The Library presents “Black (Contemporary) History Month: Eyes on Activism”

Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice.—Martin Luther King, Jr.

February is Black History Month and the Library is using this year’s celebration to connect the past with the present. In a series of panel discussions, “Black (Contemporary) History Month: Eyes on Activism,” the Library brings together people who have lived the history they recorded, and groups of distinguished academics will talk about a wide range of issues as relevant today as they were 50 years ago. Come and hear what they have to say!

“Eyes and Ears on Economic Activism,” Friday, February 9, 12:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library, will look at the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 in Washington, D.C. through the eyes of committed activists who photographed and wrote about the event.

  • Maria Varela began taking photos for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the ‘60s. Her philosophy has always been to “show black people in charge of their own resistance.”
  • Laura Jones’ photos of the Poor People’s Campaign were featured in a 2008 one woman exhibition that marked the 40th anniversary of the event.
  • Chuck Fager’s participation led to a book, Uncertain Resurrection: The Poor People’s Washington Campaign.

Professor John Mason of the Corcoran Department of History will moderate.

Lunch will be served at 12:00 p.m.

Space is limited. Please register here.

“Eyes on Health, Medicine, & Biases,” Thursday, February 15, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library, will feature healthcare and legal professionals discussing how bias against African-Americans hurts all people.

  • Dayna Matthew is a professor of Law and UVA’s Palmer Weber Research Professor of Civil Liberties and Human Rights.
  • Cameron Webb, physician and professor of Medicine at UVA who also holds a Law degree, has a special interest in health and social justice.
  • P. Preston Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D., has authored books and articles on race discrimination in healthcare and the integration of hospitals.
  • Michael Williams, Associate Professor of Surgery and Director, Emergency General Surgery in UVA’s School of Medicine, has a background in Population Health.

Greg Townsend, M.D., Associate Dean of Diversity, UVA School of Medicine will moderate.

Lunch will be served at 1:30 p.m.

Space is limited. Please register here.

“Eyes on Racism in the Media & Activism,” Tuesday, February 20, 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library, focuses on representations of blackness in both traditional and social media.

  • Carmentia Higginbotham, Associate Professor, Art & Culture in UVA’s McIntire Department of Art, has researched early 20th century American art and the impact of “the city” on representation.
  • Meredith Clark, Assistant professor of Media Studies at UVA, has earned accolades for her ground-breaking research of Black Twitter.
  • Lisa Woolfork, Associate Professor in UVA’s Department of English, has written about representations of blackness in popular culture.

Phylissa Mitchell, Director of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity, UVA Library will moderate.

There will be a reception at 4:30 p.m.

Space is limited. Please register here.

“Eyes on SNCC,” Tuesday, February 27, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. in the Rotunda multipurpose room, will examine the Julian Bond papers and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Deborah McDowell, Alice Griffin Professor of English and Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute will moderate.

There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m.

Space is limited. Please register here.

Architect and Planning Committees Seek Public Comment on Future of Renovated Alderman Library

Update: Can’t make it to the sessions below? Give us your thoughts through this survey. Note that the survey is cookie-based: be sure to fully submit, especially if you’re on a public computer. All questions are optional. Survey will be available through March 1. 

HBRA Architects, who have been contracted for the Alderman Renovation project, will be holding open sessions in February to hear from students, faculty, staff, and the Charlottesville community.

Each 90-minute session (scheduled for the afternoons of February 7, 8, 21, and 22, for a total of 8 sessions) will be an opportunity for Library patrons to guide HBRA and the Planning Committees toward the best possible future for Alderman Library—one that meets research needs, provides world-class collections access, and houses useful spaces for all types of Library visitors. Public input will be essential as HBRA seeks to articulate programming for the newly renovated space.

In these meetings, which are designated for, but never restricted to, faculty or students, the topics to be discussed include–

The Library as Physical Space:

  • What are your highest priorities of use for the library?
  • What components or spaces do you most require or wish to see in a renewed Alderman?
  • What aspects of Alderman, either program-related or experiential, would you wish to retain or otherwise incorporate into the renovated library?
  • What types of interactive spaces do you use or want to see in the new Library? Examples include open study lounges or labs, group learning spaces, consultation spaces, etc. Are there examples on grounds (or off) that embody these?
  • What does Alderman currently lack that you’d hope to find in a renovated library?

The Library as a Research Environment:

  • What elements of a reconceived Alderman Library would be most valuable or important to you in your research pursuits? What are your highest priorities of use for the library?
  • What technical resources or support are most critical for your research activities when working at Alderman?
  • What types of contemplative spaces would be most important in a new library? What would
  • their physical characteristics include? Are there examples on grounds (or off) that embody these?
  • What does Alderman currently lack that you’d hope to find in a renovated library?
  • What are favored spaces or environments for engaging with library staff or information as part of your research efforts?

The Library will also make these questions available as an online survey, for any interested person who cannot attend one of the in-person sessions.  And as always, those with questions or concerns can email

Discussion sessions will vary slightly: sessions earlier in the month (February 7-8) will be framed around informing an initial concept for the future of Alderman Library, whereas the later sessions (February 21-22) will focus on revisiting previous planning and welcoming new ideas to flesh out and adapt the renovation plan as it comes into focus. Library users are encouraged to attend as many sessions as they wish.

Scheduled sessions are listed below (click times to view location details and other information).

Wednesday, 2/7/2018

Thursday, 2/8/2018

Wednesday, 2/21/2018

Thursday, 2/22/2018

Interested staff and members of the community are welcome to attend any session. 

Renovation construction is estimated to begin in or around 2020. Find more information at

Be the Difference—the Library Hosts Martin Luther King Community Events

The theme of this year’s Martin Luther King celebration (Be the Difference) has special significance for UVA and Charlottesville—the targets last summer of racist violence that showed the nation how far it has yet to travel in search of King’s dream of racial harmony and social justice. In keeping with the theme, the Library will host three events featuring people who are striving to make a difference.

Thursday, January 18, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library, Loretta Ross, author and expert on human rights and women’s issues—a victim herself of rape and incest, and a campaigner for the reproductive rights of all women—will present her talk “CALLING IN the CALLING OUT Culture—Accountability Through Love.” A reception will follow from 5:30–6:00 p.m.

Monday, January 22, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library, lecturer, Holocaust survivor, and former refugee Marion Blumenthal Lazan will talk about her family’s experiences in Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied Holland, and about her resettlement in the United States following WWII. She is among the last of a generation that can speak first-hand about the horrors of Nazi extermination camps. Her talk, “Four Perfect Pebbles: A Message of Perseverance, Determination, Faith, and Hope,” is being cosponsored by the Albert and Shirley Small Library as “An MLK, Jr. Call for Peace: Marion Lazan.” There will be a reception immediately following in the Multicultural Student Services Center on the basement level of Newcomb Hall near the Theater.

Friday, January 26, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the University of Virginia Music Library (Old Cabell Hall), the Music Library’s Making Noise series will present “Josh St. Hill: A Live Performance and Conversation with A.D. Carson.” St. Hill is a Monticello High School student who wrote A King’s Story—a play with the awful ring of truth, about a black teenager killed by a white police officer, told in part through narrative rap. Set against the violence of August 12, St. Hill’s play has won praise for his writing and performance, and will be moderated by UVA Assistant Professor of Hip-Hop, A.D. Carson. There will be a reception following the performance.

The key-note for this year’s celebration—We Are the Change We Seek—is from a campaign speech by former president Barack Obama in which he said: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” The key-note event is sold out, but please attend one or more of the other events.

View the complete calendar of events and be part of the change.

Alderman Renovation Update: Winter 2018

In an effort to keep communication lines open during these early days of renovation planning, “mini-newsletters” like this one will be periodically posted here, on the Library’s News page, and are simultaneously being circulated as bookmarks with a portion of ILS books. 

What’s new?

  • HBRA was selected to be the architect for the Alderman renovation project, which will be  taking shape in a tangible way during 2018. HBRA has been reviewing current documentation, and will be at UVA in  early 2018 to articulate programming for the renovated building. The programming study will determine the services  and collections for Alderman Library, positioning it to meet the needs of the UVA community. Opportunities to talk to  the Architects are forthcoming in early 2018: check the renovation site below for updates.
  • Planning for the first floor of Clemons Library is underway and will include compact shelving for browsing the collection. In addition, the 1980s infrastructure will be modernized, including the restrooms and electrical capacity.  Student seating is an important priority and is part of the plan.
  • Clemons Library will be CLOSED over the summer of 2018 in order to replace the HVAC system, and the first floor  will remain closed for the academic year 2018-19 for renovation. More information will follow.
  • Find ongoing updates about this exciting project here:

What’s happening in Ivy Stacks?

