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Alia Levar Wegner begins role as digital collections librarian

Alia Levar WegnerWith a rich background in information science, exhibit curation and collection digitization, Alia Levar Wegner joined the Miami University Libraries as digital collections librarian on May 14.

In her role, Wegner will work as part of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives team to manage the processing, digitization, organization and access of special collections and university archives materials. Her role is an integral piece of a larger University Libraries’ effort to digitally preserve the culture and history of the university and the Libraries’ collections.

Wegner holds a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University, a master’s in book history and material culture from the University of Edinburgh and a master’s of science in information from Florida State University. She also has completed coursework in digital humanities from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Professionally, Wegner spent nearly three years as a rare book collection assistant in UNC’s Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. More recently, she was a full-time collections specialist in the University of South Florida’s special collections and metadata departments. Other experiences include time working in a law library, the Florida Holocaust Museum, and the American Dance Festival Archives.  

Wegner’s work in the digital sphere includes two years as an editorial assistant with the William Blake Archive, where she assisted with the textual transcription, illustration markup and color correction of digital copies of Blake’s illuminated books. She is currently exploring data mining applications of digitized special collections and continues to develop the longstanding project, Augmenting Special Collections, which applies augmented reality technology to special collections materials.

“I enjoy looking at historical materials in new ways, and digitization offers new avenues to make those materials accessible, learn more from them, and increase student engagement,” Wegner said. “The Miami University Libraries have great collections, and I’m excited to help expand our digital collections so that more faculty, students and community members can interact with our materials.”

The Walter Havighurst Special Collections are located on King Library’s third floor. Wegner can be reached at 513-529- 0462 or wegnera3@miamioh.edu.

Barbour earns Libraries' Distinguished Service Award

 

Heather Barbour, senior library technician, was honored Thursday as the Miami University Libraries’ 2018 Distinguished Service Award Winner.


One of 15 University Libraries’ staff members nominated by peers for the Distinguished Service Award, Barbour joined the Libraries in 2013. In her behind-the-scenes role, she helps make Libraries’ print and electronic resources available to the Miami community through a variety of roles ranging from processing and repairing items to collecting data on usage. Barbour also is a fixture on committees planning University Libraries’ staff events as well as on the Libraries’ broomball and curling intramural teams.

A familiar face on campus, Barbour serves the university as an usher on home football and ice hockey game days.

The three nominations for Barbour emphasized her uplifting attitude, efforts to build community within the University Libraries staff, and willingness to always pitch in. “Heather makes everyone feel at home and welcomed,” said one nominator. “Her energy is high, her smile infectious, her attitude is always the best. In short she is an excellent ambassador of the Libraries!”

Dean and University Librarian Jerome Conley, who is in his 25th year of service to the university and University Libraries, also recognized the following:

- Susan Hurst, business librarian, for 25 years of service;

- John Burke, director of the Gardner Harvey Library, Miami University Middletown, for 15 years of service;

- Jody Perkins, digital scholarship librarian, for 15 years of service;

- Jennifer Smith, senior library technician, for 15 years of service;

- And Elias Tzoc and Jacqueline Johnson for their appointments to principal librarian.

The event drew attention not only to staff service but also to the considerable creative and scholarly accomplishments the Miami University Libraries team has contributed over the past year.

The 2018 nominees for the Libraries Distinguished Service Award gather for a group photograph with Dean and University Librarian Jerome Conley

The 2018 Miami University Libraries Distinguished Service Award nominees gather for a group photograph during Thursday's Celebrating Our Own ceremony.


The University Libraries Distinguished Service Award and Celebrating Our Own event are in their fifth year. Nominations for the Distinguished Service Award come from Libraries staff and are reviewed by a committee consisting of previous winners and the Dean. The full list of 2018 nominees follows.

