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WSU Library System News

News & Updates in the Libraries

2013 Wayne State Libraries Annual Report

April 28th, 2014

Click below to download a copy of the Wayne State University Libraries’ 2013 Year in Review.

Don’t forget to check out our Instagram account to check out all the photos and more! waynestatelibraries

A very rare book opens six different ways and reveals 6 different books

April 23rd, 2014

Book binding has seen many variations, from the iconic Penguin paperbacks to highly unusual examples like this from late 16th century Germany. It’s a variation on the dos-à-dos binding format (from the French meaning “back-to-back”). Here however, the book opens six different directions, each way revealing a different book. It seems that everyone has a tablet or a Kindle tucked away in their bag (even my 90 year old grandma), and so it sometimes comes as a surprise to remember the craftsmanship that once went along with reading.

The book, which comes from the Rogge Library in Strängnäs, features devotional texts printed in Germany during the 1550s and 1570s (including Martin Luther’s Der kleine Catechismus). Each of the books is held closed with its own ornate metal clasp, and was probably far more decorative than useful. Just imagine finding where you left off! See more images of this book and other rare examples on the National Library of Sweden’s Flickr page.


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Libraries around the world: The Human Library – Check Out A Living Book And Listen To Their Story

April 23rd, 2014

London – In the Human Library you can rent people who have been through difficult times – and they will tell you all about it. It’s a way of debunking the stereotypes that have spread around Great Britain.

They are each sitting at a round table and wearing yellow silk sashes with “book” written across. A dozen people have volunteered to become part of this human library set up in the London headquarters of an NGO called Crisis. They have all been through hard times. Some took drugs; others lived in the street or suffered from mental illnesses. They have put themselves at the public’s disposal and can be “borrowed” for half an hour, enough time to learn a little about their experience.

“I was agoraphobic,” says Teresa, a shy redhead with green eyes. “At times, I couldn’t leave the house for 12 weeks.” Why is she participating in this project? “To show that there is a face behind the illness and to dispel the stereotypes about it, since its often perceived as a form of laziness.”

Other “books” include Mafruha, a Bangladeshi refugee and poet; Joirute, a Lithuanian with a handicapped daughter; or Rafeik, a homeless drug-addict. On the wall, a board sums up their life story and indicates who is “available” and who is “taken.”

Life stories, as told by those who have lived them

A former alcoholic and drug addict, 45 year-old Gordon is the first to be borrowed today. “I started taking drugs when I was 11,” he tells the first four people who chose him. “I increased the doses, mixed ecstasy, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin. I went to prison.” A listener interrupts to describe his own experience as an alcoholic. He wants advice on how to stop. “For me, the trigger was the day I accepted to see myself as a drug-addict,” explains Gordon.

Nearby, 42 year-old Stephen is telling a mother and her son about his incredible life. “At nine years old, I was adopted by a wealthy family. I worked for the Queen and for Harrods. I met many famous people; I even went on tour with Michael Jackson. And then, after a nervous breakdown, everything came crumbling down. I ended up in the street.” His audience is captivated. “Talking about my past is a form of therapy, it enables me to put things into perspective,” he notes after his performance.

Organizer Veena Torchia hopes to debunk certain stereotypes. “I grew up in South Africa during the apartheid. I saw the effects of fear based on ignorance.” She believes meeting with a real person can change things. Juliet, one of the “readers,” agrees. “I really identified with one of the “books,” because we had grown up in the same city and were both victims of racism.”

150 Human Libraries around the world

The idea of a human library was born in Denmark with an NGO called Stop the Violence. It was then exported to about sixty countries with help from the Council of Europe. But the idea truly took off in Great Britain thanks to the energy of two men, Nick Little, a librarian, and Oz Osborne, who works for an NGO from rural Norfolk County that fights against mental illnesses.

“We organized our first event in 2008,” remembers Little. “Since then, there have been 150 such events throughout the country.” They transformed the concept into a franchise. “We train partner organizations, like Crisis, who then organize their own human libraries.” Because the goal is to reach people who harbor the most stereotypes, the libraries are often in busy areas like supermarkets, stations or even in the street.

