Category Archives: Thompson Library

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.



“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.)

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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.

Library Participated in ‘Be a Tourist in Your Home Town’ Event

On Saturday, July 16, 2016 the Frances Willson Thompson Library was a stop during the Flint & Genesee Convention and Visitor Bureau’s fourth annual Be a Tourist on Your Home Town event. The event ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and “tourists” paid $1 for a wristband that admitted them to many of the cultural and educational institutions in downtown, the campus/cultural, and the Miller Road/Court Street areas. MTA provided free bus routes to get between the various destinations.

Although the library is open every Saturday (with exceptions for intersessions and holidays), we had a few special treats for the event.

In our atrium we had a peek behind the scenes of the CNN broadcast that took place around the Democratic Presidential Debate on March 6, 2016.

We opened the Genesee Historical Collections Center  for the day. The Center’s typical hours are Monday – Friday 1 – 5 p.m., with additional evening hours on Wednesdays until 9 p.m.

Our student worker is ready to answer questions about the Center's collections.
Our student worker is ready to answer questions about the Center’s collections.

On display were some photos from the collection, most notably about the Arab American history of Flint and Genesee County.


Enter the Crapo Room and step into the 19th century.

We also opened the Crapo Room, so that visitors could step into the 19th century. The Crapo Room was created in part to preserve the memory of Governor Henry Howland Crapo, Michigan’s 14th governor (serving from 1865 – 1869) and a Flint industrialist. Most the the furnishings and items in the room have been donated by his descendants, including Frances Willson Thompson, his great-granddaughter and the library’s benefactor.

Musicbox Visitors to the Crapo Room were able to experience some early 20th century entertainment in the form of a music box, which was given to the Nurses Home of Hurley Hospital by William Crapo Durant in memory of his mother Rebecca Crapo Durant (daughter of Governor Crapo) in the 1920s.

(Click on any image to enlarge.)

We enjoyed welcoming our hometown tourists and we look forward to next year’s event!

Flint River Display at Archives in Library



          Flint Water Crisis in Historical Perspective



While the current water crisis involving lead pipes and contaminated water is very much in local, national and international news, water has been an issue in Flint for many years.IMG_2601


Water from the Flint River has always been central to our city, for drinking as well as for other purposes.


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Flint was settled on the banks of the Flint River because of the easy access to fresh water and river transportation it offered, all conveniently located between the settlements of Saginaw and Detroit.


Water continued to be a focus as the logging industry revved up into high gear, with rivers providing quick travel avenues for logs headed to mills to be finished into lumber which would support both shipbuilding and the rise of new cities.


The Crapo lumber mill on the Flint River helped fuel the growth of early industrial Flint.  And the Crapo family, which settled in Flint, went on to bring further industrialization to the area — and the world.



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As industrialization rose, so did contamination of the very water which drew people to Flint from the beginning.


IMG_2594Controversy arose over whether local citizens should rely on water from their river, or bring water in from Detroit long before the failure of aging plumbing infrastructure.







In addition to concerns over water quality, Flint has faced other threats related to our river, such as fires and floods.IMG_2588





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US Army Corp of Engineers worked on solutions to the flooding of the Flint River — late 1970s.

How our city handles its current water  crisis will determine the course of its future, but without doubt the interconnection between the citizenry of Flint, Michigan with the Flint River will continue to be intertwined.


Thompson Library (UM-Flint) and Flint skyline as seen from the Flint River today.


Historical Importance of Cursive Writing Skills

On January 2011,  ABC News reported that 41 out of 50 states had adopted the “Common Core State Standards for English.”

Why is this noteworthy?

For one thing, the new standards do NOT include instruction in cursive writing.  As a result of the standards, only printing will be taught henceforth in many states in the USA.  Some states have, however, opted to reinstate the newly abandoned art of writing within their curriculum, Massachusetts and California being notable among those states who will be keeping this skill for their students and their citizens.

