The University Libraries is seeking nominations for the Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence. Funded by a generous endowment, this award acknowledges a library staff member’s professional contributions in the practice of librarianship, service to the profession, scholarship, or leadership which has had a significant impact or innovation to the operations of the Libraries or the University of Iowa. The library staff member will receive $2,000 to be used for professional development activities.
*The University Libraries includes the Main Library, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, and the Art, Business, Engineering, Music, and Science libraries. (Professional staff in the Law Library and other campus departmental library staff are not eligible.)
When campus libraries reopen on Aug. 17, services will resume in phases. To begin the semester, the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, the Main Library, and the Sciences Library will allow building access only to University of Iowa members with a valid Iowa One Card or UI Health Care Badge. Also, all campus libraries will have shorter hours, closed book stacks, and some study areas will be unavailable.
These measures allow for appropriate quarantine of returned materials, reduce concerns about cleaning, and support social distancing due to COVID-19. Access will vary by location. For example, the Music Library and Art Library will limit occupancy by restricting access to service desks only. At the Main Library, access to the fourth and fifth floors will be limited to staff only, thus reducing impact on custodians.
“The Libraries staff understand users will be disappointed that they will be unable to browse the book stacks and fully utilize library study areas,” says John Culshaw, university librarian. “We hope conditions will shift soon, enabling us to restore access and hours. In the meantime, our plan reflects those at other libraries, including our Big Ten peers.”
In addition to limiting the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the facility, closed stacks keep the Libraries in compliance with copyright agreements with HathiTrust Emergency Access Service (ETAS), which supplies emergency online access to a large portion of our collection. The ETAS service gives the Libraries access to nearly 50% of its print volumes. Find step-by-step access instructions for HathiTrust here. The ETAS service can remain available only while our stacks are closed.
Users can still borrow books by requesting book retrieval from the stacks at any campus library. Users are encouraged to request books in advance through Infohawk+. After requesting a book, users can choose from several ways to get the book. Faculty and staff can opt for delivery to campus offices. All borrowers, including community members, can request delivery by mail. Books borrowed from the Main Library’s collections can be picked up through a contactless service at the south entrance of the Main Library. Procedures vary by location; please check with your campus library for instructions.
As the semester unfolds, the Libraries will continue to monitor the situation. When deemed safe, the Libraries will consider extending hours and opening stacks for browsing.
Thank you for your patience as we navigate changing circumstances. Please contact us at any of our campus locations with questions regarding book access. Visit our fall 2020 FAQ for complete information about changes in library services.
University of Iowa students can return items to the UI Libraries from afar by dropping off items at one of 47 participating libraries across the state and region. See a map of these locations or the list of locations at the end of this article.
The UI Libraries has spearheaded this special service to help students living far from campus due to the pandemic. With the aid of partnering public and academic libraries, the UI Libraries will continue to offer this service while it’s needed.
This network of libraries is participating in an unprecedented cooperative project to assist library users who are sheltering far from the library from which they borrowed items. Each library in this network will accept items from the other participating libraries and return those items at no cost to the borrower.
Students who have University of Iowa library books to return can check the UI Libraries’ book return map for drop-off locations in the state and region. Students without access to a drop-off library and those living further than 30 miles from Iowa City can requesta UPS shipping label.
Students living near campus are encouraged to return books at the Main Library drop box (125 W. Washington Street, return slots available at both the south and north entrances) or the Hardin Library drop box (600 Newton Road, next to the entrance that faces University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics). Students with tools or electronic equipment should schedule a drop off to ensure the security and safety of the items.
Art Library: Please use the library drop box.
Business Library: Please use the drop box for books and DVDs. Please return non-book items to the service desk or schedule a time by emailing email@example.com
Engineering Library: Please use the drop box for books and DVDs. Please return non-book items to the service desk.
Hardin Library: Please use the drop box for books and DVDs. Please return non-book items to the service desk.
Main Library: Please use the drop box for books and DVDs. Please return non-book items to the service desk.
Music Library: Please use the hallway book drop on the first floor of the Voxman Music Building.
Sciences Library: Please return items to the service desk.
Before returning library items, please observe the following safe-handling practices:
Do not clean, disinfect, or microwave library materials before returning them. For example, do not use water, Lysol, or any other cleaner on materials.
If you or your family members are sick or have been sick, seal materials in a zip-lock style bag if possible before returning.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before handling library materials for return and again after you have completed the return.
List of locations for materials return
Iowa State University Parks Library, 701 Morrill Road, Ames, IA
DMACC Ankeny campus Library Bldg 6, 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, IA
Scott Community College Library, 500 Belmont Rd, Bettendorf, IA
DMACC Boone campus Library, 1125 Hancock Drive, Boone, IA
Northeast Iowa Community College Library Student Center, 1625 Hwy 150 S., Calmar, IA
DMACC Carroll campus Library, 906 North Grant Rd., Carroll, IA
University of Northern Iowa Rod Library, 1227 W 27th Street, Cedar Falls, IA
Mount Mercy University Busse Library, 1330 Elmhurst Drive NE, Cedar Rapids, IA
Kirkwood Community College Library Benton Hall, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA
Clinton Community College Library, 1000 Lincoln Blvd, Clinton, IA
Coralville Public Library, 1401 5th Street, Coralville, IA
Southwestern Community College Library, 1501 W. Townline Street, Creston, IA
Saint Ambrose University Library, 518 W. Locust Street, Davenport, IA
DMACC Urban/Des Moines campus Library Bldg 1, 1100 7th Street, Des Moines, IA
Drake University Cowles Library, 2725 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Grand View University Library, 1350 Morton Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Mercy College of Health Sciences Library Sullivan Center, 928 6th Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Loras College Library, 1450 Alta Vista, Dubuque, IA
University of Dubuque Charles C. Myers Library, 2195 Grace Street, Dubuque, IA
Grinnell College Library, 1111 6th Ave, Grinnell, IA
Simpson College Dunn Library, 508 N C Street, Indianola, IA
Kirkwood Community College Library, 1816 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, IA
Iowa City Public Library, Iowa City, IA
University of Iowa Hardin Library, 600 Newtown Road, Iowa City, IA
University of Iowa Main Library, 125 W. Washington Street, Iowa City, IA
Southeastern Community College Fred Karre Memorial Library, 335 Messenger Rd, Keokuk, IA
Cornell College Cole Library, 320 3rd Street SW, Mount Vernon, IA
Muscatine Community College Library, 152 Colorado Street, Muscatine, IA
North Liberty Public Library, 520 W. Cherry Street, North Liberty, IA
Northwestern College DeWitt Library, 101 7th Street SW, Orange City, IA
William Penn University Wilcox Library, 201 Trueblood Avenue, Oskaloosa, IA
Indian Hills Community College Library, 525 Grandview Avenue, Ottumwa, IA
Northeast Iowa Community College Library, 8342 NICC Drive, Peosta, IA
Dordt University Hulst Library, 700 7th Street NE, Sioux Center, IA
Briar Cliff University Bishop Mueller Library, 3303 Rebecca Street, Sioux City, IA
Morningside College Library, 1501 Morningside Avenue, Sioux City, IA
Hawkeye Community College Library Main Campus, 1501 East Orange Road, Waterloo, IA
Wartburg College Vogel Library, 100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA
University of Illinois Main Library, 1408 W Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL
Indiana University Wells Library, 1320 E. Tenth Street, Bloomington, IN
Purdue University Library, West State Street, West Lafayette, IN
University of Michigan Hatcher Graduate Library, 913 S. University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI
Michigan State University Main Library, 366 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI
University of Minnesota Wilson Library, 309 19th Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN
University of Nebraska Love Library, 13th & R Street, Lincoln, NE
University of Wisconsin Memorial Library, 728 State Street, Madison, WI
Effective immediately and until normal access to physical collections resumes, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Iowa have online access to a large portion of the University Libraries’ print collection—volumes that would have been difficult to access from library facilities that are closed due to COVID-19.
Reading access todigitized copies of print volumes has been granted to the UI by HathiTrust, a not-for-profit, collaborative digital library that holds over 17 million volumes digitized from academic and research libraries. The UI Libraries,in collaboration with the Big Ten Academic Alliance, is a founding member of HathiTrust.
This means that any books available through HathiTrust that are also in the UI Libraries’ collections will be available online without the additional step of requesting a digital scan. HathiTrust’s online collection containsnearly half of the UI Libraries’ book collection for an additional 1.6 million volumes now available online for our campus community.
To take advantage of this resource:
Visit HathiTrust and click the yellow “LOG IN” button.
Select “University of Iowa” and log with your HawkID.
Use the site to locate the item you wish to view.
Click on theTemporary Accesslink at the bottom of the record to check out the item through the Emergency Temporary Access Service.
