News, announcements, updates, and happenings in the UVA Library

Tips for new students using the library (from those who know)

By Molly Minturn | Mon, 08/28/2023 - 10:27

Students are back on Grounds, classes are in session, and the Library is here to help. As a UVA student, you can use the Library to access books, journals, databases, makerspaces, and media equipment. You can contact a librarian any time of day through the Ask a Librarian portal or explore Library spaces to find a favorite study spot for years to come. And you can meet new friends by joining the Library Student Council, which is holding its first interest meeting of the year this evening, Aug. 28.

Students working in the McGregor Room in the main library.
Students work in the McGregor Room, a beloved study spot in the main library, which will reopen in the spring semester. (UVA Library photo)

“Students should join Library Student Council if they are looking for a way to get more involved with UVA Library, or if they are interested in all the things libraries do,” said Haley Gillilan, UVA’s Undergraduate Student Success Librarian. “We meet every other Monday to discuss topics in the library science field, network with librarians, and make friends with fellow readers. Every year we design and host an escape room in a UVA Library space, so those who are interested in puzzles, reading, and technology should think about joining us!"

Hallie Terry and Lauren Askew both joined the Library Student Council as first-year students in the fall of 2019. After organizing a successful escape room program that fall, they were gearing up for many more social events when the COVID pandemic hit. “We continued to develop relationships in the midst of that challenge,” Terry said. “Going through that experience, I now deeply value community, relationships, and finding ways to serve others.” Both women graduated from the University in May.

Hallie Terry and Lauren Askew
Left: Hallie Terry; right: Lauren Askew. (Contributed photos)

We asked Terry, who plans to be a librarian, and Askew, who majored in material science and engineering, what advice they have for incoming students about using the Library. Here are their tips:

Don’t be afraid of it

Terry: The Library can seem overwhelming, or only something you need for class assignments or projects, but the Library can be used for so much more! You can host movie nights and explore the video collections, you can check out fun books to read, and not just academic books. Just let yourself explore and you’ll find so much! (Did you know that you can get board games through the Library too?!)

Explore the physical spaces

Askew: Find your niche study space — be sure to check out more hidden-away spots like the Fine Arts Library and the Music Library.

Terry: The Fine Arts Library is great! It’s further out than libraries like Clemons or Brown, but I worked there for a semester, and quickly learned what a great space it is. It also has some of the most interesting books that you’ll find in the UVA Library collection, so I highly recommend browsing the shelves and finding a few new things.

Check out the databases and media labs

Askew: Know that the Library gives you access to more than a thousand databases. I used these for engineering papers I had to write. Check out the Robertson Media Center and the Scholars’ Lab, currently on the third floor of Clemons. The makerspace and the 3D printers and virtual reality headsets down there are super cool. You can even rent cameras, light kits, and iPads. Your tuition is helping to pay for a lot of this stuff; you are allowed to use it!

Join the Library Student Council

Terry: Some of my favorite memories in the libraries revolve around my involvement in Library Student Council. Hosting our annual escape rooms in different libraries has been such a fun experience and has allowed me to be able to get to know a different side of the libraries and see how many things they can offer beyond just a simple study space.

[Note: Library Student Council is holding its first interest meeting tonight, Aug. 28, at 6:15 p.m. in Clemons 407. It meets every other Monday evening throughout the year.]

Just go

Askew: Just go to the Library. Just, go. The most helpful piece of advice anyone could have given me my first year was just this: You’re allowed to be here. Just go do stuff, try new things, and remember that the Library system is a safe space.

Gillilan [Undergraduate Student Success Librarian]: Remember that there is a staff person behind every book, online link, and study space, making it all work together. Everything you see at the Library or click on the Library website is supported by the Library team. We’re all here to support your research and interests as a scholar in our community!


Librarians in the news

By Molly Minturn | Thu, 08/10/2023 - 11:49
black-and-white illustration of books on a shelf

It’s been a somewhat quiet summer on Grounds as we await students’ return for the fall semester. Renovations on the main library continue, with the building’s grand opening scheduled for April 2024. And we recently bid adieu to the four panels of the Berlin Wall that have been stationed near the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library since 2014.

Far from Grounds, though, several UVA librarians have appeared in local and national news stories about pressing issues in literary world: book censorship in Virginia school and public libraries, authors concerned about AI technology, and trauma-informed archival practices.

Book bans

For Virginia Libraries, a publication of the Virginia Library Association, Keith Weimer wrote about race and sexuality in the history of book censorship in Virginia. Nearly 32% of Virginia school districts faced challenges to library books from 2020-22, according to the Richmond Times–Dispatch. A national survey run by PEN America concluded that during the 2021–22 school year “41% of [withdrawn] titles have protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color, followed by 33% explicitly addressing LGBTQ+ themes.”

“The events of 2021–2022 thus represent a new and troubling phase in the long history of struggles for control of reading material in Virginia and in the United States,” wrote Weimer, Librarian for History and Religious Studies. “However, race and sexuality have been recurring themes in book censorship throughout Virginia history, especially in periods of backlash to social change.”

Read Weimer’s article to understand the full history of book bans in Virginia, and check out his most recent list of book recommendations for the Library blog.

Authors fight artificial intelligence

In July, Publishers Weekly explored two recent class action lawsuits filed on behalf of five authors (including comedian Sarah Silverman) against the creators of generative AI technology ChatGPT and LLaMA. The suits state that these creators “infringed the authors’ copyrights by using unauthorized copies of their books to train their AI models, including copies allegedly scraped from notorious pirate sites.”

