Author: Holly Tuyls

Student Research in the Library: Xiaoya Gao

Xiaoya Gao is a fifth-year senior from Urumqui, China. In June she will be receiving a BA in History and a BM in Piano Performance. That’s right, she’s almost completed a double-degree!

This industrious researcher is planning to attend graduate school after Lawrence.

Xiaoya took some time from her busy schedule to tell us about what she’s been researching in the Mudd.

Student researcher Xiaoya Gao

Sisi, what’s the focus of your research?

Female health in two late Ming novels: a path to women’s autonomy in a closed society.

What are you hoping to learn or gain?

I hope to learn more about the history of healing in late Imperial China by studying the novels written in late Ming and early Qing, especially the encounters between female patients and their healers.

Why do you think this research is important?

My research is important because female health in novels is a newly touched-upon topic in Chinese medical history. From the novels, one could see “hidden” figures and facts that were not included in official Ming documents and yet existed in the Ming society. Novels have unofficial accounts of history that the “official” history is unable to tell. 

In the two novels I’ve studied, the “forbidden practices” of female patients and their healers revealed that women found and wielded their autonomy through an unofficial social system. Also, half of the history of healing is missing if we ignore women’s history of healing. Female reproductive health is significant because it is a tremendous part of women’s life in the Ming dynasty.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I have always enjoyed taking classes and doing research in women’s history. During my junior year, I took Chinese Women’s History and Women in Early America, and I have been in love with women’s studies ever since. After taking a class on the history of Chinese Medicine and writing a paper on a specific topic I liked, my focus on Chinese women’s medical history in novels became clear.

“Reach out to the library staff when you have questions about citations, or anything related to your research! They are extremely helpful.”

~Xiaoya Gao

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

Besides the books I used from the Mudd Library, I requested many materials through interlibrary loan. I also found online resources like JSTOR and Historical Abstracts useful.


Student Research in the Library: Sophie Penniman

Sophie is an English and history double major with a creative writing minor from Austin, Texas. She will graduate in June.

After graduation, Sophie will stay in Appleton briefly, applying for graduate school and baking delicious treats at Seth’s Coffee in Little Chute. She also plans to hike the 500-mile Colorado Trail in the Rocky Mountains!

Sophie will pursue her graduate degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in archives management. She’s been a student worker for several years in the Mudd, and we know that she’s going to make a fantastic librarian and/or archivist!

Read on to learn more about the research she’s been undertaking with the help of the library!

Student researcher Sophie Penniman

Sophie, tell us about your research.

I’m working on my senior capstone for history! I’m writing about the travel diary of Betty May Hale, an American 13-year-old girl who spent six months traveling in Europe with her family in 1937.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

Honestly, my office has been a massive help!! Especially at a small, residential school like Lawrence, it’s sometimes hard to find a space entirely to yourself that’s just dedicated to academic work. My office is a place free from distractions where I can just go and work, which has been really useful to me. Also, last term I carried all the books for my research around with me in a tote bag, so it’s great to have somewhere for them to live in the library.

Other than that, the archives were a great resource, especially in the early stages of my project.

” There are so many resources available for you at the Mudd, you just have to take advantage of them! “

~Sophie Penniman

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

I’m studying how Betty May’s travel experiences affected how she thought about herself as an American. I’m also interested in how the travel agency the family used (a company called Thomas Cook) influenced the way they interacted with Europe and the European people.

Why do you think this research is important?

The mid-late 1930’s are a really interesting time for a lot of reasons—America was just climbing out of the Great Depression, World War II was right around the corner, and the United States was in the middle of this big cultural shift from relative isolationism/neutrality to globalism. There’s a lot written about this period on a national level, but there’s not as much about individual people, especially normal Americans like Betty May.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I studied abroad in London my sophomore year and had an amazing time, so I wanted to do a project that dealt with study or travel abroad to Europe. Initially I was going to compare the experiences of a few different young women traveling before World War II, and I came across Betty May’s diary in a library database called American Women’s Letters and Diaries. There was so much more material in Betty May’s diary than in any of my other sources, and eventually I just narrowed my focus to her.

” Librarian Gretchen Revie has been really involved with helping my capstone class access research and citation materials.”

~Sophie Penniman, discussing all of the ways the Mudd Library has supported her research

Sophie, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your work! It’s been an honor and a joy to support you and we wish you all the best.

Collaborative Science Fiction Display in the Mudd

This term the Mudd Library has partnered with professors from around campus to create a display celebrating science fiction!

The display is meant to highlight several winter term science fiction courses currently underway.

