Dr. Lorraine Haricombe Arrives as New Vice Provost

lorraine j. haricombe, Vice Provost and Director, University of Texas Libraries.
lorraine j. haricombe, Vice Provost and Director, University of Texas Libraries.

Born and raised in South Africa, Dr. Lorraine Haricombe joins the University of Texas Libraries as Vice Provost and Director from the Kansas University Libraries, where she served as Dean since 2006.

She previously held administrative positions in the libraries at Northern Illinois University and Peninsula Technikon in the Republic of South Africa, and holds doctoral and master’s degrees in library and information science from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She also earned a teacher certification from the University of South Africa, an honors graduate degree in library and information science from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and a bachelor’s degree in library and information science, psychology and sociology from the University of the Western Cape.

Haricombe holds memberships in the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Library Administration and Management Association and the Association of American University Women. She is on the editorial board of Communicate, Journal of LIS (Nigeria), the editorial board of the Beta Phi Mu Monograph Series, the Service Quality Academy (LibQual+) selection committee and the 2006-07 ALA conference planning committee.

Highlights and Achievements

  • Daughter of a librarian.
  • Earned a master’s and a doctorate in Library and Information Science in only six years (1986-92).
  • As a single parent, successfully reared two accomplished daughters in the USA (Heidi who is a surgeon, and Gretchen, a teacher).
  • Inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame, University of Kansas, April 2012.
  • Association of Research Libraries, Leadership Career Development Program; mentoring junior librarians from underrepresented populations, 2007-present.
  • Provost’s designate for implementing the Open Access policy at KU, 2010-present. KU was the first public university in the USA where faculty adopted an institutional policy on open access.
  • Member, Executive Management Team, Research Libraries Consortium, South Africa 2011-2012.
  • President, Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), 2011. GWLA is a consortium of more than 30 large academic and research libraries west of the Mississippi who share resources and expertise to facilitate meaningful collaboration in the western USA. KU is a founding member.
  • Inaugural member, Global Council, Online Computer Library Center, 2009-2011. OCLC connects people to knowledge through library cooperation among 72,000 libraries in 170 countries.
  • Member, Advisory Board, 2009-2012, and Chair, Steering Committee for the Scholarly Publications and Academic Resources Council, 2013-2015, Scholarly Publication and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). SPARC is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication.
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Student Produces in Media Lab

Roberto Torres, a recent graduate from UT Austin’s Radio, Television and Film program, has been one of the Media Lab’s most enthusiastic and regular users since we opened this summer. He received early training in film production at McAllen High School in south Texas, where he won awards for his work on the KMAC student-run news station.

Here at UT, Roberto has strengthened his skills in shooting, editing and post-production, and has started experimenting with special effects. This video shows how he combined 3D modelling software Maya with Adobe Premiere and After Effects to “shatter” the wall of a building:

Check out more of Roberto Torres videos at the PCL Media Lab blog.

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Make It New: A Learning Commons at PCL

Learning Commons conceptual drawings by Gensler.
Learning Commons conceptual drawings by Gensler.

“A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit,” exhorted poet Ezra Pound, commenting on the need for architecture to be visually engaging in order to stimulate the mind — a thought that could just as easily apply to that which occurs within a given structure. With the Perry-Castañeda Library’s (PCL) recent entry in the Austin Chronicle’s “Best of 2014” issue with the dubious distinction of “Best Brutalist Architecture,” there’s little promise that the edifice of the 70’s-era building would meet Pound’s condition for generating intellectual inspiration, so the Libraries must instead focus on that which occurs within the walls of its spaces to spark creativity and innovation.

To that end, the Libraries is undertaking its largest transformation of space since the PCL’s construction in an effort to adapt to the changing needs and practices of its users, as well as to the expectations of the larger campus community.

This semester, construction is beginning on phase one of a project to create a cross-campus collaborative space in the Libraries’ flagship branch where student learning at the university will enter a new era. The University of Texas Libraries Learning Commons has been in development over the past 18 months through engagement with campus stakeholders and discussions with university administrators to envision the transformation of outmoded library space into a place where active learning and modern scholarship can occur.

“Libraries have learned from recent paradigm shifts to be more agile than they were traditionally,” says Executive Associate Director Catherine Hamer. “While shrinking budgets compound the difficulty of making wholesale changes to how we operate, we’ve continued planning and executing on efforts that are known needs for students, faculty and researchers. We’ve been developing the Learning Commons as a major strategic goal behind the scenes for some time, and I’m gratified that we’re finally able to announce it as a reality.”

Library space designed by Gensler.
Library space designed by Gensler.

The 20,000 square-foot renovation on the entry-level of PCL will include new technology-rich classrooms built for 21st century learning, consultation spaces and meeting areas. It will boast a modern media lab with
high-end software and support for digital media creation that will be available to every student on campus — regardless of college or school — as well as support for faculty who want to incorporate digital literacy into their courses. The Learning Commons will also serve as the new home for the University Writing Center (UWC), the first-of-its-kind partnership between the Libraries and another campus service unit devised to streamline resources for students at UT by locating specialized service at the point of need. Continue reading

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Bexar County Courthouse by James Riely Gordon

Bexar County Courthouse rendering, undated Bexar County, Texas. James Riely Gordon Drawings and Papers. Alexander Architectural Archive. University of Texas Libraries. The University of Texas at Austin.
Bexar County Courthouse rendering, undated Bexar County, Texas. James Riely Gordon Drawings and Papers. Alexander Architectural Archive. University of Texas Libraries. The University of Texas at Austin.

James Riely Gordon (1863-1937) was an architect who practiced in both San Antonio and New York City, best-known for his Richardsonian Romanesque designs of public buildings which accommodated a natural ventilation system so essential in the hot, Texas climate.

Gordon excelled at the design of public buildings and constructed 16 county courthouses in Texas alone. Among his designs for courthouses in Texas include the example above in Bexar County (1891-1896), as well as structures in Victoria County (1892), Ellis County (1895) and McLennan County (1901). 

His collection at the Alexander Architectural Archive contains 6,500 drawings, 13 linear feet of architectural records, and 1,600 photographs representing more than 300 buildings and documenting both the Texas and New York phases of Gordon’s career (1890-1937). 

Gordon’s public works across the state are cataloged in the book James Riely Gordon: His Courthouses and Other Public Architecture by Chris Meister (Texas Tech University Press, 2011).

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Breaking the Silence: Excessive Noise

iIt’s a challenge to combat long-held stereotypes — especially those that have gained a foothold in cultural consciousness — but libraries are increasingly finding ways to overcome an accepted caricature as spaces where quiet contemplation is guarded by strict disciplinarians with fingers firmly pressed to pursed lips.

More and more, programs developed to redouble the idea of library as a community third place have cut through the silence and opened the space to utilization in unexpected ways. As gateways to information, libraries have always served as cultural hubs; the advent of the internet offers opportunities to reimagine how they can fit within a social framework where the written word has largely ceded prominence to ones and zeroes.

One such example of rethinking space is evident at the Fine Arts Library (FAL), thanks to its close ties with emerging artists at the Butler School of Music.

In 2011, Music Librarian David Hunter approached graduate research assistant and doctoral candidate Russell Podgorsek — also the evening and weekend desk manager for the library at the time — about launching a music series to take place in the Roberts Reading Room at the FAL.

Podgorsek ran with the idea, imagining an eclectic program that had its roots in classical techniques, but would be creatively free-form in substance. He began pitching the concept to his colleagues and contemporaries in the university and broader Austin music communities and recruiting artists for the series premiere that took place in early 2012 and featured three original compositions by students of the Butler School — including Podgorsek, who is himself an accomplished composer, violist and guitarist.

To date, concerts have featured an array of composers, artists and performers from both the School of Music and the Austin community, including the Cordova Quartet; university Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, Bereket; Duo Brucoco; alumna Pamela Wilkinson; and dancer Reema Bounajem.

“Excessive Noise” will resume its run with the seventh concert in the series on January 31, and Podgorsek continues his curatorial duties under the appellation of the recently-formed Pale Blue. collaborative.

The concert, “winter winds… by Pale Blue. part 1,” features chamber music for winds including “Jabberwock” by current Butler School of Music (BSOM) DMA student Chris Prosser; “Poco Adagio” by BSOM alumnus Russell Podgorsek; and performances by the Butler School of Music Graduate Saxophone Quartet, the Aero Quintet, and current DMA students Charlotte Daniel (flute) and Chad Ibison (guitar).

