Mid-century Louisville

The University of Louisville Libraries’ Digital Collections has a colorful new addition: the Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville, ca. 1956-1966. These 573 color snapshots document buildings in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1950s and 1960s, before urban renewal and federal highway construction made major changes to the architectural landscape.

ULPA 1998.09.424

609 West Walnut Street, Louisville, Kentucky. Image Number ULPA 1998.09.424 in Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville 1956-1966, University of Louisville Photographic Archives.

The photographer, Martin F. Schmidt (1918-2010), worked in his family’s Coca-Cola bottling business in Louisville before pursuing a degree in library science and applying his interest in local history to positions in the Louisville Free Public Library’s Kentucky Division and the Filson Club (now Filson Historical Society). He also published Kentucky Illustrated: The First Hundred Years (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992), a selection of prints he collected documenting Kentucky’s first century. Schmidt was also a major supporter of the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, where a library is named in his honor.

The albums he donated to the University of Louisville Photographic Archives (now part of Archives & Special Collections) include churches, schools, offices, and industrial buildings from the Phoenix Hill neighborhood to Portland and from the Central Business District out to the Russell and California neighborhoods. The saturated color images show late nineteenth century architecture with neon signage, painted advertisements (similar to those documented in our Ghost Signs of Louisville digital collection), mid-20th century automobiles, and pedestrians. Many of the buildings depicted have since been razed.

ULPA 1998.09.288

Martin Rosenberger Wallpaper Co., Miller Automatic Sales Company, and Royal Wallpapers, Inc., 525-19 West Market Street, Louisville, Kentucky. Image Number ULPA 1998.09.288 in Martin F. Schmidt Photos of Louisville 1956-1966, University of Louisville Photographic Archives.

Denny Miller: A Tribute

By Chad Owen.

The Edgar Rice Burroughs Collections lost a dear friend and earnest supporter on September 9, 2014.

Denny Miller photosDennis Linn Miller, “Denny” to his friends and fans, was born in 1934 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was discovered first for his athleticism in high school, where famed basketball coach John Wooden offered him a full-ride scholarship to UCLA, and later on Sunset Boulevard by a talent agent, who signed him to MGM in 1958 as a contract player.

Tarzan leapDuring a long and widely varied acting career, he appeared in episodes of television series almost too numerous to list, including M*A*S*H, Gilligan’s Island, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Magnum P.I., and The Brady Bunch. He was best well known as a regular on Wagon Train from 1961-64 as the scout, Duke Shannon, as the face of the “Gorton Fisherman” for fourteen years of television commercials, and of course, he famously played Tarzan in 1959’s Tarzan the Ape Man, which brought him into the fold of Burroughs fandom writ large.

Later in life, Denny showcased his vitality and impish sense of humor in his autobiography, Didn’t You Used To Be What’s His Name? by Denny Miller (aka what’s his name), and a book on obesity and exercise entitled Toxic Waist? Know Sweat! He was a regular fixture at fandom cons, joyfully signing autographs and posing for pictures, and was always happy to talk about his past roles, including his time as Tarzan.

Denny and his wife Nancy were also frequent visitors to Louisville and to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Collections in ASC, and he counted Curator Emeritus George McWhorter among his closest friends.

By all of his fans, as well as by us in Archives and Special Collections, he is … and will be … sorely missed.

Ekstrom 1E Renovation

Pre-renovation photo

Pre-renovation photo

by Bob Fox, Dean of the University Libraries

You may be wondering what’s going on with the first floor of Ekstrom Library! It’s part of an overall plan to update and improve Ekstrom that has been ongoing for a few years. We’ve already upgraded spaces on the lower level in our Special Collections area and outside the Chao Auditorium. Last year, we updated one of our instructional labs and refreshed the fourth floor to create great quiet study spaces. Now, we’ve turned our attention to the older east side of the first floor (1E). We had been hearing comments from our users and staff that the way we offered services on the first floor didn’t always make sense and that the physical spaces were outdated and not set up the way our users need.

To learn more about how to update and change the spaces and our services, we conducted an in-depth six-month study using surveys, focus groups, town hall meetings, message boards, and observations. This study, as well as other information relating to the 1E project, is now available on our website at:


The website details things we have already accomplished as a result of the study and gives a timeline for our next steps. If you take a look at the site, you’ll notice that the collections moving around right now are just the first steps of many we will be undertaking to improve the spaces. We’ve already changed some services too so, for example, you can now check out items at both the east (Media) and west (Circulation) service desks. We’re also making organizational and staffing changes including rethinking some existing positions and creating new positions to address specific concerns we’ve heard and to enhance the user experience.

Over the next year, there will be some service disruptions, some noise, and some dust but in the end, we hope that the long-term improvements we see will be well worth the short-term troubles we’ll encounter.

Please continue to check the renovation website as we will update it throughout this exciting process.

History: It’s not exactly what you think it is

by Katherine Burger Johnson

Although I work in a library, my training is in history not library science. I do not point that out because I think of history as a superior field of study. I love libraries and the librarians I know are some of the smartest people I have ever met. I bring this up because historians look at things in a different way than information specialists (which is what librarians are.)

