Help! Connecting Great Students with Great Libraries

Looking to get some projects done and help students at the same time?

Library students in the Texas program are required to complete a Capstone project. These projects are 125 hours that constitute: 

“a fieldwork-based project under the guidance of a field supervisor from the organization or department sponsoring the project. Students must produce a deliverable and undertake a single, large project (not several small ones) as one of the aims of a PEP is for students to learn how to manage a considerable piece of work and deal with obstacles and challenges that arise in long projects.”

I am funding students to work with libraries on projects. These could be anything from planning a new type of service, examining the effectiveness of programs, or developing professional development. The only constraints are that unlike internships, this about one big project, students must be able to do the work remotely, and the results must be shared.

I will be meeting with these students on a regular basis to provide support and mentoring. This should minimize the amount of time you or your staff need to supervise the students. If you are interested in capstone projects, I will need an abstract of the project and a point person. Also, beyond the paid scholars, I will happily connect students to interesting projects.

If you are interested in supporting Capstone projects, please let me know (rdlankes@utexas.edu). As this work evolves, I would be very interested in your ideas on improving it for future years. Also, please feel to share this with colleagues that might be interested.

Here’s a list of previous projects:

On the Passing of Virginia Bowden

I am sad to report that Dr. Virginia Bowden, librarian, philanthropist, art lover, has passed away. Virginia with her husband Charles funded the Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship that I am honored to currently hold.

Virginia was a true force in librarianship, particularly medical librarianship. I am linking to her full obituary to read about this remarkable woman: computer programer, analyst, librarian, director, PhD holder:

https://www.missionparks.com/obituaries/Virginia-Bowden-3/#!/Obituary

What I will remember is her passion for library science students and the field. She wanted her support to connect students to the incredible library community. She saw the power in peers and community. She wanted students to see libraries in action, yes, but also the connections that happened at library conferences. She urged me to serve librarians in the field and student alike. She urged me to show the students the power of libraries beyond collections and buildings.

I am, and always will be, indebted to her for her service and support. I only wish I had more time to talk with her, and plan with her, and share. I will do my best to live up to her legacy and generosity.

The Bowden Professor Presents Angela Craig

For those in the Austin area, please join us to hear from Angela Craig, the great library director of Charleston County Public Library Tuesday April 5th at the Austin Public Library: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/angela-craig-director-charleston-county-public-library-tickets-310531848117

Angela Craig will speak about her work at the Charleston County Public Library in South Carolina with a focus on community engagement

About this event

Angela Craig has been Executive Director of the Charleston County Public Library since April 2019. Angela started with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in 2005. In her 15 years with public libraries, she has spent time cultivating creativity, collaborating with staff, and developing a patron-focused experience by removing barriers to library services.
While adept at working with all populations, Angela has specialized in increasing library access to vulnerable populations and underserved communities. In 2013, she published Serving At-Risk Teens: Proven Strategies and Programs for Bridging the Gap, culminating in a visit to South Korea as their keynote speaker for the International Youth Symposium in 2015.

Active in national and regional professional library groups, Angela holds a master’s degree of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University. Angela believes in the transformative power of reading and literacy, and that strong public libraries are a platform to meet the needs of their community. A mother of two, she is a huge fan of reading to her children, is an avid reader of all genres and loves to talk to people about their favorite books.

This event is supported by the Virginia and Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship at the University of Texas at Austin. Angela Craig is also an advisor the the Bowden Professor.

Video Sharing & So Much More: New N2L2 Episode

Episode 17: Video Sharing & So Much More

Beth Patin, Dave Lankes, & Mike Eisenberg

YouTube has more than 2 billion active users collectively viewing over 5 billion videos totaling a combined 1 billion hours of video viewing every day!! Tik Tok is the new kid on the block, just 4 years old worldwide, and already with over 1 billion active users watching 167 million videos every minute! These two entities wield tremendous influence across every demographic. Clearly more than benign video sharing platforms, they are mass media publishers, social media exchanges, and content creation streaming services. What’s the scoop? Are they valuable and helpful services or is there a darker side? Let’s find out.

Click here for episode page and previous episodes.

On the Passing of Charles Bowden

This month we lost Dr. Charles Bowden, professor, scientist, doctor, art lover, and the ‘Charles’ in my title: Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship. Dr. Bowden made tremendous advances in the treatment of bipolar disorder as a clinical professor at the University of Texas Health San Antonio.

I had the opportunity to meet Charles with his equally impressive wife Virginia last year. I am glad I had the opportunity. In that meeting with the Bowdens we talked about the importance of connecting students to the greater library community. This is evident in how my endowed professorship was set up.

