Category: student post

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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“A Group of Completely Ordinary Objects”

Madeira Seaman’s solo show “A Group of Completely Ordinary Objects” opens today, May 3rd, in the Mudd Gallery. For the show Seaman created surreal and wonderful sculptures using reworked old toys. When you enter the gallery, or as Seaman calls it “the Playroom”, you are immediately welcomed by a message written by the artist in crayon inviting you to play with all of the toys you see. Seaman writes that they used toys as their sculptural medium because they saw them as a way to explore human behaviors and relationships.

Madeira Seaman’s solo show “A Group of Completely Ordinary Objects” in the Mudd Gallery

We are incredibly excited to have the idiosyncratic work of Madeira Seaman on display in the Mudd. There will be a reception for the show on May 14th before the show closes on the 16th.  Be sure to spend some time playing with Seaman’s toys before then.

Madeira Seaman’s solo show “A Group of Completely Ordinary Objects” in the Mudd Gallery

A Stone of Hope in the Mudd Gallery

A Stone of Hope, an exhibit which opened in the Mudd Gallery this past Wednesday, explores Black life in the Fox Cities from the 1700s up until the present day. The exhibit, organized by the History Museum at the Castle, has traveled throughout the Fox Cities over the last two years and is making it’s return to the Seeley G. Mudd library.

The exhibit tells a multifaceted story of the lives of Black Fox City residents. Before the 20th century, there was a growing black population many of whom were veterans of the the Civil War, business owners, and community leaders. In fact Lawrence admitted several residents of the Fox Cities as early as 1856.  However with this growth of the Black population and social standing also came a rise in racially motivated harassment, discrimination, and violence. By 1920 most Black residents had left the Fox Cities. This continued throughout the twentieth century as Appleton was an unofficial “sundown town” well into the 1960s.

A Stone of Hope confronts Appleton and Lawrence’s long history of white supremacy, but in doing so also honors the many activists that have worked tirelessly to challenge these structures – in the area and throughout the country. The title of the exhibit is taken from a speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. at UW Fox Valley in 1967 in which he challenges the white community to work towards inclusion saying the Fox Cities could emerge from a “mountain of hate” as a “stone of hope” in the Civil Rights Movement. While King imagined the Fox Cities as a haven from racism there is still no doubt a great deal of work to be done to achieve this. The exhibit ends looking towards the many Fox City residents  who continue to strive towards this goal.

A Stone of Hope

A Stone of Hope, which was made possible in part by the work of the Mudd’s very own Erin Dix and Antoinette Powell, will be on view in the Mudd Gallery until April 20, after which it will be moved to the Conservatory. Be sure to spend some time with this information and impactful exhibit before it closes.

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In the Mudd Gallery: Wonder and Resonance

Wonder and Resonance is a student-curated exhibit on view in the Mudd Gallery until Monday, March 12th. Using selections from Lawrence’s Anthropology and Archaeology collection, Manuel Ferreira crafted a show which explores the cultural meanings behind various artifacts. Ferreira encourages the viewer to experience the wonder and resonance of these cultural objects writing, “Wonder is the power of an object to grab the attention of a viewer, to convey a sense of enchantment and charisma. Resonance is the power of an object to go beyond itself, to convey the complex and dynamic cultural, historical, and personal forces that created it.”

Mudd Gallery - “The Story Behind the Artifacts” a solo show by Manuel Ferreira

Unlike a traditional museum exhibition, which would likely separate artifacts by time period, culture, and geography, Ferreira includes objects which cross all these boundaries. Walking through you’ll see an Aztec death whistle which dates back to the 12th century a few feet from Chinese ivory. The rich and diverse selection of the exhibit encourages the viewer to consider the consistent power objects have throughout cultures and time.

Mudd Gallery - “The Story Behind the Artifacts” a solo show by Manuel Ferreira

More than just present the viewer with a beautiful variety of objects, Ferreira pushes us to consider what goes into building a collection asking among other things: how did Lawrence come in possession of these objects? Why are they displayed the way they are and how does that affect my experience?  The result is an affecting and intimate experience with objects you otherwise are unlikely to have.