2018 University Libraries
Distinguished Service Award Nominees

- Kris Abney

- Heather Barbour

Jennifer Bazeley

Laura Birkenhauer

Lori Chapin

Tiffany Dogan

Vince Frieden

Susan Gray

Susan Hurst

Kevin Messner

Carla Myers

Masha Stepanova

Thomas Tully

Eric Weaver

John Williams

April 11 lecture explores campus memorial design


Robert Keller '73Miami University architect emeritus Robert Keller '73 closes out the Miami University Libraries’ spring lecture series Wednesday, April 11, with his presentation entitled "Defining campus memorials by their design concept.”

The lecture begins at noon in King Library 320 and will be available via Facebook Live through the University Libraries’ Facebook page.

Keller was university architect and campus planner at Miami University for nearly 25 years. Among his responsibilities were overseeing long-range capital planning and all phases of design and major construction for Oxford and the regional campuses. Now retired, Keller remains active as architect emeritus, leading special design projects and guest lecturing.

He has been instrumental in designing a number of prominent campus icons, including the Freedom Summer Memorial, the Great Seal within the Armstrong Student Center, and the recently completed Western College for Women Legacy Circle.

Using examples of built and unbuilt memorial and tribute designs, Keller will discuss the importance of site selection, defining intent, finding the best design concept, and integrating symbolism into the creation of a monument that fits within the uniqueness of the campus environment.

Sponsored by the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, university archival collections and the Western College Alumnae Association.

Staff Spotlight - Mark Dahlquist

Mark Dahlquist joined the University Libraries in February as humanities and social sciences librarian, bringing a rich history of experiences in higher education.

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

I’m originally from the Chicago area. My Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature and my MLIS are both from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?

I’m a humanities and social sciences librarian, and I serve as liaison to the departments of English and media, journalism & film. My job is to make sure that students and faculty members in these departments have access to the information resources, including books, that they need, as well as to provide research support and instructional support for these departments. I also really enjoy providing reference services to library users outside these departments.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

I’ve worked in a variety of libraries, including English, art, science, and rare book libraries. In every case, what drew me to the libraries are spaces where people come to learn from others and to consider and begin new projects of all kinds.

What's the best part of working in a library?

Meeting and working with people with different research interests and the constant exposure to ideas and information from unfamiliar perspectives.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?

Using library resources will result in you producing work that is better: work that will not only be more interesting to your readers, but also—and most importantly—more interesting to you. A little more research will often take you a long way further.

What are you most excited about tackling in your new role?

I’ve particularly enjoyed getting to know the research and creative focuses of individual students and faculty members here at Miami.

What's your favorite book?

I’m not sure that I have a favorite book. One I would mention, however, that I’ve had a lasting relationship with is Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov.”

Any hobbies?

I enjoy hiking and camping, and am looking forward to exploring Southwest Ohio.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?

In high school, I interviewed the great science fiction author Frederik Pohl. I accidentally poked a hole in his armchair with my pencil.

Entries accepted for LAURE through March 16

Undergraduate students who are conducting research using the Miami University Libraries are eligible for special recognition and a cash prize through the Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence (LAURE).

A partnership between the University Libraries and the Dean of the Libraries Student Advisory Council, LAURE seeks to recognize undergraduate students who demonstrate excellence in library research. First place earns a $1,000 cash prize, with additional cash prizes awarded for second place ($500) and honorable mention ($100).

Submissions for the third Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence (LAURE) are being accepted through March 16, 2018.


To learn more about the award, evaluation criteria and how to submit an entry, visit the University Libraries’ LAURE webpage.

Staff Spotlight - Jerry Yarnetsky

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

Growing up in Buffalo, New York, I’ll forever be a Sabres and Bills fan, but I’ve also lived here in Butler County, southern Indiana and suburban Philadelphia. I finished my B.A. in English/journalism here at Miami University. After a decade in newspaper journalism, I discovered librarianship and earned a Master of Library Science from Indiana University.

How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?

Our team develops the University Libraries’ online services including developing a new library website. Stay tuned! Your input can help make it great!

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

For me, it’s all about service. As a journalist, I was serving my community, but oft-times you never find out if your work helps make change. While I found librarianship sheerly by chance, I quickly fell in love with how libraries can directly serve the specific needs of every person who walks in the door and truly help them improve their lives. Having experienced Miami firsthand, the opportunity to help more students thrive here was one I had to snag.

