Bowden Professor First Year Highlights

The following are some of the highlights of my work as the Bowden Professor.

The New Logo for the work of the Bowden Professorship

Invited Speakers with Students:

Angela Craig, Director Charleston County Public Library

Roosevelt Weeks, Director Austin Public Library

Dianne Connery, Pottsboro Public Library

John Chrastka, EveryLibrary

Bowden Capstone Scholars:

Chloe Santiago – framework for a grant-fundable program to train library leaders on power building and political and financial literacy specifically geared towards libraries who struggle to receive adequate funding, particularly those in low-income areas and historically BIPOC communities

Sarah Varenhorst – With San Diego State University’s health science librarian developed resources related to health science information, with a focus on vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jessica Gonzales – Worked with the Chattanooga Public Library in looking at ways to enhance its Summer Reading Programs and transform them into true early literacy efforts.

Emma Hetrick – Worked with the U.S. Embassy in Rome on the American Corner YouLab in Pistoia and the American Corner in Trieste. The goal of the project was to enhance the reading collections of both Corners, as well as create a better understanding of studying in the U.S.

Miriam Early – Worked 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.

Libraries Lead the New Normal:

Podcast hosted by Beth Patin (Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University), David Lankes (Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor, iSchool, University of Texas at Austin), and Mike Eisenberg (Dean/Professor Emeritus, iSchool, University of Washington); 19 Episodes and Counting

Assessing the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC):

Contracted with TSLAC to evaluate effectiveness of federal library funds. Helped to set the next five-year plan for supporting Texas libraries. Developing capacity within TSLAC to use data on library impact and advocacy for the state’s rural libraries. Developing voluntary certification for rural library staff to provide better service, and to defend the free expression of ideas.

Rural Library Development:

Working with rural libraries, such as Jarrell and Pottsboro, to improve library service to rural populations, and the nearly 2 million Texans with no library service.

Externally Funded Projects:

New Librarianship Symposia, IMLS and Others. Organizer. Convened an international series of symposia on the issues of post-neutrality librarianship; diversity, equity, and inclusion; cross-border connections; and a post-COVID new normal agenda. The New Librarianship Symposium Series was sponsored by the University of South Carolina, MIT Press, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, the U.S. Library of Congress, the British Library, KB National Library of the Netherlands, OCLC, URFIST de Bordeaux, Enssib, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, the American Indian Library Association, the University of Texas at Austin Bowden Folio, and Gigabit Libraries Network. $35,000

NEWCOMER Building a Network Community Centered Librarianship, Erasmus+ European Union. Project Consultant. Build a network of librarians from Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and the Netherlands to exchange best practice in community librarianship focused on inclusion and adult education. $137,798 (€117,250)

LADDER An IMLS funded project to prepare technically oriented future-faculty to teach library science students topics such as AI and data science. Partners include Austin Public Library, University of Texas Libraries, and Navarro High School. Co-PIS, Soo Young Rieh, Ken Fleischmann, David Lankes. $623,501

Presentations:

“Less; Better.” State Librarian’s Program, New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference 2022. Atlantic City, NJ.

“Serving & Saving Communities.” Tennessee Library Association Annual Conference 2022. Knoxville, TN.

“Relationships Instead of Transaction.”  X Congreso Nacional de Bibliotecas Públicas. Online.

“New Librarianship and Defining the Role of Librarians in Today’s Communities.” National Library of Peru. Online

“Challenges of Academic Libraries in the Digital Landscape: Retaining Value by Retaining the Human Connection” National Library Day Keynote. Sharda University, Greater Noida, India.

“Come together: Librarians across borders for better communities.” Next Library Festival 2021. Online.

“New Librarianship and Our Better Angels.” #vBIB as an independent, digital conference – organized by the Professional Association Information Library (BIB) and TIB – Leibniz Information Center Technology and Natural Sciences and University Library. Online.

“A New Normal – Renaissance of the public Library.” Stelline Conference, Milan, Italy. Online.

“Libraries Leading the New Normal.” Computers in Libraries 2021. Online.

“Librarians Building the New Normal.” Brazilian Federation of Associations of Librarians, Information Scientists and Institutions Keynote. Via Video.

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:

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.