All posts by jmendiola

The UT Libraries Student Experience

Students get some pet therapy.
Students get some pet therapy.

“Thank you for representing comradery for the university experience. For me, [the Libraries] serve as everything from academic and professional home bases, to safe spaces where friends can chat and grab coffee between classes, to settings where team work and innovation flourish at all hours of the day and night. The libraries are where we go to reinforce friendships, academics, as well as our longhorn pride.”
—Judy Albrecht, Psychology, Junior

2.5 million visitors passed through the gates of the University of Texas Libraries in 2016. That gate count is the equivalent of 25 home games at full capacity at Darrell K. Royal stadium. Have you ever wondered what students do at UT Libraries?

Some students come to UT Libraries because it is integrated into the UT curriculum. Librarians teach students the fundamentals of research at a tier-1 research university. At our core, the library is about experiences, not just lending books.

In library classrooms, librarians work with faculty to teach students to be better researchers. Students learn to navigate our materials (10 million volumes in our collections, our online maps, images, databases, e-journals, e-books, news sources, and government information), of course, but library instruction is most concerned with developing critical thinking skills. 18 and 19 year-old students stepping foot on the Forty Acres need to learn to evaluate sources of information for reliability, to use information ethically, and to consider what information will best meet their needs.

Students can learn how to conduct research in free classes provided by the Libraries.

Librarians are available to help students in each of these areas in classes and one-on-one at the reference desk. In fact, the UT Libraries provided over 50,000 individual reference sessions for students and faculty, and welcomed almost 12,000 attendees to Library Instruction Sessions in 2016. The skills we teach in these sessions are essential to success in college, and library instruction is one way we participate in UT’s efforts to increase retention and progression.

Students come to UT Libraries for the special things we have. Thanks to private philanthropy, students have access to everything from special collections to cutting-edge software and gadgets. Imagine yourself cheering the Longhorns at Darrell K. Royal stadium. Now imagine eleven football fields, that is the space our books, reference materials, classrooms, collaborative study spaces, and technology would fill!

A Foundry student technician talks with Lorraine Haricombe about 3D printing.
A Foundry student technician talks with Lorraine Haricombe about 3D printing.

Over the years, UT Libraries asked students, faculty, and staff, “What do our student need to succeed?” We learned students needed spaces for in-house tutoring for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. UT Libraries met these needs by working with campus partners to build the STEM Study Areas and tutoring spaces in the PCL. Students wanted a space to talk, work, and learn together, so we created PCL’s Collaborative Commons. Students needed computer labs with advanced software, new equipment like 3D printers, and creative spaces like a recording lab, and with the help of donors we created the Foundry, the Scholars Commons, and enhanced the media lab, meeting each of these needs

A student at work on a multimedia project.
A student at work on a multimedia project.

Students come to UT Libraries to meet classmates to work on projects. They pick UT Libraries because we are open 24 hours, 5 days a week and they feel safe here. Just how safe are the UT Libraries? Enough for students to bring in blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags and use us as their temporary home for all-nighters during finals week. It is not unusual to see a student wake up early in the morning and head out to take their test. We’ve even seen a student set up a tent in PCL.

We do all we can to provide safe and comfortable spaces for students. Parents can take comfort knowing their student has to show their UTID card past a security guard after 10pm to get in and out of the library.

Tents occasionally pop up in the libraries during finals.
Tents occasionally pop up in the libraries during finals.

The academic rigors, competitiveness, and challenges that take toll on students are also on the forefront of our mind. We help students relieve stress with therapy dogs during finals week, and ask them to send postcards home so parents know they’re okay (and studying).

The UT Libraries are an integral part of the overall student experience, whether it is providing research guidance, cutting-edge technology, or safe innovative spaces that serve as incubators where ideas and progress are born at all hours of the day.

Financial Literacy for Students

Student debt is at an all-time high. Robert Duvic of the McCombs School presents a talk with financial management solutions for students.
Student debt is at an all-time high. Robert Duvic of the McCombs School presents a talk with financial management solutions for students.

Today’s college students face a daunting financial landscape due to a variety of factors that include rising tuition. A quick primer on the current outlook reveals some distressing data:

  • $1.26 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt
  • 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.1%
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $351
  • Median monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $203

The lack of financial literacy, sometimes called financial illiteracy, can negatively impact a graduate’s earning potential, job opportunities and even housing options after they leave college.  The Libraries are hosting Professor Robert Duvic of the McCombs School of Business for a discussion of ways to navigate the minefield of financial management during the transition to adulthood and independent responsibility.

