subscribe to this blog!


Jenkins Library closed 5-7 on October 28th for a private function

source blog: Architecture & Art Library

We will resume normal hours at 7 pm.

UH Students Produce Game On, Cougars! Radio Ad

source blog: UH Libraries News

Game On, Cougars! 2014 is just a few weeks away, and to help promote the event, a group of University of Houston students produced a radio ad that will run on the student-led CoogRadio through November 15.

The students, Will Hedgecock, Bonnie Langthorn, and Jacob Mangum provided creative talent with scriptwriting and voice acting for the spot. Music Library coordinator Stephanie Lewin-Lane directed and mixed the recording, and provided voiceover.

Hamill Foundation Multimedia Studio, MD Anderson Library Learning Commons

Hamill Foundation Multimedia Studio, MD Anderson Library Learning Commons

The radio ad was recorded at the Hamill Foundation Multimedia Studio, located in the MD Anderson Library and open for use by all UH students.

Listen to the Game On, Cougars! 2014 radio ad:

Music titled Monkeys Spinning Monkeys provided by Kevin MacLeod at

Unique Holdings at University of Houston Libraries

source blog: UH Libraries News

University of Houston Libraries invites faculty, students, researchers and anyone interested in discovering rare literary treasures to attend a brown bag lecture on Wednesday, October 29 in the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion at the MD Anderson Library.

Fables in Slang | George Ade | from UH Special Collections

Fables in Slang | George Ade | from UH Special Collections. Part of The Last Untapped Resource in Houston brown bag lecture.

English librarian Dr. Jesse Sharpe and library specialist Kristine Greive will present “The Last Untapped Resource in Houston,” a discussion of unique works of literature housed in UH Special Collections.

The October 29 lecture is the first installment 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 Last Untapped Resource in Houston” brown bag lecture
When: Wednesday, October 29 at noon
Where: Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, MD Anderson Library

Lynn Randolph, Living Lines

source blog: Special Collections Blog

Lynn Randolph at work, from the Lynn Randolph Papers

Lynn Randolph at work, photograph from the Lynn Randolph Papers

This week marks the final days of the installation and exhibition, Living Lines by Lynn Randolph, a piece commissioned by Arts Brookfield and on view through October 9th at Total Plaza.  The 16-foot long oil pastel mural pulls from the sketchbooks of Randolph, providing a window into the creative process of not only the individual artist, but artists as a whole.  Curated by Sally Reynolds, the exhibition is held in cooperation with the artist and also features a number of Randolph’s individual paintings.

Lynn Randolph is probably best known as an artist.  Or, is it writer?  Or, maybe activist.  Labels can be tricky.  Throughout her life she has seen her art and/or her writing intermingled with her passion for women’s rights and human rights.  Originally from Port Arthur, TX, Randolph attended the University of Texas where she received her BFA before returning to Houston and establishing an impressive artistic legacy.  Her works have been reproduced in a number of books, academic papers, and journals (including Coronation of St. George, which was reproduced for The Nation) as well as widely exhibited throughout the United States and are part of permanent collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Menil Collection, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts, among others.

photograph of Ilusas, The Women’s Drum Corps

photograph of Ilusas, The Women’s Drum Corps, from the Lynn Randolph Papers

Her work with women’s rights and human rights was far reaching and art became a natural conduit for her work in these areas as well.  In 1984 she and her friend Suzanne Bloom organized in Houston for the Artist Call Against U.S. intervention in Central America, a broad umbrella of artists, activists, and others seeking to bring attention to the crimes being committed as part of U.S. foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere.  In 1992 Randolph joined the Women’s Action Coalition and helped the New York based group organize protests of the Republican National Convention held in Houston.  Prominent in the protests were the use of drum corps.  Born from this experience were the Ilusas (or “deluded women”), a Houston-based drum corps that continued to perform until they disbanded in 1997.  In 1993 Randolph and Marilyn Zeitlin traveled to El Salvador and helped organize an exhibition of Salvadorian artists entitled, Art Under Duress, El Salvador from 1980 to Present, which was mounted at the Arizona State University Art Museum and also traveled to Houston with an exhibition at the Lawndale Art Center.

For those interested in the artist’s process, the University of Houston Special Collections is pleased to offer the Lynn Randolph Papers for study.  Included in this collection are documents and materials related to her artistic and literary career, as well as her activism and public service, and research and personal papers.  In addition, a number of items and works by the author have been individually cataloged to facilitate discovery.  The Lynn Randolph Papers are available for study, along with the other collections comprising our Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection, during our normal research hours.  We encourage you to catch Living Lines in these final days and be sure to visit Special Collections for further study with the artist’s papers.

Varied Views by Shivendra Singh

source blog: Architecture & Art Library

Have you seen the A2Alcove, a gallery and lounge space upstairs at The William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library? Currently featured are works by UH Digital Media sophomore, Shivendra Singh. Varied Views offers a sampling of his photographic work, including nature and architectural subjects. The Architecture and Art Library is pleased to present Mr. Singh’s work and encourages you to enjoy it in our comfortable A2Alcove.  Varied Views will be on display through January 2, 2015.a








Banned Books: The Kanellos Connection

source blog: Special Collections Blog

In addition to the over 7,000 linear feet of archival collections made available for study at the University of Houston Special Collections, we are also proud to offer over 100,000 rare and antique books for use in our reading room. Each month we will highlight a text from our collections and what makes it so special.

This week, as we observe Banned Books Week along with the American Library Association and other members of the book community, we shift our formula a bit and focus on works in our collection which have historically been challenged, banned, or otherwise removed from public consumption.  The chance overlap of National Hispanic Heritage Month makes for a unique opportunity to highlight our Kanellos Latino Literary Movement Collection.

cover of Negocios by Junot Díaz (1997)

cover of Negocios by Junot Díaz (1997)

Banned “Confiscated” Books of the Month Moment:  Unfortunately, there are a few.  Negocios by Junot Díaz (his Spanish translation of the English language Drown), Zoot Suit and Other Plays by Luis Valdez, and The Magic of Blood by Dagoberto Gilb were all challenged by the Tucson Unified School District in 2012 and, also, all part of a generous donation of works from Dr. Nicolás Kanellos (founder and director of Arte Público Press and the driving force behind the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project).  Thanks to his work, foresight, and longstanding connections in the community, the Kanellos Latino Literary Movement Collection, consisting of over 1,000 books, covering a broad scope and time range of works printed in limited runs, unpublished works, and other writings critical to scholars studying Latino literature, is available for study at the University of Houston Special Collections.

Why so Special Scary?  Warning!  According to the Tucson Unified School District’s decision in the wake of the passage of Arizona House Bill 2281, these books may “promote the overthrow of the United States Government… promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

cover of Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez (2010)

cover of Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez (2010)

In 2012, rather than fight 2281, Tucson USD officials chose a path of compliance that suspended the district’s Mexican American Studies program.  This process included a public show of collecting, boxing, and carrying off a number of books that were part of the Mexican American Studies teaching materials, sometimes in the presence of students.  District officials insisted that they were not “banning” books, simply “confiscating” a handful of the more egregious outliers.  And, in the spirit of Banned Books Week, who are we to quibble?  A closer look at the MAS reading list, however, will raise some eyebrows.  In addition to the aforementioned “dangerous” works, other pieces on the reading list include revered Latina authors like Sandra Cisneros, as well as canonical and mainstream “Western” or Eurocentric works, like Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.”

In 2013, a federal court order mandated reinstatement of the program as part of federal desegregation laws aimed at providing equal eduation.  While the issue remains a contentious one in Arizona politics, it is hoped and assumed that this school year, Shakespeare, Thoreau, and all the rest have found a home in the Tucson USD curriculum.

Location:  Those interested (and brave enough) to study these works can access them in the Special Collections Reading Room during our normal hours.  With Banned Books Week and National Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, why wouldn’t you visit us?

UH Libraries + Games = Student Success

source blog: UH Libraries News

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.

UH students are invited to Game On, Cougars! 2014

UH students are invited to Game On, Cougars! 2014

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.

FoodMachine Houston

FoodMachine Houston

“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

Social Media Week at UH Libraries

source blog: UH Libraries News

University of Houston Libraries will host a special week of social media training in October for UH students, staff and faculty.

Sign up for workshops on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more during Social Media Week at UH Libraries.

Sign up for workshops on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more during Social Media Week at UH Libraries.

Jessica Brand, UH social media manager, will teach workshops on various social media platforms in the MD Anderson Library Learning Commons from October 6 – 10.

As with the UH Libraries technology training workshops, Social Media Week workshops are free and are recommended for anyone who uses social media.

Topics include:

Facebook 101

  • 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

Twitter 101

  • 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

LinkedIn 101

  • 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

View the full schedule for Social Media Week and register online.

Challenged Comic Books and Graphic Novels

source blog: UH Libraries News

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

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists

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

Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

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.

UH Special Collections Contributes WWI Images

source blog: UH Libraries News

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections has collaborated with Gulf Coast Reads on its Remembering Through Archives initiative.

Food supply efforts letter from Minnie Fisher Cunningham to fellow members of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association. From University of Houston Special Collections.

Food supply efforts letter from Minnie Fisher Cunningham to fellow members of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association. From University of Houston Special Collections.

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.”