Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Library News- March 2002

Feb. 26th: The Winter's First Snow!

Sometimes our "new" resources are rediscoveries of things we have had for a long time. One such resource is nine Babylonian cuneiform tablets that were obtained for the library by President Taylor in 1922 from the adventurer Edgar James Banks. While not the rarest or costliest of our materials, these tablets are by far the oldest documents in the Staley Library collection. They are examples of the earliest form of writing, with a reed stylus onto soft clay that was then baked. It is amazing to hold in your hand an everyday object that is more than 4,000 years old! 

I created the web display of the tablets as a handout for Randy Brook's seminar class in Literary Editing & Publishing (EN382), as part of a presentation that Susan Avery and I did for the class on some of the treasures in our archives as well as on issues of conservation and preservation of rare materials. Few things can survive unscathed through years of storage in acidic tissue paper, the way the cuneiform tablets have!

Another rediscovered resource is a filmstrip viewer, something we did not think we had any longer but it turns out that we do. This is a good thing because we do also still have some filmstrips listed in the online catalog and available for use. The viewer is located next to the laser disc players over by the Archives Room; and though it is not exactly the latest technology, it works just fine. The library staff can show you how it works if that is not self-evident.

As part of their teaching in the CWRR2 classes this spring, the librarians are addressing plagiarism as a significant, if complex, concern. In addition to creating a Plagiarism Quiz on BlackBoard for those classes,  they continually update our plagiarism web pages with information and resources for faculty and for students. We are always available to assist faculty in identifying plagiarized sources, and indeed have in the past located papers for faculty that their students have downloaded (that is, plagiarized) from the web.

The web site for our Archives continues to grow, or, rather, Archivist Susan Avery continues to expand our Archives website. The virtual exhibits page presents online versions of exhibits mounted in the library, such as the I. Laurence "Bill" and Anna Magill Sears Collection of items from the University's early years, and some School of Music materials. Currently on exhibit both in the library and online is "Millikin's Second Decade", highlighting events and activities at Millikin University from 1911-1920. The in-library exhibit case is located on the computer side of the wall adjacent to the staircase. The What's in the Archives page is intended as a growing inventory of our archival resources which will include lists of trustees, faculty, and photographs. The site also contains a Brief Millikin History composed by Jason Butterick, Archival Associate. Check back on a regular basis to watch this site grow! 

Some of our new books are appreciated gifts from a number of sources, including Millikin faculty, alumna, and book publishers. Not all such gifts end up being added to the collection, however. Those that we do not add, as well as some that we withdraw because we have more up-to-date resources, we make available for sale. The proceeds from such sales, though modest, we use to buy more resources for the library.

Recently we have moved the sale items to a more prominent location, right next to the exit door by the Circulation Desk. Come browse! Come buy! The prices are 25 cents for paperback books and 50 cents for hardcovers. There are some LPs (vinyl recordings) too, and these are 25 cents apiece. 

Following up on the success last fall of our first exhibit of works by women Millikin students, we will be holding the Second Female Artists at Millikin art show during Women's History Month (March). It will feature a variety of work by students in media such as painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics, including large scale paintings by Heather Semro as well as work by Joan Williamson and Tara Losch. The exhibit will be up for the month of March.

While we were unfortunately unable to secure a performance group to open last month's exhibit, we are hoping to have more success with our negotiations this month. We will keep you informed via campus email on this.

Jen Stutz, Molly Nicklin and Kara Haley (left to right)

From time to time we recognize "over and above" performance in our student staff. This academic year we have honored Jennifer Stutz, Molly Nicklin and Kara Haley in this way. In addition to their overall excellent performance in their regular duties as student staff members, Ms Stutz has designed and created a spread sheet for us for keeping track of Circulation Desk monies, Ms Nicklin takes personal responsibility for our newspaper recycling, and Ms Haley both is enthusiastic and very helpful to the library 's patrons and also exhibits infinite cheerful flexibility a daily basis to insure that the library is a pleasant and efficient work place. Our special thank you's to all three!

In mid-February I was invited to participate in a focus group at the Rolling Prairie Library System office on West Eldorado, as part of a "study that will help guide the Illinois State Library and the twelve Regional Library Systems to establish an automation infrastructure that will be the foundation of expanded access to library resources by Illinois residents." The group of library representatives from regional academic, public, high school and corporate libraries discussed the advantages and drawbacks of sharing library systems and resources on a large scale; and I was able to add the perspective of someone on the ILCSO Board (and ILCSO is seen as a sort of "13th LLSAP", that is, Local Library System Automation Program, or regional library system). 

On a more personal front, Valentine's Day was a big day for me with the arrival of my granddaughter Kaitlin, my first grandchild, born to my son Erich & his wife Colleen, 8lbs 6oz of healthy baby girl, right on the day she was due. I'm to be called "Farmor", Swedish for "father's mother." And the very same day Cataloging Associate Linda Chitwood's granddaughter Alison was born! In fact, in the past year we have had rather a grandchild explosion in the library, these two being the fourth and fifth. 
Signature Karin Borei
University Librarian
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL