Fisher Gets Call for U.S. News “Best Colleges” Feature

utlibs_usnewsAs most parents of college-bound kids know, U.S. News and World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” issue is a standard read and good general tool for assessing colleges based on rankings in a range of categories. So when First-year Experience Librarian Cindy Fisher was called by one of the magazine’s reporters earlier this week to answer some questions about considering libraries in the process of choosing a college, she jumped at the opportunity to represent the University – and to show her chops, to boot.

The full article – “4 Reasons Why the Library Should Affect Your College Choice” – is available online.

Benson First Organization to Win Noted Award

Benson_logoThe Benson Latin American Collection just received notification that they have become the first institutional recipient of the Medalla 1808, an award presented on behalf of Mexico City to persons – and now institutions – for significant contributions to the study and development of Mexican history and culture.

The Benson joins a crowd of such renowned writers and historians as Carlos Fuentes, José Emilio Pacheco and Carlos Monsivais, and being amongst those names is surely a humbling experience.

Congratulations to the Benson for this much deserved acknowledgment.

More information can be found here.

Win Tickets to The Real Dr. Strangelove

Texas Performing Arts has provided another pair of tickets to one of its great 2010-2011 Season events, and this time one lucky winner gets a night at the theater.

Renowned radio company L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) takes us back to the advent of the atomic age with its performance of Peter Goodchild’s The Real Dr. Strangelove: Edward Teller and the Battle for the H-Bomb.

The story follows “father of the hydrogen bomb” Edward Teller as he and “father of the atomic bomb” Robert Oppenheimer come to ideological heads over the future of nuclear weapons.

Teller is rumored to have been the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.

An explosive evening of theater awaits the winner, so visit the Libraries Research and Win Contest #6 page and fill out a brief questionnaire.

Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 10. One winner will be chosen randomly from the correct responses and announced on Twitter and Facebook on Friday, June 11. Contest is open to everyone.

Teach-the-Teacher Approach Wins Award

longaker
Dr. Mark Longaker

Annually, the UT System Library Directors confer an award to a UT System faculty or collaborative faculty group to recognize the efforts of integrating library resources into course curriculum.

This year, thanks to his innovative integration of library resources in E398T and RHE306, his collaboration with librarians and the effective use of technology to promote information literacy in multiple courses,  the UT Library Directors’ Award for Excellence in Library Resources Integration was presented to UT faculty member Dr. Mark Longaker at the Innovations in Online Learning Conference (IOL) on May 27.

Research and writing go hand-in-hand and for years, librarians in Library Instruction Services (LIS) have been helping instructors in the basic undergraduate writing course (RHE 306) teach their students research skills.  This approach traditionally took the form of one class visit to the libraries where students would try to learn all they needed to know to find and evaluate information for their writing projects in 50 minutes, but that expectation never seemed realistic.

Over the past year, LIS librarians reinvigorated their approach by partnering with Dr. Longaker – Associate Professor in the Department of Rhetoric & Writing and head of the department’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee – to create a teach-the-teacher model.  In partnership with Dr. Longaker and RHE 306 instructors, librarians developed resource guides, assignments and lesson plans for RHE 306 instructors to use to teach research skills over the course of the semester in their regular classrooms.  Students were better able to learn important information literacy skills because they were integrated into the class over the course of the semester, so that they could all be introduced and re-introduced at the time of need.  The materials, gathered together in a wiki, were editable by librarians and instructors to ensure that the learning outcomes of RHE 306 were supported. The success of this project was recognized by UT System Library Directors at the recent IOL Conference in Austin.

You can learn more about LIS and their efforts at promoting information literacy in the Spring 2009 issue of the Libraries Newsletter.

Catherine Hamer is Associate Director for User Services at the University of Texas Libraries.

New Biography on Retired Dean and McKinney Supporter Gloyna

gloyna_book_coverThis biography, Reflections of a Soldier and Scholar, by Davis Ford is packed with Earnest Gloyna’s fascinating recollections of farming, public education and family life in the Texas Panhandle during the Depression as well as his experiences in WWII, in graduate school at Johns Hopkins, and, of course, his professional life as a consultant/businessman, professor and dean. Of particular interest is his early life in the Texas Panhandle picking cotton, cutting milo, going to rural schools, learning to type and meeting his future wife, Agnes. Two of these would be helpful in his later life—typing and Agnes.

