Category Archives: Top Stories

Entries accepted for student research awards

Eastern Illinois University students who have used Booth Library and archival resources to enhance their research are encouraged to enter the library’s “Awards for Excellence in Student Research and Creativity” program.

The program is open to all Eastern Illinois University students. The student entry may be a written work, art piece, exhibit, musical work, documentary, performance or another format. If campus finances allow, cash prizes of up to $300 will be awarded, in addition to certificates of recognition.

The 2016 guidelines, application and form can be found here. For more information, call 581-6061.

Entries should be delivered to the Administration Office, Room 4700, Booth Library, no later than March 25. Recipients will be selected by April 8, and the winners will be announced during National Library Week, April 11-15. Works submitted for competition must have been completed within the last 12 months.

These awards are not intended to duplicate or replace any other standing campus awards. Selected entries will become a part of Booth Library’s Student Research and Creativity Collection.

Dust Bowl exhibit and program series

Farmer and sons walking in the face of a dust storm, Cimarroon County, OK, 1936. Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Farmer and sons walking in the face of a dust storm, Cimarroon County, OK, 1936. Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

“Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry,” a national traveling exhibition about the causes and aftermath of the historic Dust Bowl period, will be on display at Booth Library from Jan. 11-Feb. 26.

The exhibition recalls a tragic period in our history — the drought and dust storms that wreaked havoc on the Great Plains in the 1930s — and explores its environmental and cultural consequences. It raises several thought-provoking questions: What caused fertile farms to turn to dust? How did people survive? What lessons can we learn?

“The Dust Bowl was one of the worst man-made ecological disasters in American history. We are proud that Booth Library was selected to help make the public more aware of this important era,” said Allen Lanham, dean of library services. “This exhibition delves into the history and geography behind the Dust Bowl, but also provides a human element; through the words of the survivors themselves, we learn what it was like to live through such a difficult time.”

“Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry” will be accompanied by a series of free library programs, including lectures and film screenings. The exhibition and programs feature several overlapping humanities themes: the nature of the connection between humans and nature; the many ways human beings respond to adversity; and how people came to understand and to describe their experiences living through the Dust Bowl.

Lanham invites community members and groups to view the exhibit any time the library is open. More details are available here.

Following is the schedule of upcoming events. The exhibit and all programs are free and open to the public.

  • Jan. 25 and Jan. 26, 7 p.m., Doudna Fine Arts Center Recital Hall; two-part film screening of “The Dust Bowl,” Ken Burns documentary, presented by Cameron Craig, professor laureate of geography;
  • Feb. 3, 4 p.m., Witters Conference Room 4440, Booth Library; “Illinois Plows and Breaking the Plains: Technology, Ecology and Agricultural Production during the 1930s,” by Deb Reid, professor of history;
  • Feb. 8, 4 p.m., Witters Conference Room 4440, Booth Library; “Dust Pneumonia Blues,” by Sheila Simons, professor of health studies;
  • Feb. 10, 4 p.m., Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall; “Dust Bowl Ballads: Woody Guthrie and the Politics of the Working Class,” by J.B. Faires, adjunct professor of music;
  • Feb. 16, 4:30 p.m., Witters Conference Room 4440, Booth Library; “Recapturing the Experiences of Women in the Dust Bowl: The Life and Writings of Caroline Henderson,” by Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, assistant professor of history;
  • Feb. 17, 4 p.m., Witters Conference Room 4440, Booth Library; “The Politics of Drought in ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’” by Robin Murray, professor of English;
  • Feb. 18, 4 p.m., Tarble Arts Center Atrium; film screening of “Grapes of Wrath,” featuring the work of cinematographer Gregg Toland of Charleston, presented by Kit Morice, curator of education, Tarble Arts Center;
  • Feb. 22, 4:30 p.m., Witters Conference Room 4440, Booth Library; “Dust Bowl Lessons: Soil Conservation Then and Now,” by R.J. Alier, Coles County Soil and Water Conservation District.

For more information about “Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry,” including complete program and exhibit descriptions, visit the program web page here. More information also may be obtained by contacting project directors Janice Derr, or 581-5090; Kirstin Duffin, or 581-7550; or Pamela Ferrell, or 581-7548.

