National Library Week 2019!

Celebrate National Library Week, April 7-13, with your friends in the Mudd Library!

Tuesday, April 9th: Say thanks to our amazing student workers on National Library Workers Day!

Wednesday, April 10: Ask a question at the reference desk between 6-9 pm, get a cookie! Planning on attending? Invite a friend with our Facebook event!

All Week: Tell us what you love about the Mudd Library, or all libraries! We’ll have a National Library Week Notes box set out for your library love notes.

Poster describing National Library Week events: Tuesday, April 9th: Say thanks to our amazing student workers on National Library Workers Day! Wednesday, April 10: Ask a question at the reference desk between 6-9 pm, get a cookie! All Week: Tell us what you love about the Mudd Library, or all libraries!

Alumni Librarians: Zachary Fannin ’12

Editor’s note: We invited Lawrence alumni who have gone into library work to share with us what they do and how they got there.  Here’s another in a series.

At the end of my junior year at Lawrence, while wrapping up a tutorial meeting with Professor Carr, she asked about my post-LU plans. I had myriad answers which, in reality meant I really had no answer at all. All my life, I had been able to answer the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?” without hesitation, but a variety of unexpected, ongoing, and often debilitating health problems screwed up my plans. I no longer had a clear vision. Professor Carr sensed my confusion, smiled and said, “You might want to look into library science.” The rest is history.

Epiphany! Libraries had always been my intellectual and emotional sanctuaries, but, strangely enough, I had never seriously looked into the profession. As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by classification and organization, and not just of books: I’ve always been always curious about the philosophy and logic behind such notions, wanting to know how we describe things and classify them accordingly; the nature of the relationship between the concrete (e.g., a copy of a book) and the abstract (e.g., what a book is about); whether we organize things just for convenience, by convention, or in a manner allusive to deeper assumptions (consistent with the world carved at its joints). It only made sense to pursue a career where I could put these questions to the test and, yes, be surrounded by books, but in truth, that’s merely a bonus to my job; librarianship deals with far more than analog books nowadays. (Yes, dusty, bibliographic curmudgeons, I qualified the term book!)

Thus, I enrolled at UW-Madison’s iSchool (formerly SLIS–School of Library and Information Studies; now the Information School, a humorously vague title). Just as I matriculated, unexpected and unfortunate personal events reared their ugly heads once again, forcing me to take things at a much slower pace than originally planned. What I discovered was breathing room, allowing me to concentrate on doing a stellar job on fewer assignments and gain invaluable work experience, all of which led me to my current, dare I say it, perfect job.

A starter job as a pager in the Special Collections Department (which I loved because it allowed me to go into the vaults and inhale the archival fumes), gave me a chance to do some basic cataloging, and returned me to the meticulous world of bibliographic control. It reminded me of learning the basics of the card catalog back in grade school, when computers weren’t yet ubiquitous. Here it was: a way to utilize my love of organizing, to implement my abstract interests, and to facilitate information access and retrieval (with no appreciation from reference staff—Kidding!…kinda…).

Along the grad school way (actually, before I even started classes), I tripped over a job in the UW Law School Library. The Reference Librarian asked me to help with the library’s brand new institutional repository. Projects involved creating and maintaining collections of digital resources significant to the school’s history. I stuck with it all four years I was a student, and discovered an interest working at the intersection of analog and digital data—a fascination with the juxtaposition of old and new technology (e.g., I created electronic records for archived manuscripts and digitized old, brittle faculty photos). I worked on the faculty scholarship collection, the digital photo collection, and, my favorite, the oral histories. The Law School Library served as a guinea pig testing the new Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS), an open-source software program facilitating metadata creation for interview recordings (involving former and current faculty/staff members). I indexed, summarized, and subject cataloged entire interviews (ranging in length from 2 to 8+ hours), listening two or three times over to be sure I captured all that might be of interest to patrons. The histories were fascinating, and I enjoyed creating data that (I hoped) would help patrons find what they needed for their research. I plan to do likewise here in DC, working on improving the hitherto neglected metadata for the LOC’s Web Archive.

Speaking of the LOC, shortly before I fully entered the dreaded world of job applications, I came across an interesting opening on the iSchool’s jobs blog: a new residential program at the Library of Congress. Knowing the chances were slim at best, I took a shot in the dark and applied. Thereafter I thought little of it, staying realistic and increasingly preoccupying myself with job applications elsewhere. I had several initial interviews but no job materialized. Then, in February, I received a phone call from the Library of Congress. A section head, the librarian who created the new residency program, asked me if she could interview me. A month and a half after the interview, I was offered and accepted a place in the program.

Six months into the residency, my section decided to hang onto me permanently. I can now call myself a full-fledged librarian. I plan to move up the ranks in my division to a point where I can catalog independently and train other employees. Down the road, my supervisor will lend me to another section to help subject catalog their influx of philosophy materials (I majored in philosophy at LU and continue to study it on my own time). I also plan to get involved in the BIBFRAME Initiative, a program testing the new Bibliographic Framework data scheme to replace MARC (finally!–don’t tell a veteran cataloger I said that). The scheme will streamline cataloging across different library systems and allow users to access the institutional catalogs outside their ivory towers (e.g., when you look up a title via Google, search results finally will include library holdings). As digital libraries continue to grow, metadata remains crucial to navigating bibliographical cyberspace. I’d like to help patrons maneuver through the maze of online resources with clear, concise, and consistent metadata.

I am unbelievably fortunate to have begun my career in the largest, most respected cultural heritage institution in the world.

Thanks, again, Karen. (And thanks, Pete, for letting me pick your brain about the profession.)

By Zachary Fannin, Class of 2012

Academic Citation Workshop

Want to learn answers to important questions like,

  • why do we cite?
  • what’s the difference between MLA and APA?
  • when do I use footnotes?
  • what should be cited (and what shouldn’t be)?

If so, come to the Academic Citation Workshop, co-hosted by your friends from the Mudd Library and the Center for Academic Success. Gretchen Revie, Julie Haurykiewicz, and Nicole Crashell will guide you through the art and science of academic citations.

The workshop will take place on the first floor of the Mudd Library at 4:30 on Tuesday, April 23rd. Hope to see you there!

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.


The Web Turns 30

By Jill Thomas, Director of Technical Services

Do you know the name Tim Berners-Lee? Well, the idea that he came up with 30 years ago on March 12 touches us almost every minute of every day – he invented the internet!

Thirty years ago, Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research/Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) and thought it would be great if he could link and access information across computers. By November 1990, his idea had become, “[a] web of information nodes in which the user can browse at will” as he stated in his formal proposal written with his CERN colleague, Robert Cailliau, titled World Wide Web: Proposal for a Hyper Text Project. By Christmas of 1990, Berners-Lee and Cailliau had implemented key components such as html, http, and URL, and created the first Web server, browser, and editor.

On April 30, 1990, CERN released the first version of the WWW software into the public domain and made it freely available to anyone to use and improve. Today, half of the world’s population is online and there are close to 2 billion websites. Openness has always been a part of CERN’s culture. Today CERN continues to promote open sharing of software, technology, publications and data through initiatives such as open source software, open hardware, open access publishing, and CERN’s Open Data Portal.

Today take a moment to thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau for their imagination and their drive to communicate just a little easier with their colleagues.

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.

Academic Citation Workshop!

Want to learn answers to important questions like,

  • why do we cite?
  • what’s the difference between MLA and APA?
  • when do I use footnotes?
  • what should be cited (and what shouldn’t be)?

If so, come to the Academic Citation Workshop, co-hosted by your friends from the Mudd Library and the Center for Academic Success. Gretchen Revie, Julie Haurykiewicz, and Nicole Crashell will guide you through the art and science of academic citations.

The workshop will take place on the first floor of the Mudd Library at 4:30 on Tuesday, February 12th. Hope to see you there!

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!

In the Mudd Gallery: XChange

Text on image reads: XChange: An Institutional Exchange Between Carthage College and Lawrence UniversityWe are thrilled to be hosting the exhibit, XChange: An Institutional Exchange Between Carthage College and Lawrence University, in the Mudd Gallery. In a beautiful display of intercollegiate collaboration, the artwork on exhibit in the Mudd Gallery was created by Carthage College art students. As described by our friends at Carthage College, this exhibition is one half of a student art exchange- with the other half being Lawrence University student work on exhibit in the H.F. Johnson Gallery of Art on the Carthage campus.

The exhibit will remain on display in the Mudd Gallery on the third floor of the library from January 9th through January 31, 2018.

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!