Nominate a UH Librarian for the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award

Our nation’s librarians transform their communities, schools and campuses, and improve the lives of the people they serve every day. If a librarian has made an impact on you in a meaningful way, now is your chance to honor their contributions.

Nominate a UH librarian for the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award.

Nominate a UH librarian for the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award.

The I Love My Librarian Award encourages library users to recognize librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to make a difference in their communities.

Nominations will be open until September 18.

Up to 10 librarians will be selected to win $5,000 and be honored at a ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additionally, each award-winner’s library will receive a commemorative plaque. Winners will be announced on November 30, 2017.

To be eligible, each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree in library and information studies from a program accredited by the American Library Association or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nominees must also currently work in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university or at an accredited K-12 school in the United States.

The award is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the New York Public Library, and The New York Times. It is administered by the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world.

Posted on July 21st, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | No Comments »

New Student Art Exhibit in Jenkins Library

The William R. Jenkins Architecture & Art Library is pleased to present Leah Bydalek’s first solo exhibition.

Fluorescent Lessons is on view from July to August 2017. Bydalek is a senior painting major at the University of Houston. She confessed that her color palette was inspired by the pictorial artist Wayne Thiebaud, known for painting cakes. The artist also plays around with her memories and giving them a final twist.

Leah Bydalek's art is on display in the William R. Jenkins Architecture & Art Library through August.

Leah Bydalek’s art is on display in the William R. Jenkins Architecture & Art Library through August.

Artist’s statement:

Fluorescent Lessons

I love it when the “truth” of a thing can be turned on its head to yield a novel experience.
It shows us that perceptions are malleable and that people have the potential to change.
This is the meeting point of the familiar and the unknown
the beautiful and the disgusting
the docile and the disobedient.

Posted on July 21st, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | No Comments »

How to Do Research in UH Special Collections

The University of Houston Libraries Special Collections preserves, safeguards, organizes, and describes materials in its collecting areas, making them available for use by the UH community and the general public. Anyone is welcome to visit the UH Special Collections Reading Room, located on the second floor of the MD Anderson Library. UH Special Collections is home to rare, unique, and irreplaceable items of intellectual, cultural, and societal distinction, and for this reason, the materials are stored separately from the main library in a climate-controlled setting.

All are welcome to visit the UH Special Collections Reading Room.

All are welcome to visit the UH Special Collections Reading Room.

UH Special Collections boasts a remarkable variety of primary source materials, both historic and contemporary. It is here that visitors can experience the sound recordings, creative material, and personal papers of hip hop icon DJ Screw, read a letter penned in 1833 by Antonio López de Santa Anna, or study the campaign papers of the Honorable Annise Parker. It is where a French scholar traveled to immerse herself in the world of literary luminary Donald Barthelme. It is where the history of KUHT is preserved and made digitally accessible. It is home to over 100,000 rare and antique books, including The Handy-Volume Shakespeare from 1885 and a French devotional book from the Middle Ages.

But there is much, much more in the archives of UH Special Collections. Students of all ages, scholars, researchers, history buffs, and lifelong learners, the curious and creative, can avail themselves of a vast array of singular treasures preserved here.

While UH Special Collections is known for its rich, Houston-centric collecting scope, the research collections also comprise primary materials with state, national, and global significance.

View a full list of collecting areas and archivist contact information.

A source of pride for UH Special Collections stems from its strong relationships with individual and organizational partners. UH faculty collaborate with archivists to connect students with primary source materials for transformational learning experiences. Archivists work with campus and institutional colleagues to increase the visibility of, and access to, the collections in the community through exhibits and sharing of materials.

Planning Your Visit to UH Special Collections

Visitors are encouraged to start by checking the collection coverage at the UH Special Collections website. Type a search term in the Archival Finding Aids field, or browse by collecting area. A finding aid is an inventory of a collection that contains an overview of the collection, scope and contents, and a biographical note. You’ll find that some collections have varying levels of description; some are more detailed than others. It’s helpful to look at the finding aid as a map that will lead you to relevant material.

For those who aren’t sure of the materials they need, it is best to contact a friendly and knowledgeable Special Collections archivist or staff member. Archivists oversee the collections and know what they contain and what they don’t. These professionals can direct you toward areas of the archives that may have been overlooked, or can suggest secondary general resources. Archivists can also assist students and researchers in articulating research questions. These are often developed or modified after an examination of the materials reveals new and interesting avenues of inquiry.

