Citizen Literacy, the University of Louisville Libraries’ online toolkit to promote information skills and resist disinformation, continues to gain recognition. The latest notice is in The State of America’s Libraries 2021: A Report from the American Library Association by the American Library Association, which offers an overview of how libraries operated in the US during the past year during the global pandemic. The report lists Citizen Literacy in its section on disinformation.
The University Libraries created the online portal to help students become better consumers of media, research and information. Launched to coincide with the final weeks of the 2020 election season, Citizen Literacy promotes essential information skills like algorithmic literacy, news literacy, how to evaluate expertise, how to investigate the veracity of online sources through lateral reading, and how to become an informed voter.
The site was created by Rob Detmering, head of Research Assistance and Instruction; Amber Willenborg, online and undergraduate learning coordinator; and Terri Holtze, head of web services.
Citizen Literacy was also recently praised in a recent report by Stanford University on general deficiencies in university instruction on digital literacy. The report shows that students are mostly unable to discern legitimate news and information sources from falsehoods and proposes innovative teaching methods to combat this deficiency. Citizen Literacy embodies a good kind of remedy, the report concludes.
“Institutions need to follow the example of forward-looking librarians and information specialists at the vanguard of new approaches to dealing with misinformation—often on shoestring budgets at liberal arts colleges and state universities. . . . Robert Detmering and Amber Willenborg, librarians at the Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville, have produced a series of polished videos (with just the right dose of snark) that provoke college students to reevaluate their online behavior. We hope these and similar efforts will shine a light on a path for other colleges and universities to follow.”“Educating for Misunderstanding: How Approaches to Teaching Digital Literacy Make Students Susceptible to Scammers, Rogues, Bad Actors, and Hate Mongers,” (Working Paper A-21322, Stanford History Education Group, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2020). https://purl.stanford.edu/mf412bt5333
Additionally, Last year, the Chronicle of Higher Education featured an interview with Detmering and Willenborg on media literacy; CHE’s weekly “Teaching” column focused on how higher education can combat disinformation by teaching media literacy through various means, and the Citizen Literacy toolkit was one strategy mentioned.
By Anita Hall, Assessment Librarian
An incredible number of students visit our libraries every day, whether in person or online. We’re always trying to understand how they use the Libraries and how we can improve their experience. One way we get this feedback is through surveys. Recently, we participated in a campus-wide survey of students called the Student Support Services Survey (S4), conducted by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, which gave us lots of great information. Currently, the University Libraries is also conducting its bi-yearly Benchmark Survey to learn about student and faculty habits, needs and wishes in order to improve the Library experience for the University community.
In the S4 survey, one of the things we really wanted to know was how students learn about the Libraries. This helps us decide how to reach out to students. Those who said they do use the Libraries in some way (in-person, online, or both) were most likely to learn about us from a campus tour, orientation, or resource fair (21.54%) or because of a course requirement (21.32%). Campus emails were not particularly helpful – only 1.98% said that they learned about the Libraries in this way. Good to know!
Here are some more of the top ways that students learned about the Libraries:
|Which of the following helped you learn about the University Libraries?|
|Campus tour, orientation, or resources fair||21.54%|
|A librarian came to my class||11.10%|
|Recommendation from a friend||5.49%|
We also wanted to know why some students don’t use the Libraries. Most of these students said that they just haven’t needed to yet but will when the need arises (32.20%). Others say that they currently have access to all the resources they need to complete their coursework (22.03%). However, there were some students who said they either don’t know how to use the Libraries or don’t know what kinds of services and resources the Libraries offer (11.86% for each). We’ll be working hard to try and bring those numbers down before the next survey.
Another thing the Libraries wanted to know is what types of information skills we can help with. We asked how confident they are at several different tasks. Most students feel pretty confident with all of them, which is great. Below is a snapshot of the tasks that some said they are either not at all or not very confident in completing. We also asked questions about how and when they learned these skills, and their responses to those questions will help us work with professors to support them in teaching these skills. This might involve librarians leading instruction sessions in classes, creating online learning modules for Blackboard, or developing some of our own resources that can be accessed anytime. A great example of this is our Citizen Literacy resource, which has lots of great information about evaluating news sources.
|Please rate your confidence in completing the following tasks:||“Not at all Confident” or “Not very Confident”|
|Locate books and other materials required for an assignment||9.41%|
|Locate scholarly, peer-reviewed materials when required for an assignment||5.02%|
|Develop a research topic for an assignment||5.06%|
|Cite sources appropriately when required for an assignment||3.72%|
|Evaluate the trustworthiness of news and other web sources||3.31%|
Are you interested in providing more feedback about the Libraries? One great way is to join the Libraries Student Advisory Board. We’re always accepting new members! The Libraries will also be sending out our Benchmark Survey later in March 2021 – we have been using this survey for almost 20 years to get feedback about our spaces, services, and collections. This survey goes to a sample of the University community, so you may or may not receive a survey invitation. Watch your UofL email, and if you get one, please answer it! We really appreciate your time and responses.
By Anita Riley Hall
When your students arrive at UofL, what types of information skills have they already learned? And what skills are they learning while they’re here? These are among the questions the University Libraries sought to answer by participating in the campus-wide Student Support Services Survey (S4) in November 2020. Distributed to all students by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, the S4 Survey asked about our students’ information skills, how and where they learned those skills, and when they are being asked to use them.
As a baseline, we wanted to know how UofL students are using our libraries – do they use the Libraries at all? If so, do they come to the actual building, use the Libraries’ website and other online resources, or a mixture of both?
We were pleased to see that overall, only 11% of students reported that they never use the libraries. Most students reported using the libraries both in-person and online. Undergraduate and graduate students both reported similar usage levels, although the groups used the libraries in different ways. There were a few groups who we discovered aren’t using the libraries as much – in particular, online students and part-time students. We’ll be working hard to improve our outreach to these groups, but if you know that you have these types of students in class, it may be helpful to specifically refer them to library resources when appropriate.
|I have used the University Libraries…||In-Person Only||Online Only||Both Online and In-Person||Never|
The Libraries asked students to indicate when in their academic career they had been asked to cite certain types of resources, whether before college, in their Cardinal Core classes, or in their major classes. For each type of resource, about a quarter of students reported that they had been asked to cite these types of materials in assignments before college. The most frequently cited resource types before college were non-text sources (such as audio, images, maps, and data) and news or web sources.
What does this mean for faculty? Don’t assume that your students have these skills! Especially for freshmen or sophomores, it is likely that this is the first time they are being asked to cite any type of research, particularly from scholarly or peer-reviewed sources.
|I have been asked to complete an assignment or paper that asked me to find and cite…||Before College||In at least one of my Cardinal Core classes||In the majority of my Cardinal Core classes||In at least one of my Major classes||In the majority of my Major classes|
|Sources other than your textbook||23.77%||18.24%||15.72%||19.25%||23.02%|
|News or web sources||27.31%||19.06%||14.65%||20.48%||18.49%|
|Scholarly or peer-reviewed sources||23.24%||18.08%||15.78%||17.93%||24.96%|
|Primary sources (such as archival materials)||25.98%||20.26%||13.73%||20.92%||19.12%|
|Non-text sources (such as audio, images, maps, or data)||28.93%||22.00%||11.00%||22.00%||16.07%|
We also asked students who taught them various information skills – and whether they were ever formally taught these skills at all. For each skill that we asked about, the most common person who taught students that skill was you – teachers or professors. Does this feel like a lot of pressure? Our Research and Instruction Department (RAI) at Ekstrom Library as well as librarians at each campus library are available to either teach library instruction sessions for your class, create online learning modules that you can incorporate in Blackboard, or just give advice on how you can approach these topics.
