People-Building for Today and Tomorrow

Strategy

“We will do things differently, and we will do different things.”

These were among the first words that Lorraine Haricombe offered to Libraries staff on her arrival one year ago, and that exhortation has been realized in large ways as a new strategic vision becomes reality.

While some changes are more subtle, the way that the human resources of the Libraries are being adapted to the evolving needs of our users and to technological advancements is distinctive. New faces are filling positions that are outside the traditional library mold as a means of addressing new currents and new fields of inquiry in ways that take advantage of opportunities in the digital realm, as well as within traditional institutional frameworks.

Over the past year, the Libraries have hired for a succession of new titles that were necessitated by adjustments in university priorities and developments in the practices of scholarship.

Katie Pierce-Meyer
Katie Pierce Meyer

One of the first moves made to reimagine the organizational structure within the Libraries occurred as the result of a vacancy at the Architecture & Planning Library, when head librarian Beth Dodd resumed her curatorial work in the Alexander Architectural Archive. Rather than simply refill the position as was originally planned, Haricombe worked with her executive team to adapt the title to a larger current in the field of digital humanities — an area of research and teaching at the intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities. The Libraries hired Katie Pierce Meyer as Humanities Librarian for Architecture and Planning both to take on a role as both administrative lead of the APL and also to focus on how to develop efforts in the digital humanities at a branch level that could be scaled to an organizational-wide scope.

Sean O'Bryan
Sean O’Bryan

The Libraries were in the process of reviewing its gifts policy even before Lorraine Haricombe arrived, and early decisions about putting controls on the intake of unsolicited gifts meant that head of gifts processing Sean O’Bryan could be redeployed toward another important priority. Sean was hired to the position of Collections Strategist, where he has become the catalyst for development of a new strategic policy for collections management. His work now is core to the improvement of efforts to move from print to electronic resources.

Rachel Winston
Rachel Winston

As African & African American Studies has joined the predominant fields at the university, the need for bibliographer support from the Libraries has become clear. Especially relevant to our existing resources is the growing focus on the African Diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean, and with the recent attention given to our southern neighbors by UT President Greg Fenves, we recently hired Rachel Winston as Black Diaspora Archivist at the Benson Latin American Collection. Winston will work to enhance the Benson’s holdings while developing university collaborations to strengthen scholarship in this burgeoning field.

Jessica Trelogan
Jessica Trelogan

The importance of digital collections and electronic resources remains on an upward trajectory, so there is a constant need to reconsider strategy for making the most of campus technology for institutional gain. Between the expansion of digitization efforts, the prioritization of Open Access, and the unabated growth of Big Data in research, finding ways to manage a new universe of information has become essential. Jessica Trelogan recently became our new Data Management Coordinator to build, maintain and enhance the data services deployed by the Libraries. She’ll work closely with our campus partners at places like the Texas Advanced Computing Center and Information Technology Services to ensure that we’re making the best use of resources across the Forty Acres.

Ashley Adair
Ashley Adair

As digital collections continue to grow, the need has arisen for a dedicated custodian to manage both the born-digital and digitized materials that increasingly are the currency of library collections. Ashley Adair joined the Libraries Preservation Department last year as Digital Archivist to take over stewardship of digitized collections across its various libraries and archives, where she plays an active role in the acquisition, appraisal, arrangement and description of these modern core resources.

Boris Brodsky
Boris Brodsky

Technology has also created new opportunities for study at UT, and not just in the STEM fields. The university recently announced the formation of a degree in Creative Arts and Entertainment Technology within the College of Fine Arts, and the students of that program will rely heavily on a space being developed at the Fine Arts Library. The Foundry — a digitally-focused maker space within the library — will feature a recording studio, fiber art studio, video production studio, gaming studio, digital media lab and more. To support the student needs both within the new program and across relevant technology and design studies at UT, the Libraries created a librarian position for Arts and Creative Technologies, and hired FAL veteran Boris Brodsky. Brodsky will be the custodian of the Foundry, and will build from scratch the liaison role that the Libraries have with students and faculty in this exciting new program.

These are just the initial movements of a transformational time at the University of Texas Libraries, where we’re doing different things and doing things differently.

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40 Hours for the Forty Acres

40 Hours for the Forty AcresWith 650,000 square feet across ten libraries on campus, UT Libraries has one of the largest footprints on the Forty Acres. To put into context, imagine yourself cheering the longhorns at Darrell K. Royal stadium, then imagine eleven football fields filled with books, reference materials, silent and collaborative study spaces, and technology.

We’re proud of our impact. In 2015, UT Libraries welcomed an astounding 2,492,477 visitors. Our staff provided 105,986 reference sessions for students and faculty. We welcomed 15,329 attendees to Library Instruction Sessions. We hosted the equivalent of 25 home games at full capacity.

The rapid pace of change in academic libraries has been breathtaking, but thanks to gifts both and large and small we were able to renovate about half of a football field worth of library space.

But make no mistake, it’s not about new furniture. An investment in UT Libraries is an investment in helping elevate retention and graduation rates. Your gift has the potential to touch the lives of every student, faculty, and staff member on the Forty Acres.

Our Think Space initiative is about creating a stimulating, supportive, and collaborative environment that enhances student and faculty success. Think Space is a one-stop-hub that connects students with campus experts in research, writing, speech, and digital media technology.

The Scholars Commons pilot has quickly become a favorite spot for students and other scholars. The Scholars Commons inspires scholarship through research consultations. It contains a data lab with advanced software; workshops introducing tools for digital scholarship, data analysis, and scholarly communication; spaces for collaboration; and exhibits and events that provide opportunities for scholars to share their research.

Contributions designated for the Black Diaspora Archival Collection will help fund professional development for the archivist, interns/graduate research assistants who assist with processing, the general enhancement of this collection. The Black Diaspora Archive is a vitally important initiative, which affirms the University’s commitment to Black history, and to the communities across the Americas who make that history.

Now in its third year, 40 Hours for the Forty Acres is an annual university-wide, 40-hour fundraising event designed to engage and inspire students, alumni, and friends to donate. If UT Libraries is meaningful to you, we hope you will make a gift between April 27th 4:00am and April 28th 8:00pm.

We encourage you to tell your friends about the campaign, post on social media when you give, or repost our messages from the blog during the campaign.

Give Here

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Collections Highlight: Port of Acapulco, 1638

Alejandro Ruffoni  Puerto de Acapulco en el Reino de la Nueva Expaña en el Mar del Sur 1628 lithograph 17 x 22 in. Genaro García Collection Benson Latin American Collection
Alejandro Ruffoni
Puerto de Acapulco en el Reino de la Nueva Expaña en el Mar del Sur
1628
lithograph
17 x 22 in.
Genaro García Collection
Benson Latin American Collection

A facsimile reproduction made in the Florentine workshop of Alejandro Ruffoni of an original early 17th Century drawing of the Port of Acapulco by Dutch engineer Adrian Boot. The reproduction was commissioned by Mexican historian Francisco del Paso y Troncoso.

The panoramic shows the port and fortification at Acapulco, with depictions of the natural flora and geography of the region.

The artwork is part of the Genaro García Collection at the Benson Latin American Collection.

 

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Six Months in with the Writing Center

University Writing Center reception area. Image courtesy Gensler.
University Writing Center reception area. Image courtesy Gensler.

When the Libraries began investigating the possibility of having the University Writing Center (UWC) become the first campus partner to inhabit the new Learning Commons at the Perry-Castañeda Library, there were high hopes that the marriage would reap significant benefits for library users, patrons of the writing center and the larger campus community. One of the primary goals of the effort was to co-locate complementary services and resources in a central location in order to facilitate greater success in referrals from the Libraries to UWC, and vice versa.

So how has the partnership worked so far? We sat down with UWC program coordinator Alice Batt to get her perspective on the first half-year of life at PCL.

What does the landscape look like for UWC six months into life at PCL? Have you settled in?

Alice Batt.
Alice Batt.

Alice Batt: Definitely. Right now there are 13 consultations happening outside my door—lots of energetic conversations! And our presentations team is making good use of the Learning Labs. About 10% of our writing presentations last semester were delivered in those labs. It’s great when that happens because, after the presentation, students can come right down to the UWC and make an appointment.

University Writing Center consultation area. Image courtesy Gensler.
University Writing Center consultation area. Image courtesy Gensler.

Any takeaways from what you’ve seen so far? 

