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!

UK Historic Marker first to be placed off campus

Deirdre Scaggs and Carl Nathe

The dedication ceremony for the Class of 2011 Historical Marker honoring Aristides, the first winner of the Kentucky Derby was held this past Wednesday, October 24 at Coldstream Research Park by the Legacy Trail.  Associate Dean for Special Collections Deirdre Scaggs spoke at the dedication ceremony and described the famous race:

Aristides, McCreery, and Volcano got off in the first division. Passing the grandstand for the first time McCreery was in front with Aristides second and Volcano third. Before reaching the turn, McCreery retired, beaten. Aristides then took the lead with Ten Broeck, Volcano, Bob Miles and Verdigris in a close bunch behind him. Aristides ran the first mile in 1 minute 43 seconds—a very fast pace for those days. Lewis, on Aristides, gave his horse a breathing spell, expecting Chesapeake, his stable mate and half-brother to join him, but he was in the back ultimately finishing 8th.

With odds of 29 to 10, Aristides took the race in two minutes, 37 seconds. There were no roses for Aristides in 1875, but owner Hal Price McGrath, trainer Ansel Williamson, and jockey Oliver Lewis did have the satisfaction of winning the smallest Derby purse of about $2,850.00.

More Videos from A Library Note

Recent additions to A Library Note focus on the Design Library, Fine Arts Library, Science Library, and the Special Collections Library.  Take a tour with Rachel as she walks through each of these unique research collections by visiting A Library Note You Tube channel at:

Members of the group who developed the videos are Brandon Daniels (producer, editor),  Kathryne LeFevre, Meg Shaw, Sue Smith (consultants), and Rachel Staub (host).  Special thanks to Nelson Fields and Robert Haven, professors in UK’s Department of Theatre.

After Office Hours

On October 24, Debbie Sharp and Stacey Greenwell participated in After Office Hours, sponsored by the Office of Residence Life.  This program offers students the opportunity to interact with UK faculty in a less formal setting than a classroom and engage in a meaningful discussion.  During the town hall style meeting, three faculty/staff were assigned to each hall for the evening. 

Students asked a variety of questions on numerous topics, with many focusing on academic services like those provided by UK Libraries.  The discussions reinforce with students that faculty librarians are invested in their academic success, and it encourages greater communication between students and faculty librarians.  This was an excellent opportunity for UK Libraries to connect with students.

University Press of Kentucky Book Receives Award

University Press of Kentucky (UPK) author William E. Ellis has been selected as the recipient of a 2012 Kentucky History Award given by the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) for his book, "A History of Education in Kentucky."  The Kentucky History Awards recognize outstanding achievements by historians, public history professionals, volunteers, business and civic leaders, communities and historical organizations throughout the commonwealth.

The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that now includes all of the state universities, five private colleges, and two historical societies. Led by Director Stephen Wrinn, its editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences.