Just the Facts Ma’am

Have you ever wanted to learn more facts about the University of Southern Indiana? There is an easy way to do that using USI’s Fact Book.  The 2012 edition of this important compendium was just released earlier this month and it is easily accessible from Rice Library’s home page.

Using this resource, you can look up all sorts of interesting details about USI, such as the number of students, number of faculty, and the number of degrees being offered. However, it also contains other important information like the university’s strategic plan, a summation of the school’s goals for the next few years. Feel like taking a little pride in USI? There is also a list of major USI accomplishments, such as The College of Nursing and Health Professions being awarded over $3.3 million in local, state, and national grants and the groundbreaking for USI’s new Teaching Theatre. There are also lists of university accreditations, lists of athletic achievements, and lists of majors and minors available to students.  Just lots of lists.

But it’s not just lists about general university things.  The Fact Book also includes detailed information about each of its colleges (Business; Liberal Arts; Nursing and Health Professions; Outreach and Engagement; and Science, Engineering, and Education) for anyone interested. It’s a great place to go for information about the university and its students, faculty, and the many programs and services it offers.

To find the USI Fact Book, just go to Rice Library’s home page, mouse over the word “E-Resources” in the masthead menu, and click on “USI Fact Book” in the drop down menu that appears. Previous editions of the Fact Book going back to 2007 are also available on this page, allowing you to compare the university then to now. Check it out, and check out the facts.  



Newbery, Caldecott, and Talking Animal Lessons

You’ve heard of the Oscars, The Emmys, and the Nobel Prize right? Awards given to people for performances or ideas that are the best in their business? Well, children’s books have awards too! You’re probably aware of the Newbery awards, having grown up reading books like Maniac Magee [PZ 7.S75663 Man 1992],  Shiloh [PZ 7.N24 Sg 1992], and The Giver [PZ 7.L9673 Gi 1994], which are all past Newbery award winners. Right next to the Newbery in children’s book awards is the Caldecott medal, named after famous 19th century children’s book illustrator Randolph Caldecott. Previous winners have included A Ball for Daisy [PZ 7.R1814 Bal 2011], Sick Day for Amos McGee [PZ 7.S8084 Si 2010], and The Lion & the Mouse [PZ 8.2 .P456 Li 2009.] And now we have new winners of these two awards, as well as several other notable awards in the field of children’s literature. This year’s winners are The One and Only Ivan (Newbery) by Katherine Applegate and This Is Not Your Hat(Caldecott) by Jon Klassen.

The One and Only Ivan is a children’s short chapter book, told from the point of view of a Silverback gorilla named Ivan, who lives as an attraction in a run-down mall. He is lonely and not very well treated, and his only friend is an old elephant named Stella, and a stray dog. Still, he is content enough, not remembering much about his life before the mall. That is, until a baby elephant named Ruby changes everything. While the book has its funny moments, it’s a pretty deep story about parenthood, loss, desire for freedom, and animal rights. I can only find great reviews for this story, and the story sounds like a really good one for both kids and adults. Plus it’s based loosely on a true story, which apparently had a real life happy ending! So go look for the adventures of Ivan the Gorilla, this year’s Newbery award winner!

This year’s Caldecott winner is a children’s picture book called This is Not My Hat, the tale of a small, rather overly confident fish who has just stolen a little Topper hat. He spends the book telling the reader all the reasons why he will get away with stealing the hat from a bigger fish, all the while the pictures in the background tell a very different story than the one the fish is telling. This book is actually a sequel to another picture book called I Want My Hat, told from the point of view of the fish that had his hat stolen, much to his distress. Most of the book is visual humor, with funny background events, wonderful art, and a few good lessons for the kids- everything you could possibly want in your fish-related children’s books.

While people sometimes tend to think of kids’ books as brainless pictures, and lessons for the kids, there is a lot of good work out there for young audiences, and these books, as well as the rest of this year’s children’s literary award winners, are proof that kids’ books can be as important as any other type. And that talking animals teach us some very valuable life lessons.  

