News & Notes

By: Nick Kneer on: May 02, 2018 3:00 pm | kneerna small twitter logo@miamiulibraries

By Vince Frieden, strategic communications coordinator

Rachel Makarowski poses for a photograph outside of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections suite at King Library.Rachel Makarowski joined the Miami University Libraries on May 1 as special collections librarian within the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives.

In the position, Makarowski will fill a variety of roles, including classroom instruction, curation of exhibits, cataloging and processing materials, and hosting and supporting library events.

“Rachel brings enthusiasm and passion for teaching and a desire to reach more researchers with Miami University Libraries materials,” said Bill Modrow, head of the Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives. “We are excited that the next chapters of her promising career will unfold at Miami.”

Makarowski holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Indiana, Bloomington.

She discovered her passion for rare books while taking an undergraduate course on medieval manuscripts and worked at Rare Book School (Charlottesville, Virginia) in a variety of capacities from 2014-2017. Makarowski, who is language proficient in modern French, Latin, Old French and Old Irish, also completed three courses at Rare Book School.

While completing her graduate work, Makarowski gained considerable work experience at IU’s Lilly Library, serving as a reference attendant and receptionist, assistant to the head of public services and reference librarian, and, most recently, as education and outreach intern. Her internship included researching and instructing class sessions using primary source materials.

“I was attracted to the position because it offered a variety of roles and experiences,” Makarowski said. “It is a great opportunity to grow professionally in what really came across as a team environment. I’m excited to start working with Miami’s faculty to design class visits that connect our students with the impressive materials available through our special collections and archives.”

The Walter Havighurst Special Collections are located on King Library’s third floor. Makarowski can be reached at 513-529-4140 or

By: Nick Kneer on: April 27, 2018 9:21 am | kneerna small twitter logo@miamiulibraries

Dr. Wietse de Boer, Ms. Godard’s faculty advisor, who accepted on her behalf as she currently studying abroad in Paris, France; Sydney Chuen; Abigail Culpepper; Emily Mendenhall; and Miami University President Dr. Greg Crawford pose for a photo at the Undergraduate Research Forum Luncheon on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

Pictured, left to right: Dr. Wietse de Boer, Ms. Godard’s faculty advisor, who accepted on her behalf as she currently studying abroad in Paris, France; Sydney Chuen; Abigail Culpepper; Emily Mendenhall; and Miami University President Dr. Greg Crawford

By Nick Kneer, communications specialist

The four student winners of the Miami University Libraries’ Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence (LAURE) were announced Wednesday, April 25 during the Undergraduate Research Forum.

  • First place: Caroline Godard, junior, for her project “Andrea Alciato and the Politics of the Printed Image”
  • Second place: Sydney Chuen, sophomore, for her project “Europe or Bust: A Comparative Study on Human Smuggling in Nimruz, Afghanistan and Agadez, Niger”
  • Honorable mention: Emily Mendenhall, senior, for her project “Student Understanding and Navigation Patterns of Miami University Sexual Violence Webpages”
  • Honorable mention: Abigail Culpepper, junior, for her project “Metaphors We Love By: A Cognitive Linguistic Analysis of Conceptual Metaphors of Love in Metropolitan French and American English”


The annual award, now in its third year, honors Miami undergraduates who demonstrate excellence in library research conducted in support of a student project. Lindsay Miller, LAURE committee member and assistant head of the Libraries’ Advise & Instruct department, presented the first place, second place, and two honorable mention winners at the Undergraduate Research Forum Luncheon.

“All of the winners mentioned an element of serendipity in their essays – whether it was finding the perfect book on the shelf at King Library or stumbling upon on online resource that they didn’t know they were looking for,” said Miller. “That’s something that really stood out to us: that they really let the research process lead them instead of the other way around, and they were open to that serendipity and that inquiry.”

Applicants submitted an essay detailing their research strategies and use of library tools, resources and services, bibliography, and project files. Submissions were judged by an eight-person panel of faculty, librarians, staff and one student on the researcher’s use and evaluation of information sources, use of the library, demonstration of an effective research process, and use of both digital and analog research tools.

