Founders Keepers

Winter 2019/2020 

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Tuba Christmas Begins Holiday Festivities by Kate Swope

Prof. Scott Tegge Conducting the NIU Tuba and Euphonium Studio.

On December 3, 2019, the University Libraries’ Programming and Promotions Committee held its inaugural “Research and Artistry Series” event with a musical performance and lecture by Applied Artist, Scott Tegge and his NIU Tuba and Euphonium Studio.

The event was a great success, with over 90 people in attendance, including President Freeman and Provost Ingram. There were students, faculty, staff, and community members in attendance. Cookies and Cocoa were served, and the ensemble performed holiday music for an hour in Founders Gallery.

NIU Tuba and Euphonium Studio

Prof. Scott Tegge Conducting the NIU Tuba and Euphonium Studio.

There was a short lecture given by Graduate Student Dennis Meacham covering tuba history, and Prof. Tegge entertained the audience by telling anecdotes about the tuba, what it’s like to be music major at NIU, and the origins of Tuba Christmas.

Tuba Christmas was conceived in 1974 by Harvey Phillips, American Tuba Player and Professor at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, as a tribute to his teacher and mentor William J. Bell. Bell was born on Christmas Day, 1902. By honoring Bell, tuba players all over the world can reflect on their heritage and honor all great artists/teachers whose legacies have given them high performance standards, well-structured pedagogy, professional integrity, personal values and a camaraderie envied by other instrumentalists.

The Programming and Promotions Committee was very proud to host Prof. Tegge and his studio for what they hope will become a yearly tradition of holiday brass music in Founders Memorial Library. 

New Year, New 71 North by Karinne Bredberg

"71 North," located in the lower level of the library and adjacent to Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros. Bagels, is being re-envisioned as a collaborative studio space bringing together the entire NIU campus for innovative activities along with entrepreneurship and professional skills development.

Using 71 North, the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships (RIPs) plans to enhance student success by providing opportunities for collaboration with an integrated approach unique to NIU. The three components will complement one another by creating a dynamic space for the NIU community across disciplines. RIPs will lead this coordinating effort by working with campus units already providing applicable programs and will assist in developing new opportunities to ensure campus-wide benefits.

In the summer of 2018, through a leasing partnership with 71 North’s adjacent tenant, Discover Financial Services, 71 North was remodeled as a “white box” for future design and programming. To date, 71 North has primarily served as a study location for NIU students with intermittent Jobs PLUS programs and other campus organizations.

Karinne Bredberg, Office of Innovation; Chad Glover; Jobs PLUS; and TJ Lusher, University Libraries have collaborated with Gensler on a design to attract the NIU community to the space. Gensler was chosen due to their previous work in 71 North with Discover. Design requirements included flexibility in usage of the space for both small and large collaborations including individual or paired work-stations; workshops; and large-scale presentations or exhibitions.

After two months of proposed concepts and discussion, the working group collectively agreed on a design that best fit NIU’s needs. The design will have an open feel with various seating arrangements and working areas that allows for large-scale presentations or small group collaborations. The space will have a dedicated workshop area in the southeast corner designed to fit just over 50 people. The walls of the workshop area will be moveable, telescoping glass panels to maintain an open feel but with the flexibility to have a private space when needed. The space will be upgraded to include amenities needed for collaborations and presentations. RIPs is in the process of engaging NIU’s Architectural and Engineering Services to plan a construction timeline for the space but anticipate this phase to begin mid-2020.

NIU Welcomes Scholars from Indonesia by Hao Phan

Eight doctoral candidates from five universities in Indonesia arrived at NIU on October 15 under the Peningkatan Kualitas Publikasi Internasional (PKPI) program to conduct ten weeks of research at NIU. The visiting scholars from Indonesia will work under the supervision of NIU’s faculty members to advance their research projects and prepare articles for publication. This is the tenth consecutive year that NIU has hosted the PKPI program. The visiting scholars include Irma Febrityanti (American studies), Haerana (public administration), Andi Asri Jumiaty (language education), Heri Kuswoyo (Indonesian linguistics), Afrianto (Indonesian linguistics), Arining Wibowo (Indonesian cultural studies), Tifa Noer (business management), and Ummi Rasyidah (language education). While working at NIU, the visiting scholars will use library resources for their research. Hao Phan provided the visiting scholars with an overview of the library, including bibliographic instruction and a tour of the library, on October 22.

The 2019 PKPI Scholars from Indonesia in NIU’s Southeast Asia Collection

Recently Digitized by Matthew Short

The Libraries recently finished principal digitization of the Johannsen Collection of dime novels and story papers, with 6,100 volumes and hundreds of thousands of pages now online at Nickels and Dimes. Among the most notable recent additions are the songbooks published by Beadle & Adams, which feature lyrics from songs popular in the mid-19th century. Favorites include the Civil War separation ballad “When This Cruel War is Over” and The Velocipede Belle Songster, containing music about women bicyclists. 

Oh, I’m so fond of riding,

            I can never, never stop!

When Velocipedes are gliding

            What care I for ball and hop?

Such amusements as the round-dance,

            Are very dull indeed,

Compared to the swift motion

            Of the gay Velocipede!

Also digitized recently were Civil War National Tax Laws; a series of popular biographies, including one about Abraham Lincoln reissued after his assassination; and illustrated joke and comic booklets, such as Beadle’s Dime Book of Fun, which many comic historians cite as an early precursor to the comic book.

The first batch of oral histories produced by students in HIST 494/594 for the NIU 125th Anniversary have also been added to the NIU Digital Library. Featured are six interviews from alums, retired faculty, and administrators in which they discuss their experiences at NIU, with topics ranging from the Vietnam protests on campus in the 1960s and 70s to accounts of the February 14 shooting in 2008. More interviews will be added over the coming semester.

Antique Photochroms Now in Rare Books by Sarah Cain

Bringing in the Harvest,
Moki Pueblos

Rare Books and Special Collections received a generous donation of 309 William Henry Jackson photochroms in late December from Chicago-based philanthropist Howard Gottlieb. W. H. Jackson (1843-1942) is famous for his images of the American West, particularly of Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado and the present-day sites of Western U.S. national parks. Jackson was also the first photographer to capture images of the Pawnee, Otoe, Omaha, Winnebago, Ponca, and Osage Indian tribes in the late 1860s.

Within three years of opening the Jackson Brothers photography studio with his brother Edward in 1867, William Henry Jackson headed West, photographing landscapes, railroads, and railroad workers and towns. In 1870, he joined the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey (USGS) expedition where he remained until 1878. During these 8 years, Jackson took thousands of photographs of the West.

Jackson’s most notable images of Yellowstone were photographed during his time with the USGS expedition. The photographs were a major factor in persuading Congress to make it the first U.S. national park in March 1872.

Funding for Survey expedition ended in 1879 and Jackson opened his studio, The Jackson Photographic Company, in Denver. There he took on many side projects photographing the West for hotels and railroad companies. Many of these photographs were showcased at the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893. Shortly after the World’s Fair, Jackson was offered an all-expenses paid world tour with the World's Transportation Commission where he and photographed much of Europe, Northeast Asia, Australia, North Africa, and the Middle East from 1894-1896.

After returning from his trip, Jackson became a Detroit Photographic Company partner in 1897. There he began employing the recently invented Photochrom process, being amongst the first commercial photographers to print photochroms, to produce color prints from his original black-and-white negatives. The Detroit Photographic Company was able to capitalize on this venture by issuing thousands of postcards and prints featuring photographs from Jackson’s entire body of work.

In 1924, the Detroit Photographic Company went out of business and Jackson went into retirement. Jackson wrote two autobiographies before his death: The Pioneer Photographer: Rocky Mountain Adventures with a Camera (1929) and Time Exposure: The Autobiography of William Henry Jackson (1940).

NIU Libraries would like to thank Kristin Miller, Director of Advancement for the College of Visual and Performing Arts as the acquisition of this wonderful collection would not have been possible without her. 

Book Reviews: Warlight: A Novel Reviewed by DeeAnna Phares

Michael Ondaatje’s 2018 novel, Warlight, follows the book’s narrator, Nathaniel Williams, on his journey into the past—as he not only probes his own hazy and oblique memories of an adolescence spent in post-World War II London, but attempts to uncover the fragmentary details about the most remote and enigmatic figure in his life: his mother, Rose. At the start of the novel, we are told that in 1945, Nathaniel and his older sister, Rachel, are essentially abandoned by their parents—left in the care of a motley band of nonconformists, petty miscreants, and  shadow-dwellers who offer freedom and exhilaration, but little security and virtually no    answers to the questions  Nathaniel poses: why did his parents leave? why were these criminals chosen as  guardians? and, what did his mother do in the war? Warlight is a kind of coming-of-age novel, focusing, as it does, on Nathaniel and Rachel’s formative years. But it is also a thriller and a mystery novel. It is a surprising blend of Charles Dickens, Raymond Chandler, and John le Carré that offers fantastically unique characters operating on the periphery—whether in the seedy criminal underworld or in the files of the security services. But it also has touches of the Gothic, with its     emphasis on moody landscape, abandoned spaces, and self-contained worlds. And ghosts do haunt the narrative—but they are specters born of loneliness and longing—and Nathaniel hopes to exorcise the past by dragging them into the light. Ondaatje is probably best known for his Booker-Prize-winning 1992 novel, The English Patient, or for Coming Through Slaughter (1976)—which many consider his masterpiece. Warlight is less experimental, less dense than these works, but it is also more richly textured and more focused on character. While the narrator, Nathaniel, holds his story at a distance, the reader is bidden toward the warmth and radiance of Warlight—and toward a truth that is messy and incomplete, but brilliantly rendered.

Haish Model Begins New Chapter by Cameron Simpson

Cameron Simpson
Placing the Haish Model
on its New Pedestal.

After completing stabilizations in May 2019, the Haish model has been installed in a permanent display on the main floor of Founders Library. The final placement was made possible by generous donors, who provided funds to purchase a museum-grade case that will protect and house the model for years to come. Fifty-eight years after the home itself was destroyed, and thirty-eight years after the model was originally completed, the model is beginning a new chapter. The restoration process involved a variety of processes intended to reattach and stabilize the model. The model was originally constructed largely from heavy-weight paper, and started to sag and collapse under its own weight in spots.

Restoration efforts concentrated on making sure the model would not continue to deteriorate, rather than bringing it back to mint condition. I chose not to address areas of paint loss or places where structural  components were permanently missing. This approach allows observers to see the model as it was intended to be viewed at the same time as they witness its history since its completion.

If you wish to pay the model a visit, it is located on the first floor of Founders Memorial Library, in the Founders Gallery by the portrait of Jacob Haish.

New Collaboration Stations By TJ Lusher

Founders Library now has five collaborative tables located on the east wall on the first floor, next to the Scholar’s Den.  The origins of the tables came as a request for the development of tables where small clusters of people could work together on group projects, and/or give presentations for classes, among the many of other collaborative possibilities students and faculty decide upon. Each of the tables contain a TV   monitor and USB plug-ins to allow up to 6 individuals to display their laptop screens on the monitor. Cables for the USB plug-ins are available at the Security Desk. The tables are available on a walk-up basis.

Music Library Upgrades by Kate Swope

Sarah Holmes and I have been busy this past semester, and we are excited to share a few updates that have taken place inside the Music Library. We had the pleasure of working with Sophia Varcados from the Office of Marketing and Creative Services. Together we were able to print and install new signage on our entrance windows, a new “hours” sign outside of our entrance and a couple of nice signs to display when welcoming our students and faculty to the Music Library. Sophia was a huge help in the design process and even during installation. We are very happy to have these simple, yet crucial updates to our space.

In addition, Sarah, Dean Barnhart, Joe Thomas and I have been working alongside School of Music Director, Andrew Glendening to move the School of Music DoIT Computer Lab into the Music Library. We have obtained 10 computers equipped with music notation software and midi piano keyboards, newer desks and chairs to be used with these machines, as well as a phone and laptop charging station. We are excited for the new to us items in the Music Library and even more excited for the student patrons that this will draw in. With the addition of these computers, we were able to relocate one of our catalog computers to the second floor, allowing our patrons to search the online catalog without having to go up and down stairs repetitively. We have also opened up some space on the main floor we like to call our Reading Nook. It allows for individual or small group study.

Also, in collaboration with the School of Music Faculty, our 2nd floor classroom has been updated with matching chairs(!) and outdated equipment has been removed. This space will now be used as the primary conference room for the faculty and staff of CVPA, while still being available for faculty and student use.

We hope that our Music Library Patrons will enjoy these new 2020 updates. Happy New Year!

