Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Observations and Reflections

Thank you!  As 2012 comes to a close, it is a good time to reflect on what UK Libraries has been able to accomplish throughout the past year.  In the midst of some challenging budgetary times, we welcomed and served the largest incoming class of students in the history of the University of Kentucky.  We have integrated undergraduate students into the processing and study of our unique Special Collections through the creation of the SC Learning Lab.  In addition, we continue to adapt and expand our collections to meet the needs of a rapidly changing academic environment.  UK Libraries faculty, staff, and student employees have worked very hard to make all of this possible.

I also want to acknowledge the support of faculty and administrators across UK’s campus for their support for UK Libraries during the past year.  That support, along with support from President Eli Capilouto, Interim Provost Tim Tracy, and members of the UK Board of Trustees have been essential in keeping UK Libraries one of the leading public research libraries in the United States.

What is most exciting and encouraging to me is what we have been able to accomplish with the support of our friends and donors.  By this time next year, I anticipate we will be dedicating our newest learning commons on the second floor of the William T. Young Library.  We are in the process of replacing aging and inadequate furniture and equipment in Special Collections and the Medical Library with new infrastructure that will enhance research and learning.  None of this would have been possible without generous private support.

I am extremely grateful for the generosity of our donors and the work and support of the UK Libraries National Advisory Board.  I am anxious to explore new ways we will be able to serve our mission and impact the lives of current and future UK students. 

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to make a calendar year end annual gift to UK Libraries.  You can make a secure gift online via credit card by visiting our giving website  You may also contact Greg Casey, UK Libraries Director of Development, ( or 859.218.0707) and he will be happy to assist you. 

UK Libraries Provides Resources for New Entrepreneurs

Peter Hesseldenz
, Patricia Hartman, and Andrea Spain recently attended “Romance or Ruin:  Musings on the Restaurant Biz,” a workshop sponsored by Business Lexington which was designed to inform new entrepreneurs about the ins and outs of starting a restaurant.  After a panel discussion, Peter, Patricia, and Andrea set up laptop computers and met with some of the new entrepreneurs to show them the resources that UK Libraries have to offer. 

Many of the attendees took time to discuss their business plan needs.  A few made appointments to talk later in more depth.  In preparation for the workshop, Peter, Patricia, and Catherine Price set up a LibGuide page specifically for the event – it can be viewed here:

Mary Beth Thomson Named Senior Associate Dean

Beginning in January, Mary Beth Thomson will assume expanded administrative responsibilities within UK Libraries.  As Senior Associate Dean for Collections, Digital Scholarship, and Technical Services, Mary Beth’s responsibilities will include being in charge of UK Libraries in the absence of the Dean and representing UK Libraries at meetings when appropriate and as needed.  In consultation with the Dean, Mary Beth will plan for and provide administrative oversight during the preparation of the UK Libraries Strategic Plan and she will take a leading role in monitoring progress regarding UK Libraries strategic initiatives. 

In consultation with the Dean and the Associate Deans, Mary Beth will assist in preparing Executive Committee meeting agendas and monitoring progress of administrative initiatives as well as working with the Dean, the Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration, the Executive Committee and the Faculty Council, in the preparation of UK Libraries’ budget.

I want to thank Mary Beth for taking on these additional administrative responsibilities allowing me to focus more closely on specific strategic goals and development for UK Libraries.

Online Conference Proceedings on UKnowledge

You can find recorded proceedings of two conferences held at UK online, thanks to UK’s institutional repository, UKnowledge.  The first is for the Bale Boone Symposium organized by the Gaines Center for the Humanities.  The schedules for the Bale Boone Symposium from 2010 through 2012 are available online and the videos of the presentations can be accessed through the site. 

             Adrian Ho
The proceedings of the Defaults in Morphological Theory Conference also reside on UKnowledge.  In addition to viewing the videos of individual sessions, visitors can download the presenters’ abstracts and slides.  UKnowledge tracks the download rates and keeps the presenters informed of the statistics regularly. 
 UKnowledge welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with UK colleges and departments to create online conference proceedings.  If you would like to inquire about this free library service, please feel free to e-mail Adrian Ho, Director of Digital Scholarship, or phone him at 859.218.0895. 

