banner for department blog

A Mid-Year Report to Our Students & Community

General Announcements, Planned Down Time

A MID-YEAR REPORT FROM THE STAFF OF THE WILLIAM R. JENKINS ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, AND ART LIBRARY TO OUR STUDENTS AND OUR COMMUNITY ON OUR EFFORTS TO SUPPORT EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE IN LIBRARY STAFFING, COLLECTIONS, SERVICES, OUTREACH, AND OPERATIONS

 

Assembled by Catherine Essinger, Daniel Fuller, Estefania Garcia, and

Edith Villaseñor Cruz, and written by Catherine Essinger

February 2021

 

The killing of George Floyd, a native of the Third Ward neighborhood that is home to the University of Houston campus, and the response to peaceful protesters demanding racial justice afterward motivated the Jenkins Library staff to consider what we can do and are doing to advance social justice in the microcosm of our library.  We developed strategies that we believe will help us meet our goal of eliminating systemic racism and inequity from our operations, hiring, and all aspects of our library services.  We also pledged to assess the success of these implemented strategies with a publicly distributed mid-year and annual report.  By holding ourselves accountable in this way we hope to make continual progress.  This is our first mid-year report.  The information within was collected in January 2021.

 

 

Staffing Plan

 Our library employs one librarian, 1 part-time and two full-time assistants, and 3-7 student workers, who specialize in art and design research.  We actively recruit our professional staff from the alumni of the academic departments we support.  Our department has traditionally been an ethnically and racially diverse one.  We recognize that we need to recruit employees who represent multiple demographic, cultural, and ability groups, so that our students benefit from many experiences.  We will strategically promote our job openings to ensure a diverse pool of applicants for our open positions.

 

  • We will continue to promote open student worker positions to the students of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design and the Katherine G. McGovern College of the Arts.  We will also promote job postings directly to multi-ethnic student organizations, as well as groups for students who face additional challenges in higher education because of their gender, sexuality, identity, physical disability, or other factor.

 

 

Midyear Assessment of Staffing Plan

The library had the opportunity to hire two student workers since last summer.  In addition to Cougar Pathway, social media sites, and our academic departments, our employment notice was distributed to student organizations representing a wide range of underrepresented and/or ethnically diverse groups.  The following campus groups that were asked to distribute the job description include:  African Student Union,  Association of Latinx/Hispanic Advocates and AlliesBayou City BhangraBlack Scholars CollectiveBlack Student Union at The University Of HoustonBangladeshi Students AssociationCaribbean Students OrganizationChinese Students & Scholars Association, Dhun A CappellaFilipino Student AssociationFuture Women in ArchitectureGamma Rho LambdaGraduate Assocation of Pakistani Student UHGraduate Indian Student OrganizationGraduate Women AssociationHouston Di ShaanHouston JannatIndian Student AssociationIntercultural Women’s AssociationInternational Students OrganizationIranian Community at University of HoustonKorean Student AssociationLatin Dance AssociationLebanese Student AssociationMalaysian Singaporean Student AssociationMexico at UHNational Association for the Advancement of Colored PeopleNational Organization of Minority Architecture Students, University of HoustonNepalese Student Assocation at University of Houston-Main CampusPakistan Student AssocationPersian Society at University of HoustonStudents of East AfricaSyrian Student AssociationTaiwanese Students AssociationThe Nigerian Students AssociationVenezuelan Student UnionVietnamese Student Association.

 

 

 

 

Collections Plan

The librarian wrote an analysis of the general collection in 2008, which noted the prevalence of Western-centric subjects and white male artists and designers in the collection.  This resulted in a plan to increase resources in multiple subject and geographic areas, in order to create a more balanced set of resources.  The plan was implemented the following fiscal year and continues to guide collection decisions.  In 2019 the librarian also developed a plan for the Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Room collection, which is located within the William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art.  The plan recognized the lack of racial inclusion in the collection and acknowledged that it does not sufficiently reflect the major research interests of our academic departments.  The general collection of the Architecture, Design, and Art Library is roughly 100,000 volumes and the Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Room collection is approximately 1,000 volumes.  Given those numbers, as well as the budget and the expense of rare books, it is not possible to quickly rectify a lopsided collection.  While the number of titles in those much-needed subjects has increased significantly over the past thirteen years, the effect has been only moderately noticeable.  The library staff is cognizant of the fact that, for most of our patrons, the library collection is the most fundamental representation of the University of Houston Libraries.  It is the physical manifestation of the library’s mission, more so than any other service or staff member.  In order to increase progress at a faster pace, therefore, we pledge to implement the following measures.

 

  • We pledge to spend endowments designated for the library’s general collection on works by and about people of color, as well as activist art and design during Fiscal Years 2020-2022 in order to create a more representative collection.  This will also help us align with the curricula, goals, and faculty interests in the College of the Arts, as well as the College of Architecture and Design.
  • We will pursue the goals of the Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Room Collection Plan (2019), which include increasing the number of books by and on people of color in the rare book collection.
  • During Fiscal Years 2020-2022 new purchases for the Franzheim Room will be books by or about people of color or about the visual culture of under-represented regions.  By increasing the holdings in these subjects we will not only support the faculty interests and curricula of our academic units, but will also more closely meet the needs of our many students who select thesis and other research topics for which the collection offers few resources.

 

 

 

Midyear Assessment of Collections Plan

Endowment figures were not distributed to librarians at the midyear point, so we will act on this part of the plan in the second half of the year.

 

 

Services Plan

The Architecture, Design, and Art Library’s services and programming include traditional library services, such as research instruction, technology support, and resource procurement.  It also offers services related to its foci on art, architecture, and design, such as exhibitions of student artwork, curation of digital and in-house exhibits, organized talks on architectural publishing, and pop-up libraries in fine arts centers around campus.  The staff pledges to provide equitable service and representation to the populations we serve.

 

  • We will launch an annual assessment of the inclusivity and equity of our programs and services.  Our good intentions are not enough.  At the end of each academic year we must publicly assess the balance of ethnic and cultural perspectives of our exhibits, artists, speakers, and programs.

 

 

Midyear Assessment of Services Plan

We analyzed our services in order to determine whether all patrons can equally take advantage of these services, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, or identity.  We have not yet found evidence that our services are inaccessible to any patron group.  We have also attempted to make our services more widely available to students who are facing Covid-related financial and physical risks by mailing materials to them, so they need not come to campus or pay for parking, and by extending the due dates for art and design supplies, so students with financial challenges need not purchase their own.

 

Once our operations return to normal, post-pandemic, we will solicit input from users and experts (for example, the Office of disABILITIES) to ensure our services are as equitable as possible.  Major services include:

-Research assistance and instruction

-Circulation and distribution of materials

-Pop-up art libraries

-Student art exhibits

-Virtual and physical exhibits of collection materials

-Course reserves

-Assistance with interlibrary loan and document delivery

-Digital tutorials

-Circulating art & design supplies

 

In 2019-2020 the library partnered with the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design to create a series of talks called Books and Bites, accompanied by a reception, that celebrates local authors of art and design books and allows others to learn about their experiences researching, writing, and publishing those works.  The series was retitled Books and Bytes in Fall 2020 and moved to a virtual platform.

Books and Bytes schedule:

 

September

Reto Geiser, Rice University School of Architecture

Moderated by Michael Kubo, UH College of Architecture and Design

 

October

Ronnie Self, UH College of Architecture and Design

Moderated by Sandra Zalman, UH College of the Arts

 

November

Gail Peter Borden, UH College of Architecture and Design

Moderated by Rafael Beneytez-Duran, UH College of Architecture and Design

 

December

Natilee Harren, UH College of the Arts

Moderated by Bruce Webb, Professor Emeritus of UH College of Architecture and Design

 

 

Online exhibits that addressed diversity, equity, globalism, and inclusion:

 

6/3   – Black Lives Matter and Protest Art

6/16 – LGBTQ artists and architects in celebration of Pride

8/5 – Essential E-Books for Architecture and Art Students

8/12 – Essential E-Books for Architecture and Art Students

8/19 – World Photography Day (included titles about social justice)

8/27 – Gardens from around the world

9/10 – Hispanic Heritage Month (books about Hispanic artists and architects)

10/1 – International Coffee Day (books about coffee and the countries that produce it)

10/13 – Celebrating Indigenous Art

11/11 – Native American Art & Architecture

1/11 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day (books about the civil rights movement and protest art)

 

Our exhibits curators considered diversity of experience within each subject for each online or in-house display of materials.  An exhibit on Manga and Comic art, for example, included titles on under-represented groups in comic art.  A Halloween exhibit included materials on the holiday’s international and multi-ethnic influences.  Other examples are below.

 

Name Topics
Rodney McMillian: Historically Hostile Exhibit Theme White supremacy, immigration, slavery, civil rights movement, and activist art.
Graphic Design, Drawing, Illustration, Manga, and Comic Art Theme Black women in comics, Asian comics, designers of color, and underrepresented graphic design subtopics.
Stephanie Syjuco: The Visible Invisible Theme Immigration, diaspora, women fashion, art & activism, embroidery movement, gender, dress culture, textiles in Indian Ocean, Tonga, Peru, Bhutan, and Norse societies.
Horror Titles Theme (Halloween Special) Diverse horror subjects in medical photography, art in science, funerary art, archaeology, ancient Egyptian tombs, Day of the Dead celebration, Maya rituals & tombs, African American cemeteries, haunted past of the U.S Civil War, Vietnam, Native American & Indigenous horrors, women liberation movement, symbolist art, gothic art & poems, European, Asian, and Latin American cinema, women in horror films, first colored women in horror films, and gender & horror films.
Simon Fujiwara: Hope House Theme Museum activism, human rights, Anne Frank, WW2, the Holocaust horrors, reflections, victims & survivors, consumer culture, Judaism, other world Holocaust, authenticity, modeling, hope, art & its uses, LGBTQ Jews, Auschwitz, art power, Nazis after Hitler, Jewish architecture, Berlin memorial.
Native American Art Theme Female Native American artists, performance & representation, visualizing the sacred, Indians on display in museums, rock art, Contemporary American Indian films, photography, American Indian schools & art education, Indigenous bodies, artifacts, ancient tattoo traditions, special ceremony paintings, Indian and Ancient Art of the Americas, sculpture, decorative art, colonialism, preserving traditional arts, Folklore in the West, and quilts.

 

 

 

Community Engagement Plan

According to the Houston Arts Alliance’s economic impact study, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, Houston’s arts and culture industry generates $1.12 billion in annual economic activity in the greater Houston region—supporting 25,817 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $119.3 million in local and state government revenues.[i]  The Architecture, Design, and Art Library has opportunities to partner with arts organizations in Houston in order to leverage support for both art and design research on campus as well as artistic expression in the City of Houston.  That community support should include all segments of Houston’s population of artists and designers.  Houston is and has been home to a thriving community of visual and performing artists who claim ancestry from Africa, Asia, indigenous America, and Latin America.  It is our privilege, as the largest public art library in the region, to collaborate with, to celebrate, and provide research support to that community.

 

  • We will reach out to community art organizations committed to social justice and equality to learn how we can support and partner with them.
  • We will explore opportunities to facilitate dialogue with academic units and community partners on how information resources support social justice, as well as racial, ethnicity, gender, and identity-based equality.
  • We will leverage our social media presence by creating spotlights for diverse members of our artistic community, including members of our academic departments and student bodies, to show their work and give them a space to talk about their educational influences, the books and resources they recommend, and talk about the importance of art and design research in their endeavors.

 

 

Midyear Assessment of Community Engagement Plan

Our social media curator has vigorously promoted art and design events in the city and on campus, including many that promote equitable representation in the artistic community.  The staff has also assisted researchers at museums, such as an upcoming exhibit of black artists at the Station Museum.  We have not, however, engaged in more outreach this year, as a result of our pledge, or developed new partnerships.  We have made an inventory of organizations with which we hope to work in the future and will communicate that aspiration to them.

 

 

 

 

Summary

Strengths:  staff, exhibits and services

 

The professional staff of the Jenkins Library has traditionally been more diverse than is typical in libraries, where only 17% of librarians and 30.1% of classified staff did not identify as white (non-Hispanic) in 2019, according to the AFL-CIO.[ii]  Half of the non-student and most of the student employees employed by the Jenkins Library since 2004 have been white (non-Hispanic).  Multiple ages (including employees aged 50+), ethnicities, first languages, nationalities, and physical disabilities have also been represented by employees.  68.75% of the Jenkins Library staff have identified as female since 2004, compared to the 82% average recorded by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2019.[iii]

 

Exhibits, virtual events, and services regularly include underrepresented perspectives, cultures, and identities.  Nearly have of digital exhibits, for example address inclusion, multi-culturalism, and social justice explicitly.

 

 

Improvements:  collections and planning

 

As a result of our pledge, we are more conscious of inclusion in planning our programming, services, and events.  It is difficult to say whether our exhibits and program are more inclusive because we did not track that information before 2020.  When we plan now, however, we ask who is being left out, who is being welcomed, and will the service work for all our patrons equitably.

 

In addition, our collections are becoming more diverse for three reasons: (1) it is our intention, (2) our patrons are asking for more materials on people and subjects that have traditionally been underrepresented, and (3) there has been an increase of excellent new materials on these subjects published recently.

 

 

Need to Improve:  community and patron engagement

 

We have not engaged with the on- and off-campus community as much as we intended.  Covid precautions have prevented us from engaging socially, which we hope to do in the near future.  We also intend to partner with other researchers and organizations, as well as our neighborhood institutions, in order to expand our patrons’ opportunities to engage with information that will result in scholarship and artistic output.

 

In addition, our social media curator plans to create more interactive content in order to create a conversation and deeper connection with our community.  We can use all our online platforms to showcase student work and its relationship with research materials and inquiry.

We also need to be better about soliciting feedback from our patrons, so our conversations and efforts around racial and social justice and related services do not occur in an uninformed vacuum.

 

 

 

[i] Arts Economic Prosperity 5. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.houstonartsalliance.com/aep5.

[ii] Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO.  Library Professionals:  Facts, Figures, and Union Membership.  https://www.dpeaflcio.org/factsheets/library-professionals-facts-and-figures.  Viewed 3/16/21.

[iii] Ibid.

 

Spring Pop-Up Library Programming

General Announcements, New Resource, New Service, Planned Down Time, Special Event or Display

The Architecture, Design, and Art Library proudly announces their virtual pop-up programming. Each pop-up consists of curated art books on-view & fun prize drawings. So come and join in!

POP UP ART LIBRARY SCHEDULE

02.05

Pop-up Library & Showcase

Theme: Black History Month

Via Social Media

02.12

Special Pop-Up Library

Theme: Valentine’s Day

Via Social Media

03.08

Special Pop-Up Library

Theme: International Women’s Day

Via Social Media

04.16

Special Pop-Up Library

Theme: Spring

Via Social Media

05.07

Special Pop-Up Library

Theme: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Via Social Media

05.14

Special Pop-Up Library

Theme: National Photography Month

Via Social Media

New Holiday Hours and Services

General Announcements, New Service, Planned Down Time

The Architecture, Design, and Art Library will open by appointment starting December 5th until further notice.

Requests

The library staff will continue taking requests from UH patrons and distribute any physical material by appointment, mail or send scans via email. Please submit all your requests (book pick-up, scanning, or mailing) using our library request form. Only items from our collection are eligible. Items from other libraries, please visit here. Shipments will continue to be made weekly with limited staffing. We appreciate your patience.

Appointment Hours

Weekdays: 9am-3pm

Saturdays: 11am-5pm

Sundays: 9am-1pm

***Please create an appointment with 24 hours in advanced.  Short notices will be taken into consideration, but not guaranteed.***

Holiday Hours

November 26th-29th: Closed

December 24th- January 3rd: Closed

January 18th-Closed

For questions or concerns, please email us at archlib@uh.edu.

 

Virtual Town Hall to Go Out and Vote

General Announcements, New Resource, Planned Down Time, Special Event or Display

Dean Andrew Davis from the McGovern College of the Arts just announced that he will be hosting a virtual town hall Friday, September 18th at 4 pm. This in order to promote the Get out the Vote efforts to all the UH community.

This information and action campaign is kindly coordinated by Professors Karen Stokes and Toni Valle of the Dance Program in the School of Theater & Dance.

To learn more, what the college is facilitating to support these efforts click here. 

Spring Break Hours

General Announcements, Planned Down Time

The Architecture, Design & Art Library will be opening during Spring Break with limited hours:

Saturday 03/09: CLOSED

Sunday 03/10: CLOSED

Monday 03/11: 8am-5pm

Tuesday 03/12: 8am-5pm

Wednesday 03/13: 8am-5pm

Thursday 03/14: 8am-5pm

Friday 03/15:  8am-5pm

Saturday 03/16: 1pm-5pm

Sunday 03/17: 1pm-5pm

Thanksgiving Week & Intersession Hours

General Announcements, Planned Down Time

November

Monday 11/19: 8am-8pm

Tuesday 11/20: 8am-8pm

Wednesday 11/21: 8am-5pm

Thursday 11/22: Closed

Friday 11/23:  Closed

Saturday 11/24: Closed

Sunday 11/25: Closed

 

December

Intersession Hours

December 13th- January 13th

Monday-Friday : 8am-5pm

Saturday& Sunday : Closed

 

Winter Break

December 24th- January 1st : Closed

 

First Day of Class:  Monday, January 14th

 

 

Library closed until further notice

Planned Down Time, Uncategorized

The College of Architecture building suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Ike. Part of the roof was blown off and rain flooded the library. The Architecture and Art Library will be closed until further notice. During this time, please visit the M.D. Anderson Library for assistance. ILL books and books on hold may be borrowed at the M.D. Anderson Library service desk. All Architecture and Art Library books should be returned at either the M.D. Anderson, Music, Optometry, or Pharmacy Library.

You may contact the Jenkins Architecture and Art Library staff at archlib@uh.edu or 713-743-2340.

Library Web Sites Unavailable, morning of Sunday 11th

Planned Down Time

From 8 am to 12 pm on Sunday February 11, 2007 the library will be replacing its core router with new network equipment. During this period the libraries' network will be unavailable and users will not be able connect to the library Web sites, the online catalog, or the electronic databases. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Library Web Sites Unavailable, Sunday 28th in AM

Planned Down Time

The library will be replacing its core router with new network equipment on Sunday, January 28th, from 8 am to 12 pm. During this period the UH Libraries' network will be unavailable and users will not be able connect to the library Web sites, the online catalog, and the electronic databases. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.