Pop Culture Series: National Library Week

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By Lauren Fralinger, Learning & Research Services

When was the last time you were in the library here at UM? This morning? This afternoon, for a class? Or were you planning to spend a couple hours there tonight, catching up on homework? Perhaps you’re even sitting in one of the University’s libraries now, reading this article from your laptop.

Whatever your major, you’ve likely spent countless hours over the course of your college career in one of the University of Miami’s libraries, checking out books, doing homework and research, or just studying for your classes. From the books they provide to the staff that run them, libraries are a critical part of the academic journey.

This month, from April 10-16, is National Library Week, an opportunity to recognize and celebrate libraries, their staff, and all they do to help their communities learn and grow.

Founded in 1958 with the goal of encouraging people to unplug the radio, turn off the television, and pick up a book, National Library Week hoped to motivate people to make use of the library and all of its resources. In the 1950s, the library’s resources primarily meant books, magazines, and spaces for programs. Though books, magazines, and events are still critical to the services that libraries provide, technology has vitally changed the way we interact with and utilize libraries.

The theme of this year’s National Library Week is “Libraries Transform.” In the more than fifty years since its inception, libraries have undergone massive changes to adapt to new technologies and new needs. Gone are the days when libraries were mere repositories for books; in today’s world, libraries not only host information in books and journals, they are becoming interactive learning spaces that support a wide variety of needs.

Transformation is underway in the libraries here at UM as well. Over the past year librarians and staff at UM Libraries, together with their campus partners, have been planning for the future Learning Commons on the first floor of Richter Library. The Learning Commons will make key educational services centrally and conveniently available to the entire UM community. Students are encouraged to try out the different spaces, services, and technologies in the Visioning Studio for the Future Learning Commons. There are a number of resources now available:

  • The Writing Center and Academic Resource Center are offering services in the library’s new Consultation Hub, providing students with help on every phase of their research, from finding articles to polishing off their papers.
  • If it all becomes a bit too much, and someone needs a break from all the studying, the library is currently building a Brain Spa for students to visit and relax, filling it with puzzles, games, and chalkboard cubes for doodling.
  • More of these kinds of changes are on the way for Fall 2016, as the Math Lab, Academic Technologies and IT plan to move in and provide even more centralized support for students in Richter.

In addition to everything that Richter provides, there are five other libraries at the University of Miami with doors open to any student who wishes to use them. The Judi Prokop Newman Information Resource Center, University of Miami Law Library, Paul Buisson Architecture Library, Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library, and Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Library are all equipped to support students with world-class resources and specialized assistance for business, law, architecture, music, and marine science students.

The next time you visit one of the University of Miami’s libraries, be sure to talk to librarians and staff. Remember – we’re here to help! We hope to make the library your home away from home.

Want to know more about what’s up at the UM Libraries? Check out the links below!



Dr. Alejandro Portes Launches Latest Work at CHC

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by Meiyolet Méndez and Sarah Block

On Wednesday, March 30, the Cuban Heritage Collection hosted the North American launch of the book The State and the Grassroots: Immigrant Transnational Organizations in Four Continents. The book, which explores immigration topics through the lens of sociology and public health, was co-edited by Alejandro Portes, University of Miami Professor of Sociology and Law. The event was co-presented with the Miami Institute for the Americas and UM’s Department of Sociology.

A panel of experts, including David Abraham (University of Miami Professor of Law), Jorge Dominguez (Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies Chair), and Felicia Knaul (University of Miami Professor and Director of the Miami Institute for the Americas), examined Dr. Portes’ work. President Julio Frenk delivered the closing remarks.

_NN25772Portes described his inspiration for the book as “the way immigrants organize to both defend themselves and their identities. They promote their well-being in the receiving countries as well as protagonism in the regions and countries from which they came.”

One key finding of his work is that in many cases immigration as a cyclical process, in which people move back and forth between home and receiving countries, is not a “zero-sum game.” “People are very much attached to the culture and language that they came from, and such attachments are not inimical to successful cultural and political incorporation in the receiving country,” he said.

In the closing remarks, President Julio Frenk, who earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan, said the book allowed him to revisit his scholarly roots. “I enjoyed reading both the insights and the arcane language of my colleagues in the social sciences,” he said. He also noted the event marked his first book launch since becoming president of the University of Miami. “These events greatly contribute to the intellectual vigor of our institution.”

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Professor William Walker Tells Tales of ‘On-the-Road’ Genealogical Research

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Questions of ancestry are a known source of debate at family dinners; in some cases those questions still linger beyond the meal. As a table is cleared, chairs pushed in, and everyone heads home, some find that, out of these questions, a new kind of appetite takes form.

UM Professor William Walker, former dean of UM Libraries, can relate to this feeling. He has spent the past seven years engaged in genealogical investigation that began in just such a way.

Walker discussed the challenges and rewards of his work in the March 15 presentation, “Hop into the Jalopy: Tales of ‘On-the-Road’ Genealogical Research.” Using his own work as an example, Walker shed light on the wide variety of resources available in retracing one’s family history. In addition to making use of online information, Walker is a strong advocate for stepping away from the computer and taking to the road.