Once you have browsed the website and located specific materials that fit your research scope, schedule a visit to the Reading Room with a request to have the material pulled and ready for you when you arrive.

What to Expect on Your First Visit

An ID is needed to use the collections. On your first visit, you will be asked to complete a Patron Registration Form. A staff member will give you a quick orientation on how to handle the material. You may also use the computer in the Reading Room to browse finding aids. You’ll be given one box at a time. While looking through the materials, take full citations for later reference. Smartphone cameras are welcome in the Reading Room for the purposes of private study and research only.

Find out more about visiting UH Special Collections.

Additional Research Resources

The UH Digital Library makes digital collections available online, documenting the University, city of Houston, and state of Texas, as well as other historically and culturally significant materials. Collections within the UH Digital Library are mainly derived from Special Collections as well as the William R. Jenkins Architecture & Art Library and the Music Library. A few collections are from the UH Hilton College Hospitality Industry Archives.

The main UH Libraries’ OneSearch allows you to search through journals, databases, the catalog, research guides, and the website.

Have a question not covered above? Contact us.


Special thanks to Lisa Cruces, Hispanic Collections archivist, for her guidance on a recent visit to UH Special Collections that was the basis for this article.

Posted on July 13th, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on How to Do Research in UH Special Collections

Learning Commons Will Be Closed on July 17

The Learning Commons at the University of Houston MD Anderson Library will be closed beginning Monday, July 17 through Wednesday, July 26 for construction and space updates.

The Learning Commons will be closed July 17 - July 26.

The Learning Commons will be closed July 17 – July 26.

Students may remotely access Learning Commons software. View information on accessing the Virtual Learning Commons.

The Academic Research Center will be open for use.

Posted on July 13th, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on Learning Commons Will Be Closed on July 17

Campus Engagement Impact

2016-2017 Campus Engagement Committee Year in Review

2016-2017 Campus Engagement Committee Year in Review

The University of Houston Libraries Campus Engagement Committee develops innovative programming that promotes the Libraries and targets specific user groups with customized outreach efforts.

The group has compiled a report demonstrating its accomplishments over the past year, including events and attendance statistics.

Posted on July 13th, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on Campus Engagement Impact

New Article: “At the Center of Things”

A new article written by a team of University of Houston librarians has been published to Collaborative Librarianship.

A new article on interdisciplinary event planning strategies for librarians is available online.

A new article on interdisciplinary event planning strategies for librarians is available online.

“At the Center of Things: How an Academic Library Built a Bridge between Art and Science on Campus” was authored by Michelle Catalano (previous), Catherine Essinger, Suzanne Ferimer, Stephanie Lewin-Lane, and Porcia Vaughn (previous). It discusses the 2015 Artists’ Health and Wellness Colloquium and Resource Fair.

Posted on July 13th, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on New Article: “At the Center of Things”

July 2017 Technology Training

Technology training at UH Libraries is open to all students, faculty and staff.

Technology training at UH Libraries is open to all students, faculty and staff.

Free workshops in Excel 2013, HTML & CSS, InDesign CS6, Photoshop CS6, PowerPoint 2013, Premiere Pro CS6, Microsoft Project, and SPSS are being held in July.

The Technology Training program at UH Libraries offers technology courses to current UH students, faculty and staff. Register soon, as workshops tend to fill up quickly. View the full calendar and reserve your seat.

Posted on July 5th, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on July 2017 Technology Training

New Digital Collection: Facts Forum News, 1955-1956

Related to the history of oil and gas, Facts Forum News is a fascinating glimpse into the growth of ultraconservatism funded by Texas oil. Facts Forum News was an ultraconservative anti-communist publication funded by oil baron H. L. Hunt, a Texas oil tycoon and Republican political activist who was at the time perhaps the richest man in the world. A wildcatter known for purchasing oil properties with his gambling winnings, later in life Hunt also promoted conservative “constructive” politics in two radio shows, Facts Forum and Life Line, which he supported from 1951 to 1963.

Facts Forum News, 1955-1956 is now available in the UH Digital Library.

Facts Forum News, 1955-1956 is now available in the UH Digital Library.

This collection includes two volumes of the Facts Forum News journal publication, dating from 1955 and 1956. Articles and op-eds in these volumes depict both domestic political issues and global geopolitical tensions during the first phase of the Cold War. The original materials are available in UH Libraries Special Collections.