Brandon Butler, the Library’s Director of Information Policy, spoke to Publishers Weekly for the article, which is one of the site’s most popular this summer. Recently, more than 10,000 writers signed an open letter to generative AI leaders asking them to “obtain consent, credit, and fairly compensate writers for the use of copyrighted materials in training AI.” Butler, a copyright lawyer, argued that a permissions-based licensing agreement would not prevent AI from causing devastation to parts of the creative economy. “Whatever pennies that would flow to somebody from this kind of a license is not going to come close to making up for the disruption that could happen here,” he said; instead, the problem will likely require a broader policy approach.

Read Butler’s thoughts on recent Supreme Court Rulings on copyright and what they mean for libraries here.

The evolving work of archivists

Next summer, UVA Library will host the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI), a summer program that provides advanced training and experiential learning for mid-career archivists and memory workers. Brenda Gunn, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Preservation, spoke to the Federal News Network last month about the institute and the increasingly complex work of her profession for a story titled “Archiving things is not the sleepy job you might think it is.”

Gunn discussed the Institute’s plans to use UVA’s “built environment” – the Rotunda, the Academical Village, etc. – to explore difficult subjects, including the University’s history of enslavement and the 2017 “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. As an archivist, Gunn said, “it doesn’t matter if you’re at an institute of higher education or a museum or a corporation: you probably have some history to deal with.”

Work like this requires “trauma-informed archival practice,” Gunn said; in basic terms, this means making archival organizations aware of trauma and its effects. “When we think about trauma-informed practice, we’re thinking about researchers who come into the reading room and their responses to some difficult subject matter in the materials they’re there looking at. But we’re also thinking about our memory workers, our archivists, and our exhibition curators who may be dealing with the same difficult information as they process a collection or they’re preparing an exhibition.”

Read more about the Archives Leadership Institute, which UVA Library will host in the summers of 2024-26.

Student scans Faulkner’s handwritten pages of “The Sound and the Fury”

By Molly Minturn | Thu, 08/03/2023 - 11:38

Guest post by Rob Smith, Digital Production Group Project Manager

We offer singular experiences in the UVA Library — for our staff, for our student employees, for scholars near and far, for our patrons, for the communities we connect with and serve, and for others tied to the broad networks of knowledge wrapping around our world. Typically, we do this work and our outreach in unique ways. It’s how we roll.

As case in point, the Digital Production Group (DPG) received a request in the spring semester to scan William Faulkner’s handwritten manuscript of “The Sound and the Fury.” (Handwritten! By William Faulkner!) This is one of many literary treasures we hold in Special Collections. (A detail from “Benjy’s Section” of the manuscript is shown below.)

A detail from “Benjy’s Section” of "The Sound and the Fury" manuscript.
A detail from “Benjy’s Section” of “The Sound and the Fury” manuscript. (UVA Special Collections Library)

We handle all DPG scans with care and our student employees typically lead this work. But this manuscript seemed to offer something extra special. Who might do it? With whom might this project resonate the most?

Caitlin Gerrard, a fourth-year student and English major in our shop, was fast approaching graduation. She got the nod. This was work Caitlin was genuinely excited to do. She did the work, and she did it well. In addition to meeting the needs of an international patron, the full work is now archived as high-resolution digital files in our holdings in addition to Faulkner’s handwritten master.

Caitlin was the DPG’s only graduate this year. We faced a new challenge: How to make this achievement (more) memorable for her. I am happy to say that we did this; you will find a few pictures below as proof.

Caitlin received a few gifts. Among them was a double picture frame. One side was blank and the other held a photo from William Faulkner’s days when he served as UVA writer-in-residence in the late 1950s. She also received a leather-bound copy of “The Sound and the Fury” and a gift bag with some unusual items: a raincoat, a hat, a dress shirt and tie, a (fake) pipe, and a stick-on mustache. Caitlin recognized instantly her invitation to play Faulkner’s counterpart. She was a perfect sport. A clever photoshoot followed with Caitlin and the rest of our gang.

Left: William Faulkner on the Lawn in 1957; Right: Caitlin Gerrard on the Lawn in 2023.
Left: William Faulkner on the Lawn in 1957 (Ralph Thompson/UVA Special Collections); Right: Caitlin Gerrard on the Lawn in 2023 (Photo by Eze Amos).

Thanks to the stellar photography of Eze Amos and to the Photoshop mastery of Stacey Evans, you can see how Caitlin’s fun now complements William Faulkner’s photo on the other side of the Lawn. A one-of-a-kind keepsake, along with the full spread of our good-spirited bunch below. Clearly, we had some extra mustaches. (An easy Amazon buy if you ever have want or need, sold in sheets with options.)

The Library's Digital Production group poses with fake Faulkereqsue mustaches.
The Library's Digital Production group poses with fake Faulkneresque mustaches.

Caitlin graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She has accepted a fellowship to teach English in Taiwan and she is to set off for Taipei this month. We are happy for Caitlin and we are happy for all other 2023 graduates with UVA Library ties. We are also grateful to the other student employees in our group and in the Library who do so much for us throughout the year, including making our work more interesting and a lot more fun. 

Exploring the past and future of River View Farm

By Molly Minturn | Tue, 07/18/2023 - 15:34

It’s possible to mistake Ivy Creek Natural Area & Historic River View Farm, located off Earlysville Road in Albemarle County, for simply a nice place to take a hike, with gentle hills, thriving wildlife, and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lisa Shutt, an Associate Professor in UVA’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies, had taken several walks in the area before she took an interest in a towering white barn near the trailhead.

The demonstration barn at RIver View Farm.
Conly Greer built this barn in 1937-38 to demonstrate to Black farmers the newest, most efficient, and sanitary methods in farming. (Photo by Molly Minturn)

“I didn’t know the history of the barn, I didn’t know the history of the lands that Ivy Creek Natural Area is on,” she said. Once she found out that history, she couldn’t stop thinking about it. Her curiosity about the place led to a partnership with UVA Library, which, for the past year, has been working in various ways to help resurface and preserve information about the area, originally known as just River View Farm. 

In 1870, Hugh Carr, a recently emancipated Black farmer, paid $100 for 58 acres of land near the intersection of Ivy Creek and the Rivanna River. Carr continued to accumulate land, growing the property to nearly 125 acres. He built an I-House farmhouse and multiple outbuildings, and raised seven children there with his wife, Texie Mae Hawkins. Their eldest daughter, Mary, inherited the farm and served as a prominent educator in the African American community, eventually becoming principal of Albemarle Training School — one of the only schools in the area where Black children could continue their education beyond seventh grade. She added to the farm over the years by buying adjacent pieces of land, which her siblings and others had owned. Her husband, Conly Greer, was the first Black agricultural extension agent in Albemarle County. He traveled the county by horseback to train other Black farmers in cutting-edge agricultural methods. From 1937-38 he built the large frame demonstration barn that caught Lisa Shutt’s attention so many years later.

Texie Mae Hawkins, Hugh Carr, Mary Carr Greer, and Conly Greer.
From left: Texie Mae Hawkins, Hugh Carr, Mary Carr Greer, and Conly Greer. (Photos courtesy UVA Special Collections and the Ivy Creek Foundation)

“I became fascinated by this place and wanted to preserve and share the legacy of this incredible family, especially with UVA students,” Shutt said. “Most of the people I come across who are deeply invested in the preservation of non-UVA local histories tend to be community members. I want our students to be just as invested in local histories.”

While the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County own the land and maintain the buildings at Ivy Creek Natural Area & Historic River View Farm, the Ivy Creek Foundation helped get the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past couple of years, Susie Farmer, the Director of Education for the Ivy Creek Foundation, has worked with UVAs Special Collections Library, where many documents relating to the family and farm are held.

Shutt reached out to Farmer and local historian Alice Cannon to further research the work and teachings of the Carr and Greer families. This past spring, with the permission and support of the Ivy Creek Foundation, including their Descendants’ Committee, Shutt taught a UVA African American Studies seminar, “Engaging Local Histories: River View Farm.” The class brought undergraduate students to the land, as well as to Special Collections. “I wanted students to think about what Black communities and Black individuals had to do in order to be successful in time periods where that was made extremely difficult by white power structures,” Shutt said.

Successful research and preservation is a wildly collaborative effort that calls upon a variety of specialized skills for advancement: genealogy, 3D scanning, archival maintenance, navigation, cataloging, and even re-cataloging,” said Librarian for African American & African Studies Katrina Spencer, who helped Shutt’s students with their research. “The work on River View Farm with local community members is a great example of that.”

History made real

Students in Shutt’s class hiked the land, learning which areas were used for farming, and explored the barn’s interior. They visited local food scholar Leni Sorensen on her farmstead in Crozet, where, in the tradition of Mary Carr Greer’s food preservation classes, Sorensen taught them how to make and preserve strawberry jam. The students were trained to be barn docents, giving them the ability to lead tours of the entire farm. And Shutt reached out to Spencer, who is also the Library’s subject liaison to the Woodson Institute, to help guide her students through the Carr family papers in Special Collections.

Left image: Lisa Shutt’s students learn how to make and preserve strawberry jam with local food scholar Leni Sorensen. Right image: Shutt's students visit Special Collections to research the Carr/Greer papers held there.
Left: In the tradition of Mary Carr Greer’s food preservation classes, Lisa Shutt’s students learned how to make and preserve strawberry jam with local food scholar Leni Sorensen. Right: Shutt’s students visited Special Collections numerous times to research the Carr/Greer papers held there. (Photos by Lisa Shutt)

Spencer prepared an instructional session for Shutt’s students and enlisted Jean Cooper, the Library’s Principal Cataloger and Genealogical Resources Specialist, to assist. The two tailored the session, held in Clemons Library, to the various topics on which students were focusing: some were researching Black education, others were delving into Black land ownership. The librarians gave an overview of how to identify primary sources, how to search databases and access Special Collections, and how to interpret census data, with a deep dive into genealogy, a specialty of Cooper’s.

“Charlottesville is the kind of place that grabs you and won’t let you go; it’s a fascinating place,” Cooper said about conducting genealogical research. “African American genealogy is especially fascinating because it’s so hard. There’s not a whole lot of written evidence … and so you have to figure out how to get there.”

With training from Cooper and Spencer, the students were ready to visit Special Collections a week later to explore three boxes of Carr/Greer papers. “When the students got to Special Collections, they just kind of were in awe,” Shutt said. “I would call it almost a spiritual experience to be able to put our hands and eyes on these documents that were once held by members of this family: a little cookbook, the original contract where Hugh Carr made his mark to pay for the land, academic papers written by Mary Carr Greer when she studied at the Piedmont Industrial Institute.”

Shutt said the students returned to Special Collections without her several times, sending her photos of things they found. The primary documents they analyzed became source material for 20-page research papers each student wrote at the end of the semester. “I think sometimes when students are examining history, it can seem like a fairy tale to them, like they’re watching a movie or reading a novel; it’s so removed from them,” Shutt said. But when they either go to River View Farm or to Special Collections, history is made real.”

Items from the Carr/Greer papers include a library notice from Mary Carr Greer's student days and a holiday card showing River View Farm.
Items from the Carr/Greer papers in Special Collections included a library notice for Mary Carr Greer and a holiday card from River View Farm. (Photos by Lisa Shutt)

Taylor Whirley, a rising third-year student who took Shutt’s class, agreed.I became engrossed within the history of a family that I had never met and am not a part of, but I quickly developed a desire to ensure that their stories were told within the UVA community,” she said. “Through this class, I learned more about Charlottesville and Albemarle County history than ever before, which was an incredibly eye-opening experience in general.”

