Members of the Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA!) are available for providing advice and best practices in salvaging photos, books, documents and other priceless records that may have been damaged in the recent flooding.
Vince Lee, archivist at the University of Houston Libraries and president of AHA!, urges those seeking help with waterlogged materials to contact the organization for guidance. “AHA! would be happy to talk with anyone in a situation in which their valuable materials have been damaged by floodwaters,” Lee said.
Flood remediation of family or organizational records involves cleaning, drying and other types of treatment specific to the type of item. Many materials that have been affected can be salvaged with appropriate methods. AHA! archivists can provide specialized expertise in salvage and preservation.
For the first time in 18 years, a new leader of the University of Houston Libraries has been appointed. Lisa B. German, currently of Pennsylvania State University Libraries, was selected to serve as dean of Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. Her appointment will begin on August 1, 2015.
“Lisa German is a highly regarded research library administrator, and has exceptional experience and leadership skills,” said senior vice president and provost Paula Myrick Short. “She brings to the University a strategic vision that will move the Libraries’ role in teaching and research forward. I’m thrilled that she will join us.”
At Penn State Libraries, German served as associate dean for collections, information, and access services, where she was responsible for planning, organization, policy development, implementation, assessment, and direction. She has also published extensively in these areas.
German has participated in the Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians at Harvard University, and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Research Library Leadership Fellows Program. She is the recipient of several awards from the University of Illinois, Penn State University, and the American Library Association – Association for Library Collections and Technical Services.
“I am truly honored to be selected as the next dean of Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair at the University of Houston, one of the most outstanding and diverse universities in America,” German said. “Building upon a solid foundation, and with excellent librarians and staff, we will make valuable contributions in pursuit of the University’s strategic directions.”
German succeeds Dana Rooks, who, in May 2014, announced plans to step down from the post she held since 1997.
German earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, both from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
A national search was conducted for the Libraries dean vacancy. Provost Short commended the search committee, chaired by Dr. Latha Ramchand, dean of the C.T. Bauer College of Business, for their valuable service in the search process.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,900 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the university’s newsroom.
About the University of Houston Libraries
The University of Houston Libraries is an academic library system serving UH students, faculty, staff and the public, and providing access to over 4 million volumes. The UH Libraries is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, the Greater Western Library Alliance, the Hathi Trust, the Council on Library and Information Resources, the Digital Library Federation, and the Texas Digital Library. For more information about the UH Libraries, visit News and Events.
University of Houston students voted MD Anderson Library as the best place to study on campus according to Coogs Choose, a best-of survey from the student newspaper, The Cougar, in collaboration with the Center for Student Media.
The MD Anderson Library provides a variety of spaces to study and collaborate, services tailored for research and scholarship, and librarians whose mission is to help students and scholars find and create knowledge.
In Coogs Choose, students voted on everything they love about the campus and the city. Write-in categories included a range of people, places and services, like best professor, bike shop, and off-campus apartments.
Results for Coogs Choose were announced in a special section of The Cougar, available at campus newsstands until April 22.
The William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library presents the second panel discussion in the Research in the Real World series on Wednesday, April 15 from 4-5 pm.
Tailored for students in the UH School of Art, the talk will feature professionals discussing their on-the-job research activities, and information skills needed for a career in the arts.
Refreshments and a reception will follow the panel discussion.
University of Houston Libraries honored outstanding librarians and staff at an awards ceremony this month, held at the Rockwell Pavilion. Dean Dana Rooks commended the entire staff of the Libraries at the annual event, stating that it is her favorite day of the year. With her retirement swiftly approaching, this is also Dean Rooks’ last Staff Awards.
The recipient of the Dean’s Library Advocate Award is Cathy Horn, associate professor in the College of Education. This award recognizes a University of Houston employee who has worked closely with the Libraries during the past year, and who has made a significant contribution to the success of the Libraries.
The Outstanding Group Award went to Acquisitions, a team that has demonstrated exceptional creativity, collegiality and hospitality in collaborating with other units. Team members are Mary Rico, Yesenia Umana, Kelli Getz, Gloria Robinson-Citizen, Lisa Lomas, Jeannie Pham, Dahn Bang, Mike Thompson, Judith Parsons and Erin Lew.
Christie Peters received the Trailblazer Award for Leading Organization Change, for her critical work in developing new services for data management, helping to expand the Libraries’ digital repositories, and integrating the Libraries more fully into research activities on campus.
