Home » Library


Calendar Customer Code: 

New Peer Mentoring and Collaboration Space

As fall classes begin, the Libraries are pleased to unveil the new Peer Mentoring and Collaboration Space on Burling’s first floor.
What is here?

  • Lots of white boards;
  • Tables on wheels – move them around as you need;
  • A stand-up desk (fixed height);
  • Public and semi-private work spaces;
  • Electrical outlets;
  • A noise-dampening system … for fewer distractions; and
  • Adjustable-height tables coming soon

What is this space for?

  • To provide students space to work together, one-on-one and in small groups;
  • To showcase the importance of peer education at Grinnell;
  • To build community among peer mentors by providing a common mentoring location; and
  • To see how students learn in spaces like this, information that will guide future building projects

Please visit Burling to see the space for yourself, and let us know what you think!
The Peer Mentoring and Collaboration Space was funded through a generous grant to the Dean’s Office from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

What's New, Fall 2014

New Faces, New Roles

Chris Jones has been appointed Grinnell’s special collections librarian and archivist of the College. Since 2010, Chris has served as library assistant in special collections here at Grinnell. Previously, Chris worked in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and for the Internet Archive. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois and a B.A. in French, with a concentration in business, from the University of Northern Iowa. Chris looks forward to drawing on professional and personal experience in his new role, as well as his interest in the history and economics of early printing.

After 27 years as a library faculty member, Catherine Rod has moved to Senior Faculty Status. Catherine’s senior faculty project is to research the early 20th century Social Gospel movement in preparation for the digitization of Grinnell’s archival materials on this topic. Best wishes, Catherine!

We welcome two new research tutors this fall: Sophie Donlon ’16 (English) and Kaelin Swift ’15 (History). Sophie and Kaelin and our returning tutors – Anna Banker ’15, Irene Bruce ’15, and Anthony Wenndt ’15 – can provide research tips and strategies online and at Burling Library's research desk. Please stop by!

Peer Mentoring and Collaboration Space

With the help of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and Grinnell’s Academic Space Planning Committee, the libraries are pleased to unveil a new peer mentoring and collaboration space, just off Burling’s lobby. This experimental space allows students to work together, one-on-one and in small groups, and offers flexible tables, lots of white boards, and a noise damping system. Please drop by Burling to see it for yourself.

Second Floor Display Area

Please also pay a visit to the display area just outside Burling’s Black Library. As the school year begins, the libraries are highlighting some of the fine student scholarship found in Digital Grinnell, our campus repository.

Bookeye Scanner

Our new Bookeye scanner is now available at Burling! With this overhead scanner, you can simply lay your book flat or use the cradle. You can also edit, save, and email your scanned images directly from the scanner.

New York Times and Chronicle of Higher Education: Free On- and Off-Campus Access

Use our helpful web guides to register for a free account to both of these useful, popular resources!  Grinnell students, faculty, and staff can now access The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education on and off campus.     

New Tools and Databases

These are accessible through the libraries’ Databases A-Z page.

  • Ben Jonson Online: A searchable full-text database from Cambridge University Press of the complete writings of Ben Jonson in a readable, modernized form.
  • HeinOnline Academic Core Collections: A large collection of full-text legal and government publications both current and historical, covering United States Federal and State law, foreign and international law, legal classics, law journals, treaties, case law, and much more.
  • ProQuest Executive Branch Documents 1789–1932: Contains all U.S. Executive Branch documents listed in the Checklist of Public Documents, 1789–1909 (and not printed in the U.S. Serial Set), as well as thousands of additional documents from 1910–1932.
  • Women's Wear Daily Archive: Covers key moments in the history of the international fashion and beauty industry, including major designers, brands, retailers, and advertisers.

Summer Research in Burling

Summer in Grinnell may seem quiet. But four Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) students who are working with Sarah Purcell ’92, professor of history, find it the best time to focus on in-depth research.

The students are working on independent projects related to deaths in the U.S. Civil War and to their commemoration:

  • Elizabeth Sawka ’15, history — Civil War military chaplains' sermons;
  • Irene Bruce ’15, history and anthropology — African American mortality in Louisiana in 1860 and 1870;
  • Joseph Kathan ’15, history and gender, women, and sexuality studies — how Clara Barton was able to subvert the gender norms of the time and become a successful nurse and humanitarian during and after the Civil;
  • Peter Bautz ’15, history and political science — U.S. Civil War veterans' reunions and how they shaped views about the meaning of death in the Civil War

While researching on their own, the group of students has met frequently with Purcell in Burling Library throughout the summer to share their progress and to discuss historical texts and sources.

Purcell says that she spends a lot of time with her students, as Burling is a comfortable place to work and to learn and that the library provides an excellent scholarly atmosphere. With so many research tools close at hand — books, scholarly databases, microfilmed census records, and rare primary source material in Grinnell’s Special Collections and Archives — Purcell and her summer students have called upon the library faculty and staff for help. 

