Recommended reading for Hispanic Heritage Month

Thanks to Amy Hunsaker, Librarian for Music & the Performing Arts, for contributing this post.

From magical realism master Gabriel García Márquez to exciting debut novelist Xochitl Gonzalez, there are thousands of Latinx authors to celebrate during Hispanic Heritage Month, which overlaps September and the first few weeks of October.

We’ve gathered some book recommendations from UVA librarians and Ph.D. candidates from the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Department.

Take a look at their selections below. (For a more extensive list, see this guide.)

Recommended by Katie Rojas, Head of Archival Processing

“The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina” by Zoraida Córdova (Atria Books, 2021)

One of my favorite literary styles is magical realism, and this book did not disappoint. Córdova’s novCover of "The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina" featuring a bird, flowers, and a watch.el tells the story of the Montoya family and the strange blessings of their matriarch, Orquídea Divina. Even her name, which means “Divine Orchid” alludes to the delicate and mysterious beauty of orchids, which must have just the right conditions to bloom and thrive. Orquídea Divina lives up to her name, never leaving her home, yet creating a flourishing landscape and bounty of food in a place that was once barren. Upon receiving invitations to Orquídea Divina’s funeral, three of her adult grandchildren travel back to their family’s small hometown of Four Rivers and embark upon a journey of discovery, self-preservation, and family history which leads them to Ecuador. As an archivist, I especially love how the themes of family origin, identity, and place all relate well to current understandings of how the history of our families impacts us today. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, light horror, and stories of self-discovery.

(UVA Library hardcover copy is on order.)

Recommended by Amy Hunsaker, Librarian for Music & Performing Arts

“Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey Books, 2020)

This spooky book set in remote Mexico in the 1950s brings the reader into a gothic horror setting The cover of "Mexican Gothic," featuring a woman in a red dress holding flowers.that includes an eerie house, ghoulish relatives, a haunted, forbidding cemetery, and Noemí,‏ the stylish and clever socialite who must solve the mysteries surrounding High Place manor. Is there a perfectly scientific explanation for the supernatural aberrations that seem to be spiraling our hero toward certain doom? Will she be able to save herself and her cousin from a fate worse than death? Is there anyone she can trust? Will you, gentle reader, be able to look at mushrooms in the same way ever again?

(UVA Library hardcopy is on order.)

“Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman (Knopf, 1988)

Florentino Ariza lives only for love. He only wants to die for love. But his most sincere love isn’t requited.Cover image of "Love in the Time of Cholera," featuring a tropic bird.

“… his examination revealed that he had no fever, no pain anywhere, and that his only concrete feeling was an urgent desire to die. All that was needed was shrewd questioning … to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were the same as those of cholera.”

The obsessed Ariza can never be cured of his lovesickness for Fermina Daza in a story that spans several decades, explores the complexities of relationships, and illustrates how noble it is to suffer for love. Márquez’s luscious storytelling poetically explores themes of love, philosophy, and life in general.

(Available in Spanish; Electronic Copy: Internet Archive)

Recommended by Miguel Valladares-Llata, Librarian for Romance Languages and Latin American Studies

“Olga Dies Dreaming” by Xochitl Gonzalez (Flatiron Books, 2022)

Publisher’s summary: “A blazing talent debuts with the talCover of "Olga Dies Dreaming," feturing a collage of a woman's face, a city, and flowers.e of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her social ambitions, absent mother, and Puerto Rican roots, all in the wake of Hurricane María.”

Cover image of "Neruda on the Park," featuring a middle-aged woman and a younger woman.“Neruda on the Park: A Novel” by Cleyvis Natera (Ballantine Books, 2022)

Publisher’s summary: “An exhilarating debut novel about members of a Dominican family in New York City who take radically different paths when faced with encroaching gentrification, for readers of ‘Such a Fun Age’ and ‘Dominicana.’”

Cover image of "Brown Neon: Essays", featuring a photo of a desert at dusk.“Brown Neon: Essays” by Raquel Gutiérrez (Coffee House Press, 2022)

Publisher’s summary: “Part butch memoir, part ekphrastic travel diary, part queer family tree, Raquel Gutiérrez’s debut essay collection ‘Brown Neon’ gleans insight from the sediment of land and relationships. For Gutierrez, terrain is essential to understanding that no story, no matter how personal, is separate from the space where it unfolds.”

(On order for Clemons Library.)

Recommended by Carlos Velazco Fernandez, Ph.D. Candidate

“La mucama de Omicunlé” de Rita Indiana (Editorial Periférica, 2015)

Publisher’s summary: “This overwhelming novel, which enshrines Rita Indiana as narrator, contains many layers and fascinating twists. … Including deities that inhabit the Caribbean Sea, political interests, Goya’s prints, gender reassignment and numerous plot twists, few other works of fiction speak of contemporary art as precisely as ‘La mucama de Omicunlé.’”

“Tentacle” by Rita Indiana, translated by Achy Obejas (And Other Stories, 2018)

Publisher’s summary: “Plucked from her life on the stCover image for "Tentacle, featuring an illustration of a sea creature with pink tentacles.reets of post-apocalyptic Santo Domingo, young maid Acilde Figueroa finds herself at the heart of a voodoo prophecy: only she can travel back in time and save the ocean and humanity from disaster. … Bursting with punk energy and lyricism, it’s a restless, addictive trip: ‘The Tempest’ meets the telenovela.”

The other two books are poetic since poetry is the water of the soul. Besides, these books are close to our university, since the first one was written by a guest professor at our university last year and the second one is written by another professor who currently teaches at our university:

“Adiós a Lenin: Antología Poética” de Federico Díaz-Granados (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 2017)

Publisher’s summary: “Ultimately, only the poetic word is capable of evoking the lost paradise of childhood, family, love, the desired body, the longed-for plenitude. Yes, to evoke them, but only in fragments and scraps, in their traces and absences, in their ‘brief passage through the word.’ Hence precisely the tragic beauty of the poetry of Federico Díaz Granados.”

(Electronic copy available.)

“America” by Fernando Valverde, translated and with an introduction by Carolyn Forché  (Copper Canyon Press, 2021)Cover image for "America" featuring black and white picture of an open road.

Publisher’s summary: “In Fernando Valverde’s América, ‘sorrow is ancient.’ Mournfully lyrical, politically sharp, with a sweeping view of American roots, dysfunctions, and ideals – as if from above, and yet also from within – this is a book that deconstructs the legacy of empire. Valverde is widely regarded as one of the most important younger Spanish-language poets. Here his vibrant voice and convictions are translated and introduced by Carolyn Forché, herself a world-renowned poet of witness. Bilingual, with Spanish originals and English translations.

 

Recommended by Elizabeth Mirabal, Ph.D. Candidate

El infinito en un junco: la invención de loss libros en el mundo antiguo” de Irene Vallejo. (Siruela, 2019)

Publisher’s summary: “In an essay sprinkled with personal anecdotes, Irene Vallejo breaks down and covers 30 centuries of the history of the book.”

(An English translation will be available in late September.)

“Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World” by Irene Vallejo, translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Whittle (Knopf, 2022)Cover image of "Papyrus" featuring an illustration of a marsh.

Publisher’s summary: “A rich exploration of the importance of books and libraries in the ancient world that highlights how humanity’s obsession with the printed word has echoed throughout the ages.”

“Jardín” de Dulce María Loynaz (Aguilar, 1951)

You can electronically read this novel in the critical edition by Zaida Capote Cruz published in 2015 in La Habana, Cuba (Editorial Letras Cubanas), via the Internet Archive. No English translation available.

“My Tender Matador” by Pedro Lemebel, translated by Katherine Silver (Grove Press, 2003)

Publisher’s summary: “Centered around the 1986 attempt on the life of Cover art for "My Tender Matador" featuring an illustration of a soldier dancing with a woman in a black dress.Augusto Pinochet, an event that changed Chile forever, My Tender Matador is one of the most explosive, controversial, and popular novels to have been published in that country in decades.”

 

 

New UVA Library exhibition showcases powerful, century-old portraits of Black Virginians

“Visions of Progress: Portraits of Dignity, Style, and Racial Uplift,” a new exhibition at the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, showcases portraits that African Americans in central Virginia commissioned from the Holsinger Studio during the first decades of the 20th century. The photographs expressed the individuality of the women and men who commissioned them, while silently yet powerfully asserting their claims to rights and equality. Opening Sept. 22, the exhibition is the result of years of research by UVA professors, students, and community members.

Black and white photo of a Black woman posing in a chair wearing a luxurious velvet coat with fur lining, lace-up boots, and a flat-brimmed hat

Susie Smith (1891-1961) was born in Albemarle County to Ferrell Smith and Annie Lee Smith. She worked as a chambermaid, housekeeper, and cook for families in the Charlottesville area. In 1912, Smith married Maryland Brown. Smith’s portrait illustrates a sense of style and self that did not rely on white middle-class values.

John Edwin Mason, a UVA associate professor of history and a documentary photographer, first learned about the Holsinger Studio Collection, held in the Small Special Collections Library, when he saw a small exhibition at the UVA’s Woodson Institute, curated by the late professor Reginald Butler and professor Scot French (now of the University of Central Florida) in 1998. The collection, which UVA acquired in 1978, includes about 10,000 glass plate negatives taken by the Holsinger Studio of life in Charlottesville and Albemarle and Nelson counties from the 1890s to the 1920s. Many of the photographs were commissioned portraits and more than 600 of those portraits are of African American citizens in central Virginia. Mason was immediately intrigued.

“I thought that we could use these portraits not simply to enjoy for their beauty as aesthetic objects, but we could see history through them, we could tell history through them. By researching the lives of the people in the photographs, we can learn a lot about the history of this place,” he said.

The portraits were taken during the height of the Jim Crow era, when state laws enforced racial segregation in the South, the Ku Klux Klan had local chapters in the Albemarle region, and a wealthy, white UVA alumnus successfully commissioned two statues of Confederate leaders (Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson) to be erected in Charlottesville parks. “It was an incredibly oppressive time,” Mason said. “But the magic of these portraits is that you don’t see the oppression in them. And that was intentional on the part of the people who had their images made. They are saying, ‘We are not who you think we are. We are not those stereotypes, we are not defined by our status in Jim Crow society.”

A community effort

A man in a suit and vest stands with his hand on a young girl's shoulder. The girl wears a plaid dress and a hair bow.

Anthony T. Buckner (1845-1923) was born into slavery in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. By the time he commissioned this portrait of himself and his granddaughter, Eileen Buckner (1909-1985), he had become one of the most respected merchants in the Charlottesville. His son, George W. Buckner, who was Eileen’s father, wrote the New Negro manifesto that was published in the Charlottesville Messenger in 1921.

In 2015, Mason turned his interest in the photos into action. He launched the Holsinger Studio Portrait Project, to delve into the lives of the portrait subjects; a partnership with the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities director Worthy Martin in 2018 provided the project with a web presence to share their research. With a 3Cavaliers grant from the office of UVA’s Vice President for Research, the team was able to hire seven undergraduate students to examine census records, military records, birth and death certificates, and African American newspapers from surrounding regions. They also dug through personal papers in UVA Special Collections to find original Holsinger prints, giving the students information about the people in the portraits and about central Virginia during that era.

A grant from Virginia Humanities allowed the team to begin reaching out to the local community to help identify portrait subjects. In 2019, the project partnered with the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center to host a “Family Photo Day,” where participants could examine the Holsinger Studio portraits in flipbooks and add comments if they had any information about the subjects. “We had over 300 people come to our Family Photo Day,” Mason said. “That was a moment where we could see the potential for the project; we could see how engaged and how excited people were by these portraits.”

That same year, the team also installed 30 of the portraits around the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers construction site, drawing attention from hundreds of passers-by each day. Two Charlottesville community members, Descendants of Enslaved Communities at UVA co-chair DeTeasa Brown Gathers (who found a photo of her great-great grandmother in the Holsinger Studio Collection) and local realtor Edwina St. Rose, joined the project as community advisors. Working with the group The Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery, they launched an exhibit of the portraits at CitySpace in downtown Charlottesville in the summer of 2019.

A significant grant from the Jefferson Trust earlier this year, awarded to the University’s Corcoran Department of History, IATH, and the UVA Library, is supporting the team to think more broadly about a community engagement program. In March, the team launched a pop-up exhibit of the Holsinger photos at the Northside branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. “Our trustees were fascinated to learn that such an interesting collection of African American history is held by the University,” said Amy Bonner, director of grants at the Jefferson Trust. “The opportunity to help launch such a powerful exhibition and support the associated research was impossible to pass up.”

A young woman stands, holding a large white scroll with a bow around it. She is wearing a delicate white dress and fresh flowers, looking directly at the camera.

Viola Green Porter (1898-1985) commissioned this portrait to commemorate her graduation from the eighth grade at Charlottesville’s segregated Jefferson Graded School. The white dress and diploma make this photo similar to other Holsinger Studio graduation portraits of young women, both Black and white.

The grant is also supporting the “Visions of Progress” exhibition launching Sept. 22 in the Main Gallery of the Small Special Collections Library, where visitors can view almost 100 Holsinger Studio portraits and take in the biographical information about the subjects unearthed over the past few years by the Holsinger Studio Portrait Project team. They can also learn about the “New Negro” movement that countered the Jim Crow oppression of the early 20th century, stemming from Black intellectual leaders Booker T. Washington, Alain LeRoy Locke, and Charlottesville native George W. Buckner, whose manifesto, “The New Negro,” caused an uproar when the Charlottesville Messenger, the city’s Black newspaper, published it in 1921. “The New Negro the country over is coming to see that his salvation is in his own hands,” Buckner wrote.

The portraits in the exhibit reflect this ethos, Mason said. “It’s important to emphasize that even though the people in the portraits are dressed to the nines, they are everyday people. Most had working-class jobs.” By dressing so beautifully, Mason said, the portrait sitters were pushing back against racist caricatures that were common in American media during that era. “There was dynamism within the African American community,” he said. “Immediately after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, over 100 African American women registered to vote in Charlottesville. Black people were running barber shops, running blacksmith shops, running laundries, and campaigning for a high school. People were not defined by their oppression.”

Vibrant portraits

In 2020, Holly Robertson, Curator of University Library Exhibitions, reached out to Mason to suggest co-sponsoring an exhibition after seeing the enthusiasm the Holsinger Portrait Project garnered on Grounds in the community.

“The Holsinger Studio portraits have been an important part of the UVA Library’s collections since the 1970s,” Robertson said. “We’ve done so much work to describe and provide access to the collection — it was one of the first photographic collections we fully digitized in the late 1990s, and each portrait is available online through Virgo. We’ve taken painstaking care to provide the best preservation environment for the fragile glass plate negatives as well as the business ledgers. Yet, we’ve never exhibited this collection. As the Holsinger Studio Portrait Project grew, we saw a wonderful opportunity to partner in telling the stories of Black central Virginians through our amazing collections.”

A person wearing white gloves works at a computer screen showing the negative image of a man in a military uniform

Stacey Evans, an imaging specialist and project coordinator for UVA Library, led a team in rephotographing the Holsinger Studio glass-plate negatives for the exhibition.

UVA Library staff played a crucial role in preparing the portraits for the Special Collections exhibition. Stacey Evans, an imaging specialist and project coordinator for the Library, led a team in rephotographing the glass-plate negatives to capture plate identification numbers that had been cropped in scanning efforts in the 1990s. This helped to identify photo subjects. By following standards set by the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative, Cultural Heritage Imagining, and the Library of Congress, Evans and her team then took their photographic reproductions of the negatives and created “artist’s renderings” of the portraits using Photoshop.

A computer screen shows a spreadsheet with lines in different colors alongside an array of images in negative and standard format, side by side.

Evans and her team took their photographic reproductions of the glass-plate negatives and created “artist’s renderings” of the portraits using Photoshop, dramatically improving their tonal range.

Evans, a photographer who has nearly 30 years of experience scanning negatives and working in digital imaging, said that when comparing the original scans of the negatives in Virgo to the images her team created, the tonal range of the portraits has dramatically improved. “On a personal note,” she said, “John Mason and I have been friends in the Charlottesville photo community for many years. It’s an honor to work with him on this project.”

Brandon Butler, the Library’s Director of Information Policy, conducted extensive research on copyright issues pertaining to the Holsinger collection to prepare for the exhibition. “Perhaps surprisingly, some portraits in the Holsinger Studio Collection are still subject to copyright regulations more than 100 years after they were created,” Butler said. “We believe the portrait copyrights belonged to whoever paid to have them taken — often the subject or a relative. Because that right would endure for 120 years, the descendants of the portrait sitters may still hold rights to their ancestors’ images.”

Mason and Library staff members urge exhibition visitors who might recognize ancestors or have any information about the portrait subjects to email the team at
HolsingerStudio@virginia.edu. A brochure of the portraits will be freely available at the opening, and the Holsinger Project website, built by IATH, will live on after the exhibition ends in June 2023. With further support from the Jefferson Trust grant, the Holsinger Studio Project will continue to bring the portraits into the local community, visiting schools, religious organizations, and civic groups. An exhibition at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center curated by Andrea Douglas, the center’s Executive Director, is in development.

“We want to change the way that everyone in central Virginia sees our shared history,” Mason said.

Public exhibition opening details

A young man wearing military dress, a flat-brimmed hat, and glasses looks directly at the camera.

By the time that he registered for the World War I draft, Frank W. Robertson (b. 1893) had relocated from North Garden, in Albemarle County, to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. There he worked at an attendant in a resort hotel, as did many young Black men from central Virginia. In the late 1910s, Frank moved to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, working first as a manual laborer and later as a grocery store clerk.

The public opening celebration for “Visions of Progress: Portraits of Dignity, Style, and Racial Uplift” will be held on Sept. 22 in the Main Gallery of UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library from 5-8 p.m.

John Edwin Mason will host two rounds of gallery talks that evening: one at 5:30 p.m., another at 6:30 p.m.

Kendall King and Jalane Schmidt, curators of another UVA Library exhibition, “No Unity Without Justice: Student and Community Organizing During the 2017 Summer of Hate,” will speak in the First Floor Gallery at 6 and 7 p.m.

This event is free, but registration is required: 100 tickets will be released via EventBrite for the 5:30/6:00 talks, and another 100 for the 6:30/7:00 talks. Register here: https://Visions-UVA.eventbrite.com

A shuttle will run from the Jefferson School African American Center to the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at UVA every 30 minutes from 4-8 p.m. for the public opening celebration on September 22, 2022. Registered attendees may also request a code to park for free in the Central Grounds Garage.

