Prepping for the Races

Spring is upon us, and with that comes the stress and busyness the end of the semester brings. To counterbalance this, there are also a slew of lively events happening around campus and the city of Bloomington. Perhaps one of the most popular events that takes place in April every year is the Little 500 bike race.

The race was started in 1951 by the Indiana University Student Foundation. In 1988, a women’s race was also started. Both events raise money for scholarships through IUSF, and to date have raised over one million dollars for working IU students. This year, the races will be held on April 15th and 16th at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The races can also be heard on the radio or watched through a live video stream. More information on that can be found through IUSF

How can the library help you prepare for the races? Here are some ideas:



Breaking Away: A film released in 1979 that follows a group of four friends who have just graduated high school in their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, and end up competing in the Little 500 after clashing repeatedly with Indiana University students. The movie was filmed around campus and Bloomington.  Copies of this film can be found at various libraries around campus. 



The Little 59780253335739_med00According to the IU Press, this book is “the definitive history of Indiana University’s legendary bike race, The Little 500, a spring tradition since 1951 (and the basis for the Academy Award-winning film Breaking Away). Schwarb goes behind the scenes with winning teams and heartbroken losers, and chronicles the weekend’s effect on a growing campus and ever-changing student body.”

Everything is BicycleThe Lilly library is currently holding an exhibition on bicycles. The exhibition chronicles the history of the bicycle, from its rise to popularity in the 1890’s to the role of the bicycle here at Indiana University and in Bloomington.

Looking for more? Check out the IUSF and IDS twitter feeds to keep you updated on all sorts of Little 500 events leading up to the races. 

-Malissa Renno

Confronting Those “How-Am-I-Going-to-Get-This-All-Done-And-What’s-The-Point-Anyway Blues”

It’s that time of year when the libraries are filling up with students cramming for the end of the semester. [Can you believe that we only have four weeks left? (Why am I reminding myself?)]

Young man having trouble studying, on white background
Look familiar?

While we may feel like chickens with our heads cut off, overt displays of this manic energy are probably less entertaining in real life than as a star performance onstage.* It’s that time of year when we need to be at our calmest, in order to assure students everything’s going to be all right (at least we tell them that), and we can help them find those five sources for the paper they have been putting off all semester. Last semester I had a young man approach the reference desk who was in need of English sources about Korean traffic problems and potential solutions that would support his paper, which happened to be due in only two hours. He was certainly anxious, and added to my own frantic state of mind, our combined anxieties led to a less-than-perfect search. Of course that paper was probably not going to turn out as well as he would have liked, but our interaction might have been better if I was more sensitive in calming him down. We can’t do much to curb our patron’s immediate state of mind other than being calm ourselves (or offering events like De-Sress Fest, which occurred a couple weeks ago). What we can do is focus on limiting our current stress levels and being cognizant of how our interactions are affected by our personal mental states.

We all have our own problems to juggle, with group projects, overloaded work schedules, final papers, job searches, and personal relationships. So I’d like to suggest a few resources I’ve used to help keep me outwardly, and hopefully inwardly, calm and focused in this maelstrom of academic activity. Hopefully you’ll find them helpful as well, which might improve all our states of mind and relationships with patrons.

Perhaps the most useful resource I’ve used is David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, which was recommended to me by a junior faculty member who lovingly referred to it as GTD. The book focuses on making time for both the things you need to do and things you would like to do, to create a good balance of work and life oriented around priorities. Another suggestion is Christine Carter’s The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Work and Home, which follows along some of the same lines but adds the science of happiness and satisfaction that can improve your work, focus, and personal happiness. 

These readings are for a general audience (they are not in our own collection, though MCPL owns copies of both), but I don’t think we should overlook books of this ilk simply because they seem superficial, hokey, or like just a quick way for the authors to make a buck. I can tell you, while I don’t subscribe to everything these authors suggest, taking a moment and seeing how I can be more productive with less stress has been plenty freeing in the past semester.

Finally, many of us may be struggling with the big questions of why we are in higher education and information fields, and what their broader purpose is. Higher education can serve a very important purpose in our society, which we should really consider in addition to how our own personalities and skills might fit librarianship. Dealing with these questions head-on can provide an ethical component to getting things done and confronting the malaise surrounding the broader purpose of higher education and our positions as public service assistants. I’m personally looking forward to some summer reading of Michael Roth’s Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters and Helen Smalls’ The Value of the Humanities

I hope by improving our own personal conditions, combating stress, improving productivity, increasing the potential for happiness despite overwhelming activity, and considering our broader purpose as future librarians, we can become an even better (and calming) resource for our students.

