Wednesday, May 30, 2012

John McCutcheon to Appear in Greensboro and Winston-Salem in September

Children’s book author, storyteller, and musical artist John McCutcheon will appear at UNCG on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the Elliott University Center Auditorium on the UNCG campus.  The program is free and open to the public.  NOTE: John will also appear at the BOOKMARKS Festival in Winston-Salem’s downtown arts district on Saturday, September 8, 2012.  His Triad appearances are being sponsored by the University Libraries at UNCG through the generosity of the Pam and David Sprinkle Children’s Book Author and Storyteller Series Fund, with additional support from the  O. Henry Hotel and the Green Valley Grill. 
“He has an uncanny ability to breathe new life into the familiar. His storytelling has the richness of fine literature.”
Washington Post

No one remembers when their neighbors started calling the McCutcheons to complain about the loud singing from young John’s bedroom. It didn’t seem to do much good, though, because after a shaky, lopsided battle between piano lessons and baseball (he was a mediocre pianist and an all-star catcher), he had “found his voice” thanks to a cheap mail-order guitar and a used book of chords.

From such inauspicious beginnings, John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folksingers and storytellers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments, most notably the hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His thirty recordings have garnered numerous honors including seven Grammy nominations. He has produced over twenty albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works. His books and instructional materials have introduced budding players to the joys of their own musicality, and children to tales of adoption and respite from battle in World War I. And his commitment to grassroots political organizations has put him on the front lines of many of the issues important to communities and workers.

Even before graduating summa cum laude from Minnesota’s St. John’s University, this Wisconsin native literally “headed for the hills,” foregoing a college lecture hall for the classroom of the eastern Kentucky coal camps, union halls, country churches, and square dance halls. His apprenticeship to many of the legendary figures of Appalachian music imbedded a love of not only home-made music, but a sense of community and rootedness. The result is music...whether traditional or from his huge catalog of original songs...with the profound mark of place, family, and strength. It also created a storytelling style that has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.

The Washington Post described John as folk music’s “Rustic Renaissance Man.  Besides his usual circuit of major concert halls and theaters, John is equally at home in an elementary school auditorium, a festival stage or at a farm rally. In the past few years alone he has headlined over a dozen different festivals in North America (including repeated performances at the National Storytelling Festival), recorded an original composition for Virginia Public Television involving over 500 musicians, toured Australia for the sixth time, toured Chile in support of a women's health initiative, appeared in a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in New York City, given a featured concert at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, taught performance art skills at a North Carolina college, given symphony pops concerts across America, served as President of the fastest-growing Local in the Musicians Union and performed a special concert at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This is all in his “spare time.” His “real job,” he's quick to point out, is father to two grown sons and husband to fellow storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy.

But it is in live performance that John feels most at home. It is what has brought his music and stories into the lives and homes of a broad audience. People of every generation and background seem to feel at home when John McCutcheon takes the stage, with what critics describe as “little feats of magic,” “breathtaking in their ease and grace...,” and “like a conversation with an illuminating old friend.”"I was raised on the straightforward folk music of Woody Guthrie and the plain-spoken stories of my midwestern family,” John says. “These have led me to a career (if that's what I can call it) in composing songs and stories about real people for real people. It is nothing fancy. Some people call my work political. That's okay, I guess.  I just keep writing and singing and talking--and learning, as I did from Woody, not to forget what you stand for or who you stand with. That can happen in a children's song or a fiddle tune or a song from the day's headlines. It is like a little slice of life."

Whether in print, on record, or on stage, few people communicate with the versatility, charm, wit or pure talent of John McCutcheon.

For more information, contact Barry Miller at the University Libraries at 256-0112 or

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Resources for Reading, Listening to Books on CD, and Watching DVDs

It’s summertime, and perhaps your life slows down a bit. 
Maybe you have a few more minutes to read for pleasure, listen to books on CD, or watch a few films. 
If that’s the case, the University Libraries want to remind you about some resources that might be of interest.  We have  audio books on CD, a current literature collection, and a paperback collection.  We also have several thousand entertainment DVDS available for the University community (students, faculty, staff) and members of the Friends of the UNCG Libraries.  All are available in the Jackson Library Reading Room on the first floor of Jackson Library, where they may be checked out.  You can come and browse or search our catalog, where searches may be limited to formats such as video, audio book on CD, current literature, and paperback.

