Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, SPARK!

On this day, in 2010, SPARK went live! Parkland College Library was one of the first community college libraries in the country to recognize the possibilities of an institutional repository with the mission of highlighting examples of excellence in Parkland students, faculty and staff scholarly and creative works.

The collection now holds nearly 1400 entries from over 450 student, faculty, and staff authors, and has seen over 100,000 downloads from around the globe. Take a look at this readership activity map to see how far SPARK reaches:

Every year, SPARK continues to grow with the addition of papers and projects by students participating in the A with Honors Program, selected posters from Natural Sciences Poster Sessions, podcasts from Anthropology 103’s Ethnographies of Parkland Student Life project, and prints, product designs, and digital media from the Graphic Design Student Exhibition.

As we look toward the next five years and beyond, we are always on the lookout for exciting new class projects and are actively encouraging faculty to submit open educational resources to the collection. SPARK's ability to accommodate and share your innovative ideas and creativity is limitless!  To find out more about how you can contribute to SPARK, and become part of a global collection of work, email us at

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Banned Books Answers

Last week we posted a quiz to test your Banned Books knowledge.  Go ahead and take the quiz if you haven't yet.  When you're finished, come on back and scroll down for the answers!

Q: Why was "Captain Underpants" by Dav Pilkey challenged in 2000?
A: All of the above.  A parent at the Orfordville, WI Elementary School library claimed that the books, "taught students to be disrespectful; not to obey authority; not to obey the law, including God's law; improper spelling..."  The book has also been challenged by other individuals on the basis of "inappropriate potty humor."

Q: Which of the following books has NOT been challenged?
A: All of these books have been challenged.  "To Kill a Mockingbird" for racial content and profanity, "Catcher in the Rye" for sexual content and profanity among other things, "Charlotte's Web" for it's depiction of a woman in leadership, and "The Giving Tree" was considered sexist.

Q: What book prompted the headline, "Grandma Refuses to Return Library Book, Could Face Jail Time"?
A: "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris.

Q: What reasons have been given for challenging books?
A: All of the above.  Racial issues, Presence of Witchcraft, Negativity, and Age Inappropriate have all been cited as reasons for books being challenged.

Q: Why was "in the Night Kitchen" by Maurice Sendak challenged in 1985?
A: Nudity.  This book was challenged in Beloit, WI "because the book was believed to desensitize children to nudity."

Q: Which book is banned at Parkland?
A: None.  "50 Shades of Grey," "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," and "The Kite Runner" are all available at the Parkland Library.

Q: "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie won what award in 2007?
A: National Book Award for Young People's Literature

Monday, September 21, 2015

Test your Banned Books Knowledge

Think you know a thing or two about banned books?  Take our quiz here and check back next week during Banned Books Week for the answers!

Banned Books Week is September 27th - October 3rd this year.  Stop by the Library to see what banned books are available here.  We believe in your literary freedom; we will never tell you what you can't read.

*Thank you to the anonymous source for the grammar tip.  It has been corrected.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: A Scholarly Crest

Welcome and welcome back, scholars! Let’s begin this semester’s Wayback Wednesday series with a nod to the Parkland College Crest. Coat of Arms. Crest… Coat of Arms.

Why the confusion? Well, while it’s always been called the Parkland College Crest, technically, it should be called a coat of arms. You see, the crest is a component of the entire coat of arms, traditionally located above the helmet, which is missing here. The design does still retain the shield as the centerpiece of a traditional coat of arms, so that's good. (And here is where your Friendly Neighborhood Archivist admits that she is, perhaps, a bit too persnickety on the subject for her own good and will concede that modern times have certainly allowed for bending the traditional rules of heraldry.) Anyhoo, here’s your Parkland history fix for the month.  

The Parkland College Crest is the outgrowth of an effort begun in 1968 to develop a college seal. Working with Dick Karch, then Assistant Dean for Student Activities, designers from Josten’s (that’s right, the class ring people) took a list of ideas and included five items in their final suggested design.

