News & Notes

By: friedevt on: December 19, 2016 8:17 am | friedevt @ohiyote

By Vince Frieden, Strategic Communications Coordinator

Anyone looking for an engaging conversation can find a willing partner in Ken Grabach.

Grabach, who retires this month after 30 years in the Miami University Libraries, is a people person with an unquenchable curiosity, ranging from the natural world to international affairs and, of course, maps.

“I’m glad I don’t have to apply for continuing library borrowing privileges,” Grabach said. “I like to know at least a little about any topic. I love learning. I love reading. People are still going to see plenty of me around the Miami Libraries.”

The son of a protestant minister who moved frequently during his youth, Grabach considers his home Flint, Mich., where he attended high school and later the University of Michigan-Flint. After earning his master’s in library science from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, he served five years as a librarian for the U.S. Army before deciding he wanted to try the academic sector.

He arrived at the Miami Libraries 30 years ago in government documents and never left. He enjoyed his initial position, particularly when the Miami Libraries became a depository for the European Union, affording him opportunities to participate in conferences, including a week-long event in Brussels, Belgium.

But maps have long been a passion.

“I remember when I was eight years old our family got a world map,” Grabach said. “I would spread that map out on the living room floor and spend hours just looking at it or studying sections of it.”

He leapt at the chance to become the half-time maps librarian at Miami, a position that would later evolve to become full-time and to include liaison responsibilities with the departments of geography, geology and mathematics. To a man with collections of map ties and t-shirts, he was in his element.

“I’ve been getting paid to play with and buy maps,” Grabach said. “When we moved the Kuchler Vegetation Maps from Hughes to a welcoming home in special collections, I referred to them as ‘my children.’”

Supplementing that enjoyment are the many relationships he has formed with students and faculty. He recalls on Sept. 11, 2001, talking with one of his student workers, who arrived hours early for his shift just to talk to Grabach about the day’s happenings. He treasures those relationships and the opportunities he has had to touch lives.

“Moments like that are very personally rewarding,” Grabach said. “I wouldn’t have had those opportunities if I had not chosen academics. I’ve really enjoyed our students and faculty.”

The collective impact of Grabach’s work came full circle for him during his last Miami finals week.

In observing presentations from two student teams with whom he had worked closely on a client-based project, he shared pride in their hard work and saw the realized potential of his extensive efforts, along with those of Eric Johnson, to digitize much of Miami’s map collection. He also felt honored that one of his articles was cited in one of the presentations and appreciated that one of the closing slides thanked him and congratulated him on his retirement.

For Grabach, retirement with his wife, Patsy, and big, red cat, Clifford, will not mark a significant slowdown.

“I tell people that I’ll be able to sleep in until 7 a.m. now,” Grabach said. “I’m very excited about the Institute for Learning in Retirement and am already looking at a class in the spring. I also have a budding interest in photography. I still very much see myself as a student.”


By: friedevt on: December 16, 2016 2:11 pm | friedevt @ohiyote

Walter Havighurst Special Collections included in $2.3 million estate gift 

By Josh Chapin, assistant director editorial services, university advancement
View full story at

OXFORD, Ohio — Miami University today announced an estate gift of more than $2.3 million to benefit both the Department of Geography and University Libraries. The gift will support the Walter Havighurst Special Collections housed at King Library, as well as enhance the teaching and research programs for the Department of Geography.

The gift was made by the late Ruth McConnell ’46, who graduated from Miami with a bachelor’s degree in literature and later obtained her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. She retired as an administrative assistant from Stanford University in 1985. The gift is part of the Wallace and Della McConnell Memorial Fund, established by Ruth to honor her parents. Wallace McConnell was the geography chair at Miami from 1946-52 and taught and researched at the university starting in 1918.

The Walter Havighurst Special Collections are named for a writer and professor of English at Miami from 1928-69. The Havighurst Special Collections preserve and make accessible volumes and documents covering a variety of subject areas and historical periods, ranging from rare collections of Russian history and English literature to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s Myaamia Collection and an extensive postcard collection.

