Dardanelle and the Bottoms

book jacket image featuring two crows on a lifeless tree branch

Learn about local history with a special presentation at the Ross Pendergraft Library on Monday, September 11th, as we welcome Dr. Diane Gleason to discuss her latest book, Dardanelle and the Bottoms: Environment, Agriculture, and Economy in an Arkansas River Community, 1819-1970.  Join us at 7:00 PM in Room 300B of the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center for this opportunity to explore the fascinating history of our own backyard.

Dr. Gleason is a recently retired associate professor of history from Arkansas Tech, who ended a forty-year teaching career last May in order to devote time to historical research and writing.  While at Tech, she created and taught the Southern Women’s History course, reintroduced and reinvigorated several defunct courses such as American Labor History and American Economic History, and taught a broad spectrum of other history classes.

She has written several entries in the Arkansas Encyclopedia of History and Culture, Arkansas Biography, and Writing Women’s History: A Tribute to Anne Firor Scott.  She co-authored Warren G. Harding, Harbinger of Normalcy with Dr. H. Micheal Tarver.

Dardanelle and the Bottoms describes the interdependence between the rural farming community known as the Dardanelle Bottoms and the nearby town of Dardanelle.  The book explores the history of that relationship beginning in the early 1800’s through the 1940’s and the economic upheaval brought about by changes in farming, particularly in the cotton industry.  Dr. Gleason examines the complex rural/town dichotomy revealing and analyzing key components of each area, including aspects of race, education, the cotton economy and its demise, the devastation of floods and droughts, leisure, crime, and the impact of the Great Depression.

This event is free and open to the public.  Following the presentation, there will be a question and answer period and a book signing, with copies of the book available for purchase.  For more information, contact Luke Heffley at (479) 964-0546 or lheffley@atu.edu.

World War I and Arkansas

Mark your calendars this week for a special presentation as part of the World War I centennial exhibit.  On Thursday, Sept. 7th, Dr. Buck Foster from the Arkansas Department of Heritage will give a presentation entitled, “World War I and Arkansas.”  Join us at 7:00 P.M.  in the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center, room 300 south, for this special program in Arkansas and world history.  The entire community is invited.

Additionally, the first floor of the library has been dedicated to a traveling exhibition featuring panels that illustrate the historic events of 100 years ago.  The program is funded by a grant through the Library of America in support of educational programming about World War I.  Arkansas Tech University received the only such grant for the entire state of Arkansas.  The panels will be available here until Sept. 25th.

Display panels for the World War One exhibit

Display panels for the WW1 exhibit

In addition to the panels, a local collector, Lee Fields, has loaned his collection of World War I memorabilia for our display cases, including weapons, books, bayonets, and even the iconic dough-boy helmet worn by U.S. soldiers during the war.

Display case featuring a WW1 uniform and hat.Display case featuring WWI artifacts

Stay tuned for future events throughout the month of September, October, and November to celebrate the Centennial of World War 1.  You can read the full schedule here or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.  For more information about the World War I speakers and events, contact Luke Heffley at (479) 964-0546 or lheffley@atu.edu

Solar Eclipse Party

The Ross Pendergraft Library has teamed up with the Department of Physical Sciences to host a solar eclipse watch party on August 21st, 2017, from 12:30-1:30.  Join us at the observatory patio adjacent to McEver for cold drinks, snacks, and free solar eclipse glasses.  The Department of Physical Sciences is also providing two telescopes with special solar filters for students, faculty, and staff to view the eclipse close-up.  All are welcome!

Carl and Rick meme where Rick says, "guess what snacks we're bringing to the solar eclipse party?" and Carl is just saysing, "Not..." and Rick finishes with "Sun chips and Moon Pies, Carl!". And Carl says, "Stop"

The last total eclipse across the contiguous U.S. has not occurred since 1979, and the whole country is celebrating with viewing parties, parades, and other special events. While Russellville will not be in an area of totality, where the moon completely blocks the sun, we will experience at least 89% of obscuration, reducing the light of the sun to a sliver.   The peak is expected to occur at 1:15 P.M.

Interactive map of the united states with the information for Russellville's percentage obscuration (89%)

Because we will not experience totality here at Tech, there is no safe time to look directly at the sun without special-purpose solar glasses.  Looking directly at the sun even if partially obscured can damage your retinas.  Do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device while using the solar eclipse glasses—the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.

An infographic on how to view the eclipse safely. Like, don't look at it with sunglasses on.

If you miss the eclipse, the Ross Pendergraft Library will show the live-stream from AETN of the eclipse as it passes through South Carolina beginning at 1:30.  While there, be sure to pick up a few books to learn more about past, present, and future solar eclipses.

book Jacket for book called "totality"Totality : The Great American Eclipses of 2017 and 2024



Book jacket for book called "Sun Moon Earth"Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets


book jacket for Mask of the SunMask of the Sun: The Science, History and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses


book jacket for book called american eclipseAmerican Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World


Book jacket for book called solar scienceSolar science : Exploring Sunspots, Seasons, Eclipses, and More



For more information on this event or questions, email the public services librarian, Sherry Tinerella or call (479) 964-0571.   We hope to see you Monday, August 21st, from 12:30-1:30 for the great American solar eclipse. Your next chance to see a solar eclipse over the United States won’t be until 2024, so don’t miss this celestial event!


poster for the Great American Solar Eclipse

Keep Calm and Pokémon

There’s no need to stand in the heat to catch your Bulbasaurs.  Come to the Ross Pendergraft Library, now a PokeStop in the popular creature-grabbing, location-based app.

screenshot of Pokestop

In case you haven’t downloaded the app yet (or are vigorously rolling your eyes right now), there are PokeStops all over campus, including gyms at Bastech, Doc Bryan, and Tech Baseball Field.  You can view the full map, as of 7/18/16, here:

campus map of pokestops
Stop by the library, catch ‘em all, and while you you’re at it, catch some other things like DVDs, books, and research articles.  The library is open all summer long to satisfy your academic and casual knowledge cravings.

Think you can design a game better than Pokémon Go?  Learn how with our new books to support the Bachelor of Arts in Game and Interactive Media Design.

briefhistoryA brief history of video games



Game art : art from 40 video games and interviews with their creators


stateofplayThe state of play : creators and critics on video game culture


introIntroduction to game design, prototyping, and development : from concept to playable game-with Unity® and C#


embedwithEmbed with games : a year on the couch with game developers / Cara Ellison.


levelupLevel Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design


Want to stay up-to-date on all the Pokémons going on?  Follow us on Twitter.  Friend us on Facebook.  Or just be our friends by emailing your Pokédex catalogers at askalibrarian@atu.edu.  Happy hunting!

Special Announcement


The Ross Pendergraft Library of Arkansas Tech University recently announced its plans to phase out all print materials from its facility. Beginning April 1, 2016, all books, periodicals, newspapers, law books, maps, dictionaries, microforms, and other physical items will be systematically de-shelved and destroyed. Library Director Brent Etzel stated to the bored local and national press, “Everything you could ever want is online or digitized now, and patrons rarely use these physical copies anyway, so we might as well get rid of them. Students and courtesy patrons only come here to use the computers, anyway.” Following his announcement, held outside the library steps, he glanced wearily at the face of Ross Pendergraft and muttered solemnly, “All in all, we’re just another brick in the wall,” before trudging indoors, avoiding further comment.

Chareen Austin, Circulation Manager of RPL, voiced her approval of the decision. “Once all the books, DVD’s and reference items are out of the building, student workers  and library staff can devote more time to helping patrons with the computers, since they won’t have to check in, check out, or re-shelve items anymore. With all this free time, I think we’re gonna start lending out student workers for ditch-digging duty. I hear the university approved plans to build a reservoir for Lake Tech.”

trashed library

Progress has been swift following the library’s announcement

The removal of said items, admits Circulation staff, will be no easy feat. Among these items are over 160,000 bound volumes of books, over 4,000 CD’s, 6,000+ DVD’s, 110,000 government documents, and the current and backlogged issues of over 300 scholarly journals. Special collections, popular reading, and children’s reading will also be “done away with,” stated Etzel. The library director did not provide details on what was to become of these items, but some reporters caught subtle references to a Ray Bradbury novel; anonymous insider information recently leaked online revealed a top-secret library staff “retreat” to be held following initial removal of items. Although the itinerary was composed of code writing consisting mostly of call numbers in both Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress, so far Internet code breakers have managed to piece together the call numbers on books in the recreation section that includes recipes to campfire s’mores. RPL library staff could not be reached for comment.

When asked about the dozens of artwork housed in the library, Etzel paused, then answered, “Yeah, we could probably trash those, too.”

