Library Scholar Grant Recipients Selected

The Libraries have awarded two grants totaling nearly $10,000 as part of the 2009 Library Scholars Grant program.

The Library Scholars Grant Program was established in 1985 by the 50th anniversary gift of members of the Class of 1935. This program supports access to unique collections of information around the country and the world for untenured and recently tenured Purdue faculty in all disciplines, from the West Lafayette, Calumet, Fort Wayne, IUPUI, and North Central campuses. The grants cover the expenses associated with the cost of transportation, lodging, meals, and fees charged by the library or other collection owner. The Class of 1935 has been continuously supportive of this fund for the past 24 years.

2009 Grant Recipients

Brent K. Jesiek

BRENT K. JESIEK, assistant professor of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded $4,691 to conduct archival research on the historical development of computer engineering as a distinct academic discipline and professional specialty in the United States. This research represents a continuation of his ground-breaking and award-winning dissertation project, “Between Discipline and Profession: A History of Persistent Instability in the Field of Computer Engineering, Circa 1951-2006.” Jesiek will visit a number of archives that hold materials relevant to his study, including the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota, the IEEE History Center at Rutgers University, and the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri.


Michael R. JohnstonMICHAEL JOHNSTON, an assistant professor in the Department of English, researches the history of books in late medieval England. His current project focuses on romance (stories about knights on quests), the most popular genre of secular literature in this period. His research examines what the surviving books can tell us both about who was reading romances and the types of cultural messages romances could convey. He will be using the Library Scholars Grant to travel to England this summer. While there, he will be undertaking two main tasks. First, he will study the manuscripts that contain romances, most of which are housed in the British Library (London), the Bodleian Library (Oxford), and Cambridge University Library. Then, he will travel to various local county archives to investigate the histories of the various families who owned the manuscripts. This research is part of a larger book project, entitled “Compilatores generosi”: The English Gentry and Romance in the Later Middle Ages, which he hopes to complete by 2011.

Seminars Open to Staff

The 2008 Library Scholars Grant recipients will be reporting on their research activities this spring during three seminars. See the schedule listed on the right for dates and times.


Libraries Distinguished Lecture

Join us for the Libraries Distinguished Lecture and reception featuring Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin on Tuesday, March 31. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. in PMU 118 and the lecture is at 7:30 p.m. in Fowler Hall.

Crime of Reason Book CoverHere is an excerpt from Laughlin’s 2008 book The Crime of Reason and the Closing of the Scientific Mind:

“When we are young, we learn that knowledge is a beautiful, logical thing that anyone can use as he likes - provided, of course, he has the patience to read and think. This idea partly comes from parents, who never tire of inventing reasons for us to study more, excel in exams, and so forth, but it's also something we usually conclude on our own. Most of us decide in young adulthood that the ability to reason and understand is natural, human and rightfully ours.

Unfortunately, this conclusion is erroneous. While some information is indeed available for free and even forced upon us in school, most economically valuable knowledge is private property and secret. The owners of this knowledge do not want it made public, and certainly do not want the state paying people to ‘discover’ it. One can argue endlessly about whether ‘no trespassing’ signs in libraries and schools are good things, but the debate is academic. As a practical matter, our rights to learn have already been circumscribed.

People often have trouble speaking about this problem because it's a worldly matter, like the practicalities of having children, that polite individuals don't discuss. Instead they smile and insist that education is golden and that the various ways of withholding knowledge - intentional generation of confusion, stonewalling, lying, disinforming - are obnoxious but not conspiratorial. They then deflect the discussion in a new direction by declaring the concerned person to be paranoid.

This denial is extremely irresponsible. The issue is the criminalization of learning. It's important. It's something we need to think about.”


Successful Staff Transition

Marsha Hill ArticleWhen the Psychology Library closed in 2007 Marsha Hill was the periodicals and binding clerk for that library. “The news that the library was being closed was difficult to accept and I was worried about having a job. I wanted to continue working in the Libraries and the Libraries Administration was very supportive and helpful in making that possible,” says Marsha.

Once the decision was made to close PSYC, Jim Mullins and Marianne Ryan reassured Marsha and the other staff members that they were committed to finding each of them new positions within the Libraries. Individual interviews were conducted and every effort was made to make sure staff and library needs were met. “This didn’t mean I’d necessarily be doing the same job but that I needed to be willing to accept some new challenges, learn new skills, and work with new people,” says Marsha.

After PSYC was officially closed Marsha first went to HSSE for a temporary assignment before accepting an account clerk position in Tech Services/ITRS. One-on-one training was provided by Diana Grove and over the last year-and-a half Marsha is comfortable and confident in her new position.

Diana says, “Marsha’s move to the Account Clerk position is a success story. She had no previous accounting experience, but did bring with her invaluable library functionality knowledge. Training Marsha was enjoyable due to her dedication to learning the job duties and positive attitude. I’m very pleased that Marsha is a member of the Resources Ordering and Processing Unit and look forward to working with her in the future.”

With some of the changes currently being planned for the Libraries, Marsha would like to encourage staff to remain open minded and know that positive results can be gained if you are willing to make some adjustments. “Granted, everything was unsettling. I enjoyed my job in PSYC and especially the staff. I am appreciative of the efforts of the administration to keep me employed within the Libraries. It has been a good learning experience and I am thankful to the all the people who have helped me make this successful transition.”


Felix Stefanile Papers Donated to Archives and Special Collections

Felix StefanileThe papers of Felix Stefanile (1920-2009), poet and professor emeritus of English in Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts, have been donated to the Purdue Libraries Archives and Special Collections. Sammie Morris, head of Archives, has acquired approximately 12 boxes of papers so far and notes that it will be a particularly rich collection for scholars.

Stefanile was born in 1920 in Long Island, New York, and attended the College of the City of New York. While in college, he was drafted to serve in WWII as an interpreter and had a gift for languages. His wife, Selma S. Epstein, still lives in Lafayette and has helped with the transfer of papers.

In 1954, he and his wife Selma started Sparrow, which is now one of the oldest poetry journals in the U.S. In 1961, he was invited to be a visiting poet and lecturer at Purdue University, and afterwards was asked to join the faculty. In 1969, he was appointed to a full professorship. He retired from Purdue in 1987.

His essay, "The Imagination of the Amateur," published in 1966, earned a National Endowment for the Arts prize in 1967. In 1973, he was awarded the Standard Oil of Indiana Prize for best teacher, and in 1997 he was the first recipient of the Italian Americana John Ciardi Award. He won numerous poetry awards and authored many published poetry books, critical essays, reviews, and translations.

In an oral history interview with Sammie Morris in 2007, Stefanile discussed his childhood, his college and war days, encounters with Eleanor Roosevelt, teaching, and the poetry readings he used to give at Purdue.

The papers, which include poetry manuscripts, writing notebooks, correspondence, photographs, and copies of all of Stefanile’s books, are currently awaiting processing and inventorying in Archives and Special Collections. Several of Stefanile’s titles, including issues of Sparrow, are also available in the Humanities, Social Science, and Education Library.


Libraries Participate in College of Agriculture's Career Fair

Ag Fair & Career Wikki

George Bergstrom, Mary Dugan, and Marianne Stowell Bracke participated in the College of Agriculture's Career Fair in February, providing students with handouts about the Career Wiki and tips for conducting research about companies.


OPAC Update


Have you ever clicked on an OPAC journal link only to find that the issue you need isn’t available online? Wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s included in our subscriptions without scrolling around the online journal archives trying to determine what we have access to and what we don’t? Accurate online holdings are now just a click away in your OPAC display.

A new software program called MARCit! gives users of the Purdue Libraries a bridge from the OPAC to the E-Journals A to Z list, where current online holdings are shown for each full-text electronic journal. Even better, MARCit! provides OPAC access to full-text journals in our aggregator databases. Because there are thousands of these full-text journals in databases such as Academic Search Premier or Health Business FullTEXT, and because coverage can be ever-changing, we’ve never before attempted to catalog them for the OPAC. MARCit! makes it possible to access all of our full-text journals through the OPAC.