You will have 60 minutes of access to the book during any session. If you remain active in the book during any session, access time will be extended.
Please note that it is not possible to download books from HathiTrust. This is to protect authors’ rights.
Good data management and curation practices will make it easier for you to preserve and share your data.
Graduate students are often responsible for many of the data management tasks associated with their research, and these practices may be new to them. These changing expectations and requirements may also be unfamiliar to faculty and staff. In order to assist with these tasks, the libraries provides instruction, consultations, and infrastructure to help researchers across the university with data management and curation.
In Spring 2020, we will be offering a 1-credit course on research data management.
This course is intended to build knowledge and expertise in essential best practices that students can immediately apply in their own research settings. We’ll focus on active-learning, with readings and discussion-based explorations of how to apply good data management to planning, active research, and preserving and sharing data.
The course is appropriate for any researcher who deals with quantitative data. We hope to see you there!
Course Title: Managing Data to Facilitate Your Research
Time and Location: 9:30 am – 10:20 am, Mondays, in 1100 UCC
Allexis Mahanna, a UI senior majoring in global health studies, won the inaugural Undergraduate Library Research Award (ULRA) offered by the University of Iowa Libraries. Mahanna was selected from a competitive pool of undergraduate researchers who applied for the award and presented their work at the University of Iowa’s Fall Undergraduate Research Festival held November 13, 2019.
Mahanna’s research focuses on the differences in migration policies between the autonomous community of Catalonia and the local municipality of Barcelona, Spain. She evaluated the local migration policies of Barcelona through a case study framework analyzing country-wide policies and community perceptions of migrants.
Her research integrated library resources—including databases such as Web of Science, SAGE research methods, and services in SEAM—with specialized instruction on coding methods from SEAM Graduate Student Megan Dial-Lapcewich. Mahanna also met with librarians Brett Cloyd and Cathy Cranston and sought poster design assistance from Nikki White in the Libraries’ Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio in preparation for presenting at the Fall Undergraduate Research Festival.
The Undergraduate Library Research Award was established this year by Jenay Solomon, librarian in the UI Libraries’ Undergraduate Engagement Department, who collaborated with Bob Kirby and Melinda Licht of the Iowa Center for Undergraduate Research (ICRU) to integrate the new award into the Fall Undergraduate Research Festival.
The award carries a $500 prize, which is funded by the Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries. The Libraries will offer the award again at the UI’s Spring Undergraduate Research Festival. The award is open to any undergraduate student in any year or discipline who demonstrates creative or innovative research skills in the selection, integration, and synthesis of resources, services, and materials from the UI Libraries.
Special thanks to UI librarians who served on the Fall 2019 ULRA review committee: Conrad Bendixen (from the Sciences Library and Main Library Liaison Services in Humanities and Social Sciences) and Kelly Hangauer (from Main Library Liaison Services in Humanities and Social Sciences), Heather Healy (from the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences), and Laurie Neuerburg (from the Sciences Library). Committee members helped create an assessment rubric for evaluating applicants and assisted in selecting this semester’s winner.
Students will benefit from Open Educational Resource (OER) projects
The University of Iowa Libraries has awarded fifteen grants to eighteen faculty for Open Educational Resource (OER) projects for the 2019-2020 academic year. OpenHawks is a campus-wide grant program that funds faculty efforts to replace their current textbooks with OERs for enhanced student success.
OpenHawks is one of five innovative, interdisciplinary initiatives funded by the annual Provost Investment Fund (PIF) from the UI Office of the Provost. The PIF will provide OpenHawks projects with funds totaling $87,288 for AY 2020. The funded OER projects, which were selected through a competitive application process, will benefit students in the College of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Medicine, and Tippie College of Business.
OER (such as textbooks, videos, assessment tools, lab books, research materials or interactive course modules) are free for students and carry legal permission for open use. The open licenses under which these items are released allow users to create, reuse, and redistribute copies of the resources.
Removing cost barriers to course materials opens student access and positively impacts learning. OER provide further benefit when faculty fully integrate free resources into their curricula by “remixing” or tailoring materials to enhance specific learning objectives.
Mercedes Bern-Klug, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $7,000. For this project, Dr. Bern-Klug will create an OER textbook on global aging. By replacing the textbook with up-to-date readings and resources from different sources, Bern-Klug ensures students will learn the material from organizations and authors with a track record of producing high-quality materials germane to global aging.
