Friday, March 2, 2012

UNCG Librarian Directs International Virtual Internship

UNCG Distance Education Librarian Beth Filar-Williams has recently completed working with Iskander Rakhmatullaev of Tashkent, Uzbekistan on the first virtual internship program of the Digital Library Learning Program of the Erasmus Mundus of the European Commission.

Throughout the month of February, intern Iskander Rakhmatullaev worked to convert the Instructional Technology Toolkit, which Filar-Williams developed as a website for UNCG librarians and library students, into a LibGuide. This toolkit was born out of an idea to create a place where library staff and students could learn more about new software tools for use at school, work and personal life, as well as collaborate and share these tools with others beyond librarianship. LibGuides which are more flexible and easy for collaborators to update, are being used for many classes at UNCG and other universities.

Iskander identified two principal benefits to his internship. First, he says he learned more about the LibGuide tool, which he hopes to adapt for use in Uzbek libraries, and about several other cutting-edge technology tools in the toolkit. He also found the experience of international collaboration beneficial, and hopes that more joint projects between the U.S. and Uzbekistan will follow.

The Digital Library Learning Program (DILL) is itself an interesting international collaboration between universities in Italy, Norway, and Estonia. At one point, the nineteen students in the DILL program represented 16 different countries. Students take residence for at least one semester at each university en route to a four semester degree in library studies. DILL students generally also do an internship, but up until now they had always been at a physical location and always in Europe. Once he visited the UNCG Libraries’ website and earned about some of the interesting and innovative experiences offered users here, he said he found it easy to decide that he wanted to work with Filar-Williams.

For her part, Filar-Wiliams learned of the DILL program from Clara Chu in the Library and Information Studies program at UNCG, and volunteered to take on an intern. “Why not?” she remembers asking herself. As the distance education librarian, she is very familiar with many of the tools and techniques of library service for distance education, and believes strongly that mentoring is an important role that library professionals need to offer to students. Practical applicaton of theory, she says, is an important service to the profession. Filar-Williams had previously worked with virtual and other interns in the United States, and was excited to work through the challenges of creating an environment for this kind of international mentoring and exchange. For a library that values diversity, such as the University Libraries at UNCG, she thought her doing so was a natural progression. Despite the challenges of a ten hour time differential, sometimes balky technology, and the working out of details for this first of its kind relationship, she is glad to have experienced it, and hopes the project will pave the way for others at UNCG to do more such projects.

On March 2, Filar-Williams invited and recorded virtual presentations using Skype by both Iskander Rakhmatullaev and Elena Coradini of the University of Parma, one of the universities involved in DILL, to librarians, library students and LIS faculty at UNCG.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Robert W. Watson

The University Libraries join with the campus and the literary community in mourning the death earlier this week of Robert Watson, a member of our faculty from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. Bob activated the MFA Writing Program at UNCG in 1964, and founded the Greensboro Review the next year. His papers are in our Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections. Here is his obituary.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Matthew Pearl Joins "A Dickens of a Celebration" on Thursday March 1 at 7 pm

The University Libraries and Center for Creative Writing in the Arts at UNCG welcome Matthew Pearl to Greensboro to participate in A Dickens of a Celebration commemorating the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens. Pearl’s first three novels, The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, and The Last Dickens were New York Times bestsellers, have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have over one million copies in print combined. Critics have likened Pearl to E. L. Doctorow, and described him as “at the very forefront of contemporary novelists.” Reviews have proclaimed his writing as a "franchise on the cusp of mystery, literature and historical fiction" (Janet Maslin, “CBS Sunday Morning”), and said that Matthew is “a young author worth following,” adding “one can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.” The author will speak and sign copies of his books at 7 p.m. in the Virginia Dare Room in the Alumni House on the UNCG campus. The event is free and open to the public.

In The Last Dickens: A Novel (Random House, 2009), Matthew Pearl delivered another historical thriller, this time with a plot to unravel one of literature’s greatest mysteries: the ending to Charles Dickens’s unfinished final work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Boston, 1870: When news of Dickens’ untimely death reaches Boston, his publisher, James R. Osgood, dispatches his eager young clerk, Daniel Sand, to intercept the latest installment of Drood. When Daniel’s body is discovered and the manuscript missing, Osgood must embark on a quest to solve Dickens's final mystery that will save his venerable business and reveal Daniel’s killer. Osgood chooses Rebecca Sand, Daniel's sister, to help him. As they attempt to uncover Dickens's final mystery, Osgood and Rebecca find themselves entangled in a sinister plot that takes them from the fancy auction houses of London to the dark hearts of opium dens. They soon realize that understanding Dickens's ending is also the key to stopping a murderous mastermind. The book explores the world of book publishing and book piracy that characterized the literary world of the time.

In reviewing the book Kirkus called it “a rousing yarn of opium, book pirating, murder most foul, man-on-man biting and other shenanigans—and that's just for starters…. It’s clear that Pearl is having a fine time of it all, firing off a few inside jokes at the publishing business along the way.”

About the Author: Matthew Pearl graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude in English and American Literature in 1997 and Yale Law School in 2000. He has taught literature and creative writing at Harvard University and Emerson College, and has been a Visiting Lecturer in law and literature at Harvard Law School. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His newest novel, The Technologists, is being released in February 2012. For more information, see

Monday, February 27, 2012

University Libraries Faculty Member Mary Krautter Edits New Book

The Entrepreneurial Librarian, edited by the "Mary team" of Mary Krautter of UNCG along with Mary Scanlon and Mary Beth Lock of Wake Forest University is now available. There are chapters by UNCG Librarians Joe Williams, Stephen Dew, Beth Filar Williams and Sarah Dorsey.