Things look a little different now when you click on an e-journal’s OPAC link. Instead of taking you directly to the electronic journal, that first click will take you to the A to Z list, where you can see what coverage each database provides for that journal. Choose the one you need and another click will get you to that database’s display for your journal.


Qwidget Implementation Increases Use of Chat and Email


At the beginning of February the Libraries launched a new chat interface designed to increase the visibility of our Ask a Librarian service. The new interface, dubbed Qwidget, is located on the Libraries homepage and the main web pages for nearly every subject and departmental library. As we approach the end of our first two months of use, I am pleased to report that we are on track to double our chat traffic as compared to 2008. 

In February 2009 there were 258 chat sessions as compared to 107 in February 2008, a 141% increase. In March 2009 – statistics as of March 23rd – there were 178 chat sessions as compared to 97 in March 2008, an 83% increase. Using projected statistics to complete the month of March, we are on pace to receive 250 chats, a 157% increase from March 2008.

Email statistics also increased though not as dramatically as chat. In February 2009 there were 159 emails as compared to 109 in February 2008, a 46% increase. In March 2009 there were 133 emails as compared to 114 in March 2008, a 17% increase. Using projected statistics to complete the month of March, we are on pace to receive 187 email questions, a 64% increase.

So, what do these statistics mean?  In short, they mean we are serving more library patrons than ever before. And we are assisting patrons in virtual environments where traditionally it is more difficult to make contact with our users. Next up, look for Qwidget to be more broadly integrated across the Libraries web site. For more about Qwidget see the following University News Service press release:

Qwidget Chart 1 Qwidget Chart 2

Ask a Librarian Service Launched Six Years Ago
On a side note, we launched our Ask a Librarian service six years ago this month. According to the Digital Reference Implementation Team’s Final Report, our service opened its doors for business on March 23, 2003. This was a soft launch in anticipation of the official launch on April 12th, a date set to coincide with the open house for the HSSE Library renovation. 

Things were a bit different in 2003. For starters, the name of our service was Q&A: Ask Librarians. We offered email, chat, and video chat. Video chat, while it had a lot of promise, proved to be a bit too far ahead of its time. It was ultimately shutdown in September 2004 due to interface problems and low use. In 2003 our chat hours were Sunday through Thursday 6-10 pm, hours selected based on a survey of sorority students. Hours were later expanded twice bringing us to our current hours of Sunday 6-10 pm, and Monday through Thursday 11 am – 10 pm. 

During the partial academic year of 2002/2003, we answered 434 questions, just a few more than we answered in February 2009. Since 2003 we have answered nearly 15,000 questions –14,754 to be exact.  Here’s to 15,000 more!


Green Tambourine


Jane KinkusA few days ago you probably saw a liball message about something called “Power Down for the Planet.” Several major universities, including Purdue, University of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and the University of Iowa, are competing to see who can get the largest percentage of their campus to pledge support for this energy saving program. According to the web site, “The Climate Savers Computing Initiative, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, is introducing Power Down for the Planet – a challenge program designed to encourage universities and their campus communities to reduce their own IT power consumption and get their students, faculty, and staff involved in the fight against climate change.”

To show your support for Purdue and the environment, you need to do three things.

  •  First, you need to go to the Power Down for the Planet website and register—this also qualifies you for the chance to win some cool prizes.
  • The second step is to change some “power management” settings on your PC by following some pretty easy instructions—Lisa Purvis (ITRS) has graciously created a handout illustrating the steps..
  • Third, you agree to buy an Energy Star qualified computer, if available, for your next purchase--and don’t forget to use the power management settings on your home computer, too. That’s it!