|Please indicate who taught you each of the following skills:||Self-taught or never formally learned||Learned from a friend or family member||Learned from a teacher or professor||Learned from a librarian outside of UofL||Learned from a UofL Librarian|
|Locate books or other physical materials needed for an assignment||34.31%||7.41%||35.00%||12.76%||10.52%|
|Locate scholarly, peer-reviewed articles when required for an assignment||24.70%||5.91%||46.96%||10.43%||12.00%|
|Develop a research topic for an assignment||29.64%||6.07%||52.50%||6.61%||5.18%|
|Cite sources appropriately when required for an assignment||26.46%||5.82%||54.14%||7.58%||6.00%|
|Evaluate the trustworthiness of news and other web resources||32.69%||7.21%||46.05%||7.73%||6.33%|
Would you like to learn more about our S4 data, or dive deeper on a particular topic? Contact Anita Hall, Assessment & Analytics Librarian, at email@example.com. We also care about faculty members’ own experiences using the Libraries. Be on the lookout for our Libraries Benchmark Survey later this month (late March 2021) to provide feedback on how you experience our spaces, services, and collections and let us know how we can serve you better!
By: Alexandra Howard, Business Research & Teaching Librarian
Here at the University Libraries, we recognize that the celebration of Black history deserves more than a month. Ekstrom Library’s Research Assistance and Instruction department has created a library research guide that the UofL and global research community can use to investigate and celebrate Black history and Black excellence 365 days a year, every year.
The guide not only introduces library resources on Black history, but also celebrates the history of the Black community in Louisville and recognizes the struggle for racial justice in our city. In 2020, Louisville made national headlines after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed inside her home by police officers. Black history is being made every day in Louisville as leaders work to empower their communities, to secure systemic recognition that Black Lives Matter, and to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. The Louisville portion of the research guide highlights community organizations in Louisville involved in these important efforts.
The Celebrating Black History library research guide also seeks to expand the traditional Black History Month narrative honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. While these are important figures, it is vital to expand the narrative and highlight Black scholars from across academic disciplines. We want to ensure that our Black and African American students see themselves reflected in their disciplines. We want to encourage faculty and staff to incorporate the work of Black scholars into their curriculum and research. Our Academic Leaders portion of the guide offers a selection of written material within our collection by Black scholars in different academic disciplines. We plan to expand this portion of the guide and are working on an initiative to highlight the research and scholarship of BIPOC faculty, staff, and students at the University of Louisville.
Some of the incredible resources our library offers to research Black history are the African American Newspapers database, Ethnic NewsWatch, Louisville Leader Collection, and an oral history collection of African American community interviews. The University Libraries recently launched an initiative to diversify our collections. Please send us your recommendations.
If interested in learning more, please email Alexandra Howard: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Libraries have increased funding to four libraries – Kornhauser, Music, Art and Ekstrom – to diversify our collections in support of UofL’s drive to create an anti-racist university. Dean Bob Fox has used gift funding to allow the purchase of more books, DVDs and other materials on civil rights, equity, and Black history, among other subjects.
“We’re very committed to expanding our collections in areas that will support President Bendapudi’s mission to have an anti-racist campus,” said Dean Fox. “This extra funding provides an additional boost to meeting this goal.”
The allocation of gift funding is in addition to the typical yearly budget for new materials.
Additional funding provided to the Music Library has covered recent purchases of 134 music scores by Black composers. Prior to receiving this funding, the Music library used one of the music library’s endowments to purchase 97 music scores by Black composers. A catalog listing of those items can be found here.
In Ekstrom Library, new titles include The Devil You Know: a Black Power Manifesto by Charles Blow (2021); White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert Jones (2020); Diversity, Oppression, and Change: Culturally Grounded Social Work by Flavio Marsiglia (2021); The Lexington Six: Lesbian and Gay Resistance in 1970s America by Josephine Donovan (2020); and Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie Glaude (2020). Additional funding helped the library purchase new titles for the Granville A. Bunton African American Collection.
Kornhauser Health Sciences Library has purchased new books dedicated to diversity and anti-racism, specifically in healthcare. A current list of the library’s diversity related resources can be found within WMS by searching “diversity in healthcare.”
With the additional funding, the Art Library will continue to add to its collection of diverse materials related to art history, artists, graphic design and art pedagogy, among other subjects. See this list for a snapshot of the library’s latest acquisitions.
We’d love your help in this work! Please consider recommending materials that will help us better serve our community via this RECOMMENDATION FORM.