Why include the antiquated form of writing in the age of keyboarding and thumb-texting?  There are several reason to consider including writing in the curriculum of today’s children.

One big reason has scientific backing; children who learn cursive learn better.  ABC News interviewed Anne Mangen about her work in the neuroscience of learning:

“Of course it’s important to know how to typewrite,” says associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger’s Reading Centre. ”     Handwriting seems, based on empirical evidence from neuroscience, to play a larger role in the visual recognition and learning of letters.

‘This is something one should be aware of in an educational context,’ she stresses.

In other words, those who learn to write by hand learn better.”

Further, ABC News reports:

“For this and other reasons, Kathleen Wright of Zaner-Bloser isn’t quite prepared to type out cursive’s obituary. Technology has been the bogey man before, after all.

‘I personally don’t see it going away,” she says.  ‘When the typewriter first came in, people asked ”is anyone going to write by hand any more?’

‘And if you don’t teach kids,’ she adds, ‘they won’t have access to a lot of historical documents and primary source documents because they won’t have learned cursive.”

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Jeanette Routhier, student and instructor at UM-Flint, has worked with the Genesee County Archive to assemble a few items from the collection that graphically drive home the problem with dropping cursive instruction for elementary school students.


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Cursive writing has been the accepted “adult” form of writing for centuries, up to and including the recent decade.

Schools wish to eliminate every skill for which their students are not going to be tested, testing that evaluates the quality of education students receive and dictate funding for the future of those schools.


Cursive writing is not being 3tested.  Therefore, financial — and not need based — decisions have been made to drop cursive writing from the curriculum of the majority of elementary school students in our nation.


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That will result in several serious problems for today’s children in the coming years.

For one — according to scientific studies — the learning skills of students without cursive writing will fall behind those who have this skill.


8But perhaps more frightening and of terrifying consequence is that 1tomorrow’s adults may no longer be able to read their own historical documents.


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Please see Ms Routhier’s display in the cabinet outside the Genesee County Archives, Thompson Library Building, 2nd floor hallway (the hallway that leads to the tube connecting the Library to the Pavilion parking structure).





While you look upon these historical documents of life in Flint from our past, consider the loss of the skill of writing, and  what its potential consequence to our citizenry may be.


Imagine a world where citizens of the United States of America could no longer read that famous document beginning with those ringing words — We, the People …   “


Nursing Department Surveys their 2015 Students

– Do You Use the Library?

On April 27, 2015 (end of winter semester), the University of Michigan-Flint academic unit, the Department of Nursing, asked their students to answer a few simple questions regarding their personal experience using the Thompson Library.

The undergrad students and graduate students were each surveyed separately.

Not surprisingly, the students overwhelmingly responded that they DID use the Thompson Library, and that it provided the resources they needed to meet their educational goals.

Then the questions became a little more specific.    HOW did the students use the library?   And WHAT did they use the library to do?

The nursing students indicated that, while many loved the library building, the majority of them used the extensive online resources provided by Thompson Library when conducting their research.

Many, in fact, noted that they were “distance education students” who rarely (if ever) came to the UM-Flint campus physically.   Even so, as one student put it, they were “able to access almost everything needed online.”

Several noted the assistance of librarians as a tremendous asset which helped them.

One student mentioned sitting down with a librarian to “go over some database inquiry” strategies, commenting that the “hints and tips” the librarians shared were invaluable in helping them complete their research projects.

While such comments naturally make us blush with pleasure, it was with great sadness we read comments indicating a student had not asked for help from the librarians and didn’t realize there existed several options available to them.

One student particularly tugged at our professional heartstrings with this comment:

“I am an online student and live far from campus.   It is frustrating when my literature search indicates that an article exists, but I am not able to access it online.”

While this student may have hit a wall and stopped, a librarian would have been able to show the student that we (the Thompson Library) have access to some journals in many different databases simultaneously.

And though one database may not offer an article’s full text, another might. A simple search would have determined the status for any journal title.

(Hint: Use JOURNAL TITLES tab at the top of the library website to determine subscription status of any journal, along with links to ALL databases which carry that journal.)

Plus, a librarian would point out, any journal we do NOT have access to (either in print or full text online), we can get by using InterLibrary Loan  (an online order form is available on our library website).

Using ILL, our patrons will usually get the full text of the article they request – delivered to them online – within 1 to 3 days.

Another student lamented that she LOVED the library and she LOVED having online access, but that she wished she could continue getting access to the library resources after she graduated.

While it’s true that alums don’t have off-campus (remote) access to Thompson Library databases, there ARE options available to our graduates who loved having access to the University of Michigan library via their computer.

Any student who joins the UM Alumni Association will get online  access to several of the major research databases through the Alumni Association website. But joining IS required.   Database access is just one of the many benefits of being a University of Michigan alum!

And of course, anyone may enter our library building and read the books on shelf at any time. What better place to sit and quietly read then the Thompson Library atrium?

Then there was the student with the very valid complain that strikes to the heart of all our library staff.

“Love the library. My only complaint is that I wish there was closer parking on the weekends.”

We feel your pain! After all, both our librarians and library staff all have to park in the ramps, too. It’s a hike. But SO worth it!

For those students that worry about walking to and from the library and their cars after dark, please remember that Public Safety offers an escort service at all hours.

Request an escort by using the emergency box phones (all over campus; the red boxes under the blue lights). There are even 3 of these call boxes inside the library – one on each floor. It’s free, and it’s easy to request.

Both the Library and the Department of Public Safety want you to be safe, and requesting an escort is a great way to ensure your safety.

And one of our favorite comments on the survey was the last one:

“Appreciate the ‘text-a-librarian-for-questions’ option.”   [the live chat feature]

Yes, that’s right.

You can – at any time – ask a librarian for help.

The librarians, after all, are the best research tool available in our library. They can help you better understand how to work out a search request, suggest databases that might be appropriate to your search topic, and know all the various ways to get to the research you need.

Reviewing the survey results (many thanks to our Department of Nursing for sharing the survey with our librarians!), it sounds like most those students that responded had asked for – and received – help, and that they found the library easy to use and extremely helpful.

Which is precisely what we hope for with each and every researcher on our campus, whether they are students or faculty researchers. We understand, of course, that every library is organized differently and that no one knows how to use THIS library without some basic assistance.

That’s why our librarians are available for research assistance in many different venues.


Check out our ASK – A – LIBRARIAN web page and see some of the options available to you when you need help.

•   Find Librarians

What’s the name of a librarian that works with a specific department (such as Laura Friesen, who works with the Nursing, Physical Therapy and Health Care students and faculty, and was mentioned by name by one student who responded to this survey)?

We offer a list of names of all our librarians, along with their email, office address and office phone number.

Contact any of our librarians for help with that sticky question, or if you need some simple “how-to” help in navigating the library website, or a new and confusing database.

We’re there for you!

•     Chat Online, Live

What about using the live chat (online assistance)? You can “talk” in real time with a librarian – live and online – directly from the Thompson Library website. AND – there’s usually a librarian monitoring the CHAT service from 9 am to 9 pm, Monday through Thursday, and till just before closing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We can help walk you through the maze of databases, help you understand how a database works (to help you improve your searching capability) and help track down those obscure references.

We’re here for you!

•      Phone Call

Prefer to talk to a real person? Call the Reference Desk – there will be a librarian answering that phone to help you with your research conundrums almost all hours the library is open.

•      Schedule a Meeting with a Librarian for Personalized Help

Need a little more one-on-one assistance?

Contact one of our subject specialist librarians and ask to make an appointment to visit with them.

They can sit down with you in a quiet space and go over the best strategy to find the information you need.

What does the Thompson Library offer?