Rice Library collects the Newbery and Caldecott titles annually, as well as hundreds of others, to support the children’s literature courses on campus. Note the call numbers given for titles in the first section- these and so many others are in the Curriculum Materials collection on our 4th floor!

New Reference Books on Manga

Manga is a type of Japanese comic book which covers many genres, with stories about everyday life or stories with adventures and action. They are an important part of Japanese popular culture with a steadily growing fan base in the West. I have read through a few, especially if someone recommends one in particular or gives it to me as a gift. I’ve liked the ones I’ve read pretty well, but I always felt like there were more things to learn about them. They seemed to be filled with so many cultural references and specific themes from within the genre. So I decided to examine one of our new reference books in the Critical Survey of Graphic Novels series, this one devoted to manga, and learn more about how they`re made and introduce myself to some of the more famous manga works.

Manga is, after all, very much a Japanese art form, and while I might know a little bit about Japanese culture, I am not at all an expert. This reference book entitled Manga (REF PN6725 .C756) can help me understand it a little bit more. It provides readers with a long list of manga works and gives their plots, characters, and themes, as well as their cultural impact.   I was actually somewhat surprised to see a few that I recognized, like Uzumaki, a really creepy story about a town possessed  by an evil spiral curse, and a series entitled Fullmetal Alchemist, some of which I watched as an anime (Japanese cartoons) and really enjoyed. Where Uzumaki is a trippy horror story, Fullmetal Alchemist is more of a magic steampunk adventure story.


I looked through the book, trying to get a feel for the genre. What really stands out to me is how well the book is put together. It is filled with pictures and information about the works being analyzed, with clear lists of major characters, plot summaries, and the basic themes. The second thing I noticed is how much variety there is in the manga genre. There are books for kids, with cute child protagonists who use magic to win school talent shows, books about the everyday lives of young women trying to succeed in both love and in the corporate world, and gritty stories about  crime and murder made for young adults and teenagers. Although I had heard of some of the books, like Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, I never knew much about them. This book can tell you just about everything you would want to know about these graphic novels themselves, as well as about their creators and how readers respond to them. I will warn you, however, if you read the plot summaries, they will have spoilers, as they basically outline everything that happens in the story from start to finish. Oh, and I don’t want to get into it too much, but there is some stuff of a more sexual nature described.  I`ll just leave it there. If you want more details, you can look it up yourself!
Give this book a look. It’s interesting, informative, and a good place to start if you are a fan of the manga genre or of Japanese culture. And by the way, if you enjoy this title, you might also appreciate its companion volume in the Critical Survey of Graphic Novels series, History, Theme, andTechnique (REF PN6725 .C7536).  Both titles are available in Rice Library’s Reference Collection, located on the library’s first floor.

Literary Criticism and You

When you’re reading a work of fiction, how much do you think about it? Not just the basic stuff, like:  Is the plot interesting?, or who are the characters going to eventually hook up with? I mean, how much thought do you put into what is going on in the story, what the author is trying to say, and what the themes are? Well, that is a huge part of what goes on in literary criticism. Readers examine texts to find themes, ideas, and subtexts in the work.  They may even relate the work to the world outside the story, and what the book has to say about the world. If any of that sounds interesting (and as an English major, this is the stuff I live for), then you might be interested in the four new books in Salem Press’s Critical Insights series. These books are available to Rice Library users in both print and electronic formats. They include discussions of classic literature, such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Frankenstein, rather typical literary pieces, but they also analyze more contemporary works as well. 

One volume which includes a discussion of contemporary works is entitled Technology and Humanity (REF PN56.T37T43).  As an example, one essay references the movie Tron and its sequel Tron Legacy as it examines the relationship between programs and programmers. This isn’t just about computers and robots; it’s also about how technology has changed over time. The volume entitled Dystopia (REF PN56.D94D97) contains a series of essays about works that deal with a future gone amuck, often focusing on a growing issue in contemporary life.  The Natureand Environment volume (REF PS169.E25N38)deals with how we feel about nature, and how nature has been used literature. It has essays on both poetry about nature and fictional accounts of man’s struggle with nature, or man’s interest in it. In The Heros Quest Heros Quest volume (REFPN56.5.H45H53) contributing authors investigate one of the great literary themes, in fact one of the earliest plots in literature. It often involves a hero traveling great distances to achieve amazing feats of heroism.


