Category Archives: Collection

Art in the Library



Information  and   Culture


At  the  Library


Thompson Library opened it’s doors in its new facility in October, 1994.   We have been at our “new” location for 23 years this October.   During that time, the Library has continued to add, slowly and selectively, to our Art Collection, which is on display throughout the building.

While many are unaware the Library has an art collection, it has been on display on our walls and on selected tables since those doors opened.

Some of the pieces in our collection have been gifts, donated by thoughtful and generous patrons of the University of Michigan and of the Library.  We sincerely appreciate our patrons and thank them for sharing their love of the arts with the our university community.

Some of the pieces were purchased by the library, often from UM-Flint student art shows.

Some of the pieces are part of the Genesee Historical Collections Center — known on campus as The Archives.

The subjects of our artwork are as varied as the mediums used to create them.    The majority of our works are in oil, charcoal, or pastels.   But there are also a large number of reprints and photographs. The Art in the Library isn’t limited to framed images hanging on the walls; we have a number of sculptures and items of mixed media as well.   There are works in glass, in fabric, in metal, and in ceramics.   From paintings to sculptures, it’s all in your library, free for anyone to enter, walk around, and enjoy.

We have paintings of people; some famous, some forgotten, some fabricated from the imagination of the artist who created them.  There are images of both well known and obscure local sites, some representing the architecture of a specific era,  landscapes or geographic features.

There are a number of paintings with subjects that are related in some way to the University of Michigan.

Best of all, the majority of our artworks are on public display.  Anyone may visit the Thompson Library to leisurely wander through the building, finding art in both prominent and obscure locations throughout all three floors of our facility.

We invite our readers within the UM-Flint community and visitors to our fair campus to come and enjoy the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of study and contemplation our library offers.

The building itself is — quite literally — a work of art, having won the design firm an award.  The stacks shelving over a quarter of a million volumes are open, accessible and well lit.

There are comfortable chairs as well as hundreds of reading carrels on all three floors.

The first floor Atrium boasts 3 story windows, letting in natural light throughout the vast space, with plenty of tables for readers to sit and enjoy the view, quietly read their favorite tome, or engage in research.

And please, take a moment to just look around at the many fine pieces of art on display.

When you are at the Thompson Library, beauty is all around you.






Below we have included a sample of some of the pieces in our art collection.


Please visit the library soon to view these, and many other, works of art.






— Oil on Canvas — Title: Untitled Artist: Amanda Simons (student, class of 2007) Location: 1st Floor, Left Wall (from stairwell) Subject: Signs (Local, well-known business)


— Colored Pencil Drawing — Title: Weightless Artist: My Tran (student / class of 2010) Location: 1st Floor, Left wall (from stairwell)


— Oil on Canvas — Title: Untitled Artist: Heather Workman (Student — Class of 2014) Subject: City-scape with river and bridges









— Oil on Board —
Title: Untitled
Artist: Jeff Powell, Student – class of 2014
Location: 1st Floor (Left Wall from stairwell)
Subject: Lady with long, black hair in front of UM logo and Citizens Bank Ball / local Flint buildings
— Black & White Photograph — Artist: Louise Parham (Student – Class of 2008) Location: 1st Floor, Left Wall (from stairwell) Subject: New Orleans; Lower 9th Ward, Vacant lot being cleaned up by people










— Etching — Artist: Tim Kranz (Student – Class of 2001) Location: 1st Floor, Left Wall (from stairwell) Subject: University Pavilion – Flint, MI (University Pavilion — UPAV — looking south on Saginaw Street)
— Etching — Enlargement of UPAV etching (See: Artist — Tim Kranz)














— Glass Cast — Title: Map Artist: Sarah Coulter (Student art show – Best of Show winner) 2016 Location: 2nd Floor, across from elevator
Name Plaque Title of artwork: Map Location: 2nd floor See: Artist Sarah Coulter







— Oil on Canvas — Title: Asian Woman Artist: Arla Location: 2nd Floor (across from elevator) Subject: Unknown Asian woman
— Watercolor — Untitled Artist: Heather Calugaru Purchased from the 1996 Student Art Show with a gift from the UM-Flint Annual Fund Subject: Woman, Head and Shoulders








— Ball-point Pen, Colored Pencils on Paper — Title: Syrian Desert Artist: Joseph E. Yoakum Location: 2nd Floor, Outside Writing Center Lab Subject: Pencil drawing of Syrian desert
— Ball-point Pen, Colored Pencils on Paper — Title: Mt Ohaulagipi Artist: Joseph E. Yoakum Loction: 2nd Floor, Outside Writing Center Lab Subject: Mt. Ohaulagipi in Himalayan range in Nepal sector of India & Asia