“The Walter Havighurst Special Collections and our archival collections are laboratories for the humanities, offering our students hands-on experiences with records and treasures from the past,” said Jerome Conley, dean and university librarian. “Ms. McConnell’s gift joins the support of a long line of alumni and friends whose generosity allows us to preserve and enhance these rare and important collections that advance the liberal arts and help inspire informed citizens and lifelong learners.”

By: friedevt on: December 09, 2016 11:25 am | friedevt @ohiyote


Thom Gerrish joined the Miami University Libraries team earlier this fall as Science and Engineering Librarian in B.E.S.T. Library. Learn more about Thom in our December staff spotlight.

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

I’m originally from near Kalamazoo, Mich.  I graduated from Michigan State University with undergrad degrees in biochemistry and Russian.  I also have a master’s in linguistics from MSU. My MLIS is from Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. 

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

My title is Science and Engineering Librarian.  This comes with a lot of different functions.  I’m essentially responsible for connecting with the students and faculty in chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and geology departments.  This means providing research help, managing the library’s collection, and liaising with the departments.  

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

Being a librarian means working with a lot of interesting people and learning a lot of different things.  Working at Miami means being at a great school that allows me to live in the Midwest near family and friends. 

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

Almost every day is different.  Some days you meet with students, others you work on collection development or personal research.  I love the variety that the job brings.

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

Probably inter library loan.  The library can get you nearly anything you need…but you might need to start your research earlier than the night before it’s due.  This is a powerful resource that I wish more people knew about and used.

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

It’s hard to say what my favorite of all time would be. I really like The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, The Stand by Stephen King, and the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan.  As for a character from a book, I guess I’d like to be Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire for his combination of wit and sarcasm. 

Any hobbies?

I play trumpet and cornet.  I also enjoy cooking since it reminds me of being in a chemistry lab. 

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

I used to have all the licenses required to sell securities like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. 

By: crosbylm on: November 22, 2016 3:05 pm | crosbylm @LMBirkenhauer


Just in time to cozy up with a good book during Thanksgiving break, the Leisure Reading collection recently added fiction titles by prolific authors Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks, as well as memoirs by well-known celebrities and public figures, including Lil Wayne, Bryan Cranston and Ruth Bador Ginsburg (what an eclectic group!). For a full list of what’s new in November, see our list below:  


Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

Gone ‘til November by Lil Wayne

Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

My Own Words by Ruth Bador Ginsburg

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

By: vonnahee on: November 18, 2016 9:57 am | vonnahee

"Libraries provide a safe place for individuals of all ages and backgrounds and for difficult discussions on social issues.  Our nation’s libraries serve all community members, including people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the most vulnerable in our communities, offering services and educational resources that transform communities, open minds and promote inclusion and diversity."

Read the full statement here. 

By: weavered on: November 10, 2016 10:01 pm | weavered

Canadian poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen passed away tonight at the age of 82. Cohen is perhaps best known for the song "Hallelujah," although you are more likely to have heard the cover versions by John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, and many others. He is also the author of multiple novels and poetry collections. Much like David Bowie, Cohen recently released one last great album shortly before his death: You Want It Darker.

By: messnekr on: November 08, 2016 11:26 am | messnekr

Are you working on a job application or your promotion dossier, and need to demonstrate the impact your work has made? Don’t know the difference between an impact factor and an Eigenfactor? Not sure how to find out which journals in your field are "the best"? This workshop is for you! Workshop presenters will provide an overview of established and alternative methods for assessing the influence of published scholarship.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 2:00 – 3:30PM
WHERE: Laws Hall 116 (B.E.S.T. Library)

This workshop is appropriate for faculty members and graduate students in all disciplines.  Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of how to locate and calculate metrics for research impact, including Journal Impact Factors, h-index, Eigenfactor, social media-based metrics, and more. Participants will also gain an appreciation for the limitations of publication metrics and the varied suitability of different metrics for different academic fields and types of publications.

Please contact Kevin Messner at for more information or to RSVP.  We look forward to you joining us!