Doug Boyd Presents at USC Shoah Foundation Meeting

Dr. Doug Boyd, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History was invited to participate in an international conference on the potential and challenges of opening digital eyewitness archives for research, education and the media – Preserving Survivors´ Memories - Digital Testimony Collections about Nazi Persecution. History, Education and Media.  
The conference took place November 20-22 at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Germany and was hosted by The Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (EVZ) together with the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin and in cooperation with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, Los Angeles, USA.  Doug participated in a panel presentation and discussion Oral History in the E-Humanities Landscape and featured an in-depth discussion of the Nunn Center's creation and implementation of OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer) as a model for enhancing access to archived oral history.

UK Libraries Participates in GSP/GSA Day

On Monday, December 17, Stacey Greenwell and Shawn Livingston represented UK Libraries at UK’s annual Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program/Governor’s School for the Arts (GSP/GSA) recruitment event.  UK welcomed nearly 300 prospective students and their families to campus at this full day event. 

This annual event seeks to recruit Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program and Kentucky School for the Arts participants and is one of UK’s largest and most successful recruitment events.  UK Libraries provided information at a table and also led a tour of the William T. Young Library for prospective students and their families.

UK Libraries 2012 Holiday Luncheon

UK Libraries celebrated the end of the fall semester and the beginning of the holiday season with its annual holiday luncheon in the Student Center Ballroom.  UK Libraries employees, custodians, building operators, and everyone who plays a key role in the daily operation of UK Libraries attended.  Also, for the first time, we welcomed our colleagues from the University Press of Kentucky.

Thanks again to the holiday luncheon planning committee ( Jen Martin, Lindsey Callico, Shell Dunn, Megan Mummey, Peggy Phillips and Carrie Poll) and to Brittany Benningfield, Jessica Pearl French, and Ruth Bryan for providing seasonal music.  Special thanks as well to Lewis Warden for providing photographs of the festivities.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New University Press of Kentucky Book Featured at Seminar in Young Library

To celebrate the release of "Contemporary Public Health," the UK College of Public Health has organized a seminar that will bring experts featured in the book to Lexington to discuss the current state of the field. "Contemporary Issues in Health and Healthcare Seminar," which is free and open to the public, will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the gallery at UK's William T. Young Library.
James W. Holsinger Jr., M.D., Ph.D., former Chancellor of the UK Medical Center, is the Charles T. Wethington Jr. Chair in the Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky. He served as secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services from 2003 to 2005.

Nation of Nations wins Rumi Peace Award

Marjorie Guyon, the artist Nation of Nations was honored for her conception and execution of Nation of Nations by receiving the Rumi Peace Award at the Intercultural Dialogue Organization’s Sixth Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner held at the Boone Center on November 27th.  The artwork was recognized for its bridging of local, regional, national and international lines by inviting the viewer into an inner journey of discovery across entanglements, separation and fear of the unknown.  The 10 panel artwork is currently on display in the University Drive Entrance to the William T. Young Library.

Changes Coming to Library Technologies and Reference

Library Technologies is moving website development into an environment supported more by automation and programming while being driven by user experience and usability testing.  Programmers will use an agile software development approach to develop tools and services to be delivered through the website and to mobile devices. This approach requires co-location of the programmers with a process owner who manages the usability aspect of the work.  This activity will be centered in Digital Library Services under the direction of Eric WeigBeth Kraemer will serve as process owner and coordinate user experience and interface design.

With this change in web services, key aspects of research information management will return to public services to more closely integrate support with reference and library instruction. Rob Aken will be moving to be a part of the Reference Department.  Rob has supported these activities by closely monitoring issues of consistency and functionality with the links to electronic products and management of the Springshare LibGuides services. 

The number of reference requests that UK Libraries receives continues to remain steady, and Reference is being contacted in an increasing number of ways: via text and LibAnswers in addition to chat, email, phone, and in person. As librarians continue developing more collegial teaching relationships with UK faculty and working more with integrating information literacy skills into the curriculum, we will continue to see more students contacting UK Libraries for reference assistance or consultation.

Reference requires additional faculty support to help with this demand as well as to provide assistance in teaching information literacy instruction sessions and developing instructional materials. It is very beneficial to have an experienced, senior librarian assist with this expanding teaching role.   Rob is an excellent reference librarian and his experience with electronic resources and his role in launching and maintaining Lib Guides have all been very important.  Rob’s move to Reference will bolster reference service, provide greater support for information literacy efforts, as well as support the creation of Lib Guides and other tools to provide students access to UK Libraries collections.  

