kneerna's blog

Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins to give Women's History Month talk March 12

Ahead of her receipt of the Freedom Summer of '64 Award from Miami University, Dr. Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins will present "The Power of Our Story", a lecture in honor of Women's History Month on Thursday, March 12 at noon in King 320.

A 1974 graduate of Western College for Women, Jefferson-Jenkins served as the national president of the League of Women Voters of the United States — the first African American to hold the role — and chair of the League of Women Voters Education Fund from 1998 to 2002.



Libraries exhibition examines Holocaust and Jewish experience of Miami alumni

Black and white portraits of the 10 Miami alumni who are featured in the exhibition

See the Exhibition

King Library, 3rd floor

Open to the public
Mon. - Fri.
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Featured Alumni

Robert Behr '67
Hedi Pope nee Politzer '42
John Macsai '49
Robert Diamant '49
Fred B. Lavin '45
Carl H. Lavin '48
Richard Bradford Elberfeld '47
John E. Dolibois '42'
Myron Shure '48
Erich Franzen

Hedi Politzer was just 18 years old when her father was arrested and imprisoned in Dachau during the Nazi Kristallnacht violence in 1938. Realizing the escalating danger in her hometown of Vienna, Austria, she and her sister fled to the United States. A year later, she found a new community in Oxford, Ohio, having been awarded a scholarship to attend Miami University by the International Student Service.

Hedi’s story is one of ten extraordinary personal journeys of Miami alumni and faculty told in Bearing Witness: The Holocaust and Jewish Experience at Miami University, a new University Libraries exhibition co-hosted by the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives and Hillel at Miami University. Through personal stories, photographs, archival collections, and family records — most on display for the first time — the exhibition explores the ways the Holocaust and antisemitism intersected with the lives and experiences of the Miami community.

Some fled escalating Nazi violence in their home countries, making their way to the United States. Others enlisted in the military, suspending their Miami education to go overseas to liberate concentration camps and interrogate those who committed atrocities. Still others survived internment in Nazi concentration camps, emigrating to the United States after liberation and joining the Miami community.

In addition, Bearing Witness draws from the University Archives to trace the rise of antisemitism in the Miami Valley and highlight the responses of Miami students. Class diaries written in the 1940s give first-hand accounts of the reactions and emotions of Miami Jewish students as news reached the United States of the horrors of the Holocaust. In partnership with Hillel at Miami University, current student and faculty members of Hillel also wrote diaries reflecting on current events to include in the exhibition as contemporary companions to those from the 1940s. The diaries project was curated and coordinated by current Miami senior Emily Garforth and library technician Cody Sprunger.

The exhibition closes with a look at how the Miami community and Hillel responded to the Holocaust — both in the decades immediately after and through current forms of remembrance and Holocaust education on campus.

Bearing Witness is open to the public, free of charge, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on the third floor of King Library in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives. The exhibition is curated by Alia Levar Wegner and Cody Sprunger and and co-sponsored by Hillel at Miami University.

Staff Spotlight - Ken Irwin


Ken originally joined the University Libraries as web services librarian in October 2019


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

I'm originally from Maryland, but I identify as being from Kalamazoo, Michigan. I started out as an English and theater major, but I got out of theater because I was enjoying the research aspect of theater more. My mother was in library school, and I got a job at the library. I was interested in it as a profession, so they put me in a few different positions. Then I went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to pursue a master’s degree in library studies.


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

My title is Web Services Librarian. I have always been a front-of-the-house librarian but in my last position, I also did web development. Informed by my experience as a researcher, teacher, and collection development librarian, the problems that I want to solve are fundamentally library problems. My hope is that I get to bring my experience as a teaching and public service librarian to the website project. Currently, we are working in the design phase of the new website, but once we get beyond that we can get into more interesting problems. I am thinking of how we can personalize web services for the individual user.


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

I spent a lot of time in libraries. I have been working in Ohio for 21 years — most recently at Wittenberg University. Miami University is a place where a lot of great things are happening. Between OhioLINK and Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO), I have had a lot of exposure to what is happening at Miami University. I think there is a lot of good work here, and it’s the type of place I’d like to be at.


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

Librarians are pretty great. I like working in an environment where people are friendly, inquisitive and excited about learning new things.


