Category Archives: Thompson Library

Archive Holds Riegle Papers

Local History Comes Alive in Archive!

By:   Paul Gifford, Archivist 


(Click on any photo to enlarge)

The papers of Flint native and UM-Flint graduate Donald W. Riegle, Jr., who served as Congressman and Senator from 1967 to 1994, are now available for research through the library, more specifically through the Archive.

“Riegle was a child and grandchild of Flint people, so it’s appropriate that his papers are in the Genesee Historical Collections Center,” says Paul Gifford, archivist.

Riegle grew up on the east side of Flint and graduated from Central High School in 1956. After a year at Flint Junior College and a year at Western Michigan University, he enrolled as a business administration major in the Flint College of the University of Michigan, from which he graduated in 1960. He received an M.B.A. from Michigan State University the following year, began working for IBM, and began working on a D.B.A. degree from Harvard before entering politics.

In 1966 an opportunity to run for U.S. Congress presented itself, and Riegle, a Republican, solidly defeated the 7th District incumbent. He soon acquired a reputation as a maverick, opposing the war in Vietnam and receiving endorsements from the local UAW and getting support from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action. He wrote a candid book, O Congress (1972), which critics liked. During that campaign year, he actively campaigned against Nixon.

He changed parties in 1973 and the following year initiated formal impeachment proceedings against Nixon. Following Senator Philip Hart’s retirement in 1976, Riegle successfully pursued that office. With his business background, Riegle was appointed to the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, as well as other committees. He was re-elected twice.

Riegle’s chief priority as Senator was to improve economic conditions for his constituents. He championed the Chrysler loan guarantee, took positions that benefitted both auto industry executives and labor, introduced legislation to increase American exports, and fought the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In an investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics into what certain senators had done for the bankrupt owner of a savings and loan company, Riegle was rebuked for the appearance of impropriety in 1991. When his term expired in 1994, he chose not to run.

In addition to the files on the legislation with which Riegle was involved, his papers concern many issues in Flint (such as Urban Development Action Grants) and the 7th District. Riegle maintained many Michigan offices, so there is considerable material relating to Michigan affairs.

In order to make the papers available for research, Gifford and his team of students, especially Jeanette Routhier, had to devise a plan to arrange and order the files, remove extraneous material, and describe it. The large size (164 linear feet, after processing) of the collection meant that it would require considerable time to complete the task.

For more information, see Archives website at:



                                                 By:   Paul Gifford, Archivist  —  Thompson Library



Are Incoming Students Prepared?

The new school year is rapidly approaching.

When the fall semester begins, will the new students — be they freshmen or transfer students — know the basics of using a library to locate useable, quality information when they research?

This generation grew up with computers and the internet.   We assume that they use it daily and understand it intimately.

Besides, they get all the basic instruction they need for using library resources in high school.   They already know what research-quality information is.

Is that a correct and reliable assumption?

Several months ago this writer had the privilege of attending a regional meeting of school librarians.

As a group, they had one burning question;  what did their high school students need to know before matriculating into an institution of higher education?

My response —

  • “What is a database”  and
  •  “How to search a database  efficiently and effectively.”

While this was not news to these capable, competent librarians,  they were disheartened.

I was mystified.   Isn’t instruction at this basic level the focus of a high school library?

The information shared with me was an eye-opener.

First, all school districts have had major budget cuts.   Most can’t afford more than one librarian per district.    Librarians must act more as organizers and overseers rather than having daily direct contact with students or teachers.

Today, the typical school district libraries are staffed with parent or student volunteers rather than with trained professionals.

Further, schools cannot afford anything close to the journal databases typically found in a college or university library.

Most K-12 and public libraries in Michigan use only the limited free databases available through the Library of Michigan MEL system — which in turn is facing its own financial crisis.

Lastly, and most surprisingly, many districts are pressured by parents to prevent or limit student access to the internet, technology perceived as dangerous to their children.

Restrictions applied (firewalls) within the K-12 school districts don’t differentiate between scholarly materials and open web access.

As I listened to this group of teacher/librarians relate one administrative horror story after another, I began to realize the extent of the problem faced by our own UM-Flint students.

