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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Diving Into the Pool of Books

There’s a certain sublime beauty one sometimes encounters in the course of reading or doing research.  Scholars know the feeling of immersion into a pool of sources so deep that one cannot dive deep enough to find all of that is in the pool, yet the diving itself takes on a certain special joy.

This happened to me this week, as a circle completed itself.  I was taking the opportunity to read Kwame Alexander’s novel in verse, The Crossover, which won the Newbery Award for the best in children’s literature this past year.  Mr. Alexander is visiting UNCG and Bookmarks in September, a visit I am pleased to recommend and coordinate.  Our Libraries’ annual children’s book author and storyteller series is near and dear to my heart, and I always enjoy putting it together.  

When I finished The Crossover, which is a superb book for readers of any age to dive into, I read a blurb at the end from Ashley Bryan, two-time winner of the Coretta Scott King award for children’s literature.  I hope you haven’t missed the work of Ashley Bryan, now past 90 years of age, but he was one of the first, if not the first, African American author/illustrator of children’s books. Having brought the great author/illustrator Jerry Pinkney to be the very first speaker in our Children’s Book Author and Storyteller Series back in 2007, I was interested in knowing more about about Bryan, a man who no doubt has influenced and perhaps mentored not only Kwame Alexander, but probably Jerry Pinkney as well. 

I was startled to learn that Ashley Bryan lives on one of the Cranberry Isles in Maine, accessible only by boat.  I say startled, because I am departing for a trip to Maine with my wife and adult daughter in early July, and will be staying only a short distance from the Cranberry Isles when we stay in Southwest Harbor.  I’m hoping to take a day trip out to the Cranberry Isles to see an exhibit about the work of Ashley Bryan in the Isleford Historical Museum, if it's still on exhibit as it was last year. 

Who knows? Perhaps I’ll meet Mr. Bryan himself.  If I do, I’ll tell him how much I admire his contributions to children’s literature, and how way down here in North Carolina, we too are doing what we can to connect each person, young or old,  with the right book that might send them for a dive into the joyous pool awaiting them when they read or conduct research.

As Ashley Bryan writes at the end of his autobiography, Words to My Life's Song, quoting the Ashanti storytellers in African folktales: “This is my story.  Whether it be bitter or whether it be sweet, take some of it elsewhere and let the rest come back to me.”

See you when I return.  

When and Where to See Kwame Alexander (Both events free and open to the public):
In Greensboro at UNCG, 7 p.m. September 14 in the Elliott University Center Auditorium
In Winston-Salem at the Bookmarks Festival, Saturday, September 12  (time to be announced)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Clint and Terri Jackson Plan Testamentary Gift to University Libraries

Clint Jackson IV and Terri Jackson
The Jackson family’s legacy at UNCG extends for yet another generation, supporting the Special Collections and University Archives in Jackson Library, named for the first generation of Jacksons associated with the University.  The family’s connection to UNCG goes back more than a century, to 1909.

Walter Clinton Jackson, IV (Clint) and Terri Jackson have committed to establish the Walter Clinton Jackson Family Acquisition and Preservation Endowment with a testamentary gift.  Clint and Terri’s intention in making this gift is to honor the generations of Jackson family involvement with UNCG and to support the work of the University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives.

Walter Clinton Jackson (June 28, 1879 – August 12, 1959) served as the Chancellor of the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (currently the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) from 1934-1950.  His father was a farmer who had served in the Confederate Army; his mother was a former schoolteacher.  Young Jackson received the Bachelor of Science degree from Mercer University in 1900 and was awarded the Doctor of Law degree in 1926.  After teaching in several Georgia schools, he was invited to come to Greensboro, NC to become principal of the Lindsay Street School in 1902.  The same year he married Mattie Redford.  They had three children.  In 1909, Jackson began his long association with UNCG.  He was the head of the History Department until 1915, when he also became Dean.  From 1921- 1932 he was Vice-President and Department Head.  During his career he was also Dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Jackson was an active civic leader and served on a variety of educational organizations.  He authored A Boy’s Life of Booker T. Washington and The Story of North Carolina with A. M. Arnett.  The main library at UNCG is named for Dr. Jackson.

Walter Clinton Jackson, III graduated from Guilford College in 1953.  After serving two years in the U. S. Army, he returned to Greensboro and became head of the Clinton Press until his retirement in 2007.  He was a well-respected leader in the print industry for many years, and was proud that his company continues under the leadership of his son.  Clint was an avid boater and a member of the Greensboro Power Squadron and the Coast Guard Auxiliary Swansboro, where he taught courses including navigation.  Clint enjoyed authentic model ship-building.  He and his wife Jackie had two daughters and one son, Walter Clinton Jackson, IV.