What's the best part of working in a library?

Learning something new every day. I’ve learned so much from the people I have helped. Everyone is researching something unique.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?

This doesn’t apply just to libraries, I use it in every facet of life – ask questions. Ask lots of questions because the answers give you power to up your game and truly enjoy life. Sometimes asking can feel like a risk, but you’ll learn so much more about research, your coursework, and even fun stuff like places to eat amazing food.

What are you most excited about tackling in your new role?

Much of research today is conducted online, which makes the library website one of the most important experiences the University Libraries have to get right. One of the fascinating challenges of this will be making this experience accessible using any technology, from phones to screen reading software.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?

With too many to count, I’ll go with my favorite series as a kid – “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.” The middle school detectives solved the craziest mysteries through brains, research, and bravery. As a kid, I would have done anything to be the fourth detective on the team. I rediscovered the books as a librarian and was surprised with how well they hold up.

Any hobbies?

I’ve been drawing comics and studying comic history since I was a kid. I can’t say I was ever great at cartooning, but I still enjoy doodling when I get the chance. I also enjoy road tripping, design, architecture, history and leveraging technology to tell stories.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?

The fact I’d do about anything to help in the library might not surprise, but here is what might. My first library where I worked was hosting a huge kids program. The librarian’s husband usually helped with these programs, but he fell ill. As a result, the next thing I knew, I was dressed up in a head-to-toe Cat in the Hat costume entertaining the kids. Other than a trio of boys who insisted on pulling my tail I actually had a blast. Over the next few years, they had me appearing as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and a few other characters whose names I’ve since forgotten. Yes, those costumes are freaking hot.

 

Staff Spotlight - Melissa Cherry

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

I am from Columbus, Ohio. I lived most recently in the German Village neighborhood (strategically close to the Jeni's Ice Cream). I graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio (conveniently nearby to Whit's Frozen Custard) where I majored in Philosophy and Spanish. I completed my MLIS from Kent State with a concentration in Academic Libraries in 2014.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?

I am a Web Services Librarian so I develop the website for the University Libraries. My main responsibility is to make the website usable and accessible for students, faculty members, and librarians but I hope to make it beautiful too.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

The most simple answer is that I just love books. The real reason, though, is my colleagues. Working with bright, collaborative, and creative people makes me happy to come to work every day and strive to be my best. I chose to come to Miami because the libraries have an aura of creativity and resoundingly support innovation in our field.

What's the best part of working in a library?

The best part of working in the library is the free books, of course. I love being constantly surrounded by the opportunity to learn new things.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?

I wish students knew of all of the awesome citation managers that can facilitate research by keeping things organized. They are such a time saver.

What are you most excited about tackling in your new role?

I am very excited to create a new library website for everyone, but I think that I'm looking forward most to contributing to Project Blacklight, an open source discovery service.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?

That's probably the most difficult question anyone has ever asked me. Right now it is “The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. LeGuin, but my answer changes constantly. I'm a huge fan of anything written by J. K. Rowling or Jane Austen.

Any hobbies?

I spend most of my free time reading, exercising and sleeping, but I try to do a little bit of baking and rock climbing here and there as well. I also love eating good food, particularly ice cream and sushi.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?

I have always been a baseball fan. I learned to keep score and sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" before I could read.

Staff Spotlight: Stefanie Hilles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

I am originally from Northeastern Ohio, specifically the Akron/Cleveland area. I have a B.A. in art history from Kent State University, an M.A. in art history from Case Western Reserve University, and an M.L.I.S. from Kent State University.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?

I’m the Arts and Humanities Librarian, and my office is in the Wertz Art and Architecture Library in Alumni Hall. I am the subject librarian for studio art, art history, art education, arts management, architecture, interior design, graphic design, and fashion. I work closely with both students and faculty in these areas to meet their information needs. This includes individual research consultations as well as classroom instruction. I am also in charge of collection management and development for my subject areas.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

Like many librarians, I have always loved both books and libraries. After receiving my M.A., the M.L.I.S. was a logical next step. It allows me to combine my love of art with my love of books and research. What drew me to the Miami Libraries in particular was the people and the culture of innovation and creativity in the library. I wanted to be part of that.

