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.
What was happening in the world of print in 1812? Special Collections & University Archives are hosting an open house featuring the newspapers, pamphlets, and books published in 1812. This event is part of the series of 1812 events around Iowa City for the 200th anniversary of both Napoleon’s failed campaign in Russia and the War of 1812.
Friday, September 14
Special Collections Reading Room, Third Floor, Main Library
Join Iowa Women’s Archives Curator Kären Mason and faculty members Omar Valerio-Jiménez and Claire Fox for a brown-bag discussion of Iowa women’s history at the opening of the newest exhibit at the UI Main Library.
“Pathways to Iowa: Migration Stories from the Iowa Women’s Archives” explores a theme common to many of the collections: migration. Since its founding, the Iowa Women’s Archives has gathered documents, photos, and oral histories that illuminate the lives of diverse Iowa women. Through the day-to-day work of the Archives and projects to preserve Latina, African-American, and rural women’s history, the Archives has opened up new avenues of research and laid the foundation for a more complete history of Iowa, the Midwest, and the nation.
Bring your lunch. Cookies and iced tea will be served.
The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular Main Library hours through November 30, 2012.
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.
In the fall of 2013, University of Iowa students will discover a tech-infused, 24-hour, comfy study space and one-stop academic help center…with good coffee.
Designed with significant student input, the new Learning Commons will provide an “intellectual hub” with room for 500-plus students. The 37,000-square-foot facility in the Main Library is the product of a unique partnership among Information Technology Services (ITS), University Libraries, and the Office of the Provost.
“The Learning Commons is focused, first and foremost, on furthering the academic success of students,” says Nancy Baker, university librarian. “The staff will provide students with a ‘concierge’ experience. They’ll answer common academic, library, and technology questions and point students to the resources they need to succeed, like help with their research, writing, or tutoring.”
“Our design team spent a lot of time watching how students study, and particularly noticed how much they leveraged technology in their daily work habits,” says Chris Clark, ITS learning spaces director. “This space, with its multimedia resources, collaboration technologies, and wall-to-wall wireless, reflects the way today’s students integrate technology into their lives.”
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.
The design team also considered students’ stomachs, because students can’t concentrate on their studies when they’re hungry. The Food for Thought café will offer an expanded menu that includes hot panini sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and other snacks, as well as espresso and gourmet coffees.
“We want to create an ambience that welcomes students,” Clark says.
According to Beth Ingram, associate provost for undergraduate education, the most important feature of the space is its flexibility.
“The Learning Commons is many different kinds of study spaces and services rolled into one,” she says. “With technology, information, and expertise combined in one location, it’s a space where students can study with a group or by themselves; where they can have a coffee with friends and then go to a workshop on stress management; where they know they can get answers to questions about information resources, technology, or tutoring services.”
Of course, part of the challenge in creating such a massive space for students is minimizing the impact the construction process will have on daily student life. Hope Barton, associate university librarian, says the impact on current study spaces will be minimal, since the area being remodeled was office space.
“This will really be a fantastic resource for University of Iowa students,” Ingram says. “We’re excited to see the project come to completion so students can start making the most of the new space.”
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.”
Join Nixon, Brownie Scouts, and the Women’s Army Corps at the Iowa Digital Library beach party, happening over at our Pinterest account:
Dragons, mandrakes, and potions have taken over the cases outside Special Collections & University Archives!
Students in Donna Parsons’ Honors Seminar titled “Harry Potter and the Quest for Enlightenment” have curated an exhibit using materials from Special Collections. The exhibit is one part of a semester long project utilizing Special Collections materials for research. The students chose one item from the collection to represent their research and worked together to fit their items into themes for display.
Parsons’ seminar has the students closely read the texts and analyze their themes as well as investigate the influences from the literary canon and the effects on popular culture in the US and Britain. She envisioned the collaboration with Special Collections as an exciting opportunity to enhance student learning. “The Harry Potter series is filled with extensive references to science, literature, mythology, and history,” Parsons says. “Partnering with Special Collections has supplied my students with the resources needed to trace a specific reference and discuss its relevance to a particular scene, character, or plotline. The partnership has also provided the context for a deeper understanding of the series and its appeal to a diverse audience.”
Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections & University Archives, welcomed the collaboration. “The idea to have the students create an exhibition was Donna’s, and we quickly agreed to it. Rather than showing or telling, we are giving them the chance to do their own showing and telling, which results in a unique learning opportunity that can only be experienced with access to original historical documents.”
Kelsey Sheets, a student in the seminar, loved finding out how complex the world of Harry Potter really is. “In the past I have read books about how J.K. Rowling draws inspiration from a wide variety of historical and mythical sources and incorporates them into the series, but my own research [on links between the study of Potions and the muggle study of Chemistry] really solidified this point and made me appreciate the depth of the wizarding world.”
The exhibit will be on display until June 1st on the third floor of the Main Library outside Special Collections & University Archives anytime the library is open.