Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Staff Development Week at University Libraries

The University Libraries at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) recently completed its fourth annual Staff Development Week May 11-15.  Designed as one of the responses to the Libraries’ 2011 ClimateQual Survey, Staff Development Week consists of a number of varied programs planned by a committee of paraprofessional and professional staff.  The week after graduation was chosen so that the event could be held during a week identified as low impact in order to allow everyone to participate. Examples of event types are personal enrichment; job-related skills; health and fitness; teamwork; career enhancement; and communication techniques and styles. Suggestions for events are solicited from the staff. The events have a foundation within the diverse experiences of existing staff as well as expertise brought in from outside the libraries.

Several keystone programs are held each year during week, including presentation of the Staff Service Award created in 1997 "to recognize and reward members of the 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."  Another highlight of staff development week this year was the Triad Area Libraries Association Paraprofessional Conference planned by UNCG and other area libraries and held at High Point University on May 13.   Other events include workshops and presentations by library and university experts on topics of interest to the staff held throughout the week, a community service project to clean an area stream, and a lunchtime picnic on the lawn in front of the library.  Several of the events are purely for fun, such as the Mario Kart Wii tournament among the staff and an ice cream social to conclude the week’s activities.

University Libraries Holds Idea-Thon to Explore Ideas about Jackson Library First Floor Reading Room

Tuesday, May 19 was Idea-thon day at UNCG's University Libraries as library faculty and staff took advantage of reduced summer traffic in Jackson Library to run two brainstorming sessions to generate ideas about possible changes to some of the public spaces in the builidng.  Facilitators guided groups looking at
•    Materials and Resources
•    Seating and Furniture
•    Express Desk
•    Technology
•    Functions

Said Dean of University Libraries Rosann Bazirjian, "we hope that this type of all-inclusive event will lend itself to the development of creative ideas, diversity of thought, teamwork and faster implementation since we will not be using a task force model."

University Libraries Acquires Rare Quarto of Shakespeare's Othello as Globe and Cosmos Celebration Year Concludes

Wrapping up a year of focus on Shakespeare and Galileo at UNCG, the University Libraries’ Jackson Society made a purchase of a rare quarto edition of Shakespeare’s Othello for the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives.  As a result, UNCG will now be the only university in the UNC system owning one of the 30 known copies in existence of Shakespeare’s Othello in the seventh and final Quarto edition, published in 1705.


Here is a description of the new acquisition:
Othello. William Shakespeare.  London: Printed for R. Wellington, 1705.
Seventh and final quarto edition. Lightly browned with some spotting and marginal dampstaining, small stain to title affecting advertisement at foot. Modern speckled tan three-quarter calf and marbled boards, gold-stamped red morocco spine label. Housed in a brown cloth folding box.

Othello was first published in quarto format in 1622 and was then included in the First Folio edition of collected plays. It is one of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies, conveying important lessons about love, war, and racism. The ambiguity of Othello’s race is one of the most intriguing and enduring aspects of the play. Although generally described to be dark-skinned, it is unknown whether he is African, Arab, or a dark-skinned European.Othello  experiences discrimination while serving as a soldier in Europe, but his devoted wife Desdemona sees him only for his merits. Othello is timeless, warning us of the perils of self-isolation and the necessity of unconditional love.

As Sunday Steinkirchner of B&B Rare Books in New York explained to the Jackson Society:
"Othello is the 5th most referenced play in primary documents from Shakespeare's time, and it is equally popular and still staged today. Quartos represent the earliest and scarcest printed material by William Shakespeare. They were the first format the individual plays were printed in; all his plays would later be collected in the Folio editions, after Shakespeare's death. Seldom surviving the 17th century, Quartos were sold unbound and usually used for the stage by actors. For a person living at that time, their first experience of Shakespeare would not have been reading a play, but hearing and seeing the words acted out on the stage. Quartos are also important from a research point of view because the text of quartos differ from the text of the plays when they were collected in the Folios. Quarto texts were often Shakespeare's first drafts, with his specific directions for the stage. Folio editions contained Shakespeare's final revisions, so it would be valuable from a research point of view to be able to compare these differing versions. Again, because they were sold unbound and usually discarded after the play had been acted, Quartos are unusually rare in the rare book market. There are 22 known and recoded copies of this 1705 Othello, and a handful of earlier editions. This brings the total known copies of Othello quartos to around 30 worldwide, and none are in any UNC holdings. Earlier editions sell for in the six figures, so the opportunity to purchase this copy is exceptional."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Award Winning Poet and Children’s Book Author Kwame Alexander Coming to UNCG and Bookmarks in September



When and Where:
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)
Both free and open to the public.

Kwame Alexander is a poet and author of eighteen books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The Crossover is a novel in verse for young people.

Other works include Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (the 2014 Michigan Reads One Book Selection), and the young adult novel He Said, She Said (a Junior Library Guild Selection). He is the founder of Book-in-a-Day, a student-run publishing program that has created more than 3000 student authors; and LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy project that builds libraries, trains teachers, and empowers children through literature. He visits schools and libraries, has owned several publishing companies, written for stage and television (including TLC's "Hip Hop Harry"), produced jazz and book festivals, and taught in a high school. In 2015, Kwame will serve as Bank Street College of Education’s first writer-in-residence. Visit him at KwameAlexander.com.

His visit and appearances at both UNCG and Bookmarks are sponsored by the University Libraries at UNCG with the support of the Pam and David Sprinkle Children’s Book Author and Storyteller Fund.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jackson Society Members' Choice Event a Big Success for the University Libraries

Shakespeare's Othello, 1705 quarto
Thomas Hardy's
Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy's The Trumpet Major
Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare did battle in UNCG’s Jackson Library last week.

Some odds-makers were expecting Dickens to triumph, but Hardy won in a runoff, and Shakespeare had such a fan following that within a day he won too, helping Jackson Library acquire not one but three rare selections for the University Libraries’ Special Collections.

The format of the battle was a first for the University Libraries.  Representatives of the Special Collections and University Archives each made short presentations to members of the Jackson Society to persuade them to cast their vote to purchase a book or selection of books by each of the four authors. The presentations focused not only on the history of the book and its importance, but also on the ways in which acquiring it would help the Library connect better to its goal of engaging UNCG students and faculty with important rare books.

The Jackson Society members in attendance certainly seemed to be engaged.  The Jackson Society consists of those donors giving $1000 or more to the University Libraries over the past year. Former Friends Board Chair and Jackson Society member Billie Durham said, “I was thrilled to be there and so pleased with the presentations. They were scholarly, yet with a spirit of fun & competition. What a great way for members to get to know some of the library faculty and to learn more about the collection. This event gave members a first hand peek at where their money would go.  I hope that those who missed it will want to come next year.”

There was so much enthusiasm behind the rare Shakespeare volume that first tied with the Hardy selection to force the run-off vote that three Jackson Society members immediately offered $1000 each and other members also stepped forward within a day to make it possible to purchase the Shakespeare volume  as well.  UNCG will now be the only university in the UNC system owning one of the 30 known copies in existence of Shakespeare’s Othello in the seventh and final Quarto edition, published in 1705.

Here are the new selections added to the University Libraries’ Special Collections:

1)    Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) and The Trumpet-Major: A Tale (1880).

Tess of the d’Urbervilles.  Thomas Hardy.  London.  James R. Osgood, 1891.
Three Volume Set bound in contemporary full polished calf by Riviere & Son, the leading English binder of the time. With elaborate gold tooling on spines. First Edition, First Issue, with “Chapter XXV” for “Chapter XXXV” on page 199 of volume two. With the original tan and gold cloth covers bound in at the rear of each volume.

One of the great classic English novels of the nineteenth century, this is the tragic tale of a woman who tries to find a better life for herself, but is ultimately defeated by the inflexible strictures of Victorian morality.

The Trumpet-Major: A Tale. Thomas Hardy.  London: Spottiswoode and Co. for Smith, Elder, & Co., 1880
Three volumes. First edition. One of 1,000 copies. Publisher’s original red pictorial cloth, upper boards blocked in black with designs after Thomas Hardy, spines lettered and decorated in gilt and black, lower boards of Vols. I and III blocked with double blind-ruled borders, Vol. II with triple blind-ruled border. A very attractive copy of one of the author's scarcest novels in original cloth.

The author’s only historical novel, The Trumpet-Major is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars and was published on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.  This novel tells the story of Anne Garland as she is courted by three would-be suitors.

2)    Othello. William Shakespeare.  London: Printed for R. Wellington, 1705.
Seventh and final quarto edition. Lightly browned with some spotting and marginal dampstaining, small stain to title affecting advertisement at foot. Modern speckled tan three-quarter calf and marbled boards, gold-stamped red morocco spine label. Housed in a brown cloth folding box.

Othello was first published in quarto format in 1622 and was then included in the First Folio edition of collected plays. It is one of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies, conveying important lessons about love, war, and racism. The ambiguity of Othello’s race is one of the most intriguing and enduring aspects of the play. Although generally described to be dark-skinned, it is unknown whether he is African, Arab, or a dark-skinned European.Othello  experiences discrimination while serving as a soldier in Europe, but his devoted wife Desdemona sees him only for his merits. Othello is timeless, warning us of the perils of self-isolation and the necessity of unconditional love.

As Sunday Steinkirchner of B&B Rare Books in New York explained to the Jackson Society:
"Othello is the 5th most referenced play in primary documents from Shakespeare's time, and it is equally popular and still staged today. Quartos represent the earliest and scarcest printed material by William Shakespeare. They were the first format the individual plays were printed in; all his plays would later be collected in the Folio editions, after Shakespeare's death. Seldom surviving the 17th century, Quartos were sold unbound and usually used for the stage by actors. For a person living at that time, their first experience of Shakespeare would not have been reading a play, but hearing and seeing the words acted out on the stage. Quartos are also important from a research point of view because the text of quartos differ from the text of the plays when they were collected in the Folios. Quarto texts were often Shakespeare's first drafts, with his specific directions for the stage. Folio editions contained Shakespeare's final revisions, so it would be valuable from a research point of view to be able to compare these differing versions. Again, because they were sold unbound and usually discarded after the play had been acted, Quartos are unusually rare in the rare book market. There are 22 known and recoded copies of this 1705 Othello, and a handful of earlier editions. This brings the total known copies of Othello quartos to around 30 worldwide, and none are in any UNC holdings. Earlier editions sell for in the six figures, so the opportunity to purchase this copy is exceptional."




Thursday, April 30, 2015

UNCG Libraries Team Chosen to Participate in Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has selected a team from the UNCG Libraries to be among the 54 institutional teams to participate in the third year of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). The program supports the design, implementation and evaluation of a program to strengthen the competencies of librarians in campus leadership and data-informed advocacy.

The UNCG team members will be:
•    Karen Grigg, Science Liaison Librarian
•    Kathy Crowe-Associate Dean for Public Services
•    Lea Leininger- Health Science Reference Librarian
•    Dr. Kim Sousa-Peoples,Director, Orientation & Family Programs
•    Jeff Lail-Assistant Director for Student Groups and Assessment

Each team accepted into the AiA program identified goals for action learning projects that will be pursued during the next year.  UNCG’s project is to extend work resulting from a survey of incoming transfer students in order to assess the information literacy skills and library instruction of this often invisible population.  The AiA project extends this research in order to develop further assessment tools, and to develop a program for marketing and delivering services to incoming transfer students.

The AIA program is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and carried out in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The teams, representing all types of institutions, come from 23 states, the District of Columbia and Australia. For a list of currently confirmed institutions, see the AiA program webpage.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kyle Pope Wins Undergraduate Research Award from the University Libraries

Associate Dean of University Libraries Kathy Crowe  and Dean Rosann Bazirjian presented our Undergraduate Research award at the recent research awards ceremony on campus.  This award recognizes  outstanding work that demonstrates the ability to locate, select and synthesize information and use it in the creation of an original research project.

The recipient for 2015 is Senior History Major Kyle Pope of Black Mountain, NC for his paper, “Lightbulb Moment:  Electricity in the YWCA Scrapbook”  which he wrote for History 430: Historical Research Methods for Social Studies. For this research assignment, students examine and contextualize scrapbooks from the early days of the university that are held in our University Archives. Kyle noticed that his scrapbook from the early 1920’s had numerous clippings that focused on light bulbs.  This led to a light bulb moment of his own when he realized many of the students at that time likely came from rural areas without electricity.  It led him to research electrification on campus and in North Carolina.

Kyle’s professor for this paper was Dr. Lisa Tolbert from the History Department.  In her nominating letter Dr. Tolbert noted that his paper “makes an important contribution to the history of the University.”  And that it “exemplifies creativity and originality in historical research practices.”

In his application letter Kyle expressed his appreciation for the resources in our Library.  In his words:  “Without the resources made available through the Jackson Library, I would never have been able to complete the level of research on a topic as obscure as rural electrification.”  He credited Archivist Kathelene Smith and Head of Special Collections Keith Gorman with their assistance in helping him succeed.

This is why we established this award – to recognize students who make these discoveries and apply them to their coursework.

Congratulations  Kyle!