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

Not only can you ask questions, but it’s also a really good idea to find out who the librarian is for the area you are excited about and ask them how to go deeper. Even if you are doing alright, find your librarian and ask, “What can I do to make this better?”


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

I am looking forward to working on a dashboard project to personalize the user experience.


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

If I had to pick just one, I’m going to say, “Prodigal Summer” by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a fictional story of three rural characters who are in their own way connected to the biology around them.


Any hobbies?

Mushroom hunting. I love any excuse to get out and take a walk. I also like contra dancing — which is like square dancing —and board games.


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

I still have a baby tooth.

Staff Spotlight - Samantha Diebel

A red banner stretches across the page, with a portrait of Samantha Diebel standing outside on Miami's campus in a square to the left. Text to the right displays the Miami University Libraries logo, and "Staff Spotlight - Samantha Diebel"

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

I'm originally from the wild west, also known as Nevada. I grew up in Reno, Nevada and headed down to Las Vegas for my college education. My educational background is in hospitality, specifically in meetings and events management with a minor in entertainment management. Hospitality led me to Advancement and building engaging online alumni resources. The common thread throughout my education and work experience is people. Broad, I know, but this has translated into developing programs and people, building community, creating engaging environments, and delivering the highest level of customer service just like the Libraries. 


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

I am a project management specialist here at the Libraries. I'm working with the leadership team on five specific projects over the next few months: leading the strategic planning process, assisting with the ARL assessment, working with diversity and sustainability initiatives, developing a student leadership academy, and more.


What drew you to work in a library environment?

Not only do I find the projects I’m working on exciting and impactful but was drawn to the focus on inclusion of all and access to information a library environment offers. Additionally, I believe in the value of innovation and collaborative partnerships and was excited this is also a priority of the Miami Libraries. 


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

Being surrounded by colleagues that have a genuine passion for the work they do. In addition, seeing how this translates to benefit the student experience and positive campus partnerships.


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

It’s so much more than a great space to study and do research for a project or paper! Through the various workshops, programs, and initiatives the possibilities to achieve your goals, with the support of the Libraries, are endless.


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

Can my answer be everything? I believe all of the projects I will be working on will result in a positive impact and meaningful forward momentum. I am currently most excited about the strategic planning process our entire community is a part of. We are building an actionable road map that will shape our services, define our priorities, and ensure the continued strength and relevancy of our university library system.


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

Oh man, my favorite book is a hard one to pick. My favorite most recent read was Educated by Tara Westover. I had the opportunity to see her speak at a conference in April 2018 and was captivated by her life experiences and the impact education has had on her life.  


Any hobbies?

Any outdoor adventure with our dog, Watson, yoga, and exploring new places are at the top of the hobbies list. (We’re new to this part of the country! I’m gladly accepting suggestions on things we must do in Ohio and the surrounding areas.)


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

I’m not sure how surprising this will be, but a life goal is to touch all 7 continents in my lifetime. Summer 2018 I hit my 4th continent with a trip to Africa. The trip also checked off another bucket list item: summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro. Let me tell you, the oxygen is, in fact, much better down here. 


Recent faculty book publications to be celebrated with New Books at Miami

by Shawn Vanness, communications specialist

The University Libraries are celebrating recent publications by Miami University faculty with New Books at Miami on Thursday, Nov. 14 in King 320. The event, hosted by the Libraries in partnership with the Miami University Humanities Center and the Howe Center for Writing Excellence celebrates Miami’s recently-published faculty and will feature short talks by eight faculty authors and a display of books recently published by Miami faculty.

Libraries Dean Jerome Conley will open the 4 p.m. celebration on the third floor of King Library in room 320 and Tim Melley, Director of the Humanities Center, will present remarks and introduce faculty speakers, who will each speak briefly about their recent publication. These short talks will be followed by a reception on the first floor in the Howe Center for Writing Excellence at 5 p.m. for faculty and graduate students to mix, mingle and share inspirations from across disciplines.

