11th Annual (2nd Virtual) Edible Books Festival

In many ways it feels like it’s been a very long year since we had to go virtual with the 2020 Milligan Libraries’ Edible Books Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then again, now that we’ve just concluded our 2021 Edible Books Festival, it sort-of feels odd that a whole year has passed us by already. Maybe that’s a good thing.

The festival rules are very simple. Submissions are received from the larger Milligan University community (students, alumni, faculty, staff, and family members) that are book-themed and edible. That’s it. Otherwise, we encourage creativity and we very much enjoy humor. Submissions receive votes from the community on the Most Creative, Funniest/Punniest, Overall Favorite, and (during normal years) Tastiest.

This year’s festival — our eleventh — ran from Monday-Thursday, April 12-15. Due to the lingering pandemic, we again celebrated the event virtually. Photographs of entries were submitted by the end of day on Monday and posted to the library’s Facebook page. Voting commenced on Tuesday-Wednesday (votes were cast using the appropriate emoji), and the winners were announced on Thursday.

This year, we received 14 submissions. Congratulations to former student Grace Jackson, winner of the Funniest/Punniest award for Cold Mountain Dew, and to Filo Lopez, who won both Most Creative and Overall Favorite awards for his rendition of Dante’s Inferno. (Filo is a Humanities 102 student who also submitted Dante’s Inferno as his Humanities Creativity Project.) Both winners received Dunkin’ gift cards.

You can view all the 2021 Milligan Libraries Edible Books Festival submissions on our Facebook page here. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Here’s hoping that next year we can hold the festival in person so that we can actually sample all the submissions, and cast our votes for the Tastiest!

Professor Kellie Brown’s new book reviewed in The Washington Post

Congratulations to Milligan University Music Professor, Kellie D. Brown on the publication of her new book, The Sound of Hope: Music As Solace, Resistance and Salvation During the Holocaust and World War II (McFarland, 2020)!

Milligan Libraries was pleased to host a virtual book launch party for Dr. Brown on July 24. (You can view the party on our YouTube channel here.) But to top this off, we were very excited to learn that the book has just been reviewed (on August 28, 2020) by Ms. Diane Cole in The Washington Post!

I reached out to Professor Brown to ask her how The Post found out about her book. “I really am not sure how The Post picked it up. But I am, of course, very excited. This kind of exposure creates a tipping point for an author. The wide distribution of a book review in The Washington Post coupled with the accompanying credential it endows opens doors for the book both nationally and internationally.”

I asked Brown about the premise of The Sound of Hope and the role music played during the holocaust. “Music is incredibly powerful. That is the ultimate premise of my book. It can be used to uplift and comfort, and it can also be used to manipulate and deceive. The Nazis were quite effective in their use of music as a weapon, forcing prisoners to perform to entertain the SS in concentration camps. They also used music as a practical means to cover the sounds of screaming during torture. It was also used as psychological manipulation as musicians were forced to play near gas chambers and convoy arrivals to create an appearance that ‘all was well’ for the new arrivals.

“Music was used as part of a meticulously conceived plan to deceive the Red Cross contingent who came to inspect the Terezín concentration camp. The Red Cross representatives were treated to numerous staged concerts by prisoners who were dressed up to look like they were faring well, while all the while, they were starving to death.

“But also, music featured prominently as a way to bring solace or spiritual resistance. People sang together in the cattle cars as they were transported to camps, and they sang together in defiance as they were being hauled into gas chambers. They sang or played or composed in defiance of a group of people (Nazis) who wanted to say that they did not matter, that they were subhuman and that their culture would be erased. Music served as salvation literally for many people who proved useful to the Nazis as musicians and so were kept alive and were able to see the liberation of their camps.”

Finally, other than being excited, I asked Professor Brown if she had any specific thoughts about The Washington Post review. “I think it is important to note how the reviewer is comparing the premise of my book, which is that music has a incredible power to affect and influence individuals and groups of individuals, to the way music has arisen during the pandemic as a means of comfort and solidarity. I support this to a point. I also know that whatever we are going through right now in a virus pandemic can never, nor should it be, equated with the intentional genocide of millions of people. I hope that when readers of The Sound of Hope draw a contemporary parallel that it will be with the renewed quest for racial justice that has been ignited in our country.”

