UH Libraries News

Boehm Selected for Early Career Librarian Fellowship

Reid Boehm

Reid Boehm

Reid Boehm, PhD, research data management librarian at University of Houston Libraries, is the 2021 recipient of the Rooks Early Career Librarian Fellowship.

The fellowship endowment was established by former UH Libraries dean Dana Rooks and spouse Charles W. (Mickey) Rooks, PhD and is designated to support a UH librarian in professional development and research opportunities, such as memberships, conference fees, travel costs, research assistance, specialized equipment, and technology.

“Receiving this fellowship is an honor and a wonderful opportunity to expand my research interests with resources and a three-year plan of action while also working to strengthen research data management (RDM) services and better advocate for researchers at UH,” Boehm said. “My hope is to expand this to the greater RDM community in scholarship, leading to some gradual shifts in service practices.”

Boehm’s research addresses gaps between funder data management requirements for research grant projects and the resources available to academic researchers. Often funders and RDM practitioners approach requirements from the scholarly defined ideals presented in the data science and library and information science disciplines. While this is the ultimate aim, Boehm’s focus is on what researchers are experiencing in reality. The goal is to learn more about these gaps pertaining to how the University and other public Research 1 academic institutions work with researchers. With attention to context in service and training, by learning from research partners instead of simply presenting best practices, there is greater potential to increase advocacy and communicate more clearly to funders about these realities.

Boehm holds a PhD in Information Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she studied information equity and methods for evaluating government agency information on complex problems such as Colony Collapse Disorder and Livestock Identification for all citizens. Boehm became interested in data management and curation while working with a NASA data archive and later as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame Library. Prior to UH Libraries, Boehm worked as a data management consultant at Johns Hopkins University.

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Associate Dean Lehner to Retire

John Lehner

After more than 22 years of service at UH Libraries, John Lehner will retire effective October 1.

John Lehner, associate dean for resource management at University of Houston Libraries, announced his retirement effective October 1.

Lehner joined UH Libraries in 1998 as the human resources director, overseeing searches for librarian positions and streamlining the search process. In 2006, Lehner stepped into his current role, administering the budget, facilities, and business operations of the Libraries, as well as directing library technology services, metadata and digitization services, library human resources, and assessment and statistics. He was promoted to the rank of librarian in 2013, and two years later, was appointed to the Ambassador Kenneth R. Franzheim Endowed Professorship.

“John has served the Libraries laudably,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “He exemplifies unwavering dedication to the University and the profession, and is a model of collegiality and advocacy that extends well beyond the Libraries. I’d like to thank John for his service and wish him the best on his well-earned retirement.”

Prior to UH Libraries, Lehner was chair of the Academic Program Support Division at Arizona State University West Library; and business, economics, and law bibliographer at University at Albany-SUNY Libraries. Lehner’s previous professional experience includes the Palm Beach Countywide Planning Council and Palm Beach County Planning, Zoning and Building Department as executive director.

Lehner’s prolific service to the profession of librarianship includes committee chair appointments within the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the American Library Association (ALA), Texas Library Association (TLA), and other organizations. He has served on a number of university and library committees with charges related to personnel searches, strategic planning, and building projects. He has published and presented on research areas such as recruitment and retention in academic libraries, personnel selection, and emotional intelligence.

Lehner holds a Master of Library Science degree from University at Albany-SUNY, Master of Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, Master of Business Administration from Tulane University, Master of City Planning from University of Pennsylvania, Juris Doctor from Washington University School of Law, and Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work for outstanding deans, and the pleasure of working with outstanding colleagues,” Lehner said. “I will miss the excitement of working in such a dynamic organization. I am leaving UH with gratitude for the wonderful professional opportunities I’ve had here.”

By on September 2nd, 2021 in Announcements, Featured

Digital Humanities Social Hour Series

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons will continue to host its Digital Humanities Social Hour series during the fall 2021 semester. The UH community is invited to join via Zoom each Friday at 12 noon to learn about current digital research and teaching happening at the University and ways to collaborate. Feel free to bring a lunch.

Contact the DRC for the Zoom link and passcode.

Arduino Workshop Series

Students are encouraged to register for the University of Houston Libraries Arduino workshop series, taught by Makerspace specialist Bernard Li.

The Arduino is the most affordable and accessible microcontroller available. It has the ability to accomplish almost all simple electronic projects, including building robots, and is the perfect introduction to programming in C++.

The five workshops offer an introduction to Arduino from scratch so you can build your robot or class project, or just improve your home – without any programming experience needed.

The series begins on September 7 and will continue each Tuesday through October 5, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

By on August 31st, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, Spaces, Workshops

$75K Gift to Support Open Educational Resources

University of Houston Libraries has received a gift of $75,000 from the John P. McGovern Foundation, designated for open educational resources (OER).

OER are teaching and learning tools, either in the public domain or released with an open license, that anyone can freely use and re-purpose. OER at UH began in 2017 in response to advocacy from the Student Government Association regarding textbook affordability concerns. Commercial textbook costs have risen dramatically over the past few decades, with both financial and academic impact on many UH students. While expensive textbooks prevent students from accessing course materials, OER provide free and immediate access to course materials, allowing students to be prepared on the first day of class, earn better grades, and stay enrolled in the course.

Dr. Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, introduced the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). In partnership with the Office of the Provost, UH Libraries implemented ATIP, which awards instructors who adopt OER in their courses, replacing commercial textbooks with OER and/or the use of freely available or library-owned resources. Since 2018, ATIP has provided three rounds of funding for faculty who have adopted alternative textbooks, benefitting a total of 10,171 students and saving an estimated $1,183,564 in student textbook fees.

Additionally, instructors are afforded flexibility and customization through OER to produce course content that is appropriate, updated and diverse. Faculty have reported improvements in student preparation, engagement, and learning outcomes in connection with increased access to materials.

“I was thrilled to learn about this gift to the Libraries to support OER, an initiative I have known to be crucial for access to course materials for many of our students,” Short said. “The McGovern Foundation’s support emphasizes the ongoing achievements of this program and provides essential funding for its enduring success.” 

With the McGovern gift, UH Libraries is empowered to better support faculty who take on the workload of preparing their own course materials. Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator at UH Libraries, facilitates outreach and education for faculty on OER-related topics and coordinates a growing community of practice on OER. “The generous donation from the McGovern Foundation will allow UH Libraries to increase incentives for faculty who adopt OER,” Santiago said. “Providing free and immediate access to course materials makes higher education more affordable and improves the academic experience for our students.”

“This gift from the McGovern Foundation allows us to strengthen the great progress of this critical program,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “UH Libraries remains dedicated to Provost Short’s student success initiatives which enable us to scale our efforts and ensure the broadest level of partnerships across campus.”

By on August 27th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, OER

Call for Applications: Alternative Textbook Incentive Program

University of Houston Libraries is now accepting applications for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). As part of the University’s initiative to help mitigate the high cost of textbooks for students, the incentive program will award UH instructors who adopt, modify, or create an open or alternative textbook in their courses.

UPDATED DEADLINE: Instructors are encouraged to apply to ATIP by October 22, 2021. Awards of between $1,000 and $5,000 will be made based on the estimated financial impact for students, projected student impact, and overall feasibility of the proposal.

Open educational resources (OER) offer an alternative to the problem of expensive textbooks for students. Studies* show that 65% of college students skip buying textbooks due to the cost. By shifting to freely accessible and openly licensed teaching and learning tools, including textbooks, more students will have access to course materials, allowing them to be prepared for class on the first day, stay enrolled in the course, and perform better on course assignments. 

UH faculty are encouraged to attend an upcoming information session to learn about the incentive program and the benefits of alternative textbooks. Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator, is available by appointment to discuss implementing open textbooks in the classroom and the support provided through the incentive program.

Please contact us at oer@uh.edu for more information.

*Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: Third Edition

Textbook Broke: Textbook Affordability as a Social Justice Issue

2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey

By on August 27th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, OER

REACH Connects Undergrads with Humanities Research

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons and UH Special Collections are collaborating with UH Honors College and UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards on a new program that facilitates project-based experience in the digital humanities for undergraduates.

The Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) program is an introductory research program for students in the humanities supported by a grant from the Cougar Initiative to Engage. REACH participants receive a $1,500 scholarship to carry out undergraduate research and contribute to an existing project at UH during the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

Created to give undergraduates first-hand research experience, REACH projects range from community activism to archival preservation to drafting biographies and conducting oral histories. REACH participants will develop research skills with the help of a mentor and through related programming offered by UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, and will present their research at Undergraduate Research Day in April 2022.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in humanities disciplines are invited to apply by September 7.

Welcome to UH Libraries

University of Houston Libraries welcomes the UH community for the start of the fall semester. As a reminder, the University strongly encourages everyone to wear masks in public indoor settings, including MD Anderson Library, Architecture, Design, and Art Library, Health Sciences Library, and Music Library.

MD Anderson Library at University of Houston

MD Anderson Library at University of Houston

Beginning Monday, August 23, UH Libraries will expand hours of operation for all locations. UH Special Collections Reading Room is available by appointment. Additionally, the 24 Hour Lounge located at the front of MD Anderson Library will be accessible to students after our regular hours of operation.

MD Anderson Library Turnstiles

Students are strongly encouraged to bring their Cougar Card when visiting MD Anderson Library. Swiping or tapping a physical Cougar Card at the turnstiles is the fastest option for entry. At certain times, card access will be the only option for entry. In addition, the Cougar Card serves as a library card for book and material check-out, and allows students to release print jobs from library printers. Students without a physical Cougar Card will be asked to present their digital Cougar Card on the UH Go app to the security officer for access.

New Self-Service Lockers

MD Anderson Library now offers users an additional pick-up option for library materials. The remote locker system, located in the 24 Hour Lounge, allows users to pick up requested materials easily with just the swipe of a Cougar Card. When placing a request through the online catalog, users can select the remote locker delivery location and have their items placed in one of the 18 available lockers. Materials can be retrieved at the user’s convenience any time day or night. Users will have up to 7 days from notification to pick up items. Planned enhancements for fall 2021 include 24 additional lockers, 12 of which will be stocked with supplies and technology (such as a marker kit or graphing calculator) for users to check out on demand.

New self-service lockers allow users to pick up requested materials with the swipe of a Cougar Card.

New self-service lockers allow users to pick up requested materials with the swipe of a Cougar Card.

Spaces, Services, and Resources

Popular Libraries services and resources, including remote access to digital items, librarian consultations, interlibrary loan, and printing and scanning, will continue to support UH student success. High demand spaces, such as computer labs, group study rooms, and multimedia studios, will also be available. Floors 5, 7 and 8 of the MD Anderson Library Blue wing are under construction and will re-open later in the fall semester. All other public areas of the library will be open and available.

“The Libraries team warmly welcomes new and returning Coogs to the library,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “We’ve enhanced our spaces, services, and resources during this transformative time to engage and empower the UH community, and more improvements are on the horizon. Please stay safe and Cougar Strong!”

How to request a hold on a UH Libraries item

Find UH Libraries spaces and tech

Path to Leadership National Forum Wins IMLS Grant

Wenli Gao

Wenli Gao

Wenli Gao, data services librarian at University of Houston Libraries and 2021 – 2022 president of the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), is the co-lead on a project titled Path to Leadership: National Forum on Advancing Asian/Pacific Islander American Librarianship, which was awarded a grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Gao and colleagues Ray Pun, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) president, CALA executive director Lian Ruan, and APALA executive director Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, submitted the application on behalf of their organizations. The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program National Forum grant in the amount of $100,000 will provide the opportunity for 50 library and information science students and professionals to build strategies to develop Asian American and Pacific Islander American (APIA) library leaders and solutions for the barriers that they experience.

The Path to Leadership National Forum will take place in conjunction with LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience (LLX) in San Antonio, Texas in January 2022. Participants of the forum will discuss the current representation of APIA workers in the library field; identify specific leadership traits of APIA librarians; explore barriers to leading; and generate ideas which will be captured in a white paper that will lay the groundwork for the development of an APIA-specific leadership development curriculum.  

Following participation, attendees will continue to build on the Forum work through a series of virtual monthly meetings, followed by a final gathering at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference 2022, both also supported with IMLS funding. In addition, webinars sharing the findings of the forum and the white paper will be offered throughout the year following the grant period. 

The significance of the forum, Gao noted, is its focus on giving historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups tools to combat structural racism and discrimination. By convening to capture the voices and perspectives of APIA library workers in leadership and management roles, and those striving to be leaders, the Path to Leadership National Forum aims to shape the conversation of library leadership by sharing the experiences of APIA library workers and increasing APIA presence in library leadership positions.

“I am excited to have this grant that aligns with CALA’s plan and build this strategic collaboration with APALA during my CALA presidency,” Gao said. “Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion are critical components of University of Houston Libraries’ mission and organizational development. I am happy to get involved in this grant to support our goals as well.”