What's the best part of working in a library?

Definitely the students. I love helping them find answers to their research questions.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?

When I was in college, I had no idea that librarians were available to help. So, if you need help on a research assignment, ask a librarian!

What's your favorite book? 

I could never choose one favorite book, just like I could never choose a single favorite artist or artwork. Some of my favorite books from this year include Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, American War by Omar El Akkad, and Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven.

Any hobbies?

Besides reading, I enjoy ballet and visiting museums.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?

I was captain of the cheerleading squad in high school. 

Staff Spotlight: Ginny Boehme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?
I grew up near Pensacola, Florida, but I moved to Birmingham, Alabama, for college and ended up sticking around there for a while. I earned a bachelor's in biology from Birmingham-Southern College and then a master's in library and information studies from the University of Alabama. ​


What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries? (roles/responsibilities as you know them so far)
I'm the science librarian, and my subject areas are biology, microbiology and environmental science. I'll be working closely with faculty in those areas (primarily) to instruct their students on library resources & research and to help make sure they have all the tools they need to succeed in their classes. I also have some other general library responsibilities, like reference work and collection development.


What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?
I was a library student assistant during my undergraduate years, and, after I got my bachelor's, I realized that I wouldn't get the same sense of job satisfaction in any other environment. I went back to school for my MLIS, and it was the best decision I've ever made. I continued to work at BSC's library as a student supervisor while I earned my master's. While I was there, I realized what it was that I found so wonderful, and it’s what I learned Miami does just as well (if not better)—it cares about its students.


What's the best part of working in a library?
The people. Librarians and library staff are some of the best and coolest people you'll ever meet.​


What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
Don't be afraid to ask us for help! We know that first step into an academic library can be daunting, but we have so many great things behind our doors (both physical and virtual), and we are here to help you utilize them. We live for questions. Ask us!​


What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?
Oh geez. Asking me to narrow down the books I like to one favorite is like asking most little kids what they want to be when they grow up: the answer is going to change from day to day.​ Currently, my favorite author is Terry Pratchett, and his Discworld universe is one I'd be happy to inhabit. Tomorrow, who knows?


Any hobbies?
It's very cliché for a librarian, but I really like to crochet. I also built my own PC a year or so ago and have been slowly working through my Steam library in my spare time (VERY slowly). I also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. One of my favorite things to do back in Birmingham was to sit out by a pond or lake and just listen to the frogs. Peaceful and chaotic all at once.


What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?
I was on the drumline in high school and college. I primarily played marimba, and I'm itching to pick up some mallets again.​

Staff Spotlight: Abi Morgan

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Spotlight: Abi Morgan

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?
I'm originally from Athens, Ohio, but after college I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for almost eight years. I have a BA in history and anthropology, an MEd from Ohio University, and an MLIS from the University of Maryland, College Park. I've been both a librarian in the federal government and a middle/high school social studies teacher.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries? I am the senior library technician at Wertz Art & Architecture Library, where I supervise the 1-10 p.m. shift and help patrons, especially with printing and scanning.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?
I've always been a huge reader who loves helping and teaching people, so libraries seemed like a natural fit. Since I grew up in a college town, I've always wanted to work in an academic library environment, and, as soon as I met all the warm and welcoming people at Miami, I knew it would be a great place to work.

What's the best part of working in a library?
Assisting people with their research and all of the interesting books!

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
Google results are fine to start, but not where your research should end.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?
Pride and Prejudice has been my favorite book since I was 12, and so I'd have to choose Elizabeth Bennet as the book character I'd most like to be. She is smart and confident, but willing to learn and change.  

Any hobbies?
Reading, drawing, interior design, and playing table-top board games.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?
I follow college football with a passion (but not the NFL).