The study of history gives one a way to find his or her place in the world. It puts people and events in context, and life is almost always about context. Many people will say that they hated history class or that there is no real reason to study all those old things. These people did not have good teachers; they missed out on the ones that know that history is the “story” of life. One can look up dates and names, but one cannot know what happened by just learning statistics. Real teaching of history facilitates the understanding of the long connective ribbon of human life and how much we are alike, yet different from, our ancestors.

Someone’s birthday or anniversary is actually an example of practicing historical method. Celebrating a specific special date every year is no different than commemorating the anniversary dates of the man’s first landing on the moon, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, or the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Looking through a family photo album is studying history and hearing the stories that accompany the photos is another form of sharing history. Traditions we follow on holidays are another form of studying history, as is memorizing player statistics from the World Series or the Super Bowl.

So this brings me to the subject of most of my reference requests, which involve genealogy. Usually the researcher had no interest in “history” until something happens – a grandparent dies, a long hidden scrapbook is found, a new story is told at a family reunion. This jars the person into awareness and they want to learn more of their – guess what – genealogy or “family history.” If there is a connection with medicine, nursing or dentistry in Louisville, they will contact me.

If they have already done some research they have learned that historical research is time consuming and can be difficult. The next reaction is why are there so many things missing that would enlighten us about the past. I explain that most people do not realize the significance of current information for future researchers, that important documents are not always preserved for future use; that natural disasters take a toll on those that are saved; and that lack of money and space affect what can and is preserved. This does not help a frustrated researcher.

Sometimes I can help the patron, as we have some resources that are not readily available elsewhere. Sometimes I cannot, but I keep digging to make sure that I have not missed some bit of data that could be valuable to them. But, no matter which is the outcome, the fun is in the process of searching, much like a reading a who dunnit or playing a board or card game which could go in a different direction at any moment. Genealogical and historical research is like a game and that’s reason #4529 why I love my job!

There’s a Class for That!

People often ask what academic librarians do nowadays.Book Final

After all, everything is available online and students can simply Google anything they need, right? Well, evidently not. Demand for library instruction is growing, and surveys indicate both students and faculty value the help they receive from UofL Libraries.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, librarians in Ekstrom Library’s reference department taught 255 class sessions involving 5030 students. While almost half were introductory level classes in English, Communication, Campus Culture, and the like, about a third were associated with upper level classes in Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, and Social Work. The remainder involved graduate students in the same colleges. A few students may have attended more than one class, but generally there is little overlap. We estimate that in a single school year roughly 40% of UofL underclassmen and about 20% of upperclassmen and graduate students participate in at least one class session led by a librarian.

Over the past two years, the number of students attending library class sessions has increased by 34% and the number of sessions has increased 16%. The largest gain has been in upper level undergraduate classes, particularly in Arts & Sciences and Social Work. Our librarians now work with more than 70 professors to tailor class sessions and/or research guides to specific upper level and graduate classes.

Sessions Graph2

Last academic year reference department librarians also met with over 225 students and faculty in scheduled research appointments involving 1 to 5 people. Unfortunately we only have comparable statistics for the last nine months of the 2011-2012 school year, but they show that research appointments have increased by about 56% over the past two years.

We believe the growing number of requests is the best indication that professors and students think library sessions are good investments of their time. This is supported by several recent assessments. In UofL Libraries Spring 2014 tracking study, almost two-thirds of undergraduates and about three-quarters of graduate students and faculty who responded to a class instruction question said they were very or somewhat satisfied with classes at Ekstrom Library. Similarly, 72-84% said they were very/somewhat satisfied with “research assistance from a librarian.”

Tracking Study Graphs

Earlier this year our Information Literacy group also sent an assessment survey to professors and instructors who scheduled classes with librarians in Fall 2013 or Spring 2014. Seventy-two percent of respondents rated “the overall quality of the library and research sessions offered at Ekstrom Library” as excellent on a five-point poor to excellent scale. In addition, 75% strongly agreed that “the library session was relevant to my students’ needs.”

So even in a world where students have the Internet in their pockets and backpacks, and are able to access ebooks, online databases, and countless facts with their fingertips, both students and faculty appear to appreciate the role librarians can play in helping them locate, evaluate, and effectively use information in college level research. If you would like to schedule a library class session, please contact your subject specialist, call Josh Whitacre at 852-8699, or complete our class request form.  If you want to schedule a research appointment, please submit your request here.

