Study hall TODAY!

Drop-in Study Hall Faculty, TAs, and instructors are invited to stop by for a Study Hall session Wednesday, March 22 from 11am-3pm in 1140 LIB (Main Library). Staff from the University Libraries, Center for Teaching and Learning Commons will be on hand to answer any teaching technology and research questions as you continue to improve your courses! See you there!

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Watch the Presidential Debates!

myvote-my-voicePlease join the Libraries in collaboration with the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights and the Communication Studies program in the Main Library this evening for the third & final Presidential Debate!

We’ve got pizza, popcorn, buttons, and cookies and plenty of activities for anyone who might need a break from studying (or from the debate)! We’ll be viewing the debate live in the Food for Thought Café so please join us, even for a few minutes!

UI Libraries awards 2016-17 Student Employee Scholarships

The UI Libraries is pleased to announce the first two winners of the Libraries’ Student Employee Scholarship.  The selection committed was delighted to have such a strong candidate pool for the scholarship and found the final decision extremely difficult.  The winners are:

  • Stacy Garrard – Stacy Garrard is a freshman majoring in speech and hearing sciences. Garrard works in Special Collections where she enjoys looking at the historical pieces of art, literature, and letters, as well as assisting patrons with general inquiries and in-depth research.
  • Ghyas Zeidieh – Ghyas Zeidieh is a graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in musical arts in cello performance. He has been working at the Rita Benton Music Library for nearly three years and enjoys sparking students’ interest through conversation and opening windows to their research.

Thank you to the scholarship committee for their assistance with this process:  Beth Stone, Rijn Templeton, Marianne Mason, H Pedelty, Pam Kacena, and Michelle Dralle.

Finally, sincere thanks to all UI Libraries staff who generously contributed to this student scholarship fund during the 2015 We Are Phil campaign. Your support provides direct assistance for our students here at the University of Iowa.

Find James Alan McPherson’s work at the UI Libraries


James-Alan-McPhersonWEBWriter James Alan McPherson, professor in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and winner of the Pulitzer, MacArthur, and Guggenheim, died July 27, 2016. He was 72.

Find these two McPherson works at the UI Libraries:

Crabcakes  —  Main Library PS3563.A45544 Z476 1998

A region not home: reflections from exile — Main Library PS3563.A45544 .R4 2000


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UI Librarians Serving the Iowa Library Association

2016Q&A with Duncan Stewart

ILA’s past president and UI special collections catalog librarian

Q: How long have you been an active member of ILA?

A: I joined ILA in 1998 when I got my first professional library job as a cataloger at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City. I joined ILA because ALA was not affordable or vital to my job as a state librarian.

Q: List any positions or projects you’ve worked on for ILA

A:  When I joined, I volunteered to be a member of ILA Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC). I was a member for several years, assisting with ILA Lobbying Day at the State Capitol in the Law Library. Then I became chair of GAC and held that position for several years, working closely with ILA leadership and ILA professional lobbyists in Des Moines. ILA actually has a fairly powerful lobbying voice in the state legislature. Over the years, I have served on the ILA-ACRL board, as a member of the ILA Executive board, and as vice president, president, and now past president of ILA.

Q: How would you describe what ILA is and how it serves Iowa/Iowans?

A: ILA serves Iowa librarians, libraries, and librarians as the organized voice of the library community in the state. With 1500 members from every county of Iowa, we combine all types of librarians (teacher librarians, public librarians, academics, special librarians) into one strong group. This works well in Iowa because we are a small state and separate groups for every type of librarian would be impractical, though ILA does have subdivisions where like-minded librarians gather for professional development. ILA serves Iowa by explaining the need for and huge impact of state assistance to Iowa libraries through the State Library of Iowa. ILA has partnered with the State Library to ask for state financial aid for Inter Library Loan, making books much more available to participating libraries. ILA has worked to support and shape the State Library and the services it provides. But the best example of ILA benefiting Iowans is the statewide contract for Ebsco Host, the database of journal articles and news stories—the State Library, with ILA’s ongoing assistance, uses this contract to provide access (paid) to every library in the state. ILA has also been instrumental in garnering legislative support for ongoing access to Learning Express, which is a database of professional tests and educational materials available to all Iowa libraries.