Chloe Armstrong is teaching Science Fiction and Philosophy, Amy Ongiri is leading a class called Queering Science Fiction Film, and Jason Brozek is heading up a weekend retreat to Bjorklunden to study War and Science Fiction.

Below we’ve shared science fiction recommendations from professors across disciplines. Our library display, located on the first floor, includes many of these recommendations, and more!

Jason Brozek from the Government Department recommends:

Starship Troopers (1997) – This is right up there with Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove as one of the best military satires of all time.

Battlestar Galactica (the rebooted series, 2004-2009) – One of the most powerful TV representations of issues like dehumanization, torture, terrorism, and civil-military relations.

The Forever War by Joe Halderman (1974) – The plot is about humanity traveling light-years to fight an interstellar enemy, but this book is really about how the experience of war fundamentally changes the people who fight it.

Amy Ongiri from Film Studies recommends:

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

Octavia’s Broodedited by Walidah Imarisha

Peddle Zombies by Elly Blue

Our Reference and Learning Technologies Librarian Angela Vanden Elzen recommends:

Star Trek

Dr. Who

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Monica Rico from the History Department recommends:

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. It explores the historical and philosophical issues raised by time travel in a sophisticated way, but it’s also a book that, at its heart, is about friendship, compassion, and loyalty.

Martyn Smith from Religious Studies recommends:

Elon Musk, Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Claire Kervin from Environmental Studies recommends:

Maddaddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood

Victoria Kononova from the Russian Department recommends:

The Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky 

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

Chloe Armstrong from the Philosophy Department recommends:

“Imposter Syndrome” by Mari Kurisato, in Love Beyond Body, Space and Time, an Indigenous LGBT Sci-fi Anthology, edited by Hope Nicholson

Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Please come in and visit our display if you are on campus!

We hope you will consider reading or watching some science fiction, and that you live long and prosper, too!

The Mudd is Everything!

The Mudd Library isn’t just a place to study, or to search for and gather materials.

Libraries offer so much more, and the Mudd is no different!

  • Print and Copy Shop

Printing projects and papers and presentations, oh my!

We have everything you need to put the finishing touches on your papers and projects. Make copies, print your paper, or use the scanner. We have a universal phone charging station if you’re running low. We have staplers, tape, paper clips, rulers, and all kinds of other accoutrements to help you polish your assignments and hand them in with pride.

  • Academic Support Station

Do you need another primary or secondary source to support your argument? Looking for an open-source photo to add to your slides or for the proper citation for your paper? The reference librarians are here to help you find what you need and engage in the best and most thorough research possible. We aim to help you feel confident and supported as a student researcher.

  • Information Kiosk

Curious about what’s happening on campus? Looking to find local thrift stores, coffee shops, or parks? Not sure when that concert starts tonight? Stop by, we’ll  help you find out!

  • Social Hot Spot

All of your friends are here! Hang out on the first or second floor to discuss, debate, and collaborate. Chat, vent, laugh, share. Sometimes just sitting next to someone who is working as hard as you are can be the most valuable resource. Snap some pics or make a vid! Then get back to that group project! Pull up a whiteboard and teach each other what you’ve learned. Ask someone out on a study date. The options are endless.

Learning, together.

  • Safe, quiet, peaceful haven

The third and fourth floors are meant for quiet study. They also make a great place to read, reflect, daydream, or nap. Write that paper! No one will barge in just as you get in your groove. Or, if you’ve been in your groove and need a little break, stop down to the first floor to nurture yourself with a cup of tea. Text your mom and then get back at it. The library is for everyone, and everyone is welcome here and treated with respect and dignity!

Getting productive while enjoying the peace and of the fourth floor.

What do you need?

Academic support?

A quiet place to get some work done?

A place to belong?

We’re here for you!

Student Research in the Library: John O’Neill

John O’Neill is a double-degree student from Reno, Nevada. He’s been at Lawrence for five years and will earn his BM in French Horn Performance and his BA in Russian and Government in a just few short weeks!

John is also a much-beloved library student worker, and has been the night supervisor at the Circulation Desk. He definitely knows his way around the Mudd and offers great insight into using the library to your best advantage.

Upon being asked what he would like his fellow students to know about the Mudd Library, he responded,

“Get to know the staff, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and always go upstairs to find your own books because you will come down with an entire stack of useful materials.”

Read on to learn more about John and the fascinating and important research he’s been pursuing in the Mudd!

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John O’Neill holds a 2002 issue of Appleton’s local newspaper, The Post Crescent, which he used to research Appleton’s sister city, Kurgan, Russia.

