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Women's History Databases


In celebration of Women's History Month, the Grinnell College Libraries are featuring a range of research tools throughout March. The first of this series is Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000.

This collection currently includes:

  • 110 document projects and archives with more than 4,350 documents,
  • More than 153,000 pages of additional full-text documents, written by more than 2,200 primary authors,
  • Book, film, and website reviews,
  • Notes from the archives, and
  • Teaching tools.

A wide variety of primary source documents from women's reform organizations such as the Women's Trade Union League, the National Association of Colored Women, Henry Street and Hull House settlements, and the National Women's Party are also available.

The State of Federal Performance


Peter Beck ’02, a senior analyst for the Government Accountability Office, will discuss “The State of Federal Performance” in a roundtable discussion at noon Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Burling Library Lounge. 

Beck will also give a talk on "Careers in Government” in Rosenfield Center Room 209 at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27.

Beck’s visit is co-sponsored in conjunction with R. Dennis Murphy ’66 Program on Government-Academic Engagement by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights, and the Grinnell College Libraries.

Both events are open to the public. Boxed lunches will be served for the roundtable discussion, and no RSVP necessary.

Reclaiming Leadership

There is no shortage of leaders among Grinnell’s alumni. Plenty have risen to what most would consider lofty leadership positions in business, finance, and politics. Grinnellians also are leaders in the arts, academia, technology, and social reforms. Despite this, a 2008 on-campus study showed that just more than 50 percent of students identified themselves as leaders at Grinnell. Two senior women, shocked by the contrast between this study result and their own experiences on campus, are exploring why Grinnellians do not label themselves as leaders.

The Grinnell+ Leadership Program, initiated by Remy Ferber ’14 and Jennelle Nystrom ’14, has begun a series of all-campus discussions about how Grinnellians assert themselves as leaders. Ferber and Nystrom partnered with the Student Government Association and the College’s libraries to distribute 50 copies of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg to students nominated by faculty and staff as standout leaders on campus. Over winter break, the students read the book and commented about it online at the Grinnell+ Leadership Program’s website.

The program came about after Ferber and Nystrom separately read Lean In and had similar, separate conversations with trustee Patricia Jipp Finkelman ’80 about the lack of a forum for talking about leadership on campus. Lean In examines a slow-down in women’s success in obtaining leadership positions in government and industry, and possible solutions, but the Grinnell discussions are broader.

In the first all-campus meeting of the Grinnell+ Leadership Program, there was a unanimous consensus that students feel supported to assert themselves as leaders, but don’t feel comfortable identifying themselves as leaders. Although many Grinnellians are leaders, and are easily recognized as such by their classmates, there is a reluctance to identify oneself as a leader on campus.

Although many Grinnellians want to effect positive change, they tend to eschew what they view as traditional leadership. Through conversation with students across the years, Ferber and Nystrom have observed the following, which they documented on their blog: Students draw a line between labeled and holistic leadership and they feel more comfortable with the latter. Labeled leadership often carries with it a vulnerability to criticism and an uncomfortable identification of oneself as separate from one’s peers. Many students avoid such overt leadership roles out of humility or to avoid the stigma of ‘resume-building,’ which many Grinnell students perceive as being incongruous with the spirit of a liberal arts education.

Through the Grinnell+ Leadership Program, Ferber and Nystrom are restarting this conversation about the nature of leadership and have begun inviting alumni to take part in the discussion.

In an effort to make the program sustainable, Nystrom and Ferber will encourage the group to read a new book on leadership each year during winter break. They hope to continue stimulating discussion among students and alumni. Grinnell is a place where students take ownership of their education and leadership is a major aspect of that. It’s just a matter of figuring out how leadership is pursued at the College.

Meet Sam Dunnington ’14


Sam Dunnington ’14 has been working in the Libraries' Special Collections and Archives since summer 2012. While his job involves tasks such as helping patrons with reference questions and processing collections, Dunnington particularly enjoys the outreach side of his work: writing the blog, running open house events, and working on exhibits. The small staff size — three student workers alongside Catherine Rod and Chris Jones — is also ideal for collaborating on projects.

Dunnington’s most recent exhibit, “Grinnell’s Fall Sports, Way Back & Way, Way Back,” displays pictures and memorabilia from Grinnell’s fall sports between the 1950s and the 1980s. Since Dunnington has been a cross country runner, he thought showcasing historic fall sports material would appeal to the many people involved in athletics at Grinnell. It was also a perfect opportunity for Dunnington to combine his academic and personal interest with his work in Special Collections. The exhibit attracted visitors to Burling Library and was featured in the S&B December issue.  

history major, Dunnington chose his job initially because of the opportunity to work on a project blending computer science and primary source material. So naturally, he’s very excited to see Digital Grinnell, the College's institutional repository, gaining popularity.

3Search, Our New Discovery Tool


With our new discovery tool 3Search, you can now explore 3 sets of resources at the same time:

  • Grinnell's Collections (including the library catalog, Digital Grinnell, and the College's archives and manuscript collections),
  • WorldCat, and
  • More than 20 article databases from EBSCOhost. 

3Search is based on VuFind, an open source library search system developed at Villanova University.

What's New at the Libraries

A Familiar Face Returns to the Libraries

Karla Landers joined us as a library assistant in Acquisitions and Serials department in December 2013.

Karla has ten years of library experience, working previously in Burling Library (Serials, Acquisitions, Government Documents, and Circulation), Iowa State University Parks Library (Stacks Management), and at North Polk Community Schools (West Elementary Library Associate). She has a B.A. in Elementary Education with reading endorsement from Wartburg College. 

3Search, Our New Discovery Tool

Use 3Search to explore 3 sets of resources at the same time:

  • Grinnell's Collections (including the library catalog, Digital Grinnell, and the College's archives and manuscript collections),
  • WorldCat, and
  • More than 20 article databases from EBSCOhost.

3Search is based on VuFind, an open source library search system developed at Villanova University.

New Databases

American Indian Histories and Cultures
A wide-ranging digital resource presenting a unique insight into interactions between American Indians and Europeans from their earliest contact right up to the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. Includes manuscripts, artwork and rare printed books, photographs and newspapers.
Des Moines Register Online (Nov. 2002-present)
Historical Chicago Tribune (1849-1986)
A great source for tracing the development of Chicago and the Midwest, and to study subjects as diverse as politics, architecture, social reform and art.
LGBT Thought and Culture
An online resource of books, periodicals, and archival materials documenting LGBT political, social and cultural movements throughout the twentieth century and into the present day.
National Newspapers Expanded
Now includes Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post and USA Today.
Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th edition
Covers all aspects of the classical world from literature and history to religion, science, and archaeology; contains many thematic entries on subjects relevant to the 21st century such as nationalism, race, gender, and ecology.
Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History
The more than 450 entries help readers develop a richer framework for understanding the social experience of Americans throughout history.
Sage Education Journals Subject Collection
Online access to 69 Education journals published by Sage
Sage Psychology Journals Subject Collection
Online access to 69 Psychology journals published by Sage

To access these databases, please visit Libraries Databases A-Z list.

Open Access @ Grinnell College

On Monday, 15 April 2013, the Grinnell College Faculty voted in favor of a resolution presented by the Open Access Task Force, committing themselves to expanding access to their forthcoming scholarly articles. According to the resolution, faculty give Grinnell College permission to disseminate worldwide and without cost through the Digital Grinnell repository, any scholarly articles published in peer-reviewed journals after April 15. The resolution also encourages faculty and staff to make their syllabi and other curricular material and other scholarly publications freely available through Digital Grinnell. 

The resolution is modeled on one adopted by the Harvard University of Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and by over 50 colleges and universities in the United States, and many more abroad, since then. It recognizes that digital technologies can expand access to learning and scholarship in ways not possible with a paper-based publishing system, for the benefit of learners across the world and the scholarly authors as well.

Over the summer, the Libraries and the Dean's Office will develop practical guides to help faculty implement the resolution. Questions may be directed to Richard Fyffe, Librarian of the College. Read more about Open Access at Grinnell College.


Grinnell College Libraries Join Central Iowa Collaborative Collections Initiative

Grinnell College, Drake University, Central College, Simpson College, and Grand View University have formed the Central Iowa Collaborative Collections Initiative (CI-CCI) to ensure the availability of scholarly materials held by the cooperating institutions through analysis of duplication, long-term agreements to retain designated copies within the consortium, coordination of future acquisitions, and agreements for expedited delivery and sharing of collections.

An analysis of duplication among the five collections is currently under way, focusing on materials published before 1991 and showing few or no circulations. The analysis will lead to agreements among the five institutions regarding titles that each library will retain for at least the next ten years, allowing the other libraries to discard those titles if they choose to. Some libraries will begin discarding copies  soon. At Grinnell, no decisions have been made regarding discarding copies, and no systematic discards will be conducted without faculty consultation.

The CI-CCI agreement will give Grinnell and other libraries greater flexibility to manage collections and space over the next few years. This is one of many efforts supporting that goal. At Grinnell, we also have talked with faculty about other initiatives, including:

  • continuing conversion of print journal subscriptions to online subscriptions, and
  • purchasing e-book editions rather than print editions for selected monographs.

In addition, Grinnell is leading a separate conversation among Iowa libraries regarding coordinated retention of print journal volumes that are reliably available online.

Over the long term, this shared initiative will allow participating libraries to:

  • free space for pressing local and institutional needs, such as student study space, learning commons, classrooms, etc.;
  • develop a shared collection-development approach that will allow the participants to make better use of acquisitions dollars by eliminating duplicate book purchases since the collections will be shared;
  • offer a greater depth of materials.

Additionally, the collaboration lays the groundwork for further collaboration among the participants.

Academic libraries across the country are forming regional collaboratives to share print collections, reduce duplication, and ensure preservation of the scholarly record.


Journeys of Wonder: from Curiosity to Insight

This exhibition of books from Special Collections highlights the exploration of new territories, the discovery of new plants, animals, and objects (many of which found their way into Wunderkammer), and the scientific knowledge that ultimately arose from close observation of artifacts and natural phenomena.  Curated by Catherine Rod and Chris Jones, with Chase Booth ’16 and Sam Dunnington ’14. Poster designed by Stephanie Porter '14.  

Burling Library, First Floor and Burling Gallery, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013 - FEBRUARY 14, 2014

This is a companion exhibit to the Faulconer Gallery exhibition, From Wunderkammer to the Modern Museum 1606-1884, drawn from the collection of Florence Fearrington.

Journeys of Wonder brochure cover