More information about Dr. Kellie Brown’s book, including purchasing information, can be found at The Sound of Hope Facebook page, McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, and Amazon.com. Read other reviews on Goodreads.

Library continues community engagement virtually with Story Time and Finals Week Therapy Animals

Recently, I reported how Milligan Libraries successfully pivoted to holding its 10th Annual Edible Books Festival virtually after the campus was closed and classes were moved online better than halfway through Spring semester, in response to shelter-in-place orders surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a library that highly values opportunities to engage with our user community. We have very much missed meeting students and faculty in the library buildings.

We talked as a staff about how we could maintain library services and community engagement during this time. We felt pretty good that we were prepared to deliver needed information resources through a wide array of electronic content accessible from the library website, and we regularly monitor our communication channels (telephone, email, and chat) to respond in a timely way to requests for research assistance. But we knew more informal engagement would require some creativity.

Library Story Time

In addition to the aforementioned virtual Edible Books Festival, we were pleased to invite members of the faculty to record readings of favorite children’s story books and post them in the Library Story Time course on Canvas. We collected 10 readings (with the permission of the publishers) and posted these throughout the month of April. These included:

  • Are You ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems, read by Research and Instruction Librarian Mary Jackson
  • Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, read by Associate Professor of Counseling Christine Browning
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, read by Associate Professor of Counseling Shauna Nefos-Webb
  • What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada, read by Professor of Music Kellie Brown
  • Inside, Outside, Upside Down by Stan and Jan Berenstain, read by Associate Professor of Nursing Mary Fabick
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, read by Professor of History and Humanities Tim Dillon
  • Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, read by Professor of Psychology Lori Mills
  • The Old Woman and The Pig an Old English tale retold by Assistant Professor of Business Administration Kristal Dove
  • El Arbol Generoso (The Giving Tree) by Shel Silverstein, read in Spanish by Associate Professor of Spanish and Humanities Allysha Martin
  • Voyage to the Bunny Planet by Rosemary Wells, read by Associate Professor of Bible and Humanities John Jackson

Virtual Therapy Animals

At the end of every semester since Fall 2013 the Welshimer Library has received special guests during Final Exam Week. Therapy dogs and their owner/trainers — and occasionally kittens, too — would come in to help students cope with this stressful time. Obviously, this wouldn’t be possible this semester. Though not the same, perhaps, we thought we could still deliver the experience of animal visits to students virtually. User Services Librarian Catherine Hammer assembled several video playlists on our YouTube channel, featuring, therapy dogs and cats, cute baby animals, and videos that are relaxing by virtue of their satisfaction they provide while viewing.

Finals Week is winding down — along with the semester and the school year — but there is always time to watch dog, cat, and cute baby animal videos, right?

Milligan Libraries hopes you had a great year, even though the last part was disruptive and a little strange. We hope you have a good summer. Please stay healthy and safe. If you are not graduating, we look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

10th Annual Edible Books Festival goes virtual!

Planning was underway for Milligan Libraries’ 10th Annual Edible Books Festival when the word came down that Spring Break was to be extended for another week and then the campus was to be closed due to the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. With available time shortened, and then with classes moving online for the rest of the semester, what was to become of Edible Books on this auspicious anniversary? Would we have to cancel? No! We would just move the festival online along with classes! “Most folks will be home and close to their kitchens,” reasoned Research and Instruction Librarian Mary Jackson. “In some ways it will be easier for them to bake something up at home than if they were on campus.”

As the name suggests, the simple idea behind the Edible Books Festival is that persons create and submit an edible treat with a book theme. Beyond this there aren’t many rules. The idea originated with the founding of the International Edible Books Festival around 2000. We held our first festival at Welshimer Library in April of 2011. Since then, it has become a Spring tradition — a special event to engage with the Milligan College community.

