Schewe Library

What is a GIS Lab and Why is it in My Library?

By Guest Blogger Danielle Trierweiler

Sometime between the Spring Semester and Fall, a new space worked its way into the Hilltop’s beloved Schewe Library: enter the Geospatial Information Systems or GIS Lab.

The GIS Lab arrives at the library in pursuit of the same mission that the Digital Learning Center or DLC initiated roughly a year ago: get students and faculty access to the digital tools and software they need to explore, interrogate, and produce digital projects. As the Digital Services Librarian, I am biased, but these 4 seats to Esri ArcGIS Desktop 10.3 , an industrial-strength mapping tool, are pretty exciting. Here’s why:

Newly finished GIS Lab April 2015

Newly finished GIS Lab @ Illinois College Schewe Library April,  2015

  • Visualizing and sharing data such as population distribution or regional income
  • Mapping definitive routes (such as a river or highway) or more rapidly changing phenomena (like cloud cover or water toxicity)
  • Collaborating with other GIS data producers, analysts, and curators to reveal findings otherwise impossible to view
  • Data management is a large part of GIS, since the attractive map visualizations are comprised of an aggregation of one or more data sources.
  • Using GIS will boost your vocabulary (raster data anyone?) and technical awareness (I get .PDF, but what exactly is a .shp- shapefile?!)

Understanding what GIS is broadly and being able using it the way you want to use it does take some time. Like any skill or sport, it is what you put into it- practice (and time) makes perfect. I can verify that in only a few months of viewing online videos and using textbooks and courses that provide dummy-data to complete basic exercises, I am fascinated by GIS and enjoy looking for new open data sources to map.

About a year ago, Outreach Librarian, Luke Beatty mused on the then-prospect GIS in Schewe back when it was only a sparkle in the Library Director’s eye: “Personally, I’d like to see a GIS-lite tool with a focus on demographic, business, or social data.” he wrote. Sorry Luke! ArcGIS can handle spatial analysis for all of these, but it is strictly BYOD (Bring [downloand] Your Own Data!) Not necessarily a bad thing, but ArcGIS users, especially ArcGIS desktop users should be up for the management challenges that comes with freedom to structure and customize your data.

To help get you started understanding and using the GIS Resources available to the IC campus, check out the *NEW* GIS page on the Schewe Library website or visit the lab next time you’re in the library to see for yourself.

I’d like to close this entry with one of my personal favorite video Overviews of GIS  *not* found on the library website: a rather long but solid overview published, created, and produced by Mr. Jere Folgert, owner and trainer of an online professional GIS training firm, here is his Introduction to Cartography and Making Maps with ArcGIS Desktop 10X


June Celebrates LGBTQ Month

by Guest Blogger: Danielle Trierweiler

June commemorates LGBT Month (also known as LGBTQ or simply “Pride” or “Gay Pride” month), honoring the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and, depending on the individual or organization,  queer communities of the United States and Internationally. For the purpose of inclusivity, I am including the “Q” in writing this blog entry just know that the meaning behind the acronyms is often a work-in-progress.

June/LGBTQ Month Showcase Display

June/LGBTQ  Showcase Display

Celebrated since 1994, when a high school teacher coordinated the event in October to converge with National Coming Out day, (October 11th) but is now celebrated in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Manhattan New York, associated with the “beginning” of the LGBTQ movement and socio-political watershed moment for the community.

LGBTQ month has gained prominence in both the individual and national consciousness through a combination of court cases, activism, art and filmmaking, popular culture, professional career role models and mentorship, education, and private conversations to name just a few. Dialogues on what it means to be a community member, advocate, or ally are constantly shaping daily realities and the future of the movement.

Festivities include parades, public concerts, barbeques, poetry readings, pool parties, and other often public activities.  Many US Cities hold major a city-wide event. Pride Seattle for example, is a big deal!

Illinois College is home to its own student LGBT advocacy group SAGE (Straight and Gays for Equality) if you are interested in becoming involved on campus.


