UH Libraries News

Enhanced Entry to MD Anderson Library

The University of Houston community now has a new option to enter MD Anderson Library with a digital Cougar Card via the UH Go app.

Using a PAX reader, security staff can scan the QR code connected to each user’s Cougar Card and generated in the UH Go app, allowing students, faculty, and staff to pass through the security turnstiles without the need for a physical Cougar Card.

See how to access your digital Cougar Card QR code.

A successful pilot phase of PAX reader use in summer 2024 showed the digital option provides a quick, easy, and secure method of entry to MD Anderson Library.

Users retain the option to swipe or tap their physical Cougar Card for entry. Visitors without a physical or digital Cougar Card may enter with a valid, government-issued ID at the security desk. See Entering MD Anderson Library for more information.

Jenkins Library Temporarily Closed

While University of Houston has re-opened, the College of Architecture and Design building remains closed until further notice, due to hurricane damage and safety concerns. Students, faculty, and staff do not have access to the building. As a result, the William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art Library is temporarily closed and the staff will provide information and research assistance remotely. Please contact librarian Catherine Essinger for assistance.  

New Interviews on Gulf Coast LGBT Broadcast History Project

The Gulf Coast LGBT Radio and Television Digitization Project received more coverage this week with the release of two interviews. Bethany Scott, head of Preservation and Reformatting, and Emily Vinson, preservation coordinator, led the project to digitize, preserve, and make accessible thousands of hours of Houston’s LGBTQ broadcast history, including recordings that had not been publicly available since their initial broadcast. The project was launched in 2020 with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Program. 

Listen to City Cast Houston “Saving Houston’s LGBTQ History Through Radio Archives”

Listen to North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC Due South “Archive preserves pioneering gay radio broadcasts from the 70s”

Read Scott and Vinson’s 2023 post “Preserving Houston’s LGBTQ Broadcast History: The Gulf Coast LGBT Radio and Television Digitization Project”

By on June 25th, 2024 in Announcements, Featured

Bethany Scott and Emily Vinson on NPR Morning Edition

On June 4, NPR Morning Edition featured the story of the Gulf Coast LGBT Radio and Television Digitization Project which was launched in 2020 with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Program. Bethany Scott, head of Preservation and Reformatting, and Emily Vinson, preservation coordinator, led the project to digitize, preserve, and make accessible thousands of hours of Houston’s LGBTQ broadcast history, including recordings that had not been publicly available since their initial broadcast. Over 3,500 unique files were successfully digitized.

By on June 13th, 2024 in Announcements, Featured

New Assistant University Archivist

Katy Allred

Katy Allred

University of Houston Libraries is pleased to welcome Katy Allred in a new project role of assistant university archivist.

Please describe your responsibilities in the new role. How will your work support the University’s upcoming centennial?

In preparation for the UH centennial in 2027 and the anticipated increase in demand for access to and use of archival University materials, I will be arranging, describing, and preserving collections of personal papers and organizational records within University Archives. We will prioritize collections that document UH students, faculty, administration, colleges, programs, organizations, departments, and milestones. I will also assist with accessioning new materials and identifying materials that are good candidates for digitization. I will continue to do general reference work in the Reading Room to support researchers as well. Since starting my new role, I have already processed materials in the Sidney Berger Papers about the Houston Shakespeare Festival, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer. Soon, I will begin work on UH President’s Office Records and Student Organization Records. 

Please share a bit about your background and professional interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as an archivist?

I am originally from Bossier City, Louisiana, but my wife and I have lived in Houston for 8 years. I earned a BFA in Communication Design from Louisiana Tech University in 2010 and worked in graphic design for several years. I completed my MLIS remotely at the University of North Texas and graduated in August 2021. Before this role, I worked as a project archivist in UH Special Collections beginning in March 2020. I am especially interested in processing backlogs, developing policies and best practices for processing hybrid and born-digital archival collections, and making archival collections and spaces more accessible, more discoverable, and less intimidating. It’s important to me that all users feel like they belong in a reading room and can confidently access and use archival collections. I work with those goals in mind especially when I describe materials, write finding aids, assist researchers, and talk to potential patrons at outreach events.  

What are some insights you’ve gained while processing archives?

In my previous role as a project archivist, I processed the Dorothy Hood Papers, the José María Velasco Maidana Papers, the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Papers, the Margo Grant Walsh Papers, the PFLAG Houston Records, and a few other small collections. I enjoy processing because I love structure and making things usable, but I also love getting to be creative. Every collection requires creative problem-solving to create an accessible structure because every collection is different. Lives are messy, and I’ve learned that our records usually reflect the messiness, despite people’s best efforts. I approach each collection using what I’ve learned from the last one, all while knowing I’ll have to do things a little differently and be ready to learn new lessons to make the next collection navigable and understandable. It keeps me on my toes. I am looking forward to the challenges University Archives has in store!

A Salute to Libraries Employee Excellence

Libraries interim dean Christina Gola and Rooks Award winner Joyce Gabiola

Libraries interim dean Christina Gola and Rooks Award winner Joyce Gabiola

With a tropical flourish, University of Houston Libraries celebrated high-performing employees at the 2024 Library Excellence Awards this week. Now in its 24th year, the joyous event, held at the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion in MD Anderson Library, recognizes the exceptional work and talent of UH librarians and staff. The annual tradition is supported through the generosity of the John P. McGovern Foundation.

Kerry Creelman, associate dean for collections strategies and discovery, opened the ceremony. Pinch-hitting for interim dean Christina Gola, Creelman emphasized the importance of Libraries colleagues gathering to show appreciation for one another and to acknowledge professional wins of the past year. The many individuals who helped produce the awards event, including all nominators, members of the awards committee (Jeannie Castro, Jamie Duke, Alma Gallo, Julie Grob, and Natalia Kapacinskas), Dwendol Nelson, Mauricio Lazo, Melinda Colmenero, Devianee Vasanjee, Beryl Sang, Jessica Rodriguez, Michael Caldwell, Larry Schmidt, Santi Thompson, and members of the employee engagement committee, were recognized for a superlative job. Eight Libraries student employees who won scholarships were also honored.

The Student Achievement awards were presented to Claire Garza-Gonzalez and Vinh Nguyen Han Nguyen, two Coogs whose accomplishments demonstrate their commitment to the Libraries’ mission for UH. Garza-Gonzalez works in the William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art Library. An art major, she applies creativity to problem-solving: last year, she created signage incorporating illustrations, QR codes, and humor to inspire timely book renewal. She is described as polite, cheerful, and always on top of her tasks.

Nguyen helps users in the computer labs. His efforts prevent technical issues on computers and printers. He works well with others in Library Technology Services, provides training to fellow student workers, and backs them up on issues at the circulation desk. He is known as a problem solver who is not only able to follow instructions but to research complex questions that are thrown at him, and to try new things to achieve results.

This year’s McGovern Outstanding Student is Allison Young, who began in Special Collections as an undergrad and continues as a graduate student. Knowledgeable, capable, and productive, Young has contributed to the processing of a silver collection, a zine collection, and an architectural collection; trained other student employees; and added her creativity to the department blog, several pop-up exhibits, and a department zine. Her dependability makes her invaluable, and serves as a model for other student employees.

Larry Schmidt is the McGovern Staff Rookie of the Year. Schmidt has excelled in his position and built great rapport with colleagues in the short time he has been at UH Libraries. Nominators praise his work effort, emphasizing how he routinely exceeds expectations, brings dedication and creativity to the job, and shares a can-do spirit. Schmidt has a welcoming and friendly demeanor he conveys to coworkers and library users, and exudes positive energy and enthusiasm.

The McGovern Librarian Rookie of the Year is Kate McNally Carter who has been an essential part of Open Education Services since arriving in 2022. Her nominator praises her high-quality job performance, noting her commitment to student success and to making higher education more affordable through open pedagogy and open educational resources. Carter has refined and expanded programmatic offerings, developed relationships with campus partners, and strengthened collaborative opportunities in the Libraries. Carter shows care and intentionality when working with colleagues, faculty, and students.

Greg Yerke and Susan Ryan received Staff Achievement awards. Yerke performs multiple services that bring unique archival materials to internal and external audiences. An integral part of the Libraries’ exhibition and on-demand digitization programs, Yerke works with colleagues to bring exhibition ideas to life and connect scholars with high-quality digital files of Libraries collections.

Ryan is recognized for showing care and thoughtfulness as she moved from one library department to another. Since the beginning of the year, Ryan has learned the responsibilities of a new position while actively sharing the expertise she gained over the years with colleagues, helping them succeed in taking on new roles and workflows. Her efforts have allowed the Libraries to continue offering services that benefit users every day.

The McGovern Outstanding Staff awardee, Roberto Gomez, is an inclusive and empathetic leader who, as one nominator stated, “understands that building a strong team means supporting and contributing to the success of others.” In his short time at UH Libraries, Gomez has taken the lead on several projects resulting in improved processes and support for Libraries users and colleagues. Gomez was praised for his ability to analyze problems and find solutions. His ability to build effective teams and identify solutions is evident with a recent promotion to a managerial position.

Stefanie Lapka and Cherie Turner were honored for Librarian Achievement. Lapka went above and beyond with her librarianship, professional enrichment, and service over the past year, moving into a new role and building strong relationships with faculty and staff, consulting with faculty and students on research, and teaching. She was active in scholarship and service, producing a publication and serving on committees locally and nationally. Lapka was selected for the Network of the National Library of Medicine Region 3 Leadership Pathways program, a professional development opportunity that brings recognition of her work and indicates a promising future in the profession.

Turner has a proven record of success at the Libraries and in the profession as an advocate for transparent and data-driven decision-making who shares her expertise locally and nationally to advance library assessment best practices. Of note was her service on the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Statistics Survey Revision task force which is indicative of the professional respect Turner holds in the ARL community. She is regularly sought out by colleagues in the Libraries and across the country to work on projects due to her consistent and effective counsel and her ability to produce solutions.

Ariana Santiago is the McGovern Outstanding Librarian, noted for making high-impact contributions in librarianship, professional enrichment, and service. She has held several leadership roles in the organization. In her first full year as a department head, she guided foundational services and workflows while also stepping into an interim leadership role to ensure continuity during a time of organizational change. Santiago was well suited for these opportunities because of her effective leadership acumen, thoughtful and pragmatic approach to problem-solving, and ability to collaborate with colleagues. Beyond the Libraries, Santiago was elected among her local and national peers to serve in high-profile roles, including representative to the UH Faculty Senate and member of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) steering committee.

This year’s Outstanding Group is the Agents of Change exhibition team, Mary Manning, Bethany Scott, and Greg Yerke. They demonstrated exceptional creativity, professionalism, fortitude, and attention to detail throughout the process. Despite a tight timeline and setbacks, the team collaborated well, with colleagues in the Libraries and UH Center for Public History, to produce a cohesive and engaging exhibit.

The Libraries’ Digital Humanities Core Facility team was selected for the Trailblazer Award for Leading Organizational Change. Linda Garcia Merchant, Taylor Davis-Van Atta, Emma Fontenot, Andrea Malone, and Danny Fuller, in coordination with the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute, developed the infrastructure to provide researchers with web and cloud hosting for digital projects, thus addressing a gap in service offerings for scholars in the humanities and social sciences. They also devised a micro-credentialing program to build digital humanities and project management competencies among researchers, both faculty and students. These initiatives have helped campus researchers be more competitive for funding. The team has been lauded for their intentionality in critical work that serves the University’s research priorities.

Joyce Gabiola received the Dean Dana C. Rooks and Dr. Charles W. Rooks Diversity Award for demonstrating a commitment to expand opportunities for students and enhance accessibility to library resources and services for all users. Gabiola takes a multifaceted approach to providing a welcoming environment for students, faculty, and community members. They’ve partnered with faculty to serve as a student intern mentor, and created co-curricular experiential learning opportunities within Special Collections. Gabiola is empathetic and considerate in matching student interests with projects that can benefit them, and advocates for inclusive collection development policies. They engage extensively with the local community to promote awareness of the Libraries’ scholarly resources and to grow the richness of the archives.

View photos from the 2024 Library Excellence Awards.

By on May 16th, 2024 in Announcements, Featured

REACH Scholar Curates Zindler Exhibit

A student-curated exhibit at University of Houston Libraries features the humanitarian legacy of memorable Houston news personality Marvin Zindler (1921 – 2007).

Undated photo of Marvin Zindler with members of Marvin's Angels

Undated photo of Marvin Zindler with members of Marvin’s Angels

Marvin’s Angels: A Beacon of Hope in Houston and Beyond was curated by Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) scholar Ryan Banda as a visual component of her immersive research project. “This has been a very rewarding experience as it helped to elevate my understanding of what it’s like to work in the archives and the necessary research that goes into curation work,” Banda said.

UH Libraries Special Collections acquired the Marvin Zindler Papers in 2021. Mentored by archivist Vince Lee, Banda discovered objects and files pertaining to Zindler’s storied career in broadcasting by exploring boxes of primary source materials in the archives.

“Prior to working with Special Collections, I had no preconceptions about Marvin Zindler,” Banda said. “I had the opportunity to not only learn about Zindler but to recognize emerging themes that I would want to research.”

One notable theme highlights Zindler’s work through Marvin’s Angels, a group of local business owners and community members who generously provided free aid and specialized services to individuals in pressing need. The efforts of the group reached a global scale. Banda chose to investigate this theme and selected primary source materials providing context and description in support of her research idea. “Archival documents allow the voices of particular individuals and organizations to be recognized within history,” said Banda.

REACH is a year-long introductory research experience for undergraduates in humanities disciplines, and is supported by the Cougar Initiative to Engage and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards (OURMA). REACH connects students to existing UH humanities projects and allows them to develop research skills through first-hand scholarly inquiry and through participation in OURMA research programming. Banda was one of the REACH participants who presented her findings at Undergraduate Research Day in April 2024.

Banda, an anthropology major, offers this advice to undergrads interested in humanities research: “Have fun with it! Learning about history through primary source materials further connects the researcher and their topic of research, making the work more personalized in a way. [Accessing] history through digital databases and from the work of others is fascinating in itself but getting to handle and utilize physical primary documents is a whole different experience. I recommend everyone give it a try.”

Marvin’s Angels is on display at MD Anderson Library floor one.

UH Libraries Awards Scholarships to Student Employees

University of Houston Libraries supports student success by awarding scholarships each year to outstanding Libraries student employees. For the 2024-25 academic year, philanthropic support for the Libraries scholarship fund empowered eight talented students to receive a cumulative $20,200.

“Our student employees provide invaluable support and vibrance within the Libraries,” said Christina H. Gola, interim dean of Libraries. “The Libraries’ ability to award these scholarships serves to elevate their talents and hard work as they pursue their academic and career goals. We are so appreciative of our scholarship donors who recognize the impact scholarships have on the success of students and the confidence it gives them to achieve their dreams. Congratulations to all of our scholarship recipients, and a big thank you to our donors.”

Featured here are five scholarship awardees who graciously shared a bit about themselves.

Nine Abad

Nine Abad

Nine Abad is a junior pursuing degrees in Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and is a recipient of the Belle Griggs Johnson Scholarship. Abad was recently featured in Celebrating UH Libraries Student Employees: “I love working in Special Collections because there is a litany of individual and intimate stories that people can engage and research using primary resources that are unique.”

Chinasa Anokwuru

Chinasa Anokwuru

Chinasa Anokwuru was awarded the Belle Griggs Johnson Scholarship. She is a second-year medical student at the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine who works at the Medical Library. Anokwuru is passionate about making health care accessible for everyone. She served as a student leader during her first year by working at a rural clinic in Santa Ana Honduras with a team from the College of Medicine.

“This school year, I was looking forward to the clinical immersion part of my program. It has been so wonderful going to the clinic and seeing patients. I hope to be a surgeon after I graduate. I chose to work at the library because I wanted to promote a scholarly environment for my classmates and I, and to serve as an advocate so that we can get the resources we need to advance in our careers.”

Claire Garza-Gonzalez

Claire Garza-Gonzalez

Claire Garza-Gonzalez works at the William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art Library and is a John P. McGovern Library Scholar. A senior art major, Garza-Gonzalez looks forward to a career in art education and therapy. The scholarship will facilitate on-campus living for Garza-Gonzalez, who embraces the importance of community and connection among peers at UH.

“The Libraries scholarship will be an invaluable asset on my educational and personal journey! It will help ease the burden of tuition and enable me to focus on making a positive impact in the world through creativity. I chose to work at the Libraries because I have always loved libraries and felt at home in them. I also previously worked at the Lone Star College CyFair Library and it was an amazing experience. Whenever I’m traveling I like to find the nearest local libraries and explore them.”