“Got Debt? The Importance of Being Financially Literate” will attempt to guide students through basic money management skills such as living within a budget, handling credit cards, and managing student loan debt. Students will learn about resources that are available to aid them in overcoming real life financial decisions.

In addition to the lecture, the Office of Financial Aid offers courses in money management and financial aid called Bevonomics as part of a national and local effort to provide free resources to students.

The presentation is in conjunction with the efforts of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the US Financial Literacy and Education Commission to promote financial literacy education. Both organizations work to improve financial education, financial literacy standards, and financial literacy principles for all ages and education levels.

Professor Duvic is a 2011 recipient of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, given by the University of Texas Board of Regents to recognize faculty members at the nine University of Texas System academic institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction. He has also twice received The Hank and Mary Harkins Foundation Teaching Excellence Award for Effective and Innovative Teaching in Undergraduate Classes from the McCombs School of Business, among other prestigious university awards. Dr. Duvic’s areas of research are corporate capital budgeting, international corporate financial management and international foreign exchange markets. He is a Major (retired) in the United States Army Reserve and served with the Americal Division in the Republic of Viet Nam. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart.

The University of Texas Libraries presents

“Got Debt? The Importance of Being Financially Literate” featuring Distinguished Senior Lecturer Robert Duvic of the McCombs School of Business.

1pm, Thursday, February 16

Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL), 2.370A (Learning Lab 1A)

 

Libraries at Work, A Student Perspective from Rosa Munoz

Hello,

 Two years ago, I began writing end-of-year blog posts about my time at UT Libraries. As you may recall, my name is Rosa Muñoz and I am a senior majoring in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. I wanted to give my last update before I graduate in May.

rosa-1 These four years at UT have flown by. It feels like just yesterday I became a Longhorn, went off on my own, and experienced what it was like being the first to attend college in my family. Now I am a semester away from graduating, and one step closer to making my dreams become a reality. Something I never thought I was capable of achieving. I have gained so much knowledge from working at the Libraries and by spending a great amount of time here. I have also been incredibly lucky to have had made such amazing relationships with not only my fellow classmates, but also with the staff from the UT Libraries who are like family to me now. Throughout my time at UT they have been such an enormous help to me and my studies. With their help I was able to make one dream of mine come true, which was to study abroad in Australia for a semester. I have learned that with the right guidance and resources anything is possible. No dream is too big or impossible to achieve. This is what UT Libraries has taught me. After 5 months, I am finally back in the states and could not be any happier to share what my experience was like abroad.

The Forty Acres has opened doors for me that never seemed attainable, and that is something I am going to miss. The UT Libraries will always be a second home. Since freshman year it is the place I go to study for my exams, pull “all-nighters” cramming for exams and final essays. I am proud to say that throughout my time at UT, I have been a part of helping renovate UT Libraries to make it an even better place. Not only has UT Libraries been useful to me while in the states, but it was also very useful to me abroad. When I needed to find certain research articles I would log into the UT Libraries databases on their website with my UT information, and use that as help for my assignments abroad.

I plan on taking a year off to figure out what I want to do before applying to graduate school. I hope to work in a lab during that time off to gain more field experience and find some clarity in selecting which career route I want to pursue in psychology. It has been tough getting to where I am now, but I know that everything will fall into place. My last spring semester is not going to be easy, but just like freshman year I will be in the library getting work done.  rosa-3

As a senior I can say that UT Libraries has shaped me. I have utilized almost everything that the libraries has to offer, such as study spaces, computer and printing access, writing and research assistance, access to an abundance of information, and so much more. I have one semester left to fully take advantage of these resources, and I am excited to see what else will be added. I will forever be grateful for what UT Libraries provided for me. Please consider making an end of year contribution to the UT Libraries to help support us.

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

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Happy Holidays!

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$21,718 Raised! Thank You!

A thankful student.

Thank you for supporting the University of Texas Libraries during the 40 Hours for the Forty Acres campaign!

We are excited to report that we received 101 gifts raising a total of $21,718.

Your gift will have a meaningful impact on all students across campus. For students, using the libraries is part of their trajectory of success in college; whether it is utilizing our collections for research, or tapping resources like the Undergraduate Writing Center, Think Space, our Scholars Commons facility, or our state-of-the-art collaborative spaces and technology labs.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

See one of the ways your gift impacts student success in the video below.

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.

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