Today we meet Erika Coronado, who joined the Libraries in Februrary 2022 and spends her days landing content for our users and finding ways to stretch our budgets while doing so.
What made you decide to work in a library?
Erika Coronado: As someone who is an avid reader, I enjoy being surrounded by books. I love that working in libraries gives me access to thousands of books and many other valuable resources. I feel I work in paradise.
What’s your title, and what do you do for UTL?
EC: I am an Electronic Resources Coordinator and form part of the Content Management team. I am responsible for reviewing and negotiating the licenses of our e-resources, setting up library trials, collecting and maintaining usage statistics of e-resources, and assisting with some of the troubleshooting. I also help maintain the integrity of data within Alma.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
EC: I take great satisfaction in helping others and knowing that I can make a positive impact.
What are you most proud of in your job?
EC: The proudest moment for me is each time I realize I can save our library funds – either by negotiating quotes and getting a much lower cost, catching orders that can be canceled, or preventing purchases from happening either because we already own or have access to the resource.
What has been your best experience at the Libraries?
EC: The many good relationships I have developed during the time I have work for the Libraries. I work with such amazing and talented colleagues who are always willing to lend a hand. I am also grateful to work with a team that values and fosters learning, new ideas, and promotes growth.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
EC: I spend a great deal of my time assembling jigsaw puzzles. I love all kinds, but especially the ones that challenge me!
Dogs or cats?
EC: I don’t have any pets, but I prefer dogs. I sometimes pet sit two dogs – a cute chubby Chihuahua (who is missing an eye) and a very friendly, energetic mutt.
Favorite book, movie or album?
EC: This is hard to answer, as I don’t have favorites. My favorite book genres are psychological thrillers, mystery, and crime novels. I love Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. I also love books that keep me up at night. I am currently reading books by the author Alex North. I find his novels spooky and engrossing – his books are hard to put down.
Cook at home, or go out for dinner? What and/or where?
EC: I have bad eating habits as I tend to eat out most of the time. I usually prefer to explore food trucks over to restaurants, and since I like all kinds of cuisine, there are lots to choose from. One of my favorite places is Beirut Restaurant, a food truck that serves delicious Lebanese dishes.
The University of Texas Libraries is collaborating with other local heritage institutions to highlight the contributions of Black historians to the study of antiquity.
“Black Classicists in Texas” is a free public exhibition, celebrating the life and work of classicists of color in Austin and Central Texas. In 1900, Reuben Shannon Lovinggood, the Chair of the Greek and Latin Department at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, made an impassioned argument against those who minimized the value of liberal education, especially Classics, for Black people. In the same year, Lovinggood became the first president of Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson University), and a pillar of the Austin Black community.
But he was not the only one.
The exhibition tells the story of Central Texas’ early educators of color and their passion for the study of antiquity. Explore images, archival materials, interviews, and current scholarship to find out more about Lovinggood, L.C. Anderson, H.T. Kealing and their vibrant community of scholars, students and public intellectuals. Learn about Classics and its place in historic debates on Black self-determination, and find out more about classical education in Austin today.
This exhibition is a collaboration between the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas Libraries, the Black Diaspora Archive at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, the Downs-Jones Library at Huston-Tillotson University, and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.Visit the three exhibition sites at the Benson Collection at the University of Texas at Austin, Huston-Tillotson University, and the Carver Museum.
For more information on the exhibitions, including a self-guided tour and additional resources, visit the Black Classicists in Texas website at https://bcatx.org/.
“Black Classicists in Texas” will be on view through December 22, 2023.
Over the past year, Adriana Cásarez, U.S. Studies and African Studies Librarian, played a key role in coordinating the “Black Classicists in Texas” exhibition project, and worked in partnership with Libraries’ colleagues Rachel E. Winston, Dr. D Ryan Lynch, Dr. Lorraine J. Haricombe, Shiela Winchester, Mary Rader, and Aaron Choate.
On April 20, the Libraries participated in Bike to UT Day, an event promoting cycling and celebrating bicycle commuters and human-powered transportation at UT Austin.
Sean O’Bryan, Britt Wilson, and Andrew Nolan attended the event and promoted UT Libraries’ “Pick It Up” service and LibHub delivery while displaying UT Libraries’ delivery bicycle. The event was well attended despite the rainy forecast and many attendees stopped to talk about the delivery bike and UT Libraries’ services.
