Author: Holly Tuyls

The Mudd Visits The Center for Spiritual and Religious Life

As you know, the Mudd Library supports the entire Lawrence community. Because of this, we strive to connect with other departments on campus to learn more about their services, how we can best assist them, and to explore possibilities for collaboration.

Recently, we reached out to Lawrence’s Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Linda Morgan-Clement, to welcome her to campus and to learn more about her work. She graciously invited us to The Center for Spiritual and Religious Life to check out the recently-renovated space and to hear more about the offerings of the center.

We happily obliged.

Mudd Library Staff with Reverend Dr. Linda Morgan-Clement in the beautiful living room at The Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.

It was a grey, icy morning the day we slowly made our way to Sabin House, but once inside the space we were suffused with warmth and comfort. The Center for Spiritual and Religious Life is filled with lovely colors and soft light. We took off ours shoes, as directed, and looked around the beautiful, comfortable first floor.

According to their website, “The Center for Spiritual and Religious Life is a welcoming place for curious, intentional, respectful engagement with persons of similar, different or no religious tradition, and for quiet personal reflection and spiritual practice.”

There’s a lovely meditation room, a cozy living room/meeting space, and a spacious community room with a kitchen, perfect for hosting group meals or even yoga classes. The downstairs bathroom features a foot wash station for Muslim guests.

To our delight, each of the spaces has its own library which corresponds to the space; the meditation room features brief works and poetry to foster centered reflection, whereas the living room houses classic religious texts and works meant for deep reading and to foster respectful conversation.

The second floor features the administrative offices for the center as well as a meeting room.

Linda explained that one of her many roles as the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life is to offer one-on-one spiritual direction and guidance relating to important questions of meaning and purpose.

We loved visiting Sabin House and learning more about this great campus resource, and we highly encourage you to do the same. Visit their webpage to find out more about the center and to see the rich and timely offerings available to the Lawrence community.

Thank you so much for having us, Linda.

The Mudd Welcomes Natasha Trethewey to Lawrence!

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Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey will be at Lawrence November 1.

The Seeley G. Mudd Library is pleased to welcome poet Natasha Trethewey to Lawrence!

You can read more about Natasha and her work at the Poetry Foundation. Ms. Trethewey is also a professor at Emory University. Check out the links provided to learn more about her numerous accomplishments and honors.

The library has many of Natasha’s works available in our collection, including:

Native guard

Beyond Katrina : a meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Bellocq’s Ophelia : poems

Domestic work : poems

Black nature : four centuries of African American nature poetry

In addition, we’ve created a display featuring her poetry for your reading pleasure. Stop by the library to enjoy an assortment of Ms. Trethewey’s work before what is sure to be an interesting and thought-provoking convocation.

Natasha Trethewey’s talk, titled “The Muse of History: On Poetry and Social Justice,” will take place on Tuesday, November 1, at 11:10 am in the Chapel.  We’ll see you there!

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Stop by the Mudd to read some of Natasha Trethewey’s work!

Using Your Library Wisely

The library offers so many resources and services, it can be hard to keep track of all the ways in which we can help you succeed at Lawrence.

Below you’ll find a handy list of just a few ideas for optimizing your experience in the Mudd. How many have you employed?

Lots of seating for lots of studying.
  • Grab a study buddy and a rolling whiteboard to parse out those tricky formulas.
  • Head for the quiet solitude of the fourth floor and hide out in the stacks to read.
  • Contact a reference librarian for research assistance or make a research appointment: visit the desk, call, email, or text!
  • Watch a movie for class or relaxation in one of our five viewing rooms.