-Bret McCandless

*Thus, the reference in the title to Stephen Sondheim’s “God-Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me-I-Oh-You-Do-I’ll-See-You-Later Blues.” 

Digital Services with a Human Touch

January is now over and, hopefully, you are starting to settle into your classes and schedules. As it is still early in the semester many of you are probably not yet worried about the big paper or project you have due at the end of the year. On the other hand, some of you began to worry the first day of class when you saw it on the syllabus. In either case, adding a digital element may ease some of your concerns. Enter the Scholar’s Commons.

The Scholar’s Commons is located on the first floor in the East Tower of the Herman B Wells Library. It offers many services provided by librarians to help you with that paper or project. Many of these librarians have scheduled times when they take walk-in questions on a wide range of digital topics, or you can schedule a time that works for you. You can get help with digitization services or digital project development as well as many other services. Aside from the long list of services offered, there are many workshops and events that are hosted in the Scholar’s Commons. Some of these are geared towards improving your writing skills, while others aim to improve your coding skills, like the Digital Brown Bag series or the TEI Coding Workshop, where you can learn to do the coding that helped create the Algernon Charles Swinburne Project which is pictured below:


However, if creating an interactive map is what you’re after, we have a workshop on February 18th from 1p-2p about using the free mapping tool CartoDB which was used to create this map here:


So whether you wish to do some text mining, map making, or anything in between, the Scholar’s Commons in the Wells Library is your one stop shop to add some digital pizazz to your term paper or project. So come on in now to get a head start, or procrastinate a bit (but not too much), and take advantage of the digital services provided in the Scholar’s Commons of the Wells Library!

-David Kloster

Get More Out of the Library!

Hey Hoosiers! You probably know that you can find books and articles at the library, but here’s a few things you can find at the library that you might not know about.

1. You might know that you can Ask A Librarian any question you have over instant messaging. But did you know that you can also text questions to a librarian? Just text 812.671.0275 during reference desk hours and get instant answers to your questions!

Screenshot 2014-09-21 22.24.40

2. You might know that the library has a Twitter (@HermanBWells) that sends out updates about the things that are happening at Wells, but did you know that you can ask us questions on Twitter, too? Just give us a holler about anything–your loves, your hates, your questions, you name it! We’ll get back to you in our ever-sassy manner.

Screenshot 2014-09-21 22.28.48

3. You might know that the library has an Instagram (@HermanBWells), but did you know that if you ‘gram a picture of Wells (help us find it by using #wellslibrary!), we’ll regram you so that your image can be part of the living archive of Wells we’re creating through our Instagram? We’ve even got a #WellsLibrary #shelfie week coming up September 29-October 4–we’ll repost our favorite images throughout the week!


–Faith Bradham

Buzz Spector Book Art at IU Bloomington

If you have an interest in books and art, you should check out the new Buzz Spector book-art installation at Indiana University Bloomington’s Grunwald Gallery of Art! Running from Friday, October 19 through Saturday, November 16, this installation, titled “Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf”, utilizes hundreds of books from IU’s Auxiliary Library Facility (aka the ALF) to construct unique arrangements responding to the space of the gallery.

This past summer, graduate students working for the Herman B Wells Library Reference Department were able to help with this installation by compiling lists of books by IU-affiliated authors held at the ALF to be used for an installation made specifically for this exhibition. To find out what shape Spector chose to represent IU, you’ll just have to visit the gallery!

Buzz Spector

In addition to being an artist, Buzz Spector is the Dean of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis and author of several volumes on the topic of artist’s books. For more information on his work, here are several books by Spector available through IUCAT:

Buzzwords:Interviews with Buzz Spector. Chicago: Sara Ranchouse Publishing, 2012.
Buzz Spector: Shelf Life: Selected Work. Saint Louis: Bruno David Gallery, 2010.
Between the Sheets. Ithaca: Ink Shop Printmaking Center: Olive Branch Press, 2003.
The Book Maker’s Desire: Writings on the Art of the Book. Pasadena: Umbrella Editions, 1995.

