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

Using the RPS Libraries

Do you live in the residence halls? Want to rent a movie, but don’t want to trek across campus (through the snow) to Wells? Guess what! There’s probably an RPS Library or Movies Music & More close to you! With 13 locations open in the evenings, we’ve got you covered! The RPS Libraries and MMM’s are located in thirteen residence halls across campus. While offerings vary by location, most of our centers carry movies, TV shows, and music, with select locations offering video games, books, and board games.

RPS Locations

So now you know about us, but how can you find what you’re looking for? Good news! You can search for items in your nearest center! Here’s how:

After typing the item you want into the search bar on IUCAT, you can limit results to your nearest center by utilizing the drop down menus on the left hand side of the page. Simply click on the “Library” button and select your center. RPS Centers are listed under “Bloomington RPS Libraries.”


RPS Libs List

So say you live in Collins and want to watch Sherlock. Once you type Sherlock into the search bar in IUCAT and then limit your results to Bloomington RPS Libraries – Collins Living-Learning Center, this is what you should see:

Results Page

Suppose you want to check out season one. After clicking on the link, you’ll be taken to the item listing where you’ll be able to see if the item is available for checkout and where you might find the item. This information is all listed under the “Holdings” section at the bottom of the page and should look like this:


Oh hey, it looks like we’re in luck! Sherlock: Season One is at Collins Library and waiting to be checked out!

-Sarah Trew

IU-B African Studies Library: a Bountiful Research Collection


Are you someone who is interested in scholarly reference materials on Africa south of the Sahara? If so, look no further than your IU Bloomington Library! The 6th floor of the Wells Library has a vast collection of documents covering a great deal of historical information. Keep reading to get more information on our collection and how to use it.

What exactly is the collection about?
The African Studies Library Collection is a multi-reference research area that contains information about Sub-Saharan Africa, supporting research inquiries for undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. students alike. The collection has documented information dating back as early as c1500, including aspects of indigenous tongues, spirituality, culture, government, and more.

What does Sub-Sahara mean?
The Sahara is a geographical reference point spanning from far West Africa towards Egypt and then south towards the country of South Africa. The African Studies collection consists of multiple documents written in indigenous languages such as Zulu, Igbo, Xhosa, Ibibio, Afrikaans, Bambara, Fula, Kpelle, Sango, Somali, Swahili, Wolof, Twi (Akan), Yoruba, and many others. In addition, these documents can be extremely useful as primary resources!

Who should use the African Studies collection?
Anyone interested in learning more scholarship about Africa and all that it consists of will benefit greatly from this collection, which contains everything from manuscripts, academic journals, annual conference reports, newspapers, and language and linguistics manuals. You don’t have to stop there, though! Expand your realm of knowledge by exploring the IU Art Museum which has primary resources of African art and archaeological pieces of African tribes and culture south of the Sahara. Using the African Studies Library Collection interchangeably with other resources on the IU Bloomington campus can help you if you are not solely dependent upon the African Studies collection for scholarly reference materials.

african studies lib

If you’re looking to broaden your African Studies horizon even further, feel free to visit the library’s African Studies resources page. Browsing through these resouces can be helpful in obtaining information that the Wells Library may not have. For instance, Michigan State University currently carries one of the most comprehensive collections on the Amharic language of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Since IU and MSU are part of the Big Ten conference library system, resources can also be researched through Worldcat. To request items that another library holds, you can submit an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request.

Happy researching! As always, don’t hesitate to consult with a reference librarian in the Wells Library east tower for further research help!


Fall Back into Nature

Fall is officially here and you couldn’t be in a much better place to see it in all its glory. As midterms, papers, and projects continually weigh you down, we suggest taking a day and experiencing fall in the Bloomington area! There are many beautiful places to visit, and all within an hour of Bloomington. Since there are an overwhelmingly large amount of choices, here are three great options to get you started:

Let’s start with McCormick Creek State Park. Located in Spencer, Indiana, it provides plenty of places to sit by the creek with a good book (which you can get from the Wells Library) for an hour or two and recharge your batteries.

McCormick Creek in Autumn
McCormick Creek in Autumn

Next is Morgan Monroe State Forest. Morgan Monroe is located just up the 37 a little ways around Martinsville. It offers scenery like this:

Fall in Morgan Monroe State Forest
Fall in Morgan Monroe State Forest

Finally is the world famous Brown County State Park. It is located east on the 46 in and around Nashville, Indiana. As you can see from the image below, it is world famous for a reason.

Fall in Brown County State Park
Fall in Brown County State Park

What does the Wells Library have to do with the beautiful fall foliage? First of all, we have some great resources to help you plan your trip. We have maps of Brown County State Park and a map of the Tecumseh Trail, which is 42 miles long and begins in Morgan Monroe State Forest. We also have a Fall color guide and for those not wanting to go outside of Bloomington, we have a Bloomington Parks and Recreation Trail Guide. You can find all of these materials and more in IUCAT, the Libraries’ online catalog!

So come to the Wells Library to prepare for your trip, grab that good book, and head on out to see some of the most beautiful Fall colors in the country.

-David Kloster

Judging a Book by Its Title: A Guide to Folklore

For anyone interested in working with children – whether as a teacher, librarian, counselor, or even as a parent – it’s important to know you can’t always judge a book by its title. After all, that copy of The Little Mermaid you just selected off the shelf may contain some details you would consider inappropriate – I’m looking at you, Hans Christian Andersen – and a story titled “The Mermaid Wife” is probably not the same folktale, even though its title is very similar.

So how do you know, at a glance, which tale is the one you remember from your childhood and which is a classic case of Stockholm syndrome? That’s where our Folklore Collection, located on the 7th floor of the East Tower, comes in handy. Anyone familiar with the collection is probably aware of just how extensive it is, in terms of anthologies and secondary source material. But did you know the collection houses its own reference section? On your right as you enter the Folklore collection, these shelves house materials detailing classic folklore motifs, themes, plot structures, etc., to aid in a better understanding of folktales and how they relate to one another. For someone studying folklore, this is a treasure-trove of useful information; however, these books can be just as helpful to someone who simply wants to find the version of The Little Mermaid they like best.

Below, you’ll find a small sampling of these books. If you’re interested in learning more on the topic of folklore, check out the collection in person or contact our subject specialist, Moira Marsh.

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales & Fairy Tales
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales & Fairy Tales

Motif-Index of Folk Literature by Stith Thompson
Stith Thompson

The Storyteller’s Sourcebook by Margaret Read MacDonald
The Storyteller's Sourcebook

Happy researching and reading!

-Kaitlin Bonifant

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

Happy 85th Birthday, Adrienne Rich, American Poet (5/16/1929 – 3/27/2012)

To celebrate the 85th birthday of Adrienne Rich and to honor her legacy throughout the month of May, browse this great American poet’s books in the Graduate Research Collection in the East Tower of the Herman B Wells Library. No need to be discouraged by all the ongoing construction on the first floor of the East Tower. To access these selected primary writings that are considered Rich’s most significant contributions to the canon of American literature, simply ignore the temporary unsightliness of the construction site, and take the elevator (or stairs) to the 10th floor of the East Tower to locate these books in the “PS” call number range. Note, however, that A Change of World (1951) and The Will to Change (1971) are viewable in the Lilly Library reading room, or are accessible from the Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF) through the “Request This” option on IUCAT.

The titles recommended here are available in print format only. As library materials become increasingly digitized, or as their availability becomes increasingly restricted to electronic format only (as in the case of born digital publications), the unique tactile experience of handling print editions of significant literary works is rapidly evolving into an exceptional rarity for the casual library user. That’s why now is the chance to check these out while they are easily accessible in the graduate research stacks of the Wells Library. Celebrate the rarity of the tactile print edition experience; boast to your family and friends that you actually know how to access print materials via Library of Congress call numbers, and say “Happy Birthday” to Adrienne Rich this beautiful month of May!

–Hiromi Yoshida

Scholars’ Commons is Underway!

Construction at the Herman B Wells Library is finally underway! You may have noticed that since the beginning of the semester, the first floor of the East Tower has been stripped down to just about nothing. This has been in preparation for the new Scholars’ Commons renovation project, which is set to be completed in July.


It’s no secret that the Wells Library is a vast place that can be very overwhelming at times—with or without construction! While construction is happening on the first floor of the East Tower, here are a few things that can help make navigating the library easier:

• A few public computers have been moved into the Reference Reading Room (located on the first floor of the East Tower). Two scanners, a public printer, and two IUCAT express workstations have also been moved there.
• Copy machines are not located on the second floor of the East Tower.
• The current periodicals and the library’s reference collection will remain in the Reference Reading Room.
• During construction there will be a small circulation desk near the entrance. The circulation desk on the second floor of the East Tower will still continue to serve library users, as well.

For more information about the Scholars’ Commons renovation, check out this library webpage and don’t forget to follow the Wells Library on Facebook and Twitter!

-Keila DuBois

Christmastime at the Library!

Christmas is just around the corner! In the final push to winter break, many of us are probably feeling overwhelmed with final projects, papers, and exams, which can definitely put a damper on the holiday spirit. If you find yourself needing a study break, why not check out the many Christmas books, videos, and sound recordings that the library has to offer?

The Wells Library Folklore Collection houses many books on the history of Christmas. To find these books, simply search for “Christmas” in IUCAT and limit your search results to books located in the Wells Library.

Maybe you’ve had your fill of reading but still want to get in the holiday spirit. The Media and Reserve Services department offers many holiday movies for that perfect study break. To see what movies are available, search again for “Christmas” in IUCAT, but this time limit your results to videodiscs (or videocassettes, if you still have a VHS player!) in the Wells Library.

The Library also offers Christmas music, which is available to listen to online! To find these recordings, just search for “Christmas” in IUCAT and limit by “sound recording” and “Herman B. Wells Library.”


Happy Holidays from all of us here at the Wells Library!


RPS Libraries: Getting to know your “in-home” library

Dying to watch the new Iron Man 3 movie or to read Veronica Roth’s popular new series Divergent? Or maybe you’re in your pajamas, and it’s just too cold outside to leave your residence hall. Alas, these information needs can easily be satisfied at the Residential Programs and Services (RPS) Libraries!

Here are some quick facts about this unique library system:

    The RPS Libraries are a system of 7 Libraries and 6 “Movies, Music, & More” (MMM).
    These libraries and MMMs are located within the residence halls as a place for IU residents to study or check out movies, TV series, CD, magazines, and some locations carry fiction and nonfiction books.
    During the school year, these locations are open every night from 5 p.m. to midnight (with the exception of the Apartment Housing Library in Campus View Apartments, which is open from 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
    Borrowing materials from the libraries and MMMs is absolutely free to students living in RPS housing as long as you have your student ID.
    Note: Residents’ borrowing privileges are not restricted to just your residential library. For instance, if you live in Collins, you are not restricted from only borrowing titles from Collins Library, rather you may borrow titles from any of the 13 locations (materials must be returned to their specific location, however).
    Plus, RPS Libraries provide rewards for frequent renters: after 5 check outs, a patron earns a candy bar. That’s right, free books, movies, CDs, AND candy!

The RPS Libraries are separate from the IU Bloomington Libraries. However, materials located in RPS Libraries can be searched for specifically in IUCAT. You can simply change location to “RPS Libraries (Bloomington)” or select “Bloomington Residential Programs & Services Libraries” as your campus to search for titles held at any of the 13 locations. You can also search specifically for items held within in your residential library by selecting “Bloomington RPS Libraries – [location].”


If you don’t see a title you want in the RPS Libraries, you can make a suggestion that it be added to their collection; suggestions are welcome at any time and often materials in the MMMs and Libraries come from residents’ suggestions!

For a list of RPS Libraries’ location, Center Supervisors’ contact information, and further information, visit the RPS Libraries Services Page.