Our freshmen and transfer students begin their studies handicapped by a lack of basic understanding of  HOW  to use a library and its extensive access to knowledge.

They do not generally understand  WHAT  scholarly research materials are, let alone what a database is or how to properly use one.

This includes a lack of understanding regarding common technology-related terminology, such as browser, search engine, or even what Wikepedia is and why their instructors won’t accept this as a source of information.  Nor do they consistently grasp the more scholarly concepts of peer-reviewed journals, let alone the difference between a journal and a magazine.

Perhaps even more frightening from an academic perspective, incoming students often do not understand  WHY  they need to know how to find scholarly information, it’s value and appropriate use.

What can our UM-Flint faculty do to counteract this insufficiency?   Thompson librarians are teaching faculty.    They are dedicated to helping students learn how to use our library resources effectively.

  • We urge all instructors to partner with their librarians.
  • Create assignments designed to introduce students to their library.
  • Request classroom instruction by a librarian covering the basics in under an hour of classroom time, or to focus on specific databases to support your classroom assignments.
  • Librarians can provide additional in-depth instruction on request.

Your librarians are an incredible teaching resource.

Contact a librarian early in the semester and schedule a library instruction presentation for  YOUR  class.

With instruction in use of library resources, you’ll see a big difference in the work your students produce.

                                                   — Vera Anderson, editor




Most faculty — and even many students — know of the remodeling that is scheduled to take place in the Murchie Science Building (MSB)  this summer.

Not everyone is aware that the construction plans extend to the library.

As the Psychology Department exits MSB and moves to French Hall, it will displace the Writing Center.

The Marian E. Wright Writing Center, in turn, will be moving into the Thompson Library in what promises to be both a logical and effective partnership.

That leads us to the question that has been on everyone’s mind for the past two months;  where have all the books gone?

Stacks Removed Open Floor Space

Our Circulation Department staff have been quickly and efficiently relocating all the books from the main collection, call numbers A – D, from their former location on the second floor of the library to their temporary location on the third floor (upstairs).

Empty ShelvingTo make room for these books, the materials in the Reference Collection and Index/Abstract Collection have been carefully reviewed.

Wherever possible, materials from those collections have been transferred into the Main Collection (hopefully increasing their use as our patrons may now check out those materials which were formerly only available in the library).

Any outdated materials or items now readily available via online access were removed from the collection.

Additionally, materials that have been stored in our library for the Kresge Business Library of Ann Arbor (during their own recent massive reconstruction project) are being returned to Ann Arbor.

And finally, the shelving itself was dismantled and removed within the last few weeks.

Eventually the Main Collection materials will be shifted to use the space currently occupied by the Kresge books, returning the A-D materials temporarily housed on the 3rd floor back to join the rest of the Main Collection materials on the 1st and 2nd floor of the Thompson Library.

Meanwhile, the shelving in the former Government Documents Collection area as well as the reading carrels near the Think Lab have been dismantled and removed as well to make room for the Writing Center offices.

While we’re all enjoying the temporary wide open spaces, not seen in the library since before it opened in 1994, construction on the new Writing Center lab and office spaces will begin soon.

Current estimates place completion of the reconstruction project sometime in the fall of 2013 or early winter of 2014.

Having the Writing Center located physically inside the library will allow Writing Center students fast and easy access to the books, journals and ITS computer lab (with access to all online subscriptions).

It will also provide opportunities for collaboration between Writing Center personnel and librarians in support of research instruction and aid to the students.

The learning potential of the relocation of the Writing Center to the students of our campus is tremendous.

Our librarians and staff eagerly look forward to the Grand Opening of the new, improved Marian E. Wright Writing Center!



Welcome, New Faculty!

At the beginning of each school year it is our pleasure to welcome new faculty to our campus and to invite them to learn about the services and support which we, the librarians and staff at the Frances Willson Thompson Library, offer.

It seems fitting that in this, the first issue of the fall semester, our newsletter review some of those services for the benefit of all.