The award-winning projects will be uploaded to Miami University Scholarly Commons and become part of the Undergraduate Sponsored Research and Scholarship Collection.

In addition to their recognition, the LAURE’s first place winner receives $1000, its second place winner receives $500, and its two honorable mentions each receive $100.

By: Nick Kneer on: May 01, 2018 8:42 am | kneerna small twitter logo@miamiulibraries

Julia Shepherd poses for a photograph outside the book shelves of King Library

By Vince Frieden, strategic communications coordinator, University Libraries

Senior Julia Shepherd is the recipient of the 2018 Miami University Libraries Outstanding Student Employee of the Year. 

Shepherd, a linguistics and Spanish major from Mason, Ohio, was one of 47 senior or graduate student employees recognized at the Libraries’ annual Student Recognition Dinner Sunday night. During her four years in King Library, she worked at the circulation desk, Center for Information Management, Center for Digital Scholarship and Instructional Materials Center. 

She was presented the honor by Jerome Conley, dean and university librarian; Kris Abney, manager of access and circulation; and Bryan Partner, senior library technician. Her nomination emphasized her passion for library work and her always positive attitude.

“Julia arrived at the Libraries four years ago wanting to be a librarian. She has done everything she can to prepare herself for that goal, including working in four different areas within the University Libraries,” the nomination read. “She has worked overnights, weekends, holidays and numerous breaks with a smile and a great deal of enthusiasm.”

The Outstanding Student Employee of the Year award and Libraries Student Recognition Dinner began two years ago as a way of thanking and recognizing the University Libraries’ senior student employees. Across four campus locations, the University Libraries currently employ more than 100 student workers.

“They are in many ways the faces of the University Libraries, whether connecting patrons with resources from the circulation desk or carrying out behind-the-scenes tasks that keep everything running smoothly,” Conley said. “But they give us so much more than the tasks they perform. They are like family.”

Other featured speakers included Phyllis Callahan, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Bradley Mascho ’02 M.A. ’03 a former Libraries student worker who is chief AI officer for NCI.

The full listing of all University Libraries’ student employees who will graduate in spring, summer or fall 2018 is as follows:

Meeta Bhardwaj

Carly Bieler 
Early Childhood Education/Teaching English Language Learners

Margaret Breidenbaugh
History (master’s)

Mike Carson 

João Castro

Libby Crook
Speech Pathology & Audiology/Spanish

Benjamin Cushing
History/Integrated Social Studies Education

Sophia Del Valle
Early Childhood Education

Heng Gao 

Chantel Gates

Jack Hallett

Julia Harrelson 
Sport Leadership and Management

Austin Bryana Lee-Anne Hogans 

Ryaan Ibtisam 

Brant Imhoff 
Statistics (master’s)

David Lau 

Hannah Liming 
Early Childhood Education

Taylor Manning 
Speech Pathology & Audiology (master’s)

Chad Miller 
Political Science

Madyson Murray 
Marketing/Business Economics

Arthur Newberry 
Graphic Design/Film Studies

Colin Nguyen Dinh
Finance / Analytics

Sherif Owusu 
Public Administration

Parth Patel 
Electrical Engineering

Shervani Patel 
Marketing/ Comparative Media Studies

Kassie Paul 
Middle Childhood Education

Gaby Perez 

Jalana Phillips 

Candace Pine
Library and Information Science

Annie Prior 

Rachel Marie Reeves 
Political Science


Ardin Reinhart 
Statistics and Analytics

Stephenie Richardson 

Michael Richart 
Integrated English Language Arts Education

Delaney Roberts
Music Education

Sarah Robison 

Kaylie Schunk 

Meghan Shaughnessy 
Accounting (combined bachelor’s/master’s)

Caitlin Sheehan 
Social Work

Julia Shepherd 
Spanish / Linguistics

Katherine Shirley 
Integrated English Language Arts Education / Spanish

Amanda Smith 
Public Administration and Urban Planning

Maria Taylor 
Creative Writing/English Literature

Remy Willocks

Madelaine Wood 

Rebecca Wyma 

Coco Zhang
Accounting / Information Systems

By: Nick Kneer on: April 19, 2018 1:49 pm | kneerna small twitter logo@miamiulibraries

The University Libraries are fighting back against rising textbook costs using open educational resources (OERs).