— Ball-point Pen, Colored Pencils on Paper — Title: Mt. Thabor Artist: Joseph E. Yoakum Location: 2nd Floor, Outside Writing Center Lab Subject: Mt. Thabor near Nazareth in Galilee – Jordan River between Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea (middle east)
— Print — Title: Library of Michigan Lobby Artist: Unknown Location: 2nd Floor, Column near freight elevator (back wall area) Subject: View from the entrance to the Library of Michigan in Lansing, MI













Portrait of Frances Willson Thompson (1952) at Entrance to the Library. Artist: Edmund Giesbert. Medium: Oil on canvas. Donated by her son, Jack Willson Thompson.
Portrait of Frances Willson Thompson (1952) at Entrance to the Library. Artist: Edmund Giesbert. Medium: Oil on canvas. Donated by her son, Jack Willson Thompson.








The USS Michigan. Artist: James Clary (Remarqued print; nbr 777 of 1776) Gift of Mimi and Will Boroury. Location: 3rd floor near Circulation Desk.
Title: Schoolhouse #6 Artist: Shannon Morden Medium: Watercolor Purchased from the 1994 Student Art Show Location: 3rd Floor













Forever Autum Artist: Tracy Rutherford Donated by Thomas (’91 BA) and Laurie (’91 BA) Medford. Location: 3d Floor
Bust VII, Artist – Mary Murphy, Medium – Clay & Fabric, Purchsed from the 1996 Student Art Show, Location: 3rd Floor Reference Desk.








Title: Bust VII, Artist: Mary Murphy, Medium: Clay & Fabric, Purchased from the 1996 Student Art Show, Location: 3rd Floor Reference Desk
Plaque accompanying sculpture piece “Bust VII”








Bust, Martin Luthur King, Artist: Michael Florin Dente, Medium: Bronze, Gift to Library by artist (2000), Location: 3rd Floor Reference Desk
Details from bust of Martin Luther King








Details from bust of Martin Luther King
Details from bust of Martin Luther King






Details from bust of Martin Luther King.
Portrait of Martin Luther King. Medium: Oils on Canvas. Location: Genesee County Historical Center (University Archives) — 2nd Floor, Thompson Library Building.










The Harness Maker, Medium: Oils on Canvas, Location: Genesee County Historical Center Archives, 2nd Floor, Thompson Library Building.







Flint Bridge, Artist: Nick Looney, Medium: Oil on Canvas, Purchased at Student Art Show – Artist Voice Award Winner 2015, Location: 3rd Floor






Advances in Printing, Artist: Annette Cremin, Medium: Oil on Canvas, Polytych, ca 1922, Location: 3rd Floor, Thompson Library by Room 320
Advances in Printing – Part of Polytech grouping, ca 1922








Map of Europe. Location: 3rd Floor, Thompson Library, Computer Study Room
Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)







Crapo Family Pictures
Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)






Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)
Location: Director’s Office (3rd Floor)







Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)
Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)






Location: 3rd Floor, Directors Office
Location: Director’s Office, 3rd floor






Location: Room 215 (BI Room)
Location: Room 215 (BI Room)











Arial view — Flint, Michigan Location: 2nd Floor (near emergency exit door at SW corner)
Location: Genesee Historical Collection (the Archives) 2nd floor







Location: Genesee Historical Archive (2nd floor)
Location: Genesee Historical Collection (the Archives) 2nd floor






Location: Genesee Historical Collection (the Archives) 2nd floor
Location: Genesee Historical Collection (the Archive) 2nd floor)






Location: Genesee Historical Collection, 2nd floor
Location: Genesee Historical Collection, 2nd floor








Thompson Library has so much more than books in print on our shelves.   We have videos (both VHS and DVDs — even a Blu-Ray or 2), we have ebooks (and yes, many can be downloaded to a tablet for two weeks at a time), we have hundreds of online databases.

But we also have a unique art collection.

The Library — and all it contains — is a part of your academic experience.

Come to the Library and enjoy the experience soon.

Information — and culture — are all there for you, at your library.



Graduate Theses Digitization Update #3


Beginning in 2015, the Frances Willson Thompson Library has taken steps to preserve and make more accessible UM-Flint’s graduate theses and dissertations.

Since our last update we have continued to work on the project by adding theses to Deep Blue as students graduate and by reaching out to the remaining authors. We have now contacted all the authors for whom we were able to find contact information. In the end, we sent out over 700 letters asking for authors’ permission to allow the full text of their work to be made available to a larger audience than the three UM campuses.

We have also continued to track how many times the theses have been downloaded from Deep Blue, the University of Michigan’s institutional repository.

Deep Blue by the Numbers

  • 411 theses have been added to Deep Blue between July 2015 and June 2017; the bulk of the theses (375) were added in May 2016.
  • 239 theses (58% of the 411) have been downloaded at least once.
  • 10,901 downloads have occurred since July 2015 when the first few theses were added.
  • 184 of the 411 theses (45%) are designated as open access, meaning they are freely available to anyone on the internet through Deep Blue and search engines, like Google Scholar.
  • 179 of the 184 openly accessible theses (97%) have been downloaded at least once.
  • 60 of the 227 theses (26%) that are only accessible on UM campuses have been downloaded at least once; only 4 of these theses have been downloaded more than five times.
  • 10,772 of the 10,901 total downloads (99%) were for the openly accessible theses.
  • 129 of the 10,901 total downloads (1%) were for the theses only accessible on UM campuses.

Charting Deep Blue

A chart of the number of individual theses downloaded monthly from May 2016 to June 2017. Click to enlarge.
A chart of the total number of downloads from May 2016 to June 2017. Click to enlarge
A chart comparing the number of theses downloaded from May – December 2016 (8 months) and January – June 2017 (6 months). Click to enlarge.

Top 10 Downloaded Theses (as of June 2017)

Title Author Year Program Downloads
Comparing Public and Private Prison Systems Joseph Shannon Gregson 2000 Public Administration 2949
Faces of Feminism: The Gibson Girl and the Held Flapper in Early Twentieth Century Mass Culture Raina-Joy Jenifer Palso 2001 Liberal Studies 1119
Hemingway in Turkey:  The Influence of His Turkish Experiences on His Writing Neriman Kuyucu 2013 Liberal Studies 453
The Cult of True Womanhood: Women of the Mid-nineteenth Century and Their Assigned Roles as Reflected in Contemporary Writing Laurie Bonventre 2005 Liberal Studies 448
Shadow Warriors: Navy SEALS and the Rise in American Society Cory Butzin 2009 Liberal Studies 412
An American Indian Revolution:  The American Indian Movement and the Occupation of Wounded Knee, SD, 1973  Nicholas A. Timmerman 2012 Liberal Studies 290
Joseph McCarthy and the Loss of China:  A Study in Fear and Panic Adam Ferenz 2014 Liberal Studies 209
Ellery Queen: Forgotten Master Detective Cathy Akers-Jordan 1998 Liberal Studies 180
Capturing Detroit Through An Underground Lens: Issues of the Sixties Inside Pages of the Detroit Fifth Estate, 1965-1970 Harold Bressmer Edsall 2010 Liberal Studies 172
Effects of autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.) density on the growth of mature white oak trees (Quercus alab L.) Marija R. Andrijonas 2011 Biology 168

Going Forward

In the coming months we are digitizing the remaining 270 theses with Proquest and adding them to Deep Blue.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Liz Svoboda at

“Where’s Your Fiction?”


Just want to kick back and read a good book this weekend?



Student, faculty, or staff — you are part of the University of Michigan.  You stand among the Leaders and the Best.   You hold yourself to a higher standard.  You are a scholar in the best sense of that word.   You regularly use the library to research topics.  You do your due diligence — digging for facts and verifying your data.

But every now and then, you’d just like to escape into another place, a place populated with cowboys, Jedi warriors, dashing and romantic heroes, colorful pirates, brilliant compassionate doctors or mysterious strangers.

You know the UM library is a great source for facts, figures and academic articles.  But this weekend, you just want a fun read to kick back with, something that will let you get away from the stress of higher education and slip into an exciting world far from your daily existence.  A little creative escapism.

You just want a good book to read over the weekend ...

Good news!   We CAN help!

That’s right.

Thompson Library actually has some great reads, good books just for you to  jump in and enjoy as plain old escapist reading.

Where can you find a fun read in the library?

LOTS of places!

Where exactly will depend largely on what type of item you want.



For instance on the first floor of the library (near the windows in the Atrium), books indexed in the call number “PS” section contain our collection of literature.

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It’s a vast and varied collection ranging from the great classics to works of fiction in nearly every genre imaginable.

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There are even several fiction paperbacks that are included in the literature section of  the Main Collection, PS call number section.

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MIRLYLN online catalog — search page — click to enlarge

Check the MIRLYN library catalog online for your favorite author — or even for a title you’d like to read.  It may already be in the PS section of the library collection.  Find the call number and locate the book on shelf.  Use your UMID to check it out.


MIRLYN online catalog — Results page — click to enlarge



That’s right.

The library will loan you — for free! — good books to enjoy reading  just for fun.




Speaking of paperback books, did you know that Thompson Library has an extensive collection of paperback books, just for the purpose of finding a good read for a quiet afternoon (or before bedtime)?

The Paperback collection is located on the  1st floor near the Oversized Books and Microfilm cabinets.

Paperback Collection Shelves — 1st floor — click to enlarge


They’re directly in front of the elevator when you step off on the 1st floor.  Just keep walking past the row of Oversized books and you’ll find a reader’s delight of paperbacks.

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Paperbacks are organized by genre, so whether you like         Science FictionFantasyRomance, Mystery,    Suspense or Historical Fiction,  you’re likely to find something you’ll enjoy reading.

The Paperback collection is not cataloged in MIRLYN, so it’s “browse the shelves,” only to locate a book you’d like to borrow.  But they’re easily scanned with titles clearly visible on the spine of the books  — and we have many to choose from on the shelves.

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Any book on the Paperback Collection shelves can be checked out for 3 weeks, with the option to renew for an additional 3 weeks.

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Or perhaps you want to read a book that is currently (or was recently) on the Best Seller’s list?

Browsing Collection — FICTION (click to enlarge)


Our Browsing Collection should help you out!  It contains best sellers of a variety of genres.

Browsing Collection — NON-FICTION (click to enlarge)

Located on the 3rd floor (near the Circulation Desk and close to the entrance to the Library), the shelves of the Browsing Collection have books from best seller’s lists in fiction, books of local interest (including books written by local authors) and best selling books on non-fiction.




We even have an extensive collection of Children’s Literature in our library which you may borrow.

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Children’s Literature Collection — click to enlarge

We maintain a quality collection of children’s books for use and education of our future elementary school teachers currently attending our School of Education — but any student, staff or faculty from UM-Flint can check them out.

Children’s Literature Collection — click to enlarge

So if you want a good read for the children in your family, we can help with those books, too.

All items within the children’s literature genre are indexed and searchable in the MIRLYN online library catalog.

Find the call number in MIRLYN and — if you need help — ask one of our Reference Librarians to assist you in locating the book on shelf.





For those who prefer to watch movies rather than read, we have a nice little collection of popular films in several formats, from VHS to DVD to BlueRay to streaming online via subscription service databases


(See list of databases on Thompson Library website to access any of these resources — authentication with UM-Flint credentials required to view any subscription item online.)

img_3744img_3750img_3749 click to enlarge any image


Any item the library owns — including videos and music — can be found by using the MIRLYN library catalog online.  Want to limit results to ONLY videos and music?  Switching the drop-down box for our various collections to limit results to “Media.”

MIRLYN will provide the call number, which can be given to the clerks at the Circulation Desk (where you check out books) to retrieve.  Note that all media items have a 1 week check out loan period.



Want to listen to some music?   We have that, too!

We have an extensive collection of music from classical to swing to rock to jazz — historic or contemporary, we have it!

The music CD collection is near the video collection, and as with everything else in the library, can be found using the library catalog.

Music CD Collection — click to enlarge



Having trouble finding something that interests you?

Ask a Reference Librarian for help.

They can help you find anything we have in the library and beyond,  and will probably be happy to discuss their favorite books or videos with you.

Reference Librarians like to read for fun, too!

Reference Desk — Thompson Library — University of Michigan-Flint (click to enlarge)


No matter what you enjoy reading or viewing, whether doing scholarly research, or just want something to kick back with for a leisurely afternoon, you’ll find it at Thompson Library.

Big Brothers in Flint — Ryder Papers Now Available in Archives


Historical Information on Flint’s Big Brothers Organization


In 2015, Robert Ryder of Reston, Virginia, donated the papers of his late father, Joseph T. Ryder (1906-1979) to our University of Michigan-Flint Genesee Historical Collections Center.

These papers have been processed and are now available for researchers to access on-site.

Joe Ryder (1978)
Joe Ryder (1978) (Click to enlarge any photograph)

Who was Joe Ryder?   Joe was the person largely responsible for Flint, Michigan having a vibrant and successful Big Brother program.

Ryder came from the Toledo area to Flint in 1944 to direct the Flint Youth Bureau, a new program supported by the C. S. Mott Foundation.

For the next 35 years, he led the organization and its successor, Big Brother of Greater Flint, to provide guidance to underprivileged boys who typically were delinquent or had no father at home.

Flint Youth Bureau winter activity at the old Sugarbush, a favorite wintertime destination.

The collection provides ample documentation on the organization’s history, as well as his involvement in community education seminars held around the U.S., and on the national organization of Big Brothers. 

(Click to enlarge any photo)


C.S. Mott, Harlow (Red) Curtice, and other automotive pioneers at the Cultural Center about 1958.

If you would like to learn more about Mr. Ryder and his association with the beginning of Flint’s Big Brothers organization, please contact our Archivist, Paul Gifford.

Better still, drop in and visit Paul at the Genesee Historical Archives to learn more about Mr. Ryder and other people and events which had an impact on our local, state and national development.

Genesee Historical Archives is located in the Frances Willson Thomopson Libray building, 2nd floor corridor (near the tube to UPAV).

Contact information and hours of operation for the Archive are available on the Thompson Library website at:


Information on the Archive’s finding aids and digital collections may be found at:


Graduate Thesis Digitization Update #1

For the past year, the Frances Willson Thompson Library has partnered with the UM-Flint Office of Graduate Programs, UM Library’s Deep Blue, and database provider ProQuest  to digitize the graduate theses of the University of Michigan – Flint.

The library’s collection of UM-Flint graduate theses.

(Click on any image to enlarge.)

A quick recap: in December 2015, we sent 375 theses to be digitized by ProQuest and in May 2016 we uploaded them into Deep Blue.

While the theses were being digitized we have been contacting the authors for decisions on how their work should be distributed through both ProQuest’s databases and Deep Blue.

Since the original news story was published on 25 April 2015, we have gotten a wonderful response from our authors.   Of the almost 400 authors that have been contacted, 190 have responded with their decisions on how their work will be shared with the larger scholarly community.

Most authors have decided to allow the full text of their work to be available in ProQuest’s Dissertations & Theses Global database, a major repository of graduate work from around the world (to which we provide access to current UM-Flint affiliates) and to be openly accessible through Deep Blue, the University of Michigan’s institutional repository.

Mr. Bradley’s donation to the library.

One interesting outcome of the project, has been an addition to the library’s collection by one of our alumni. Edwin Bradley, M.L.S. 2001 and M.A. 2012, is the curator of film at the Flint Institute of Arts.  After being contacted about his 2001 M.L.S. Master’s thesis American Film Short Subjects and the Industry’s Transition to Sound, Mr. Bradley informed us that he turned his research for the thesis into a book: The First Hollywood Sound Shorts, 1926 – 1931

A book reviewer from CHOICE magazine, a leading source for book reviews that librarians and other academics rely on, said this about the book:

“Bradley’s well-researched compendium describes and puts into context this important and somewhat forgotten era of film history. In the late 1920s, as movies began to talk (or squeak, screech, and otherwise express themselves orally), the film industry was faced with producing products that could quench the film-going public’s thirst for the new medium… One may draw a comparison between the early sound era and today’s world of the Internet/reality TV and find that in media and pop culture, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Then as now, there was a diverse audience with a huge appetite for entertainment and a nascent industry looking to make a quick buck by fulfilling the fickle public’s need for entertainment… Summing Up: Highly recommended.” (Dutka, 2005).

Mr. Bradley has donated a copy of his book to the Frances Willson Thompson Library and it is available for check out.

Currently, the library is working with Graduate Programs to digitally capture the theses of our most recent graduates and to contact the remaining authors.

Later this year, the Library plans to digitize the other half of the theses, most dating from the 1980s to the mid-1990s.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Liz Svoboda at

Dutka, A. J. (2005). The first Hollywood sound shorts, 1926-1931. Choice, 43(3), 446.

Extensive Reading with English Language Learners

Liz Svoboda standing next to ELP collection. ©Jolene Jacquays
Liz Svoboda standing next to ELP collection.
©Jolene Jacquays

Since Fall 2014, the Frances Willson Thompson Library has increasingly reached out to the University’s international student population, especially with regard to the English Language Program (ELP) collection. We sat down with Liz Svoboda, the library liaison to the International Center and the ELP, to find out more.

Q: What is the English Language Program collection? What is in it?

A: It’s a small collection of about 400 books that I started in Fall 2014. The collection is mainly devoted to books for the ELP students’ extensive reading program, with some test prep materials for the TOEFL, IELTS, and MELAB language proficiency exams.

Q: Extensive reading program? What is that?

A: Basically extensive reading is reading a lot of English books that are at an English language learner’s level of comprehension. The ELP students try to read as many as they can during the semester; their classes even have a friendly competition to see who can read the most.

Their books are leveled for both syntax (sentence structure) and vocabulary for beginning learners all the way to advanced learners who are about to enter academic classes. The main goal of these books is to be interesting to the students but in language they can understand to build up their confidence, reading comprehension, reading speed, and vocabulary. In essence it helps them practice their reading skills outside of their textbooks.

Q: You said these books are outside the textbook? But we’re an academic library, so are they more for education or for fun?

A: I hope they are both! Who says that learning can’t be fun? Imagine reading the equivalent of the Dick and Jane books in Spanish or Hindi, not all that interesting. But if a book has an engaging story or is a biography about someone you admire or it relates to what you want to study, you are more likely to pay attention to the book, while learning some new vocabulary words and seeing what written English is supposed to be. The books being engaging is especially important to new readers and students who do not normally read for pleasure.

The English Language Program collection on the shelf. ©Elizabeth Svoboda
The English Language Program collection on the shelf.
©Elizabeth Svoboda

Q: How do students know what level of book is right for them?

A: Each publisher has their own scheme, which don’t match each other. So I found a comparison chart from the Extensive Reading Foundation which shows how the different publisher levels correspond to each other, then used colored labels and a lettering scheme I adapted from another ER organization to show which books are easier than others.

