Welcome to Book Madness!


Voting has officially begun for Book Madness! Vote for your favorite characters in round 1 until March 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm CST (yes, in the afternoon!!) for your character choice to make it to round 2! Keep up with the hashtag #BookMadness and remember to comment on videos to be entered to win an Amazon card!

*Watch every character video down below to help make your choice!*

Celaena Sardothien/ Aelin Ashryver Galathynius from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Hermoine Granger from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Juliette from the Silo Series by Hugh Howey

Liam Stewart from The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Lola Nolan from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl

Molly Weasley from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Nimona from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade

Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer


#PitchWars Mentee Bio


Hello there! You seem to have stumbled upon my pimped out bio. Whether you’re a #PitchWars mentee, mentor (*waves frantically*), or my mom, I’m glad you’ve taken a second out of your day to get to know me.

Here’s the lowdown:

1. I am a senior English major at the University of Iowa.
2. Jamie Frasier is everything.
3. I play clarinet in the marching band (and am actually in official band camp mode this week, hence the delay on the bio. And yes, we do say “that one time at band camp.” )
4. I openly fangirl on my YouTube channel about any and all genres of books.
5. I despise coffee (gasp) and am horribly addicted to Diet Coke.
6. I hate making bios.

Here is a fun “get to know me” video from my YouTube channel if you’d like something more in-depth.

Now that you know the basics, here is a bit more about my manuscript. They say to write what you know, so for the past year I have written and polished a manuscript about a girl going through her freshman year of college. Some things that complicate the deal: my MC, Danielle’s mother is a “college psychic” who helps high school students find their dream college. Danielle did not make it into her dream school after failing an English course. School starts in two weeks and her mother is still under the impression that she is headed to OSU.

THE BIG F is entered as a New Adult Contemporary Romance and I am so thrilled to be a part of this amazing community. Even if my manuscript is passed on, I have met so many absolutely amazing people in the process who make it all worth it.

Fun fact: there is a college psychic in my hometown who helped my sister find her perfect school in New York. She had an article written about her in USA Today calling her the “Teen Whisperer.” Naturally, I had to write something including the coolest/strangest job ever.

Colleen Theisen

Medieval-ly Modern: A Look at the University of Iowa’s Special Collections Library

From 600-year-old medieval manuscripts to pieces of Yoko Ono’s hair from a 1960’s “happening,” the special collections library at the University of Iowa has something that piques a variety of interests. In the past three years, the UI Special Collections Library has married modern technology with old aged texts to broaden their audience and offer the UI Special Collections Library experience to people around the world.

Librarian and social media manager Colleen Theisen has been the driving force for transferring the library onto a thoughtful and digital platform. The UI Special Collections Library’s Tumblr has over 36,000 followers and was named “New and Notable” in 2013, prompting an invite to Tumblr Headquarters later that year.

“We were able to jump in and become a part of the creative communities on Tumblr by using GIFs, Vines, memes, and everyday language to set trends for how Special Collections can fit into online spaces,” said Theisen.

People from around the world are now able to engage in conversation and observation of the texts and art pieces held in the library—something that was not a possibility five years ago.

“For interpreting the objects themselves, I think making animated GIFS and taking very beautiful photographs is a way that I incorporate technologies into the special collections,” said Theisen. “For example, artists’ books often open in unique ways, and that’s not something you can see in a photograph or understand from a catalogue record. It is something you can immediately grasp if you see a quick, two to three second animation of how it works.”

Colleen Theisen
Screen grab from an episode of “Staxpeditions” with Colleen.

The library’s reach extends beyond their success on Tumblr as well. Theisen hosts a show on the UI Special Collections Library YouTube channel called “Staxpeditions” that asks readers to send in their favorite library of congress call number name, and the librarians take to the stacks to find a rare book within that number. The most recent video features Theisen and fellow librarian Patrick Olson exploring the “Z range” in the rare books collection.

“The word ‘librarian’ sort of conjures up an image or a concept of a job that has so transformed in the past 20 years that the concept of what we do doesn’t match the reality,” Theisen said. “So the more that we can be seen as individuals, it gradually expands the concept of what a librarian actually does.”

Last year UI Special Collections Library hosted 182 classroom sessions. These students were anywhere from a cycle of art history lectures, to niche classes exploring one specific text at length. Adam Hooks, an associate professor of English at the University of Iowa, has been bringing his book history classes for almost two years.

“I bring my classes to Special Collections for three interconnected reasons: to give students an immediate and material sense of the historical distance between now and the early modern period, to show that books were meant to be used, and to show that books (from any period) constitute a technology with many advantages. Thinking of ‘the book’ as a technology has a lot to teach us about our own digital moment,” Hooks said.

Since the popularity of the UI Special Collections Library Tumblr has increased, so has the number of classroom visits. Professors are coming in more often asking to see something that they saw via Tumblr or Instagram. The Instagram has been an outlet for the library to really have a conversation with its viewers. Almost once a day, the Instagram promotes a photo with the hashtag “reader request” that someone has asked to see either in a comment of another photo or in a private message.

*Below is actually an image that I took while I visited during one of my classes.


“Engaging in the reader requests is vital to starting a conversation,” Theisen said. “I think that is most effectively seen on Instagram, but we are trying to cultivate that on Tumblr as well.”

Their engagement on social media has also expanded to a broader network between other institutional libraries. Now, libraries are able to see certain collections that are hosted at their institution that they may have never seen before.

“I love that we have more collaboration with other institutions,” Theisen said. “I can put up a post and say ‘We have volumes one and two, but I saw Harvard, that you have three and four. Could you please put up a picture of volume three?’ And they did. We’re able to connect more and more across collections this way.”

Even though the library has adopted modern technology in its presentation, Theisen said that the library still helps to combat the thought that one day, everything will move over to an all-digital reality.

“What I like about Special Collections is that even the people who so loudly proclaim that we’re moving towards an all-digital future realize that there are exceptions,” Theisen said. “When you’re confronted with these historic materials, you realize that there are things about what size they are, what paper was used, how they were bound—there are a lot of things that you can learn about the object in front of you that are obscured in the digital version.”

After she disclaimed the all-digital future, I asked her a question which made her smile.

“What is your favorite thing in the library?”

“That’s like picking your favorite child,” she laughed. “But probably medieval manuscripts. It’s hard to be cynical when you’re around books that are 600 years old.”