home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library Cycle of Success: English 1000 Pilot Program Results in Increased Collaboration

Cycle of Success: English 1000 Pilot Program Results in Increased Collaboration

Last year, Cindy Cotner served as the Interim Head of Instructional Services at Ellis Library and oversaw a pilot program where new teaching assistants in the English department were each matched to an individual librarian for library instruction and research assistance for their sections of English 1000, the first-year writing course required of Mizzou students. Due to the success of the program, it has been expanded this year, with every English 1000 instructor matched to a librarian for their courses.

In April, Cindy and Anne Barker presented “Bringing the Library into the Classroom: Rethinking Library Resources” with Deanna Benjamin and Bailey Boyd, the English 1000 instructors they worked with, at the MU Composition Program’s Celebration of Writing and Teaching.

Collaboration with librarians is nothing new for Deanna Benjamin, a PhD candidate who, in addition to teaching a variety of courses here at Mizzou, has taught in St. Louis since 2008. Cindy co-taught two sessions regarding the research process with Deanna in her classroom. During the first class session, the class worked on “an exercise that connected Cindy’s introduction to the library and research with the semester research project.” They opened the second class session with a Q&A and then “visited with students individually while they all conducted research online.” Deanna says, “Our collaboration in class helped the students ask a variety of research questions that at least one of us was able to answer.”

When the students presented their research later in the semester, Cindy reinforced the library’s commitment to undergraduate research by attending the presentations.

During her master’s program here at Mizzou, Bailey Boyd first taught English 1000 and began collaborating with the library for research instruction. Now a first-year PhD student in creative nonfiction writing, her personal research interests include “uncovering new bits of information that have been hidden away, such as archival research and new sides to a well-known story.”

Anne Barker

Last year, Bailey met with Anne early in the fall semester to discuss how the library could help her students with their projects. Bailey requires her to students to “select a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, analyze that photograph, and then use research to fit that photograph within its original historical and cultural moment.” In conjunction with that assignment, Anne “put together an amazing course guide where the students could explore different research on eras, all collected in one place!” For this semester’s library visit for the same assignment, Anne went a step further. Bailey says she “had pulled out old Time magazine archives and Harper’s Bazaar archives so that students could see–in real, tangible form–what people in different decades would be seeing. Students were able to surround themselves and immerse themselves in that world for a short while.”

Bailey saw the effect of library instruction very clearly in her students’ final essays for this project. She says, “The research I saw in their papers was quite extraordinary–some students relayed background stories of famous photos that had changed their minds about the photographs. In my opinion, this research led to richer and more in-depth analysis of their photographs–every essay was interesting and thought-provoking.”

When Bailey wanted to assign her students the Ellis Library scavenger hunt, which can be completed by students on their cell phones, she worked with Anne to customize call numbers to the food research and cookbook area “so that they were led to the stacks that had the information they would need further in the semester.”

Inspired by this collaboration, Bailey has incorporated some changes into her curriculum. She says, “I’ve already increased our class library visits from one visit to three and now require my students to consult with a librarian at least once on their own time throughout the semester. These past semesters of library collaboration have really shown me how important early incorporation of the library truly is.”

Anne says that “the collaboration has allowed us to be more proactive and engaged with the TAs, so that the library portions dovetail more with their objectives for the class. We’ve also been able to experiment more with providing handouts, online lessons, guides, and brief videos that can be used outside of the classroom time, so that the time we have together with students can be a bit more interactive.” Because the level of collaboration between librarians and English 1000 instructors is still evolving, she finds being able to work with the same teaching assistants for multiple semesters helpful.

Deanna and Bailey shared some advice on how to take advantage of library services. Deanna advises teaching assistants and faculty to meet “with a librarian before the semester begins to talk about the topic and goals of the course and ways in which the librarian might use some of the instructional time to get to know students (and for students to get to know their librarian).” Bailey recommends a library tour for everyone new to Mizzou. She advises her fellow graduate students to form a relationship with their subject librarian “because we’re more likely to ask questions if we’ve established that relationship.” In her case, that was also Anne, whom she also visited for research help on her master’s thesis. She says, “I can’t really express how much Anne has helped me these past two years. I don’t think I could have accomplished many of the things I wanted to accomplish in my classroom or as a student if I hadn’t had that relationship.”

