People-Building for Today and Tomorrow


“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.

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

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
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.