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Director of Communications
Around The Library
The University of Houston Libraries recently announced the winner of the Library Website Sketch Contest.
Andrea Bohorquez, a junior majoring in sociology, won the grand prize for her drawing of a homepage that demonstrates usability and Cougar pride.
UH students were invited to share their ideas on what the Libraries homepage should look like. A wide variety of creative sketches were received over the two-week contest period. UH Libraries staff chose Bohorquez, winner of a Kindle Fire HD, and four runners-up who received library care packages.
Features from the best of the sketches will be considered in the Libraries’ website redesign process.
“I was inspired to participate in the sketch contest because I wanted to make the library’s services and events easier to locate, and I also wanted to express my ideas,” said Bohorquez. “I use the library frequently to study in the quiet areas which allow for better concentration. I also print class documents and scan on the first floor of the library. I like going to the library because it gives me the peace and quiet I need to study better.”
An eclectic crowd gathered at the University of Houston Libraries for the first-ever Game On, Cougars! event this month.
Over 130 gaming enthusiasts enjoyed an afternoon of friendly competition in board games and video games at the Rockwell Pavilion in the M.D. Anderson Library.
Activities included a Mario Kart tournament, a booth with library pong, and a game library where users checked out picks like Marvel Legendary, Smash Up, Small World, and Dominion.
The Street Fighter IV tournament was the spirited highlight of the event, with 20 contenders and many spectators.
In addition to a wide selection of games, food and over $100 in prizes donated by gaming vendors, UH students and community guests were also treated to game demos by librarians and discussions with local game designers. An unexpected benefit of the event involved the connections made by computer science students and game developers for potential internships in the industry.
The event drew a range of visitors, including alumni, faculty, staff, librarians, prospective students and other walk-ins from the Houston area. Anecdotal feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and boosts the likelihood that this will become a recurring event at UH. Many students were pleasantly surprised that their campus library held such a fun, nonacademic event.
“It was really nice to see students interact with the community,” said Rachel Vacek, head of Web Services and co-chair of the event. “There were people who came with their own games and taught others how to play.”
Vacek, a gaming enthusiast herself, drew support for the event from colleagues who are interested in gaming, as well as UH faculty who teach gaming design. She hopes to develop more campus partnerships for future events at the UH Libraries.
The UH Libraries hosted Game On, Cougars! in conjunction with hundreds of libraries around the globe in celebration of International Games Day @ Your Library, an initiative of the American Library Association.
University of Houston Libraries, in collaboration with area partners in the arts, hosted the Art of Death and Dying Symposium in 2012. Now, the symposium proceedings have been published to an open access journal via the Texas Digital Library.
Over 60 regional, national and international scholars and artists gathered at UH to explore concepts of death, dying and commemoration in literary, visual and performing arts.
“It was a truly unique gathering that featured both established authorities and new voices in their field,” said Catherine Essinger, coordinator of the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library.
UH humanities librarians Essinger, Katie Buehner, Kerry Creelman and Andrea Malone organized the three-day event, partnering with the Blaffer Art Museum, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, UH department of Hispanic Studies, The Honors College, the National Museum of Funeral History and Preservation Houston.
In addition to paper presentations, the symposium featured unconventional performances that explored the themes of death and dying in the arts, including Dario Robleto’s blend of storytelling, imagery and sound on the connection between creativity and loss; and a voice lecture recital of Brahms’ Vier Ernste Gesange (Four Serious Songs) op. 121 no.3 by Jeremy Blackwood of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
A collection of thought-provoking papers from the symposium were recently published to the UH institutional repository hosted by the Texas Digital Library. Katie Buehner, coordinator of the UH Music Library, noted that sharing the symposium proceedings online is exciting for the UH Libraries because “it’s a wonderful way to make what happened in those three days available to the public at large.”
“The fact that the UH Libraries has helped to make the proceedings freely available to researchers reflects our libraries’ commitment to furthering research and promoting access to information,” Essinger said. “I am particularly pleased that the proceedings include papers by two members of the UH community – one a respected professor and the other a student pursuing her M.A. in art history.”
Dan Johnson, senior library specialist at the University of Houston Libraries, has been selected as a 2013-2015 Association of Research Libraries (ARL)/Society of American Archivists (SAA) Mosaic Program fellow.
The highly competitive program, jointly sponsored by ARL and SAA, is part of the ARL diversity initiatives which seek to identify and promote emerging leaders from underrepresented groups to advanced positions in archival work in academic research libraries. Fellows are awarded tuition support, practical work experience, mentorship, and professional development.
The two-year fellowship will allow Johnson to complete an MSLS in archival studies and digital image management from the University of North Texas.
Johnson was encouraged to apply for the fellowship by his manager Santi Thompson, metadata and digitization operations coordinator. “This amazing opportunity will allow Dan to learn from and to collaborate with some of the best archivists and librarians in the field,” Thompson said. “He will be well situated to enter into the archives and special collections world after completing the Mosaic Program and to make an immediate impact on the profession. All of us at UH Libraries are so proud of his work and this well-deserved recognition.”