Always a conversation starter, the bike was especially of interest to passing Faculty, Facilities staff, and library supporters many of whom took pictures of it. Also, the event turned out to be a good recruiting venue as we were able to recruit an enthusiastic new student worker for LibHub who is excited about being able to move requested library resources around campus by bicycle.
All in all, it was a successful event and good PR for the Libraries’ “Pick It Up” service. See the video below.
Meet Haleigh Wyrostek (Hay-Lee Why-Ross-Tech), PCL User Services Coordinator, and mostly landlocked marine biologist…
What’s your title, and what do you do for the Libraries?
User Services Coordinator (Sr. Library Specialist) at the PCL. I supervise the student assistants of the check-out desk and other various circulation and reference-based tasks.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
The student employees at the desk! Without doubt.
What are you most proud of in your job?
The relationships I’ve made with my colleagues and the students who work at the desk.
What has been your best experience at the Libraries?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the sense of community I’ve gained through working here is the best part of the experience. With my coworkers, assuredly, but also with the students and faculty members I interact with at the desk. Everyone has opened their hearts to welcome me and that is not easy to do. I am very grateful, thank you everyone.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I ride motorcycles and scuba dive.
Favorite body of water? Why? (Sorry…this is a bit of cheat question.)
Atlantic Ocean! I’ve visited the ocean (mostly in Florida) my whole life and quickly became enamored. I actually got my BS in marine biology because of my love for the ocean.
Dogs or cats?
Favorite book, movie or album?
Author – Anne Rice
Movie – Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Album – Parachutes by Coldplay
Cook at home, or go out for dinner? What and/or where?
Cook at home, mac and cheese!
What’s the future hold?
Due to the big changes I’ve experienced in my personal life lately, I take it day by day. I’ve been thinking about grad school. In terms of work, I look forward to learning more about the inner workings of the organization and its role in the university community overall. I dream of strengthening the relationships between circulation staff and librarians.
The Libraries, in partnership with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREEES), recently launched the Documenting the Cold War site. The site serves as a hub for all digitized archival materials related to the Cold War from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Archive, which are housed in the university’s online repository, Texas ScholarWorks.
This open access online archive was initiated by CREEES Director Mary Neuburger in an effort to digitize significant collections of primary documents from the the LBJ Presidential Library that enhance our understanding of the Cold War. Neuburger and her students coordinated with European Studies Librarian Ian Goodale to digitally-preserve identified materials. Goodale created the new site with Global Studies GRA Jyotsna Vempati, who crafted and implemented its design and user interface.
While select documents from the LBJ collection can already be found online, the project focused on the digitization of National Security country files from the former Eastern Bloc. Because these documents are open record, the LBJ Presidential Library has allowed unlimited scanning and open access presentation of such documents.
“We hope the site will further expand access to the amazing digital scholarship and digitized archival materials at UT,” says Goodale, “and that the resource will continue to be used as a research aid and pedagogical tool by users at UT and beyond.”
Widely recognized as literature of the people, the cordel (plural: cordéis) is a Luso-Brazilian literary form. The rhythmic, lyric poems are generally packaged as inexpensive chapbooks aimed at common folk. Cordel literature is practically synonymous with Brazil’s agricultural Northeast, a historically poor and drought-prone region.
While the cordel is a form that is almost synonymous with the verses written inside, it is strongly associated with the woodcut prints that adorn many covers. Often produced by self-taught artists, the cover art and other prints by these printmakers are much sought after by collectors.
You can currently see many examples of this form in Influencers: Cordel, Politics, and Activism in Brazil, an exhibition at the Benson Latin American Collection. Scheduled to correspond with Brazil’s bicentennial year and federal elections, this exhibition thinks especially about the role of politics in cordel literature, and of cordelistas as political actors and influencers.
Influencers draws from the Benson’s collection of around 10,000 chapbooks and was curated by Head of Special Collections Ryan Lynch. It is open for viewing through June 30, 2023. Check public hours for the Benson at https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/benson.
Read, hot & digitized: Librarians and the digital scholarship they love — In this series, librarians from UTL’s Arts, Humanities and Global Studies Engagement Team briefly present, explore and critique existing examples of digital scholarship. Our hope is that these monthly reviews will inspire critical reflection of and future creative contributions to the growing fields of digital scholarship.
This post was written by Jyotsna Vempati, the Global Studies Digital Projects GRA at Perry-Castañeda Library and a current graduate student at the School of Information.
A Telugu (pronounced ˈteləˌɡo͞o) literature classic – Bāriṣṭaru Pārvatīśaṃ, is a novel that I brought along with me despite the strict luggage weight limits of international flights so that I have a piece of my childhood and home with me in a new country. But if I am honest, this was my way of ensuring that I don’t forget how to read and write in my mother tongue. Although the biggest of the Dravidian language family with over 80 million speakers and 4th most spoken language in India, the future of Telugu is in danger from the proliferation of English and other less-regional languages in Telugu speaking regions.
Many believe it is time to take deliberate action to preserve a language that has a rich history and culture, and many compelling literary works that date back to 575 CE. While there is still a sizable reader base for Telugu literature, there is a rising need to make these texts more accessible and visible in today’s digital era. And in comes the first of its kind Telugu audiobook application – Dasubhashitam.
Founded by Konduru Tulasidas and his son Kiran Kumar, this ‘uncommon app’ draws its essence from multiple disciplines that include Literature, Behavioural Science, and Non-Dualism. It promotes personal, professional, and spiritual wellbeing through original content in a style that is simple and straightforward. The app contains free content as well as paid literature works, which can be accessed through subscription plans.I think this app fills the gap by providing an opportunity for those who speak Telugu but face difficulty in reading the script to reconnect with their roots, thus reviving the language from its slumber.
The Dasubhashitam app is paving the way to immortalize the works of both renowned and new authors by creating an ecosystem where people connect Telugu texts to audio content. It contains literary works in various digital formats such as audiobooks, ebooks, podcasts, interviews, and albums within categories like short stories, novels, poetry, wellbeing, and educational content. The audiobooks need a mention of their own due to the deep cultural context within which they’re recorded and presented. Not only is a book read out loud, but some audiobooks of play scripts also have accompanying musical notes that add a touch of the popular Telugu cinema experience, transporting one back to the age of black-and-white films. Another noteworthy aspect of this app is that it offers the opportunity for individuals to suggest a book to digitize, or submit their audiobooks to the app for hosting (after a strict copyright and quality check, of course).
As a student of User Experience Design here at UT, I cannot help but comment on opportunities for improvement when it comes to the user experience and usability aspect of the mobile application. I find that the app’s heuristics are yet to be optimized to make the content more accessible to their user base. Especially, ramping up the in-app search and filter options, standardizing the transliteration of the literary title to the English alphabet (romanization), having uniform navigation gestures across and refining the information architecture would surely minimize user pain points and add value to the overall experience.
This spectacular enterprise is carving out a presence for itself rapidly and, all-in-all, the kind of content and initiatives undertaken by the creators clearly reflects their intentions, namely, to promote the wellbeing of their users. I look forward to witnessing the great potential of this piece of technology, especially as some of the notable names in the world of Telugu literature are available on the Dasubhashitam app.
I’m also delighted to discover that UT Libraries hold a great collection of Telugu literature. One might be encouraged to read one of UT’s print versions of these titles alongside the audio book on Dasubhashitam! See for example the Telugu writings by:
The Perry-Castañeda Library is named for two former University professors, Ervin Sewell Perry and Carlos Eduardo Castañeda.
Ervin Sewell Perry 1935-1970
Ervin S. Perry, the first African American to be appointed to the academic rank of professor at the University of Texas at Austin, was an associate professor of civil engineering at the time of his death in 1970. He received the M.S. degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1961 and the Ph.D. in civil engineering from the university in 1964, working in the areas of materials science and structural mechanics. Before his untimely death, Dr. Perry was a prominent figure in engineering. In 1970, he was named to receive the National Society of Professional Engineers’ first “Young Engineer of the Year Award.” He had been similarly honored at state and county levels by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers.
Ervin Perry was graduated from Prairie View A & M University in May 1956 with a B.S. in civil engineering and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After two years of military service, he taught at Southern University in Baton Rouge before deciding to pursue graduate work. He first came to the University of Texas at Austin in the summer of 1959 when he entered the graduate school to study civil engineering. He took a brief hiatus from his studies to serve on the engineering faculty at Prairie View A & M University. From the summer of 1960 until December of 1970, Ervin Perry was connected in some way with the university and brought distinction to himself and his institution.
He was awarded the M.S. in civil engineering in June 1961; he chose the title, Bond Stress Distribution in Concrete Beams and Eccentric Pullout Specimens, for his master’s thesis. Three years later in May 1964, Perry was awarded his Ph.D. His dissertation, A Study of Dynamically Loaded Composite Members, described his research in the areas of materials science and structural mechanics.