Relevant Resources:

Reads: The American Library Association (affectionately known as ALA to those of us in the library) supports a GLBT Roundtable appointed to present the 2015 Stonewall Book Awards List

Lambda, also presents a literary award organization for excellence in LQBTQ literature. Of course, Schewe’s display case offers some excellent titles at IC but if you are reading this from a distant land or simply not here in the library, Schewe Librarians (me!) are happy to connect you to our display reading list.

Research: The Library of Congress  has prepared a list of secondary and primary resources on LGBTQ authors, composers, archivists, poets, and more!

On May 29th 2015, President Obama issued his most recent Whitehouse proclamation acknowledging the month.


Didn’t find a title in the Schewe Library Catalog?  

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Other Libraries on Campus

Though IC only has one dedicated library (this one, Schewe Library), we occasionally get questions about the “other libraries” on campus.  For reasons of signage, this is an entirely understandable question.  In fact, if you went by campus signage alone, you’d think IC had three libraries in operation.  Let’s talk about the two “false libraries” for a moment.

The first “false library” on campus is to be found in Tanner Hall, which, in spite of its exterior signage (“Tanner Library”), is not in any way a library.  Confusing, yes, but at one time accurate.  Tanner Library was IC’s first Library, and was initially constructed for IC’s Centennial in 1929.  Though Tanner Hall now houses IC’s Administration and various sub-departments, the building ceased to be a base of library operations in 1973 with the construction of Schewe Library.  For reasons not entirely known — though surely not ones of practicality — the building’s existing signage was retained.








The second “false library” is the Khalaf al Habtoor Leadership Library, located in Whipple Hall.  As succinctly stated in the Illinois College Catalog 2014-2015, the “Khalaf Al Habtoor Leadership Library supports the programming of the Khalaf Al Habtoor Leadership Center… The Library also features artifacts from Abraham Lincoln and Edward Beecher (p. 187).”  Practically, the Khalaf al Habtoor Leadership Library is a conference room, with a select number of publications which feed into the mission of the Leadership Center, and which also contains the aforementioned items from Lincoln and Beecher (amongst them, Lincoln’s law library couch).  What material the Leadership Library has does not circulate.







And that, briefly, is the story of IC’s two pretenders to the Library crown.  Let there be confusion no more!

IC Commencement 2014

As Schewe’s numbers thin out for the summer, we library folk often take a moment to reflect on events past.  A recurrent theme in these reflections has to do with our role in student success.  We know we help, but how much, exactly?  What could we have done better?  What could we have done differently?  Suffice it to say, these questions have no easy answers.  But one thing which is easy is enjoying IC’s annual Commencement ceremony, which was held last weekend.  For those few hours, the Library (and, indeed, the entire campus) saw the tangible, positive difference we’ve made in the lives of our graduating students (this year, 221).  It was truly a gratifying experience.


In honor of our past graduates, Schewe has created a small slideshow of IC Commencements through the years:

The photos were scanned from past issues of our Illinois College Quarterly.

Congrats to Our Undergraduate Writers!

Last night, Lincoln Hall hosted the 17th annual Illinois College Undergraduate Conference of Writers (ICUCOW).  With 10 of IC’s best young writers presenting, we were treated to 14 provocative, thoughtful, eloquent, and outright dangerous pieces.  It takes a lot of courage to write, and double that to present, so the Schewe staff would like to extend their heartfelt congratulations to each and every one of the evening’s participants.  You can have a look at the program here:

ICUCOW Program

As if that weren’t enough, we were treated to yet another pleasant surprise by evening’s end: the establishment of a new IC undergraduate journal, ICWrites!  ICWrites is an interdisciplinary publication, and will accept a variety of student writing (including papers, essays, reviews, and creative works).  We at the Library can’t wait to read its inaugural issue, and wish General Editor Dr. Cynthia Cochran all the best in what is sure to be a wild ride.  You can find ICWrites here: