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Learning Commons Open House: September 18th, 11am-2pm

Learning Commons Open HouseYou are invited to the

Learning Commons
Open House

Wednesday, September 18th

11:00am – 2:00pm



The Learning Commons project is a collaboration of the Provost’s Office, UI Libraries and ITS to create an intellectual hub for undergrads at the University of Iowa.


Congratulations to Stephen Sturgeon

Congratulations to Stephen Sturgeon, who has been appointed adjunct assistant professor in the English Department! Needless to say, this is quite an honor, and an indication of the high esteem in which he is held by the faculty. Kudos, Stephen!



Learning Commons completed


UI Libraries opens new 24-hour, tech-filled study space as academic year begins

By Mary Geraghty Kenyon for Iowa Now

When the new academic year begins Monday, Aug. 26, the University of Iowa will open the new Learning Commons in the Main Library, a tech-infused, 24-hour, comfortable study space and one-stop academic help center…with good coffee.

The 37,000-square-foot space is the product of a partnership involving Information Technology Services (ITS), University Libraries, and the Office of the Provost.

Incoming students participating in On Iowa! will have a preview of the new space on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., including the opportunity to meet tech and research geniuses, test their UI and library trivia knowledge, and take on new University Librarian John Culshaw in a Wii challenge.

Features of the project include 18 group study spaces, 100 desktop and laptop computers, a 45-seat TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) classroom with glass walls and sliding doors, printers and scanners, TVs and projectors, and multimedia resources.

In addition:

  • A consolidated service desk will be at the hub of the learning commons. Library and technical staff will be able to answer common academic questions and quickly facilitate expert-level assistance for academic and research issues.
  • Collaboration technology and high-speed wireless connectivity will be available through the commons. Commons staff will be at the ready to help with technology issues as well.
  • The Food for Thought café will offer an expanded menu that includes made-to-order sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and other snacks, as well as espresso and gourmet coffees.

The space will be open all day and night with the exception of Friday and Saturday nights, in direct response to students’ ongoing requests for 24-hour study space on campus.

Construction on the new space included the addition of a new library entrance on Madison Street starting Aug. 26. This and the south entrance, which had been closed during construction, will both be open while the library’s north entrance will close to facilitate the next phase of library renovations. During phase 2 of the renovation, the north entrance will be transformed into a lobby space that leads directly into the Learning Commons.


Learning Commons

These days anyone who comes to the library will be greeted with signs of construction…noise, hard hats and plywood. What!?!?!!, might you ask, is going on in the library? We are in the middle of constructing a new space for student success, interaction and learning! This fall the Main Library will be the home to the University of Iowa Learning Commons. Brought to you through the collaboration and support of ITS, the University of Iowa Libraries and the Provost’s office, the Learning Commons will support student success by providing collaborative study and work spaces, cutting edge technology, good coffee, even better social interaction and great service! To be kept in the know visit the Learning Commons website and don’t forget to LIKE the Learning Commons facebook page! Our Facebook page is up and running and we’ll not only provide you with updates on the construction of the Learning Commons but we’ll post fun and interesting articles, reviews, and websites that support your educational, personal and professional interests! See you there!

South LobbySouth LobbyFood for ThoughtFood for Thought


National History Day at the University of Iowa Libraries, February 15, 2013

The University of Iowa Libraries welcomes students from Roosevelt, Wilson, and Franklin Middle Schools for a National History Day workshop.



Banned Books Week 2012

Banned Books Week (September 30-October 6) is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. This is the 30th year of Banned Books Week, and UI Libraries is celebrating on Tumblr: http://bannedbooksweek2012.tumblr.com/. Check out updates about challenged books, submit a photo of your favorite banned or challenged book, and learn more about censorship and the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week 2012

You can get more information about Banned Books Week at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned, including a list of the 100 most frequently challenged books by decade.


Zine Library Day

July is International Zine Month and July 21 is Zine Library Day, a chance to celebrate self-publishing collections around the world. Zines are self-published works, made for passion rather than for profit. Libraries collect zines because they represent perspectives and topics that aren’t included in other forms of media.

The zine collections in the UI Libraries are in Special Collections and University Archives. You can learn more about them here. There is even a zine about the zine collections, which you can always find in the Zine Machine, the zine vending machine on the first floor in Main Library.

There are other zine libraries in the Midwest, as well, including:

-     The Read/Write Library in Chicago.

-     The Zine Apothecary in Minneapolis.

-     Michigan State University Special Collections in East Lansing.

