Tag Archives: university of texas libraries

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. 

Semester Recap: The Unbridled Beauty of Watercolor Renderings

To kick off a series of blog posts recapping the Spring 2014 semester, we figured we’d start with one of the most visually captivating: watercolor renderings from our very own Alexander Architectural Archive.

Earlier in the semester, Judy Birdsong’s Visual Communications studio paid a visit to the Archive to check out some of our working drawings in order to see how they have changed over the years. This is a completely fascinating progression, and one of my personal favorite things to view when I visit the Archive for my own research needs. However, a few weeks later, students were assigned a project requiring watercolor — and the watercolor renderings the Archive has are an absolutely incredible resource!

I was lucky enough to be given a similar exposure to the Archive’s watercolors by Curatorial Assistant Nancy Sparrow, and I’m here to pass on the unbridled beauty. If any of you happen to have been looking to improve your architectural watercolor skills, the Archive is an unparalleled resource!

Throughout final reviews, a similar version of the same comment often comes to the surface: accurately conveying an architectural idea heavily depends on the way you draw or render your final presentation graphically. With so much focus on computer generated renderings in practice today, watercolors are almost slowly being vaulted into the ranks of a lost art. These stunning examples from the Archive showcase immaculate talent that displays a clear understanding of color, shadow, contrast, and fine detail by the artist.

We hope the following high-resolution images inspire you in some way, whether out of pure admiration, or to pursue a new (or revived!) technique in the renderings you produce yourself. Click on the below photographs to view in beautiful detail!

I was floored by this beautiful rendering of the Flawn Academic Center, located just across the mall from Battle Hall. Nancy and I could not stop admiring the glass…

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

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 reading

The most primary of sources

Napkin designs on display. Source: eNEWS 11-20-2012

Thanks to Gregory Street, one of our Library Student Supervisors, the Alexander Architectural Archive has begun collecting records of the UT chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS).

As he was busy packing up for his six-month residency at the firm Overland Partners, Gregory — the outgoing President of NOMAS — took time to make a special donation to the Archive. NOMAS was incredibly active this year, building their membership, conducting a service project for Mendez Middle School and holding a “napkin sketch” competition.  Such sketches often represent the seeds of designs that are later manifested in great buildings. This competition was NOMAS’ way of bringing together all programs and communities in the School while raising awareness of their organization.  The result is a unique representation of student, faculty and staff work.

During one of our morning breaks, I asked Gregory what NOMAS planned to do with the sketches.  We also discussed the importance of student organizations, and how it is difficult for members to ensure continuity and sustained knowledge for their leadership.  That’s where the archive comes in.  Especially during this era of centennial celebrations, we have seen a rise in scholars asking for information about the early days of programs and student life.  Student organization records reflect what students deem most valuable at a particular time in their education and their professions.  They reflect the work of future leaders.

Gregory recognizes the value of his organization’s work, and his effort in donating the NOMAS napkin sketch competition documentation is very fitting, serving as the seed of the NOMAS chapter archive and future collaborations with the University of Texas Libraries.  We look forward to supporting our student organizations and see a great future for NOMAS.

Beth Dodd is Head Librarian at the Architecture & Planning Library

Cross-posted at Battle Hall Highlights.

World AIDS Day at Fine Arts

The Fine Arts Library will host an event in recognition of World AIDS Day, which occurs annually on December 1.

Guest speaker Akinyi Wadende, a graduate fellow in Education at Texas State University, will be joined by University of Texas Professor of Art History Moyo Okediji to present “Kwe Mosiko: HIV/AIDS, Art and Activism” in the Roberts Reading Room of the Fine Arts Library in the Doty Fine Arts Building beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1.

“Kwe Mosiko” is a concept among the ethnic Luo people of Kenya and Tanzania that celebrates beauty as a process of physical and emotional healing.

By examining the intersections of beauty and healing in contemporary American art, modern European art and indigenous African art, the presenters will draw on art and activism as creative resources to combat endemic and epidemic aspects of the HIV/AIDS infections. Video and multimedia components will accompany the presentation.

This event is free and open to the public.

Breaking Through Austerity

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

-Benjamin Franklin

You’ve probably heard the news that UT-Austin has initiated a plan to cut $14.6 million in expenditures for 2010 – 2011. Everyone on campus has been looking for places to trim back, trying to decide what is core and essential and what is just “nice to have.”

The UT Libraries has a long-standing commitment to staff training and professional development and that commitment has not wavered during these tough economic times.   However, we have had to find creative ways to provide this training with fewer financial resources.

One approach we have taken is a program called Learning Breaks.  Every other week, someone from the Libraries staff will do two 30 minute presentations, one in-person and one online through our online meetings software, about a topic in which they have expertise.  This approach has allowed us to offer trainings on a wide variety of topics ranging from Web 2.0 applications such as Twitter, Flickr, wikis and blogs to time management practices such as managing your to-do list.

Since these topics are suggested by staff we know they fulfill a need.  What’s more, the benefits of Learning Breaks go beyond what is learned in the training; this peer-to-peer model also allows the Libraries to recognize and value the expertise and diverse talents of the staff.    And by incorporating ongoing training into the work day on a regular basis, Learning Breaks send a message that library staff are worth the investment.

Catherine Hamer is Interim Associate Director for User Services.

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.

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.

Time to catch up

fall09_nlThe Fall/Winter edition of the Libraries Newsletter is now online.

The issue features articles on the Texas Digital Library, some news on the Fine Arts Library‘s Sam Shepard collection, the Human Rights Documentation Initiative in Burma and on the web, the flowering of the Life Science Library‘s Science Study Break, and much more.

And please take some time to peruse back issues while you’re at it.