  • How about 250,000 print books?
  • Or access to the nearly 14 million print books in the UM Libraries in Ann Arbor.
  • And no – you don’t have to drive to Ann Arbor to get them!
  • We can have them shipped to Flint for you to pick up in our library).

Rather read a book online?

  • You don’t even have to come to campus!
  • We have half a million ebooks, available through our website, and easy to open and read – even from your home computer.

How about journal articles?

  • We currently subscribe to over 80,000 journals, with many having back-issues available going several decades back, and many more in our current listings.

Do we offer access to newspapers?

  • Yes – we have access to newspapers from all over the world!
  • Full text, online newspapers, at that!
  • And thanks to our historical newspapers collections, we have access to a select group of titles such titles as Washington Post going back to the early 1800s.

Books, scholarly journals, magazines, trade journals, newspapers, music CDs, DVDs  and more 

  • We have an outstanding research collection available for everyone at University of Michigan-Flint.
  • And the majority of that collection is available to our students, staff and faculty even though they don’t come to our library building; it’s online (full text).

If you need help learning how to use those databases, or want to know how to find books (or perhaps how to get a book from UM-Ann Arbor shipped to Flint so you can pick it up), or how to request a book we don’t even own, please — ask a librarian.

We’re there for you, and we’re here to help.

And should you one day walk through our doors, remember that our Reference Librarian is seated right by the entrance of our library (3rd floor, main entrance).

The students studying in the Nursing Program know the value of their library.

It’s proved its worth to them.

Now let us prove it to you.



Pilot Project — 2 AM Closing at Library

2 am Closing Pilot Project — Winter 2015


During the winter semester of 2015, Thompson Library (in conjunction with Student Life) ran a trial of later closing hours to determine the user demand and cost effectiveness of remaining open until 2 am.

The library was open until 2 am for a total of 56 days during the Winter 2015 semester.

The 2 am closing would add 8 additional hours per week to our standard 92 hours of operation, taking us to a total of 100 hours per week.

During this period, we did not add new personnel.  This put considerable hardship on our current staff.   However, the project was intended only to determine demand at this time.    Sufficient demand for library operations extending to 2 am permanently would lead the library to implement phase two; hiring new personnel to cover the additional operational hours.

Detailed statistics of building usage were kept throughout the trial period, both by date and by hour.  Therefore, we now have records of numbers of people in the building at various hours of the day and on various days of the week.

As is usual for the library, during the week before final exams (known as Study Week) the library remained open 24 hours (Monday – Thursday), closing finally at 8 pm on Friday of Study Week.

As would be assumed, the statistics for the special 24 hour period were statistically very different from the usage statistics for the overall semester, and were therefore NOT included in this project.

In general, while some students did choose to come to the library between midnight and 2 am, the study did not show a continuing or increasing number of students in the building after the standard closing time of 12 midnight during the trial period.  That is to say, the usage from midnight to 2 am was insignificant compared to our overall operation statistics.

Average usage figures for the entire semester did turn up some interesting statistics.  We will provide the simple count numbers within this article and offer links to the full study documentation for those who would like to see the detailed numbers gathered in this study.


Interesting facts gleaned from the study:


  • The largest number of students using the library in the evenings were in the building  at 10 pm.   (Median number for semester:  37 people.)


  • The least number of students using the library in the evenings were counted at 1 am (Median number for semester:  7 people.)


  • Maximum number of people in the building were here in the evenings at 10 pm during semester:   90 people.


  • Least number of people in building were at 12 am and 1 am during semester:   0 people.


  • Most usage during evenings in the winter semester were on Monday evenings at 10 pm.


  • Least usage during evenings in the winter semester were on Thursday evenings at 1 am.


  • Maximum usage for evenings at 10 pm (Monday through Thursday) was 90 people, with the  minimum usage at 7 people.


  • Maximum usage for evenings at 1 am (Monday through Thursday) was 30 people, with the minimum at 0 people.