    Books and art and standing desks!
  • Browse the fiction and graphic novels on the third floor during a study break.
  • Wheel one of our standing desks to your favorite spot to focus.
  • Lounge on one of the comfy couches in the Milwaukee-Downer Room (1st floor) or in the Roger Dale Kruse Room (4th floor) while doing your class reading.
  • Reserve a group study room on either the 2nd or 3rd floor by signing your name on the clipboard outside the door. Invite your friends for an intensive study session.
  • Practice your PowerPoint presentation in the group study room on the 2nd floor.
  • Check out the art in the Mudd Gallery on the 3rd floor during a study break.
  • Cozy up to read or nap in one of our beanbag chairs! There are three spread out across the upper floors.
  • Browse the free book shelf on the 2nd floor. You can find some great music there as well!
  • Catch up on domestic or international current events with a newspaper.
  • Hide away for some quiet study among the bound periodicals on level A.
  • Visit the Circulation Desk to check out a locker for your research materials. Or check out the Wii for the weekend!
  • Gather some friends for a game break: everything from Candyland to Catan can be found on the 2nd floor.
  • Pop into the Archives on Level B one afternoon and visit with Erin Dix, our friendly and informative archivist. Find out the answers to your burning questions about the history of Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer.

Are there any other ideas that you would add to this list? How do you use the Mudd? We’d love to hear from you!

Regardless of how you use the Mudd, we look forward to seeing you soon.

The beautiful and serene Lincoln Reading Room.

Summertime and the Living’s Busy

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Librarians and staff learning how to efficiently use one of our art databases during a webinar.

We’re often asked what we do during the summer, when we’re not focused on assisting students or helping faculty.

In reality, summer is a very busy time for everyone in the Mudd. It’s our chance to catch up on the tasks that take second place to our main priority: supporting students and faculty. Read on to learn a bit more about what we’re up to when campus is quiet.

  • Continuing to improve OneSearch, our new library system. We implemented OneSearch last summer. While this tool provides a lot of research advantages, overhauling and learning a new and complex system takes some fine-tuning. We’re working with the provider to ensure that the system runs smoothly and effectively before everyone returns to campus in the fall.
  • Maintaining our collections. This includes binding older periodicals into hardcover volumes for preservation purposes, repairing damaged items, shifting and reorganizing the stacks and processing gifts and new materials.

    A huge music collection that was gifted to the Mudd awaits processing.
    A huge music collection that was gifted to the Mudd awaits processing.
  • Digitizing. Summer is a great opportunity to digitize items that we’d like to share with classes or the world. Some examples of this include items from our rare book collection and recordings of Conservatory concerts and other performances, which leads us to Lux:
  • Adding items to Lux. Lux is Lawrence’s institutional repository and the digital home of the scholarly and creative works of the community. It is maintained by the library. This summer we’ll be adding some older issues of Lawrence magazine.
  • Researching. Some of the subjects our librarians are digging into include pedagogy, new information literacy guidelines and, as always, best practices. We participate in webinars and attend conferences throughout the summer, too, ensuring that we remain on the cutting edge of research, instruction, technology and librarianship.
  • Hosting. This summer we’re welcoming folks from the ACM schools to Lawrence for a makerspace conference, so we’re tending to the many details involved in preparing for that.  We also host our summer coffeehouse series each year, creating interesting and helpful programming for folks who remain on campus.
  • Gathering statistics from the previous academic year. This includes tallying all of  the new materials that we’ve purchased, the amount of time that we spent offering research instruction to classes or individuals, the types of items that were checked-out, how many folks used the library and for what and, of course, examining closely how much money we spent on everything.
  • Preparing. We’d be remiss to not mention the fact that we spend quite a bit of time preparing for the upcoming year. We develop new classes that we’ll be involved in teaching, ensure that all of our systems are running smoothly, stock up on supplies and ideas for the coming year and discuss how to better serve all of the wonderful students, faculty and staff with whom we have the pleasure of working.
  • Odding and ending. Offices are cleaned, items are organized and inventoried, newer and clearer signs are posted and all sorts of other odds and ends get taken care of each summer.

As you can see, your librarians and library staff work hard all year round, even in the summer. The feedback that we receive during the academic year is taken seriously and we continuously aim to improve the experiences of everyone on campus, regardless of the time of year.

We trust this sheds some light on our summertime activities, and hope that this doesn’t disappoint those of you who envisioned us sipping iced tea in hammocks while reading our favorite literature. That’s what we do at home!

Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Every summer we welcome guests to our popular Summer Reads Coffeehouse. We sip coffee and discuss the latest books that we've read and loved.
Every summer we welcome guests to our popular Summer Reads Coffeehouse. We sip coffee and discuss the latest books we’ve read and loved.

The Mudd Welcomes Lan Samantha Chang to Lawrence!

Spring term finals are over and the hustle and bustle of students writing, reading and concentrating intently in the busy, buzzing library has given way to quiet stillness.

This can only mean one thing: Commencement is just a few days away!

If you’re as excited as we are about Lan Samantha Chang delivering this year’s commencement address, you’re in luck. We’ve created a display featuring all three of the Appleton native’s novels.

The display also features The Workshop: Seven Decades of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop – 43 Stories, Recollections, & Essays on Iowa’s Place in Twentieth-Century American Literature. This book is a compilation of works created by participants in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, of which Chang is the current director.

If you’re wondering what to do with the several days before commencement, stop by the Mudd and check out some of Chang’s work before she arrives.

While you’re here you can catch up on some current news, watch a movie, read a magazine or novel (Chang’s are available!), work on a puzzle or just hang out. (You know, all of the things you’ve been daydreaming about doing since spring break ended.)

Thanks for a fabulous academic year, everyone, and congratulations to our graduating seniors!

Join us as we welcome Lan Samantha Chang back to Appleton.

 

Start Spring Term Strong in the Mudd!

We just love the feeling of a new term, when minds and notebooks are fresh and the work feels manageable. Staying abreast of readings and assignments and spending quality time with coursework from the very beginning of the term will go a long way toward avoiding stress later, when papers and projects and finals are looming.

Are you feeling motivated to start your spring term strong?

We can help!

We offer group study spaces throughout the first and second floors, including helpful tools like moveable white boards and standing desks. Why not create a study group during the first week of the term and begin meeting regularly to discuss readings and to further analyze ideas presented in class?

For more group study options, check out a private group study room on the second or third floors, where you will find large blackboards and whiteboards for parsing difficult concepts or formulas.

The second floor group study room has a computer and a large screen monitor, prefect for practicing presentations or compiling and sharing large amounts of data.

For times that you’d rather study alone, the third and fourth floors offer quiet space and individual study carrels perfect for deep reading, research, reflection, and writing.

Speaking of research, we offer a plethora of books, over 20,000 music scores, 103,000 microforms and a digital microform reader and scanner, tons of electronic resources organized by subject, periodicals and newspapers, videos, and many government documents.

Becoming familiar with the stacks and with our online resources and digital collections before midterm madness is a great way to ensure your academic success and to mitigate stress later.

If you need assistance navigating all of our resources or are in need of research guidance of any kind, our friendly reference librarians are available to assist you. You can even schedule a research appointment and meet with a librarian one-on-one! The earlier you start a dialogue with the librarians about a particular project, the better. And even without a project on the horizon, the librarians would love to take a few moments to get to know you. Stop by the reference desk to say hello.

The Mudd is here to help you succeed! We can also help to reduce your stress and maximize your experience at Lawrence. Start your spring term strong by spending some time with us. Come tenth week, you’ll be glad that you did.

Student Researcher in the Library: Terese Swords


Whether she’s studying English or biology, we love to see Terese Swords’ smiling face in the Mudd! This Midwestern senior may be winding down her career at Lawrence, but she’s still using the library full force. Read on to learn more about Terese, her research and why she loves the library.

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

I frequently use ILL to gain access to both electronic journal articles as well as PDFs of books. The main collection of books within the library, especially regarding 18th century credit economies, has also been extremely useful.

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

It is a great resource and can allow you to gain a better understanding of questions (in any academic field) that interest you.

Also, having a student office in the library is extremely useful when pursuing large research projects, because it allows for both a quiet study space as well as a secure location to keep an immense amount of research materials.

The Mudd, and its staff, are awesome!

What are you researching?

I am researching many things!

For my honors project in English, I am researching the representation of 18th century economies in two of Daniel Defoe’s works: Robinson Crusoe and Roxana.

For my biology senior capstone, I am writing a review paper analyzing how the parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii is able to manipulate its intermediate rat host and how Toxoplasma, which can infect humans and cause the disease toxoplasmosis, may be manipulating our behavior!

