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.

Libraries Lead in the New Normal Listener’s Guide

For those of you who don’t know, I’m part of a regular podcast on libraries and society in and (hopefully) post COVID. It’ a great time with my partners Beth Patin, and Mike Eisenberg. A great graduate assistant at Syracuse, Jeanne Kambara, put together a listeners guide to all the episodes so far. So, first a blurb on the podcast, and then the guide below. Check out the podcast home here: https://www.acechicagoevents.com/libraries-lead

Libraries Lead the New Normal is a provocative podcast hosted by Beth Patin (Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse U), Dave Lankes (Professor, iSchool, U of Texas), and Mike Eisenberg (Dean/Professor Emeritus, iSchool, U of Washington) &

There’s an emerging new normal. 2020 was brutal and has affected all aspects of our lives. As we come out of the pandemic in 2021 and beyond, we must ask, “Are these changes temporary and short-lived or are more fundamental and long-term?” It seems like this is a good time for re-examination and possibly reset of home-life and work-life, education, commerce, social life, politics, and even recreation. We think that this can be a valuable time for life-altering, ground breaking, and transformative change.

Continue reading “Libraries Lead in the New Normal Listener’s Guide”

Libraries Leading the New Normal & Beyond

“Libraries Leading the New Normal & Beyond.” Internet Librarian 2021. Online.

Abstract: Insurrection, pandemic, racial awakening, climate crisis, a looming wealth gap. Libraries of all types are functioning in a time unlike any in history. What role can librarians play in times such as these? The answer must be to rebuild trust and reaffirm the foundations of our very democratic ideals one community at a time. Librarians are joining with those in our communities in forging a new normal that embraces diversity over division, collaboration over ideology, and seeks a unified equitable future. But how do libraries have a bigger impact, how do they ensure their communities see libraries as a major partner, and how do libraries move to next level and advance their agenda on a global scale.

Continue reading “Libraries Leading the New Normal & Beyond”