As the semester comes to a close, I’ve spent some time reflecting on my first semester at the University of Houston. I am so thrilled at all we have accomplished in a few short months, and excited to think about what lies ahead. We are moving forward and onward, and the librarians, staff, and I are doing it together in support of the goals of this great university.
We are embracing strategic planning in the University Libraries with energy and excitement. We are meeting with people – students, faculty, research deans and other groups from across the campus so that we can get wide input from a cross section of our university. We have received input from our librarians and staff, and we collected over a thousand comments that we’re coding and analyzing. Our plan will be completed this spring. It will be both visionary and bold, and it will propel this library toward 2020 and beyond. I am so proud of everyone who is contributing to our plan and its goals. Our libraries are a tremendous resource for the UH community, and we’re proud of our collaborations with colleagues and other campus units to further the educational mission of our students.
We have added several wonderful collections to our Special Collections this fall. One I’d like to highlight is the Emilio R. Ypiñia Journal collection that is a manuscript collection consisting of five distinct journals authored by Emilio R. Ypiñia (1905-1936). A self-educated Mexican national born in Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes, Mexico, Ypiñia immigrated to Houston, Texas, following the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Each volume contains approximately 100 pages and 10-20 poems, essays, and journal entries authored throughout the 1930s, the bulk in 1933. We’re digitizing his journals so that they can be used by scholars worldwide.
This fall was “fun filled and action packed” in the words of associate dean John Lehner. We taught classes, hosted programs, and helped people get to the resources they need. We hosted Finals Mania which was attended by more students than ever, a wonderful night featuring the UH band, cheerleaders, and mascots Sasha and Shasta. And of course, we can’t forget the thousands of pancakes we served.
I got a chance to visit with our students who loved having stress relief from their finals. Students also got a chance to pet therapy dogs who help people relax, and to take a selfie with President Khator. It was wonderful to see so many units on campus volunteering during Finals Mania – it’s a great example of the UH community.