John, what are your plans after graduation?

I am planning to travel to Ukraine for the summer to work with an NGO there that works with under-served regions of the country. After that I will be back in Appleton and hopefully onto Chicago in the fall.

What have you been researching in the Mudd Library?

Over the past two terms I have been working on my senior experience in government. For this project I am profiling the Fox Cities-Kurgan Sister City Relationship. The partnership had an astonishing period of peak activity from the 1990s through 2013, but it has since been dormant. Some of the partnership’s major accomplishments included a 2003 security summit hosted in Appleton with keynote from Mikhail Gorbachev, opening of medical facilities and a domestic violence shelter in Kurgan, obtaining funding for a project to decommission a significant stockpile of chemical weapons in the Kurgan region, and over 100 educational exchanges between universities, high schools, and middle schools in both regions.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

For this project I ended up using a wide variety of resources that the library offers students. I took advantage of the main collection, ILL, and electronic databases for most of my background research. Later, I relied on our wonderful reference librarians, who pointed me to contacts at the Appleton Public Library and the Appleton Historical Society. Finally, I learned to be grateful for the VCRs and microform readers that the library makes available to students. Most of my resources were on VHS tapes from the 90s, so having those VCRs on hand was absolutely fantastic.

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

One of my main objectives was to learn how sustainable local organizations are built. This involved finding out how Fox Cities-Kurgan got its start, what program leaders hoped to accomplish, and why it eventually entered a decline. As I progressed in my research I found many other sister cities around the country with similar stories of huge growth followed by a swift decline. This led me to ask just how much these relationships are subject to the broader political climate and what their place is in the global geopolitical environment.

Why do you think this research is important?

For me, The Fox Cities-Kurgan Partnership has been an inspirational example of international partnership that transcends political boundaries. Not only did the program accomplish some enormous objectives that we wouldn’t normally associate with smaller towns like Appleton, but it also forged lasting friendships between the countless exchange participants, volunteers, host families, and students who were involved. By increasing awareness of the program I hope to re-spark the interest in international advocacy that the program was founded around.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

A couple of years ago I found the partnership’s website, which hadn’t been updated since 2013. I later tried to search for Kurgan on the Post Crescent’s website, but due to archiving of the newspaper, my search returned no results. The disappearance of this program from the public eye made me a little sad and I began reaching out to program leaders and participants to find out more.

John, this sounds like really important work. We are so excited to see where you take what you’ve learned and to see the grand adventures that are in store for you! Thank you for sharing.

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Mudd Gallery Exhibit: Future Humour

 

Future Humour runs until November 20.

We love the Mudd Gallery! Having an art gallery in the library is a beautiful partnership, and one that truly embodies the essence of a liberal arts education.

Future Humour features digital photography captured in New York City and Appleton.

Supporting our students is an incredibly significant component of our mission, so it makes sense for us to offer space that allows burgeoning student artists the opportunity to curate, organize, and host their own gallery openings and exhibits.

It’s also a great resource for students working hard in the library, slogging away at their academic work. The gallery allows a meaningful, fulfilling, thought-provoking avenue through which to relax, unwind, and shift or gain perspective.

The Mudd Gallery’s latest exhibit is Future Humor by Yifan Zhang.

The artist shares color photography captured in New York City and in Appleton, creating a vibrant and interesting opportunity to compare and contrast these locations.

Zhang states, “Humour is elegant innuendo. Future Humour represents unforeseen conditions. I will let the images speak for themselves.”

The Mudd Gallery is located on the 3rd floor of the Seeley G. Mudd Library.

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Lux Reaches 300,000 Downloads!

People all over the world have accessed honors projects, issues of The Lawrentian, and convocations in the six years since Lux was implemented through the library.

We have now reached 300,000 downloads!

What is this Lux? Lux is the Lawrence University institutional repository, digital home to over 4000 scholarly and creative works of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as select historical documents.

If you are looking for interesting stories from student newspapers or alumni magazines, check Lux! You will find a rich and fascinating history.

Want to peruse recent honors projects? Lux is the place for you.

Interested in reading a Harrison Award paper? Studio Art senior exhibition artwork? Look in Lux. You will find these things and many more.

We hope you enjoy and are enriched by what you find in Lux! Let us know what you think.

Enjoying the Mudd from Afar

Are you a current student, faculty, or staff member of Lawrence University?

Are you away from campus for the summer?

Do you miss us?

No worries, friends, the Mudd Library is still here for you!

Whether you’re relaxing at a cottage up north, working hard at an internship across the country, or furthering your research in another country, we’re here to support you.

