What Students Are Telling Us About How They Use the Libraries

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.

Two students in the 102 alcove in Ekstrom Library

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 fair21.54%
Course requirement21.32%
A librarian came to my class11.10%
Blackboard10.00%
Academic Advisor8.35%
Freshman Guide6.70%
Recommendation from a friend5.49%

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 assignment9.41%
Locate scholarly, peer-reviewed materials when required for an assignment5.02%
Develop a research topic for an assignment5.06%
Cite sources appropriately when required for an assignment3.72%
Evaluate the trustworthiness of news and other web sources3.31%

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.


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.


Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life: A Celebration in Virtual and Onsite Exhibits, Opens January 25

On January 25, 2021, UofL’s Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice and the University Libraries will commemorate Muhammad Ali’s social justice legacy with a series of virtual and onsite exhibits titled Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life

Image of Muhammad Ali. Charles Harrity, AP
Charles Harrity/AP

The exhibits honor Muhammad Ali’s connections to Louisville, his unique contributions to civil rights and social justice movements, and his inspiring global legacy. Transcendent Life will engage the UofL campus and community and show how Ali’s legacy as a global humanitarian and champion for social justice impacts peace and justice advocacy today. 

The multimedia exhibits will begin a phased opening on January 25, the week after his 79th birthday on January 17. The first exhibit showcases Ali as a Humanitarian and Peace Advocate. In February, a virtual exhibit will honor his civil rights record. Subsequent exhibits emphasize his boxing and athletic background and his involvement with Islam.

Multimedia exhibits launching January 25 include a display in Ekstrom Library of a rare book of Ali photos , while a virtual exhibit features a story map of public art and monuments titled “Muhammad Ali: An Extraordinary Life in Louisville and Beyond.”   

Photo of Muhammad Ali addressing a gathering at a Black Muslim convention in Chicago on Feb. 25, 1968. (AP)
Muhammad Ali addresses a gathering at a Black Muslim convention in Chicago on Feb. 25, 1968. (AP)

To include all voices in the celebration, exhibit organizers invite University and Louisville community members to record and upload video/audio memories or thoughts for a tribute titled “Standing Up For Peace.”  Contributors may share uploads to this video tribute and archive through June 2021 via: louisville.libwizard.com/f/ali-stand-up-for-peace.

Color photo of Muhammad Ali, by Eric Feferberg/AFP via Getty Images
Eric Feferberg/AFP via Getty Images

A symposium titled “Standing Up For Peace – Celebrating Muhammad Ali’s Social Justice Legacy” is planned for Spring 2022, Ali’s 80th birth year. The symposium’s focus will be national and global racial justice and human rights issues, featuring nationally recognized speakers, UofL student contributions, and excerpts from the video archive. A series of break-out sessions will bring together community organizers and justice advocates to design action agendas to stand up for peace in their communities.  

The Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life commemoration will include:

  • An exhibit in Ekstrom Library of rare archival resources on Muhammad Ali including the massive volume Greatest of All Time: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali with additional photographs by Howard L. Bingham and Lin Caufield. The Archives and Special Collections exhibit will be held in the first floor cases of the west wing of Ekstrom Library, across from the circulation desk through February 26.  
  • A Digital Storymap titled “Muhammad Ali: An Extraordinary Life in Louisville and Beyond”  featuring public art and monuments to Muhammad Ali in Louisville:  storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/a28b07b8238847de994dd6165877a1b6. This is a collaboration between University of Louisville, the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice, the Bridwell Art Library, and the Center for Geographic Information Sciences.  
  • UofL’s Music Library display will feature original music and other recordings by and about Muhammad Ali.  He was an eclectic artist who acted on Broadway and released several recordings.
    • Did you know that the song “The Greatest Love of All” sung by Whitney Houston is about Muhammad Ali? The 1977 version was performed by George Benson as the theme song of the The Greatest, a film about Muhammad Ali.
  • The Bridwell Art Library will display books highlighting artists who photographed or depicted Muhammad Ali in their work.
  • The Kornhauser Health Sciences Library will feature innovations in Parkinson’s Disease treatments as well as Muhammad Ali’s contributions to advance this research.
  • A Research Guide will feature several Digital Timelines of Muhammad Ali’s life focused on: his Boxing Excellence; his Spirituality and Islamic Faith; his work as a Humanitarian and Peace Advocate; and his actions as a Social Justice and Civil Rights Icon. The timelines connect Muhammad Ali’s life with key moments in global and U.S. history. The Research Guide will feature additional resources from University Libraries and the Muhammad Ali Institute. https://library.louisville.edu/ali  
  • The Standing Up For Peace Community Engagement Video Series will ask our community to share their thoughts about this question: “What can we learn from Muhammad Ali about standing up for peace today?” This audio/video collection of community contributions will be available to the public. Upload here: louisville.libwizard.com/f/ali-stand-up-for-peace
  • Spring 2022 – SYMPOSIUM – “Celebrating Muhammad Ali’s Social Justice Legacy – Standing Up For Peace.” This symposium/conference will focus on how Muhammad Ali can inspire the world to stand up for peace today on national and international racial justice and human rights issues.  We are seeking funding and will collaborate with other UofL offices and academic units, student groups, and community groups.
  • Related Scholarship: Fannie Cox and Enid Trucios-Haynes will submit a proposal to present this collaboration and its outcomes at a national library conference.

Louisville Businesswoman and Community Activist named UofL Alumni Fellow

The University Libraries is pleased to celebrate long-time community activist and social justice advocate Jessica Loving as an Alumni Fellow for this year’s University of Louisville Alumni Awards.

Loving was named an Alumni Fellow from UofL’s schools and colleges as well as Libraries and Student Affairs along with 13 other graduates. This year is a virtual celebration featuring video interviews with the honorees as they discuss their time at UofL and the impact of their careers.

“I’m so happy that Jessica Loving is the 2020 recipient of the UofL Alumni Award on behalf of the University Libraries,” said Libraries Dean Bob Fox. “She has done so much for Louisville and for Kentucky through her work with community organizations and as a tireless advocate for social justice.”

“We are especially fortunate in the libraries that Jessica shares a vision of transforming one of our spaces in Ekstrom Library into a Jewish Studies Reading Room that would bring our Jewish studies collection into a space shared by scholars in quiet reflective study, as well as providing facilities to host noted lectures and speakers,” Fox added.

Loving is currently a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and the Jewish Community Relations Council. She previously served on the boards of the Louisville Ballet, the National ACLU, and the Center for Women & Families.  She is also a founding member of the Jewish Family & Career Service’s MOSAIC Award Committee.

Jessica Loving received her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the University of Louisville in 1968 and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi and Woodcock honor societies. She has been president of Jessica Loving & Associates, a public relations and marketing consulting business in Louisville, for a number of years.

Loving formerly was vice president of corporate communications at PNC Bank, executive director of the KY Commission on Women, and executive director of the ACLU of KY. Loving’s public relations and marketing clients have included banks, law firms, nonprofit groups, real estate developers, bourbon distillers, unions and a meatpacking plant. She has also provided pro bono campaign planning and management for several local judges.

Loving was a member of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees from 1996 through 2008 and was Board chair from 2001 to 2003. She has also served on the University’s Board of Overseers, College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Committee, and Athletic Advisory Commission.

“I would urge my fellow graduates of the UofL to be mindful of how we can help the university be the sort of place that can nurture young 17- and 18-year olds freshman and give them the kind of education that most of us got and help them make this world a better place,” said Loving. “We have a lot of work to do and the University is the place that nurtures the people that can make a difference.”

Jessica and her husband, Sheryl G. Snyder, a Louisville attorney, have a blended family of five children and seven grandchildren.

“We are so grateful to Jessica for her support of the Libraries, for her support and commitment to UofL, and her passion for social justice,” said Dean Fox.


Donor Spotlight: Dr. Donald and Catherine Cathy Shoemaker

During last fall’s 50th Anniversary celebration for 1968-69 UofL graduates, Dr. Donald Shoemaker and Cathy Shoemaker visited the Belknap campus for the first time in almost as many years.

“It was amazing, completely different,” said Don. “We couldn’t believe how things have changed.”

Don admits that over the years he had been immersed in his medical practice as an anesthesiologist at Baptist Health in Louisville and hadn’t kept up with the growing campus. “I went to med school in 1968 and hadn’t seen it since and the whole time the campus was growing. My goodness. The way it expanded was amazing.”

Don and Cathy Shoemaker

Don and Cathy Shoemaker

UofL Archivist and Historian Tom Owen led the couple on a lengthy tour of the campus, fielding questions about buildings and settings both familiar and unfamiliar. Owen is well-known for leading Belknap History Walking Tours throughout the year where he plays raconteur and tour guide for groups of faculty, staff, students and Louisville residents.

“He took us out to the new music school, where it was all older houses when I was in school,” said Donald, referring to the building built in 1980 which now contains the School of Music, Comstock Hall and Music Library. “There are three old buildings nearby and I used to take Poli-Sci, English and other classes there.” Facing north, “there was a stone wall, a parking lot and a pizza place” that once lined the now long-gone Shipp Street.

“On the south side of the campus I remember the Purina silos that they tore down. They moved the observatory and other buildings, just pushed them back.”

Cathy, who earned a master’s degree in social work, said that back in the day, “Kent School was in a large yellow brick house near the old Confederate statue. I took a statistics course in the garage.”

The couple were also impressed with the Foucault pendulum clock installed on the ground floor of Grawemeyer Hall in 1978. “The ground level, where you now see the pendulum, was the finance office where we would drop off our tuition checks.”

Don remembers the main library in Schneider Hall – now the site of Fine Arts and the Bridwell Art Library –  to study between classes and before fraternity events. He remembers the long fountain on the building’s east side was occasionally visited by soap bubbles as pranking students poured in laundry detergent.

“As a science major, I had all my classes in one building, the natural sciences building by Eastern Parkway. Now all the sciences have their own buildings. I’d just wait in the Natural Sciences library before classes.

“I’d be walking my legs off now, but probably I’d be in better shape.”

Since graduating from UofL, the couple has been busy with careers and raising a family of three daughters. Their eldest daughter also has strong UofL ties: Amy Shoemaker is the Associate Athletic Director for Administration and Deputy University Counsel. Lisa Borden, their middle daughter is a UofL medical school graduate and pediatrician in Middletown, and youngest Kristin Shoemaker is a commercial airline pilot, living in Charlotte North Carolina.

Cathy and Don were born and raised in Louisville and graduated in 1964 from local high schools, Cathy from Presentation Academy and Don from Seneca High School. Don’s fellow Seneca High School alum was Wes Unseld, the former UofL Cardinal basketball star who played for the Baltimore Bullets and was named NBA Most Valuable Player among other accolades. Unseld passed away on June 2, 2020.

“He helped our team win the Kentucky HS championship in our junior and senior years. We both went on to UofL; I went into med school and he went to Baltimore and had an NBA hall of fame basketball career.”

“He was a good, good guy. It was just a shock that he passed away. I saw him six years ago at the 50th HS reunion. We weren’t close personal friends, but we all rooted for him and I was proud of his talent.”

Cathy earned a master of science in social work from the Kent school. “First I went to Spaulding University and then I was a student at Kent School but I owed the state two years of work because they paid for my tuition,” she said. “I worked in Frankfort, teaching social workers how to lead therapy groups for families with dependent children.” She then worked as a clinical social worker for River Region (later Centerstone), and then after starting her family, she worked part-time for Seven County Services.

After Don earned a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Sciences, he entered the UofL Medical School and completed his residency at UofL Hospital. He served in the Air Force for two years in Omaha, Nebraska and then moved back to Louisville.

Cathy tells the story of how the couple met in 1970 at the old Louisville General Hospital – in the Psych ward, she says, laughing – while both were on rotation there. Cathy was working on her social work degree and Don was a medical student on rotation.

After they married, Cathy began working for the state of Kentucky, traveling all over the state to conduct trainings. At the same time, Don’s residency meant he worked overnight every third day.

“We used to joke that our marriage will last much longer than anyone else’s because we just hadn’t seen each other as much,” said Cathy.

In his long career – he retired in 2013 – Don has seen many changes in healthcare and in the world of anesthesia.

“Back in 1977, it was mostly MDs providing anesthesia, but now we need CRNAs, nurse anesthetists to staff all the areas where anesthesia is needed. Back in 1977, we had six ORs. Now there are close to 30, and they need anesthesia services in the endoscopy suites and delivery rooms, radiology, etc. Even in outpatient centers.”

“But during this COVID 19 crisis, I think people have changed the way they view anesthesiologists,” he continued. “They are heroes. They have to put people on ventilators, intubate them and keep them alive, keep their airways open as they battle the virus.”

Change has not only struck the healthcare profession, but also higher education and in particular, the University over the past 14 years of daughter Amy’s tenure. But though UofL had experienced some challenging times, Cathy and Don both expressed their enthusiasm for President Neeli Bendapudi and Athletic Director Vince Tyra.

“We have been very impressed with Neeli as a leader,” said Cathy. “She has been a stabilizing force and done a great job of turning things around.”

“We can’t say enough about her leadership. She’s personable, smart, and so energetic.”


UofL Digital Content Portal

Exploring digital content from the University of Louisville just got easier. The new portal provides an easy way to access faculty scholarship, theses and dissertations, UofL and student-produced publications, as well as archival photographs and newspapers, digitized interviews, and more.

The portal includes search boxes that make it simple to dive right in and explore. Visit it at https://library.louisville.edu/digital-content.

UofL Digital Content homepage

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.


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.


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!