Feedback from students on campus was mixed; some responses included “Meh,” and “The library has books?”

Click here to see the proposed schedule of physical items leaving the library.



Gotcha! Happy April Fool’s, everyone!






Party at the Library

The Library is throwing a party, and you’re invited.  Come visit us on Tuesday, April 14, at 11:00 to celebrate National Library Week and the Library’s 90th year as a federal depository for government documents.  

PS: there will be free cake. 


National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association to celebrate the contributions of libraries and to promote library use and support.  Libraries around the country are hosting their own celebrations, raising awareness about their importance and calling attention to their sometimes endangered status.


At Ross Pendergraft Library, we’re using this as an opportunity celebrate our own milestone: 90 years as a federal depository library.  The Federal Depository Library Program was established by Congress nearly 200 years ago to ensure the American public has free and unrestricted access to information published by the government.  The Government Printing Office distributes this information, in both paper and electronic formats, to selected libraries around the country.

Since 1925, the ATU Library has participated in this program, and today, we currently hold over 119,000 federal documents.  To find government publications including the Budget of the United States Government, the Code of Federal Regulations, the Statistical Abstract of the United States, and much more, search our online catalog. 

Most of our documents are located online, but we also have many publications in print located in the US documents section on the second floor of the Library.  For additional help locating these important resources, contact our esteemed government documents librarian, Frances Hager

For all other inquiries about National Library Week, the Federal Depository Program, or the flavor of the cake, send us an email at askalibrarian@atu.edu.  You can also be the first to know the next time we throw down by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.  See you at the party!


Welcome Brent Etzel

etzel5The Ross Pendergraft Library & Technology Center is thrilled to officially welcome Brent Etzel as the new Library Director.  Monday, November 3rd, marked his first day at Arkansas Tech University, taking over the position after the retirement of Bill Parton on October 31st.

Brent comes to us from Cedarville, Ohio.  While born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, he was drawn to Midwestern living through summer vacations with extended family in southern Indiana.  He attended Franklin College in suburban Indiana as a political science major, and earned a Master of Library Science degree from Indiana University.  He later earned a Master of Arts in history from Illinois State University.

After graduation, he lived all over the Midwest and wore many library hats.  He was a public librarian in Michigan, a corporate librarian in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, an academic librarian at a small college in rural central Illinois, and an academic librarian at a large, liberal arts college in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.  Before moving to Russellville, he was the Director of Library Public Services at Cedarville University in Ohio.

Brent at Cedarville Library 2010

Brent at Cedarville Library, 2010

When asked what started him on this path to become a librarian, Brent said, “I had spent a lot of time in my college library, not doing homework like I should have, but rather doing my own research on topics that interested me.  I realized I could get PAID to help others do library research, and so I decided to pursue that as a career.”

Of his various library jobs, he said he most enjoyed the level of research and quality of public interaction that could only be found in an academic library.  “My passion is to make students into better researchers, and it is toward that goal that I am driven to find ways to make the library more relevant and accessible to students.”

While at Cedarville, he looked for opportunities to promote in-class library instruction and develop research assignments with the teaching faculty.  In his first three years there, the library expanded the number of librarian-led instruction sessions from fewer than 60 to more than 100.

Cedarville Univ Library Orientation 2014

Cedarville University Library Orientation, 2014

At Arkansas Tech, he wants to make the services and resources that are available at the Ross Pendergraft Library & Technology Center more relevant and accessible to the students here.  “This can be done through more extensive promotion of what we have and what we do with the students, but also by developing the relationships we have with the faculty and adjunct instructors at ATU,” he noted.

One of the first things he said he wishes to accomplish here is to make better use of the space we have in the library building—specifically, to offer additional collaborative study space in the building over the next couple of years.

Brent in Osijek Croatia 2013

Brent in Osijek, Croatia, 2013

When asked about any long-term goals of things he would like to accomplish, he replied, “I would like the faculty and students of Arkansas Tech view the Ross Pendergraft Library as THE center of research activity at the university.  I want faculty and students to rely on both the quality of resources that we have, as well as the expertise and friendliness of our staff.”

Brent brings with him to Russellville his wife, Susanna, and his four children, Carolyn (age 14), Clark (age 13), Grant (age 10), and Josie (age 6).  Susanna has a pair of master’s degrees: an M.M. in music history from Southern Methodist and an M.A. in applied linguistics from Indiana University.  She often teaches English as a second language, but she has spent much of the last five years homeschooling their children.  She is also an avid pianist, enjoys swimming, and tries to do a triathlon at least once a year.