“Dust, Drought and Dreams Gone Dry” was developed by the American Library Association Public Programs Office in collaboration with the libraries of Oklahoma State University and Mount Holyoke College. The exhibition and tour were made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Exploring the Human Endeavor.

Local sponsors of the series are the Tarble Arts Center, Academy of Lifelong Learning and WEIU-TV.

During the spring semester, Booth Library’s regular hours will be from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 1 a.m. Sunday. For more information on the library, visit the website,; call 217-581-6072; or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War

Booth Library will host a national traveling exhibit titled “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” from Sept. 4-Oct. 16. In addition to the national exhibit, a variety of related exhibits will be on display in the library on a variety of subjects, including Lincoln’s connection to Coles County. During the six-week period of the exhibit, the library will host several programs related to the Lincolns and the Civil War era. More information is available on the series web page here.

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War offers a fresh perspective on Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War — the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties. The exhibition presents a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.

Even as the convention that framed the U.S. Constitution ended in September 1787, Americans began debating critical issues that their founding charter left unresolved. Were the states truly “united”? How could a country founded on the belief that “all men are created equal” tolerate slavery? Would civil liberties be safe in a national emergency? Like ticking time-bombs, these issues threatened to explode.

Finally, with the election of Abraham Lincoln as the nation’s first anti-slavery president, they did. As the country plunged toward civil war, Americans wondered whether their new president-elect — a one-term congressman and trial lawyer from Illinois — could resolve the crisis. Would Abraham Lincoln survive the test? Would the nation?

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

Summer exhibit takes a look at Eastern’s history

Booth Library is hosting several exhibits this summer that take a closer look at the history of Eastern Illinois University.

New President David Glassman is the focus of an exhibit looking at past presidents of the university. Other displays focus on the history of campus buildings, past Panther logos and administrators who were instrumental in developing EIU into the campus it is today. All are welcome to stop by the library to view this free exhibit!

Booth Library’s summer hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed on Sundays. Beginning June 21 the library will be open from 2 to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

The Artwork of Russell Means on display

"Ignorant (Hernan Cortes)," by Russell Means

“Ignorant (Hernan Cortes),” by Russell Means

"Valentine," by Russell Means

“Valentine,” by Russell Means

By EIU Media Relations

Russell Means and Gordon Grado met under challenging circumstances.

Means, perhaps best known as a political activist and early leader of the American Indian Movement, could barely talk because of a cancerous tumor pressing against his throat.  He and his wife, Pearl, met Grado, a world renowned oncologist based in Scottsdale, Ariz., during Means’ initial consultation.

“When we walked in, Gordon sat on the edge of his chair, looked straight into Russell’s eyes and told him what an honor it was to meet him,” Pearl Means recalled.

Grado went on to tell the couple about his father, Louis, a retired Eastern Illinois University professor of education, who would come home each evening and ask his children, “What did you do for humanity today?”  The elder Grado would also talk about notable individuals who worked and sacrificed for the good of the people.

Russell Means, Grado said, was one of those notables by whom he became so inspired.

“He and my father were alike in their struggle to identify whatever wasn’t right and to try and find a solution without compromising one’s beliefs or principles,” Grado said.

“As (Russell’s) wife, I often heard others speak highly of my husband,” Pearl Means said.  “But Gordon’s words were especially powerful.  My husband told me later that he knew he had an ally in Dr. Grado.”

Several months following that meeting, in October 2012, 72-year-old Russell Means succumbed to throat cancer.

“But we were very grateful for Dr. Grado’s help,” Pearl Means said.  Through a treatment known as TomoTherapy, her husband’s tumor had been “successfully eliminated,” allowing him to spend his finals days on earth with his voice intact.

Grado and his wife, Mary, continue to keep in contact with Pearl Means.  They also collect artwork created by her husband, who began painting in the ‘90s.

Pieces of their collection, titled “The Artwork of Russell Means,” will appear on display between April 13 and May 15 in the Marvin Foyer of Booth Library, located on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.  Admission is free and open to the public.

“Mr. Means was not only an activist, but a musician, artist, philosopher, mentor, historian, sociologist and history maker,” Grado, an EIU alumnus, said.  “Touching on all of these areas truly makes him unique and someone that would touch the university, students and faculty in many ways.

