Test the New Library Website

The Monroe Library Web Team has been working on a complete redesign of the library website and would like your input to help improve it. Preview the new website here and please take this short survey to share your feedback. The survey is available through June 19.

Monroe Library Student Research Competition Winners!

The Monroe Library faculty is pleased to announce the winners of 2020’s Student Research Competition, which recognizes outstanding research projects completed by Loyola students during the previous calendar year. We are always impressed and intrigued by the inquisitiveness and sophistication of the submissions, and this year was no different. All entries presented nuanced, engaging research topics that led to illuminating projects. However, our winners all excelled in their ability to identify high-quality, relevant sources and use those sources effectively to advance inquiry into their projects’ most crucial questions. This year, three students’ projects were selected for recognition based on their successful integration of library resources and on the students’ reflections on the role that research played in their projects.

Freshman Victoria Blondell’s paper, written for Prof. Jason Ezell’s first-year seminar (Beyond Stonewall: U.S. Gay Liberation), examined William Friedkin’s 1970 film, The Boys in the Band. Arguing that it was an early yet nuanced depiction of a diverse gay community characterized by a spectrum of different identities, Blondell used her research to historically contextualize the film both as a cultural artifact and to locate it within a larger filmic discourse on marginalized sexualities in the U.S. Commenting on one of Monroe Library’s primary source databases, Blondell emphasized the importance of the Gale Archives of Sexuality and Gender, which allowed her “to explore different primary sources … to gain better, direct insight into the historical context of the time period.”

Sophomore Madeline Taliancich’s paper for Prof. Laura Hope’s Irish Nationalism and Theater class read Gerald MacNamara’s play Tir-na-n-Og as an ambivalent critique of essentialist Irish nationalism as a mutable ideological construct. Her research provided a framework for understanding the historical roots of the troubles in Ireland as well as the material and political contexts of theatrical production in different Irish counties. For Taliancich, both interlibrary loan (ILLiad) and the library’s many databases proved pivotal for advancing the project. She credits time spent looking through databases with developing her “ability to discern helpful articles from ones that simply mentioned the topic.”

Senior Brian Yell’s final thesis, supervised by Profs. Kathleen Murphy and Elin Grissom, “used applied sociological and psychological theories of self-concept and identity exploration, as well as the music therapy method of therapeutic songwriting.” His project’s experimental design was supported by a fully researched and well-written literature review, suggesting Brian’s outstanding preparation for continued work in his field. Yell says of the library’s digital resources: “[they] allowed me to narrow my search results to exclude irrelevant articles, books, and journals, which helped me become less overwhelmed while conducting the research for my proposal.”

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Gubernatorial General Election

Nov. 16, 2019
Gubernatorial General Election
Early voting is Nov. 2-9 (except Sunday, Nov. 3) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Use the Geaux Vote App to find your voting location, sample ballot, and more, and get more information here.

Monroe Library Research Competition Finalists Honored

Please join us in congratulating the four winners of the Monroe Library Student Research Competition. Awards this year were given in the categories of freshman/sophomore, junior/senior, and capstone categories, as well as an Honorable Mention at the freshman/sophomore level. Winners came from a wide variety of academic disciplines, including biology, sociology, English, and political science. Every year we are struck by the quality of projects that students enter into the competition. While it’s often difficult to choose which projects to honor, each of this year’s honorees stood out for their own distinctive reasons.

Freshman/Sophomore Prize: Brandon Vincent (Sociology) for service learning research in a Sociology class with Angel Parham. Brandon’s project showed particular thoughtfulness in placing his service learning experience with high school students in the context of sociological literature about at-risk youth.

Freshman/Sophomore Runner-Up: Kimiasadat Mirlohi (Biophysics — Pre-Health) for research in an English class with Kevin Rabalais. What judges found noteworthy was Kimiasadat’s use of primary and secondary research in the personal essay to explore the difficulty of identifying as both a scientist and an artist, likening the different spheres to two “close, complementary friends.”

Junior/Senior Prize: Brittney Giardina (History — International Studies) for an independent study with Behrooz Moazami. Giardina’s engagement with the international scholarly community in the field of Middle Eastern scholarship was significant, as was evidence of the continuing evolution of her work.

Senior Capstone/Thesis Prize: Shannon Hester (Environmental Science — Teacher’s Certification) for an honors thesis with Aimee Thomas. Judges found Hester’s project on spiders in urban environments impressive both for its applied research and the varied bibliography of scholarly resources used to support her project, thesis, presentation, and the accompanying poster.

Winners received $200 prizes and our honorable mention received a $100 prize. Next year, in February of 2020, we will be accepting entries for projects completed during the 2019 calendar year, including entries from students who graduate during 2019. We also welcome graduate student research projects! Mark your calendars!

Past is Prologue: Black History Month at Monroe Library

Black History Month asks us to celebrate and reflect on a complex and painful past, but it also prompts us to direct our thoughts elsewhere. The thing to remember about history is that it was once the present. Looking back at pivotal acts, people, and struggles in Black history, many of us can only guess what it might have been like to live through Jim Crow or apartheid, to live under national laws overtly designed to keep a part of the polity from thriving. What must it have been like for Ruby Bridges to brave the shouting protesters outside of Frantz Elementary in the Ninth Ward? How did former slave Toussaint Louverture feel when he was made lieutenant governor of his native island, Saint-Domingue? What does it feel like to live and witness monumental events?

Obviously, we can’t know what was in people’s heads at these kinds of moments, and history is more than a story of big moments. Indeed, it’s just as much a story of small moments of everyday experience, of people persisting in ordinary-seeming ways. To know what it felt like to make history, big or small, we look to eyewitness accounts, film and pictures, and artifacts from the time to feel our way into history. And libraries are a great resource that can help us do this. Check out some of Loyola’s holdings that shed light on those different-sized moments in Black history. (Also check out our book display in the Monroe Library Learning Commons. All books and DVDs are available for checkout!)

In wondering about history, we can also consider ourselves as actors in a drama that will soon become history. What’s the Black history of our present? Maybe it’s hinted at by the names of people such as Trayvon Martin or Colin Kaepernick, of Kamala Harris and the Obamas, of Neil deGrasse Tyson, of LeBron James? The saying that past is prologue is borne out by the persistence of issues like voter rights and equal opportunity protections. Court cases, legislation, and nationwide marches are examples of tectonic political movement, but history can also tell us about what forms small daily resistance can take. The first step to knowing where we’re going as a country is knowing where we’ve been, and the library is a great place to start!

Jim Hobbs to retire after sustained career of service to Loyola

If you’ve ever ordered something using interlibrary loan or used one of our many research guides to find just the right database for your work, you’ve benefited from some of Jim Hobbs’ handiwork. Serving most recently as the library’s Online Services Coordinator, he will be retiring from his position after the end of this semester. Jim started working at Loyola’s Monroe Library 1989, and in those twenty-nine years he’s helped the library both through a move into a whole new building (in 1999) and through an equally revolutionary move into the digital age.

While the electronic searching capacity that we nowadays take for granted was still in its infancy, Jim was a big part of bringing those new digital information systems to Loyola. As the architect of one of Monroe Library’s earliest websites in 1996, he helped begin the shift away from text-only search terminals that covered just our print books. (Check out that early website — so retro!)

Connecting people with the information they need through a range of different channels is Jim’s speciality. He manages our interlibrary loan system, ILLiad, as well as the staff who work the magic of moving materials to our users from far away. And he’s also aces at helping to get people’s login credentials straightened out so we can all use the library from almost anywhere on the planet. On top of all this, Jim has been our liaison to the sciences, teaching students how to find, use, and evaluate information in an always-changing environment.

There’s also a side to Jim that might not be as visible at work, but is still continuous with who he is. His signature trait of giving back to the community is evident in his service as a volunteer for New Orleans musical institutions such as Jazz Fest. He promotes Cajun and Zydeco culture and heritage as a WWOZ engineer and radio host on the station’s weekly C&Z music show (Sundays from noon to 2 pm). Not surprisingly, Jim also uses his expertise as a librarian to help preserve Acadian culture with his database of Cajun and Zydeco music LPs and other recordings. He even writes a music blog!

And maybe we shouldn’t reveal too much here, but there are also two different carnival organizations that can boast of having Jim as a member.

Over the years we’ve been so blessed with his calm, reassuring presence, his technical expertise, and his willingness to help out, no matter what. Congratulations, Jim — we’re really going to miss you!

#loynocodes Continues

Did you miss Loyola’s very own Hour of Code?

We’re sorry you couldn’t make it, too! Don’t worry, though. Hour of Code is not just a one-day event. From now until our last drop-in Hour of Code, we’re challenging everyone to continue (or start) their great work.

  • Go to our incredible research guide to start your journey.
  • Add your projects/code/work/ideas/opportunities. Would you recommend the activity you tried? Do you have a project (in progress or complete!) you’d like to share? Add it to the doc: tinyurl.com/loynocodes18 or share it using #LoynoCodes”
  • Join us for a drop-in Hour of Code December 4th and 6th in the window (12:30-2:00) in the Library Instruction Classroom (Room 146). It’s a great time to share your work from the month or find a quiet space to work on your ongoing coding projects.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

About Hour of Code:
The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching millions of students in 180+ countries. The goal of the Hour of Code is not to teach anybody to become an expert programmer in one hour. One hour is only enough to learn that coding is fun and creative, that it is accessible at all ages, for all students, regardless of background. Above all, what all participants can learn in an hour is that we can do this.

Open Access Week 2018

Open Access (OA) Week 2018 is October 22-28.

Libraries, authors and others around the world are observing OA Week. The theme for 2018 is “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” As the OA Week website says: “This year’s theme reflects a scholarly system in transition. While governments, funders, universities, publishers, and scholars are increasingly adopting open policies and practices, how these are actually implemented is still in flux.”

Open Access is the growing model of scholarly publication based on sharing. Open Access means free, immediate access to scholarly material in full. Writing can be published on an institutional repository (“green open”) or published in a completely open journal (“gold open”).

It’s a reversal of the old model, where university faculty and researchers write articles, publish them in commercial journals, and the library has to buy them back for other faculty and students to read. That’s paying for it twice–-in the researcher’s salary and the library’s money! And the publisher owns the article copyright and can decide when and how it’s used and reused-–the writer has very little further control over its use. The Internet provides a quick and simple way to distribute information to the world at a minimal cost, where organizations and individuals see their research get the widest possible audience. Universities, libraries, and researchers worldwide are getting behind this new model of scholarly publication.

Open Access Week is a great time to learn about this powerful new model for publishing and distribution.

Code With Us in 2018!

Join the Monroe Library for a hands-on introduction to computer programming at our Hour of Code event!

  • When: Tuesday, November 6, 12:30-2pm
  • Where: Monroe Library Instruction Classroom (1st floor, Room 146 in the computer lab wing)

We’ll have fun introductory computer programming activities to choose from.

Anyone is welcome to attend. Please help spread the word to anyone on campus who you think may be interested! We’ll be following up in the coming weeks with a Research Guide; have a look at last year’s guide for more information. We’re also looking for participants to help lead coding activities; let us know if you’re interested!

The hour you spend working through the tutorial is just the beginning – you’ll also be directed to free online resources to continue learning independently.
No experience is necessary, and all are welcome! Feel free to bring your own laptop and headphones if you prefer to work on your own machine.


About Hour of Code:
The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching millions of students in 180+ countries. The goal of the Hour of Code is not to teach anybody to become an expert programmer in one hour. One hour is only enough to learn that coding is fun and creative, that it is accessible at all ages, for all students, regardless of background. Above all, what all participants can learn in an hour is that we can do this.

Artistic Printing in the 19th Century Exhibit

Stop by and see Special Collections & Archives’ newest exhibit in the Booth-Bricker Reading Room: Artistic Printing in the Nineteenth Century curated by Loyola printmaking professor Bill Kitchens. This gorgeous exhibit displays Kitchens’ vast collection 19th century trade show cards and discusses the history of letterpress and lithographic printmaking in early American graphic design. We are thrilled to host this collection of colorful cards, books, and printmaking apparatuses in our Booth-Bricker Reading Room on the 3rd floor of the Monroe Library through the Fall 2018 semester. Come see it for yourself during our open hours: T-Th, 9-12 and 1-4pm.