to censor books, comics and graphic novels, games, and other media, and that it is our ongoing responsibility as readers, writers, teachers, and content creators to speak out for the right to read freely.

According to the American Library Association, there were at least 347 challenges to library, school, and university library materials or services in 2018, including attempts to limit, censor, or ban access to more than 475 titles, including: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas; This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki; and, Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan. An introduction to the “Top 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018” is available on YouTube. Additional information on attempts to censor comic books and other graphic media is available through the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The Ames Library, like Illinois Wesleyan University, is committed to the ideal of a liberal education, which depends on one’s ability to read freely and fully, both during one’s education and for a lifetime. Visit the library during the upcoming weeks to see our annual exhibition of “banned books” available to you in the library collection. For an added bonus, visit the Banned Books Week YouTube channel to hear University Librarian Scott Walter read from some of his favorites on “Top 10” lists in past years, including Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

If you would like to include a discussion of intellectual freedom, the freedom to read, or efforts to censor library materials or other content available through libraries, booksellers, television, film, or the internet in your classes, please contact your liaison librarian.

Coming Home to the Library

The Ames Library will be hosting a number of events throughout Homecoming Weekend and we look forward to welcoming alumni, family, and friends to events in Ames, the Memorial Center, and around campus.

On Friday, we will host a reception celebrating the opening of the Kindred Collection, with comments from Dave Kindred (’63). On Saturday, we will host the 9th annual “mini-museum” in Eckley Lounge from 8:00 – 11:30 am, providing a “condensed view” of IWU history, including highlights from the University Archives. Also on Saturday, we will get a first-hand look at IWU history when we open the Evans Observatory Time Capsule on the 50th anniversary of its original placement, also in Eckley Lounge, at 10:45 am. Finally, we will be offering opportunities throughout the weekend for alumni to make contributions to our IWU Oral Histories Collection (reservations required).

We look forward to seeing all our alumni during Homecoming, and are especially interested in re-connecting with “our” alumni, the former student employees of Buck, Sheean, Thorpe, and Ames libraries. If you are a former IWU student library employee, please come to sign our “alumni” book at the Library Services Desk and update your contact information so that we can continue to share updates and information with you about how the library continues to contribute to student success at Illinois Wesleyan.

Opening the Kindred Collection

Dave Kindred (’63) left the Illinois Wesleyan baseball team for one of the most storied careers in sports journalism one could imagine, including stints with the National Sports Daily, Sporting News, and Washington Post. Golf Digest, for which Kindred also wrote, recently concluded that “it is almost impossible to describe just how good Dave Kindred is and has been at what he does,” while listing the many awards he has received for his work, including the Red Smith Award, given by the Associated Press Sports Editors for “major contributions to sports journalism,” and the Dan Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sports Writing, given by the Center for Sports Communication and Media at the University of Texas at Austin for lifetime achievement in sportswriting. In 2016, this member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame donated over 50 years of his personal papers to the Tate Archives and Special Collections.

As part of Homecoming 2019, we will welcome Kindred, along with friends, colleagues, and classmates, to the opening of the Dave Kindred Papers, which include notebooks, scrapbooks, photos, and research materials drawn from his many books, including Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship (2007), his study of the relationship between Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell.

Please join us for this celebration of Kindred’s career on Friday, October 4th. Information on this event, as well as other homecoming activities, is now available through the Alumni Association.

The Dave Kindred Papers were processed by Visiting Project Archivist Sarah Lindesbaum, Meg Miner, University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, and student employees in the Tate Archives and Special Collections. If you have any questions about the Kindred Collection or the opening reception, please contact Meg Miner.

 

Fact or Fiction?

While the library is always a key resource for students and faculty exploring Illinois Wesleyan University’s Annual Intellectual Theme, opportunities abound for library engagement in the coming year with our campus focus on the theme of Fact or Fiction?

The IWU mission statement places the nurturing of a commitment to critical thinking and a “spirit of inquiry” among the central goals of a liberal education, and these have been essential to the development and impact across the curriculum of The Ames Library’s information literacy program. Working with partners in Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, our librarians have established student learning outcomes designed to complement and extend the distinctive commitments of our undergraduate education program and to demonstrate why information literacy and critical thinking skills are essential to the development of students as engaged citizens in an informed democracy. And, while the ability “to discern fact from fiction” has always been a foundational goal of education in a democracy, our focus on this theme in 2019 is especially timely, as advances in information technology and the expanding acceptance of “alternative facts” in a “post-truth” environment have raised new questions about what is “true,” about the nature of scientific authority, and about the ethics of creating and disseminating information in an increasingly polarized political environment.