By: weavered on: November 07, 2016 3:51 pm | weavered

The staff at Amos Music Library recently changed our circulation rules for compact discs; now, our CDs can be requested via the catalog to be picked up at any library circulation desk. To celebrate, we've created a list of 100 essential popular albums from our collection. To make our list, we found those albums that appeared on both the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2012) and NME's Top 500 Albums of All Time (2013). The ranking was determined by averaging the album's placement on each list. Most of the albums are owned on CD and can be requested by clicking "Request Item" on the left side of each item's catalog page.

We frequently acquire additional albums, so watch this space for future updates.

  1. The Beatles / Revolver [1966]
  2. The Velvet Underground & Nico [1967]
  3. The Beatles [The White Album, 1968]
  4. Nirvana / Nevermind [1991]
  5. The Rolling Stones / Exile on Main St. [1972]
  6. Marvin Gaye / What's Going On [1971]
  7. The Beatles / Abbey Road [1969]
  8. The Beatles / Rubber Soul [1965]
  9. Patti Smith / Horses [1975]
  10. David Bowie / The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars [1972]
  11. Public Enemy / It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back [1988]
  12. Stevie Wonder / Innervisions [1973]
  13. Bob Dylan / Highway 61 Revisited [1965]
  14. Love / Forever Changes [1967]
  15. Sex Pistols / Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols [1977]
  16. The Rolling Stones / Let It Bleed [1969]
  17. Van Morrison / Astral Weeks [1968]
  18. The Beatles / Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [1967]
  19. Miles Davis / Kind of Blue [1959]
  20. Joni Mitchell / Blue [1971]
  21. Bruce Springsteen / Born to Run [1975]
  22. Bob Dylan / Bringing It All Back Home [1965]
  23. David Bowie / Hunky Dory [1971]
  24. Carole King / Tapestry [1971]
  25. The Rolling Stones / Sticky Fingers [1971]
  26. The Band [1969]
  27. Neil Young / After the Gold Rush [1970]
  28. Dusty Springfield / Dusty in Memphis [1969]
  29. The Clash [1977]
  30. James Brown / At the Apollo [streaming, 1963]
  31. Michael Jackson / Thriller [1982]
  32. The Rolling Stones / Beggars Banquet [1968]
  33. Neil Young / Harvest [1972]
  34. John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band [1970]
  35. Jimi Hendrix / Electric Ladyland [1968]
  36. Jimi Hendrix Experience / Are You Experienced [1967]
  37. Television / Marquee Moon [1977]
  38. The Ramones [1976]
  39. Arcade Fire / Funeral [2004]
  40. Prince & the Revolution / Purple Rain [1984]
  41. Pink Floyd / The Dark Side of the Moon [1973]
  42. Radiohead / The Bends [1995]
  43. Radiohead / OK Computer [1997]
  44. Talking Heads / Remain in Light [1980]
  45. Blondie / Parallel Lines [1978]
  46. Paul Simon / Graceland [1986]
  47. The Smiths / The Queen is Dead [1986]
  48. Stevie Wonder / Songs in the Key of Life [1976]
  49. John Coltrane / A Love Supreme [streaming, 1965]
  50. Pixies / Doolittle [1989]
  51. My Bloody Valentine / Loveless [1991]
  52. The Zombies / Odessey and Oracle [1968]
  53. Johnny Cash / At Folsom Prison [1968]
  54. Aretha Franklin / Lady Soul [1968]
  55. Bruce Springsteen / Darkness on the Edge of Town [1978]
  56. David Bowie / Low [1977]
  57. Lou Reed / Transformer [1972]
  58. Green Day / Dookie [1994]
  59. AC/DC / Back in Black [1980]
  60. Prince / Sign 'O' the Times [1987]
  61. The Beatles / Please Please Me [1963]
  62. Michael Jackson / Off the Wall [1979]
  63. R.E.M. / Automatic for the People [1992]
  64. Bob Marley & the Wailers / Natty Dread [1974]
  65. Dr. Dre / The Chronic [1992]
  66. Sonic Youth / Daydream Nation [1988]
  67. David Bowie / Station to Station [1976]
  68. Eminem / The Marshall Mathers LP [2000]
  69. The Velvet Underground / Loaded [1970]
  70. T. Rex / Electric Warrior [1971]
  71. Jeff Buckley / Grace [1994]
  72. Arctic Monkeys / Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not [2006]
  73. Radiohead / In Rainbows [2007]
  74. Public Enemy / Fear of a Black Planet [1990]
  75. Bob Dylan / Freewheelin' Bob Dylan [1963]
  76. Lauryn Hill / The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill [1998]
  77. Michael Jackson / Bad [1987]
  78. Miles Davis / Bitches Brew [1970]
  79. The Jesus and Mary Chain / Psychocandy [1985]
  80. Jay-Z / The Blueprint [2001]
  81. Elvis Presley [1956]
  82. Oasis / (What's the Story) Morning Glory? [1995]
  83. U2 / The Joshua Tree [1987]
  84. Massive Attack / Blue Lines [1991]
  85. The Cure / Disintegration [1989]
  86. De La Soul / 3 Feet High and Rising [1989]
  87. Nirvana / In Utero [1993]
  88. The Notorious B.I.G. / Ready to Die [1994]
  89. Nas / Illmatic [1994]
  90. Amy Winehouse / Back to Black [2006]
  91. The Beatles / A Hard Day's Night [1964]
  92. Tom Waits / Rain Dogs [1985]
  93. The White Stripes / Elephant [2003]
  94. Bruce Springsteen / Born in the U.S.A. [1984]
  95. Eminem / The Slim Shady LP [1999]
  96. The Kinks / Are the Village Green Preservation Society [1968]
  97. Weezer [The Blue Album, 1994]
  98. Nirvana / MTV Unplugged in New York [1994]
  99. Aretha Franklin / I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You [1967]
  100. Kanye West / The College Dropout [2004]
By: friedevt on: November 03, 2016 8:41 am | friedevt @ohiyote

