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Founders Memorial Library Exhibits

Kathleen Albano Hallway Hike, 2017

November 2017

Main Exhibit: "Poetry to Be Seen: Inspired by the Works of Gwendolyn Brooks"

A student art exhibition by the NIU School of Art & Design and NIU Libraries

This year marks the centennial of renowned poet, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000). Brooks was the first African American to the win the Pulitzer Prize, poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, and poet laureate of the State of Illinois. Her work not only captured life in her hometown of Chicago, but also reflected a political consciousness that integrated race and class issues.

Using the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks as inspiration, the works in this exhibition draw from the rich connections between poetry and visual arts. When we read poetry, we are invited to enter a similar psychological space to that of viewing art. Through rhythm, meaning, and sound, poetry envelops us in an "imaginative awareness of experience," creating an intense emotional response in the reader. Both art and poetry ask their audiences to become attentive, reflective, and comfortable with ambiguity. Engaging with affective states of mind, both art and poetry have the power to unlock our patterns of thought and inspire us to see the world with fresh eyes. Artwork created by students from the NIU School of Art and Design.

Contact person: Larissa Garcia,, (815) 753-4822

Regional History Center exhibit – Fourth floor

Reading Room cases: “Homecoming: 111 Years Strong”

The exhibit focuses on the history of homecoming at Northern and highlights items from the University Archives, including school pennants, buttons, yearbooks, photographs, football programs, sports memorabilia, and more.

Second Floor & Rare Books and Special Collections exhibit - Fourth floor

“Because the world is at the window”:  A Century of Gwendolyn Brooks, a Century of Chicago

Author, activist, South-sider. “‘Because the world is at the window’:  A Century of Gwendolyn Brooks, a Century of Chicago” celebrates the centenary of the poet with an exhibit that focuses on how Chicago shaped the life and work of the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Brooks famously declared about her Bronzeville home, “If you wanted a poem, you had only to look out of a window.” The exhibit explores how the cultural vibrancy and political energy of a segregated city helped inspire some of the twentieth century’s most anthologized and acclaimed verse.

Contact persons: Beth McGowan,, (815) 753-1947; Kathy Ladell,, (815) 753-5290; or Dee Anna Phares,, (815) 753-0343

Southeast Asia Collection exhibit – Fourth floor

“Southeast Asian Children’s Books”

The exhibit features children’s book from various Southeast Asian countries.  Categories of books include, animal stories, Cinderella stories and folktales.

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


Contact Us

Fred Barnhart, Dean

Phone: (815) 753-1094

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

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