If your interest is in audiobooks, Recorded Books will offer a patron-focused webinar that demonstrates the features of its OneClickDigital Books Downloadable Audio service, available to patrons of the University Libraries and North Carolina public libraries from NC Live. This 45-minute program includes a complete tour of the service and shows patrons how to create an account, install the OneClickdigital Media Manager, search for content, manage checkouts, and download and transfer audiobooks to listening devices.   You can access the service here.
Registration for Library Patron Webinars:

Lois Barnes Receives Outstanding Student Worker Award

Graduating senior Lois Barnes (left) was recognized with the Libraries’ Outstanding Student Worker Award this spring.  Lois worked in the Access Services Department, where she was very well regarded by her co-workers and library patrons alike. She was cited for her helpfulness in serving patrons, and her creativity and leadership among the student workers in the Libraries.  One colleague described her as "the sort of employee you wish you could clone."
The Outstanding Student Worker Award was created through the generosity of David Arneke (right), a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the UNCG Libraries.  Lois received a cash award and a matching award from the UNCG Bookstore.

Library Awards and Recognitions

The end of the academic year brought a series of awards and recognitions for a number of folks who serve in the University Libraries.
Cheryl Cross has received the Martha Ransley Staff Service Award.
Kathy Crowe was named the co-recipient of the 2012 Student Learning Enhancement Award from the UNCG Senate Student Learning Enhancement Committee.
Beth Filar Williams has been elected Vice-Chair/Chair-elect of the University Libraries Section of ACRL, and Lynda Kellam was elected to the similar post of the Law and Political Science Section.
Lois Barnes has received the Outstanding Student Worker Award, sponsored by Friends of the UNCG Libraries Board member David Arneke.
Among the Library faculty, Amy Harris and Mac Nelson have received tenure, and Joe Williams has been reappointed.
Twenty people received service award pins for their years of service, among them Fran Rubio with 40 years, Nancy Ryckman with 35, and Cindy Zaruba with 30.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Twenty Receive Service Pins

The University Libraries could not provide an exceptional collection and services without the contributions of those who work here.  The following persons were recently recognized for their years of service to the University:

40 Years
Fran Rubio

35 Years
Nancy Ryckman

30 Years
Cindy Zaruba

25 Years
Keith Buckner
Paul Hessling

20 Years
Franklin McKee
Audrey Sage
Karen Ward
Edward Waters

15 Years
Susan Farr
Michael Reeder

10 Years
Patrick Kelly

5 Years
Brown Biggers
Linda Burr
Marcie Burton
Cheryl Cross
Stephen Dew
Marilyn Hanichak
Stacey Krim
Jennifer Mincey

Cheryl Cross Receives Martha Ransley Staff Service Award

Cheryl Cross (right, with 2011 winner Cindy Zaruba) is the winner of the 2012 Martha Ransley University Libraries Service Award. Cheryl is a Technology Support Analyst in the Libraries’ Electronic Resources and Information Technology Department. Her pleasant attitude and service-oriented approach to solving problems with computers and software, together with her knowledge of information technology, has brought her many expressions of appreciation from all over the Libraries and led to her selection for this year’s award.

In addition to all Cheryl’s official duties, she works on a number of projects promoting the Libraries’ services. Some of the projects include producing videos and podcasts, and assisting in the creation of the Computer Accessibility Map for Jackson Library. All of these projects have elicited positive feedback from the Libraries’ patrons, and several people have expressed their particular enjoyment of the “Ask Us” video to other staff. Cheryl has served on the Staff Association Committee and as Social Committee co-chair. She has also been co-chair of the Green Library Group where her accomplishments include the special initiative and work on the “Adopt a Stream” program, which strengthens the Libraries’ and the University’s reputation for sustainability.

The University Libraries Staff Service Award was established in 1997 upon the retirement of Martha Ransley, former Head of the Circulation Department, "To recognize and reward members of the SPA Library Staff who provide outstanding leadership and service in furthering the accomplishment of the mission of the Library to provide service to students, faculty, staff and members of the community which the University serves."

Monday, May 21, 2012

UNCG Art Department Creates Its Own Library For a Day

Alex McKenzie is an interesting fellow.

A senior who graduated in May with a BFA in Painting, Alex is a creative and articulate young man who recently conducted a project to create a “library” on Reading Day in the studio of the Gatewood Studio Arts building on the UNCG campus. Inspired by artists like Harrell Fletcher who recontextualize space and transform it for other purposes, Alex and fellow students and faculty did just that with their etching studio, making it into a library for a day in honor of Reading Day before exams. The project also reflects the sort of ephemeral art shows that artists are creating around the globe.

