UVA Arts Council grant will help revive popular performance series in the Music Library

In 2014, then-UVA Music Librarian Matthew Vest started a program, “Making Noise in the Music Library,” that provided a new venue for guest performers, including student groups and others who might not otherwise have a space to share their creative work. Vest envisioned that “simply by inviting music and noise into a controlled environment,” the program would make “the library itself a locus of the types of scholarly and artistic conversations that typically happen in non-library spaces.” He was right — the “Making Noise” series proved very popular, often filling the library during performances. However, due to the pandemic the season was cut short in 2020, and the program (along with the Music Library itself) remained shuttered throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

With funding through a grant from the UVA Arts Council, that will change. “Making Noise and Reconnecting after COVID” will revive the series in fall of 2021 and fund monthly performances through the 2021-22 academic year. Grant applicant Amy Hunsaker, Research Librarian for Music & Performing Arts, designed the revived program with an increased emphasis on student involvement. In addition to faculty, student performers will be invited from the Music, Drama, Art, Creative Writing, and Dance departments, and guest performers for two concerts will be selected and invited by an interdisciplinary graduate student steering committee.

Students performing a play in the Music Library while audience looks on. The space has high vaulted ceilings and bookshelves line the visible wall.

“Making Noise and Reconnecting after COVID” will transform the Music Library into a performance space, as the earlier “Making Noise” series did. Above, “Prospective” from “An Evening of Short Plays” — a 2018 performance by students in professor Doug Grissom’s playwrighting class. “Prospective” featured Randy Risher, Priyanka Shetty, Mary Ann Neale, and Jordan Maia.

Hunsaker hopes that the series will increase the visibility of the arts on Grounds, help build stronger relationships between the arts disciplines and between those disciplines and the Library, and also help strengthen relationships with the local arts community. Not only will “Making Noise” raise awareness of the Music Library as a partner in the arts and help rejuvenate live performance in the UVA and Charlottesville communities, but at least one of the invited guest artists will be from the local community. “By providing a platform for artistic endeavors at UVA and beyond,” said Hunsaker, “we hope to inspire UVA and local community members to engage with the Library in new ways.”

The $8,000 grant will pay guest artists, fund faculty honoraria, and support publicity and promotion of the performances. In addition, the grant will cover the cost of hosting receptions at each performance to encourage attendance and foster a collegial and casual atmosphere for performers and attendees to mingle. Hunsaker and colleagues at the Music Library will organize and promote the events and revive the “Making Noise” website, which makes information about the series freely available online. Visit the site for updates, and to learn more about the series and take a look at past performances.

Updated: What to expect at the Library in summer 2021


Summer is always a quieter period in the UVA Library, but we know it’s a critical time for making progress on research! Additionally, various special events take place during the summer which affect Library operations in small ways, and some academic programs begin early… so we’re ready to help you get what you need!

In short:

Beginning Monday, June 7: The biggest change for summer 2021 is that Clemons Library, and Special Collections appointments, are now open to the public.

For anyone visiting Library spaces:

  • Requests for Library books must be submitted in advance. Read more about services for Community Patrons, and the request process. No in-person book browsing is currently available, and staff are unable to retrieve items “on demand”.
  • You are welcome to study/read, use public computers, and browse DVDs.
  • The Library stacks are not available this summer, but all patrons can now request items for pickup at Clemons Library.
  • LEO Mobile (item pickup at the Central Grounds Parking Garage) is available to undergraduate and grad students, as well as faculty and staff, through the summer! This service has never before been extended to undergrads and we’re happy to be able to offer it. Learn how to make a request in Virgo.

Need quick reference? The Status Dashboard will always be up to date with current Library offerings, and COVID-19 FAQ holds more detailed information.

Most Library services will remain available through the summer, so if you need assistance, just ask! Spaces and hours will be limited, but Library staff work all summer long and are happy to assist.

Clemons Library open to all; Special Collections open by appointment

Clemons Library is the only space open for general study space this summer, but Special Collections remains open by appointmentSee full Library hours.

Masks optional for fully vaccinated patrons: Vaccinated patrons are no longer required to use facial coverings. If you are unvaccinated, masks remain required.

Special Collections services: Online Reference Requests will remain available all summer long, and Special Collections is available in person by appointment.

If you have an appointment in Special Collections, you’ll need to leave ALL drinks outside the Reading Room before you enter.

Access to Collections

  • Digital access continues:Our expanded access to digital items through HathiTrust ETAS will continue through the Summer, meaning millions of additional items are now available digitally through Virgo.
  • Stacks closed to public:As long as the HathiTrust ETAS service is available, we are not able to provide direct browsing access to the Stacks. If conditions around the pandemic allow, this may change in fall 2021, so stay tuned! Read more in COVID-19 FAQ.
  • Item pickup now available for all:Our request services continue through the summer. ALL patrons, including members of the public, can now use their Virgo login to request items for pickup in Clemons. Faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students may also request  “LEO Mobile” pickup at the Central Grounds Parking Garage.

What else?

Most checked-out items have now been renewed: sign in to Virgo to see new due dates. Most items are now due August 27, 2021, or later. Note that some specialty items cannot be renewed so check your Virgo account to confirm all due dates.

Ask a Librarian web chat is offering extended hours all summer long! Ask a Librarian summer hours are:

  • Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m
  • Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Closed Saturday
  • Sunday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

FAQ is available on the Ask a Librarian page if you need help during off hours.


Please don’t hesitate to ask if you don’t see what you need or need help with a Library service. We’re here to help!


The post above was updated on May 17 to correspond with UVA’s Health and Safety Requirements around facial coverings, and again on June 4 after UVA opened Grounds to community users and visitors.


Disparate objects UNITE! Preservation housing adventures in Mylar

This post was contributed by Nicole Royal, Preservation Projects Specialist at the UVA Library.

It’s Preservation Week 2021! During this time, libraries and other cultural institutions across the nation highlight their work in the pursuit of preservation education and information. Coordinated by the American Library Association each year, we hope you will take the opportunity to learn more about UVA Library’s Preservation program on our website and on Twitter.

Preservation staff in libraries, archives, and museums are often challenged to preserve and provide access to collection objects with unique housing needs. These can be especially tricky if they have distinctive parts, which cannot (or should not) be separated, are constructed from different materials, and are connected in a way that has the potential to cause damage over time (such as during use and handling).

An ideal preservation housing for these items would allow the objects to be safely stored, while also facilitating use.

Enter (…wait for it…): the Mylar tray with insert!

Getting started

Before we begin, it is important to note that Mylar isn’t ideal for every project. It produces a static charge and tends to collect dust, eraser crumbs, and other things while you work. Having clean hands and a clean work bench helps, but it shouldn’t be used with media that is loose, flaking, or moveable (i.e., charcoal drawings, pastels or an object with flaking paint).

Tools used:

  1. Mylar: The project in this example used 4mm, but 3mm would also work (learn more about Mylar and its preservation uses)
  2. Pencil and eraser
  3. Ruler or tape measure
  4. Olfa, X-Acto knife, or scalpel
  5. Bone Folder (I also used a Teflon folder, personal preference, but not necessary)
  6. Triangle
  7. Double-sided tape
  8. Gloves (optional, but Mylar tends to get covered in your fingerprints.)

Work table with gloves, tape, ruler, Mylar roll, pencil, eraser, knife, and tape measure

A postcard with a keychain hanging over the top. The keychain is a chain with a small football at the end.

Please note: Model objects were used for the purpose of this demonstration, to illustrate an example of how I have used this process to create housings for special collections material.

Pencil and ruler with hand-written note showing measurements

Start by measuring your object and its parts. Include the height, width, and depth (at the thickest point). Write these measurements down because you will continue to refer to them throughout this process.

Side view of small football laying on card. An arrow points to the vertical height of the ball.

In this case, the depth is measured here

Consider your measurements for the largest or primary item — in this case, the postcard. You will need to add 2x the depth of the secondary piece (in this case, the attached 3D chained piece) to both the height and the width; this will provide you enough material to form the walls of the Mylar tray. Allow for a bit of space around the primary object, enough for ease in placement and a comfortable fit” in the tray, but not so much it slides around. I tend to add a millimeter (or two) for this purpose.

Making the tray

Cut your Mylar to size using your preferred tools. Use a bone folder and triangle to score your folds.

A gloved person uses a bone folder to score a sheet of Mylar

Carefully fold along your scored lines (I use the Teflon folder), to create the beginnings of the walls for your tray.

A gloved person holds a clear plastic sheet with creases around the edges as if to make a box

Decide which edges, long or short, you will cut to create the tabs/flaps. These will wrap around the outside of the walls to create the corners.

A box cutter sits beside the edge of Mylar with a small cut to allow for corner folds

Place your object inside before proceeding further; now would be a good time for a fit check with your item.

With the bottom tray constructed, the item is now placed inside the tray to make sure it fits.

If the fit is good, use the double-sided tape to secure the tabs/flaps and attach them to the outside edge.

An X of tape can be seen on the corner flap on the Mylar sheet

The tray should look something like this:

Clear plastic tray with sides, fully assembled

Creating the insert

Next, create the insert. It will lay gently on top of the primary object to provide easy viewing while keeping the secondary/attached piece from moving around and causing damage. Remember the measurements you noted earlier — the object dimensions (H x W x D)? You will need them here. Don’t worry about adding the 2x calculation again; we’re not making walls at this juncture.

Cut another piece of Mylar to the height and width of the primary object (in this example, the postcard). Round the corners, as Mylar is sharp. Along the top edge, make a mark where the secondary/three-dimensional piece connects to the (primary piece) postcard. Using care, measure the width of the attached (secondary) 3D component and mark it with your pencil directly on the Mylar aligned exactly where the piece rests. Use the Olfa knife to make a cut down the center of this marked area. Then make another cut, perpendicular along the bottom of the marked area, creating two flaps. (Take care not to cut beyond the length of the chain or secondary object attachment.) Fold the flaps up and back. Round the corners of these flaps. This creates an opening in the insert for the chain that attaches these dissimilar objects together.

A gloved hand points to an open panel with flaps, like window shutters

The same item with window opening and flaps like shutters is help up for a different view

Making piece 3: Internal casing

Cut a third piece of Mylar to the dimensions H x W x D of the secondary/attached object (x2 for Depth only, to account for walls) and round the corners. Mark the width and, using the bone folder, score, and fold the sides to create walls. The walls should be the same height as the walls of the tray. The third piece should be “U” shaped, and look like this:

A gloved hand holds a U-shaped piece of Mylar, which will form 3 sides to a box for the football

Check the size of the third piece, noting the height (equal to the height of the 3D object), depth (equal to the walls of tray) and width (equal to the width of the 3D object). You will notice, in this case, the walls are taller than the walls I created for the chain. If correct, apply double-sided tape to the underside of the third piece of Mylar and secure it into place on top of the insert.

The completed insert should look like this, with a pocket for the hanging item:

The assembled insert, with box for the football, opening for the chain, and flat space elsewhere


With the parts and pieces complete, put it all together now.

The fully-assembled final piece. The postcard sits in the clear box, and the insert sits on top of the postcard and provides support to the keychain, without allowing the keychain to rub against the card directly

Upon completion, this Mylar tray provides the student/researcher/instructor with an unobstructed view while in use or consultation. For long-term storage, the tray would be stored in a box with a lid, on shelves in the stacks area when not in use.

The Mylar tray with insert can be created rather quickly and easily once you have a bit of experience. These instructions can be easily altered or modified to fit different needs and preferences. In fact, I’m already considering alternatives to incorporate a similar housing for another set of objects.

This piece, written by Preservation Projects Specialist Nicole Royal, offers insight into one of the many strategies our preservation team has developed for housing dissimilar formats.

Read more about Preservation Week from the American Library Association.

Library contributes to carbon-neutral future

Solar array on the roof of Clemons Library.

April 22 is Earth Day, and the Library is celebrating its contribution to a carbon-neutral future. To find out more, check out the Cavalier Daily article “U.Va. and William & Mary provides updates on their joint climate action plan” and check UVA’s Renewable Energy Tracker to see how UVA is bringing the sun into libraries and other buildings with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030!

Currently, two solar arrays are helping to power the library system — 325 solar panels on the roof of Clemons Library and 470 on the roof of the Ivy Stacks storage and retrieval facility.



Experience culture through music in Library Ethnomusicology resource!

Experience culture through music with Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings, the Library’s new online resource! Immerse yourself in the music and culture of societies far and near. Hear and see traditional music from China performed on the xiao (bamboo flute) and erhu (two-stringed fiddle), West African music on the gyil, Jarocho music from Veracurz played on the wooden arpa jarocha, or hear conversation and slide guitar in a 1961 field recording of Texas blues master Mance Lipscomb.

Photo of gyil instrument: a set of rectangular, vertical, wooden blocks, decreasing in size from left to right,.

[The West African gyil] is a gourd-resonated wooden xylophone played with two sticks. The gourds have holes that are covered with a spider web to make a buzzing sound when played. Some have extended frames so that the instrument can be hung from the neck and played in a parade.

These provide only a sampling of the thousands of audio field recordings, interviews, educational recordings, videos, field notebooks, images, correspondence and ephemera available from 60 field collections dating from the mid-twentieth century to the early twenty-first century.

Compiled and produced in collaboration with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and the Ethnomusicology Archive at the University of Washington, this resource documents more than music; it studies how music and culture interact. From Alaska to the Pacific Islands, West Africa to Indonesia, you can experience music performed at celebrations, rituals, religious ceremonies, rites of passage, funerals, and more. Some collections feature finding aids, notes, and dissertations made alongside the recordings, providing further insight into cultural context.

Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings is one of the many online resources which you can find on the Library’s A-Z Databases page. Also, check out our list of new online resources. It’s updated regularly as the Library’s collection expands!

“Federated Repositories of Accessible Materials for Higher Education II” awarded a $1,175,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

By law, any material required for the education of a disabled student must be made accessible for them in a timely manner. In the United States, the legal obligation to provide accessible learning materials falls on individual educational institutions, and universities and colleges across the country are scrambling to meet their responsibilities to students with special information-access needs. The staff of disability services offices (DSOs) spend a great deal of time and effort remediating printed texts, transforming them into a variety of electronic formats to improve access for students with print disabilities. Because many of the same texts are commonly assigned at multiple institutions, the result is a wasteful duplication of effort as the DSO staff at each independent university must start the remediation work over again.

For the last two years, the University of Virginia Library has led a multi-institutional project to address this problem. With a two-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, University Librarian John Unsworth initiated an effort to create a web-based infrastructure allowing DSOs to share remediated texts, in order to reduce their nationwide duplication of effort, and thereby make it possible for the staff in these offices to achieve better outcomes for students in higher education.

That collective effort, known as “FRAME,” will now continue for another two years and expand to include new partners, thanks to a grant of $1,175,000 from The Mellon Foundation for a second phase dubbed “Federated Repositories of Accessible Materials for Higher Education II.” Representatives of the DSO and library staff at Ohio State University will join their counterparts from George Mason University, Northern Arizona University, Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Virginia, along with a development and project management team based at the UVA Library. Much of the group’s work will concentrate on expanding and improving EMMA (Educational Materials Made Accessible), a membership-based secure repository for remediated texts, and developing workflows wherein librarians and DSO staff will cooperate in uploading texts to the repository.

“For too long, most academic libraries have left accessibility to their colleagues in disability services, even though it is all about providing information resources for teaching and research. The FRAME project seeks to establish a partnership between libraries and disability service offices, to ensure that remediated content is preserved, organized, and made discoverable for re-use, reducing the duplication of staff effort in order to improve service to students (and faculty) with disabilities,” states Unsworth, who is continuing his role as principal investigator from the first FRAME grant.

Also continuing to support the project will be three major digital repositories: Bookshare, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive. Through a federated search interface, these repositories provide EMMA users with texts that have already been remediated for users with print disabilities or that are machine-readable and suitable for further remediation by DSO staff — a big advantage over having to scan a printed book. Benetech, the parent company of Bookshare, supplied much of the search infrastructure for EMMA in the first phase of the FRAME project and has committed in the second phase to sharing certain cutting-edge technologies to automate parts of the labor-intensive remediation process. In the second year of FRAME II, an additional repository will join the collaboration: the Accessible Content e-Portal sponsored by the Ontario Council of University Libraries.

Another important element of the project is the cooperation of the university presses affiliated with six of the participating universities: George Mason, Illinois, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Wisconsin. As publishers of texts that might be used in higher education, the presses have all committed to contributing machine-readable versions of their publications to EMMA or one of its federated repositories.

John Unsworth is joined by FRAME II co-principal investigator J. Stephen Downie, Associate Dean for Research at the University of Illinois School of Information Sciences. Professor Downie will lead a new educational initiative, developing curricular materials for professional education in library schools. The materials created by Downie and a team of expert collaborators will train library and information professionals in the information needs of students, faculty, and other library users with disabilities. Professor Downie states, “It is truly inspiring to be working with all the project partners at Illinois, Virginia and beyond to realize the promise of the FRAME II vision.”

UVA Parents Fund grant will support Clemons Library space redesign

With support from the UVA Parents Fund, staff from the UVA Library’s Teaching and Learning team will create a new outreach space in Clemons that will focus on student art and multimedia work, boost the library’s popular reading collection, and promote the Robertson Media Center (RMC), located on the third floor. To be named “Gallery 4 at Clemons Library,” the student-centered area will be a flexible space located near the main floor entrance of the library, and will feature comfortable seating, shelving, display cases, adjustable lighting, and multimedia technology. The project will be funded in full through a $5900 grant from the Parents Fund.

logo has stylized columns on left and reads UVA Parents Fund to right of the columns. All art is blue.Grant applicants Haley Gillilan and Josh Thorud hope the redesign will help keep undergraduate students connected with Library spaces during the pandemic and beyond. Gillilan, Undergraduate Student Success Librarian, and Thorud, the Multimedia Teaching and Learning Librarian in the RMC, expect Gallery 4 to greatly impact a broad range of undergraduate student library users, describing it as “an intuitive, attractive space [that] will welcome users and encourage them to engage with the library and library resources,” and noting that it will welcome not only regular Clemons users, but also those new to the University and those displaced from their regular study spaces, as many other buildings and libraries on Grounds have remained closed due to COVID-19.

Gallery 4 is also envisioned as a place for community — boosting upcoming events and new technology and featuring student-created art and interactive, rotating displays and exhibitions built in collaboration with the Library and others. Gillilan and Thorud also hope that the welcoming nature of the space will attract users who sometimes experience anxiety in more traditional library spaces:

A space that boosts popular, leisure, and underrepresented collections will familiarize students with important library resources and make students who might not otherwise feel represented in the library feel welcome and invited. Displaying student art and work will create a sense of ownership of library space and make students aware of what has been created in the Robertson Media Center and what is possible for them as scholars and makers.

The grant to design Gallery 4 at Clemons Library is the latest in a long history of support from the UVA Parents Fund. For more than 30 years, the Parents Fund has enhanced and enriched the UVA student experience by supporting parent engagement and the student affairs office, and by administering grants that support services, programs, and projects directly connected to undergraduate life at UVA. In recent years, the Parents Fund has purchased equipment and funded a student cohort in 3D and virtual reality at the Library; enabled the Library to equip group study rooms and classrooms with digital calendar display panels; and funded the refurbishing of furniture in the McGregor Room and the entrance hall of UVA’s main library.

Stay tuned for more, as Gillilan and Thorud expect the work on Gallery 4 to begin this summer, in anticipation of the space opening for the fall 2021 semester.