Visiting Writers Series: Susan Choi

The Fall 2009 portion of the annual Jack Ridl Visting Writers Series wrapped up on Thursday with a reading by novelist Susan Choi. In addition to having authored the Pulitzer Prize finalist novel American Woman, Choi has written two other full length novels, The Foreign Student and Person of Interest. She has also been published in Vogue, O, and The New York Times.

Interested in reading some of Choi’s work? Van Wylen has both Person of Interest and American Woman in their collection. You can read several reviews of her novel The Foreign Student in Literature Criticism Online. Additional criticisms of other writings of hers are also available through the database OneFile PowerSearch.

Keep watching the library’s blog for more information about the remaining writers in the 2009-2010 series, Melissa Delbridge, Terrance Hayes, and George Saunders.


FLIP Camcorders

Van Wylen Library recently purchased four new Flip UltraHD video cameras, which are available for checkout at the Media Services desk on the second floor. These hand-sized camcorders digitally record up to two hours of video with the push of a button. Any member of the Hope community can use one of these camcorders, though they are intended primarily for student academic projects. The camcorders can be checked out for three days at a time and have a $5 per day overdue fine for late returns. The cameras are available on a first come, first served basis, and they cannot be reserved.

Flip camcorders come with pre-installed Flip software that easily allows you to edit your video as needed after recording. For a demonstration of how to use the camera and software, check out the video below. TechLab students are also available to help during regular TechLab hours.


Amazon Kindle DX

Kindle PictureVan Wylen Library now has an Amazon Kindle DX available for Hope students, faculty, and staff to use. It can be checked out for two weeks at the first floor circulation desk.

The Kindle DX, an e-reader designed by Amazon, can hold well over 3000 books in a device that is thinner than most magazines. Van Wylen’s Kindle currently has several titles similar to what you might find in the browsing collection, such as The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Dr. Rhoda Janzen of Hope’s English department.

“We want to stay abreast of new developments and be able to share them with the Hope community,” said Brian Yost, Head of Technical Services and Systems at the library. “We hope to get feedback from those who use it so we can purchase things people need or want to use.”

Colleen Conway, Technical Services Librarian, owns a Kindle for her personal use. She bought the Kindle for the sake of having a consolidated library.

“The idea of being able to put a lot of books on a little thing was very interesting to me,” she said. “It doesn’t require a computer, which is something most book readers before the Kindle required.”

Unlike a computer, the Kindle is not hard on the eyes if you use it for hours on end. The Kindle is designed to seem like reading off a piece of paper, complete with page turns. Because reading on a Kindle is supposed to feel like reading a physical copy of something, the Kindle is not backlit. This makes it possible to read the Kindle easily, even if you’re in bright sunlight. However, this does mean if you choose to read on a Kindle at night, you’ll need some sort of light. The reasonably priced books, fast download speed, and extremely long battery life more than make up for this.

Interested in trying out a Kindle? Come to Van Wylen and check one out!

— BJS —

Meet The Library: MeL and ILL

Even though Van Wylen Library has 370,000 print volumes and has access to 20,000 electronic serial titles, sometimes you may need to access a book or article the library doesn’t have. If this happens, the Michigan Electronic Library (MeL) and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) can help you out.

MeL GraphicMeL is a service that lends books and media to library users throughout the state of Michigan, using materials from all sorts of libraries including public libraries, university libraries, and state libraries. To access a book using MeL, you can go to There, you can search the catalog for the material you’re looking for, which will arrive in up to two weeks.

ILL is similar to MeL, but it connects Hope to libraries all over the country. A link on the library’s home page ( will take you to the ILL page of the library’s website. There, you simply need to fill out the appropriate form for the material you need (article, book, chapter, CRL, or Video/CD), and the library will take care of the rest. Articles can also be accessed through research databases. All articles are delivered directly to you electronically in 3-7 days, while books and other physical materials will be delivered to the library in about two weeks.

But who actually takes care of all of the things related to interlibrary loan? There has to be some person who makes sure everything works like it should. That person is Michelle Kelley.

Michelle and seven student workers staff the MEL/ILL portion of the library. Michelle actually got her start in ILL when she was a student worker at the library while she attended Hope. Now, as the Interlibrary Loan Associate, she requests all the patrons’ articles and books, communicates with other libraries, and comes up with ways to run ILL more efficiently, in addition to other miscellaneous tasks. She enjoys working with the library staff and students and providing material that will help students and faculty with their projects.

MeL and ILL services are both free to Hope students and staff, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of it!