As for the “books,” they are selected according to a strict process. “The goal is to have a group of people who represent all parts of society,” says the librarian. “From an HIV-positive person to a Polish migrant, as well as transgender or handicapped people.” The “titles” are regularly updated. “Since 9/11, it is important to include Muslims because of Islamophobia,” he says. “After the riots last summer, we called upon young black delinquents.” It is also important to take local specificities into account. For instance, the library looked into “chavs”, the derogatory term used for young white men from the working class. But the goal isn’t to reproduce stereotypes. “One of our participants is a 85 year-old man who fled Nazi Germany when he was 14. When the audience chose the book called “Refugee,” it wasn’t expecting him,” says Little. “We don’t want to tell people how to think, we just want to take them out of their comfort zone,” adds Osborne.

Sometimes the “library” is a place of learning. “People learn, for instance, that an asylum seeker doesn’t have the right to work and therefore won’t steal British jobs,” Osborne explains. Claire Carney, who organized several events in Preston, in the North of England, says the participants she spoke with learned that “you can’t catch AIDS through saliva or that a blind woman can have a child.”

Nick Little and Oz Osborne know that it will “never be possible to convince everybody.” Sometimes reactions are even violent. “One man attacked me because I was suggested he borrow a gay book and he thought I was calling him a homosexual,” says Little. But there are also achievements. “We were able to change a Christian fundamentalist’s mind on gay marriage.” One of reading’s many benefits.

Read the full article: The Human Library – Check Out A Living Book And Listen To Their Story

Get ready to get even more from your library searches with Summon!

April 14th, 2014

First, the Wayne State Libraries brought you Research Warrior, a new way to search that made finding books, media and articles from journals and magazines even easier. Now, get ready for Summon, a search tool that brings you all the features of Research Warrior but also increases your results to include things like research guides, librarian contact information and licensed reference materials like Gale Virtual Reference. With over three million library items, over five hundred databases, and a single search box, you’ll spend even less time searching, and more time finding.

Summon uses responsive design, which makes viewing on tablets and mobile devices even better and will integrate directly into Quick Search. Summon will replace Research Warrior in the “Everything” tab on the library website on May 6 but to preview it now, go to

Wayne State University’s Shiffman Medical Library Outreach Services hosts “Conversations with Caregivers” conference April 16

April 4th, 2014

On April 16, Wayne State University Shiffman Medical Library Outreach Services is presenting “Conversations for Caregivers,” an all day conference featuring a panel discussion, forum and breakout sessions that will connect caregivers to legal, financial, healthcare, long-term care and research experts who will help demystify the roles and responsibilities of caregivers.

The event takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit’s cultural center. The panel and session leaders will include Wayne State professors, social workers, physicians and attorneys that will speak on topics including avoiding legal and financial pitfalls, communication between physicians, patients and families, psychosocial needs of caregivers and more.

“People are often surprised at the resources that are available,” said Shiffman Medical Librarian LaVentra Ellis-Danquah. “It makes an incredible difference when caregivers can get the help that they need close to home.”

According to the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, you may be one of the State’s 1.2 million caregivers if you are an unpaid family member or friend who assists an older adult or a person with a disability with any of their daily living activities. Many who find themselves in these circumstances may not identify themselves as caregivers.

The event is free and open to the public but registration is required. To register or for more information, including a full list of the sessions offered, go to or contact LaVentra Ellis-Danquah at (313) 577-9083 or

The 16 Coolest College Libraries In The Country

March 25th, 2014

Wayne State didn’t make the list but it’s still a great group to peruse!

Wayne State School of Library and Information Science’s Project IDOL accepting applications for fall 2014 cohort

March 24th, 2014

The Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) is now accepting applications for Project IDOL (Increasing Diversity of Librarians) fall 2014 cohort.

Project IDOL is a collaboration between the Wayne State SLIS and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Library Alliance. Thanks to funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, SLIS and the HBCU Library Alliance have joined forces to achieve greater diversity among practicing library professionals. In this three-year project, the two partner organizations will recruit, mentor and offer an online master’s degree in library and information science (MLIS) to 10 students from historically underrepresented groups. SLIS will provide the education, while the HBCU library alliance will assist with recruitment and retention by providing mentorship of the students.

Project IDOL Fellows will receive full tuition for their MLIS degree, advisory support of individual mentors, additional funds for books, conference travel and a personal computer. The degree must be completed within two years. SLIS encourages applicants from anywhere in North America, as the MLIS degree can be completed entirely online.

Interested applicants must first be accepted into the Wayne State MLIS program before being considered for Project IDOL funding. Further details about Project IDOL and full application requirements can be found at or by contacting Matt Fredericks, SLIS academic services officer, at

UGL puts on commemorative display in celebration of National Poety Month

March 24th, 2014

During the entire month of April, in honor of National Poetry Month, the Wayne State University Library System will be presenting a commemorative display celebrating the work of esteemed Wayne State alumni and poets, Robert Hayden and Dudley Randall. Consisting of twelve free standing and hanging six-foot panels in the atrium of the Undergraduate Library, the exhibition will highlight the life and works of Hayden and Randall through selected poems, biographies and photos.

Dudley Randall (January 14, 1914 – August 5, 2000) was a Wayne State alum, African-American poet and poetry publisher from Detroit. He founded a pioneering publishing company called Broadside Press in 1965, which published many leading African-American writers. Randall penned his most well-known poem “The Ballad of Birmingham”, in response to the 1963 bombing of the Baptist church that Martin Luther King, Jr belonged to in Birmingham, Alabama. Randall’s poetry is characterized by simplicity and realism.

Robert Hayden (August 4, 1913 – February 25, 1980) was a Wayne State alum, African American poet, essayist and educator. Hayden was elected to the American Academy of Poets in 1975 and from 1976 to 1978, served as the first African American Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. In 1985 this position became the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

Robert Hayden / Dudley Randall Centennial celebrates National Poetry Month at Wayne State University April 2-3

March 18th, 2014

Robert Hayden (1913-80) and Dudley Randall (1914-2000) are two of Wayne State University’s most famous alumni. Through their poetry, they brought attention to the city of Detroit and the accomplishments of African American culture and history. In recognition of National Poetry Month, WSU will honor the Robert Hayden/Dudley Randall Centennial with several on-campus events April 2 and 3.

A symposium will be held from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2 at the WSU Law School’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, featuring roundtable discussions about the poets and their work. Film clips and conversations about The Black Unicorn: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press and a preview of Austere and Lonely Offices: The Poetry of Robert Hayden will be shown.

A stellar lineup of poets and scholars will discuss the works and impact of Robert Hayden and Dudley Randall on their own work and on American literature. Al Young, Melba Joyce Boyd, Frank Rashid, Todd Duncan, Laurence Goldstein, Frederick Glaysher, Tony Medina, Kevin Gaines, Terry Blackhawk, Bill Harris and jessica Care moore will each present their perspectives on the poets and engage in a roundtable discussion during the symposium.

A poetry reading will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 3 in the David Adamany Undergraduate Library’s Bernath Auditorium. Poets Naomi Long Madgett, Adrian Matejka, Caroline Maun, and M.L. Liebler will join the previous day’s panelists to recite poems and comment on personal and aesthetic connections to Hayden and Randall. Jazz bassist Marion Hayden will accompany Young and Boyd, the Magic Poetry Band will perform with Liebler, and students from the InsideOut Literary Arts Project will perform as part of this celebration.

Both events are free and open to the public, with receptions following each day’s activities. For more information, call 313-577-2321 or visit

Cosponsors for the centennial celebration include: WSU’s Departments of Africana Studies, English, History, Urban Studies and Urban Planning, and Labor Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights in the WSU Law School; WSU Libraries; WSU’s Humanities Center; the King Chavez Parks Fund in the Office of the Graduate School; the WSU Academy of Scholars; WSU’s Office of the Vice President of Government and Community Affairs; Marygrove College’s Department of English and Modern Languages; and the Institute for Detroit Studies.

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Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students.


Al Young is a native Detroiter, and his many books have been widely translated. His poetry, fiction, essays, anthologies and musical memoirs have received many awards. From 2005 through 2008, he served as California’s poet laureate. Other honors include NEA, Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships; The Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence; and the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Award.

Adrian Matejka is the author of The Devil’s Garden, which won the 2002 New York New England Award, and Mixology, a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. His most recent book, The Big Smoke, was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award and for the 2014 Grub Street Book Prize in Poetry. He is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Lannan Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Frederick Glaysher is the literary executor of the Hayden Estate. He studied writing under a private tutorial with Robert Hayden at the University of Michigan. The author or editor of several books, he edited Hayden’s Collected Prose and Collected Poems. Robert Hayden is a character in Glaysher’s epic poem, The Parliament of Poets, partly set at the lunar landing site of Apollo 11.