Here are a few ways you can use our resources, no matter where you are in the world:

You may not be here, but we are! Andrew explains our new ILL system at a recent staff meeting.

Login to our video resources with your LU ID to access thousands of streaming videos.

If you need help or have any questions, a reference librarian is on call throughout the summer, from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Feel free to ask a librarian if you’re having trouble accessing our resources or if you have questions about using them.

No matter where you are in the world, you can still enjoy the Mudd!

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Summertime Mudd!

Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy the Mudd in a whole new way. The Library transforms over summer break, as most of our students are away and the busy bustle of the academic year has subsided.

Cool down and take a load off in the Kruse Room on the fourth floor.

Of course, you’ll find an industrious student or professor or two huddled around a laptop, but for the most part, it’s fairly quiet around here.

This peaceful, settled atmosphere allows our resources and spaces to appear in a whole new light.

Here are some ideas to help you make the most of summer in the Mudd:

Relax with our popular magazines.

  • Come to our coffeehouse sessions! This is a summertime Mudd must!
  • Enjoy the air conditioning while catching up on local, national, and international news with our large selection of newspapers or popular magazines.
  • It’s finally time to binge watch your favorite TV series! Or, some popular or classic movies. We’ve got a ton of documentaries and musicals, too. Browse the DVDs in the media center, or check out our streaming resources (You’ll need to log in).
  • Make an appointment to FINALLY check out the Archives.

    Board games are on the 2nd floor. We have video games, too!
  • Challenge your family or your nemesis to a game night! We have both video and board games for check-out, or, stay and play!
  • Wander around the building to appreciate our art. Pay homage to The Katie while you’re at it.
  • Find a fabulous summer read! Stop by our coffeehouse on Wednesday, July 12 for our recommendations. Or, peruse the third floor for the latest and greatest in popular fiction and young adult or graphic novels. Of course we have poetry and classic literature, too, as well as some really compelling nonfiction.
  • Contact a reference librarian and ask for a peek at some of the rare books in our special collections.
  • Soak up the scholarly atmosphere while developing historical perspective and appreciation in the Lincoln Reading Room.
  • Come and introduce yourself to the staff and faculty who call the Mudd home. We enjoy getting to know members of the campus community and this is a great time of year to catch us with a few moments to talk about our work, the library’s offerings, and how we can best serve our community.

Lovely art, natural light, and cozy chairs.

Summer is here and so are we! We strive to make this library a welcoming, comfortable, peaceful, productive space, and we encourage you to make the most of it, regardless of the time of year.

Whether you’re reading, researching, or relaxing, we’d love to hear how you’re using the Mudd this summer!

See you soon.

Student Research in the Library: Sierra Parker

We are so grateful when our hard-working students take time out of their busy schedules to share what they’re up to in the library!

Sierra Parker has been spending an awful lot of time in her student office this term. The Linguistics and Russian Studies major is from Michigan’s Upper Penisula and will be graduating in June. Sierra plans to attend graduate school to study communication disorders after taking a year or two off to work with FoodCorps (a branch of AmeriCorps that helps start school gardens and educates kids about healthy foods) or the National Park Service.

Sierra, what are you researching?

I am researching aphasia, a language disorder.  People with aphasia lose the ability to find words and/or use them coherently.

More specifically, I am looking at how aphasia was studied by two Soviet psychologists: Alexander Luria and Lev Vygotsky. I am interested in what they believed about aphasia, as well as the chain of thought that led them there.

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

I am fascinated with how people with aphasia experience the world. I am hoping to gain some insight by learning more about conceptions of aphasia that differ from the modern Western approach.

Why do you think this research is important?

I believe it is always important to step into someone else’s shoes (in this case: people with aphasia, Vygotsky, and Luria) and try to see the world from their point of view. Also, Western histories of aphasiology tend to overlook the groundbreaking work done by Vygotsky, Luria, and other Russian/Soviet psychologists.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I took the class Brain & Behavior, which introduced me to aphasia. As someone who has always been interested in language, I was stunned by the implications of losing it. I instantly wanted to know more about the disorder, as well as the lives and minds of those who live with it every day.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

The library created a research guide specific to my senior seminar, which has been extraordinarily useful. The PSYCInfo database has been helpful, as well as the fact that the library owns four volumes of Vygotsky’s Collected Works!

What would you like your fellow students to know about the Mudd Library?

Apply for an office! They are a big help, especially if you are planning on using many books from the Mudd’s collection.

Also, do not be afraid to ask the librarians for help. That’s what they’re there for!

Thanks, Sierra. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. See you around the Mudd.

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