Ervin Sewell Perry was born on a farm in Coldspring, San Jacinto County, Texas, in 1935, a twin son of Willie and Edna Perry. He grew up with four sisters and a twin brother. The close-knit family was inspired by their father and schoolteacher mother to move toward higher education: all of the Perry children hold degrees from Prairie View A & M University, where their mother attended school.
Headlines over the state carried the news when Ervin S. Perry was named assistant professor of civil engineering in the Fall of 1964, the first African American ever appointed to this level of academic rank at the University of Texas at Austin. Widely sought by other top-ranked colleges, Perry elected to stay in Austin and to make noteworthy contributions to his own university.
Early in 1970 Dr. Perry became ill and went to M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston for treatment. He resumed his teaching later in the year, but illness recurred that fall in Berlin, Germany, where he was representing the university at an international engineering conference, presenting papers based on his research on the basic properties of concrete. Ervin S. Perry died at the age of 34 in December 1970.
Carlos E. Castañeda played a central role in the early development of the Benson Latin American Collection, which is considered one of the world’s foremost repositories of Latin American materials. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where he earned the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Castañeda was librarian of the Latin American Collection from 1927 until 1946 and is given principal credit for acquiring the incomparable private collection of Garcia Icazbalceta of Mexico. Recognized as an authority on the early history of Mexico and Texas, Dr. Castañeda served as a part-time associate professor of history from 1936 to 1946, when he was named professor of Latin American history, a position he continued until his death in 1958.
Carlos Castañeda was born in Camargo, Mexico, in 1896. He attended schools in Matamoros until the sixth grade when his family moved to Brownsville. He quickly learned English and was graduated with highest honors from Brownsville High School in 1916. Orphaned at the age of fourteen, young Carlos assumed the responsibility for himself and his four unmarried sisters. After graduation he taught in a school at Las Palmas.
Castañeda enrolled in the University in 1917 as a student of engineering and took a part-time job working for Dr. Eugene C. Barker in the History Department. This work with Dr. Barker led Castañeda to discover history and to change his major. He was graduated with an A.B. in history in 1921 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation he taught in the public schools of Beaumont and San Antonio before returning to the University of Texas at Austin to work on his M.A., which he completed in 1923. His master’s thesis was titled A Report on the Spanish Archives in San Antonio, Texas .
Carlos Castañeda was an associate professor of Spanish at the College of William and Mary from 1923 to 1927. He returned to the University of Texas at Austin and was named librarian of the Genaro García Collection, now the Benson Latin American Collection, in 1927. He retained this association while serving as associate professor of history from 1939 until 1946 and developed that collection into one of the most distinguished in the United States.
Castañeda was granted his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1932. His dissertation, Morfi’s History of Texas, is a critical edition from an original manuscript by Fr. Juan Augustin Morfi that Dr. Castañeda discovered within the archives of the convent of San Francisco el Grande in the National Library of Mexico. In 1946 he was named professor of Latin American history, a position he continued until his death in 1958.
In recognition of her 20 years of excellent service to the UT Libraries, President Jay Hartzell granted former East Asian Studies Liaison Librarian Meng-fen Su “Emerita Status,” an honorary designation conferred upon retirees to recognize their contributions and accomplishments over their university careers.
Meng-fen came to UT Libraries in 2000 after serving as a cataloger at Ohio State and at Harvard-Yenching Library.
During her tenure at university, the East Asian Studies collection has more than doubled in size (from 91,000 volumes to 190,000) and has been carefully curated to create a more representative balance between Chinese, Japanese and Korean materials.
Her reserved demeanor belies the fact that she was an expert at networking to bolster resources. For example, Meng Fen established the first Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies in 201 by building a collaboration between the Libraries and the National Central Library in Taiwan. She submitted multiple successful grants to garner support for both physical (Reference Materials Distribution Program) and digital (Korean Studies e-Resources grants) materials from the Korea Foundation, and also forged relationships to receive publications from research institutes throughout East Asia – the Academia Sinica, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, Waseda University and the Korean Film Council, to name a few.
Congratulations and thanks to Meng-fen Su for her devotion to her work on behalf of the university and to the Libraries.
“When you lose a language and a language goes extinct, it’s like dropping a bomb on the Louvre.” –Linguist Michael Krauss
Language is so central to humanity that it frequently takes on the involuntary characteristics of breathing or eating—words seemingly form in our minds and fall effortlessly from our mouths or onto a page in a way that can go without notice or concern. It’s only when we lose our ability to communicate that we realize how important a shared language is to our collective experience, and a better understanding of ourselves.
Such is the inspiration at the heart of the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA), a digital repository of multimedia resources in and about the indigenous languages of Latin America, founded in 2000 at The University of Texas at Austin and located today at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection.
The archive’s mission is the preservation of the wealth of recordings of natural discourse in the indigenous languages of Latin America made by native speakers of the languages, frequently in collaboration with linguists and anthropologists, during the past fifty to sixty years. Most of these languages are endangered, and all of them are at risk of being replaced by dominant languages. Some of them, in fact, like Tehuelche, a Chonan language of Patagonia, have lost all speakers since the recordings housed in the archive were made.
According to the World Bank, there are some 560 different languages spoken in Latin America, most of which are spoken by Indigenous Peoples. Some, like the Mayan languages K’iche’ (Guatemala) and Yucatec Maya (Mexico), have speakers numbering in the hundreds of thousands. But there are examples that more fully demonstrate a need for preservation, such as Guató (Brazil) and Kawésqar (Chile), each having fewer than 10 living speakers.
AILLA’s collections represent over 420 Indigenous languages, and include audio and video recordings, some with transcriptions and translations in Spanish, English, and to a lesser extent Portuguese, as well as photographs, maps, charts, and written works of all kinds. The recordings include narratives, songs, conversations, prayers, ceremonies, oral histories, interviews, and grammatical elicitation. Written materials include grammars, dictionaries, word lists, ethnographies, field notes, journals, correspondence, theses and dissertations, published and unpublished academic articles, essays, and manuscripts, as well as original literary works in indigenous languages, such as poetry, short stories, and novels. There is ongoing work to incorporate textbooks and teaching materials for bilingual and ethno-education and for language reclamation programs into the archive,
“Every language is like a cosmos, containing vocabulary, stories, songs, spiritual beliefs, ceremonies, games, jokes, food ways, and patterns of thought which form a worldview that is unique in the history of humanity,” explains AILLA Manager Susan Kung.
AILLA collaborates directly and indirectly with Indigenous communities to archive their linguistic cultural heritage and coordinates the digitization of fragile analog materials in Indigenous languages so that they can be added to the archive. The archive accepts any material that was written or spoken in one of the indigenous languages of Latin America by native speakers of that language, on any topic, in any style. AILLA also collects materials of cultural and academic interest that are written about the indigenous languages of Latin America, and especially values items of interest to indigenous communities, like teaching materials and literary works.
An essential focus of the work at AILLA is to make these resources available to a global audience via unrestricted online access. Rapid technological development and an expanding internet has increased the reach of resources that were once kept in private offices and homes so that they can now be shared with speakers of the languages, scholars and interested audiences worldwide. By building out a broader global audience for these resources, the hope is that expanded access will extend and/or guarantee the life of at-risk languages.
“We want to support indigenous efforts to reclaim their languages and develop [their] literatures,” says Susan Kung. The archive makes it easy to publish indigenous works to a wide audience. It also serves as a medium of collaboration and communication, in addition to providing a repository for resources.
AILLA was founded in 2000 at The University of Texas at Austin by Dr. Joel Sherzer, Professor of Anthropology, and Dr. Anthony Woodbury, Professor of Linguistics, working in collaboration with a group of their graduate students, and with technical support from Mark McFarland, the former University of Texas Libraries Director of the Digital Library Services Division. AILLA’s pilot site was funded with seed money from the College of Liberal Arts, and the first online digital repository was built with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Today, AILLA’s primary support comes from the University of Texas Libraries and the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, and AILLA is at the heart of the LLILAS Benson collaboration and its Indigenous languages initiatives.
Over AILLA’s 20-year history, staff have worked to make academia and the general public aware of the importance of archiving priceless and irreplaceable linguistic cultural heritage and to develop and promote best practices in this field. These endeavors, along with AILLA’s efforts to digitize and archive significant collections of indigenous language documentation materials, have been generously funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation.
To explore AILLA’s collections, visit ailla.utexas.org. The catalog information is open access, but you must register for a free account to stream, view or download media files.
If you are a speaker of an indigenous language and are interested in creating an archival collection for your language, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.