There will also be a discussion roundtable with Buzz Spector about “Books, Text and Information” on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 (6:00 PM – 7:30 PM) in the Fine Arts Library Reading Room.


Hello, Summer!

The Spring semester is over and SUMMER is finally here! Time to rest, relax, and have some fun! Sometimes it can get a little boring when you’re resting and relaxing, though. The Herman B Wells Library has some great solutions for this!
the sun

Check out some books about summer and fun activities to do!

The kids campfire book by Jane Drake
Favorite recipes for summer cooking from Saveur
Creative loafing : a shoestring guide to new leisure fun by Marilyn Heimberg Ross
Francis Willughby’s book of games : a seventeenth- century treatise on sports, games, and pastimes by Francis Willughby
Summertime treats : recipes and crafts for the whole family by Sara Perry

Learn something new!

The complete idiot’s guide to learning French by Gail Stein
HTML, XHTML & CSS for dummies, 7th edition by Tittel, ed.
Origami design secrets: mathematical methods for an ancient art by Robert J. Lang
Square and folk dancing : a complete guide for students, teachers, and callers by Hank Greene
Taekwondo: traditions, philosophy, technique by Marc Tedeschi
How to play classic jazz guitar : six swinging strings by Michael Lydon

Take it easy and catch up on your pop lit!

Calico Joe by John Grisham
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy

Whatever you decide to do, remember that the Wells Library is open and we have all the books, dvds, cds, and magazines you could ever need. Check out our summer hours! If you’d like to know more about us, you can always Ask A Librarian.


American Pie Month

February is usually known for Valentine’s Day, but did you know its official title is “Great American Pie Month? The art of pie making first came to America from the colonial settlers. The first pies were usually meat-based, but the Native American knowledge of fruits and berries influenced the creation of the fruit-based pies we know and love today. A wide variety of recipes have been passed through the generations and continue to be a staple of most American celebrations.


Don’t have a favorite dessert recipe? We can help you with that!

Betty Crocker’s desserts cookbook
Crocker, Betty
HPER Library – TX773 .C96

The Dessert Lover’s Cookbook
Storm, Margaret
HPER Library – TX773 .S76

Pastries and desserts
California Home Economics Association. Southern section.
Research Collection – TX773 .C2

The Pie Book; 419 recipes
De Gouy, Louis Pullig
Research Collection – TX773 .D33 1974

Pillsbury’s bake off dessert cook book; shortcutted prize winning favorites, the best of all the bake offs
Pillsbury Company
HPER Library – TX773 .P57

Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert
Krondl, Michael
Undergraduate Services – TX773 .K7154 2011

Sweet Serendipity: Delicious Desserts & Devilish Dish
Bruce, Stephens
Undergraduate Services – TX773 .B88 2004

If you’d prefer face-to-face instruction, check out the Bloomington Cooking School calendar. A sweet and savory pie making class will be offered on Saturday, February 25th, from 11am-1pm.

For more books about cooking in general, be sure to check out the Drake Cookbook Collection located in the HPER Library.


Happy Chinese New Year!

 This Monday (January 23) is the Chinese New Year, which is one of the most important Chinese holidays. The Chinese New Year is referred to as the “Lunar New Year.” Chinese New Year is celebrated throughout Asia and other parts of the world in countries with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and in Chinatowns elsewhere.

According to Chinese tradition, each year is dedicated to a specific animal (the dog, dragon, horse, monkey, rat, boar, rabbit, rooster, ox, tiger, snake, and ram). This is the Year of the Dragon, which is associated with excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration, and intensity. Other New Year customs and traditions include special meals, new clothing, and firecrackers. Additionally, children receive money in red paper envelopes. Red is the predominant color that is used in New Year celebrations; it symbolizes joy, virtue, truth and sincerity. Chinese tradition also places a large emphasis on reconciliation, forgiveness of grudges, and the wish for peace, happiness, and luck for everyone.

For those wishing to know more about Chinese New Year, check out these great sources available through the IUB Libraries!

Aijmer, Goran. New Year Celebrations in Central China in Late Imperial Times. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, c2003. [Wells Library- Research Collections- GT4905 .A35 2003].

Brothers, Morna Rose. The Dragon Comes to Bloomington: Chinese New Year in Memory and Practice . [Wells Library- Research Collections- Dissertations- BA1000 .B875]

Jango-Cohen, Judith. Chinese New Year. Minneapolis : Carolrhoda Books, c2005. [Education Library- 394.261 JAN]

Welch, Patricia Bjaaland. Chinese New Year. Hong Kong ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997. [Wells Library- Research Collection -GT4905 .W46 1997]

Yeh, Chiou-ling. Making an American Festival: Chinese New Year in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008. [Wells Library- Reserves- GT4905 .Y44 2008]

If you want to learn more about Chinese Astrology and the Lunar Calendar, check out these great sources:

Aylward, Thomas F. The Imperial Guide to Feng-Shui & Chinese Astrology: The Only Authentic Translation for the Original Chinese. New York : Sterling Publishing, 2007. [Wells Library- Research Collection- BF1779.F4 A98 2007]

Bellenir, Karen. Religious Holidays and Calendars: An Encyclopedic Handbook. Detroit, MI : Omnigraphics, 2004. [Wells Library – Reference Department- CE6 .K45 2004]

Lau, Theodora. The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes. New York : Harper, c2010. [Wells Library- Research Collection- BF1714.C5 L38 2010]

Additionally, there will be a Lunar New Year Celebration at the Monroe County Public Library on January 21 from 2-4 pm. There will be stories, performances, crafts, and snacks that are presented with the Asian Culture Center. It is free to the public. For more information, click here or contact the Children’s Services at MCPL.

Wishing everyone a GREAT Chinese New Year!

The Wells Library QR Code Treasure Hunt!

For many students, that period between midterms and final exams is one that is loaded with projects and the accompanying stress. The Wells Library is offering a nice way to relieve some of that tension and to get familiar with the collections available in the library with our QR Code Treasure Hunt.

Through December 2nd, library users can begin the Treasure Hunt at the Information Commons Reference Desk at the Wells Library. It will lead participants through the IC’s reference collection, our Core Collection in the West Tower, and our Research Collection in the East Tower.

To participate, simply scan the codes with your mobile device, follow the clues, and jot down the answers. The first ten people to complete the QR Code Treasure Hunt will win a goody bag (and a little relief from that end-of-semester workload).

How do QR Codes work? Users can simply download a free QR code scanning application (such as i-nigma or RedLaser) to a mobile device and launch the app to scan the code. The code will directly take users to a mobile site with the clue.

Good luck and happy hunting!

East Tower 6th floor (ET6)


A Virtual Cornucopia of Thanksgiving Tradition

For most college students, Thanksgiving symbolizes a much-needed break in a long Fall Semester, trips home to visit friends and family, football, and perhaps most importantly, food. Most of us went through elementary school hearing romanticized stories about pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. However, it is less likely that we have considered the actual origins and practices of the first Thanksgiving. Curious about the historical origins of the Thanksgiving holiday? Wonder why we eat turkey instead of chicken or pork on Thanksgiving? Interested in knowing where many of our favorite Thanksgiving foods come from? Then check out these resources to learn more about our Thanksgiving dinner traditions and how they have evolved over the years.

The Documents Behind Thanksgiving
Check out this blog post, courtesy of the Government Information and Kent Cooper Services Department at the Herman B Wells Library, which provides links to historic documents explaining how Thanksgiving became an official national holiday.

“Give Thanks, all ye People”
The song “Give Thanks, all ye People” celebrates President Lincoln’s declaration of Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday in 1863. Courtesy of INHarmony: Sheet Music from Indiana and the Indiana University Digital Library Program.

Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday
For an in-depth history of Thanksgiving from the days of the Puritans to the 21st century, read this e-book, available free online for students from IU Bloomington, Columbus, IUPUI, East, and Southeast.

Thanksgiving Maps and Posters
Librarians from the Geology Library have created a list of maps using a Geographic Information System (GIS) program to illustrate which U.S. states produce the largest quantities of some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods.

Drake Cookbook Collection
For recipe ideas to help create your own Thanksgiving feast, check out the Drake Cookbook Collection, available in the HPER Library.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America
Use this database to find information about Thanksgiving or about the origin, history, and use of individual food items.

Thanksgiving feast

With all of these resources, the next time you sit down with your family to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast, you’ll wow them by telling them where sweet potatoes come from and astound them with your knowledge of why pumpkin pie is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert! Even if you choose to keep this knowledge to yourself, at least you can give thanks for the library’s virtual cornucopia of information! Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the break!