Archive for December, 2015

Ellen Ryan: Preserving History

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

From Bengal Tracks / by Chris Gabettas

If you’re researching the history of Idaho State University or accessing a rare collection online, you may want to thank Ellen Ryan.

As university archivist, she maintains ISU’s historical archives and oversees 300 special collections housed in the basement of the Eli M. Oboler Library.

Acquisitions include the collection of Oscar-winning designer Edward Stevenson, who grew up in Pocatello and designed for Lucille Ball; materials chronicling the history of Garrett Freightlines, once the nation’s fifth largest trucking firm; and letters and documents written by George Shoup, Idaho’s first governor.

“Our main focus is to make sure that the materials and collections in our care are available to researchers now and beyond our lifetime,” said Ryan, who came to ISU in 2013 after working in Special Collections and Archives at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.

Ryan and her small team take special care to process and store fragile manuscripts, documents and photographs to preserve their physical integrity.

“We monitor temperatures and humidity levels on a daily basis. We also look for mold or any kind of insect or rodent infestation that could damage documents,” she said. She’s also working to place more materials from Special Collections and Archives online, increasing public accessibility.

Ryan loves her job-especially the opportunity to teach students the value of using ISU Special Collections and Archives for their primary research. This fall, she helped students in an honors business class gather research for a book they co-authored about the history of Garrett Freightlines trucking company.

Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from University of New Mexico, a master’s degree in history from Southeast Missouri State University, and a master’s in library information science from San Jose State University.

For 12 years, Ryan was a security supervisor at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art where she handled reference questions about exhibits and worked with film crews shooting inside the museum. Movies included the Michael Douglas-Gwyneth Paltrow thriller “The Perfect Murder” and “Maid in Manhattan” starring Jennifer Lopez. It was Ryan’s job to make sure set lights and equipment didn’t damage the priceless art and exhibits.

Ryan grew up in Queensbury, New York, a town about half the size of Pocatello located at the base of the Adirondack Mountains. She enjoys spending weekends exploring eastern Idaho and visiting many of the sites mentioned in library collections.

Not only do the trips add a visual reference and context to the documents she reads, but they’re also an opportunity for Ryan to experience a new region of the country.

“Yeah, I have a very cool job,” she says with a laugh.

Thank you Ellen!

Library Hours

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Intersession Hours
December 19, 2015 – January 10, 2016

Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday CLOSED

Holiday Closures

Dec. 24, 2015 – Jan. 3,2016 CLOSED

Oboler Library Receives NEH Grant

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Idaho State University’s Oboler Library Receives NEH Preservation Assistance Grant

Special Collections and Archives in the Eli M. Oboler Library at Idaho State University has recently been awarded a Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). “With these grants, the National Endowment for the Humanities continues its 50-year tradition of supporting excellence in the humanities,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “From scholarly books and humanities programs on college campuses to new digital humanities resources and preservation efforts at local museums, the projects receiving funding today will reach deeply into communities and expand access to our shared cultural heritage.” The NEH granted $21.8 million in awards and offers for 295 humanities projects. Oboler Library is one of three institutions in the state of Idaho to receive funds during this grant cycle.

The grant awarded ISU’s Special Collections department will be used to retain a professional preservation consultant to assess policies, practices, and conditions affecting the long-term preservation of the Library’s rare and unique collections. The consultant will provide detailed information on the specific needs of the collection in three main areas: a) short-term recommendations focusing on prioritizing immediate remedial preservation improvements; b) long-term recommendations to inform future planning for storage to accommodate collection growth, and to support improvements to storage and environmental conditions, fire protection, and disaster preparedness; and c) recommendations on ways to integrate the preservation needs of the collection into the overall strategic planning for Special Collections to effectively begin a regimen of preventive care.

Ellen M. Ryan, Head of Special Collections and Archives will serve as Principal Investigator, and Kristi Austin, Reference Librarian will serve as Co-PI on the project.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

ISU Press Release / Pocatello, ID, December 14, 2015

The Namesake

Monday, December 14th, 2015

In a victory for the freedom to read, the school board in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has voted 5-0 to adopt a proposed curriculum that includes, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.

High school teacher Kirsten Pomerantz had requested approval to use the award-winning novel about the immigration experience of an Indian-American family in the curriculum, citing a need for more contemporary American writing in 12th grade coursework, but the school district Ad Hoc Literature Committee voted 4-2 against it due to “‘explicit’ sex scenes that they say are ‘too graphic for whole group instruction.’”

Earlier this year, the same committee also voted to restrict Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck in 9th grade classrooms, in part because it contained “too darn much cussing.” After a local public outcry and communications from free speech advocates including CBLDF, the school board overruled the committee decision regarding  the Steinbeck classic.

Fortunately, the school board made the same decision in this case, voting unanimously to overrule the Ad Hoc committee and to approve The Namesake for classrooms.

Source:  libidaho listserv: Annah Hackett / Chair, Idaho Library Association Intellectual Freedom Commitee

Phil Homan Article Cited

Friday, December 11th, 2015

News & Notes online submission:

One of Eli M. Oboler Library Associate Professor Philip Homan’s articles on information ethics has been cited in the current issues of two peer-reviewed library and information science journals. Homan’s article “Library Catalog Notes for ‘Bad Books’: Ethics vs. Responsibilities” was published in Knowledge Organization, the peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for Knowledge Organization, by Ergon Verlag, Würzburg, Germany, in 2012.

Using former Emory University historian Michael Bellesiles’s discredited book on the history of gun ownership in America, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (New York: Knopf, 2000), as a case study, Homan examined what research libraries should do about books in their collections that have been compromised by age, error, abridgement, expurgation, plagiarism, copyright violation, libel, or fraud.

Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, a key journal in information organization, published by Routledge, cites Homan’s article in support of adding notes to library catalog records to call attention to controversial books.

Likewise, Knowledge Organization cites Homan’s article in support of developing a professional code of ethics for library catalogers.

Homan’s article was first presented as a paper at the The 2nd Milwaukee Conference on the Ethics of Information Organization, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, June 15-16, 2012. His research has also been cited in an Italian library magazine, a Brazilian information science journal, and a Spanish doctoral dissertation and conference proceedings.

Library Hours

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Extended hours are in effect through the end of Finals Week.  Good Luck everyone!

Closed & Final Exam Weeks:
December 7 – 18, 2015

Monday – Thursday 7:00 a.m – 1:00 a.m.
Friday 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Friday, December 18 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

New Resource

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

The Library has purchased and activated Evidence Analysis Library. 

EAL is your food and nutrition resource answering food and nutrition questions with systematic reviews since 2004.  EAL enhances our healthcare resources dedicated to Evidence Based Practice.

A unique feature of this resource is the NutriGuides Mobile Application: This app puts EAL® at your fingertips with over 300 nutrition recommendations available.

EAL® Key Features:

Find recommendations by Disease/Condition, Topic, or Nutrition Care Process step.

Search feature for easy retrieval.

Rating identifies strength of supporting research.

Addresses Diabetes Type 1 and 2, Critical Illness, Chronic Kidney Disease and many more.

Topics include energy needs, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals.

Quick Learn Tutorials.  These videos will help you get the most out of the EAL and earn continuing education credit!

 Learn More!  Go to the Library home page, click on >>Library Quick Links, then >>Databases, Alphabetic.

New Artist

Friday, December 4th, 2015

New Art Exhibit: Photography by Linda Groom


Golden Dome – Myanmar

Linda Groom’s stunning photographs reflect her worldwide travels, from Idaho to Burma and beyond.  An Idaho native, she graduated from the University of Idaho, taught junior high, owned a yarn store, and spent nearly 20 years as a real estate associate broker.  She is on the Boards of Directors for the Idaho State Civic Symphony and the Pocatello Art Center, and is a member of Pocatello Rotary.  Linda found her true passion behind the lens; beauty, she writes,  can be found everywhere.  Her work will be on display through the end of February 2016.

This exhibit will include images of the ancient temples in Palmyra, Syria taken by Ms. Groom shortly before the UNESCO World Heritage site was destroyed by ISIS bombers this Fall.

Meet Linda at our Art Reception, Wednesday, January 20, 2016 from 4:30 – 6:00 pm.  The art show is free and open to the public during regular Library hours.