Reparative work at the Library

When Shutt reached out to Spencer for help, the request led not only to a successful instruction session, but also to some necessary updates in the Library’s records.

“I saw the term ‘River View Farm’ for the first time when Lisa got in touch with me,” Spencer said. “I didn’t know what it was. And I knew that if I was going to teach about it, I had to start doing some digging.” She was surprised to find scant information about the family members in the Library’s catalog when she began searching for it. “Our River View Farm entries didn’t reference Hugh Carr, or Mary Carr Greer, or that family. And I thought, ‘Well, shouldn’t these go together, if these were the people who owned this property and developed it?’”

Hugh Carr's mark, used in place of a signature on documents and contracts.
Hugh Carr's mark, used in place of a signature on documents and contracts. (Courtesy Special Collections)

Spencer approached Ellen Welch, a Library Manuscripts and Archives Processor, for help with this issue. “Part of my work is responding to suggestions for improvements in describing our collections,” Welch said. “The description for the Ivy Creek Natural Area papers was so minimal that the history of the Carr family was invisible to anyone searching our collections. With Katrina’s suggestion, I was able to bring the Carr family history into the description so that patrons can know more about this important family in Albemarle County during the 19th century.”

In March, Welch published a deeply researched post on the Special Collections blog, “Notes from Under Grounds” exploring the Carr/Greer family and the Library’s Papers of the Ivy Creek Foundation collections (MSS 10770 and MSS 10176). “As a longtime local resident, I had known about the Ivy Creek Natural Area but had no knowledge of Hugh Carr,” she wrote. “This is what makes reparative work so essential in libraries and historical repositories. It is exciting to shine a light on their remarkable lives, making them well known to our patrons today and in the future.”

3D cultural heritage data

While Welch was illuminating River View Farm history in the Library catalog, Will Rourk, the Library’s 3D Technologies Specialist with the Scholars’ Lab, was creating new primary source data about the site for historic preservation purposes, using high-tech equipment to do so.

With an academic background in architecture and architectural history, Rourk is an expert in cultural heritage preservation using 3D data. Equipped with laser scanners, aerial drones, and photogrammetric technologies, Rourk teaches architectural history students to collect, process, preserve, and distribute 3D data of historic objects, buildings, and sites, including the Rotunda Dome, archaeological artifacts at Monticello, and the Pine Grove School in Cumberland, Virginia.

A 3D scanner inside the demonstration barn at River View Farm.
A 3D scanner inside the demonstration barn at River View Farm. (Photo by Will Rourk)

During the fall 2022 semester, Rourk’s students used laser scanning equipment to collect 3D data of the barn, the farmhouse, and surrounding landscape at River View Farm. “In all we collected 55 individual scan datasets of the barn and 123 datasets for the house and landscape,” he said. His students produced a thorough storymap website on their work. Late last month, Rourk uploaded all of the data about the barn and farmhouse to LibraData, UVA’s data repository, hosted by the Library.

Once the 3D data is up in the Library, then it’s accessible to the scholarly community,” Rourk said. The data has a variety of uses, including historic structure reports for architecture firms, 3D printing of artifact replicas, or even for the immersive virtual reality spaces in the Library’s Robertson Media Center. “We have a ton of this data running in the virtual reality lab in Clemons,” Rourk said. “You can virtually visit the Pine Grove School, cabins for the formerly enslaved, as well as the [now demolished] U-Hall arena.”

Jody Lahendro stands with students inside and outside the farmhouse at River View Farm.
Jody Lahendro stands with students inside and outside the farmhouse at River View Farm. (Photos by Will Rourk)

Rourk is planning on loading the River View Farm data onto the VR stations in Clemons for virtual explorations this summer. The data is also being used to help preservation efforts of River View Farm. Rourk is working closely with Jody Lahendro, who was a preservation architect at UVA for 16 years and now, in retirement, serves as a board member of the Ivy Creek Foundation. The 3D data from Rourk and his students will be crucial to Lahendro’s current volunteer work assisting Albemarle County Parks & Recreation in developing a historic structure report for River View Farm.

“All these people in the historic preservation community that I work with are just doing amazing, interesting work. And I am propelled by their eagerness to do good,” Rourk said. “I feel like the Library does good because we help people who do good. And this is one small way that I can do that.”

To take a tour of River View Farm or to learn about other educational events and scheduled hikes on the land, visit the Ivy Creek Foundation website.



“Moving the profession forward”: UVA Library wins grant to host Archives Leadership Institute

By Molly Minturn | Tue, 06/13/2023 - 10:57

National Archives banner




In a rapidly changing world, archivists’ jobs have become increasingly complex. Their knowledge must encompass not only paper, film, and audio records, but also born-digital materials and their required infrastructures. Archivists sometimes balance the roles of historian and budget planner, all the while preparing for crisis response or protecting materials against climate change. And many archivists are pushing back against outdated structures and systems embedded in the field’s theories and practices.

The University of Virginia Library will explore these and other issues when it hosts the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI), a summer program that provides advanced training and experiential learning for mid-career archivists and memory workers. Late last month, the National Archives’ National Historical Publications & Records Commission awarded UVA Library a $300,000 grant to host ALI from 2024 to 2026. The ALI program, which started in 2008, is the only leadership institute for archivists designed by archivists. At UVA Library, the program will focus on organizational leadership, relationship-building, and self-knowledge, using the complicated and sometimes painful landscape of this university to examine power of place and its role in the work archivists do.

We are looking for archivists who have an appetite for moving the profession forward, who want to refine their social justice lens, who want to be aware of the environment in which they work and be responsive to their communities, who desire to lead their organizations with empathy and compassion, and to be skilled in developing strong relationships as well as repairing fractured and broken ones,” said Brenda Gunn, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Preservation, whose proposal won the National Archives grant for UVA Library.

