Otterbein University Courtright Memorial Library

Meeting the needs of over 100,000 visitors each term, Otterbein University’s Courtright Memorial Library is a an energetic team in a multifaceted space.


The academic library contributes to the university’s teaching, learning and research in several ways. By creating a 21st century learning environment that is flexible, the Courtright maximizes its existing space and fosters collaboration. Upgraded tables, seating and computers provide a platform for student success. A repurposed card catalog, the Catalog of Dreams, fosters creative writing and poetry prompts. Rotating displays give academic departments, campus-wide programs like Otterbein’s Common Book, alumni authors and current students more ways to connect and inspire.


By strategically listening and acting, the Courtright Library meets the needs of a modern population.  Library users today are much different than those from when the library was built in 1972.  Over the summer, the library installed significantly more outlets in study areas and provided tabletop extensions with USB ports to accommodate users’ devices.


Library Director Tiffany Lipstreu, Assistant Professor Jessica Crossfield McIntosh, Administrative Assistant Kirsten Peninger and the rest of Courtright’s team, provide world-class service to all.  Academic librarians offer individual consultations by appointment to students at all levels.  Further, the library assigns liaisons to academic centers and departments, deepening the library’s relationship with the university. Librarians, like Jessica, have also participated in foreign exchange programs and have shared their new knowledge with the Otterbein community as well as nationally through the Association of College & Research Libraries.


The Otterbein University Courtright Memorial Library is an incredible resource to the university and the community at large. With an active friends of the library group; co-location of important university providers such as Otterbein’s Academic Support Center, Center for Teaching and Learning, and University Archives; and a developing partnership with the Westerville Public Library, the Courtright is a dynamic, 21st century library that nurtures critical thinking skills for life-long learners.


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Back to School

It’s hard to believe summer is coming to an end and school will start again in a few short weeks. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to meet with wonderful school and academic librarians from a variety of institutions.

We thought it would be fun to look back and to catch up with some of our friends at school libraries to learn about their plans for the 2017-18 school year.

Dr. Christina Dorr, media specialist at Hilliard Weaver Middle School, is ramping up for the school year with Cat Days, a two-day orientation that helps students explore the building, learn their schedules and pick up their school books and iPads. The library helps manage the school’s one 2 one program, offering students technical support for their iPads. Once school is in session, Dr. Dorr will provide library orientation classes to incoming middle schoolers and refresh upperclassmen on the library’s role. She provides the students with information about how to access the library’s collections, check out material and ebooks, and opportunities to volunteer and participate in library events.

In October, the school will welcome award winning author Jason Reynolds. In preparation for the event, students have been reading his books and some even met over the summer discuss his works at the local Starbucks.  Dr. Dorr is working in collaboration with other teachers to engage the students in anticipation of the event and has planned a number of fun activities that will excite them make for fantastic event.

Dr. Dorr is also looking forward to working with student groups, including the book club, Books and Brownies, and the newly established Gay/Straight Alliance. Dr. Dorr is enthusiastic and energized for the new school year. Her students are sure to have a fantastic year!

Windermere Elemetary School librarian Shannon Hemmelgarn is excited to begin another school year too! Her summer activities have included efforts to keep students reading year-round with the use of social media and in-person book chats. Her summer reading included “Refugee” by Alan Gratz and “Return to Sender” by Julia Alvarez, middle grade stories that tackle issues in today’s world. Shannon shared that this reading can be used to help approach tough topics and start important conversations with youth.

The new school year promises plenty of excitement for Windermere Elementary. Shannon has been working on new curriculum for her students to help improve their information literacy skills (and avoid “fake news”), digital citizenship and responsible technology use. Shannon has partnered with the youth services librarian at Upper Arlington Public Library to provide a story hour for kindergartners and their families. She will work with students of all grades to engage them and reintroduce them to the library.