So take a look at the books, in print or online, and spend more time analyzing what you read every day. It will not only help you in class, but also in appreciating whatever entertainment you happen to enjoy.


A Walk through Time in Fashion

The collection will be on exhibit in the Wrights Administration Building through April. We hope you get an opportunity to see this rare collection on clothing as well as a unique hat and accessories display out side the University Archive & Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the Rice Library.



In 2012 the University Special Collections received a generous gift of historical clothing worn by generations of the Cooper/Beardsley/Montgomery/Gordon Family.  The Beardsley Collection, as it is known, includes not only the items on display here but also an assortment of women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing and accessories from the period 1860 through 1970. 


The matriarch of the family, Martha Cooper Beardsley (1831—1922), was born in Ithaca, New York, and married Sherman Miller Beardsley.  The Beardsleys had their second daughter Harriet “Hattie” Ethel Beardsley (1863—1959) and eventually the family relocated to the town of Bourbon in Douglas County, Illinois.


Hattie went on to marry a gentleman, James Montgomery, from Gibson County, Indiana and the young family relocated to Owensville, Indiana.  There the Montgomery’s had two daughters, Ruth Montgomery (1891—1975) and Martha Louisa.


Young Martha Louisa Montgomery (1899—1982) wed Ronald M. Gordon of Owensville and they went on to have four children.  The Gordon’s second child, James Montgomery Gordon (1926—2001), continued the line of the Cooper/Beardsley/ Montgomery/Gordon family.


This collection is gifted to the University Special Collections by James Gordon’s wife, Mrs. Evadean Gordon.  Mrs. Gordon has also shared her thorough documentation of the clothing as to the names of family members that wore the items during specific time periods.  This collection of historical clothing and accessories will continue to benefit the USI community as it tells the story of our region to future generations.

Susan Colaricci Sauls

Art Collection Registrar

Curator’s Statement


A personal love for fashion and vintage clothing made curating this exhibit an exciting endeavor!  The articles of clothing in this display were selected based on their integrity as vintage pieces, as well as what I believed would represent the wide range of clothing and accessories from the Beardsley Collection.  In addition, I considered how outfits would be coordinated and how separate items complimented each other best, despite being from different time periods.  At the end of my selection process, the pieces chosen from the collection spanned between the late 1890s through the early 1970s.  Today it is common to see fashion designers, celebrities, and the everyday person wear an outfit that mixes clothing made today with vintage pieces.


How does fashion convey a culture and its values?  While assembling and researching clothing for this exhibit, I thought about the similarities and differences between fashion from the time periods of the Beardsley Collection and present day fashion and what the similarities and differences indicate.  Many present day clothing designers are inspired by designs from the past.  Vintage silhouettes are a reoccurring contemporary fashion trend despite the fact that our society treats fashion as a sort of “fast food” that is quickly consumed and thrown out.  I have observed that consumers buy clothes at a higher rate than in earlier decades, yet clothes are not made with as much attention to detail and do not last as long.  As someone who is interested in fashion, I purchase vintage clothing because it is well made and more authentic than the imitation vintage items found at popular retailers.


The Beardsley Collection indicates that society in a previous era put a great deal of importance on dressing in a complete outfit from head to toe and valued and cared for their clothing.  They believed it was important to keep something that was well made and now preserves history.  Before curating this exhibit I had an interest in vintage fashion and now after this experience I see that fashion is continually changing while being inspired by the past.



Adrienne M. Eades

James A. Sanders Fellow



Wacky Foods

So. I really do love reference books. You never know what you’re going to find when you open one up. Like, when I opened up an e-book we have here at the library called They eat that? A cultural encyclopedia of weird and exotic food from around the world. I looked at its table of contents, and you know what first catches my eye? On their list of contents, a list of which foods they are going to be talking about? The chapter called “humans”. Humans. In the food section. I couldn’t even focus on the camel chapter, or the brains, or other such things I think were served in the dinner scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But, let’s get back to that later. I think we all need to take a second and thank the food gods that most of the food from around the world is actually delicious and interesting, and not….monkey heads or humans flesh.