Family in Philadelphia 2014

The Etzel family in Philadelphia, 2014

When he is not hard at work in the library, Brent enjoys spending time with his family, running long distances, coaching soccer, reading or playing something on his tablet, listening to podcasts, or looking for new music & musicians on Spotify.

Brent Running 2012

As for first impressions, Brent says he was struck by the natural beauty of western Arkansas, and visited Lake Dardanelle State Park and the nearby mountains beyond Lake Dardanelle.  The biggest impression, however, was made by the people here:

“From my first contact with the people at Arkansas Tech to this day, I have been treated with exceeding kindness and hospitality and my family and I are most grateful for the good experience that this transition has been,” says Etzel.  “Also, I am amazed by the number of staff and students at Tech and people in general in Russellville who volunteer how much they enjoy being a part of this community.  I have never seen so much genuine affinity for a university & community as I have observed in my short time here.”

Please help us welcome Brent Etzel to the library, the Arkansas Tech campus, and to the state by sending a virtual casserole dish or high five to betzel@atu.edu.

Live Music!

Kick off the fall semester with a concert in the Library Thursday night, August 29th, at 7:00 P.M. in room 300 as we host the musical group HARMONY.  The concert is part of a month-long recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, featuring special guest speakers and exhibits.  HARMONY will be playing Civil War era music for both history and music enthusiasts.

For more Civil War history, be sure to check out the traveling Civil War Exhibit panels and display case in the Library lobby.  You can also read more about the exhibit and find other Civil War resources in our Civil War 150 resource guide: http://libguides.atu.edu/civilwar150

Questions? Call (479) 964-0569 or send e-mail to askalibrarian@atu.edu



Join us this evening at 7:00 P.M. as we host a panel discussion on the Battle at Dardenelle and other skirmishes in Arkansas, presented by historians Wayne Phillips, Paul Staton, and Michael Whitaker in the Ross Pendergraft Library & Technology Center, room 300.

Civil War 150 Traveling Exhibit

The guest lecture is part of our month-long recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, featuring speakers, musicians, and a traveling exhibit called, Civil War 150: Explaining the War and Its Meaning Through the Words of Those Who Lived It.

The exhibit panels, located near the south entrance to the Library, depict events and primary source documents from the Civil War such as newspaper headlines, portraits, and photographs.

In our exhibit cases at the north entrance, you’ll also find a collection of Civil War era artifacts including a sword, confederate currency, bullets, a powder horn, and other antiques loan from Paul M. Slaton, owner of The Emporium in Russellville.

Don’t miss our final guest performance next Thursday, August 29th, when we feature the musical group HARMONY, performing music from the Civil War era at 7:00 P.M. in room 300.

Read more about the exhibit and find other Civil War resources in our Civil War 150 resource guide: http://libguides.atu.edu/civilwar150

Questions? Call (479) 964-0569 or send e-mail to askalibrarian@atu.edu

Civil War 150

Join us as Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center at Arkansas Tech University hosts a national traveling exhibit entitled Civil War 150: Explaining the War and Its Meaning Through the Words of Those Who Lived It during the month of August.

Civil War 150 is a national traveling exhibit presented by The Library of America in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Students, faculty, and staff will have the chance to view primary source historical documents and personal accounts of the Civil War from those who lived it.

Exhibit Dates:

  • August 12-16 & August 19-23, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • August 26-27, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • August 28-29, 7 a.m.-Midnight
  • August 30, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

Special Presentations:

Dr. Thomas A. DeBlack, Professor of History
“The Civil War in Arkansas: An Overview”
Thursday, August 15 at 7 p.m.

Wayne Phillips, Paul Staton & Michael Whitaker, Historians
Panel discussion on the Battle at Dardenelle and other skirmishes in Arkansas
Thursday, August 22 at 7 p.m.

Musical Group HARMONY
Performing music from the Civil War era
Thursday, August 29 at 7 p.m.

Presenters will be in Pendergraft Library and Technology Center Room 300
305 West Q Street, Russellville, Arkansas

Read more about the exhibit and find other Civil War resources in our Civil War 150 resource guide: http://libguides.atu.edu/civilwar150

Questions? Call (479) 964-0569 or send e-mail to askalibrarian@atu.edu