Posted on July 5th, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on New Digital Collection: Facts Forum News, 1955-1956

New Digital Scholarship Coordinator at UH Libraries

Taylor Davis-Van Atta is the new digital scholarship coordinator at UH Libraries.

Taylor Davis-Van Atta is the new digital scholarship coordinator at UH Libraries.

The University of Houston Libraries welcomes Taylor Davis-Van Atta, the new digital scholarship coordinator in Digital Research Services.

Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals and/or research areas.

I’m very excited to be joining UH Libraries! Being a newly created position, my role will evolve over time, and one of the exciting opportunities during these early days is getting to know my colleagues, their areas of expertise, and the activities that are taking place in and through the Libraries so I can discover where my experience and skills might be most effectively applied. As the job title suggests, I’ll be collaborating widely with colleagues internally to organize and advance current research services while building and marketing new services, particularly around publishing, archiving, and making accessible research and scholarship created at UH. This will involve partnering with other offices and schools across campus as well as with the Texas Digital Library. Ultimately, I hope to serve as a resource for Libraries staff engaged with digital scholarship and, in turn, help promote the expertise and resources in the Libraries out to the broader UH community.

Naturally, these duties fall in line with many of my primary interests as a librarian. With new forms of research and scholarship gaining legitimacy and the potential existing for the acceleration of new research using digital platforms and tools, it’s a very exciting time to be in a position to help facilitate the global dissemination and open use of existing works. And for me, it’s equally as energizing to help establish good practices among everyone involved with the production of new work. While a graduate assistant in Syracuse University Libraries, I enjoyed working with researchers, particularly graduate students and early-career faculty, on issues relating to creator/author rights, open access and licenses, ORCID adoption, the discovery and vetting process of potential publication outlets, tracking and maximizing the impact of their work, and other aspects of scholarly communication. I enjoy playing around with the latest research tools as they pop up in DiRT Directory or the POWRR Tool Grid. I also have a secret fascination with persistent identifiers (maybe not so secret now) and have been closely following the early success stories and practices of those on the leading edge of open educational resource creation and adoption.

Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?

My first career was in independent publishing. I worked for Graywolf Press and Dalkey Archive Press, two houses whose mission it is to make modern literary masterpieces from around the world available in English. Out of that experience, as well as my education in world literature and classical music, I developed Music & Literature, a small literary and educational nonprofit that I’ve directed for the past five years. The project is a complete labor of love, and is made possible by the passion of our staff, who are based in New York City, New Haven, Montreal, London, Paris, and Berlin. We all work together almost daily (after work is over, the papers are graded, the kids are asleep, etc.) to build our online publishing platform, curate annual print volumes, and partner with other organizations and institutions to organize events celebrating the work of our featured artists and scholars.

My experience as an editor and publisher absolutely inspires and informs my approach as a librarian. In fact, I see nonprofit publishing and librarianship as two expressions of the same set of impulses, since they both share many of the same values and core missions, and they address common needs in terms of bridging all kinds of global divides. In a practical sense, too, there are many activities that are foundational to the daily operation of both professions (grant writing, database and web platform administration, etc.) as well as core aspects of copyright law that are integral to publishers and librarians alike. It makes all the sense in the world that these two pursuits would intersect and inform one another, and indications are that they will only become more entwined over the coming years.

Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.

I first came to campus in mid-March of this year and was immediately taken with the spacious campus, the magnolia trees, the insanely self-confident squirrels–and of course the gorgeous main library and its friendly and supportive staff. There was a warmth here, both inside and out (I was coming from Syracuse, New York, which was experiencing a blizzard that week!), that was unique in my job search.

What are some of your hobbies?

My partner, Rachel, and I are amateur mycologists. We’re more into the classification and description of mushrooms than we are into eating them, and it’s kind of fun being part of mycological clubs where we’re the youngest members by forty years. Anyway, it’ll be fun to explore totally new ecosystems in and around Houston. We also have twin 4-year-old boys, so I’m getting back into Lego building and learning about dinosaurs, at least when my kids deem me cool enough to let me play with them.

Posted on June 23rd, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on New Digital Scholarship Coordinator at UH Libraries

New Article: “The User Experience of Libraries: Serving The Common Good”

User Experience Magazine

User Experience Magazine

Daniel Pshock, user experience and web content strategy coordinator at the University of Houston Libraries, wrote an article titled “The User Experience of Libraries: Serving The Common Good” which appeared in the April 2017 issue of User Experience Magazine.

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on New Article: “The User Experience of Libraries: Serving The Common Good”