home Ellis Library, Events and Exhibits, Government Information Century-old Soil Survey Maps Also Reveal the Built Environment

Century-old Soil Survey Maps Also Reveal the Built Environment

Have you seen our latest display in the Bookmark Café? From a distance, these maps–neither paintings nor drawings–look like antique marbleized papers with amorphous shapes in a dreamy blending of lavenders, corals, blues, golds and pinks. But up close another scene is unveiled: villages as they appeared nearly a century ago. Schoolhouses on hilltops. Green plantations on the banks of the Rio Grande river, looking out into Mexico. Islands in lakes. Cemeteries and church buildings. Serpentine trails that wander through the wilderness, terminating at lone cabins. On the south wall, you can visit Las Vegas back when it only had a dozen streets each way, dots indicating buildings.

Sampson County, North Carolina

For nearly 100 years, a large collection of these soil survey maps have been folded up and tucked in the back of U.S. Department of Agriculture documents in Mizzou Libraries’ Government Information collection. Although the project’s purpose was to document soil types and alkalinity, the maps show much more than that.

These maps are generally too fragile to unfold without tearing, but with the help of award-winning preservation specialist Michaelle Dorsey, some maps from a 1923 volume were very carefully opened up and placed inside clear plastic envelopes, custom made in our on-site preservation shop. See the original maps on display now because they are for the most part not available online. However if you want to see one for a different place or year, you can use this guide to discover which areas were mapped on which dates, and we can help you view others in our print collection.


home Uncategorized Professor’s Donation Increases Students’ Access to Textbook

Professor’s Donation Increases Students’ Access to Textbook


Jenny Bossaller, Associate Professor at the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, donated a copy of the third edition of Introduction to Public Librarianship, which she coauthored with Kathleen de la Peña McCook, to Mizzou Libraries as well as other libraries in the MU system and the Daniel Boone Regional Library.Though she has used different editions of this book over the years in the her Introduction to Public Libraries class, this is the first edition she helped edit and write.

By the time that course is offered again next year, Jenny plans to have given all ten of her author copies of the book to libraries around the state, including more public libraries. She says, “I think that’ll be helpful for all the online students.” When the course is in session, she’ll ask Mizzou Libraries to pull the text from general circulation and put it on reserve so that her students will have access to it if they can’t afford to purchase their own copy.

As a teacher, Jenny “loves having a textbook” for this course because it’s comprehensive, with one chapter per week of the semester, and “it’s sequenced in a way that makes sense together as a book.” She finds building off a core text with supplemental materials easier than cobbling together a course from scratch. “The goal,” she says, “is to give them professionally edited and accurate materials and then making them as inexpensive as possible.”

Even with online courses, certain telltale behaviors can signal that students have been unable to afford the textbook, such as not referring to the readings themselves in discussion board posts. Even if students can fake it to get by in the course, Jenny says, “they’re really missing out.”

“We’re in an interesting transition phase with textbooks,” Jenny says. For example, the next edition of Introduction to Public Librarianship, probably five or six years from now, will be what she calls a “good compromise”: a smaller book with a lot more open educational materials available via a companion website. Like many faculty, she’s encountered OER textbooks that are not as professionally produced as those from traditional publishers. Additionally, writing textbooks is not traditionally as valuable for tenure and promotion as other types of publications.


“If you have a textbook, put it on reserve for your students because not everybody can afford to buy the textbook,” Jenny advises fellow faculty. She also encourages faculty to work with publishers to see if they will grant access to the PDF of the textbook for a reduced price. SHE’S NOT SURE HOW IT WORKS–WOULD GO THROUGH THE LIBRARY? AS PART OF A PACKAGE?

Because many university libraries in the U.S. do not purchase textbooks as a rule, she says faculty are sometimes confused as to whether they should give their textbooks to the library or not. QUESTION FOR THE LIBRARY


“I do love MU’s OER initiative, and the incentives that they’re providing are very helpful,” Jenny says, “but for now, this is what I could do to contribute to making this textbook more freely available for our students through the library.”

home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library Collaboration Builds Collections

Collaboration Builds Collections

The story of how Mizzou Libraries came to be one of the few libraries with a nearly complete set of Bildende Kunst, a visual arts journal from the former German Democratic Republic, began with an email but involved many hands. In Leipzig, Germany, on research leave, Assistant Professor Seth Howes contacted his subject librarian, Anne Barker, to ask about access to the journal after he returned to Mizzou. Without microfilm or online versions and with the closest complete set of the journal located in New York, Anne determined that access would be very difficult.

In the end, Seth considered not only “here’s why this is important to me” but also “here’s how important this is to me,” contributing some of his funds for research materials, matched by library funds, towards the purchase of additional issues.