Q: Please explain why, as a University of Iowa librarian, you joined and participate in ILA

A: I continued my membership in ILA, even though I also became active with ALA after being hired at UIL in 2002. I did this because I had seen the positive effects that ILA had on Iowa libraries, I enjoyed working with librarians from across the state and from many kinds of libraries, and because I am convinced that membership and participation in ILA is one way for UI librarians to fulfill the mission of the library and the university to serve the people of Iowa. UI librarians have had strong support for ongoing membership in ILA and have served at every level from committee member to president (I was ILA president in 2015). ILA benefits greatly from the commitment and energy of UI Librarians and would not be the same organization without us.

Q: What is something you learned through participating in ILA that you might not have learned at another conference or on-the-job?

A:  The most basic thing I learned as a member of ILA is the strength and diversity of the library community in Iowa and our power when we all work together. ILA includes para-professional staff members, state certified librarians without MLS, as well as MLS librarians. Together we span the spectrum of libraries in the state and cooperate to improve all library services. I learned that it is not only possible, but highly powerful to work with people of greatly differing backgrounds, job experience, and training. ILA taught me that there is strength in cooperation and numbers.

Q: What do you value most about your participation in ILA?

A: The thing I value most about ILA is the chance to meet, work with, and celebrate successes with librarians from across Iowa and from every kind of library. ILA is, at heart, the center of the Iowa library community. And I see my work in ILA as a direct contribution to serving the people of Iowa. ILA allows you to meet the citizens and librarians of Iowa that we are here to serve. ILA unites librarians, government, and library users into a force for library support.


Study in the UI Libraries for finals

Blue room homepage featureHit your study stride for finals in the UI Libraries

The UI Libraries offers great places to concentrate on final exam prep, with extended hours, free coffee, and activities for short study breaks.

Studies indicate that students who take short, fairly frequent breaks during their study time are more productive. Give your brain a break by taking a walk or doing a mind-clearing activity to make your study time more productive.

In the Main Library Learning Commons, students can take advantage of activity stations featuring puzzles, colored pencils, and postcard making.

Get the complete list of all UI Libraries’ hours during finals.

An Evening with Filmmaker Nicholas Meyer


Photo credit: Nicholas Meyer on set with Leonard Nimoy during the shooting of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The photo is archived in the University of Iowa Libraries’ Special Collections as part of a collection donated by Nicholas Meyer.

The UI Libraries is pleased to host Nicholas Meyer, who will make an appearance as a guest speaker in conjunction with the Main Library Gallery exhibition 50 Years of Star Trek.

The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated.

Meyer, who is an alumnus of the University of Iowa, directed the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and contributed to the shooting script for that film (uncredited). He wrote portions of the screenplay for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and went on to direct Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), for which he also co-wrote the screenplay.

A long-time Sherlockian, Meyer’s writing prowess led to a best-selling novel, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.  The novel, crafted by Meyer in a style faithful to the original series, follows Holmes through cocaine addiction and recovery.  Meyer received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay of the novel.

Meyer will deliver a brief talk, titled The Last Man To Understand Anything. There will be a Q&A session afterward.



Announcing UI faculty & graduate student winners of digital humanities support

UI Libraries’ Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio champions DH initiatives

Under the guidance of Senior Scholar Judith Pascoe, the Studio Scholars Program steering committee has selected ten faculty members and five graduate students from a competitive pool of applicants for Digital Humanities (DH) support.

Prior to the selection process, the Scholars steering committee worked with the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio to identify digital humanities initiatives.

With an eye toward synergistic use of university resources to support digital humanities projects across the campus, the committee defined collaborative scholarly contexts to attract compelling DH project proposals. The result was five digital humanities initiatives in two categories:

Digital Archives Initiatives

  • Embracing Difference in Iowa
  • Memory & Knowledge

DH Jumpstart Initiatives

  • Get Digital with Your Scholarship
  • Get Digital with Your Dissertation
  • DH Researcher

Find full descriptions of initiatives here.

Over the coming months, winners of Studio Scholars Initiatives Awards will receive immersive support from the Studio, which will provide resources, expertise, technical assistance, and access to specialized equipment for their DH projects.


Winners of Digital Archives Initiatives Awards receive $1500 and support for projects that engage with archival material and voices from the past or present. This year, there are two initiatives in this category: Embracing Difference in Iowa and Memory & Knowledge.

Embracing Difference in Iowa connects scholars with existing archives at the University of Iowa and brings to light narratives from across the UI community.