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

home Events and Exhibits “Seeing Material Culture at Mizzou” Exhibit

“Seeing Material Culture at Mizzou” Exhibit

The student showcase for Seeing Material Culture at Mizzou is now on display in the Ellis Library Colonnade. This semester’s Honors Tutorial, “Get Real, Go Places! Let Objects Take You There,” focused on the study of material culture, specifically the opportunities for research that objects and artifacts make possible.

Students interpreted, inspected, and wrote about objects through sketchbook journals, weekly syntheses, and a culminating analysis. The course is taught by Dr. Sarah Buchanan of the iSchool and by campus gallery, library, archive, and museum professionals who belong to the Material Culture Studies Group.

This exhibit features 22 objects created by eight undergraduate students, each based on a class visit to a particular collection.

Student Work on Display

Items on display include a mixed media booklet and a collage depicting horticulture in the Mizzou Botanic Garden, digital art based on a Harriet Frishmuth sculpture from 1920 at the Museum of Art and Archaeology, clay art based on a Beulah Ecton Woodard terra cotta from 1937-38 also at the Museum of Art and Archaeology, drawings inspired by clothing in the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection and by artwork in the State Historical Society of Missouri, poetry, reflections on letterpress as seen during the Bingham Art Gallery visit, and drawings inspired by objects in the Museum of Anthropology and in Special Collections and Rare Books, among others.

Complementing the student work are two apparel items from the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection and two musical scores from Special Collections and Rare Books.



Jennifer Gravley

I am a Research and Instruction Librarian with a background in creative writing.

Primary Sources Survey

Humanities researchers, help us decide which primary sources the Center for Research Libraries should prioritize for collection. MU, as a CRL member, will have access to everything they purchase. Your recommendations matter, so please take our survey by November 17!

If you have questions, please contact Rachel Brekhus at BrekhusR@missouri.edu or (573) 882-7563.

Jennifer Gravley

I am a Research and Instruction Librarian with a background in creative writing.

home Cycle of Success Cycle of Success: In-Person Library Instruction Leads to Online Instruction

Cycle of Success: In-Person Library Instruction Leads to Online Instruction

PhD student and essayist Corinna Cook’s personal research interests include the lyric essay, literary journalism, indigenous literature and cinema, and posthumanism. As a teaching assistant, she reached out to Paula Roper for library instruction for her English 1000 courses exploring mass incarceration. Both her on-ground and online students benefited from Paula’s help navigating library resources related to the course’s theme and their specific research assignment.

Corinna’s students read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness and then identified an aspect they’d like to research and consider from other perspectives. They were required to consult a source cited in the original text in their research essays. As Corinna says, “Her book incorporates an enormous amount of research, so virtually any passage/topic they’ve chosen to supplement will include references and citations.” Paula concurs, “Alexander uses citations from a wide range of materials including books, books chapter, magazines, journals, newspapers, reports, and court cases.” In terms of their own research, students were also required to use one popular and one scholarly source.

For the in-person library session, Paula introduced students to the library and demonstrated the stages of research required for the assignment. Corinna says, “Paula incorporated passages from Alexander’s book, linked them to references from Alexander’s endnotes, and demonstrated research steps that exactly mimicked the assignment’s requirements. Paula was also on board as our class librarian: she met with students one-on-one, answered emails, and supported individual research processes as needed.”

Paula Roper

Paula then adapted this lesson, splitting the information into smaller lessons Corinna could integrate into her online course. One lesson illustrated how to use Discover@MU to find articles from popular publications, while the other focused on how to find the sources cited in The New Jim Crow. Corinna describes the lessons as “clear and detailed,” including links to resources from the library and beyond. “Again,” she says, the lessons were “specific to students’ assignment of doing supplemental research responding to The New Jim Crow.” Paula encourages students to reach out for assistance after the library instruction session if they need further assistance, but if they don’t, “it might indicate that the lessons served to answer questions they may have had regarding the library research needed for their work.”

Paula calls Corinna “a clearly dedicated and enthusiastic English 1000 instructor.” She says, “As an important part of the university’s educational effort, the Libraries encourage participation in these collaborative opportunities. Workload considerations coupled with the responsibility for designing lessons demonstrating some of the intricate complexities of research made this effort challenging but worthwhile.” She looks forward to more successful collaborations, “convinced that this enhanced the educational experience of our students.”

Corinna found Paula through a circuitous route: “I think I went scrolling around through the subject librarian pages. Why did I do this? I don’t remember. Following a rabbit hole for something unrelated to teaching. Best rabbit hole ever: I found out we have a social sciences librarian affiliated with the Black Studies program who had created pages and pages of these elaborate library guides–on slam poetry, on the contemporary African diaspora, on hip hop, on historical trauma. . . . In other words, I accidentally found out there was an expert invested in teaching research skills on themes related to my own class.”

Her advice to other instructors is to contact the subject librarian in the field of your class’s theme. “Dig around, click around, do your homework,” Corinna says. “Take the initiative to introduce yourself, bring a clear plan to the table, then ask genuinely open questions and listen to the feedback.” 

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.



home Cycle of Success Cycle of Success: Staying Ahead of the Curve at Fridays @ the Library

Cycle of Success: Staying Ahead of the Curve at Fridays @ the Library

Assistant teaching professor of physical therapy Brad Willis found out about the Fridays @ the Library workshop series after enrolling in the educational leadership and policy analysis program through the College of Education. He became full-time faculty in 2015 after several years of practice as a physical therapist. He teaches advanced courses on geriatric rehabilitation as well as foundational science courses in the doctoral program. He says, “As I grow into my new academic role, I hope to investigate curricular assessment strategies for allied health programs.”

In September, he attended “Staying Ahead of the Curve,” taught by Kimberly Moeller. Brad says, “During my previous coursework and early career as a faculty member at MU, I did not fully appreciate the scope of resources available to students and employees.”  The workshop provided him with an overview of library resources and services, ranging from the vast array of specialized databases to “the individualized attention and subject expertise of trained library science staff” to “ways young and experienced scholars may increase the visibility of their work and tools to greatly improve the efficiency of academic writing.”

Kimberly Moeller

Kimberly enjoys the opportunity to show that Mizzou Libraries have a lot more to offer than just books and articles. She says, “Sharing the different resources is a pleasure.”

Impressed by Kimberly’s teaching and audience engagement, Brad admits, “It was apparent that we were only skimming the surface during this session.” He says he will use her tips and tricks for years to come in his dual role as a faculty member and PhD student. Brad recommends getting to know your subject librarian and attending programming targeted to your interests and needs. His only regret is not attending a Fridays @ the Library workshop sooner.

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.







home Databases & Electronic Resources A Glimpse into Mizzou’s Past: Campus Maps Online

A Glimpse into Mizzou’s Past: Campus Maps Online

As you prepare for Homecoming on October 21st this year, take a look at some of the University of Missouri campus maps held in MOspace, our online repository. This collection consists of maps from 1872-2015 and includes a large variety of maps, such as aerial views and 3D renderings of campus buildings–even parking maps and proposals for new buildings.

Homecoming was first celebrated at Mizzou in 1911. This map from three years later shows what was then proposed for where the football stadium stands today: a lake. A 1927 map details campus and downtown Columbia. The back contains lists of rooms for rent in boarding houses.

This campus map collection is hosted by MOspace, the freely available online repository for scholarship and other works by University of Missouri, faculty, students, and staff, as well as other MU resources.


Jennifer Gravley

I am a Research and Instruction Librarian with a background in creative writing.

home Ellis Library, Events and Exhibits Fun Stuff: Comics and Criticism

Fun Stuff: Comics and Criticism

Who’s your favorite superhero? What’s your favorite indie comic? Ellis Library has lots of fun stuff, including comics on display near the Reference Desk.

Okay, okay, we do have some comics criticism mixed in. We are an academic library, after all. Take a look at Wonder Woman comics or learn about the history of this famous character.