Miami University faculty are invited to participate in the OER Explore Workshop help Tuesday, May 15 from 2-4 p.m. at the Voice of America Learning Center. During the two-hour session, they will learn about textbook affordability issues and open textbooks resources. Faculty are eligible to receive a $200 stipend toward their efforts in exploring open textbook options for one of their courses by participating in the workshop and writing a review of an open textbooks found in the Open Textbook Library (OTL) after attending.

Faculty can apply for the workshop using this online form. Capacity is limited, and preference will be given based on OTL textbook subject area availability. Those selected to participate will be notified by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 4. In an effort to promote widespread participation in the initiative, faculty who have participated in previous OER Explore Workshops will not be eligible for this cycle. Faculty must both participate in the workshop and complete a review of an open textbook in the OTL in order to be eligible for the $200 stipend.

Questions about the workshop or about open textbooks in general can be directed to Carla Myers, coordinator of scholarly communications at (513) 529-3935 or

The Spring 2018 OER Explore Workshop is sponsored by Miami University Libraries, Miami University's Regional Campuses, and Miami University's Office of the Provost.

Spring 2018 OER Explore Workshop
Tuesday, May 15 • 2-4 p.m.
Voice of America Learning Center

Interested in attending?

Application form


Contact Carla Myers
Coordinator of Scholarly Communications
(513) 529-3935 |
By: Nick Kneer on: April 17, 2018 2:17 pm | kneerna small twitter logo@miamiulibraries

Dean and University Librarian Jerome Conley will receive the Honorary Alumni Award from the Miami University Alumni Association on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at the Annual Advancement Awards Banquet.

After 25 years of dedicated service to Miami University, University Libraries Dean Jerome Conley will become an honorary Miami University alumnus.

The Miami University Alumni Association will present Conley with the Honorary Alumni Award on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at the Annual Advancement Awards Banquet. Established in 1958, the award recognizes individuals who serve Miami and the alumni association as loyally as alumni.

Conley began his career at Miami University as a resident minority librarian in 1992, and went on to serve in a variety of capacities including head of special libraries, assistant to the dean, and reference librarian. He was appointed Dean and University Librarian for Miami University Libraries in January of 2013.

By: Vincent Frieden on: April 13, 2018 8:33 am | friedevt small twitter logo@ohiyote


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

By: Vincent Frieden on: April 19, 2018 9:24 am | friedevt small twitter logo@ohiyote

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.

By: Nick Kneer on: April 02, 2018 1:57 pm | kneerna small twitter logo@miamiulibraries

If you visit King Library today, you might notice some new, unusual-looking patrons.

Through a new 24-hour therapy animal loan program called "Pause for Paws", the Libraries seeks to help students reduce stress, particularly during the weeks leading up to final exams. The initiative adds to an already impressive array of free resources available for check out at the circulation desk.

"We provide a wide variety of items at circulation, from simple things like adapters and phone chargers to laptops, digital cameras, and tripods," said library technician and "Pause for Paws" program development lead April Jester. "With the animals, though, we're breaking new ground in offering a resource that has the ability to really improve the well-being of students." Research suggests animal companionship may provide psychological and physical benefits, and students missing their family pets may find comfort in an animal loan.

The libraries are taking a broad approach with "Pause for Paws", offering not only dogs and cats but also honey badgers, wombats, hawks, red pandas and more, creating additional opportunities for yet-unknown benefits.

Students interested in checking out a 24-hour animal loan should be aware they are responsible for cleaning up after their animal, and that today is April Fool's Day.

By: Nick Kneer on: April 06, 2018 7:35 am | kneerna small twitter logo@miamiulibraries

Staff Spotlight: Alea Henle

Alea Henle joined the University Libraries in March as head of the newly-created Access & Borrow department.