  • Michael Hill, associate professor of English, won for his project titled “Black Students in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (1939-1959). Hill is creating a digital platform to give the public access to the collegiate experiences of Margaret Walker, Herbert Nipson, and Michael Harper, a trio of black students who constitute the earliest black students of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Memory & Knowledge helps develop cross-generational conversations about the changing nature of academic disciplines. It also encourages responsible archiving of existing scholarly material and the development of a digital skillset increasingly in demand for academia.

  • Frances Cannon, an MFA student in nonfiction writing, was selected for her project “Mapping the gardens of memory: the Carl Klaus Archive.” Cannon will collaborate with Carl Klaus, emeritus professor of English and founder of the UI’s nonfiction writing program. With their shared interest in writing about botany, agriculture, and horticulture, the project will benefit both. Cannon will create a digital repository of Klaus’ archives, while Klaus, in return, will provide editorial and professional guidance.
  • Heidi Lung, lecturer in museum studies and anthropology, will develop a digital exhibit/archive focusing on the 34-year career of George Schrimper, former curator and director of the Natural History Museum as part of her project titled “George Schrimper and UI Museum Studies.” The project will also document the history of museum studies at the University of Iowa.
  • Heather Wacha, PhD candidate in history, will be pursuing a project titled “Marilyn Thomas and the Bonaparte Pottery Museum.” Ms. Wacha will create a digital repository documenting the life and work of Marilyn Thomas, who, over a period of 45 years, revived, researched and developed the historic Bonaparte Pottery Museum in Bonaparte Iowa.

DH JUMPSTART Initiatives

The DH Jumpstart Initiative Awards provide faculty members and graduate students to explore digital approaches to their work.

This year, there are three initiatives in this category: Get Digital with Your Scholarship, Get Digital with Your Dissertation, and DH Researcher.

Get Digital with Your Scholarship offers awardees an immersive, three-day consultation and work session with Studio staff members. Awardees will work with staff to develop digital components of their research, including videos, maps, infographics, etc.  Scholars could also create a digital manifestation of a monograph or embark on new projects enabled by new research applications (e.g., mapping or network analysis).

  • Jenna Supp-Montgomerie, assistant professor in religious studies and communication studies, is text-mining newspaper archives to study the incidence and usage of “connection” at the moment of global telegraphy establishment, as part of her project, “World-Wide Wire: Religion, Technology, and Dreams of Global Unity before the Internet.” She is also designing a map that will chart the convergence or divergence of colonial shipping routes, early telegraph cables, and later fiber-optic cables.
  • Kim Marra, professor in theatre arts and American studies, is working with Studio staff to develop a digital component to her project “The Pull of Horses: Embodied Interactions across Urban American Species, 1865-1920.” Marra’s work addresses cross-species interactions and brings together a rich archive of newspaper and magazines illustrations, as well as silent film footage, documenting the central role horses played in American city life.
  • Brenda Longfellow, associate professor, art & art history, with Studio staff support, is designing a digital project to supplement her book manuscript as part of her project, “Past Lives, Present Meanings: Recycled Statues in Imperial Rome.” Professor Longfellow is examining the origins and afterlives of statues that were moved to Rome from other parts of the Roman Empire, possibly mapping these movements digitally.
  • Anne Stapleton, lecturer in English, is working with Studio staff on her project “Walter Scott’s Swath of Influence: Mapping Towns Named Waverly in the Midwest.” Stapleton is digitally mapping and collecting images and histories associated with American towns named after Scott’s novel. She will, in turn, use these materials in an undergraduate class that explores the long aftermath of Scott’s literary fame.
  • With the support of Studio staff, Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz, assistant professor, communication studies, is developing a digital supplement to her book manuscript, which focuses on motherhood in the context of homeland security culture. For her project, “Homeland Maternity: Risk, Security, and the New Reproductive Regime,” she plans to use GIS software to map key locales in contemporary U.S. reproductive politics.

Get Digital with Your Dissertation invites graduate students to explore digital components for their dissertation.

  • As part of “Creative Alternatives: Experimental Art Scenes and Cultural Politics in Berlin 1971-1999,” Briana Smith, PhD student in history, is working with Studio staff to develop a mapping element to enhance her dissertation’s exploration of ephemeral art actions and performances in late twentieth-century Berlin.
  • Gemma Goodale-Sussen, PhD student in English, is working with Studio staff to explore options for annotating historical images related to prison photography and modernist literature for her “Prison Portraiture and Modernist Literature” project.
  • As part of “Mapping National Park Historiography: Iowa Effigy Mounds,” Mary Wise, PhD student in history, is honing her mapping skills and working with Studio staff on ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS approaches to the materials. Wise will construct maps that shed light on Iowa National Park Service historiography, with a particular focus on Effigy Mounds.