INSTRUCTION SERVICESLibrary Resources-Classroom & Private

Perhaps foremost among services to teaching faculty are our teaching librarians.

Instructors may contact the library and request a librarian present to their class on any subject or services which the library provides, ensuring that students will not only know what resources are available to them when conducting their research, but how to use those resources efficiently and productively.

To arrange for a library presentation to your students, you may contact the librarian who is the liaison to your department directly, or get in touch with Laura Friesen (Instruction Team Leader) to arrange for a date, time and subject coverage that would compliment your course plan.

The list of librarian liaisons can be found on our library website.

Laura can be reached at  —  or by calling 810  / 766-6781.


FINDING BOOKS & MEDIA in Thompson Library.

The online library catalog for University of Michigan libraries is Mirlyn, which includes Flint and the university library system libraries on the Ann Arbor campus.

Using Mirlyn, a Flint researcher can locate any of the over 250,000 items in the Flint collection as well as the nearly 14 million items from the Ann Arbor campus.

With the ease of logging in and clicking the GET THIS button, any of these items can be held for our patrons at the Circulation Desk in the Thompson Library.

Flint patrons can also use the library catalog of the Kresge Business Library (Ann Arbor) and request materials from their library be shipped to Flint.

[ Editor’s Note:  This service expired, 2013 ]



For books or journal articles not found in Flint, we offer Interlibrary Loan service, providing access to additional titles in books and journal articles.

While our print journal collection has extensive back issues, taking up the majority of shelf space on the 3rd floor, it is only the tip of the iceburg of the journal offerings from our library.

The majority of our journal subscriptions are accessible online (many full text) through our several database offerings, easily located from either the Databases list or by using the SEARCH BY SUBJECT drop-down list found on our website.       

[ Editor’s Note:  This service was superceded by the RESEARCH GUIDE organization of database by subject, 2013 ]


THINK LABReservations

The new Think Lab is located on the 3rd floor of the library and is equipped with a large screen monitor, webcam, data projector and smart board.

Any UM-Flint patron (student, staff or faculty) may use the online form to reserve time in the Think Lab.


RESERVED READINGSPlace items on Reserve

The staff at our Reserved Readings desk are here to assist staff in placing library books, faculty owned books, chapters of books, journal articles and more on Reserve for your students.

While they do not make photocopies, the Reserves staff can digitalize your document and link it through  COURSE RESERVES  in Mirlyn, or link directly to an online article, making it easy for your students to find and use them online.


COMPUTER LAB — Student Use Computers in Library

ITS has installed a computer lab inside the Library, providing 75 computers for Flint users.

In addition to those machines, the library has a small collection of laptops that it can check out to patrons for use inside the library, each pre-configured to work effortlessly with the M-Wireless system connecting them to the internet.

For more information about services available from the library, contact your librarian soon!



New Library Books!

It’s summer.

That means new books and media will be arriving in the library soon!

Ever wondered how all those books made it to the shelves in the Thompson Library?

It’s not as simple as you might think.   There are a number of steps through which each item progressed before arriving at its final destination, ready for you to use.

What is the process?   Let’s start at the beginning.

Thompson Library uses a formula developed by UM-Flint faculty many years ago to fairly and equitably divide the library acquisition budget and distribute it between subjects to help ensure the library had timely research materials available in each discipline.

That formula is still used by the library today.

After the budget is determined, teaching departments are notified of amount available within their subject area.

Faculty may select book or media titles using any of several book selection tools such as Choice Reviews, or by working hand-in-glove with their librarian specialist.

When titles have been selected and sent to the liaison librarian, title information is entered into the Acquisitions Module of the central University of Michigan library management system database (ALEPH in Ann Arbor).

The books, media or online services are ordered, either directly from a specific supplier  (such as the American Psychological Association)  or through an aggregate supplier.

When selected materials arrive at our library,  they do not   go directly to shelves.    They go instead to Technical Services,  a unit within the library,  to be processed.

Each item is individually cataloged with a unique  Library of Congress  call number.

Over two thirds of the work in our library is done as  copy cataloging   (finding and using an established LC number).     The balance of the work is done as original cataloging   on-site by our own cataloguers.