AB: One of the things that strikes me most is what it’s like to be central again, and to be in a library. Collaboration with our library partners is easier, we’re much more convenient for students, joint workshops are easier to plan and put on, and we’ve been able to experiment with programs like Long Night Against Procrastination. We’re seeing more students, and we’re more confident that, when we refer them to a librarian, they’ll actually go.

What’s the most unexpected outcome?

AB: It took us a while to get used to seeing people on the consulting floor when we arrive in the morning—some of them have been here all night! Now we just tap them gently and send them on their way to class, breakfast, or home.

How has the integration with relevant Libraries staff and services worked? 

AB: Overall, it’s going beautifully. Trish (UWC Director Patricia Roberts-Miller) and I are part of the Learning Commons Steering Committee, which meets once a month to iron out wrinkles and make sure we’re all pursuing the same goals. Lately we’ve been talking about cross training: we had a well-attended workshop for our consultants conducted by two librarians that gave consultants some of the basics about the services, when to refer students to them, what sorts of resources are available. Since our consultants are students, it was helpful to them in both capacities–as students doing research, and as consultants working with students on researched writing.

University Writing Center consultation area. Image courtesy Gensler.
University Writing Center consultation area. Image courtesy Gensler.

Have you changed or adapted in some way you didn’t foresee?

AB: I haven’t checked the data to confirm this, but I get the sense we’re seeing a more diverse group of students coming to the UWC—more diverse ethnically, racially, linguistically, and also more diverse in their majors. We think it’s because this location is where students already are; they don’t have to make a special trip up to FAC.

What’s been the student response to the new space?

AB: Overwhelmingly positive. Everyone—our administrators, consulting staff, and the students we serve—loves working in a bright, cheery environment. And loads of students come here for private study after we close.

Are you considering any developments that you’d like people to know about? 

AB: Our first semester working with grad students in College of Liberal Arts has been a big success. Grad students particularly like the 6-week writing groups; nothing improves productivity like being held responsible by a group! We’d like to expand our services to support graduate students throughout the university. Grad students who would like us to support their writing should tell their deans.

Any other thoughts? 

AB: In the Learning Commons, we’re right in the path of students who need our services. We’ve always been a busy place, but now our numbers are up 4% from last year—and they’re rising!

University Writing Center work space. Image courtesy Gensler.
University Writing Center work space. Image courtesy Gensler.
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Bing Crosby’s Superfan

Bing Crosby Reference/. 1948–56/ 3 x 5-1/8x3-3/8 in.
Bing Crosby Reference/. 1948–56/ 3 x 5-1/8×3-3/8 in.

Genealogist Mary Henrietta Chase collected almost all of crooner Bing Crosby’s commercial recordings. She also made 200 audio recordings from radio broadcasts from December 1948 to October 1956, though as these are on consumer-grade acetate discs their condition is poor. She catalogued her collection on typed index cards which she kept in a small recipe box.

The Mary Henrietta Chase Collection is part of the Historic Music Recordings Collection housed at the Collections Deposit Library (appointment only).

From “The Bing Crosby Radio Show,” presented by General Electric, with guest Ella Fitzgerald, December 13, 1953.

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Save the Date: 40 Hours for the Forty Acres

Mark your calendar for 40 Hours for the Forty Acres: April 12-1340 Hours for the Forty Acres, the annual university-wide fundraising event, is coming up in just a few weeks! This year, University of Texas Libraries is aiming to raise $8,000. We need your help to reach our goal and to get the word out. Tell your friends about the campaign, post on social media when you give, or repost our messages from Facebook and Twitter during the campaign.

So, mark your calendars for April 12, 4:00am – April 13, 8:00pm, and support your UT Libraries!

Postponed until 4/27-28.

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Faculty Exhibit Features African Diaspora Publications

Nigeria/Yoruba: Some History

The Fine Arts Library continues to support campus partners with the hosting of an exhibit of publications highlighting a Nigerian subculture with important ties to the African Diaspora.

The display — Nigeria/Yoruba: Some History — features materials relating to the Yoruba people and the history of Nigeria. It includes various published histories of Nigeria — including several written for children — as well as publications and items related to Yoruba art and culture. The sampling from a much larger corpus of materials related Yoruba culture features a number written by professors at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Yoruba people are an ethnic group of Nigeria who are located across the Southwestern region of the country and other parts of West Africa.  The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, and Yoruba culture has had a profound impact on the nature of the African Diaspora, in different parts of the world. 