The design was finalized in 1972, and the ideas which it suggests were extensively reviewed and written into “An Interpretation of the Parkland College Crest” by Paul Kunkel, while as Director of Development.  Here is the original document: 

You’ll always find this explanation of the Parkland Crest in the college catalog (see page 14), and you’ll see the crest again on the commencement program at graduation. However, your Friendly Neighborhood Archivist knows there is at least one spot where you can find the Parkland Crest here on campus, and it’s kind of in an unexpected place.  There may be more.  Let us know where you found it! 


Wayback Wednesday Extra: Symbolize the new academic year with your own coat of arms!

This information was found in Record Groups 5-3, Institutional Accountability and Research, and 6-2, Comptroller, Business Office. 

Wayback Wednesday is a feature of the Parkland College Archives. If you have ideas you'd like to see in future posts, email us at The Archives is open to faculty, staff, students, and the public by appointment. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tips for a Positive Parkland Experience

Fall classes start on August 24th, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time here at Parkland.

  • Remember the ramps.  Parkland's layout can be confusing at first.  Keep this in mind - if you're walking UP a ramp, you're walking towards the college center (X-wing).  If you're walking DOWN a ramp, you're walking away from the college center.  
  • If you drive, make a note of the parking lot when you arrive.  The lightpoles in the parking lots all have markers that indicate which lot you're in, like B7 or M1.  If you get confused walking out, remember your lot.  The letter of the parking lot will often correspond to the nearest wing of the college, for example B7 is nearest to the B wing.
  • Check out campus events, like Convocation and Activities Fair in the Student Union, August 27th at noon.  You can expect a welcoming address from the President and VP, a free lunch starting at 12:30, and explore the different clubs, organizations, and facilities Parkland has to offer.  Plus fun games and cool prizes!  You might even win an iPad!
  • Help is available!  Need research assistance?  Ask a Librarian!  Need someone to proofread your work, or help with your math homework?  Visit the Center for Academic Success in D120.  Need help finding a job?  The Career Center in U238 has local job listings and can provide assistance with your resume!
  • Get involved.  Visit Student Life in U111 to learn about the various extracurriculars available at Parkland.  You can also get your student ID here, which you need to check out material in the Library.  Not to mention a student ID will score you discounts at select local businesses!
  • Ask Questions!  That's how you learn, so don't be shy!  

And of course, the Library is here to help.  
Contact us: 
By phone 217-373-3839
By text 217-615-0079
By e-mail
By chat (click here)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Student Produced Animations

This past spring semester, the Library took advantage of an exciting opportunity to work with Derek Dallas and his Advanced 3D Animation class.  Marcellus Fauci, Brandon Gerber, Ryan Marshall, Ronald Nsokoshi, Calen Potter, and Kevin Runyan gained real client-related experience by pitching ideas and creating custom animations for the Library.

Each student researched promotional videos to find inspiration, and then presented their ideas to Sarah Meilike (Library Administrative Assistant) and Anna Maria Watkin (Library Director).  Throughout the semester, Sarah and Anna Maria worked with the students to guide their designs and give them constructive feedback.

By the end of the semester, the students had created four separate and unique videos for the Library to use in promotions.  Take a look and let us know what you think!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Parkland READS is back!

The Parkland READS book for 2015-2016 is Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft. The book challenges readers to re-think how we define and value work in the 21st century. The Philadelphia Inquirer's reviewer wrote that the book's "thought-provoking themes are well worth considering. . . as millions of unemployed Americans struggle to find work, any kind of work, let alone work that suits their skills and talents and offers, in Crawford's words, 'a tighter connection between life and livelihood.'"

The goal for next year is to focus on the nature of creativity in the workplace, and that includes creativity in our own work place. The book raises questions about the value of a college education and it's a book you'll want to discuss with colleagues across the campus.

I'll be posting more information about activities for students, book groups for faculty and staff, and other creative ideas evolving from themes raised in the book. Look for that next fall!