  • Highest usage of the building across the board (time-wise) was on Monday evenings.


  • Lowest usage of the building across the board (time-wise) was on Thursday evening.


  • Fridays the library closed at 6 pm as was standard throughout the year; usage during Fridays was not affected by this trial project.


  • Interestingly, the second half of the semester (March & April)  saw higher usage statistics than the first half of the semester (January & February).  Correlations could be drawn between students learning how to use the library (through instructional sessions, instructions from the teachers, help from friends or basic trial-and-error) during the first half of the semester and actually using library resources productively for course work during the later half — but we have no concrete or statistical evidence to that effect, leaving such supposition in the realm of anecdotal evidence at this time.


  • Our data excluded both the “24 Hour Library Study Week,” and Spring Break week which would have skewed our data with both abnormal increases and decreases of statistical imbalances.


  • All maximum daily statistics were set either on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 (the second Study Day) or on Thursday, April 23, 2015 (the first day of Final Exams), again anecdotally consistent with student use of the library.


As the graph demonstrates (see brief below), usage rose steadily and sometimes steeply each week of the semester for the 10 pm time period and — to a lesser degree — for the 11 pm time period, but rose at a much more level curve for the other time periods.  The curve is far more erratic for the 11 pm and 1 am time periods, with both steep jumps up and sudden plunges downward in total building usage over the semester.

The one constant seems to be that the greatest building usage for late evenings occurs at 10 pm, with the number of people in the building dropping steadily and steeply after that time.  On several days throughout the semester, there were no students in the building at all from midnight to 2 am, and on a few occasions only 2 people in the building between 11 pm and midnight.

Our staff is to be commended for the effort they put into making this study a success.  Their diligence in gathering statistics (as well as making students feel welcome in our facility during the late hours) has been noteworthy.

This study has not been the first or only attempt by the library to determine our optimum operational hours.  Over the past 10 years, the library has  increased its hours of operation  from 67 hours per week to the current 92 hours per week based on usage stats obtained through previous studies.

However, the inevitable conclusion of this study is that the demand for use of the library facility peeks at 10 pm and declines rapidly thereafter, with insufficient usage after midnight to warrant continuing this trial or expanding current hours of operation.

Therefore, library hours of operation for the upcoming fall/winter semesters will remain with  Monday through Thursday opening at 8 am and closing at midnight.

For further reading, the library has posted both the brief statistical synopsis of this study and the full report of the project in .pdf’s available from the library through the links below .

Satistical synopsis document.

Full Report of the 2 am Pilot Project Study.



Thompson Library Now Display Site for World Renowned Private Art Collection

Thompson Library is proud to host works from the privately owned Mott-Warsh Art Collection.  The art collection, owned by The Maryanne Mott and Herman Warsh Collection, contains samples of some of the very best late 20th century works by African American artists.

While the collection consists of works in several mediums (including 3-diemensional works, sculpture, photographs, videos and mixed-media), Thompson Library will display examples of paintings from this esteemed collection.

The mission of the Mott-Warsh Collection is to present contemporary fine art to public audiences in non-traditional venues as well as educational and cultural institutions.   University of Michigan-Flint (with its strong historical ties to the Mott family of Flint, Michigan) and the Thompson Library in particular fit perfectly with the mission and vision statements established by Maryanne Mott and her late husband, Herman Warsh.

The Collection currently consists of works by over 125 artists, featuring 20th century masters such as Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett to new and innovative artists of the early 21st century, and includes a broad array of work from the abstract to the representative.  Common to all pieces within the collection is the focus on unique cultural and social experiences of Africans and Americans of African descent living and working in western (American) society.

Maryanne and Herman begun collecting their art with the intent to assemble and preserve rare works of art endemic to the African community and make them available to the wider audience through its lending program with the intent to educate viewers in art appreciation, art making processes, art history, 20th century American history and the history of the African diaspora.