The British Empire controlled vast swathes of the continent of Africa, including the country that became Nigeria which was, until Independence, one of the largest of Britain’s colonies. “Nigeria” was taken from the Niger River running through the country, and was said to have been coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Baron Frederick Lugard, a British colonial administrator, whose career included being Governor-General of Nigeria from 1914–1919.

The exhibit is in celebration of the University of Texas at Austin’s annual Yoruba Day, hosted during the course of the Spring Semester by the John L. Warfield Center for African & African American Studies.

The exhibit was curated by Eddie Chambers, Associate Professor of Art History. Chambers has researched and written extensively on the African Diaspora and its impact on the art and culture of affected regions and peoples.

The exhibit will be on display in the Fine Arts Library through May 16.

More images from the display below.

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Collections Highlight: Stewart King’s Mission Landscapes

Stewart King (architect). Patio garden and circulation plan for Mission San Francisco de la Espada, Scheme 1, San Antonio, Texas. ca. 1957. Marker, pencil, and crayon on paper. 21.5 x 32.25 in. Stewart King collection. Alexander Architectural Archive.
Stewart King (architect). Patio garden and circulation plan for Mission San Francisco de la Espada, Scheme 1, San Antonio, Texas. ca. 1957. Marker, pencil, and crayon on paper. 21.5 x 32.25 in. Stewart King collection. Alexander Architectural Archive.

A contemporary of O’Neil Ford, San Antonio landscape architect Stewart King was an avid historic preservationist and advocate of indigenous plants whose involvement with the San Antonio Conservation Society as advisor and consultant led to his involvement in the preservation and restoration of the Old Spanish Missions. The example above is from the Mission San Francisco de la Espada, located in southeast San Antonio on the banks of the San Antonio River.

King is considered a pioneer in designing sustainable landscapes. His collection at the Alexander Architectural Archive contains documentation from 19 years of his professional career, featuring plant files, photographs and landscape plans, including 2,500 landscape architecture drawings.

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Recognizing Generosity

Donor wall in PCL.

UT Libraries is pleased to announce a new donor wall in the Learning Commons on the entry-level floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library.

The wall lists annual donors of $1,000 and above to UT Libraries, annual corporate sponsorships, donors to space renovations at $1,700 and above, and Literary Longhorns, UT Libraries’s premier group of donors who have given $25,000 or more.

We are happy to be able to recognize our top supporters in our most visited library, to help bring awareness to all library users of the impact and need for monetary donors. Gifts to the University of Texas Libraries have the potential to touch the lives of all students, faculty, and staff on the Forty Acres.

Thank you to all of our generous supporters.

Donor wall in PCL.

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Welcome Back from Vice Provost Lorraine Haricombe

Welcome back...

Welcome back to campus, Longhorns.

We hope the holiday break provided both a welcome respite from your studies and an opportunity to rejuvenate for the semester ahead.

You did a good job of breaking in the new Learning Commons at PCL and took full advantage of the new 24/5 hours last semester. We hope you’re finding these extensions of service and resources beneficial to your productivity, and we’re always listening to your suggestions for further improvements at the Libraries.

While you were away, Libraries staff used the period of reduced activity on campus to re-envision and renovate two familiar spaces to meet the expressed needs of our users, both of which opened at the beginning of the semester.

On January 20th, we celebrated the opening of a new Scholars Commons pilot on the ground floor space that previously housed the periodicals (now on Third Floor). The Scholars Commons will be a hub for research and serious scholarship within the PCL — a space for experimentation and scholarly inquiry, supporting interdisciplinary collaboration by fostering a dynamic intellectual environment.

And on January 25th, we join with partners from Student Success Initiatives, Natural Sciences, and Engineering to christen the new STEM Study Area in the UFCU Room at PCL. This space is intended to be used to provide instructor-led sessions and Sanger Center tutoring services to students enrolled in STEM gateway courses at the point of need, with the goal of improving student outcomes.

More changes will come in the near future, and, as always, we’ll continue to reimagine these UT Libraries with your help in order to make them the best they can possibly be.

Good luck with the spring semester, and Hook ‘Em!

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