Russell Podgorsek.

Podgorsek took time recently to answer some questions about his experiences in developing “Excessive Noise.”

What spawned the idea for “Excessive Noise”?

Russell Podgorsek: Back in 2011 Dr. David Hunter asked me if I’d be interested in resurrecting a music series at the Fine Arts Library since one had been done years earlier but not in recent memory.

At the time “Excessive Noise” started I was a Graduate Research Assistant at the Fine Arts Library. (Fine Arts Head Librarian) Laura Schwartz, (Theater and Dance Librarian) Beth Kerr and David Hunter were kind enough to fold it into my responsibilities along with supervising and stacks maintenance. Once I graduated I stayed on as an hourly employee so it was easy to continue the series.

How do you come up with the programs?

RP: The programs are largely centered around players’ availability and interest in performing what they’re working on. Being a composer myself it also seemed natural to have several new works on each concert. UT and Austin in general are musically so rich that it’s almost too easy to fill up a program sometimes. Recently I’ve asked others at UT to collaborate with us in an effort to engage other libraries and collections as well as other departments. Last spring we did a joint event with the PCL Map Collection’s event series, “You Are Here,” that showcased works with ties to specific locales and the corresponding items in the Map Collection and at FAL. Later this semester we’re joining up with the Asian Studies department to present a concert exploring the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures. On smaller scales, we’ve had students from both Architecture and Theater and Dance perform or present on these concerts as well.

What sort of benefit does it provide for the performers/artists?

RP: Performing itself is an enjoyable activity but the audiences that these events draw are of a different composition than those at a “regular” recital or concert and connecting with a new part of the community is what it’s about. That being said, all of the performers are young professionals (the Butler School of Music is a great place), they know what they’re doing, and always present a high quality artistic product.

Laura Schwartz is really open to programs like “Excessive Noise” that make use of library space in an unexpected way. What’s it like holding the event in a library? Continue reading

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Reaching Out to Make New Connections

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The University of Texas Libraries reached out in new ways this past semester to actively engage patrons through initiatives demonstrating how the UT Libraries is evolving, changing in ways that might be unexpected, and honing services that are more relevant than ever before.

This fall the UT Libraries participated in a nationwide “Outside the Lines” initiative, in its nascent year, by showcasing services, hosting activities and highlighting treasures, and then expanded its “Crunch Time” initiative, now in its seventh year, to insert the Libraries collections, resources and experts into the flow of academic endeavor that culminates as midterms approached.

Concentrated within one week in mid-September, our incarnation of “Outside the Lines” (OTL) consisted of a Perry-Castaneda Library (PCL) Media Lab-sponsored activity enabling participants to make music with a robot or animate a cartoon, an open house for Chinese-speaking students, a slam poetry performance by Spitshine at the UT Poetry Center, an event co-sponsored by the departments of English, Middle Eastern Studies, Molecular Biology and Spanish and Portuguese, and the 5th Annual LLILAS Benson Student Photo Exhibition featuring photographs taken by students highlighting research, fieldwork and volunteer activities related to Latin America and U.S. Latino communities.

The culminating OTL activity, DJs spinning music from the Fine Art Library’s recently acquired KUT CD collection, was postponed due to rain but successfully paired with a subsequent Hearts of Texas State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) event on the PCL Plaza for a truly “Outside the Lines” mash up of music and philanthropic momentum.

“Crunch Time 2014” was sponsored by these seven UT Libraries in mid-October: Architecture and Planning, LLILAS Benson, Chemistry, Fine Arts, Life Science, PCL and Physics Mathematics Astronomy.  Each location featured Crunch Time handouts, mini-Nestle Crunch bars, and opportunities for students to get help with assignments, schedule a research consultation session with a subject specialist, and check out collections and places to study.

These exciting efforts yielded vital means for the UT Libraries to connect with a diverse array of UT students, library users, authors and members of the broader Austin community. Planning and execution of each of these events was achieved through cross-Libraries and campus-wide collaboration, as well as the talent, knowledge, and expertise of Libraries staff, presenters and the participants themselves.  These successful connections of people, resources, and spaces provided further evidence that the UT Libraries serve as nourishing places for learning, discovery and inspiration.