By Tom Owen, Archivist, Archives and Special Collections
Almost fifty years ago, a young couple moved into a Victorian home in the Crescent Hill neighborhood and a few years later discovered a set of diaries in their attic that had been written over a half-century earlier by a young man who lived in their old house when it was the manse for St. Marks Episcopal Church. Leafing through the sixteen small diary notebooks, they determined the diarist was Hilton Brown, son of the rector of that Frankfort Avenue congregation from 1921 to 1934. Early on, the couple tried unsuccessfully to locate Brown or his kin but continued to lovingly care for their abandoned property throughout the decades even through a downsizing. Now, getting along in years, they are looking for a permanent home for the diaries, asking their son to bring them to me for evaluation for our Archives and Special Collections.
Before I opened the neat black box containing the diaries, I set out to find out more about Hilton Brown, his life and time. In a five hour search, l got a goodly number of hits under his name in the Courier-Journal (historical) database, learning that the family had relocated to Louisville for his Dad’s church job when Hilton was around fourteen, that young Brown had played football at both Male High School and at the University of Louisville, and that the diarist later married and remained in the city at least until just after WWII before moving to Chicago. Then thru Ancestry.com, I determined that Hilton was born in 1907 in Florida and died in the Tampa area at age 69 in 1976. Expanding on his UofL connection, I turned to our University history holdings where I found in our Digital Collections multiple photos of him in our Thoroughbred yearbooks from the late 1920s and several mentions of him in our online student newspapers from those years: the Cardinal News and the UofL News. Finally, I located in our collections a biographical card file on UofL athletes who earned sports letters in the 1920 to 1950 years where I learned more details about Brown’s football career.
I was now ready to consider the historical value of the sixteen Brown diaries, spreading them out in chronological order across a table. The first one was unnumbered and in faded pencil, its entries made over a period of just several months in 1921 by a teen who had just moved to town from Florida. The other fifteen little notebooks were much more legible in ink and sequenced by a roman numeral on the cover, a few cover containing inscriptions that described how the author thought his life had gone during the period within. One read: “in which I have many doubts” and another: “containing many reflections and disappointments.” While there were a few gaps—at least one while Brown worked at a summer camp—those volumes spanned the years from late 1924 to late 1930 chronicling in significant detail a final high school year, four years at the University of Louisville, and entry into the workforce. Several of the volumes contained pages listing the diarist’s male friends with comments about their personality and character or lists of young women and his interest or success in dating them. One entry about date eligibility had “married” written beside many of the names indicating that the list might have been amended retrospectively.
After leafing through several pages in each small volume, I concluded that Archives and Special Collections should accept the couple’s offer to donate the Hilton Brown Diary largely because of their connection to our university. Brown arrived at UofL at a pivotal time, just months after undergraduate students were moved to Belknap Campus following the renovation of the old buildings of the city’s Louisville Industrial School of Reform, an orphanage/reform school, for collegiate use. The bulk of the diary entries cover those four years in which Brown was deeply involved in UofL’s student life on the new campus. The daily notations record the personal introspection and sometimes poignant discomforts as well as the mundane activities of a privileged late-adolescent white male student who spent substantial energy arranging his next dates with multiple young women while longing for a more permanent relationship with an elusive coed named “Gert.” Finally, my appreciation for this window into youthful life in the 1920s was heightened by the seeming ease that Brown and his friends had in acquiring alcohol during national Prohibition. The Hilton Brown Diary finds a permanent home among hundreds of other collections that shed light on the history of the Louisville region and the University of Louisville; clearly, rescuing from obscurity one young man’s 1920s diary does not a history make but, viewed alongside other documentation, a fuller and increasingly more accurate story of our community and university’s past emerges.
By Mary K. Marlatt
The difficulties of obtaining “material” for instruction in gross anatomy forced frustrated medical faculties of the 19th century into illegal activities. From the earliest days of modern medicine, men called resurrectionists provided cadavers for study by medical students and their teachers, but despite an urgent academic need for cadavers to study human anatomy, the only legal manner to obtain a body was through the execution of a convicted criminal. Execution only provided a minimal number of bodies per year – not nearly enough to fill the need of medical schools.