Kelan Smith

Kelan Smith

Kelan Smith is a John P. McGovern Library Scholar and works in Information and Access Services at MD Anderson Library. In addition to pursuing a degree in Sports Administration, Smith enjoys basketball and fitness at the UH Recreation and Wellness Center, and plays bass guitar. 

“I have always grown up around books and libraries. My mom has been volunteering as a Friends of the Library Bookstore volunteer and board member for several years at the Harris County Library in Cypress. When I go back home, I help her run the bookstore. After college, I plan to get an entry level job with a professional sports team and work my way up to a scout. Many of these entry level jobs are not paid, or minimum wage, so minimizing the amount of student debt I will take on is a huge goal of mine. I am extremely grateful for this scholarship for helping me get closer to this goal.”

Andrea Tribble

Andrea Tribble

Andrea Tribble is a junior pursuing a degree in African American Studies, and is a John P. McGovern Library Scholar. Tribble was recently featured in Celebrating UH Libraries Student Employees: “One of my favorite things about working in Special Collections is knowing that I’m contributing to the sacred practice of preservation.”

New Resource Description Librarian

Armin Lopez

Armin Lopez

University of Houston Libraries is pleased to welcome Armin Lopez (they/them) as the new resource description librarian.

Please describe your role. How does your work align with the student success and research priorities of the University? 

I will be creating bibliographic records for items such as books according to cataloging standards such as Resource Description & Access and best practices from the Library of Congress. Records will contain descriptive information, subject terminology and classification, and authorized or controlled access points for names and titles. This information contributes to student success by giving users tools to find, select, and access different items in the library’s collection that may help them complete assignments or supplement their learning. Additionally, items can be differentiated or brought together according to author name, title, subject or other data which can help users identify and access relevant library materials for their research needs.  

Please share a bit about your background and professional interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian? 

I grew up in the Houston area and am excited to join UH Libraries. My background lies in music, specifically viola, and I received a BA in Music with a minor in Psychology from Sam Houston State University in 2021. As an undergraduate student, I learned more about what librarians do and the need for effective searching to access library materials. After graduating, I began an MLS from Texas Woman’s University which I completed this past December.  

My professional interests in resource description lie in optimizing description for improved access, managing outdated terminology and practices, and ensuring that bibliographic records are respectful and inclusive of all identities and beliefs. I developed these interests while interning with the Fennel Music Library at Interlochen. The students and faculty at this institution had great interest in celebrating diverse composers which informed the library’s collection development, the priorities of the cataloging team, and resulted in the creation of a diverse composers LibGuide. Additionally, we worked with many older materials which often contained outdated content or practices that we worked to mitigate. My experiences in these areas impact the way I approach description and consider the diverse needs of users, especially when adding notes and assigning subject headings. 

What are one or two things you’d like faculty and students to know about resource description? 

Cataloging standards and practices are constantly evolving. This means that as catalogers, we are consistently learning and training on new resource description practice developments. Bibliographic records, both new and preexisting, can go through changes that may improve discoverability or the way resources and creators are represented. While resource description is important in organizing the collection for the library, our biggest priority is to help users as best we can. As a new librarian, I am especially interested in learning how faculty and students use our catalog and how our records could be optimized.  

By on April 30th, 2024 in Announcements, Featured

Micro-Credential in Digital Humanities: Call for Applications

The Digital Humanities Core (DHC), a partnership between University of Houston Libraries and the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute, welcomes applications for the summer 2024 Micro-credential in Digital Humanities program. This program allows researchers to apply successful strategies to the planning, implementation, and development of digital humanities projects and funding proposals.

Micro-credential in the Digital Humanities

Micro-credential in the Digital Humanities

This summer’s program encompasses two scaffolded tracks:

  • Badge I: Foundations of DH Project Development (June 3-14, 2024)
  • Badge II: Intermediate DH Project Development (prerequisite: Badge I or equivalent experience) (June 10-14, 2024)

The program is open to all UH faculty, librarians, and doctoral students. Successful completion of one of these badges ensures year-long access to the expertise, infrastructural resources, training, and programming offered by the DHC. The application deadline is May 1.

Application form

For more information, contact dhcf@uh.edu.