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Director of Communications
Around The Library
Last year, over 130 gaming enthusiasts gathered at the University of Houston Libraries for the first-ever Game On, Cougars!, a day of open gaming for the UH community. This year, the event levels up with a legendary alliance for an even more epic experience.
FoodMachine Houston, a non-profit organization comprising gamers whose mission is to make a positive impact on the community through charitable acts of gaming, will be volunteering alongside UH Libraries staff at this year’s event on Saturday, November 15 at the MD Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion. The group will teach board games, run raffles, and manage Warmachine miniatures and video game tournaments for UH attendees, and accept donations for the Houston Food Bank as well.
“We are thrilled to be working collaboratively with FoodMachine Houston on the planning and running of Game On, Cougars!, and we expect that it will be at least twice as big as last year’s event,” said Rachel Vacek, head of Web Services and co-chair of the event.
Houston Pathfinder Society will also be attending to give participants a crash course on role-playing games. Game developers will also showcase prototypes in need of play-testers, and vendors will display merchandise. Attendees will have plenty of chances to win prizes, too.
Beyond a fun day of gaming at the UH Libraries, Game On, Cougars! is also designed to promote student success, which “is about helping students acquire the skills they need to become lifelong learners and be successful both in college and on the path they have chosen after graduation,” Vacek, an avid gamer herself, said. “I believe that playing games – whether board games, video games, or role-playing games – strengthens social bonds and builds trust between people. Games also encourage players to find innovative solutions, teach them how to persevere through challenges, and collaborate effectively to reach shared goals. Many games require critical thinking and problem solving skills. All these benefits of gaming translate into having better study skills and more effective interactions within the classroom and beyond.”
Game On, Cougars! is hosted in conjunction with hundreds of libraries around the globe in celebration of International Games Day @ Your Library, an initiative of the American Library Association. Sponsorship opportunities are available for Houston-based developers, publishers and sellers.
Who: You! All UH students, staff and faculty are invited to attend.
What: A FREE day of board games, card games, war games, miniatures, role-playing games, and video games; prizes, refreshments and more!
When: Saturday, November 15, 2014
Where: MD Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion
University of Houston Libraries will host a special week of social media training in October for UH students, staff and faculty.
As with the UH Libraries technology training workshops, Social Media Week workshops are free and are recommended for anyone who uses social media.
- Understand the differences between a Facebook profile, page, and group
- Review personal profile privacy settings and options
- Learn how to make and maintain a Facebook page
Facebook Analytics: Advanced 102
- Understanding Facebook Insights
- How to make a Facebook page monthly report
- How to grow your Twitter presence
- How to make and use Twitter lists
- Understanding hashtags
Twitter and Hootsuite: Advanced 102
- Introduction to Hootsuite
- Monitoring topics and keywords on Twitter
- Introduction to Twitter analytics
- How to create an awesome profile
- How to use LinkedIn Groups
Instagram and Snapchat 101 *This class requires all attendees to bring their own smart phone or other device with app store and built-in camera.*
- Get to know Instagram
- Get to know Snapchat
This week marks the annual Banned Books Week, a national campaign that highlights the importance of free and open access to information, and calls attention to literary works that are frequently challenged in bookstores, libraries and schools. This year’s Banned Books Week theme focuses on challenged comic books and graphic novels.
Dan Johnson, senior library specialist at the University of Houston Libraries and Association of Research Libraries/Society of American Archivists Mosaic Program fellow, has incorporated his longtime interest in comic books and graphic novels into his scholarly endeavors, having researched and written on a range of topics, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman to the works of Robert Crumb.
Below, Johnson discusses issues of banned and challenged comic books and graphic novels, and implications for public libraries and the community.
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) is a non-profit organization comprised of comic book creators, publishers and readers who come to the defense of comic book shops or libraries that have problems with materials being challenged. Some of them end up having issues where a challenged book is accused of violating community standards.
CBLDF compiled a list of comic books and graphic novels that are constantly in the news, or are known for having challenge or ban issues. In almost all cases they weren’t actively banned, but there were challenge cases for them, usually about age appropriateness. Within public libraries, most make a distinction between graphic novels for adults in one section, graphic novels for teens in another, and graphic novels for younger children in a third section. Often a challenge comes up when a teen or younger child comes home with a book that they got from the adult fiction section.
Addressing the Challenge
In public libraries, there’s a formal review process documented by that library so that the public has access to it and they know what’s going to happen. It requires the person making the challenge to have read the book in toto. That does away with a lot of the challenges because many people haven’t read the whole book.
When they have read the book completely, the challenge goes through an internal review process that involves librarians of that particular institution. The review panel reads the book from beginning to end, where the issue is to determine whether there is some artistic merit or value to this book as literature. These are stories that reflect different community standards, different people’s lives, and different people’s experiences.