So how did UofL faculty obtain enough bodies for the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of medical students in Louisville during this period?
Kornhauser Health Sciences Library has in its collection several first-hand accounts documenting how this macabre task was accomplished. One tale is told in the diary of Charles Hentz, a student at UofL from 1846-1848, who assisted Dr. George Wood Bayless, then Demonstrator of Anatomy, on his forays into the cemeteries of Louisville.
There is also the story of Simon Kracht, janitor at the medical school from 1871-1875, whose duties including building maintenance and grave robbing. Kracht and a student were arrested in December 1872 when they were found unloading four bodies from the back of a wagon into the medical school.
Finally, in 1887, David W. Yandell, MD, son of the first Dean of the Medical School, recounted to a reporter his personal recollections of procuring specimens for the dissecting room. You can learn more about this “grave” historical topic by visiting the display case in the library, just across from the service desk.
Please take time to watch this silent short film, “The Real Body Snatchers,” to learn more.
Bridwell Art Library employee Trish Blair introduces two female cartoonists for suffrage, and shares how their vision helped most women gain the right to vote.
For women coming of age at the turn of the 20th century there were not many roles outside the home for them to aspire to have. But War and other factors led to a surge in women participating in life outside the home; between 1880 and 1910, the number of women employed in the United States increased from 2.6 million to 7.8 million. Yet still most women could not vote in elections. Women began to rise up, and participate in organized protests, becoming known as suffragists. Merriam-Webster defines suffragist as “a person who advocates suffrage (the right to vote).” Suffragists believed in peaceful, constitutional campaign methods; after they failed to make significant progress, a new generation of activists emerged. These women became known as the suffragettes, and they were willing to take direct, militant action for the cause.
One way that women did make a mark in that time-period was in art. Two women made a name for themselves as cartoonists for suffrage, Nina Allender (1872?-1957) and Annie “Lou” Rogers (1879-1952). Women at this time did not have many role models as women had not yet become cartoonists, publicists, or public figures. These women were in a new generation, a transitional generation who with their middle-class, white, protestant upbringing were poised to change their circumstances and the country at large.
Annie “Lou” Rogers, one of the most prolific suffrage artists, was from a long-established American family in Maine. Her love of drawing took her to the Massachusetts Normal Art School, where she left after failing her first year exams. She “hated the plinths and the dead white casts and the stiff designs for wallpaper.” Rogers prided herself as a self-taught artist. In 1908 when publications rejected her, she began using the pseudonym Lou Rogers. Soon she became one of the country’s leading cartoonists with her work appearing in The Judge, Ladies Home Journal, and the New York Tribune. She also published books, and hosted a radio show in the 1930’s. And little did she know that working at The Judge would change how the world sees women, albeit many years later. While at The Judge, Rogers worked alongside Harry George Peter, who would occasionally create pieces when Rogers was overbooked. Peter was the original artist behind William Moulton Marston’s Wonder Woman. Both Marston and Peter were inspired by the suffrage movement in the creation of the character, and while it cannot be determined whether Peter was influenced directly by Rogers work, it still showed the hallmarks of suffrage artwork.
Nina Allender was born in Kansas after her family moved westward from Pennsylvania in the early years of western settlement. Years later, her family would return east to Washington DC. Allender attended the Corcoran School of Art, and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, one of the first art schools to provide professional opportunities for women. She joined the suffrage movement in 1913 when she met Alice Paul. She produced cartoons that showed a new spirit and interpretation of suffrage. She began working at The Suffragist, a publication of the National Women’s Party. She worked to change the image of suffragettes to stylish young women patiently waiting for their rights—an opposite portrayal by anti-suffrage cartoons that caricatured activists as frumpy and nagging. The Allender Girl was in stark contrast to other depictions of women at that time such as the Gibson Girl, the most popular women’s image of the time by cartoonist Charles Dana Gibson. As a more popular version of the New Woman (i.e. the Suffragette), the Gibson Girl both undermined and sanctioned women’s desires for progressive sociopolitical change.