An Ohio native, Lindsey Masters joined the Miami University Libraries last month as a senior library technician in the Center for Digital Scholarship.

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?
Originally, I am from Millersburg, Ohio; more commonly known as Amish Country. I graduated from the University of Mount Union, where I studied Japanese language and Media Computing. During my time at Mount I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Japan for a semester.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami University Libraries?
While studying at Mount, I spent time working at the campus library. During that time, I found the atmosphere and work environment of an academic library to be one that was very welcoming and enjoyable. While researching Miami, I found the libraries here have that same atmosphere, as well as a team that has a real passion for its work. The campus and its libraries seemed genuine about wanting to provide the best resources and opportunities for their students and staff, and that was something I wanted to be a part of.

What's the best part of working in a library?
The best part about working in a library is easy access to books. I like to peruse the shelves when I have extra time during lunch. It’s always fun to find something new you might not have known was there before.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
I hope students realize the library is so much more than just a quiet place to study. It’s great for that, but there is so much more available to them—help with writing, research tools, technology, an extremely helpful and friendly staff. There are a lot of resources they can take advantage of.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?
“Howl’s Moving Castle,” by Diana Wynne Jones, has been my favorite book since I was about nine years old. I’ve probably reread it more times than I should. I would definitely choose to be the main character, Sophie. She becomes cursed, is transformed into an 80-plus year old woman, makes a deal with a fire demon, and gets into the middle of all sorts of mischief and magical adventures, all the while crankily complaining about her aching bones.

Any hobbies?
I enjoy reading (big surprise!), but also enjoy creative writing, as well as illustration and crafting.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?
I love to quilt. I’ve quilted about eight blankets in the past two years and have two works-in-progress waiting for me to get around to finishing them.

By: weavered on: October 13, 2016 7:26 pm | weavered

On Thursday folk and rock musician Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, to the surprise of many and disdain of some. The Miami University libraries have many resources to help you better understand Dylan's cultural contributions and the controversy.