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, Walker was raised with the belief that many of his ancestors, some who settled in the area, came from England. Their surname was Chick.

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Professor William Walker’s genealogical work has led him to cemeteries and courthouses, small-town historical societies and public libraries, and the villages and streets where early nineteenth-century settlers lived.

“It was a point of pride for my mother,” Walker said. “When I would ask her about our background, she would say ‘Well we’re English, Welsh, some German – [and as if to say ‘in case you missed it’] did I say English?’”  This version of his ancestry, long informing familial traditions and in some ways his own identity, was called into question, however, when a great-aunt brought up one night that the family’s actual name was shortened from “Kovalchick.” “I immediately started to wonder, is this true? Did the Chicks exist? That’s when I started digging.”

As he built the first rungs of his family tree on Ancestry.com, Walker found the answer was yes – he was a Chick, and the Chicks lived for decades in the south of England. That discovery then led to new questions.

“What you want to gain in doing genealogy is a story,” Walker explained in his presentation at the Otto G. Richter library. “You want to understand – beyond names and dates – why they moved and what their lives were like in these new places.” Uncovering this level of detail in his ancestry would ultimately require deeper research across libraries and historical resources far and wide. In the process, he retraced the lives of Jane McCullough and Harriet Bogle, two of his great-great-grandmothers, who settled in regions of Ohio and Pennsylvania during the late 1800s.

Bogle, from his maternal side, lived most of her life in Dubois, PA, a coal-mining and lumber town twenty miles from where Walker grew up. “My mother had no recollection of her; I had never heard of her.” So when he found her obituary in the town’s historical society, he was amazed by the level of detail recounting her life. “Her parents came over from Yorkshire, England, and were weavers. She ran a truck wagon, then a small store, a series of hotels. She continued running her businesses up until the time she died. Remarkably, she had acquired quite a small fortune.”

Some information came in shorter strands, requiring patience as well as persistence. Locating property records in one Ohio courthouse, for instance, meant standing in line for hours behind gas and oil reps in the quest for fracking contracts. That was after walking a cemetery three times before finally coming across the standalone grave of McCullough, his paternal great-great grandmother. “I have no photograph of her, so in a way this was the only memory of her I had. Her name, and these two interlocking hands carved on top of the tombstone.”

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Walker shared early records he’s found retracing the lives of two great-great grandmothers in “Hop into the Jalopy” at Richter Library.

Wanting to know more about her life ultimately took him even further across the country. In the Family History Library, in Salt Lake City, Utah, he found maps and newsletters from around the time McCullough was alive. He found her 80-acre plot of land in Harrison County, Ohio, that Jane and Robert Walker cleared and farmed. “I really started to gain a sense of connectedness while I was there,” he said.

Walker explained that the Family History Library, which is run by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, is the strongest resource of genealogical records for the United States and abroad. The Church also operates an online ancestry resource known as FamilySearch.com; it along with Ancestry.com, partners with the U.S. National Archives to help preserve and make available documents such as census and naturalization records.

Finding records on the other side of the pond, however, can be challenging, especially in regards to ancestors of Ireland, where records for many areas were lost due to years of civil unrest and the burning of the Public Records Office in 1922. Still, in addition to visiting there, digging through records offices, knocking on doors and talking to people, he’s found the internet resource findmypast.com particularly helpful for international research. “People are finding ways to patch together records in very interesting ways. My favorite is that in Ireland during the 1800s you had to register your dog, and you had to provide more than your name. So these registries for dog tags have become extremely valuable in lieu of census data.”

And yet the path to some answers have, in a sense, been with him all along. It was through DNA testing, which has gained in popularity in recent years, that he learned Harriet Bogle’s husband, Robert Wallace Bogle, died in the Snake River panning for gold.  “DNA testing is very useful for people doing genealogy because not only does it give you a breakdown by percentile of your heritage, it also matches you with relatives.” After getting in touch with a second cousin he’d never met – who knew many details about Harriet – he was then able to fill in a number of gaps about her life.

The data also revealed lineage in Scandinavia, Greece, and Italy, regions to which Walker never considered as his heritage. “This really gives you a different view of who you are.”

For UM students and employees interested in genealogy, the Libraries provide free access to Ancestry Library Edition. There, users can start their own family trees and find a number of other genealogical tools.

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“This really gives you a different view of who you are,” Walker said.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.



UM Student on “Pan American University”

By David Colbus, Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences
Student Assistant, University Archives

Throughout last fall, the University Archives worked to curate and install the Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On exhibit on Richter Library’s first floor. This was the first exhibit I encountered as a new University Archives assistant. To introduce me to the Archives’ work and purpose, my supervisor Marcia Heath gave me a tour of the recently completed display. The exhibit celebrates Pan Americanism, the University’s 90 years of history, and the new president, Dr. Julio Frenk. Beyond teaching me about my new role in the Archives, this exhibit educated me on the University’s history, and how that history informs the institution it is today.

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“Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On,” located on the first floor of the Otto G. Richter Library, features historical materials dating back to UM’s founding years. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibit tells us that “Before there were University of Miami students or faculty, defined programs, or even a single building, the enduring concept of UM as the Pan American University had taken form.” Congressman William Jennings Bryan dreamed up this concept, one George Merrick and other founding members of the University strongly shared. Merrick envisioned a “university of our own tropical America…to supply that definite unfilled need of a cultural contact by university facilities with all of Latin America.” This Pan American University would invite cultural and academic exchange across all the Americas. This ideal informed the University’s earliest programs, research focuses, and even the University’s original architectural design. Victor and Rafael Belaúnde were specifically recruited to teach Latin American history and economics, and their establishment of the University’s Hispanic American Studies and Hispanic American Institute set the stage for many of today’s Hispanic-focused programs. The University of Miami also maintained close academic contact with the University of Havana through its early years to facilitate the academic exchange that Pan Americanism called for.

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Photo featured in the exhibition of UM drama students outside of the capitol building in Havana, Cuba, c. 1950s, from the University Archives.

University Archivist Koichi Tasa came up with the vision for the exhibit and served as its chief curator, culling records from the Office of the President Records as well as visual materials from the UM Historical Photograph Collection and UM Campus Architecture Collection, among others from the University Archives.  “It’s a great occasion to showcase our collections and knowledge about UM’s history,” Tasa said.

Archives specialist Marcia Heath worked with Tasa in research for the exhibit, and supervised the Archives’ assistants in their tasks. “We have an opportunity to start and frame important discussions about history, culture, and diversity in our community,” Heath said. “This resource encourages students to broaden their horizons.”

The exhibit was a collaborative effort within the UM Libraries and beyond: Beatrice Skokan and Yvette Yurubi from the Special Collections department and Meiyolet Mendez from the Cuban Heritage Collection researched and provided materials on topics such as the founding of Coral Gables and friendship between UM and the University of Havana. The Library Communications team provided editorial and promotional assistance for the exhibition. They also worked with local artist and UM alum Alex Vahan (Cushy Gigs, Inc.) in the creation of an eye-catching photographic collage surrounding the exhibition space.

Archives’ student assistants Jodiann Heron, Davin Stencil, Cody Andreoni, Sabrina Anand, and I located and researched materials for the exhibit. “What I really like is learning so much about the University. Every single day you learn something different,” Heron said. When I looked through the display cases, I remember being amazed by the complexity and importance of the exhibit. Yes, the exhibit focuses on the cornerstone idea of Pan Americanism and the University of Miami’s close ties to Latin America, following through the University’s creation and history, as well as into the modern day. However, it also locates one of the University’s greatest strengths, our diversity, within that original idea of Pan Americanism. It shows how the University’s devotion to broader understandings of cultural acceptance, of diversity, of peace and equality, stem from this one idea.

This exhibit represents the University Archives in capacity and purpose, and represents its role they could play for the future. Looking forward to 2026, the University will be celebrating its 100th anniversary. The University Archives will play an integral role of this celebration, showing the growth and evolution of our University from the ideals that it was founded upon. I hope that all of the University of Miami, every department and office, helps us in this endeavor. “If anyone in the University wants to celebrate their anniversary, the Archives are here to work with them,” Tasa said. When the centennial celebrations arrive, everyone at this university, everyone who has contributed to its achievements and shaped its reputation, deserve to be celebrated as a part of that history, so that their efforts and accomplishments are remembered, and their spirit and ideals are passed on for those to come.

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Local artist and UM alum Alex Vahan (Cushy Gigs, Inc.) created the historical wall design for the exhibition space using digitized archival materials. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibition “The Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On” is on view on the first floor of Otto G. Richter Library through May 2016.



Learn a new language!

 

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The University of Miami Libraries subscribe to Mango Languages, an interactive, online resource for learning a language.  Whether you are preparing for the trip of a lifetime, seeking personal or professional development, or learning English to settle in the U.S., Mango can help you start that essential conversation.  Every course, chapter, and lesson is designed to simulate the way people learn a foreign language when immersed in everyday life.

Mango may be used from anywhere you have an Internet connection — the library, your home, or even a smartphone using the free mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.  Explore fifty foreign language courses, as well as fifteen English as a Second Language classes, all taught by a variety of native language speakers.

It’s simple to get started.  Visit Mango Languages, create a profile, and start learning!

 

HOW MANGO WORKS

Vocabulary
Mango focuses on words and phrases that will be the most valuable in common, real-life situations for each specific language and culture.

Pronunciation
Mango’s course audio is recorded by native speakers, giving users the best possible models for their own pronunciation.  A voice comparison feature allows students to compare their pronunciation to the narrator’s, using a visual representation to note the differences.

Grammar
Grammar instruction is at the core of Mango’s methodology.  Since each lesson is based on actual conversation, Mango students are constantly learning grammar and sentence structure, at the same time that they’re learning vocabulary and pronunciation.

Culture
Mango integrates cultural insights into each lesson, ensuring that users develop an understanding of the expectations, customs, and etiquette of the culture they are studying.  This helps learners navigate the most appropriate language to use in particular situations and with different audiences.

 

The UM Libraries and Mango are your gateway to new opportunities.  Create your profile now!

For additional information, contact Lisa Baker, Education & Outreach Librarian.