Seth’s research focuses on the literature and experimental music and film of East Germany in its final fifteen years of existence, and Mizzou Libraries already had full print runs of the other two critical journals for his research, covering literature and music. Bildende Kunst can be translated as “Visual Art” or as “Educating Art or Art that Educates,” Seth explains. Because it reproduced art otherwise unavailable to East Germans, Bildende Kunst served as an educational magazine as well as a trade journal aimed at professionals.

Anne Barker

“One of the things that I think is very cool about having this in our collection now,” Seth says, “is that as a research institution with the teaching mission that comes with being a land-grant institution, we always need to think about how we can translate our work into teaching, and that is to a great extent what that journal did.” He plans on scheduling sessions with Special Collections in his courses so he can show students how these ideas were debated: “Can we have socialist art that looks like this? Is it not distracting or alienating to paint a worker in this way? Shouldn’t we just take recourse to 19th century realist painterly techniques?” Seth finds that students who are visual thinkers connect in a more meaningful way with a richly illustrated journal than ones that require greater language fluency to decode “communists arguing with each other.”

Anne says, “I was excited by this opportunity to enhance our research and teaching collections, but also because this adds to regional resources, making this important publication much more accessible to scholars in Missouri and surrounding states. I’m grateful for Seth’s initiative and willingness to invest his personal research funds to make this acquisition possible.”

Seth suggests that students and faculty think of “the library’s existing strengths as a jumping off point for our imagination of how to make strategic additions or strategic developments in new directions.” Despite budget challenges, he has found that “there is a will to grow the library’s resources for research and teaching, and everybody here is obviously working like mad to make resources available to students and faculty.”

Special Thanks

Many Mizzou Libraries staff members in addition to Anne played vital roles in getting the journal issues onto our shelves:

  • Corrie Hutchinson, Head of Acquisitions, identified and worked with the German vendor, determining costs and handling payments
  • Libby Myre, Senior Library Information Specialist, identified and worked with the German vendor, determining costs and handling payments, and input the journal’s information into the catalog
  • Michaelle Dorsey, Senior Library Information Specialist, with assistance from her preservation assistants, created containers to store the journal in its original format
  • Bette Stuart, Senior Library Information Specialist, input the journal’s information into the catalog
  • Kelli Hansen, Interim Head of Special Collections, provided space for the collection

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 Ellis Library, Resources and Services Summer Print Smart Allowance Now Active

Summer Print Smart Allowance Now Active

Summer Print Smart allowances are now active. If you are enrolled in summer semester, you can print. The summer allowance is $7 for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. If you are not enrolled, you can still print to the Circulation Desk printer in Ellis Library for $.05 per page.

Fall semester allowances will be active on August 6 for students enrolled in fall courses.

Check your Print Smart balance online any time.

home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library International Students Find More than Books at Ellis Library

International Students Find More than Books at Ellis Library

Before becoming an instructor in the University of Missouri’s Intensive English Program (IEP), Liza Armstrong taught a little further from home, such as at Al Akhawayn University, located in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Now she helps the Center for English Language Learning fulfill its mission of “providing high quality English language instruction to non-native speakers of English to prepare them for university-level studies, professional endeavors and community engagement.” Liza’s interests are in the development of second language reading and writing skills, information technology, and reading assessment, and she recently presented about text analysis tools in the development of IEP reading exams at the TESOL Convention.

My favorite part of the library session was I saw rooms that looked like a prison for graduate students who would like to concentrate more for reading.

Word of Mouth

Liza first began bringing her advanced reading classes in for library instruction based on the recommendation of Barbara Leonhard, an advanced communication instructor. At that time, emerita librarian Goodie Bhullar taught the research sessions. Liza says, “Goodie, who had been an international student herself, seemed to have an instant rapport with the students and was interested in learning students’ names, where they were from, and what their research interests were.”

Goodie’s lesson made an impression. Students didn’t just learn about the quality resources Mizzou Libraries make available to them and how to run better searches. They also got hands-on practice searching library databases to find quality sources. “Nearly every semester since then,” Liza says, “I have taken my IEP classes to the library so that students understand that at MU they have access to a huge amount of high-quality information and plenty of help in finding it.”

The Tradition Continues

I enjoyed finding book of the library session. I practiced looking for a book and felt a sense of accomplishment in Ellis library.

Today, Cindy Cotner continues to deliver the invaluable instruction that helps Liza’s reading-writing students navigate the library and become comfortable with academic research: “Cindy gave students a physical tour of the library, explaining how the circulation desk worked and where students could scan books, find resources like books and videos, study, and even grab a coffee.”

Then the work of learning how to find those suitable resources began. Students not only received the usual instruction on how to search library databases but also participated in a scavenger hunt. Cindy distributed cards with a book title and call number, and students worked in pairs to find the book on the shelves. Liza says they “enjoyed winding through the stacks of books and felt victorious when they found their books.”

Cindy also shared information about Library Workshops for International Students (LibWIS), giving students further opportunities to learn about advanced research strategies, citation management, and more.

When Liza saw her students’ essays, she was delighted to find that many had used library databases to find quality sources. Liza notes, “Many of them also indicated that they appreciated the citation tool, which helped them to write their APA reference pages more quickly and accurately.”

My favorite part was the way to make an APA citation format of books on MU library website.

Be Brave

Liza’s best advice for international students is “to be brave and ask librarians and staff questions.” She also recommends attending library workshops, especially those with a focus on international students. By learning how to use the library early in their academic careers, students can save time in the long run, create higher quality assignments, and build better study habits. “Students may think that using library databases and tools is intuitive,” she says, “but there is always new information, and library systems often change and are updated.”

In fact, Liza confesses that she herself learns something new each time her classes visit the library!

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 Ellis Library, Resources and Services Countdown to Finals: Stocking up on Supplies

Countdown to Finals: Stocking up on Supplies

If you’re short on supplies, you can buy more from a vending machine located near Ellis Library’s north entrance onto Lowry Mall. The bluebooks in this machine are free, so pick them up ahead of your first exams. The vending machine also stocks the following items:

  • Highlighter Sharpie
  • Wite-out Correction Pen
  • Binder Clips
  • Black Sharpie
  • G-2 Black Pen
  • Bic Pencil .7mm
  • Bic Pencil .5 mm
  • Memo Book
  • CD-RW
  • AAA Batteries
  • Mini Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Ear Plugs
  • Flash Drives
  • Scotch Tape
  • Sticky Notes
  • 4 Function Calculator
  • Envelopes 5 pack

You can find bluebooks and other supplies at the Mizzou Store if the library vending machine runs out.

Staplers are located near each set of printers in Ellis Library, but please be gentle! If a stapler runs out or jams, take it to the Research Help and Information Desk immediately. Along with providing research help, our librarians are skilled stapler surgeons.

home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library Mizzou: Where I Belong

Mizzou: Where I Belong

As a high school student in “the tiny town” of Callao, Missouri, Autumn McLain was torn between two quite distinct potential majors–physics and English–but she knew Mizzou was her “best option in order to get a wide array of higher quality classes and degrees.” She hopes to work in publishing after graduating in May with degrees in English and linguistics as well as a minor in philosophy.

Autumn credits her training as an English major for her formal writing skills. She won second place in the 2018 University Libraries Undergraduate Research Project Contest for a paper on Jonathon Swift, which she describes as “a lot of fun to write.” She’s now enrolled in the second of a pair of courses that will earn her Departmental Honors for her degree, writing “an even more research-intensive thesis on The House of the Seven Gables.”

She says that for most of the papers she’s written here at Mizzou, “the library resources available to me as a student have been pivotal. Good research papers are often dependent upon outside sources and research, information which is made available by the library.” Even more than the information itself, though, she recommends current and prospective Tigers take advantage of librarians’ assistance to find quality sources.

Getting a quality education is every Tiger’s main focus, but as Autumn says, “There’s a lot more going on than classes, and those extra things can be just as impactful!” Over her four years at Mizzou, she’s taken advantage of many extracurricular opportunities, from joining clubs and campus organizations to attending lectures and other special events.

Being a part of the close-knit English and linguistics departments also helped Autumn connect to fellow students and her professors, whose enthusiasm for their fields of study was contagious. Connecting to her community has been her favorite part of her Mizzou experience. “I couldn’t have foreseen how much Mizzou would come to feel like a place where I really belong,” she says, “but somehow, I’m even more excited to go out and see what I can do with what I’ve learned here!”


home Resources and Services Countdown to Finals

Countdown to Finals

Finals are a week away, and Mizzou Libraries wants to help you be prepared. Check this post every day this week for tips on getting ready for your exams using library resources and services.

Staying a Step Ahead

Stocking up on Supplies

Account Status

Study Spaces

Hours of Library Services

home Ellis Library, Resources and Services Countdown to Finals: Staying a Step Ahead

Countdown to Finals: Staying a Step Ahead

Finals week can be overwhelming, but doing some things ahead will save time later. Before finals start:

home Ellis Library, Events and Exhibits, Resources and Services De-stress with Therapy Dogs and More in Ellis Library

De-stress with Therapy Dogs and More in Ellis Library

Trained therapy dogs will be in Ellis Library once again during finals week. Visit the dogs on the first floor of Ellis Library during the following times:

Sunday, May 6th: 3-5 pm AND 7-9 pm

Monday, May 7th: 7-9 pm

Tuesday, May 8th: 7-9 pm

Wednesday, May 9th:7-9 pm

Also check out the Zen coloring tables on the first floor, or if you need a quiet space to work on your final papers and projects, Room 213 (Electronic Classroom 2) is open 24/7 during finals as a quiet study space with computers.

All of the dogs are certified therapy dogs, and many participate in service activities in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and libraries. These therapy dogs are trained to interact with children, the elderly, and others facing difficult situations such as college students experiencing finals week stress.