Virginia and Charles have been generous supporters of the University of Texas iSchool, often funding infrastructure and excellence funds that allow academics to get things done. This was based on his experience as a professor as well as Virginia’s academic experience. In setting up the Bowden professorship, they made sure I had the ability as well as the obligation to innovate.

If you would like to see what combining great science with great broad impact looks like, take a look at his profile at UT Health.

I know in the weeks to come many will talk of Charles and his accomplishments. I know many voices from his family, colleagues, and friends will fill in the picture of a man making a difference. For myself, this sad moment is an opportunity to recommit to making a positive impact in the world, using scholarship to improve society, not simply document it. Thank you Charles for your support and your work. Rest in peace.

Here is his obituary: https://www.missionparks.com/obituaries/Charles-Bowden-4/#!/Obituary

Chloe Santiago: Bowden Capstone Scholar

 I am building a framework for a grant-fundable program to train library leaders on power building and political and financial literacy. This program will be specifically geared towards libraries who struggle to receive adequate funding, particularly those in low-income areas and historically BIPOC communities, in order for those library leaders to have the knowledge and tools necessary to lobby for increased funding from their local governments.


Bio: Chloe Santiago is pursuing an MSIS at the UT Austin School of Information. She is interested in the potential to improve social, racial, and economic justice outcomes through advocacy for and through public libraries.

Sarah Varenhorst : Bowden Capstone Scholar

For my capstone project, I am working with San Diego State University’s health science librarian on a LibGuide related to health science information, with a focus on vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic. For this project, I am starting by researching information standards relevant to health science information and then using these standards to find information to add to the LibGuide. This is part of a project encapsulating libraries across San Diego County, including academic, hospital, and public libraries. I am excited to use this opportunity to grow as a future librarian and learn more about how to handle information related to sensitive topics such as health science. 


Bio: I am from Mustang, Oklahoma and I attended Pomona College in California for my BA in psychological science. I plan to pursue a career in education and outreach librarianship. 

Jessica Gonzales: Bowden Capstone Scholar

Summer Reading Programs are a long-standing tradition for engaging public library communities and combatting summer learning loss among children. The Chattanooga Public Library is looking at ways to enhance its Summer Reading Programs. Over the past few years, the Chattanooga Public Library has not observed any significant literacy or engagement impacts within the community as a result of Summer Reading Programs. For this project, I will conduct a literature review, consult with children’s librarians, and analyze data to provide recommendations for future programming. 


Jessica Gonzales is currently a Master’s candidate at the University of Texas School of Information. She is interested in community outreach and youth services in public library settings. 

Emma Hetrick: Bowden Capstone Scholar

I am working with library programs affiliated with the U.S. Embassy in Rome. Specifically, I am working with the American Corner YouLab in Pistoia and the American Corner in Trieste. The goal of my project is to enhance the reading collections of both Corners, as well as create a better understanding of studying in the U.S. Over the course of the semester I will: 1) Create a virtual tour of a small selection of books to be shared on social media channels of both Corners; 2) Create a bibliography of U.S. books by authors of diverse backgrounds and about topics of diversity (especially race and disability) for young readers; 3) Participate in a virtual webchat with Italian students on studying in the U.S.; and 4) Participate in at least virtual book reading club with the option of leading one. 


I am in my third and final year of the dual degree program in Information Studies and English at UT. I am passionate about humanistic research and increasing inclusivity and accessibility in academic spaces and hope to work in an academic library or archive after graduating.

Miriam Early: Bowden Capstone Scholar

This year as the Bowden Professor I funded 5 Bowden Capstone Scholars. These students are working on their final projects in the University of Texas at Austin’s Masters of Information. These posts describe the projects they are working on.

For my capstone project, I am working with the Georgia Public Library Service to provide management, training, and support for GPLS’s DigEx program, which offers administrative support for public library-created digital exhibits using the Omeka S platform, while leaving site-level control to the libraries to curate their content. I am working with three cohort sites across Georgia to assist the libraries in mounting one exhibit each, for public launch by June 1st, 2022. I am also assisting cohort members with conducting historical and copyright research, fact-checking, and editing interpretive content for the exhibits.

Part of the project will involve loading digital objects through the Digital Library of Georgia’s API into Omeka S using Python script and providing item-level metadata remediation as needed. I will also be developing additional curriculum and interactive tools as necessary to each exhibit, as well as attending review sessions with the cohort members and GPLS advisory team and providing feedback on exhibit progress and site improvements. In the final stages of the project, I will be updating the cohort user guide for future use and creating short Omeka S, KnightLab, and other integration video tutorials for contribution to the DigEx program and user community.


Miriam Early is a graduate student in the School of Information at the University of Texas. Her studies in the program have been focused on metadata theory and practice, physical and digital materials management and preservation, and exhibit development.