The John P. McGovern Rookie of the Year Award winner is Mauricio Lazo. Although new to the organization, Lazo has helped strengthen the Libraries brand by providing creative and technical expertise in numerous multimedia projects.
The Student Achievement Award recipients are Kaylie Kahlich (Music Library) and Alex Segura (Metadata and Digitization Services), both demonstrating superior performance and accomplishments in the course of their duties. The McGovern Outstanding Student Award went to Sara Craig, an employee in Special Collections.
Cindy Romero was honored with the Staff Achievement Award for her consistently exemplary work and friendly demeanor while onboarding new employees. Esmeralda Fisher received the Staff Achievement Award for establishing new communications strategies and revitalizing existing channels. The McGovern Outstanding Staff Award recipient is Marcus Elizondo, whose expertise in systems and excellent customer service have strengthened the performance of his department and the Libraries.
The Librarian Achievement Award recipients are Alex Simons and Lee Hilyer. Simons is known for building strong relationships with her colleagues throughout the Libraries, and has made significant contributions to a number of public services projects. Hilyer’s service-oriented professionalism and practical insights make him a valued asset to the Libraries. Jackie Bronicki received the McGovern Outstanding Librarian Award for providing expertise in statistics and analysis, and for managing ambitious, large-scale projects in collections assessment.
The 2015 Staff Awards event was brought to fruition through the efforts of Marissa Aiello, Gillian Bautista, Kelsey Brett, Esmeralda Fisher, Kristine Greive, Stacey Lavender, Stephanie Lewin-Lane, Hayley Moreno, Andy Nguyen, Santi Thompson and Carolyn Meanley.
Trevon Latin, a mixed media artist, will graduate from the University of Houston this semester. He plans to move to New York City and pursue his craft in an environment wholly different from his native Houston, a place he holds close to his heart.
Latin’s artwork was recently on display in the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library A2 Alcove, a venue that is part gallery and part lounge. The library supports UH student artists by hosting exhibitions of their work throughout the year. All pieces are digitally documented and included in the UH Digital Library.
As a student in the UH School of Art, Latin says that his academic journey has allowed him to find what he values the most, and what to focus on in his life as an artist.
“When I put my work into motion, I really consider what it means to me to be from the South,” said Latin, whose niche is narrative art. He is inspired by those known as outsider, or naïve, artists, the untaught creatives with natural talent who didn’t pursue academic studies in the visual arts.
Latin’s work is influenced by outsider artists who nourished their craft in unconventional ways, like Aminah Lynn Robinson, who used a number of materials woven into a continuous narrative to tell her life story; and Henry Darger, a reclusive writer and artist whose epic fantasy manuscript and illustrations were discovered only after his death.
Themes blending personal experience with fantasy are very compelling, says Latin. “I try to incorporate that into my work. If I passed, what would people find? What would I want to show them about my life?”
Latin has created a character by the name of S. Relentless, a protagonist in a fantastical body of work whose story begins in antebellum South. The narrative of S. Relentless is driven by Latin’s own modern-day experiences.
Latin’s education over the past decade has been defined by lessons in patience and keeping true to oneself. He has learned that, if the work has strong meaning to the artist, it will resonate powerfully with others.
“I want to maintain a personality in my work and do it on a level where it’s known and it has a presence,” he said. His advice to burgeoning artists: remain honest and follow your heart. “It sounds like a Disney cartoon,” he says with a laugh, “but I’m being serious. It’s the only way I can create work. People tend to take notice and connect with art on a human level, and when you really put your heart into it, that’s where the connection is the strongest.”
Student artists interested in displaying work at the Architecture and Art Library are encouraged to contact Chris Conway with digital samples.
The end of the semester is near. While you’re studying for finals, stop by the MD Anderson Library to Paws and Relax!
Local organization Faithful Paws will bring certified therapy dogs to the MD Anderson Library for four days of stress relief in May, just in time for finals! Drop in for petting, snuggling and treat-feeding with these gentle and friendly canines.
- Monday May 4: 7-9pm
- Tuesday May 5: 8-10pm (concurrent with Finals Mania!)
- Wednesday May 6: 7-9pm
- Thursday May 7: 3-5pm
University of Houston Libraries invites faculty and staff, students, researchers, and anyone interested in discovering rare books to attend a brown bag presentation on Wednesday, April 22 in the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion at the MD Anderson Library.
