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2022-2023 Academic Year In Review

In the last year we:

  • Were open 2,080.5 hours
  • Welcomed 83,788 visitors
  • Taught 89 workshops and instruction sessions, reaching 1,305 people
  • Added 5,143 plant patents to our collections
  • Checked out calculators 207 times
  • Were designated a Patent and Trademark Resource Center by the United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Reached at total of 16,907 on Twitter and Instagram
  • and more!

See the full infographic below to see what else we did this year.

An infographic detailing accomplishments of the Lichtenberger Engineering Library over the 2022-2023 academic year

These 6 books detail the key role of engineering in both of this weekend’s blockbusters

You may have heard there are a couple of big movies coming to theaters this weekend: Barbie and Oppenheimer. Read up more on these two world-changers before you see the movies!


By Vare - Patently Female: 8580000485066: Books

Barbara Millicent Roberts (Barbie) was released in 1959 and invented by Ruth Handler. You can read about Handler in Patently Female: from AZT to TV dinners. (Check out our Untold Stories in STEM collection for more inventions by women, people of color, and other historically underrepresented groups in STEM).

One of the most strongest parts of the Barbie brand is Mattel’s management of their intellectual property. Learn about patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property in our Patents LibGuide. The Lichtenberger Engineering Library is a Patent and Trademark Resource Center! Keep an eye out on our social media channels so you know when our next intellectual property workshop is coming up.

Plastics: Materials and Processing (3rd Edition): 9780131145580: Strong, A. Brent: Books -

Back to the technical side of things, Barbies are created using a process called rotational molding. If you want to read about that and other plastics, check out Plastics: materials and processing.

If you’d like to look at some pretty Barbie dresses (who doesn’t?) you can check out Barbie: what a doll! from our friends over at the Art Library. We can even have it brought over to the Engineering Library for you to pick up using Interlibrary Loan.


The Manhattan Project" is Kindle Book of the Day! - Nuclear Museum

Oppenheimer the film primarily focuses on his time working on the Manhattan Project, also known as the project to build the atomic bomb. The Manhattan Project gives the reader an inside look at the project, using writings from the people who worked on it.

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era: 9781451660432: Nelson, Craig: Books -

The discoveries of the Atomic Age also had a far-reaching cultural impact. Read more in The Age of Radiance.

We’ll finish things off with a couple of Oppenheimer biographies. Learn about Oppenheimer’s professional relationships in Einstein and Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer lived 21 years after the Trinity Test. Read about the rest of his life in A Life in Twilight: the final years of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Which movie are you going to see first?

Kozak wins Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award

Kari receiving her award. Bernhardt Award recipients get to wear a groovy hat, then add a pin from their institution and hand it on to the next awardee.

Last week we attended the annual conference of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) where Lichtenberger Engineering Library Director Kari Kozak was awarded with the Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award by the Engineering Libraries Division (ELD).

From the Association Society of Engineers – Engineering Libraries Division:

The ASEE ELD 2023 Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award goes to Kari Kozak of the University of Iowa. The Committee received an impressive nomination package for Ms. Kozak detailing her accomplishments and contributions and we unanimously agreed that she is this year’s recipient.

The Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award recognizes contributions to the advancement and development of excellence in engineering libraries. As the nominating letter stated, “Kari’s contributions [to ELD] would dwarf what most…members strive for. “This announcement, therefore, will only be able to cover a sampling of Ms. Kozak’s achievements and contributions, but be assured, it goes well beyond what follows. Another letter detailed the seventeen (17!) intellectual contributions Kari has made to ASEE annual conferences in the past ten years. These include papers, posters, lightning talks, and moderating sessions. She also won the Best Poster Award in 2019 for her poster, “The Great Coffee Hunt: An Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt.”

Beyond intellectual contributions, Kari has been a dedicated leader in the division, recently wrapping up the four-year officer track (secretary/treasurer, program chair, division chair, past chair/nominating committee chair). If that doesn’t paint the picture for you of her commitment and enthusiasm, just take last year at the ASEE 2022 Annual Conference in Minneapolis where Ms. Kozak “was division chair, she presented a paper at a technical session, presented a lightning talk, moderated a session, and led the annual business meeting. All in one conference!”

When discussing Ms. Kozak’s nomination, the committee recalled the overwhelming task of switching the 2021 Annual Conference to an online setting. While we had met virtually in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ASEE had initially intended the 2021conference to be back in person. However, due to various circumstances, the 2021 conference also was held virtually. The conference planning committee did a fantastic job of it overall, and we fondly remembered the wonderful details that Kari employed to keep the spirit of the ELD group. She worked with Hema Ramachandran (an awards committee member and Long Beach, California area resident) to identify and purchase a local treat that could be sent to ELD attendees (as the 2021 conference was set to take place in Long Beach that year). Kari worked tirelessly to create the typical atmosphere the ELD group experiences at the Annual Conference but in a virtual setting. And she absolutely succeeded! This is just yet another example of her amazing devotion to ELD.

However, as one letter pointed out, the “Bernhardt Award criteria aren’t focused solely on contributions to ASEE/ELD” and “Kari’s contributions to engineering librarianship go well beyond her ELD-related work.” Therefore it should come as no surprise that Ms. Kozak has had a tremendous impact as a librarian at the University of Iowa and beyond. She has been the Director of the Lichtenberger Engineering Library since 2012. In addition, she has been a leader in TRAIL (Technical Report Archive and Library), STELLA(Science, Technology, and Engineering Library Leaders in Action), and Atmospheric Science Librarians International. She has been on advisory boards for ASME, IEEE, ASTM, and Engineering Village. Multiple letters of support from University of Iowa faculty members were provided as part of the nomination package. They touch upon her teaching, as well as her commitment to innovative spaces and programs for engineering students. To name a few, she created the Engineering Tools Library, the Creative Space Room, and the Kick-Start Fund. Her letters of support from colleagues at Iowa use words and phrases like “amazed,” “blown away,” “devoted,” and “an invaluable resource,” to name a few. The Committee agrees wholeheartedly with these descriptions of Kari and her work. Kari, as the nominating letter concludes, is truly “an exceptional and outstanding librarian.”

Congratulations, Kari, for demonstrating the epitome of what “distinguished service” to ELD and beyond looks like!

Graduate Highlight: Jide Babawale

We’re at that time of the year again and its time to wish our graduating student workers happy trails. This semester we have only one graduate: Jide Babawale.

Hometown: Hazel Crest, IL

Major: Chemical Engineering

How long have you worked at the Engineering Library? Since the beginning of my Junior year, so for about four semesters.

What are your plans after graduation? Work as a reliability engineer for Abbott in Columbus, OH

Do you have any advice for new students? Get involved early and step out of your comfort zone.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? I’ve read the whole Harry Potter series six separate times.

Good luck Jide and thank you for all your hard work! 

Happy National Gardening Day!

The weather has been beautiful this week, so we’re all looking for things to do outside. How about plan your garden this year? We can help! Yes, we have gardening books. Here are a few to get you started:

Tired of mowing your lawn? Turn it into a yard-sized garden! Eco-Yards: simple steps to earth-friendly landscapes by Laureen Rama

To start from the ground up (pun intended), try Composting for Dummies by Cathy Cromell and the editors of the National Gardening Association

Are you a civil or environmental engineer? Learn about the history of environmentalism in America and how one publication shaped public policy in The City Natural: Garden and Forest Magazine and the Rise of American Environmentalism by Shen Hou

If you have put down your roots (again, pun intended) and want to plant a garden that will feed you year after year you maybe interested in The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture: Creating an Edible Permaculture by Christopher Shein and Julie Thompson.

Ready to go all-in? The Homesteading Handbook: a back to basics guide to growing your own food, canning, keeping chickens, generating your own energy, crafting, herbal medicine, and more by Abigail R. Gehring may catch your eye!

Feeling ready to dig-in? If you use our resources to create your own garden come in and show us! We would love to hear about how you are changing and improving the world around you.

Explore Intellectual Property With Us

We were honored earlier this year to be named a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). During the month of April we’re highlighting that designation with workshops and a celebration. Check out the list of events and workshops below to get involved and explore intellectual property! 

Tuesday, April 11, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Protecting Your Ideas: Introduction to Patents, Trademarks & Intellectual Property – Explore the hidden world of patents and trademarks. This workshop will feature a basic introduction to what a patents and trademarks are, the various types of patents in existence, and how to complete patents searches to begin the process. In addition to providing inventor exclusive rights to products, patents also give great detailed information on certain products and methods that can help you in the designing the development stages. Taught by Kari Kozak, Director, Lichtenberger Engineering Library. Note: The presenter is not lawyer. This session is for helping you learn the basics about intellectual property and search for patents and trademarks, legal advice will not be provided. This is part of our Business Building Blocks series. To explore all of the workshops in the series visit here.

Thursday, April 13, 3:30 pm – 4:20 pm: Turning Inventions into Profit – Join us for a discussion on how to build strong IP portfolios and commercialize innovations.  We will talk about diligence requirements and strategies to bring a product to market. Mihaela Bojin is an Associate Director at the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF).  UIRF protects and commercializes technologies developed at the University of Iowa.  Mihaela holds a PhD in Chemistry from Cornell University, is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), and a registered patent agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Friday, April 21 , 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Patent and Trademark Resource Center Designation Celebration – Everyone is invited to an open house celebrating the Lichtenberger Engineering Library’s designation as a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). The library is now part of a select group of higher education institutions and public libraries across the country – and only one of two in Iowa – to have the ability to access valuable resources offered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

Share your work with a research poster!

The Engineering Research Open House is coming up! For those of you who are presenting, here are a few tips to ensure your poster makes a good impression:

  1. Think about your audience: Think about who is present at the event you are at and who you want to come talk to you. While a picture of your cute cat might get people to look at your poster but unless your cat was a central part of your research that’s not what you want to talk to people about.
  2. Less Is More: Think of your poster as a business card for your research, not a full article. Find a balance between visual interest and big points to pull people in.
  3. Find a balance between negative and positive space: Design your poster to look full but not cluttered. This is a difficult and important balance to hit. Too much negative space and your poster will look incomplete but if your poster is too full it will look busy and cluttered. 
  4. Templates are your friend: Using a template is a great way to make poster making much easier. Templates for the University of Iowa can be found here, but if you’re presenting at a conference make sure to check their poster rules to make sure your poster is the correct size.

Want more information on making an effective poster? Come to our upcoming workshop: Creating a Research Poster on Thursday, March 30 at 3:30 in the Engineering Creative Space. The workshop is FREE but you need to visit this page to register. This workshop will help you make your poster presentation more effective. Learn to think about the prospective audience, poster content, and design considerations in a poster layout. Presented by Dr. Michelle Scherer. University of Iowa Distinguished Chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering, & Director of the Hanson Center for Communication (HCC). 


“Research Guides: How to Create a Research Poster: Poster Basics,” n.d.

“Research Poster Content & Context – Purdue OWL® –  Purdue University,” n.d.

Stuckey, Matthew, and Tammy Hoyer. “How to Make an Effective Poster.” University of California Davis, n.d.

Pi Day Celebration Tomorrow!

We love Pi Day! Traditionally Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (3/14), but since the students are on Spring Break that day, we’re celebrating a week early. Stop by the Engineering Library to get a FREE apple pie bite made by a local bakery while supplies last. 

Here are a few pi facts to get you excited for our favorite holiday:

  1. Because the exact value of pi can never be calculated, we can never find the exact area or circumference of a circle. 
  2. Albert Einstein was born on March 14th, 1879, but Pi Day was not celebrated until over 100 years later in 1988.
  3. Welsh mathematician William Jones was the first person to use the symbol for pi but it was popularized by Leonhard Euler (known for Euler’s number)

Do you have a fun pi fact? Tweet it to us, we’d love to hear it! 

Celebrate Engineers at Iowa!

It’s midterms and we’re all feeling a little… well we could use a break. From 1910 to the mid 1980’s, students here at the College of Engineering celebrated MECCA week to blow off some steam. MECCA was a student run organization that focused on celebrating engineers and having some fun (usually at the expense of the law students). MECCA stood for the five types of engineering at the time of its founding: Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Chemical, and Architectural. Because St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers, MECCA week was always celebrated the week of St. Patrick’s Day and included parties, pranks, and the Hunt for the Blarney Stone.


Celebration was big during MECCA week. The whole week culminated in the MECCA ball, also known as the Smoker. At the Smoker, men could compete to be the King of Beards (sometimes dyed green), and a MECCA queen would be crowned. 

The party also made it onto the streets with MECCA week parades. With floats that poked fun at faculty, students, and the college of engineering, spectators were never sure what they would see coming down the street.


MECCA week was the time for pranks. Over the years pranks included a huge cement shamrock in the lawn of the law building, a green flag on the flagpole of the law building, green mice in the law building, and a manure spreader in the courtroom of the law building. We’re unsure of the source of the rivalry between the engineers and the law students, but the law students would get in on the fun too, including a bar marathon.

Hunt for the Blarney Stone

What’s more chaotic than a building full of engineers? A city-wide engineering scavenger hunt! During MECCA week students participated in the hunt for the Blarney Stone. Named for the Blarney Stone in Ireland, which is said to give the “gift of gab” to those who kiss it, the Iowa Blarney stone was hidden each year by the graduating class. Underclassmen were given clues in the form of engineering puzzles. The engineers were generally successful in their hunt, but not always. In 1912 and 1947 the stone was lost, and each of those classes were required to purchase a new stone. While no longer used for the hunt, the current stone is one purchased by the class of 1947 following their unsuccessful pursuit.

problem 2
Here is an example of the clues given for the Blarney Stone hunt. In addition to tricky clues, the stone could be placed anywhere in a 25 mile radius of Iowa City, making the possibilities nearly endless.
Students celebrate a successful Blarney Stone hunt

We still feel it’s important to recognize Engineers and everything they do for our world, and that’s why we’re celebrating E-Week this week! This year we’re bringing some pizazz to with the inaugural Engineering Open Mini-Golf Design Challenge. Drop by the Engineering Student Commons today (2/24) between 1 and 5 to join in.

Blind Date with a Book is Back!

Valentines Day is approaching and love is in the air – that’s why we have brought back our Blind Date with a Book event! All month long you can stop by by yourself, with a friend, or with a significant other and pick up your own to read.

Never tried out a Blind Date with a Book? Here’s what you can expect:

You’ll find the shelf of books by the wooden wall on the main floor of the library. Just walk in and turn left after the sand table. You’ll see a wooden shelf with a bright pink sign on the top (you really can’t miss it, but if you do just ask at the service desk!)

Each book is individually wrapped – do not unwrap the books! Read the tags and see what interests you. We have included a general category at the bottom to help you quickly narrow down your options (fiction, nonfiction, biography, graphic novel). Pick out something that interests you and bring it up to the desk. DON’T UNWRAP THE BOOK YET!

At the desk we will check out the book to you using the barcode on the back. NOW you can unwrap the book and see who your blind date is! We included a bookmark inside (or on the back in a few cases) for you to use while you’re reading your books. When you return the book, please do us a favor and fill out the back of that bookmark and return that to us as well. Blind Dates will be available all month long, so check out as many as you want!