Copy cataloging also requires a unique  “cutter number”  be applied to the end of the LC number, so…       lots of time and manual labor is involved in cataloging all new materials.

After cataloging,  the item receives a call number label which is printed and applied  (usually to the lower end of the spine or upper left corner of the front cover).

Next the item has a barcode placed on the inside front cover  (for books).

The 14 digit barcode number is scanned into the computer record along with check-out status,  loan period,  etc.

A tattle-tape is installed and activated.

Lastly,  after progressing through these many steps in Technical Services,  the book is placed on the  New Book Shelf   (located on the 3rd floor, behind Reference desk).

New books are final-processed and sent to their permanent shelf location at the end of each semester.

As soon as an item is ordered, it appears in our familiar old friend MIRLYN,  the online catalog of everything in the library,  as on order.

Still in Tech Services?    It may show the location as at labeling.

When checking a title in Mirlyn,  be sure to verify that the item is listed as   on shelf    to ensure it will be available for use.

It’s a long and complicated path from selection to placement in the final shelf location in the library,  but it’s a process that makes it easy for everyone to locate any book in the library quickly,  efficiently and easily.

And if the library doesn’t own a desired book,  a copy can usually be obtained for any student or employee via  Interlibrary Loan.

— But hey,  that   is a story for another article …

(see next article, Library News, July 2012…)



How to Expand 300,000 Volumes into 8 Million with the Click of a Button!

It’s not that uncommon to have students approach the Reference Desk in our library and ask the librarian where Hatcher library is located. Usually when it is pointed out that only the Thompson Library is in Flint they become very depressed; a 60 mile drive just to get a book???

But the librarian can cheer them up instantly. How? A quick explanation of the GET THIS feature does the trick.

Instead of driving to the Ann Arbor campus, just use GET THIS. Login to Mirlyn with uniqname and Kerberos password, then search for a book.

If a book is in a library in Ann Arbor but not in Flint, it can be requested by using GET THIS. (Be sure to select FLINT as the pick-up location from the drop-down box!)

If you are requesting a book from an Ann Arbor library, it will be delivered to Flint the following Monday or Wednesday and available for pickup the next day. Requesting a Flint book? Same procedure! That means any item requested will be on the Hold Shelf in Thompson Library quickly, usually within two days or less.

The benefit to Flint students, faculty and staff? Over the past five years, use of materials from the Ann Arbor campus has increased to upwards of 2,000 books (plus) per year — without having to drive to Ann Arbor.

This expands our access to research materials from the approximately 300,000 books held in Thompson Library to nearly 8 million books available in the various libraries on the Ann Arbor campus — a tremendous boon to researchers!

Does Ann Arbor equally benefit from access to the Flint collection? Surprisingly, yes.

We are a net lender to Ann Arbor. Why? Because our library has a strong basic collection. And since we’re smaller, we order and catalog books much faster than Ann Arbor libraries. We also have a high percentage of unique materials not found in the Ann Arbor collections. In fact, about 44% of our total collection consists of books that are not on the shelves in any of the Ann Arbor libraries, completely unique to Flint campus.

And there’s more; approximately 25 percent of all transactions using GET THIS have been Flint patrons requesting Ann Arbor books. That means that approximately 75 percent have been Ann Arbor researchers requesting books owned by Flint. The benefit is definitely reciprocal.

This can benefit the faculty on the Flint campus in another area as well. Our faculty may request a book from any Ann Arbor campus library and have it placed on RESERVE in the Thompson Library (allowing all students in a given class quick to a book otherwise unavailable).

Want to read a book, but the item is already checked out? Request it using GET THIS and be placed in the queue. When it returns, the book will be placed on the Hold Shelf for you (date of request determines place in queue for a popular book which is in high demand).

Next time you need a book from Flint or Ann Arbor, try using the GET THIS feature. An email notifies you when the book is waiting for you on the Hold Shelf. Come to the library and ask at the Circulation Desk (3rd floor near entrance).


A great new feature; login to Mirlyn to try it soon!




There’s an Elephant in the Library!