I checked with ITRS to make sure that participating in Power Down for the Planet won’t interfere with computer maintenance here in the Libraries. Following the recommendations for power management should not interfere with ITRS’s ability to run after-hours upgrades on our computers. However, remember that it’s best to LOG OFF rather than Shut Down when you leave work; logging off plus turning off your monitor will save energy while keeping your computer online for after-hours updates.

Lisa Purvis says, "The Libraries have been purchasing the energy-efficient computers since they have been available to us and plan to continue on that path.”  I say, “Keep up the good work!!!”

Continue to send your green tips for the office or home to Jane Kinkus at .


Why are They Looking Under My Desk?


Certifying the Libraries through the Integrated Safety Plan
You may have noticed a co-worker walking around your library with one or two unfamiliar persons looking at the tangle of wires at the work stations, checking for tiles under the coffee pots, and directing you to wear a mask when working with a certain substance. Chances are the staff member is the Designated Safety Individual (DSI) for your building and serves on the Libraries Safety Committee and the person with them is a representative from Radiological and Environmental Management (REM).

These visits and the resulting corrections of any unsafe situations identified by them are part of the process of certifying the Libraries through the Integrated Safety Plan (ISP) for Purdue University. ISP has been developed by University officials to create structure for cooperating with the University OSHA officer who is responsible for overseeing Purdue staff compliance with all applicable environmental health and safety (EHS) laws. The ISP provides indemnification from regulatory fines for units with a safety program. What does this mean for you? If your DSI asks you to wear a silly mask or fill out an injury report for a paper cut, please cooperate; remember, you may be saving the Libraries money as well as protecting yourself from injury. In brief, Certification Requirements include: an active safety committee, communication of safety issues, annual self-audits, and a REM inspection of departmental areas. If you would like to know more, see .


  • Libraries Distinguished Lecture
  • Successful Transition
  • Archives Receives Felix Stefanile Papers
  • Career Wiki
  • OPAC Update
  • Qwidget Update
  • Green Tambourine
  • Safety Committee News
  • Libraries in the News
  • Announcements
  • Libraries Staff A - Z
  • Thank You
  • What's Cooking?


Off the shelf

Continuing Vacancies

  • Business Office Account Clerk IV (University posting #0900208)
  • Purdue University Press, Director (University posting #0900232)

To view all Purdue job postings visit the Purdue employment page. If you have additional questions, contact Tom Haworth, 494-2903.


Library Scholars GRANT Seminars

Thursday, April 2, 2009

  • Angelica Duran, Associate Professor, English
    Title: Steinbeck and Milton at Stanford
    2:00-2:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

  • Alicia C. Decker, Assistant Professor, History and Women’s Studies
    Title: Beyond the Barrel: Gender, Power, and Militarism in Idi Amin's Uganda, 1971-1979
    3:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Dawn Marsh, Assistant Professor, Department of History
    Title: Turtle Island's Daughters: Indigenous Women Behind the Colonial Frontier  
    3:30-4:00 p.m.
  • Caroline E. Janney, Assistant Professor, Department of History
    Title: War at the Shrine of Peace: The Debate over the Appomattox Peace Memorial
    4:00-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

  • Alfred J. Lopez, Assistant Professor, English and American Studies
    Title: Myth, Martyrdom, and the Many Deaths of José Marti
    3:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Yvonne M. Pitts, Assistant Professor, Department of History
    Title: "My Property Has Become Prey to Depredations": Private Property and Military Conduct during the Civil War
    3:30-4:00 p.m.
  • Erik S. Ohlander, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, IPFW
    Title: Using Arabic Manuscript to Write Islamic Social History: Notes from the Field
    4:00-4:30 p.m.

All presentations in HIKS B848
Refreshments will be served


Libraries in the news

UNS Press Release, Mar. 23, 2009
Nobel laureate to speak on book that shows conflicts in economic growth

Purdue Alumnus, Mar-Apr 2009
Purdue University Press Books, pg. 45:

  • Confronting the Yugoslav Controversies, A Scholars’ Initiative
  • What’s Buggin’ You Now? Bee’s Knees, Bug Lights, and Beetles

Leadership Magazine, Winter 2009

UNS Press Release, Mar. 24, 2009
Pulitzer prize winning-poet to speak at 2009 Literary Awards



Libraries Distinguished Lecture
Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Fowler Hall
7:30 p.m.