UK Athletics/UK Libraries Partnerships

Dr. Carolyn Curry (3rd from left), President of UK Libraries Board at library fundraiser

Not only did UK Athletics play an essential role in the unique financing package for the William T. Young Library, but UK Athletics has long supported UK Libraries in many other ways.  UK welcomed a new head football coach to campus this week with the introduction of Coach Mark Stoops.  It is an exciting time for the Big Blue Nation and also a chance to reflect on the impact some of Coach Stoop’s predecessors have had on the university and especially on UK Libraries. 

Coach Bill Curry was a great friend of UK Libraries.  Dr. Carolyn Curry served as a member of the UK Libraries Board and Coach Curry himself gave generously to UK Libraries during his time at UK.  In the 1980’s, Coach Jerry Claiborne and Faye established an endowment in Special Collections to purchase archival material that preserve the history and culture of western Kentucky.  Faye also served as a volunteer in Special Collections. 

As we continue to build an endowment for the Big Blue Sports Archives you can already discover all sorts of informative materials pertaining to UK football history, including archival photographs, at

Observations and Reflections:

 I want to thank the branch librarians for the opportunity to join them at their meeting this week.  I really enjoy hearing first-hand about the initiatives underway throughout UK Libraries.  Our branch libraries have been going through major transitions the past several years but remain essential to the overall mission of UK Libraries.  Reducing and consolidating branch libraries are allowing the remaining libraries to provide more expanded service and a reduced cost.  For those academic areas within the university without a branch library, our academic liaisons continue to play a key role in assuring that we are providing the collections and the service that our students and faculty need across the campus.
  This week I also had the opportunity to attend the UKIT Cyber Infrastructure Symposium.  UK recently received a grant to significantly enhance the university’s high-performance computing capacity.  UKIT is an important partner with UK Libraries as we work together to provide students and faculty the latest technology for accessing the information they need.  We are planning for the preservation of, and access to, the incredible amount of data generated daily by UK faculty and students during the course of their research.
The University Senate Library Committee has been charged with assessing open access issues at the University of Kentucky.  We have several initiatives underway at UK Libraries, including UKnowledge, to help UK faculty move toward adoption of an open access policy.

Just last week the faculty at Georgia Tech University overwhelmingly voted to adopt an Open Access policy.  The new policy takes effect Jan 1, 2013 and can be found here:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The 2012 Victor and Carolyn Hammer Books Arts Lecture

David Esslemont, British-born printer and former director of the Gregynog Press at the University of Wales was the King Library Press Book Arts Event lecturer this past Wednesday in the Great Hall of Special Collections. 
Esslemont has been Artist-in-Residence at Grasmere in the English Lake District to prepare illustrations for an edition of William Wordsworth's "The Prelude" and also Artist-in-Residence at the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts.  He is now active as a printer, printmaker, and bookbinder in Iowa.

The King Library Press, founded in 1956, is devoted to the tradition of fine printing and produces books and broadsides. Typesetting, printing, and binding are all done at the Press and there are opportunities for apprentices. The Press is located in Special Collections in the Margaret I. King Building.

First UK Medical Librarian Featured

Tag Heister, Clinical Reference Librarian in the Medical Center Library, published an article on Alfred Brandon, UK’s first medical librarian.  The article appears in the fall, 2012 issue of Kentucky Libraries.  Heister notes that, “Hired prior to the 1960 opening o the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine, Alfred  Brandon was charged with building a medical library from the ground up to support the colleges of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and nursing.”

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

Reinette Jones
UK librarians Reinette Jones and Rob Akin spoke this week at the Martin Luther King Cultural Center as part of the African-American and African Studies Program Carter G. Woodson Lecture Series.  Reinette and Rob described their work with the The Notable Kentucky African Americans (NKAA) database. 
Rob Aken
 NKAA was originally a website with a series of individual web pages listing approximately 200 biographical entries on African Americans in and from the state of Kentucky. The site went live in September 2003. It consisted of one entry for each person arranged under the profession or activity in which they were notable, with references to sources of additional information.

“The Notable Kentucky African Americans (NKAA) Database, sponsored by the University of Kentucky Libraries, is the first database developed to provide biographical and historical information concerning
African Americans in a particular U.S. state. “ 

History of Printing in the Bluegrass

Dr. Jim Birchfield, Curator of Rare Books, UK Libraries, spoke on "Printmaking in the Bluegrass" at Transylvania University's Morlan Gallery on Tuesday, November 27th.  The talk was made in conjunction with the Morlan Gallery's exhibition of contemporary prints by artists in the region.    