Doctor Who

by Barbara Whitener

British pop culture was just beginning to spread worldwide in 1963. The Beatles first album Please Please Me was released, James Bond was on the screen in From Russia with Love, The Avengers staring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg was on the television airwaves. This year also saw the beginning of Doctor Who a television program that The New Yorker calls “the most original science-fiction television series ever made.”  Beginning as a British phenomenon, Doctor Who is now more popular than ever and has a worldwide following estimated at over 100 million.

drwhoWhat is the appeal of this 50 year old science fiction television show? The hallmark of Doctor Who is the humanity and compassion that pervades every episode. The Doctor and his companions care about all beings and believe that life is important and should be defended. Wrongs are addressed by the Doctor but rarely with violence. It is not unusual that when an enemy is brought down, the Doctor is there to comfort the dying villain. The Doctor is a Time Lord but no superhero. There is a vulnerability, sadness and solitary aspect to this time traveling alien. But above all there is in Doctor Who a sense of wonder and respect for the universe and its inhabitants and a hope that we will learn to understand ourselves and others better. The Doctor moves throughout the galaxy in time and space and during these travels we see mirrors of our own society.

Doctor Who like much of science fiction addresses issues we see daily in the newspaper headlines. It addresses war, genocide, terrorism, totalitarianism, race relations, diversity, equality, technology, family , responsibility, and as one article mentioned – a way to deal with the fears we face as a society. But lest we forget, there is also fun and adventure along the way.

What didn’t I get around to discussing? Doctor Who isn’t complete without knowing about the TARDIS, Daleks, the Cybermen, regeneration, and the sonic screwdriver. If you are a geek or just a Whovian, Ekstrom has many resources that will satisfy your longing to get to know The Doctor better.

Want to watch the episodes? Media has DVDs of the original series (1963-1989) including Doctor Who: The beginning. This consists of 3 serials with a total of 13 episodes. The rebooted series (2005-) 1-7, the Complete Specials, and The Next Doctor are available.

Articles? There are thousands of articles that run the gamut from popular magazine articles to serious academic studies. Interested in the history of Doctor Who? There are many articles that examine the television program including “The Man In The Box” , “Fifty Years in the TARDIS: The Historical Moments of Doctor Who” and “Revenge of the Geeks, Fifty Years of Doctor Who.” These and many more articles can be found in multiple databases including Google Scholar, EBSCO Academic Search Complete, ProQuest Direct. International Index to Performing Arts, Film & Television Literature Index, Humanities Index, MLA International Bibliography, Sociological Abstracts, PsycInfo, Business Source Premier, and Historical Abstracts.

Many books are available. You can pick up and read a Doctor Who novel such as Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter. Our holdings are not extensive so if the pickings too slim here in Ekstrom, try the Louisville Free Public Library, bookstores or Amazon. There are about 200 tie-in or spin-off novels that follow the voyages of The Doctor.

Non-fiction books about Doctor Who are numerous including Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek. There are many general science fiction books and encyclopedias that cover the phenomena and history of Doctor Who. Two examples are: The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction and The History of Science Fiction.


Greetings from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Librarian!

By James E. Manasco

Did you know that Ekstrom Library has an Engineering and Physical Sciences Librarian? Well, yes, it does! I’m James Manasco and I’m your friendly, neighborhood Science Librarian. You may be asking yourself, “Self, what is a Science Librarian?” Librarians come in many flavors, from catalogers, to reference librarians, to metadata creators to administrators. Science Librarians specialize in helping folks with questions in the Physical Sciences and Engineering. Science Librarians have experience or education (or both) in the realm of the sciences.   How can you trust me to help you with your science information needs? Good question! Here’s a little bit of information about me:

I began my career in science libraries by serving as the Head Technician at the Chemistry/Physics Library of the University of Kentucky from 1991-1996. While I served Chem/Phys, I completed both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (American History and Library and Information Science, respectively). In my first professional post, I served The Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado as their Natural Sciences Liaison Librarian (the second to serve in that role) from 1996-1999. I returned to the University of Kentucky in late 1999 when I assumed the position of Head Librarian for the Robert E. Shaver Library of Engineering. I stayed there until June of 2003, when I made the jump to the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library here at UofL, where I served for year before transferring to the Special Collections Department in the summer of 2004. I then added Collection Development in 2006 and finally relinquished Special Collections in 2009. Beginning in January 2014, I moved to my current position. All in all, I have worked in academic libraries for over 27 years.

A good librarian is professionally active and I have been fortunate to build a strong network with other information professional in the sciences and other specialized fields thanks to my involvement with the Special Libraries Association (SLA), an international association of information professionals. I have served the Association as President of the Kentucky Chapter (twice) and Chair of the Science-Technology and Information Technology Divisions. I also served as Chair of the association’s 2010 Conference Advisory Council. I have been honored several times and have received the 2007 Outstanding Chapter Member Award and the 2003-2004 Professional Award from the Kentucky Chapter; the 2010 Impossible Award from the Science-Technology Division for editing the multi-division bulletin Sci-Tech News and was named a Fellow of SLA in 2010.

All of this is just a very long way to let you know that I may have a passing familiarity with the field of science librarianship. I am more than willing to meet with you individually to help with your research and I can certainly serve faculty by providing instruction for your classes. I can be found in the Reference Department of Ekstrom Library, but following is my complete contact information. I look forward to serving you!

James E. Manasco
Engineering & Physical Sciences LIbrarian
140 Ekstrom Library
University of Louisville
Phone: 502-852-8731
e-mail: james.manasco@louisville.edu


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