I am planning to use my biology research on Toxoplasma as content for a radio script that I am going to be writing and producing in the spring.

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

For my honors project in English I am hoping to gain a deeper understanding of capitalist economies in the 18th century and how the South Sea Bubble’s burst drastically influenced the social and economic thought of the time. I am also looking to understand where critics stand on the issue of economic representation in Daniel Defoe’s works so I can enter into a conversation with them within my paper.

For my biology capstone, I am hoping to further understand the mechanisms by which Toxoplasma gondii is able to manipulate its hosts as well as the global health implications of the disease toxoplasmosis in humans.

Why do you think this research is important?

I believe that both research topics are important because both projects look to further answer/understand gaps present within the critical literature in each respective field.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I became interested in researching 18th century credit economies after taking Dr. Barnes class “Gender and the Enlightenment” last winter, where I was first introduced to Daniel Defoe and his work Roxana. Since then, I have not stopped thinking about economic representation within Defoe’s works and other literary/artistic works post South Sea Bubble.

After taking parasitology with Dr. Humphries, I amazed at the idea that Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that is estimated to be infecting ¼ of the population of the US above the age of 12, could be manipulating mammals’ behavior. Since then, for my capstone, I have been researching how humans, a dead end host for the parasite, may also experience behavioral changes due to infection.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am taking a gap year or two before attending graduate school or law school (I haven’t decided yet). For my gap year, I am applying to boarding school programs where I will have the opportunity to teach high school students while earning a masters degree in education. I am also planning on applying to pharmaceutical companies.

My job search is just about as broad as my academic interests! I am hoping that work experience during my gap will help inform my decision of what higher education to pursue.

All the best to you, Terese! We think you’re awesome, too.

Student Researcher in the Library: Laura Deneckere


The Mudd supports students across all academic disciplines. Laura Deneckere, a biology major from Madison, Wisconsin, was kind enough to chat with us about the extensive biology research she has been conducting in the library.

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

The library is a great resource, not only for special research projects, but also for routine classwork! The librarians and student workers genuinely want to help, are easy to approach and will go to great lengths to assist you with absolutely anything you need.

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

I have used many immunology and invertebrate textbooks from the library in order to broaden my overall understanding of molluscan immunity.

One of the most useful tools that I have used is the Interlibrary Loan service (ILL). This tool is extremely easy to use and you generally receive your requested materials very quickly! Through this service I have accessed current journal and book chapters from around the world.

Enough about us. What are you researching, Laura?

I am researching the evolutionarily conserved nuclear factor-kappa B(NF-κB) pathway in the snail, Biomphalaria glabrata. This species of snail serves as the intermediate host for the trematode Schistosoma mansoni, which causes the debilitating tropical disease schistosomiasis in humans. The broader aim of my project is to determine if NF-κB is regulating immune responses in the snail. I am using bioinformatics and electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) to address this question, and am very fortunate to be using Dr. Judith Humphries’s research lab. Thank you Dr. Humphries!

Why do you think this research is important?

The snail plays an essential role in the schistosomiasis life cycle, so molecular-based research is important for furthering our knowledge of the snail’s defense strategies and overall immune-related responses. With over 210 million people affected annually, schistosomiasis is the third most devastating disease in the world, following only malaria and intestinal helminthiasis.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I have been extremely privileged to work alongside Dr. Humphries in her research laboratory. I was initially interested in her work because of my overall passion for tropical medicine and public health.

In fact, Laura’s interest in public health has led to plans to spend a gap year serving the broader community. As for more long-term goals, she plans to obtain a Master of Science degree in Public Health with an emphasis in infectious diseases.

Given Laura’s savvy use of the resources available to her in the library and at Lawrence, we are certain that she will accomplish all of her goals.

Thank you for answering our questions, Laura!

Student Researcher in the Library: Shang Li

We love to learn about what students are up to in the Mudd!

Shang Li is a government and history major hailing all the way from TianJin, China. She plans to attend graduate school after commencement this spring.

Shang kindly agreed to talk to us about what she’s been working on in the library.

