Skip navigation

Founders Memorial Library Exhibits


January 2017

Photography + Research: Context and Inspiration for the Creative Process

An exhibit by the NIU School of Art and Design & University Libraries.

This exhibit represents the collaboration between Photography and University Libraries faculty to integrate research and information literacy into the creative process. Through a series of library instruction sessions, students not only learn how to navigate library resources, but also the significance of research in their discipline. It can help artists understand the historical and contemporary context of their work. Also, research across disciplines is an important way for artists to develop their artistic vision and discover new and empowering sources of inspiration. The pieces in this exhibit were created by students in the School of Art and Design.

Contact person: Larissa Garcia,

Rare Books and Special Collections exhibit – Fourth floor

“Adventures across Oceans and Time: American Popular Sea Fiction, 1860 to Present”

Hall cases:

Nineteenth-century dime novels and story papers, the first mass-produced, inexpensive forms of popular fiction in the United States, introduced legions of readers to multiple genres, prominent among them the seafaring adventure.  This exhibit illuminates the long history and enduring appeal of popular sea fiction in America with displays of original copies of dime novels, pages from 1860s story papers, and related works from the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries.  It showcases several stories dealing with Pacific romances written by a prolific dime novelist who published almost exclusively in the nautical genre: Augustus Comstock (1837-?), a veteran of several whaling voyages who wrote under the pen name Roger Starbuck.  On display are original pieces from the 1860s by Starbuck alongside reprints that appeared over the next several decades, illustrating how long his works remained in print as well as some of the publishing practices during the dime-novel era.  The exhibition also highlights a few connections between some of Starbuck’s fiction and the work of more recognized authors such as Herman Melville and Horatio Alger, Jr.  Many of the dime novels on display are matched with barcodes so that viewers with compatible devices can access digitized scans of the complete texts online.

Most materials in this exhibit come from the Albert Johannsen and Edward LeBlanc Collections in Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.

Research was supported through the Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture and the assistance of faculty and staff at The University Libraries, Northern Illinois University.

Rare Books Reading Room cases:

Items displayed represent a continuation of sea fiction from many different genres.

Contact person: Angie Schroeder,, (815) 753-9838.

Southeast Asia Collection exhibit – Fourth floor

“Thailand Past and Present: Exhibit in Conjunction with the Council on Thai Studies Conference”

The exhibit explores Thailand’s history through books, maps and manuscripts and its present through topic like art and cinema, tourism and science and technology.  The exhibit also features a section on His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Contact person: Joanna Kulma,, (815) 753-1819.

Contact Us

Chalermsee Olson, Interim Dean

Phone: (815) 753-1995


Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
217 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

Business Hours