As part of the fellowship, Johnson will also begin an internship in UH Libraries Special Collections in the fall of 2014.
Interestingly, Johnson’s long-time interest in graphic novels led to this point in his career. After stints at an online business research company and in tech support for a state agency, Johnson thought about going back to school for an advanced degree in English, but a visit to a special collection for graphic novels and comics art at Michigan State University changed his mind.
“I always had a big passion for graphic novels,” Johnson said. During the visit to the MSU archives, Johnson was excited to realize that he could pursue a degree in library science and work on expanding a graphic novel collection that would support teaching and research needs.
Over the years, Johnson has incorporated his interest in comics into his academic work. He has researched and written on a range of topics from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman to Robert Crumb.
He noted that secondary educators are increasingly seeing the value and benefit of adding comics to their curriculum.
“We’re starting to see that graphic novels are being used in the classroom,” Johnson said. “Graphic novels are really useful for ESL students because of the visual component that is not language-specific. It’s really good for reluctant readers, who start reading comics and in the process, increase their vocabulary and literacy skills.”
As Johnson completes his MSLS, his internship with UH Libraries Special Collections will help expand his knowledge of original collection processing and reference work.
Mary Manning, university archivist in Special Collections, will advise Johnson’s internship. “As the Mosaic program coordinator, I look forward to identifying projects and working with Dan and Special Collection’s curators to develop an internship learning plan that will guide his experience,” Manning said. “Dan will have the opportunity to organize, preserve, and make available unique archival materials from University of Houston’s Special Collections, and work with curators on projects that will allow him to experience the different aspects of the work that we do.”
Looking to the future, Johnson hopes to expand UH Libraries’ relationships with faculty and researchers incorporating graphic novels in teaching and research, and to build connections with Houston-based artists to share their unique materials with UH.
The University of Houston Libraries welcomes a new biology and biochemistry librarian this month.
Porcia Vaughn joins the UH Libraries from the Southern Methodist University Fondren Library Center. She received her MSIS in health informatics with a specialization in health and clinical information systems and management in 2012.
Vaughn is a member of the American Library Association and the Medical Library Association. She has received numerous awards, including the SMU Central University Libraries Dean’s Eureka Award for creativity, ingenuity and imagination. Her most recent presentation at the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association 2012 Annual Meeting was titled Preventing a Chernobyl meltdown: Techniques for managing users’ cognitive load during bibliographic instruction.
“We anticipate that Porcia will bring an energy and passion to Liaison Services,” said Christina Gola, head of liaison services for instruction and outreach. “Her solid background in the biological sciences and health informatics will enable her to effectively communicate with faculty and students to meet their research and teaching needs. Her expertise will also help the libraries support the UH Health Initiative. We look forward to working with her and fostering her success.”
UH graduate students are encouraged to discuss their thesis or dissertation research in a 5-10 minute presentation. Researchers will have the opportunity to field questions from the audience afterward. The talks are free and open to the public.
As a new program at the UH Libraries, the Social Sciences Lightning Talks are designed to give students an opportunity to apply public speaking and networking skills; promote an exchange of ideas amongst scholarly thinkers; and highlight the prolific research being conducted at the University of Houston.
Graduate students who are interested in participating in the Social Sciences Lightning Talks may register online by November 15. Presentation dates are set for February 11, March 25 and April 15. All talks are scheduled from noon to 2:00 p.m.
For more information, students may contact their subject librarians.
Irene Ke, psychology and social work librarian, and Jacqueline Bronicki, collections and online resources coordinator, will present a poster titled Psychology Researchers’ Citing Behavior for Collection Development at the 2013 Charleston Conference in Charleston, SC.
The Charleston Conference is an annual meeting of librarians, publishers, electronic resource managers and vendors of library materials to discuss collection development and acquisitions.
Ke and Bronicki will share their findings from a collections assessment to discover how UH faculty have been using information for psychology-related research, which has increased 68% from 2007 to 2012.
Outcomes from the investigation will highlight how current library collections meet the research needs of faculty, and will inform future collections development.
The University of Houston Libraries is offering a special tour of the Collective HER-story, A Mosaic Masterpiece: Exploring the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archives exhibit for guests attending the 2013 Elizabeth D. Rockwell Lecture on Ethics and Leadership on Thursday, November 7, featuring Dr. Mae C. Jemison, physician, scientist and astronaut.
Vince Lee, curator of the exhibit, will lead guests through a tour and narrative overview of the collection, which illustrates the importance of women’s roles in the history and future of Houston and the state of Texas, covering a cross section of women in politics, philanthropy, social services, the arts, health and education, science and religion.
The exhibit tour begins at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 7, in the M.D. Anderson Library. Following the tour and a brief Q&A, guests will have plenty of time to arrive at the Cullen Performance Hall for Dr. Jemison’s discussion starting at 7:00 p.m.
Both events are free and open to the public.