Mudd Gallery - “The Story Behind the Artifacts” a solo show by Manuel Ferreira

We at the Mudd are incredibly excited to house this exhibit and hope you all have a chance to see it before it closes Monday, March 12.

 

 

 

History of the Book Exhibit

Here at The Mudd we love books – we acquire them, we organize them, we help students engage with them everyday – but it’s rare that we get the chance to truly reflect on how books have shaped and been shaped by the course of history. However, we are lucky enough to host an exhibit created entirely by Lawrence students as apart of Prof. Garth Bond’s class “History of the Book”. Under the guidance of Professor Bond and librarian Jill Thomas, several Lawrence student’s engaged critically with selections from our special collection to examine how the role of books have changed throughout time and suggest perhaps how we have changed with them.

Topics range from Catherine Stowe and Harriet Beecher Stowes’ 1869 guide The American Woman’s Home: or Principles of Domestic Science to Artist Books to an analysis of 15th century Christian books. The exhibit, featuring the work of students Sara Armstrong, Allison Brooks-Conrad, Rufino C. Cacho, Anna Cohen, Yarely Covarrubias, and Hanwenheng (Billy) Liu will be up until January 15th. This exhibit is a special opportunity to view some pieces from our special collections in person outside of the Milwaukee Downer room, so be sure to stop by the Mudd before then. For those of you who want to spend some more time with these pieces, selections are digitized in the database Artstor under Selections from Special Collections, Seeley G, Mudd Library. Photographs of the exhibit are available in the History of the Books album.

      These precious books alongside the work of our students provide great insight into the lasting impact books have not only in our own lives but also in the lives of those who lived long before us and surely those who will live long after we’re gone.

5 Things I Wish I Knew About the Mudd Library as a Freshman

Mudd buildingIn this entry from 2014, Lawrence student (now alumnus) and library fan William Gislason took the time to write another excellent post for our blog. Here, he imparted some wisdom he’d gained about the Mudd Library after he had spent much of his summer here in a student office.

5 Things I Wish I Knew About the Mudd Library as a Freshman by William Gislason Class of 2015

The summer before my senior year, I got to know Lawrence University’s Mudd Library on a whole new level. Amazingly, Lawrence hired me to build an iPad app for the trails of Björklunden— that’s right, sometimes Lawrence actually pays you! Along with the job, I got an office of my very own in the Seeley G. Mudd Library. After spending day after day in it, I’ve learned a thing or two about this building and I’ve come to realize that our library is actually one of the best places on campus! Here’s a list of 5 things I wish I knew about our library when I was a freshman.

1. There is a place for any mood
Whether you want to hang out with friends surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the first floor or have some peace and quiet on the fourth floor — there’s a spot for you. When serious work needs to be done on a paper, check out the study carrels along the windows of the silent third and fourth floors. When you need to meet with a group, try reserving the meeting rooms on the second and third floors (fully equipped with all you need to practice a presentation or write out a complex differential equation). Of course, if you just want to meet up with some friends while getting this week’s Italian homework out of the way, there are plenty of large group tables throughout the first and second floors always littered with groups of laughing students.

2. Movies and Music?
Anyone who thinks the Mudd Library is only filled with books is missing out. Every student has access to thousands of albums – new and old. You want The Beatles? They’ve got The Beatles. You’ll graduate long before you have a chance to listen to half the free music you’ve checked out. Of course, you can’t forget about the movies. When you and your “LUMOS” friends (Lawrence University’s Magical Organization of Students) decide you need to watch all 8 Harry Potter movies over Reading Period, you know where to go. And did I mention the viewing rooms? Let’s say you need to watch 2001, A Space Odyssey for your Film Studies class. You can actually check it out from the library and watch it away from the distractions of campus on a big screen TV!

3. Themed (Curated) Rooms
I’ll bet you didn’t know that Lawrence University has an Abraham Lincoln themed room where anyone can go to study and keep a bronze bust of Honest Abe company. How about an antique room devoted to the legacy of Milwaukee-Downer College that is filled with ancient books that bears an eerie resemblance to the library in Hogwarts (particularly after your Reading Period binge). And did you know about a small bare white room called the Mudd Gallery that serves as a pop-up gallery for a diverse array of art student’s projects. Within a week, the room will switch from delightful exhibit on typography to a grungy cavern showing beautiful, yet slightly disturbing, music videos for some of our campus’s rock bands on repeat. All of these room exist in Mudd Library and are open to students for study, contemplation, or artistic expression.

4. The Best Book Recommendations
The library is always filled with a plethora of librarians and student workers who love books. Each worker is surrounded by all genres of books and is bursting with recommendations about any subject. Looking for a collection of short stories? They just read a great one! How about a World War Two memoir? Their friend just recommended one. A book on how to write html/css code? They can show you exactly where all your options are.

5. The best part of the Mudd Library: FREE BOOKS!
Do you realize that throughout your four years at Lawrence you will never have to pay for a book? Aside from some classes’ mandatory textbooks, any book you want is free! Think of the possibilities! Even if the unthinkable happens and they don’t have the exact book you want, you can easily order it through Interlibrary Loan. Currently, I have checked out a book on the ecology of Door County, a book on Wisconsin’s geography, the film Wild Strawberries by Ingmar Bergman, and the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (if you are also a Joyce fan, don’t worry, they have 3 more copies).

The Mudd Library can easily become anything you need it to be: a quiet study carrel, a meeting spot for friends, the hub of your cultural pursuits, or a home away from home. My best advice is to make full use of our library during your time at Lawrence. You’ll quickly understand why we all love it so much.

Are you interested in writing a guest post? Contact Angela Vanden Elzen with ideas.

The Mudd Welcomes Krista Tippett to Lawrence!

Here at the Mudd we’re all very excited for Krista Tippett’s convocation on Tuesday February, 16 at 11:10 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel entitled, “The Mystery and Art of Living.” Tippett is the Peabody Award winning creator and host of On Being, a public radio broadcast which explores the questions of “What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?” Tippett’s thoughtful approach embraces the complexities of the moral, ethical and spiritual and in doing so invites people of all faiths and backgrounds to join the conversation. In 2014 she received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, and if she’s good enough for President Obama she’s good enough for us.

If you’re interested in exploring Tippett’s work there are many resources to do so at the Mudd Library. In addition to her many journal articles available through our online catalog, her books Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit and Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters – And How to Talk About It are both available for checkout. You can also reserve any of the listening rooms on the first floor if you’re in need of a quiet space to listen to episodes of On Being.
We hope to see all of you at the convocation and in the meantime feel free to stop by the Mudd and use any of our resources, including our reference librarians, for more information on Tippett and her work.

Here‘s Tippett speaking at The TED Charter for Compassion in 2010.

 

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: John O’Neill

With Welcome Week just around the corner, it’s time to celebrate the fabulous John O’Neill, who began working in the Mudd during Welcome Week two years ago, when he was a freshman. Little did we know how valuable and well-loved this horn performance and government major from Reno, Nevada would become.

Not only does John work tremendously hard balancing all of his roles during the academic year, he has also spent his summers working with us in the Mudd, doing all sorts of necessary and useful projects, from helping to manage our music scores and collections, to charmingly modeling for social media posts. Summer would not be the same without John, who is always ready to lend a hand. Read on to learn more about this wonderful and talented student worker!

What is your job title at the Mudd and what work does that entail?

I am a student shelving assistant in the score section, which means that I keep the area organized and shelve everything that circulates. I have also worked at the circulation desk over breaks and have done some cataloging work with Antoinette Powell, the music librarian.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I really love fixing up and erasing some of our “extra loved” scores because it tells me how much students use the score collection.

Share something you’ve done at work that has made you especially proud.

Very recently someone asked how many feet of CDs we would have if they were laid end-to-end. It was really fun and satisfying to figure out the answer.

As a student, where is your favorite (study/relaxation/hang-out) spot in the Mudd?

I usually head straight for the middle of the stacks on the third and fourth floors, although the “fishbowl” on the 2nd floor is also a great place to work.

What are your hobbies?

Collecting vinyls, reading, putting together puzzles, and baking when I can.

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

What are your favorite bands or performers?

The Beatles, Chicago

How about your favorite blogs and/or magazines?