Jennifer Gravley

I am a Research and Instruction Librarian with a background in creative writing.

home Events and Exhibits How Fear Leads to Atrocity: One Read Program Event

How Fear Leads to Atrocity: One Read Program Event

Join us on October 18th at 5 pm in Ellis Library 114A for the next event in our series about this year’s One Read Program pick, Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves. A panel of MU faculty from a variety of departments to discuss how social, political, and psychological rationales can lead to discrimination and injustice.

Panelists include Dr. Jamie Arndt from MU Psychology, Professor Sam Halabi from MU Law, and Dr. Earnest Perry from MU Journalism.

The One Read Program, which promotes conversations regarding diversity, inclusion, and social justice through students, faculty, and staff reading a particular book together, is sponsored by Mizzou Law and Mizzou Libraries. For more information, see this guide or visit the exhibit through September 29. Copies of the book are available for checkout.

home Ellis Library, Resources and Services Meet the Graduate Reference Assistants

Meet the Graduate Reference Assistants

This year, the Research, Access, and Instructional Services Division of Ellis Library is fortunate to have seven graduate assistants providing research assistance at the Reference Desk, leading workshops, and helping with behind-the-scenes projects. Meet a few of them below and find out some of their insider research tips.

Haley Gillilan, originally from Kansas City, studied English and film studies at Ball State University as an undergraduate. Her parents took her the library from a young age, helping instill “a lifelong love for reading, pop culture, and the library.”

Haley Gillilan

She says, “I started looking into library careers around the time there was a lot of racial unrest and community upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri, and I saw the way that the library took care of people in that community seeking refuge. After that event, I was inspired to look into library school and realized that the profession exemplified a lot of the values that I personally hold.”

Haley enjoys helping people find what they need and is “always happy to make the library a hospitable place.” When anyone isn’t sure where something is located in the library, she recommends using the How do I find? link under Looking For? on the library’s homepage.

Victoria Knight

Victoria Knight studied English here at Mizzou, graduating with her bachelor’s in the spring of 2016. What made her want to become a librarian? “The most stereotypical answer, I love to read! I have always been interested in reading and writing, and even in high school I knew I wanted to go into librarianship. However, as I got older and started my career in higher education, I saw the value of information literacy and the importance of our freedom to gather and read whatever we wanted. I thought librarianship would be a great way to combine my interest in literature and my love for freedom of speech and information access.”

She says finding “the exact right source” is most rewarding aspect of working at the reference desk. “It doesn’t matter if it is a book, article, or even the perfect database. When the student starts to realize that we have exactly what they need, that is what makes the job fun! We never know what we are going to be asked, and when we find the perfect source it just makes everyone happy.”

Victoria knows that library research can be intimidating but tells students “they should never spend hours struggling with library sources.” She emphasizes the library’s abundant resources and the reference department that helps students “research smarter, not harder.” She advises, “Don’t stress or be afraid to ask us for help! It’s literally why we are here.”

Erin Niederberger

Erin Niederberger majored in English and minored in history and anthropology right here at Mizzou. Her undergraduate internship at Ellis Library led to her current path. She says, “I hadn’t even thought about librarianship as a career before, but the internship prompted me to find out more.”

Erin appreciates a good challenge, like “when someone has a complicated question, and we’re able to find exactly what they need. Hunting for good books and journal articles can be a fun treasure-hunting experience, but the best part is when you get them what they’re looking for.”

Her favorite piece of library history to share is that “if you stand on the second floor landing and look up the stairs, you can faintly see the outlines of windows that were filled in when additions were built onto the library. This building comes with a lot of history.” Erin’s practical advice is to take a look at the subject guides linked to as Research by subject under Quick Links on the library homepage. These guides “give you a lot of places to start with research.”

Dylan Thomas Martin

Dylan Thomas Martin studied English literature, pursuing secondary education for a few years before deciding on librarianship, which offers him a “unique mix of teaching, public service, projects, and research.” In addition to his work at Ellis Library, he is “currently working with the Daniel Boone Regional Library to host digitally a collection of a local zine published since 1992.”