Burling Computing Lab, pictured here, is a great place for Purcell to demonstrate research techniques to her students. And even though historians often work on solitary projects, these researchers have all gotten to be part of a community of students, faculty, and staff in Burling this summer.

A View from the Vault

For her class Making History: 1968, Diane Lenertz ’15 visited the Grinnell College archives. She looked at some of the underground newspapers and other student publications from the late 1960s and early 1970s, and also some of the FBI documents about the College.

“I thought it was so cool,” Lenertz says. “I’m really interested in history, although I’m not a history major, and I really liked the archives and the thought that you could have a job where you could look into Grinnell’s past.” Lenertz has worked as a student assistant in the archives since fall 2012.

“It’s more than working with dusty, old stuff,” says Chris Jones, special collections librarian and archivist of the College.

The student assistants help locate information, scan materials, catalog new materials from donors, and correspond with researchers.

“One of the coolest parts of the job is that people constantly have different reference questions,” Lenertz says.

“Sometimes it’s people looking for information about a relative who went here and trying to figure out what classes they took and maybe get a picture,” Lenertz says. “We have a whole scrapbook collection that’s one of the best ways to look into the day in the life of a student.”

Lenertz recently came across photos from the 1950s of young women on the Mears and Main loggia roof. “All the girls who were engaged were throwing a party for all the girls who weren’t engaged.”

Looking at so many different bits and pieces of history about Grinnell College has also given Lenertz an appreciation of how the place has changed. “We’re only here for four years,” she says. “It’s interesting to learn what kind of an institution we’re a part of.”

Lenertz encourages students to use the archives because it’s a great way to get your hands on primary source materials. “I love the feeling of being with a document or picture that was there at the time,” she says.

Diane Lenertz ’15 is an economics major from Eagan, Minnesota.

Diane Lenertz ’15 in archives

Meet Emma Lange ’16

Emma Lange ’16 has joined the libraries as a summer intern.

Her internship focuses on improving the usability of some of our online resources such as 3Search and Digital Grinnell.

Lange is creating, performing, and analyzing usability tests to see if our users’ experiences match the intended goals for our website. This work is exciting as it has the potential to improve these already powerful resources and to help fellow students as well as Grinnell's faculty and staff members. Lange is also learning how to do research of this sort, from start to finish, with the support of librarians Julia Bauder and Becky Yoose, her supervisors. This will also be Lange’s first opportunity to contribute to academic research intended for publication.

A political science major with a concentration in technology studies, Lange is particularly interested in American politics. In the future she hopes to study how technology can best aid the communication and advancement of both government and non-profit goals.

Grinnell's Ecologist

Exhibition brochure cover: Henry S Conard, Grinnell's EcologistLearn more about Henry S. Conard at Burling Library's exhibition, “Henry S. Conard, Grinnell’s Ecologist.”

Conard was a highly respected botanist and beloved teacher during his 38 years at Grinnell.

The exhibit displays examples of Conard’s scientific work, photographs of him, and materials from his manuscript collection, including a sermon and a poem he wrote. It also includes a map and photographs of the College’s Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA).

Conard’s commitment to the land, place-based education and nature as a source of both inspiration and knowledge is the basis for CERA’s work today. CERA supports ongoing research and various classes at the College and is open to the public for hiking, bird watching, photography, painting, drawing, and other facets of the study and enjoyment of nature.

The exhibition runs through Aug. 31 in Burling Library Special Collections and Archives .

Curated by Stephanie Porter ’14

Harry Duncan ’38 and the Cummington Press

During spring and summer 2014, the Burling Library exhibition "Harry Duncan ’38 and the Cummington Press" is on display on the main floor and in Burling Gallery on the lower level.

Harry Duncan ’38 printed handmade, limited edition books with a Gutenberg-style press under the imprint The Cummington Press. During his career, Duncan became renowned for his contributions to the fine art of printing.

This exhibit displays a selection of his lifetime work: books of poetry, essays, and illustrations printed from 1939-1997.

The exhibition is curated by Diane Lenertz '15.

Transcribing and Captioning Digital Grinnell

Would you like to help us identify the people and events in the College's photograph collection in Digital Grinnell?

Digital Grinnell is getting a transcribing and captioning enhancement. You can now add text to the pictures and enhance the understanding of Grinnell’s rich history for future generations of Grinnellians.

To contribute to the transcribing and captioning:

  • Visit Digital Grinnell
  • Click on the “Transcribable or Captionable Objects” link. This will bring up a list of all of the objects in the collection.
  • Choose a photo, and you will be prompted to tell us the story behind the image and who is featured.

The improvement was made possible through a grant from the Innovation Fund, which enhances educational excellence by encouraging innovative ways of teaching and learning.