For the 2016-17 year, we'll have a new theme and I'll be looking to faculty and staff to help choose a book for the 2016/17 year this coming November so that more faculty can actually adopt the next book as part of their courses. This year, I'm behind so Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft is aimed more towards our own professional development, although I will be teaching it in all of my English 101 courses so if anyone else wants to adopt the book in fall, I'll have some materials and assignment ideas and will be happy to share those.

If you have questions, thoughts, suggestions or ideas, I'm the go-to person for all things Parkland READS. The program is fully supported by Parkland's library, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, academic and student services. It's truly a cross-campus initiative and I look forward to your input about this book and future projects related to Parkland READS.

Amy Penne, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Parkland READS Coordinator
Parkland College
2400 W. Bradley Ave.
Champaign, IL  61821

Free Coffee and Tea NOW until May 14th

Each year the Library provides free coffee and tea to all students, faculty, and staff to help get you through the last few days of the semester.  Please feel free to grab a cup, or go green and use your own mug.

Good luck on your finals!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: A Little Something Wild

This week is NationalWildflower Week, and May is the perfect time to appreciate the naturally colorful beauty of native flowers at any one of the various nature preserves we have available to us through Champaign CountyForest Preserve District

While we can’t pick the wildflowers, we can dig into Parkland’s roots, where we can learn about an agreement in which Parkland College became the first community college in the country to manage and use Nature Conservancy land. This was Grandma Patton’s Woods, named for Jane Cade Patton,  one of the first settlers of European descent in the area, and donated by her descendants.  In 1975, Dr. Lewis J. Stannard, a trustee of the IllinoisChapter of the Nature Conservancy, met with the Parkland biology staff and Dr. Donald Swank to propose that Parkland lease the 14 acre tract of wooded land at a rate of $10 per year. By 1977, Parkland faculty, staff, and students had become stewards to the land, which was to be used for educational and scientific research purposes. 

Former Parkland professor, Earl R. Cruetzberg (see also, Parkland prairie restoration), was instrumental in this project and used his sabbatical that same year to establish an interpretive nature trail. During his time at Parkland, he also designed coursework using the land, promoted its use through open houses, and created many interpretive brochures, including this one identifying the wildflowers that could be found in the woods.

Also known as Grandma Jane Patton’s Timber Nature Preserve, the area is located in northeast Champaign County, County Line Road (3600 N) and County Road 2500 E, six miles north of Gifford on 2500 E. It is an example of a native oak-hickory forest. Today the land is owned by the Champaign County Forest Preserve.  
Wayback Wednesday Extra: 
“Grandma” Jane Cade Patton (1824-1921), wrote her memoir, Remembrancesof a Pioneer, which is now part of the digital books collection available through the University of Illinois Library.

This information was gathered from Record Group 7-8, Series 4 of the Parkland Archives. 

Wayback Wednesday is a feature of the Parkland College Archives. If you have ideas you'd like to see in future posts, email us at The Archives is open to faculty, staff, students, and the public by appointment. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

And the winner is...

The Cashier's Office
with The Three Little Pigs
This year's Cupcake-A-Book saw some of our best fun food displays yet!  We had 11 entries, ranging from very simple to complex.  The winner was a team effort by the Cashier's Office in the Student Union.  Phyllis Henderson, Diane Kessinger, Debra Hall, and Jess Meyer worked together to create their Three Little Pigs display.  Their teamwork and effort was apparent as their entry collected $36 of the $128 collected.  All the money donated will benefit the Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland.

Our other popular National Library Week event was the 2015 READ Poster Unveiling.  This year we unveiled David Leake, Planetarium Director and Professor of Natural Sciences.  Dave chose Cosmos by Carl Sagan, and explained during the unveiling that when he was young he wrote a letter to Carl Sagan and received a reply.  Dave brought the framed letter and his well-loved copy of Cosmos with him, to show his lifelong dedication.

Thank you to everybody who helped make National Library Week 2015 a great success!