The Atlantic Weekly, New York Times, the Horn Call, and the Mudd’s blog (of course!)

What groups and/or organizations are you active in (on or off campus)?

I am active with Lawrence’s Young Democrats, Lawrence’s Quizbowl Team, and several chamber groups in the conservatory.

When will you graduate? What are your post-graduation plans?

Since I will be a fifth year and I’m only a junior, I won’t graduate until 2018!

 

 

Lawrence Students at the WLA Conference

Back in November, three library student workers, Allison Wray, Aubrey Klein, Andrea Parmentier, along with Angela Vanden Elzen, one of our reference librarians, attended the 2014 Wisconsin Library Association Conference.  The three students were invited to attend because they are interested in pursuing library sciences and librarianship after college.  In addition to helping organize the Conference’s Makerspace, everyone was able to attend some of the numerous presentations and talks, featuring a huge range of topics.  It was a fantastic experience, here is what Andrea, Allison, and Aubrey have to say about it!

(From Left) Andrea, Aubrey, Allison in front of the Makerspace
(From Left) Andrea, Aubrey, and Allison in front of the Makerspace

Andrea: I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to go to WLA.  The conference really solidified my resolve that librarian is the career path I want to follow.  I felt that I fit in with these people who want to help people learn and have fun.  It was interesting to see how and what kinds of ideas were exchanged through the conference.  There was a lot of programming interesting for me, even not being a librarian.  I went to panels about how to cater library programs and events to different groups and about keeping up with teens and teen literature, as library programming is one of the areas of librarianship I am most interested and those talks seemed most interesting to one not in the field.
The panels and speeches weren’t the only place to find out more information, however.  The exhibition hall, and especially the makerspace that Angela was in charge of, was a great way to meet people and exchange ideas.  Not only were the projects ideas in and of themselves, but librarians working on activities chatted with one another about how to adapt the ideas to fit their own library’s needs and goals.  Talking to a couple of librarians was cool too, especially talking to a librarian from our own Appleton Public Library about the types of activities she has for the teens.  All in all, I learned a lot about the ways librarians work to improve their services and what those services are.

Allison: My favorite part of the conference was probably exploring the exhibition hall. There were so many neat tables and people; it was really cool to see such a variety of stalls.  I also really enjoyed some of the presentations I went to, especially the ones on young adult literature and graphic design.  I’m very passionate about art and LGBTQ/feminist activism so I was pleased to be able to participate in a discussion space concerning topics I care about, especially ones relevant to teen readers. I was impressed by how many different topics the presentations covered, I definitely wasn’t expecting to directly share my interests in opinions with many people, but I was pleasantly surprised when there was a plethora of relevant and interesting presentations to attend!
I really appreciated that the conference gave me a good idea of the breadth of librarianship and all of the different paths that are available.  I was excited to discover that UW has a Gender and Women’s Studies librarian who was tabling there, and it was great to talk to her and learn about what she does. I was also reminded of just how much libraries do, in both the public and academic sphere. I haven’t had much public library experience, so it was exciting to see all of the programming and ideas that people had. I definitely feel like librarianship is a good path for me—there are just so many different options and opportunities that make it appealing and exciting!

Aubrey: In particular, I really liked the presentations  given by young-adult librarians and hearing what they had to say.  In their work, they use young-adult novels as a way to talk about and teach teens about topics like sexual assault, body-image, LGBTQ relationships and many other things.  I’ve always loved YA but it helped me realize just how important the genre is for teen readers, considering that it is often so easily written off by adults or people who don’t consider YA “serious” reading.
I was surprised at the huge amount of presentations and activites being presented at the conference.  There were a lot of different topics covered under categories like leadership, community and event planning.
The conference definitely reaffirmed that librarianship is the field for me.  I was fascinated and excited by everything that I learned and sensed a lot of community and solidarity among the library community.  It also presented some new paths to me that I may not have thought about before, like teen librarianship.
I was reminded that librarianship is far more than just picking books for a collection.  Libraries are community spaces that provide a variety of resources for every person in the community, from the poorest to the richest.  I love that libraries are a space for everyone to feel welcome and that even if a person comes to the library every day and never checks out a single book, the library is still providing them with something, whether it be internet access, an after-school program, or a warm shelter.  Librarians really play a huge role in community building, and can have a major impact on the lives of those who use the library.

