The University of Houston Libraries spring 2021 newsletter is now online, featuring recent gifts, COVID archives, digital research, a message from our dean, and more.
Dean of University of Houston Libraries Athena Jackson is pleased to announce promotions in rank for the following librarians, effective September 1, 2021:
- Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator, Liaison Services
- Bethany Scott, coordinator of digital projects, Special Collections
- Emily Vinson, audiovisual archivist, Special Collections
- Mea Warren, natural science and mathematics librarian, Liaison Services
- Christina Gola, director of human resources and organizational development, Human Resources
- Andrea Malone, coordinator of research services, Liaison Services
University of Houston Libraries welcomes Ana Corral as the new medical and health sciences librarian.
Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals.
I am a medical and health sciences librarian in the Health Sciences Library. I primarily support the College of Medicine students and faculty with liaison services, research support, and evidence-based practices. Some of my goals are to complete my Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) and my Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP) credentialing. Long-term, I would love to explore how libraries can support and partner on community-inclusive health research and initiatives.
Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?
Prior to my arrival, I was the community engagement and research librarian at Virginia Tech where I provided support for community-based research and initiatives. My research interests include community-inclusive research methods and the interactions between language and western research practices and their impact on information access and dissemination. As a librarian, I try to not just focus on providing equitable access to information, services, and programming but take a critical look at who is lacking access and why.
What is your first impression of the University?
My first impression was how friendly and welcoming everyone has been. They have all been excited to share what they enjoy most about working at UH and of course, all wearing red!
What is your favorite hobby/cuisine/book/movie/TV show?
I am a foodie so I love good food, but I would say my favorite hobby is writing and playing with my fountain pens and ink.
University of Houston Libraries Special Collections is home to primary source materials of intellectual, cultural, and societal distinction, both historic and contemporary. A vast variety of rare and unique items, representing collecting areas of women’s research, Houston and Texas history, energy and sustainability, LGBT history, performing and visual arts, and more, are preserved and made available to the UH community and the general public for research and scholarship.
An exploration of UH Special Collections can reveal new directions for research. Frank Guridy, associate professor of history and African American and African diaspora studies at Columbia University, first visited UH Special Collections over a decade ago to learn more about the Houston Astrodome and its impact on the city during the 1960s and 70s. What he found there and in subsequent visits helped shape the work that led to the recent publication of his book, The Sports Revolution: How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics.
“The George Kirksey Papers was the first collection I consulted,” Guridy said. “Kirksey was one of the members of the Houston Sports Association, the group that brought Major League Baseball to Houston in the early 1960s. I also consulted the Thomas Cole Desegregation Papers, which enabled me to discover the role of local civil rights activists in the desegregation of the Astrodome.”
A closer look at the archives brought an enhanced view of the existing scholarly framework. “As my research interests widened, I became more interested in the University of Houston Athletic Program’s impact on the racial desegregation of college sports in Texas,” Guridy said. “Here again, the library’s collections became exceedingly helpful, especially the many game programs and materials in the Athletics Department Records, as well as the Daily Cougar and the Houstonian. One can see the ways the program sought to market itself and how the black freedom movement helped change the way in which the program represented itself to the broader public. These records allowed me to see the larger role of the university’s athletic program on the social changes that took shape in the larger sports world in Houston and in the nation as a whole.”
Guridy’s advice for students and scholars? “Be ready for the surprises you will encounter in the archives. I came to Special Collections expecting to work on just one collection and I left with a whole host of archival discoveries that expanded my research horizon and allowed me to write a story of the university’s pivotal role in the growth of the sports industry and the social changes that accompanied that process.”
Anyone is welcome to visit the UH Special Collections Reading Room, located on the second floor of the MD Anderson Library, by appointment. Researchers are encouraged to contact curators with questions and requests.
Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of George Floyd, in Houston’s Third Ward, in Minneapolis, and beyond. We acknowledge the labor of activists who helped bring an incremental measure of accountability for his murder. We also recognize that the work of defeating anti-Black racism is not done, and we remain actively committed to the ultimate goal of eliminating anti-Black violence in our community and country. This work belongs to all of us, and this is a beginning, not an end. George Floyd’s murder was not the result of a single bad actor, but of systemic injustice against Black Americans stemming from centuries of racism and oppression.
We will honor George Floyd and all of those lost to anti-Black violence through education and action. While we recognize that education is a crucial step in becoming anti-racist, we also acknowledge that education itself is not enough. We must act to end anti-Black racism and violence. We invite you to join University of Houston Libraries in the following actions:
- Register for a Hollaback! Bystander Intervention Training.
- Become involved in and donate to local organizations that support Black Houstonians, such as NAACP Houston or Black Lives Matter Houston.
- Educate yourself on systemic anti-Black racism and violence. You may want to use Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Reading List as a guide.
University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons is pleased to announce the program for DH@UH, a new series aimed at convening humanists, data scientists, librarians, and digital humanities practitioners at every level at UH.
The inaugural program in this series, Building Connections, is a three-day virtual event to be held on April 19 – 21 via Zoom that will showcase digital humanities collaborations by research teams across UH.
Join students, librarians, and faculty for a program highlighting the breadth of digital humanities work ongoing at UH. Discussion sessions will explore the practical challenges of starting and sustaining DH projects and how those who are interested in engaging this work can discover and take advantage of existing opportunities on campus.
DH@UH is a joint venture of UH Libraries Digital Research Commons, the US Latino Digital Humanities program at Arte Público Press, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Technology, and the UH Graduate School.
DH@UH: Building Connections is free and open to the entire UH community. Sessions will be held online via Zoom (no password required).
Stefanie Lapka, medical and health sciences librarian at University of Houston Libraries, has been approved for membership in the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP) at the Senior member level.
AHIP is the Medical Library Association’s (MLA) peer-reviewed certification and career recognition credentialing program for health information professionals. AHIP membership indicates a high level of achievement in continuing education, teaching, publishing, research, and other contributions to the profession.
In her role at the UH Health Sciences Library, Lapka supports multiple health programs at UH, including the College of Nursing, the Graduate College of Social Work, and the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her research interests include evidence-based practice education for healthcare professions, the medical and health humanities and their application to health care education and practice. Prior to joining UH Libraries, Lapka was a medical librarian and a reference and instruction librarian at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She holds a Master of Science in Information Studies from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Texas State University.
The Contemporary Literature Research Collection at UH Special Collections preserves and makes accessible the personal papers of notable writers with connections to Houston and Texas, including Larry McMurtry (1936 – 2021). The Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who passed away last week at the age of 84, leaves a legacy of creative acclaim as sweeping as the sagas and settings portrayed in his writing.
“Larry McMurtry was one of Texas’s great literary figures: a novelist, screenwriter, and also notably a bookstore owner,” said Christian Kelleher, head of Special Collections. “There’s a lot that can be discovered in his extensive body of work. For me there’s a kind of ambition or yearning that may be particularly Texan. McMurtry’s personal archives at UH offer students and scholars many opportunities to better understand his work and what is unique about Texas literature.”
McMurtry was a Houston resident in the late 1950s and 60s. He completed graduate work at Rice University, later teaching creative writing there, and wrote book reviews for the Houston Post. In addition to early correspondence, short prose and poetry, and literary reviews from the period prior to the author’s success, the Larry McMurtry Papers includes an extensive collection of primary materials documenting his writing life, including handwritten notes and typewritten manuscript drafts of the novels Leaving Cheyenne, Moving On, Somebody’s Darling, Cadillac Jack, The Desert Rose, Lonesome Dove, and Texasville.
Items of particular interest are the first draft of The Last Picture Show, including handwritten notes, a character list, and synopsis, as well as a copy of the first printing of the 1967 Dell paperback; and a screenplay for Hud (the film adaptation of Horseman, Pass By).
“In addition to making McMurtry’s papers available for scholarly research, UH Libraries has loaned them to other Texas institutions for exhibition, and used them to teach students, including local high school students, about the writer’s craft,” said Julie Grob, coordinator for instruction in Special Collections.
The Larry McMurtry Papers are accessible to view on-site in Special Collections by appointment. Visitors may contact Christian Kelleher for more information.
The Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) negotiations with academic publisher Elsevier that cover UH Libraries journal subscriptions and access to journal content are ongoing. We’ve seen progress on some issues and believe we are getting close to a final offer.
At the heart of the negotiations are three key issues:
- Sustainable pricing models while maintaining title access
Journal pricing has been unsustainable for some time. The Coalition is trying to maintain as much access to currently subscribed titles as possible while significantly reducing overall expenditures.
- Copyright retention/reversion for authors
Authors are often expected to sign over their copyright as part of the agreement with the publisher, which can impede how authors are able to re-use or re-publish their work in the future. The Coalition believes that ownership matters and that this must change; Elsevier has indicated a willingness to engage creatively on this topic.
- Post-termination access to subscribed content
Post-termination access is the ability to access prior years’ content from subscribed journals in the future, regardless of the current status of the subscription. Much like with a print journal, where we can keep copies available to library users even after ending a subscription, we want to be able to retain access to journal articles that we subscribed to electronically after the subscription ends. We believe PTA is important to the preservation of knowledge and the creation of new scholarship.
Last week, two years after walking away from negotiations and their big deal with Elsevier, the University of California system announced a transformative open access agreement with Elsevier. This four-year agreement restores reading access to Elsevier journal titles and provides reduced article processing charges (APC) for open access publishing in Elsevier journals.
While the Coalition members support open access, many TLCUA members cannot afford the type of deal that UC signed with Elsevier. The Coalition is seeking a solution that prioritizes sustainable pricing without sacrificing post-termination access and author rights, while UC prioritized a multi-payer model for open access publishing and enabling universal open access for all UC research.
For more information, consider these readings:
- UC agreement overview
- Scholarly Kitchen post for background and overview
- Inside Higher Ed analysis of long-term impacts
Your support in these negotiations is critical and greatly appreciated. We welcome your feedback and questions at email@example.com.
The University of Houston Libraries would like to collectively express our shock and sorrow at the tragic murders of eight people in the Atlanta area, six of them Asian women. We support our Asian and Asian-American library colleagues, members of the UH community, and the wider Asian and Asian-American communities in this time of grieving and outrage. We stand in opposition to racism, misogyny, hate, and the escalating violence perpetrated against Asian and Asian-American people over the past year. We recognize that anti-Asian hate and violence is not new, and is deeply rooted in US history. As we reflect on these troubling times, we recommit ourselves to the work of equity, inclusion, diversity, and anti-racism.
To join us in this commitment, please take action by raising your awareness of the harmful effects of anti-Asian xenophobia, taking bystander intervention training, or donating to anti-racist efforts. We ask that those who are not directly affected respect and acknowledge the pain that members of the Asian and Asian-American community may be experiencing.
Resources for Further Action
- Explore Anti-Asian Violence Resources (Includes statistics, ways to donate, resources to educate, etc.)
- Take bystander intervention training
- Donate to:
- AAPI Community Fund (GoFundMe has compiled a comprehensive list of verified donation pages on its platform to support victims of anti-Asian hate crimes, provide safety resources to the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, and advance research into the increased violence. The site has also launched the AAPI Community Fund, which will provide grants to AAPI advocacy organizations across the country.)
- Stop AAPI Hate (This organization compiles reports of hate crimes against AAPI communities throughout the US, provides support to victims of these crimes, and produces reports on these incidents that help advocate for social and political protections for the communities.)
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Fights for Asian-Americans’ civil rights and empowers the community through education, litigation, and public policy advocacy.)
- AAPI Women Lead (Through the #ImReady Movement, AAPI Women Lead works alongside other BIPOC communities to empower Asian American Pacific Islander women to become leaders in politics, business, technology, and education, fighting back against the discrimination and violence that are all too common to AAPI women.)