“The forte of Mr. Means’ work is not only in his activism and support of the indigenous nations, but his constant commitment to identify and attempt to correct any injustice that he saw,” Grado continued.  “He also didn’t mind discussing either his weaknesses or his strengths and was uniquely able to provide not only a magnifying glass to see life but a corrective lens to see it clearly.”

Russell Means appeared in the 1992 film, “The Last of the Mohicans,” as Chingachgook.  “That role opened up the artistic side of this man,” Pearl Means said.  He viewed “artists as the true revolutionaries, for they see the need for change first.”

Her husband created dozens of paintings over the year, including five series. One of those series, titled Indian Killer, features 12 “alleged American heroes.”  Each piece measures 34 inches by 27 inches and includes a framed narrative, written by Russell Means to explain “who (those individuals) really were.”

Additional exhibit pieces include the following:  “Buffalo on Plains,” “Ancestors Leaving,” “Tatanka,” “Valentine,” “The Dance” and “Crazy Horse.”  The exhibit also features a portrait of Russell and Pearl Means that was painted by Pearl’s sister.


Related stories:

Oncologist Gordon Grado Shares Knowledge, Expertise and Clinic with EIU Students:

Through ‘Life-changing’ Experience, EIU Alumnus Gives EIU Students a Leg Up

Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker are focus of exhibit

PrintQuanah in StarHouse

Booth Library is presenting an exhibit and program series about Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker during the spring semester. The series is titled “Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend.”

Cynthia Ann Parker was born c. 1827 to Silas and Lucy Parker. Cynthia Ann’s grandfather, Elder John Parker, her uncle, Benjamin Parker, and other members of the family were among the first white settlers of what is now Coles County.

In about 1833, several members of the Parker clan moved to Texas and created Fort Parker there. A few years later, a band of Indians attacked the fort, killing many and kidnapping a few of the children, including Cynthia Ann, age 9.

Cynthia Ann grew up as a member of the Comanche tribe, married one of the chiefs and bore three children. The oldest, Quanah, grew to become a politically influential leader and is considered to be the last Comanche chief. Cynthia Ann was kidnapped again and returned to the Parkers in 1860, but she never forgot her Comanche family and wished to return to them.

A variety of programming was offered during February, including lectures, panel discussions and three film screenings. The exhibit will be on display at Booth Library through April 9. For a complete schedule of programs, visit the series web page here.

“There are still many descendants of the Parker family living in the area,” Lanham said. “We hope they and other community members interested in local history will enjoy the library’s program.”

Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend, developed and produced by the faculty and staff of Booth Library, has been made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois General Assembly. Additional support was provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. The Texas Lakes Trail and Texas Trail of Fame were instrumental in providing many of the historic photographs found in the exhibit.

* Special thanks to Carolyn Stephens, Becky Parker, James David Parker and David Parker for their research help and support, and to Mike Watts and Kit Morice of the Tarble Arts Center.

For more information on the “Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend” series, contact Beth Heldebrandt at or 581-6064.

Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s


Area residents are encouraged to take a step back in time and experience “Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s.” Booth Library will sponsor this exhibit that looks at what is arguably one of the most turbulent and eventful decades of the 20th century.

Although the programs in this series have ended, Booth Library is filled with exhibits exploring numerous aspects of this fascinating decade as Americans experienced it — including developments in the worlds of music, literature, visual arts, science and technology, politics, and social movements.

The public is encouraged to stop by and take a look!

Library honored for presenting informational and varied exhibits

Booth Library has a history of hosting traveling exhibits from the American Library Association, National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Library of Medicine. Topics have ranged from the life of Queen Elizabeth I to Harry Potter to our award-winning Frankenstein exhibit.

Library staff has also created many of its own major exhibitions, including Teachers Tame the Prairie and Revolutionary Decade: Reflections on the 1960s. Other grant-funded programs, including America’s Music and Muslim Journeys, have earned national recognition.

Faculty and students from throughout campus are encouraged to participate in our exhibit and program series. Stay tuned for updates and ways to get involved in future programming.

653 New Items Added to Booth Library Collections in July

During July, Booth Library acquired and cataloged 653 new items. The list can be viewed here. The list is arranged by location: Ballenger Teachers’ Center, Books, Electronic Resources, Illinois and Federal Documents, Maps, Media, Reference Collection, Special Collections and University Archives. The titles are listed by call number within each location. Please contact Karen Whisler, head of Collection Development, at 581-7551 or if you have questions.