HATHI Trust Digital Library, a permanent repository of the collections of major research libraries —

The HathiTrust is a growing partnership of libraries — including the University of Michigan — that are pooling their resources to create the library of the future, for the future.   Nearly 11 million volumes from their combined collections are already available digitally, and millions more will be added in the coming years.

Pronounced “Hot – Tea,” the Hindi word for elephant, the mission of the HathiTrust is to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge.

An elephant, so they say, never forgets.

The ambitious goals of the HathiTrust are:

 — To build a reliable and increasingly comprehensive digital archive of library materials converted from print that is co-owned and managed by a number of academic institutions.

To dramatically improve access to these materials in ways that, first and foremost, meet the needs of the co-owning institutions.

— To help preserve these important human records by creating reliable and accessible electronic representations.

— To stimulate redoubled efforts to coordinate shared storage strategies among libraries, thus reducing long-term capital and operating costs of libraries associated with the storage and care of print collections.

— To create and sustain this “public good” in a way that mitigates the problem of free-riders.

— To create a technical framework that is simultaneously responsive to members through the centralized creation of functionality and sufficiently open to the creation of tools and services not created by the central organization.

Through their combined efforts, the participating research libraries hope to ensure the long-term preservation of the collections they have worked to assemble over centuries of time.

Providing as much access to the materials as legally possible is a key part of the preservation strategy.

Legally possible? The majority of works are currently protected by federal copyright law.  These works cannot yet be freely accessed in digital format.

Most works published prior to 1923 will be in public domain, and can be accessed full text if included in the HathiTrust Digital Library collection.

The HathiTrust collection provides full-text search capability to locate otherwise unknown materials,  Acrobat downloads of public domain publications,  and unprecedented access to damaged or lost materials online.

The over 70 institutional members of the HathiTrust Digital Library — including the University of Michigan Library System — are building a collection for the digital knowledge base of the future.



Volume I, Issue I — Introducing Tolle Lege Newsletter

              Tolle Lege* …

                            ―   Take and Read!!

We appropriated for our title Augustine’s  famous phrase.  It captures what we in academic libraries are about:  Linking people with ideas.  Universities run on the fuel of ideas, of recorded knowledge. Whether hardcopy or digital, libraries will continue to be the institutions tasked with acquiring, organizing, making accessible, and preserving that knowledge, the ongoing Great Conversation of human culture.  In this newsletter, we’ll tell you some of the things we’re doing to preserve and broaden access to the Conversation of human culture.  In this newsletter, we’ll tell you some of the things we’re doing to preserve and broaden access to the Conversation.

In this issue, we alert you to our new, Google-like search too, Summon.  Summon simplifies searching by enabling you, with a single search, to reach across and into our hundreds of databases.  You can restrict your search to pee-reviewed journals or broaden it to go beyond our licensed resources.

Librarian Emily Newberry links people with ideas through her work with visiting Winegarden Professor Dr. Kenneth Waltzer, and his undergraduate course on the Holocaust.

A unique-in-the-nation project, Ken’s students are doing original research using the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive database — a digital resource not available on most campuses.

In future issues, we’ll tell you about the Hathi Trust digital repository initiative — the mechanism that research libraries have established to ensure that our collections will be available in perpetuity (there’s no guarantee that GoogleBooks will be around into the next Century).

We’ll report on our ThinkLab project, a joint Student Government Council-Thompson Library initiative to develop media-rich group-study spaces.

Look also for a piece on the GetThis project, the rapid delivery system that has afforded Flint users rapid access to Ann Arbor’s seven million print volumes — and also made Flint a net-lender to Ann Arbor.  Check out other pieces about the Thompson Library on our blog(The Upper Shelf)  and Facebook.

Our shelves and our digital portals preserve and enable the ongoing Conversation that is the substance of the academic disciplines and of general education.

We’ll be reporting to you at regular intervals on what we’re doing to keep you linked with the ideas, both perennial and new, on those shelves and in those portals.

Meanwhile, whether it’s these pages or others, tolle lege . . .

By:  Robert Houbeck, Director —  Thompson Library

          University of Michigan-Flint

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