One place to find interesting and tasty foods would be the international food festival held yearly by USI`s International Club. You can wander the room, and find all sorts of great foods from everywhere from Germany to Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia. When I first went, some of the foods certainly gave me pause, particularly one dish made out of eggplant, hummus, and….some meat thing that I distinctly remember. It was amazingly tasty. But that’s not the only time the International Club gives students an opportunity to try some new foods from different places! They also offer culture nights thoughout the year, focusing each time on a different culture, and usually run by students from those particular countries. And yes, they usually offer food from said cultures.

Have you done all that, and now you’re interested in learning more about foreign food items? Lets get back to that book. I skipped right over to the “Humans” seaction, and it turns out its not a  cookbook known as “To Serve Man”, its actually a history of cannibalism and its historical context in history and religion. Oh, and then they talk alot about the details of cannibalism, what parts people have preferred, and I am just going to stop there and skip over to the part where we hear about eating bone marrow and cactus and seal flippers. Because that all sounds incredebly appetizing. Alright, I might try cactus, that sounds kind of good. The foods listed range from creepy sounding, to actually pretty tasty, and no matter what, it’s all done in a way that is filled with historical and social context, keeping the book from seeming like it’s just pointing at the “weirdo foreign food” and laughing, and actually makes the foods sound, if nothing else, interesting. It makes you want to learn more about these foods, and the cultures they come from. People generally have reasons why they eat  certain things (like Balut, a fertilized duck egg that has an almost completely developed fetus inside of it, which in the US was an eating challenge on Fear Factor, but in the Philippines is considered a tasty snack that is known to give people a big burst of energy in the middle of the day, having been eaten there for generations). The internet tells me that things like bats and camels are actually quite delicious if prepared right, and several cultures have been eating them for years. Weird food is all relative (I know people on the East Coast who are mystified by the idea of drinking sweet tea) and learning about the foods of other cultures can give you some ideas about the culture itself. Now, the foods served by USI`s international club events will probably not be quite that out of the box, but they are a good way to see what other cultures eat, and what that means to them. This is what I love both about college and reference books. You never know fully what you’re getting into, but if you keep an open mind, you can learn way more than you ever expected. So try something different to eat, and you may be surprised. Just, avoid the human handburgers. Just….no.


New Year, New Computers

Anyone notice anything different about the library now that we`re back from break? That’s right, new computers! New shiny computers with big screens, and a faster internet speed! But what is really so different between our old computers and the new? Well let’s find out! Starting with the technical stuff…

These new computers have a 3.10 GHz memory, and a DVDET read and write drive. What’s really cool is that you can now charge your phone on the computer, and you don’t have to find a corner with a charger to do it! Just remember to bring your charger cord, and you are good to go! The internet has also improved, moving faster than the earlier computers(shown to the right), which only had (let’s be honest), slow internet, basic USB ports, and 17 inch screens. Our new computers have a 23 inch screen, a faster internet connection, and more advanced USB ports, which allow you to charge your phone, camera, or other such things.

So what does that mean for the students? Well, it means that the library listens when students ask for change. Over the last few years, several students have complained that our old computers were outdated, had small screens, and very slow internet. The library listened, and now we have these new ones! They’re an example of the great support the library receives from our friends at Information Technology. They are newer, more convenient, and while they won’t totally revolutionize the lives of students here, I think they will make things a little more pleasant. So what’s the message here? If you have a problem with something in the library, just say something, and hopefully we can all work together to make the library better for everyone! Talk to someone at the reference desk, or maybe send an email; I hear the internet is really quick here these days! Oh, and one more thing. Don’t forget to name and save everything if you leave your computer to get a drink or tell the guy who is STILL blasting Nickelback on his headphones to turn it down, because the computers will still log you off if there is no activity for a while. Some things never change.