In April, the district will welcome author and storyteller Mac Barnett. Library lessons will help prepare and engage students for this exciting event. Shannon is also organizing a family reading program, inviting students and their families to read Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. The program includes activities and contests and will commence with a viewing of the movie. Shannon’s excitement for the year to come is contagious – her students are in for a fun school year!

Thank you to all that are creating learning centers of excellence–we wish everyone a fantastic year!  Additionally, check out these other amazing school & academic libraries we’ve featured:

CCAD Packard Library

Columbus State Community College Library

Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School

Leigh Bonds & OSU Libraries

Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library

The Ohio State University Fine Arts Library

Oberlin College Libraries

Oberlin College Conservatory Library

OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

OSU Byrd Polar Archive

OSU Historic Costume and Textiles Collection

Pontifical College Josephinum Library

Ad Libs Podcast: Leigh Bonds + OSU Libraries


Get to know Leigh Bonds, The Ohio State University’s first digital humanities librarian. Listen in below.


Bonds-300x230Dr. Leigh Bonds is a digital humanist, textual scholar, and book historian.  Leigh earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, and her Doctor of Philosophy in English literature, specializing in Nineteenth-Century British literature, book history and digital humanities.  She joined The Ohio State University as its first digital humanities librarian in August of 2016.


Today’s episode was generously underwritten by independent publisher, Two Dollar Radio, whose books are Too Loud to Ignore. Learn more at


Cbus Libraries is proud to participate in The Flyover Fest.  On May 13, 2017, hear and discuss perspectives on bookstores and libraries as places of resistance and refuge.

Resistance + Refuge : Bookstores + Libraries
In an environment seen by millions as regressive, learn how bookstores and libraries are places of activism and refuge.

When: 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13

Where: Rambling House, 310 E. Hudson St., Columbus, OH 43202

Who: Angie Sharkey (Columbus Metropolitan Library), Charlie Pugsley (Bookspace Columbus), Linda Kass (Gramercy Books)


Music was generously provided by Correy Parks.  See Correy at The Flyover Fest on May 12, follow him on Twitter and buy his music on iTunes.  You can stream his album “The Road Less Traveled” at Listen Columbus, a project of Upper Arlington Public Library.


OSU Historic Costume and Textiles Collection

Located in Campbell Hall on The Ohio State University campus, the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection is truly a gem in the university’s crown. The collection, part of OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology, was established by Ohio State faculty in the 1920s and has grown through donations and acquisitions into an expansive collection of nearly 12,000 items.


Clothing, arranged by decade in the climate controlled archive

The collection includes an array of items, including clothing, buttons and accessories dating back to the mid-18th century and some textiles go back much further – the oldest European items dating to 1450-1510 and pre-Columbian South American  to the 9th-11th century.  These pieces provide a rich perspective into the evolution of culture over time. Students, faculty and visitors can study the changing fashions of men, women and children from around the world, lending insight into the culture of the times and bringing to life periods of history in a unique way.


Curator Gayle Strege shows off some of her favorite pieces

Gayle Strege, collection curator, joined the university in 1996 and has played an instrumental role in creating digital access, improving organization and preservation, and curating engaging exhibits to highlight the importance of the collection. Gayle, whose background includes theater costuming  and museum work, is passionate about textiles and fascinated with the way items are constructed. She enjoys helping students discover connections between the garment and the history of the individuals who created and wore it. The collection is frequently studied by the 20th Century Fashion History course, offered in the Fashion/Retail Studies major. Courses including Women in Modern Europe (History), Women and Gender in the US (History) and Children and Childhood in the Western World (History), Art History, Education and English Literature are a few of the other classes that access the collection to create a deeper understanding of the cultures and subjects they study. Students visit the collection in person and can access many items on the collection’s website, which provides detailed images and background information.


Buttons are categorized by color, size, type and other attributes on large cards

The collection also contains an assortment of over 25,000 buttons which were gifted to the university by former Battelle librarian Ann Rudolph. The buttons are organized on cards by a variety of characteristics, including size, shape, color and material and provide an ongoing project for the collections caretakers – photographing and cataloging them for future enthusiasts!


