By Maurini Strub
It’s been over a year since the east wing of the 1st floor of Ekstrom Library was renovated. We hope that during this time you’ve enjoyed using the space, and maybe discovered a new favorite spot.
Before the renovation, we collected feedback on your needs, desires and difficulties, and that data helped inform the design of the space. Design solutions include a clearly identified, “one-stop shopping” service desk; enhanced technology support and printing services; an intuitive approach to the layout of services and spaces; and a mixture of learning and study spaces.
Assessing how well we met our goals is the focus of a survey we’ll be conducting through April 25. As you walk through the first floor-east, you’ll see some questionnaires, and a large red box as you enter the east lobby (see photos).
The survey seeks to discover your satisfaction with these improved learning spaces, how these spaces have impacted your success at UofL, your experience using our services, and the value of collocating some of our primary services. Concurrently, we’ll conduct periodic observations and review collections usage data.
We’d love to hear about your experience in these new spaces. Please feel free to complete this very short questionnaire or fill out the paper one and leave it in the red box in the lobby!
By Carolyn Dowd and George Martinez
Following the November election, George Orwell’s 1984 became an instant best-selling novel. It is one among a number of 20th Century dystopian novels making a resurgence in popularity recently. A bitterly contested American election and subsequent change in governing style may have prompted some to seek out fictionalized accounts of dystopian realities, as an odd form of comfort.
What is dystopian fiction? Contrary to utopian fictions, in which an author projects an ideal worldview of humanity, dystopian fictions offer a darker vision of human behavior, where desired societal norms are turned on their heads. Thus, a society might led not by a beneficent, wise and humane ruler, but an immature, inhumane, simple-minded fool.
In 1984, Winston Smith lives under the intolerable, crippling and constant scrutiny of the ironically named ruler of Oceana, Big Brother. His attempts to find individual freedom within such a society forms the main drama of the novel.
Want to dig further into our collection of dystopian fiction? Here’s a list:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
The Stand by Stephen King
V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Blindness by José Saramago
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Most mornings, do you rise and shine, or just rise? When all-night studying, research, or parties compete for sleep, sometimes waking up is enough. Shining? Not so much.
But at Ekstrom Library, some student assistants are being asked to shine up – i.e., dress better than usual – once a week, on what is known as Shine Day. The program was enacted this Fall by Ekstrom’s Access and User Services (AUS) department to help student assistants look their professional best, and experience the real world of work.
Participating students dress in “business casual” for one day a week for an entire semester, an upgrade from the current requirement of “student casual,” which can range from neat and low-key, to downright rumpled.
So far the results have been positive, said Ashley Triplett, Student Supervisor for Access and User Services (AUS) at Ekstrom Library.
“So many of the AUS student workers have embraced the concept and are really enjoying it,” Triplett said. “They look so great, and when they dress up, even a little bit, they shine.”
“The purpose is to help students develop their professional identities and understand how appearance can affect performance,” she continued.
University Libraries student assistant Jun Ruan, a sophomore in the nursing program, said she feels more professional on Shine Days, and is even taken more seriously.
“One day I was dressed up a bit and went to the Speed museum. Several people started asking me for directions and about the museum because they thought I worked there,” she said.
The program’s success has led AUS to continue the practice into the Spring semester. Next time you visit Ekstrom, see if you can tell which students are shining.
(Photos by Ashley Triplett)
What are we, the University Libraries, all about? What do we do, and what is our story?
Discover. Create. Succeed.
These three words describe our patrons’ process of interaction with the Libraries. They evoke the wonder and excitement of learning, the reciprocal interaction between finding material and turning it into scholarship, and the projected outcome of having interacted with our invaluable resources, whether printed, digital or human.
The University Libraries are vital to the academic success of the University of Louisville community. Both on campus and online, we are a key resource, teaching students best practices in scholarly research and collaborating with faculty to support their pedagogy. Our rich resources promote academic success. Above all, we help make UofL great.
With an important place in the UofL framework, the Libraries invite students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors to revisit our facilities and interact with our resources, and our people.
The University Libraries support over 170 fields of study within 12 schools and colleges. Over three million people visit our libraries annually, and millions more access our website at http://www.louisville.edu/library. As members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the University of Louisville Libraries rank among the top 100 academic research libraries in North America.
Visit your University Library to learn more!
A visual feast awaits students, researchers and visitors in Ekstrom Library this week. In celebration of el Día de los muertos, or Day of the Dead, a national holiday celebrated throughout Latin America, traditional kites made by University of Louisville Spanish students hung in the third floor lobby, while altars honoring those who have passed away this year, including David Bowie and Muhammad Ali were set up in the Lower Level and on the first floor.
In Mexico, Día de los muertos is recognized as a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1-2, in connection with the Catholic holidays: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased and
visiting graves with gifts.
Los barriletes gigantes (giant kites) are a unique tradition in Guatemala. For months, teams work to build giant kites made of bamboo and tissue paper. The designs are incredibly intricate and often hold a political message. On Nov. 1, the giant kites are taken to a sacred hill on the outside of town, overlooking the main cemetery. There is music, dancing, food and general celebration. At dusk, the kites, 6 meters in height and width, are
launched. The high November winds soon tear the kites to pieces, symbolic of the life
and death that all celebrate on el Día de los Muertos.
University of Louisville Spanish students have been studying the diverse ways in which el Día de los muertos is celebrated throughout Latin America. The Ekstrom Library annual event showcases the culmination of these lessons with a small Día de los muertos celebration.
To learn more:
On a recent rainy Thursday on the eastern steps outside UofL’s Ekstrom Library, a small group gathered, defying cold and noisy UPS cargo jets, to read and hear excerpts from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Beloved and Slaughterhouse-Five, books banned at some point in the past.
The event was led by George Martinez, the 2016-17 Diversity Residency Librarian for the University Libraries, to commemorate Banned Books Week at Ekstrom. Earlier in the week he’d staged a screening of Persepolis, an Iranian movie based on a banned graphic novel, and directed visitors toward the Writing Center, where they could create imaginative book covers.
These tasks were among those Martinez eagerly embraced as part of his diversity residency, a Libraries’ initiative that gives a deserving individual from an underrepresented group a foothold in a competitive profession, where minority workers are trending up, but remain relatively scarce.
Unlike most internships, which are unpaid, the diversity residency provides a salary and on-the-job training; in return, the Research Assistance and Instruction department, where Martinez works, benefits from his expertise and training as a librarian and teacher.
“He brings a fresh perspective and lots of energy and enthusiasm for his work,” said Anna Marie Johnson, head of RAI.
“There is flexibility in the position,” she continued. “The resident can attend meetings and participate in the work of groups across the library to learn about the various aspects of the academic library. In addition, the residency comes with a unique opportunity, co-authorship on an annually produced bibliography of articles on information literacy which allows the resident to gain knowledge in this important area while also getting his or her name on a publication which is important in the academic library world.”
“There are only a handful of these types of librarian residencies throughout the country. It’s a great way for me to get my foot in the door of academic libraries.”
– George Martinez, 2016-17 Diversity Resident, University Libraries
The fact that the position exists highlights the Libraries’ commitment to diversity, says Martinez.
“There are only a handful of these types of librarian residencies throughout the country. It’s a great way for me to get my foot in the door of academic libraries and I would not have relocated from California to Kentucky without this opportunity. It was also very helpful to know that the Libraries cares about diversity and serving the entire UofL community.”
In 2015, 166,000 individuals were employed as librarians in the U.S.; of those 83% were female; 84% white; 8.5% black or African American; 2.8% Asian; and 4.8% Latino, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor Statistics.
There are various reasons for the imbalance, says Martinez.
“It’s complicated to pin down why exactly librarianship is not diverse. One factor is that librarianship is not viewed as a high paying profession and that could deter people from investing in a master’s degree in library science, which is a prerequisite for librarians. Some of the other factors relate to cultural competency within libraries.”
It’s important that libraries diversify, to “properly serve their patrons and show that they welcome a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. If we can foster diversity in librarianship, then we can more easily connect with a wider range of communities.”
“The profession is aware of it and is working on it. The residency program is one way the UofL Libraries is tackling this,” he said.
The program began in 1999 as an internship that offered participants paid tuition to complete their master’s degree in library science. In 2008, the program changed to a post-MLS residency that supports librarians from underrepresented groups early in their careers, after they’ve finished their MLS degrees. In this way the Libraries align with the UofL 2020 Plan’s overarching goal of supporting diversity within the student body and solidifying its position as a nationally recognized metropolitan university.
The residency is designed to be limited in duration, to allow a greater number of participants. Martinez will be leaving in summer of 2017.
“I’m in a place of learning right now, I do more listening than talking. I can explore in this new part of the country. My family is on the west coast, so I do intend to go back after the residency is up.”
Martinez grew up in Salinas, California and lived there for many years. He worked as a K-6 substitute teacher in the Los Angeles public schools, and taught English and writing at New York University where he received an M.A. in Educational Theatre. His 2015 M.L.S. is from the University of Maryland.
“The ability to grow into my first position has been so important, just seeing how the library functions, learning the different responsibilities of my job, and getting concrete skills in teaching and library instruction has been huge.”
“I feel supported and fostered,” he said. “Everybody’s been extremely welcoming and helpful.”
The fact that he has been so well supported reflects well on Ekstrom’s environment: “A library has to be in a place where they can create that kind of atmosphere. This has given me a space to collaborate while I’m learning.”
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information.
The University Libraries are sponsoring several events to commemorate Banned Books Week, including:
- Film Screening: September 26 at 4:00pm in Ekstrom Library, Room 117A/CLC
- Persepolis (2007): A film based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi about an independent young woman growing up in Iran. (Donuts will be served!)
- Banned Books Read Aloud: September 27-29 from 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m., East Side of Ekstrom Library
- Faculty, students, and staff will be reading from their favorite banned or challenged books on the east side of Ekstrom Library.
- Create Your Own Book Cover: September 27-29 from 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m., East Side of Ekstrom Library
- Create your own book cover with the Writing Center and reflect on why a particular banned book has been meaningful to you
For more information, contact George Martinez at email@example.com.
Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country.
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
If you would like more information about banned and challenged books, contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4220, or firstname.lastname@example.org.