Meet Jennifer Gravley – The New Instructional Services Librarian

MU Libraries recently welcomed a new librarian to the Instructional Services Department! Jennifer Gravley was a former graduate student in the Library and Information Science program at Mizzou, and our library staff is excited to have her back in a professional capacity.  Here's a quick interview, so you can get to know and love her as much as we do.

Q: How did you come to be a librarian?

Jennifer: I suppose I went to library school as part of a midlife career change, but it wasn’t a new consideration. I am definitely not the first person from my creative writing program to go on to become a librarian! I’ve brought the experiences of having taught college courses and worked in scholarly publishing with me, but that’s part of why I love working at a university—there are so many people working in so many different ways to achieve the overall mission of education. Gaining understanding of the different aspects of the scholarly community helps me see more of the big picture.

Q: What aspects of your job at MU Libraries are you excited about?

Jennifer: I look forward to working with freshman writing instructors and students. Having taught freshman writing myself, I know that this is a course that challenges students to become more skillful researchers as well as more proficient writers. And that’s quite a task for any of us to undertake! Growth is uncomfortable but rewarding. It’s now my job to introduce these students to library resources and help them learn some basic research skills to use those resources more effectively.

I also never know what questions will come my way at the reference desk. This isn’t the most common transaction, but sometimes students will come to the desk for help and know what they are looking for, where to find it, and how to find it—but they don’t know that they know. Those opportunities to confirm someone’s research abilities, to help them gain the confidence to utilize the skills they already have, are just as important as helping students gain those same skills in the first place.

Q: Since we are librarians, we have to be stereotypical and ask about books. What was your favorite book you were assigned to read in college, and what are you reading now?

Jennifer: Beloved by Toni Morrison in college.  I recently read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which was incredible.

Stop by Ellis Library to say hi to Jennifer at the reference desk, or to ask about library instruction.

New Food and Drink Policy for Ellis Library

The food and drink policy is intended to help the Libraries maintain a pleasant environment conducive to study and research, while preserving our collections, equipment and furnishings.

Food and Drink Allowed in Ellis Library

  • The following food & drink types are allowed in most areas, unless signage indicates otherwise:


    • Dry, non-perishable snacks such as those found in vending machines (crackers, chips, nuts, etc.)
    • Non-alcoholic drinks in covered containers
  • Meals and other types of food may be consumed in the BookMark Café and ground floor seating area near the elevators.
  • All food deliveries must be received outside of the library.
  • Please report all accidental spills to a service desk as soon as noticed so that they can be addressed.
  • Users who fail to abide by the policy will be asked to relocate to an appropriate space or to leave the library.

Restricted Food and Drink Spaces in Ellis Library

  • No food or drink will be allowed in the Special Collections areas.
  • The Ellis Reading Rooms are restricted to covered drinks only to honor the quiet policy.

Alcohol and Tobacco

In accordance with University regulation, no alcohol or tobacco products are permitted in the Libraries.

Exceptions to the Policy

  • Scheduled events and activities that include food and/or drink must be approved by Library Administration.

Encourage Your Students to Participate in the Library Scavenger Hunt

An early introduction to the library helps students understand that the library is there to support research needs both online and onsite, with resources beyond what existed in high school libraries.  The MU Libraries can help you achieve your goal of ensuring a smooth transition from high school to college, by introducing resources, skills, and habits which foster academic success.

The MU Libraries Scavenger Hunt is designed to introduce you to Ellis Library’s spaces and services – and to make the building a little less intimidating. It takes about 30 minutes to complete, so will easily fit into any break in your schedule. Students can take the Scavenger Hunt on their smart phone (, or stop by the reference desk to pick up a paper copy.

Ellis Library Drop-In Tours

Scheduled Thursday–Sunday before classes start!

Informal tours of Ellis Library are scheduled on the hour Thursday – Sunday, August 18 –21 from 12noon – 7pm, (last tour starts at 6pm). Meet a tour guide at the North Door of Ellis Library, and spend some time learning about one of the largest libraries in Missouri! You may invite friends and family as well to get an in-depth look, (50 minutes), or a quick overview, (20 minutes). We will tailor the tours to your requests when possible.

