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Happy World Press Freedom Day!

Today is World Press Freedom Day! Declared as an international holiday in December of 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly, World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the press in society and think on its current state in the world. In the words of the current U.N. Secretary-General, António Guterres, “a free press advances peace and justice for all.” [1]

We are honoring World Press Freedom Day by calling attention to the history of Ohio State University’s own newspaper: The Lantern. The Lantern has been in circulation for well over one hundred years (nearly one hundred and forty) and continues to offer an Ohio State student perspective on current events. Beginning as a monthly student newspaper, The Lantern was made by students, for students. Viewing the formative college years as crucial to the developing character of not only students but of the nation, the founders of The Lantern held that “college bred men stand at the head of politics, science, literature, and art” and endeavored, through The Lantern, to represent the life, opinions, and perspectives of the students.[2] The founders of The Lantern believed that, like all other groups in society, students too had a right to have their voices communicated. The Lantern, then, was the founders’ attempt to capture the perspectives and debates of the student body into one chronicle.[3]

That chronicle has been maintained and preserved by the University Archives. The Lantern Digital Archives contains every issue of The Lantern published until October, 2013. The very first issue of The Lantern, published on Saturday, January 1, 1881, was consulted for the writing of this blog and can be read in the digital archives. Current issues of The Lantern can be found on its website.

Written by John Hooton

[1] “World Press Freedom Day,” The United Nations, accessed April 30, 2017,

[2] The Lantern, January, 1881, accessed April 30, 2017.

[3] The Lantern, January, 1881.

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum is Turning 40!

40 Years/ 40 Stories has tells the history of comics and
American culture through forty fascinating stories in comic

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum! To celebrate such a remarkable legacy, there are two incredibly captivating exhibits on display in Sullivant Hall: Founding Collections: 1977-1987 and 40 Years/40 Stories. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, named for famous Columbus cartoonist Billy Ireland, holds the world’s largest collection of comics and cartoon art. It contains over three million items, including items that are not comics or cartoons: some of the first cosplay costumes can be found in Billy Ireland. The Library was founded after Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon creator Milton Caniff donated his life’s work to his alma mater, The Ohio State University in 1977. Having started out in two converted classrooms and moved to expanded facilities in Sullivant Hall in 2013, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum has grown exponentially as more and more cartoonists donated to the collection.[1]

Founding Collections: 1977-1987 details the first ten years of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum’s early history. Curated by Lucy Caswell, founder of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, the exhibit tells the story of the Library’s growth and the history of the Library itself.

Famous cartoonist Milton Caniff
donated his life’s work to the Ohio State
University four decades ago.

40 Years/40 Stories tells forty unique stories in the history of comics. Using items from the Library, the exhibit is a fascinating journey through comic history. In a way, the stories presented in the exhibit represent the history of the United States and our own changing culture. One can find the first comic independently created and published by African Americans and several stories pertaining to longstanding American discussions, such as police brutality, racism, sex, and gun control. The exhibit also features one of the earliest and most famous Mad Magazine pages in the world. “It’s a very diverse show,” says Caitlin McGurk, who curated the exhibit along with Jenny Robb. “This show has original Green Lantern pages next to works from Hogarth in the 1700s.”[2]

This is an exhibit that McGurk is very excited to be a part of. There are many other stories that she and Robb would have liked to put into this exhibition, but could not. “We could even do it [this exhibit] again in a different way,” she says. McGurk has been with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum for just over five years. “This was literally my dream job. I moved here from New York for this job. It’s what I wanted to do for a long time.” [3]

On Monday, May 1, 2017 there will be a special exhibition reception celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library Museum and Library. The event is free to the public and will be catered. Information about the event can be found here.

Written by John Hooton.

[1] Caitlin McGurk, interview with author, April 2017.

[2] Caitlin McGurk, April 2017.

[3] Caitlin McGurk, April 2017.

Happy International Day of Human Space Flight!

John and Annie Glenn taken at the
Democratic National Convention in New
York City, July 1976.

Today, April 12th is the International Day of Human Space Flight! On April 7th of 2011, the United Nations declared that each year there should be a celebration of “the beginning of the space era for mankind” and acknowledgement of how science and technology plays an integral role in the development of peace and human society.[1] In observation of this day, we remember the legacy of John Glenn and highlight the rich archives that document his life and legacy.

John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, a twenty-four year United States Senator from Ohio, and a generous patron to Ohio State.  He generously donated his papers and memorabilia to the university in 1999 as part of the formation of what is now the John Glenn College of Public Affairs[2]. With that action, he created the John Glenn Archives, which forms the foundation of the Ohio Congressional Archives. While the Ohio Congressional Archives contains the personal papers of various members of the Ohio delegation to Congress, the John Glenn Archives specifically contains Senator Glenn’s papers and memorabilia from not only his time in the United States Senate, but also his previous careers as a United States Marine Corps combat and test pilot and NASA astronaut.[3]

Astronaut John Glenn adjusts the
helmet on his spacesuit prior to his
MA-6 orbital flight on February 20,

Senator Glenn was deeply involved in the development of the John Glenn Archives. Jeff Thomas, who has been with the John Glenn Archives and the Ohio Congressional Archives since the former’s inception in 1999, often met with the Senator to handle matters of the archives. Jeff describes Senator Glenn as “a very genuine individual. There was no pretense about him. He was very gracious to everyone he’d met, be that a president of the United States or someone who would come up to him in a restaurant. He treated everyone fairly equal.” Jeff recalls how, the first time he traveled to Glenn’s home in Washington D.C., he was quite nervous to meet the Senator. “I didn’t know him that well at that point.” When he arrived at the Senator’s home early in the morning, John Glenn answered the door in his slippers. Senator Glenn then said “Jeff! How are you doing? Come on in! We are having breakfast. How would you like your eggs?”[4]