5 Things I Wish I Knew About the Mudd Library as a Freshman

Mudd buildingLawrence student and library fan William Gislason took the time to write another excellent post for our blog. In this post, he imparts some wisdom he’s gained about the Mudd Library after spending much of his summer here in a student office.

5 Things I Wish I Knew About the Mudd Library as a Freshman by William Gislason Class of 2015

The summer before my senior year, I got to know Lawrence University’s Mudd Library on a whole new level. Amazingly, Lawrence hired me to build an iPad app for the trails of Björklunden— that’s right, sometimes Lawrence actually pays you! Along with the job, I got an office of my very own in the Seeley G. Mudd Library. After spending day after day in it, I’ve learned a thing or two about this building and I’ve come to realize that our library is actually one of the best places on campus! Here’s a list of 5 things I wish I knew about our library when I was a freshman.

1. There is a place for any mood
Whether you want to hang out with friends surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the first floor or have some peace and quiet on the fourth floor — there’s a spot for you. When serious work needs to be done on a paper, check out the study carrels along the windows of the silent third and fourth floors. When you need to meet with a group, try reserving the meeting rooms on the second and third floors (fully equipped with all you need to practice a presentation or write out a complex differential equation). Of course, if you just want to meet up with some friends while getting this week’s Italian homework out of the way, there are plenty of large group tables throughout the first and second floors always littered with groups of laughing students.

2. Movies and Music?
Anyone who thinks the Mudd Library is only filled with books is missing out. Every student has access to thousands of albums – new and old. You want The Beatles? They’ve got The Beatles. You’ll graduate long before you have a chance to listen to half the free music you’ve checked out. Of course, you can’t forget about the movies. When you and your “LUMOS” friends (Lawrence University’s Magical Organization of Students) decide you need to watch all 8 Harry Potter movies over Reading Period, you know where to go. And did I mention the viewing rooms? Let’s say you need to watch 2001, A Space Odyssey for your Film Studies class. You can actually check it out from the library and watch it away from the distractions of campus on a big screen TV!

3. Themed (Curated) Rooms
I’ll bet you didn’t know that Lawrence University has an Abraham Lincoln themed room where anyone can go to study and keep a bronze bust of Honest Abe company. How about an antique room devoted to the legacy of Milwaukee-Downer College that is filled with ancient books that bears an eerie resemblance to the library in Hogwarts (particularly after your Reading Period binge). And did you know about a small bare white room called the Mudd Gallery that serves as a pop-up gallery for a diverse array of art student’s projects. Within a week, the room will switch from delightful exhibit on typography to a grungy cavern showing beautiful, yet slightly disturbing, music videos for some of our campus’s rock bands on repeat. All of these room exist in Mudd Library and are open to students for study, contemplation, or artistic expression.

4. The Best Book Recommendations
The library is always filled with a plethora of librarians and student workers who love books. Each worker is surrounded by all genres of books and is bursting with recommendations about any subject. Looking for a collection of short stories? They just read a great one! How about a World War Two memoir? Their friend just recommended one. A book on how to write html/css code? They can show you exactly where all your options are.

5. The best part of the Mudd Library: FREE BOOKS!
Do you realize that throughout your four years at Lawrence you will never have to pay for a book? Aside from some classes’ mandatory textbooks, any book you want is free! Think of the possibilities! Even if the unthinkable happens and they don’t have the exact book you want, you can easily order it through Interlibrary Loan. Currently, I have checked out a book on the ecology of Door County, a book on Wisconsin’s geography, the film Wild Strawberries by Ingmar Bergman, and the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (if you are also a Joyce fan, don’t worry, they have 3 more copies).

The Mudd Library can easily become anything you need it to be: a quiet study carrel, a meeting spot for friends, the hub of your cultural pursuits, or a home away from home. My best advice is to make full use of our library during your time at Lawrence. You’ll quickly understand why we all love it so much.

Are you interested in writing a guest post? Contact Angela Vanden Elzen with ideas.