DH Researcher, student research support, pairs faculty and students who have an interest in digital scholarly research and addresses a range of research tasks associated with ongoing projects in the Studio.

  • Paul Dilley, assistant professor in classics and religious studies, with the help of a student research assistant, is compiling a database of all known Greek authors and titles (including fragmentary and lost works) as part of “Philology Extended: Towards a Distant Reading of Ancient Greek Literature.” The project will facilitate a preliminary distant reading of the entire ancient literary field.
  • Loren Glass, professor of English, with the assistance of a student researcher and digital humanities librarian Nikki White, is mapping the professional itineraries and connections of everyone who ever attended or taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop from its inception in 1936 to the present date. Their project, “Mapping the Workshop” will help visualize an array of social and historical networks related to the growth of creative writing at the University of Iowa.
  • Julia Oliver Rajan lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese, with the help of a student translator, will heighten the accessibility of materials in the “Coffee Zone” project, which documents the regional dialect of the western Puerto Rico coffee zone and preserves the oral histories of the people who work there.

The Studio Scholars Program, administered by the University of Iowa Libraries’ Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio (DSPS), is a faculty research group dedicated to supporting faculty projects related to the Digital Humanities (DH).

Contact: Tom Keegan, head of the University of Iowa Libraries’ Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio,

Prickman honored with Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence

Greg Prickman, head of Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries, was honored March 31 with the 2015 Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence.

The Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence recognizes a member of the UI Libraries’ professional staff who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership in furthering Libraries’ mission serve the University community.

The honor includes a $1,500 award for professional development that will support the recipient’s research projects or publications related to library services. This award was made possible by an endowment from Dr. Arthur Benton, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

In letters of support for this award, the selection committee noted Prickman’s commitment to furthering the Libraries’ role in the University’s academic mission, as well as his professionalism and responsiveness to researcher needs.

Timothy Barrett, Director of the University of Iowa Center for the Book and Associate Professor in the UI School of Library and Information Science, nominated Prickman for the award. Barrett notes that Prickman’s work “resulted in the UI being selected as the site for the Folger Shakespeare First Folio traveling exhibit. Greg’s leadership shines in the midst of a complex but very promising event for the UI Libraries, all participating units, and the UI overall.”

Prickman also earned praises from Adam Hooks, Assistant Professor of English, who notes a climate of accessibility that Greg has created for scholars.

“Greg’s vision for the library has transformed the learning experience for students at the University of Iowa,” says Hooks. “Thanks to the significant digital projects sponsored by Special Collections, the intellectual and material resources at Iowa are accessible to students around the world.”

 Jennifer Burek Pierce, Associate Professor in the UI School of Library and Information Science, writes of Prickman’s ability to empower his staff to assist researchers. Burek Pierce notes that “those with whom we work in Special Collections clearly feel empowered to do their best work, to look for interesting and new ways to connect with users. As the head of Special Collections, Greg is instrumental in allowing this to happen, in the example he sets, in his development of responsive policies, and in hiring.”

The Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence Award is given annually. Past recipients include Kari Kozak, Jen DeBerg, Dottie Persson, John Forys, Edward Miner, Kathy Magarrell, Kären Mason, Dave Martin, and John Schacht.

University of Iowa Alumni Association “Lifelong Learning” event

The University of Iowa Libraries is proud to present an exhibition of materials and experiences related to the work of UI alumnus and faculty astrophysicist James Van Allen, 36MS, 39PhD. The UIAA invites you to join Greg Prickman, head of UI Libraries Special Collections, as he guides you on a tour of the Main Library’s new gallery space, featuring an exhibition of Van Allen’s stellar career. Artifacts, writings, photos, and recordings launch visitors into the heart of the Space Age to tell the compelling story of the Iowan’s groundbreaking discovery of the Van Allen Radiation Belts.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 6 p.m.
WHERE: The University of Iowa Main Library, 125 W. Washington St., Iowa City
COST: This lecture is FREE and open to the public; however, RSVPs are encouraged.

Pre-registration for this event has ended, however, walk-ups are welcome and may register at the event.

See more at:

Details found here: