All-Libraries MLK Exhibit Leads Visitors Through Civil Rights Timeline

To honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King on his birthday, all University of Louisville’s libraries will participate in an exhibit of posters and materials celebrating Dr. King’s life, “A Walk Through the Civil Rights Movement with the University Libraries.”

MLK 2020

The exhibit highlights pivotal events in the civil rights movement in the United States, beginning with the Brown v Board of Education decision in 1954, and ending with Dr. King’s assassination in 1968. Visitors can follow the panels’ timeline starting in Kornhauser Library, then moving to Music, Law, Archives and Special Collections, Ekstrom, and ending at the Art Library.

The featured panels commemorating the civil rights movement once hung in Ekstrom Library for a decade. Each library will display some of the panels and supplement the exhibit with their own materials.

An accompanying MLK digital timeline and Library Guide (LibGuide) will reference all materials displayed in the exhibit, showcasing the numerous civil rights-related works within each library’s collection. It will be linked to the University Libraries’ website.

New Art Library Director Makes Outreach a Priority

Helping art students feed their craft by learning about art-bookmaking; promoting visual research across disciplines; bringing the library to where students are on campus – these are the goals that drive UofL’s new Art Library Director, Courtney Baron.

Since beginning work in August, Baron has focused on a broad agenda of promoting the library’s resources and services to its core constituency, fine arts students and faculty, as well as to non-art students and researchers across campus.

“We want to raise awareness that we’re here, and make people aware of some of the things that make us unique,” she said.

These distinctive offerings – a growing collection of artists’ books; high-profile visual art databases; over 300 domestic and foreign journals and museum bulletins; and a bevy of materials in fine art, graphic design, painting, sculpture, interior architecture, fiber art, art education, and photography – are a reason so many current and former UofL art students and faculty continue to visit and contribute to the library.

Baron is excited to talk about the library’s 400+ artists’ books. Works of art themselves, the books reveal surprising, creative, sometimes hilarious takes on the construction of a book. Some are tiny, some sculptural, made with exotic or unusual materials, and all are photographed for visual reference and appear on the library’s website.

“Students can learn the various techniques shown in each book construction and gain inspiration for making their own books. We really want them to be inspired.”

Another singular library offering among its digital collections is Artstor Digital Library, an online database of great works of art scanned at high resolution.

Artstor is such a great resource in that it offers images at an extremely high quality with accurate color and representation,” she said. “You can zoom into each work of art to see a fine level of detail without much pixilation. It’s a visual resource aid that is useful certainly for fine arts students and faculty, but also non-art students and researchers.”

Students of geography, theater, information technology, and other areas can use visual research in their scholarship; such participation across disciplines could spark many creative and inspiring projects, she said.

“I am really excited to collaborate as much as possible with other areas on campus. Theater, pan-African studies, the Commonwealth Center for Humanities and other departments have so many interdisciplinary projects where we might partner.”

In addition to spreading the word about the library’s collections, Baron wants to make sure faculty and students know they can receive one-on-one research consultations, walk-in appointments and in-class lectures on information literacy.

“We will always be student-centered. I want students to know about our collections and services and particularly that our staff are a resource for research assistance. We’ve set up our virtual chat service and research consultation scheduling system so students can get one-on-one help,” she said.

The focus on research help for students extends from the library to the classroom. Baron hopes to increase collaboration with faculty in the classroom to build the information and visual literacy skills of art students. “I see myself as a facilitator of student learning, encouraging students to pursue topics that excite them and building their confidence in the research process.”

She also is seeking ways to “be visible to our art students and faculty where they are. So it’s important to figure out how to bring the library to all the different spaces on and off the Belknap campus,” like the Cressman building downtown, which houses glass studios, and the new Portland MFA Studio in western Louisville.

“I also want to make some community connections, particularly with the Speed Art Museum. I also plan to partner with the Hite Art Institute to reach out to the west Louisville community – there are many opportunities in the Portland neighborhood – particularly among high schools and students where there is a need for more resources. There are also many opportunities with galleries around town.”

Baron most recently served as Head of Library Teaching and Outreach Services at Oxford College Library, Emory University in Atlanta. Previously, she was director of visual resources at Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. She earned her MLIS from Valdosta State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in Classical Archaeology and Latin.

Baron’s love of the arts encompasses more than the visual: from elementary through high school, she danced with the Atlanta Ballet. She has also appeared in productions with the Northeast ballet. After high school she focused on other forms of dance, including ballroom dancing and a four-year stint with the Modern Pin-Ups, a dance performance company in Athens, Georgia.

Scenes from the Libraries Holiday Party 2019

University Libraries personnel noshed, swapped stories, and enjoyed good company at the annual holiday luncheon on December 11. Dean Bob Fox and the administrative team supported and arranged the buffet lunch.

Judy Chicago – The Dinner Table

The Bridwell Art Library is celebrating Banned Books Week with an artistic spin! Stop by the library to see our book display featuring challenged works of art, pick up coloring sheets and buttons, and share your experiences with censored artwork.

By Trish Blair

This is the story of a feminist dinner party and the brouhaha that surrounded it being seen, and the quest for its permanent home.

In the 1970s, the art world was dominated by old or dead men.  Not seeing herself or other women in that myopic view, Judy Chicago set out to change that.  Created from 1974-1979 she and her band of 400 volunteers created a massive cooperative art installation consisting of a 48-foot equilateral triangular table with 39 place settings of famous women.  Eventually the piece would recognize 999 more women with the addition of a tile floor inscribed with those names in gold. 

The first show opened and was a huge success at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with over 90,000 people seeing it in its three-month run.  However, subsequent viewings of the show were not in a museum again until 2002.  This was due mostly to the reviews of the shows being described as “failed art”, “crass, and solemn and single-minded.”  The vulvar imagery on the plates along with the ceramics and embroidery techniques involved were thought of as craft-work, vulgar, and radical. 

In 1988 after a decade of touring The Dinner Party needed a permanent home.  Judy Chicago, in 1990, attempted to donate it to the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) to anchor a proposed museum in a then empty library.  From there the Washington D.C. political media machine began writing stories that claimed that The Dinner Party “had been banned from several art galleries around the country because it depicts women’s genitalia on plates” and that the “Board of Trustees will spend nearly $1.6 million to acquire and exhibit a piece of controversial art.” This brought the ire of Republican Congressmen who deemed it pornographic and cut 1.6 million dollars from the UDC budget.  The entire cost of the renovation needed to house the piece.  Judy couldn’t take the fighting so she pulled the gift offer. 

Spring forward to 2002 and a wealthy museum donor bought, and gifted the entire piece to the Brooklyn Museum for permanent display.  In 2007 the Dinner Party was opened to the public and has remained there ever since.

Another great thing that came from The Dinner Party was the response from women world-wide who wanted to do something to join the empowerment they felt after viewing it.  Judy and her creative partner Miriam Shapiro decide that women could make triangular shaped quilt panels. The panels, which utilize a wide variety of materials and techniques, were made by different women or groups honoring and addressing individually selected women, women’s organizations, or women’s issues, to expand the number of women honored by Chicago’s The Dinner Party. In the end, 539 panels were made and eventually gifted to the University of Louisville’s Hite Institute from Judy Chicago. 

For more details about the Dinner Party see:

The dinner party : a symbol of our heritage – Art Library Reserves NK4605 .C45

Beyond the flower : the autobiography of a feminist artist – Art Library Reserves N 6537 .C48 A2 1996

Embroidering our heritage : the dinner party needlework – Art Library Reserves NK9106 .C47 – honor-quilt

Gallery View: Capturing Women’s History: Quilts, Activism, and Storytelling,
Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville

ThinkIR’s 1 Millionth Download a Major Milestone in Bringing UofL Scholarship to Global Audience

UofL’s Institutional Repository, ThinkIR – a digital platform which hosts and offers open access to scholarship of UofL’s faculty, researchers and students – has passed the one-million mark for downloaded scholarship. As of March 12, some 5,136 research papers, thesis and dissertations have been downloaded by a worldwide audience.

thinkIR homepage

Since launching in 2015, ThinkIR has become a major open-access source for scholarship from UofL faculty and graduates, averaging more than 1,000 downloads per day, reaching world-wide audiences, and increasing UofL scholars’ visibility.

“This milestone represents the 1 million people who have been able to access scholarship at UofL from all over the world, for free,” said Bob Fox, dean of the University Libraries, which sponsored and funded the creation of the institutional repository.

“You can see by looking at the world map on the site where all the scholarship is being downloaded,” said Sarah Frankel, Open Access and Repository Coordinator for the University Libraries. “The dots on the map represent real-time downloads, so we know who is interested in our scholars’ research.

“The scholarship is much more discoverable through Google searches if it is hosted on ThinkIR; the search engine optimization ensures that items appear near the top of search results,” Frankel continued.

Formerly a Technical Services staff member, Frankel as OAR coordinator assists faculty in depositing their scholarship into ThinkIR and oversees the approval and publishing of graduate and undergraduate student self-submitted theses and dissertations. She creates profiles for each faculty scholar, helping them post biographical information and navigating copyright restrictions relating to their scholarship.

The repository’s name evokes the Rodin statue that graces the front steps of Grawemeyer Hall.

Currently, the top downloaded work is a 2012 Master’s Thesis from the Department of Pan African Studies: “The hidden help : black domestic workers in the civil rights movement” by Trena Easley Armstrong, followed closely by another Master’s Thesis from 2012, from the Sociology Department: “An analysis of Hindi women-centric films in India” by Srijita Sarkar – both titles have been downloaded more than 11,000 times since February 12, 2015!

In addition to providing access to UofL scholarship, ThinkIR also hosts peer-reviewed open-access journals. These journals are managed by UofL faculty and staff with support from Libraries staff. While most peer-reviewed academic journals are subscription-based, requiring high fees from hosting institutions, these journals are free and open to the public.

Show some Library Love today!

What do you love about your library? In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked some of our patrons for their insights into this question. Here are some of their responses:

“The library is one of the last places with a “community” feel where you can go without being expected to spend money.” – Caleb Bridgwater, Senior. UofL Libraries Student Advisory Board member

“Everyone deserves a quiet place to learn and feel comfortable. Libraries do that, and they provide a knowledge opportunity to people who may not have that opportunity elsewhere.” – Erynn Overfield, Freshman. UofL Libraries Student Advisory Board member.

Valentine's Day“I love the library because it’s the one place I can go and not get distracted. There is something about being in such a sacred study place that makes me buckle down and work! It’s a one-stop destination for productivity with the comfy seating, the Starbucks and the calm atmosphere.” – Jonah Hermes, UofL Libraries Student Advisory Board member.

“I love Ekstrom Library because it has many places to study that can cater to everyone’s study habits. The Poetry Room is my absolute favorite place on campus to rea and to write papers because it is such a quiet and calm place to get my thoughts in order.” – Taylor Chatmon, UofL Libraries Student Advisory Board member.

“The Music Library’s collection of CDs is one of the campus’s hidden treasures. (And their books are pretty good too.) Chatting with Mark Dickson while he checks out your materials is an additional bonus.” – Scott Campbell, Technical Services Librarian at UofL Law Library.

“I love the eagerness of the staff to help you succeed and the availability of every study necessity possible.” – Anora Morton, 1L student at UofL Brandeis School of Law.

“Over the past 15 years, i have served in various roles at Kornhauser Library from student assistant to junior faculty member.  There have been two constant themes that have remained with me over the years – customer service and support.  I love Kornhauser because I know every faculty and staff member is always willing to go above and beyond for patrons, and they will do the same for each other.  It’s nice to work in such a positive, caring, and supportive environment.” – Tiffney Gipson, Head of Collections at Kornhauser Library.

“I love browsing the collection at Ekstrom Library, where I always leave with an unexpected book that has captured my interest while looking for something entirely different! I also rely on the quiet spaces in the Law Library where I can retreat to focus on my work without the distractions and interruptions that crop up in my office.” – Erin Gow, Online Services Librarian at UofL Law Library.

“The artists’ books at the Art Library come in all shapes and sizes, constructed in such beautiful and colorful materials and each one with a cool, unique vibe. They are works of art in themselves and one of the things I truly love about this library.” – Carolyn Dowd, Sr. Communications Coordinator for the University Libraries.

“I love the law library because the library faculty members are so helpful and thoughtful. They will go above and beyond to help students find resources, and they always strive to accommodate students’ needs, whether that be providing more phone and computer chargers or installing a phone booth!” – Calesia Henson, 3L student at UofL Brandeis School of Law.

“My favorite library is Ekstrom. I like the quiet spaces with tables for spreading out my books. I’ve written papers, completed assignments, and done math problems in this space. It’s very peaceful. I love this space.” – Isabel Rozema, Senior. UofL Libraries Student Advisory Board member.

Show some love for your library and leave an anecdote if the spirit of Valentine’s Day moves you!


Productive Researcher portal aids Graduate Students, Faculty in their Scholarship

By Rob Detmering Information Literacy Coordinator / Humanities Teaching & Reference Librarian

Graduate school is professionally and personally rewarding, but it’s rarely easy. Graduate students in all fields regularly experience a great deal of stress as they learn to manage the multiple responsibilities of research, writing, teaching, and networking. In this high-stakes environment, the pressure to be productive is often immense. There are always new things to learn and new skills to master.


With decades of experience working with graduate students, librarians in Ekstrom Library’s Research Assistance and Instruction Department (RAI) understand the unique needs of this population and the challenges they face on the road to professionalization. As part of our ongoing efforts to make life a little easier for graduate students, we are pleased to announce the release of the Productive Researcher Portal, an online resource offering a variety of tools and tips for advanced researchers. This exciting new venture, which also features content developed by our partners in the University Writing Center, complements the face-to-face instruction and assistance we already provide for graduate students.

The Productive Researcher Portal incorporates strategies for conducting comprehensive literature searches, guidance on writing and publishing, information on free productivity tools such as EndNote citation management software, and much more. The engaging infographics and short videos on the site help answer many of the questions that get lost amid the day-to-day tasks and looming deadlines of graduate study: How do I know if I’ve found all the sources I need for my literature review? How do I manage the dissertation writing process? What journals are likely to publish my first article manuscript? What are these citation metrics I’ve been hearing so much about? We have addressed these kinds of questions through our work leading the Graduate School’s Publishing Academy, and we can now make much of this important content easily accessible to all students through the new portal.

One of the primary goals of the Productive Researcher is to promote graduate student success, but the site may also help faculty at the university enhance their knowledge of the current scholarly landscape. Faculty may especially benefit from information on tracking the impact of publications for promotion and tenure, including the evolving concept of altmetrics, as well as advice on creating data management plans, which are often required by funding agencies. And certainly any researcher can benefit from cool productivity tools like Evernote that make the research process more efficient.

Check out the Productive Researcher Portal and let us know what you think!