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Sor Juana’s “Book of Professions”

"Libro de professiones y elecciones de prioras y vicarias del convento de San Gerónimo, 1586–1713." Ink and blood on paper. 8 x 12 inches. Dorothy Schons Papers, Benson Latin American Collection.
“Libro de professiones y elecciones de prioras y vicarias del convento de San Gerónimo, 1586–1713.” Ink and blood on paper. 8 x 12 inches. Dorothy Schons Papers, Benson Latin American Collection.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695) was one of most illustrious Mexican writers and scholars of the colonial period.

This page from the manuscript “Book of Professions” of the convent of San Gerónimo in Mexico City, which Sor Juana entered in 1669, features a written affirmation of her religious vows, signed by the famous nun in her own blood.

From the Dorothy Schons Papers at the Benson Latin American Collection.

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The Libraries’ Closet

Library Storage Facility, Pickle Campus. Photo by Stephen Littrell.
Library Storage Facility, Pickle Campus. Photo by Stephen Littrell.

Like so many leather skirts, go-go boots and seersucker jackets that need to be carefully stowed in the interim between their respective periods in vogue, these great buildings of books, too, need to occasionally clear space for more useful, timely purposes.

To that end, the Libraries have thus far accommodated a need for additional “closet space” through the construction of off-site warehouses much reminiscent of the one imagined in the closing scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, seemingly endless rows of shelving stretched from concrete floor to stories-tall rafter, where once-prized tomes and formerly-current periodicals can reside until such time as they are once again called upon to provide the critical information needed to complete some important research or solve some lingering question.

These library storage facilities (LSFs) house those low-circulation items and fragile materials that might be considered complementary resources for collections from across the campus of The University of Texas at Austin and beyond.  Both the Harry Ransom Center and the Briscoe Center for American History are reliant upon this remote storage in order to free up room for the more high-value, high-use items in their ever-growing collections of cultural artifacts. Likewise, as parts of the Libraries’ valuable print collection are accessed less frequently than in the past, it’s logical to move those volumes into a high-quality storage environment and establish systems for retrieving books as scholars request them from storage. The migration creates space that can be repurposed for student use and newer technologies to facilitate a more productive, modern learning environment.

The Libraries also enjoined sibling rivals at College Station in two of the ventures thus far — the second of two facilities at the Pickle Research campus in North Austin, and a joint library facility (JLF) at Texas A&M’s Riverside campus outside of Bryan, Texas. In a collaboration that seeks to minimize the physical presence of materials while still availing the needs of institutions across the state, UT and A&M have pared some of their collections to a single-copy that is then shared cross-organizationally through a delivery system coordinated by the principals. The Austin unit constructed in 2010 is already at capacity, and the Riverside unit, which opened in 2013, has incorporated nearly half a million volumes to date. Given the successful outcomes of the partnership, there are already considerations for the development of further partnerships.

Beyond the space-saving functionality of the LSFs, there is a compelling financial reason for moving low-use items off-site.  A 2010 study showed the cost of storing a single volume in an open library stacks facility is $4.26 per year, taking into account personnel, lighting, maintenance and heating and cooling costs. The cost is pegged at 86 cents per volume for storage at a facility such as the Riverside unit jointly operated by the Texas A&M and University of Texas Systems — representing a savings of $3.40 per volume.

The Libraries learned recently that it had received approval from the Board of Regents to begin construction on a third unit at the Pickle campus, which is necessitated by the Dell Medical School’s future plans to build where the Collections Deposit Library currently stands. CDL has long served as a storage facility on campus for permanent collections, as well as a holding space for unprocessed materials, but due to its age and lack of available space, the building has just about outlived its utility. The new construction at the north Austin campus will allow significant additional materials from other campus locations, as well.

The coming facility will, like its predecessors, be climate controlled, and will hold roughly one million additional volumes, bringing the Libraries over halfway to completing a stated goal of removing two million books from campus locations to off-site storage. Construction on the $8 million building will begin in 2016 and is expected to open in late summer of 2017.

