Spring and All

Now that Winter has turned to Spring and March is coming to a close we are ready to usher in April— “the cruellest month” as described by poet T.S. Eliot in the 1922 long poem “The Waste Land”. April is also National Poetry Month! Started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is a celebration of poets and poetry by libraries, schools, bookstores, and literary organizations across the United States. How can you participate in the celebration? The Academy of American Poets has some suggestions. You can catch up on some great books from last year, you could make a poetry mixtape for a friend, bake Emily Dickinson’s coconut cake, or hunt a snark. Not every poet celebrates National Poetry Month, though. Charles Bernstein, in his book Attack of the Difficult Poems, proposes an “International Anti-Poetry Month” in an essay titled “Against National Poetry Month as Such.” Bernstein’s criticizes National Poetry Month for promoting a particular strain of traditional poetry while ignoring the diversity of contemporary forms and approaches. Whether you prefer news that stays news or noise that stays noise the IU Libraries offer a wide reaching collection of poetry for you to spread wide your narrow hands and gather all year round, including but not limited to:

  • Twentieth Century American Poetry – “an unprecedented collection of poetry which allows readers a unique survey of the movements, schools and distinctive voices of modern and contemporary American poetry. With the collaboration of America’s leading poetry publishers, the collection brings together 50,000 poems by over 300 poets.”
  • Caribbean Literature: Poetry – “a searchable collection of poetry and fiction produced in the region during the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the titles selected are numerous rare and hard-to-find works written in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, and various Creole languages.”
  • African American Poetry – “[covers] a wide range of topics from slavery and abolition to love and death, this collection provides a unique portrait of early America through the reflections of African-American poets during the 18th and 19th centuries…Contains a rich variety of poetic styles and types including elegies, odes, ditties, hymns, and sonnets.”

Not only can one search the entire oeuvre of Shakespeare but you can also view the papers of Amiri Baraka. And if physical books and objects are more your style, take a trip to the Lilly Library to view the first folio of Shakespeare, Burning Deck postcard poems, letters and manuscripts of Amiri Baraka, even a lock of hair from Sylvia Plath or Edgar Allen Poe! Other poetry and literature resources that the IU Libraries offer have been conveniently listed for your browsing pleasure. Happy snark hunting!

– Thom Sullivan

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Anything Peeps Can Do, You Can Do Better

The library can be a pretty intimidating place.


Especially if you’re made of marshmallow and sugar.


Lucky for this little peep—and you—we have some really great reference librarians and assistants on staff who can assist you with finding the books, journal articles, and online resources you’re searching for.

But I don’t even know where to start! you say.


Well, how about we follow these peeps as they journey through the library in search of a book?

First thing’s first, little guys: Head on over to the reference desk to learn how to locate your book.


Before the librarians can help out, of course, the peeps need to say what it is they’re hoping to find. Once they’ve done that, the librarians can show them where to search.


The librarian has pulled up IUCAT, which is IU’s online library catalog. It will show us any books or journals within IU’s libraries that are relevant to the peeps’ search.


Now that the peeps have a call number for their book, they’re heading up to the stacks. (They all agreed they could use some exercise, so they’re taking the stairs.)


Not quite what you had in mind, is it? The peeps thought they’d stumbled upon a book about Abraham Lincoln (their favorite president) AND peeps. Lucky for them, this entire section of books seems to be devoted to Lincoln. And one of the peeps has spotted an interesting title, up on the very top shelf.


Now that they’ve found their book, all that’s left is checking out with circulation. But, oh no! The peeps need a photo ID to borrow a book from the library…


Phew, looks like one of them found his.

Now the peeps are all ready to take their book on Abraham Lincoln home. And, best of all, they’ll know what to do the next time they visit the library!

– Kaitlin Bonifant

*No peeps were harmed in the making of this blog.


**Except this one…

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How Did This Get Made? and the IU Libraries


It has reached that point in the semester where the stress of school work and the darkness and cold of winter have completely taken over. Don’t let this get you down! Instead, head on over to the Earwolf Podcast Network and check out How Did This Get Made? This bi-weekly podcast features hosts Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas as they discuss a new movie each episode. The film for each episode is announced in a mini-episode in the off weeks so listeners can watch the film before the episode comes out.

So what makes this podcast special? Instead of discussing Oscar winners and art house foreign films, HDTGM discusses some of the worst, most confusing, and crazy films ever made. The movies range from the endearing but poorly made (The Room and Birdemic), to the crazy and over-the-top (Crank and Gymkata), to the confusing and bizarre (Zardoz and Sleepaway Camp). Not only are these movies incredibly entertaining, the hosts bring a level of insider knowledge of Hollywood that will undoubtedly increase your understanding of how films are made and the difference between a good film and a How Did This Get Made? film.

The best thing about this podcast? It has a backlog of over 100 episodes and the IU Bloomington Libraries have several of the films they have covered! Click on the thumbnails below and head to the library to start watching.

– Ryan Frick



The Room

The Room



Fast Five

Fast Five

Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp

Spice World

Spice World





Reindeer Games

Reindeer Games

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Pets in the Library

Ever wonder if having a live animal living in the library is a feasible idea? Almost everyone has heard of Dewey, the library cat.

Cute, isn’t he?

Dewey came to his library by chance – he was abandoned in the library’s book drop and found there the next day. He was cared for entirely by public fund donations and his name was even chosen by a public contest, providing a cute and fun away to reach out to the community as well as to help the cat. He is a loving, wonderful kitty and he himself became a tourist attraction, bringing new patrons into the library and always there to please the regulars. He lived there for 19 long years and has had books and even a movie about him. Dewey was even used to reach out to multiple age groups through books, and a children’s book featuring him was made:

Dewey the Library Cat is not the only example of animals living in libraries who become successful fixtures of their institutions. There is also a library pet here in Indiana: Morgan the Library Bunny of the Morgan County Library!

Morgan even has her own very pink blog. She can be visited at the library today, and is part of numerous public outreach programs, such as her recent participation in anticipating the winner of the Superbowl (she seemed reluctant to choose one or the other). Both Morgan and Dewey show us that libraries do not only help their human patrons, but their animal friends, as well!

Even though the Wells Library does not have its own “pet,” there will be therapy dogs and even a therapy kitten at the Libraries’ annual DeStress Fest on Thursday, March 5 at 6:30-8:00pm. To get an idea of what DeStress fest is all about, check out this page from last semester’s DeStress Fest! We hope to see you there!

-Margaret Agnew

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A Look at The Oscars

GTY_neil_patrick_harris_jef_150129_16x9_992Can you believe it’s almost Oscar Sunday? And not only is Neil Patrick Harris hosting, he’ll be performing an original musical number written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez – you may remember them winning last for Best Original Song (for a little number called “Let It Go”).

The official title for the annual American awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievements in the film industry was rebranded from The Academy Awards to The Oscars in 2013. Winners receive a copy of the statuette, officially “The Academy Award of Merit,” which is better known by its nickname Oscar.

How did the statuette get its adorable nickname? Sidney Skolsky claims in his memoirs, Don’t Get Me Wrong, I Love Hollywood, that he first used the nickname in an attempt to mock the Academy Awards: “Will you have a cigar, Oscar?” However, the popular theory suggests the nickname was given by Margaret Herrick when she remarked in 1931 that the statue looked just like her Uncle Oscar. We’re rooting for this theory. “Why?” you might ask. Because Margaret Herrick was a librarian!

Herrick earned her library degree from the University of Washington, and in 1929 became head librarian of the Yakima Public Library. After moving to Hollywood, she became the Academy’s first official librarian. Located in Beverly Hills,the Academy library is a world-renowned non-circulating reference and research collection devoted to the history and development of the motion picture as an art form and an industry.

Fortunately, we have everything you need to brush up on your trivia before the big night.

85 Years of the Oscar by Robert A. Osborne
Bringing up Oscar: The Story of the Men and Women Who Founded the Academy by Debra Pawlak
African American and the Oscars: Decades of Struggle and Achievement by Edward Mapp
Made for Each Other: Fashion and the Academy Awards by Bronwyn Cosgrave

You can find even more materials by doing a subject search in IUCAT for “Academy Awards (Motion pictures).”

Although many of the nominated films are still in theaters or have not been released to DVD, you can check out the following nominees by clicking on the thumbnails:

Cinematography, Foreign Language Film

Cinematography, Foreign Language Film

Animated Feature Film

Animated Feature Film

Visual Effects, Makeup and Hairstyling

Visual Effects, Makeup and Hairstyling

Visual Effects

Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Visual Effects

Visual Effects

Visual Effects

Costume Design

Costume Design

Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Directing, Film Editing, Writing

Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Directing, Film Editing, Writing

Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, Original Screenplay

Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, Original Screenplay

Or check out some of the books that inspired the films:
American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle
Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wells Media and Reserves Services also has a number of previously-awarded films. Just check out their Academy Awards Media Collection.

For more information about the 87th Annual Academy Awards (including a complete list of the nominees), visit their site. And don’t forget to tune in February 22nd!

-Krista K. Mullinnix

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Love is (Not) in the Air: Help with Anti-Valentine’s Research

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Did Valentine’s Day leave you with a case of the blues over mass-marketed appropriation of romance and any patriarchal implications resulting from February’s beloved holiday? Well, guess what–Wells Library is here to help you get out of that funk. We … Continue reading

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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

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Dragons in the Library!

Appreciate a Dragon Day was January 16th. Even if you missed this most joyous of holidays, it’s probably okay to appreciate a dragon at any time of the year. Fortunately, the Wells Library has some books featuring dragons to help you get in the spirit of the holiday.

One of the most famous dragons in Western literature is Smaug, the gold-hoarding dragon from The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Painting of Smaug on a pile of gold

By J. R. R. Tolkien. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smaug

Smaug has recently become more popular with the release of The Hobbit movie trilogy, in which he is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The Hobbit is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings. It features some of the same characters and sets in motion key plot points. If The Lord of the Rings seems too long or dense to deal with in the midst of a busy semester, don’t worry–the book version of The Hobbit is a much lighter and easier read.

Another short and light book featuring dragons is The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. The first half of the books shows Aerin, the main character, training herself to slay dragons. Her kingdom contains small dragons the size of dogs, which, while they sound adorable, are actually quite destructive and dangerous. Aerin practices on these pint-sized dragons to prepare herself to face a much larger version named Maur. Her battle with Maur is fast-paced and incredibly suspenseful. The dragon battles alone make the book worth the read.

One of the most classic dragons in Western Literature is the dragon from Beowulf. Many years after defeating the demon Grendel and Grendel’s mother, Beowulf must defend his kingdom’s people from a very angry dragon.

Painting of Beowulf fighting a dragon.

By J. R. Skelton. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dragon_(Beowulf)

Beowulf is the oldest known epic poem in the Old English language. Unfortunately, Old English is a much different language than modern English, so you will likely need to read the poem in translation. The IU Libraries have several translations (like the ones here or here). If that still doesn’t sound like fun, Beowulf has been adapted into not one, but two graphic novels that are kept in the Education Library at IU. In addition to creatively telling Beowulf’s epic story in comic form, they have some gorgeous artwork.

If you are just looking for some general knowledge on dragons instead of a book featuring them as characters, Bloomington’s libraries can get you that information. There are several non-fiction books about dragons in IU’s collections. Dragons, Their History and Symbolism and Dragons and Dragon Lore both give a fairly short overview of how stories about dragons were created and evolved in human myths. Perhaps the most intriguing book about dragons that IU has is Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History. This book in the folklore collection reads like a serious zoological textbook. You may choose to believe that this is evidence of dragons’ existence.

Dragon skull on a beach.

More unequivocal and definitely real evidence of the existence of dragons. From https://www.flickr.com/photos/taylorherringpr/9306959836/

Finally, Game of Thrones, the first book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, is currently the most high-profile book featuring dragons. Dragons play a major role in the events of the series– fifth book is even called A Dance with Dragons. Additionally, dragons figure heavily in the turbulent history of the Game of Thrones world that characters frequently refer to. Dragons were often used in battles and to hold power over entire kingdoms.

These are just some of the books in IU’s collections that can help you to fully appreciate a dragon, even if you did miss the “official” holiday. If you would like more books featuring dragons, you can look at this list of dragons in literature, or you can ask for assistance from any of the librarians in Wells Library in person or over chat.

– Michayla Sullivan

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Surviving Finals Week

With finals week fast approaching, if you’re at all like most of us, you’re probably wondering how you are going to survive the crippling stress of finals. Well, to reassure you that you can and will survive finals week, here are 5 tales of survival for you to take comfort in. Spoiler alert! The individuals from these stories all survived despite horrible conditions, which means you can surely survive finals week.

1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
16101128 After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, in this must-read science fiction novel, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The aliens can take human bodies and they can look, speak and act exactly like humans – how can the human race win in this situation? How can they form alliances when anyone could be the enemy? With the Earth’s last survivors scattered, Cassie believes the only way to stay alive is to stay alone. Cassie is forced to choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

2. 127 Hours
127hours2dIn April 2003 Aron Ralston, a 27-year-old hiker, fell and was trapped in a narrow crevasse, his right arm wedged against the rock wall by a boulder. Mr. Ralston’s ordeal was a struggle for survival and a profound existential crisis. He had gone to Bluejohn Canyon, Utah, for a rock-climbing weekend alone. Not telling anyone where he is going is part of the point: real freedom means getting a clean break from civilization and the burdens of family, friends, and other responsibilities. Finding himself stuck, he knows he can’t expect anyone to come to his rescue, which forces him to ruminate about his family, his ex-girlfriend, and the hereafter. As a trained engineer and a skilled–albeit somewhat careless–outdoorsman, he understands his predicament as a practical challenge, a technical problem. After struggling for more than five days, he makes an imminently logical decision about its solution. The movie is pretty extreme; it may be too disturbing to watch for some people, and you may need to turn away during parts of the film. So basically, it’s a must see.

3. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
1898Into Thin Air–a highly recommended story–is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer’s book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author’s own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.

4. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
content An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong…and science proves a dangerous toy.
Now, you might have seen the movie–it did go on to become one of the most popular movies of all time, grossing over a billon dollars, and changed the way we looked at special effects forever–but I highly encourage reading the novel. There are hundreds of pages of action that were not included in the motion picture, additional plot twists, new dinosaurs and other surprises to prove to all that Crichton’s original was sheer genius.

5. The Descent
MV5BMjA5NzQ1NTgwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjUxMzUzMw@@._V1_SX214_AL_ In this British horror-thriller, six women meet in a remote part of the Appalcahians to go on a caving expedition in an unmapped cave system, which in hindsight might not have been the smartest move. Their adventure soon goes horribly wrong when a collapse traps them deep underground, and they find themselves hunted by troglofaunal flesh-eating humanoid monsters! They are literally fighting for their lives.

So besides the comfort of knowing others–even if some of them are fictional–have survived worse than IU finals week, what can we take away from these five titles that apply to your own survival?

  • Sleep is important. Don’t stay up all night.
  • Eat well. You need brain food (i.e. not Ramen on-the-go).
  • Drink plenty of water. It’s vital for staying healthy.
  • Maps are useful. You don’t want to be late to your final (or eaten by flesh-eating monsters).
  • Take regular, scheduled breaks. (Okay, most of the survivors in the stories couldn’t actually do this, so you should be even more comforted that you can.) Every 3 hours or so, take a break from studying and recharge. Your studying will be more beneficial if you take some time to do something invigorating or relaxing like exercising or reading/watching one of these 5 super fantastic survival titles!
  • Relax. You are going to make it through; the apocalypse hasn’t hit yet.

  • And one last tip from the most important survival book you will ever read, Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead:

    “Remember; no matter how desperate the situation seems, time spent thinking clearly is never time wasted.”

    -Krista K. Mullinnix

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    Winter Weather Reads in Wells

    Now that winter break is upon us, you might be looking for some fun reading material to relax with over the next few weeks. Why not read a wintery book to get into the season? Curl up with a warm blanket and a mug of hot chocolate and dive into one of these cold-weather classics today!

    Disney’s animated film Frozen is still wildly popular, even a year after it was released. If you want more stories from the land of Arendelle, you might think about reading the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale the movie was based on, The Snow Queen, a story in The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen.

    The Snow Queen illustration

    There’s no Elsa, but a flying ice sleigh does make an appearance. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/

    The movie’s interpretation was admittedly a very loose one, but it still has many concepts in common with the original story. It is especially interesting to see how Disney took the villain of Andersen’s story and made her into a heroine in the character of Elsa.

    Like Arendelle, Narnia is fictional world that becomes frozen-over due to the actions of an icy queen. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis may be a children’s story, but it is still an entertaining read for people who are just kids at heart. If you enjoy this book, you will be thrilled to know that it is actually the first in a series of seven novels set in Narnia.

    If you want to catch up on some more recent books, here are some newer stories featuring wintery weather that are quickly becoming classics in their own right. American Gods by Neil Gaiman is a fantasy that highlights the history and social composition of America through a battle of mythological gods. A large part of the story takes place during the brutal winter season in a small Wisconsin town, where it is so cold that the townspeople have an annual contest to predict when a car will fall through the frozen lake when it starts to melt.

    Car sitting on ice

    Staring at this for months on end apparently counts as entertainment when it gets really cold in Wisconsin. Source: http://volumeone.org/

    A TV series based on American Gods is currently in the works, so if you are a “book before the movie” kind of person, now is a good time to read it.

    Another winter weather fantasy book that has a TV show based on it is, of course, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. While a lot of the story takes place in warm climates, much of the plot revolves around the idea that “winter is coming,” which is an oft-repeated phrase in the series. In the Game of Thrones world, winter is worse than anything Bloomington can throw at us. There, winter can last for years and involves ice zombies.

    Pictured: worse than waiting for the bus in the snow.

    Pictured: worse than waiting for the bus in the snow. Source: http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/

    Even if you have already seen the Game of Thrones TV series (or even if you haven’t), definitely pick up the books– there is a lot in them that the series just cannot cover.

    These books can be a great way to relax before next semester starts. However you spend your break, just know that everyone at Wells Library looks forward to seeing you when you get back. Or, if you are not leaving Bloomington, come see us at the library during our semester break hours! We can help you get ahead on the semester or just help you find even more fun wintery reads to relax with.

    -Michayla Sullivan

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