Doug Boyd Shares UK Oral History Expertise

“Information in this day and age is rarely scarce, but often not collected and saved properly for future generations. However, one national project under the leadership of oral historian Doug Boyd, director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at University of Kentucky Libraries, hopes to remedy that through the dissemination of best practices via the Oral History in the Digital Age (OHDA).”
“Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and hosted online by Matrix at Michigan State University (MSU), OHDA currently contains around 70 essays by experts and leading practitioners around the country on best practices for collecting, curating and disseminating oral history; the "Thinking Big" video series; and links to nearly 200 best practices documents online.”

The full UK press release can be found here:

Friday, November 16, 2012

UK Libraries Supports National History Day

Special Collections recently hosted 27 sixth and eighth grade National History Day participants from Lexington's Winburn Middle School.  National History Day engages students in the discovery of the historic, cultural and social experiences of the past. With the help of hands-on experiences and special presentations, students are better able to inform the present and shape the future.

Each National History Day project must use at least one primary research source, and Special Collections was pleased to assist with our resources as well as those of other repositories.  Accompanied by Cheryl Caskey, Student Programs Coordinator at the Kentucky Historical Society and about a dozen parents, the students rotated through eight active learning stations of Special Collections material organized around eight "turning points" in history:  Civil War, Segregation, Women's Suffrage, World War II, the Great Depression, Civil Rights, Second Wave Feminism, and Vietnam and Desert Storm/9/11.  Each station also included a laptop computer or an iPad that the students used to search for digitized primary source material on the Web. 

The event came about as part of a project of the University of Kentucky Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists and was planned primarily through the efforts of graduate students (and society officers) Sheli Walker and Ida Sell.  Other graduate students who participated were Andrew Adler, Oliver Keel, Kasey Kelm, Meghan Moran, Daniel Naas, and Jeremy Puckett.  Special Collections faculty Jeffrey Suchanek and Gail Kennedy supervised and assisted with the event.  Many of the students and parents expressed a desire to come back next year!

UK Archivist Receives Kentucky History Award for Recent Book

Jeanne and Jeff Suchanek

The Kentucky History Awards recognize outstanding achievements by historians, public history professionals, volunteers, business and civic leaders, communities and historical organizations throughout the Commonwealth.  Individuals and communities across the state are encouraged each year to nominate projects and individuals for their efforts to promote the preservation, awareness and appreciation of state and local history.  A 2012 recipient of the Kentucky History Award is UK archivist Jeff Suchanek for his book “Star-Spangled Hearts,” Jeffrey and Jeanne Suchanek (Broadstone Media, Frankfort). 

Judy Sackett to Help Lead DPLA Initiative

The University of Kentucky Libraries and the Kentucky Digital Library have been named as a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America.  One important aspect of this project will be community engagement.  In collaboration with the Lexington Public Library, UK Libraries will plan several events to capture the stories of the community through digitization of community collections and oral histories.  Additional information regarding the DPLA can be found here:        

 When Judy Sackett returns from sabbatical, she will join Library Technologies to coordinate the community engagement components of this work.  During her UK Libraries career Judy has supervised the statewide Kentucky newspaper microfilming project and was the primary UK Libraries coordinator during the Young Library construction.  Her experience managing large complex projects will be valuable for insuring the success of this essential aspect of the Digital Public Library of America project.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

UK Libraries and the Cuban Missile Crisis

A representative display drawn from the vast Scott Soviet Military Collection traveled to the Washington D.C. area for a 50th anniversary symposium on the Cuban Missile Crisis last month.  Gordon Hogg, curator of the Scott Collection, was invited by Francis Gary Powers, Jr., the founder of the Cold War Museum, to mount a topical interactive exhibit of early-1960s Soviet training and tactical support materials at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. The symposium drew more than 500 conferees.

Two panels presented commentary and analysis from U.S. military veterans of the so-called naval and air quarantine (which sounded more polite than “blockade”) around Cuba, as well as political reconstructions of how dangerously close the United States and the Soviet Union came to nuclear conflict on Saturday, October 27, 1962: fifty years to the day of this symposium!  Former U.S. Air Force U-2 pilots recalled their hair-raising state of alert, as well as their high-altitude photographic overflights of Cuba (one was shot down on October 27), while their U.S. Navy counterparts recounted the daring tree-top level photo missions at full throttle they undertook to verify that the Soviet missiles were, indeed, in an advanced state of readiness.  In recent years the naval dimension of this thermonuclear chess game has been revealed as the true hair trigger: a harried Soviet submarine captain came dangerously close to firing a nuclear torpedo (with a warhead equivalent to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs) at a U.S. aircraft carrier, which almost certainly would have set off a dreadful and impossible-to-contain chain of attacks and counter-attacks.

Sergei Khrushchev and Gordon Hogg
Alongside the veterans of these events were a kind of “next-generation” contingent:  conference organizer Francis Gary Powers, Jr. is the son of the U-2 pilot of the same name who was shot down over central Russia in 1960 and imprisoned by his Soviet captors until a prisoner exchange released him; political commentator Sergei Khrushchev is the son of then-Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev; and Sergo Mikoyan, the son of the late Soviet foreign minister Anastas Mikoyan, collaborated with panelist and analyst Svetlana Savranskaya on a new book detailing the Soviet side of Cuban Missile Crisis events.

Panelists and conference attendees alike were curious about the Scott Soviet Military Collection, and spent time looking through the unusual sampling of its materials on display.  This is the fourth time that the Scott Collection has been featured at a conference with the Cold War Museum, and the high-profile aspect of this gathering guarantees increasing interest in one of UK Libraries’ more unusual collections. 

UK Librarians Participate in Common Reading Experience

UK Librarians Peter Hesseldenz and Sarah Vaughn will help choose the book to be featured in the University’s 2013 Common Reading Experience.  There is a quick turn-around-time for the selection committee as books are read, discussed and final recommendations are due by the end of this month.  The selected title will be announced sometime early next year.  The 2012 CRE book was Unforgiving Minute by Craig Mullaney.

UPK @ Kentucky’s Premier Literary Event

Now in its 31st year, the Kentucky Book Fair will be held November 10th at the Frankfort Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s fair will feature nearly 200 authors showcasing their most recent books.

Sponsored by The State Journal, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and the University Press of Kentucky, the fair attracts thousands of readers and library patrons from across the country. With a wide variety of books ranging from regional cookbooks to wartime histories, the fair has something for everyone with a passion for reading.

The University Press of Kentucky will have many authors at the fair this year, including:
Also, University Press of Kentucky author, T.R.C. Hutton, will participate in “Feuding Kentucky: Page to Performance,” a panel discussion sponsored by The Kentucky Book Fair and The Kentucky Historical Society. The program will be at noon on Saturday, November 10 in the House Chamber of Old State Capital across the street from the convention center. UPK author James C. Klotter will moderate a discussion involving Hutton; Altina Waller, author of Feud; James D. Reeder, playwright of Bloody Rowan!;  and Jerry Deaton, filmmaker of The Feuds of Bloody Breathitt. T.R.C. Hutton’s new book, tentatively titled Bloody Breathitt: Politics and Violence in the Appalachian South.

Hutton contributed a chapter, “Assassins and Anarchists’ and Feudists: Death and Politics in the Bluegrass and the Mountains,” to Blood in the Hills: A History of Violence in Appalachia, by Bruce Stewart, and his new book, Bloody Breathitt: Politics and Violence in the Appalachian South, will be available next year. Admission is free and open to the public.  Limited seating is available.

Becoming Better Teachers

Instructional librarians teach and train others to teach. Debbie Sharp, UK Libraries Information Literacy Librarian, reports that after mid-term, UK librarians turn their attention to teaching themselves, including UK Libraries graduate assistants.  

A recent instructional session focused on an overview of the UK Libraries Information Literacy and Instruction program.  Graduate assistants need a good understanding of student learning outcomes and how they are used as a basis for teaching research skills and assessing student learning. This is the foundation for our instruction program. The graduate assistants can then progress from observing instructional sessions, to assisting, team teaching, and finally teaching a class on their own.

Teaching research skills is important in academic libraries and more and more librarians will require teaching skills and experience.  In fact, most of our recent graduate assistants are teaching in some capacity in their new jobs. Providing this opportunity for our graduate assistants not only helps us extend our information literacy program but is also practical and invaluable experience for them.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Observations and Reflections:

I hope everyone has seen the most recent issue of Speaking Volumes.  Looking through it makes me proud of all the hard work done by UK Libraries faculty, staff, and students.  Sometimes it is important to stop and reflect on what we have accomplished even as we are focused on the challenges that lie ahead.  Speaking Volumes offers a glimpse into the many initiatives underway in all parts of UK Libraries from behind the scenes to the areas that deal with the public daily. 

It is truly an exciting time to be at the University of Kentucky and to be part of the transition of UK Libraries into a 21st century research library that values teaching, learning and research from the day a student arrives for their first semester of college to the day a student receives her or his doctoral degree.

Thank you UK Libraries students, staff, faculty and supporters!