Tour Questions: Do you know that each academic department on campus has an assigned librarian? Do you know who your librarian is? What kind of study environments do you like? Do you know that Ellis Library has very quiet and moderately quiet study areas, some with cushy chairs, some with computers, and some with group study rooms? Do you know the location of the books in your discipline? Drop in and find out the answer to these and other questions.

Recommended for first-time freshmen, graduate students and friends. Get a jump on the semester by taking a tour.  Drop in and learn about the Mizzou Libraries!

Ellis Library Fall Hours 2016

Mon-Thu:  7:30am-Midnight
Fri:  7:30am-7pm
Sat:  9am-7pm
Sun:  Noon- Midnight

The University Libraries will reduce hours for Ellis Library (and some of the specialized libraries) at the beginning of the fall semester. Ellis Library will no longer be open 24 hours, but will close most days at midnight.

In order to maintain the highest service level possible, the Libraries have increased the hours for online chat access to librarians. Students and researchers may ask questions online almost any time of day or night.

In addition, Ellis Library will be open 24 hours the week before and the week of Finals.

In addition to reducing hours, the Libraries have eliminated eight positions and will be cutting approximately $1 million in collections. These measures result from a lack of student fee revenue as well as the 5% cut to MU general operating funds. The Libraries administration continues to seek funds through a variety of sources.

All hours for Ellis Library and the specialized libraries can be found at

If you have questions, please contact Shannon Cary at or 573-882-4703.


Fiscal Year 2017 Collections Update

The University Libraries are proceeding with the previously announced 1.2 million dollar reduction to our collections expenditures for FY17. More information about the need for this spending reduction and how we are identifying potential savings can be found at –  University Libraries – FY17 Collections Budget update. Faculty and students may contact the subject librarian for their program with questions. General questions may be sent to Shannon Cary at The University Libraries are committed to providing quality service and timely access to materials, though more materials will need to be acquired using our consortial and interlibrary loan services.

PokemonGO Lurefest @ Ellis Library



Understanding Brexit through data analysis

Data Enthusiasts,

A blog post on the UK Data Service website titled “Making Sense of Brexit – the data you need to analyse” includes a great annotated list of data resources they make freely available.  There is a whole world of data out there!  The data services librarians right here at MU Libraries can help you find the data you need to complete your research.  Visit our Data Sets for Quantitative Research page for details and contact information.

Ellis Library: Memorial Day Weekend Hours

In honor of Memorial Day, Ellis Library will have reduced hours this weekend:

  • Saturday: 10am-2pm
  • Sunday: CLOSED
  • Monday: CLOSED

What are the hours for all of the other libraries on campus this weekend?
Check our always up-to-date Hours page!

Finding a Dream Ship in Government Documents

How would a Mississippi riverboat captain’s dream ship have looked in 1870?  For David De Haven of New Orleans, it would have featured spiral staircases, arched passageways, private promenades for the ladies and one for “gents,” and luxury cabins opening into sky-lit rotundas.  "Water closets" for passengers were to be tucked behind the two towering side wheels. Captain De Haven submitted his drawings to the U.S. Patent Office and received a patent for the innovative floor plan in 1870.  Although the designs and accompanying text are part of the U.S. PTO’s online database, they cannot be retrieved through a simple Google search.  

MU’s Government Information librarians are available to help you navigate the rich history of our nation’s innovations, whether they be physical machines, new ways of doing things, or artistic innovations such as steamboat designs.   We have been an official depository for federal government since 1862.  Our trained government information specialists are ready to assist library patrons search more than nine million U.S. patents dated from 1790 to the present.  Contact Marie Concannon at 573-882-0748 or email for more information or to schedule training session for your class.


Steamboat cross-section view


D. De Haven, “Ship Building,” U. S. Patent #105,438.  July 19, 1870.  To view the patent online at high resolution, enter patent number 105438 at the US Patent Full-Page Image search page:




Marie Concannon

Marie Concannon is Head of Government Information and Data Archives, based in MU Ellis Library.