Shang, what have you been researching?

The Italian Holocaust through historical film.

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

The librarians at our reference desk. They are so knowledgeable, kind and patient. I am never scared to ask questions; they always have answers and sometimes, candy and cookies!

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

To think more like a historian. I am gaining skills and abilities to support my passion for history for the rest of my life. Whether or not my future career will be related to history, I hope to become an independent researcher during my free time.

Why do you think this research is important?
There has been much research on the Holocaust, but the Italian Holocaust is indeed a very special case. Exploring the Italian Holocaust through written history, but also through historical films, provides me with a unique perspective on this topic. In addition, this research has allowed me to make connections between written history and historical films, as well as the time periods during which the films were made, and to see how those factors influence the works. This is also fascinating to me.

How did you become interested in this line of research?
I took a course with Professor Paul Cohen called “History as Films, Films as History,” where we discussed historical films. I’m actually using my favorite films for my current project. I did a historiography project with Professor Peter Blitstein on “Hitler’s Foreign Policy and the Origins of the Second World War.” During this project, I developed an academic interest in studying Mussolini’s Fascist Italy. Because of my interests in both historical films and Mussolini, it was only logical for me to pursue a capstone project devoted to connecting both topics.

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

The Mudd library is very helpful! It is also in a great location- close to the Wellness Center and Andrew Commons.

Mudd User Experience Task Force

Did you know that the Seeley G. Mudd Library has its very own task force? If you use the library, this information is directly related to you and your work. In fact, the Mudd User Experience Task Force exists solely to make your experience in the Mudd better!

Have you noticed the new library work station near the copiers? The station has been stocked with various supplies to help you prepare papers, posters, and presentations. Have you ever lamented the shortage of power sources on the library’s upper floors? There have been oodles of outlets added for all of your charging needs. These are two examples of the small, simple, yet incredibly useful improvements to the library undertaken by the Mudd User Experience Task Force.

Library Director Pete Gilbert felt that the rising library trend focusing on optimal user experience was worth paying attention to. With that in mind, he allocated a small sum of money and assembled a group of library staff to spend time focusing solely on our patrons’ experiences in the Mudd, and what we can do to improve those experiences.

“We hope your day went a little better because you stopped by The Mudd.” Cindy Patterson, Mudd User Experience Task Force member

Cindy Patterson, Andrew McSorley, Angela Vanden Elzen, Susan Goeden, and Holly Roycraft have been meeting regularly to explore simple, cost-effective ways to make a big difference to our library users. The group also spends time soliciting ideas, comments, and suggestions from students, staff, and faculty on how the Mudd can be even more helpful and efficient.
AndrewAngelaHollySusanCindy

So far the task force has added some desk lamps and additional power strips throughout the building to allow for clearer reading and fully-charged devices. They’ve also done some simple projects, like rearranging the furniture on the second floor to better accommodate collaborative groups gathering to study.

With users asking for both quiet spaces, as well as spaces to let loose and have fun with a group, the task force simplified the library’s noise policy, stating clearly the first and second floors are open to collaborative, group study and therefore may be noisy, whereas the third and the fourth floors are for quiet, individual study only.

The task force, which welcomes all feedback about the library experience, worked with Gaming House over reading period to host a game day in the library, in order to draw attention to the large selection of games that we circulate.

“We have so many interesting and helpful resources, and as a group we really want to make our patrons aware of all we can do for them. From books, great spaces, an incredible selection of databases, to research assistance or video games, our users can expect a wide array of services. We are here, and we want you to be here, too! Please let us know how we can improve or expand what we offer.” Holly Roycraft, Mudd User Experience Task Force member

The task force has many ideas for further improving our patrons’ experiences in the Mudd, including even more rearranging, and perhaps some more flexible work spaces and additional comfortable spaces for relaxation.

“We really want you to feel like the library is a comfortable place to be.” Susan Goeden, Mudd User Experience Task Force member

We truly value our patrons, and we aim to continuously improve your experiences here. Please feel free to reach out to any or all members of the task force with your feedback as to how we can make the Mudd even better. We want you to have a great experience here, and we have the task force to prove it!