The John Glenn Archives contains many fascinating items from Glenn’s long careers. One such item is the hand-controller from the Friendship 7, John Glenn’s spacecraft in which he orbited the Earth. Another also comes from his career with NASA. During the selection process for becoming an astronaut, John Glenn was taken into a soundproof, pitch-black, isolation room in the middle of the night as part of a psychological test. He was not told what was going on or what he was expected to do. He was not even told for how long he would be alone in the room. To pass the time during what would end up being a three hour test, John Glenn felt around the room, eventually finding a notepad and a pencil. He then proceeded to write a poem on that notepad as a mental exercise to preserve himself. That poem is currently in the John Glenn Archives.[5]

John Glenn dressed in spacesuit and
helmet, taken during the pre-launch
preparations for the Project Mercury
MA-6 mission, February 20, 1962.

Senator Glenn passed away in December of 2016 at the age of ninety-five.  Although the exhibit in Thompson Library celebrating his life and contributions is no longer on view, the Archives are always accessible to the public and a gallery containing many photos in the John Glenn Archives is available here!

Written by John Hooton

[1] “International Day of Human Space Flight 12 April,” the United Nations, accessed April 9, 2017.

[2] “John H. Glenn Archives,” the Ohio Congressional Archives, May 10, 2016, accessed April 9, 2017,

[3] Jeff Thomas, interview with author, April, 2017.

[4] Jeff Thomas, April 2017.

[5] Jeff Thomas, April 2017.

Happy National Library Workers Day!

Autumn relaxes in her Buckeye garb.

Today, April 11th, is National Library Workers Day! Today is the day in which we recognize and appreciate librarians and libraries staff. In other words, National Library Workers Day is dedicated to the hard work, dedication, and expertise of all those who are instrumental to the functioning of our libraries.[1] As a part of National Library Week, which itself is a week dedicated to celebrating the contributions of libraries and librarians to society, National Library Workers Day is sponsored by the American Library Association.[2]

In celebration of this year’s National Library Workers Day, I interviewed Autumn Clipner, a member of the circulation team at Thompson Library on the Ohio State Columbus campus. Circulation provides one of the most recognized features of libraries: the checking in and out of books. Workers in circulation are often the first people in the library staff to interact with patrons and to aid them with locating items within the library or answer basic questions about the library’s many functions. Additionally, Circulation checks out books set on reserve, a practice that helps students save money on textbooks. Circulation also provides delivery services to patrons unable to locate books in Thompson’s many shelves or to professors in need of book delivery. In addition to managing Ohio State’s own vast collections, Circulation also handles items from other libraries, such as OhioLINK libraries or the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Another classic function of the library that is handled by circulations is managing fines, which Autumn must frequently handle. [3]

Autumn shows off her many medals
while her colleagues enjoy some

Autumn also runs the dayshifts of the front circulation desk at Thompson and is responsible for hiring students to staff the desk during Thompson’s daylight hours.  Additionally, Autumn is the point person for OhioLINK, responding to issues with the service and answering any questions one might have about it. Included in these responsibilities, is tracking down “AWOL” books that have disappeared while on loan. For example, a patron may leave a loaned OhioLINK item in an Uber, resulting in much confusion as the patron is asked by their library to replace the book while Uber has unilaterally returned the ‘lost’ item to Thompson Library.[4]

When Autumn is not hunting down The Ohio State University Libraries’ lost items, she hones her skills by running along the Olentangy Trail or in her neighborhood. Autumn took up running after her undergrad days at The Ohio State University and even runs marathons with friends, but she never runs with her dog, Oscar. “My pup is an old man. He’s got a wonky hip,” she replied when asked if she ran with her dog. As for her future plans, Autumn would like to run in more races, including the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Eventually, she says, she would like to go back to school, but she needs “to be kicked in the butt” for that to happen.

Oscar, Autumn’s magnificent dog, enjoys a stick.

Be sure to say hello to Autumn if you see her and make certain you thank a library worker today (if not always).

Written by John Hooton.

[1] “National Library Workers Day,” American Library Association, accessed March 29, 2017,

[2] “National Library Week Fact Sheet”, American Library Association, accessed March 29, 2017,

[3] Autumn Clipner, interview with author, March 2017.

[4] Autumn Clipner, March 2017.

Baarlo the Therapy Dog

Baarlo the therapy dog has been helping OSU students during finals week at the University Libraries’ Pause4Paws events for  the past 3 years and has also been attending BuckeyeThon the last 2 years, giving joy to the participating students and the children they are raising money for. He helped comfort students and staff on campus immediately following the November tragedy and for several days after the event (at the Thompson and 18th Avenue Libraries, several Engineering and Aerospace buildings and at the Student Academic Services building). Baarlo also helps local hospice patients and children who are behaviorally challenged.

baarlo-2015Earlier this year Baarlo was diagnosed with lymphoma and has been getting treated at OSU Veterinary Medical Center. With their expert help Baarlo has been #BuckeyeStrong and in remission and is able to continue to do his therapy work to help OSU students and staff stay #BuckeyeStrong. This is a wonderful story of Buckeyes helping each other stay strong in the face of adversity!

Go Bucks and Go Baarlo!

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