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Summertime at the Libraries

Summer in Burling

Iowa Private College Week, the first week of August, kept the Grinnell College Libraries especially full of activity and the energy of prospective students and their families checking out what the College has to offer. Many groups have toured Burling and Kistle libraries this summer during visits to our beautiful campus - viewing the Libraries’ collections, technology, and study spaces. No matter the season - it’s always a pleasure to meet potential Grinnellians!

August is already halfway gone, and faculty and staff across campus are preparing for the annual late-August influx of Grinnellians from all over the world - Grinnell’s new and returning students begin arriving early next week! And what have the Libraries been up to since the academic year ended in May? Returning students and faculty will find a renovated Burling Lounge and Peer-Mentoring & Group Collaboration Space, a re-designed Web site, and new electronic resources. Check here for more information in the coming weeks!

Grinnell College Libraries Website Re-design

Please excuse our cyber-dust as the Grinnell College Libraries work to complete the re-design of our website. The new website was launched on August 14, and we expect that there may be a few glitches that we need to iron out. If you encounter any please let us know at query[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

Some features of the new website include a more intuitive navigation bar, a condensed search box, and easier access to the things you need. If you have any questions or feedback, we’d love to hear from you. Just send us a note at query[at]grinnell[dot]edu. Thank you!

Request a Faculty Study for Fall 2015 (or later)

Eight small studies on the basement level of Burling Library are available to Grinnell College faculty for assignment on a one-semester, two-semester, or summer basis. Needs for which these studies are an appropriate form of faculty support include substantial research projects that require heavy use of the library's collections or a place, free from interruption, in which to write. The studies are not intended to serve as supplementary faculty offices. Requests should be submitted by the Faculty Study Request Form by August 15 (for fall semester), December 15 (for spring semester), and May 1 (for summer).

Please direct questions to Richard Fyffe, Librarian of the College.

Mutiny on the Bounty

Published in 1932, Mutiny on the Bounty was written by James Norman Hall ’10 and Charles Nordhoff. The book is the first in a trilogy; the subsequent novels are Men Against the Sea and Pitcairn’s Island. The papers of James Norman Hall were generously donated to Special Collections and Archives by Hall’s daughter and son-in-law, Nancy Hall Rutgers and Nick Rutgers. Among our extensive James Norman Hall Papers are various drafts of Hall’s novels, including the manuscript of the first draft of Mutiny on the Bounty. Examining earlier drafts against the finished text allows readers to view a portion of the editing process and how the author crafted the story. This in turn leads to a deeper understanding of the novel and insight into the author’s writing process.

The first draft of Mutiny on the Bounty was written on a typewriter and contains extensive handwritten notes and edits by both James Norman Hall and Charles Nordhoff. One of the first differences that readers notice is that the first chapter was originally titled “The Sea-Law of Oléren.” The title in the completed book is “Lieutenant Bligh.” Although the first two paragraphs of the draft have been crossed out, there is a note in the margin that reads “all in.” The first two paragraphs of the original draft remain the first paragraphs of the finished work.

In numerous places, word choices and sentences were edited to alter meaning or provide clarity. However, in other places, entire sentences and paragraphs have been crossed out. In one of the largest changes, the original fourth and fifth chapters were consolidated into a single chapter. Anyone who is a fan of Mutiny on the Bounty or simply enjoys learning about the writing process will find plenty to explore in this first draft manuscript.

We encourage anyone with an interest in Mutiny on the Bounty or in James Norman Hall to drop by Special Collections and look at the James Norman Hall Papers. Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5:00pm Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.

Pardon Our Dust

This summer, as a result of patron feedback and ever-growing audiences at library events, Burling Library will be undergoing a partial renovation. Most of the work will be done in the Burling Lounge area, where events are usually held. Two rows of periodical shelving are being removed in order to increase the Lounge area by 50%, making room for larger audiences during events. This move has been possible due to the fact that more and more of our journal subscriptions are shifting to an online-only format. The Lounge will also be receiving new furniture, which will include tables and newspaper racks.  Four new ottomans have already arrived and are proving to be useful. 

Along with the new physical layout of the Lounge area, we will be introducing some new technology in the form of a loop service. This loop will be installed under the carpet and will transmit sounds broadcast through a PA system directly to hearing aids. This new system will greatly improve accessibility to those of our patrons with hearing-assistive devices.

On the east side of the first floor of Burling, near the Peer Mentoring spaces, a new laptop bar has been installed. This will allow patrons using laptops the option of standing to use their laptop or tablet devices.

While these projects are going on, Burling will continue to operate during its normal posted hours. If you have any questions regarding these or other projects, or if you are have questions about finding resources while these projects are going on, please ask at the circulation desk.

“Don`t Let That Shadow Touch Them”

War BondsLawrence Beall Smith, an artist known for his lithographs of children, created the poster titled “Don`t Let That Shadow Touch Them.” It was printed in 1942 for the Government Printing Office for the U.S. Treasury NARA Still Picture Branch. This poster is part of the S. Eugene Thompson ’58 Papers housed in Special Collections and Archives.