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

Ohio-born & (mostly) raised. I'm what is sometimes called a "faculty" brat, as my father taught mathematics at Oberlin for decades. I have a BA from the College of Wooster, an MLS from Simmons College, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Connecticut.


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

I'm the head of the newly created Access & Borrow department. As such, I'm working to build cross-awareness within the department and libraries about the ways the department supports students, staff, and faculty access to the resources, materials, and spaces they need to conduct research. 


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

I've been a librarian for decades because working in libraries is a great way to spend most of one's life there, which I was doing even beforehand. As a child, I was a constant visitor and avid reader (some things don't change!) and started working in libraries in college (a traditional route). I accepted the position at Miami because the job description interested me and offered the kinds of challenges I was interested in, and the university has a solid reputation.

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

There is no one best part, rather there are so many it's impossible to choose -- the people! the resources! the air of inquiry!

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

I'm not good at picking one of most things. That said, I wish college students knew just how much we're here to help and just how much help we can offer. It's always bittersweet when students realize late in their studies that they could have had this assistance all along.

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

The variety of challenges before us.

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

I own somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5k books and you want me to pick one favorite? Nope, not happening. While I used to daydream myself into books, I don't do that much anymore. I'm more interested in writing them because then all the characters are mine (even the ones I'd rather weren't).

Any hobbies?

Reading (no surprise), walking my dog all around Miami and exploring the various parks and byways, and writing both fiction and non-fiction.

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

Hmm, also a hard question. How about how widely I've lived in the US -- I've gotten new state driver's licenses 10 times and only the tenth was a repeat (Ohio!).

By: Nick Kneer on: March 29, 2018 10:46 am | kneerna small twitter logo@miamiulibraries

Alea Henle, new head of Access & Borrow, participates in a question and answer session.

by Vince Frieden, strategic communications coordinator

The Miami University Libraries welcome Alea Henle as head of the newly formed Access & Borrow department.

Access & Borrow serves to connect the Miami community to the materials and resources that support academic success and advance discovery. It encompasses a variety of integral areas, including access services, shelving, circulation and technical services.

Henle comes from Western New Mexico University, where she served as head of public services librarian since 2013. Her employment history includes Colorado State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and years in the private sector at a large international law firm. She has a lengthy history of published scholarship, presentations and service to professional library organizations.

Henle holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio), an M.S. in Library Science from Simmons College (Boston) and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Connecticut (Storrs, Connecticut).

She recently participated in a brief Q&A to discuss her passion for librarianship and her new role:

Q: What has drawn you to librarianship as a career?
A: I enjoy the rhythm of being a librarian. It gives me regular contact with students and faculty, and I love helping people. Even when I was not a librarian while working on my Ph.D., I couldn’t resist wanting to help people with instructions and directions. You can take the librarian out of the library but never the librarian out of the person.


Q: What excited you about this new role?
A: The mix of responsibilities intrigued me. I appreciated that this new department draws together some areas that historically have often been quite separate. It includes some staff more on the public side and some who make things work behind the scenes. They are all mission-critical groups who enable people to access materials, resources and spaces within the Libraries.


Q: What is your vision for your first 30 days? How about longer-term?
A:  My first 30 days will be a lot of meetings and opportunities to listen, ask questions, and see possibilities. Longer-term, we will work together to develop a department identity and foster cross-awareness among the various areas in our department.  This will create opportunities for brainstorming. One of the benefits of working with Miami’s well-established libraries and experienced staff are the opportunities to bring a lot of ideas together.


Q: As an experienced librarian, what challenges or opportunities do you see in librarianship today?
A: As a historian who has studied the history of books and libraries, I think there is an evolving definition of what is a library. Is it a place? Is it a collection of books and resources? Is it things? I recently read an article that stated libraries are one of the most trusted places to get information, and that’s a big and appropriate responsibility.

Change is ongoing in libraries, and that distinction between a place and a provider of resources is becoming more important. There are many people visiting the library today without ever setting foot outside their dorm room or office, and it is important to support both physical and virtual library spaces.