The Collection contains over four hundred works and is supported by the Mott-Warsh research library which has assembled monographs, exhibition catalogs, auction catalogs and journals with subject concentrations in African American art as well as information on fine arts collection management.

Selected works from the Mott-Warsh Collection are currently on display at several locations around Flint, including the Flint Institute of Music, the Flint Public Library, the Ruth Mott Foundation, Mott Community College, Applewood, Kettering University Innovation Center and other locations.

Nationally, pieces are on loan at such renowned institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), Wexner Center for the Arts (Ohio State University), Walker Art Center, Denver Art Museum, Rudenstine Gallery (W.E.B. DuBois Institute, Harvard University), the Seattle Art Museum, the Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford), the Institute of Contemporary Arts (Boston) and many other museums and art galleries around the nation.

Thompson Library is proud to be numbered among such fine institutions in being selected as a location to display pieces from the Mott-Warsh Collection.

We would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Michael Doyle — Mickey — who numbers among our reference librarians and serves as our Head of Access Services — for being instrumental in arranging our library’s participation as a display site for works from this esteemed collection.

Our first pieces were installed during the evening of Tuesday, March 17th and can be now viewed in Thompson Library, hung directly across the room on the far wall from the main entrance (3rd floor).

There are five pieces in total in our current display, all works by the late artist Jacob Lawrence.   This group of paintings, collectively entitled The Toussaint L’Ouverture Series, depicts the Haitian Revolution from the turn of the 19th century.  The impact of the Revolution on the then existent Napoleonic Empire forced France to sell the Louisiana territory to the young United States, changing the world forevermore.

Due to his circumstance, the artist was forced to use inexpensive paint materials available to him during the late 30s and early 40s.  Over time, his paintings in gouache (an opaque, water-based paint, sometimes referred to as “poster paint”) deteriorated.  Lawrence attempted preservation of some of these older works by silkscreening selected prints from his earlier series of works.  The five pieces currently on display are the result of his efforts, and remain vibrant images.


Pieces (titles and descriptions) are as follows:

* * * * * * * * * *

General Toussaint L’Ouverture, 1986

General Toussaint L’Ouverture, Statesman and military genius, esteemed by the Spaniards, feared by the English, dreaded by the French, hated by the planters, and reverenced by the Blacks.


The Opener, 1997

General Toussaint L’Ouverture attacked the English at Artibonite and there captured two towns.


The March, 1995

General L’Ouverture collected forces at Marmelade, and on October the 9th, 1794, left with 500 men to capture San Miguel.


Marc, 1994

On March 24, he captured Mirebalois.


Contemplation, 1993

Returning to private life as the commander and chief of the army, he saw to it that the country was well taken care of, and Haiti returned to prosperity. During this important period, slavery was abolished, and attention focused upon agricultural pursuits.

 * * * * * * * * * *

Please stop by soon to view this limited collection, and others that will be on display in our library in the future.


Thompson Library Celebrates 20 Years in New Facility

(Click on any photo below to enlarge.)


This fall we celebrate not one, but two milestones for the Frances Willson Thompson Library; the 20th anniversary of our beautiful building as well as the 20th anniversary of our participation with the UM-Ann Arbor based MIRLYN system.

Atrium, Thompson Library, Dedication Ceremony, 10-14-94

Back on October 14, 1994, we hosted the dedication ceremony for the new Thompson Library in our beautiful Atrium.

While it wasn’t yet entirely completed — some furniture, shelving and a touch or two of paint was still needed — it was a fabulous new home for our resources, librarians and users.

Hosting the ceremonies, which included several local dignitaries and

Senator Reigle
Senator Reigle

UM-Flint administrators, was a high point in our history, but the path to opening the Frances Willson Thompson Library facility was a long and circuitous one for our campus.

Our history began in 1956 when the new UM-Flint campus and the then Flint Junior College opted to share a library collection to be housed in the new Mott Memorial Building.