The labels are meant to be a guide only; there are syntax and lexical differences between books at the same level from the same publisher. We encourage the students to stop reading a book they chose if it is too hard or not interesting and then to choose another that might be better. It’s not an exact science, but we can’t and shouldn’t stop them from choosing a book that may be too hard but interests them.

Q: You mentioned engaging books? What kinds of books or genres are there?

A: I tried to make the collection as diverse as possible. English language learners are people just like anyone else, so they have diverse interests and tastes, and I want to accommodate that as much as possible. There is about an even mix of fiction and nonfiction. The fiction genres include realistic fiction, mysteries, multicultural or immigrant stories, modified British and American classics, sports stories, and a few science fiction and romance stories. The nonfiction is a lot of biographies and books about to different cultures and the sciences.

Some of the books, both fiction and nonfiction, have an accompanying audio CD, so that students can listen to someone else reading the book as they themselves read it. Listening while reading is supposed to help with pronunciation and word recognition, since many of the students are actually at a higher listening and speaking level than reading and writing, but I’m not sure how many actually do it.

Q: Are these books you can easily get at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?

A: You can probably find them on Amazon, but they are not readily available in commercial stores. The big publishers of English language learner literature are Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Pearson Longman, Macmillian, and Cengage Heinle. So academic publishers, which means you can order them online easily or, in our case, through our book vendor.

Q: How popular is the collection?

A: Pretty popular. Last year (Fall 2014 – Winter 2015) we had a 60% circulation rate. The collection was smaller with just over 200 items (80 of which did not circulate), but had 234 loans over both semesters and pretty even across all levels of the collection. Nonfiction seems to be more popular than fiction, but I’m still waiting to run statistics for this semester.

Some of the books in the ELP collection. ©Elizabeth Svoboda
Some of the books in the ELP collection.
©Elizabeth Svoboda

Q: Any favorite books from the collection?

A: Personally, I enjoyed the biography of Tom Cruise. It’s for an early intermediate reader, so the language is pretty simple, but the opening sentence is something like, “Tom Cruise is a famous star who makes a lot of movies, though not all of them are good.” Cracked me up. But in general I’m impressed by the original stories that English language literature authors write and even some of the nonfiction topics they cover. There’s another book about the artists and filmmakers of Afghanistan who hid the country’s artistic works during the Taliban regime that was incredibly interesting.

For more information about the English Language Program Collection contact Liz at or find out more on the collection’s library guide:

Thompson Library Celebrates Native American Month

November is Native American Heritage Month.

AmericanIndian2If you are interested in learning about the history and culture of the peoples native to these lands, please stop by the Thompson Library and check out our current display case.   It’s located on the 3rd floor of our library, directly across the room from the main entrance.  (Ask at the front desk if you need assistance locating the case.)


AmeicanIndian5Liz Svoboda, reference librarian at Thompson Library, has assembled a diverse group of materials drawn from our collection that explores the history, culture, stories, dress, politics, language, literature, and art of American Indians.


Materials range from historical political books through DVDs, from books on art and inspiration to books on language and clothing to various databases that provide interesting and useful information about and for Native Americans.

AmericanIndian3It’s an interesting collection containing information about our first people that you may — or may not — know about.



Help celebrate the contributions of a wide variety of different AmericanIndian4groups, tribal units and first nations of the native American Indians by learning something new about those in who’s footsteps you now walk.

You may be amazed at what you discover!




Best -Seller Books Available in Library Browsing Collection

Wow!   Books you can read  FOR  FUN !

When the stress of studying and upcoming finals gets to be too much, remember that the Thompson Library can help with more than your research needs.

We have ….   BOOKS !

Not just science, history or business books, but books that can take you away to another world where you can be an expert with a bow and arrow, or the greatest baseball pitcher in the world, or a magician trying to get your kingdom back, or a detective tracking down a terrorist, or a former President of the United States, or former First Lady, or a renowned television and movie comedian, or….

It’s up to YOU!   Hundreds of books to choose from.  Each will transport you to a world of the imagination.

And hey, as an added bonus, reading the works of great writers will improve your brain’s ability to learn, increase your vocabulary and hone your understanding of how to correctly and vividly express yourself in words.

All that by simply stopping by the library and perusing the Browsing Shelf  for a collection of best sellers.

Check out by campus UMID card.   One week loan period.  Renew loan once.

Located in Thompson Library, 3rd floor entrance (near Reference Desk).

Hurry!   Finals are approaching!   Your brain needs this!