We spoke with Gunn about how the Archives Leadership Institute will take shape at UVA. Our conversation is below.

Q. What will the Archives Leadership Institute look like at UVA Library (how long is the program, where will students stay, etc.)?

A. ALI (which is the shorthand it is known by in the profession) is a weeklong, in-person intensive program, and the 25 members of the cohort will stay on Grounds, likely in Bond House. The cohort will arrive on Sunday night, June 16, 2024, for an opening night dinner and orientation. The cohort begins their work in earnest on Monday morning. Sessions will continue through Friday night with an end-of-institute capstone event. Students depart Charlottesville on Saturday.

It doesn’t end there, though. Following the in-person experience, the cohort will continue to learn together via Zoom in a series of meetings that will continue until the next ALI program begins in June 2025.

Q. What can you tell us about the instructors for the ALI program?

A. Mary Brackett with UVA’s Organizational Excellence will be part of the faculty and will be the facilitator for the week. In her facilitator role, she’ll begin and end each day and weave all of the themes together throughout the week. From UVA Library, Elyse Girard, Executive Director of Communications and User Experience, will be working with the cohort on leadership through communication. And Catalina Piatt-Esguerra, Associate Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility, will work with the cohort on IDEA elements, which are built in throughout the week.

Our other faculty come from different parts of the cultural heritage sector, including Christina Thompson Shutt, Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and Makiba Foster, Librarian of the College at the College of Wooster and leader of the “Archiving the Black Web” project.

Q. What will cohort members come away with?

A. My hope is that the participants leave Grounds with confidence to correct narratives in their own institutions. Part of the beauty of having this type of program on Grounds is the ability to use the University’s landscape, the built environment, as a backdrop for capacity building in leadership. How does a memory worker lead a change and transformation in the field at large, in their communities, in their institutions, and even within their own workgroups. We’ll take them from the macrocosm to the microcosm and stops in between. 

Q. What makes UVA Library a good place to host this program?  

A. UVA has a strong commitment to leadership development and training, and UVA Library has excellent facilities that can be used for in-person portions of the program. These buildings are across the street from the West Lawn, part of the historic Academical Village. Put another way, the locations will be replete with history and symbolism, and will support the Institute’s concept of the power of place. The ALI@Virginia experience will be grounded in place and our landscape, and the cohort will explore leadership through the lens of the unique emotional, historical, and frankly traumatic landscape that UVA offers.

We also intend to have one day of learning out in the Charlottesville community, ideally at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Other venues likely to be used will be the UVA Rotunda and Morven, UVA’s Sustainability Lab, located on 4000-plus acres in Albemarle County, a short distance from UVA Grounds. We feel confident that the places we take the cohort will yield fruitful discussions.

Q. Who should apply for the program, and what previous education is required?

A. The program is targeted to mid-career folks who work in an archival setting or who are archives adjacent, such as a records manager, or an exhibitions curator, or a consultant. Typically, a cohort member has a degree in information science or public history, with an emphasis on archival studies, but there are also cohort members who have degrees from a wide variety of disciplines. They do need to be working in a cultural heritage setting and be energized by and committed to transforming archives and archivists, whatever that may mean to them. 

Our application process will depart from previous practices and has been informed by considerations of how to remove barriers for applicants, and how to attract more BIPOC individuals and candidates with a variety of lived experiences.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

A. ALI has been around since 2008, when it launched at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Other institutions that have hosted include Luther College (in Decorah, Iowa), Berea College (in Berea, Kentucky), and most recently Purdue University. The cohort model of an intensive works really well in smaller communities and on a college campus because of the on-campus housing, which brings folks together.

I was a member of the 2010 cohort in Madison. I was also a steering committee member for ALI@Luther and ALI@Berea. I’m the director of the program and have a wonderful advisory/steering committee: Steven Booth, Audra Eagle Yun, and Petrina Jackson (who worked at UVA as the Instruction Librarian in Special Collections). 

This is the only leadership institute for archivists designed by archivists. In that regard, there is a lot of prestige attached to it, and high visibility and interest. We have designed the leadership curriculum to be intensive and challenging, just as the University’s landscape carries intensity and challenges for those who walk through it.

Explore podcasts, literature, and archives depicting a rich array of LGBTQ+ experiences

By Amber Lautigar Reichert | Tue, 06/06/2023 - 16:45

In June, the U.S. celebrates Pride Month, in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. Across the country, people gather with parades, events, parties, and other celebrations to honor the history and impact of the LGBTQ+ community. This post highlights podcasts, literature, and archives that document the rich array of lived experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Whether you are exploring your own identity or want to build your allyship capacities, we hope that this month’s materials provide you meaningful ways to learn about our vibrant community.

Catalina Piatt-Esguerra, she/hers (Associate Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) 


First, from Amanda Wyatt Visconti, they/them, (Managing Director of Scholars’ Lab):  

The “Gender Reveal” podcast

Gender RevealThe “Gender Reveal podcast interviews a diverse array of trans, nonbinary, intersex, and two-spirit people. Whether you want to be a better ally, explore your gender, or just hear about a broad array of trans lives, the show connects you to a variety of lived trans experiences (including activism, creativity, work, and joy), rather than only transition or tragedy. You can listen through various platforms or read episode transcripts if you prefer. “Starter packs” collect episodes to start listening to specific kinds of interviewees, including trans authors, actors, Indigenous and two-spirit folks, social justice and union activists, and academics.


