Home » Library


Calendar Customer Code: 

New York Times Subscription

Beginning April 2014, Grinnell College students, faculty, and staff have online access to the New York Times via a subscription paid by the Grinnell College Libraries. The site license was brokered by the Center for Research Libraries.

Full access requires registration. For more information about gaining access and Q & As, see our New York Times guide. Contact Kevin Engel if you have questions.

Break Open the Vault!

Special Collections and Archives invites you to the second annual Break Open the Vault! event from 8 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, Burling Library Special Collections and Archive.

This is a rare opportunity to see a wide range of artifacts, memorabilia and other treasures from the vault on display for the public.

Drop by to get a glimpse of a 100-year-old football uniform, the Okoboji Summer Theater program, stained glass windows, and much more.


Libraries Study Breaks

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

Study breaks are 9–10 p.m. Monday, May 12 and Tuesday, May 13 in the Burling Library Lounge. Cookies will also be delivered to Kistle Library.

Students will perform during the breaks in Burling Library Lounge:

  • Monday, May 12: Con Brio
  • Tuesday, May 13: Neverland Players

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

How We Die Now

Karla Erickson will discuss her popular new book How We Die Now: Intimacy and the Work of Dying with a panel of students, faculty, and community members at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in the Burling Library Lounge.

This event is open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

Panelists are:

  • Karla Erickson, associate professor of sociology, Grinnell College
  • David Cook-Martin, associate professor of sociology and director of the Center for International Studies, Grinnell College
  • Harley Henry, resident of a nearby continuing care retirement community
  • Luther Erickson, Grinnell resident, professor emeritus of chemistry
  • Hanna Lee '17, an undeclared major from San Diego, Calif.
  • Alice Ko '17, an undeclared major from Bellevue, Wash.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology, the Dean’s Office, and the Grinnell College Libraries.

New Tool Helps You Visualize Search Results

See what we’re up to! Grinnell College Libraries are pleased to unveil a visualization feature as an enhancement to our discovery tool 3Search.

What can I do with this feature?

  • You can see how books and other items from Grinnell’s collections matching your search are distributed across broad subjects and focused topic areas.  
  • You can also use any of the facets in the right sidebar to narrow your search.

Where do I find it?

  • Within the 3Search results page, click “Explore these results” above Grinnell’s Collections.
  • Click “Visualize Results” on the upper-right corner where the results list begins.
3Search Visualization

The Grinnell Beowulf Reading Group


Grinnell College is hosting a reading group for The Grinnell Beowulf translation. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the college are invited to participate by reading this epic poem and joining in a series of discussions with Assistant Professor of English Tim Arner and his team of six student translators to reflect on this work of literature and on the process of translation.

The poem divides nicely into thirds, so three discussion sessions will be held:

  • Lines 1-1015: March 3, 7:30-9 p.m., Burling Library First Floor Lounge
  • Lines 1016-2245: March 10, 7:30-9 p.m., Burling Library First Floor Lounge
  • Lines 2246-3245: March 31, 7:30-9 p.m., Burling Library First Floor Lounge

The book is available online at Digital Grinnell. Limited paper copies will be available through Arner, the dean’s office, or at the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell. If you don’t live in Grinnell, you can request a free copy of the book by e-mailing Beowulf[at]grinnell[dot]edu. Audio recordings of the reading assignments and discussions will also be made available on Digital Grinnell.

You may join the discussions in person, or join a live virtual session at the scheduled times. GoToMeeting will install its application and you will be prompted to launch it to join the session. Viewers do not need an account or a microphone, just speakers or headphones for listening to the discussion. You can submit questions for the panel in advance at Beowulf[at]grinnell[dot]edu and on Twitter, @TimothyDArner. The discussions will be recorded and posted on Digital Grinnell.

Additional information and updates can be found at the Facebook pages of the libraries, the English department, or alumni and friends.

The Grinnell Beowulf is a translation and teaching edition of the Old English poem, Arner says. Six students — Eva Dawson '14, Emily Johnson '14, Jeanette Miller '14, Logan Shearer '14, Aniela Wendt '14, and Kate Whitman '14 worked with Arner to translate Beowulf into readable and poetic modern English. The Grinnell Beowulf includes more than 165 annotations that accompany the text, as well as introductions to the poem and the translation process.

Beowulf is the most celebrated poem of the Anglo-Saxon era, Arner says. “It tells the story of a mighty warrior who defends his friends and homeland from lethal threats both human and monstrous,” he adds.

The work became a mainstay of high-school and college classes after J.R.R. Tolkien’s study and use of Beowulf as a source for The Hobbitt and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The reading group is a collaboration involving the dean’s office, the libraries, instructional technologists, the English Department, and the Development and Alumni Relations office.

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.