In normal years, Milligan students, faculty, staff, and family members would submit their entries in person to the Welshimer Room at the Library. On the first day folks would cast votes for Most Creative, Funniest/Punniest, and Overall Favorite. Then on the morning of the second day library staff would sample from the entries to determine the Tastiest entry before the Milligan community was invited back to Welshimer to taste from all the entries. Winning entries each receive a prize.

This year, beginning on Monday, March 30, folks submitted photos of their entry/ies via email along with their name and book title(s). Entries were received through Monday, April 13. We received 28 entries — the most we’ve ever had.

On the days leading up to the submission deadline, highlights from the previous nine Edible Books Festivals were featured on our Instagram channel. An album of entries was created on our Facebook channel, and voting commenced on Tuesday and Wednesday. Using unique emojis, folks voted for their Most Creative, Funniest/Punniest, and Overall Favorite. Unfortunately, this year we could not award a Tastiest entry — though it appears Katherine and her brother are enjoying her entry:

Though not as uniform as when folks voted in person, online voting was still pretty brisk. And the winners are:

Most Creative, awarded a $5 Dunkin’ gift card, went to Katherine Eldridge for How the Grinch Stole Graduation! by Dr. Seuss (receiving 65 total votes)

Funniest/Punniest, also awarded a $5 Dunkin’ gift card, went to Mary Jackson for Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (receiving 40 total votes)

Overall Favorite, awarded a $10 Dunkin’ gift card, went to Jenny Simonsen for Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (receiving 107 total votes)

Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to everyone who participated in our 10th Edible Books Festival! “I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” said Mary Jackson. “But we had the highest number of entries we have ever had! There was a lot voting and sharing on Facebook. I am very pleased with how it turned out.” If you haven’t already done so, be sure to take a look at all the entries on our Facebook event photo album.

Milligan Libraries links to Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library

Milligan Libraries has created a link to Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library from our website homepage. The National Emergency Library was launched to support student learning at home, as schools and libraries have been forced to closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the over 2.5 million openly available public domain texts that reside on Internet Archive’s servers, the National Emergency Library contains over 1.4 million digitized books that are still under copyright protection—including nearly 480,000 titles published since 2000.

The National Emergency Library is built on Internet Archive’s Open Library, which makes single copies of books in this collection available to be borrowed for a 14-day checkout period. As an analogy to a physical book that gets checked out from a physical library, a checked out book is not available for anyone else to borrow until the copy is “returned.” Persons wanting a book that is checked out must join a waitlist.

What Internet Archive has done for this national emergency is suspend the waitlist limitation until at least June 30, 2020. This effectively means that there are now an unlimited number of copies for each book in the collection. Here is a screenshot of the National Emergency Library’s homepage:

Borrowing books is a simple process. Search for titles, authors, or subjects from the search box in the left sidebar. When you find a book of interest, click the “Borrow” button under the book cover. This brings up the Internet Archive book viewer and bibliographic record information. Initially, the viewer shows you a limited preview. You need to create a user account to actually borrow the book.

Once your account is created, log in, and click the “Borrow” button on any book to borrow it for 14 days. The book can be read in the browser viewer online, or downloaded as an encrypted PDF or EPUB and read offline using Adobe Digital Editions on your computer or mobile device (Internet Archive provides prompts for setting up offline reading). When you are finished with the book you can click a “Return” button, or just allow the time to expire. Downloaded files also expire after 14 days. This is an important safeguard against unauthorized duplication and distribution of these otherwise copyrighted books.

Internet Archive has been getting some pushback from authors and publishers about whether suspending the waitlist (much less the very notion of the Open Library) is legal from a copyright standpoint (see for example, recent stories here and here). Conversely, numerous educational institutions, libraries, and individuals have issued a public statement endorsing Internet Archive’s action during this time, noting that Internet Archive has taken steps to restrict unlawful redistribution, and stating: “These actions will support emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed.” Milligan Libraries supports this mission and will continue to host the link to the National Emergency Library, though we will also follow any developments in this story.