TGI'n Fine: A resource & care zine for trans, gender non-conforming, & intersex youthZines are DIY self-publications, often small paper booklets easily replicated on copy machines and distributed for free. They’ve historically been a low-barrier way for LGBTQIA+ folks to share advice and art with one another. UVA’s library catalog offers an array of zines and zine-related reads; and when the main library completes its renovation you’ll be able to visit the Scholars' Lab zine wall on the third floor to grab as many free zines on LGBTQIA+ and other topics as you want! For now, here are a couple of LGBTQIA+ zine resources you can access online:


Second, from Brenda Gunn, she/her/hers (Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Preservation):

“The Black Flamingo”

the Black Flamingo by Dean AttaDean Atta’s debut novel, “The Black Flamingo (on order for UVA Library), is a banned book in several locales and states. First published in Great Britain in 2019, Atta’s book launched in the U.S. a year later and met challenges calling for the removal of this young adult novel from library shelves. Atta writes in verse to tell the story of Michael as he transitions from living at home in London with his mother and younger sister, to enrolling in a nearby university to study English in the hopes of becoming a writer. Michael is mixed race; his father is of Jamaican descent and his mother is Greek. He is also gay. Michael moves through novel spaces as a university student and gains strength and motivation from his new experiences, especially with the Drag Society. As he develops his drag persona — the black flamingo — and settles into this group space of acceptance, Michael defines himself in defiance of all those who would try to do that for him. Winner of multiple awards, including the Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association, “The Black Flamingo” should appear on only one list: must read.


Third, from M. Grace Hale, she/hers (Reference Librarian):

“The Mimicking of Known Successes”

The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka OlderThe Mimicking of Known Successes (on order for UVA Library), is a beautifully written novella. Maika Older, the author of the critically acclaimed “Centenal Cycle” series, introduces a cozy sapphic mystery, complete with tea, scones, an elite university, and a gender-bending Sherlockian/Watsonian team. The storyline manages to combine eco-criticism and post-apocalyptic politics with a lightness of heart that keeps you wanting more. The twist is that the story is set on Jupiter where humans have retreated after climate collapse made Earth uninhabitable. Humans have retained a foothold in the solar system by building a colony of ring-like habitats connected by light rail lines around Jupiter but dream of rehabilitating Earth.

The central mystery concerns an unidentified man who goes missing on one of the provincial rail stations, and the shadowy agency that appears to deal with it. Mossa, an investigator, is called on to look into the disappearance. When the missing man turns out to be a scholar from Valdegeld, home to the colony’s elite university, Mossa decides to call on Pleiti, a Classics scholar, to get the inside scoop on faculty life. Pleiti is a specialist in pre-collapse Earth ecosystems and may or may not still have a candle burning for Mossa after their college romance ended badly years before.

The novella pokes wicked fun at the foibles of academia and the dangers of a nostalgia ethos, using minimalist strokes to build a world that leaves the reader wanting to know more. The mystery unfolds on the storm-plagued Valdegeld platform and eventually collides with political maneuvering around the colony’s efforts to repopulate Earth’s ecosystem so humans can someday return. The tone manages to be both cozy and atmospheric, touching with a light hand on the politely cutthroat world of elite research institutions as well as the human capacity for hope.


Lastly, from Mandy Rizki, she/her/hers, (Reference Librarian):

Digital Transgender Archive

The Digital Transgender Archive is an online database compiling archival material from the lives and experiences of transgender people, with more than seventy institutions contributing from around the world. The database can be searched by collection, keyword, or tagged location – meaning photos of trans folks in Berlin in 1920 are tagged in Berlin on a world map, even though they are physically in the Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell! Items in the database include 1990s newsletters from the East Coast FTM group, photographs from the 1978 ‘Gay Day’ parade in San Francisco, newspaper clippings from Sao Paulo, correspondence, and so much more.


Join us for the Holsinger Studio Family Celebration on June 11

By Molly Minturn | Mon, 06/05/2023 - 09:43
Family Day banner


There are only  a few more weeks to catch “Visions of Progress: Portraits of Dignity, Style, and Racial Uplift,” UVA Library’s vibrant exhibition that showcases portraits that African Americans in central Virginia commissioned from the Holsinger Studio during the first decades of the 20th century. Curated by UVA associate professor of history John Edwin Mason, the exhibition has garnered national media attention and drawn thousands of visitors to the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. It closes on June 24.

To celebrate the exhibition’s final weeks, join UVA Library and the Holsinger Studio Portrait Project at a Family Day celebration on June 11 from 1-4 p.m., located in the Small Special Collections Library. Supported by a grant from the Jefferson Trust, Family Day activities include:

  • Tintype portraits by Richmond-based photographer Em White: Registration via Eventbrite required; reservations open today (Monday, June 5) at noon.
  • A portrait studio printing post-modern cartes-de-visite (popular 19th-century calling cards) in the exhibition’s Main Gallery.
  • A Historic Clothing Collection show-and-tell from 1-3 p.m. with Collection Manager [HJP(1] Marcy Linton, featuring garments from the Holsinger Studio era.
  • A visit from the Free Book Bus from 1-3 p.m. at 170 McCormick Road.
  • Storytime readings from local celebrities (including musicians and newscasters), featuring books about photography and portraiture.
  • A “Zine Jam” workshop for tweens and teens with “Women Making Bookscurator Annyston Pennington. Cut, paste, write, and create to make your own zine. (“Women Making Books,” located in the First Floor Gallery in the Small Special Collections Library, closes June 11.)
  • Snacks, make your own portrait, Holsinger Studio coloring books, and more!
  • Free parking in the Central Grounds Garage all day.

“It’s going to be hard to close and deinstall ‘Visions of Progress’ — there has been so much community interest and a steady flow of visitors and joy in our gallery,” said Holly Robertson, Curator of University Library Exhibitions. “We want to end on a high note, and we hope families will bring their kids to experience the exhibition as portrait sitters. And we hope everyone walks away with a sense of pride and understanding when thinking about the Black portrait sitters at the Holsinger Studio one hundred years ago.”

