Frank Lloyd Wright’s Posthumous Contribution: An Icon of a City

Plans for the redevelopment of Olin Park in Madison, WI from Frank Lloyd Wright’s work on the Monona Basin Project.

While searching for all of the items in Karl Kamrath’s Collection last semester, I was directly exposed to the vast depth and diversity of a successful architect’s personal library. From Alden Dow to Katherine Morrow to Richard Neutra, Kamrath’s collection spanned decades and encompassed elements of major movements and achievements in the 20th century.

While his collection contains some quintessential readings that were quite prolific (such as Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats and Other WritingsHassan Fathy’s Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egyptand Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Future of Architecture), there are also some limited publications of several design projects that Kamrath and his firm were associated with. As I sifted through special collections to find these professional reports, one caught my eye before I even noticed the Kamrath Collection stamp on the cover: The Monona Basin Project.

My interest directly stems from the report’s subject: a schematic master plan for the city of Madison, Wisconsin. As a University of Wisconsin graduate who spent five years in Madison, I was immediately intrigued by the possibility of being able to compare my visual of Madison with a plan dating back to 1967.

For anyone that’s either been a resident of the greater Wisconsin-Illinois area or happens to be a Frank Lloyd Wright buff, you know that Wright’s career began in Madison as a student at the University of Wisconsin. Though he never completed his engineering degree, he went on to realize many significant projects in Madison and the surrounding area, including the Robert M. Lamp House, Unitarian Meeting House, and Taliesin in nearby Spring Green, one of his most famous projects. However, Monona Terrace likely possesses one of the most interesting timelines of all of Wright’s works – and I’m here to share that story with you all!

You can continue reading the rest of this article by Architecture & Planning Library GRA Stephanie Phillips over at the Battle Hall Highlights blog.

Posted by Travis Willmann on January 30, 2014 at 7:55 am
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Happily Buried in Music

A few of the 300+ postal bins of CDs from KUT.

Anyone who is a regular user of campus delivery for music deliveries from the Fine Arts Library will find great joy in news of a massive new acquisition of materials from a local Austin institution.

KUT-FM recently moved into their new KUT Public Media Studios, and in an effort to maximize their space, a decision was made to offload 40+ years of physical media. After a near fruitless effort to dispose of the items through a public purchase offering as required by state law, the collection was offered up for the Fine Arts Library — an offer which was quickly pounced upon by Libraries administrators.

FAL is now the proud repository of an additional 60,000 CDs (doubling the current circulating collection) and 4,000 vinyl records, all of which become accessible to the denizens of campus and visitors to the library…after, of course, an arduous effort to process the vast cache of materials is complete.

More about the acquisition here.

Posted by Travis Willmann on January 17, 2014 at 9:37 am
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Poet Adds His Voice

The Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection

On a steamy day in September, renowned poet and fiction writer Ken Fontenot welcomed Sean O’Bryan, Manager of Preservation and Gifts Processing at the UT Libraries, and I into his downstairs apartment. The walls in the living room and hallway were lined with bookshelves packed with brightly-colored poetry, poetry journals, writing guides, and stacks of chapbooks. This is a poet’s home, and Fontenot wants these bound words to feed our next generation of poets. Ken Fontenot received the Texas Institute of Letters Best Book of Poetry Award for his 2013 In a Kingdom of Birds (Pinyon Publishing), his second book of poetry; he has also published translations of German poetry and a novel. The poetry began when he attended a reading series at Tulane, his alma mater, and seemed more possible when he made his way to the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection at The University of Texas at Austin Libraries.

In the 1980s Fontenot moved from his home in New Orleans to Austin and to UT where he would receive an MA in German Language and Literature. While here, he found himself at the Flawn Academic Center, in a room adjacent to what was then the Undergraduate Library, a room full of poetry. “You go on filling your jar of hope with yet more hope,” he wrote in A Kingdom of Birds. Ruth Stephan founded the Poetry Collection at UT Austin in 1965, and Fontenot realized amidst these books and poetry reading events that he was a poet. The influence of the Poetry Collection stayed with him.