In a recent article, researchers from Project Information Literacy reported on a national study of the ways in which college students discover, discuss, and engage with news and current events, as well as the factors influencing their determination of the credibility of those sources. They found that the classroom offers an important opportunity for students to develop a critical thinking framework for their “news habits,” both as students and as lifelong learners. Discussing the news and news sources as part of the curriculum, they continue, can promote student awareness of the ways in which information is constructed, both commercially and socially, disseminated through face-to-face, print, and (increasingly) digital media, and employed in our society. Information literacy skills related to the news media can form a basis for collaboration among librarians, classroom faculty, and student affairs educators, as well as another means by which colleges and universities can prepare students for a lifetime of civic engagement, which is, of course, another foundational goal of a liberal education.

The Ames Library faculty and staff will be working with colleagues throughout the year to support the study of this year’s “Fact or Fiction” theme in the classroom and through related exhibitions and programs. Working with colleagues in Information Technology Services, we will also explore connections between this year’s theme and the concept of “digital literacies,” including data literacy, media literacy, and the capacity to “[assess] social and ethical issues in our digital world.”

The Annual Intellectual Theme is coordinated at Illinois Wesleyan University by students, faculty, and staff serving on the Intellectual Theme Working Group, whose members work together to identify “an idea or theme with the potential to engage thinking, creativity, and dialogue through multiple disciplinary lenses and interdisciplinary approaches” across the curriculum and co-curriculum.

New Writing Center Director “At Home” in the Library

On August 1, Illinois Wesleyan University welcomed Anna Scanlon as the new Director of The Writing Center. Scanlon comes to IWU from Marquette University, where she was Assistant Director of the Norman H. Ott Memorial Writing Center. As at IWU, the Writing Center at Marquette was housed in the library, and we are excited to welcome a colleague with experience in promoting powerful partnerships between the library and the writing center to promote student success.

Dr. Scanlon has been a writing center tutor for the past seven years, both at Marquette and at the University of Akron, where she received her B.A. and M.A. degrees. At these institutions, she says, she saw the impact that writing centers can have on student learning when they are committed to adapting their programs to evolving student needs. At Illinois Wesleyan, Scanlon sees great potential for that same impact on student learning at an institution where written and oral communication skills are recognized as an essential component of a liberal education, and where there is a deep commitment to the ideas of peer mentoring and active and engaged learning across the curriculum essential to the tutoring process.

In addition to building on the history of continuing education and training for Writing Center tutors for which IWU has long been known, Scanlon is launching new initiatives this Fall, including a “Commenting on Prompts” (COP) program that will involve assisting faculty and staff in creating assignments that can “engage students in critical thinking, expand reflective practice, and increase writing skills across the university.” Alongside the COP, Scanlon plans to launch a new Online Tutoring Program (OTP), which will allow tutors to offer online tutoring to students, faculty, staff, and community members through the WCOnline appointment portal. Scanlon sees the expansion of online tutoring opportunities as an exciting opportunity to integrate Writing Center services into Illinois Wesleyan’s signature experiences, including Study Abroad and internships, as well as an opportunity to expand access to tutoring services to students who may face challenges in access to the current space and services.

The Writing Center has been one of the library’s most active partners for many years, including in the highly-successful Mellon Grant for Writing and Information Literacy in the Disciplines (2012-14). We look forward to the opportunity to continue that work with our new Writing Center Director, and to collaborate in the development of initiatives such as the Center for Engaged Learning.

 

“A Passion for Books”

Minor Myers, jr.

Minor Myers, jr.

A new book exploring the life and legacy of former Illinois Wesleyan University President Minor Myers, jr., who the Chicago Tribune once called “an indefatigable advocate of liberal arts education,” will be released next week.

A passionate champion of print culture and reading across disciplines, Myers was the driving force behind the construction of The Ames Library, which contains not only the records of his presidency, but also the Minor Myers, jr. Honors Collection, which is housed in the Bates and Merwin Reading Room and includes award-winning books in areas including fiction, poetry, cookbooks, history, biography, science, business, economics, nature, and the art of the book. The Honors Collection was originally imagined by Professor James Plath, R. Forrest Colwell Endowed Chair and Professor of English, as a reflection of the “multi-talented and multi-interested individuals” who pursue a liberal education, and was named for Myers following his death in 2003.

For those with an interest in exploring Myers and his impact on the university, more information may be found in the University Archives, which include the records of the Office of the President as well as other university and student publications. Please contact Meg Miner, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist to schedule a visit, or view archival materials online.

Celebrating Faculty Scholarship and Creativity

Research, scholarship, and creative work of all types make up a distinctive component of the educational experience at Illinois Wesleyan as our faculty embody the models of the teacher-scholar and the scholar-practitioner. Each year, we welcome the start of a new term with a celebration of the scholarly and creative work our faculty have recently completed and shared with the academic community through publications, presentations, compositions, performances, and more.