New to the Libraries: Student Success Services by Leanne VandeCreek

In 2015, the University Writing Center opened a satellite location on the 3rd floor of Founders Memorial Library. The Writing Center and the faculty, staff, and students utilizing their services, benefited from the more centralized location. Two years later, we received a request to add another student support partner: ACCESS / Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) tutoring services. The Writing Center moved into a larger vacant space down on the 2nd floor, and tutoring services moved into the location on the 3rd. Both partners were very happy with the results.

Due to continued success, the Writing Center and ACCESS / PAL tutoring services both requested additional space to be able to meet the needs of their users. We ultimately plan to co-locate these two partners on the 1st floor of the library to put them in closer proximity to the support services already provided there: Library Security / Facilities; Reference and Research Consultation; Circulation and Information Delivery Services; Reserves Processing; the Accessibility Resource Room; the Technology Support Desk; and the OneCard Office. Over the next year, we will be working to relocate, and possibly deaccession, some bound periodicals and portions of our film collection no longer serving the needs of our user community. Naturally, a project of this scope requires resources. First and foremost, it requires time—time for consultation with faculty librarians and teaching departments. In addition to the time for consultation, this project requires the time and labor of librarians, staff, and administrators for decision making and planning. Finally, it requires financial support to fund moving collections and shelving, and for building out the space the Writing Center and tutoring programs will eventually occupy. 

In the meantime, we have expanded the Writing Center’s footprint to encompass the room on the 2nd floor they were already occupying, plus the vacant area adjacent to it. We are also able to give them access to a small room in that same area to support consultations requiring more privacy. ACCESS Tutoring moved two doors down on the 3rd floor into a space formerly occupied by a computer lab. The Writing Center was so pleased that it completely shut down its former service point in the basement level of Stevenson Hall on the far west side of campus, making Founders its one and only location. According to Gail Jacky, Director of the Writing Center, “The University Writing Center’s move to its new location in Founders Memorial Library 260 has been a fabulous experience. Because of our consolidated, centralized, and more visible location, students, faculty, and staff now drop in for sessions and/or to ask questions beyond the scheduled appointments. In Fall 2019, we worked with students from 357 different undergraduate and graduate courses and did presentations for 30+ classes. We are excited to explore our opportunities for expanded services this spring.”

ACCESS Tutoring maintains other locations on campus, but since they are able to offer extended evening hours and are open on weekends in Founders, it has become its most popular site. We all look forward to the day when support services are located together on the 1st floor to facilitate the provision of service, ease of referral, and the creation of new synergy in the University Libraries.

NIU Introduces Research and Artistry Series by Wayne Finley

NIU Libraries is excited to launch the NIU Libraries’ Research and Artistry Series of lectures and performances for Spring 2020. The Research and Artistry Series serves as a venue for Northern Illinois University faculty and instructors to share their knowledge and hard work with the NIU communiversity. Research and Artistry Series performances and lectures will be held at least once a month, and faculty and instructors from all NIU colleges are encouraged to participate.

This semester’s first lecture is on January 30 at 12:30. Mehdi Semati, NIU Professor of Journalism and Chair of the Department of Communications, will present Iran-U.S. Relations in Perspective. In his presentation, Professor Semati will explain the current tensions between Iran and the United States.

Faculty members and instructors interested in presenting a lecture are welcome to submit a proposal on the NIU Libraries website. Since these lectures and performances are for a diverse audience, we ask that presenters tailor the content of their lectures to a general audience to foster lifelong learning.

Celebrate 125 Years with NIU


2-4: 125th Anniversary Exhibit Reception — The exhibition, Becoming Huskies, highlights the     transitions and traditions, moments and events that have led to our growth and identity as Huskies today.  (5 p.m. / Founders Gallery)

2-4: 125th Anniversary Celebration at NIU Naperville —  Stop by to enjoy some Huskie-themed treats to help celebrate NIU’s 125th anniversary.  (5:30 p.m. / NIU Naperville)

2/5: 125th Anniversary Celebration at NIU Rockford — Stop by to enjoy some Huskie-themed treats to help celebrate NIU’s 125th anniversary. (11 a.m. / NIU Rockford)

2/6: 125th Anniversary Celebration at NIU Hoffman Estates — Stop by to enjoy some Huskie-themed treats to help celebrate NIU’s 125th anniversary. (5:30 p.m. / NIU Hoffman Estates)

2/18: Diversity Dialogues: Groundbreakers – Join us on a journey of the beginnings of diversity at NIU. (7 p.m. / Holmes Student Center Sandburg Auditorium)

