Ekstrom Library’s Access and User Services (AUS) department and Felix Garza, head of Public Access Services at Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, both received a Covid-19 Hero award from UofL’s Employee Success Center.
Throughout the past year during the Covid-19 “work from home” arrangements at UofL, AUS has maintained a presence in Ekstrom Library, allowing visitors to borrow books and other materials, receive information and ask questions as necessary. The department employs student assistants to work at the east and west service desks, allowing the west service desk to remain open through the past year.
Garza was responsible for making the library a safe space for students on the Health Sciences Campus. A pandemic team under his supervision designed spaces to reduce library capacity by half. He contributed to creating KHSL messaging, increasing PPE supplies, and updating safety compliance policies and ensuring the policies’ implementation. Garza ensured that the library’s inter-library loan and document delivery services remained open while most academic libraries around the country completely shut down. As a result of this decision, KHSL Inter-Library Loan requests increased by 145% over 2019 statistics from countries around the world.
“Without the resilience of our student workers, the service desks would likely have not re-opened at the capacity they did,” said Cecilia Durbin, student assistant supervisor. “Because of student workers’ dedication and willingness to work, AUS bounced back quickly from lockdown, resuming hybrid in-person operations as early as July 2020.”
Department head Matthew Goldberg was recently notified in an email from Neeli Bendapudi that the entire department had been awarded. In the email, Bendapudi said:
I’m pleased to tell you that your group has been chosen as a University of Louisville COVID-19 Hero Award winner this year and that we will be honoring your exceptional service in several ways in the days ahead. Congratulations and thank you for all the ways you went above and beyond during the pandemic this last year!
The email stipulates AUS will receive:
- A group cash award of $1,000 (distributed to your department to celebrate – i.e. a lunch, outing, professional development activity)
- An invitation to an awards reception later this year
- A certificate and university memento
- Inclusion on the Employee Success Center awards website and UofL Today story
“I’m just very proud of my team,” Goldberg said. “They did an incredible job in very difficult circumstances.”
When Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness” in 2005 it not only described misleading rhetoric during the ramp-up to the Iraq war, it captured a central dilemma of our modern media environment: shattered, segmented media ecosystems allow many of us to create our own version of reality. In such an environment, leaders can manipulate us with words that sound truthful but are false.
Determining reality in a “post-truth” era is challenging. It is also a central tenet of citizenship. Particularly during a presidential election season.
How can faculty teach students to become savvy consumers of information in this environment?
The University Libraries has created a new online toolkit called Citizen Literacy to tackle the issue. Launched to coincide with the final weeks of the 2020 election season, Citizen Literacy promotes essential information skills like algorithmic literacy, news literacy, how to evaluate expertise, how to investigate the veracity of online sources through lateral reading, and how to become an informed voter.
“We hope faculty will use these tools to engage students with these important information literacy topics in the context of specific academic disciplines,” said Rob Detmering, Ekstrom information literacy coordinator and one of the site’s creators. Amber Willenborg, online learning and digital media librarian, also created content and narrated the videos, and Terri Holtze, head of web services, designed the online site experience.
The site contains short videos, downloadable handouts and infographics that can be incorporated into syllabi or coursework.
In the news literacy section are strategies to help students examine the value of credible news sources and identify deceptive stories, including “fake news.” Another section helps students understand algorithms whose unseen mechanisms skew online searches in a way that impacts privacy and political understanding.
The toolkit includes multiple ideas for class activities that can be easily adapted across disciplines, and that work in both online and face-to-face settings. Faculty can easily incorporate parts in their courses.
UofL’s annual Undergraduate Arts & Research Showcase brings together students from a variety of disciplines to make presentations on their research and creative projects; students are selected by faculty to create large-scale academic posters, defend their work, answer challenging questions and criticism, and in the process connect with a community of scholars.
However, with this year’s event disrupted by COVID-19, organizers had to decide whether to host a virtual event, and if so, how and where. Could they make a virtual event as meaningful to students?
The answer is largely yes, said Linda Fuselier, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Associate Professor of Biology. Not only was this year’s event well-attended and well-reviewed, the process of judging was smoother, creating posters was vastly less expensive, and because it was hosted by the University’s institutional repository ThinkIR, the students’ scholarship will be preserved on a free and open access site, said Fuselier.
Research projects included a study of the Belknap Campus’ heat island effect, an analysis of an opioid alternative and its potential abuse, and research on the influence of Social Appearance Anxiety on Eating Disorders (EDs) across age groups.
“One of the nice things about using ThinkIR is the visibility that the student work will receive, since it is searchable and publically available. ThinkIR is what made this possible. Also, because these are archived in ThinkIR, we have a ready source of documentation and a way to ‘count’ research that we did not have before,” Fuselier said in an email exchange.
Sponsored and managed by the University Libraries, ThinkIR is an open-access platform for the scholarship and research of the UofL academic community.
“I’ve been promoting ThinkIR for these sorts of events in the future and I can see how ThinkIR and the library could be instrumental in promoting student research at UL (this is in the strategic plan!),” Fuselier said.
While students attending the April 15 event remotely didn’t have a chance to defend their work orally and participate in a question and answer session with faculty, Fuselier said there were “advantages to moving to a virtual setting. It is less expensive for both the event planners and the students. Students do not have to print posters but they still have the experience of making professional posters.”
Whereas before, judging took place within a short timeframe while students were present, this year, judges could review posters “at their leisure rather than having authors and judges be in the same place at the same time.”
“The library was EXCELLENT in being willing to work with us at the last minute, make changes to poster submission, and work with the vendor to create a great platform within ThinkIR to showcase student work.”
“We received lots of positive feedback for getting the event online given all else that was happening. People really liked how the posters and abstracts looked online and that they were easily accessible on ThinkIR without too much searching.”
Unfortunately, technical challenges impeded the planned addition of the annual Celebration of Student Writing to the event this year, said Fuselier. “Using ThinkIR was a two-step process that worked well enough but, we definitely have a few things to improve upon,” she said.
When asked whether the event would move to a virtual format permanently, Fuselier said “Good question. It went well enough that it is certainly a possibility.”
The winners of the UAR Showcase are below:
Humanities/Music – Elaine Slusser
Diversity in Music Therapy: A Treatment Model for LBGTQ+ Affirming Care
Social Sciences – Rebekah Cook & Alexandra DuCloux
That’s IrrELEPHANT: Children’s Judgements of Relevant and Irrelevant Animal Observations
Natural Sciences – Madeleine Shelton
Conspecifics and Familiar Odors Alter Movement Patterns in a Land Snail, Cepaea Hortensis
Bridwell Art Library student employees Michelle Cao, Michael Chou, and Maree Grosser graduated from the University of Louisville this spring.
Michelle Cao graduated with a BA in public health. Here’s what Michelle has to say about her experience working at the Art Library:
“Moving to Louisville to attend UofL was a hard but best decision I have ever made. I have changed dramatically over the past 4 years and I believe for the better. From the friends I have made, to the jobs I have, the classes I have taken and much more, has positively shaped the person I am today and gave me the confidence to study abroad. It forced me to break out of my shell and really get to know myself and what I wanted to accomplish in life. By working at the art library, it taught and left me with experiences that made me feel like an art major just for a few hours a week but gave me a chance to explore my creativity and unlock new ones.”
Michael Chou graduated with a BFA in graphic design from the Hite Art Institute. After graduation, he will work for Zimmer Design, a full-service branding + creative studio, in Louisville. Here’s what Michael has to say about his experience working at the Art Library:
“The art library is my go-to place for art and design inspiration. And to work here means more exposure to interesting books to stir up my imagination, working with fun coworkers, and an opportunity to promote the wonderful environment unique to the UofL campus. I will really miss coming to the art library between classes to check out books or study.”
Here are a few samples of his works:
- “A Typographic Resource of Adobe & Google Fonts” is a 750+ paged type specimen book and resource designed from scratch—kind of like a catalog for fonts—to help designers locate free and quality fonts.
- “Lunar Zodiacs” is an illustrative design concept for the Chinese Lunar Zodiacs, featuring color combinations inspired by Chinese imperial textiles.
- “L&N Federal Credit Union: Rebrand” is a rebranding design project where Michael aimed to create a stronger visual identity for the organization while maintaining its significant legacy.
Maree Grosser graduated with a BFA in photography from the Hite Art Institute. Here’s what Maree has to say about her experience working at the Art Library:
“I have loved working at the Art Library for the last two and a half years! Working here has not only educated me further in art, but it has also taught me patience, strong work ethic, and the importance of a good printer. My favorite things to do while working are shifting books, looking through are incredible rare books section, and eating the delicious baked goods that Trish and Kathy bring in. I am grateful for getting to work with so many incredible people and will miss them the most when I graduate this semester. After I graduate, I am hoping to further my fine art career and education. My goal is to get my masters and help others extend their education in all things art. I am so thankful for getting my degree at UofL. This school has helped me find lifelong friends, and it has helped me find my passion for art.”
Here are a few samples of her works:
- Left: “To Remember You (Rosemary)” from the BFA Show.
- Top right: Maree pictured with her work at the BFA Show.
- Bottom right: Still life.
Michelle, Michael, and Maree – congratulations on your graduation from UofL and thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Art Library!
Here are more ways to celebrate the Class of 2020:
BFA Thesis Exhibition
This semester the spring 2020 BFA Thesis Exhibition is presented virtually. Visit the exhibition page to read the artist statements and view their work.
Graphic Design Portfolio Day
Every spring the Graphic Design BFA program hosts a Graphic Design Portfolio Day to showcase their final design portfolios and meet with local and regional professionals. This year the Portfolio Day was presented virtually. Visit the portfolio page to see the students’ work.
Interior Design Portfolio Day
Every spring our graduating BFA Interior Design students present their portfolios in a day-long event to celebrate with family and friends and to present their work to regional professionals. This year the Portfolio Day was presented online. Visit the portfolio page to see the students’ work.
College is a time of personal evolution, growth, change, becoming. Exploring one’s place and identity at that experiential lab: the university.
Where do new UofL students see themselves among the throng of alumni/ae that have come before? And what do UofL graduates remember when they were students here?
A new exhibit of photographs and memorabilia captures the unique character of each generation of students at UofL. “The UofL Student Experience” runs through December in the Rare Books and Photographic Archives galleries of Archives and Special Collections (ASC) in the lower level of Ekstrom Library.
“Your undergraduate years can be a time of exploration, of learning from people who are different from you – and finding and connecting with folks who share your interests” said Carrie Daniels, Director of ASC. “It’s a time of building your skills and practicing ways to change the world for the better. It’s a time of pushing yourself intellectually, spending time in – of all places! – that temple of learning, the library.”
“We wanted to capture a variety of student experiences, from the classroom to hanging out in a hammock by Big Red to living in a dorm,” Daniels said. “And we wanted to illustrate how many of these experiences span the generations, even as each generation puts its own ‘spin’ on things.”