As a result of the challenge, the book in question can be pulled completely. That doesn’t happen very often, but it can happen. Second, the book could be re-categorized; they move it from the young adult fiction section to the adult fiction section, for example. The third possible ruling is that the review board determines that the book is appropriate for the library and falls within the scope of their collection development policy. The last step in the review process, after the board comes to an agreement, is that they write a defense letter, stating what they have determined to do and why.
Comic Books and Graphic Novels as Bibliotherapy
I am a parent, and there are all sorts of comic books that I read, but I won’t let my daughter read. I think parents should assess what they’re willing to talk to their children about. Literature can be used as a way to explore things that are challenging or scary for children. One of the ways to work through things that they don’t understand is to read about them in a safe environment. An idea that has been brought up in my classes in graphic novels and library science is that, if you think that it could happen to someone, it has happened to someone. There are readers out there who are looking for books that speak to their experiences. If you can imagine that anyone has gone through it, you should have materials for them to read. That’s the case for literature, and one of the things that comic books and graphic novels are good for. There’s a term for it – bibliotherapy – the idea that a book as a fictional piece is a safe environment in which to explore traumatic things that have happened.
Selected Challenged Works
Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists
Following the events that occur when Morpheus, the Sandman and Lord of Dreams, is captured and imprisoned by mistake by a dark magician, this series of graphic novels blends characters from world religions, mythology, and literature in an epic tale. Ambitious in scope, Gaiman’s creation is a high watermark for the comics format, having won various awards including a Hugo and numerous Eisners.
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Spiegelman’s autobiographical tale interweaves the story of his father, Vladek, a Jewish Holocaust survivor from occupied Poland, and Artie’s challenges in making sense of his father’s tale. In Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-winning narrative, Jews are depicted as mice, Germans as cats, and U.S. GIs as dogs in a very emotional story of survival during World War II.
Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
This graphic novel memoir explores the complexities of family life of lesbian author Bechdel and her distant relationship with her father, a man who spent most of his life in the closet. Ever an enigma full of contradictions, even in his death his intentions are unclear; what might have been an accident could easily have been suicide. Bechdel was recently named as a 2014 MacArthur Foundation fellowship recipient.
- Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
- Blankets: an illustrated novel by Craig Thompson
- Bone by Jeff Smith
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn and Niko Henrichon
- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
- Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse
University of Houston Libraries Special Collections has collaborated with Gulf Coast Reads on its Remembering Through Archives initiative.
The curated online World War I exhibit features images shared by member area repositories of the Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA), including original materials housed in UH Special Collections and available for online access in the UH Digital Library.
Each year, Gulf Coast Reads chooses a title to promote for its regional reading and listening initiative. This year’s selection is Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best American Historical Fiction. World War I is a central subject in the story, which inspired the online exhibit.
Images from UH Special Collections include Camp Logan maps and suffrage letters of Minnie Fisher Cunningham. Visitors to the online exhibit may browse by collection.
October is American Archives Month, in which archival repositories aim to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving historical items and making them accessible.
“The significance of Archives Month has always been about collaboration and the power of archives when they work together in bringing awareness to collections and services,” said Vince Lee, UH Special Collections archivist and vice president of AHA. “This online exhibit on WWI, which we are proud to be a part of, shows the power that each archive brings in documenting an historic event. We each have strengths and collecting areas which, leveraged together, tell a complete story.”
A new exhibit at the University of Houston Libraries illuminates the life of visionary Alley Theatre founder Nina Vance, and provides a contextual history of the theatre’s rise to prominence.
In 1947, Vance mailed 214 penny postcards bearing the question, “Do you want a new theater for Houston?” Soon, the Alley Theatre was born.
From the exhibit:
From its modest beginnings in a dance studio on Main Street, to a converted fan factory on Berry Avenue, to a state-of-the-art building downtown, the road to becoming the nationally recognized theatre it is today was paved with talent, generosity, and hard work. The woman behind it all remained the same, Nina Vance. As the theatre’s founder and artistic director for more than thirty years, Vance was a guiding force for the theatre and worked tirelessly to see it become a Houston institution.
Visitors are invited to view Nina Vance and the Alley Theatre: A Life’s Work at the MD Anderson Library starting October 25, 2014 through May 8, 2015. The exhibit opens concurrently with the 100th anniversary of Vance’s birth.
The following databases are now available from the University of Houston Libraries:
A full-text database of periodicals, peer-reviewed journals, academic and professional publications, magazines, consumer newsletters and newspapers, research reports, and association newsletters focused on contemporary, alternative and integrated approaches to health care and wellness.
American Indian Histories and Cultures
A wide-ranging digital resource presenting a unique insight into interactions between American Indians and Europeans from their earliest contact, continuing through the turbulence of the American Civil War, the on-going repercussions of government legislation, right up to the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. This resource contains material from the Newberry Library’s extensive Edward E. Ayer Collection.