What’s next for UVA Library’s exhibition program? “It’s time to look back at the Harlem Renaissance,” Robertson said. “Get out your flapper dresses and zoot suits because we’re going to have a costume party for the opening of ‘Their World As Big As They Made It: Looking Back at the Harlem Renaissance’ on Wednesday, September 13!”

For more information about the Family Day celebration, visit the Holsinger Studio Portrait Project Page, or email

What recent Supreme Court rulings on copyright and terrorism mean for libraries

By Molly Minturn | Wed, 05/24/2023 - 15:11

What does an iconic Andy Warhol silkscreen portrait of the musician Prince have to do with the work of libraries? It all relates to the issue of fair use, according to Brandon Butler, the University of Virginia Library’s Director of Information Policy. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision about Warhol’s licensing of “Orange Prince,” as well as two other rulings — Twitter v. Taamneh and Gonzalez v. Google — that addressed platform liability for user content.

We spoke with Butler about the rulings and what they mean for libraries. A copyright lawyer, Butler keeps tabs on open access and fair use issues, court rulings, and the future of AI on his blog, The Taper. Check out his thoughts below!

Q. Can you give brief overviews of the Warhol, Twitter, and Gonzalez cases?

Orange Prince
Photo of Andy Warhol's silkscreen portrait of Prince, "Orange Prince" (1984), posted here under fair use.

A. I’ll be as brief as I can! Warhol v. Goldsmith is about (you guessed it) Andy Warhol, and in particular it’s about him licensing one of his celebrity silkscreen portraits of Prince for use on a magazine cover. The portrait was based on a photograph, and the photographer objected to Warhol’s use. The Twitter and Gonzalez cases were about whether platforms like Twitter and Google could be held partly liable for terrorist attacks that the plaintiffs said were incited by content hosted on their platforms. In the end, Warhol lost and the tech platforms won.

Q. What were the main concerns about the cases, especially in terms of how they relate to the work libraries do?

A. For Warhol, the library concern was that the Court would revisit its broad and flexible fair use approach and shrink the scope for lawful fair use of in-copyright works. I joke sometimes that libraries are basically warehouses full of legally encumbered objects, and without fair use libraries and their users would be severely limited in what we can do with the information we work so hard to collect and share. We need fair use for preservation, for computer analysis of text, to serve all patrons regardless of disability, to power criticism and commentary, to mount compelling exhibitions, and on and on. If the court had rolled back fair use in Warhol, it would have been a disaster for us.

The connection between libraries, tech platforms, and antiterrorism laws may be less obvious, but it’s still important. The legal arguments in those cases sought to hold Google and Twitter responsible not only for what users posted to their sites, but also for what viewers did outside of the platforms. This is relevant to libraries because many of us (most university libraries, especially) host information on behalf of our communities, and we need reasonable protections from liability for what we host. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to support things like Libra or UVA Create, because the risk would be too high. Also, I think it’s generally troubling to hold any information provider responsible for what other people do with the information they provide.

Q. Can you walk us through the rulings handed down last week and what they mean for library workers going forward?

A. In the Warhol case, the Court ruled that the Warhol Foundation (which has managed Warhol’s rights since his death) could not license the Warhol Prince image for use on a magazine cover without Goldsmith’s permission because that was too similar (nearly identical, in fact) to the purpose of Goldsmith’s photograph. In fact, when Warhol initially created his Prince images, he was working on commission for Vanity Fair and the magazine paid a license fee to Goldsmith so that Warhol could use the image. The ruling is extremely narrow for this reason — it really only applies in cases like this where the fair user has the same purpose as the original creator and is competing directly with the original work in its intended market. The scholarly and research uses we see in the library are miles away from this kind of stuff, so I’m pretty confident we won’t see many repercussions from Warhol in our work.

In the Twitter and Gonzalez cases, the court actually dodged what folks thought would be a hot-button issue: whether the court would apply a legal provision called Section 230 that protects online platforms when they might otherwise be liable for user speech. The court dodged the question by finding that the tech companies did nothing wrong here, so there was no need to invoke that platform immunity rule.

Q. Do you foresee challenges to these rulings in the future?

A. In a sense, yes. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, of course, so their word on any particular case is final. But the issues they avoided in these cases — when is artistic borrowing unfair, and when should internet companies be shielded from their users’ bad acts — live on, and the lower courts and even Congress are going to be wrestling with them for years to come.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

A. It’s interesting that these cases were all basically non-partisan. In an era when trust of the Supreme Court is at an all-time low, and the Court’s conservative supermajority seems to be flexing its power, there are still some issues where you can’t really predict how people will vote based on who appointed them. In Warhol, both the majority and the dissent were written by liberals and joined by conservatives, with a concurrence written by a conservative and joined by a liberal. In the tech platform cases, hard-right justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a unanimous court. This doesn’t mean the court is apolitical, or that it isn’t bitterly divided, but just that there are some areas of law where those divides haven’t asserted themselves.

Fine Arts Library closed for the summer

By Jeff Hill | Tue, 05/16/2023 - 09:54
Fine Arts Library with construction tape


The Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library will be closed from May 19 to Aug. 15 due to construction on the patio surrounding the building.

Other Library locations will remain open. To find group or study spaces in other Library locations, visit During the closure, Fine Arts materials can be requested in Virgo for delivery to another Library location, and summer course reserves will be available in Clemons Library.

The nearby book drop boxes will also be closed during this time. Open drive-up drop boxes are located at Ivy Stacks and in the Central Grounds Parking Garage and there are a number of walk-up drop boxes elsewhere on Grounds. For directions and maps to all Library locations and drop boxes, visit

Questions? Ask a Librarian or contact your subject liaison.