The eight faculty introducing their new books include Mark Curnutte from the department of sociology & gerontology who will introduce his book, “Across the Color Line: Reporting 25 Years in Black Cincinnati,” and Mack Hagood from the department of media, journalism & film, who will discuss “Hush: Media and Sonic Self-Control.” Daisy Hernandez from the department of English will introduce “Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism,” and Michele Navakas from the department of English will introduce “Liquid Landscape: Geography and Settlement at the Edge of Early America.” Gaile Pohlhaus from the department of philosophy will present her book, “The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice.” Susan V. Spellman from the department of history will introduce, “Cornering the Market: Independent Grocers and Innovation in American Small Business.” Nicole Thesz, from the department of German, Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern languages and culture will present, “The Communicative Event in the Works of Günter Grass: Stages of Speech,” 1959-2015.  Zara Torlone from the department of classics will discuss her work, “Virgil and His Translators.”

The books discussed and on display at New Books at Miami represent a small selection of the impressive scholarly, research, and creative publication activity of Miami faculty, which the Libraries are proud to support and make available in its collections.

Exhibit on Karski's mission to alert world about Holocaust opens in King

The World Knew: Jan Karski's Mission for Humanity

by Nick Kneer, strategic communications coordinator

A new exhibit on one man's mission to alert the world about the ongoing horrors of the Holocaust was recently installed on the first floor of King Library.

Jan KarskiThrough a series of 22 panels, "The World Knew: Jan Karski's Mission for Humanity" focuses on the courageous efforts of Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter who became an emissary for the Polish Underground state. After twice being smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto and infiltrating a Nazi transit camp, Karski traveled under an assumed identity to give his eyewitness accounts to Allied government officials, including a meeting with President Roosevelt in the White House.

Karski's heroic struggle to raise the alarm about the mass extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany-occupied Poland and the resulting tragic inaction of the Allied forces present a striking and important historic account of the Holocaust and what the world knew even before the liberation of Nazi extermination camps.

The exhibition was created by the Polish History Museum in Warsaw in cooperation with the Jan Karski Educational Foundation and sponsorship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endeavor to bring the exhibit to Miami was sponsored by Hillel at Miami University, Judith A. Heiny, Piotr Chomczynski, and Anna and Marek Dollár.

New Makerspace opens in King with open drop-in hours

Explore the new Makerspace in King Library

by Nick Kneer, strategic communications coordinator

A purple 3D printed octopus with articulating tentacles sits atop a finger in the new Makerspace in King Library
A 3D-printed octopus with articulating tentacles

For anyone with an idea for a product or design, a new space in King Library offers the chance to make it a reality.

The University Libraries debuted its Makerspace on the third floor of King Library this semester. Equipped with 3D printers, CNC routing machines, paper and vinyl cutters, a dye-sublimation printer, heat press, and sewing and embroidery machines, the Makerspace (King 303) is a collaborative and hands-on learning space open to Miamians of all majors and disciplines.

The Makerspace is the latest example of the Libraries’ commitment to providing the cutting-edge tools and guidance that make a Miami University education exceptional in preparing students for an ever-changing workforce.

"One of the great benefits of makerspaces — especially in the neutral space of the campus library — is the opportunity for transdisciplinary collaboration,” said Sarah Nagle, creation and innovation services librarian. “Students of all majors and backgrounds can learn through making in ways they might not experience in their courses.”

In the course of bringing a concept to reality in the Makerspace, students gain direct experience in all stages of the ideation, creation, and revision process, developing skills in areas like 3D modeling, CNC design, and introductory computer programming.


Silhouette Cameo paper and vinyl cutter
Silhouette Cameo paper and vinyl cutter


With open hours every weekday, Miamians can drop in at any point in the semester to begin exploring the equipment and possibilities of the Makerspace. Trained staff will demonstrate safe use of the equipment and be on-hand for guidance and troubleshooting. In addition, the Libraries are holding several workshops aimed at introducing students to the equipment and possibilities of the Makerspace.

But beyond independent projects, Nagle sees advantages for instructors.

“By incorporating maker-type assignments or projects into their curriculum, faculty not only increase student engagement, but also open the door for students to develop new skills — and not just with technology. Students also learn transferable skills like critical thinking, teamwork, design thinking and problem solving, all of which benefit students regardless of their chosen major or career.” Nagle explained.


Creation and innovation services librarian Sarah Nagle gestures at a Carvey CNC routing machine in the new Makerspace in King Library
Creation and innovation services librarian Sarah Nagle gestures at a Carvey CNC routing machine in the new Makerspace in King Library


The potential applications are as numerous as they are diverse. Nagle envisions a medieval scientific thought course using primary sources and Makerspace equipment to construct working models of siege instruments like trebuchets and catapults, or an entrepreneurship course rapidly prototyping a new product. She also sees personal projects: customized Greek letter tote bags made with the CNC vinyl cutter and heat press, for instance.

An embroidery machine in the King Library Makerspace is pictured applying a design to fabric
Embroidery machine applying a design

Whatever the project, the process itself can be just as valuable as the end product. The methods used in creation and revision — creativity, problem-solving, and trial and error — have applications in all fields.

“Most importantly, students gain a ‘maker mindset’ that extends beyond the physical things they are making and develops into a worldview that embraces curiosity, empathy, and learning through failure,” said Nagle.

Those interested in getting started with the Makerspace are welcome to stop in during open hours:

9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
1-5 p.m.
1-5 p.m.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

To schedule a consultation about a maker project or with questions about the space, contact

Nagle is happy to assist faculty in developing maker projects for their courses, and can be reached at or 513-529-7205.


A row of Lulzbot Mini2 3D printers is pictured in the new Makerspace in King Library
Lulzbot Mini2 3D printers


Librarians now available at Armstrong for walk-in consultations

Get help with research questions or library resources with in-person help at several locations around campusLibrarians on Location

"We're not scary, and we don't bite. We're good at what we do, and we can help you be better at what you do."

If you:

  • are having trouble finding a source for your paper;
  • aren't sure how to frame your research question;
  • have questions about locating books or journal articles;
  • or just need someone to explain how to properly cite a source,

then we've got great news. A new program beginning this semester makes it easier for you to get assistance from Miami University librarians.

Librarians are available for walk-in consultations or questions
Every Tuesday & Wednesday
Noon - 3 p.m. 
in the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) in Armstrong Student Center.

All students are welcome, and librarians can assist with questions on any academic subject as well as help with citation, finding sources, using library resources, and more.

Students can also get answers through a number of other ways, including

or in person — either through an appointment or through open office hours around campus.



Library Game Nights back by popular demand

Library Game Nights are back by popular demand for the fall semester with a set of four free events open to all this September through November.


For Library Game Nights, the University Libraries open up an extensive collection of board, tabletop, and strategy games and provide food and refreshments — essential ingredients to any good game night. All experience and skill levels are invited, and participants are welcome to bring their own favorite games to play.


Game Nights travel to each of the four Oxford campus libraries and typically draw about 100 participants, making them great opportunities for meeting new people.


The full schedule of fall semester game nights follows:


Support the Libraries for #MoveInMiami on Thursday, Aug. 22

#MoveInMiami: They unpack. We give back.

Today is the day!

#MoveInMiami is a fast-paced and fun online day of giving in which everyone can participate. The University Libraries are uniquely positioned to impact students, faculty and staff from all disciplines and majors by providing access to essential resources, spaces and equipment. This year, we're pleased to offer two exciting funding opportunities for #MoveInMiami: our textbooks initiative, which purchases textbooks used in the most enrolled Miami classes and makes them available for in-library checkout, and our technology fund, which invests in cutting-edge technology and resources to give Miamians the skills and experience they need to succeed in an increasingly interdisciplinary environment.

Join us as we welcome the class of 2023 to campus on move-in day TODAY by giving to the University Libraries.

Two great funding priorities

Textbooks Initiative

Your support gives students access to expensive textbooks. The University Libraries' Textbooks Initiative purchases textbooks used in Miami's top enrolled classes and makes them available for two hours of in-library checkout — enough time to complete class assignments and readings. These textbooks are checked out over 2,000 times per year. With the average textbook exceeding $100 in cost, this translates to savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for Miami students.

Give to the Textbooks Initiative


Technology Fund

Give to the Technology Fund to make the tools and resources of tomorrow's workforce accessible to all Miami students today. As President Crawford said: "Libraries have to be the first to see the future." As the workforce of tomorrow becomes increasingly technology-driven and interdisciplinary, the Libraries are rising to meet the challenge by creating access to cutting-edge equipment and software — along with the guidance needed to get up to speed. By making specialty software like the Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, MATLAB and SPSS and tools like 3D printers, CNC routing machines, embroidery machines and paper/vinyl cutters available to students, faculty and staff of all majors, the Libraries create accessible, welcoming and inclusive spaces for experimentation and hands-on learning.

Give to the Technology Fund