Stephen Cummings, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $1,400 for Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Cummings will develop an OER textbook on human behavior in social settings for an online, graduate-level course in Social Work. Students will benefit from the vibrant content of this textbook, reflecting current events and engagement for a more dynamic learning environment. The OER resource is projected to save students money, as it will replace a $55 textbook.
Hannah Givler, lecturer in the School of Art and Art History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $9,000 for Woodworking: Theory and Practice in Studio Arts. Givier will create an OER textbook that combines theory and practice, illuminating the material behaviors of wood. The resource will include foundational and experimental techniques for bending, joining, and framing. The textbook will be used by students in her wood-bending and wood-joinery courses in the School of Art and Art History. It will provide students with the narratives and experiences of contemporary artists working conceptually with wood materials—a perspective missing from currently available textbook resources.
Julia Kleinschmit, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $1,300 for her OER project, Computer Lab: statistics with less pain – in your wallet. Students taking a required one-semester-hour statistics course will benefit from this resource. Kleinschmit will remix existing OER resources to replace existing textbooks and eliminate expensive software purchases, saving students nearly $150 each.
Mouna Maalouf, lecturer in Chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $4,000 for Principles of Chemistry II—Lab Manual in pressbook. The goal of this project is to create an OER lab manual for the freshman chemistry laboratory, replacing lab manuals from publishers that range in cost from $10 to $40. The born-digital lab manual will be easier for students to access and navigate. In addition, the digital resource will be easier for the instructor to update frequently.
Kate Magsamen-Conrad, faculty in Communication Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $10,000 to create no-cost, accessible, engaging, tailored resources for UI students. The project, Introduction to Social Scientific Communication Research Methods, will include a textbook, study guides, presentation materials, and class activities developed in collaboration with UI librarians, the UI Human Subjects Office, and other campus partners. Conrad is replacing an $125 textbook with content tailored for UI students.
Emilia Illana Mahiques, faculty in Spanish & Portuguese in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $1,000 for an OER project titled Aligning peer review, assessments, and learning objectives in SPAN:2000 based on the framework resulting from her research study on peer review. Through this project, Mahiques will create a bank of activities instructors can use to train students on effective, efficient peer review processes aimed at improving students’ abilities to write in their second language. She will also create peer review guidelines and corresponding assessment rubrics according to the curricular requirements of the Spanish Writing course.
Brandon Myers, lecturer in computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $2,999 for a project titled Guided Inquiry Activities for Advanced Computer Science. Myers will create OER learning activities using an instruction strategy shown to improve student engagement and learning called Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL). In POGIL, students cooperate in teams to construct and apply concepts in carefully designed activities. Unfortunately, such activities are not readily available to computer science instructors. In this project, Myers aims to create, pilot, revise, and share four to six POGIL activities to support two courses, Database Systems and Programming Languages. The activities will be shared with a Creative Commons license on the CS-POGIL project website (http://cspogil.org).
Ted Neal, professor of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education, has been awarded $10,000 to create an OER titled Earth and Space Science for Elementary Teachers. Neal will develop an OER textbook, in cooperation with students, that will cover broad topic areas as mandated by the State of Iowa’s new science curriculum for which adequate teaching resources do not yet exist. Under Neal’s direction, students will develop this comprehensive resource, providing future elementary science teachers with concise, accurate, and centralized resources for K-12 instruction in earth and space science.
Marc A. Pizzimenti, faculty in Anatomy and Cell Biology in the Carver College of Medicine, has been awarded $9,859 for Online Physical Examination Skills Modules with Integrated Basic Science Review. These instructional modules will help students learn basic physical examination (PE) skills by creating efficient, timely, scalable, easily accessible resources that will assist in training, but will also serve as the primary resource for students learning the basics of PE.
Jacob B. Priest, faculty in Psychological and Quantitative Foundations in the College of Education, and Rachel Williams, faculty in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, have been awarded $8,000 for their project titled Heathy Relationship OER. Priest and Williams will create an OER to replace a $141 textbook on relationships. Their resource will be designed to enhance relationship communication and skills so students can make and maintain healthy relationships. Rather than providing statistics about relationships, this OER will help students learn actual relationship skills and apply them to different relationship situations.
Steven Stong, faculty in economics in the Tippie College of Business, has been awarded $1,000 for Test bank and clicker questions for Principles of Microeconomics 2e openstax. This project involves creating a 100-question bank of exam and quiz questions designed to help students develop a better theoretical understanding of economics and also gain the analytical skills they need to apply the theories to solve real-world economic problems. Strong is developing these questions to supplement an OER textbook that he is already using for Microeconomics.
