Libraries Diversify Collections to Fulfill Anti-Racist Vision

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.”

Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and it's urgent lessons for our own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

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.

The Lexington Six by Josephine Donovan

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.

African American Read-In celebrates 30 Years at UofL

Thirty years ago, a group of UofL scholars gathered to read African American authors’ works aloud, celebrating literature during Black History Month. Led by Celeste Nichols, who in 1992 earned her PhD at UofL – the first African American to do so – the event boasted such auspicious attendees as Blaine Hudson, later Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Ed Lassiter, who worked in a variety of roles at UofL including as director of Black Student Affairs.


Ed Lassiter (r) emcees at the African American Read-In in 2019.

This year, on February 10, UofL’s African American Read-In celebrates its 30th anniversary. Readers will gather in Ekstrom Library’s east side lobby from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to read their favorite authors’ works aloud. Lassiter returns as the event’s emcee, Joan D’Antoni and Fannie Mae Cox continue as organizers, students, faculty, staff and the public are invited. Thus the tradition begun by Nichols, who passed away in 1996, continues.

UofL’s event is sponsored by the University Libraries, the UofL English Department, and the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equity (CODRE). The Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English founded the event nationally in 1990 to celebrate literacy during Black History Month.

Volunteers who would like to read are invited to contact D’Antoni, U of L professor of English Composition, at to schedule a time. Readers receive free books; attendees have the chance to win free books via periodic drawings.

Books to be handed out include I’m Down, Mishna Wolff; Living by the Word, Alice Walker; The Work, Wes Moore; Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo, Ntozake Shange; and The Story of Ruby Bridges, Robert Coles, among many others.


Top Five Reasons Ekstrom’s Interlibrary Loan Staff Cancel Requests

By Andy Huff

Many UofL faculty, staff and students have used the University Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service to request materials from other academic and public libraries in the United States. Over the past year, our staff has fulfilled 14,612 requests for materials. ILL also includes document delivery services: our staff scan articles from our bound and electronic holdings and deliver them as PDFs to your ILL account.

graphic five reasons

Unfortunately, among these numerous requests, we had to cancel 1,811, or more than 12%.  Our mission is to provide research materials to patrons when and where they need them, and while we have an exceptional fill rate of 88%, my team and I want to do even better.  To that end, I have complied the top five reasons why we cancel requests so that you know what may have happened to your last request, and what is involved in the decision-making process of our ILL staff.

  1. We have exhausted all possible sources (475 requests or 26%)

In this context, ‘sources’ are other libraries we contact to get the materials you’re looking for. If you get this notice, it is because we could not find a library that could supply the item you requested.  Sometimes it is because the only libraries that have the item are overseas; at other times, it is because a lending library is not willing to supply their materials via ILL.

  1. Other (384 requests or 21%)

This one is a bit trickier.  We typically categorize some items as ‘other’ for specific reasons that do not fall under our normal cancellation categories.  For example, we received a blank request, an item is available online (such as a journal article or e-book that is either public domain or owned by UofL), or an item is at the Law or Art library, in which case we refer them to that library.

  1. Textbooks (239 requests or 13%)

While we wish we could use ILL as an avenue for students to acquire textbooks, we have found that the shipping and handling costs, renewal rate, and sheer volume of requests would quickly swamp our department. Some professors assign new textbooks every semester, or they assign the most recent edition, and editions are constantly being updated; to keep the latest version of all assigned textbooks would be impossible.

  1. Unable to verify your request (212 requests or 11.7%)

We cancel requests when we are unable to find material based on the citation provided to us. This generally happens when we receive too little information and we cannot match what you have given us to a specific item, or the citation is too broad and fits too many items). We send out an will e-mail you when we are unable to verify a citation and give you 48 hours to respond back to us before canceling the request.

  1. Too new for an interlibrary loan (145 requests or 8%)

This happens when a book is forthcoming, the book is on order at other libraries and has not arrived there yet, or other libraries are unable to provide us the book because of age limitations on the material.  Many libraries will restrict the use of new release books and will not allow them to circulate for a year so that their local patrons can use them.  Ekstrom Library does the same thing for books in the Browsing Collection so that you have time to read them before we send them to requesting libraries.

We hope students, faculty and staff will continue to use the ILL for their scholarly work. To learn more, please visit

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.

Annual Kentucky Women’s Book Festival brings together readers, writers in Ekstrom Library

The 12th annual Kentucky Women’s Book Festival will feature authors from a wide variety of genres March 3 on University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus.

The festival’s opening speaker is UofL alumna Sheri Riley, author of “Exponential Living: Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are (with a forward by Usher),” which has been featured on numerous national television shows and news outlets.


Sallie Bingham, playwright, poet, founder of the Kentucky Foundation for Women and author of numerous books including an upcoming literary biography, “The Silver Swan: In Search of Doris Duke,” will present the luncheon keynote.

Other speakers include Carolyn Furdek, author of “Locked-In: A Soldier & Civilian’s Struggle with Invisible Wounds,” and Aimee Zaring, author of “Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods.”

Women Who Write, a local women’s writers’ group, will present the workshop “So, You Want to Write: Let’s Get Started” facilitated by Selene Phillips, who is an assistant professor of communications at UofL.

The festival begins at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and conversation and the opening session begins at 10 a.m. in the Chao Auditorium of Ekstrom Library. Festival sessions and presentations are free but participants are asked to register here to guarantee their space.  An optional $10 lunch is available for purchase by calling the Women’s Center at 502-852-8976.

The Women’s Center and University Libraries host the event, which is part of the university’s observance of Women’s History Month.


Interest in Dystopian Fiction Surges

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.

Other examples of dystopian fiction include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World,  Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Want to dig further into our collection of dystopian fiction? Here’s a list:

handmaids taleThe 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



Readers and Writers Unite at the Kentucky Women’s Book Festival

By Amy Purcell, 2014/05/02

KWBFlogoThe Kentucky Women’s Book Festival endeavors to foster a deeper interest in Kentucky women writers and encourage beginninGirl-in-Blue-Beretg writers to continue their work and strive to grow with each new venture.  Kentucky writers include those born in Kentucky but now living elsewhere, if they wish to be identified as Kentuckians, as well as those who, although not born here have made Kentucky home.

The Kentucky Women’s Book Festival is held on the 3rd Saturday of May. This year it marks the 8th annual festival and will be on May 17, 2014 in the Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville. The event is free and open to all. If you would like to purchase a lunch, please call the Women’s Center  by May 13 (502) 852-8976 by May 13. (The lunch is $16 and catered by Masterson’s. Those who do not wish to purchase a lunch may still come to the reading.)

Doors open at 9:00 with refreshments and discussion, then the speakers begin in the Elaine Chao Auditorium at 9:30 with George Ella Lyon who will  discuss and read from her new book of poetry: Many-Storied House, followed by Bobbie Ann Mason who will read from her latest novel: The Girl in the Blue Beret. There are three consecutive morning sessions: Sonja de Vries, a poet; Alison Atlee, an author; and Jannene Winstead & Leborah the-fountain-of-st-james-courtGoodwin who have cnext-time-you-see-meompiled a cookbook with a bit of Louisville history: Recipes and recollections: from the houses Samuel M. Plato Built. Holly Goddard Jones will do a lunchtime reading from her novel The Next Time You See Me. After lunch is a presentation by Sena Jeter Naslund entitled “Knowing the Self Through Knowing the Other,” which will feature the research for her latest novel The Fountain of St. James Court; or Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman, then two more consecutive sessions: Mariam Williams will discuss “Black Arts Movement Pride, Walker’s Womanism and Hillbilly Sisterhood: the African American Women’s Literary Series in the 1990s” and Playwrights Nancy Gall-Clayton & Kathi E. B. Wlllis will present “When Characters Speak.”

Book purchase and signing will be available throughout the day. For more information, see the KWBF website or read about it in the Women’s Center’s spring 2014 newsletter. The festival ends at 3:30.

Ray Bradbury and Edgar Rice Burroughs

At the time of Ray Bradbury’s death last week, I had just read something by him for the first time in decades: his short reflection called “Take Me Home” in the Sci Fi-themed special double issue of The New Yorker (88(16): 66, June 4-11, 2012).

Reading his nostalgic piece invoked my own fond memories of the enthusiastic Junior High English teacher who first introduced me to Bradbury’s work. It also, along with the spate of obituaries and tributes that followed that last published work, highlighted some connections between Bradbury’s influences and my current profession.

Ray Bradbury championed libraries, to which he attributes his education as a writer. His “How Instead of Being Educated in College, I Was Graduated from Libraries or, Thoughts from a Chap Who Landed on the Moon in 1932” (Wilson Library Bulletin 45(9): 842-851, May 1971) is stored in UofL Libraries’ Robotic Retrieval System.

In addition to the role libraries played in his formation as a writer, Bradbury was influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs. So was my colleague George McWhorter, who established the Nell Dismukes McWhorter Memorial Collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the largest institutional collection of Burroughs materials in the world, in the Special Collections department at UofL’s Ekstrom Library. McWhorter confirms that the collection includes letters from Bradbury.

Bradbury is not the only writer to acknowledge his debt to Burroughs. The Library of America has published two Burroughs titles, with introductions by Junot Díaz and Thomas Mallon; Michael Chabon contributed to the screenplay for the recent film John Carter, based on a story by Burroughs. The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating the centennial of Burroughs’ publications by issuing a Forever stamp of him later this summer.