As far as his work here at Ellis, Dylan most enjoys “working with diverse students from across the disciplines and helping users arrive at the ‘a-ha!’ moment, so they can walk away from the reference desk a more independent researcher.”

Dylan advises students, “Consider using citation management software like EndNote, Zotero, or Mendeley. It will save you time and help organize your research for posterity.”

Michelle Zigler

Michelle Zigler majored in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, plus a minor in women’s and gender studies. What made her want to become a librarian? She says her internship with The State Historical Society of Missouri prompted her interest in the profession. She also worked in her high school library.

Michelle likes helping people and finds plenty of opportunity for that at the Reference Desk. “It makes me feel so good inside knowing that I helped give someone else the answer that they needed.”

“I love referring students to Special Collections and Rare Books,” she says of her favorite library tip. Although many students are unaware of what is in their collections, Michelle hooks them with tidbits such as “Their oldest material is around 4,000 years old!”


home Ellis Library, Staff news Meet Joseph Askins, Head of Instructional Services

Meet Joseph Askins, Head of Instructional Services

The University of Missouri Libraries recently welcomed Joseph Askins as Head of Instructional Services. We are excited to have him on board. Get to know a little more about him in this quick interview.

Please tell us a little about your background and experience. What led you to the University of Missouri Libraries?

I grew up in Northwest Arkansas, not too far from the University of Arkansas and Walmart’s world headquarters, and moved to Columbia in 1999 to study Journalism. After graduating from the J-School in 2003, I spent a few years working for newspapers, magazines, and websites in Arkansas and Chicago. As I neared the end of my twenties, I decided to get a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, even though I had never worked in a library at any point in my life. In 2011 I left Chicago and my job as an editor, moved back to Arkansas once again, and looked for any and every opportunity to work with libraries, archives, and museums around my hometown. In 2012 I took a job as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at NorthWest Arkansas Community College, in 2015 I moved to Columbia, SC, to become an Information Literacy Programs Librarian at the University of South Carolina, and this summer I traded in one Columbia for another and returned to Mizzou.

How did you come to be a librarian, and what do you find most interesting about library instruction?

By 2008 I was working as the managing editor of a small magazine and website that covered new residential construction in and around Chicago. The market collapsed that year, developers stopped placing ads in our publication (or, in one memorable instance, fled the country entirely), and construction in many neighborhoods ground to a halt. I realized at some point that tracking price cuts for imaginary condos in unbuilt high-rises was not my idea of a good time, and by early 2009 I was thinking a lot about what I did and didn’t enjoy about my career up to that point. What I realized was that I loved chasing facts, pulling files, sifting through records—I liked the research part of my job so much more than the storytelling part. So I started to brainstorm ways in which I could spend more time searching for information and solving mysteries about where a particular piece of data might be located, and I quickly latched onto librarianship as a career where I could do just that.

The very first LIS course I ever took, a full year before I entered school as a full-time grad student, was called Instruction & Assistance Systems. It was all about teaching in a library environment, and it was there where I first encountered terms like “information literacy” and “one-shots” and “flipped classrooms.” One of the things I realized as I went through that course was that I never really experienced that kind of instruction as a student; I tested out of my freshman composition class and didn’t recall any other instances in which I visited Ellis or the J-School library for formal instruction, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much better I would have performed as an undergraduate if I had felt more at ease with the library and its resources. So through the rest of library school and on into my career, I thought of my role as that of someone who could encourage and empower users, and help them develop the strategies and confidence necessary to use our collection to meet their needs.

What was your favorite book you were assigned to read in college, and what are you reading now?

I really enjoyed In Dubious Battle, which I read for an American Protest Lit class. It covers a lot of the same territory as The Grapes of Wrath, with its depiction of migrant workers and labor strikes, but it’s also a study of mob mentality—the way that humans, like other animals, behaved differently when grouped together than they would individually—which was a topic that interested Steinbeck greatly.

Right now I’m reading The Republic for Which It Stands, Richard White’s new book about the Reconstruction era and the Gilded Age. I’m also working my way through A New Literary History of America, an anthology of essays about works of American literature, co-edited by Greil Marcus, who’s always been good at relating rock music to seemingly unrelated works of art and folklore.