Bill Harris is a playwright, poet, critic and an emeritus professor of English from Wayne State University. He received the 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award. He formerly served as chief curator at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. His most recent publication is Booker T. & Them: A Blues.

Laurence Goldstein, editor of Robert Hayden: Essays on the Poetry (coeditor with Robert Chrisman, 2001) is professor of English at the University of Michigan. He is author or editor of several books on American poetry and poetics. His most recent publications are Writing Ann Arbor: A Literary Anthology and A Room in California.

Tony Medina, two-time winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, is the author/editor of 17 books for adults and young readers, including I and I, Bob Marley; My Old Man Was Always on the Lam (2011 Paterson Poetry Prize finalist); Broke on Ice; An Onion of Wars, The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems and Broke Baroque (2013 Julie Suk Award finalist). His poetry, essays and fiction appear in over 100 publications. The first professor of creative writing at Howard University, in 2013, Medina was awarded The Langston Hughes Society Award, the first African Voices Literary Award and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Frank D. Rashid is professor of English at Marygrove College, where he teaches American literature and Detroit literature. He is former chair of the English department and a founding member of the Institute for Detroit Studies. He has published essays on the poetry of Robert Hayden, Lawrence Joseph and Emily Dickinson and is editor of the online Literary Map of Detroit. He also researches and writes about Detroit history, culture and politics.

Terry Blackhawk is the author of six poetry collections, including Escape Artist, winner of the John Ciardi Prize, and The Light Between. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies as well as online at Verse Daily, Poetry Daily and The Collagist. She founded Detroit’s acclaimed writers-in-the-schools program, InsideOut Literary Arts Project in 1995, shortly before retiring as a creative writing and English teacher from Detroit Public Schools.

Naomi Long Madgett is the poet laureate of the City of Detroit. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Michigan Governors Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and the Kresge Eminent Artist Award. She is professor emeritus from Eastern Michigan University, where she taught English. She is the publisher and editor of Lotus Press.

jessica Care moore is an internationally renowned poet/ publisher/ activist/ rock star/ playwright and actor. She is a five-time Showtime at the Apollo winner; has featured on hip-hop mega-star’s Nas’ Nastradamus album and was a returning star of Russell Simmon’s HBO Series, Def Poetry Jam. In 1997, she paved her own path and launched a publishing company of her own — Moore Black Press — which released her first book, The Words Don’t Fit In My Mouth, printing several thousand copies. A few years later, she followed up with her second collection of poetry and essays, The Alphabet Verses The Ghetto.

Todd Duncan is a lecturer in the English and Africana Studies departments at Wayne State University and teaches a seminar on Detroit writers, which includes a focus on the poetry of Robert Hayden and Dudley Randall. Duncan also conducts oral histories of Detroit natives and teaches a course on Detroit Old Timers.

Caroline Maun is an associate professor of English at Wayne State University.
She teaches creative writing and American literature and is the coordinator of creative writing. She is the editor of The Collected Poetry of Evelyn Scott and author of Mosaic of Fire: The Work of Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle. Her poetry publications include The Sleeping, What Remains and two chapbooks, Cures and Poisons and Greatest Hits.

Melba Joyce Boyd is a distinguished university professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Wayne State University. She is the convener of Hayden/Randall centennial events in metropolitan Detroit. Boyd is the author or editor of 13 books, nine of which are poetry. She received the 2013 Michigan Notable Book Award for her latest collection of poetry, Death Dance of a Butterfly; the 2010 Michigan Notable Book Award and 2010 Independent Publishers Award for Poetry for Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall; and the American Library Association’s Black Caucus Honor Award for Nonfiction for Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press.

Kevin Gaines is the Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. He is author of Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture During the Twentieth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 1996), which was awarded the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association. His most recent book, American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era (UNC Press, 2006), was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

M.L. Liebler is an internationally renowned Detroit poet, university professor, literary arts activist and arts organizer. He is the author of 13 books, including Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream (Wayne State University Press 2008), which won the Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence and The American Indie Book Award for 2009. He is founding director of The National Writer’s Voice Project in Detroit and the Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization. His literary anthology Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams (Coffee House Press 2010) received The Michigan Library Notable Book Award for 2011.

Amazing librarians tattoos from around the world

February 20th, 2014

There are plenty of literary tattoos out there, and plenty of tattooed librarians. A bit less common are librarians with tattoos celebrating their career choice. Have a look at some of the tattoos that these librarians have chosen to represent their love of literature and libraries: