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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 22, 2005

UI Libraries Celebrate 150 Years Of Serving Iowa

The University of Iowa Libraries, the largest library in Iowa and one of the largest public research libraries in the country, is marking its 150th year of service to the state with a series of free, public events through the fall.

"We think of the our public libraries serving Iowans, but the University Libraries serves not only students, but serves everybody in the state in one way or another," said Christie Vilsack, First Lady of Iowa and a champion of libraries and literacy. "There is a whole wealth of information and services for people at the UI Library."

"The University Libraries is at the academic core of the UI. It is central to our institution's national excellence," said David Skorton, president of the University of Iowa. "The UI Libraries provide access to great collections in print and online, but the hidden gem of the libraries is the staff. My own experience as a scholar and researcher has been made more successful and fulfilling through the wonderful assistance of the libraries staff."

"While this is a celebration of the achievements of the UI Libraries over the past 150 years, we are also looking to the future and the many innovative ways that the libraries will support the university's teaching, learning and research during the next 150 years," says Nancy L. Baker, university librarian. "At the same time, we are delighted to be collaborating with the other Iowa school, public, college and university libraries to support the intellectual needs of Iowans throughout the state. We invite everyone to come celebrate with us, and see some of the interesting projects we are working on."

The sesquicentennial will be formally celebrated Thursday, Nov. 3, with a day-long series of events. The Main Library will hold an open house from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by the debut of a short video documenting the history of the library. That evening will feature a lecture by Mark Edmundson, University of Virginia English professor and author of the book "Why Read?" His lecture begins at 7 p.m. in Shambaugh Auditorium in the Main Library.

Other events to be held this academic year include:

--"Beyond the Bun: A Look Inside Librarian Culture" An exhibit in the Main Library's North Hall presents a humorous look at the sometimes accurate, sometimes not, stereotypes of librarians. Through Nov. 15.

--Branch open houses. Nine of the branch libraries will be open, one each day, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The schedule is as follows: Sept. 26, Engineering; Sept. 27, Chemistry; Sept. 28, Business; Sept. 29, Physics; Oct. 3, Psychology; Oct. 4, biological sciences; Oct. 5, Geosciences; Oct. 6, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences; Oct. 10, Mathematical Sciences.

--Beyond the Bun: The Movie(s). A film festival with four movies that prominently feature librarians as characters -- "Desk Set," "Party Girl," "Black Mask" and "Read or Die" -- will play at Shambaugh Auditorium in the Main Library. Oct. 27-30, 8 p.m.

Spring semester events include the unveiling of the cARTalog art project, in which 1 million card catalog cards are being turned into art by artists, writers, school children and others; and an historical exhibit in the Main Library's North Hall, "Connecting You to a World of Ideas for 150 Years: The University of Iowa Libraries."


--The University of Iowa Libraries consists of the Main Library, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences and 10 branch libraries that focus on specialized collections, such as music, art, chemistry and business. (It does not include the Law Library, which is administered separately through the College of Law.)

--With more than 4 million volumes, the University of Iowa Libraries is the largest library in the state of Iowa.

--The UI Libraries reaches every corner of the state of Iowa, sending more than 15,000 books, periodicals or other volumes to readers in all 99 counties last year through inter-library loan.

--The UI Libraries as the 18th largest public research library in the country.

--The libraries' Government Documents collection has more than 667,000 government documents, the largest collection in the state, and its map collection has more than 440,000 maps.

--The electronic classroom in the Main Library's Information Arcade was the first fully-integrated electronic classroom in the country and served as the model for many more. Today, almost every college or university in the U.S. has an electronic classroom.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,