SUMMER 2021 | VOL. 8, NO. 1
HAPPY RETURNS New dean Kathleen Schmand comes full circle to her library roots
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Middle Tennessee State University library.mtsu.edu Summer 2021 | Volume 8, No. 1 DEAN Kathleen L. Schmand EXTERNAL RELATIONS Clay V. Trainum DEVELOPMENT Paul Wydra EDITOR Drew Ruble ASSOCIATE EDITOR Carol Stuart DESIGNER Micah Loyed SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE MARKETING SOLUTIONS Kara Hooper UNIVERSITY PHOTOGRAPHERS Cat Curtis Murphy, James Cessna, Andy Heidt, J. Intintoli CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Nancy Broden CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Clay V. Trainum, Gina K. Logue CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Priyanka Modi, Maggie Strahle UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT Sidney A. McPhee UNIVERSITY PROVOST Mark Byrnes VICE PRESIDENT FOR MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Andrew Oppmann 1,000 copies, printed at Phillips Printing, Nashville, Tenn. Designed by Creative Marketing Solutions
0421-9713/ Middle Tennessee State University does not discriminate against students, employees, or applicants for admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs, and activities sponsored by MTSU. The Assistant to the President for Institutional Equity and Compliance has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and can be reached at Cope Administration Building 116, 1301 East Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37132; Marian.Wilson@mtsu.edu; or 615-898-2185 The MTSU policy on non-discrimination can be found at mtsu.edu/iec.
Cover photo by Andy Heidt Table of contents photo by Priyanka Modi
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Dean’s Letter User-Friendly Walker Library finds new ways to provide services safely and professionally
Element of Surprise Library book leads to long marriage and special birthday gift to honor former student worker
Happy Returns New dean Kathleen Schmand comes full circle to her library roots
Open Books Library works to address skyrocketing textbook prices with free or low-cost access
The Atrium News and notes from inside Walker Library
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From the Desk of Dean Schmand I am excited to join the Middle Tennessee State University family! As the new dean of MTSU’s James E. Walker Library, I believe that libraries remain an integral and innovative part of a student’s educational experience. Libraries are constantly changing to respond to the needs of the campus community and adapting to how new information is created, published, and distributed. Additionally, libraries are providing greater access to creative and cutting-edge experiential learning opportunities. As a library we strive to provide the spaces, resources, and support that afford students the opportunities and skills to be academically successful. Walker Library is well positioned to serve and advance the changing needs of the students and faculty at MTSU. As the institution increases the number of online courses and degree programs, users will find a diverse and rich online resource environment to support them. In addition, librarians are working to assist users in navigating the breadth of available resources through research consultations and instruction. The collections the library provides are fundamental to the access and academic success of MTSU students and to supporting the research
and teaching of faculty. Complementing the collections, the library offers experiential learning services such as the Makerspace, which fosters creative thinking and design as students complete course assignments and conduct research in their fields of study. The library is truly the heart of the University and offers a learning environment that is flexible and responsive to how students learn and how faculty teach today. Looking forward, I see the library building on the successful services it already has in place, such as the Pull and Hold program, open educational resources, and Digital Scholarship Initiatives, to name a few. Making connections across campus to advance the colleges’ and University’s strategic goals, along with finding innovative approaches that expand the library’s experiential learning programs and high-impact services, will continue to be priorities for me. With a return to primarily in-person classes for the Fall 2021 semester, I look forward to seeing the library full of students pursuing their academic excellence. Kathleen L. Schmand, Dean of James E. Walker Library
HELP OUT STUDENT WORKERS IN A BIND $4,645 awarded for 19 emergency grants during 2020–21 Up to $250 available per library worker's request
Donate at library.mtsu.edu/give
Walker Library finds new ways to provide services safely and professionally by Gina Logue
In some ways, the pandemic did a great deal to shine a light on services the James E. Walker Library was offering long before the COVID-19 virus began dominating the news. For instance, the online chat service already in use remained very popular after COVID-19 impacted most of 2020 and the Spring 2021 semester. “You can still get that college experience on campus even though you’re not in a physical classroom,” said Jason Vance, information literacy librarian and the interim chair of User Services. However, the ways in which users access materials also changed dramatically with the onset of the pandemic, even as digital resources have ramped up in recent years. “We had to create a remote services page, and we had [to find] resources that were free from publishers and vendors,” said Discovery Services librarian Denise Quintel, who handles the library’s website and search engine. Quintel, who monitored metrics to meet changing demands, was among the many people working behind the scenes who helped maintain Walker Library’s status as a full-service resource for students and faculty. “We have been pushing our library systems in a way that was never expected, but they’re still working,” said Systems
librarian Robert Wilson. “It’s been kind of amazing how quickly everyone’s been able to adjust and how flexible many of the staff are.”
Visual and Virtual Acquisitions librarian Suzanne Mangrum, who purchases books and handles the library textbook program, even earned an open educational resources certification this past fall that enhanced her understanding of virtual materials. “I’ve been trying really hard to move every book I can find [to] an e-book instead of a print book,” Mangrum said.
The ways in which users access materials also changed dramatically. She handles music and documentaries, too. Mangrum said she tracks down documentaries for professors, and those films had to be available online. “I think streaming media was becoming a bigger and bigger thing . . . during the pandemic, and I expect it’s not going to go down after the pandemic,” Mangrum said. “I think faculty love to use it in their classrooms.”
Engaging and Interactive More than a year into COVID-19, the folks in User Services at the MTSU library remain on the front lines of interaction with students and faculty. Those roles made their transition from regular library use to pandemic protocols all the more important. S U M M ER 2 0 2 1 7
For one thing, User Services librarians moved almost all of their in-person library instruction online. That’s not as easy as it sounds, even for one of the most technologically astute staffs at MTSU. “It’s not just a matter of doing your teaching in front of a camera,” Vance said. “There’s a lot that goes into making those accessible, making sure that the lessons are still engaging and interactive.” User Services directly contributes to student success by supporting MTSU’s teaching and learning, research, and creative activity in all disciplines. The department teaches library instruction lessons, offers one-on-one student and
Walker Library is well stocked with the resources that the University needs. faculty research support, and provides customer service to users for both print and online collections. “Right now, I’m doing a mixture of the Zoom instruction and working at the service desk downstairs,” said Associate Professor Karen Dearing, a reference and instruction librarian. “So, I get a nice mix of both the online and the in-person research assistance.”
Pulling and Holding With more than 115,000 journals, 1 million books, 500 databases, and half a million electronic books, Walker Library is well stocked with the resources that the University needs. During the pandemic, it was a matter of making sure the campus community could access those resources safely.
"I got more involved with developing videos and doing Zoom sessions,” said Christy Groves, the library’s interim associate dean. “We’ve spent a good portion of time devoting our attention to making resources that students can utilize at a distance. We have developed even more training materials to help students at their point of need.” Metrics at the end of 2020 showed that the most popular library web pages were those related to databases or reserving what were now solo study spaces. Pages on how to borrow and check out materials also were popular. While logins to physical library computers plummeted 70%, use of the library search website function dipped by only 7%. “What that’s showing us is that people are still utilizing our resources, but they’re just not doing it from the building,” Groves said. Of course, the library was still open in the 2020–21 academic year to serve students in person, with plexiglass barriers and distancing protocols. Contact-free book pickup is one big change, with a Pull and Hold service for items requested from the physical collection. “It’s sort of like the online shopping or Kroger Clicklist where you can place your order and we’ll pull it for you and have it ready,” Vance said. “You can just come in and grab it without talking to or touching anybody. We’ve seen a big uptick in that service.” Perhaps that level of engagement is also partly due to the library’s decision to be more lenient when it comes to fines on overdue books. When some students moved back home, the library sometimes got books returned by mail or delivery service. Vance said the library just wants its books back.
Makerspace keeps experiential learning safely in play Makerspace student worker Keri LaPrairie wears a hair covering and an additional mask between his face and goggles with the virtual reality device.
One of Walker Library’s most hands-on services has continued to serve students while readjusting to pandemic protocols. The Makerspace, the MTSU library’s technological toolbox, found ways to continue offering its equipment for creating and fabricating prototypes while maintaining social distancing and hygiene. Training for the vinyl cutter and 3-D printing continued with instructional videos and checklists. At stopping points in the vinyl cutter training, students could ask people at the desk—6 feet away and surrounded by plexiglass—any questions. Personnel would use a 40-inch-long pointer with a nonabrasive tip to point to the computer screen. Sample items created with the equipment remained available for viewing, but not for handling like before. The Makerspace’s colorful figurines, ranging from the MTSU horseshoe to mythical creatures, have been displayed behind plexiglass partitions or hanging on high.
LaPrairie operates Makerspace equipment in an environment redesigned and adapted for COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
While the button-maker was off limits, caution tape that surrounded it was made part of Makerspace’s 2020 Halloween decorations. The Legos area also was unavailable because it had too many tiny parts to disinfect. However, electronic components have been available and categorized in what were once library card catalog drawers. Students would place used tools inside a box for staffers to clean with antiseptic wipes. Even virtual reality remained a reality. Users were required to put plastic coverings over their hair and don face guards under their masks so the reality goggles wouldn’t touch either hair or face. Staffers would use antiseptic wipes on the equipment after the user finished. Valerie Hackworth, assistant manager of technology services said students have expressed gratitude not only for being able to complete their classwork, but also for being able to use an area that doesn’t cramp their style.
Makerspace student worker Sean Strickland staffs the help desk, where figurines made with Makerspace equipment adorn the plexiglass shields.
“I think a lot of it has to do with how the patrons are using the space, and then us adapting as well,” she said. photos by J. Intintoli S U M M ER 2 0 2 1 9
Library book leads to long marriage and special birthday gift to honor former student worker by Clay V. Trainum Longtime Middle Tennessee State University donor Don Witherspoon wanted to surprise his wife, Hanna, with a gift that would resonate for years to come. Nearly 60 years ago, a chance meeting at the MTSU library blossomed into a love that has lasted, and it’s in celebration of this that Don recently created the Hanna Romans Witherspoon Endowed Scholarship. "Hanna worked here while we were in school," Don said. One day he dashed into the library to return a book, and he was sweaty because he'd been running for a military commitment; Hanna quipped that the book was early and he didn't have to run it in. The rest is history. This year, for her birthday, Don had an idea. "She has everything she needs," he said, "and I thought this would be a nice way to honor her on her birthday.” “He surprised me!” Hanna interjected. “I was really happy because I had a really close relationship with the people here at the library. I was really involved in the library and worked here all four years, and I thought this scholarship was a great way to give back to the University.” The $25,000 gift creates an award that will go to a student in the MTSU Honors College who also works for the library. As one of the largest employers of students on campus, Walker Library’s operation is dependent on these workers every single day. These workers become especially important in the evenings, allowing the building to remain open until 2 a.m. for the majority of the school year. “Working in the library was a learning tool for me, and I really enjoyed it,” Hanna said. “I was an English major, and it helped me with doing papers. I sure learned how to use that card catalog. It took up a lot of my free time to work here, but I didn’t resent it for one minute.” Born to Czech parents in the Philippines, Hanna moved to Tennessee as a child and later graduated from high school and then Middle Tennessee State University in 1964. She married Don shortly thereafter and pursued a career in teaching and then with American Airlines. The couple moved around the country before returning and settling in Murfreesboro for retirement in 2000. Dale Clifford (pictured at left), a Psychology major with minors in Social Work and Musical Theatre, is the first recipient of the Hanna Romans Witherspoon scholarship. Clifford, who received the award this spring, is on track to graduate in December 2022 and is working on an Honors thesis studying the positive effects of music therapy in school.
How to Give Back The James E. Walker Library, as well as MTSU as a whole, depends on private support for scholarships, special events, projects, and assistance for updates in materials and new technology that today’s college students require and that MTSU must provide to remain one of the best universities in the U.S. (Princeton Review). We not only need to ensure that current students have every opportunity to gain scholarships, but we also must secure funds for our future students. The library is a perfect example of where funding is needed to help educate, support, and strengthen both today’s and tomorrow’s college students. If you would like to help, please visit library.mtsu.edu/give to support the library. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 615-898-5329. Thank you for your continued and future support of MTSU and the James E. Walker Library. Sincerely,
Director of Development Initiatives S U M M ER 2 0 2 1 11
HAPPY RETURNS New dean Kathleen Schmand comes full circle to her library roots story by Gina Logue and photography by Andy Heidt
When Kathleen Schmand was a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, her father invited her to spend Thanksgiving with him in Murfreesboro, telling her she had to see Middle Tennessee State University during her visit. Schmand’s father, a Navy veteran, had moved to Murfreesboro in 1995 because of his interest in the area’s Civil War history and access to the Alvin C. York Veterans Administration Medical Center. As of January 2021, Kathleen Schmand is the new dean of MTSU’s James E. Walker Library. Although her father has died, Schmand said, she is delighted to be back in Murfreesboro. “I know he would be so excited to see that I’ve circled back around and now landed at MTSU for a new position, and particularly a position as dean,” Schmand said. Born in Pasadena, California, to parents trained as teachers, Schmand had something of a nomadic childhood, at least within the Golden State. In the 1970s, the family, including Schmand’s three brothers, moved first to Laguna Beach, which was relatively sleepy and undeveloped at the time. “My cousin, Cindy, would come out and babysit us, and we’d go down to the beach,” Schmand recalled. “But then we’d hitchhike . . . to get back up to the top of the hill where the house was. We didn’t worry about it at that point.” From there, the family picked up stakes and settled in Jackson, California, a smaller town which got a movie theater and its first fast-food restaurant while Schmand was growing up there.
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“You knew everybody wherever you went,” Schmand remembered. “You knew all the clerks at the grocery store. You knew everybody at the bank. They knew who you were.”
“I loved the people, how the information was organized, what it meant to make sure that people have the right information,” Schmand said.
Her father liked Jackson because it was rich in history.
Working in the USC library turned her onto library science, and she veered away from the CIA. Schmand moved cross country to the University of Pittsburgh and obtained her M.L.S. degree within a year.
“His historic love was gold mining, and he moved us pretty much into the center of gold mining history,” Schmand said. Most of Schmand’s high school friends went to nearby Sacramento State University. She has returned to Jackson a few times since her parents passed away and still keeps in touch with some high school girlfriends. However, by the time she reached her teenage years, she was ready for new adventures.
Information Highway The child of two University of Southern California alumni, Schmand followed suit, earning a degree in International Relations and Russian in 1993 with an eye on joining the Central Intelligence Agency. Libraries have been a part of Schmand’s academic life ever since she was an undergraduate at USC. She worked in the library for four years as a student and took a staff position in the library after graduation. 14
“I escalated everything and did five courses in the fall and five courses in the spring and then two six-week summer sessions, which included a legal research class and a six-week internship with the Carnegie Public Library,” Schmand said. In 1996, Northern Arizona University hired her, and she moved back west. Schmand started as a shared resources/document delivery librarian and held a variety of positions over her 24 years there, including interim associate dean. She served as director of development and communications for the NAU library from 2006 until joining MTSU. While attending an event at a Harley-Davidson dealership, Schmand met Cam, her future husband, through mutual friends. Cam was waiting for a blind date, who showed up two hours late. After speaking with the woman for 10 minutes, Cam figured that the two of them were not a good match.
“They are go-getters,” Schmand said. “They’re idea generators. They are energetic and passionate about what they do. They’re helping me learn the history of the library and the University.” The faith that Provost Mark Byrnes and search committee chair Lana Seivers, retired College of Education dean, placed in her gave her the confidence to take the MTSU position. “With long and varied experience in library leadership, she emerged from a highly competitive national search,” Byrnes said. “Kathleen will undoubtedly help our excellent library continue to move forward.” Schmand said she sees libraries as always changing in order to maintain their momentum. “It’s one of those institutions that just can’t stay the same because people are using information differently,” Schmand said. “It’s being produced at much more significant rates than it has been in the past.” Given the variety of formats and delivery methods used to convey information today, Schmand said, she sees the librarian’s job as one of making sure the user knows what’s relevant, authentic, and accurate.
Since he had to catch a flight to Phoenix, he stopped to say goodbye, handed out his card, and mentioned to Schmand that his cell number was on the back. She called him, and they talked on and off for several days. In June 2008, Cam and Kathleen were married at the rim of the Grand Canyon. Her family includes 32-year-old stepdaughter Alicia, stepgranddaughter Milo, a few pets, and several vintage vehicles. Cam, who has worked in a collision shop, also does custom artwork for motorcycles and classic car restoration. Among their vehicles, some of which still need work, are a 1972 Monte Carlo, 1981 Corvette, 1972 pickup truck, and a Harley-Davidson Road Glide. “We would do regular trips from Arizona to Maine in the summer, and we’d try different routes,” Schmand said. “So we would try to hit all the various Harley-Davidsons to pick up T-shirts and check out things.”
Changing Missions While Schmand loves the desert, one of the best aspects of life in middle Tennessee for her is the greenery and the lushness of the grass in the springtime. She also loves her library staffers.
It’s one of those institutions that just can’t stay the same because people are using information differently. “Libraries have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility, I think, to help guide the user on how to navigate that world of information because it just seems to keep increasing,” the new dean said. One of Schmand’s interests is the kinds of technologies used in areas such as Walker Library’s Makerspace. She said she thinks it’s important to monitor those technologies, including virtual reality, with an eye toward classroom learning opportunities. “Does it enable them to experience and explore things that they might not otherwise be able to do?” she said. While at NAU, Schmand helped launch a fundraising project for library-housed student textbooks. Through a crowdfunding effort, she helped raise just over $6,000 for one-time purchases of electronic textbooks for specific courses. Walker Library also has been working on textbook access (see page 16). When it comes to fundraising, Schmand believes every potential donor has a stake in the library’s future. “While there are no graduates of an academic library,” she said, “everyone graduates using the library.” S U M M ER 2 0 2 1 15
Library works to address skyrocketing textbook prices with free or low-cost access by Clay V. Trainum
What could you have done with an extra $1,000 in college? Would that have covered a rent payment or two? Maybe freed up funds for a car repair you’d put off? Perhaps it would have let you take a little more time off from your job to focus on your classes. Walker Library is working to give students that budgetary wiggle room by offering less-expensive textbook options. Since the 1970s, the cost of textbooks has skyrocketed more than 1,000%. At MTSU, students are expected to budget on average $1,240–$1,440 for books and supplies per academic year. However, the average college student will end up spending $415. Why is this? Often, students go without buying books, or they decide to share—choices that can lead to poorer academic outcomes. Walker Library has targeted this issue over the past two years, initially with the adoption of the Library Textbook Program, which offers textbook checkout for many of MTSU’s General Education classes. It’s a program that has its eyes set on future expansion, but it addresses only a portion of the needs facing today’s students.
“The Library Textbook Program, as important as it is to us, is only a Band-Aid,” said Suzanne Mangrum, MTSU’s acquisitions librarian. “We’re only able to cover certain classes, and there is a lot that doesn’t get covered. “Students have access to these books, but I wouldn’t call it great access, with it only being three-hour blocks within the building. During the pandemic, that wasn’t ideal. We also try to make sure the library can offer similar services to our online students, but it is often not possible to get e-books for the assigned texts.” Another solution, however, is picking up steam across the University, as evidenced by a recent $100,000 grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents. The grant will establish a pilot program for open educational resources (OER) that ultimately will provide free or low-cost textbooks to MTSU students. “I think there’s always been a group of faculty with a heart for students and who know that some students can’t afford textbooks,” said Mangrum, who serves on the steering committee for the program at MTSU. “There were already some faculty members who were using OER, and you’ll always have some early adopters. But it is a lot of work to create your own curriculum, and it’s not a small amount of work to find the right OER textbook. “There is a lot of good, high-quality work out there, but finding it, downloading it, adapting it, and then saving it in a way that can help your students takes time.”
This is where Mangrum believes Walker Library can make a major impact.
What Is OER?
“One of the main purposes of the grant is to encourage faculty to consider adopting an OER textbook for their courses. There are two big roles that the library can play in this, and the first will be supporting a publishing platform,” Mangrum said. “We can teach faculty about the platform and the publishing progress. The other will be in helping with Creative Commons licensing.
Open educational resources (OER) are essentially open-source textbooks that are available to students online. They also can be printed, in many cases, for the cost of producing the material.
Students are expected to budget $1,240–$1,440 for books and supplies each year. “I think there are a lot of questions about how something can be free and still valuable. Why should faculty take their valuable work and give it away? But that’s not really what they’re doing. It’s shareable, but they still own it and get credit.” While the University remains in the early stages of implementing its OER program, the path forward is exciting. “When I first came here 15 years ago, I’d get taken out to lunch by vendors, and they’d talk to me about their catalog,” Mangrum said. “We’d try to talk to faculty about it and then make selections to build a library collection that supported our academic programs. That is gone. My job has become more about licensing access to content for a time. “We own so much less than we used to, and we license so much more. I think OER gives us a chance to get back to our true mission, which is that information is for all and should be freely available.”
“OER textbooks are free and openly licensed,” MTSU acquisitions librarian Suzanne Mangrum explained. “They’re free to copy, to distribute, or even to change up if you want to. You have a lot of permissions with them. “Students can have an e-copy or even a printed copy, if they’d like, and they can keep it. It’s a great improvement over sharing it with a friend or relying on the library to hold a copy. It’s the access that makes it better.” The ability to edit is a huge boost to faculty who are often tasked with adapting a course around an imperfect textbook. “OER hits a lot of sweet spots,” Mangrum said. “It saves students money, but it also creates a more engaging classroom experience. Faculty don’t always find what they need in the textbook anyway, especially in terms of diversity. They’re having to supplement and add in other voices. Now there’s a way to do just that and make it open. The result can be a more engaging textbook without having to pass the cost to students.”
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Inside Walker Library With its expert staff, dynamic collections, and electronic resources, Walker Library is the University’s hub for study and research. But the library is also the place where students come to mix and mingle, learn, and discover new ways to work together. The library also has an active exhibit and event program. In partnership with various University departments, student organizations, and local groups, Walker Library displays collections and historical objects and hosts cultural events and concerts. Here's a look at recent news and events.
SO LONG, DEWEY In a project that dates back decades, Walker Library recently began the arduous process of converting its collection from the Dewey Decimal system to the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system. It’s the preferred way of categorizing books for academic libraries, and it marked the first major project for the library’s new chair of Collection Development and Management, Susan Martin. “LCC is a simpler system for folks to understand,” Martin said. “It’s a little more flexible, and it allows us to group things that make a little more sense together. It actually promotes browsing. Once you get that one item that you want to find, you’ll be able to go up there and see all the work that’s been done in that area. It’ll make things a little easier.” “In talking to some of the longer-term folks who’ve been here for 20, 25, 30 years, this is something they were talking about doing when they came,” Martin revealed. “This is huge. It’s a big step for us, and it will bring us into alignment. We’re finally doing it!” Students and other patrons of the library undoubtedly witnessed the transition in person over the course of the Spring 2021 semester as professional movers and librarians worked diligently on multiple floors to rearrange parts of the collection.
COLLECTION BREWING In light of the growth of MTSU’s fermentation program, Walker Library has hopped into the brewing game as well. Special Collections, which houses some of the library’s rarest books, has begun building out its Fermenting, Distilling, and Brewing Collection. “This will be a unique collection in Tennessee,” said Alan Boehm, the library’s special collections librarian. “It allows us to do outreach to breweries, distilleries, and winemaking operations in the region. There are approximately 60 wineries, 50 breweries, and 30 distilleries spread throughout Tennessee, with many of them focusing on small batches, and this is the kind of collection that could prove helpful to them. Moreover, there is also a lot of potential for research here that would certainly help our undergraduate and graduate students.” The scope of the collection, which began as an idea when MTSU launched its Fermentation Science degree in 2017, has broadened from a narrow focus on wine after input from Susan Martin, Collection Development and Management chair, and Rachel Kirk, collection assessment librarian. The collection not only will encompass the science of fermenting, distilling, and brewing, but also the cultural and societal context of alcohol. Among the more than 40 items collected so far are revenue stamps, 18th century publications, pamphlets decrying the ills of alcohol, and ledgers from moonshiners, including one from a 19th century Tennessee farmer. Among the most recent acquisitions is an 1809 handbook, The Practical Distiller. For more information on the collection, reach out to Boehm at email@example.com.
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Information literacy grant celebration (l–r): librarian Ashley Shealy, recipients Rebecca Oldham and Claire Cook, and Dean Kathleen Schmand
WELL INFORMED Championing information literacy is core to Walker Library’s User Services department, and the annual distribution of the Information Literacy Curriculum Integration Grant is something that has always excited Jason Vance, User Services’ interim chair. “I think this grant program is one of the coolest things that we do,” Vance said. “Our librarians build a lot of relationships around campus, but this is where the deep connections between the library and faculty begin. These grants foster a thoughtful, deep, semester-long collaboration, and I think we’re getting a lot of bang for our buck out of this money.” The program, which sets aside $1,000 awards to two faculty members at MTSU, was developed to help integrate information literacy skills and concepts into a new or existing course. The faculty members work extensively with a librarian to implement these changes over a year’s time. “These efforts are teaching our students to be informed users of information,” Vance said. “This is critical in this time of fake news and misinformation. These are skills that are not just important in the classroom, but students can then turn around and use them in their real lives to be better informed citizens. It will help them use information effectively, efficiently, and responsibly.” 20
PREVIOUS RECIPIENTS 2020 Christabel Devadoss (GEOG 2000), Chaney Mosley (AGRI 1000), Molly Taylor-Poleskey (HIST 2010) 2019 Natalie Hoskins (COMM 3750), Jane Lim (ECE 4370) 2018 John Maynor (PS 4930), Holly Hebert (LIBS 6000) 2017 Joan McRae (HUM 2610), Racha El-Kadiri (GEOL 4120) 2016 Mary Beth Asbury (ORCO 3750) The grant process is competitive as faculty members are tasked with connecting their proposals to an information literacy framework laid out by the Association of College and Research Libraries. These proposals are then judged and ranked by a panel of librarians and faculty from across campus to determine the winners. The 2021 recipients are Child Development and Family Studies faculty members Claire Cook and Rebecca Oldham. They will each be partnering with librarian Ashley Shealy on revising a class.
WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL “Battle for the Ballot: The Story of Women’s Suffrage in the United States” took center stage in the Walker Library’s first-floor exhibit space throughout 2020. Developed with the support of MTSU’s President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the American Association of University Women, and Albert Gore Research Center, the exhibit showcased the fight for women’s right to vote in the U.S. The first display case captured the national narrative around women’s suffrage, while another panel and case featured the unique role that Tennessee played, becoming the 36th and final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment. The rest of the exhibit focused on the fight for voting rights for all Americans, which continues to this day, as well as the role that the League of Women Voters has played in Murfreesboro and that Delta Sigma Theta sorority played in the suffrage movement. While the exhibit first opened as a part of the University’s celebration of Women’s History Month in March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic derailed further plans. So the exhibit remained up throughout the fall semester, which included the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in August.
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“I AM TRUE BLACK” Black student movements featured extensively in Walker Library’s latest exhibit, “I Am True Black.” The first-floor display focused on the beginnings of Black student activism on campus, specifically on the efforts of Sylvester Brooks, who began the push to eliminate the University’s ties to Confederate imagery in the late 1960s. Drawing its title from recent student movements on campus, the exhibit was produced in partnership with MTSU’s Albert Gore Research Center. It also was developed in conjunction with the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center, Rutherford County Archives, and Linebaugh Public Library. The exhibit featured panels detailing the start of MTSU’s first Black organizations, the fight against Forrest Hall and other Confederate symbols, and a timeline of Black history on campus. In addition, display cases housed artifacts collected by the Gore Center over the years, including historic photos, newspaper clippings, and even a crushed tear gas canister that was launched in the direction of protestors near MTSU in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Two additional cases focused on Black history in the Murfreesboro community and on the important role that MTSU student-athletes have played in the movement.
AUGMENTED HERSTORY After some 2020 Women’s History Month plans were put aside due to the pandemic, the Walker Library Makerspace put together extensive programming in March 2021 with three interactive exhibits designed to showcase the role women played in history. The first, “Breaking Boundaries in Science,” utilized an Oculus Go headset to feature some of history’s most influential scientists, Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, and Grace Hopper. A user could explore their laboratories and workspaces, examine authentically modeled artifacts of their lives, and discover the stories behind their research and achievements in immersive virtual reality. Another, “Lessons in Herstory,” used augmented reality to showcase women who were behind some of the biggest moments in history but haven’t received the same level of acclaim. The app scanned a photo of a historical man, and then revealed a related story about a woman who has been omitted by many textbooks. Lastly, “Women of Influence” focused on some of the most influential women in history. Wood carvings made with the library's laser-etcher were displayed throughout the Makerspace.
STEADY SUPPORT The writing is on the wall at the James E. Walker Library, and it pays tribute to a devoted supporter. Michael Humnicky, a former engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is the first donor to have a study room in the library named in his honor. “I don’t do it to have the name on the wall,” Humnicky said. “I’m not super rich, but it’s meaningful to me to support it in a way that I can.” For the past eight years, the 73-year-old retiree has given generous amounts of both books and money to the library, including donations to the David Robinson Student Award, the Library Enrichment Fund, and the Library Student Assistant Emergency Fund. Although he once lived across the street from MTSU, he never taught or attended classes at the University. However, the more he visited the library, the more he fell in love with the institution. “I just think libraries are very important for societies,” Humnicky said.
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A LIBRARY FOR THE 21st CENTURY AND BEYOND James E. Walker Library delivers exceptional services in an environment that inspires learning and interaction, uniting the intellectual and social aspects of our University. Support from alumni and friends helps us to provide exceptional experiences for our students through the incorporation of technologically rich study spaces, an interactive writing center, nearly 1 million physical volumes, a Makerspace, and almost 600 carefully selected databases and millions of full-text articles, e-books, streaming audio and video, and many more online resources for research. Visit library.mtsu.edu/give to make your online gift, or contact Paul Wydra at Paul.Wydra@mtsu.edu or 615-898-5329 for more information.