Jacqueline “Jackie” Johnson Jackson was born in Wake County and was the first member of her family to attend college.  In 1952, she graduated from Woman’s College (UNCG) with a degree in Education.  This experience defined her early career and forever fueled her lifelong quest for learning as well as her role as the family historian.  She married Walter Clinton Jackson, III after graduation.  She taught first grade at Irving Park Elementary School and later became a typographer for what is now the third generation printing business, The Clinton Press.  Jackie served as a leader in the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, was a member of the American Kennel Club, raising and showing Siberian Huskies.  Jackie, as the family historian, helped preserve the personal and professional memories of Chancellor Jackson.

Walter Clinton Jackson, IV, a 1986 graduate of the Bryan School of UNCG, is the third generation owner and president of The Clinton Press.  A native of Greensboro and the great-grandson of former Chancellor Walter Clinton Jackson, Clint is an advocate for his community and the organizations that serve it.  He is an active member of the Greensboro Kiwanis Club and enjoys shooting trap and skeet, boating and fishing.  He became a member of the Jackson Society, with his wife Terri in 2014 and now serves as the Chair of the Jackson Society, a leadership giving society with the UNCG University Libraries. Clint chaired the “Challenge,” for the libraries in 2014 to help increase donor participation.  He also serves on the UNCG Friends of the University Libraries.  He and Terri plan to fund The Walter Clinton Jackson Family Acquisition and Preservation Endowment.

Teresa (Terri) Jackson grew up in Greensboro and has been a lover of books since she was old enough to read, starting with every Nancy Drew book in the series.  Terri graduated from Page High School, where, at the time, the library didn’t have the resources she needed, so she made Jackson Library her home away from home.  After graduating from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science, Terri returned to Greensboro.  Here, she has spent her career in education, first as the director of the Greensboro Youth Council, a youth leadership program for high school students, then for many years in administration at Greensboro Day School.  Today, she is Director of Development for the School of Education at UNCG.  She is also a founder of Our Children’s House, a five-star child care center in operation for over 20 years. For her work in education, she was named a Woman of Achievement by the Greensboro Commission on the Status of Women. Together, she and Clint have four children:  Katherine Obermeyer Ector ’13, Elizabeth, Connor, and Julianne.

Income from the endowment will be used to enhance the work of the University Libraries and its Special Collections and University Archives.   Purposes for which funds might be used include but are not limited to acquiring and preserving books, manuscripts, photographs, film, audio recordings and other media that are to be used by students, historians, researchers and the community.

Funds will be spent at the discretion of the Dean of the University Libraries

Dr. Walter Clinton Jackson

Jackie Jackson sharing family history
with guests at Friends of the UNCG
Libraries Dinner in 2013

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Isabella Baltar of Preservation Services Awarded Libraries' Innovation and Program Enrichment Grant

How does one best care and preserve books and archival materials so that they remain intact for the future?   A member of the Preservation Services Department at the University Libraries at UNC Greensboro is about to share her knowledge in some new ways.

Isabella Baltar of Preservation Services has been awarded the Innovation and Program Enrichment grant from the University Libraries for this year.  A native of Brazil, Baltar worked at the renowned Etherington Conservation Services and worked directly with Don Etherington as an apprentice before coming to the University Libraries.

The goal for her project is to create a series of five (5) short films about the care and preservation of libraries and archives materials, in three different languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese, making important basic knowledge in this area accessible through the Internet. Each short film (2-3 minutes each) will cover practical guidelines and demonstrate techniques on a specific conservation topic Many of these techniques will provide guidance in simple terms, using materials that can be more easily acquired and fit within limited budgets.

The grant will be used to produce the videos, hire two students and the acquisition of conservation materials essential for the proposed hands-on conservation subjects and are not currently held by the library.

Baltar says that in recent years, Preservation Services has often been asked by our community, e.g. patrons and students, in person, by email or by phone, for information pertaining conservation treatments on books, pamphlets and photos, how we assess these interventions and how we handle them. Based on this past feedback, she will expand our communication with the target community, and gather more details on their preservation needs, which will lead us to a better understand of their real needs. To achieve this goal, we will solicit feedback from UNCG students and staff as well as English speaking, Spanish speaking and Portuguese speaking library technicians that don’t have a conservation department/division in their library/archive.

Friday, June 12, 2015

New Exhibit in Special Collections through August 28 -- Portable Likeness: Selected Portrait Miniatures and their Literary Context