Reflective of the IWU commitment to collaborating with students to conduct research, and mentoring independent undergraduate research projects, we are especially happy to share examples of faculty work completed in collaboration with our students and alumni, including this recent article from the open-access journal, Current Research in Social Psychology, co-authored by Amanda Vicary (Psychology) and Amanda Larsen (’13).

Many of the works displayed at today’s reception will be openly accessible through our institutional repository, Digital Commons. In 2018 alone, readers around the world accessed or downloaded over 300,000 items submitted by IWU faculty, students, and staff. If you have any questions about how to make your work (or the work of IWU students) available through Digital Commons, please contact Stephanie Davis-Kahl, Collections and Scholarly Communications Librarian.

The Faculty Scholarship and Creative Arts Reception is co-sponsored by The Ames Library and the Office of the Provost, and will be held on August 23rd from 4:00 – 6:00 pm on the first floor of The Ames Library.

Turning Titan 2019

The Ames Library is happy to join our colleagues in New Student Orientation in welcoming the Class of ’23 to Illinois Wesleyan University! New Titans are encouraged to learn more about the library and how we can help you to succeed in the classroom right from the start during the “Turning Titan My Way” sessions on Thursday, August 22nd, and to start becoming familiar with our services to students, including research assistance, access to technology, print and digital resources for every department and program, and resources to help you make the most of signature experiences at Illinois Wesleyan, including internships, study abroad, service learning, and undergraduate research. Most importantly, you’ll learn who your liaison librarian is, and how your librarian will be able to help you to identify, access, evaluate, and use the information sources you need to make the most of your student experience at IWU.

Students who took part in the Summer Reading Program will find the library to be the gateway not only to resources that will help you to further explore issues and ideas found in Educated, but also to programs throughout the year supporting this year’s intellectual theme, “Fact of Fiction.”

The Ames Library is also home to other people and programs that will help you to succeed at IWU, including The Writing Center, Action Research Center, and Thorpe Center, and is joining campus colleagues this year in launching the new student information service, Titan Central.

Be sure to learn more about all of these during orientation, and we’ll look forward to seeing you in the library!

Introducing: The Lightboard Studio

Working with our colleagues in Information Technology Services (ITS), we are happy to announce the opening of the Lightboard Studio in The Thorpe Center. Like the One-Button Studio, the Lightboard Studio provides a new space for faculty integrating media into their teaching, especially for lecture capture, online learning, or the inclusion of digital media assignments for students. Faculty and students are now able to reserve the Lightboard Studio for:

  • creating mini-lectures;
  • creating a graphic overview of a concept to be shared with the class; or,
  • demonstrating a step-by-step approach to solving a problem

The Thorpe Center is a collaborative initiative of ITS and The Ames Library designed to promote the use of digital media and other technologies in support of teaching and learning at Illinois Wesleyan. With on-site technical support, as well as access to instructional design consultation, The Thorpe Center provides a foundation for instructional innovation among faculty and new opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned in the classroom and to share their work with the wider community. For information about information technology available at The Ames Library, please contact Suzanne Wilson, Library Technology and Resources Director.

Continuing Collaboration with Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services (ITS) and The Ames Library have been partners for many years on strategic initiatives designed to promote the innovative use of technology in teaching, learning, and scholarship at Illinois Wesleyan University. In addition to working together on the provision of library technology in Ames, digital scholarship, online learning, and publishing programs across the curriculum, we have collaborated on support for classroom technology, community spaces such as the Beckman Auditorium, technology lending, and innovation spaces such as The One-Button Studio and the upcoming Light Board Studio and Sound Stage. In 2019-20, we will have new opportunities to build on this foundation of service-centered partnership as part of campus-wide initiatives around strategic planning and IT planning.

With the retirement this week of Assistant Provost and Chief Technology Officer Trey Short, Scott Walter will take on interim responsibility for the ITS Teaching, Learning, and Technology Services (TLTS) program, including the IT Help Desk and instructional design support programs currently housed in The Ames Library’s Thorpe Center.

As Co-Interim Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Walter will work with colleagues in ITS and the Library to promote greater use of technology in teaching, learning, and scholarship, and to ensure a coordinated approach to strategic planning activities in Academic Affairs and Student Affairs that depend on technology, student mastery of information technology and information literacy skills, and engagement with staff training and faculty development initiatives.

Both ITS and The Ames Library maintain robust liaison services programs designed to promote awareness and use of information and technology resources across the university, as well as the ITS Help Desk and Library Services Desk to meet immediate service needs. We look forward to bringing these teams together over the coming year while the university completes its review of our IT organization and establishes a long-term strategy for IT services that will ensure the greatest benefit to our students, staff, and faculty, and the most powerful impact in initiatives currently being pursued as part of the university strategic plan.