Finally, a few zine libraries on the move or online:

-     The Queer Zine Archive Project is a collectively-run initiative to digitize zines by and about queer people.

-     The Fly Away Zinemobile is a traveling collection of zines. Check their website – they’ll probably be stopping through Iowa City in August.

To celebrate Zine Library Day, come down to psz downstairs at 120 N. Dubuque on July 21 between noon and 6pm. There will be a pop-up zine library, materials to make your own zines, and snacks, of course. At 6, we will parade the three blocks to Public Space One to use their copier. You can RSVP on Facebook.


A Nancy Drew birthday

Nancy Drew author Mildred Wirt Benson among her books, Toledo, 1949 | Mildred Wirt Benson Collection

Nancy Drew author Mildred Wirt Benson among her books, Toledo, 1949 | Mildred Wirt Benson Collection

University of Iowa alumna Mildred Wirt Benson — journalist, pilot, amateur archaeologist, ghost writer, and the original author of the Nancy Drew mystery series — was born on this day in 1905. To mark the anniversary, we’re featuring a gallery of her book covers, from the iconic to the unintentionally terrifying, on our Iowa Digital Library Pinterest account. View even more digitized artifacts at the Mildred Wirt Benson Digital Collection.

Pinterst - IDL: Mildred Wirt Benson cover gallery

Pinterst - IDL: Mildred Wirt Benson cover gallery


UBorrow wins resource sharing innovation award

UBorrow—the new service that offers rapid access to over 90 million books from 13 research libraries—has won the Rethinking Resource Sharing 2012 Innovation Award.

David Larsen of the University of Chicago Library and Anne Beaubien of the University of Michigan accepted the award on behalf of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation—a consortium of Big Ten member universities plus the University of Chicago.  The award comes with a $1000 stipend and honors individuals or institutions for changes they have made to improve users’ access to information through resource sharing in their library, consortium, state or country.

The University of Iowa was one of 5 pilot libraries that tested and implemented UBorrow in late 2010/early 2011.  Amy Paulus, Head, Access Services at the Main Library worked closely with these libraries as a member of  the implementation team.

UBorrow allows University of Iowa faculty, students and staff to borrow books from other CIC institutions, which typically arrive on campus within a week and can be checked out for 12 weeks, with an option for a 4-week renewal. Visit the UBorrow Library Guide to learn more about using this service.


Civil War letters back in Iowa and ready for transcription

Wilkerson letters, 1863-1865 | Civil War Diaries and Letters

Wilkerson letters, 1863-1865 | Civil War Diaries and Letters

With almost 13,000 pages completed, our crowdsourcing volunteers are wrapping up their efforts to transcribe the UI’s collection of Civil War diaries and letters in order to make them easier to search and browse. But it turns out that that finish line is a moving target, since publicity from the project has attracted new Civil War donations to the Libraries. This week we added a handful of these recent acquisitions — totaling over 1,000 newly digitized pages ready for transcription — to the digital collection: Turner S. Bailey diaries, 1861-1863; Philip H. Conard diary, 1864-1865; and Wilkerson letters, 1863-1865.

In a Cedar Rapids Gazette article last fall, donor Pamela Lee attributed the choice to house her family papers at the UI to the crowdsourcing effort, describing it as “my Christmas list of everything that I thought should be done with the letters.” Read more, or just jump in and start transcribing, at the links below.

Hands-on experience with Civil War history: The University of Iowa is seeking public help with transcribing Civil War history

Letter after letter, week after week, Sarahett Wilkerson pleaded with her husband.

“I wish you could come home,” she wrote to Jesse Wilkerson, who was drafted in November 1864 to serve with the 13th Iowa Infantry in the Civil War.

After five months alone on the couple’s farm in Hamburg and three months caring for a new baby, Sarahett Wilkerson on April 2, 1865, penned another desperate behest of her husband.

“The baby is three months old day before yesturday,” she wrote, her spelling off on some words. “I want you to send her a name.”

In the letter, among 29 that Wilkerson’s descendants recently donated to the University of Iowa Libraries cataloging Jesse Skinner Wilkerson’s Civil War experience, his wife updates the 33-year-old soldier on their children and how much they miss him…

Pamela Lee, 60, of Pullman, Wash., is the great-great-great granddaughter of Jesse Wilkerson and said her family gave the documents to the UI as a way of preserving the material and making it relevant…

“We are so happy that the letters are back in Iowa,” Lee said. “It’s exactly where they should be.”

View the full article at thegazette.com

Help transcribe the UI’s Civil War diaries and letters