Applications have opened for two of the Libraries’ funds that allow students and faculty to expand their classroom experiences and research opportunities.
The endowments, which have application deadlines of March 12, provide recipients with funds to purchase rare or specialized resources, many of which might not be accessible otherwise as they are not available in the region or the nation.
Past recipients have been awarded funding for database materials, special collections and online journal articles.
Last year, the Libraries awarded three 1804 funds and one junior faculty fund.
Senior Marc Blanc and Joe McLaughlin, associate professor of English, used their 1804 award to purchase selections from the Left Book Club, a political publishing organization in Great Britain in the 1930s.
Blanc first began working with the collection when he took English 4940, research apprenticeship, a collaborative work of the English department and the Libraries. From there, he, along with McLaughlin, discovered OHIO had one of the largest collections of the series in the United States.
“One of the tasks was to do a census,” said McLaughlin. “We wanted to see what we are missing. Then we started poking around to see how expensive it would be…or if it would be possible to get this [Left Book Club] collection. [Prices for different publications] ranged from like $4 to $600.”
Thanks to the funds from the Libraries, OHIO now has 240 of the 250 publications in the collection.
“You learn about these types of things in the classroom…but the [Libraries’] archives [and Special Collections] makes it possible to go see things and makes it tangible,” said Blanc.
Like Blanc and McLaughlin, John Brobst, an associate professor of history, used his award to build collections for current and future OHIO students.
With the help of the 1804 fund and other money set aside for contemporary history projects, the Libraries acquired the recently digitized Middle East records of Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from the 1970s.
“I applied for the 1804 grant primarily to support my research on British defense and foreign policy in the contemporary era,” said Brobst. “I am currently finishing a book on Anglo-American naval strategy in the Indian Ocean during the Cold War, and that project motivated my application.”
The series covers a range of subjects, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, oil policy and the Iranian revolution, as well as matters directly related to Brobst’s project. Along with using the materials in his classes, Brobst said the collections should help all students, particularly history, journalism and political science majors, with term papers.
“In general, grants, such as that from the 1804 fund, are crucial to sustaining the vibrancy of faculty research and graduate education in history at a nationally competitive level,” he added.
The final 1804 recipient, Melissa Haviland, a professor of art, said one of the primary uses of her award was to bring one of the largest distributors of artist books, of which she is a supporter and researcher, to campus last fall. Haviland added she was the faculty support for Miriam Intrator, special collections librarian, who organized the application.
Haviland said she and her classes often work with Intrator who oversees the Libraries collections of artist books in the Library. Through the help of Intrator, Haviland used the money both to bring the Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, LLC to campus for a trunk show—where the distributors display and discuss their wares—and to purchase books from them.
“[Miriam] is the direct facilitator for my students to gain efficient access to the collection,” Haviland said. “They use her within a lens both within class and out of class to see projects for books that are specifically related to what they are making…the show is also to gain awareness of artist books and bring them here and do an exhibition of the books.”
The Nov. 6, 2017 show allowed the Libraries to get feedback on potential artist books to purchase, said Intrator.
“The show went really well,” she said. “We had a great turnout of faculty, librarians and some graduate students. They filled out recommendation cards…which helped inform us about potential purchases.”
Ashwini Ganeshan, assistant professor of modern languages, said money from the junior faculty award allowed her to take her research to a new level. Ganeshan, a linguist, said the grant was used to purchase a subscription to a linguistic data consortium catalog.
“I was using things that are free and available online and the linguistics data consortium has a huge list of all different languages, and I thought this would be a great opportunity,” she said. “Everyone here at OHIO, who would be interested, could use it,” she said, adding she planned to incorporate it into her classes.
She said, however, that the purchase of the subscription extends beyond helping her and her students.
“I think it is great that Ohio University Libraries gives us this opportunity to use it. It also saves us a lot of time, because we brought it here,” she said. “The whole University, technically, could benefit. It also puts you in contact with other people working on this type of research…it helps you open that conversation with other researchers and other people across other universities.”
All photos courtesy of Lexi Browning/Ohio University Libraries