Last year he decided he wants his collection to make poetry possible for other potential poets and readers. His donation will add hundreds of volumes and contributes to an ongoing revitalization of the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection, now on the 6th floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library, in collaboration with the English Department and the New Writers Project. Ken Fontenot, along with the UT Libraries, hopes that the sweet cacophony of verse he has added to the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection will feed you, poet. Revel in the work of Rosemary Catacalos, Kay Ryan, Cyrus Cassells, Ai, Louise Gluck, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, W. S. Merwin, Rita Dove, Billy Collins, and many more. You’ll see these titles added to the shelves over the next couple of months.

Fontenot’s fiction towers still in his apartment on other shelf-lined walls. These books, he says, he is keeping as he writes his second novel.

- Kristen Hogan, English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies Librarian

Posted by Travis Willmann on January 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm
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After Spending, Giving

#GivingTuesday is a national movement during the holidays dedicated to charitable giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping.

The goal of #GivingTuesday is to encourage people everywhere including retailers, charities, online organizations, community centers, individuals and families to come together with one common purpose – to help others incentivize ways to give more, give smarter, and celebrate the great American spirit of generosity through charitable contributions.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, community, company or organization to come together to give something more and then spread the word. Be a part of a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.

This #GivingTuesday, consider supporting UT Libraries. Click the banner to show your support and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

And learn about how we are transforming the college experience through our Think Space initiative.

We appreciate your support.

Posted by nataliemoore on December 3, 2013 at 10:44 am
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On the Google Books Decision

Judge claims Google Books “transformative.”

Georgia Harper is a legal specialist in copyright law and the Libraries Scholarly Communications Advisor. She has been closely involved in the Libraries partnership in the Google Book project since it began.

A district court in New York made a determination last Thursday about which there has been enormous speculation for nearly a decade now: Is it fair use for Google to scan tens of millions of books, many of which are still protected by copyright, and provide snippets of the text of those works to users of its search engine in response to their queries? Judge Denny Chin says it is. There it will stand for the moment. The Authors Guild says it will appeal to the 2nd Circuit in hopes of a reversal.

UT Libraries is a partner in the Google Books project, so we are elated by the decision. We have long argued that scanning for the reasons Google scanned our books, among many other libraries’ books, is fair use, but it is the nature of fair use that reasonable minds can disagree about its scope. So you usually hold lightly to your opinions. You never know when you’ll be shown to be wrong. But, there has been a rather nice string of court decisions since the mid-1990′s, beginning with the “Pretty Woman” case (Campbell v. Acuff-Rose), strengthening the fair use doctrine when the use is transformative — that is, when it adds something new, provides new context, or brings the work to new audiences for a different purpose. So, the question becomes, most importantly, “Is the use transformative?” If it is, courts are much more likely to declare it a fair use, assuming it meets the other criteria for a fair use. Judge Chin’s decision explores these criteria, and the weights of public benefit and harm to economic incentives in his decision, which I recommend you read.

It usually comes down to this: does the benefit to the public (usually a speech-related, First Amendment benefit) outweigh the harm to the copyright owner’s reasonable expectation of commercial exploitation of her work? I’m happy that for now, we are confirmed in our opinion that here, it does.

Posted by Travis Willmann on November 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm
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Benson Hosts Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz visits LLILAS Benson

On Monday, September 23, Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Díaz stopped by the Benson Latin American Collection as part of his tour of UT before his keynote appearance at the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies: Reading Race in Literature and Film.

Díaz and a group of UT faculty gathered around the seminar room table where archivist Christian Kelleher had laid out some of the Benson’s treasures on display. These included some of the usual suspects, such as the Relaciones Geográficas (pintura maps from the first census of New Spain, dating back to 1577), the papers of the renowned Chicana theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, and the original manuscript of Rayuela by Argentine author Julio Cortázar.

Díaz views Benson special collections items.

Díaz’s visit was also a great opportunity to pull out some of the Benson’s lesser known gems, such as our collection of rare books and maps from and about the Dominican Republic, and share our Latino comics collection with a fellow comic book lover.

T-Kay Sangwand is the Human Rights Archivist for the Human Rights Documentation Initiative.

(Cross-posted from the Benson Latin American Collection.)

 

Posted by Travis Willmann on September 26, 2013 at 11:39 am
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A Bird in the Hand

Over the summer, we had the good fortune of a particular inquiry that made its way to our Ask A Librarian service from a person looking for some answers that they deemed only a librarian might be able to provide.