All Wrapped Up: An Example of Fashionable Outerwear will run through April 2017

The Historic Costume and Textile Collection operates a gallery in Campbell Hall.  The current exhibit celebrates a variety of fashionable outerwear, providing a rich “history of fashion in the shape of capes, coats, and cloaks”. Past exhibits include bridal fashion and Columbus’ fashion story.  The gallery is free and open to the public and we highly recommend visiting.

The Ohio State University Historic Costume and Textile Collection is amazing and culturally important, giving audiences the opportunity to experience the technical aspects, aesthetics and social meaning of apparel and textiles.

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Oberlin College Conservatory Library


This month’s feature on Oberlin College Libraries is a special traveling, two-part series.  This second installment focuses particularly on Oberlin’s Conservatory Library.  Please see our first part here.

The Conservatory Library at Oberlin College serves as a lively central hub for the college’s four music buildings.  Students meet, collaborate and even sing throughout the library.  In fact, while we toured the library, we heard a group of students working through and harmonizing on a music piece!

The library was created soon after Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s inauguration in 1865, making the conservatory the oldest continuously operating conservatory of music in the United States.  The current library building was constructed in 1963 and has undergone several enhancements. In 2000, the library’s collection was considerably expanded and a second story with high density shelving was added.  In 2010, the library obtained a vault for the library’s incredible special collections, and in 2015 the Conservatory Library Special Collections Reading Room was opened.


Conservatory Librarian Deborah Campana shares a moment in the library’s sunny atrium

Conservatory Librarian Deborah Campana noted the library is an essential partner to the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music . The library ranks among the largest academic music libraries with approximately 270,000 items, including 80,000 sound recordings, 127,000 musical scores and almost 63,000 books about music.  Specialized online databases and  computers equipped with composition software expand students’ discovery and technical expertise.  The library continues to actively collect in the area of women musicians as well as ethnic, folk, jazz and other genres.


Exhibit featuring the Milton J. and Mona C. Hinton Collection

The Conservatory Library’s amazing special collections, managed by Jeremy Smith, contain rare materials from the 1500s through today. The collection comprises of a wide array of recordings, music manuscripts, autographs, photographs, engravings, paintings, posters, playbills and instruments.  Jeremy oversees the ongoing digitization of the collections and creates engaging exhibits throughout Oberlin College’s campus.

The Conservatory Library at Oberlin College is a vibrant, musical space and a gem within the college.

Oberlin College Libraries


This month’s feature on Oberlin College Libraries is a special traveling, two-part series.  Please join us on October 17th when we explore the libraries further, particularly the Oberlin College Conservatory Library.

Oberlin College, located in northern Ohio, celebrates a rich history of providing excellent equality in education.  The college, founded in 1833, was the first college in America to adopt a policy to admit African American students and the first to grant bachelor’s degrees to women in a coeducational program.  The city of Oberlin has a long history of supporting racial justice, including when the town banded together with neighboring Wellington to keep runaway slave, John Price, free. In addition to providing exceptional service to students, the Oberlin College Library helps to preserve the college’s history and educate students on the history of the institution through their amazing collections.  As a result of their shared history with the city, the college maintains an impressive collection of abolitionist materials and original records.

“From it’s inception, the school represents education and social justice. The library is the steward of that concept” – Alexia Hudson-Ward.


Library Director Alexia Hudson-Ward and Head of Special Collections Ed Vermue show pieces from their abolitionist collection – slave stocks and chains leave a powerful impression when you feel the weight and learn the story

Hudson-Ward joined Oberlin College as the Azariah Smith Root Director of Libraries in July of 2016 and oversees the college’s four libraries – the main Mudd Center library and the arts, science and conservatory libraries.  The library’s founding director, Azariah Smith Root, was a visionary and thought leader behind the concept of bibliographic instruction who also held leadership roles with the American Library Association.