2/22: Spring Homecoming — Return to campus to cheer on the Huskies women’s and men’s basketball teams as they take on Central Michigan! (1 p.m. / Convocation Center)


3/24: Women at Northern: The first Twenty-Five Years — A dramatized lecture based on the research of    Barbara Cole Peters.  (6:30 p.m. / Holmes Student Center Sandburg Auditorium)


4/4: 125th Anniversary Celebration Southeast Asian Performing Arts — This concert showcases selected Southeast Asian Performing Arts to honor the university's deep connection to Southeast Asia, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. (3 p.m. / Music Building Boutell Memorial Concert Hall)

A Message from Dean Barnhart

Welcome to the winter 2019 —2020 edition of Founders Keepers!

In the lead up to the 125th anniversary of Northern Illinois University, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about NIU’s libraries and how they have changed over the years, while still retaining their core mission of supporting the institution’s learning and research. When NIU began as Northern Illinois State Normal School (primarily for educating teachers) the first library collection was sponsored by Jacob Haish at a cost of $10,000 (equivalent to more than $300,000 in 2020), with its 6,800 volumes housed in Altgeld Hall. The library was a core part of the growing campus for fifty years and with the post-WW II boom in students, the library became increasingly cramped. In the 1950s, space constraints inspired the university to construct a new library building, named for popular math professor, Swen Parson. The move to Swen Parson was made possible by mobilizing thousands of students and even then-president Leslie Holmes, to hand carry the library’s 83,000 volumes to the new building.

With the university’s rapid growth, the 60s and 70s saw not only an increase in the number of volumes, but also in unique collections and branch libraries. For instance, with the addition of the Music Library, Faraday Library, Map Library, Regional History Center, and the SE Asia Collection, NIU Libraries became a major hub of research. Space for students and the collections continued to be an issue. In 1977, the library’s more than 500,000 volumes were moved to the new Founders Memorial Library (FML) which promised sufficient room for future growth. The new FML not only had five flights of escalators, but also basement storage for 750,000 volumes and seats for more than a thousand students. Soon after, the library digitized its records by transferring catalog records to an early mainframe and adding personal computers for students to work on. Add to that a vertigo-inducing carpet pattern, and the FML became an indelible memory for alumni.

Decades later, the FML is home to more than 2.5 million volumes, electronic resources for every discipline, and technology serving   student and faculty success. A dedicated team of staff and librarians with years of experience and expertise in a variety of areas continues to work hard to preserve and enhance the collections and provide the services necessary to a 21st century research institution. Case in point, the libraries are now partnering with the Writing Center and Tutoring Services to enhance the services available for student success. The new Research and Artistry Series will help to create synergistic learning opportunities with all of the many areas of expertise at NIU. By partnering with different departments on campus, we have also been able to enhance the libraries’ facilities and technologies, such as with the Music Library’s computer workstations, the first floor collaboration stations, and the lower-level 71 North space in progress.

Looking forward, please put the following on your calendars: 

  • January 30: Iran-U.S. Relations in Perspective - Mehdi Semati, NIU Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication, will present Iran-U.S. Relations in Perspective. Dr. Semati’s areas of research include international communication, cultural studies of news media, and Iranian media and culture. In his presentation, Dr. Semati will address the current tensions between Iran and the United States. He will provide a brief history of contemporary U.S.-Iran relations, address the geopolitical dimension of the relations and the manner in which Iran is articulated in the language of officials and the news media, and discuss how entertainment media contribute to our understanding of Iran and Iranians. The presentation will conclude with Dr. Semati identifying the resultant dominant framework through which Iran is interpreted. (12:30 p.m. / Founders Gallery)
  • February 4: 125th Anniversary Exhibit Reception – Join us as we celebrate 125 years of NIU with an exhibit commemorating how far NIU has come since its early days. (5 – 7 p.m. / Founders Gallery)
  • April 5: Dime Novel Symposium -- The University Libraries distinctive collections include one of the best collections of dime novels, many of which have already been digitized. This event will include papers in the morning, a tour of the collection after lunch, and a workshop for teachers in the afternoon.
  • June 24 – 26: Future Telling: Science Fiction Writing Conference: STEM Read, NIU’s Founders Memorial Library, the NIU Friends of the Libraries, and NIU RIPS are teaming up with university experts and professionals from Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for a transformative conference experience.

Go Huskies!