Indiana State University Newsroom

Students learn about library services at 8th annual Extravaganza

September 17, 2010

Natalya Pratt is new to campus, but she has become very familiar with Cunningham Memorial Library.

"I've been on so many tours, I know where everything is at," said Pratt, a freshman pre-med major from Clayton, Ind.

Pratt was among the students who participated in the library's eighth annual Extravaganza Thursday (Sept. 16.)

Library staff counted 5,093 attendees, slightly down from last year's 5,253. But Alberta Comer, dean of library services, said there was a steady stream of people coming and going throughout the day.

The first floor of the library was filled with informational tables showcasing several of the library's services - including the new Fusion integrated catalog system.

Unveiled this year, Fusion combines the card catalog of ISU's library with those at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, St.-Mary-of-the-Woods College and the Vigo County Public Library. A Sycamore ID card can be used to check out materials at any of those locations.

The new system also includes a feature called Fusion Plus, which has advanced search capabilities. While Fusion allows for a more general search, narrowed by location and format, Fusion Plus is more specific.

"Fusion Plus would work really well when you know the exact title of the book," said Tim Gritten, interim associate dean and head of the library's system department.

Marsha Miller, reference/instruction librarian, demonstrated Fusion Plus's features to crowds of students visiting the informational tables. The system can send catalog information about particular materials in a text message to a patron's cell phone.

Gritten described the technology as the "next generation" of library catalog systems. He said the library had used its previous system, LUIS, for 10 years, and that 800 other libraries throughout the nation now use technology similar to Fusion.

Other library employees were on hand to explain the library's new website homepage, electronic journals, LibGuides and End Notes.

LibGuides provide information about writing and editing research papers. End Notes is an online search tool that organizes research and bibliographic citations.

Samantha Arter, a freshman elementary education major from Clayton, Ind., said she enjoyed using the library's electronic resources. Before attending the Extravaganza, she said she had visited the library about 10 times.

Other campus offices and organizations were also represented and spoke to students about their services. The Office of Information Technology, Counseling Center, Wabash Valley Visions Voices, the Career Center and Financial Aid were among those with informational booths.

"It's very, very busy," said Jules Arthur, a graduate student for Student Health Promotion from Hilliard, Ohio, who was helping at the Counseling Center's booth. "But that's a good thing."

Free pizza was provided by Little Caesar's, which made 550 pies for the day. Little Caesar's mascot roamed through the library, waving to students.

"We offer [the students] the carrot of the free goodies, and they come away with the inside info on" what the library has to offer, Gritten said.

Prizes were also given away throughout the event, including $500 cash and two gift certificates valued at $250 for textbooks at the ISU Bookstore.

Live DJs played music just outside the library's main doors.

Inside, Comer spent the day greeting students. She recalled a conversation with a freshman student who admitted that she was scared of the library and didn't know where to find the books she needed.

The student told Comer that the Extravaganza helped get her acquainted with the library's resources - and that the building did not intimidate her any longer.

"That made me feel good," Comer said.

Katelyn Hart, a freshman music performance major from Avon, Ind., said she also found the library useful for studying.

"It's really nice and organized," she said. There are a lot of people to help you out."

Library Dean Alberta Comer hands out a bag to a student attending the eighth annual Extravaganza.
Students learn about ISU library and university services during the Extravaganza.

Contact: Alberta Comer, dean of library services, Cunningham Memorial Library, 812-237-2649 or

Writer: Nick Hedrick, media relations assistant, Indiana State University, Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3773 or