 [Click any image to enlarge.]

photo 22

Book -- The Mighty Miss Malone




Book -- Mann -- 1493




Book -- Henry Kissinger -- World Order

Book -- James Patterson -- Hope to Die





Book -- Isaacson -- The Innovators






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Book -- Jimmy Carter -- A Call to Action

Book -- Collins -- Mokingjay



Book -- Michaels -- You Cant Make this Up






Book -- Roth -- DivergentBook -- Kathy Reichs -- Bones Never Lie



Book -- Roth -- Allegiant







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Book -- John Cleese -- So Anyway

Book -- Mark Ridrych -- The Bird




Book -- Jim Abbott -- Imperfect




Book -- Elwes -- As You WishBook -- Gabaldon - Drums of Autumn



Book -- Fannie Flag -- All Girl Filling Station




Book --  Rowling -- Casual VacancyBook -- Cussler -- The Thief






Browsing Collection 2






 [Click any image to enlarge.] Browsing Collection NonFiction 1

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“A book is a dream you hold in your hand.”  — Neil Gaiman

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“Neverland isn’t a place.  It’s a state of mind.”

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“A book which is left on a shelf is a dead thing.  But it is also a chrysalis; an inanimate object packed with the potential to burst into new life.”  — Susan Hill

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“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book — that string of confused alien ciphers — shivered into meaning.  Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened up.   You became, irrevocably, a reader.” — Alberto Manguel

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“Books are the perfect entertainment.  No commercials.  No batteries.  Hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent.  What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”  — Stephen King

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 “The more you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”  — Dr Suess

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 “Books are proof that humans can work magic.” — Dr. Carl Sagan

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Who was Alexis, and Why is he in the Library?


Alexis visited Flint, Michigan.

That’s correct; he stood right here on the grounds of our campus!

Wait.  What?

Who was this Alexis person?

Well, he was a globe-trekker —  a world explorer, especially into rough country and new civilizations.

He was also a law student.    A husband.  A civil servant.  A judge.  An elected member of the legislature.  A politician and a patriot.  And an author of some importance and world renown.

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M. Alexis de Tocqueville, author of DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA.

He was French gentry; a man who’s father was mayor of the town where he was born.  He attended the royal college in Metz where he studied rhetoric and philosophy before moving to Paris to study law.  After law school, he traveled to Italy with his brother Edouard and visited Rome, Naples and Scicily.  He wrote his first book after that trip, “Voyage en Sicile.”

Upon his return to France, Alexis was appointed juge auditeur in Versailles, which later lead to a position as deputy public prosecutor at the court of Versailles.

Alexis was born and raised among the privileged members of the last of the titled (and entitled) nobility of France in the early 1800s.

However, in 1830 during the July Revolution, the last Bourbon King of France (Charles X) is overthrown.  The new government is established as a constitutional monarchy, with Louis-Philippe as the new ruler.

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Combats de la rue de Rohan, je 29 juillet 1830. (Fighting in the Street de Rohan on July 29, 1830) Oil on canvas by Hippolyte Lecomte, 1857. Musee Carnavalet, Paris

Alexis reluctantly takes the required oath of loyalty to the new government and the new king, and in exchange receives a reduced position as juge suppleant (substitute judge).



By August, he is thinking of getting out of the country for a while.

In October, another Frenchman (Beaumont) wrote a report to the Minister of the Interior on the reform of the penal system in France.  In February the following year, Tocqueville and Beaumont were given an 18-month leave to study the penal system in the United States.  On April 2, Beaumont and d’Tocqueville together embark for America from Le Havre, France.  His life as an explorer in the wilds has begun.

And what, you ask has this got to do with the Thompson Library and the University of Michigan-Flint? 

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Observations by de Tocqueville on Flint, Michigan.

Among his many stops during his 1800s tour of the United States, Alexis De Tocqueville visited Michigan.  In fact, at one point he stood on the banks of the Flint River, pretty much where our campus is currently situated.

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Map noting route and major stops of Alexis de Tocqueville during his tour of the young United States in 1831-32.

Meanwhile, back in July 22 of 1832, Monsieur de Tocqueville arrived in Detroit (which he remarked upon for being very like France on one side of the river, while on the other, savages and naked children were to be found running around).

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Rough sketch by de Toucqueville of native American seen during his tour of the USA.


He stayed with some locals in Pontiac, where he observed a woman “dressed like a lady,” commenting that “Americans and their log house have the air of rich folk who have temporarily gone to spend a season in a hunting lodge.”




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Observations by de Tocqueville in Michigan.


From Pontiac, De Tocqueville traveled with an Indian guide who took them to Flint and Saginaw via the Flint River, documenting everything he saw along the way.

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Comments by de Tocqueville in Michigan.

Writing extensively on his travels, he diligently described in his book the area of Flint, the sights he saw and the people he observed during the early 1800s, recording for posterity the life and times of the early settlers in the United States during the early 1800s.

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Comments by de Tocqueville in Michigan.


Recording his observations throughout his journey, he interviewed presidents, lawyers, bankers and many settlers along the way.  Eventually he assembled his thoughts and ruminations on the formation of the new country and how its people lived into a ground-breaking two volume book entitled, Democracy in America.



The first volume of Democracy in America was published in 1835.  The second volume, in 1840.


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Books related to M. Alexis de Tocqueville in Thompson Library collection.


Not only has this book been quoted or referenced by untold scads of other books and mentioned in many major speeches (including President Clinton’s STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS in ’95, Speaker Gingrich’s Opening Session speech of the 104th Congress in ’95, Ross Perot’s speech on saving Medicare and Medicaid in ’95, US Supreme Court cases any many others), it has also  never been out of print from the day it was first published to the present.

Fast forward almost 200 years.

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Video available in Thompson Library Check Out this Video and Watch History Happen.

The television network, C-SPAN, celebrates the incredible journey and writings of Alexis de Tocquville with a year-long program, filming a major documentary while driving to the many locations mentioned in de Tocqueville’s writings.

The C-SPAN people worked with schools to assist in teaching the history of de Tocqueville and the young United States, and with local communities to celebrate de Tocquville’s travels throughout the country.  As a way of honoring the book and its author, C-SPAN conferred commemorative plaques to memorialize the locations of note from his tour of the country.071 copy

As a “location of note” described in great detail in his writings, C-SPAN visited Flint, Michigan and presented us with a plaque noting the event and time period.

And now we arrive at the intertwined history of Monsieur Alexis de Tocqueville, French patriot and author, with the University of Michigan-Flint and the Thompson Library.

In a ceremony sponsored by the UM-F student History Club along with the Department of History and hosted by the Thompson Library, the C-SPAN plaque was officially and formally dedicated on November 20, 2014.

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Commemorative plaque presented by C-SPAN to Flint, Michigan noting the visit to this area by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831-1832. Plaque may be seen in garden round near Thompson Library and Flint River on the campus of University of Michigan-Flint.


Speakers at the event included Dr. Roy Hanashiro, Chair of the History Department; Prof Thomas Henthorne, History Dept; Robert Houbeck, Director of Thompson Library; and Justin Wetenhall, President of the History Club.   (Mr. Wetenhall and Mr. Houbeck kindly shared the text of their speech with us, which appears in full at the bottom of this article.)

Members of the History Club, notably Jeanette Routhier and Shelby photo 18Blair, assembled a remarkable display of works by and about Alexis de Tocqueville, some of which are still on display in the Library.

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Books related to M. Alexis de Tocqueville in Thompson Library collection.


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Please see Shelby’s poster on the 3rd floor of Thompson Library near069 copy the Reference Desk.  On the 2nd display case of the Genesee Archives, Jeanette has created a smaller display highlighting some of the writings of de Tocqueville held in the Archives collection.

These, and many other works by Alexis de Tocqueville can be found in the Thompson Library.  We invite you to visit the Library and the Archives to read and view some of these works and films about his works.

They are YOUR  history.

129 copyThe plaque has been officially installed in the memorial garden round near Thompson Library and the Flint River, no doubt close to (if not actually on THE  spot) where Monsieur Alexis de Tocqueville — explorer and author of Democracy in America — stood overlooking the Flint River so many years ago.


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After Charlet and Jaime 1830 LG Folio Lithographs. French Revolution Antique Folio Lithographs Published 1830, Paris by Gihaut, for a series of prints of scenes from the 1830 Revolution in France. Pair lithographed on india paper after Nicolas Toussaint Charlet

 Images of French Revolution of 1830 which propelled de Tocqueville to America.






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M. Alexis de Tocqueville; explorer, politician, patriot and author.



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Thompson Library Director, Robert Houbeck and Political Science Prof Albert Price muse over the impact of de Tocqueville in America.






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Display Case — Genesee Historical Archives on comments by Alexis de Tocqueville upon visiting Michigan in 1831-32.


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Display Case — Genesee Historical Archives on comments by Alexis de Tocqueville upon visiting Michigan in 1831-32.





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Display Case — Genesee Historical Archives on comments by Alexis de Tocqueville upon visiting Michigan in 1831-32.


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Display Case — Genesee Historical Archives on comments by Alexis de Tocqueville upon visiting Michigan in 1831-32.






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Thompson Library hosts the Dedication Ceremony for the deTocqueville Plaque
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From left, Dir. Houbeck, Prof Price, Librarian Vince Prygoski, History Chair Hanashiro, History Prof Henthornand Jeanette Routhier







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Display Case — Genesee Historical Archives on comments by Alexis de Tocqueville upon visiting Michigan in 1831-32.
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Rough sketch by de Tocqueville of observations in Michigan.





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Display Case — Genesee Historical Archives on comments by Alexis de Tocqueville upon visiting Michigan in 1831-32.
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Display Case — Genesee Historical Archives on comments by Alexis de Tocqueville upon visiting Michigan in 1831-32.