Category: Library Staff

Meet Your Reference Librarians: Andrew McSorley Edition

Considering that you may not have had the opportunity to meet all of our fantastic library faculty and staff during Welcome Week this year, given the need for social distancing, we thought it might be nice for you to get to know the librarians who are here to support you.

Reference librarians, among many other things, help you learn to engage in high-quality research and use our extensive collections in the most advantageous way. We support student scholars! We also support faculty and staff.

First up we have Andrew McSorley, our Reference and Digital Liberal Arts Librarian. Andrew is a published poet and also a published dad! If you’ve worked with him before, you know he is very intelligent, well-rounded, and has the ability to take complex ideas and information and express it all in a clear and concise way. He’s also very, very funny.

Here are a few more fun facts about Andrew, answered in his own words.

Undergrad Major: Creative Writing

Favorite Book: Sometimes it’s Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Right now, probably either Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino or Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (plays count, right?)

Favorite Hobby: Poetry, Ice Hockey, Magic: The Gathering

Favorite Database: This is such a fun idea, to have a favorite database. They’re all so useful. The one I use the most is probably Credo Reference, but AVON (Academic Video Online) and Oxford English Dictionary are pretty fun. 

Pets: One cat, Nikki.

Best part of being a Reference Librarian: Meeting new students!

Anything else: Stay curious, and never stop learning!

Thanks so much for all you do for Lawrence and our students, Andrew.

Our Reference Librarians can be reached in a variety of ways highlighted here.

National Library Workers Day: A Tribute to Technical Services!

Those of us who work directly with students, staff, and faculty in the library rely every day on the efforts of the people who work in other parts of the library.

Most of you may never see them.

We can do what we do because they do what they do. Now, more than ever, we count on them.

So, a huge thank you to:

Jenni, who orders the library’s books, DVDs, scores, and more;

Trudi, who monitors and maintains all of our journal orders and collections in paper and online;

Kim, who coordinates our government documents;

Susan, who makes sure we can find it all in our catalog;

Jill, who helps all these great people do their jobs as head of Technical Services (and manages acquisitions and special collections);

Craig, who makes it possible to find everything we own and more (and to check it out) by making OneSearch and Alma work.

We could not be providing the services that we are right now if it wasn’t for this fine group of folks.

We see you! We appreciate you! We could not be doing this without you. Thank you!

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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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.

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.

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.
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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!

 

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!

 

 

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: Andrea Parmentier

002 (Medium)Andrea Parmentier is an Appleton native who has been working in the Mudd library for over two years. This English and Geology double major is another of our fabulous Circulation Desk Assistants, completely adept at answering questions and helping patrons find exactly what they are looking for. We appreciate Andrea’s hard work and wonderful personality. Read on to learn more about this library student worker.

Andrea, what’s your favorite part of your job?

Making the closing announcements is pretty fun.

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

One day an older man came in. He’s made it his mission to find a list of all WWI armed service members from Wisconsin who had died and were buried overseas, and contact family members who never found out what had happened to them or where they were buried. I helped him find the information and print it off. He was so grateful – I was very happy to have been able to help him out.

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

I love the Milwaukee-Downer Room tables, especially the mid to late afternoon light.

What are your hobbies?

I write poetry, knit, bake, and have started to cultivate bonsai.

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

A Conspiracy of Kings – the latest book in the Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

What are your favorite bands or performers?

It’s kind of dorky, but I’m a big fan of Flying Forms – a baroque ensemble that’s been coming to Lawrence for the past few years.

How about your favorite blogs and/or magazines?

Hyperbole and a Half hasn’t updated in a while, but I love it. Also, Interweave magazine.

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

I’m most active in the library’s knitting club and at the Fox Valley Literacy Council.

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

I’m graduating this June and I’m going to grad school for a Master of Library Science.

Please feel free to share anything else you’d like about yourself or the Mudd!

If you knit, crochet, embroider, or do any kind of handicraft, come to the library’s knitting circle at 4:30 pm on Thursdays! We also have yarn and needles and don’t mind teaching new knitters.

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: Tyler Grasee

003 (Medium)Tyler Grasee is another of the Seeley G. Mudd Library’s wonderful Circulation Assistants. He is adept at the full array of circulation duties, including helping patrons find and check out materials. Tyler, who is an anthropology and German double major, has worked in the Mudd since his sophomore year at Lawrence. We appreciate his sweet and helpful nature, and are always impressed with his impeccable sense of style. Read on to learn more about Tyler!

Tyler, where are you from?

I’m a local! Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love the interactions with professors, visitors, and other non-students. Working with and meeting new people are nice breaks from studying.

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

I’m not certain I’ve done anything particularly notable behind the desk, but there is definitely a sense of personal satisfaction on the rare occasion I find a lost book.

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

The Kruse room on the fourth floor has a great view and very cozy furniture.

What are your hobbies?

Though traveling, attending concerts, reading, and writing are all at the top of my list, food will always be number one. There is nothing I appreciate more than an interesting culinary experience, whether it be out or at home. I’ll eat anything.

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

“The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. If you like poetry, it changes your life within the hour it takes to read.

What are your favorite bands or performers?

Classical music is my first love, but I usually find myself listening to Disclosure, FKA Twigs, Grimes, SBTRKT, Tei Shi, Lana del Rey, Janelle Monae, Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, and of course, Beyoncé.

How about your favorite blogs and/or magazines?

This is difficult for me to narrow down, but I’ll give it a try: Fast Company, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hello Mr., New York Magazine, Dazed and Confused Magazine, the Atlantic, Vogue, and GQ are a few.

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

I’ve been most active in Hillel, Anthropology Club, and GLOW.

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

I’m graduating this spring! I’m hoping to get my Master’s in museum studies.

Is there anything you’d like to share about the Mudd with your fellow students?

Interlibrary loan is a great tool, use it!