Original manuscripts, maps, ephemeral material, and rare printed sources from the Graff Collection about the American West, including tales of frontier life, Native Americans, vigilantes, and outlaws, and the growth of urban centers and environmental impact of westward expansion and of life in the borderlands.
This resource brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of global commodities in world history. The commodities featured in this resource have been transported, exchanged and consumed around the world for hundreds of years. They helped transform societies, global trading operations, habits of consumption and social practices.
Health Source, Consumer Edition
Provides consumer oriented information on many health topics including the medical sciences, food sciences and nutrition, childcare, adult health, behavioral health, cardiology, drug and medication information, pediatric health, senior health, women’s health, and sports medicine.
Literary Reference Center
This full-text database provides a spectrum of information on authors and their works across literary disciplines and time frames to give scholars, professors, and researchers a foundation of literary reference works to meet their research needs.
Natural and Alternative Treatments
Natural & Alternative Treatments contains detailed information on almost 200 different conditions and the conventional and natural treatments used to treat them, over 300 herbs and supplements, plus drug-herb and drug-supplement interactions for more than 90 drug categories.
Project Euclid: Mathematics and Statistics Online
Project Euclid is a joint effort by Cornell University Library and Duke University Press; this not-for-profit online publishing service provides access to journals, monographs, and conference proceedings in the fields of theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics.
ProQuest Congressional Publications
Provides users with access to a comprehensive collection of historic and current congressional information.
University of Houston graduate students are invited to the Fall 2014 Graduate Student Mixer, hosted by UH Libraries.
The event serves as an opportunity for graduate students to network with one another, and allows them to meet subject librarians in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
Date: Tuesday, October 7
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Rockwell Pavilion, second floor of MD Anderson Library
NOTE: Must be 21 to consume alcohol. IDs will be checked at the door.
The University of Houston Libraries provides a vast array of resources that supplement teaching, learning, and research. Resources, including both physical and electronic materials, are cataloged and described using standards and processes that optimize accessibility to users.
UH Libraries recently welcomed Hayley Moreno as its new resource description coordinator. In this role, Moreno will manage cataloging workflow for increased efficiency and collaboration with Metadata and Digitization Services. Her goal is to make UH Libraries’ materials more accessible, using the standard and schema, Resource Description and Access (RDA).
Cataloging is the comprehensive creation of bibliographic data that enables library users to find the resources they seek; whether it’s a book, database, journal or non-print media. Contemporary cataloging requires an ever-evolving skill set among librarians which reflects new trends and standards. For instance, the term resource description refers to a newer protocol for the formulation of bibliographic data.
As such, Moreno sees an interesting future for resource description. “The schemas that we use are changing,” she said. “We’re moving towards linked data, which requires librarians to use web technologies like URIs, HTTP and RDF.”
Moreno noted that the reason for the shift in the ways libraries perform resource description is because some information is still not widely accessible. “Resources in a library’s catalog may not be retrievable when using web search engines,” Moreno said. “Traditional bibliographic description limits discoverability of library resources on the web.”
Traditional bibliographic schema used in cataloging is phasing out as more libraries adopt new schemas that find relevant information on the web by connecting data structures and placing previously hidden resources into the hands (and screens) of users.
Libraries and institutions that incorporate new coding protocols will strengthen their ability to connect with one another’s data structures and provide more access to materials, giving library users results similar to what they experience with search engine results.
“Changing the way we describe things – creating structured data, and generating relationships from it – that’s the framework behind the idea of finding a resource from anywhere on the web,” Moreno said.
University of Houston students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to the 2014-2015 season of Poetry and Prose: Creative Writers at the University of Houston.
Erika Brown, Will Burns, Samuel Dinger, Jonathan Meyer, Luisa Muradyan and Georgia Pearle are scheduled to read selected works of poetry and fiction.
All readings are held in the Honors College Commons in the MD Anderson Library and begin at 5:30 p.m. Readings are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.
The next reading is scheduled for October 15, featuring faculty poets.
To help University of Houston students get the most out of their academic experience, the UH Libraries has partnered with the UH Social Media team on the UH1UP Challenge scavenger hunt.
The UH1UP Challenge is a game designed to help UH students locate and learn about on-campus resources for academic and professional success, and to score prizes along the way.
To play, students need the free Scavify app, available for iPhone or Android. Starting September 8, students can access the app which lists a set of tasks to complete by November 14. More information on how to play can be found at the UH1UP page.
*UPDATED* To complete this task in the UH1UP Challenge, please go to any University of Houston library, and take a photo of your favorite section of the library.
See all libraries here: http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections
All players who complete all UH1UP tasks will qualify for a chance to win a grand prize. Grand prizes include a MacBook Air and five iPad Minis.