Alex chose and solicited nearly thirty fellow students and members of the art faculty each to select 10 books from Jackson Library that they found interesting or inspiring, and brought them to the studio in shopping carts. They also brought in furniture (including half of Alex’s living room, he says), offered free coffee, created a rudimentary “catalog,” and arranged books by the student who selected them. Alex says that the response was extraordinary, with students connecting with books and each other (mostly but not entirely art books) in ways they usually do not. With this kind of arrangement, for example, students learned more about their classmates’ particular interests, as the 10 volume sections gave them insight into what inspires each of the participants. Students were not allowed to “check out” and take the books from the room, but were told that they would be returned to Jackson Library the next day, where they could be circulated. Alex’s group created a reading list of the books selected and made it available to other students in the department.

It seems that Art students at UNCG, having noticed the presence of the Interior Architecture Library in the same building, have long wanted their own library. “We wish we had our own library, like the interior architecture students do,” expressed one participant. So they created one, if only for a day.

“It was about accessibility,” Alex says, “the books were close at hand, and arranged in ways that invited those who came in to pick them up and use them.” The area became a hangout, replacing the lounge that students usually use in the building to study. Some students, who weren’t that familiar with the larger and sometime intimidating collection of Jackson Library were exposed to a selection of books that were interesting to them. Students were engaged with the books and with each other.

Alex counts the experience as an altogether positive one, even though he says he slept in the room with the books for 2 nights since he was financially liable for them. “My nightmare,” he says, “was that I would lose the books or something would happen to the books and I would have to pay for them. I might not graduate.” Then he smiles and reports that he returned every single book in good condition and on time.

In addition to his creativity, Alex is the kind of student we like to see at UNCG in other ways. He looks to be a lifelong learner. “I’m not as big a reader as I’d like to be,” he says. One of my goals is to read as much as I can before graduate school in two or three years.” In the interim, he hopes to find a job in Spain teaching English.

We wish him much success.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Distance Education Librarian Beth Filar Williams Elected to National Post

Beth Filar Williams, Distance Education Librarian at UNCG, has been elected Vice-Chair/Chair-elect of the University Libraries Section of ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reference Librarian Lynda Kellam Elected to National Post

Lynda Kellam of the University Libraries at UNCG has been elected vice-chair/chair-elect of the Law and Political Science Section of ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Associate Dean Kathryn Crowe and Dr. Elizabeth Natalle of Communication Studies Share Student Learning Enhancement Award

University Libraries’ Associate Dean for Public Services Kathryn Crowe and Dr. Elizabeth Natalle from Communication Studies won the 2012 Student Learning Enhancement Award from the UNCG Senate Student Learning Enhancement Committee.  Crowe and Natalle’s study assessed information literacy skills in Communication Studies (CST) 300, a core course required of all CST majors. After identifying specific learning outcomes Crowe used a rubric to score a “real-life’ performance evaluation in the form of a worksheet.  After an initial pilot in 2009 indicated that students were not gaining needed skills several changes were made during subsequent semesters: (1) requiring students to take several modules of the Libraries’ online tutorial (2) delaying the library instruction session so that students have more time to develop their topics and absorb material from the tutorial (3) developing a tutorial on primary sources in Communication Studies.  The scores improved dramatically for the 3 learning outcomes:

In the fall of 2010, CST faculty participated in an in-house survey to take further action on improving the delivery of information literacy skills with the goal of fully embedding them into the major. Natalle crafted eight basic information literacy learning outcomes for CST majors and the following student learning outcome was added to all syllabi:

Apply a working knowledge of information literacy as a tool for scholarship in communication studies including APA style for professional writing, library search techniques, and use of primary sources (journal articles and other research publications).

This collaborative model offers an excellent opportunity for many departments to build a stronger relationship between themselves and the Libraries.  This authentic assessment of an assignment that was part of the sequence of the course provided evidence that students were not acquiring the skills that both the teaching faculty and librarians wanted them to learn.  The Libraries and the CST Department partnered more closely to develop focused outcomes and measure them more rigorously.  As a result we worked together to revise the pedagogy that improved students’ performance and integrated information literacy further into the CST curriculum.  Additional information is available in this article.