Congressman Dale Kildee
Congressman Dale Kildee

The book collection of both colleges was then available to the students and faculty of either college.

The dual library opened in August 1957.   While each institution retained ownership of its own books, all items were held and housed and maintained jointly in the combined library facilities.

In February of 1958, a plan was approved for a new Mott College (then Flint JC) building that would house the consolidated collection of both colleges.

Charles Stewart Mott
Charles Stewart Mott

C.S. Mott gave more than one million dollars for the construction of the building, emphasizing the importance of a library as the heart of an educational institution.

The collection moved into the new building in the fall of 1960.

In 1974, UM-Flint developed a master building plan which lead to the first building on the Flint campus, known as the Classroom & Office Building (CROB), later named in honor of Dean David French as French Hall.

CROB was completed and opened in January 1977, with the UM-Flint library collection moved to the 5th floor by 1978.

The library was to remain in this “temporary location” (plus the “library annex” located beneath the Harrison Street parking ramp) for the next 16 years.

UM-Flint hired David Palmer as its first Director of the Library in 1975.

Mr. Palmer’s primary directive at this time was to oversee the drafting of a plan and construction of a new library building.

Like Moses before him, Mr. Palmer did not enjoy the fruits of those dreams and plans as he retired in the early 90s, before construction of the new building even began.

Robert Houbeck, Director, Thompson Library, 10-14-94
Robert Houbeck, Director, Thompson Library, 10-14-94

In 1991, Robert Houbeck, formerly Head of Serials & Book Acquisitions within the UM Library systems on the Ann Arbor campus, was hired to replace Mr. Palmer.




Upon his arrival, Mr. Houbeck was thrown headlong into the planning stages of a new facility, working with the architectural firm that had designed the new underground Law Library in Ann Arbor, Gunnar Birkerts & Associates.

Joanne Sullenger, Vice-Chancellor of Development, University of Michigan-Flint
Joanne Sullenger, Vice-Chancellor of Development, University of Michigan-Flint
Frances Willson Thompson
Frances Willson Thompson

Thanks to the fund raising efforts of Vice Chancellor for Development, Joanne Sullenger, and the generosity of many donors — most notably Frances Willson Thompson — our new library facility was finally competed.




Our library celebrated its 20th anniversary in the new building this fall.

F. W. Thompson Library, University of Michigan-Flint


We look forward to future growth and change that will lead us into an exciting future providing students, faculty and staff access to the latest information resources available in the world.

Future Star


Evaluating and Managing our Electronic Journal Collection

By:   Matthew Wolverton


(Click on any photo to enlarge)

The University of Michigan-Flint coordinates with its sister campuses, The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and The University of Michigan-Dearborn, to purchase electronic resources as one University of Michigan entity.

This coordination affords University of Michigan-Flint students, faculty, and staff access to a large Carnegie Level Research University [RU/VH: Research Universities (very high research activity)] library collection at our Carnegie Master’s Level [Master’s/L: Master’s Colleges and Universities (larger programs)].

The Thompson Library is constantly evaluating our collection. One of the methods we use to evaluate our electronic journal collection is analysis of our holdings in the most highly cited periodicals per academic discipline.

We download journal citation rankings from SCImago Journal & Country Rank.

Then we determine if Flint, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor have access to each of the most current issue of the top 100 titles and compare the percentage holdings.

We have used this information multiple ways: to determine weaknesses in our collection that we need to bolster, to demonstrate to accrediting bodies our collection’s strength in given disciplines, and to see how progress in the electronic collection development has increased our percentage parity to Ann Arbor’s electronic holdings.

Below are a couple excerpts from completed analyses.

Digital Subscriptions Chart1

Digital Subscriptions Chart2


Please contact Matthew Wolverton ( with any questions or to request a report.

By:   Matthew Wolverton  —  Electronic Resource Management Librarian