Thursday, July 30, 2015

Friends of the UNCG Libraries to Discuss UNCG's First Year Common Read -- Where Am I Wearing?

Book Discussion of Where Am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes, by Kelsey Timmerman. September 21 at 4 p.m. in the Hodges Reading Room of Jackson Library.  Discussion leaders: Jenny Dale and Lynda Kellam.

First Year Librarian Jenny Dale, a member of the steering committee that selected UNCG’s First Year Common Read for 2015, will lead us in a discussion of the book chosen this year.  She will be joined by Data Services & Government Information Librarian Lynda Kellam.  Journalist Kelsey Timmerman traveled the world to trace the origins of our clothes. Where Am I Wearing? intimately describes the connection between impoverished garment workers’ standards of living and the all-American material lifestyle.

The Friends of the UNCG Libraries book discussions are free and open to the public on a space available basis, with preference given to members of the Friends of the UNCG Libraries who register.

If you have questions, contact Barry Miller at 336-256-0112.

Please contact Barry Miller at or 336-256-0112 at least one week prior to the event to request disability accommodations. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Digital Media Commons and Digital ACT Studio to Re-open August 17

After undergoing renovations this summer, the Digital Media Commons and Digital ACT Studio on the lower level of Jackson Library at UNCG will re-open on August 17, the first day of classes. 

As a result of the renovations, students will be able to film video in-house.  They will also have access to a DSL Photobooth, have hands-on access to 3D printers and 3D printing technologies, and have private consultation space with the Digital ACT Studio consultants.

The Digital Media Commons provides the space and resources for UNCG students, faculty and staff to create and refine their multimedia projects, including:
  •     Digital images
  •     Digital video
  •     Digital audio
  •     Presentations
  •     Web pages
  •     3-D printing/Makerspace
Consultants in the Digital ACT Studio  act as a trained, engaged audience, providing feedback and advising students in the effective creation or incorporation of digital media into projects.

Naming opportunities ranging from $5000-$350,000 are available in the new space. For more information about naming a space, contact University Libraries Director of Development Linda Burr at 336-256-0184.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Luther Hodges, Jr. Donates Painting to University Libraries

Luther Hodges, Jr. has donated a painting to the University Libraries which will be displayed in the Hodges Reading Room.  The painting is "Bassin Petrolier (Oil Fields)" by the French painter Arthur Van Hecke (1924-2003).  It replaces a painting by Maud Gatewood which has been returned to the Weatherspoon Art Museum, from which it was on long-term loan.

Mr. Hodges, along with his sister Betsy Bernard, provided funding to name the Martha Blakeney Hodges Reading Room after their mother, the former First Lady of North Carolina and the first chairperson of the Friends of the UNCG Libraries.

Monday, July 20, 2015

University Libraries Receive Grant for Teaching with Primary Sources: An Interview with Keith Gorman, Head of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives

Q: You have received a $19,876 Literacy and Lifelong Learning Grant from Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds administered by the State Library of North Carolina.  Can you tell us briefly what the project is about? 

GORMAN: This project represents our response to a perceived teacher need in the community.  There has been a shift in emphasis towards teaching with primary documents (letters, diaries, documents, photographs, etc.)..  New learning technology and new online digital collections makes this type of teaching possible, but it lacks the excitement of touching the real item.  In some cases, the digital copy may put some additional distance between the researcher and the actual item.  Students and teachers involved in this project will be able to see what’s in an archive.  Moreover, participants will be able to meet and work with UNCG subject experts.  These skilled professionals will offer a wonderful and unique perspective to specific primary sources as well as insight into archival research.

Q: When will the project begin?  

GORMAN: The project will begin in August 2015 with the hiring and training of 1-2 graduate students, but discussions with teacher partners began in spring 2015.  We are actively recruiting teachers to participate.. 

Q: This is not your first venture into collaboration with the state’s teachers.  Can you give us some background? 

GORMAN: No it isn’t.  We have a number of outreach efforts going with area schools.  Many of these efforts come out of the NC Literary Map project, for which we provided presentations and workshops at professional conferences and meetings around the area and state, created lesson plans, and did some classroom instruction.

Q: How are your school partners to be chosen? 

GORMAN: We will not choose them.  We have reached out to area middle school and high school teachers (Language Arts and History) through a survey to find out their interest in incorporating primary sources into their instruction.  We also asked them about whether they would be interested in working with UNCG archivists and librarians.  We had eighty teachers express interest.  We are offering10 classes per semester.  The teachers will be encouraged to sign up for class sessions.

Q: Why did you apply for this grant? Are there other sources of support?

GORMAN: It is a pilot project for our concept, and the LSTA monies administered by the State Library were available to encourage this kind of innovative approach.  The University Libraries are supportive of what we are doing with this project, and we are looking for additional funding from donors and foundations to sustain it.

Q: Who will benefit, and how?

GORMAN: I believe that both students and teachers will benefit.  Teachers, for example, can see how other subject experts teach with these materials at the university level, and also learn from on our demonstrations of working with primary documents.  I especially like the interactions between our subject specialists and the teachers.  I think it demonstrates how librarians can help them with instruction.  But, I also believe that students will gain new insight in how to conduct research in the digital age.

Q: Why is learning to use primary source material so important to students and to teachers?

GORMAN: It really builds on what the teachers are doing in the classroom, showing how critical thinking skills can help students to assess the primary sources that they are using.  I think it empowers students and prepares them for success in both high school and college.  We don’t have a set of expectations for student products.  That is up to the teachers and the needs and abilities of their students.  Teachers and students will choose subject matter, guided by the strengths of our particular collections.

Q: Going into the state’s schools with your training rather than offering it at the Library might be considered very different for a Library.  Why did you choose that approach?

GORMAN: While interested in teaching with primary sources, many teachers mentioned significant barriers to traveling to the UNCG campus.  They are struggling with limits on their time, resources, and convenient access to an archives..  Recognizing these significant barriers, we bring workshops and instruction directly to the schools where both the teachers and the students are.  I am still holding out hope that some teachers and students will be able to come to campus and have the experience of carrying out research at an academic library.

Q: How are you using technology with this project?

GORMAN:  It depends on the class and what the instructor wants.  We anticipate using a mix of online teaching technology – demonstrating some of our points online by showing students materials from our collections, the Library of Congress and the Digital Public Library, for example.  We will take some physical items to the school, and we may do some digital scanning on demand if the class wants to explore some collections we don’t yet have up online.

Q: Tell us about the type of student you hope to hire with these grant funds?

GORMAN:  Since they will be the ones actually going to the schools, we’ll be looking for graduate students with an interest in instruction or community outreach.  These could be students in library science, education, history, English, or public history.  The ideal candidate will have a great interest in research, history, and in engaging students.  They will need to have an active imagination and the ability to teach on the fly.  Moreover, they need to be comfortable with instructional technology.  They will also need to understand research and critical thinking, and how they affect writing.

Q: Anything else you want to tell us?

GORMAN:  I am excited about this project.  It gives us an opportunity to engage a range of students in the community and get to know teachers who do a wonderful job of teaching young people in the area, while giving an opportunity to point to UNCG resources.  This is a different type of classroom from the one we encounter at the University, and gives us a chance to engage students before they set off for this or another university.  As the master teacher who will train the graduate students, I look forward to mentoring some of our graduate students and providing them with a good experience as well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Friends of the UNCG Libraries - Fourteen Years of Discussing Books That Matter

It was in 2001 that Friends of the UNCG Libraries Board member Ann Fitzmaurice suggested that the Friends start a book group to engage in discussions led by one of the outstanding teachers on the UNCG faculty.  Michael Parker, also a Board member at the time, led the first discussion, and a regular Monday calendar of discussions has followed, from four to six each academic year.

Fourteen years later, the series continues to offer, free of charge, a small sample of the outstanding opportunities for lifelong learning afforded by the University Libraries and members of the Friends.  Some participants in the book discussions come to nearly every discussion; others come to one or two.  There is no long-term commitment, just the request to register so that the University Libraries can know about how many to expect, and to inform participants when there are cancellations due to weather, as has sometimes been the case during the winter months.  Many find the book discussions an opportunity to sample what the Friends offer in the way of programs, and choose to join.

If you too would like to join the Friends you may join online at

A list of past discussions may be found at

You can sign up for one or more of this year's book discussions at

 Please contact Barry Miller at or 336-256-0112 at least one week prior to the event to request disability accommodations. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.