7 Books (and a movie) to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By Molly Minturn | Tue, 05/09/2023 - 10:15

Guest post by Haley Gillilan (Undergraduate Student Success Librarian), and Keith Weimer (Librarian for History and Religious Studies).

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, making it a great time to feature materials created by, for, and about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Join the Library in celebrating this heritage month and take a look at our recommendations below!

"Saving Time" coverSaving Time: Discovering A Life Behind the Clock” by Jenny Odell (Random House, 2023)

In her follow-up to her great work on resisting the attention economy, “How to Do Nothing,” Jenny Odell examines different senses of time. This book is incredibly expansive, considering the history of timekeeping, how we perceive time, and reflecting on how our relationship with time has changed over the pandemic. I found that this book took me quite some time to read, because I was digesting and savoring every page, and making many annotations. Ultimately, I found Odell’s book thought-provoking and emotionally resonant. —Haley Gillilan

"In Waves" coverIn Waves” by AJ Dungo (Nobrow, 2019)

This beautiful graphic novel by AJ Dungo is a meditation on grief and surfing. While it might not seem as if those two concepts naturally mesh, Dungo weaves together a gorgeous and heartbreaking narrative about the loss of his girlfriend, alongside the history of the sport. Elegant, monochromatic, full-page illustrations of water and islands wash over the reader. For those grappling with sadness, depression, or complicated grief, Dungo’s graphic novel might be a soothing balm and reminder that they are not alone. —Haley Gillilan

The Bandit Queens” by Parini Shroff (Ballantine Books, 2023)

"The Bandit Queens" cover“The Bandit Queens” is unlike anything I’ve ever read. This novel follows a group of women in India who are plotting to get rid of their husbands, but if you think you know where this is going, I assure you that you don’t. I think that this novel would ultimately be considered “women’s fiction,” but it has something for everyone. It’s sadistically funny, tenacious, culturally immersive, and intense, but it also has some cozy mystery elements that many people would love. Anyone looking for an energetic rollercoaster with searing feminist commentary, look no further than Shroff’s “The Bandit Queens.” —Haley Gillilan

Insurrecto” by Gina Apostol (Soho, 2018)

"Insurrecto" coverGina Apostol’s novel “Insurrecto” presents an encounter between a Filipina immigrant, Magsalin (her professional name), and an American filmmaker, Chiara Brasi. Chiara is hoping to finish her father’s film about an uprising against American troops occupying the Philippines after the Spanish-American War, which led to U.S. acquisition of the Philippines, and has hired Magsalin as a translator of and consultant for her script. The novel uses the interactions between the two women, as well as depictions of the uprising and events from the 1970s when both women were children and Chiara’s father was using the Philippines as a set for a film about the Vietnam War, to represent stages in the history of U.S. imperialism and Filipino-American interactions. —Keith Weimer

"Making a Scene" coverMaking A Scene” by Constance Wu (Scribner, 2022)

This book of essays by actress Constance Wu is a refreshing memoir, with a mix of some heavy hitting emotional reflections and heartwarming anecdotes. I was looking forward to this book because Constance Wu has been brave and outspoken about abuse in the entertainment industry, and I wanted to read more about her experiences in her own words. I think that readers in our community might be particularly interested in this work, as Wu grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and some of her childhood memories feature prominently in the book. —Haley Gillilan

"Four Great Treasures of the Sky" coverFour Great Treasures of the Sky” by Jenny Tinghui Zhang (Flatiron Books, 2022)

For those looking for a book about characters living in a time period that is rarely depicted in mainstream media, “Four Treasures of the Sky” might have something to teach you. Our heroine, Daiyu, is smuggled from China to the United States in the 1880s. She adapts to her circumstances and fights for her freedom across the American West. Keep a box of tissues nearby, though, as the book barrels towards a heartbreaking conclusion. In Jenny Tinghui Zhang’s author’s note, she mentions that this book was an attempt to tell a story that is lost to time and give a narrative to those affected by the Chinese Exclusion Act. I recommend this book to all lovers of historical fiction.—Haley Gillilan

"After Yang" film posterAfter Yang” directed by Kogonada (A24 Films, 2021)

A very low-fi science fiction gem, it’s possible that “After Yang” slipped under your radar. Set in a near future where robots are used as nannies, Jake (Colin Farrell) desperately tries to find a fix for his daughter’s adoring and gentle android friend, Yang. In his efforts, he encounters Yang’s life beyond who he was as a babysitter. “After Yang” doesn’t have a lot of flashy special effects or explosions that these types of stories usually come with, but digs deep into existential ideas about grief and contentment. You can stream “After Yang” on our library streaming platform, Swank. —Haley Gillilan

Christian Pluralism in the United States: The Indian Immigrant Experience” by Raymond Brady Williams (Cambridge University Press, 1996)

“Christian Pluralism in the United States" coverRaymond Brady Williams’ scholarly monograph, “Christian Pluralism in the United States: The Indian Immigrant Experience,” provides a through overview of this vibrant segment of the Indian American community circa 1996. Almost every Christian tradition in the American landscape is represented in the Indian community, and these are not all products of imperial missionary endeavors. (The “Mar Thoma Christians” and their “Malabar Rite” Catholic offshoots claim a heritage dating back to Jesus’ disciple Thomas in the first century.) These Christian communities experience many tensions in trying to maintain a faith commitment along with (regional) ethnic and in some cases caste identities, marriage traditions and rituals from the Indian subcontinent. Only the Baptists seem to have built something of a “pan-Indian” identity. A review of Prema Kurien’s 2017 book, “Ethnic Church Meets Megachurch: Indian American Christianity in Motion,” which I haven’t read, suggests that most of these tensions have continued for the past quarter-century, with shifts towards greater Americanization and “nondenominational” Protestantism (trends also present among other American ethnic groups). —Keith Weimer