Website Redesign Brings Better Mobile Experience

You may have noticed some changes happening on the University of Louisville Libraries website. Last summer we introduced new sites for the Bridwell Art Library and the Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library along with improved scheduling apps for room reservations and research appointments.

In March we released the new site for Archives & Special Collections.

In the upcoming months we’ll be bringing you new sites for the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, Ekstrom Library, and the University of Louisville Libraries. Tentative dates for these releases are July 1 for the Kornhauser site and August 1 for the Ekstrom and UofL Libraries sites.


Desktop view

Better Mobile Experience

Mobile view for new UofL Libraries homepage

Mobile view

A driving reason for these changes is the increasing use of mobile  devices for accessing all parts of the site. In the previous version of our site the homepages for each library provided limited options in the mobile view. The new version will have the complete content of the site in the mobile version as well as in desktop views.

URL Changes

Currently, our website is split between two systems; when the project is complete the entire site will be located on one system. URLs for the pages on the old system will change. For example, when the Music Library site moved its URL changed from to

The content management system (CMS) we are moving to is designed specifically for libraries and provides tools to help us keep links and other content fresh.

Changes to Library Site, Room Bookings, Research Appointments, and Request Forms

Heads up! Changes ahead.

The University Libraries are making some big changes to improve the user experience of our web site. We are in the process of moving our site entirely into the LibGuides content management system and making changes that we hope will make your time on our website more efficient and enjoyable.

What’s changing? These major areas:

  1. Library site design
  2. Room reservations – including reservable group study spaces!
  3. Appointments with librarians
  4. Request forms

Starting August 1st you’ll see changes in the site. The pages for the Art Library, Music Library, room reservations, hours, and request forms as well as the Research Guides will be in a new design. The rest of the site will be following and we will release the next batch to the public site over the winter break. As the pages move into the new system there will be a number of URL changes. For example, the Music Library’s URL will change from to

New Music Library homepage

New Music Library homepage

The new design includes:

  1. A more consistent experience of what we formerly called “Research Guides” and now call “Subject Guides.” Each subject will open to a page that very concisely lists
    • the most recommended databases for that subject,
    • a list of the related subject and course guides, and
    • a picture and contact info for the subject librarian
  2. Throughout the site a tab appears on the right side of the page with buttons that:
    • provide contact info for the librarian most relevant to the page you’re on
    • open to a site search function
    • open to an “email this page” function
    • bring the user to the top or bottom of the page
  3.  A new font custom-made for its readability online called Merriweather.

Room Bookings

The rooms in our libraries are scheduled for many purposes from library instruction sessions to lectures by prominent leaders, authors, and scholars. In the past there have been multiple systems for reserving the different types of rooms, starting in the fall we hope to make this a lot easier for our patrons.

We’ll be using a new booking system called LibCal. People who want to schedule a room can look at the calendar, see what times are available, click on the time(s) they want, and make their request. It’s that simple. This system will be available to reserve rooms in Ekstrom Library, the Bridwell Art Library, and the Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library.

LibCal. Yellow times are reserved. Blue times are available. You can click any blue time to request a reservation.

LibCal. Yellow times are reserved. Blue times are available. You can click any blue time to request a reservation.

In the fall semester we’ll also be doing a pilot program to test using LibCal to allow students to reserve group study rooms. They’ll be able to go online and make a reservation for one of several group study rooms on the first floor of Ekstrom Library.


Research Appointments with Librarians

Our research librarians will begin using the LibCal system to schedule appointments online. We’re hoping this will reduce the amount of time between when a student/researcher makes a request and when they can see the librarian. Each librarian will enter his/her available times into LibCal and when a student wants to make an appointment they can just choose an available time that works for them. Easy peasy!


Our users may notice that forms are a little easier to use in the Fall. Some design changes will mean less scrolling, plus there will be fewer forms to choose from which we hope will make it easier to find the form you want. The new system allows us to ask “conditional” questions. When a conditional question is answered it provides different information depending on which option was chosen. This allows us to have a single form where multiple forms may have existed previously. For example, now there is one form for holds – regardless of which library has the item or whether the item is a book or video. If a person chooses book, for example, the form automatically shows just the questions related to getting a book.

So, yes, this is a lot of changes! We hope you find the new site fun and easy to use. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask – just Contact Us.

Farewell to the Stairwell Party

Libraries faculty and staff joined students preparing for finals to say goodbye to Ekstrom’s steps at the Farewell to the Stairwell event on April 17. Adorned with poetry and color, their demolition imminent, Ekstrom’s stairs were feted by the small crowd, who shared cupcakes, frosted in UofL colors, and viewed architects’ renderings of the changes to come.



Please take a look at the photo album.

The Beginnings of the UofL Band

by James Procell

first uniforms

UofL Band displaying their first uniform, on the front steps of Grawemeyer Hall, E.J. Wotawa, conductor, 1928

The University of Louisville Band began in 1928 when E.J. Wotowa came to the University of Louisville from Male High School to teach music. He recruited musicians for his all-male band by offering college credit for participation in the ensemble. Robert Worth Bingham, a local newspaper owner, also provided funding for the band. In the Fall of 1933, the UofL band began performing at football games. Shortly after, Wotowa stepped down as director, and was followed by a string of other successful directors. In 1937, the band received a standing invitation to play My Old Kentucky Home at the Kentucky Derby. To this day, the band continues to attend the Derby and perform the song to an audience of millions.

In 1938, Ernest Lyon was hired as director of the band. Though World War II caused a decline in the band’s activity, he worked very hard to resurrect the program in the early and mid-1940s. In 1947, UofL president John Taylor gave the rebuilding effort a boost. He set up an independent Division of Bands, and Lyon was allotted a large number of $50 per semester scholarships to encourage musicians to join the band. Under Lyon’s direction, the band quickly grew to over 100 members, and included female members for the first time. In 1947, the band travelled to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to attend the UofL vs. Southern Miss. football game. The band, previously known as the “Best Dressed Band in Dixie,” had to abandon that title after it was discovered that another university band held claim to the title. The band then became known as the “Marching Cardinals,” a title that it still holds today.


UofL Band in formation in front of Grawemeyer Hall with Hilda Gay Mayberry, majorette, holding her Miss Majorette of America 1952 certificate

The late 1940s through the early 1950s were a particularly active time for the band. Fans at Manual and Parkway Stadiums were treated to spectacular halftime shows, including amazing twirling performances by Hilda Gay Mayberry, who was named the nation’s best majorette in 1952. Outside of the marching field, the concert band commissioned many new works via the work of Ernest Lyon and the newly-formed music fraternity Pi Kappa Omicron, which was founded at the University of Louisville. Works commissioned by the fraternity include Vincent Persichetti’s Psalm for Band and William Schuman’s Chester, amongst many other works which are now considered standard repertoire for concert bands.

The photos are from the music library’s UofL Historic Band Collection, which includes hundreds of photographs, clippings, recordings, and other early band memorabilia. If you are interested in learning more about the history of the band or this wonderful collection, please contact music librarian James Procell.


UofL trumpet players in uniform pose for photo with Thinker statue in front of Grawemeyer Hall, early 1950s

African American History in Louisville: Primary Sources

African American History month may be drawing to a close, but so many fascinating resources abound you’ll be engrossed in the subject year round. Where can you start? Here are some suggestions.

    • Documenting African American Life in Louisville: The fine folks in the University Archives have created a research guide to materials on the African American experience in Louisville. Manuscripts include personal papers and materials from churches, government agencies, educational institutions, and community organizations. The guide also includes information about newspapers, University records, interviews, and secondary sources on African American history.
    • University of Louisville Digital Collections: Includes
      • African American women at polls, 1920

        African American women at polls, 1920

        Louisville Leader Collection: The Louisville Leader was an African American newspaper published in Louisville from 1917 to 1950. It covered issues and events . It covered local religious, educational, social, fraternal, and sporting activities, as well as national and international news.

      • African American Oral History Collection: These interviews from the 1970s captured life experiences of African American Louisvillians. The interviewees talk about their parents, their upbringing (often outside Louisville), their experiences in school, their careers, and their achievements. They discuss everyday life as well as the big events in the history they lived. The interviews that are online include audio and transcripts.
      • As well as hundreds of images on African American life in Louisville

First Floor Renovations Update

by Dean Fox

We continue to make great strides in several areas including implementation of Worldshare Management System (WMS), bringing up our new institutional repository, and in finalizing plans for the 1st floor East Ekstrom renovation. In this blog, I’m going to focus on our Ekstrom 1E progress.

We have just signed off on the architectural plans for the space. Significant accomplishments will include:

  • Constructing a new east side combined services desk
  • Moving the Writing Center to the first floor with other student support services
  • Consolidating Ekstrom reference/information literacy personnel into one location
  • Opening up wall space/barriers to allow more natural light into the space
  • Significantly enhancing group and individual study spaces including new group study rooms
  • Updating and refreshing the space to tie it more closely with the newer west wing

These changes were incorporated to meet comments from users and library staff about increasing user seating, providing better zoning between group and individual spaces, and improving lighting, way finding, and building aesthetics.

I’m including several images so you can see the proposed floor layout as well as several 3-D renderings of how the new spaces will look. These represent some exciting changes to how our users will interact with the first floor spaces and how these spaces can reflect what modern research libraries can and should be.

1E layout 1E rendering 1 1E rendering 2 1E rendering 3

Next steps for the physical spaces include final furniture selection and going out to bid for the demolition/construction phase.

In addition to the physical updates, we continue making progress on updating our service model and staffing plans for the new spaces. While these plans are still being finalized, they include meeting the goal of providing a consistent user experience in services and staffing at both the new east desk and the existing west desk. They also include revising some of our existing positions to reflect departmental mergers and service consolidations. We expect to begin implementing some of these service/position changes during the remainder of the spring semester.

Getting Words Down on the Page

by Adam Robinson, University Writing Center

The hardest part of writing for me is getting those first words down on the page. And I’ve worked in the Writing Center long enough to know that I’m not the only person who has this difficulty. I’m dedicating this blog entry to any writer who is blocked or has been blocked. Hopefully, I can offer a little advice or at least some empathy with your situation.


Image credit: desiitaly

I usually get stuck because my expectations for my project are too high in the beginning—insert image of a frustrated writer staring at a blank screen, writing then deleting opening line after opening line. The best way for me to free myself from the burden of high expectations is to start my projects with low stakes writing that won’t likely (or perhaps shouldn’t) make it in my first draft. I’m talking sloppy, unpunctuated sentences paired with some doodles and a few lists. In fact, low stakes writing is a constant presence in all stages of any project I’m working on. I’ve seen three benefits from this casual approach to writing. 1. I’m less bored with my writing process. Low stakes writing is a needed break from the formal, “correct” writing expected of polished drafts. I allow myself to go on tangents and explore my thoughts in my low stakes writing. 2. These tangents and explorations reflect the simple reality that we write or should write to discover what we know and don’t know about whatever it is that we are writing about. It’s often repeated among writing teachers that “writing is thinking.” 3. Lastly, writing the first draft seems less intimidating because I’ve already started writing. I was taught a linear approach to writing that involved picking a topic, researching, outlining, and drafting. That process certainly helped me develop as a writer. But that process also put a lot of unneeded pressure on me when it came time to write the first draft. I had already done a tremendous amount of research and thinking. I had completed an outline that promised a beautiful, logical final product. I needed to see that hard work immediately pay off with a successful first draft. I don’t thrive on that kind of pressure. I like to lower the stakes with my writing.

More importantly, however, I remind myself that I never write in isolation. I need other people (usually other writers) for motivation, guidance, and inspiration.   Reading other people’s words and ideas often unblocks me. And like low stakes writing, reading is always a part of each stage of my project.   I obviously read before I write a draft to get a sense of the conversation circulating around my chosen topic. But even after I’ve written a few drafts and have gotten closer to something that resembles a complete essay, I find myself needing and wanting to do more reading. I may reread a critical source for inspiration or to find something new, or I may seek out a new source that can plug a hole in my thinking.

And, of course, I seek out advice from other writers, which leads me to a final point…and plug for the Writing Center. We can help you with any project (professional or personal) at any stage of that project. We will engage you in a productive conversation about your writing. We’ll answer your questions and listen to your goals and concerns while asking you a few questions of our own and giving you a thoughtful response to any writing that you share with us. And since we always think about your writing as being in process, there is no judgment about the quality of your draft. It’s just a draft to us. There are no grades. No number scores. We are simply trying to help you move your project forward and to share with you some ways to approach future writing projects. We want you to come away from an appointment feeling more confident and more prepared to work on your project. You can visit our website ( to learn about our consultations and to access our handouts, videos, and other writing related resources.

Have a good semester!