Tag Archives: Kurt Vonnegut Library

Ball State’s Immersive Learning Seminar at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Gains National Attention

Last semester, English professor Dr. Rai Peterson called for students from various disciplines across the university student body to assist her in a 33-week immersive learning seminar (to see our original post on this seminar, click here). Her project seeks to reshape and expand the reach of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis via several approaches, including new marketing, expanded advertising, and the preservation of original and rare Vonnegut artifacts. At this point in the semester, the seminar has set its sights on collecting and digitizing many Vonnegut artifacts, and these efforts have begun to gain national attention. The latest example is  from “The Digital Shift,” an extension of Library Journal, which discusses the seminar’s intentions to bring rare and unique documents such as Vonnegut’s letters and manuscripts to the library in digital form. This article, entitled, “Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Tackling Digitation,” also describes some of the future plans of Dr. Peterson and her student interns, which include a film project and “mobile library.” Continue below to read a short blurb from Dr. Peterson and click the link to view the full article from “The Digital Shift.”

Our seminar students will be creating digital manuscript and film/audio archives, re-designing gift shop products, and building a traveling museum for the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.  Because of great publicity like this, we are already receiving requests for the products of our seminar, and we’ve only just begun.  Stay tuned because we have big things to unveil as our seven month-long project unfolds. Click the link below to view the full article from “The Digital Shift.”

“Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Tackling Digitation,” from “The Digital Shift:” http://bit.ly/tUidZD

Apply For Dr. Rai Peterson’s Immersive Learning Course at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library


A new Provost’s Immersive Seminar has just been added to the Spring/Summer schedule: Internship at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

This is a 12-hour course, requiring registration in two 400-level English courses and two 400-level marketing courses; all prerequisites will be waived for students accepted to this seminar. Students will read 13 books by Kurt Vonnegut, a biography of the author, and a collection of critical essays about his work.  Each student will participate in collaboratively writing a 5-year marketing plan for the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library and will be assigned to one of the following working groups:

  • Archival research and digital humanities database development
  • Film archive and oral history filming project
  • Product design for the KVML gift shop
  • Traveling museum design and fabrication

Students will be mentored by English and marketing faculty as well as Community Partners including the Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Indianapolis Historical Society; WFYI Television; Creative Street Media Group; Floyd and Stanich, Inc.; Eye on Art; Seven Stories Press; Hamilton Exhibits; and Lilly Library, IU, Bloomington.

Sorry but only students who are able to take two English and two marketing courses during both Spring and Summer semesters in 2012 need apply.  Applications are available from Dr. Rai Peterson, Department of English: rai@bsu.edu

Start of the As-Yet Unnamed Literature Group

Believe it or not, there actually are some people out there who really (and I mean really) enjoy tearing texts apart (figuratively, mind you) and just figuring out all the mechanical stuff. They are known as English majors. More specifically, English majors of the literary persuasion.

We’ve managed to somehow assemble a group of these people for the rough beginnings of a group that is dedicated, more or less, to the fun of reading with a critical eye.

So how does it work? Well, we’ve decided to try and develop a reading schedule including novels, plays, stories, poems, and multimedia texts so we can all get together once every two weeks to provide our own bearing on the subject at hand and exchange analytical insights. Think of it as an informal book club on steroids that doesn’t include a bunch of old women talking about how nice Agatha Christie’s plots are (no offense to any who may identify). Think of it as a literature class (perish the thought!) that doesn’t mind getting stuck on weird tangents for a while and just splashing around in the intellectual puddle. Think of it as a group of classy, bright people getting together to share ideas based on a specific text.

There’s more to it than that, though. We’re planning on asking professors across campus to come in and give the discussions real heft. We’re planning on reading non-Western, non-canonical, and definitely a few nonsensical texts so that we can challenge our understanding of our field. We’re planning on putting together an undergraduate conference for English majors to present really bang-up papers and projects from all areas of the department. We’re planning on taking some time for professional development in whatever ways we can. We’re even planning a prolonged engagement with some of Kurt Vonnegut’s texts and an adventure to Indianapolis to explore the Kurt Vonnegut library in March. We’ve got ideas, and we’re going to try to get them moving.

We understand that everyone has class (it is college, after all) and a full, if not overflowing, platter of responsibilities. So we’re electing to meet every two weeks rather than every week.  We’re hoping this breathing room will give everyone ample time to read the text in question. We hope that no one fears joining because they think they may have too much to read. We are not going to put people on trial for not doing the reading. We’re actually really sweet when it gets right down to it. We’re just trying to create a rigorous yet relaxed atmosphere in which we can work out texts and “escape, not from, but into living” (Cyril Connolly).

We meet every other week at 7:30 (the room has been changing, alas, but check our website for current info), and we’ve even got things planned up to March. Ask to be added to our Facebook group (Ball State Literature Group 2011) to get all of the information your little heart could desire. We would really love to have everyone come and share with us. And maybe you can help us come up with an actual name! We really need one.

If all else fails, hey, we’ve got donuts!

Jeremy Carnes & Ben Rogers