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Texas Oilmen and Coastal Architecture

Sid Richardson residence photograph of exterior corner, undated. San Jose Island, Texas. O'Neil Ford collection, Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.
Sid Richardson residence photograph of exterior corner, undated. San Jose Island, Texas. O’Neil Ford collection, Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Along with providing invaluable resources for myriad scholarly and research inquiries, the Libraries collections can also occasionally become a sole source for needs of journalistic enterprise, as well, especially in the form of those unique items that are part of the Libraries’ special collections.

That was the case in a current three-part series by reporter Alan Peppard of the Dallas Morning News that looks at two small islands off the Texas coast that served as recreational and power centers for a pair of the richest oilmen in the state’s history.

“Islands of the Oil Kings” examines the islets of Matagorda and San Jose near Port Aransas. A significant portion of the former was purchased by Clint Murchison Sr., and the entirety of the latter was acquired by his lifetime best friend, Sid Richardson, both of the properties becoming retreats where the oilmen could both relax and play host to the most influential of guests, magnates of business and current and future leaders, including Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and a then-aspiring senatorial candidate named Lyndon Johnson.

Richardson’s San Jose sanctuary featured a house designed by esteemed Texas architect O’Neil Ford that married the sophistication of European modernism with the simplicity of the Texas ranch style. Being located in a place that was consistently the red zone for hurricanes, the building had to also be constructed with the strength to withstand the worst that nature could offer. When completed, Ford claimed that the structure was “tight enough to strum,” and, indeed, when Category 5 Hurricane Carla hit the Texas coast in mid-September 1961, the house survived with a mere broken window in the kitchen.

In pulling together resources for Part 2 of this excellent long-form article featuring engaging complementary multimedia components, Peppard leaned on the Alexander Architectural Archive (AAA) — part of the Architecture and Planning Library in historic Battle Hall — to provide photography of Ford’s design work on the Richardson compound.  AAA maintains the collections of numerous notable Texas architects and designers, including a comprehensive archive of O’Neil Ford’s career with papers, plans, photographic prints and negatives, slides, exhibit boards, drawings and sketches that are preserved for use by students, scholars, researchers and architecture aficionados.

See more images of the Richardson home from the O’Neil Ford collection below.

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Libraries at Work, A Student Perspective

Rosa Muñoz
Rosa Muñoz

Hello,

My name is Rosa Muñoz and I am a sophomore majoring in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. I am fortunate enough to be able to have an internship at one of the most well-known libraries on campus, the Perry-Castañeda Library.

I am the first person in my family to attend a university, so moving to Austin from Dallas was a big step for me. The idea of attending college was never supposed to be a part of my plan. I was brought up in a traditional Hispanic household where women were not expected to leave home, especially without being married first. I decided to come to UT because I had encouraging high school teachers who persistently pushed me to apply for colleges. During my junior year of high school, my English teacher encouraged our class to start researching colleges. The idea of something new sounded like a good opportunity, so I started my research. I decided that UT was where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life without ever stepping foot on campus.

During my time at UT I have created some great friendships and have learned so much more in my first year and a half than I had ever expected. My plans are to graduate from UT and attend graduate school to pursue my goal of starting my own practice as a psychologist.

Ever since I started working at UT Libraries I have come to find the library to be one of the best places to study at on campus. I try to take full advantage of the resources available. The library staff is always very kind and understanding and they help me with any questions or concerns that I have. My friends and I like the ability to study individually or as a group or even practice our presentations in the library. The efficient technology that has been added in the Libraries gives students more capability in utilizing those resources to their best advantage. In addition, to top it off the library is now opened 24 hours during the most critical study times leading up to finals.

The Libraries have so much to offer, not only for me but for students in all majors. Please consider making an end of year contribution to the UT Libraries. My fellow Longhorns and I are fortunate to have access to all the resources we need for academic success, but I know my tuition only goes so far.

The library is a very popular place! I enjoy telling my friends and classmates that I am interning in one of the most visited buildings on campus. I have definitely enjoyed the time I have spent working in the libraries, and I am certain that this experience will have an impression on me for years to come. All the connections I have established will last well beyond my college days.

Be generous and give today. Thank you for making a gift that will support all students.

Happy Holidays,

rosasm

Class of 2017

Please consider making an end-of-year gift to the University of Texas Libraries in support of students like Rosa Muñoz. 

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