The story of how he chose graduate school over working for the U.S. Public Health Service after the war is classic Earnest. He decided to go to graduate school instead of joining the Public Heath Service because they would only pay him as a Captain. This decision changed everything—Earnest went to graduate school and became Dr. Gloyna.

Earnest has had an amazing career as an educator and researcher, as a consultant working on environmental problems all over the world, and as a dean. Under his leadership the College of Engineering grew enormously and improved its graduate programs by hiring highly qualified faculty from all over the United States. This faculty would help make the Cockrell School a research powerhouse.  Another of his great accomplishments was when he helped the Engineering Library grow from a barely competent collection to one of the best in the US. Continue reading

Win Tickets to The Klezmatics

It’s time for another Texas Performing Arts/University of Texas Libraries contest, and this one offers a chance to win tickets to the neo-klezmer stylings of The Klezmatics. This contest is in promotion of TPA’s 2010-2011 season.

Formed almost a quarter-century ago in the East Village, The Klezmatics genre-bending approach to the traditional Yiddish music style has earned them critical acclaim and fan loyalty. 2006’s Wonder Wheel – the group’s eighth album and a Grammy winner – was a klezmer take on the lyrics of Woody Guthrie.

The Klezmatics will play Bass Concert Hall at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30.

For your chance to win, visit the Libraries Research and Win Contest #5 page and fill out a brief questionnaire.

Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26. One winner will be chosen randomly from the correct responses and announced on Twitter and Facebook on Thursday, May 27.

A Medium for Expression

whiteboardThe end of the school year can be a liberating time for much of the population of the university. Most students get an extended break from the rigors of learning, or they complete a successful college career and move on to the next phase of life. Faculty transition from honing lectures and grading papers to scholarly or research pursuits, or just take some time to recuperate from teaching consecutive semesters. And for staff it generally means shorter lines, less traffic and time to catch up on all the projects that went on the back burner during the school year.

This nascent liberation can sometimes spur creative bursts as there are the beginnings of a collective exhale across the campus. Being on the front lines as we are when the library becomes a strategic center for student end-of-year projects and finals, we sometimes get the opportunity to witness, or even document, this extraordinary behavior.

We recorded two such examples just last week. Continue reading

Maps Make Reference Top 30

kabul_tpc92The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection gets a lot of use.

With its more than 25,000 maps digitized to date, that makes the collection the largest in the public domain, and it also means that the PCL Map Collection website gets a lot of visits…about 20 million pageviews in the last year alone.

In the past we’ve been alerted to high-profile users such as the United Nations (in the prosecution of Khmer Rouge) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, as well as regional and national news agencies, accessing the collections.

Now, the American Library Association has taken notice.

The Reference and User Services Association division of ALA has named the PCL Maps website as one of it’s 30 Best Free Reference Web Sites for 2010.

Plonsky Scores Trailblazer Award

plonsky_chris_2009_mugUT Women’s Athletic Director and incoming Libraries Advisory Council President Chris Plonsky is the recipient of the College Sports Information Directors of America’s (CoSIDA) 2010 Trailblazer Award.

According to the CoSIDA website, the Trailblazer Award is given “to an individual who is a pioneer in the field of sports information who has mentored and helped improve the level of ethnic and gender diversity within CoSIDA.”

Plonsky will receive her award at the CoSIDA convention in San Francisco on July 6.

Chris has served on the Libraries Advisory Council since 2006, assuming the role of Vice-President in 2007. She will take up the role of President in fall 2010 and will continue to advise the Libraries in their marketing, outreach and fundraising efforts.

You can read more about Plonsky’s award here, where you’ll find a great profile of her by former Longhorn Assistant Athletics Director and current sports broadcaster Bill Little.

Our congratulations to Chris on this much deserved honor.