That inquiry came from noted author and UT alum Sarah Bird, who while not penning her next novel, or writing a column for Texas Monthly, or contributing to any number of other publications, or even writing a screenplay…still has time to be a strong public voice for libraries in general, and the University of Texas Libraries specifically.

At the time, Bird was working on an article for Alcalde — the Texas Exes alumni publication — in which she was to detail the significance of the collections at UT to her work. She came to us looking for some examples to use in the article, and we did our best to assist with her needs.

It was a short time after the publication of that article — “My Life in the Stacks” — in the September/October issue of Alcalde that we were contacted by a producer from the Longhorn Network with a request to provide a spokesperson for the Libraries to be interviewed for a piece they were filming on Sarah Bird to take place in our very own Life Science Library. This was to be a segment on the recently launched LHN program “The Alcalde”…a half-hour television complement to the print publication.

As a result, the LHN expanded their segment on Sarah Bird to include the Libraries as a major component of the show.

It’s amazing what sort of impact a single happy patron can make.

Posted by Travis Willmann on September 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm
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Sticks and Stones

Catholic school students burn thousands of comic books in Binghamton, New York (1948).

One would think that we’ve evolved enough as a society to move beyond the sort of censorship that has marked the darker periods of our history.

One would be wrong.

Last Tuesday, the Randolph County Board of Education in North Carolina voted 5-2 to remove Ralph Ellison’s masterwork The Invisible Man from the shelves of its school libraries.

The book is one among a much larger list of works that with depressing reliability have been prohibited from consumption by readers.

Next week is Banned Books Week. Sigh.

Well, because the First Amendment still sees regular challenges, the Libraries and the Department of English have teamed up to have a public discussion about the state of censorship in the Lone Star State.

Texas Banned Books: Questions and Answers” (TXBBQ&A) will be an interactive roundtable discussion about the real, relevant state of censorship in Texas. The conversation will center on Texas schools and values, books in prison, freedom of the press and the right to read.

Maley Thompson of the Department of English will moderate the discussion among five distinguished panelists:

The event is free and open to the public, and all voices are welcome.

More info here.

Posted by Travis Willmann on September 19, 2013 at 9:00 am
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Engineering Nature

What do the traditional academic fields of architecture, fashion, sports, engineering, biology, chemistry and military science all have in common?

The answer: they all share research interests in design and implementation of high tech textiles. This growing area includes biomimicry, embedded medical sensors, wearable electronics, camouflage, prosthetics and much, much more that will impact all our lives.

Because engineering plays an important underlying role in various aspects of technology, the Engineering Library has stepped up its collecting interests to include materials that specifically relate to this new era of high tech fashion and textile design.

To learn more about this fascinating field, use the Libraries’ scOUT tool to search for books and Academic Search Complete for new articles, as well as any of our specialized databases on how fashion and textile design is changing.

One of our favorite recent articles concerned developing a way to mimic the camouflage abilities of squid skin in fabric. So think of this the next time you eat calamari—there is more than good taste to this animal.

Below are some examples from our collections that show how this new area will impact all of our lives and demonstrate how the Libraries are keeping abreast of the brave new world of textiles.

Arduino Wearables [electronic resource] by Olsson, Tony.

Flexible composite materials : in architecture, construction and interiors, René Motro (ed.).

Textile futures : fashion, design and technology by Quinn, Bradley.

Bio-inspired engineering by Jenkins, C. H.

Bioinspiration and biomimicry in chemistry. [electronic resource] : reverse-engineering nature by Swiegers, Gerhard.

(Contributed by Susan Ardis, Head Librarian, McKinney Engineering Library)

Posted by Travis Willmann on September 19, 2013 at 8:27 am
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Wait – a Library Isn’t Just a Library?

Many students perceive a library solely as place to read, study, or perform research for their school-assigned projects. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I shared this sentiment; I rarely encountered projects in my specific courses that required me to do extensive research, and so the stacks that surrounded me while I studied and wrote papers went largely unnoticed.

Now, as a first-year UT graduate student and Graduate Research Assistant at the Architecture & Planning Library, I feel like I am getting a second opportunity to explore the riches that lie within the walls of a library. In some ways, I almost feel like many of the undergraduates using the library for the first time: in awe and slightly overwhelmed at the sheer amount of information that’s accessible. How had I never come across or searched on my own for a goldmine like this before? (continue)

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