Biology and biochemistry librarian Porcia Vaughn, library specialist Kristine Greive, and English librarian Dr. Jesse Sharpe will present “The Human Side of Science,” a discussion of rare books on life sciences housed in UH Special Collections.
The April 22 talk is part of Unique Holdings, a new series that highlights the rare archival items held by Special Collections and available for use by faculty, students and researchers.
Future Unique Holdings talks will feature liaison librarians discussing other books and manuscripts of Special Collections that can inform and shape scholarly endeavors in any discipline.
Bring your lunch and enjoy an enlightening discussion!
What: “The Human Side of Science” brown bag presentation
When: Wednesday, April 22 at noon
Where: Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, MD Anderson Library
Born in Mexico City, María Cristina Mena (1893-1965) was the author of eleven short stories, five children’s books, and a nonfiction article. She is best known for her short stories, published mainly in The Century Magazine and American Magazine from 1913 to 1916. With renewed interest in the history of Chicano literature and the publication of all her short fiction in The Collected Stories of María Cristina Mena, her work is now receiving greater consideration.
Arte Público Press and University of Houston Special Collections present “Re-Discovering María Cristina Mena,” an event honoring the works of Mena and celebrating the gift of the María Cristina Mena Papers to UH Special Collections.
What: Re-Discovering Maria Cristina Mena panel discussion
When: Wednesday, April 22, 2:00 – 3:30 pm (reception at 4:00 pm)
Where: University of Houston MD Anderson Library, Special Collections, Evans Classroom
- Amy Doherty Mohr, PhD
Amerika-Institut at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munich
- Carolina A. Villarroel, PhD
Arte Público Press and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project
- José Aranda, PhD
Rice University, Department of English
University of Houston Special Collections recently welcomed Emily Vinson, audiovisual archivist, to the team. She will shepherd the audiovisual collection on its journey through acquisition, preservation and digitization.
Vinson’s primary focus is the digitization of select materials from the KUHT Collection, including securing intellectual control and prioritizing items for accessibility.
The KUHT Collection presents a unique set of opportunities. It contains, in part, nearly 1200 film reels and 600 boxes of videotapes, the specific contents of which are unknown. “As is often the case with archival audiovisual collections, labeling is minimal, if present at all, so there are going to be many mysteries in the collection,” Vinson said. “There’s no finding aid yet, so we’re going to have a lot of questions in how to move forward with those pieces of the collection.”
Vinson will cross-reference each film and videotape with available titles, and query physical records in the collection to determine which programs hold lasting value and as such, rise in priority for digitization.
Even for highly-skilled archivists like Vinson, evaluating old films is a tricky process. Many may have become too fragile, and there may be only one opportunity for a successful transfer.
The process begins with an inspection of the films and tapes to determine its condition. Cleaning may be necessary. The films are then sent to film transfer experts for digitization, with care taken to preserve the original, which is then returned to Special Collections.
Vinson notes that public broadcasting audiovisual archives offer a uniquely intimate view of a community, unmatched in other media. “I think people engage with AV materials in a way that they don’t necessarily engage with paper materials,” Vinson said. “The insights you get into a city and community via the public broadcasting world is really unique. You see aspects of the city’s history that don’t come through in other ways. It’s a really exciting way to learn about a place, and to understand what was important to people then.”
Vinson was inspired to pursue library school after a particular event. She had just graduated from Tulane University before Hurricane Katrina hit. She evacuated and when she returned to the art gallery on campus where she worked, she saw that the university library had flooded. In the midst of widespread catastrophe, water was being pumped out and library staff were planning to elevate materials to try and salvage as much as possible.
“People saw value in the collection and found the means to preserve it,” Vinson said. “I thought that was the most amazing thing I had ever heard of. I had spent so many hours in this library, so that’s when I decided I should go to library school.”
Vinson attended UT Austin and earned a Master of Science in Information Studies with advanced study in conservation of library and archival materials. She held a fellowship in preservation and administration at New York Public Library, and later, had a two-year grant-funded position at WNYC, working on digitizing public radio archives. Most recently, she was an archivist at Rice University’s Baker Institute.
Beyond audiovisual preservation, Vinson is an avid reader (Agatha Christie novels are her favorites) and viewer of Netflix. She also plays tennis and sews. And she is enjoying UH culture. “I’ve had a really fantastic impression of the University so far,” she said. “I love that it’s a diverse campus and it’s really active and thriving.”