Christine Wingate, faculty in English as a Second Language (ESL) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $7,730 for American English Sounds, an online resource already under development for courses focused on ESL speaking skills. Pronunciation is a vital part of these courses, and students need more time to practice and improve pronunciation than is possible during class. Wingate’s OER will help students practice pronunciation independently as directed by the teacher with tutorials, which will be accessible online through a computer or mobile device. Each tutorial will provide explanation, examples, and practice activities, including activities that could be recorded and submitted for teacher feedback.
Sang-Seok Yoon and Joung-A Park, faculty in Asian & Slavic Languages in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, have been awarded $5,000 for First Year Korean: First Semester. Yoon and Park will create an OER workbook for students studying the Korean language. This workbook will improve on the currently used commercial text by incorporating stronger content in conversations, listening comprehension, and Korean culture. The resource will reduce expenses for students while providing a more engaging and effective learning tool for UI students, with a special focus on preparing students for specific study abroad and work experiences in Korea.
Giovanni Zimotti, lecturer in Spanish & Portuguese, and Fernando Castro Ortiz, lecturer in Spanish and director of the Spanish Speaking, Writing, and Conversation Center in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, have been awarded $9,000 for Intermediate Spanish II: Spanish for Educators, a new UI course designed specifically for educators. Commercially available textbooks for this course are pedagogically outdated, very expensive for the students, and lack a well-developed online component. Zimotti and Castro Ortiz will create an OER textbook customized to fulfill the educational needs of UI students taking this new course, integrate content and technology already available at our institution and/or online, create self-assessment materials to supplement the OER textbook and classroom instruction, test and teach a pilot course using the content created in this project, and promote this new OER resource at national conferences and other professional venues.
The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collectionsis the new home of the renowned Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. Founded by Ruth and Marvin Sackner in 1979 in Miami Beach, Florida, the Sackner Archive currently holds the largest collection of concrete and visual poetry in the world.
The archive includes over 75,000 items that document the concrete poetry movement. Annotated books, periodicals, typewritings, drawings, letters, print portfolios, ephemera, and rare and out-of-print artists’ books and manuscripts represent 20th-century art movements such as Italian Futurism, Russian and Eastern European Avant Garde, Dada, Surrealism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Ultra, Tabu-Dada, Lettrisme, and Ultra-Lettrisme.
Among many notable items, the collection includes materials by and about the founders of the contemporary concrete poetry movement, such as Haroldo de Campos, Augusto de Campos, Eugen Gomringer, Öyvind Fahlström, Décio Pignatari, and Ian Hamilton Finlay. Also among the richly varied cross section of artists and poets represented in the archive are Dom Sylvester Houédard, Henri Chopin, John Cage, Johanna Drucker, Yoko Ono, and Nam June Paik.
“It’s a great honor for the UI Libraries to become the new home for the Sackner Archive, which will enrich scholarship, inspire generations of students, and draw visitors from around the world,” says John Culshaw, the Jack B. King university librarian at the UI.
Margaret Gamm, head of UI Libraries Special Collections, says the Sackners’ extensive work with item descriptions makes the archive of even greater value to scholars.
“We will soon be able to make a truly remarkable assortment of materials available, thanks to the dedication of Ruth and Marvin Sackner, their love of collecting, and their determination to create a complete archive by creating descriptive item records for each piece,” Gamm says. “I cannot wait to see how our students, faculty, and community use these materials in their research and classes.”
The entire archive has been moved to the UI Libraries, where it will be housed and maintained. The Sackner family has arranged for a scheduled donation of materials to be transferred to the UI Libraries’ ownership. The archive will be open by appointment to students, scholars, and the general public starting January 2020.
The Sackner family chose the University of Iowa Libraries as the new home for the archive due to the Libraries’ reputation as a center for the study of Dadaism, with its substantial holdings in the International Dada Archive. In addition, the Libraries’ world-class conservation program, the UI’s nationally recognized Center for the Book and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, collections in the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, and location in Iowa City (a UNESCO City of Literature) were also factors influencing their decision. The Sackners’ first encounter with Iowa was to loan work for the 1983 UI exhibition Lettrisme: Into the Present, not knowing that those items would eventually find their way back to the Midwest.