For reporters

A press kit, which includes four Holsinger studio portraits and biographical information about the subjects, is available for download.

For press inquiries, please contact Elyse Girard at elyse@virginia.edu.

Student jobs available at UVA Library

Guest post from Trillian Hosticka, Reference Librarian and Regional Deposit Librarian.

The UVA Library works because of its dedicated student employees!

Library jobs are available in a variety of categories and offer opportunities to develop new skills and explore resources that may even benefit your own studies.

Jobs include…

  • Circulation Assistants – Help patrons locate books, provide public service information, check materials in and out, and serve as a friendly face when people visit.
  • Stacks Assistants – Help reshelve books and maintain order on Library shelves so that visitors can find what they need.
  • Special Collections – Help archivists organize and describe historic documents and digital files, assist with retrieval of materials from the stacks, help with class prep for instructional sessions, and assist with exhibit organization.
  • Digital Production – Help scan Library materials and edit images for digitization, including items from Special Collections.
  • Graduate Reference Assistants – Provide research help to Library patrons in the evenings and on weekends in person, through chat, or by phone.
  • Digital Media / Makerspace Consultants – Provide assistance to visitors using specialized equipment and software such as for audio/video media, virtual reality, makerspaces, and scanning
  • Preservation Assistants – Get training on how to create the construction of protective enclosures for fragile books and pamphlets in the circulating and special collections.

How to apply

UVA Library jobs are posted in Handshake. To apply, you’ll need to visit Handshake and search for the job that most interests you.

Keywords to use when looking for UVA Library Postings on Handshake

Searching for the word “Library” will return a lot of results, but the search function on Handshake only looks at the job title so you may want to try some other search terms as well, such as:

  • Specific location or department names
    • For example, try: Try Clemons, Fine Arts, Brown Science & Engineering, Music, Special Collections, Scholars’ Lab, or Makerspace
  • Vocabulary used in the examples above
    • For example, try: Reference, Archives, Circulation, Stacks, Digital Media, Production, Makerspace, or Preservation

We hope you’ll join us for the fall semester! Visit Handshake now to start your application.

 

New UVA Library collection, exhibition examine ‘Summer of Hate’ through first-person lens

Five years ago this week, community organizers, activists, students, and residents of Charlottesville stood up to an unprecedented wave of far-right hate and terror. Several hundred white supremacists marched at the University of Virginia and in downtown Charlottesville as part of the “Unite the Right” rally, events that led to violence and three deaths. Immediately following the weekend of Aug. 11 and 12, 2017, senior leaders at the University of Virginia Library asked curators and archivists to collect both physical and digital materials related to the rally.

Library staff got to work, gathering accelerants and tiki torches that had been thrown in bushes; white supremacist propaganda left in driveways; and posters and banners from students, faculty, staff, and community members who had counter-protested the white nationalists. UVA curators teamed up with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library to collect images, videos, and stories about the rally from the local community. At the same time, digital preservationists were gathering rally-related tweets, photos, and postings online before they disappeared, including hateful speech from places like 4chan. It was challenging work.

“We realized that we hadn’t prepared for this. Although we had been working towards developing workflows for collecting born-digital content, we didn’t have the infrastructure in place to support the technological challenges or emotional challenges of the work,” said Kara M. McClurken, the Library’s Director of Preservation Services. “From my own perspective, as a manager, I wasn’t sure how to best support my staff who were being asked to do things like stabilize the tiki torches used to threaten and harm our students and a Library colleague.”

This crash course in what McClurken describes as “collecting in times of crisis” led the Library to form a Digital Collecting Emergency Response Group, which sought advice from other institutions that had experienced tragedies in their communities. “After the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, a group of archivists found themselves feeling similarly,” she said, and they asked the Society of American Archivists to explore ways to provide support for communities documenting in times of crisis. The Library also applied for and received a grant from the nonprofit LYRASIS, which they used to develop resources and toolkits to help institutions be better prepared to implement digital collecting strategies during and after crises.

Now, UVA Library has an official Digital Collecting Emergency Response team, led by McClurken, who also serves as co-chair of the Society of American Archivists’ Crisis, Disaster, and Tragedy Response Working Group. “Within UVA Special Collections, this experience (as well as larger discussions in the archival community) has changed our way of viewing our work — we have a group of folks who now meet regularly to discuss a trauma-informed approach to our spaces and collections, and to consider the impact of harmful or difficult content,” she said.

A woman in a crowd holds a Black Lives Matter sign over her head. She is looking directly at the camera. People around her are looking in different directions, watchful. The CBRE Charlottesville sign is visible in the background.

From the digital collection, this image was taken moments before a James Alex Fields, Jr. deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the rally on Aug. 12, 2017, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 35 others. The pack of counter-protesters was deciding whether to turn left or right when this photo was taken.

Many of the digital items UVA Library staff collected in the days after rally are now available to the public in the “University of Virginia Collection on Events in Charlottesville, VA, August 11-13, 2017,” a 20 gigabyte digital archive, containing everything from a video of white supremacists marching up the Rotunda steps the night of Aug. 11, to a recollection of a helicopter that hovered over the city for hours on Aug. 12, to a compilation of statements by institutional leaders at Virginia colleges and universities condemning hateful ideologies.

A person wearing a motorcycle helmet and goggles carries a Confederate flag past a man who is looking at him with a direct stare and serious brow.

From the digital collection: A community member watched a man with a Confederate flag march past him on Aug. 12, 2017.

McClurken emphasized that it was a multi-departmental Library team that gathered the materials from many different sources, noting specifically the efforts of Joseph Azizi, the Library Stacks Coordinator in Special Collections; Stacey Lavender, the Project Digital Archivist; and Lauren Work, the Digital Preservation Librarian. “I was amazed at all the ‘firsts’ they accomplished to get this collection ready,” she said. “This type of collecting in times of crisis often requires many hands.”

New exhibition centers on alumni and community activist experience

Today, the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library is launching a new exhibition, “No Unity Without Justice: Student and Community Organizing During the 2017 Summer of Hate,” which will be on display in the First Floor Gallery through October 29, 2022. The exhibition is distinctive in that it was largely curated by UVA alumni who took part in the anti-fascist counter-protests in the summer of 2017 when they were students.

“In recent years, we’ve sought curatorial partnerships with the people and places on whom we place the lens of focus,” said Curator of University Library Exhibitions Holly Robertson. “Every curator brings a perspective — and necessarily their experience — to every exhibition. ‘No Unity Without Justice’ may be unique in that the curators have offered us a first-person perspective based on being fully embedded on the frontlines of Charlottesville just five short years ago.”

The 37-item exhibition provides personal narratives of the curators’ experiences, as well as those of various Charlottesville community activists. It was primarily curated by Kendall King, a 2018 UVA alum, artist, and community organizer; in partnership with Jalane Schmidt, a UVA associate professor of religious studies; with guest alumni curators Natalie Romero, Hannah Russell-Hunter, and Memory Project postdoctoral fellow Gillet Rosenblith. King and Romero pitched the exhibition idea to Special Collections when they were still students.

The exhibit is in partnership with the UVA Democracy Initiative’s Memory Project, and the study of democracy is a priority research area in the University’s 2030 Strategic Plan. Schmidt, who directs The Memory Project, said the exhibition aligns with the Project’s mission to sponsor events that promote more inclusive, democratic narratives of history. She worked with the curators to ensure the exhibition’s historical accuracy; all sources are cited in the exhibition and many objects include QR codes linking to news articles, Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, and a successful civil lawsuit against organizers, promoters, and participants of the Unite the Right rally. “I have been impressed by the students’ energy in documenting these events,” she said. “Memory is not always pretty; it can be painful.”

The exhibition includes not only the personal items of the alumni curators and community members (a tear gas canister launched at counter-protestors during a Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville in July 2017; a shoulder bag used by an activist as a makeshift shield to protect students around the Jefferson statue on August 11; a student notebook with poetry, songs, sketches, and research from summer 2017), but also objects and papers related to UVA student activist history, dating back to the 1969 founding of the UVA Black Students for Freedom group.

“I hope visitors will also gain an appreciation for Charlottesville and the University’s deep, rich organizing tradition that has resulted in many victories in the past decades,” said alum curator Russell-Hunter. “It was really gratifying to articulate my experiences as a survivor — including observations and analyses that I have literally been thinking about for years — with the knowledge that it was going to reach a wide audience. I’m grateful to the Special Collections staff for giving us the space to create an honest narrative of the events of the summer of 2017.”

Robertson said she hope the exhibition is “a cathartic thing. That’s how we set up the space — it’s a place to move through another person’s experience and also to reflect on your own, whether you were there on Aug. 11 and 12 or not. We’re deeply grateful to the curators for entrusting us with their archives and their stories.”

Take a look at some of the objects in the “No Unity Without Justice” exhibit below.

A metal canister is blasted open on the sides, showing metal pieces inside. The words Instantaneous Blast are visible on the outside of the canister.

This tear gas canister was launched by the Virginia State Police at counter-protestors at approximately 5 p.m. on July 8, 2017 — the end of the Ku Klux Klan rally in Charlottesville. It was later revealed in the “Independent Review of the 2017 Protest Events in Charlottesville, Virginia” (Tim Heaphy, November 2017) that the tear gas was fired on rogue orders. This canister was originally collected for the “University of Virginia Collection on Events in Charlottesville, VA, August 11-13, 2017” and it is also featured in the “No Unity Without Justice” exhibit. (Photo by Stacey Evans, UVA Library)

A display case shows a photo of a crowd holding protest signs such as ‘No dialogue with white supremacy’ while one person speaks into a megaphone. Also visible are sheets of paper from planning sessions listing things like ‘plan of action,’ ‘buddy system,’ and ‘debrief interview.’

This panel from the exhibition features a sign from the counter-protest of the Klan rally on July 8, 2017; planning notebooks of student organizer Kendall King; a pamphlet handed out at training sessions throughout the spring and summer of 2017; and a shoulder bag (filled with a heavy, large book) worn by community activist Emily Gorcenski as a makeshift shield as she filmed and protected students around the Jefferson statue on August 11, 2017. (Photo by Stacey Evans, UVA Library)

A view of the exhibit space shows a display case, large Black Lives Matter sign, and portions of large black overhead banners showing words like ‘facism’ and ‘white supremacy.’

“No Unity Without Justice: Student and Community Organizing During the 2017 Summer of Hate” will be on display in the First Floor Gallery of Small Special Collections Library through October 29, 2022. (Photo by Stacey Evans, UVA Library)

“No Unity Without Justice” remains on view until October 29, 2022. See Library hours and parking information.

Press inquiries: Elyse Girard, elyse@virginia.edu.

 

 

Top 5 things to love about summertime in the Library

Summer is a great time at the Library! With fewer people around, and less general hubbub, there’s more space for you to be you — in new ways or old. Here are a few ways to make the most of it:

1. Scope out spaces, find your spot.

Two chairs and a small table face into a corner with floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of a large grassy space

Corner window study space in the Fine Arts Library.

With fewer people around, this is a great time to wander from place to place and get to know Library spaces! The Library currently has five locations open for your enjoyment: Clemons Library, Harrison/Small Special Collections Library, Brown Science & Engineering Library (in Clark Hall), Fine Arts Library, and the Music Library. All locations are open to everyone — the subject-specific names simply indicate what types of materials you’re likely to find there.

A rounded space with tall white columns is filled with comfy chairs and rich blue carpet

The main floor of the Music Library.

In Harrison/Small Special Collections Library, you’ll find several exhibitions to explore: permanent exhibitions include “Flowerdew Hundred” on the entry floor and “The Declaration of Independence” on the downstairs level. Rotating exhibitions are featured on the entry level (to your right upon entering the building) and downstairs.

See all Library locations and hours.

2. Make your own screening room

Clemons Library offers tens of thousands of videos for checkout — including a massive collection from Sneak Reviews, a video rental store which operated in Charlottesville until 2014. On the fourth floor of Clemons, you can borrow a DVD or VHS player, pick out your movies, and settle in for comfy screening! As with everything at the Library, movies and equipment are totally free of charge.

When you need a break between seasons of your newfound favorite show, check out the graphic novel collection! (And when you tire of that, Clemons also has a “New Books” shelf with tons of enticing options!)

That said, you do have to bring your own snacks…

Movie theater popcorn in a red and white paper cup

3. The perks of a quiet summer campus

Busses may be on limited service but bike racks tend to be wide open! With reduced summer traffic, this is a great time to cycle around Grounds.

A person in a sweatshirt stands in front of a green screen and gestures. A person in headphones points a camera at the scene.Fewer people in Library spaces also means easy access to tech stuff. Visit the Robertson Media Center on the 3rd floor of Clemons and try out a new game in Virtual Reality, or borrow a camera to capture Charlottesville’s wildlife! Once you’ve had your fill of nature, check out some A/V equipment and make your own blockbuster movie… and you can edit it on a G-Lab computer.

Heavy beams hold up two brick walls while a huge crane towers overhead

The main library renovation continues through 2023.

When you take a tech break to rest your eyes, get a breather in the new Gallery 4 space beside Clemons’ 4th floor information desk, or wander outside to the large patio outside Clemons 4th floor, where you can watch the future unfold in the massive renovation of the main library building.

If it’s a bit too quiet for you, summer is actually busy season in Special Collections! Find out more about making a visit to the Special Collections Reading Room, where you’re likely to have good company all summer long.

4. Enjoy the ambiance. And the high-speed internet.

What makes for better ambiance than free air conditioning on a hot day?! And if that’s not enough, remember that UVA provides high-speed internet to all visitors: just connect to the UVA Guest wifi network.

Plus, depending on where you go, the Library offers plentiful smells of old books, general peaceful quiet, and access to millions upon millions of published works from across the globe. Search or browse the collection now.

A bench is shaded under a huge green magnolia tree

5. Let us come to you!

Not planning to leave your house? We get it! The Library is here for you with online resources to keep you busy all summer long.

In addition to digital resources for research, the Library offers thousands of streaming movies. It’s as good as watching your new favorite films in Clemons… except closer proximity to your [fill in the blank: pets, snacks, favorite pillows]. Find out how to watch on-demand.

If you’d rather dig into a great new book, check out the Library’s themed reading lists, featuring the latest and greatest for all kinds of interests.

Finally, for when you want to feel like you’ve left the house (whether or not you actually do), dive into a digital tour. Six tours introduce you to UVA in new ways by telling stories of UVA places in light of the Enslaved African American experience, or taking you deep into the ongoing renovation of the main library. Take a Library tour on your phone, tablet, or computer.

A circular concrete structure surrounds a green area. The concrete is engraved with names and information about enslaved individuals in the Charlottesville area.

Several Library locations are near the powerful Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, worth a visit in any season.

Many thanks to Zeke Crater, Ronda Grizzle, Kristin Jensen, Arlyn Newcomb, Josh Thorud, Holly Robertson, Leigh Rockey, Katie Rojas, and Robin Ruggaber who provided critical input for this piece.

 

Celebrate Pride with the Library!

From Cecelia Parks, Undergraduate Student Success Librarian:

Pride Month is a wonderful time to celebrate the contributions to literature, scholarship, art, and society made by members of the LGBTQ community. Below are just a few of the books, films, and documents by and about queer folks that can be found at the UVA Library. This list only scratches the surface of what is out there, but provides a glimpse into queer history and culture, much of which has been historically ignored by mainstream cultural institutions like libraries, archives, museums, publishers, film studios, and others.

""Of course, the work of celebrating LGBTQ folks goes beyond Pride Month; to quote author and librarian Kristen Arnett, “it’s fine to read gay stuff even when it’s not june and there aren’t rainbows plastered all over everything, you can be gay all year if you feel like it.”

Is your favorite piece of queer literature or media missing from this list? Find us on Twitter @UVALibrary and let us know!

Does the UVA Library not have something you think we should have? Submit a purchase recommendation!

Living Queer HistoryLiving Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City (2021), by Gregory Samantha Rosenthal

In “Living Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City,” Gregory Samantha Rosenthal tells the story of the LGBTQ community in Roanoke, Virginia (a few hours southwest of Charlottesville). Rosenthal also chronicles how she transitioned as she worked on the community history project that forms the basis for the book. There is not much scholarship out there about Virginia’s queer history, and this book represents an important intervention in Virginia history and the history of queer folks in the South more broadly.

 

The Secret to Superhuman StrengthThe Secret to Superhuman Strength (2021), by Alison Bechdel, with the extremely extensive coloring collaboration of Holly Rae Taylor

“The Secret to Superhuman Strength” follows lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s previous, highly acclaimed works “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Are You My Mother?” and the “Dykes to Watch Out For” comic strip. Drawing on extended literary metaphors and her own experiences, Bechdel uses beautifully realistic, evocative drawings and dry humor to explore deeply personal issues including her relationship to herself and her relationship to her body.

 

HoneypotHoneypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women (2019), by E. Patrick Johnson

“Honeypot” is E. Patrick Johnson’s creative nonfiction companion to his longer work, “Black. Queer. Southern. Women.: An Oral History.” Both feature oral history interviews conducted by Johnson with Black queer women living across the South. In “Honeypot,” Johnson’s character is guided through the women-only world of Hymen by Miss B, who is determined that he listen to stories of the women there and share them on his return to his world. Their stories cover coming out, family relationships, religion, political activism, and much more. Johnson’s use of magical realism and poetry make the powerful oral history interviews even more accessible and impactful in this book.

 

Last Night at the Telegraph ClubLast Night at the Telegraph Club (2021), by Malinda Lo

Winner of the 2021 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” follows Lily, a Chinese American teenager living in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s, as she discovers and explores her queer identity. Lily must contend with 1950s prejudice against homosexuality and threats of her father’s deportation as part of the Red Scare to navigate her heritage and her sexuality. This book is an excellent read for young adults and adults alike.

 

Semi QueerSemi Queer: Stories of Trans, Gay, and Black Truck Drivers (2018), by Anne Balay

Anne Balay dives into the stories of working-class truck drivers to highlight both the harsh realities of truckers’ lives and the “welcome isolation” trucking can provide for marginalized people. A licensed trucker herself, Balay explores the juxtaposition of strict regulations, tough labor conditions, and opportunities for truckers to earn a living and be themselves; in other words, the paradox of finding safety in an unsafe job. This book will make you rethink the semi trucks you pass on the interstate every day.

 

Screen shot of David, who is saying I'm 6 and when I was born they thought I was a girlTransitioning: Transgender Children (2016) (film)

This documentary film explores the process of transitioning through the stories of four transgender people who chose to transition at a young age. The young people share their experiences of transitioning in their own words, and their parents also share their experiences of their children’s transitions. This film is in Catalan and Spanish with English subtitles.

 

Field Files from the Privacy Project: Arlington Virginia Gay Alliance (1988), from Archives of Sexuality & Gender

In addition to books and films, the UVA Library has access to many historical primary sources by and about LGBTQ people. The documents highlighted here come from a number of gay organizations across Virginia in the 1980s, including Virginians for Justice, the Arlington Virginia Gay Alliance, the Prince William Gay and Lesbian Association, the Virginia Council on Human Rights, and PFLAG of the Washington Metropolitan Area. These documents cover a variety of subjects, including lobby days and marches in Richmond for gay rights, relevant bills under consideration in the General Assembly, and information about how to get involved with these organizations. Check out the Archives of Sexuality and Gender (domestic and international), the LGBT Magazine Archive, and the Sex & Sexuality databases for more information, or search our full collections in Virgo, which includes many primary sources such as those from UVA Library’s special collections.

For more information on doing research on topics related to LGBTQ history, culture, and politics, contact Erin Pappas, Librarian for the Humanities, or see the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Resources research guide.

UVA Library joins “On the Books” project with Mellon Foundation grant for “Modeling a Racial Caste System: Algorithmic Exposure of Virginia’s Jim Crow Laws”

The UVA Library is launching a 16-month Mellon Foundation-funded project that will create a legal text collection identifying Jim Crow language in Virginia laws from 1865 to 1968.

“Modeling a Racial Caste System: Algorithmic Exposure of Virginia’s Jim Crow Laws” is headed by project lead and principal investigator Carmelita Pickett, University of Virginia Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources and Content Strategy. Amy Wharton, Director of UVA’s Arthur J. Morris Law Library, is co-principal investigator. The project team includes UVA Library staff from the Scholarly Resources and Content Strategy team and Research Data Services’ StatLab, UVA Law library and Legal Data Lab staff, the HathiTrust digital library, and UVA faculty.

“Modeling a Racial Caste System” is an expansion of “On the Books: Jim Crow and the Algorithms of Resistance,” a project of the UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries that uses text mining and machine learning to uncover racially based legislation in North Carolina that was signed into law from the Reconstruction period through the civil rights movement. The computational-based results are then reviewed for confirmation by an attorney on the project team. The UVA project and another planned by the University of South Carolina were chosen through a competitive call for proposals to broaden “On the Books” to other states. The UVA team will use the workflows, products and machine learning techniques developed by the “On the Books” project team at UNC Chapel Hill.

The UVA project includes well-regarded UVA scholars Justene Hill Edwards of the Corcoran Department of History and Law professor Andrew Block. “Modeling a Racial Caste System” will build on the recent research by the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law. Block served as vice chair of the commission, established by Gov. Ralph Northam in 2019 with the charge to review and identify laws and regulations that facilitated racial discrimination in Virginia’s Acts of Assembly and the Code of Virginia from 1900 to 1960 to determine their current impact. In adherence to the “On the Books” guidelines, “Modeling a Racial Caste System” will use Virginia’s Acts of Assembly in digital form, made available through HathiTrust.

The commission’s report acknowledged that “Virginia policymakers and other leaders spent centuries building legal and other structures to comprehensively segregate and oppress people of color,” and that while the laws have been erased, “the impact of what they built has not.”

Pickett, the project lead for “Modeling a Racial Caste System,”explained that the long history of legal discrimination and its continued effects made Virginia a compelling candidate for the “On the Books” expansion. She pointed as far back as Bacon’s Rebellion in the 1670s, which “prompted Virginia lawmakers to establish laws differentiating between persons of African descent and persons of European descent. These laws legitimized anti-Black racism and created a racial caste system.”

Jewish Life in America features full range of Jewish American experience

For many American Jews, life in the United States began in New York Harbor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as they sought refuge from persecution in Europe, and later from the horrors of Nazi death camps. The famous lines inscribed on the Statue of Liberty welcoming “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” are from “The New Colossus” by Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus. But as Jewish Life in America, c1654-1954 reveals, the Jewish American experience dates back at least three and a half centuries with the arrival of the first Jews in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (later New York), well before there was a United States.

Immigrant couple, a bearded man wearing a cap and his wife wearing a scarf and a floor-length dress sit for a portrait outside of a wood-framed house.

Russian Jewish couple at the Baron de Hirsch-financed Woodbine agricultural settlement in southern New Jersey, circa 1900.

One article from 1915, “The Injustice of the Literacy Test,” originally appearing in The Jewish Immigration Bulletin, shows how little the experience of immigrants to America has changed in over a century. In the article, renowned social activist Jane Addams wrote, “The deplorable part of the whole discussion of immigration is the constant appeal to racial prejudice … While anthropologists have shown … that the most important differences are individual and not racial, it is easy to persuade the person who has no opportunity of really knowing the recent immigrant, that the superficial differences in dress and speech … are evidence of inferiority.”

Primary sources featured in the database have been drawn from the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City, and go beyond the immigrant experience, bringing to life the full range of Jewish American identity and culture from the 17th to the mid-20th century. Contextualizing tools include a chronology of major events, essays by leading scholars, articles from the American Jewish Year Book, a gallery of visual resources, and biographies of important figures. The database offers access to six major organizational collections and twenty-four collections of personal papers (letters, scrapbooks, autobiographies, notebooks, and more).

The collections are a treasure trove of information on:

  • The evolution of early Jewish Settlements in areas such as New York, Rhode Island, and Philadelphia.
  • Structures of support for immigrants from the Old World, differing experiences of immigrants, and immigration strategies adopted at Ellis Island and in Galveston in the late 19th century.
  • The role of Jews in the American War of Independence and the Civil War.
  • The role of the synagogue as a focal point for Jewish communities.
  • The development of Jewish schools and charitable institutions.
  • Westward expansion and the attempts to establish Jewish farms.
  • The Jewish Diaspora from Europe and around the world and dispersal across America.
  • The garment industry, peddling, general stores, finance, and diversification into other industries.
  • The development of Judaism in America — Reformed, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox — including patterns of immigration and societal changes.
  • Reaching out to Jewish communities around the world, especially to Russia, Romania, Germany, and Eastern Europe.
  • American Jewish involvement in the Spanish-American War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II.
  • Involvement in Civil Rights and Minority Rights issues.

For details about these collections please refer to the Guide to Archival Collections in the site’s online User Guide, and please visit the Library A-Z Databases list for other online resources about the Jewish American experience.

Research Sprints are underway: Faculty and Library experts work together on challenging problems

From Judith Thomas, Director of Faculty Programs:

Research Sprints offer faculty the opportunity to work with a team of expert librarians who help with getting a new project started or overcoming obstacles in an existing project. The Research Sprints program, which offers support for projects at any phase of the scholarly lifecycle, is mutually beneficial to recipients and Library staff — faculty receive help in moving projects forward, and Library staff hone and expand their skills in ways that help current and future partners. The first Sprint in this cohort began in mid-May, and Sprints continue through the summer.

This year’s participants include:

Janet Kong-Chow, American Studies and English, College of Arts and Sciences

This Sprint supports early research for a book manuscript exploring the processes through which the modern archive (physical and digital) came to be understood as a site of knowledge production in the West, and as such, how its curatorial practices continue to shape and transform ideas of race, ethnicity, gender, and postcoloniality in the American cultural imagination.

Library team:

  • Molly Schwartzburg, Curator, Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library
  • Meg Kennedy, Curator of Material Culture
  • Lauren Longwell, University Archivist
  • Chris Ruotolo, Director, Research in the Arts and Humanities

Mary Kuhn, English, College of Arts and Sciences

This Sprint team will research the cultural history of Paris Green, a toxic arsenic-based compound widely used in domestic and agricultural settings in the late nineteenth-century United States. The project will draw on scientific and popular periodicals, agricultural and gardening manuals, advertisements, wallpaper samples, and other domestic material culture.

Library team:

  • Sherri Brown, Librarian for English
  • Maggie Nunley, Science and Engineering Research Librarian
  • Jenny Coffman, Science and Engineering Research Librarian
  • Keith Weimer, Librarian for History, Politics, and Religious Studies

Moira O’Neill, Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture and Law School

This Research Sprint will conduct an interdisciplinary literature review to support writing a book on how local governments implement climate and fair housing policy. The team will review both urban planning and law literature in their investigation of topics relating to spatial inequity, community participation in policy-making, and land use regulation.

Library team:

  • Rebecca Coleman, Research Librarian for Architecture
  • Christine Slaughter, Social Sciences Research Librarian
  • Dan Radthorne, Reference Librarian, School of Law

Michael Puri, Music, College of Arts and Sciences

The goal of this Research Sprint is to flesh out the cultural politics surrounding the relationship between French and German music at the turn of the twentieth century. The composers Maurice Ravel and Richard Strauss receive particular attention as prominent and closely related representatives of the two traditions.

Library team:

  • Amy Hunsaker, Librarian for Music & the Performing Arts
  • Miguel Valladares-Llata, Librarian for Romance Languages and Latin American Studies

Dylan Rogers, Art History and Archeology, College of Arts and Sciences

The Sprint will provide research support for an interdisciplinary book project on the history of the University of Virginia, which seeks to employ methodologies of archaeology, art history, and architectural history to understand better how the University’s physical imprint and cultural significance developed over time. The Sprint will lay the crucial groundwork for identifying and collating the numerous available archival materials housed in the University’s Library that provide insight into UVA’s complex history.

Library team:

  • Lucie Stylianopoulos, Librarian for Art, Archaeology, & Indigenous Studies
  • Ann Burns, Metadata Librarian
  • Rebecca Coleman, Research Librarian for Architecture
  • Meg Kennedy, Curator of Material Culture
  • Lauren Longwell, University Archivist

Jessica Sewell, Planning, School of Architecture

This Sprint will provide support for the forthcoming book, “Gender and Vernacular Architecture,” which is simultaneously a primer for studying gender in vernacular architecture and a guide and manifesto for inclusive methodologies in the study of the built environment. The Sprint will assist in finding and acquiring illustrations, supporting and enhancing the argument, and boosting the beauty and accessibility of the book.

Library team:

  • Rebecca Coleman, Research Librarian for Architecture
  • Erin Pappas, Librarian for the Humanities
  • Brandon Butler, Director, Information Policy

Michael Sheehy, Contemplative Sciences Center

The Sprint will research topics at the intersection of sensory deprivation and meditation with a focus on self-emergent and hallucinatory visual experiences during dark exposure. The team will collaboratively identify multimedia resources on preselected topics in Religious Studies, Anthropology, Psychology, and Neuroscience.

Library team:

  • Keith Weimer, Librarian for History, Politics, and Religious Studies
  • Nawang Thokmey, Librarian for Tibetan, Himalayan, and Contemplative Studies
  • Andrea Denton, Research and Data Services Manager, Health Sciences Library

Ben Small, Architecture, School of Architecture

This project takes a close look at visitor centers commissioned by various government organizations in the United States and asks how these buildings might be understood in terms of local concepts of place and broader political agendas. The project team will collect and interpret documentation such as commission contracts, brochures, and more, related to publicly-funded visitor centers.

Library team:

  • Rebecca Coleman, Librarian for Architecture
  • Christine Slaughter, Social Sciences Research Librarian
  • Penny White, Reference Librarian, Special Collections Library
  • Trillian Hosticka, Reference Librarian and Regional Depository Librarian

Learn more about Research Sprints at the UVA Library.

Celebrating a Milestone of the Main Library Renovation

University and Library personnel and construction workers and contractors gathered yesterday for a “topping-out ceremony” for the library renovation. The topping-out is when the last beam is placed atop a structure, and is a traditional milestone in a major construction project.

Guy Mengel, retired Library Director of Facilities and Security, returned to Grounds to sign the beam. (photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

The beam was signed by Library staff, UVA facilities personnel, construction workers, and others involved in the project. Chris Rhodes, Skanska senior project manager; John Unsworth, the University librarian and dean of libraries at UVA; and Mark Stanis, director of construction for UVA, delivered remarks thanking the tradespeople involved. The remarks were translated into Spanish for the benefit of all by carpenter Alex Alverez.

The topping-out ceremony symbolically marks the transition in construction away from the exterior of the building and into a new phase as the structure is “closed up” and the interior work begins. The renovation/construction project, slated to be finished in the fall of 2023, will completely refurbish the historic envelope of the building and add new collections, research, and study space.

Read more and view photos of the topping-out ceremony from UVA Today.