The term propaganda was first commonly used in Europe, after Pope Gregory XV created the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome in 1622. However, it was not until the 1790s that the term was used to refer to secular activities as well. Propaganda posters became a very popular means of influencing public opinion during wartime, and were especially prevalent during the two World Wars.

During World War II, the United States Government printed posters such as this one as a means of encouraging and persuading the public to support the war. The posters advocated for everything from buying war bonds and enlisting, to promoting efficiency in factories, carpooling, and planting victory gardens. Unlike many of the European posters that depicted the ugly enemy, the U.S. posters tended to focus on patriotism to in order to garner support.

This particular poster portraying three children standing in the shadow of a swastika was modeled on a Canadian poster of a mother and child, which also advocated for the purchase of war bonds with the purpose of keeping children safe. The U.S. Government conducted a study of commercial posters, which included the Canadian one, and found that images of women and children were most effective in eliciting an emotional response from viewers. Public relations specialists advised the U.S. Government that emotional responses were much more successful in ensuring that posters had an impact on the opinions of the viewer.

We encourage anyone with an interest in seeing how powerful propaganda images can be to stop by Special Collections to learn about Grinnell College’s role in World War II. Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.

Burling Participates in a Public Art Installation Project

As part of “Public Writing, Public Libraries,” a project of Grin City Collective Artist & Writers Residency, poetry written by Purvi Shah will be installed in vinyl film directly onto Burling Library’s front windows on May 11. The winner of the SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award, Purvi is a poet and essayist from Brooklyn, NY and is one of the four writers—Pauliina Haasjoki (Helsinki, Finland), Kevin Haworth (Athens, OH), and Molly Rideout (Grinnell, IA)—who are attending Grin City Collective Artist & Writers Residency. Their brand-new public art—works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry—will be installed in the windows of 12 Iowa libraries, including Burling Library. Other participating libraries include Knoxville, Pella, Newton, Marshalltown, Tama, Toledo, Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Coralville, Cedar Rapids Public Libraries, and North Liberty Community Library.

Purvi will meet with Grinnell faculty, staff, and students before composing  poems for Grinnell College so her poetry can speak directly to the campus community. “I value creativity through engagement, and poetry's accessibility is very important to me as someone who immigrated to America from India as a child,” Purvi says.

After the installation is completed, Purvi will  read from her work and talk about her career and writing process at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 11. This event will be the first night of the Libraries’ two-day study breaks, and homemade cookies and milk—a study break tradition—will be served.

“Public Writing, Public Libraries” is made possible thanks to the generous support of Grinnell College’s Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement, Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation, ACT Inc., Vermeer Corporation, Friends of the Cedar Falls Public Library, Friends of the Waterloo Public Library, Friends of the Newton Public Library, The Arts Connection Inc. and Coralville Public Library. Design and printing costs for the final publication are sponsored by Grinnell College.

To learn more or to support this project, please visit http://www.grincitycollective.org.

Libraries’ Study Breaks Spring 2015

Please join us for a quick break from studying with poetry reading and student performers along with homemade cookies and milk.

Study breaks are at 9 p.m. Monday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 12 in the Burling Library Lounge. 

Poet Purvi Shah

The first night, May 11,  will be a poetry reading with Purvi Shah, who composed a poetry about Grinnell College.

Prior to the reading, Purvi’s poetry will be installed in vinyl film directly onto Burling Library’s front windows on May 11 as part of “Public Writing, Public Libraries,” a project of Grin City Collective Artist & Writers Residency. 

Ritalin Test SquadRitalin Test Squad, a student improv group, will join us for the second night, May 12.

Both events are open to the public. Cookies will be delivered to the Kistle Science Library, as well.

This event is co-sponsored by the Libraries Student Educational Policy Committee (SEPC), the Student Government Association, and the Libraries.

Scroll and Quill Used By the American College Quill Club

Quill Club scroll and quillThis scroll and quill were items used by the American College Quill Club at Grinnell College.  The American College Quill Club was a student organization established at colleges across the country in order to promote writing and literature.

Although not a Literary Society like the ones which existed on campuses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the club was influenced by these earlier organizations.  However, rather than drawing from Greek culture as Literary Societies had done, the Quill Club drew inspiration from Anglo-Saxon culture and literature.  This is demonstrated by the use of the scroll and quill, and most obviously by the college chapter names. Each individual club was designated with an Old English word followed by the word Rune. Grinnell’s club name was Sigel Rune. Sigel is the Old English word for sun.

One hundred and thirty one names in total are listed on the membership scroll. By signing the scroll, students agreed to abide by the constitution and by-laws of the American College Quill Club and the regulations of Sigel Rune. Membership was determined on merit and the submission of an original piece of writing.  To remain an active member, students had to continue to regularly submit writing.  The club was also required to have active faculty members participate.  

Unfortunately, it is unclear what years the Quill Club was active on Grinnell’s campus. If you have any information about this student organization, or were a member, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at archives[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

We encourage anyone with an interest in Literary Societies and other student organizations to drop by Special Collections and look at our holdings.  Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5:00pm Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.