“My beloved wife, Ruth, and I had a dream that one day our efforts to build our collection into one that would reside in a world-class educational institution like the University of Iowa would come true,” Dr. Marvin Sackner says. “Our dream has finally become a reality. I am just sorry that Ruth is no longer with us to witness this monumental moment.”
In addition to housing the archive in Special Collections, the UI Libraries will maintain the condition of archive items, including fragile materials and rare or one-of-a-kind items. The Libraries Preservation and Conservation department has begun repairs on items damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
In its new home, the Sackner Archive will continue to function as a living record of the concrete poetry movement, as new works are accepted into the collections. The UI Libraries will house new items as they come in and work to make the material available to all.
“It’s a pleasure to collaborate with the University of Iowa Libraries staff to ensure the safety of the collection during the move and into the future,” says Amanda Keeley, who has served as associate curator of the Sackner Archive for three years. “Margaret [Gamm] has been a particularly helpful partner, allowing a smooth process for moving this substantial archive to Iowa City.”
The University of Iowa Libraries plans to host a celebration of the Sackner Archive in the near future. At a later date, UI Libraries staff will mount an exhibition of select archive items in the Main Library Gallery. The exhibition dates will be announced at lib.uiowa.edu/gallery.
The Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry includes items created in a wide variety of styles and media. Initially, the Sackners collected examples of artists who started the concrete poetry movement, but the archive has since expanded in scope and now includes a broad array of works that integrate text and image. Examples include experimental typography, experimental calligraphy, correspondence art, stamp art, sound poetry, performance poetry, micrography, ‘zines,’ graphic design, and artist magazines.
The images below show a variety of materials and techniques such as calligraphy on an ostrich egg, a “handmade” leather book cover, pressed leaves, lithograph, embossed paper, tea bags encased in paper, one-of-a-kind artist’s book in a round box, carved/painted wood, and an altered book page on which poetry was created through a technique called “erasure.”
by Jenay Solomon, Undergraduate Engagement Librarian, UI Libraries
Celebrating student accomplishments and getting to showcase all the amazing services and resources the UI libraries provide for students is always a great thing to do. Even on a Saturday!
Earlier this spring on a beautiful sunny Saturday, I spent the day at the 2nd Annual “I’m the First” First-Generation Summit celebrating the experiences and accomplishments of first-generation college students at Iowa. The Summit is entirely student-led and coordinated by the UI Student Government, who also provide the majority of funding. UISG did an amazing job at making the entire event very student-focused, while also encouraging networking and conversation among students, staff, and faculty.
The day began with a panel of first-generation students moderated by Dr. Melissa Shivers, VP for Student Life, who is herself first-generation, where they discussed challenges of being first-gen at Iowa, while also reminding attendees of the many strengths and talents being first-gen also brings. The day continued with breakout sessions, and two fabulous keynote speakers who spoke about their own experiences being a first-gen and a continuing college student.
During the afternoon “task force town-hall” session, I had the opportunity to sit on a panel with six other staff across campus in the departments of Academic Support & Retention, Academic Advising, TRiO Student Support Services, English as a Second Language, and University Counseling Service. Each of us discussed our roles in our departments and the different ways we reach out to first-gen students. It was interesting and informative listening to the others discuss their services and the various ways they reach out to students and first-gen in particular. Though we each came from different backgrounds and had distinct roles on campus, we all had commonalities when it came to caring about student success and empowering students to reach their potential.
When it came time for me to speak, I decided to showcase all the ways the Libraries provide support for students, through instruction, research consultations, our collections, and spaces. As the Undergraduate Engagement librarian, I shamelessly promoted services in The SEAM, spoke about the importance of offering flexible late night and drop-in research help for students who have different needs, crazy schedules, and who no longer fit the “traditional” mold of what a first-year student looks like. I stressed the importance of the how we all, as library staff, work hard to create a safe, comfortable, and judgment-free zone at the Libraries, whether that’s through our collections, our physical spaces, or our public outreach. I also took the opportunity to remind the students it’s our job to answer questions and help them find the information they need – so don’t be shy!
I’m hopeful we can continue being a part of the First-Generation Summit and I would encourage anyone, whatever role you’re in, to attend or present in next year’s 3rd annual summit. As librarians and library staff, we always relish the chance to promote the services we provide and remind students of the importance of their Libraries as part of their success story at Iowa. Simply attending the Summit and being a part of the program was a great opportunity to do just that.