  • The walls for the new stacks room were put into place in December. The walls were poured on-site and lifted into place with the aid of an enormous crane, which arrived in parts on several wide-load semi-trucks and was then assembled. The roof is being added early in the spring semester, and the building is expected to be completed on time in April 2018.
  • Visit our live webcam to check in on the construction progress!
  • SERVICE NOTE: During the construction project, books requested from Ivy Stacks will be picked up on Tuesday mornings. Any requests made on Monday before noon will be picked up and any requests submitted later will be picked up the following week.

Enjoying these updates? Great! You can subscribe to the Library news blog to get them in your inbox! 

Browsing Section of Current Titles in Clemons is Being Suspended

The browsing collection of current fiction and non-fiction books on the 4th floor of Clemons Library is going away—temporarily at least. The service is being suspended because the Library’s contract with McNaughton, who supplies the popular titles, is ending in February, and there is no suitable space to continue the service while Clemons’ HVAC system is being replaced this summer. Staff will begin removing the collection during the week of January 8–12.

Decisions will be made on when and if the browsing service will be resumed. Please contact collection manager Beth Blanton-Kent if you have questions or comments about the Clemons browsing section.

Adventures in Film Preservation

Gillian Lee was an intern with Preservation Services in the summer of 2017. She contributed this guest post, which even features a visit from Santa!

Several frames of film in good shape
This summer I tackled an accession from the WSLS-TV (Roanoke, VA) News Film Collection, 1951 to 1971. This accession consisted of more than 200 boxes and cans of film that needed to be inspected, inventoried, and rehoused before they can be digitized for research and scholarship.

A more fragile clip of film
The film arrived in various states of damage and disarray; sometimes I would open a can and find that the film inside was already on a reel and, on top of that, gorgeous, needing only for me to check that it was wound heads out (i.e., that we wouldn’t accidentally digitize it backwards) and rehouse it. Other times the film was fragile, torn, or hurriedly (read: dangerously) stored, with 13 little rolls of film crammed into one can, leaving it warped and often dirtied with fingerprints and dust.

Equally as frequent an issue, indeed something of a recurring nightmare, was the makeshift compilation reel. Back in the day, WSLS would splice together anywhere from 2 to 10 clips of film. Sometimes they would sometimes use cement splicing, an acceptable, professional method which, upon my testing the splice 50 years later, often broke, but which could be fixed with a tape splice without damaging the film. Other times they would wrap several inches of masking, Scotch, or a stretchy, red, electrical-esque tape around the two pieces of film.

Taped end of film--masking tape is not good for film

Now, I have only ever been taught to handle film with the utmost gentleness and care. After encountering a battery of these guerrilla splices, the hurry that WSLS was in to meet deadline after deadline as a news station was glaring. Tackling this collection means that I got to use patience with material which until that point had been handled with a complete lack thereof. I got familiar with three machines as beautiful as they are invaluable to working with film: the MoviScop, the squawk box, and (of course) the tape splicer. I learned to watch for one (or more, if you’re lucky) of the four major indicators of whether a piece of film has been wound backwards: people walking, cars driving, smoke rising, and rain falling. I learned how important a steady hand is if you’re ever going to actually listen to a piece of film on a squawk box (it’s impossible).
Moviscop viewer with upsidown image of Santa

No film, it seems, gets abused like news film—its job, after all, is more or less done after it rolls the first time. When it comes to processing archives, the hurry with which the material is treated has serious consequences, and the amount of work and patience required to abate the damage is equally serious. On one hand, it meant that I got to experience the frenzy of the news station from fifty years in the future, theoretically getting to know the people whose hands labelled the film and spliced it together. I didn’t just catch the news 50 years late, but I saw the fossils, the evidence of what they went through in order to get these films aired on time and keep the show running. On the other hand, it meant I spent a long time squinting at handwriting and scrubbing at tape residue. The theoretical connection I was able to make to filmmakers past is satisfying, but not so much as it is important for everyone (seriously, everyone, go look at the already-digitized collection) to catch more than just a glimpse of what the local news was like before video, in Southern Virginia, in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. It was a phenomenal and totally unique experience, and I thank UVA’s Preservation Services (and the Lee Endowment) that helped make the internship possible.

Film forever,

Gillian Lee

Learn more about Preservation Services →

With IIIF the Library offers Unprecedented Access to Digital Archives

The Library is making it easier to study archives at UVA and other institutions by providing access to images that had once been viewable only with locally built applications. UVA’s participation in the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) means that scholars at UVA can now more fully compare editions of books and maps, study differences in artistic style, and analyze the complete manuscripts and correspondence of writers, statesmen, philosophers, and theologians—getting closer to collections that had been essentially locked away.

The goal of IIIF (pronounced “Triple-Eye-Eff”) is to develop a common set of APIs that work together, allowing scholars to virtually hold versions of the same document from different archives side by side for minute comparison. Imagine the potential for discovery in being able to simultaneously view printings of books at UVA with other printings at different institutions, or the insights scholars might derive by having access to letters that fill gaps in Jefferson’s correspondence.

With IIIF’s Mirador, comparing images is as simple as dragging and dropping:

1. Find an image in Virgo from the Library’s digital collection—a 1755 version of Joshua Fry’s and Peter Jefferson’s A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of Virginia, for example. Click the IIIF icon to open the image in Mirador.

2. To compare the 1755 with the 1753 version of the same map, click the grid icon in Mirador to create another viewing slot.

3. Open the 1753 version in another browser window, click the “share” icon under the image, then click the IIIF icon and drag the image to the Mirador viewer.

4. Zooming in to the western region for a side-by-side comparison shows that the 1755 printing was changed to include the words “Irish track” under “Beverley Mannor,” and shows the road “thro Virginia to Philadelphia”—also called the “Indian Road by the Treaty of Lancaster.”

Click to enlarge.

But Mirador isn’t limited to a collections at UVA. From Stanford’s catalog you can use the same drag-and-drop process to pull a similar map into Mirador and compare it to the Fry-Jefferson map in UVA’s Special Collections. The interoperable standards developed by the IIIF community, of which Stanford and UVA are a part, means there is no proprietary wall to breach.

UVA’s Fry-Jefferson map (left), Stanford’s “A Map of Virginia and Maryland (right)

Bibliographical Society announces Battestin Fellowships—Applications due February 1st

The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia is pleased to announce its sixth round of Battestin Fellowships, a program of summer fellowships in bibliographical and textual studies, named in honor of Martin Battestin, former professor of English at UVA, and his wife Ruthe, a literary scholar and member of the Society’s Council. The fellowships are intended to support research in the collections of the UVA Library by UVA graduate students, with an emphasis on physical or textual bibliography. The Society is prepared to award up to three fellowships of $3,500 each for the summer of 2018.

Proposals may concern books and documents in any field as long as the primary focus is the physical object (in whatever form) as historical evidence. Potential fellowship topics include studies in the history of book production, publication, distribution, reception, or reading; the history of collecting or bibliographical scholarship; and the tracing of a work’s textual history or the establishment of its text from the extant witnesses. Projects that incorporate the application of digital methodologies to the study of books and documents, and their texts, are also encouraged. Please note: these fellowships do not support projects of enumerative bibliography (i.e. the preparation of lists).

Awards are limited to current UVA students, that is, students who will be continuing their graduate studies at UVA in the following fall semester.

Students interested in applying for a Battestin Fellowship are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the profile of the BSUVA and the fellowship guidelines at

Applications are due February 1, 2018, and should consist of the following: an application (available at, a project proposal of no more than 1,000 words, the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae, and two signed letters of recommendation.

Questions about the Battestin Fellowships should be sent to Anne Ribble at

Winners will be announced at the Society’s Annual Meeting on March 23, 2018.

Reaxys, the One-stop Chemistry Database for Chemistry Literature and Data

Whether you’re an experienced chemist, a faculty member, or an undergrad just getting into in the field of Chemistry, Elsevier’s Reaxys database has something for you. The new Library resource has 500 million published experimental facts and potential access to 16,000 journals and periodicals, as well as data on 105 million organic, inorganic, organometallic compounds, and 42 million chemical reactions.

Undergrads can feel comfortable using natural language to enter keyword searches into the intuitive Reaxys user interface. For instance, if you type in the common term “opioid,” you’ll get more than 92,000 hits. Filtering to include only the latest Publication Year (2017) and Document Type (article) narrows the results to 2,654. Sort by the number times the article’s been cited and you’ll find a toxicology report, “Loperamide Abuse Associated With Cardiac Dysrhythmia and Death,” at the top of the list—cited 20 times. More practiced students and chemists may also search using structure drawing and molecular formula building.

Researchers can use Reaxys to look up chemical properties and cross-check experimental data with Reaxys data to establish the identity of unknown compounds. You can synthesize derivatives from unknown compounds, verify the originality of experiments, check for possible reactions, design compounds and propose synthesis routes, and find citations and patents. Reaxys is a valuable tool for teaching, used worldwide by undergraduate and post-graduate programs to prepare students for their careers.

For more helpful databases, please check the Library’s list of online resources regularly; it’s updated daily!