Brown Bag Seminar
"Scientific Communication in the Developing World"
by Megan Sapp Nelson
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Noon - 1:00 p.m.
HSSE Conference Room

Libraries Gaming Event
Yahtzee! Tournament for Students
and other board games
Thursday, April 2, 2009
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Libraries Award Luncheon
Thursday, April 16, 2009
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
PMU South Ballroom
RSVP by April 2, 2009

One Book Higher
Thursday, April 16, 2009
10:30 a.m - 11:30 a.m.
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
OBH Awards at 3:00 p.m.
PMU 118
Sign up

Lunch & Learn
LCSSAC presents
"Recycling at Purdue"
with Alan Farrester
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Noon - 1:00 p.m.


Libraries Staff a - Z

Coordinator of Undergraduate Library Reference Services and Libraries Digital Reference Service

Committees: Reference Services Steering Committee, IT Council, Research Council, Faculty Steering Committee, and Faculty Seminar Committee.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
A. I enjoy working with students. There is great satisfaction in revealing the secrets of the information universe. When working with students in the classroom, I often tell them that I’m giving away the keys to the kingdom.

Q. How long have you worked in the Libraries and at Purdue?
A. Just over four years if you do not count my one-year leave of absence so I could begin graduate studies at the University of Illinois.

Q. What is one unforgettable experience that has happened to you or your coworkers while working in the library?
A. One Spring Break I brought my dog to work. Bella was a good sport. She kept me company in my office for most of the day. When the library closed we played chase with each other throughout UGRL.

Q. What’s your favorite book, Web site, movie, or database?
A. Hard to say. Isn’t that a bit like choosing your favorite child? Books: I read a lot of non-fiction. Web site: I like information rich sites that are peculiarly similar to library databases. Movies: I am a comedy fan. Database: Internet Movie Database.

Q. Have you been in all the Purdue Libraries?
A. All but one, and I visited many within my first months on the job.

Q. Coffee, tea, water, or soft drink?
A. Yuck, once in awhile, frequently, and yes please.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. I like to play all sorts of games. I love video games, having logged countless hours on an Atari 2600. My all time favorites – yes, I know I said earlier it’s like choosing your favorite child – are Mario Kart and Guitar Hero. In Kate’s profile in the last issue of INSIDE, she says she likes to beat me at Backgammon. That is because it so rarely happens.

Q. Feel free to include any information about yourself that you would like to share with the staff?
A. When Kate and I moved to Indiana after living in Syracuse, NY, we found it strange that there was a snow making machine at Murdock Park. Who would have thought there were places that needed to make snow for sledding? Our relatives located in the northeast, with ample snow for sledding, thought this was pretty funny.



Michael Fosmire has been selected by the University Senate to serve on the Ad Hoc Steering Committee on Core Curriculum.



Dear David (Hovde),

I appreciated the assistance you provided while the Trustees’ minutes were being scanned for the Library’s Archives and Special Collections. The information you provided on James R. Lowe from the Trustees’ minutes was just what I needed! 

Roseanna Behringer
Corporate Secretary
Office of the Trustees



Beef Nacho Casserole

Visit the Libraries Intranet site for
directions on how to make this entree posted by Teresa Brown.


  • As the information specialists on campus, we are dedicated to providing essential information and expertise that meet the unique learning and discovery needs of our students and faculty.
  • We promise to enhance their experience and success by providing guidance, education, resources, and innovation.
  • We create and support a welcoming and dynamic learning environment with access to knowledge anytime, anywhere, and in any format.
  • As a result, our students and faculty will know and value that they are better prepared for academic success, professional growth, and lifelong learning.


Copy Deadline

Copy for the next issue is due by
April 6, 2009.
Send to