Hudson-Ward explained that the college’s 3,000 students have access to all of the libraries and visit them depending on which unique atmosphere suits their needs.  The Mudd Center library serves as a meeting place and student union, the art library provides hands on learning opportunities, the conservatory library is musical and often students are found singing in the stacks and the science library is a silent study space.


Commemorative gateway in front of the art museum and library

Head of Special Collections Ed Vermue discussed the power of physical objects in the library collection.  Library staff are working to increase the use of haptic learning by delivering physical objects from their archives into the hands of students. These experiences engage students in learning and often lead them to explore other materials including documents and manuscripts. Oberlin is exploring methods to capture the essence of what is lost in the digitization process and to display materials while making them part of a readily available collection.


Fully functioning media viewers are part of the library archives and special collection

The library has also been tasked with documenting the biography of President Marvin Krislov, who will depart the college at the end of the academic year. As the first “digital president,” the library will explore methods for capturing his presence on the campus through his social media and other digital communications.

Hudson-Ward is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. As someone new to the campus, she enjoys seeing the greatness of the college and its libraries through fresh eyes and sharing her enthusiasm with her team, students and library visitors.







OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

OSU Billy Ireland Library & Museum entrance and lobby

OSU Billy Ireland Library & Museum entrance and lobby

The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Library and Museum is an extraordinary treasure and one of the few museums dedicated to comics in the world.  Started in 1977, the collection has grown to 300,000 original cartoons, 45,000 books, 2.5 million comic strip clippings and newspaper pages, and more than 5,000 cartoonists’ biographical files, including handwriting samples.  The library serves students, researchers and teachers, and the library and museum are free and open to the public.

Originals from Charles Schultz's Peanuts

Originals from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts

The library contains irreplaceable collections housed in a tightly-secured, temperature-controlled archive.  Visitors to the reading room are highly encouraged to call ahead to request materials two days in advance.  The library includes the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection with materials dating back to 1893, the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection from the former museum founded by Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker and the Bill Watterson Deposit Collection…YES!  THE ENTIRE COLLECTION OF BILL WATTERSON’S CALVIN AND HOBBES IS HOUSED HERE!

Billy Ireland stain glass reproduction detail

Billy Ireland stain glass reproduction detail of an editorial cartoon published in the early 1900’s

The library and museum’s namesake comes from an influential cartoonist who worked for the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.  Billy Ireland stayed true to his roots and never left Ohio while helping advance the careers of others, like Milton Caniff who later helped start Ohio State’s comics collection and once graced the cover of Time magazine.  In the image above, Ireland editorialized the blight caused by Columbus’ flood of 1913.  Sketches that Ireland created to visualize a new downtown riverfront have been used to inform Columbus’ stunning Scioto Mile, demonstrating Ireland’s continued influence and cartoonists’ importance to civic engagement.

Librarian Caitlin McGurk holding an original drawing from Disney's 1940 Fantasia

Librarian Caitlin McGurk holding an original drawing from Disney’s 1940 Fantasia

Librarian Caitlin McGurk believes in the transformative power of comics and is a strong advocate for the art form’s appreciation.  Caitlin teaches classes on English, history, art, women’s studies, theology, psychology and ESL, pairing the needs of Ohio State’s students with cartoon collections.  Previously the head librarian of Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies, Caitlin is driven to give greater exposure to the art and artists that may otherwise be forgotten or marginalized.  She actively partners with her Ohio State colleagues and the community to extend cartooning’s legacy.

Varios manga

Vintage Japanese manga

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum is an indispensable resource for understanding the perceptions of popular culture, societies, nationalism and gender spanning over 100 years across multiple contents.  At every turn, the library, museum and staff offer a path to exploration and discovery.  We highly recommend visiting their current exhibits, exploring their online exhibitions, meeting award-winning speakers and joining them and others for the four-day, comics expo Cartoon Crossroads Columbus.

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